Archive for November, 2018

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PLO @ The Palace (11/28/18)

November 29, 2018

I’ve come to the decision to stop live blogging my PLO sessions. Interesting situations just don’t come up often enough. Most hands are pretty cut and dry. There’s a preflop raise and then there’s a flop bet and the hand is over.

Last night was a prime example of why I quit writing during PLO sessions. The game lasted a whopping 3.5 hours and I only played three pots that I thought worthy of jotting down.

I’m surprised the game broke so early in the night considering it started out full and strong enough. Starting lineup featured Part-Time, Charlie Hustle, Twinkie, Lee Markholt, one other PLO regular, and three randoms… plus a list.

Later in the night, Kate Hoang made an appearance in the game. That’s notable because we suddenly had a combined 11 World Series of Poker final tables in the game – and that’s just the ones I know about: Lee has 6, Kate has 3, and I have 2. I’m not positive about this, but I’m guessing that’s a Palace record for a single game.

Anyways, here are the only interesting hands I played on Wednesday:

Lee limps in, I make it $20 with AKQ3 single suited, a regular calls and so does Lee. I’m not stoked about isolating Lee with this hand, but it’s definitely a hand I’m trying to play with a suited ace and I don’t really think I should be limping it.

Flop is A64 rainbow, I bet $35 and only the regular calls.

Turn is a ten and my opponent is pretty sticky. My hand isn’t all that great, but I do have a gutshot to the nuts, so I go ahead and take a free card.

The river is a jack, giving me the nuts, and he checks again. There’s like $130 in the pot and he doesn’t seem strong at all, so I bet $25, hoping to either get paid off by a weak hand or maybe even induce a raise. He just calls though and I win the pot.

Yes, that was one of the three most interesting hands I played all night.

This is the very next hand and I open to $15 with KQJ5 double suited, there’s a call, and the regular from the last hand is on the button and quickly makes it $60. My hand doesn’t qualify for Tommy Angelo’s Waiting for Straighters strategy, but I decide to call anyway because I didn’t read that article until after I got home. The other player calls as well.

Flop is QJ7 with two diamonds which are not one of my suits. I do have a backdoor flush draw though. I also have top two. I’m honestly not sure what my plan is when I check on the flop. The player in between donks out for the full pot of $185 and the regular on the button folds. I have to admit I was pretty lost here. I think I had about $625 behind and I believe he had me covered. I suspected I probably didn’t have any fold equity and it was pretty brutal not having any diamonds in my hand, but I did have a king for a straight blocker at least. Holding top two, it was pretty unlikely I was up against one of the big sets and I saw this player check-min-raise with middle set earlier, so I felt like I probably had the best hand. The question was, did I want to play a $1400+ pot with a naked top two on a super wet board? Honestly… not really. I tanked for quite a long time, but ultimately I decided I had to go with and made it $485, leaving myself with around $140 behind. I’m still not sure about it, but apparently it was the right decision at this exact moment because something really unexpected happened: he folded.

This is a 3-bet pot to $60 preflop and I have double suited KKJ5 in the small blind. Five of us see the flop so there is $300 in the middle when the A42 with two clubs board rolls off. The ace of clubs is on board, so I have the nut flush draw here. I’m in the worst position and I’m deep with some of the remaining players, so I start by checking, the next player pots for $300 and Kate goes all-in for around $225. It folds back to me. The other player has around $100 behind, so this is just a math problem. I tanked for some time at the table trying to figure it out.

There was $300 in the middle before the flop and the flop action added another $525. It costs me $300 to continue in a pot of $825, but technically, if I’m going to continue with the hand, I’m going to put the other player all-in since I’m never folding on the turn, so my actual pot odds are $400 to win $925, or roughly 2.3 to 1. That means I need to win around 30% of the time to break even here. For the sake of simplicity – especially at the table – I use the method of multiplying the number of outs I have on the flop by four to determine how often I improve my hand. This isn’t exact, but it’s close enough. For example, if I have nine outs to a flush, I’m going to improve to a flush by the river roughly (9×4) 36% of the time. That would make this a clear call. Unfortunately, things aren’t that clear. It’s probably safe to assume that I don’t have the best made hand at the moment. The real questions are, how live are my set outs and how likely is it that at least one of my opponents has a flush draw? Since neither of these players 4-bet before the flop, I think it’s safe to assume a set of aces is not out there. I’ve never seen Kate play PLO so I don’t really know what her range looks like, but I think the other player can show up with the small sets here and maybe even a straight. He seems loose enough to put $60 in preflop with those hands. If I had to guess what I’m up against exactly though, I would guess someone usually has aces up and someone has a flush draw, possibly with a little extra equity. If that’s true, my kings are live, but I could be missing up to three flush outs. That would give me around eight outs twice and a roughly 32% chance of improving to a set of kings or a flush by the river. Add in the fact that I’m going to backdoor a straight some percentage of the time and I think I’m supposed to call here, but it’s very close. If a straight and a flush draw are out, it’s arguably a fold, but my backdoor Broadway and full house draws make it pretty close.

In the moment, I decided that I needed to improve and that I was almost certainly missing flush outs and thought I might not be getting the right price, so I folded. The board ran out with two clubs that didn’t pair the board and Kate won with a jack high flush holding JT86. I never got to see what the other player had.

I would love to see someone actually figure this spot out, but now I’m guessing it’s probably a call – and not just because I got there.

That would have been a nice $925 extra to cash out at the end of the night, but for a 3.5 hour session, I wasn’t mad about finishing at +$527 considering I had very few favorable situations and no big confrontations.

My current plan is to combine both PLO sessions on Wednesday and Thursday into one post, but I’m not optimistic the game is going to go tonight so I’m just going to go ahead and publish now. There are currently three names on the list and I heard one of those players say he was going to Muckleshoot tonight. Plus the PLO game hasn’t gone for the last three Thursdays. I thought it was a stretch to try and spread this game twice a week and my intuition looks spot on. It definitely hasn’t helped that The Crypt Keeper has been in Vietnam for the last several weeks, especially since a couple of his friends also stopped showing up when he left. I think PLO can flourish spreading it once a week, but starts to get spread thin if you try to do it more than that. Lakewood just doesn’t have the player pool for it and while the game has drawn in a decent amount of outside players, I don’t think there is enough interest to spread it multiple days a week.

Just look at the 15/30 game. It started off super strong, going once a week on Mondays, then we started expanding it to the point where it was running almost every day… and now it has reached a point where it is reliably running zero times a week. It is dead. With that said, there was discussion with The Man last night about trying to revive it, with the plan of spreading it on Friday nights starting at 4 PM. That makes a lot of sense to me. I think it would do well there as a once a week game.

It’s looking like this will be the fourth straight Thursday that the PLO game doesn’t run, so I might need to find a new option for this night of the week. I can’t really justify waiting around until 6 PM to see if the game is going to go or not. I think Thursday nights are usually good at Fortune, but I also might opt to stay home and play online… what I’m going to try not to do is play 8/16 when I know I really don’t want to.

Note: Just to be clear, I’m still going to blog about my PLO sessions, I’m just not going to do it while I’m playing like I do with Hold’em. I will take notes and write about it later like I have been doing for the past couple of weeks.

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Marathon Monday: 10/20 with Button Straddles!

November 26, 2018

I’m a little unsure what to expect today. The long holiday weekend might be an action killer. There are currently 4 names signed up for the straddle game starting in an hour and one of those names might be “Monday @ noon.” Also, there are always a couple of flakes on the list at the start of the day, so this is looking really bad right now. On the bright side, there is an 8/16 game going already, so heading to Palace at noon won’t be a total waste of my time. Hopefully we can get the red chip game off the ground by 2 PM. My hopes are not high for noon.

Last week wasn’t much of a poker week for me. Thursday we celebrated Thanksgiving with my side of the family and Saturday we celebrated with my wife’s side of the family. We didn’t play any poker on either of those days. Well, that’s not entirely true. There was an impromptu house game tournament on Saturday and I ended up chopping this 7-handed $20 buy-in heads up for +$30! Yesterday we had a medical appointment in Kirkland and then went to a Mayan Ruins themed Escape Room in Gig Harbor at 4 PM. We did not escape… and that brings my career record in escape rooms to 0 for 4. It’s pretty aggravating because I feel like I should be smart and clever enough to get out of these rooms on a regular basis and so far… none.

Friday I did play poker. If you read my last blog you know that I’m on fire and have a couple of cool streaks going. I have won eight sessions in a row and I have had a +$1000 upswing in eight sessions in a row. I managed to keep one of those streaks alive on Friday. I started my session off down $400 and I ended up peaking at over +$600. That qualifies as a +$1000 upswing in the session. Unfortunately, I followed that upswing with one of those nightmare sequences where it feels like I’m raising every other hand preflop but never winning a pot and never showing a hand. It’s the kind of thing that makes you look like a total maniac or someone on extra hard tilt. And yet, I’m just playing my normal game, while getting a very above average distribution of high quality starting hands and whiffing the flop or getting outdrawn with all of them. I didn’t even turn over a losing hand to save face. I just let the image ride. But I was tired, nearing reload status, and almost nine hours into my session, so I swallowed the loss and finished at -$282 and my winning streak ended at eight sessions.

I booked a trip to Los Angeles to play some events at the World Series of Poker Circuit stop at The Bicycle Casino during the first few weeks of December. I’ll be flying to L.A. next Monday and playing the $400 no limit Hold’em Monster Stack on Tuesday, the $400 H.O.R.S.E. on Wednesday, and the $400 limit Omaha 8/Better on Thursday. I thought the limit events were all one day, but they are actually two day events and I have a flight booked for Friday afternoon, so I’m actually unsure about the O8 tournament. I might just end up playing cash games on Thursday.

Hopping in the shower and heading to Palace shortly.

12:28 PM: I wasn’t sure the game would start on time, so even though it’s kind of weak, I’m happy to say cards are in the air already.

Starting lineup: new regular, Flea, Chief Wiggum, Rain Man, non-regular, Radio Mike

12:50 PM: First big clash: Flea straddles, Wiggum calls, I 3-bet AQ from big, Frankenstein 4-bets from UTG, and four of us call.

Flop is Q42 rainbow and I’m looking to check-raise Frankenstein but he checks back. Fortunately the first cold caller bets, Flea raises, Wiggum cold calls, and now I 3-bet. The non-reg and Flea call, but Wiggum caps it. Ugh. His line absolutely reeks of a set, but the pot is so massive now that we have to see a turn card.

The turn is a jack and Wiggum fires into the field. I think it’s reasonable to fold here since I am drawing dead a lot, but there’s one caveat: Wiggum is capable of showing up with some junky suited hands. It is possible he has Q4 or Q2 suited here, but I suspect he might play those hands differently on the flop, leading out with them or 3-betting initially rather than trying to keep everyone else in the pot.

I decided to call anyway and so did the two others still in.

River is a king and now when he fires out again I have a pretty simple fold, even with the size of the pot, because he’s never bluffing here and there’s just no way he’s playing worse than AQ this way. Someone else calls and he shows a set of 4s.

1:15 PM: Game is full with a list!

1:17 PM: Radio Mike 3-bets from the small blind and it folds to me in middle position. I look down at AA and make it 4-bets in my mind but for some reason I only put $30 in the pot (a call). That allows three players to call behind me for 3-bets. Maybe 4-betting doesn’t change anything, but this is definitely not ideal.

Flop is K75 with two spades, Mike leads out, I raise, and Frankenstein 3-bets. That clears the rest of the field and if Frankenstein has me beat here I’m just going to lose an extra big bet on the turn because I’m not about to let him free card play me. I cap it and they both call.

Turn is a blank and I get two callers, which means I almost certainly have the best hand.

River is an 8, which completes some funky draws and two pair hands, but I bet anyway and Mike calls. Looks like Big Frank was definitely planning to take a free card on the turn.

2:25 PM: Bulletproof is in the game. First time I’ve actually been able to use that name while I’m blogging. For further explanation, check out the Blog Nicknames page I’ve started. I’ve only done a few of them but Bulletproof is one of them.

3:16 PM: Part-Time continues to run obnoxiously good against me when he’s drawing basically dead. I have A6 of spades on the KQ5 all spade flop and he beats me with KJ.

I was thinking we might not survive the midday lull but Part-Time and Santa Claus have made us 8-handed.

3:29 PM: False alarm on Santa Claus. He sat down with $1000 then disappeared and his chips were removed before he came back.

One player is racking up now and that could make us 6-handed and a 6-handed game is not likely to survive the lull.

I got an email from Red Box saying that all rentals are $0.16 today so I guess if this game breaks I’m going to rent like 4 movies and see how many I can watch tonight.

3:48 PM: False alarm again. Santa Claus is here. The player that racked up did leave but we picked up another walk in so… 8-handed!

4:38 PM: I have to come clean about something. I made what I think might be the second worst fold of my poker career today.

But since you’ll probably be curious, here’s #1 first:

This was many, many years ago in a 4/8 game. It’s a 3-handed pot and after going all the bets on the flop, raising the turn and still getting re-raised, I decided to fold AA on a board of K777. Not only did I fold it, but I made sure everyone saw the genius lay down I was making.

They both had a king.

I can’t remember feeling more embarrassed at a poker table… but this next hand, from earlier today, comes pretty close:

It gets capped at least 5-ways pre and capped 4-ways on the JT7 rainbow flop. I have JJ.

Flea and I have been pushing the action on the flop so when the turn is an 8, Flea bets, gets called twice, and then a new aggressor check-raises the field, it’s fairly obvious that person has a straight, right?

Right???

So when the river is a 5, I decide to fold instead of overcall and put one more bet in this 32.5 big bet pot. I can be wrong 97% of the time and calling is still profitable… so what the fuck happened? I pitched my hand and the dude check-raising the turn wins with a set of tens.

It’s a nearly unforgivable mistake, but it’s Marathon Monday and I can’t afford to let myself tilt or quit so early in the day.

But Jesus. I can’t believe that actually happened. And I can barely believe I’m sharing it.

