Archive for April, 2018

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$225 No Limit Hold’em Tournament @ Palace (Live Blog)

April 15, 2018

Cards are in the air! Particulars and live updates coming soon!

10:18 AM: Tournaments like this are few and far between in the Tacoma area.

Everyone starts with 10k in chips and blinds are 25/50, so we all start with 200 big blinds, which is pretty deep and made even deeper with 30 minute levels and decently stair-stepped levels. House added $2500 but they are also keeping $25 out of every buy in.

This should be a much softer field than your average $225 buy in tournament and it wouldn’t surprise me if this was the biggest buy in of the year for a decent amount of these players. I haven’t taken much of a look at the field yet but I would imagine most of the best local players were in Pendleton, Oregon playing their main event this weekend.

My table is 10-handed and I recognize four of my opponents: two small stakes Palace regs, one of my WSOP backers, and one of my former Palace co-workers.

One thing we should all keep an eye on is a rare poker appearance from The Legend. With over $2.2 billion in online cashes, his presence in this field is notable. I have him at about -850 to take first outright.

11:00 AM: First notable hand: player that looks brand new min-raises at 50/100 and I have AK in the big. Raising seems like the obvious play here but I don’t like it. This dude seems wildly unpredictable and playing a huge pot out of position against someone that probably understands very few concepts sounds like a high variance spot. I just call.

Flop is all middle cards, like 975 and we both check. Turn is a blank and I bet 300, which is a value bet. I am 95% sure I have the best hand. He calls. River is 7s and I bet 500, another value bet. He says raise and I announce call as soon as he states an amount (1500). Unfortunately, he also has AK.

11:38 AM: Start hand with 6800 at 150/300 and I open with AJ and the noob is my only caller. Flop JT5; I bet 1000 and he puts me all in. Super turbo snap call. He shows JT and that holds.

Second bullet.

11:46 AM: Second bullet going well. KQ < A7 on 953KA and then J5o big blind < T9 on JT7QT facing a min-bet on every street.

Down to 5800 already.

11:53 AM: Okay, I’m pretty triggered. Down to 4300 now. This is the one pot I’ve won so far: one limper at 25/50, I make it 200 with KK, he calls and then check-folds after the flop. I’ve lost every other hand I’ve played. So I have less than half the starting stack on my second bullet in a field that is as soft as it gets. Pretty huge wasted opportunity if I dust two bullets without ever having more than the starting stack in the easiest tournament I’ll play all year.

11:59AM: Open to 700 under the gun with 99 and a stack of 4300. Kind of a weird spot with no antes. This is a pretty obvious open-jam, but with only 450 in dead money, I think making a standard raise here might be okay. I’m obviously getting it in against a reraise. Button winds up calling me and then I bet 1000 on a flop of Q22 rainbow. I don’t think this is ever a bluff, so even though I was never going to fold this hand, I think getting it in here with a likely two-outer is pretty terrible when I still have about 10 bigs behind.

Edit: I bet 1k on flop and they jammed on me.

That was last round though. I now have 2600 at 200/400 and I’ll be jamming my whole range now.

12:09 PM: And that’s that. Jam KQ under the gun, smaller stack calls with JJ, and the small blind tank-calls with A3 and, of course, I beat the jacks but not the A3 so now I’m walking around the building wondering how I could squander such a ripe opportunity.

I mean… you can’t win them all and cashing tournaments is hard, but goodness, I want a redo!!

12:40 PM: Steam has cooled a little. Currently on the list for 8/16, 15/30, 30/60, and 2/5 no limit. This is the first day Palace is trying to spread a no limit cash game and so far there are three names on the list and one of them is the acting floor. 😂 Not expecting that to happen any time soon.

There are seven names on the list for 15/30 and eight on the list for 30/60, but I think I’m the only one that’s actually here. I doubt that game goes any time soon and probably not at all today.

I guess I’ll post cash game updates and monitor some tourney chip stacks. Both my backers are still in: Chief Wiggum and Gargoyle (?). Aquaman and The Legend are still in. Cobra has chips.

1:03 PM: Scratch that, The Legend is out. I heard he turned the nut flush and got it in vs bottom two and his opponent rivered a full house.

Poker is hard.

Aquaman has around 40k and my other friend, I’m going to call him Kung Fu Panda, has around 30k.

Blackjack still in the field – looks like he had about 15k.

1:31 PM: 8/16 is starting 7-handed and the 15/30 isn’t particularly close. Part-Time and a few semi-regs in the game, plus one Palace floor I’ve only seen play 4/8.

Down to 63 in the tournament. 10 get paid.

2:09 PM: 50ish left in tournament. Some updates:

  • Chief Wiggum 10k
  • Gargoyle 13k
  • John Kim HEAPS
  • Aquaman 50k
  • Black Turtle 11k
  • Blackjack 13k
  • Cobra 30k
  • Kung Fu Panda 13k

Rocksteady has joined the 8/16 game and Part-Time was like “What’s my muthafuckin’ name?!” and played less than two orbits before cashing out.

2:25 PM: Call a raise after multiple limps with 66 and it’s 6-ways to flop and I get it capped on 643 two spade flop 5-ways. Turn is the 7 of spades and I just call a bet and then fold 8 river to a bet and call. They chop it up with A5 and 75.

2:48 PM: 15/30 starting. Finish 8/16 -$17. Stack updates:

  • Aquaman 43k
  • Black Turtle 9k
  • Blackjack 15k
  • Chief Wiggum busted
  • Cobra 41k
  • Gargoyle 32k
  • John Kim 35k

Just walked over to see Kung Fu Panda all in with KK vs AQ pre but ace on flop and he’s busted.

15/30 starting lineup: Chief Wiggum, Rocksteady, Kung Fu Panda, and four regs that are mostly decent.

The Queen takes the last open seat. 🤦🏻‍♂️

3:05 PM: Let’s start this off right! I open QJo, Rocksteady 3-bets from small blind and The Queen calls from the big. Last time I played 15/30 with The Queen she played the tightest I’ve ever seen her play… by far. So she has a big hand. Flop is T96 with two diamonds and they take turns raising while I call. Turn is a king and Rocksteady still leads out and The Queen raises. I call it cold because I don’t bet The Queen heads up and I should make more money by keeping Rocksteady in. Unfortunately, he folds and then the board pairs on the river and I lose to her KK.

Gargoyle just busted which also means that Chief Wiggum is leaving the 15/30 game.

3:20 PM: Another fun hand: open KTdd, The Queen and Kung Fu Panda are the only callers. Flop is AQ6 with two diamonds, I bet and they both call. Turn is a brick and I don’t see any good reason to bet here, so I check, The Queen bets and Kung Fu Panda raises. I can’t fold here, so I call and The Queen reraises and comes out on the nice side of variance again when the river comes safe.

31 left in tournament. Updates:

  • Aquaman 65k
  • John Kim 25k
  • Cobra 35k
  • Blackjack 24k
  • Black Turtle busted
  • Gargoyle busted

Aquaman enjoying his deep run:

3:39 PM: Someone came to play today. By far the most prominent regular without a nickname just 3-bet me in b2b hands and showed some spunk postflop.

First hand I open QJ, call his 3-bet and then check-raise AK4 flop. He calls. I bet 3 turn and he calls again (we are playing 25/50 Overs). Obv giving up now, we both check river and he shows… 55? Huh?

Very next hand I open AT, there’s a call, he reraises and we both call. I whiff flop and check-fold and he barrels turn and other guy folds and he shows T7ss for ten high. Okay.

