LAPC Day 4 & Day 5: $350 Stud 8 or Better, $20-$40 LHE Live At The Bike

January 19, 2018

The $350 Stud 8 or Better tournament had the exact same structure as the previous events I’ve played. 10K starting stacks and 30 minute levels. My starting table were all unknowns to me although I did recognize one player as a dealer from Hollywood Park Casino. I also found out later that the older gentleman in seat one was the defending champion of this event.

Notable Hands Levels 1-3

100/200 level, I call a complete from a Jack up from late position with 77-6, with two clubs. I think this hand plays very good heads up against a likely big pair. I can make a better high hand and I have 40% of a low. I think it goes without saying that cards I need are very live. With all that in mind, maybe I should be 3-betting to increase my chances of getting the bring in out. I call though and so does the bring in. I catch a wonderful 3 of clubs on 4th and take the betting lead. They both call. I continue leading on 5th with 77c-6c-3c-2 and I’m perplexed when the player going high check-raises without any obvious improvement. He has two hearts and two big cards showing and I could easily be freerolling him at this point. Again, I think this might be a spot to 3-bet, but I just call and the hitchhiker stays in. I catch the 8 of clubs on 6th and it’s checked to me again, I have a bad made low, a pair, and a four flush and both opponents caught bricks, so I bet and they both call. I pair my 8 on 7th and decide to check and hope I have some of this hand. The third player checks back and I wind up losing to a rivered flush (this player checked dark on 7th) and a rivered 7 low and get scooped.

100/200 level, I call with 52-8 vs a 6 up, a jack up 3-bets, a king calls, and it’s four of us to 4th street. I check-call on 4th and 5th with 52-83A (two fours are now dead) and on 6th I make open aces. There are still four of us in the pot and I’m not convinced I have the best hand in either direction, so I check. The two players going high check and the player going low bets and now I see an opportunity: I raise and both high hands fold. The low board calls me and I make aces up on 7th. This is probably a mandatory bet but I assume my opponent has a better low and I feel pretty stupid when he checks behind and I scoop everything, but I am definitely pleased with the overall result.

First break: 8700

Notable Hands Levels 4-6

300/600, I’m involved in a 3-way pot on 7th street and I’m facing a bet holding A7-357K-Q. My opponent’s board is xx-525J-x and the player behind me doesn’t look like he has much. I thought the player betting 7th was going low and it doesn’t make a ton of sense for him to bet a high hand, unless he started with AA-5 or Ax-5 and rivered aces up. I have a 5 and an ace in my hand, so I’m blocking his best high holdings and decide my pair could be good here. I call, the other player folds and not only is a pair of 7s good, but he has no low and I scoop it all.

400/800, I defend the bring in with 9s5s-3s in a 3-way pot. My board runs out 9s5s-3s58s6s-K and I take the betting lead on 5th, 6th, and 7th. Both players call on 7th and I find another improbable scoop (no lows) with my flush.

400/800, I scoop with 72-6A3A-J and find myself peaking at 19.5K.

Second break: 15,275

Notable Hands Levels 7-9

I dwindle down to 7700 after a number of good starting hands turn into trash by 5th street while my opponents catch improvers.

1000/1500, I bring in with 26-2 and defend vs a jack up. My board runs out 26-24TQ while he keeps the pressure on. He has a 2 and ten on his board now. I’m down to 3900 and if I call and brick I’ll be down to 2400 and if I improve and call twice and lose, I’ll be down to 900. With two of my outs on his board I decide to fold.

1000/1500, I start with A2-5 and there’s a complete in front of me. I 3-bet and eventually get all in for 3500. My board runs out A2-5KQ6… and my opponent has two pair and a 7 low at showdown and my only outs for survival are 3s, 4s, and 7s for half. I catch a 9 and the first leg of my LAPC ends 0-3.

With my earliest bust out of the series and plans to play a long session anyways, I was happy to put my name up for some $20/$40 LHE and eventually found myself in the worst game ever. We were playing 7-handed and something like 40-50% of hands were being chopped. I started raising about 60% of hands and refused to chop when we got down to six-handed and I could feel that basically the whole table hated me. I don’t know what they were there for but they sure didn’t want to play poker. In fact, when we dropped to five players they didn’t even let the dealer deal the cards – they just quit playing.

I could feel they were all gunning for me and I kept that in mind when this hand came up: under the gun limps, another limp, and I complete with 98o. Four of us see the QJT flop and it checks around. I don’t mind trapping in really small pots so I think checking here is whatever. If it checks around and an ace or king rolls off, oh well. I’ll just check-fold. It does check around and the ten pairs on the turn. I still feel like my hand is the nuts and I again elect to check because I think someone usually stabs in spots like this. I’m not really worried about being beat because it’s hard to imagine any hand I’m losing to now checking the flop. The big blind bets, UTG calls, and I check-raise. The big blind calls but now the UTG player 3-bets. Folding may seem ridiculous here but I can’t stress enough how little these guys wanted to play the game. I didn’t think he was spazzing out here and the way he 3-bet I could practically hear him cackling with glee that his trap worked out so well. I folded and the big blind called down and lost to UTG’s QQ and then looked at me like it was my fault he paid off four big bets.

