First Friday $15/$30 Session (LIVE BLOG)

January 12, 2018

11:10 AM: Today marks the first day of $15/$30 on a Friday at Palace. This game is starting full which is pretty cool because I left here last night with four names on the list and also because the game usually doesn’t start full on Mondays.

Palace also decided to start spreading PLO on Saturdays. So now I have the option to play $15/$30 twice a week, PLO twice a week, and $30/$60 once a week – less than ten minutes from my home! A year ago the biggest game they had was $8/$16.

I used to think that playing most of my hours at Palace was costing me money (and it certainly was – even though the $20/$40 at Fortune is a much tougher game than $8/$16 at Palace, my hourly is significantly higher in the bigger game). I’m happy to feel good about playing on my home turf. If the $30/$60 game takes off – and I’m not sure it will – then I really won’t have a reason to go to Fortune unless I want to play on a Thursday.

That’s a pretty cool turnaround from this time last year. It’s possible that I will spend less than 25% of my total hours in 2018 playing $8/$16, which has been my primary limit for three years now. I have to say I’m really excited about the opportunity and it wouldn’t surprise me if Palace eventually starts spreading $15/$30 every day.

11:23 AM: Starting lineup consists of Chief Wiggum, two $15/$30 regulars, one semi-regular, one action player, and three players I haven’t seen play this limit yet – one of which is a nitty $8/$16 regular.

I’m starting with $2000 – $800 in green, $1180 in red, and $20 in white. I have Overs button on my stack and so far no one has asked me for one.

11:45 AM: First significant pot: four limpers, SB calls, I check KJo. Flop is KJ3 rainbow – SB leads, I raise, maybe someone else calls, nit on the button raises, SB calls, I cap it. Three players see the 4c on turn – I bet, the nit just calls (ruling out 33 now), and SB calls. River is a 9c, bringing in a backdoor flush and completing QT, which is what I think the button has after capping flop and calling the turn. So I check-call and that is what he shows me.

It’s pretty uncanny how I get off to a rough start every time I play this game.

12:01 PM: One limper, I raise cutoff with QJcc, Chief Wiggum cold calls, maybe the big defends. Flop Kc9d6d – I bet and Wiggum and the limper call. Turn is a beautiful Tc, giving me the nuts with a Royal Flush draw. I bet, Wiggum calls, the limper check-raises, I 3-bet, Wiggum still calls (I’m thinking a diamond beats me now), and the limper caps. I miss my flush on the river, but it’s not a diamond, and I raise when the limper bets – and then I get the briefest glimmer of hope when he decides to do the let’s-not-waste-anymore-time-I’m-just-gonna-call-with-the-nuts move.

12:14 PM: Woah. Something good happened in my first two hours of playing. One limper, I raise AJo from MP, Wiggum cold calls (hmm… might need to change seats), and four of us see a J98 rainbow flop. The limper donks, I raise, Wiggum calls, and the limper 3-bets. Eh. The limper is capable of having Tx here. It’s definitely not always a straight. I could cap, but I decide to call and re-evaluate on the turn. It’s an ace. He still leads and I think my hand is too good to call down with, especially with a player still behind me. I raise and I’m pretty happy to see Wiggum fold and the limper just call. River is a 3 and I get another big bet in and win the pot.

Then I defended KTss from the big and outflopped the PFR and got paid off on all the streets.

A rare good early start for me in this game!

1:03 PM: The blinds just ran the board out and paid $6 to see if the big blind could hit a $250 High Hand that has to hold up for 17 minutes with 7 tables going. He missed… the small blind won the pot and I swear I saw him give the big blind $15 back. I actually get to play poker with these people.

1:23 PM: One limper, I raise with KK, button cold calls and three or four of us see the J88 two spade flop. I bet and only the button calls. I consider check-raising a blank turn but I opt to bet instead. He raises me. I think 3-betting here is plenty reasonable but I don’t know this player super well and decide to call. The river is a king. The standard line here is to check-raise but I think he will check behind a jack and there’s a chance he will raise me if he has an 8, so I bet… and he folds.

