Archive for February, 2019

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Happy Death Day 2U (2019)

February 19, 2019

Happy Death Day 2U (2018)
Director: Christopher Landon (Happy Death Day, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones)
Starring: Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Phi Vu, Ruby Modine

Anticipation Level: Modest

How Was It? Even though I really enjoyed the first Happy Death Day, I had somewhat modest expectations for this sequel. First off, sequels to horror movies tend to decrease in quality with each new entry and second, the trailer for Happy Death Day 2U showed way too damn much in it.

I think fans of the first film will mostly find themselves enjoying this movie – Jessica Rothe is still great as Tree in the lead role and the mystery of “who did it?” is still fun to unravel. However, unlike the first movie, where I was basically pleased with every aspect of it except for the ending, Happy Death Day 2U presents more problems. Naturally, this movie delves into the how of the time loop and we get stuff like parallel dimensions and time-warping machines named Sissy. Credit to the writers for trying to branch out, but all the algorithm and trial and error stuff makes for a less fun movie. While the montage of Tree killing herself each day as her friends try to win the science fair is great (if you didn’t already see it all in the damn trailer), they need every minute of every repeat day to, uh, solve things, and she’s seen jumping out of planes and into wood chippers in broad daylight. Do they not get how time sensitive this thing is?

Oh, and the ending blew. It makes the ending in the first movie seem like The Sixth Sense.

For the most part, I somewhat enjoyed Happy Death Day 2U. I really think Jessica Rothe is stellar in these movies and I felt myself rooting hard for her character. Somewhere amidst all the science-fiction stuff, the movie finds a way to pull at the heart strings and find moments of genuine emotional impact. All in all though, I was disappointed and the more I think about the movie, the less I liked it. Go see it if you liked the first one and brace yourself.

Replay Value: I enjoyed watching the original again this past weekend, but this one would be less fun to watch again but…

Sequel Potential: …when they make the inevitable Happy Death Day 3, I will watch it again.

Oscar Potential: None.

Dina Meter: Dina never saw the first one, but I think she’d like it. This one, she would like less.

5/10 (Decent)

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My Worst Weekend Ever

February 18, 2019

I can’t pretend like I’ve faced a lot of adversity in the 15/30 game at Palace. This is what my lifetime graph in the game looked like before Friday night:

A little bit of a slow start, a long period of absolutely crushing, a somewhat sizable breakeven stretch and back to more crushing.

It’s not like it’s a small sample either. This is nearly 700 hours running at 1.95 big bets an hour. Sick numbers.

I usually live blog my Friday sessions but I was feeling uninspired this weekend and, well, I’m glad I took a break.

This is what my Friday night blog would have looked like:

I raised with this hand and whiffed.

I raised with this hand, flopped top pair, and lost.

I lost. I lost. I lost.

I don’t remember winning a single hand of consequence.

I do remember going 0 for 6 against Flea at showdown and half of those hands was me opening from late position and him defending from a blind – a highly advantageous scenario for me.

I basically lost every hand I played for seven hours and decided to quit at -$1651 and went home before midnight on a Friday.

Pathetic.

Amazingly, Saturday started off even worse. Rather than mostly whiffing every flop, I was either starting with big hands or connecting hard with the flop… and then losing. That’s the hemorrhaging kind of losing rather than the slow, steady drip type of losing I did the previous night.

Needless to say, I wasn’t in the mood for that shit. I started my session at 4:30 and I was ready to quit by 6:30, already stuck $800 and losing in horrible fashion. The Leak was telling to go home.

I didn’t though and things started to turn around. I had JJ against Part-Time’s AA and after exchanging multiple bets pre and on the flop, I called down on 9832 before betting a river jack when he checked to me.

Unfortunately, there was a third player in the pot and he had T7 and rivered a straight, meaning I was drawing completely dead. Even though the third player is an action guy, I resisted the urge to 3-bet the river and accepted the fact that he probably had a straight.

Here’s how you know it’s time to leave: there are limpers and a raise in front of me and I 3-bet with AQo from the cutoff. Flea caps the button, a mostly tight-solid player takes all that action to the face from the small blind and then donks right out on a Q97 rainbow flop. I already hate it. Then the action player calls and Part-Time raises. This is what I meant when I said it might be time to go home: I tanked and I seriously considered folding. Is there merit to folding here? Maybe. Two different players are betting and raising right into the preflop 3-bettor and capper. That’s pretty strong.

