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1/3/5 Pot Limit Omaha @ Palace (10/17/18 Live Blog)

October 17, 2018

As I write this (at 1 PM), PLO is quite some time away from starting, but there are currently 15 names on the list and I’m not exactly sure where I am on it. I’m praying that I start the game because it is super important to be in there from the jump. The action is usually at its best in the early goings, plus waiting on the sidelines for a game that already starts pretty late is absolutely brutal.

A bit of a recap of my last few days:

If you followed my post on Saturday about my session at Fortune, then you know I reached boiling levels of steaming. I feel like the gap between my c-game and my a-game is not that large – much, much smaller than the average player. For instance, my starting hand selection is so ingrained at this point that when I’m at my absolute worst, I don’t deviate much from my a-game starting hand selection. Those ranges are virtually identical, although I can concede that there might be a little bit of slippage. My post-flop game definitely suffers more. When emotions cloud my rational thinking, I make sloppier decisions and I know for a fact that I start calling down lighter. The biggest symptom that I’m on legitimate tilt, however, is how I feel. Nobody likes losing, but I feel like I stomach it really well, so when I actually start to physically feel the pain of what’s happening, I know I’m in bad shape. That’s where I was at Saturday night. So I took the last three days off – a rare occurrence for me when I’m not on vacation or swamped with non-poker plans.

We spent Sunday with family and friends and ended up having dinner at a restaurant in Renton called Melrose Grill. It was sooooooooo good! Highly recommended! We ordered a sausage platter, two porterhouse steaks, a ribeye steak, beef stroganoff, plus apple crisp and creme brulee for dessert. Everything was perfection. The steaks were juicy and full of flavor and the beef stroganoff was particularly mind-blowing – easily the best I’ve ever had. If you find yourself in the Renton area or just want to try a new restaurant, definitely check this place out.

Monday was a full day off for me and that started at the gym, before staying home to watch game 3 of the NLCS between the Dodgers and Brewers, but as so often happens on my “days off,” I ended up on Global Poker, participating in their Eagle Cup events. Monday had three no limit hold’em events: $3 rebuy, $10 rebuy, and $30 rebuy. That means you can rebuy unlimited times for the first hour of each tournament. I started the day with just over $1100 on Global, so while I could gamble it up in the $3 and, to a lesser degree, the $10, it would be pretty reckless of me to play wildly in the $30 with my current online bankroll size. I also played the nightly $5 rebuy, the nightly $11 limit hold’em, and a $55 multi-table tournament. I busted 3 bullets in the $5 rebuy, 6 bullets in the $3 rebuy, and 3 bullets in the $30 rebuy. I finished 4th in the $11 LHE, but I needed to finish top 2 to cash (LOL). I also busted nearing the bubble of a couple of other ones.

I got in two bullets in the $10 rebuy and made a deep run. I had a very ugly spot come up somewhere near the money where I made a borderline all in call with AJ of diamonds, largely because only one stack behind me could do damage to me. Well, that player ended up jamming on me and even though it was for heaps and I was likely crushed, I was getting a pretty attractive price and ended up calling off about 75% of my relatively large stack. He had AA and I didn’t win.

Suddenly, I was in the bottom 20%, but then I got scalding hot. I think after that hand, deep in the event, I picked up AA at least five times. I won almost every all in confrontation I can think of, leading up to the final table. After that punt/cooler, I could seem to do no wrong and I rode that hot wave all the way to the final two players and found myself heads up for an Eagle Cup trophy.

I couldn’t have had a softer opponent. We started with relatively even stacks, but I had already surmised that this player was playing above his normal stakes and was playing for considerably more money than he ever had on Global Poker. Some people might rise to the occasion, but he had already proven to be incredibly timid. My approach heads up was to make a small raise every button and bet 1/3 pot on every flop. This sequence had an immediate success rate of around 85%. It was absurd. You’d think he would adjust, but he never did. He just kept folding and folding and folding. Eventually, I realized I could min-raise pre and lower my c-bet sizing as well. This saved me chips in the rare spots where he called the flop and I decided to give up. I was also able to size up when I felt it was necessary without worrying that I was tipping my hand strength. When I was in the big blind, I played much more passively preflop, only raising my better hands. He called a lot more frequently on the button and also peeled on the flop more often. My strategy was to check a lot preflop and min-bet the flop 100% of the time. This had a success rate greater than 50%, which is absurd. He was so passive overall, that when he did fight back, it was easy to fold anything marginal because he was just handing me the victory by folding so much.

