1/3/5 PLO @ Palace with special guest Lee Markholt

October 10, 2018

Woah. It’s not everyday you walk into your local casino and a top 5 player in Washington state history is in your game.

Seriously, look him up: Hendon Mob

He ranks 4th all-time in the state in tournament cashes and is one of the most successful and long-lasting pros to come from Washington. He has multiple appearances on T.V., including a WPT Main Event title.

Pretty cool to have him in the game, but also… not cool.

Rest of the starting lineup: Crypt Keeper, new reg, Part-Time, Baseball Guy, Big Baby, nit, and The Man.

Cards are in the air!

6:10 PM: If you are here for the poker, I’m going to steer you in the direction of the A Star is Born review I published today. The movie is phenomenal. I urge you to read what I wrote about it and go see it ASAP!

A Star is Born is the Best Movie of 2018

6:20 PM: Lee almost immediately loses a massive pot to Part-Time. I was typing as this one was brewing but Part-Time flopped the nut flush draw with some straight draws and all the money eventually got in and he ended up making the flush and holding up when the river paired the board.

6:29 PM: First notable pot, Part-Time limps in and it folds to my big blind and I complete with AKccT3dd. I could (and maybe should) raise it here, but bloating the pot out of position with zero fold equity could create some tricky situations after the flop.

The first three cards are AT4 with two clubs and one diamond. It’s a monstah! I have top two pair, the nut flush draw, and a backdoor diamond draw. Unfortunately, I only have one opponent and a dinky pot out there. I bet $5, Part-Time makes a cute raise to $10, and I 3-bet to $30. He calls.

Turn pairs the ace, giving me the nuts. I bet a weak-looking $20, hoping it might entice him into doing something stupid. He just calls though.

The river is the 3 of clubs. I now have the nuts, the third nuts, and the nut flush. It’s hard to imagine what he could have here, but I assume he either has an ace or made the flush and bet $65, which is pretty near pot-sized and he snap calls and I win the pot.

6:52 PM: Here’s a reminder why you don’t play trash hands in PLO.

The Man limps in and I try to isolate him and take control of the hand by making it $20 with T866 no suits from the cutoff and a decent regular calls on the button. The Man also calls. Ugh. So now I’m out of position with a weak hand. Wonderful.

The flop comes 987 with with two clubs. I flopped a straight. So naturally, I check when it’s my turn, the button bets $45, The Man calls, and I… fold.

I mean seriously. How can you justify playing a hand when you flop a straight with it and check-fold? You can’t. Yet, I’m sure that’s the correct play on the flop and all that does is reinforce the fact that this hand should be tossed into the muck before the flop, even if a somewhat attractive situation arises.

7:39 PM: Limpers in front of me and I call with KK98 with diamonds.

Six of us see the A42 all diamond flop and everyone checks to me. I bet $15 into $35 and the small blind and Big Baby call.

The turn pairs the 2, which is mildly annoying, but they both check again and I bet small at $30 and they both call again.

I’m thinking about whether or not I will be betting the river and I’m leaning towards yes because both my opponents are very loose players with absurdly light calling standards, but… the river is a king! I now have what really feels like the nuts and I size up because I don’t care if they have stronger hands now. I make it $110 and the first guy tanks for a long time (he’s the dude that called me for $175 and then $300 with A832 on 854Q4 last week), but he eventually calls and Big Baby snap calls.

The first guy tells me he flopped a flush and turned a boat, but I don’t believe a word he’s saying. I can buy the flush part, but I was going to bet money on the river that he didn’t have a full house. I mean he’s proven that he could call with a naked ace here.

8:22 PM: Five limpers and Crypt Keeper juices the pot from small blind to $25 and I defend the big blind with KTssQQ, happy to play a multi-way pot here. All five limpers also call.

With $175 in the pot, we get a flop of Q65 with two diamonds and I fire $130. Big Baby and The Man call and then I’m kind of shocked to see Crypt Keeper also call. It seems like if he had a hand he call in this spot with he would be leading the flop a lot. Interesting.

The turn is the 9 of diamonds, which is absolute murder for my hand. Someone is ahead me now, whether it’s with a flush or a straight. I am ecstatic to see it check around.

Unfortunately, the river is a king and Crypt Keeper leads out for $150. He should never be bluffing into Big Baby and The Man here, so whatever he has, it has me beat. I’m guessing he has at least a straight, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he had a modest flush with it as well. I fold and Big Baby is the only caller. Crypt Keeper turns over J7dd8X for the win. I wish I would have noted what his fourth card was to see what he deems worthy of raising from the small blind in that spot.

8:36 PM: The Man limps, I make it $20 with double suited AAQ7 and unnamed dude from the previous hand makes it $60, folds around to The Man and he calls. There’s another raise left here, so I can get most of that guy’s stack in pre and maybe, just maybe, The Man will fold in this spot… for the first time ever. The first guy calls and, against all odds, The Man does fold, leaving $60 of his precious dollars out there.