But if I’m folding AQ on Q97 rainbow in a 4-bet pot, what the fuck am I even doing playing poker? This is LIMIT Hold’em. I just have to hang on and call down and hope I win. This is not a spot I think I should be raising.

So I do end up calling and I’m happy to see the small blind just call. He’s not the type of player that would flat with better than AQ here and try to check-raise the turn.

The turn is a jack and that is not a good card for my hand and it’s made even worse when the action player donks out. Part-Time calls and I could be drawing dead but I can’t fold now. Small blind also calls.

The river is a 5 and it goes bet and call in front of me. I don’t think I have the best hand, but if I folded here and was wrong it would be catastrophic so I make the overcall and the action player shows J9 for two pair and Part-Time has 86 for a straight.

Cool.

I already have a bad case of the MUBS (Monsters Under the Bed Syndrome) so when I open AK, get two calls and the flop comes down AAQ, I’m practically begging to lose the hand. I want the pain. Two opponents? Two blind defenders? Deck crippled? I can do it. I really think I can.

I bet and they both call. Good start.

Turn is a 7 and they both call again.

River pairs the 7 and I get check-called by A3.

I mean… it’s kind of like losing, right?

This is my best result in my first four hours of play. I’m already down over $1000.

A short while later, I finally catch a break. I 3-bet the action player with 55 after he opens from MP and then I c-bet the KT3 with two hearts flop. He calls.

I catch a magic 5 on the turn and then I get check-raised. Before I get too excited it is worth noting that the turn is a heart, putting a three flush on board. Against some players I would just call here, but against this dude, I have to put the raise in. He calls.

Whatever worries I had about him having a flush are alleviated when the 3 pairs on the river. I bet and he calls.

Holy shit. Finally. A much, much needed substantial pot.

I feel a minor weight released from my shoulders.

And then he turns over pocket tens.

How? How is that a thing?

The guy even says he thought I had a flush so his river check-call has to be born out of pure pity.

I’m disgusted.

Then I beat Flea at showdown for the first time in two sessions and things actually did start to turn around for me. For real this time.

I bottomed out at -$1600 and slowly rallied back to -$400 and then I flopped the nut flush draw in a big pot that would have had me in the green, but… I whiffed. And then I got cold again.

In the midst of this new downward spiral I got the KT8sss flop with AsK in a 4-bet pot and ran into pocket kings and failed to improve.

A half hour later I was back to -$1600.

Then I flopped an ace with AJ in a 4-bet multi-way pot and I was -$1850.

I had like ten chips in front of me. I took a break and thought about whether I wanted to quit or not. Most likely, I was only going to play for an hour or so longer, so making a full reload didn’t make a lot of sense. But I also wasn’t about to sit back down and try to play 15/30 with less than $150 front of me.

The game was good. Very good. And we had two cars at Palace.

I was hurting. For sure. I wanted to quit. Just accept defeat and leave. Come back and fight another time.

But the game was good and after some stretching and breathing, I decided to commit.

I sat back down with another $1800 and text my wife that I wasn’t going hiking the next day, nor was I going to be productive in any sort of way.

I was going to play deep into the night and fight for my chips back.

I actually started to make a comeback, maybe getting as low as -$900, but it just wasn’t meant to be for me this session.

The wheels fell off again and at 5:15 AM, this hand came up:

Guy on my right playing hyper-aggressive opens from mid and I 3-bet to isolate with 55. Flea caps on the button and we both call.

The flop is J82 rainbow. Flea bets and the other dude calls. I’m getting 14-1 here and there’s some chance I have the best hand. Flea will cap light and I’m not sure I’ve ever seen him not c-bet with the betting lead, so I’m not giving him tons of credit here and the other dude is check-raising 100% of the time he has a pair of 8s or better. I peel.

The turn gives me a set and now I get a check-raise in and two big bets from both my opponents.

The river is an offsuit 6. I bet, Flea calls, and the other guy check-raises me.

Unreal.

This seems like a spot I should be 3-betting but while this guy is absurdly aggressive, he’s not clueless. I don’t think he’d even check-raise 86… and if he’s not check-raising that hand… then I can’t really imagine what hands I want him to call three bets with.

I don’t think he would show up with 66 here so I actually call out “97 of spades” (because there are two spades on turn) and decide to just call.

Sure enough, that is the exact hand he shows me. Not that it needed to be spades. I’m sure he’d continue on turn with all the suited 97s.

