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Super-Sized Sunday: $30/$60 @ Palace – 2/18/2018 (LIVE BLOG)

February 18, 2018

I went to the UW-Colorado game with Radio Mike last night and it was over early enough that playing poker seemed like a reasonable idea. We stopped in Palace and there were two full $15/$30 games going. One of them looked really good and one of them looked really bad. By the time I got in the game, around 9 PM, The Leak (aka my wife) had migrated to the good game and I was in the bad one.

Also in the good game was Palace royalty, The Queen, an elderly woman that has been a staple in the Palace $8/$16 game for at least the past decade and possibly the past two decades. She plays hours that make me look lazy. She’s over 80 and logs 200+ hours every month like clockwork. Anyways, before I started working at Palace, I played tough poker against The Queen and while she would get annoyed with me at times, she seemed to respect it because I was a nice guy. But when I started working at Palace, I formed an unspoken agreement with The Queen to never bet each other heads up. I can’t remember the origins of how or why I thought this would be a good idea. It was illogical. I played way too much poker for it to be worthwhile to sacrifice my potential earn on the table (and the integrity of the game) for whatever I would be making from her in tips off the table. But it was just one of those things where it was understood that if you work at Palace, you don’t bet against The Queen when you are heads up. So I spent the year I worked at Palace and the past 16 months avoiding games that The Queen was in. Her presence in my game changed the way I played too much. How much sense does it make to open wide from the cutoff or button if she’s one of the blinds and I frequently find myself heads up with a marginal hand against a player I don’t bet against? Or maybe I just call with a hand that I would always raise with because she’s the player that lead out and I want money to keep going in the pot? It was bad for me and it was bad for poker.

Somehow it managed not to be a big deal. The Queen would always play in the main $8/$16 game and I would always play in the feeder games, so this conflict would rarely come up. For years, the feeder games at Palace have always been significantly better than the main game. It was an arrangement I could live with.

When $15/$30 started getting spread, I thought The Queen would stay at $8/$16, but she seems to be fancying herself a $15/$30 player now and I just refuse to check a hand down with anyone at that limit. So I’m going to pull her aside and tell her our contract has expired… in respectful terms. Hopefully she understands and if not, oh well. But I hadn’t done that before last night, so the good $15/$30 game had a player I don’t bet against and my wife – who I do bet against, but would strongly prefer not to play at the same table as.

Meanwhile, the game I was in was about as bad as I could imagine a game being at Palace. I was looking around the table and I saw one player I would consider someone I’m aiming to play with. Everyone else was either solid or nitty. Sometimes you have to accept the situation and grind it out, but I was sitting there, starting a session at 9 PM, sitting in a crappy game, with no intentions of moving to the good game, and plans to play $30/$60 at 11 AM the next day, and I had to ask myself: what the hell am I doing here?

So I posted in my big blind, defended Q8 against the only loose player at the table and check-called him down on Q4396 and lost to 66, folded for the rest of the orbit, and got the hell out of there.

I’m not sure when the last time $30-$60 went, but it’s been a while. Maybe a month. It’s going to go today though. There are currently 21 names on the list and while half of them could be pretenders or names that have been up there for a month now, I also know about half of them are legit and ready to play today and that means the game is 100% go.

This is a session that could completely turn my year around – or put me right back where I was. Heading into today, I’m solidly green for February now and down about $300 for the year. Time to right this ship. Hopping in the shower and heading to Palace for an 11 AM start.

11:16 AM: Kind of a rough start with The Riddler being expected to count past ten and sell chips to everyone. Amazingly 8 of the 21 names on the list are actually here to start the game and we are in action.

Starting lineup: loose Palace reg, unknown, The Sandman, bad and loose Palace reg, loose-passive Palace reg, The Joker, Dansby Swanson, and myself.

First hand I have AJss on button in a 3-way raised pot. Flop is KsQsTh and Dansby caps with me. Turn 8s and he check-calls down and I start my session off with a nice pot.

We are five hands in now and Sandman has raised or 3-bet pre in four of them.

1:05 PM: Update incoming. Playing stakes this big against some players I don’t have a ton of hours with I think it’s best for me to keep my focus on the game while I’m sitting at the table, so I’ll probably just be posing quick updates on breaks every 90 minutes.