4:10 PM: Just did a lap around the tournament area and saw Aquaman facing an all in on the river on a board of Q98Jx and he called pretty quickly and the all in shows KT. Aquaman shows his QT and does a quick glance at his stack and sees that he’s covered. Pretty brutal runout considering he started the hand from the big blind in a limped pot. 🤷🏻‍♂️

John Kim just hit the rail also.

That leaves Cobra and Blackjack as the last two players standing that I’m following. There’s also a Palace dealer that I used to work with still in, so I’ll keep an eye on him too. They are down to 23.

This 15 session has had a rough start as I’ve won zero notable pots and am already down $700+.

4:25 PM: Sigh. It’s just one of those days, huh? Open cutoff AK and button 3-bets. I just flat as is my play with 100% of my range when I’m heads up and out of position. Flop AKT, we are in 25/50 Overs; I check-raise and he calls. Turn 9. I bet and he raises. Seems like my hand is pretty strong, but it is actually in pretty bad shape on this bird texture against this line. I just call and check-call river and lose to KK.Just a terrible start in what I would call a below average 15/30 game.

4:39 PM: Down to two tables. Cobra busted. Blackjack and the Palace dealer our last hope! Meanwhile I’m stuck $1k already after punting two bullets, threatening to match my terrible dayon April 1st.

5:14 PM: Just heard the floor say a deal has been proposed in the tournament: 15-way chop and 10% to the dealers. From what I heard, only one person said no. Holy shit. That is an amazing lack of gamble. I’m not rooting against the dealers to do well here but 10% is a lot for a $225 buy in and peer pressuring the tip amount gets a huge thumbs down from me. It’s a good way to make someone look like an asshole when it is really matter of personal preference.

Blackjack just busted in 13th, which leaves the Palace dealer as my only rooting interest remaining. Looks like it’s going to be a boring final table… if there even is one.

5:28 PM: One good hand: hijack opens, I 3-bet A9hh from cut and he calls. Flop is K63 two spades one heart and he check-calls $25. Turn is 5 of hearts and he donks $50. I feel like this is a weak probe with a hand that turned a pair or more outs, like A4ss or A5ss (or maybe I’m just steaming), so I make it $100 and he calls. Fortunately, river is the 3 of hearts and I can bet for value but he folds, confirming my suspicion that he was weak.

6:04 PM: Fun session. Open button with A7 and spray off four bets on AK6ss flop and call down on 8-A runout vs AQss. Just getting smashed today.

The game is not good so I’m actually considering just taking the L and heading home.

6:40 PM: Yup. Calling it a night. Cashing out -$1463 for 15/30, which puts me at a solid -$1920 for the day. I’d have to scroll through my records but I’m pretty sure that’s my second worse day of 2018.

Happy to report they are playing this tournament out. They are down to six players now and the Palace dealer is still in. Take a look at this focus!

Sounds like they are chopping 6-ways and I’m out of here. The super green, brand new player that bluff-raised me with AK earlier is getting most of the money.

God bless America.

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Thursday Poker: $15/$30 LHE @ Palace on 4/12/2018 (LIVE BLOG)

April 12, 2018

Schedule for this week going as planned. I showed up for PLO @ Palace last night and played what was probably my worst poker of the year. I finished -$800, which doesn’t seem too bad, but I played less than four hours and I felt like I gave it away. I got pretty unlucky once when I flopped a set of tens on a dry board vs a set of kings against a relatively short stack, but the rest of my session I lost chips in spots that were entirely unnecessary and I basically punted my last $150 because… I wanted to leave? I had another $1200 in black chips in my pocket, but the game was quite bad – no His Airness, Mister Magoo was unimpressed with the game also and left early, and Hit&Run didn’t show up until I was over it. Plus, I wasn’t playing good, so I made the wise decision to leave, even though I was 3rd (and possibly 1st) up for the $15/$30 game. Eh. Chalk up the loss and come back the next day when I can start fresh and give it my best.

Everything else aside, I was pretty happy to see the $15/$30 game going with a strong list, but I got word that it broke before midnight, which is not great.

I have an hour massage at 1 PM and then I’m heading straight to the casino. There are currently two 8/16 games going with four players waiting for 15/30 and I’m hoping by the time I get there at a little after 2 PM, they will be pretty close to starting 15/30.

Check back here around 2:30 for live updates!

2:22 PM: And we’re off! There are now three 8/16 games going with only five names on the 15/30 list and it’s not a list that looks like it’s going to start anytime soon. It’s still early though!

I’ll be keeping an eye on what’s happening at Fortune, but I probably won’t end up going there. I stopped taking the medication I use for anxiety a week or two ago and I can feel it trying to creep back when I’m driving, particularly when things get congested. I have zero desire to use meds as a crutch for the rest of my life so this is a problem I’m trying to face head on and hope I can just beat it into submission.

Alas, Fortune has two 20/40 going but I probably won’t be driving there by myself today, even if 8/16 ends up being my only option.

2:30 PM: Solid start to my 8/16 session. I pick up AK in the cutoff first hand, raise it up, peel on Q43 rainbow, jack it up on king turn and check back against two opponents on 9 river, that also brings in a backdoor flush… and small blind tables a set of threes.

No blog regulars in my starting lineup. Only one player in the game that I have any significant history with – maybe even three that I have zero hands with.

3:07 PM: Third game broke and I just moved from a bad main game to what seems like a good feeder. Three regulars in this game, none with nicknames though, and still three players I’ve never seen before.

Flopped a set of 5s against an obvious overpair for a big pot and then got two big bet streets of value with 88 (no diamond) on QT3ddd49 against someone that was basically playing his AK face by capping pre and checking every street postflop.

Still only five names on 15/30 list. 😐

Almost missed him… FBI Guy is in my game.

3:47 PM: Every once in a while I go through a little funk where I feel like I’m suffering from what I can only term as “poker depression.” This can obviously happen when you’re getting creamed for an extended period of time, but right now I feel like I’m experiencing it because the games have been kind of blah lately. The 15/30 still isn’t close to starting and I’m sitting in a rather lame 8/16 game. The Queen just sat on my immediate left and I opened with 87hh and she was my only caller and I never bet against her, so I turn an open-ended straight flush draw but she ends up winning showdown with queen high. It’s moments like that where I think: what the fuck am I even doing here? I don’t want to play 8/16 and I definitely don’t want to play in a below average 8/16 game.

This would be a good example of why poker pros advise against other people quitting their jobs to play poker. It it usually more grueling than glamorous. The bonus of doing this for a living is that I don’t have to be here if I don’t want to be, but my volume is already low lately, so… guess I’m gonna grind it out and hope that 15 game gets off the ground at a decent time.

4:03 PM: Complain about the game condition and right on cue: under the gun opens, two call, MP 3-bets, I call 99 from SB and it gets capped five or six ways. Under the gun checks a J76 flop and the preflop 3-bettor bets flop. I’m next to act and I can check-raise the rest of the field out possibly, but I feel I’m against two strong ranges and I’ve seen UTG player check big hands on the flop plenty of times, so I’m going to play my hand like a weak draw for the time being. Everyone calls.

Turn is a three and it checks to MP again and, interestingly, she pauses and hesitates long enough before betting that I think she’s weak here. I call and so does everyone else.

River pairs the three and I check-call after she snap bets river and one other player also calls. She tables 76 for a counterfeit two pair, I table my hand and it’s good.

Kind of weird that I picked up weakness when she was actually strong and kind of hilarious that she fires river against four opponents when her hand crumbles to pieces.