I was already racked up and prepared to leave on account of being tired, so I played til my big blind and quit around 5:20 AM.

I finished at -$1746 in 13 hours.

That put me at -$3397 for the two days and while I knew it was my biggest cash game loss in a 2-day period, I wondered how many times I’ve ever lost 50+ big bets in back-to-back sessions.

I did have back-to-back losses of 44 big bets as recently as December of 2018 in the 15/30 game.

In April of 2017 I followed up a 47 big bet loss with a 56 big bet loss. That basically counts, but doesn’t meet the terms exactly.

In December of 2015 I had a four session stretch where I lost 40 big bets, 45 big bets, 57 big bets, and 73 big bets. That is insane.

I found one! In October of 2015 I had a 69 big bet loss and I went out and lost 55 big bets in my very next session.

So I guess this weekend’s loss is not without precedent, but you can see how often this kind of thing happens. About once a year?

So yes… an epic bad weekend, but really that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Since that disastrous trip to Las Vegas on Super Bowl Sunday I’ve gone on a -$9146 spiral over my last 108 hours.

I’m pretty sure that’s my worst cash game downswing ever, over any stretch, and it is such a super small sample size.

Hopefully it isn’t just the beginning.

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Roma (2018)

February 18, 2019

Roma (2018)
Director: Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity, Children of Men, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Y Tu Mama Tambien)
Starring: Yalitza Aparicio, Marina de Tavira

Anticipation Level: Modest

How Was It? Roma is a heavy favorite to win Best Picture this Sunday. As you can see from my level of anticipation, despite all the hype around Roma, I just wasn’t all that excited for it. I’m not exactly sure why. Maybe because no one I know personally has told me it was great. Alfonso Cuaron is one of my favorite directors and every movie he’s made since Y Tu Mama Tambien in 2001 has cracked my top 10 for the year.

I very much wanted to be blown away. I wasn’t. Well, I sort of was. A lot of the praise heaped on Roma is due to writer/director/cinematographer Alfonso Cuaron’s ridiculous visual presentation. It is a truly beautiful film – shot in black and white, yet full of vibrant life. Visually, Roma deserves all the adoration it has received. I just wasn’t emotionally invested in the story. From my understanding, Roma is largely inspired by Cuaron’s own childhood and the main maid/nanny character of Cleo is based on his family’s own maid/nanny from when he was growing up. In fact, I just read that 90% of the scenes in the movie are taken from Cuaron’s own memories. That actually makes this movie substantially cooler. Still, on my first viewing, I found the pace of Roma to be a bit of a drag and the most powerful scenes in the film didn’t affect me as much as I suspect they were supposed to. Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de Tavira both got Oscar noms for their acting in this movie and while I can see how Aparicio got nominated, it’s not as clear why de Tavira did; I thought she was solid but nothing spectacular. Aparicio had zero acting experience prior to this movie and only auditioned for the role because she “had nothing better to do” and didn’t even know who Alfonso Cuaron is. The fact the she is now an Oscar-nominated actress is quite an amazing story.

Honestly, I think I owe Roma another watch, but after my first viewing, I felt underwhelmed. It is definitely a gorgeous and intimate film, but I’m sorry, it was a bit *gasp* boring. It is a must watch film because it’s probably going to win a lot of Oscars – including Best Picture – and the cinematography is top notch, but if you don’t care about the technical aspects of making films (I do) and simply want to be entertained, Roma will probably disappoint. I do think this is a film that could end up growing on me.

Replay Value: I’m willing to give it another chance and see if it impacts me more on a second viewing.

Sequel Potential: None.

Oscar Potential: Roma is nominated for ten Oscars and seems like the favorite to win Best Picture. Even more of a lock is Alfonso Cuaron for Best Director and Best Cinematography. Roma is also a lock to win Best Foreign Language Film. I mentioned the two actresses have nominations and Roma also has nods for Original Screenplay, Production Design, Sound Editing, and Sound Mixing. I would be pretty surprised if Roma doesn’t notch at least four Oscars on Sunday night.

Dina Meter: I wonder… I kind of feel like Dina would quit this film pretty early but there are some things I think she’d like.

6/10 (Recommended)

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Cali Trip Report and PLO Hands

February 13, 2019

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So I’ve basically been in Los Angeles for three weeks straight with a little mini-trip home for a weekend in between.

