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A Reprieve & PLO Pressure (Live Blog)

January 31, 2018

Anyone following my blog knows that my second trip to California for the LAPC did not go well. In fact, it was the worst poker trip I’ve ever had – from a money lost standpoint. Maybe I’ve had worse trips. Back in 2009 – in the middle of a relapse – I basically punted my entire bankroll to Cherish Andrews in a no limit hold’em cash game at the Fall Round Up in Pendleton, Oregon. For some reason, she was incapable of folding top pair against a drunk dude putting max pressure on her. Stubborn! She has gone on to be a known quantity in the poker world – she has over $570K in lifetime scores, including two big WSOP final table cashes ($210k, $142k) – and I went on to call my parents to tell them that I was drinking again, I was officially broke, and I was in another state and needed gas money to get home. That was one of my many rock bottoms, so maybe it was a worse trip, but I did lose less money than I did last week.

When I got home from Los Angeles on Sunday, I was down $4700 for the month, with three days to go and in serious jeopardy of having my worst month ever (last August I lost a little over $4200). As someone that makes their living playing poker and understands the big picture and the various swings that can happen in the short term, I’m not really sweating losing sessions, weeks, or even months. These things happen – it’s part of the gig. But it’s obviously preferential to win, regardless of whatever your arbitrary stopping point is.

When I arrived home Sunday, my wife wanted to go play live poker, so I decided to stay home and check out what Global Poker had going that night for their Grizzly Games series. I played all three pot limit Omaha events scheduled and took 2nd of 174 in the $11 rebuy for +$638.20. Global gives out trophies, hats and shirts to winners of their series events, so I was pretty disappointed to not take it down, especially since I had five times as many chips as anyone else at the final table. But one player knocked the whole final table out and pulled even with me and then basically won every critical pot heads up. Oh well. I was pretty happy to have some tournament success after my terrible week and getting a little less stuck for the month.

The next day I returned to my home court at Palace and booked a decent +$386 win in the $15/$30 game, but the game broke super early (at 3:15 PM) and I had to play $8/$16 the rest of the day. I guess that’s a good thing because now that I was playing in the smallest limit I play regularly, my run good switch was officially activated and I had a very good session, to the tune of +$1339.

I did whiff on all three limit hold’em events in the Grizzly Games on Global Monday night, which was extremely disappointing because I was looking forward to those events so much I had them written down on my personal calendar. I have to say it was pretty difficult to 3-table on an iPad while playing live poker, but I gave it a shot. Unfortunately, the wifi at the casino went down when I was short in one of the tournaments and by the time I got a connection back, I was out! I had to resort to playing on my iPhone 5 using my Verizon connection for my last event and it was pretty brutal. I couldn’t figure out how to size the table properly and I accidentally folded KK preflop in a hand I would have quadrupled on against JJ, KQ, and some other random hand. I picked up KK again a few hands later and ended up busting after losing to a full house on a queen high board against a hand I never even saw because my opponent’s hand was off the screen. So yeah, a pretty shitty experience of something I was really looking forward to. My own fault for trying to multi-table while playing live poker.

Regardless, it was a good Monday and I could actually see potential for a complete redemption. I’m playing some small stakes PLO on Global Poker right now as I get ready for my day, but I am now down about $2300 for the month with one live PLO session at Palace to go. And winning $2300+ in that game is a real possibility. I’ve played 19 sessions of PLO at Palace with an average win of +$592 and two sessions where I have won more than $2300. Pressure’s on!

I’m heading to yoga in a few hours and then I’ll be live blogging my PLO session at 6 PM. Check back then!

6:06 PM: Just got to Palace and this game is struggling to get off the ground. I won about $110 in my online PLO session so my magic number tonight is +$2300.

Anyone that thinks yoga is not much of a workout take this into consideration: I left my house with a blood sugar over 200 and by the time yoga was over, I was below 80 with a down arrow – or on the verge of passing out, even after drinking a full Gatorade. So yeah, pretty intense stuff, especially after taking a couple weeks off.

Starting lineup for PLO: The Riddler, His Royal Airness, Megaton (reconsidering that nickname), Action Bronson (still MIA), and a PLO-only regular. Blackjack is standing on the sideline watching the game and my guess is he’s gonna fire some bullets at it some time tonight.