Actually, upon further thought, I think this was my worst fold ever. The 4/8 pot was less than $200. This pot was over $600. And it cost me $20 to call and take it.

Ughhhhhhhh

4:50 PM: 30 bets go in the middle preflop and I get the QTT flop while holding the KT of diamonds and it gets capped 5-ways.

The turn is a queen and, determined not to repeat previous mistakes, I call down and lose to Q2.

I am down less than $100. I feel like I am down $1200.

4:56 PM: I am down $6 actually. I took two full laps around the building and I’m going to pretend like I just got here.

5:49 PM: Running better. I call a punter down on 7227A with A6 and donk river vs JJ.

Then I get the K88 flop heads up with 83cc in the straddle and my opponent caps flop with me and still bets the turn, allowing me raise again, so that was nice.

6:00 PM: Santa Claus makes it 3-bets from the small blind, I 4-bet with JJ, Bulletproof calls on the button and Santa caps it.

Flop is AK7 and Santa checks so I bet because he can literally have anything here. That gets Bulletproof out and Santa calls.

I’m planning to show down now but the turn is a jack and he donks out. I raise it and he 3-bets. Ugh. I call and as I do that he says, “partner, if you got this one beat, I guess it’s not my night.”

I feel like he’s being genuine and that means he doesn’t have the nuts, so when the river bricks, I feel pretty good putting in another raise. He might have aces or kings but he’s much more likely to have AK.

He calls and shows 77.

6:16 PM: What a day this is. So Palace has a dumb promotion called the Happy Hour Hand where they draw two cards and put them up on the board and if you win a showdown with those exact two cards, you win the jackpot money. This promo is in play from 7am – 11am and 12am – 2am, plus 3pm – 6pm on non-High Hand days.

So today there is no High Hands and the Happy Hour Hand was $600 if you win with the 4 of hearts and the 2 of clubs. I don’t know how long this has been going on… maybe 18 months? I’ve never even been dealt the Happy Hour Hand… as far as I know. Usually it’s some garbage like the 42o and it’s not even on my radar.

I’ve been getting some 42o today so it’s been more relevant than usual and this time when I looked down at the 42o it was $30 to me and I looked back and, by God, I had the magic hand. I called $30 cold.

Okay, not really sure why I’m doing that. There are all kinds of garbage suited hands that can make straight flushes (for a $400 jackpot) that I fold routinely, even for one bet, so why am I calling here? I think I just got wrapped in the moment of actually having the hand and knowing about it.

So we go to the flop and it’s something like QT6 with two hearts. I’m debating how I can ever possibly continue here, but then it checks around.

The turn is the 2 of hearts. Flea bets, he gets called, and I raise because I want the other players with nothing invested to fold their weak one card flush draws. Flea and the other player both call.

The river is a heart! We have life! I have to win a showdown and everyone has to show their hands so I let them show in turn and the second player has a set of tens… with a heart in his hand. Dammit.

I told Joker and Radio Mike that I had the Happy Hour Hand and that’s when the topic of the current time is brought up. It’s 6:15. The promo ended at 6, so I just torched $70 with the 42o for absolutely no reason.

I guess that’s my fault somehow? The times are clearly posted, but so is the damn hand. If I look back and the hand is taken down, I just fold and move on with my life. I’m barely ever thinking about this promo, so I’m not paying attention to what time it is. I turn around, see I have the hand, and play it. I’m supposed to turn around and check the board and then check what time it is, all while letting no one know I have the bonus hand?

Fuck that and fuck this promotion.

I’m not really mad but it is a bit annoying that they didn’t take the hand down at 6.

6:39 PM: It’s not all that bad though. Just look at this hat The Joker is wearing:

If that doesn’t make you smile, I don’t know what will.

7:20 PM: Tormund chiming in from the sidelines:

8:41 PM: Game is super loose and juiced right now, with players calling $40 cold with monsters like 43o and A5o but showing down winners.

I got stuck in a seriously bloated pot where I had to call three bets cold on the turn with the nut flush draw… and bricked.

Then there was this gem: it’s raised and multi-way to me in button with 96o and I defend the straddle.

Flop is 976 with two hearts and one diamond. Flea is the PFR and leads out, I raise, Radio Mike cold calls, Flea raises back, and I cap it.

Turn is the 5 of diamonds and we both call again.

River is the 8 of hearts. It checks to me. I have no idea what’s going on here, but I’m not about to bluff at this and get scooped somehow so I check back.

Radio Mike has 96 of spades. Flea has A7 of diamonds. We all chop.

Sometimes you just have to get 4-bets in 3-ways with the A7dd on 976hh. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Joker, Radio Mike, and I are all stuck in this game somehow right now.

10:06 PM: Sometimes you just have to close your eyes and keep calling. I’m in the straddle with 87o and it’s 5-bets to me, so obviously I put in another $30.

Flop is T93 with two diamonds and I have to call a raise cold without a diamond in my hand.

Flea donked into Joker on the flop and donks again when the 8 of diamonds turns. Joker just calls and I call also. So does a 4th player.

That player donks on the 6 of club river and now Flea and Joker both fold, so I call and I LOVE my hand now. He immediately says, “you’re good” and I turn my straight over for the full pot.

1:08 AM: Almost forgot to post a wrap up. Not much going on of note the last few hours, for me at least. I dropped down to -$400 but recovered and finished with a…

Final Score: +$382

Not bad considering I folded the winner in a $600 pot when I was already down almost $500. That kind of thing can derail an entire session and I kept it together for a full 12+ hours.

I rented three movies on my way home so I guess that’s my plan for tomorrow. I’ll be back in action Wednesday and Thursday for some pot limit omaha.

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Heater is Official: Pot Limit Omaha Hands

November 23, 2018

Wednesday didn’t start out all that promising. The PLO game at Palace was 6-handed to start and stayed that way for quite some time, with multiple players on the list initially passing on coming over.

Starting lineup was Part-Time, Charlie Hustle, Lee Markholt, Hit&Run, a mega nit, and myself.

The First Hand

I sat down with $700 on the table and on the first hand dealt, I picked up the AKdd63hh and decided to limp along. This is a pretty marginal hand but playing 6-handed if I’m going to play it, I should probably raise it. Honestly, I should probably just be folding it. I guess I wasn’t in the rhythm of things yet. But against very predictable opponents, I think it can be okay to limp along with some weak hands with nut potential and try to play cheap pots in position. This hand would look a lot nicer if it was double suited to the ace and the king. Action gets to Hit&Run in the big blind and he makes it $15 to go and all us passive limpers call.

Flop is KQ6 with two diamonds. I have top and bottom pair with the nut flush draw. Hit&Run leads out for full pot and Charlie Hustle calls. Charlie Hustle has some pretty massive preflop leaks, but postflop he plays a very nitty style. When he calls here, he probably has a very strong draw and he may have a strong made hand. Hit&Run started the hand with just over $500 and Charlie Hustle had $1000. I definitely have enough hand that I can raise and get it in here and maybe I should, but I opt to just call and see what develops.

Turn is a total brick, Hit&Run bets the max of $300 and Charlie Hustle calls. I just called again, but in retrospect, I think this is a pretty clear raise. Hit&Run had less than $200 left after his turn bet and at this point, I think it’s safe to assume that Charlie Hustle is on a draw. It would be strange if he was near-nutted on a wet board and decided to call twice when it was obvious that I was probably drawing. But then again, Charlie Hustle does not look comfortable in huge pots. This guy’s entire sessions are based around making $500 in the least turbulent fashion possible. I could already see that this situation had his breathing accelerated. But I have seen him show up with very big hands when he was clearly nervous. Still, it seemed like he is more likely to be drawing here than to have a made hand better than mine and since Hit&Run has like $150 left and I can’t imagine many rivers I’m going to fold against him (if Charlie Hustle folds in front of me), I should just make it $600 here to create a side pot with Charlie Hustle and also increase the chance that he pays me off if he has a flush draw and we both make diamonds on the river.

But I just called and the river was the 9 of diamonds. They both check to me and I go $300, Hit&Run folds, and Charlie Hustle goes into the tank. It seems like I’m probably not going to get paid off here. Not only do I have the nut flush, but I also have the king of diamonds in my hand, so the best hand he can have is a jack high flush. I was wondering what I would do if I had a hand I could arrive on the river with holding the naked ace of diamonds in my hand. Honestly, I don’t think I’d bluff with it. Not when Hit&Run has $150 left in a pot that has reached over $1000 and not when it seems like Charlie Hustle was drawing, most likely to a flush… so I don’t think I’m ever bluffing in this spot. But the longer he takes and the faster he starts breathing, the more I realize this pompous nit is actually going to give me another $300 with the third nuts (at best). It’s a really tough spot for him because if he calls off $300 here and is wrong, he might actually have to stay and play a session and that would be a real shame. He does stick the $300 in and I’m up over $1000 after one hand of poker.

I messaged The Joker and Radio Mike and told them I was on for The Coast-to-Coast Challenge with a massive head start, but I was informed that The Challenge is only relevant in limit games.

Okay, fine.

Bluff Catcher or The Nuts?

There are limpers and I raise to $30 on the button with a single suited AA53 and get three callers. Flop is T92 rainbow with one of my suit and we all check. Turn pairs the 2 and puts a flush draw (not mine) on board. Part-Time leads out $100, someone else calls, and I call also, planning to re-evaluate on the river and probably call bricks if the other player folds. But the river is an ace and I don’t have to make any decisions. They both check to me and fold when I bet $225. Considering I thought it was very likely I already had the best hand, that seems like some pretty bad sizing on my part. I can and probably should go as small as like $60 here. That’s a tough sizing to fold to if they have anything remotely decent.

The Dark Knight vs Lee Markholt

I raise one limper to $20 with a single suited QJT9 and Lee makes it $70 on the button. The small blind calls and I call also. Lee has at least 200 big blinds to start the hand.

The flop is KQ4 with two clubs and I think I should just be taking the lead here since I flopped a wrap and a flush draw. Lee is going to have AA a lot and if he does have that hand, he’s going to hate this flop and check back a lot. He might bet AA combos that have the nut flush draw, but mostly he will be checking back. He’s also not going to be 3-betting very many KK combos before the flop. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but he will be calling with most of his KK hands so the chances that I get raised on this flop by him are pretty small, plus I have enough hand that I can stand a raise anyway. However, I decided to check and Lee did check back.

Also, for all that analysis, it’s worth noting that this is a 3-handed pot. I’m trying to envision who the third player in the pot was, but I can’t recall. There were only a couple reasonable players in the game though and none of them were sitting in the nine seat at any point in time, so when the small blind calls $70 cold here it isn’t too alarming and probably represents a pretty wide range still.

The turn paired the king and, again, I can justify betting here when the small blind checks and maybe it’s mandatory at this point, but I checked again and Lee bet $140. The other player folded and I tanked for a while before calling. I thought it would be super unlikely for him to have two pair on the flop and have a boat now and there was 0% chance he flopped a set.

River is the 2 of clubs, giving me a queen high flush. As played, there is really no sense in betting here. Lee is not going to call me with any worse hands. I don’t think we have enough history for him to even consider that I’m ever bluffing here. He will, however, raise me if he does happen to somehow have a full house and he will certainly call me if he rivered a better flush. Also, my range seems to be pretty capped here. I would imagine he assumes I never have a full house the way I played this hand, so maybe he will bluff worse hands when I check, but with the $300 max bet, he will probably just check back when I have him beat and that’s okay. He does check back and my flush is good. He shows me the AAKx with the naked ace of clubs and says he didn’t think he could get me to fold a flush since I probably didn’t believe he had a king… and he was right.

I don’t hate my line in this hand, but I’m guessing leading out on the flop is probably the correct play.

Minimizing with The Nuts

I open AAJ7 single suited from early position and two players call. The flop is A82 rainbow. I bet $30 into $45 and the next player, a non-reg in this game and a weak player in hold’em, min-raises me to $60. The other guy folds and this board is as dry as it gets, so I just call. Turn is a king and we both check. Well, that’s annoying. I just let this rookie free card play me in pot limit Omaha when I have the nuts… on a board where no one should ever be raising for a free card. River is a queen and I decide to check again because now the nuts have changed and if he has something I figure he might bet facing a another check. He checks back… with QQ in his hand and who knows what else. I haven’t played PLO with this guy before, but I was pretty shocked to see him check back a set after I check to him twice.

I have no idea what was going on there but I’m obviously not a fan of my line. This dude takes very unorthodox lines in hold’em so I shouldn’t be surprised when he min-raises flop here with nothing and then checks a lot. It makes no sense but this player has never made sense. I’m not sure what my maximizing line is here against him, but I’m guessing small raises and bets are a good way to get more money in the pot even though I have the deck crippled on the flop.

Someone is Winning a Monster

There are limpers and I make it $25 from the small blind with AKK6 single suited to the ace. They all call. The flop is KQ3 with two hearts and one diamond, giving me top set, a backdoor nut flush draw, and an ace, which is not insignificant, as it is a straight draw blocker. I decide to start with a check as I will be checking the flop very frequently when I raise from the small blind and I want to balance my checking range with some strong hands. It may not be necessary for me to balance my ranges in this particular game, but I did it anyway here. It checks to the button and he bets $85. I make it $300 to go and that’s when things start to get crazy. The initial limper in the hand now calls $300 cold and the action is on Mr. Plow and he’s admiring the action going on around him, chuckling about the insanity of it all and that seems like a prelude to folding, but then he says, “I don’t see how I can fold here” and jams for ~$470. Action is back on the button and he asks, “can I raise?” and the answer is yes. Technically, the $470 is not considered a raise of my bet. I made it $215 more and Plow’s all in is only $170 more than my bet and needs to be at least $215 more to be considered a raise. However, I reopened the betting to the button with my initial raise to $300, so he can still raise. If he called though, I would not be able to raise because I’d technically be raising myself and that is not allowed. Confusing? The button does raise, going all in for over $700 and with one raise left I raise again to make sure the other player has to go all in to stay in the pot also. I have everybody covered and my three opponents are all in for ~$800, $470, and $730, respectively.