To illustrate, I’ve played 5.5 hours at Palace (my home court) since January 18th.

I’ve been gone a lot. And I feel discombobulated. Unorganized. Tilty even?

I was playing on Global Poker last night and after establishing a new record number of bullets fired in the $7K rebuy, I actually had to unregister some tournaments because I knew I was in total C-game mode. Somehow I managed to take 3rd in the $5.50 PLO rebuy to almost salvage my night.

I’m totally off my routine and I have to admit it’s throwing my shit off completely. I’m excited to get back into the routine of normal life and start being productive again.

But first! A recap of my Cali trips:

  • 1/20: +$135 in 5 hours of 20/40 LHE @ Commerce
  • 1/21: 18th of 186 for -$120 in $350 Omaha 8 tournament @ Commerce
  • 1/22: -$350 in Triple Stud tourney @ Commerce
  • 1/22: +$69 in 1.5 hours of 20/40 LHE @ Bike
  • 1/22: +$161 in 3.5 hours of 20/40 Mix @ Bike
  • 1/23: +$1945 in 10.5 hours of 20/40 LHE @ Bike
  • 1/24: -$350 in Stud 8 tourney @ Commerce
  • 1/24: +$4 in 2.5 hours of 8/16 Stud 8/Big O @ Commerce
  • 1/25 to 1/29: back in Washington
  • 1/30: -$700 in Limit Hold’em tourney @ Commerce
  • 1/31: -$350 in HORSE tourney @ Commerce
  • 1/31: +$1235 in 5.5 hours of 40/80 LHE @ Commerce
  • 2/1: +$5035 in 11.5 hours of 40/80 LHE @ Bike
  • 2/2: -$350 in NL HORSE tourney @ Commerce
  • 2/3: -$9 in 1 hour of 20/40 LHE @ Bellagio
  • 2/3: -$2177 in 2 hours of 40/80 LHE @ Bellagio
  • 2/4: -$570 in Omaha 8 tourney @ Commerce
  • 2/4: -$555 in 2.75 hours of 7 Card Stud @ Commerce
  • 2/5: +$1708 in 10.25 hours of 40/80 LHE @ Bike
  • 2/6: -$2060 in 8.25 hours of 40/80 LHE @ Bike
  • 2/7: -$570 in HORSE tourney @ Commerce
  • 2/8: Day off
  • 2/9: +$20 in 9 hours of 20/40 LHE @ Bike
  • 2/9: +$184 in 4.75 hours of 40/80 LHE @ Bike

Cash games: +$5695 in 78 hours

Tournaments: -$3360 in 48 hours

Meh. You can do the math there. It was an okay trip, but when you factor in expenses it basically equates to a huge waste of time… except one thing! I got a lot of experience at the 40/80 level. That is valuable.

Actually…. if you erased that insane trip to Las Vegas from my results ledger, it would look a whole lot better. Not amazing… but I could probably at least label it a good trip.

Gosh damn Flipper.

The tournament side of things was a massive disappointment. I cashed only one time in eight events – which is only slightly below average – but I was in two bullets when I cashed and still managed to lose money in the event. More annoyingly, I never made an actual interesting run in any of the LAPC events. I never had a stack at a stage of the tournament where I really thought I had a chance to do some serious damage.

Sometimes it makes you wonder… why bother?

Sigh. Next year!

I’m back at Palace tonight for some PLO. I’ll jot notes and post some hand histories later and probably publish tomorrow (Thursday).

Starting Lineup: Kitsap Reg, 8/16 Reg, Part-Time, Charlie Hustle, Hit&Run, JOKER, Lee Markholt, Crypt Keeper

Notable Pots:

I make it $15 with AAJ2 with a suited ace in clubs and get 5-way action to the Q54 rainbow flop. I start with a check, Hit&Run bets $75 and everyone else folds. It’s not a great spot, but I’m against a player that can have a hand as weak as a pair of queens with no draws here. Plus I do have a gutshot and a club is on the board. It’s not much of a hand, but I think I have to continue here.

The turn is the king of clubs, giving me the nut flush draw and another gutshot, and I have a very easy check-call when he makes a weak-looking bet of $125. I can’t remember what the stack sizes were at this point, but there’s probably some merit to check-potting here. His bet size seems like weakness, so I think I might have a decent amount of fold equity here and I have a lot of outs when I do get called, but Hit&Run makes some super marginal calls and he’s not the kind of player I’m trying to get to fold better hands. I just call.