I’m sitting down with $500 ($1000 max buy) while I see who sits with what and feel the game out. I’ve already picked off a river bluff from His Airness and then called a river check-raise in a stupid spot against the PLO reg.

6:26 PM: I have $1500 in big chips in my pocket but no one sat with more than $500 so they remain there for now.

I just “sucked out” in a decent-sized limp pot from the SB with AJ83dd vs A874 on A93d4dJ.

6:30 PM: The Riddler has felted already and Blackjack sat down just like I thought he would.

6:38 PM: Thanks to the overlay from The Riddler, I have now topped off to nearly $1K to cover the players he donated his stack to.

6:57 PM: The Riddler has felted again and he’s all but defeated. Action Bronson is trying to be encouraging: “If [Megaton] and I can play in this game, you can play in this game too.” I can’t help but chime in: “Yeah man. If [Action Bronson] can hold on to his chips for 20 minutes you should be able to also.”

7:04 PM: The Riddler doubled up and got max action on the river in a spot where he should never be getting called. He is back over $1K.

7:08 PM: It’s so tempting to want to play every hand in this game because half the table has no fold button. It is painful to watch from the sidelines as people pay off massive river bets with hands that are bluff-catchers at best.

7:42 PM: Unfortunate spot: Pot is pretty decent-sized already and I called $50 with QdJdKc3c on KQ9dTd and Blackjack check-raises to $150, which is over half his remaining stack, and His Airness makes it $300. I have top two with an open-ended straight flush draw. My current straight is clearly no good, but I think all my redraws are. I reluctantly call and the river pairs the board… with a ten. Blackjack is all in and His Airness makes a wimpy $50 bet that I just can’t fold to against him… just in case, by some miracle, I am getting half of the side pot. Raising here is a consideration but I’m almost certainly losing the main pot and Hia Airness isn’t exactly a candidate to fold AJ here. I call and they split the pot with AJ. Ugh. Blackjack did have AJ with the nut flush draw so maybe this is closer to a fold than I think.

8:23 PM: Megaton booked a solid win and immediately bounced. As I mentioned earlier I don’t love my name for him and I’m not sure why it took so long for this to click, but he’s the hit and run king… so he will be Hit-Run from now on.

An $8/$16 reg is trying PLO out for the first time. And the poker room manager, aka The Man, is also in the game now, in full suit and tie.

8:57 PM: Clashing with His Royal Airness like I’m aiming to do. I put in $10 from the small blind in a 7-way pot with Kh3hTd3d, which is an absolutely terrible hand. I should be folding here but I’m seeing a flop for some reason. It comes down 642 two hearts and one diamond. Since I have the second nut flush draw and two nut straight blockers I lead out for $40 and only His Airness calls. The turn is Qd and I decide to check-call. I don’t expect to shake him and I have two flush draws and neither of them are to the nuts. I’m going to try and make a hand and go from there. So I call $75 or whatever he bet. River is beautiful: ace of hearts. I have the nuts! His Airness is reckless so I go for a check-raise here. He bets $175 and doesn’t take long to call my max raise to $475 with QJhh.

9:22 PM: I just folded the second nuts in a really weird spot. I’ll come back to that hand later tonight.

9:33 PM: His Airness is felted. Action Bronson cashed out. The $8/$16 player felted a bunch and then won a monster pot when I was gone and now has around $1800 in front of him. I can’t call what his next move will be: booking the win now that he has sugar in a game he’s never played or play out the current adrenaline rush he’s feeling right now.

10:19 PM: I defend a raise with KT88 with spades and the flop is AQ2 with two spades, giving me the nut flush draw and a gut shot. I check-call a 60% pot bet and three of us see the turn. It’s the 5c and the overcaller bombs it for $290. I’m planning to fold if Blackjack folds, but he calls and I now have twelve outs but three of them are dirty (Qs, 5s, Jc), and I think it’s pretty close here. With implied odds, against two players new to PLO, I lean call, but against experienced players I would probably fold here. I call and brick and they both had 43 but one of them rivers a club flush.

11:16 PM: Just punted $400+ with AQ95 spades and diamonds on J86sd4s2 against a player brand new to PLO that probably wouldn’t even consider folding two pair here. Probably should have just saved the $250 on the river bluff though.

11:28 PM: Just 3-bet The Man to $40 with AQQ6 double suited and he immediately makes it $120. I call and the flop is K54 and we both check. Turn pairs the king and we both check again. River is a jack and he bets $100, less than half the pot and I think if he has me beat here, he’s earned a call with this super passive line. I call and he has the hand he repped pre with AAxx.