There is around $2900 in the middle and while I have the nuts, my hand is very vulnerable to straight draws and flush draws here, so I’m happy to run it more than once, but that gets shut down pretty quickly and everyone only gets one shot at a piece of this monster pot.

The turn is a 3, immediately pairing the board and hopefully giving me a lock winner. I say hopefully because this crowd is certainly capable of punting with bottom set in this spot and if you follow my blog you know I’ve taken that beat before. Fortunately, no one has quads and my hand holds up to win everything. One of the players flashed a set of queens, but I didn’t see what anyone else had.

They are Punting

I raise with KJT8 single suited and get some callers. The flop is QT9 with two hearts and one diamond and since I’m out of position against two opponents and I’m deep with one of them, I decide to check and see what happens. While I do have the nut straight and a backdoor flush draw here, my hand has minimal chances of improving and this board is very wet. I’m not looking to play a massive pot here. Someone bets after I check, the deep-stacked player folds, and a shorter stack calls. Okay, with the deep-stacked player out, I don’t mind playing for stacks now. I pot it to $135 and they both call.

The turn is a wonderful black 4 and I make it $300 which is enough to put them both all in and they stack off.

The river pairs the 9 and not only do I not lose on that card, but I’m not splitting with anyone either. It’s another $1000+ pot my way.

But… I have Blockers!

There are limpers again and I raise from the big blind with AKJT single suited to the ace and everybody calls.

Flop is AKJ and this is not a great flop for me, even though I did pair every card. I start with a check, someone bets $25, and everybody else folds. I am pretty happy with that result, as I’m now heads up, and his bet of like 30% pot doesn’t exude strength. I can easily have the best hand here. I call.

Turn is a ten, so I now have the ever elusive four pair. We both check.

River pairs the jack, which gives me the third nuts. I’m only losing to AA and KK and that’s not much of a consideration since this player limped in preflop. I also realize that the way this hand has played out he either had total air when he bet on the flop or he probably has a full house now, so I bet full pot and then something inexplicable happens: he raises the maximum. What. I start tanking, but quickly stop myself because it’s absolutely silly. I’m never folding here with all the blockers that I have and knowing that I only lose if he limped in with AA or KK. I call. He does have KK! What in the world.

My Worst Hand of the Night

There are multiple limpers in this hand and I complete from the small blind with QTss88.

The flop is AKJ and all spades. It’s a pretty decent flop for me as it gives me a Royal Flush. I check and it checks to the button. He bets $25, I call, and so does Charlie Hustle. I think this flop line is reasonable, but…

…the turn is the 4 of hearts and now I should be leading out. When Charlie Hustle calls on the flop, it’s clear that he at least thinks he’s drawing to the nuts, or maybe he flopped a flush also. However, he’s not going to bet either of those hands and after getting called twice on the flop, the button is not going to continue firing with many hands. It’s a total botch job on my part and I practically throw up in my mouth with immediate realization when it checks around.

The river is a red 7, I lead out $60 and both players fold. I showed my hand and that was pretty dumb because now the other two players can make up hands they had that I missed maximum value against. Charlie Hustle claims AK and the other guy says he had a set of kings. Maybe they did, maybe they didn’t, but either way, my line in this hand is absolutely horrible. I think checking on the flop is defensible, but checking the turn is absolutely horrible. There’s really no excuse for it. It’s pretty impressive to flop a Royal Flush and have end wind up as the worst hand you played all night.

Final Score: +$3690

Yep. I’m on a heater. That cash game downswing I was on? Firmly in the rearview now. I can actually see the full scope of it. It stretched from October 12th to November 8th, 113+ hours of pure torture, to the tune of -$5832.

Since that last session on November 8th, I have been absurdly hot, starting a different kind of streak. For one, I have won eight sessions in a row. More impressively, I have had a +$1000 upswing in every single one of those sessions, even when I was playing 4/8!

All in all, I am now on a torrid +$12k heater over my last 8 days of poker.

Insane.

h1

WARNING: Epic Video Game Rant Alert

November 21, 2018

I just finished playing the 2018 MLB season as the Mariners in MLB The Show. Like… all 162 games. I played every single one of them.

Not only that, but I updated the rosters of every MLB team every single day. If someone went on the DL, I took them off the MLB roster. If some random reliever for the Padres got called up in real life, he got called up in my game. I did every single transaction for every single team every single day (unless the player wasn’t in my game, which was rare).

I also used the exact same lineup and starting pitcher that the Mariners used for every single game… up until the last week of September. My team was in contention and the real Mariners fell off.. so they started putting out some janky lineups and started Roenis Elias in the second to last game – a must win for me. I had to veer off course because I needed to win every game possible.

It came down to the wire. It was between the Mariners and the Angels for the second Wild Card and both teams were within 2 games of each other for the last month of the season, but in the last week, we matched each other win for win and loss for loss and entered Game 162 tied at 86 wins.

I had Paxton on deck to start, but I decided to start Erasmo Ramirez instead and save Pax for the WCG. If Erasmo ran into early trouble, I had the option of bringing Paxton in later.

Healy hit an RBI double in the second and then Cruz hit a 3-run homer to give me an early 4-0 lead by the 4th.

Erasmo went 5.2 innings, giving up two hits, one walk, and no runs while striking out 7 before giving up a double, a walk, and another double to get chased in the 6th and it was a 4-2 game heading into the 7th.

Seager hit a 440 foot blast high up and off the right field foul pole to make it 5-2.

Colome struck out the first two batters in the 8th, but then he walked a guy and gave up a hit, so I brought in Diaz for a 4-out save, even though he had pitched in back-to-back games. He promptly gives up three runs. I can’t even remember the last time he gave up a run. He had been utterly dominant. He gets the last out and we go to the 8th tied at 5.

Meanwhile, the Angels-As score has been on the ticker this whole time and they are tied at 6 late in the game.

Healy gets his third hit of the game in the 8th and Zunino comes up in the middle of an 0-3 with 3 K performance. So I pinch run Maybin for Healy and pinch hit Vogelbach against a RHP and he hits a long fly to deep right center that looks like a pop up, but Maybin is running around the bases like it’s not going to be caught and it gets over the fence! 7-5!

Diaz strikes out the side in the 9th to secure the win.

And the Angels lose.

Awesome. I’m in the WCG against the Red Sox and I get to pitch James Paxton in that game.

But wait… my roster has been cut back to 25. They have Paxton in AAA. No worries… I’ll just make some changes…

Nope. I’m told that I can’t call him up to my MLB roster because a player has to be on the MLB roster or the Disabled List on September 1st to qualify for the postseason.

In real life, Paxton was on the DL on September 1st… but I had turned injuries off in my game and instead of using the DL, I just moved players to the minors when they got hurt in real life.

I can’t use Marco Gonzales either. Unreal.

162 games played with an absurd amount of time doing all the transactions and this is my reward.

On the bright side, Chris Sale was also on the DL on September 1st and he’s not on the Red Sox roster for the WCG. I’m facing David Price instead.

And it’s all up to Felix Hernandez.

h1

Marathon Monday: The Santa Claus Game – 10/20 with Button Straddles!

November 19, 2018

But is it really The Santa Claus Game? Santa didn’t even come down the chimney last week. He left all the kids disappointed and lots of cookies and milk went untouched. Actually, in the four weeks The Santa Claus Game has been running, I believe Santa has played less than 8 hours total. I’ve played 40. This game is supposed to be hosted at the North Pole, not Gotham City. I dunno. Can I really justify naming a game after someone that has played in it less than 20% of the time it has been running? I like the name. It has a nice, jolly ring to it. I don’t like that after badgering the staff to make this game happen, it’s not a priority for Santa Claus to play in it. Shoot, it hardly seems like it’s even on his radar. I realize that people have day jobs and lives outside of the poker room, but come on dude.

I mentioned in my post on Saturday that I would be making a trip to Fortune for some 20/40 LHE action, hoping to put a dent in my rather large red number for the year.

It was a very bittersweet session. At one point, I had activated pure God Mode. I was crushing, winning every critical pot and running absolutely pure for hours.

Here’s an example:

I’m at the zenith of my run good, having just shown down AA twice in monster pots in a very short amount of time, coolering KK in one of those hands, when I open with 65dd from the cutoff, Sgt. Rock 3-bets me from the button – which is going to happen very seldom – and a loose player I have all steamed up already calls from one of the blinds.

The flop is 963 with two clubs and the blind donks right out. I think he’s capable of leading with draws and weak pairs here and while Sgt. Rock can certainly have overpairs, I raise this flop bet because I want him to fold his unpaired overcards if he whiffed the flop and play this pot heads up in position against the steamer. Unfortunately, Sgt Rock 3-bets and we both call.

The turn is a non-club 2, a very good continuing card for my hand as I now have straight outs in addition to my trip and two pair outs. Both of us check-call Sgt. Rock again.

The river is the 5 of clubs. Not exactly the card I wanted to drill as it completes the flush and puts four to a straight on the board. However, when the blind checks, I expect to have the best hand most of the time. There’s a chance he would check a better two pair because straights and flushes got there, but if that’s the case, I’m never going to get raised by him. He has to lead flushes in this spot and I suspect he would probably bet straights too. It’s slightly thin, but with the check in front of me, I think I have a value bet here. I’m not worried about Sgt. Rock. He never has me beat unless he has exactly 99 or happened to be emptying the clip with a big flush draw. Again, he’s never raising his sets on the river and if he does raise (with a flush), I have a very easy fold. If the steamer check-raises, I’m calling though. Sgt. Rock folds to my bet and the blind starts grumbling about how I “bingo every hand” like I haven’t been showing down nothing but premium holdings up until this point… and then he pays me off with a hand that was worse than what Sgt. Rock folded.

At that point, I had no less than five players on full-blown, throwing-their-cards-in-anger tilt. It was beautiful.

Unfortunately, the composition of my table changed and then the game also changed. I think I was up over $3000 at my high point. But then the whole table was clamoring for an automatic straddle game.

As you can see by today’s upcoming session, I’m not opposed to an auto-straddle game. However, being up over $3000, I wasn’t exactly thrilled to drastically increase my variance by posting a $40 straddle every orbit… a straddle that I’m going to defend liberally before the flop and that is going to put me in a lot of tricky, priced-in spots after the flop. Also, I’m going to be attacking other people’s straddles aggressively with hands I might fold preflop in other situations. For instance, if it is folded to me in middle position, I am highly incentivized to 3-bet a hand like A9o when I would fold the same hand when it’s folded to me in the same position in an unopened pot. But with the extra $40 out there and leverage to get the big blind out by making them have to call an extra $40 (instead of the normal $20), the situation becomes a lot more attractive. So you defend liberally and attack wider. I still think I have an edge in straddle games, but edge or not, the variance is drastically increased and things can get really ugly really fast.

For a while, the straddle game wasn’t affecting my session much, but heading down the stretch things started to go awry and I ended up losing somewhere around three racks back. Pretty annoying because when the game was playing normally, I was approaching a record win at Fortune. My personal best win at that location is +$3275 and if I wasn’t past that at some point Saturday, I was definitely within sniffing distance.

Alas, I finished the day at +$1675, which is a solid and somewhat satisfying dent in my deficit, but ultimately, a rather disappointing final result.

I had a miserable day of online poker yesterday, losing over $600, which is roughly 25% of what used to be my bankroll on Global Poker. Nothing like putting significant time into studying a game and then posting your worst results ever. I definitely had some c-game spots, but no one could accuse me of running good. I was going to post some of the key hands I played, but it’s already 11:16, I haven’t showered yet, and I need to be at Palace by noon, so I have to get moving. I’ve been playing mostly PLO 100, but after getting blasted yesterday, I think I might have to drop down to PLO 50 until I build back up again. I’m not too worried about playing “above my (online) bankroll” but I don’t have the option to reload on Global so I can’t be totally reckless.

Hopping in the shower. Publishing at noon. After a very rough game start last week, there are currently a very promising 11 names on the list for today.

12:14 PM: Pretty sexy starting lineup: Flea, Chief Wiggum, Part-Time, SUPER DAVE, Radio Mike, random, same Kitsap guy from last week

I’m playing 20/40 Overs with Flea, Wiggum, and Part-Time, so I bought in for twice as much as I normally do.

12:30 PM: Decent start so far. I brick flush draw in 3-bet multi-way pot and pick off Flea’s river bluff with AJ high. Then I 3-bet ATo and let Wiggum barrel off with A3 on A9646.

I ran out of time this morning, but I was going to mention that I was getting berated by one of the PLO 50 regs on Global Poker yesterday. Granted, he saw all the c-game I mentioned before, so I can’t blame him too much, but the hand that set him off is pretty perplexing.

I saved the hand history on my computer at home, but I don’t have it on my phone and the exact details are going to escape.

The gist is that I opened with a double suited KJxx hand, they 3-bet on the button, one of the blinds called, and I decided to call also.

The flop was KJx with two diamonds, so I had top two on a wet board. The blind led out for less than half pot and my stack-to-pot was small, so I had no choice but to get it all in here (I think), so I jammed, and the button tanked forever before calling and the blind also called. The button had KK and the blind had the nut flush draw and binked it.

Then the button spent the next 15 minutes berating me for my flop play. I’m no expert, but I don’t know what choice I have here in a 3-bet pot. I have top two, so sets of kings and jacks are unlikely. The button is obviously far more likely to have AAxx here than the hands that have me drawing dead, but what do I know.

NOTHING. I know nothing, according to that player.

He even made a comment saying something like “pokerbydarkknight.com” and I was super tempted to drop my actual blog link.

Granted I don’t know anything about this player either, but it’s always amusing to me when someone sums up your entire poker ability because of one hand or one session. This dude has no idea what kind of player I am or what I’ve accomplished. Like I said, I don’t know anything about this person either, but someone playing regularly at the top end of micro-stakes talking down to me is hilarious.