Pretty good start. I was rocking an absurd 14/3 after about 40 hands but I have a more normal 22/10 now. I’ve lost with TT twice but I won a good pot with AA against Sandman.

I also got lucky defending my big with 96ss and getting three bets on flop and three additional big bets from AQ on a Q96T3 run out.

Then I flopped the nut flush draw in a multiway pot and got check-raised by The Joker on the flop before turning the nuts and getting three more big bets from him.

The game is great so far. It’s definitely not tight. Four of my eight opponents currently have VPIPS of 32% or higher.

1:17 PM: Yeah this game is pretty decent. Player open-limps in MP, I limp on button with T7dd, SB calls, BB checks. Flop is JJ3, everyone checks to me and I bet. Only the limper calls. Turn is a 8 or something and he check-tanks, says he has the best hand, and then folds AQcc face up.

Well played, sir.

2:17 PM: Had a gross spot where I’m the PFR with 77 and three people call me on 665cc and then I get check-raised by an unknown on 6653. Can’t really fold 77 there and I wind up paying off his 55.

I open cutoff with K7ss and button 3-bets. We are heads and flop is A43 one spade. I check-raise and he calls. Turn 9s, I bet and he folds. šŸ’ŖšŸ»

I open 98o from cutoff and only SB calls. I bet twice on K93K and get check-raised and decide I’m calling down. River is a King, he bets and shows A3. I folded TT to this player on AAxQ a while ago and I no longer feel that great about it.

I’m currently running at 23/10, which is well below my norm, and I still think I’ve been opening too wide for how loose the game is. For instance, I open 55 and three players call and one reraises and I’m like wtf am I doing? No good ending to that hand.

Im up a few hundred currently.

2:32 PM: Worst player in the game just hit and ran it pretty decently. He is being replaced by one of the best regulars at Palace.

2:52 PM: Another bad player left and is replaced by a good Fortune regular. The quality of this game has gone down tremendously.

Meanwhile, I just ran JT into 97 on T86J8 in a blind vs blind, non-chopping situation. Pretty cool.

3:07 PM: The game is 8-handed now with no list and only a couple of key players holding it together.

I had another stupid blind vs blind hand where I raise 72dd from the small blind, bet J62d flop, double barrel the 9d turn and get raised. We both check ten river and I lose to K9.

Another stupid hand: a weak player limps under the gun, I call T9o from SB, BB checks. Flop A96ss and I check-call a bet from UTG. I think a check-raise is reasonable here, but I have seen this player limp AQ suited already. I decide to call and see what happens. We both check on 3 of spade turn. 7 of spades puts a four flush on board and I bet without looking to see if I have one. He tank-calls and I don’t have a spade. He doesn’t either but his 76cc rivered two pair.

Part of what makes Peter such a great Joker is that he often laughs after beating you in a pot. He just did this to someone else and I told him he needs to work on his “post-win laugh,” which made the table laugh because they thought I was calling him out, but what I was really suggesting is that he needs to crank it up to a true Joker-like maniacal cackle.

Speaking of The Joker, we played an epic hand that I will have to share after the session.

3:41 PM: Dear Poker Gods,

The Human Torch is on the list for $30/$60. Please let him last long enough to sit in this game and, if it’s not too much to ask, can he have at least $1500 to play with?

Thank you. šŸ™šŸ»

3:58 PM: A higher limit player that has been really good action in my experience just sat in the game and potentially made it significantly better.

And The Torch is actually taking a seat. I predict $500 buy in.

4:12 PM: I was wrong – he bought in $530.

4:29 PM: Well I can’t afford to take a break with The Torch in the game, so I’ll try to post some hands while I’m playing.

Here are some key recent pots:

I come back from my last break and post with 92o and it’s raised and called in front of me. There are no two cards I’m folding in position for one more bet so I’m in there too. The three of us see T98dd flop and I overcall. Turn is 6d and they both check to me. I might have the best hand anyway but this is a mandatory bet. The PFR calls me and I’m forced to chop with AQss when the river comes a 7. šŸ¤”

The Torch opens and I 3-bet KJc, he caps. Flop is Q87cc and he checks to me. I bet and he calls. Turn is a 5 and he snap-calls when I bet. River is a 6 and it pains me beyond belief, but I check it back because it’s clear to me he has no intentions of folding whatever it is he has. He wins with AK. I’m 100% convinced he’s calling river so I stand by my check.