Needless to say, I used this strategy to grind him all the way down to 3 big blinds.

And then I didn’t win the tournament. It was a true stunner. I absolutely dominated him, but we got all in 7 times and he went 5-0-2 in those hands and that was all he needed to pick up the victory. I can’t say I was devastated or anything, but I was pretty shocked, and it would have been cool to add to my trophy case:

Yep, there they are, tucked away, on top of our refrigerator, behind the wine bottles. My wife is so proud of me!

Still, 2nd of 388 players is always cool and so is $1152.21 for an $11 buy in!

Tuesday I went to see Venom and you can read the review I posted this morning below:

Venom – 3/10

Then I picked these little bros up from their haircuts:

After that, I watched baseball all day and played more poker on Global, booking a 1st place in the nightly $11 PLO tournament for $256.

It is now 10 past 5 PM and I will be headed to Palace after I refresh with a cup of coffee.

6:02 PM: I’m in! Lots of flakes, as expected.

Starting lineup: The Lawnmower Man, nitty plo reg, Muckleshoot reg, nitty baseball guy, aggro plo reg, Part-Time, unknown, The Crypt Keeper

The Lawnmower Man is a new name, but apparently he’s a regular at Muckleshoot and has a similar nickname that naturally leads me to Stephen King’s novel title. I’ve played with him once in the 15/30 at Palace but multiple times in the 20/40 O8 at Muckleshoot, so we cross paths enough to warrant the name, especially if he starts playing in this game regularly.

I hear The Lawnmower Man is someone you build games around, so he’s a welcome sight. The rest of this lineup is not great.

6:32 PM: Welp. I felted $600 already. I’m pretty sure it was a colossal fuck up, so that’s all I’m going to say about that. I usually share when I make mistakes but this one I’d rather digest on my own and learn from rather than getting a bunch of messages from different people weighing in with their unwanted opinions.

Just the start I was hoping for after two brutal live sessions!

6:48 PM: This one I will share. It’s a multi-way pot opened by The Crypt Keeper and I call from the cutoff with AJ77 with three hearts in my hand. It’s pretty speculative, but…

The Q96 all heart flop makes it a bit more nutty. The Crypt Keeper leads with a bet of like $50 on the flop and I’m next to act. Here’s what’s going to happen if I make a large raise here: everyone is going to fold.

If TCK has top set and a flush we are probably going to get it in, but barring that, he’s probably just going to fold, so I’m going to gamble here… by calling. The nitty player on the button overcalls and everyone else folds.

The turn is a brick and TCK bets $65. It’s pretty small, definitely not indicative of a very strong holding, so I stay consistent with my plan to hide information. I’m guessing neither of these guys would expect to play the nuts this way. I can’t remember taking a line like this that I know they have seen. The button overcalls again.

I know I will have to tread carefully if the board pairs, but fortunately it’s a super bricky offsuit deuce on the river – a true beauty. TCK bets $65 again. Since I don’t think TCK will put me on the nuts very often here, I don’t see any point in milking him with a small raise. I think he sniffs that out.

I make it $300 to go. I just don’t think my line looks very credible, given our history. Maybe he can put me on a set with the naked ace of hearts? I don’t really know what other hands would make sense to bluff with here. My plan works and I get max value from a player that would typically never pay off in this spot.

7:15 PM: I limp early with a marginal JT99 with no suits. I’m sure I should be folding this in a game that almost always has a preflop raise, but here we are. The unknown does make it $20 on the button and we go multi-way to the flop.

Here’s how you make a marginal hand look premium: the flop is 998 with two diamonds. I have the super nuts, but interestingly enough, in 4-Card poker, any card that could make a straight flush is a legitimate concern. Surprisingly, The Crypt Keeper leads right out from the small blind for $50 and I’m next to act. Considering our recent history, I decide to immediately raise to $125. The field folds and I do get a snap call from TCK but he folds to my $200 bet on the Queen turn. QQJT one time! Come on.

7:23 PM: Here’s a hand I wish I played before I felted: I open with AAQT double suited from under the gun and get multiple callers.

Flop is 975 with two clubs, giving me the nut flush draw. I’m out of position against everyone and I don’t want to play for stacks here, so I check which puts some nut flush draws in my check-calling range which I think is a good balancing play. It checks through.