But yeah, when people are 3-betting 76 suited when three people have already voluntarily raised and called, the game might actually be pretty decent.

4:26 PM: I’ve noticed a certain phenomena with a particular player. He plays pretty well overall, but flies completely off the handles in pots against me.

Last time I played 15/30, I sat down and he had five racks and lost almost all of it to me in spots where I was thinking “what are you doing?”

Two examples from today:

We put in four bets on 733hh flop in a 3-way pot, turn 5, I call, river 7, we all check and he has a total airball and I win with A6hh.

Just now, he limps utg, I raise TT, a tighter player 3-bets small blind, and I put the cap on five ways. Flop is 853 and everyone check-calls me. Turn pairs the 3 and my new best friend donks and I raise the rest of the field out. He sort of chuckles and then 3-bets me and I call. River is a blank and we both check. He shows J4hh and there is only one heart on the board.

Huh? I promise we are not brothers and I pray he doesn’t read my blog.

Always amusing when someone is trying to outplay one person when the pot is multiway.

4:48 PM: Taz showing off his spazzy side here. He opens, I 3-bet 88 and he caps with four other players sticking around. Flop is sexy: QJ8ss. He, and some others, check-call when jack pairs on turn and then Taz check-raises 4s river and caps when I 3-bet and I’m a bit perplexed but when he tables 44 it makes some sense I guess?

Is it too late to erase my whining earlier?

5:11 PM: Just finished +$601 in that “bad” 8/16 game and 15/30 is now starting 8-handed.

Starting lineup: random that looks splashy, bad reg I know from Kitsap, another wild player, a nitty reg on my left, Taz, FBI Guy, and the dude that keeps leveling himself against me.

5:29 PM: We’ve seen how my buddy plays his air, let’s take a look at a big hand:

I raise one limper with AQo and this guy 3-bets from big blind and I cap it. Three or four of us to KK8dd flop and they all check to me. I decide to bet with Ad in my hand and two check-call. Turn is a diamond and I check back. River ace of clubs and I call a bet from big blind and he shows KQcc.

Obviously super aware of his image.

6:01 PM: Good read on the guy in s1. He opens from MP and ends up showing me a set of deuces, which is whatever, but just now, one player limps, he raises cutoff, I call KJo (mistake; should 3-bet given read) and check-call him on QQ33 and river is another queen and I wind up chopping with his 72o.

🤤🤤🤤

6:52 PM: Going out of my way to mix it up with s1 by 3-betting the 65dd and wind up riling Taz up instead. He calls it cold from the small blind and I c-bet A74 rainbow flop. They both call and the turn is a jack. This is a clear check. So obviously I bet and get check-raised before rivering the nuts.

There’s an important takeaway here: just because you won a hand doesn’t mean you played it well. Taz is never folding the turn here and I’m never bluffing my way to victory, so my turn bet is just a pure torch. It’s okay to find mistakes in hands you won.

7:17 PM: Second 15/30 game about to start. Maybe it’s the whole people have jobs thing that is going on during the day. 😂

8:04: John Stockton with another big pot assist. I open KJ and he 3-bets button. I call and check-raise KJ3 flop and he 3-bets. I expect to get a check-raise in on turn frequently so I just call. Turn pairs the king, giving me the nuts, and I think this is a card he can actually check back, so I lead and, if he does have a hand like AK, he’s going to raise anyway. That’s what happens and I get 3-bets in again. River is a blank that brings running spades in and he raises me again! I raise and he winds up tabling QTss. I mean, pretty unlucky connection for him, but goodness he just blasts off chips to me. No caution.

8:41 PM: Back-to-back monster pots:

Multiple limpers, there’s a raise, I call 66 on button, Taz 3-bets small blind, and it gets capped six ways. Flop is KT6 with two hearts and it’s capped four ways. Turn is a jack and Taz is still leading. Two calls. I’m getting worried about a set but I still have to raise here. He snap 3-bets, Kitsap player calls, and I’m bowing down into call mode now. River is a Q and it goes bet and raise in front of me and I have a trivial fold. They split. Taz AQhh and Kitsap player AJ.

Next hand Taz is on mega steam and straddles button with all the raises lined up ready to go in. Callers in front of me and how lucky can I be to look down at AA? I raise and I know I’m getting five bets in five ways pre. 🙌🏻

Flop KQT. Hate it. It goes bet and raise in front of me and my hand has been reduced to call down mode already. Turn is uglier: 9. I call and I’m heads up to river which brings in the spade draw and gets me a free showdown vs AJ.

9:03 PM: John Stockton to the rescue! One limp, fold tells behind me, I raise A8ss, and it’s four of us to 864 flop. Stockton leads, I raise, and still four of us to king turn. They all check-call me. River is another 8 and Stockton decides to go for the ole check-raise instead of leading out and allows me to get three bets in again. But wait! This is John Stockton we’re talking about here. Hall of Famer. All-time assist leader! He caps it and rolls over 87 for the L.

9:17 PM: Holy shit I’m running bad with big hands. Just got four bets in pre with TT and run it into KQ on QJTJQ. 🤦🏻‍♂️

9:34 PM: I’m having a decent 15 session but only because John Stockton keeps showing up with the sick alley-oop passes.

Okay, I have now flopped a set with three straight pocket pairs and this time I got the win despite another ugly runout: 76289. Fortunately I got it to heads up after the flop and I’m pretty sure they had a flush draw only.

10:13 PM: Feeder game is off the chains right now, with chips flying into the pot like crazy. Taz just left my game to go there and we picked up a bad reg and…

Snowflake.

As far as I know, Snowflake is the best limit hold’em player that still resides in Washington state. I’ve only played with him a handful of times but I’ve heard he’s a solid winner in limits as high as 100/200 that he plays when he goes to Commerce. The few times I have played with him, I have been impressed. He’s not a tight-solid abc type of player – he’s in there exploiting. Definitely not someone I’m happy to see sit down at my table.

10:53 PM: Joker at my table now. I raise under the gun with AA and he 3-bets and we are heads up so I just call. 30/60 Overs now. I check-raise him on 995 and he calls. Turn is a 4; I bet and he raises. Wonderful. Got him right where I want him. I 3-bet. Then he caps it. Really? If he caps here with KK-TT he’s just an idiot so now I have to think I’m beat and just call down and he shows me the T9cc, a great hand to attack my weak under the gun opening range.

😴😴😴

11:43 PM: Made the mistake of bringing up hip-hop with Snowflake and we haven’t stopped talking rap music for an hour now.

I’m running pretty bad. Lost flush under flush and then this gem.

Cutoff opens, Scrappy Doo raises button and I cap QQ. Flop is QJx and I check-raise Scrappy and they both call. Turn is a 9; I bet, cutoff calls, Scrappy Doo raises, I 3-bet and the cutoff ca- wait… what’s he doing? Capping? This nit is capping it?! Noooo! Scrappy folds and I check-call river and lose to KT.

I’m close to even for this 15/30 game which is bittersweet. I’m losing with some monster hands so I guess I’m somewhat thankful I’m still up?

12:48 AM: Flop a set of 7s against Snowflake and he doesn’t even call me with top pair on the river.

Raise one limper with AK and the small blind donks out on A24 two diamonds and then check-raises me on the turn while doing that thing where he’s showing his neighbor his cards like “can you believe this fucking hand I have?” I suppose that could be my cue to fold, but I have an ace and a king so I call. River king. It would be way too passive to not raise here so I go ahead and do that I’m happy when he just calls and unhappy whenhe tables 53.