My remaining opponent has maybe a third of the pot behind so I just bet $300 dark and we are going to see all the board cards if he calls.

Dealer brings the flop and I’m typing on my phone while he starts tanking and eventually look up to see a board of AQ9 rainbow. Well, that’s nice. Of course, my boy doesn’t let me down and he puts the rest of the chips in, we run it once, and I have a brief scare as the turn makes JT the nuts, but the river pairs the 9 and my hand is clearly the nuts again.

A few hands later, I’m in a multi-way raised pot with AT97 with a suited ace. Flop is AJ9 with two hearts. My favorite current villain fires $25 on the flop and The Man calls on the button. I think my hand is normally a strong folding candidate, since I have no hearts, but the bet is weak relative to the pot size and the call isn’t strong either. I’m taking a card off and proceeding with caution.

The turn is a ten, giving me a better two pair, but making a number of straights. I check and they both also check. I am quite happy about that.

River is the 2 of spades. My hand isn’t really strong enough to bet here, so I check, planning to call any reasonable bet, but my boy bombs it for the full pot. The Man folds and the action is back on me. I have a pure bluff catcher here, but it seems incredibly unlikely that he would bet the flop and then check any of the straights on the turn. My main dilemma is that he could possibly play a set this way. Maaaaybe AJ. On the other hand, I’m blocking all those holdings. I think I have to call here. So I do. He shows AKKx and I win the pot.

10:06 PM: I have gone cold. The game has changed a bit. Part-Time and Big Baby are out. John Kim and new plo regular are in. Crypt Keeper has over $2k. I have around $1700. Tight-solid guy on my left has around $2500. Lee Markholt has around $2200. Needless to say, the looser players have been getting abused.

I come back from a short break to post in the cutoff and it’s raised to $15 in front of me, there’s a call, and I defend with KK96 with diamonds.

Five of us see the A88 with two diamonds flop and they all check to me. I believe the button also called here preflop, but when the PFR and TCK both check to me, I think this is a good hand and board to stab at. I bet $55 and only the PFR calls.

The turn pairs the ace, so now I’m looking at a board of A88A. He checks to me and I don’t see any reason to bet here. I might have the best hand. If I have the best hand, I also have the best draw. I can’t imagine he’s going to fold a better hand than mine. So I check back.

The river is the 5 of diamonds and he checks to me again. Now I feel like I have a hand I can bet. He needs AA, A8, A5, 88, 85, or 55 to beat me. Nothing he has done in this hand has led me to believe he can have any of those hands. If he has an ace, I expect him to call here. I bet $75 but he folds.

10:23 PM: It’s funny this hand starts off with me limping under the gun with ATddT3 and thinking it’s a bit loose. I literally just got done reading about how if you have a hand with a suited ace and a pair then you want your pair to not be suited with the ace. That way half the time you flop a set, there will be at least one card to your suit on the flop. I just read that before this session.

But here I am limping in the worst possible position and breaking the rule. Not only that, but my side card is basically worthless. So I limp, next player limps, John Kim limps, the small blind makes it $20, and only two of us call.

The flop is T84 with two diamonds. Holy shit. It’s the miracle flop. It’s what PLO players dream about. Seems hard for the PFR to want to bet this board, but he fires out $50, I make it $120, and John Kim calls! So does the PFR. Wow!

Turn is a black 2. Amazing. The board texture is the exact same. I bet $225 and they both call again! Well I know what I don’t want. I don’t want any non-diamond 7, 9, Jack, or Queen. A 6 could also be ugly.

The river is a 9… of diamonds! I bet $300, John Kim tanks for a while and eventually folds (a flush – and I believe him) and the PFR snap calls with a King high flush.

What a pot!

But I probably should have open-folded pre. Next time!

10:38 PM: The Godfather is in the building. This is a nickname that goes way back before my blog became a thing. The Godfather is a legendary spectator of Kitsap County poker games. For years, it seemed like he spent more time watching poker from the rail than actually playing poker. That’s how he earned his nickname because it seemed like the only reason he was in the building was to make sure that the dealers were taking the correct rake.

And thus The Godfather was born.

But he’s here playing poker tonight. He’s next up for PLO, but… I suspect he might not be coming over. This is what his stack currently looks like in the 8/16 game:


11:00 PM: Well, we didn’t get The Godfather and the action in the 8/16 game is so good that multiple players passed on PLO seats, including Mr. Plow and Mighty Mouse. So the PLO list just went from seven deep to three – and I think all three of those guys recycled.

We did, however, get a different Kitsap County legend: Godzilla. Here’s the thing: the dude has the physique of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, short arms and all. I can’t help but think of the infamous carnivore when I watch him walk around the room, searching for plant-eaters to swallow. I considered calling him T-Rex and I also considered Barney and while this player is definitely a friendly dinosaur, I can’t imagine Barney’s playing style lining up with his. He’s a hyper loose and aggressive player and thus I will dub him Godzilla.