The turn is an offsuit King, I check again and the dude that stacked me in that first big pot bets $40. I am the only caller.

The river is an offsuit 2 and we both check.

He shows a set of 9s! Woah. I get the flop check, but that is an ultra conservative check back on the river. Needless to say, playing for stacks earlier against this player with the hand I had was a clear mistake.

7:45 PM: Crypt Keeper raises some limpers, Lawnmower Man calls, and I call AKss88 on the button.

Six of us see the AK3 two diamond flop and it checks to Lawnmower Man and he bets $100 into $120. TLM has around $500 going to the flop so I think I want to raise and potentially play an all in pot with him. I make it $300, the rest fold and he does jam it. He says he wants to run it once and shows… KKJ9. Gulp. I have two outs. I don’t hit one of them and suddenly I’m back to -$500.

8:10 PM: This game is fizzling quickly. We are suddenly 7-handed and all the weakest players have either busted or left. The unknown has been MIA for a while so we are actually 6-handed.

But wait! As I type this, an older Asian man I don’t know is coming over from 8/16. That can’t be a bad thing.

This game fizzling out early is not a good way to hook The Lawnmower Man during his first session. Leave him unimpressed and he might not ever come back. Fortunately, he said his word of mouth was Lee Markholt so that means he might actually show up again even if he sees the worst possible representation of this game tonight.

8:23 PM: Blackjack is also sitting in the game now and he combines with the older guy to put an additional $430 on the table. We got a couple of shot takers in the game! But at least they are filling seats. That makes us 8-handed now, although two players have been missing for some time.

8:35 PM: Mr. Plow is here to save the day. Not only is he taking a seat, but he fills up the game minutes before superstar Lee Markholt walks in the door. Have a seat on the bench, champ!

Lee just sat down in 8/16. Man, I want to take and post a picture so bad. I bet he plays to crush too. What a stud.

8:56 PM: And the MIA player has been picked up and replaced by a legend: Lee Markholt is in the game.

9:15 PM: I’ve been super inactive but I just watched Blackjack get it in on the KQJ flop and the board runs out KQJ-J-A which seems bad for the AT Blackjack obviously has but the KcTc in his hand makes a running ROYAL FLUSH. I think that’s gonna work. I confirmed that was the first Royal Flush he’s ever made in his life in any game. I should have snapped a pic for the kid!

10:01 PM: Two clashes with Mr. Plow:

First hand I limp along late with QJT5 double suited and he makes it $30 to go. Two of the three limpers call, myself included, and we go to a 982 with two club flop. I have the QJ of clubs in my hand so I have a monster draw. I don’t expect Mr. Plow to show any caution so I check to let him c-bet (for full pot) before making it $400 and ready to play for $1000 each.

He folds and since I have queen high I’m okay with that.

I’ll post the other hand later. Blackjack and I are currently playing 3-handed PLO with Lee Markholt. Like total idiots.

10:47 PM: I asked Radio Mike to snap an indiscreet pic of this epic moment in Palace poker history, so apparently he walked next door and took this gem:

11:00 PM: Last hand of the night: Lee makes it $10 on button, I flat with KQJT double suited because… blackjack makes it $30, Lee calls, now I make it $120 which basically puts BJ all in and I’m hoping I can get a fold from Lee and flip for $125… but he calls.

Gulp. Lee and I are both deep. This could be bad.

Flop is K53 with two hearts. I lead for $165, BJ calls for crumbs and Lee calls the full bet. Omg.

Another king on the turn bails me out. Lee just never has a set here so I feel great leading for $300. Lee snap-folds and BJ says he wants to run it once and immediately rolls over K642 with hearts. The river is a heart and he triples up and the game is dead.

Fortunately, Lee’s flop call earned me a small profit on the hand.

Other hand with Mr. Plow, I have forgotten many details now but has AKxx on K77 and check-called $15 before check-calling $40 on an ace turn and then betting $125 when I somehow rivered aces full of kings. It’s funny how you can go from hoping someone doesn’t have something (a seven) to hoping they do have it. It seems optimistic to think someone can call with a 7 here for full pot, but my boy Mr. Plow is not the type to be bullied. He pays it off and I’m good.

Final Score: -$449

Geez, I hope tonight isn’t a preview of what tomorrow is going to look like. This PLO game has been running every Wednesday for 18 months now and I think tonight was the worst lineup I’ve played in. Not only that, but it never picked up and fizzled out early.

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