5:35 PM: I open QhJc and get four callers. Flop is AhTh3, which seems reasonable to keep lying on, but I get raised and someone else cold-calls. Turn is heart and the cold caller leads out. Other player is all in for $50 on turn. River is a heart and I outdraw the all in’s JJ.

I have a blind vs blind battle with The Joker and with a final board of 84476, I can’t get him to lay down AT, which might sound good for me, but I had ten high.

The Torch is hanging in. After being almost all in on his second hand, he rivered a straight with T6hh drawing dead to a flush and hasn’t looked back. His $530 has turned into over $2k, mostly at the expense of one of the Fortune regs, who can’t help but berate him for his torchy play – and yes, a lot of them have been ugly but it’s not something anyone needs to be talking about at the table.

5:47 PM: Game is 5.5-handed now (one player doesn’t really count and I’m surprised he hasn’t quit yet) and entirely built around The Torch. He’s on a heater and it’s all been disgusting! And none of it at my expense. Beautiful.

Short-handed play means I won’t be updating because I’ll be involved too much.

7:10 PM: Welp. That went as expected. The Torch ran his stack up to $2500+ and cashed out when he fell back to $500ish… and we didn’t play another hand. I did throw my big blind out, as a courtesy, because the dude was still in the building, but Dansby said we might as well just quit now since we know no one is going to keep playing.

Final score: +$735

Some key pots from short-handed play:

In case you don’t know why The Torch is The Torch, let me explain: he opens, I 3-bet KK, he caps it. Flop is KQ3 with two clubs and one spade and (I believe) he check-calls. Turn is the ace of spades and he check-raises me but just calls when I 3-bet. River is 4s and he donks out. Against a reasonable player, I would give serious consideration to just calling here. Against The Torch, I just have to put another raise in. Unfortunately, he immediately 3-bets me and I’m expecting to see a queen high flush here but… it’s A9o.

Another clash with The Torch: he opens button and I defend J8. Flop is AQT, flopping me a double-gutter, which I would maybe bluff with against some players, but not this one. I might end up having to put in 3-bets against a hand as bad as T7. I call and check-call again on 6 turn. River is a king and he bets before I do anything and I get to check-raise without acting first. He snap pays it off with QT.

Ugh. I don’t want to share this hand but I do like to keep it real and, well, I played this one like absolute shit and it cost me the whole pot.I open with KQ and the button 3-bets, and it ends up going 4-ways to Q75. The button bets, The Torch check-raises, and… I call?

I CALL?!?

I don’t know what the hell my thought process was here, but this is a clear 3-bet. But I call (ugh) and so does button. Turn card is… an ace! And fast-forward to showdown where I lose to button’s naked AJ. I mean… what in the hell? That was a $600+ pot I basically gifted to the button.

Now the hand with The Joker from earlier. Sometimes you play like shit and it works out. This is one of those times and while I have my reasons for this line, I think it’s way closer to spew than a stroke of genius.

A player posts in the cutoff, The Joker raises from the lo-jack, cutoff defends and I call with 44 on the button, which is already a subpar line in a questionable spot. One of the blinds defends and the flop is AJ3 with two clubs. The Joker bets, cutoff folds, I raise, he 3-bets, and I cap.

What the hell am I doing here, you ask? Losing my mind probably but wait, hear me out.

Joker is a borderline maniac. He’s opening super wide from the LJ with dead money posted behind him (which is why my hand plays better as a 3-bet), so I’m not entirely convinced he has a big hand here and I know my range looks pretty suspect, which means his 3-bet might be suspect. Additionally, I have seen him make reasonable folds when I take very strong lines.So that’s what’s going on. It sort of makes sense but it’s incredibly ambitious. The turn is the 9c and Joker says “I don’t know what I can beat” and folds after flashing an ace and then begs me to show a bluff. I don’t. But you can read about it now, asshole!

One comment

  1. calls me a maniac, plays 44 like the torch. calls me a friend, calls me an asshole. Are you batman or two-face?



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