$225 No Limit Hold’em Tournament @ Palace (LIVE BLOG)

July 15, 2018

Firing off in the $225 monthly no limit hold’em tournament @ Palace. All the top players in the area seem to be here. I see The Joker, Flexxx, Bill W, FanBoy, Flipper, The Legend (dealing), The Riddler (flooring), The Crypt Keeper,

Starting stacks are 10k and blinds are currently 50-100 in L2.

My starting table has FanBoy, Flexxx, and multiple other players I know. Not a great draw in this field.

10:58 AM: Flexxx basically immediately challenged me to a last longer bet and then he modified it to first one to rebuy, heavily swinging the odds in his favor. I declined.

Flexxx’s open seat has been filled by Bill W.

11:09 AM: Tormund’s fiery locks have shown up for level 3.

Open to 250 with KTo. Splashiest player at the table calls.

Flop is T98. I bet 325 and he calls.

Turn is a 7. I figure this player will be pretty straight forward and transparent in this spot, so I bet 500, not necessarily for value or as a bluff, but to charge when I’m ahead and make his decision-making more pure most of the time. He calls.

River is an ace and I’m pretty happy when it checks around. I table my hand and he doesn’t like what he sees, but then he looks at his hand again and now he likes what he sees because he has T6 of hearts.

11:17 PM: Bill W and FanBoy just punted their stacks in the same hand, so three players have already felted at my table but I’m obviously below starting stack still.

The bet-sizing in this tournament kills me. There will be no speculating, floating or trying to outmaneuver these people because every preflop raise is > 3x and every postflop bet is at least 75% of the pot size.

11:27 PM: On that note, here’s a punt from me:

Two limps, guy that opened 5.5x from the cutoff the previous hand makes it 700 this time, I decide to gamble with the 87 of clubs from the small blind and the big blind and both limpers call.

Flop is A54 with two clubs, giving me a straight flush draw. I’m planning to pile it here and the PFR bets 4000, so I should probably just fold, but I don’t mind gambling here during he rebuy period, so I stuff it for 7700. One of the limpers calls and the original bettor tries to go all in. I say he can’t go all in and five different people tell me I’m wrong. No need to argue. Just call the floor over. Nope, he can’t raise. Also, I tabled my hand out of turn. Twice. So… maybe I don’t really know what’s going on.

Turn pairs the 5 and the PFR bets, other guy folds, and he tells me I have one out. I don’t hit it. His AA is good.

New table has The Crypt Keeper and Two Face at it. Sitting down with 33 bigs.

11:47 PM: 3-way all in at my table: AK vs AK vs JJ with two of them getting 30+ bigs each in. Two Face has the JJ so we are rooting for lots of aces and kings and… there’s an ace in the window! Crypt Keeper stays alive and Two Face busts out. Everything is right in the world.

12:08 PM: Sitting on 6400 coming back to 200/400 blinds. Coming back from… a thirty minute break. What in the actual fuck? THIRTY MINUTES? What kind of cruel punishment is this? Wtf am I going to do for the 25 minutes after I use the bathroom? This is brutal. And incredibly unnecessary.

12:12 PM: This is my second time playing this tournament and so far I have spent roughly 95% of both tournaments on some level of tilt. I haven’t been adjusting to this field very well. It’s very, very soft and I know my skill edge is immense, but it bums me out that that edge is basically just making better preflop decisions. I can’t get in there with wide ranges and try to punish them. When I do that, I’m just punishing myself because they don’t fold and the bet sizes are way too big and the stack-to-pot ratios are way too small.

Get it together, Dark Knight.

12:43 PM: One of the first hands back from break, a loose player open limps the cutoff, and I look down at A6o on the button. I should probably just jam it here but I opt to make it 1100 and one of the blinds and the limper call. So now the pot is 3300+ and I have 5400 behind holding A6 offsuit with two opponents. Seems pretty bad.

Flop is A85 with two hearts and they check to me. I bet 1500 and only the cutoff calls.

Turn is a deuce and I go ahead and pile when he checks. He thinks for two seconds before calling with… 74. By some miracle, I somehow dodge all seven of his outs with one card to go and double up.

Poor execution. Great result.

1:01 PM: So lame. Open 77, two callers. C-bet 855 flop and one calls. Turn ace, I bet 1800 and he min-raises. I fold.