1:44 PM: Snowflake and I seem to have a lot in common. Girl next to us is trying to describe some tool to us so we can tell her what it is and we are both like “I dunno,” and Snowflake says “the only things I know about are music, movies, and sports. And poker.”

And I’m like:

Did we just become best friends?

2:11 AM: No, I think not. He opens cut, I 3-bet KK and we get it capped on T65 two clubs and I feel like I should be calling down now because I think my range looks super strong and he should know that. He barrels off on A and T run out and shows me… KQ of clubs, which is a bit surprising.

2:21 AM: Been waiting for this to happen: I missed the action up until showdown, but The Flea is out of position on the river on a king high board and it goes check-check and he turns QQ face up and places a chip on his card to tip the dealer as he pushes his cards forward and… the other player turns over KT.

YES. He’s had that coming for a while.

Well, this session is just never going to get off the ground. I 3-bet QQ and someone caps it. Flop is T85 and I’m the only bettor. The preflop capper calls me down before raising me on a final board of T8566 and I call and lose to TT. I am now stuck about $20 in this 15/30 session and I’m ready to call it a night.

2:50 AM: From The Joker:

😂😂😂😂😂

3:28 AM: Cashed out +$136 for the 15/30 session and finished +$737 for the day. I guess a decent result considering how many monster hands I lost with in the bigger game.

Not really sure what my plan is tomorrow. We are supposed to go out with my wife’s side of the family but she was sick tonight and if she needs to stay home I’m not really sure how that will affect our day. Next for sure blog will be on Sunday for the $225 tournament!

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A Quiet Place (2018)

April 11, 2018


Director: John Krasinski (Brief Interviews with Hideous Men)
Starring: John Krasinksi, Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe

We have a new favorite for best film of 2018 through the first 14 weeks of the year!

I wouldn’t have guessed that Jim from “The Office” would be a good candidate to direct a horror thriller, but much like Jordan Peele and Get Out last year, we have an actor known for comedy directing a horror movie to perfection. Not only does Krasinski craft one of the most tense films I’ve seen in recent memory, but he also gives a solid performance in a lead role that requires very little humor and comes across very heroic.

The premise of A Quiet Place is that the human population of earth has been wiped out by some sort of monster/alien creature that can’t see but hunts by sound only. We are introduced to a family with Krasinski and Emily Blunt as mom and dad, respectively, and their three kids, and follow their story of survival, as they live life within the confines of never being able to make a sound and the film wastes no time in letting the audience know that their lives are genuinely at stake. The opening scene creates an incredibly tense atmosphere that doesn’t let up until the end credits and will keep audiences on their toes for 90 minutes straight.

You have to wonder… at what age does a child fully grasp how vulnerable they really are and what is at stake every waking moment of their lives? And who would bring a newborn into this world? Not just because it seems impossible for a baby to survive in a world where you can’t make a sound, but why would anyone purposely procreate in a world where your lives are at stake every second of every day? I have to admit that I was surprised and perturbed when I saw that Emily Blunt’s character was pregnant, but SPOILER ALERT the scene in which she gives birth is truly incredible. I suppose it’s best not to question the how of her pregnancy, but conceiving in this environment seems like an incredibly risky task! I do think that Krasinksi and his team of writers (and movie mom and dad) handled the complications of having a newborn quite delicately and managed to raise the stakes without raising more questions or getting into unbelievable territory.

I was very impressed with A Quiet Place. It was scary and tense all the way through. The monsters looked amazing! Both Krasinski and Blunt were terrific and the kids also gave strong performances, particularly the daughter. This is probably the most satisfying 2018 film I’ve seen so far this year and I’d consider it a must watch for any fan of the horror or thriller genres, but A Quiet Place is more than a scary movie; it’s also a film about family and survival and forgiveness. Unless you absolutely can’t stand scary movies, I think this is another must see movie for 2018.

Note: First off, anyone that brings a baby to a movie is pretty selfish and kind of an idiot. Find a sitter or stay home. But someone that brings a baby to a movie called A Quiet Place is just a straight up asshole. It’s right in the title and in the trailer that this movie is going to be very quiet and sounds from the audience are going to be very unwanted. I felt guilty eating popcorn! I’m not confrontational at all, but I really had to contain myself from saying something to these morons. Perhaps it’s because the baby wasn’t that bad; for the most part, it was pretty quiet and only had short bouts of crying throughout the film and only one really bad stretch, but it was still very distracting and in a movie that is almost entirely built around suspense and a taut atmosphere, distractions from the audience are unforgivable. What jerks. Thank you, baby, for being mostly tolerable.

Replay Value: This would be fun to watch again.

Sequel Potential: There is definitely potential here, especially since there was zero explanation about the creatures. Where they came from, what they are, etc. On the other hand, this is a movie about the family, not the monsters, so I don’t think it was made with sequels in mind… but that hasn’t stopped Hollywood before.

Oscar Potential: A Quiet Place lacks the social and political commentary that made Get Out an Oscar contender, so I suspect this movie won’t get much attention next awards season, but it’s my top film of the year so far, so maybe? The monsters are definitely worthy of Visual Effects consideration.

Dina Meter: Dina hates scary movies, but sometimes I force her to watch the really good ones and A Quiet Place will be no exception. I suspect she will hate the experience but will appreciate the movie. I’m just going to tell her it stars Jim from “The Office” and looks really funny.

8/10 (Must See)

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This Week’s Poker Schedule (4/9/2018)

April 10, 2018

Going through one of those stretches where lots of random stuff is filling my calendar instead of playing poker. As I noted last week, I spent this weekend attending a celebration of life for my wife’s parents, so I didn’t play at all Saturday or Sunday*. It’s always interesting gaining a new perspective and experiencing something entirely different from the culture I’ve grown up in. Not to mention actually participating in the process and not understanding anything that is being said and worrying that I might disrespect someone unintentionally because I’m uneducated in their customs, or simply because I’m clumsy in executing them. For instance, you’re supposed to crouch down any time you walk past a monk, which I’m sure I didn’t do a number of times. Then I accidentally cut a monk off when we were walking in the same direction and we both insisted that the other go first. So I went first because I didn’t know if it was worse to cut him off or to try and outdo him in a politeness battle. Either way, I’m pretty sure someone in the room saw this infraction and was shaking their head.

Still, it was a great experience and I’m happy to honor my in-laws and I think it’s amazing that they wanted me involved in the ceremony. Not just involved as in I got to sit with everyone, but involved as in I was part of the inner circle of immediate family that participated in spoon-feeding both my wife’s mom and dad while the monks were chanting!

Here are some photos and a video to give an idea of what it looked like:

*though I did manage to watch every pitch of Shohei Ohtani’s ridiculous outing on Sunday. 6+ innings with a perfect game, 12 strikeouts, 1 walk, and 1 hit? On 91 pitches? After hitting .389 with 3 homers for the week? This dude is INSANE! “As advertised” does no justice to what this kid has done so far this season.

Monday night I played in a $5/$10 dealer’s choice house game and it was a lot of fun. I am happy to play at a third of my normal stakes if I’m playing games I don’t normally get to play. They don’t spread any razz, stud, stud 8, 2-7 triple draw, or badugi in any Washington casinos, so this is basically the only way to gain actual playing experience. I had a pretty good night overall, but ended up -$195 because I made the dreaded mix game mistake of playing a really big pot in a big bet game and setting myself up to get freerolled.