I was so displeased with this game that I was considering playing $40/$80 for the first time. There was a seat open and Barry Greenstein was in the game. I’ve played with Barry before but not in a cash game and I thought that could be kind of cool. I also thought it curious that this former high stakes superstar was not only playing $40/$80, but doing so with two $60/$120 games going – and he wasn’t on the list. I didn’t really know what to make of that.

I was also checking out Poker Atlas and that’s when I saw that The Bicycle Casino had $20/$40 LHE running on their live stream show Live At The Bike and there was no list. Well, that made my decision easy. I called and put my name up and I could feel the jitters of excitement and nerves as I was driving over there. I have a little stage fright anxiety and I was debating if I even wanted to tell anybody I was going to be on the show. However, after being in the spotlight at two WSOP final tables, this is a fear that I simply just have to get over. I know I play LHE at a very high level and as long as I played my standard game I would be fine. Plus it would be fun to watch it later and see what everyone had and read all the shit all the viewers were talking in the chat.

Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. Apparently the list on Poker Atlas is not the actual list. That list is on a piece of paper in the LatB room. I was 6th up and the program was only running two more hours. I wasn’t getting in.

Still, I was blown away by The Bike. The property was beautiful, clean and spacious. The game selection was good and the $20/$40 LHE games I played in were substantially better than the one I left at Commerce. Plus, the staff was super friendly and accommodating. The poker room promotions host asked for my info and said he would give me a heads up next time Live At The Bike had a LHE show and told me to contact him if I ever wanted a deal on a hotel room and even said he would hook me up during The Bike’s upcoming WSOP circuit series in March if I came down to play. I don’t know if he will follow through on any of those promises but it sure sounded good. Also, I had the best steak I’ve ever had in a poker room. It was all enough to make me reconsider Commerce as my preferred place to play poker in L.A.

I played until 4:45 AM, setting myself up to sleep in and play Thursday night until my flight at 8 AM Friday. I didn’t write any notes for the session but it went pretty well. I had QQ vs Q8 on Q833T and then QJ vs AA on QJ834 – against the same player, and that was enough for her to say negative things about me the rest of the night. I also had the AJ on T83QK in a 3-bet kill pot. Unfortunately, my last few hours I went very card dead playing 6-handed and lost most of the pots I did contest and a potentially great session ended up merely decent at +$600.

I’ve been writing this post Thursday afternoon and I’m going to hang out for a few more hours before I head back to The Bike. I’ll probably play there until 5 AM and move to Hollywood Park Casino until I have to drop my car off at 6:30 AM and catch my flight.

Thursday Night

I ended up watching Call Me By Your Name (review soon) with my cousin before heading back to The Bike where I hopped in a $20/$40 game at 10:15 PM.

There were two games with one open seat when I got there and by 3:15 AM I was one of the last two players left. I didn’t ever have any real momentum in this session and one of the last hands I played 3-handed I opened button with AQ and both blinds called. The big blind check-raised me on 442ss and I three bet and barreled the 5 turn. He donked the river when it came a 3 and this player was such a nit I knew I was chopping, at best. He had A6 and that hand was pretty much the difference between winning and losing. I finished -$284.

That didn’t quite get me to 5 AM like I was hoping so I ate breakfast and headed to Hollywood Park Casino near the airport.

I sat down in a $3/$5 no limit game and bought in for the $300 maximum. I made the game 6-handed and saw that everyone was limping in. I was in a good spot to destroy.

My biggest pot I opened to $15 with TT, the cutoff called, and the button raised to $50, the small blind called, and it was back on me. I think we were like $350 effective at this point and this was already the second time the button had 3-bet me. The first time he ended up showing AK. I didn’t really want to flip for 70 bigs, so I called and so did the other player. The flop was Q99 with two hearts (I had none). It checks around. The turn is Jh and it checks to the button. He bets $80 and I’m the only caller. The river is the 4h and I bluff for $140 and get a pretty quick fold.

Lots of table talk about that one – without my involvement – about what I had and finally the button just asked me if I had the ace of hearts and I said “yup.”

Some of these guys were buying in short or limp-calling their stacks to ashes, so I found myself playing some pretty straight forward all in pre spots and I won AJ over TT and 88 over A3.

There was a hand where someone opened $15 and I called K9cc and it went 5-ways. The flop was JJ3 with two clubs and one of the blinds jammed $88. It was a bit more than pot-sized and probably a fold, but I wanted to gamble and I ended up making a pair of nines to beat his 88.

I played for 96 minutes and finished +$505.

I am now at the airport gate waiting to board my flight.

Here are my final results:

Tournaments: -$1050 (0-3)

Cash Games: +$1826

Overall: +$776

Not a great outing, but considering I whiffed in tournaments finishing with a profit is a happy result. I have a flight back to L.A. on Tuesday.

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