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The Poker Gods Give Me A Break

June 23, 2018

But first…

Wednesday was the $1500 Limit Hold’em event at the WSOP and while it’s not my favorite tournament – I play LHE all year long and really enjoy the mix game events here – it is definitely my best game. I don’t know how cool it is to call yourself an expert at something but it’s definitely the variant I’m closest to having that status.

So needless to say, it’s one of the absolute must plays on my schedule and probably the event I have a best chance at a bracelet in because I also have extensive short-handed experience.

Well, I woke up on Wednesday feeling like absolute shit, feeling like I hadn’t slept at all the night before and showing obvious signs of an upcoming cold.

I decided not to play the event.

Things were going bad enough without me compounding matters by playing a $1500 event when I was under the weather, so I did something very painful to my soul and made the decision to skip it.

I ended up sleeping until about 3 PM and my wife and friends were giving me updates that were all less than starting stacks… I could still sit down with more than they had! I started to get the itch… and I was feeling better, wasn’t I?

Still, it didn’t seem like my best idea so I started reaching out to people and telling them the circumstances and asking if they wanted to gamble on 10% of my action.

I also contacted my normal backers and told them the situation and said I’d understand if they wanted to sit this one out or reduce their normal piece. They said they wanted it all.

Okay then. Game on.

By the time everyone got back to me, I had sold 60% of myself in my best game at no markup, but it seemed fair considering I was going to sit down with 15 big bets. An example of how short that is, it would be like sitting at $4/$8 with $120 and hoping you don’t go broke. Except in this $4/$8 game the blinds are going up every hour!

Plenty of people will sit in a $4/$8 game with $100 but anyone that has any understanding of variance knows that is utterly ridiculous. I never sit down in a limit structure with less than 37.5 big bets.

So yeah, my back was kind of against the wall. I was certainly more likely to bust early than actually run a stack up so I was okay only having 40% of myself.

It started off pretty miserably. First hand I played I opened KQ and got four way action.

Flop was very good: Q43 with two hearts. I bet, the first cold caller called, and Robert Campbell – a well-known and successful player – raised on the button. The blind folded and it was back on me. In a cash game, this is a snap 3-bet, but in a tournament where your chips are so much more important I think calling has merit. If we were heads up, that’s probably what I’d do, but with the player in between I think I have to try and raise him out. He folds to my raise but Robert 4-bets it. Gulp. I call.

Turn is the 6 of hearts. I do not have a heart in my hand and, not that it matters much now, the queen on the flop is a heart. On the flop it seems like his most likely holdings are flush draws, sets, and AQ. It would be pretty unlikely for him to overplay a worse queen like this, unless it was a combo draw and we know that’s not possible.

It seems pretty optimistic to come up with hands we are still beating so I check-fold.

If the turn bricked, I would have check-called this hand down, but when the flush gets there we are only beating bizarre overplays from someone I think is likely solid.

I ended up getting all the way down to 1825 which was like six big blinds.

I opened the QJhh and the big blind defended. I had 25 left behind when he check-raised me on the turn and bet river on Q74dd9d4 but the river counterfeit his 9s and 7s and I doubled up.

A bit later, I opened the KQ and the same player defended his big blind.

Flop was KJ9 and he check-raised me.

I’m content to call down here but when I made trip kings on the turn I felt like my hand was too good not to raise against a big blind defending range. So I popped it and he 3-bet me. Godammit. That is not good. I called.

He bet the river dark. Unfortunately for him it was a 9, double pairing the board. I raised my full house, once again leaving myself with 25 behind and he ended up folding JJ face up. Yikes.

Yeah. That dude hates me.

My biggest hand on Day 1, Robert Campbell opens in early position, I 3-bet QQ, and Humberto “the shark is hungry” Brenes 4-bets, and Campbell is all in.

The flop is dry and favorable and I check-call Humberto.

The turn gives me top set and I get a check-raise in.

The river is a blank, I bet and Humberto calls for less with TT. Robert turns over Q9 and I bust both of them.

A little bit of an oversight on my part there. I think check-calling down with QQ is fine in a tournament against a tight player’s 4-betting range, but if I knew how short Humberto was I would have tried to get the chips in as soon as possible. Think about the disaster this hand is if he checks back the turn.

I ended up bagging 26.5k and sat slightly above average heading into Day 2.

I had QQ eight times and made a set on four of them. Sounds amazing, but I lost with one of those sets and won with a c-bet on two of them. My only good pot with all those Queens was the double KO.

I had AA and KK zero times. 88-JJ once.

Variance is weird.

But I sure did have that one dude’s number. I rivered him in another big pot with A8ss on Q86sKs8 and he said something about how pure I’m running as I’m sitting there 0 for 7 in WSOP events.

