First MARATHON MONDAY of 2018! (live blog)

January 1, 2018

9:20 AM: When my alarm went off at 7 AM this morning I was presented with an opportunity: I could start my 2018 off by turning my alarm off and sleeping an extra 2.5 hours and being as fresh as possible for the $15/$30 game at Palace today or I could start my 2018 off by pushing myself out of bed after roughly five hours of sleep to do my daily meditation routine and head to the gym for yoga class. I chose the latter. However, when I called Crunch Fitness a few days ago to ask about their New Year’s Day hours, they didn’t inform me that all classes today would be cancelled and I didn’t think to ask, so that was a fun surprise when I showed up this morning. Rather than sulk in the fact that I could have slept in and still been productive before poker, I took the opportunity to do some lifting, which is something I don’t make enough of a priority. I think I’ve had my gym membership for over two months now and I’ve lifted maybe three times.

I gave myself a pretty good, albeit kind of short, workout. I did 4 sets of 8-10 reps on bench press, 4 sets of 8-10 reps on back squats, 3 sets of 5 reps dead lifting, and some bicep and shoulder work with some dumbbells. I was going to do some jogging/running, but I saw my blood sugar plummeting with two down arrows and decided heading home was my safest play. And now I’m hurting. Especially my legs. But it’s a good hurt and even though I could have slept in and I might hit a wall earlier tonight than I want to, I’m still pretty happy about my dedication to self-improvement. It’s a good start to 2018!

Time is a funny thing. It zooms by. Especially after high school. And there really doesn’t seem like there’s enough of it in a day. I play a card game for a living and I still don’t feel like I have enough free time. I get backed up on things I want or need to do all the time. For instance, I’d like to make more than one poker update on my blog each week, but finding the time to sit down and write about my various sessions throughout the week is difficult if I don’t blog while I’m playing, which I have to admit is fun but isn’t quite optimal for paying attention. At this moment, I have a number of hands from last week that I want to write about, plus movies and TV shows I have opinions on, and various other ideas – particularly my 2017 wrap up and goals for 2018.

Speaking of movies and TV shows, I feel like I don’t watch nearly enough of what I want to. Not because I can’t, but because I don’t make it a priority. Clearly family and poker are better priorities, but sometimes I look at my Netflix queue and I realize there are movies that will never make it to the top. The fact that I still haven’t seen the last two Best Picture winners, Spotlight and Moonlight, kind of boggles my mind. I don’t necessarily think watching great movies or TV shows is the most productive use of time, but it is one of my favorite things to do, so I’d like to try to find more time for it this year.

But enough about my intentions for 2018. I will have a whole post about that soon. I do want to address something about this blog. Obviously I want people to read it and hearing it referenced in poker rooms is pretty cool because it means I’m gaining an audience and when you write you want more and more people to read your material. But it’s worth keeping something in mind: people play poker for different reasons. Some people play for fun, some play just to get in there and gamble it up, some people are actually trying to make money. Not everyone is trying to play good poker and that is okay. I think giving people nicknames that sort of reflect their personality or their playing style is fun and gives the blog a humor factor, and while I may be poking some fun, I’m not trying to be mean or hurt anyone’s feelings. So can we exercise a little discreetness? If you want to know who The Human Torch is, there’s no need to ask me out loud, at the poker table, when they might be sitting there with me. And using these nicknames in public will make me feel like I have stop writing them and I don’t see how that’s fun for anyone.

Lastly, before I start getting ready for my session, I’d like to announce that after this Tuesday the $30/$60 LHE game at Palace will be moving to Sundays. If you want on the list for tomorrow you can call (253) 581-5851 to reserve your seat for a 4 PM start or you can call Wednesday to put your name up for the Sunday game. I’m not sure what time they plan to start Sunday, but I should find out today. I have no idea if the game will go tomorrow, but I’m confident that the switch to Sundays will give it some real viability. I heard from numerous people at Fortune that they would be willing to come play on Sundays when they don’t have to work or fight through peak traffic times to get to Palace.

See you on the felts and Happy New Year!