Just had button straddle with 82cc in a multi-way pot. Flop is 753, all clubs. Wiggum leads at it, there’s a caller, I raise, Wiggum 3s, and I’m sensing lots of strength, so when the caller drops out, I call also and I’m planning to call down but the river is another club and he still fires. Well, I already thought he might have flopped a flush, but if he didn’t, he sure has me beat now. I fold and he shows JTcc.

1:06 PM: SUPER DAVE was MIA for the first 45 minutes of the game and is already felted and gone. I think he contributed less than $500 today.

There is some tatted up random that looks like a punter in the game and the first hand I see from him, he calls $30 cold from middle position and then bets turn and river on AT5QQ after the flop checks through. I check-called down with KK after 3-betting pre from the big blind and getting an ace high flop against a field and he showed me the ole T3 suited.

Punter confirmed.

2:55 PM: Break from writing as I ate breakfast and spoke to a home loan agent.

Sick recent hand: new player in the game (that I just paid $400+ to for OFC last week) raises from early position, I 4-bet TT, straddle and a blind call, and he caps it at 5-bets.

Flop is pretty decent: T55 with two clubs. I get it capped with help from the PFR and the big blind tags along also, which is cool because I have him marked for a 5 and maybe he’ll overplay it on the turn.

That’s where things get weird: The turn is a small card and the PFR still bets. Wow. I raise it, the blind calls it cold, and the PFR 3-bets it. Holy shit. I cap it and the blind folds. That’s actually bad. I thought he had a 5 and I highly doubt he’s capable of folding one. It’s bad because it drastically increases the chances that the PFR actually has quad 5s. Yeah, there’s only one combo of 55, but he’s taking an absurdly aggressive line here with any other holding.

The river is a king and I am quite relieved to see him check and then just call.

He had AA, which is a bit crazy.

The $400+ I gave him last week feels a whole lot less painful now.

4:35 PM: Sometimes there aren’t a lot of interesting situations. I’m the straddle with T5o and a middle position player raises and I’m the only caller.

He leads out on the 555 flop and I raise him because me raising any hand here is absolutely ludicrous and I’m hoping it will lead to unwarranted action.

Unfortunately he just calls and then check-folds on a 9 turn, which is equally ludicrous.

Part-Time is gone and we have gained Blackjack and a certified lunatic (with an Overs button!).

4:58 PM: Oh yay! Good blog content. I open early with 88 and Wiggum 4-bets it and four of us see the flop.

I check-raise on 983 rainbow, the Kitsap player calls it cold, Wiggum 3s and I cap it.

The turn is a king and now things get interesting. I lead, the Kitsap guy goes all in for $40, and Wiggum cold 3-bets it. What the heck? Limit is a fast-paced game where decisions should be pretty instantaneous, but this one put me in the tank. I came out of it with a call and then I check-called river also.

Wiggum had KK. The other guy had 33.

What a sick cooler hand.

5:08 PM: It’s Santa Claus time! He sits down and takes a hand under the gun and makes it 3-bets without looking.

Merry Christmas!

6:19 PM: Running salty all the sudden.

First, I have KQ in the straddle in a 3-bet pot vs KJ on K747J.

Then I have KQ in another 3-bet pot vs K8 on K96x8, all while a maniac is in total punt mode, bet-capping the flop and betting the turn with J9 out of position. Meanwhile, Radio Mike is showing up with K8 suited under the gun here for some reason.

Then I have Q8 suited in the straddle and bet a T84 rainbow flop and lose to K5. It’s the same maniac that had the J9 in the previous hand. So he spikes his miracle card and just check-calls and then lets me check back the river and show down for free.

It’s funny how some people are completely unaware of their image and how to exploit it. In one hand, he’s driving the action with middle pair on a wet board out of position against three opponents. And in the other hand, he’s turning a top pair that is totally unconnected from anything on the flop and… check-calls?

🀯

7:00 PM: Groan. I have T9dd in the small blind and call $20 first to act. The pot gets 3-bet and six or seven of us see the flop.

Someone bets the KJ7 one diamond flop, maniac raises, I cold call, so do Joker and Blackjack.

Five of us to the queen of diamond turn. I decide to check-raise the maniac, even though it’s tempting to lead right out and let everyone call a bet. But this pot is already massive and I want to charge anyone with a naked ace, ten, or 9. So I check-raise and Blackjack makes it $50, which allows me to cap it and charge the maniac in a side pot.

The river is a 9. I bet and the maniac folds and I have to split this monster pot with Blackjack’s T7.

Come. On. Fucking Cougs.

8:21 PM: I defend big blind with 76o, it gets raised and goes multi-way.

Flop is 742 with two diamonds. PFR bets, maniac raises, I’m not folding yet, and it winds up getting capped.

So when the turn is the 2 of diamonds, bringing in the flush and killing my two pair outs, I’m prepared to check-fold but it ends up checking around somehow.

That gives me a free 7 on the river with a hand I was going to fold and I end up winning this pot.

Joker, Radio Mike, and myself have created a challenge. It might already be a thing in poker, but it’s a new thing amongst us.

Here it is: it’s the Coast-to-Coast Challenge. This means sitting down in the game and never being stuck. You have to win the first time you put chips in a pot and you can never be stuck from that point on.

Since we’ve all made ourselves aware of The Challenge, none of us (and no one else that we’ve noticed) have pulled it off. I’ve definitely done it. I mean I have to have, right? I’ve played like 25,000 hours of live poker in my life. One time I posted my big blind on the first hand I got and won a $2200 Royal Flush jackpot. I think that counts? But it’s the only time I’m certain of.

Anyways, Joker was over two hours deep in his session and was drawing live on completing The Challenge when this hand came up.

I 3-bet some cold callers with KK, Joker defends his straddle, and the other guys call also.

Flop is TT8 and I bet, Joker raises, there’s a cold call, and I just call.

Turn is a king and I check-raise after Joker bets and the other guy calls. Joker calls but the third player drops out.

River is an ace and he calls my bet with a ten.

That confrontation put Joker in the Danger Zone and he went negative for the day not much later.

Not today, buddy.

8:55 PM: I 4-bet JTcc pre from middle position and I’m hoping it gets capped because there are like seven players in the pot. It does get capped.

Flop is 654 with two clubs and it gets capped again. I don’t think anyone folds.

The turn is a 2 and Santa Claus is the only bettor, but there is still no folding.

The river is the 3 of clubs and one of the blinds donks out. There are calls, I raise it, there might be another call, and the original bettor 3-bets it. Brutal. We all call and he tries to flip his hand over and the only card that lands face up is the 6 of diamonds. Well, that’s just beautiful. Send this monster my way. He had 76 and didn’t see the flush.

I am approaching crushing levels today.

10:39 PM: Nothing too exciting lately. I won another massive pot with a rivered flush.

There was this one: there’s a call, I raise with A9ss and then triple barrel against a straight-forward player on A65ccAcT and get check-raised on the river. So I folded. She showed me the ten of clubs when the whole table was begging her to show a bluff.

11:22 PM: Radio Mike takes off after a wimpy 11+ hour session and is replaced by Rosanne, which is pretty awesome.

What’s not awesome is when she shows me K7dd after calling $30 cold from the cutoff on her first hand dealt in on a final board of AQJTx. I had AA. I even had a pivot on the flop when a blind donked but she called two bets cold like a champ and instabinks.

11:52 PM: My dreams of total domination today have been expunged.

First my A6cc runs into the mighty 53 on a 65264 runout.

Then I have AQss in a 5-bet pot and after the 654 flop gets checked multi-way I have a chance to isolate Rosanne when she donks the ace turn but she responds with a 3-bet and then owns me with a value bet on the 8 river with AK.

Eek!

Godzilla in the game now.

1:00 AM: This game is insanely juiced right now. I just passed 13 hours of play and I don’t see how I can even consider leaving. The action is so crazy I decided to break out the old Donkey Tracker.

After sliding back a bit, I just had another heater and I might be peaking again.

I am done blogging for the night. My energy level is super low and I need to use all of it to keep my head in the game.

I will post a final score when I’m done and maybe the stats of these maniacs.

3:45 AM: Just wrapped up a 15.75 hour session and I am hurting but the game was so absurd.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about. This is Joker vs random drunk maniac.

Joker has T9 and gets the 876 flop capped. Then they cap it on the 9 turn. And since you can never be too careful, they cap it again on a king river. His opponent has K7. Joker was just reliving this hand as we were cashing out and said he can’t think of another time where he capped every street after the flop.

A sick hand from me: we are short-handed at this point but the game is super loose. The drunk maniac is in the straddle and I call with JTdd from the small blind. That lets the rest of the field come in for two bets before the imbibed guy raises it and I 4-bet and get it capped.

Flop is AQ8 with one diamond and I go ahead and play my hand like it’s the nuts because, shit, it might be. I have two opponents and there’s plenty of doubt about whether either of them have an ace or a queen. All my cards might be live. We cap it again.

Turn is the 9 of diamonds. No waiting. With a straight flush draw as an added bonus. They both call again.

River is the king of diamonds. We have hit gin. Straight flush. Not only that, but the big blind makes a flush also with 85dd and we get three bets from him. Plus a $400 jackpot.

Two calls in front of me, I jack up A9ss in the straddle.

Flop is A93 and I get check-raised by the small blind and Rosanne cold calls. I just call, planning to raise the turn, but…

…after a 5 hits, the blind leads and Rosanne raises. I make it 3-bets and they both call.

River is a ten and Rosanne check-raises me! So nasty. I don’t know what it is, but this is enough aggressive action that I have to concede I might be beat. I call and so does the other guy. She has AT. He had A5.

FINAL SCORE: +$2320

Marathon Monday indeed. Time to go die in my bed.

Bonus: I stopped using the Donkey Tracker when the game started to deteriorate and got short-handed, but here are some player stats from when I was doing it:

Rosanne 98% VPIP, 10% PFR

Random 72% VPIP, 17% PFR

Random 2 78% VPIP, 32% PFR

Joker 53% VPIP, 26% PFR

For what it’s worth, if the straddle isn’t raised and the button checks, that’s not considered Voluntarily Put $ In Pot, so I’m pretty sure that’s how Rosanne dipped below the Holy Grail of 100% VPIP.

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$1$/$3/$5 PLO – Notable Pots (11-14 and 11-15)

November 17, 2018

So my plan was to note some hands during my live PLO sessions on Wednesday and Thursday, but for whatever reason, the game didn’t go on Thursday night. I know The Crypt Keeper will be in Vietnam for a few weeks, but none of the newer regs showed up on Wednesday and they weren’t on the list for Thursday either. I checked on Bravo all day and I didn’t see the list grow past two (myself included) until after the designated 6 PM start time, so I took my name off and stayed home to play online instead.

Here’s the starting lineup from Wednesday’s game: Twinkie, Part-Time, nitty baseball guy that will leave if he gets up $500, two 8/16 Regs that don’t play this game, Lee Markholt, another nitty non-reg, and Hit&Run

I keep referring to this PLO regular as the nitty baseball guy that likes to hit and run and that’s a mouthful. He plays the PLO every week so I need to give him some kind of name. I’ll just call him The Collector from now on since that seems to be his main hobby.

Edit: Someone suggested the nickname Charlie Hustle after I posted this. It’s perfect. It fits both the baseball theme and the hit and run theme. Credit to Kyle Barkus for the great suggestion.

After spending a lot of time studying PLO and really improving my game over the past week, I was excited to play live again and try out some of my new tricks, but it ended up being a pretty disappointing session. I was very card dead for most of the night and didn’t have much opportunity to take advantage of my newfound knowledge and then once the game got short-handed – where all my study has been focused (for 6-max games) – the game broke pretty quickly.

Here are the key hands from my live session on Wednesday:

I limp along on the button in a multi-way pot with KK62 single suited to a king. This is a pretty shitty hand to raise in a game where none of the limpers are folding preflop because this hand is going to flop very poorly. I’m basically looking to make a set and that’s about it. So the K74 with two clubs flop was pretty nice. A bad player leads out for $30 and I make it $105 to go. That gets us heads up. The turn card is a 7, filling me up, and he check-calls $110. The river is a ten and he check-calls $155 and shows a set of fours after I table the winner. I expect this player to blast off with sets, so I was pretty surprised to see his holding, but I didn’t think he could be very strong here and that’s why I didn’t go for max value.

There are a series of limpers in front of me and I make it $20 with AA86 rainbow and they all call. The flop is AQ9 with two hearts and by this time The Man is in the game and he donks the flop for $65, I make it $250 to go and… everyone folds… including The Man as he flashes 99. Ugh. Not much I can do here but play my hand face up. This board is way too wet to get cute on in a multi-way pot. I suppose I could gamble by calling and see what happens. Maybe someone else will raise? That would be sexy. However, there are going to be some turn cards that will be really difficult to navigate. Maybe there is some merit to calling in this spot. Something to think about.

Sandman has made a surprising appearance in Palace by this point and this is the one of the first hands he gets dealt in. I wasn’t involved so some of the details are missing here, but most of the key elements are accurate. For instance, I know for a fact that Lee Markholt raised one limper to $20, Sandman 3-bets on the button to $70, The Man and Charlie Hustle call it cold from both blinds and Lee also calls.

I completely missed the flop action on this hand but I was tuned back in when The Man and Sandman managed to eventually get 200bb each in the middle by the turn. The board was AQxx and The Man had AQxx plus the nut spade draw and Sandman had KJ83 double suited (what) which was a king high spade draw and a gutshot. As far as I know he had three outs: the non-spade tens. They ran it once and Sandman somehow drilled the ten and won a $2500 pot on what sure looked to me like a massive punt attempt. Sandman said something about having 6 outs, but that doesn’t really make any sense. Maybe there was an 8 or a 3 on the board that gave him two more outs. Regardless, it was a pretty shocking hand and an unbelievable result.