Day 2 started off great. I was peaking at around 35k after 3-betting 99, checking back the king high flop in a 3-way pot and then binking my set against Sean Berrios’ top pair and getting extra double bets.

He would get his revenge soon enough.

Sean opens from middle position and I 3-bet the KQ of clubs on the button.

We went heads up to the KTT one club flop and he check-raised me. I don’t see much merit in raising here so I plan to call down unimproved and that’s what I do when the board runs out KTT67.

I’m pretty happy to hear him say, “Oh, I was trying to steal it,” but I’m not happy when he rolls over the 98 of clubs for a rivered straight.

Actually I’m shocked. Stunned. In disbelief.

Crushed.

Welcome to my 2018 World Series of Poker.

Nope, I’m not gonna chip up to 50k and cruise to my first cash of the series, picking off this torchy bluff line.

I’m going to lose this crucial pot and then never win another hand.

It’s not just that he chose this hand to bluff with. Whatever. Maybe he thinks I’ll fold AQ? 88? Who knows. But why does it have to get there?

Just look at this shit!! Just look at it.

5%! FIVE FUCKING PERCENT.

My series was already going so miserably and it looked like I finally might break through and this hand totally Shang Tsung’d me. And I knew it.

I fucking knew it.

It’s not like my game fell off a cliff or anything but I just knew I was done and I wasn’t wrong.

I opened 77, got 3-bet, peeled the JT6ss flop with 7s in my hand, and folded when the third player donked the 9s turn, even though I had a straight flush draw. Both players ended up having KQ and one of them had a big spade, exactly why I decided to fold even though I sort of improved.

Then I defend 88 and check-called Q76T board before folding on the J river when it seemed like I’m losing to way too much of his range.

Finally I busted when I opened four bigs with Q8 suited and failed to improve against 44.

I busted about 50 spots off the money, bringing my WSOP score to 0-8. Solid.

A few blog regulars did cash the event though: Snowflake (81st), Rocksteady (69th), and Sandman (21st).

I was still sick, so I jetted as soon as I busted and spent most of the day in bed, hoping a day of rest would have me feeling better.

It didn’t. It’s Friday night as I’m writing this and I seem to be getting worse rather than better.

But that didn’t stop me from heading to the Bellagio to see if I could turn my summer around with some cash game action.

I was mostly planning to play $20/40 LHE, but the list was absurdly long and there was a $30/$60 7 Card Stud game going and I had never played in a live Stud game before and I was feeling pretty excited about it. I checked the lineup out and they didn’t look like wizards so after booking a small win in $20/$40 Limit O8, I took my seat.

And I smashed their faces in. I absolutely crushed the game, putting a much needed large dent in my losses for the trip by booking a +$3480 in a little less than four hours of play.

Okay, I ran pretty pure. I made straights and flushes when I needed to. I made two pair when I fell behind. Almost all my big starting hands held up. I got good action both times I started rolled up. I also caught perfect a few times when I was missing key outs.

But I also played really well. I picked off bluffs and seemed to always have a really good sense of where I was at in hands despite having very little Stud Hi experience.

It was a pretty amazing session and it looked like this when I was done:

The game started fizzling out and I played as short as 3-handed for quite some time but after realizing we weren’t going to pick up players, I decided to cash out – not jump in another game – and book a much needed feel good win and take my sick ass home (after an impromptu 90 minute massage) and rest up for the $470 Triple Stud tourney at Aria tomorrow morning at 11 AM.

I will publish this before I head out tomorrow and post live tourney updates here.

Stay tuned!

11:45 AM: Fashionably late to the Aria, sitting down with 20k at 200/400 betting limits. Lots of play.

I have a good feeling about today.

11:54 PM: LOL. First pot I play is Stud 8. I’m heads up with 76-58 against xx-3K and get scooped after my board runs out 76-58JJ-T and he makes threes full of fours somehow.

👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

Assuming his hole cards…

Yup. Staying consistent!

12:43 PM: Thought about this earlier and meant to post it but forgot. Yesterday the tournament on my schedule was the $2500 Stud 8/Omaha 8 tourney at the WSOP. Obviously I didn’t play it. I just want to put my cash game score in perspective.

I would have had to finish 16th or better in that WSOP event to make more money than I did in four hours of cash play yesterday. And if I did manage to finish 16th or better, that would probably happen on Day 3 of the tournament, after 20+ hours of play and two full nights of sleep.

Thank you Poker Gods for the quick fix.

💉💉

1:22 PM: This is kind of bizarre. I have 22.1k on first break… more than the starting stack. Weird.

The champ is in the building. Kung Fu Panda, now known as FanBoy, is sitting down with 20k in level 5 after playing until 7 AM yesterday. Sounds like A-game to me so I obviously I swapped 10% with him.