We were playing Big O8 and I started with over $400 and made what had to be a terrible call with a double suited hand that had 8432 in it and no ace from the small blind. To be fair, I have done zero studying of this game, so it’s not too surprising that I could make some mistakes, but that’s why I should just fold everything that doesn’t seem like a super obvious play (like suited A23xx hands) instead of setting myself up to get stacked in a game I have basically no experience in. Well, I called a small raise with this super marginal hand and saw the 433 with two diamonds flop. I checked on the flop, the PFR bet $15, the button called and it was back to me. I had no idea what to do. After thinking I should maybe just take a passive line and keep the pot small, I ended up convincing myself that if I potted it now I would probably just take it down and not have to split with a low (as I have basically no low draw), so I made it $76 and only the PFR calls. The turn is the 2 of diamonds. I am now only losing to 44 and A5 of diamonds for high, but my low draw has been reduced to a live 8. I have now successfully set myself up to get freerolled and I decide to try and pot control by checking, but my opponent is not letting that happen and bets $150. I call and I hate it. The river is an ace and he puts me all in and I don’t see how I can fold now after calling turn and leaving myself with less than $200 behind. I pay it off and I’m expecting to chop the vast majority of the time, but he shows A63xx with nut diamonds for a live 6 low (which beats my live 8) and a rivered boat to scoop everything. Absolutely sickening. I feel like I should have folded this hand preflop, but I have no concept of what I should have done after flopping a full house with very little scoop potential and no redraw to speak of. Keep it small and try to get to showdown? Check-call flop and check-fold turn? I honestly don’t know.

But that pot was my whole night. Instead of winning a few hundred dollars because I played well all night long, I lost a few hundred dollars because I played one hand poorly.

Tuesdays are basically always my day off and I spent it watching A Quiet Place, making dinner, and going to the gym with my wife. Now I’m writing this post and playing a couple online tournaments.

Tomorrow I will likely be playing PLO @ Palace but that doesn’t start until 6 PM and who knows how late it will go.

Thursday I’m not sure what I’m going to do. I’ve been occupied lately, but that hasn’t stopped me from checking in on Bravo and the 15/30 LHE game at Palace hasn’t gone three days in a row. Radio Mike going back to his day job and Joker and I being busy outside of poker lately hasn’t helped at all, but I can’t help but feel that interest in the game is somewhat waning. I hope I’m being dramatic, but there’s some things at play here. There have been multiple times where there have been tons of names on the list and the game just doesn’t go and that kind of sends a message to the players that starting the games they want to play in are not a priority. That’s a good way to make players give up on the game or just go elsewhere. Also, there have been some regulars complaining about the lack of action in the 15/30 game and that it’s not a “fun” game and have been boycotting it and encouraging others to play 8/16 and straddle every hand. I don’t really get that concept. You can straddle and gamble at 15/30 also and do what you can do make the game better, so my only real takeaway is these guys want to splash around at a smaller limit and they are trying to get other players to follow suit. Lastly, this Sunday Palace is going to be spreading 2/5 no limit hold’em for the first time. This is obviously not going to help the 15/30 LHE game gain any traction and it very well could kill it altogether. Who knows.

[Edit: I take that back. There’s a chance that it could help. If 15 people come in to play 2/5 NL and there are only 9 seats, that’s six players that could fill a 15/30 seat while they wait. Shrug.]

What I do know is that I’m not about to go back to playing 8/16 every day, so if I have to start travelling to Fortune to play in bigger games again, then that’s what I’m going to have to do. A daily 15/30 in my backyard is a dream, but I’m definitely starting to get concerned about it.

I’m less concerned about the game going on Friday, but my weekend is going to be dominated by family again. My wife has a cousin from San Diego visiting right now and her family wants to take him to The Met in Seattle and I feel like I should go with.

Saturday I have what I hope to be my final meeting with my CPA to complete my taxes. What an ordeal that has been. I won’t get into all the details, but the amount of money I’m supposed to pay the IRS has been very inconsistent and my CPA teased me with a final number that was so amazing I wasn’t surprised to discover a huge oversight when I checked her work and the amount I owed was actually more than five times what she quoted me. Groan. I am confident now that we have sorted out all the details and everything is in order.

After that, we are meeting up with my parents because my aunt and uncle are in town. I guess tentative current plans are to go to Little Creek Casino, but if I play any poker it won’t be a working session, it will be a I-might-have-to-leave-any-minute session which means I won’t be playing anything worthwhile.

Sunday Palace is having a $225 no limit hold’em tournament that starts at 10 AM. I haven’t looked at the structure too much, but I don’t really care. It should be fun! That’s the same day that Palace will be unveiling the 2/5 no limit cash game. If I have to choose between 15/30 and 2/5 I’m definitely playing 15/30, but if my options are 2/5 or 8/16, I might have something to think about, depending on the lineups.

That’s my upcoming week! I will try to blog on Thursday and probably for the Palace tournament on Sunday as well. You may have noticed that I got my own domain: http://www.batcavepoker.com and I also have access to new features for my blog so I will be working on giving the blog a sleek, new look, but when I will actually have time to do any of that is TBD. I’m also putting the final touches on my WSOP schedule so I’ll be posting that in the next week or so.

Stay tuned!

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PLO Live Blog (4/6/18)

April 6, 2018

Going to attempt a PLO live blog. Opener coming soon.

6:10 PM: Things are getting off to a slow start here. When I put my name up hours ago, I was 9th on the list, but there are currently only seven players starting the game.

Current lineup: two players I don’t know, an Invisible Man level nit, Mister Magoo, His Airness (super maniac) and a strong higher stakes reg from Muckleshoot. Two spots in the game. I’m not going to grind it out if they leave. $15/$30 game looks pretty attractive if this game fizzles out.

I told myself I was going to play tighter than normal and I already unnecessarily torched chips in a pot. On the other hand, I opened JJ55 with diamonds and put zero bets in on flop and turn on a board of 765d8d8 in a multiway pot before calling Mister Magoo’s $45 river lead and losing to 77. Not a good end result but feels like I lost the minimum.

6:23 PM: Pretty good last couple of days, despite some rather unfortunate circumstances.

Wednesday I won $1706 in five hours of $15/$30, which is nice, but I only played five hours because the game broke at 11:30 PM. I prefer to play 8+ hours and generally want to stay until 2 AM. Games breaking early are what my nightmares are made of.

More good and bad news yesterday. The good news is I booked another $915 win but the game was absolutely terrible and, even though I was planning to play a shorter session, it broke before I was going to leave… at 7:15 PM.

Gulp. The results are obviously good, but the $15/$30 game being weak and dying early? Not so much. Missing Radio Mike already!

6:41 PM: Felted $500. Magoo and Airness limp and I limp along with A9cc77, SB makes it $15 and at least four of us see 984hh flop. Turn is Ad and SB leads $65; Magoo and Airness call and I pot it for ~$275, which is basically all in for me. I already know small blind is raising too many hands pre and the other two yahoos could have anything. Small blind calls and so does Magoo. Okay, no heart please. River offsuit 4. We all check. Magoo tables KQT all hearts… with a 4 dangler. Because that’s what Mister Magoo does – puts his chips in terribad and then stacks the pot in front of him.

7:11 PM: Magoo and His Airness have around $1k each now, so I reloaded for that much.

Players in this game complaining about how bad the $20/$40 LHE game is at Fortune – and that everybody knows everybody there. Whatever that means. What poker room doesn’t have regulars that know the other regulars? I’ve played enough at Fortune to know that the game can be pretty lame at times, but it’s not that bad. Certainly beatable. Then again, I guess I could see how “fun” players would be turned off. But what do you expect? The higher the stakes get, the more serious everyone is. Still, Fortune has plenty of “fun” players and the games can get really good there.