Welcome to the club, buddy.

I actually have lots of history with Godzilla from back in my Kitsap days but it has been a long time since we clashed regularly.

Lineup update: Crypt Keeper, solid reg, player that has been trying to donate to me, Godzilla, The Man, nit, Lee Markholt, new reg that has been player very aggro

12:04 AM: Lee Markholt has left the game and we never put bets in on the same hand on the same street after the flop. Zero clashes.

12:21 AM: The Godfather has made his way to PLO. He just booked a $1600+ winner in 8/16 and it’s not like he was even playing that long. He was the main beneficiary of The Santa Claus Game.

12:46 AM: Eek. My recent nemesis just smacked Godzilla and The Godfather both.

First, he makes a straight with A985 vs JJxx and the nut flush draw after being the third player to put in $400 on the J76hh flop. The board runs out J769K. That felts The Godfather and puts a hurt on Godzilla.

Then he has JJ vs Godzilla’s AKJx on KJ83x where Godzilla also has the nut flush draw on the turn.

My boy now has over $3500 in chips in front of him and he tends to go out of his way to play poorly against me.


12:55 AM: The Leak just tortured me by sitting down in the PLO game for the briefest of moments before the floor mercifully called her name for 8/16 and she actually took the seat.

1:18 AM: I just walked over to have a few bites of The Leak’s salad and she whispered in my ear, “if you look at me the wrong way, I’m going back over there.”

1:51 AM: My first good hand in what feels like hours, the active and aggro player opens to $15, I make it $40 with KKQhJh, and the Crypt Keeper caps the preflop betting by making it $120. The Godfather and The Man call $120 cold! The aggro player and I also call and there is $600 in the middle and five players seeing the flop.

The board comes down Q97 rainbow with one heart and it checks to Crypt Keeper and he bets $300, which is almost his entire remaining stack. I probably would fold here anyway but The Godfather makes my decision super easy by check-raising to $600. Everyone else folds and they agree to run it twice.

The Crypt Keeper ends up scooping with… J976 double suited… unimproved on both boards.

Say what?! That cold four bet! Also, what the heck is The Godfather jamming with? One of the boards had a ten on the river which seems like it would improve any reasonable drawing hand Godfather could have (and would have given me the nuts on that board).

Well that was lame. Instead of punting off his stack with a piece of cheese like J976, The Crypt Keeper is now sitting with over $1300 again on my direct left.

2:11 AM: The Leak is back in the game and she is quickly all in on the flop with AT97 with nut clubs on J83 with two clubs. It’s a monster draw, but for some reason she says she only wants to run it once and her opponent ends up rivering quads.

After the hand, she says, “I’ve never run it twice before. I don’t know what to do.”

I respond with, “running it twice helps reduce variance,” as she digs into her purse for a reload.

She deadpans: “I’ll run you over twice.”

3:39 AM: I think I’m about to wrap this up here. We are 5-handed and one player is leaving. We have been chopping all night so when it folds to The Leak in the small blind and she makes it $15 to go, I figure she is just doing it to be funny but then she says we are playing now. And then I look down at AAT5 double suited. Of course I do. My wife has felted $200 twice and she bought a third $200 bullet and now has over $700 in front of her. So I do what you should do when your wife raises you in a heads up pot and you have double suited aces… I fold.

I have zero interest in playing 4-handed big bet poker with The Leak.

I am racking up to leave now.

Final Score: +$1940

10:00 AM: I ended up cashing out around 4 AM and I didn’t immediately go to bed. Now I have a 90 minute massage in half an hour that I am probably going to struggle to stay awake during. Normally, I would be headed back to Palace for more PLO @ 6 PM, but Global Poker is running its 2nd annual Eagle Cup series right now and tonight all the tournaments are limit Hold’em. I’m not really focusing much on playing on Global these days – since they stopped allowing Washington state residents to depost – but there’s no way I’m not making their big limit Hold’em tournaments a priority. I won’t go as far as to say I’m the best LHE player on the site, but it’s hard to imagine there are many players that play more LHE than I do and with more success. The LHE cash games very rarely run and when they do, it is almost always at micro stakes. I expect to do way better than my fair share in these tournaments. Of course, I’ll probably end up going 0-3. My lifetime record in LHE tournaments on Global Poker is 5 cashes in 21 tries (23%) for a 26% ROI. I have won their nightly LHE tournament three times, but I am 1 for 6 in their series events with my one cash being a min-cash for 39th place. I’m looking to do big things tonight. The first tournament starts at 5:30 and the last one starts at 6:30, so I expect to be playing until at least 9 PM (Global tournaments have very quick structures). If I’m done playing at a decent time tonight, I will head to Palace for more PLO.

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