2:23 PM: Interesting Stud 8 hand. Some details may be inaccurate here. I raise a complete with a 6 up, an ace buried, and three spades in my hand. Guy behind me raises again with an ace up and three of us see fourth street.

The ace up catches a 9, I catch a queen, and the other player bricks also. Everybody checks.

On 5th I have JsAs-6sQxTx, the guy with xx-A98 bets and the third player folds. My hand is pretty bad here but… so is his. I don’t care what he has in the hole, it can’t be very good. I call.

He catches a 4 on 6th, which sucks because now I’m like I getting freerolled but I call feeling like my hand is likely good for high unimproved.

I was going to call without looking on 7th, so when he checks, I check back without looking. Eh. I can fire a bet here if I catch a king. He ends up showing a pair of 5s and no low so I’m drawing super live to scoop but I turn over a five of my own and he scoops instead.

After the hand I say, “wow, you were stronger than I thought.”

This hand seems pretty suspect and I can’t really put into words very well how I arrived at the river or even understand why myself… but since I got there with 18+ outs to scoop I feel like my instincts were spot on here. I don’t know if that makes it a good play or not though.

3:05 PM: 29.6k after seven levels, playing 800/1600 betting limits now.

3:41 PM: Sandman in the field with the max late reg – something you can do when you have a $70k cash under your belt already.

4:29 PM: The collapse is on. After going so card dead I put in one big bet over a 100 minute span, I have A2-2KQK-A in Stud Hi against a queen up on 3rd and lose to three nines somehow.

I now have 13.4k. Will it be like every other tournament I’ve played this summer where once it starts to go downhill it never stops? Or will start a new trend of clawing my way back into contention?

Stay tuned!

4:46 PM: 19.7k coming back to 1500/3000 betting limits.

Sandman registered an hour ago?

Here’s his stack:

That’s about 50k. I swear some people just have that good mojo for the whole summer. To be fair, it was me the last two years, but… I’m still pretty jealous!

4:56 PM: Big scooper in Stud 8. Peaking!

33.6k.

5:21 PM: Razz has been absolute murder on my stack. We’ve been playing almost six hours and I’ve won a single hand of Razz – and that includes winning on third street. I’ve had lots of Stud Hi monsters in Razz… usually when I’m the bring in. I’ve had rolled up 7s. What I never have is a winning hand.

26.2k after yet another winless round of Razz. Primed to run good in the $1500 Razz tomorrow?

5:29 PM: A gem from last round of Razz:

Lots of low cards out so I just call with 65-4 after a 3 opens to 2000. Guy behind with an ace raises all in for 2600 total and we both call.

We check to 7th street.

Me: 65-4QT2-9

All In: xx-AT73-x

Third Player: xx-3Q97-x

On 7th, the third player bets and I instantly go to fold my hand and then stop myself. Why? I actually paused because I had to make sure I didn’t have this dude board-locked. I didn’t, so I folded because it makes zero sense to bet a rough hand here with no side pot. He turns over a 98. Lol. What? Fortunately the all in had that beat and I didn’t have to flip any tables over.

Crazy Stud Hi hand as I’m typing this:

9h up opens and I defend 7s6s-3s from the bring in.

On 4th, he catches an ace but I make open 3s and opt for the full double bet. He calls.

On 5th, I brick and he catches open aces! Wow. Nice hand, buddy.

But wait! He checks. Uhm okay, I check too.

And… I make open trips on 6th. I bet and he folds. Well played, sir.

6:00 PM: Peaking! 38k but below average.

And… back to Razz we go. 😢

6:08 PM: Yup. Lost a big Razz pot. Standard. Down to 19.1k. WTH.

6:16 PM: 17.4k on break coming back to 3000/6000 betting limits. 30 left. 11 cash. I’m in bad shape. Still can’t win a goddamn Razz hand.

6:36 PM: What a joke this is.

One hand of Razz left after the break. There’s a limp, I complete with A2-5, Sandman calls with a 3, another player calls, and the limper calls.

Sandman catches a 2 on 4th, I catch a 7, and the other two brick out. Sandman leads, one player calls, and I have two big bets left and I’m never folding before 7th, so I go ahead and raise it, Sandman calls, and the other player folds.

On 5th he catches a 4 and I catch a jack. He puts me all in and I call.

I ask if he has a pair and he says no, but he’s got a nine. Okay, that’s good news.

Me: A2-57JJ-x

Sandman: 96-3247-8

I need a three or a four. I look down at a no liner (ace, deuce, or three), but it’s an ace and I take my happy ass out of the poker room and immediately head for the parking lot.

I was planning to play the $1500 Razz at the WSOP tomorrow but a) I am undeniably sick and b) after winning one Razz hand in seven hours today, I’m not sure I want to.

I’m going to go home, rest up, try to improve my health, and see how I’m feeling in the AM.

Good day all.

.

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