1:50 PM: Last night I fell asleep with The Roots discography on shuffle and it inspired me to make a special playlist for today. I added every Roots album, every Mobb Deep album, most of Prodigy’s solos, every Tribe Called Quest album, all three Q-Tip solos, every Pharaohe Monch album, and Organized Konfusion’s Equinox. I’ve been enjoying the hell out of it.

It also made me realize that Black Thought is probably the most underrated rapper of all-time. I think a number of people would leave him off their top 10 all-time list – and that’s simply inexcusable. I’ve been going through Eminem’s discography recently and while many would consider Eminem a top 5 rapper, his discography pales in comparison to that of The Roots. Black Thought has simply been rapping at an elite level for 25 years now and has arguably been the most consistently great rapper over that time span. If someone wanted to argue that he’s the best to ever do it, I wouldn’t have a problem with that. His loyalty to The Roots crew is pretty amazing. 25 years and he’s never made a solo album. Dude is incredible. Can we please show this man a little respect?

Now back to the pokers.

2:18 PM: Open cutoff with KcJo, both blind call. SB donks on the K74 two club flop, BB calls, I raise, SB calls and BB folds while thanking me for raising. Turn is 2c and now the SB check-raises. I call, whiff my flush draw, and wind up losing to K4hh.

Fellow blogger playing $15/$30 again. I guess if he’s going to be playing in my games regularly I should give him a name. I will call him BlackJack.

2:43 PM: Back from a break and I post in the big blind. Chief Wiggum limps under the gun, MP raises, and I defend J4cc. Flop is J43, one club and I check-raise the PFR, he calls, and we are heads up. Turn is a 6 and it goes bet and call. River is a King and I’m pretty sure he has AK, so I check and my check-raise goes according to plan.

That player limps under the gun on my button and it folds to me. I decide to iso with the 97cc, but the big blind defends and three of us see the J83cc flop. The limper donks, I raise, the BB 3-bets, limper calls, and I cap for value. The turn is a 7 and the limper donks. That’s annoying – I was definitely checking behind. We both call. River bricks and I fold and the limper wins with a set of 8s.

3:11 PM: My desired seat finally opened up and I am now on Chief Wiggum’s direct left and can put a stop to that cold calling every raise I make nonsense.

I have to say this game is pretty amazing right now.

3:21 PM: I open UTG with QJcc, MP cold calls, and Wiggum defends. Flop is Q76 with two clubs, flipping me the world. It’s probably unbalanced to check here because I’m basically betting my entire range here but I decide to check for a little deception and because I don’t hate too many turn cards. It checks around. Turn is 5c and I get four bets in against Chief Wiggum and another big bet on the river and he flashes me T2cc.

3:31 PM: Folds to me in the small blind and the big blind asks me to call so we can run the board out for a possible High Hand and I say no.


3:41 PM: Radio Mike is in the game!

And get your personal fans out because THE HUMAN TORCH is on the list!! He is sixth up though and it is highly possible that he will be bust long before he gets in this game.

Taz also just got a seat. That makes The Torch fifth up now.

I’m on a bit of rush. I outflopped JJ with AQ in a 3-bet pot and bets went in on every street and I played a rather large pot with 77 on an 8822x board vs 44. I think I’m up about $900 overall at the moment.

3:51 PM: Spoke too soon: AA < KQ.

4:03 PM: Private exchange between Radio Mike and me.

Mike: Consider yourself lucky. I only have 2.5 hours to try and kick your ass. Me: If you even have chips in 2.5 hours I will be surprised. It’s nice to have poker friends!

(Sorry about the formatting up there. No matter how many times I try to correct it, it just goes right back to that.)

4:15 PM: These are back-to-back-to-back hands:

Taz limps, I raise button with KJdd. Flop is QJJ and Taz pays me off all the way.

Taz limps, I raise with KK from cutoff. Flop is K73 and Taz pays me off the whole way.

Chief Wiggum limps and I raise hi-jack with KK. Taz folds his big blind. Dang it. Flop is K82, Wiggum check-folds and I give the table a courtesy show.