I felt bad for The Man. He was around 90% to win a $1000 gift from Sandman and… nope. So gross. Even more shocking was how tight Sandman played after this pot. KJ83 double suited is a really ambitious 3-bet here and the postflop play was pretty wild also. After seeing that, I was expecting to see him playing a wild and aggressive game all night, but he locked it down. I don’t really get what was going on here.

Sandman makes it $15, two players call, and I squeeze to $70 with AQJ6 double suited. This hand is notably better than the one Sandman 3-bet in the previous hand as I have two big suits and I block 4-bet ranges by holding an ace. Lee Markholt calls it cold (annoying), Sandman folds, and one of the weaker players calls.

The flop is 443 with two clubs, giving me a queen high flush draw. I’m not too sure about this spot. I’d like to know what the solvers suggest here. Generally speaking, if you flop a flush draw in a 3-bet pot starting with 100bb you are committed to the pot. However, I’m not sure if that applies if the board is paired. I would imagine when the board is 443 it is less of a concern, but I’m not sure. I can’t remember exactly how much I started the hand with but my stack-to-pot ratio was at least 3 to 1 and I know this because I decided to bet $130, Lee folded, the weak player check-raised me, and I decided to go with my draw, getting him all in for $613 total. We ran it once and he had a triple suited (meaning three of one suit) Q984 (so gross) and I was drawing dead when the queen on the turn filled him up.

This is definitely a hand I want to look into further because I’m not 100% on my 3-bet pre or my flop action. I could have played it perfect or it could be a total punt. TBD…

Two players limp and I make it $20 with a single suited KQT8, Lee calls from a blind, and both limpers call. The flop is TT8 and I do something atypical and decide to check back. The turn is another medium or small card (meaning I still have the nuts) and Lee leads out for $30, a random makes it $125 and there’s no sense hiding information any longer (if I call Lee is still going to be done with the hand here), so I make it $325, the other player calls and then stacks off for ~$150 on a river card that still has me nutted.

I raise a limper to $20 with AAK4 single suited to the king and we go multi-way to the A76 two heart flop. I flopped top set and the nut flush draw. It is quite sexy. Since I have the deck pretty crippled here, I decide to size smaller and bet $20 into $80, picking up two callers. The turn is a black king and now I go full pot and one bad player calls. The river is a 9 and for some reason I decide to bet $200 instead of the max and he pays off pretty quickly while grumbling that I always have him beat. This time he shows a set of sixes. This dude is a massive punter and this is now twice he’s shown a lot of restraint against me with a set.

By this point, the game has fizzled out quickly and we are down to 4-handed for this last pot. The guy paying me off with sets opens to $15, I 3-bet from the small blind to $40 with AQT3 single suited to the ace and he calls. I lead $60 on the J94 rainbow flop with one of my suit on the board and he calls.

The turn is the 8 of clubs, giving me the nut straight with the nut flush redraw. I felt my opponent was going to bet a lot of the time if I checked, so I went with that line and he fired $160. I max-raised to $460 and he called.

The river paired the board with a 9 and I decided to go for a check-call here, but he checked behind, making me think I won the hand, but he also had QT in his hand. In fact, he had AQT9 (no clubs). I think this is a pretty easy river bet for him. It should be fairly obvious that I have the nut straight here, so firing a $300 bet on the river is basically a freeroll for him, especially since he actually has the board-pairing card in his hand. This was the third time I had the nuts in a massive pot against the same hand and the second time I was freerolling for the whole pot and bricked.

I wrapped the session at +$465 and I was pretty pleased with that result considering I spent most of the session down around $500-$800 and I was still stuck when most of the loose money was gone.

As a bonus, I will include some of the sicker hands I played at $100 PLO 6-max online this week:

This is such a sick hand. I open 3.5x from cutoff with AKJ5 rainbow and the big blind defends. The flop is QT6 rainbow, which gives me a Broadway wrap. With a stack-to-pot ratio of over 40 to 1 (we are both 300+bb deep to start the hand), I go ahead and bet full pot and he check-raises me to 22.5bb. We are way too deep to play for stacks here, so I just call. The turn is a 5, putting two spades on board, and he bets 73% of the pot and I call. The river is a red ten, giving me the nut straight, and somehow I get him to put 252 big blinds in on the river with a hand that isn’t AK. Wow. That’s a mind-boggling punt on the river. This was the biggest pot I won online this week.

I thought I might be punting on this hand and maybe I was, but let’s see. MP opens to 3.5x, button calls, and I have AK54 triple suited to the ace in the big blind. Solvers say this hand type (unpaired, single suited, disconnected A-high 2-card broadway, suited ace) is calling 24% of the time and folding 76% of the time in this exact spot and since I’m triple suited and have two small cards, I’m clearly in the folding bucket. So that answers my first question: this is a punt. I’m not even supposed to be in the hand, so whatever happens afterward is just compounding my original mistake. But wait! It gets better! The flop is Q54 with two diamonds. I have bottom two pair and the naked king of diamonds in my hand. It checks to the PFR and he bets full pot. The other guy folds and… I decide to see the turn. Yikes. The turn is the ace of diamonds, so now I have three pair and the nut flush blocker. I bet out full pot and then something insane happens: he min-raises me. My turn bet was $33 and I have $52 behind and I am utterly flabbergasted. With the king of diamonds in my hand it really doesn’t make much sense that I’m getting raised here. If he had a flush and decided to go with it, you’d think he’d just pot it. Well, I have three pair and I’m confused, so I decide to go with it and jam the rest in. He calls… with… AT63 no diamonds. Unfortunately, the river is a 6 and he makes a bigger two pair and wins this 200+bb pot.

Well, now I know that guy is a total maniac and by the time this next hand comes up (not that much later) he has turned a 435bb stack into an 83bb stack. I open the button with KJ98 double suited and he 3-bets the big blind to 11bb and I call. The flop is AA3 with two spades, giving me a jack high flush draw. He leads out for full pot. As I mentioned earlier, you generally have to go with it when you flop a flush draw in a 3-bet pot and start with 100bb, but it becomes a serious question when the board is paired… and when the board is paired with two aces, it’s probably suicidal. However, this dude is a proven lunatic, so I pot it and he stacks off for 72bb on the AA3 two spade flop with… a single suited 8775 and no spades in his hand. I have nothing on an AA3 board and I am a 55% favorite. It’s insane that he’s 3-betting that hand preflop. It’s insane that he’s potting the flop. It’s insane that he’s getting 76 big blinds in on that flop. It’s absurd that I have no fold equity on the flop and actually have to win a show down. Fortunately, the turn is a jack and that holds up to scoop the pot. What a maniac.

Last night we went to Palace and I played 8/16 all night. Most of the 15/30 regs (Joker, Radio Mike, Flea, Mighty Mouse) were MIA, so the bigger game never got off the ground and I’m beginning to accept the fact that 15/30 at Palace is no longer something I can rely on… even on Friday nights. Somehow I managed to turn a brutal -$600 start into a +$1040 finish – a ridiculous +$1600 swing at the 8/16 level.

Including last Sunday, that puts me at a very strong +$3776 for the week in live games. I’m still a few thousand dollars short of my previous peak, but I’m definitely trending in the direction of finally busting out of this slump.

Today I will be biting the bullet and returning to Fortune for some 20/40 action. For the year, I sit at -$6870 over 46 hours there and I think it would be cool to try and focus on getting that number back in the green before the year ends. I definitely haven’t been making playing at Fortune a priority this year, but with the 15/30 game at Palace all but dead, I need to start pushing myself to drive to Renton. It’s hard to justify spending my Friday nights playing 8/16, no matter how good the game is.

I will be in 20/40 action by 4 PM today, but I won’t be blogging. With my goal of turning my results at Fortune green for 2018, I want to give it my all and that means focusing on every hand, rather than typing on my phone when I’m not involved.

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Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)

November 15, 2018

Anticipation Level: 6/10

Director: Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, X-Men, X2, Superman Returns)
Starring: Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Mike Myers

I’m no Queen or Freddy Mercury superfan and while I recognize and enjoy the band’s most famous songs, I’m not really familiar with their discography either. With that said, I can’t speak on Bohemian Rhapsody‘s historical accuracy. I’ve read that some of the timelines presented are erroneous, but none of that affected my viewing of the film at all.

I thought Bohemian Rhapsody was enjoyable and it had some very good high points, but it felt longer than its 2 hour and 15 minute running time. It functioned much better when the band was on screen together creating their most famous content than when the film focused more on Freddy Mercury’s private life. Rami Malek was Oscar worthy as Mercury though. He gives one of the year’s best performances I’ve seen so far. The film closes with a rather spectacular recreation of Queen’s Live Aid performance in 1985. It’s a strong 15 minute set that is said to be an exact replication of that actual performance and that’s pretty damn cool.

Bohemian Rhapsody was fun movie that highlights Queen’s most iconic songs and gets a great performance from Rami Malek. There were a couple moments I found moving, but overall I wasn’t too invested in the story. It’s worth watching and is obviously a must see for fans of the band.

Replay Value: I could watch it again but I probably won’t.

Sequel Potential: N/A

Oscar Potential: Rami Malek is a strong contender for Best Actor. I can’t imagine him not making the cut at this point. I think I prefer Bradley Cooper’s performance in A Star is Born. I’d be pretty surprised to see this movie garner much other Oscar attention, but it could possibly contend in sound categories and maybe Costume Design.

Dina Meter: If I find a movie struggles with pacing a little bit, I generally think Dina probably won’t like it too much. I think she’d think was okay.

6/10 (Fun)

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Marathon Monday – The Santa Claus Game: $10/$20 with automatic button straddles!

November 12, 2018

12:14 PM: Rough game start here: we are 5-handed with Frankenstein propping the game like a true sicko. When I was flooring here I didn’t even prop 8/16 games because it was too volatile and expensive for such short sessions. So… good on you, Big Frank! I hope he doesn’t get barbecued… not saying he’s at a disadvantage, but these things happen and I know from experience that is substantially more irritating when you are on the clock and have to give up your seat when the game fills.

Starting lineup: Frankenstein, a Kitsap County regular, dude that has been coming in recently, and Part-Time.

There were three other players that were signed up for the game but are still playing 8/16 because they “don’t want to play short-handed.” Uh, okay. If you idiots sat down we’d be 8-handed and the game would be even likelier to fill up and create a list.

12:32 PM: So… I had AA three times in the first 15 minutes of this 5-handed game. Here is how each hand played out:

#1 – I 3-bet AA, Kitsap guy 4-bets the straddle and I call. I check-call 975 flop and check-raise 9 turn and bet blank river to cooler his TT.

#2 – I 3-bet AA and all four opponents call. Flop is TT6 rainbow and they all call again. Turn is a queen and I’m very concerned about being beat here, but I want to show my hand down, so I check to see what happens and the button straddler bets. I’m the only call, so I check-call 8 river and lose to T4o.

#3 – I 3-bet AA and there are a couple callers, including Part-Time. Flop is A32 with two clubs, I bet and PT calls. Turn is an 8 and I expect Part-Time to bet way more often here than is reasonable, especially since I have the deck crippled. So I check-raise and we end up capping the turn. I swear if this dude shows me 54… River is the king of clubs, so the flush gets there, but my hand is worth at least one more bet and I still get raised. Fuck. Really? Considering the events of last week’s PLO game, I just might blow a gasket if I lose this pot to fucking Part-Time.

So I call and he rolls his hand super confidently and the first card I see is the 8 of clubs and I assume that I lost to a flush and I actually have to get out of my seat and look at his hand to see that he has a set of 8s. I win! And, even though I was super irritated with Part-Time’s invincibility against me last week, I still apologized for the mini-slow roll.

1:02 PM: We are now 7-handed and The Joker is in the game. And after all the credit I gave Frankenstein in my initial write up, I have now learned that he is actually off the clock. So I’m less impressed, but it’s still cool that he’s playing.

I’ve mentioned my friend Daniel O in my blog before. We traveled to Chinook Winds together last year and I see him at various local tournaments. He has started his own poker blog. He’s a part-time player that focuses on no limit hold’em, both tournaments and cash games.

He has a background as a professional writer and used to cover the World Series of Poker (and other series) for PokerNews, so his writing style is extremely articulate and insightful.

For someone that plays recreational hours and works a full-time job, his understanding of no limit concepts is impressive and I feel like reading his thought process has improved my own game.

I highly recommend checking his blog out:

Daniel’s Poker Shenanigans

1:24 PM: One more hand from earlier in the day:

I defend 63 suited and three of us see a flop of T63 rainbow. I lead out, Kitsap dude calls, button raises, I 3-bet, and the button calls, with Kitsap guy coming along.

Edit: button capped the flop

Turn is a king and I’m planning to check-raise the button here, but it inexplicably checks through.

I’m planning to bet for value on most rivers, but I’m wary of the 54 straight draw, so I’ll probably check-call 7s and 2s here. However, the river crushes my hand anyway and pairs the king. So I check, the Kitsap player bets and gets called by the button (weird), I fold face up to show how unlucky I got and then TT gets tabled!

Wow! What an escape!

1:50 PM: Forgot to mention how my sessions over the weekend went.

I ended up +$609 in the 20/40 O8 game at Muckleshoot on Saturday in 9 hours of play. It was bittersweet. On one hand, I booked a win and that was cool. On the other hand I was up at least $1800 at one point so the final result was super disappointing.

It’s funny how one hand can stick out as a turning point, but I was running pretty pure until this one came up and steadily dripped from that point on… a total momentum killer.

I had AQ43 double suited in a kill pot that I raised and got multi-way action on.

The flop was AQ2 rainbow… and I only got one caller, but he found a way to scoop me with 9765.

What?

The flop call is pretty mind-boggling. I usually refer to this player as a nit, so… I don’t know what’s going on here. He has zero scoop potential and his low draw is very suspect. He’s basically praying for half the pot.

He actually has a surprising amount of equity against my specific hand:

But when you consider the object of the game is to scoop the whole pot and you see that I scoop 605 times compared to his 28, or 95.5% of the total scoops, maybe it is as disgusting as I thought it was.