7:54 PM: First, a poker hand: someone opens and there are two callers, I call with Q765 double suited, a hand I should probably be folding. Flop is 664cc and His Airness leads out $70 and I’m the only caller. We are both over $1k deep at this point and he’s super bluffy so I don’t love raising here. Turn is 9c and he checks it over to me. I bet $130 and he snap calls. River is a queen, which basically gives me the nuts. I bet $200 and he snaps again and I have to wonder if I should have sized up.

Second, a baseball story: Radio Mike checks in from Cheney Stadium and asks if I can check the radio broadcast and make sure it’s playing online. I agree, as long as he works a “Dark Knight” into his play-by-play in the next inning.

They come back from commercial and he opens with a reference to last night’s massive rain delay: “A lot can change in one day: yesterday, lots of rain, dark night…” Gotta love it.

Also, he just mentioned that Shohei Ohtani hit his third homerun of the season tonight and said that Ohtani was “sandbagging” everyone in spring training. Spoken like a true poker player!

8:15 PM: Big connection alert!

There’s a raise to $20 and all the important people are in. I call with A4hh55. Flop is a beautiful Q63hh, giving us the nut flush draw and an open-ender. Everyone checks to me and I bet $80 into $120 and I’m quite surprised to get three callers. No worries: 8 of hearts on the turn and His Airness leads right out for $200. God bless him. Player in between folds and he only has $400 behind, so I make it $500, he calls and then check-calls the rest when the board pairs on the river and I’m still good.

Just like that, my -$500 start is now $1000 sugar and the right people are still in the game with decent stacks.

Forgot to mention that His Airness snap-reloaded for $1k.

9:28 PM: Nothing notable to report, other than His Airness busted and left. He is replaced by Hit&Run, whom has already felted his initial buy in, which means we are in no danger of him booking a quick win at the moment. I don’t think I’ve seen the turn since my last update.

10:38 PM: Discontinuing the blog for the night. I’ll post a wrap up on this one when I’m done but I just don’t think PLO cash makes for a very good live blog. It’s been almost 2.5 hours since my last notable hand. I doubt I’m playing super late, but there are still three names on the list for this game.

11:15 PM: A new hand!

Here’s a hand that illustrates how clueless I am when it comes to proper preflop play a) when the stacks are deep, b) a good player is in, and c) my hand will be face up, d) max bet/raise is $300 each time.

The good Muck reg opens under the gun and I’m next to act with AA72 double suited. Here’s how many times I’ve 3-bet today: 0. So I think flatting is my best play. This is a pretty good AA hand, but not super premium. I can make two nut flushes, but my cards are otherwise unconnected. I might as well just call, disguise my hand, and let the yahoos in behind me and spring to life when I flop well.

I flat. Next player makes it $50 and folds back to UTG and he makes it $165. At this point it’s worth noting that the preflop betting is capped – I cannot raise. I call the $165 and so does the other player. There is now $500 in the pot and max bet size is $300.

766 rainbow

The good Muck player leads $300 and we are still like $2k deep and there’s a player to act behind me, so I call. The other guy folds. This is a pretty good spot. His hand looks like a big pair, with good connectors – maybe even AA – and my range looks much larger and can have middle rundowns like 8765 double suited. I am not too worried about being beat here and I expect him to check-fold turn a lot and that’s exactly what happens.

Solid result but I can hardly say if I played it good or not.

Wrap Up:

Forgot to post this when I finished. I basically only played one more interesting pot the rest of the night and, much like every other big pot I played, it is questionable whether or not I should even be in the hand.

I limp in with KQJT all clubs. I think if this hand was a badugi, I would still play it, so the fact that it’s all one suit is pretty much the same thing, but slightly better because even though I have four clubs there is still some flush potential. But should I call a $35 raise in a 7-way pot with it? I’m less convinced that’s a good idea, but it does seem like it will be relatively easy to play after the flop. So with $245 in the pot we see a flop of K96 with two clubs. Well, I don’t see a way out of this one. The question is, how fast should I be playing this hand? Well, I have top pair, a gut shot wrap, and the second nut flush draw. One of the bright sides about having four clubs is that if someone does have the nut flush draw and decides to gamble, I’m blocking it pretty hard and I’m in great shape against someone that wants to do something stupid with two pair and I suspect I’m in okay shape against a set. I’ll check some of these matchups out in a bit. Anyways, it checks to me and I decide that playing my hand like it’s the best is the my optimal line and lead out for $200. The preflop raiser calls and a splashy, fun player makes it $500 to go with a little over $200 behind. Mister Magoo goes deep into the tank and I’m quite deep with him and he runs so pure I’m not sure I want him to get in there. He reluctantly folds and it folds back to me. I don’t necessarily want the PFR to hang around and I’m obviously willing to play for the splashy player’s stack, so I reraise to $800, the PFR folds and we decide to run it one time.
Turn card is a jack, giving me the nut straight, and the river is a ten, which drastically reduces my hand strength (any Qx hand ties me and AQ beats me now). Fortunately, I am up against a naked set of sixes and scoop this monster pot.

Just ran some simulations on this spot and it’s quite interesting. I can’t really imagine any way I can ever fold this after the flop, but heads up against the set, assuming he has no clubs in his hand, I’m the slightest of favorites. In fact, it’s so slight, it’s basically just a coin flip. Mister Magoo claimed to have the nut flush draw and if he had decided to tag along (which is typical of him – even facing $500 cold) then my winning chances drop all the way down to 26% (though still better than Magoo’s chances). Getting it in heads up here is clearly profitable, so I’m okay with my line, but it’s definitely nice to be on the right side of the end result.

All in all, I didn’t think I played amazing and most of the big pots I won were with hands I think I could have justified folding preflop. This session was a good example of why I drastically prefer limit hold’em to big bet games. In general, poker can be a boring game, with a slow pace, and playing solid winning poker requires that you fold tons and tons of hands and spend most of your time sitting out while everyone else gambles. In the big bet games – especially PLO – this is even more amplified. I go through some dry spells in LHE, for sure, but it seemed like I went two hours between every interesting hand I played last night and I think I even played looser than is recommended for my current talent level. I did watch the good player from Muckleshoot play a lot of hands. No one would dare classify me as a tight player (if they actually pay attention) in limit hold’em games and almost all the extra hands I play are entirely to exploit situations and increase my profits. I’m sure this is what the Muck player is doing in PLO, but I don’t think I’m good enough to play loose against multiple opponents with super wide ranges, especially since almost every pot is raised before the flop. But he seems to do it quite well and frequently ends up with some huge results. One day!

Final Result: +$2270

Pretty amazing result considering how card dead I felt. Wouldn’t have guess I’d end the first week of April up $5k after punting $1600 on the 1st, but that’s why you don’t sweat the bad days! It’s just one day.

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Ready Player One (2018)

April 3, 2018

Directed by: Steven Spielberg (E.T., Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, Jaws)
Starring: Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Mark Rylance, Lena Waithe, T.J. Miller, Simon Pegg

This movie was a lot of fun.

It takes place in the year 2045, when most of the world spends their free time in a virtual reality world called OASIS, where players can go anywhere they want and do anything they want (i.e. climb Mount Everest with Batman!). Because of the limitless possibilities, filmgoers will be in for loads of nostalgia as popular 80s and 90s pop culture icons are common choices for the gamers’ avatars. In the first 10 minutes or so, I saw Freddy Krueger, Batman, and Jason Vorhees – and the references never stop. This movie is littered with them and there’s no way you’ll be able catch them all on your first viewing. Plus, there’s a sequence in the movie that pays homage to Stanley Kubrick that is utterly fantastic.