4:25 PM: Chief Wiggum open-limps the cutoff, I raise with AQ, and both blinds defend. Flop is AJ5, all spades, and I have none. The small blind donks (which means little) and the big blind, an $8/$16 reg playing $15/$30 for the first time, raises (this means something). Wiggum folds and I call, but I’m not loving this spot. The small blind also calls. The turn pairs the 5 and two of us call again. The river is a red deuce and they both check to me. I like this development and I’m debating whether I should be betting or not, but I ultimately decide to check and the big blind tables 98ss.

5:04 PM: Unknown raises UTG, I 3-bet JJ and get it heads up. Flop is K87 and he check-calls. Turn is a 3 and he check-calls again. River is a 2 of clubs, completing a backdoor flush. He checks to me again and I don’t think he has a king so betting feels pretty mandatory. He check-raises me and with no history I call to see what he has and he shows me QJcc. Yowza.

5:11 PM: Hi-Jack and cutoff limp, I limp with A5hh and five of us see the flop for one bet. It comes 874 with two diamonds and one heart. The big blind bets, HJ calls, and I call. I’m thinking in my head that the 6h would be my perfect card and somehow that’s exactly what comes. The big blind checks, hi-Jack bets, I raise, the big blind folds AA face up (๐Ÿ˜ฎ๐Ÿ˜ฎ๐Ÿ˜ฎ), HJ calls. River is the Jh, making my flush and he check-folds.

5:25 PM: Running hot. Solid sequence: open AT UTG+1 and only big blind defends and he calls me down with QJ on QTxxx.

Then he opens button, SB calls, I 3-bet AQ, whiff, and lose to button’s 98.

Then I open button with QJhh and both blinds defend. I whiff my overcards and flush draw and fold the river. Pretty cool! That puts me close to even.

5:34 PM: Next orbit. Same player that went runner runner flush with QJcc on K87c flop also beat my AT with the QJ and AQ with the 98. He opens cutoff this time. I 3-bet SB with AQ. We are heads up. I bet the K85 flop. He calls. Turn 6; we both check. River 8; we both check. He wins with A5o. He’s already proven he’s not folding hands so I’m not trying to power through these whiffs.

No. He’s not annoying me at all right now.

6:00 PM: They showed me some mercy after I lost like 10-12 pots in a row and folded on the turn when I had TT. But the very next hand I get six way action with QQ and get outflopped by 77, which can’t beat 43 at showdown.

6:07 PM: Well my tilty image isn’t going to improve with this hand. Folds to me on the button and I raise with T9o, small blind 3-bets, and big blind calls. Flop is K74, SB leads, BB folds, and I can’t just fold here getting 10-1, can I? Seems like my pair outs should be live a decent amount of the time so I peel flop and the turn is a 6. Well, I certainly didn’t call the flop so I could fold on the turn when I picked up nut outs. River is an 8. Oh boy. He still bets, I raise and he snap calls and tables AA before I even show my hand.

I guess I should probably stop complaining now.

6:24 PM: Radio Mike has left and, as expected, The Torch did not survive long enough to make it in this game. Fortunately there is no shortage of people I want to play with on the list.

Action Bronson and Part-Time are in the game now.

Finally have some Overs going. Part-Time, Taz, Action Bronson, and a bad semi-reg (with $500 lol) are now playing $25/$50 with me.

6:39 PM: Part-Time straddles button, I 3-bet KQdd, Taz calls from MP and the three of us go to the K87 one diamond flop. I bet, Taz folds, Part-Time raises and I 3-bet. Turn is a 2 and now he raises me. I call and we both check on the river and he gives me a free showdown with K7 for some reason.

6:46 PM: Currently walking around outside on a break. I looked at my time stamps and I have shown one winning hand in the last 2.5 hours and that was T9 on a K74 flop. And I’ve been raising a lot of hands. I can’t even imagine what my image looks like right now, but since I probably look like I’m on mega steam I’m going to open tighter and c-bet less often for a while.