11:14 AM: Welp. 14 names were on the list for today and only four showed up. Currently playing 4-handed with a starting lineup that includes BVR, Muffin (my wife’s nickname for him, not mine), and one other. Muffin has played some short sessions in this game even when it was full so we definitely need some walk in traffic soon to prevent this game from breaking early.

11:27 AM: Boom. Two new players. The game will live! We are joined by an incredible loyal 49ers fan – decked out in starter jacket, hoody, and hat – and Trader Magee, former local pawn shop owner and WSOP backer of yours truly.

11:39 AM: Literally just got up from the table to walk over to the waitress to get two bottles of water. I sit back down. Trader Magee asks me if I have any Advil; I give him some. I go sit back down. A minute goes by. He asks me if he can have one of my waters.

This is a real thing, people.

11:57 AM: We are 7-handed now and have our first crazy.

12:15 PM: The crazy is felted but hopefully coming back and Joe Montana abandoned us for an $8/$16 starting.

My only hands of note so far:

Open JTcc, Trader Magee calls, maybe one other. Flop is J98 with one club and Trader Magee pops my flop bet. I think this is a good hand to put in my check-call down range unless I make my straight, so that’s my plan.

The turn bricks, but the river is a Ten, which induces a check around and I outdraw his 98.

Cutoff limps, BVR raises button, SB defends, I defend 53o.

Flop is AK3 with two hearts and the SB donks. My preflop defend is really bottom of the range stuff, so folding to this flop bet is probably advisable, especially since BVR is going to raise a high percentage of the time. But we’re playing short and I has pair so I call. Both others call.

Turn is a 4 and SB is all in for $13. With extra outs now and no threat of a full raise, I have an easy call. One fold and BVR just calls.

River 5 and I donk because it’s clear that I’m at least winning a side pot. BVR calls and I beat his AJ and win the Main against whatever SB had.

The crazy reloaded $500 and we picked up a Palace maniac. We will call him Super Dave, in honor of notable stuntman Dave Osborne. Super Dave is capable of playing any two cards from any position, either calling or raising, and has basically no rhyme or reason to his betting patterns. I have both lunatics on my right so I’m in a very favorable spot for the next hour or two.

12:34 PM: I open JJ under the gun, BVR calls on the button, Super Dave three bets from the SB and I cap.

Flop is KTx rainbow, SD bets, I raise, BVR cold calls, SD three bets, and we both call.

Turn pairs the T and I feel really good about the situation when it checks around.

River is a total brick and SD leads. I call and BVR somewhat reluctantly overcalls and says “KQ.” Well that’s obviously a monster. SD tables AQ and I briefly daydream about the 4+ big bets I would have won with a Jack on the river.

12:41 PM: Super Dave opens hi jack, crazy #2 cold calls, and I call with 86ss on the button because I want to try and get the easy money while it’s here. I think there’s a good argument for three betting here to get the blinds out and make sure I have the two yahoos all to myself.

One or both of the blinds call and we see a flop of 744, two diamonds and one spade, SD bets, #2 calls, and now I clear the blinds out with a raise. SD folds and #2 calls with all sorts of weakness showing.

Turn is a 9, a good card for me, and he check-calls.

River double pairs the board with a 4 and I bluff at it even though I think this run out decreases my chances of getting it through. Still, I can’t just let him show down weak busted draws that have me beat. He calls with A9 and wins the pot.

12:52 PM: Super Dave has felted and reloaded for $1k.

Real quote from SD just now: “I have to tell myself I don’t have to raise.

12:57 PM: Trader Magee just coolered Super Dave by making a one card flush vs SD’s flopped top set, a situation no one else at the table is happy to see unfold.

1:02 PM: Welp. Trader Magee for him again. He turned the nut flush vs. Super Dave’s seven high flush and SD didn’t miss a single raise. Cap flop cap turn cap river, with a third player along for the ride until the river.

Very next hand, two limps, I raise QJhh from SB, three calls.

Flop KQx with one heart. I bet and Super Dave raises. I call and we are heads up.