I wasn’t planning to play poker last night, but one of my best long-time friends messaged me and inquired if I wanted to play. He never plays poker, so even though I really wanted to take the night off, I agreed to meet up.

That led to me playing the longest 4/8 session that I’ve played in almost 18 months… back when I took a “day off” with my wife during the 2017 WSOP and we played a super casual 12+ hour marathon session with white chips.

So how did my 6.5 hours of of 4/8 action go? I finished +$897! A perfect time to run hot. I played a shit ton of hours of 4/8 before early 2015. I mean thousands and thousands of hours. Maybe 15,000 hours. It’s gross, I know. So a $900 win is far from the best I’ve ever done, but it’s big enough that I did some research to see when the last time I posted a 4/8 win like that was.

I couldn’t find it. I lost my phone in the Yakima River in July of 2014 and lost all the poker data I had logged from summer of 2011 to that point because I didn’t have it saved in any sort of cloud.

I do have spreadsheets with my cash game results dating back to January 2013 and I had to go all the way back to May 31st, 2013 to find a likely $900+ win in what was probably a 4/8 game. It’s just listed in my “cash games” section, but since it was a Friday night in 2013, there’s about a 97% chance I was playing 4/8 LHE.

So maybe my biggest white chip win in 5.5+ years.

Sick!

3:01 PM: We picked up Radio Mike to make us 6-handed but we’ve had no traffic and this game has almost no chance to survive the typical lull that occurs from 3pm to 6pm.

I have an invite to a 5/10 mix game at 7pm and I was on the fence about it, but now it’s looking like I’m at about 95%.

4:12 PM: Hard to post hands while we are short-handed, but here’s one:

I get 5-bets in 6-ways with two red kings. Flop is 753 with two spades. I bet, Joker raises – as the PFR 4-bettor so he has all the big pairs in his range – and Radio Mike calls two cold. I 3-bet and they both call. I’m quite happy to reduce the field by 50% and I know I have Joker beat, so I’m liking this situation.

The turn is the 8 of spades, which is a really good card for Radio Mike’s range. I very reluctantly check when it’s my action and Joker checks behind.

The river pairs the 8 and Radio Mike leads out. I would be shocked if he’s ever bluffing here but I didn’t check back the turn to fold the river, so I call, Joker folds, and Mike tables A2 of spades.

I know I won with aces a couple times earlier and I just flopped a set of kings and got max flop action and two more big bets from Frankenstein on K32AT, but my big hands in straddle games have been killing me. I’ve booked two small losses and one huge loss in three tries – and I’m stuck about $350 right now – and it’s largely because I can’t string together these key pots with my big hands. It feels like a lot of win one and then lose three going on.

It’s pretty frustrating.

4:53 PM: Building back up so I get the standard, momentum-killing 4-bet pot with QQ and the T64A2 runout vs AJ.

Interesting development: Twinkie just made us 6-handed, sitting down with $900. Since he’s the host of the mix game I’m invited to tonight, I’m not sure what to make of it. Granted, he’s not actually sitting down. His chips are just sitting there and he’s MIA, but… I wonder. πŸ€”

5:43 PM: Twinkie is officially in the game, but I do think he’s still planning on hosting. This game has never been full and isn’t particularly great right now so I’m not committed to staying here. Playing some different variants sounds a lot more fun.

Interesting hand: I defend with 98o, Joker 3-bets and five of us see the QJ3 two club flop. Joker checks to the button and he bets, so I’m getting around 16 to 1 to call with my gutshot… but my gutshot also makes AK and K9 a straight, so it’s pretty sketch. I also have the 9 of clubs in my hand for some backdoor flush possibilities. It’s a clear call but I am wary of the dangers. Joker also calls.

Turn does give me the straight with a ten and I opt to check-raise the button and am very happy to see Joker fold. Button calls.

River is an ace giving any king a better straight. I think I’m okay bet-folding this spot. I’m already repping a straight on the turn and it’s highly likely my straight has a king in it, so it would be a really sick spot for him to bluff-raise the river. I think he has to always have it if that happens. So I fire a value bet and he calls and shows the set of 3s I sucked out on and I win the pot.

6:11 PM: Fun/annoying spot vs Radio Mike. I 3-bet with TT and pick up two callers, including Mike on the button in the straddle.

Flop is K94 with two diamonds and I bet and call when Mike raises me and we go heads up to an ace turn.

This time we both check.

River is a blank and I’m pretty sure he has a king and I’m pretty sure he will call one bet with it, so I check it over and now he bets. Here comes some fancy play syndrome: I think if I check-raise here he might fold a king, thinking that I whiffed my turn raise and now I’m unleashing the trap. It’s not an unheard of line from me and Radio Mike is more prone to trying to make good folds than some people so I go ahead and pull the trigger. He starts tanking and nodding is head while looking at me, so I flash a big smile back that says, “yep, that just happened.”

And he folds… then asks to see the bluff and I go ahead and oblige him.

6:23 PM: Twinkie just left but we picked up four players and now have a full game for the first time all day. And… His Royal Airness is on the list as a call in. Nope. We aren’t going anywhere.

6:41 PM – JOKER TAKES A WALK

I’m pretty sure I have the preflop details right but it is bewildering if I do. Joker 3-bets from SB, there are three callers, and I 4-bet with KT of spades from the cutoff and Joker 5-bet caps it, so six of us have put in $50 preflop.

The flop is AQQ with one spade. Joker leads, seat 8 raises, Radio Mike and seat 2 cold call and it’s on me. I could be drawing dead here, but the pot is so massive that I’m just going to take my chances… plus I do have a backdoor Royal Draw that I’m going to hit once every ten years or so. I call and five us head to the turn.

It’s the king of clubs. A pretty damn good card for me. This time it checks to s2 and he bets and we all call.

The river is a blank and now s8 bets when Joker checks.

So… Joker 3-bet and 5-bet pre and then bet the flop and called a raise. Seat 8 called 3-bets pre, raised the flop, check-called the turn, and now he’s donking on a total blank on the river.

But wait! Radio Mike calls and now seat 2 jacks it up, prompting folds from me and Joker (who flashes Q8 – lol what?). Seat 8 calls, Mike folds, and seat 2 tables… AJ! Then seat 8 tables QJ to win the pot.

The very next hand I have J9 of clubs and check-call Joker on flop and turn before check-raising river on QTxx8 – the second time I’ve check-raised him on the river and shown him J9 suited in a very short amount of time…

That prompted him to fire his cards into the muck like a 53 mph fastball and sprint out the front doors.

We didn’t see him again for 20 minutes.

It was during that time that I realized the mega punty raise from the AJ on the river of the previous hand actually cost him half of that massive pot. At the time, I saw QJ and assumed he folded a loser, but then I remembered the kickers didn’t play.

Yikes. No wonder he’s pissed.

But seriously… what’s up with that Q8 5-bet?

7:09 PM: Sick hand. Bloated pot pre. I’m out of position against four players that all look like they are punting in a 5-bet pot. So I check-call with AK on 943 and there are three of us to the king turn. I bet out at the exact same time as the player behind me but it ends up staying at one bet and it is still 3-handed. River pairs the king and I bet and the aggressor starts complaining like I just sucked out. I assume he was punting with 43 or something (he just showed me 73ss in a 5-bet pot) but turns out… he had aces!

Eek!

7:29 PM: His Airness is in the game and the Bravo app has attracted Snowflake to the building.

8:38 PM: Snowflake is in the game now and as he sits down he’s on the phone talking about he can outshoot Michael Jordan from the free throw line.

Of course I’m not letting him get away with that nonsense so I call him out and he claims MJ didn’t even shoot 80% from the line and I call bullshit on that and somehow I end up losing $5 because I took the over on 84%. Wait, what? How did we go from 80% to 84%? Pretty dumb, but I still liked my side and MJ shot 83.5%.

Come on.

8:58 PM – NICKNAME CHANGE ALERT

Due to recent events and popular demand, I am forever changing Snowflake’s nickname on my blog to Free Throw.

It seems fair. I’ve played maybe 30 hours with him lifetime and I think he’s talked about how good he is at shooting free throws for 25 of those hours.

10:21 PM: This game has been off the chains for hours now but most of the hands I’ve played have been pretty straight forward. Here’s one that had potential to get ugly:

I’m the straddle with 52o and it’s $40 back to me, I defend, and it gets 5-bet like four or five ways.

Flop is 532 rainbow and it gets capped again without me putting in a bet or a raise.

Turn is an ace and I’m calling one bet here but someone leads out and His Airness blows me out.

The river pairs the ace to crush my hand anyway, but His Airness has 64o for the flopped nuts!

It would have been interesting if the turn was a blank. If there was action in front of me, I am just calling down, but if it checked to His Airness and he bet… well, I’m raising his ass… so… disaster averted!

11:05 PM: Free Throw defends small blind, I call with JThh, there are multiple callers, His Airness raises from the straddle, I 4-bet and we get 5-bets in a billion ways. I am pleased.

Flop is K94 with one heart and I have to check-call three bets cold to stay in this monster. The 3-bet comes from Free Throw in the small blind and that winds up being the last aggressive action on the flop…

…so when I drill the fucking queen on the turn and Free Throw checks I take the betting lead. There are some calls and His Airness jacks it up. I 3-bet and get two callers. The board is total rainbow so I’m only vulnerable to board pairs.

It’s a clean 5! I bet and cooler His Airness’ pocket nines for a massive pot.

I’ve won a series of pots since then and have momentum in a straddle game for the first time in four straddle sessions.

Also, that JT vs 99 hand sent His Airness out the door, which is pretty unfortunate. We still have a full game but there is no list now.

12:33 AM: I am done blogging for the night. I definitely seem to lose writing steam around ten hours into my sessions.

We are currently 7-handed with Joker, Free Throw, and some randoms.

Not sure how much longer I will play. I am seeing Overlord at 11am tomorrow, plus I’d like to be otherwise productive… like making my wife a dinner and, for goodness sake, going to the damn gym.

I will post a final score when I cash out.

2:35 AM – Final Score: +$1400

Edit: In the hand at 1:24 PM, the button capped the flop, which is why I tried to check-raise the turn and was surprised it checked through.

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Poker Pity Party: Licking my Wounds

November 10, 2018

I am going through one of the toughest stretches of poker I’ve experienced in some time. It has me on poker and life tilt. I am in a funk that can only be described as at least a mild case of depression. I’ve been going to bed earlier and waking up later, plus my overall energy level has been extremely low. I went to the gym twice last month and the last time I lifted weights was on the 18th of October. We stopped hiking – mostly because of the weather, but still.

My motivation to play poker has been low also. Going back to the second week of October, I’ve played one day that wasn’t a massive struggle or a complete collapse. Maybe ‘collapse’ isn’t the right word. But when I spend all day around even on Marathon Monday and lose $1700 in the last 90 minutes, it feels somewhat appropriate.

I had a day-saving PLO session last week and a huge day last Friday, but every other day I’ve played live poker in the past month has been a losing effort. My graph over that time is a straight downward spiral.

I have to admit, it wears on me. Accumulated tilt is when the results of previous sessions seep into your current session. As much as I’d like to think I’ve reduced tilt in my overall game, I know I’ve been carrying a good amount of accumulated tilt around with me lately.

I feel like I’ve been saying the phrase “all-time worst” a lot lately. As in, “one of my all-time worst cash game stretches,” or “one of my all-time worst 8/16 sessions,” or “the worst 90 minutes of poker I’ve ever had.”

So last week I started off losing $360 on Sunday playing when I didn’t want to. Then I lost $1700+ in The Santa Claus Game on Monday.

That brings me to Wednesday’s PLO session. Things were pretty standard until this hand came up:

There was a $15 open and a call in front of me. I 3-bet AAKQ single-suited to $40 (too small), Part-Time calls in position and the two others also call.

With roughly $160 in the pot I bet out $100 on the AJ5dd. I had top set but no diamonds, so I was vulnerable to flush draws, but I had good blockers against gut shot straight draws. Part-Time and the original PFR both call.

Turn is an offsuit 9. Now I bet the $300 max, Part-Time jams for like $450, and the third player stacks off. I call for about $400 of it, pretty thrilled about the situation. I just need to dodge non-board pairing diamonds and kings and queens.

No one is turning their hands up so when the river pairs the 9, the pot seems as good as mine, but Part-Time blurts out: “I have the nuts” and turns over J993.

Jack Nine Nine Three.

What the FUCK?

Okay, he had two diamonds in his hand. So he flopped a shitty flush draw and turned a set.

But Jesus.

J993 single-suited? I wouldn’t complete my small blind with that piece of shit in a limped pot, let alone call an 8x raise in a 3-bet pot with it. It’s an amazing spew. The flop call is spew. The turn jam is basically just a punt. He probably doesn’t have the best made hand and it would be shocking if he had the best draw in this situation. Somehow he had the only diamond draw here (third player had a Broadway inside wrap, another massive spew on the turn with diamonds and possible duplicate draws drastically reducing his winning chances), but that is some serious wishful thinking to gamble for stacks with it.

So I started off my PLO session immediately stuck $600 because I lost to a massive punt attempt. At the time, I handled it well. I quietly reloaded and took my loss in stride.

But then I kept losing in gross fashion, particularly to Part-Time, and I was absolutely simmering. Not only was I losing in dumb spots to the same person, but twice I folded on the turn in marginal spots and rivered the nuts.

The first time that happened I had some T9xx hand on a board of Q862 rainbow and folded after a bet and call of $155, which was about pot-size. Since both my outs make the nuts, I pondered calling, but opted to fold. The river was a 7 and Part-Time led out $300, the other guy folded, and PT flashed 754. It was the most annoying result possible. Watching him win that pot with an inferior straight draw and then donking out for the max made me sick. My fold is probably correct, but still.

The second time this happened I folded top two pair with a likely bad flush draw on a super coordinated board (AK is the nuts) with four players invested on the turn already. Basically pairing my top card was the only way I was going to like my hand on the river, so of course I mucked and rivered the absolute nuts. I was already simmering near the boiling point when that happened and watching that river card fall was enough to make me rage quit.