The river pairs the 4 and he makes another bet in the $125 range and that card and bet size gives me the snappiest of calls. That sizing was already weak on the turn, so it’s pathetic on the river. He shows QJ75 (with bad clubs) and the 4 counterfeited his two pair and gives me a winner. Like I said, that’s a hand that should be folding if it gets raised to $425 on the turn and I honestly don’t think he’d make that lay down so that’s why I just check-call instead of trying to exploit the weakness I was sensing.

I believe I limped along with the TT86 with clubs in this hand and bet $10 when it checked to me on the Tc9c6s flop. I had top set, a gutshot, and a bad flush draw and the 8/16 Reg check-called. The turn brought the only club I wanted to see – the 7 – and gave me a straight flush. I bet $20 and he check-called again. I remember sizing down in this spot because I had just played a hand against the same player where I took a much stronger line and thought he might incorrectly smell weakness here. The river brought a blank and I decided to pot it and he folded.

There’s a series of limpers and Part-Time makes it $30 on the button. I call with KQT9 with a suit and most of the others call as well. Flop is Q86 rainbow and it checks around. The turn completes the rainbow with a ten and gives me top two pair. Despite the lack of flush draws, the board is pretty coordinated here, so I send it around again and the Kitsap guy bets $125 and everyone else folds. It’s not a great spot and I think folding might actually be best here, but I decide to see another card. The river is a blank and we both check. I show my top two pair and then five minutes later he shows me top set.

There’s a raise from early position and multiple callers and I defend the big blind with AQ52 single suited with spades. The flop is K43 with two spades, giving me a wheel wrap and a queen high flush draw. I decide to start with a check, the PFR checks, Joker bets $50, it folds to Part-Time in the small blind and he calls, and with somewhere around $600 in front of me I’m going with the hand and pot it. Joker makes what looks like a painful fold, but Part-Time almost immediately puts me all in. He has a set of fours and only wants to run it once and the turn card pairs the board and just like that I am felted.

I reload for $800 and it doesn’t take long for me to raise it up to $30 with AAK6 single suited with hearts and get it all in again with Part-Time on the T73hh flop. I bet $125 on the flop and by doing so, I knew I was committing myself to seeing all five cards, so we ran it once again. Part-Time has a set of 7s this time, someone says they folded three hearts, but somehow I river a flush anyway. Not that it matters. The board immediately paired on the turn and I’m felted again.

I was having a pretty middling session up to that point and just like that, in about 15 minutes, I lost around $1500 in two hands. I took a lap around the building and decided that I couldn’t possibly quit at 9 PM, three hours into my first session back in Washington, so I reloaded another $1000.

I make it $20 with an AA hand and can’t recall either of my side cards. Maybe because the flop was A82 rainbow and I didn’t them? I bet $20 and both Part-Time and the Kitsap player call. Turn is the ten of spades, opening up a flush draw and a lot of straight draws, so I pot it this time and only one player calls. The river brings in the flush, but it’s a 2! I’m pretty sure my remaining opponent has a hand he can call with so I bet $200 and he does call… and shows a set of 8s and the nut flush. Yikes! It’s nice to win a pot here, but after the hand all I can think about is how I would have doubled up if Part-Time had his hand.

By now, Aquaman has made a very surprising appearance in this game and he gives me a very kind assist in this next pot. Someone opens to $15 and I call with JT75 double suited from the blinds. The flop is K96 rainbow, but has one of each of my suits on board, plus I have a sneaky double gutter that only makes nut straights. I check, there’s a $75 bet, Aquaman calls, and I’m happy to continue here as well. The turn completes the rainbow with a blank-looking 3, but that card actually gives me the elusive triple gutshot! I check, the flop bettor fires $200 on the turn, and Aquaman calls again, leaving himself with just under $300 behind. The fact that Aquaman just calls here instead of jamming leads me to believe he’s on a draw, so he probably has at least one of the same straight draws as I do. Still, I don’t see how I can fold here so I call and I’m desperately rooting for a 4 on the river because that card will look like a total brick. I’m planning to check-raise 4s and lead with 8s and queens. The river is an 8, I bet $300 and they both end up folding. Later, Aquaman asks if he would have potted the flop or turn would I have called and says he had a set of 9s. Uhm… hell no, I wouldn’t call.