The turn is a 9h and I decide to check-raise my monster draw that could also easily be the best hand. I get three bet, brick the river and pay off his K3o. Lovely. It’s always nice when things work out perfectly for everyone.

The next hand I lose a big pot on the button and the hand after that I limp with the maniacs in the cutoff with J8s and get stair-stepped into a cap before flopping zero equity.

That puts me at roughly -$650 and out the door for my first break of the day.

1:21 PM: Return to my seat in time to see Super Dave felting to Trader Magee. Nope. I’m not jealous.

1:27 PM: Some good news. I pick up QQ and KK on back-to-back hands and not only do they both win, but I get paid through showdown.

And then Super Dave sits back down with $500.

1:31 PM: One limp, Super Dave raises button, I three bet A9ss. They both call.

Flop 875, with two spades. I bet and only SD calls.

Turn is a King and same action.

River pairs the 7 and he’s never folding a pair, so I plan to check-call and pick off bluffs, but he checks back with A3 and I win.

Back in business!

1:48 PM: In case it isn’t already apparent what a special character this is, how about this hand? Heads up pot between Trader Magee and Super Dave. Board is K42 or something and Magee bets and Super Dave shows Q6o and calls all the way down unimproved.

Then I have AcK in a 5-way pot. Flop is J75, all clubs. I bet-call flop when Trader Magee raises and Super Dave cold calls. The turn and river are inconsequential to my hand and Super Dave check-raises Trader Magee before calling three bets with… 52o. One pair. Trader Magee flopped a flush.

No. They are not related.

Meanwhile, I coolered Magee by defending AT and flopping top two vs his AK and find myself down less than $300 after bottoming out around -$850.

And the action is so insane that The Legend can’t even maintain his composure in the box.

2:08 PM: Full game now and five of us have $25/$50 Overs buttons.

2:16 PM: Super Dave has left us. With a $2500 overlay. At least. Maybe $3000. I’m not sure. In less than two hours.

2:21 PM: SB raises in a multiway pot, I defend A6cc, Trader Magee limp-raises, and it gets capped multiway.

Flop is 986 with one club and everybody calls Trader Magee’s flop bet.

Turn is a Q and checks around.

River gives me trip sixes and the SB leads out. I should definitely have the best hand here but I have four players behind me and calling almost certainly makes me more than raising. I do pick up an overcall (from JJ) and SB shows AK high.

I believe I have sugar now. I also added on $500 in green after Overs started.

2:46 PM: Blog legend Radio Mike has joined the table!

3:13 PM: I’m about even on my second break of the day. I’ve actually had a decent number of interesting hands I didn’t write about because there were coming at such a rapid pace. I’ve called river bets with ace high twice and lost showdowns to people that were bluffing. It’s always amusing watching my image get tarnished while people look at me like WTF and I just sit there calmly.

3:27 PM: I heard Rain Man lose a pot to someone the other day and mutter something about “FBI agent” and I thought it was kind of hilarious, especially when I saw his opponent kind of perk up when he heard.

Well, that guy is sitting in s4 now and I’ve come to learn he is a retired FBI agent – and also Michael Keaton’s former neighbor in Montana! – and his conversation is threatening to break my concentration because he’s friendly, open and incredibly fascinating.

It’s also kind of funny that he used to do that for a living because he seems to have no spatial awareness – he’s the player weeks ago that had his phone practically sitting in front of me for hours – keeps his chips in a rack and so far to the side that he has nothing immediately in front of him, constantly acts out of turn, and thinks anyone that says something in his vicinity is talking to him.

4:03 PM: Special Agent Jack Crawford just picked up KK back-to-back in his blinds and won both pots. The very next hand he open-limps on the button while laughing and flashing a King to the two of us on his right. The small blind called, the big blind raised, and Jack… folds.

Yes, the ol’ open-limp on the button and fold for one more bet move. Something I’ve never seen in 13+ years of playing poker.

4:18 PM: Radio Mike, probably itching for a blog reference (a ploy that clearly worked), walked over to my side table, asked if that is my extra water, opened it up and took a long drink.