The gist of the plot revolves around the creator of OASIS passing away and leaving behind a number of Easter eggs and keys for players to search for with the final prize being complete control of OASIS. There’s definitely a bit of a Willy Wonka thing going on here. We are introduced to a group of ragtag gamers that quickly become the favorites in the contest and they are in a race against the big bad corporation IOI to the finish line for control of OASIS.

Most of Steven Spielberg’s action-adventure film takes place in OASIS and is computer animated and we see the film’s heroes as their avatars much more frequently than we see the human actors. This is probably a good thing. Tye Sheridan plays Wade/Parzival, the film’s main hero, and his time spent as Parzival (his avatar) was much more interesting than when the film focused on his human life. Sheridan doesn’t do a bad job here, but his performance is missing something that I’m having a hard time putting a finger on. Wonder? Life? I dunno, I just thought he was a little on the dull side and kept thinking they should have found someone better. The supporting cast is much better. Olivia Cooke is fun and sexy as both Art3mis and Samantha. T.J. Miller does some funny voicework playing a scary and formidable-looking avatar but giving the character a self-conscious and silly tone. Ben Mendelsohn checks in with his standard slimy bad guy role as the head of IOI and does some of his best work to date.

The animation in this movie is spectacular and I imagine that Spielberg’s crew is in line for some Oscar attention. Ready Player One certainly works best when we are in OASIS and taking in the action from that point of view, which is kind of ironic because there’s definitely a message in this film that we need to be less “plugged in” and more in tune to the real world.

One thing about Ready Player One that I either missed or didn’t fully grasp was the role of IOI. I know the corporation is technically the bad guy, but I didn’t understand what the real world consequences were if they won the contest or how they became a known evil empire that is somehow allowed to operate unchecked by any sort of political authority or law enforcement. I remember there was a scene where actual police officers show up in the real world and I was like “wait… what?” And what exactly does the company do? Help women get pregnant? Maybe a second viewing answers these questions for me, but a movie can’t be truly great if you finish it and you’re not sure why the bad guy was the bad guy.

Still, Steven Spielberg can tally up another successful adventure film full of spectacle. The director has a long history of making these types of films and leaving us with an all-time classic. Ready Player One doesn’t reach those heights, mainly because of an average lead actor and unclear consequences, but it was still very enjoyable – especially considering it clocks in at almost 2.5 hours – and the film is visually great and the nostalgia factor enhances the fun. Hard to imagine anyone being too disappointed with this movie – it checks most of the boxes – and it gets a solid recommendation from me.

Replay Value: I did not watch this in 3D and I wonder if that was a mistake. It seems like the kind of movie you would definitely want to see in 3D. That might make it worth seeing again in theaters. I would watch it again regardless though.

Sequel Potential: This was based on a book and I’m not sure if there are more novels in the same world, but it’s easy to imagine how they could continue this story.

Oscar Potential: Seems like a cinch for a Visual Effects nomination and could get some editing and sound love. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it up for Best Score. I wonder if it will qualify for Best Animated Feature. If so, that could be a nomination, but it wasn’t strong enough to get Best Pic or Best Director nods.

Dina Meter: I think Dina would like the spirit of this movie, but because of the animation and the fast and furious action, she might not be able to handle it. She doesn’t do rollercoasters, 4D rides, or watch movies in 3D because she gets motion sickness, so Ready Player One might be too much for her – even without the 3D.

7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

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Minithon Monday: $15/$30 @ Palace 4/2/2018 (Live Blog)

April 2, 2018

As I figured it was a late start today. We didn’t get back from Bellevue until after noon and I took a nap until about 2:30 PM.

I was thinking of not blogging today, mostly because a friend from Kitsap (The Atom) is coming to play and is liable to talk my ear off and make this a difficult task, but the lineup and list have made me feel like I should be blogging.

Starting lineup: The Tick (he’s back!), FBI Guy, Taz, The River Man, couple loose players, and a Palace reg I’ve never seen play this big.

4:28 PM: Solid start. I raise a bunch of limps with AQo on the button and Taz donks from UTG on A83cc which usually means a strong hand but doesn’t always mean I’m beat. We end up putting in three bets on the flop three ways and I call down on A83x8 runout and outdraw his A3.

Two limps, I raise KJo on button. Flop is AQ9 and only the dude playing up for the first time calls me. He reluctantly check-calls 8 turn and he’s not being deceptive so I fire the third barrel when I miss everything on the river and he folds JJ face up.

5:13 PM: Light bulb moment! 💡A rather new reg that started coming in for PLO and now plays 15/30 regularly finally has a name. I was looking for someone that constantly wanders into danger and always escapes unscathed. This player is always getting in terrible spots in PLO and plays way too many hands at LHE but his results have been quite good even though he doesn’t play well after the flop either. It has been an extended run of good fortune that kind of boggles my mind. He is Mister Magoo (thanks Bad Boy!).

5:30 PM: Here’s a river spot I’m unsure of. I have bet flop and turn with TT on a board of Q98ccs6sQs and I still have four opponents on the river. The repeat queen is obviously nice and the backdoor flush can be made with a pair of mines on the flop. Two players have checked to me and two players are yet to act. I think it’s close and probably closer to a bet, but I check and win the pot.

5:36 PM: I just raised five hands in a row (AQ, AJdd, AJss, KQss, JTo), c-bet all of them, triple barrel bluffed one of them, and lost every single pot. So my image just got a nice boost that could be aided if I can actually make a damn pair at some point in time.

6:22 PM: Well, we started with a pair, but my 88 is < Magoo’s QQ and fortunately the damage is limited as he flats pre, flats jack high flop, bets turn and checks back king river.

Coolered by The Tick: get a free play with QTo and the QQJ flop vs his QJ and more minimal damage as he waits til river to raise me.

Down about $350 so far.

6:41 PM: Weak-tight predictable player limps cut, I raise 95hh on button, both blinds call. Flop 973 rainbow, Sb donks, I raise and we are heads up. Turn ace and I’m bet-folding here but he just calls. River blank and pretty obv check back spot here and he shows A6 of clubs (with no club on flop). 🤦🏻‍♂️

7:05 PM: FBI Guy hit and ran the hell out of this game, winning about $2000 in less than three hours and wasting no time taking it out the door. He is replaced by The Atom, which is a definite downgrade.

7:34 PM: Had to scroll back to see when the last time I won a pot was. Time stamp at 5:30, two hours ago. Solid. Full disclosure: I 3-bet a button straddle and double barreled AQ high and got a fold, but does that really count?

Just double barreled A2dd on J774 and got folds again. I suppose the dry spell is over, but those are hardly pots.

8:11 PM: Magoo opens cutoff, I 3-bet KdQh from small blind, and he caps. We are heads up in 30/60 Overs now. Flop Q66 two diamonds and I debate check-raising but then I remember his soft ass line with QQ earlier and I decide to check-call down. I check-call Jd turn, and check-call king river and end up chopping with his very own KQo.

And then I tipped a dealer I don’t even know personally a $1 for this pot I just won $5 in. In retrospect, that seems a bit unnecessary.

8:35 PM: Geez. Open the AcKh and spike a perfect Ah on the turn after c-betting Q42hh, but I get check-raised by a passive player and wind up paying off unimproved on the river and losing to her flush.