11:44 PM: A fun $8/$16 player with no PLO experience opens to $15, I call with KK53 one suit, another player calls. Flop is KT4 and it checks to me. I bet $25 and only the fun player calls. Turn pairs the 4, I bet $60 and he check-raises me to $200. Yum yum. I flat because if he is bluffing then I want him to fire the river when he misses or when he gets there and if he’s not bluffing, I’m going to get $600 on the river anyway. If he has 44, bless his soul. River is a blank. He bets $300, I make it $600 and he calls with TT.

He lost another pot after that and left and we are now 5-handed. I’m playing with the PLO reg, The Riddler, The Man, and a fun, new player. The reg is racked up and looks like he’s ready to go, but it’s unlikely this game will break if the fun player wants to play 4-handed. Also, The Riddler still has chips in front of him. He’s no longer losing at the impressive $1500/hour clip he started the session out with, but it’s been a steady $50/hour drip since his double up.

12:03 AM: The Man just filleted the fun player and he left for $8/$16 and the reg said he doesn’t want to play with the remaining three of us. And I made sure he saw that The Riddler still has chips and he still wanted to quit for some reason.

Game over.

Didn’t meet my goal. I’m starting off 2018 with a loss. Final update when I get home.

Thursday, 1:50 P.M.: So I ended up doing something unexpected last night. The PLO game ended around midnight, but I wanted to eat before I left, so I ordered pho and then found myself sitting in a $4/$8 game. I was just going to eat and go home, but the Happy Hour High Hand from 12:00 AM to 2:00 AM was $600 and two black queens and then Captain America, The Riddler, and Blackjack all gravitated to my table and I felt compelled to play a mini-session and found myself leaving a little after 3 AM. I ended up making $51 for my troubles but when I woke up after noon today, I have to wonder what the heck I was thinking.

I finished my PLO session at +$645 which was okay, but far below my goal and thus I have started out 2018 in the red with my first losing January since at least 2010. But a -$1700 tally is far better than the -$4700 I was at a few days ago, so… bright side?

Back to the hand I mentioned earlier but didn’t type out – where I folded a king high flush in a tough spot. Here’s what happened:

Someone opens for $10, there’s a call, another player makes it $35, there’s another call, and I call with KK double suited (I can’t remember my side cards anymore). At least five of us see the flop for $35. The flop is QJx with two clubs and it checks around. The turn is the 8 of clubs, which gives me the third nut flush (T9 of clubs is a straight flush). It checks to His Airness and he makes a rather puny bet of $50. I call next to act. I expect to have His Airness beat and drawing dead most of the time, but raising doesn’t make a ton of sense. I’m willing to take my chances and let some players overcall with worse hands. One player does call and then the preflop 3-bettor – after checking both the flop and the turn – now bombs it for like $300. His Airness quickly folds and action is on me. Calling two max bets (he has at least another $300 behind) with the third nuts in PLO is generally not a good idea, but I’m sitting there asking myself if this guy would really 3-bet preflop and then check the flop in a 5-way pot with a good draw to the nuts and then check it again on the turn after making his hand when no one showed any interest on the previous street. That’s a really hard sell. But then I have to ask myself if this player is capable of bluffing in this spot. Meaning, if he has the naked ace of clubs, is he capable of bombing the pot here knowing how reckless the player that bet the turn is? I don’t think so. His Airness is not folding many flushes here and I think this player has to realize that. I sized him up and he looked uncomfortable. But he looked like he wanted to look that way. I folded and I felt good about it, but I was curious. I decided to ask that player when he was leaving about that hand to see what he would say and he said he had it. I believed his story.

I decided to go to the University of Washington vs Arizona State basketball game tonight and I’m excited but kind of sad about it because Palace has some sick promotions going on the next three days. Starting today at noon, they are giving away $1500 an hour in high hands until midnight (and doing it again Friday and Saturday) and added $10,000 to their highest Royal Flush which was already over $10,000. Not a great day to have other plans, but I will be putting in the marathon sessions on Friday and Saturday!

2 comments

  1. lol this game is so beautiful. How is it possible that I am still stuck in it after 4 sessions? Maybe because I can’t fold the nuts on the flop.


    • Lol. That’s definitely where you went wrong.



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