Open K9hh, two callers. Flop is T7x with two hearts. The blind leads out for 5400, leaving herself with 400 behind. I call. Let’s gamble. Other guy calls also. Sigh.

Turn 8. She checks, I bet my last 3300 knowing I’m also getting called but also knowing I’m never folding. They both call.

Blind has Q8 of hearts and the other player has QTo. 4 of clubs.


Second 8/16 game is starting and that sucks because it means it will be that much harder to get a 15/30 off the ground later.


My home casino is depressing me. Before I left, the 15/30 game was really waning. It went from going every day and starting at a decent time to struggling to get off the ground most days and not starting until pretty late… like 7 or 8 PM.

That’s not the casino’s fault but they also started charging for food and took away rakeback.

And then while I was gone, they increased the PSJ drop.

Jesus. Bad news on top of bad news. In a matter of months, the changes made here have effectively shaved $7-$10 off my hourly winrate… on top of the 15/30 not running regularly. It’s brutal.

And it’s not going to stop. Ten years from now, the majority will still be playing 4/8 and they will be taking $10 a hand. That day might come even sooner.

It’s an ugly cycle because as the rake and PSJ gets higher and higher the players are conditioned to realize that their only chances of actually winning anything are by hitting the jackpots and high hands they are paying for every hand… but a big reason they can’t beat the games is because they are getting raped by the drop.

I get it from the casino’s perspective. And for most players this model probably makes the most sense. But it really does take the pureness out of the game and makes it incredibly tough for anyone trying to make money playing poker. You have to be playing at least 15/30 that to be feasible now and unfortunately that game is no longer something I can rely on.

2:01 PM: Crypt Keeper and Bill W have abandoned ship. Joker is threatening to leave. The 15/30 is that much further from starting. I really have no desire to grind 8/16 with a $7 drop unless I’m waiting for something else. This sucks. I might leave too.

2:32 PM: Pretty cool start to my session. I’m down almost $300 already and not much has gone right, especially this hand:

I cold call along on the button in a multiway pot with J9 of clubs. I flop an open ender with a flush draw, make my flush on the turn and lose to KcJ on the river.

Notables still in the tournament with 31 left: Flipper, Part-Time, Flexxx, and FanBoy, plus three Palace dealers still in the field.

Elmer, Tormund, and The Queen in my 8/16 game.

2:45 PM: I have been informed by a few people that saying the “rake” increased is misleading and untrue. They are right. I went back and edited some words to make my statements accurate. It’s the PSJ drop that has increased and that is technically a neutral drop since (almost?) all of it comes back to the players. Still, I’m personally not happy to see more money coming off the table every hand. Especially on the heels of rakeback disappearing and food comps changing.

Good for the room. Fine for the recreational players. Not great for me.

2:51 PM: Open JJ from MP, Elmer cold calls, The Queen calls from the small, and big blind defends.

Flop is J82 rainbow. Beautiful. I bet flop and the two blinds call and I’m thinking ‘pretty much fading T9 only here.’

Turn is a queen. Lol. I bet, The Queen calls, and the big blind check-raises me. Lol. Way too high in my range to call, especially with a third player in between, so I 3-bet, she folds and he just calls.

That’s good. He is capable of flatting here and raising the river though, so I’m not 100% sure I have the best hand.

He check-calls a brick on the river though and I win the pot.

3:20 PM: Sigh. Floors are trying to start the 15/30 and I definitely appreciate that, but the execution was bad. Tormund flaked and then two others followed suit. Now I’m sitting here with Joker, FBI Guy, and one other and FBI Guy is 0% to play 4-handed. So I’m just sitting here twiddling my thumbs and my former 8/16 seat is occupied.

Looks like I’ll be going home instead.

3:27 PM: There’s hope! Part-Time somehow turned 60 bigs into 0 bigs and is now sitting in the 15/30 game and I guess Tormund has been guilted into turning his blue chips into red ones.

False alarm: Tormund is staying put. Joker thought someone was coming over but they just cashed out and left the building instead. We are now sitting here 5-handed and not playing.

3:32 PM: Almost a dream spot. Playing 5-handed with no PSJ drop, a $1 rake, and no chopping. Lineup is not great but we are playing poker!