8:48 PM: There’s a raise and a call in front of me and I call 55 on the button. 5-way action to 652 flop and all the bets go in 3-ways. I was really hoping to get heads up with Magoo to activate 30/60 Overs, but Bingo Man is going nowhere. Turn pairs the 6 and Magoo bets, I raise, and now Bingo Man cold threes from the big blind position. Gulp. Magoo calls and I cap, although I’m a bit unsure at this point. Anything less than sixes full feels like an overplay at this point. Maybe deuces full? A naked 6? They both call my cap. I’m unsure what I’m going to do if Bingo Man leads river, but they both check and call and I win a monster. Magoo had AA and couldn’t find his way out of this one – no matter how many times he was told he was crushed.

Tormund Giantsbane (“Game of Thrones” reference) in the game now. He’s a prominent player from the Shelton area that would have beat me in the Muckleshoot Player of the Series if he played at least four events. He also plays in the big mix game at Muck occasionally. He has been showing up more and more at Palace lately for PLO and 15/30.

9:23 PM: Today is blog LEGEND Radio Mike’s last session of the offseason. Offseason, you say? Yes. Starting this week, Mike will go back to his day job as the radio broadcaster for the Tacoma Rainiers, the AAA affiliate of the Seattle Mariners.

I have to say, I have really enjoyed playing with him these past several months. He’s become one of my best friends in poker. He can talk shit with the best of them and makes me laugh all the time. Plus, anyone that can keep up with me talking baseball is a huge rarity and a GIANT plus. He prefers to keep his day job private, but he has learned that you can’t play poker with me and not talk baseball and, deep down, I think he appreciates having someone around that’s on his level as far as our favorite sport goes.

Mike is a way above average player in these games, so his absence isn’t going to hurt the games any, but it’s going to suck not having him around the next six months – even if it does signal the return of the best game in the world.

It’s been a pleasure, sir! Go Mariners!

10:58 PM: As expected, Atom has been talking to me a lot making it hard to update and now Tormund is chiming in too with a lot conversation. He’s also struggling to get on my blog on his phone right now, so when you read this later just understand that the first rule of Fight Club is we don’t talk about Fight Club. I’m not always kind about opponent play and I’d prefer these people don’t know I’m writing about them. And yes, I know I’m sort of the one that brought it up!

I’ve made a bit of a comeback but I’ve had some brutal run ins with The River Man in big pots. He’s been all in against me four times and has felted zero times. One time was a big multiway pot where it was capped pre abs obvious post that I had the best hand with 99 on J8462 but he was all in for $20 on the river, I made it $50 after someone else called and got an extra $30 from that player but The River Man produced 75 for a straight. A while later I get a free play with K9 and we get his stack in on A99 and he has…A9.

11:32 PM: A couple of weird spots with KK. First hand I 3-bet button and Tick caps out of position. Flop QJ4. We are now losing to AA, QQ, and JJ. He bets and I raise it anyway. Turn is 8c and he donks. I honestly don’t know what to make of this but it will make sense soon enough. I call and call again on blank river and he shows ATcc. So he turned a double gutter and a flush draw and bet out.

Same orbit, I’m in the big blind with KK again and Bingo Man has opened cutoff and Tick cold-called button. I 3-bet and Bingo caps. I cap with Bingo on Q42ss flop and decide to go into call down mode. I check-call 4 turn and 7s river and I’m kind of surprised to see him turn over AKss for a rivered flush.

I somewhat reluctantly agreed to chop jackpots with The Atom earlier and he just turned over quad threes for $400 and shipped $175 of it my way. Chopping jackpots is just something that’s not really on my radar and I play with people I’m friends with all the time and we never do that, so just kind of caught me off guard, but hey, he helped me inch a little close to even!

Down about $500.

12:58 AM: I have to admit to some punting. First I defend the A6o from a cutoff open from Bingo Man and decide to make a loose peel on 973. The turn is a 5 and I think this is a good card to check-raise against what should be a pretty wide range. He thinks long enough that I think I have some fold potential on river if I brick out, which I do. I fire and he calls begrudgingly with KK.

Another blind defend against a Bingo cutoff open. I have K5o and he just got spanked the previous hand so I thought there was some spew potential here. I check-raise the KT4 flop, but he 3-bets and I’m just calling down now. Oh wait, no I’m not. We just binked a five! I check-raise again, he 3-bets, and I cap it. Hold up. What? I cap it? I dunno… that’s pretty optimistic. I must realize that on the river, which is a queen (a bad card) and check-call and lose an unnecessarily large pot to KT.

1:10 AM: I make an early raise with T9cc – not a standard open for me but mixing it up here. Bingo Man and The Tick call from the blinds. I c-bet the 822c flop, realizing I’m never getting immediate folds here. They both call. Turn is 7c, an excellent card to double barrel; Bingo calls and Tick check-raises. Oh please just let me spike this on him. Hallelujah! The river is a jack and we put in all the bets because I feel like I’m only losing to J2, 82, and 72 and if he has one of those hands he just gets to win a big one. He shows me the 82hh.

More punting or bad luck? Or a little bit of both? 🤷🏻‍♂️

1:25 AM: Feels like I’m running really, really bad (and not playing A-game to boot), but I’m only down around $400. Not too terrible. The game isn’t amazing right now so I’m feeling like calling it a session and going to bed at a decent time.

2:58 AM: Well that was a surprising end to the night. I had decided to play my last orbit and I was all racked up about to book a loss of about $300 when I picked up KK with an early open from Rocksteady and a cold call from Bingo Man in front of me. I 3-bet and Rocksteady caps. Flop is queen high and we go three bets there and I once again get beat into submission holding the mighty pocket kings and go into call down mode. Rocksteady puts the brakes on when the river is a king though and check-calls and shows me that I snapped of his AA.

Very next hand, Tick limps, I raise with A9o and both blinds call. Flop is T8x and Tick donks. I think A9 turns too many good cards to fold here, so I peel one off and spike an ace on the turn. He still leads into me with another player behind and I just call him down and he shows KT. This seems to be a pretty standard Tick line, where he continues to fire when the board texture starts to favor my range more than his. It’s kind of confusing, but he shows up with marginal hands so often in these spots that I wonder if I should be exploiting it more by raising the big bet streets more often when I only have one pair hands. I feel like I’ve built up the kind of dynamic with him where he’s never folding pairs against me, so raising should make me an extra big bet usually.

Here’s another strange hand vs The Tick that illustrates this tendency but doesn’t quite call for a more aggressive approach. He opens from the cutoff and I 3-bet him from the button with Q8hh. He caps. Flop is AKQ and I wind up calling him down unimproved when he fires all the bullets. I don’t have any tangible explanation for this call down because it seems like we are losing so often against a capping range that barrels off here, but there I am on the river calling a bet. I feel like I’m picking up something subconsciously telling me he’s not as strong as he wants me to think he is. Like when he caps pre, it’s done with a force and quickness that wants to exude strength that doesn’t really exist. And the timing and nature of his betting after the flop is giving off faux strength also. I’m not huge on physical tells, but when my instincts are telling me to take lines or make calls that don’t otherwise make sense, I figure it has to do with something I’m seeing – even if I can’t pinpoint exactly what it is. So I call down here and he shows me 88, which kind of boggles my mind. What hands does he think I’m going to call flop and turn with and give up on river?

Anyways, those suckouts with KK and A9 propelled me into the green and peak stack status and I managed to post a decent +$725 in what I felt was a pretty mediocre session where I felt I made more mistakes than usual. Cut that April deficit in half!