It has been a pretty brutal stretch. I think I was +$900 at my peak three hours ago and I’m probably down at least $500 now.

7:03 PM: Sometimes there’s just nothing you can do. You just get to lose. Part-Time limps UTG, I’m next and raise AK, the dude that’s been torturing me from the seven seat defends his big blind. I finally flop a pair on ATx and both players call. Then I get check-raised on the Q turn by the big blind and he winds up showing me KJ. The good news is he has an Overs button now too, so I got to lose even more on this hand. Holy hell.

7:21 PM: Seat 7 has like $2000 in front of him. He sat down with $400 and I’m the only person he’s winning pots against. So sick. He’s not a regular but we are playing a lot of hands against each other and he has a Cubs hat on so that will be his identifier today.

I open JJ, cutoff 3-bets, big blind all in, I call; then check-call flop and turn on Q high board before getting a free showdown against AA.

8:20 PM: Nothing exciting the past hour. I flopped a set of aces and got one small bet after the flop. I ate dinner. Street tacos. Yum. I’m down $800.

8:41 PM: Cubbies button straddles, I 3-bet AA from the big, everyone else folds and he folds on the Q82 flop. I mean come on. I guess little wins are better than large losses. Bright side!

8:50 PM: I can see a light! Folds to a regular action player in the cutoff I’ve mentioned many times before but have yet to give a nickname, but I will now. Megaton raises, I decide to 3-bet the Q9o on button and the big blind caps it. Flop is JTx, big bets, and we both call. Turn is an 8 and I get two big bets from both of them and the big blind pays me off on the river.

Just saw this line from Action Bronson: four players limp, SB calls, he raises in the big; it checks around on the flop and then he just power folds on the turn. I get to play with these people every day. 8:56 PM: I didn’t expect this game to be in jeopardy this early in the night but we are currently 8-handed and it looks like 2-3 of these guys could be leaving any minute.

9:06 PM: Sigh. Whole table just evaporated. 5 players literally just left at the same time.

Playing 3-handed with Taz and one other player. This is a pretty good spot but who knows how long they’ll play with me. Honestly, I expect Taz to eject as soon as he loses a couple hands.

9:20 PM: Unlikely to post any hands while we are playing this short.

10:15 PM: On a break. I’ve been straddling on the button every orbit. Playing 3-handed I don’t really see a down side to doing this.

In the straddle with Qd5x. Taz defends. I check. He check-calls me all the way down on K96dd-4d-J with… J5o, no diamond. Scratching my head on that one.

I call SB with 93hh. Other player checks big. Flop T83. I bet and he calls. Same on 9 turn. But when the 9 pairs on the river, he raises. I 3-bet and he calls with J9. What a runout!

I guess 3-handed play has been good for me. I’m down $600 overall now.

11:12 PM: Epic comeback. I crushed it 3-handed. Ended up finishing +$265.

I’m not going to lie. I ran really really good, but my opponents were making it pretty easy too. I won’t go into the constant mistakes they were making but I will give an example of just how pure I was running.

I straddle T4hh on the button. Both players call. Flop is T76 one heart and two diamonds. The small blind leads out and raises me back when I raise. The turn is the 7h and I raise him again. I don’t think I have the best hand, but I don’t think he will raise back unless he has a full house and I can check back if I don’t improve on the river – and I’m planing to call a river bet anyway. But he does 3-bet me. I call. River a flush and call again while saying “I might have gotten lucky.” He tables 98 and my flush is good.

Eh. Not a great session. Lots of hours of torture but, as usual, short-handed play was good to me and I’m pretty happy to finish with a win.


  1. omg you’re actually running good! this is the official jinx.

    • Solid jinx. Getting killed now. I just won with TT but I think I lost like 10-12 contested pots in a row before that.

  2. Well done. I’ve said it before i Iove short handed games. Your the only I’ve encountered in my 10 yr palace poker experience who loves it too and crushes it better than I do. GG

    • There’s a handful of guys that enjoy playing short. I prefer it, for sure.

      • I like 4-6 players. Three handed is a tough zone for me to handle right now. Nice W!

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