A solid troll but he did throw me a $1 chip a few minutes later.

4:39 PM: Radio Mike raises a limper from MP, BVR cold calls, SB calls, and I defend Ks8x.

Flop is AK8 with two spades. I get a check-raise in and three of them call me.

The turn is a Ten which isn’t great but I fire anyway and all three call.

River pairs the Ten and I check-fold my cards into Radio Mike’s face.

I swear I will blog a hand I beat him in again someday.

4:45 PM: We are 6-handed now which kind of sucks for the game’s long term success today, but of course, I prefer…

…and one of the floors is now propping the game, sitting down with $1500.

5:00 PM: Radio Mike opens under the gun, I three bet 88 on the button, the BB sticks around and Mike calls.

Flop is K97 and I decide to check back.

Turn card is a Queen and it checks around again.

River is a blank and now Radio Mike bets. He basically never has a King, I think he rarely has a Queen, and I’m discounting straights and better also, which makes this a pretty trivial call for me.

He tables 98hh. Of course he does.

5:33 PM: I may not be able to beat Radio Mike in a showdown, but I am up around $500 on my fourth break of the day.

I was also informed by Radio Mike, via text message, that my friend (BVR) is “running like Kershaw in the playoffs.”

6:00 PM: BVR gets a reprieve when I open 99 and call him down when he donks the turn on 763K4.

But then I open KTo, get a couple callers preflop and triple barrel the Q8xJA runout with BVR calling me down.

6:13 PM: I open AsTx and fire all the bullets on T93ssXs3 and Radio Mike called me down! 🙇🏻

Streak over?

6:42 PM: There hasn’t been any traffic for this game. We are still 7-handed, including a floor prop that has been MIA for the last hour or so.

I love playing short but I don’t necessarily want to head home by 8 PM.

6:50 PM: I open the button with 22 and both blinds defend.

Flop is QQ3 with two clubs. Only Radio Mike calls my flop bet.

Turn is an 8 and I check back, planning to showdown or call a bet on basically all rivers.

Fortunately the river is a deuce and I get two big bets from Mike.

7:34 PM: Another blog legend in the building: Pay Off Pete! He sits down and two more players rush to the table to fill the game!

Peter posts in the big blind immediately and runs his T4 into KK in a limped pot on a T94K4 board and lost all the bets you’d expect him to. Solid hello.

8:15 PM: In honor of Peter’s arrival and a newly full game I am now enjoying an 8:15 cup of coffee.

I certainly haven’t enjoyed any momentum today. I’m currently up about $125 and I’ve been in that realm for what seems like hours now and my notable hands have been few and far between.

8:53 PM: Stuck now. Peter has basically raised me every time I’ve put money in the pot. It’s funny how that works sometimes. He’s not picking on me – not that he wouldn’t – he just had a better hand every time I play. Like this:

I open button with A8. Peter three bets big blind. Flop is A53 with two hearts; he bets and I call. Then this crafty bastard check-raises me on the Th turn. I call even though I have no heart and then I spike an 8 on the river and I think about raising for a brief moment before deciding calling is best and he tables AT.

9:16: I’m making it sound like Peter is running good. He’s not. I just can’t beat the guy.

This just happened: UTG opens, maybe some other people call, Peter defends his big.

I missed the flop action but on the turn the board is 5422 and Peter has three bet and the UTG player caps it.

River is a King and Peter leads out and gets raised again. Says something about “55 under the gun” and calls. It’s not 55. It’s KK. Peter rolls 42. Yowza.

10:11 PM: Button straddles and i three bet AhKs from the big blind (small blind acts first), rest of the field clears out and button calls.

Flop is QT6 with two clubs. I lead, he raises, I decide to three bet because I think he’s spazzing, and he caps it.

Turn is another club. Maybe a 7. I check. He looks at his cards and actually says “dang it” before checking behind.

The river is the 4 of clubs and I bet my air and he snap folds. I have no clue what just happened but I like the result!