Poker had broken me. I took my $997 loss and headed out the door, wondering what was wrong with me (woah, look at that alliteration!). For crying out loud, I shipped $5k in a tournament in late October and booked a $2k winner less than a week ago. How bad can it really be?

Bad enough that I knew I needed some extra time off… so of course I returned to Palace on Thursday and lost ferociously while playing 8/16, completely tuned out as I watched instructional PLO videos on my phone. I could have stayed home and done that. What’s the point of playing live poker if I’m going to be on total autopilot mode?

I passed on PLO on Thursday with plans to hop in later, when the game got better, but after losing $504 in 3 hours of 8/16, I once again realized, for the third time in five days, that I didn’t really want to play.

I went home early again. And then I took Friday off. Friday!

One good thing has happened this week: I have taken a serious liking to studying pot limit omaha. While I’ve been sulking at home, I’ve been watching training videos and practicing online at the PLO 100 level mostly. I can feel my game drastically improving.

I’m up almost seven buy-ins at the PLO 100 level this month and my online PLO volume is at an all-time high.

I averaged about 32 hours a month from February to April at my peak volume, but played only 12 hours combined over the last two months.

In November, I’ve already played 52 hours of online PLO, by far my most in any month this year, and it has only been nine days!

So at least something good has come from this horrible slide. When things go badly, I tend to hit the lab more often and I always come out a better and stronger player.

I just felt like sharing my misery and giving an explanation for the lack of blogs this week. It’s been rough. I’m playing 20/40 Omaha 8 at Muckleshoot right now but I’m not going to blog the session. I will be back to live blogging for The Santa Claus Game on Marathon Monday.

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Marathon Monday: The Santa Claus Game – $10/$20 Limit Hold’em with Mississippi Straddles!

November 5, 2018

I mentioned The Santa Claus Game in my last blog and I said “more on that later” so now I will go ahead and explain what I was referencing. If you follow my blog, you should be aware of the player I call Santa Claus. I started calling him that because it feels like Christmas whenever he’s at the table, as he loves nothing more than putting in as many chips as possible with whatever he happens to have and he really seems to find joy in spreading his chips around… as long as people are gambling with him. Santa doesn’t like to play by himself. He wants everyone at the table to play like he’s playing. In fact, lately, Santa Claus has been more of a Krampus, lashing out at players that don’t want to straddle at every opportunity.

I think that’s how this game started at Palace. Somehow Santa talked The Man into hosting a weekly game that requires an automatic straddle from the button – the Mississippi straddle. This game starts at noon on Mondays. For the first two weeks it was an 8/16 game, but today it will be a 10/20 game because last week the normal 8/16 died pretty early on Monday and it really isn’t fair to the regular 8/16 players (that don’t want to straddle every button) if they suddenly don’t have a game to play in on Monday nights. So now The Santa Claus Game is ever so slightly bigger in an effort to have two distinct limits that attract different player groups.

I don’t think the general playing public really understands how much bigger a straddle game plays compared to a non-straddle game. Nothing illustrates this point quite like my first session in The Santa Claus Game. I bought in for $800 – an amount most people would probably find excessive – and after 40 minutes in that first straddle session I had $100 in front of me. I was stuck $700 in 40 minutes! That’s an extreme case, but fluctuating $400 an hour in a game this volatile will be common. I would imagine the average 8/16 player finds it alarming (and they shouldn’t) if they lose $200 in a single hour.

My point is that straddle games play substantially bigger than a non-straddle game at the same limit. An 8/16 straddle game shouldn’t be cannibalizing the regular 8/16 game… in theory. But I can see how people that normally wouldn’t play bigger than 8/16 would think a straddle game wouldn’t be a big leap. But it really is. Anyways, it will be 10/20 today in the hopes that it creates a more distinct group of players and both limits can run congruently.

I last blogged about my play on Wednesday, so I will give a brief update on what’s happened since then. It is worth mentioning that the overall quality of the pot limit Omaha game at Palace has taken a massive hit. The start of that game used to be populated by The Crypt Keeper, myself, and a rotating cast of recreational Hold’em players. It was a beautiful thing. Now the same players are starting every session and there are six regulars that are nitty, tight-solid, or tough, and that doesn’t even include Lee Markholt, a seasoned pro that has been coming in the past several weeks on a regular basis. That’s six players starting the game most days that I don’t even really want to play with. Not that I feel outclassed, it just ruins the quality of the game and I’m sure will have a huge affect on my bottom line. PLO started at the Palace sometime last spring and over the past 18 months or so, I have produced a $100/hour win rate in this game. It’s insane. I thought it was totally unsustainable, but here we are, a year and a half later. But if the same seven above average players are going to be starting every game, that win rate will obvious take a hit because the loose players will only have two seats to occupy.

With that said, I showed up to Palace early on Thursday with plans on putting in a marathon session. With PLO starting at 6 PM and fizzling out early on Wednesday night, I wanted to make sure I was getting my hours in. So I started playing 8/16 around noon and I’d make a decision later if I was going to play PLO or not, depending on the lineup.

The 8/16 session was one of my all-time worst. It was going so poorly, I started scrolling through my records to see where it might place historically. As far as 8/16 is concerned, I have one -$1849 session that is a total anomaly. It is my worst performance ever, by a long shot. To put that massive number in perspective, prior to last Thursday I had played 440 sessions of 8/16 lifetime and I had only lost $1000 or more five times total. I was down over five racks when I started looking up these stats and I discovered that I hadn’t lost $1000 in an 8/16 game in almost two years.

Well, I finished at -$1250, which ranks 439th out of the 441 sessions of 8/16 I have played in my life. It was my third worst performance ever!

The PLO lineup was as bad as I thought it was going to be, so I didn’t hop in that game immediately. I continued playing 8/16 and getting punished well past 6 PM. Then His Airness walked in the building and put his name up for PLO and so did I.

I got in the game a little after 9 PM, at the exact same time as His Airness. So I sat down in a big bet game already down $1250 for the day.

With just under $1000 in front of me, early in the session, this hand came up:

Someone raised to $15 and there were two calls in front of me. I made a pot-sweetening raise to $40 with a single-suited AAQ5. I think this play has merit as max-raising telegraphs my hand and doesn’t get enough money in the pot preflop. It’s tough to play postflop when your opponents know half your hand and there is significant money behind. But by making a smaller raise, I can potentially clear some players behind me, put more money in the pot with a suited aces hand, and not give away my hand, as this play makes sense with a much wider range than just aces. It folds to The Crypt Keeper and he makes it $150, which caps the preflop betting. The first three players fold, but I obviously call.

The flop is T33 rainbow, about as good a board as possible that doesn’t improve my hand. TCK checks to me and I decide to bet the $300 max. He ends up tanking for what felt like two minutes and eventually shrugs like he’s going to go with his KK or QQ hand here and play for stacks by making it $600. I immediately put the rest of my chips in and he visibly flinches in pain, confirming my beliefs about his hand strength. After discussing these situations on Twitter with noted PLO author Jeff Hwang, I’ve determined to always let my opponent decide how many times to run it after we get all in, so that I’m not seen as someone that makes that decision based on my own hand strength. So when the dealer asks, I say, “whatever he wants to do, once?” because The Crypt Keeper almost always runs it once, but he decides he wants to run this one twice. Okay, fine by me.

The dealer starts running out the first board and I let him know I have aces and he says, “aces no good” and tables AA3x, for flopped trips. So I’m basically drawing dead in this $2000+ pot, already stuck $1250 for the day. The first board is a whiff and I’ve already mentally lost the pot when I noticed that the jack and king runout on the second board gives me a straight.

It’s good for half. What an escape. Holy shit.

I suppose I have to give The Crypt Keeper some credit here, even though it comes with an asterisk. His acting job on the flop totally sold me on his hand strength. Realistically, once we each get $150 in pre, there’s no way he’s ever folding after flopping trips. So when he tanked for literally two minutes, he had nothing to think about. Not really. Maybe to think about the best way to get all the chips in, but his two minute tank was nothing short of excessive. While it convinced me that I had the best hand, I probably would have been just as convinced after 30 seconds. Set a timer for two minutes and imagine you’re waiting for your opponent to act on his hand. It’s an eternity. For him to turn over the best hand in that spot is kind of bad form.

Anyways, I’m convinced that he only ran it twice because I jammed over his flop raise so fast he was convinced I had TT or T3 in my hand and wanted to run the board an extra time to give himself a better chance of getting half the pot back. So maybe that second board was karma for the excessive tank and trying to exploit the situation by running it twice because he actually thought he was behind in the hand? If he had TT here, he would never run it twice, so I can’t help but chuckle at the irony. Good decision, bud!

So instead of punting another $700 (my initial buy in) and being stuck almost $2000 for the day, I still had life. That life turned into a +$1422 session and an overall profitable day, an amazing achievement considering my historically bad 8/16 session and one of my best comebacks ever.

I’ll also note that one of the nitty PLO players was clearly stuck when I got in the game. He sure played different after having his nose busted open. He was in almost every pot and was raising and 3-betting with the frequency of someone that was clearly desperate. This is a dude that is so tight and predictable that someone correctly folded quad nines against him on a TT299 board the night previous. I don’t know how much he was down before I got in the game, but he lost around $3000 that I saw. It was a performance that certainly makes me feel differently about his presence in the game. Anyone that can come off the hinges like that and blast off $4000 or so is a welcome sight.

I was still playing 4-handed with His Airness, Twinkie, and a LAG regular at 2:15 AM, 14 hours deep into my workday, when the men’s bathroom at Palace started flooding so badly water was literally rushing into the lobby and out the front doors. So management had to kick everyone out of the building, which is a damn shame because His Airness still had over $1500 in front of him and he wasn’t planning on leaving with it.

Friday was a signature Dark Knight performance: I went +$1069 in 4.5 hours of 8/16 and then +$871 in 5+ hours of 15/30 with 25/50 Overs. That session broke a horrible losing streak in limit Hold’em. For simplicity’s sake, when I play LHE, I consider the entire day one single session. Prior to Friday, I had ten straight losing sessions of LHE, which is likely my longest stretch of all-time. I went -$4447 over that period (LHE only – I had winning PLO sessions and won a Big O tournament), so it was nice to get almost half of that back in a single day. I had forgotten what it was like to show down a winner or hit a draw in limit Hold’em.

Saturday we spent at my parents’ house watching the Breeder’s Cup with my dad and celebrating his birthday. I played some PLO online when I got home while marathoning “Making A Murderer season 2 on Netflix with The Leak. I ended up +$574.43 playing $0.50-$1 PLO for 8.5 hours.

Last night I made the poor decision of heading to Palace to play poker when I didn’t really want to play poker. I did need to pick up one of our cars we had left there over the weekend, so I had to go there anyway, but after being -$360 in 5+ hours and realizing I wasn’t going to be playing much longer anyway, I decided not to reload and call it an early night so I could be fresh for today’s marathon session.

I will be heading to the gym now and ready to play at noon!

11:54 AM: Waiting for the game to start now. I will have a starting lineup shortly but the game will be full! Leggo!

12:05 PM: Starting lineup: 8/16 reg, Fortune floor that has the name NoHair in some circles, Chief Wiggum, Radio Mike, SUPER DAVE, 8/16 reg, 8/16 reg, and Part-Time.

Rosanne is second on the list, so there’s potential for two of the biggest maniacs in Palace history to both be in this game at the same time. Super Dave doesn’t get in super deep and usually plays short sessions so it probably won’t happen, but we can dream!

12:24 PM: Super Dave is tilting the table – especially Radio Mike – showing down monsters like T6o that flop trips after he 4-bets preflop. The good news is he has over $1k now. The bad news is I have put money in the pot outside the straddle only twice and I am still searching for Pot A.

12:41 PM: Pot A! Radio Mike and, more importantly, Super Dave are both away from the table. I straddle on the button and everyone folds!

Okay. Now that I got that out of the way, I’m looking for a real Pot A.

Radio Mike just called Super Dave’s river bet on an ace high board with second pair and won showdown against king high. I’ve never seen someone look so pleased with themselves.

12:44 PM: SB and Super Dave call the straddle and I 3-bet with KJcc. Part-Time defends and so do the other two.

Flop is T94 with two clubs and they all call my cbet.

Turn is a blank and we all check.

River pairs the board with one of the small cards and I call Super Dave’s bet with king high, even though there are still two players behind me. Part-Time basically never has a pair here, so I’m not worried about that. If he has ace high, he will probably think I have a better one. The small blind can have a 4 here, but that’s about her max strength. You can argue a raise here, but I don’t expect an overcall very often and Super Dave will never fold a better hand.

I call, the others fold, and I’m good against queen high for a real Pot A!

Just got a flurry of bets in with TT until my opponent was all in on the 433ss flop and he rivered a flush with 95ss, taking 3-bets to the face from under the gun.

Well done, sir.

1:12 PM: I’ve had a flurry of good hands and have been in action a lot.

Most notably:

3-bet KK and four of us see the 942 two heart one club flop. I bet and get called twice.

Turn pairs the 2 with a club and now the lady that called 3-bets cold from middle position raises me and everyone else folds. I think she’s capable of having a 2 here and 99 and 44 are concerns, but this feels like a spot where I’m still ahead most of the time. I guess I’m just not buying it. I 3-bet and I’m happy to see that she just calls.

River is a blank and she folds to my bet and angrily flashes KJ of hearts.

1:40 PM: The list has Rosanne, John Stockton, Big Baby, and Joker on it.

There will be no shortage of action this afternoon.

2:05 PM: I 3-bet QQ from SB and Radio Mike 4-bets it. Two other players call, including Super Dave, and I’m very tempted to cap with his loose money in there, but Mike’s range is super narrow and I don’t want to narrow my range by capping, so I call.

Flop is KK5 and my plan is to check-call down here unimproved, so that’s my action on the flop.

The turn double pairs the board and I’m a bit bewildered to see Radio Mike check and then Super Dave shows some restraint and also checks.