3:55 PM: Joker playing some fantasy poker. He’s saying he would have beat my red 99 with T8o if I didn’t 3-bet it preflop or lead out on the 532 flop. Obviously he wouldn’t be in there from the big blind if I did any of those things.


Nice parlay: I open AQdd, Joker raises, FBI Guy calls and I call. Flop is king high with two spades and a diamond. Joker bets, FBI calls, and I check-raise. Joker folds but FBI calls.

Turn is 6 of diamonds. I bet and he folds JJ face up.

4:31 PM: Flipper, Flexxx, and FanBoy all still in with 16 left. All are short as they approach the bubble of 10 paid.

4:55 PM: A rare photo of The Invisible Man:

He’s been in this 5-handed game for 30+ minutes and his VPIP is still at 0%.

5:26 PM: Flipper and FanBoy bust 13th and 12th. Flexxx still in there with a chance to stone bubble.

15/30 is 8-handed now. First pot of full game: unknown player opens, I 3-bet TT and he calls. I double barrel KJ66 even though it feels like I could be losing a lot here and he calls both streets. River is a queen and now I’m losing like 85% of the time. I check back. He shows AQ.

7:03 PM: Interesting hand: someone raises, there are three callers, I have 44 on the button and call, FanBoy and Joker defend the blinds.

Flop is 764 and there is lots of action in front of me. I make it three bets and FanBoy cold calls from the small, Joker calls, they all call.

Turn is a king and now I get check-raised by FanBoy and that clears out all but one of them. He called two bets from the small blind so I expect him to show up with 77 and 66 a decent amount. I’d be surprised to see sets and there was no flush draw on the flop so a flush draw that turned a pair is out. I decide to just call.

River is a 9 and now FanBoy checks. So does the other player. I can’t check a hand this good so I bet, FanBoy calls, and flashes me the K7 of clubs before tossing it.

This 15/30 game filled up with Rosanne and a couple other key players so it’s nice and juicy now.

7:26 PM: Flexxx has a pretty massive chip lead with 7 left and has his over-the-ear headphones on to block out all the chop chatter.

And would you look at that:

Just look at it.

8:16 PM: Flexxx picks up a nice score as part of a 5-way chop.

8:39 PM: Joker opens under the gun, it folds to me in the small blind and I 3-bet 99 and he calls.

Rosanne says, “let’s see who can outbluff who.” It’s funny because there’s some truth to that… but probably not when he opens under the gun and I 3-bet the small blind in a full game. Lol.

8:47 PM: There’s a raise, calls, I 3-bet AK of clubs on button, Joker caps from the big.

Flop is 653 two clubs. Joker leads, opener raises, I 3-bet and they both call.

Turn pairs the 6, they check to me and I do something absurd: I bet. Joker check-raises and the other player 3-bets. I decide to continue because the pot is massive.

8d on river. Joker check-calls and his AA loses to A6.


9:01 PM: FanBoy heroes it off. I raise one limper with K6 of spades and FanBoy 3-bets it.

Flop is A62 with one spade and I put a check-raise in.

Turn is another spade. I bet and he calls.

He seems pretty determined to show this one down so when I brick the river we both check and he tables 77.


9:49 PM: Joker just lost his shit. He has A9 on T87J board and it goes multiple bets on the turn. River is a queen and he says, “I think that card saved me.” Other player rolls over K9. Someone says, “no, that card kill you.”

Joker responds, exacerbated, “you all fucking kill me.”

I tried to snap a pic of what that face looks like but you have to draw the line somewhere.

10:04 PM: Player in s8 wins a pot and player in s9 puts his $5 small blind in but it goes into the shuffler and he gets the dealer’s attention to get it out before it shuts and the dealer goes into the shuffler, fishes it out, drops it in their box and says “thank you.”

I look at the small blind and he’s just sitting there with his hand on his chin rolling his eyes.

12:06 AM: Obviously running out of steam, both in writing and playing. I think it’s time to rack up and call it a night soon.

2:43 AM: Powered through another 2.5 hours. Riddler stopped in and tried to 3-bet bluff me on the river when I made a flush because FanBoy bluff-raised him on the river with a total airball.

Bullet #1 -$225

Bullet #2 -$225

8/16 -$195

15/30 +$820


  1. That shot of the Invisible Man is a perfect representation of him.

  2. Thanks for the shout out!

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