10:29 PM: I open AA under the gun and it gets capped with four players committed before it gets back to me. Always nice to have the nuts preflop and no one has any clue.

With that said, I’m out of position against three players so I’m already mentally preparing myself to lose this already massive pot.

The flop comes down 552, which ranks very high as far as boards that are easy to navigate are concerned. I check, someone bets, someone raises, and I cold call because my hand strength need not be revealed yet. At least four of us see the turn.

It is a Jack. I check. There’s a bet and a call and now I check-raise. The turn bettor calls, Peter folds, and I get paid off on the river and win a huge pot.

11:04 PM: I open QQ under the gun and get three customers.

Flop is J94 with two hearts. I bet and the cutoff and big blind call.

Turn is the 4h. I bet, cutoff calls, and the big blind, a very straight forward player, check-raises. Seems like we have two outs. I fold and so does the cutoff.

11:19 PM: Cutoff open-limps, I raise AKss, big blind defends.

Three of us to 853 with two spades. Cutoff check-calls.

Turn is Js, giving me the nuts and now he donks into me. I raise, he calls.

River pairs the 8 and he donks again. Such a weird line with a full house that I just have to raise again. He three bets and shows me 33. 🤦🏻‍♂️

11:24 PM: New player just sat down. He’s one of my biggest nemesis (nemesi?) at Palace. Constantly trying to outplay me and over playing his hands against me and then has a uncanny success rate of finding a way to get there. He plays with a lot of ego and seems to be pretty full of himself. He’s definitely nickname worthy. I will marinate on it for a bit.

I’m pretty sure I’m up again thanks to that AA hand but my chips are stacked oddly enough that I really don’t know and I kind of like it that way.

12:45 AM: Well he’s out of the game now so the pressure is off. I have some ideas but nothing seems magical or obvious. Until next time!

I did play a strange hand with JJ. Three players limp in front of me and I raise on the button. Six of us see the flop.

It comes Q66 with two diamonds. The first limper donks, Peter calls, the cutoff calls, I call, and so does the small blind.

I think the turn is a 5 and everybody checks to me. It’s so tempting to bet here but I really don’t think I have the best hand. I check.

The river bricks and the flop bettor bets again, Peter calls, and so does the cutoff. I’m perplexed and I usually call when that’s the case but it just seems so unlikely one of these guys doesn’t have at least a Queen. I fold. First guy tables 22, Peter has Q5 suited and the cutoff shows 88 for some reason.


1:51 AM: Game has broken and I’m heading home now. I’ll have some post-game notes in a bit.

2:41 AM: Finished strong tonight with several late tangles with Peter, basically all of which I won, and one of which I asked if he cared if I mentioned it or not. He gave me the okay and said it would be good for his image.

In this hand, I believe the button or cutoff opened, Peter called the small blind and I three bet AA from the big blind. They both called.

The flop came down J87 and they both called my bet.

The turn paired the 7 and they both called again.

The river was a 6, I bet, the other player folded, and Peter check-raised. I paused for a few seconds about to try to piece together the puzzle, but then I quickly realized I’m never folding and I don’t need to waste anyone’s time and called immediately. He tables A9. Pretty creative.

Thanks to the solid upswing at the end of the night, I finished the day +$962.

I really want to take tomorrow off and I suspect the $30/$60 has 0% chance to take off again on a Tuesday, so I will not be planning my day around it. I’m going to relax and possibly see a movie and if it has a chance without me in the building, then I will show up and play.


  1. I want to find out who the Riddler guy is. Sounds like an astute player. Wouldn’t want to cross paths with him at the table.

    • Resisted the urge to mark this as spam.

  2. No better way to start your session than getting punched in the mouth in your first hand. At least the game won’t break any time soon!

    I got most of it back from radio mike anyways 😜

    • Bring extra money next week, Peter.

      • will do. 🙂 just dont take my water

  3. I only play limit hold’em and I’m happy that you have done a blog about the game. I enjoy reading about your poker adventures. Keep up the good work.

  4. i think that a9 line clearly illustrates who truly owns the all-time maniac title at the palace.. 😀

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