The river is an 8 and this is probably a bet but I guess it’s one of those things where I sense danger. I check, Mike bets, Super Dave raises and unfortunately I have to call this off. Mike can have TT or JJ and Super Dave could have any two cards.

I call and say to Mike: “I hope you don’t have aces.” But he does. He does, gosh dammit. Super Dave has T8 which is good for exactly 0% of the pot.

Super Dave is out and is replaced by an 8/16 regular I am shocked to see actually take a seat. Rosanne passed. 😒

2:47 PM: Part-Time is out. The 8/16 reg I was surprised to see sit down played one orbit and is gone. πŸ˜‚

Nice showing, pal. I’m sorry you couldn’t hit and run us for $500 or whatever you were hoping for.

John Stockton and Big Baby are in.

Joker is now first up which is annoying. I was hoping to lock him out until at least 6 PM. BUT Santa Claus himself is second up as a call in.

3:30 PM: As the betting is getting capped at $50 preflop multiple ways, Radio Mike says to the dealer: “I need a good flop.” I do something rare and ask for a root and he shows me the AT of hearts.

Flop is 877 with two hearts. John Stockton leads out, someone calls, and Radio Mike flats also. There might be another caller.

Turn is the jack of hearts. Bink! John Stockton bets and Radio Mike ends up raising. John Stockton reraises and Mike calls.

I’m sitting there thinking about how much more I would have made on this hand, but the river goes bet and call after a fourth heart and Stockton shows down JJ.

Sometimes when you’re running ultra bad, as Radio Mike has been, you just know you are losing every hand.

3:39 PM: Joker’s first hand he takes $30 cold to the fucking dome from the cutoff and as he’s getting trapped for 3-bets on the flop, I note, with a splash of glee, “Joker is getting violated on his first hand.”

The board on the turn is 887T and after a bet and a call or two Joker raises and says to me: “welcome to the game, buddy” as a boast about the massive pot he’s about to win.

I say, “don’t do it” to the dealer, trying to will him to bring someone else a winner on the river and Joker responds, “It’s going to be an 8. I guarantee it.”

Turn action completes and the river is a third 8! Amazing. The player in seat one leads out and both Big Baby and Joker flash their J9s in disgust and fold. Seat one wins with AA.

Almost too good to be true and yet it was.

4:09 PM: Since I haven’t posted a hand in a while, I’ll give NoHair some play.

I 3-bet with 99 from early position and he 4-bets.

I call down on KK5Q7 and he shows 77.

Hey, that’s how Josh Beckley crippled me late in the $1500 Limit Hold’em tournament at the 2016 WSOP! Except I had TT.

Great memories.

4:23 PM: Eek. The Santa Claus Game is in the danger zone. We are currently 7-handed with Radio Mike threatening to leave at 4:45 like a true asshole.

It would be a tragedy if this game were to break before the post-dinner rush, but… its sketchy right now.

Santa Claus has been up as a call in for almost two hours now and even called to say he was close… but that was actually quite some time ago.

4:30 PM: Ho ho ho! It’s Christmas time! Santa Claus is here!

But first: I’m the straddle on the button and only the big blind calls. I 3-bet with red kings and she calls.

Flop is 752 all diamonds and she check-calls.

Turn is a black king, giving me top set and the second nut flush draw. I’m prepared to 3-bet if I get check-raised here, but she just calls again.

River is a black ace and now she donks out. I’m obviously raising here, but my decision after getting 3-bet is much less standard. I am ruling out flushes… for the most part.

Then I start thinking about the ole 43 and it brings a grimace to my face because I feel like I should be capping here most of the time, but her line is pretty consistent with a straight. Maybe she has aces up sometimes, but the 43 and remote possibility she has a flush have me thinking I may be actually be beat here. I call and she shows 43 of hearts.

Sheesh.

5:06 PM: I’m not having a terrible session, but I can’t get any real traction because shit like this keeps happening:

I’m the straddle with QJo, there are some calls and Stockton makes it 3-bets and we al call.

Flop is J53 and I raise when Stockton bets and that gets us heads up, but he 3-bets and I’m in call down mode until…

…the turn is a queen and now I jack him up again and cap it when he 3-bets because I really think he plays KK and AA like this.

River is a king and I bet after he checks even though it improves KK and random spazz hands like KJ and KQ. I think it’s pretty close but I lean towards bet after getting checked to again. He calls and I lose to 55.

5:22 PM: And this:

Joker is on the straddle, I 3-bet small blind with JJ, s1 calls, Big Baby 4-bets, and Joker 5-bets. We all call.

Flop is J52 with two diamonds and I elect to lead out, Big Baby is all in for $15 and Joker makes it $25, I just call and we are heads up on the side.

Turn is a 4 and I check-raise Joker. He folds TT face up and I have to fade Big Baby’s 73dd.

River ace of diamonds.

Sigh.

And this:

I 3-bet KT from MP, button and Big Baby in the big blind call.

Flop is 975 and I’m waiting for Big Baby to act and he looks likes he’s checking, so I check, but he’s actually power folding which makes me sad as it checks around and he gets to see the turn for free.

It’s a jack and now I bet and the button raises me. This is the same lady that raised me on the turn with a flush draw, so after she checks back flop, I think she’s draw heavy here. I’m planning to call down on brick rivers.

However, I have a straight draw myself and the 8 on the river fills it in. I bet and then call her raise and she shows QT.

More sigh.

5:59 PM: Getting close to even so obviously I get five bets in pre with TT and lose to 72o.

6:11 PM: The game has survived the late afternoon lull. We were 6-handed at one point and Santa was legitimately concerned that there weren’t enough kids around to hand out presents to.

We are now full with two on the list and steady traffic on the horizon.

I somehow have the slightest bit of sugar. It seems like I’m getting clobbered because I keep losing in shocking fashion with the top of my range, but I’ve had some key suckouts, particularly from the straddle.

One time I got stair-stepped into 5-bets with A9cc and called down on Q7658 and got to raise the river.

Then Joker tried to blow me out on a flop of A72 when I had 87o on the button, but it was 3-bets pre 5-ways and I was getting almost 10 to 1 with a pair so I stuck in the $20 and smacked the 7, getting paid off in two spots on turn and river.

6:44 PM: Santa Claus Game Special: there are multiple calls in front of me, so I just call with AJo in middle position and it winds up getting 5-bet… nine ways. There is $450 in the pot of this 10/20 game before the flop.

Flop is Q43 with two diamonds and I have no intentions of folding the Ad in this monster pot, so I wind calling three bets with my nothing and like seven of us see the turn.

The turn is an ace. Yes! I have life at this behemoth. Bet and calls in front of me. There is no real value or protection to be had here, so I just call, praying to show down a winner. Six of us see the river.

It’s even better: a jack! I love my hand now and I will bet if it checks to me, but the flop and turn aggressor checks and John Stockton bets on my immediate right. It is clearly better to call here and let everyone behind me call than it is to raise so that’s what I do and the lady that has been crushing me all day raises it. Stockton calls and so do I. She shows the nut straight.

Just a $900 pot. No big deal. I didn’t really want it anyway.

7:01 PM: $40 in 6-ways with the ole ace and king. Flop is beautiful: K72. I get called in all five spots and again on the turn and decide to showdown on the river with five opponents. I lose to Santa Claus’ 95dd, which makes a running two pair.

πŸ‘πŸ»

7:37 PM: Big Baby raises my straddle from the small blind, lady calls and I 4-bet with AQss. They both call.

Flop is KQT one spade and they both check-call.

Turn is the jack of spades, giving me the the nuts with a Royal Flush draw. I bet and the lady check-raises me, I 3-bet and I’m muttering, “please 4-bet me” and she doesn’t disappoint. What can go wrong here with your naked ace that I obviously have too?

Unfortunately the river is the 4d and I have to chop with A6dd.

Goodness! Let her punish herself one time!

7:46 PM: First off, Frankenstein is in the game. Good to see I’m not wasting another good nickname.

Second off, I 3-bet KQo from the big, Bingo Man and the straddle both call.

Flop is Q65 rainbow and they both call my bet.

Turn is the jack of hearts, making a flush draw possible. I decide to balance my checking range by checking here and I raise when the button bets. Bingo Man calls $40 cold and the button also calls.

The river is the 9 of hearts so the only draws that get there are the best straight draw on the flop (87), the best straight draw on the turn (KT), and the backdoor flush draw. Or in other words, all the draws get there. I check and it checks around. Somehow I’m good here.

8:54 PM: A classic Dark Knight vs Joker battle:

Joker is the straddle and I’m in the small blind with K3 of spades and decide to call because the table has been playing loose-passive and I think I can see the flop for two bets here a lot. Only the big blind calls and the three of us see the flop.

It is AJ5 with one spade. We both check and it checks to Joker and he bets, which is laughable. I make a mistake and just call because I think a check-raise won’t be believable from me but I would check-raise a jack here, plus I can have small suited aces and sets of 5s in my range, so raising actually has merit. But I call and we go heads up to a turn.

It is the jack of spades and now I’m torn because I have a hand I can showdown unimproved and I certainly have a hand that can check-raise. If Joker is airballing he has four outs and I don’t think he has broadway hands very often after checking when only the two blinds call. That’s not really much equity to be concerned about, so I think calling down is fine here.

River is a ten and I stick with my check-calling plan and he shows T8o.

SIGH.

Back to basically even after getting up to around +$400 again.

Also, I edited the update at 5:22 PM after being told I didn’t include the flop cards in one of the hands I posted.

9:18 PM: Frankenstein drove from Gig Harbor, won $500, and left after one hour of play. He is literally going to spend more time driving to and from the casino than he did playing in the game.

9:56 PM: As the game starts crumbling, so am I. I’ve had a bunch of suited broadway hands over the last hour that has amounted to zero winners and a downward spiral. Mostly I’m just whiffing, but I did hit the flop once.

Dude 3-bets and I 4-bet with KJhh. We are at least 3-handed to the flop and the preflop 3-bettor donks out on J76 and I raise. We are heads up and he donks again on the 9 turn. I just call now. River is an 8 and now he checks. I’m perplexed but it seems like I have the best hand. However, I’m not convinced enough to bet so I check back and he shows J8.

I am now stuck $300 and we are 6-handed.

10:13 PM: Oh my God, I’m getting demolished and I’m holding back tears of pain after this last hand.

I 3-bet TT from the big, there’s a call and Big Baby 4-bets the button. I 5-bet.

I bet every street on Q95hhd6h6d and Big Baby suddenly raises me on the river. It seems like I’m beat and I should never be good here, but I have to see it. I just have to. I was so certain I had the best hand before the river so how am I losing now? I pay it off and he shows me K6 of clubs.

What in the FUCK is going on? It’s a fucking bloodbath. I am now working on -$800 and we are 5-handed.

10:23 PM: I’m at max pain but I took a walk around outside and did some deep breathing to collect myself and have gone full reload for another $1k. Big Baby is in super punt mode (obv) and has over $1600, so I can’t throw in the towel. I have to fight.

If he leaves I’m fucking out though. And I’m probably running something over with my car.

We are playing 5-handed so I’m mostly going to stop updating unless something happens I absolutely have to mention.

10:39 PM: Joker finally says, “I’m tilting right now” and I snap back: “Oh, you’re on tilt?” because I obviously have a monopoly on that right now.

And then: “I wonder if they can even see us through all the steam coming off us right now. Can you guys see us? I think they think they are playing 3-handed.”

10:45 PM: KK dusted by Joker’s K8 of clubs. He found someone he can beat. I still haven’t.

10:51 PM: Joker 3-bets cutoff. I defend straddle with ATo with Big Baby already putting in two bets.

Flop is AQQ and I check back after Big Baby power folds and Joker checks.

Then I call down on AQQ39 runout and he shows me Q3 of spades because I’M NOT ALLOWED TO FUCKING WIN RIGHT NOW.

11:08 PM: They somehow let me win a 4-bet multi-way pot with QQ on a final board of 98376. What a relief. It is the first hand I have won in over an hour of super high variance 5-handed poker. And it’s not like I haven’t had hands. It has been BRUTAL.

I checked the time stamps and I lost $1200 in an hour there.

11:27 PM: Uhm. The game is over. I’m still sitting here in disbelief. I can’t even believe what just happened. At 9:56 I had a stretch that took me from about even to -$300 and by 11:15 when the game broke I was at -$1714 for the day.

I can’t fathom it. I was running so good before the flop. I probably had medium or big pair, suited broadways, or big aces around 20 times during this rough 100 minute stretch and I showed down one winner.

I’m pretty sure the last hour we played is the worst hour of poker I’ve ever had. I basically lost $1500 over the last 60 minutes.

It reminds me of my worst 4/8 session of all-time. I’ve probably mentioned it long ago, but what happened was I was in Pendleton, Oregon for their round up series (which happens to be going on right now) and I was playing in a 4/8 automatic straddle game with a full kill. I had a stretch where I went three hours under these conditions without winning a pot… while playing 5-handed. I lost just over $900. I have TONS of 4/8 sessions under my belt – probably more than any other limit – and my next worst session was -$530. That’s quite the anomaly.

Well, this felt a lot like that did. It was very similar. 5-handed, auto straddle and no winning. The big difference is tonight I had tons of good hands in that last hour, so I wasn’t just ice cold, I was losing big pot after big pot.

Ugh. It feels so damn gross. I was off to a good start this month and immediately post an unbelievably brutal result.

I was fluctuating between +$400 and -$200 basically all day and my wife kept checking in periodically. I was about the same when she went to sleep for the night. She is not going to believe it when I tell her I lost $1700+ tonight.

Jesus, I don’t believe it. I’m still sitting here 30 minutes after the game broke with $286 in chips in front of me.

Uh, I guess that’s it for tonight. I’ll be very happy to not play poker tomorrow after this bludgeoning. I’m going to watch Bohemian Rhapsody in the AM before heading to Seattle for the University of Washington Huskies home opener against Western Kentucky.

What a catastrophe.