There’s a series of limpers to me in the big blind and I make a pot sweetener raise to $20 with AKJT double suited and they all call. The flop is an incredibly sexy AQ8 with two clubs and a spade, giving me ALL the draws… plus top pair. I bet $60 and get calls from Charlie Hustle and Joker. The turn pairs the 8 and that card is a bit annoying to me because if either of these guys has an 8 it basically destroys my hand. However, my hand still looks like it could be AA, so I bet out $125 and Charlie Hustle immediately calls. Sigh. I’m done with it. The river is a ten and that gives me a straight and I am not planning to call a bet here. Part of me is tempted to pot it if he bets (since I can still have AA) but even though this guy has a lot of nitty tendencies, I don’t ever see him make big folds. We both check and he shows A8. I can’t remember his exact side cards, but I ran a sim on this hand and my equity vs his A8 on the flop is over 70%. Pretty disgusting.

I had a -$233 showing while playing 8/16 before PLO started and finished PLO at -$394. Considering I was stuck $1700 for the day one point, I was pretty happy with that end result.

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2018 Movie Reviews: Free Solo, Green Book, Hereditary, and more

February 13, 2019

Free Solo (2018)
Director: Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi (Meru)
Starring: Alex Honnold, Tommy Caldwell, Sanni McCandless, Jimmy Chin

Anticipation Level: High

How Was It? Amazing. If you’re not familiar with what free soloing is, let me tell you: it is climbing mountains, cliffs, and massive rock walls without any safety harnesses or gear. Here’s what happens when you make a mistake and fall while free soloing: you die. This documentary follows famed free soloist Alex Honnold as he attempts to become the first climber to free solo El Capitan, a 3000 foot wall of granite in Yosemite, California that looks impossible to climb with gear. Free Solo is mind-blowing in every sense of the word. It’s unfathomable that people like Alex Honnold exist. What makes someone want to do something like this? What is it like to be in their inner circle? This documentary attempts to answer those questions, all while filming the breathtaking feat in action. It’s an unbelievable film. Remarkable.

Replay Value: I would love to see it again.

Sequel Potential: It wouldn’t surprise me if someone films Honnold’s next big feat. It also wouldn’t surprise me if someone films his death.

Oscar Potential: Free Solo is nominated for Best Documentary Feature and it’s filmed so beautifully that you wonder if documentaries are eligible for categories like Best Cinematography.

Dina Meter: I’m not sure Dina could stomach this movie, but she should definitely watch it.

9/10 (Phenomenal)

Green Book (2018)
Director: Peter Farrelly (There’s Something About Mary, Dumb and Dumber, Kingpin, Shallow Hal
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini

Anticipation Level: Strong

How Was It? I thoroughly enjoyed it and it was substantially funnier than I ever would have expected. Viggo Mortensen is a total blast in what might be my favorite performance from him. Green Book isn’t the most powerful film about race relations, especially since it is set during a time when the liberation of black folk was still a fresh idea, but it still had some moving scenes (and some weird ones). However, whatever Green Book lacks in severity, it makes up for in light-hearted, feel good fun.

Replay Value: Might lose some of its hilarity with immediate repeat viewings, but should still be very enjoyable.

Sequel Potential: Based on a true story, so no.

Oscar Potential: Five Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Film Editing, and acting nominations for Mortensen and Ali.

Dina Meter: I would be shocked if Dina didn’t love it.

8/10 (Must See)

Hereditary (2018)
Director: Ari Aster
Starring: Toni Collette, Gabriel Byrne, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro

Anticipation Level: High

How Was It? This movie knocked my socks off – and shocked me. I really didn’t think a movie – especially one labeled as a horror movie – could shock me, but Hereditary did exactly that. It’s thrilling, scary, and the tension never lets up. Toni Collette is brilliant. If you’re not into scary stuff, skip it, but if you are… if you ARE… it’s an absolute must watch.

Replay Value: It’s probably a tough watch for some, but I’m ready for round two.

Sequel Potential: Horror movies always have potential, but this should be a one and done movie.

Oscar Potential: None? Granted, I haven’t seen all of the nominated performances for Best Actress, but Toni Collette may have been snubbed here.

Dina Meter: I forced Dina to watch It Follows, The Conjuring, and It, but I really don’t think she’d make it through Hereditary.

8/10 (Must See)

Eighth Grade (2018)
Director: Bo Burnham
Starring: Elsie Fisher, Josh Hamilton

Anticipation Level: Strong

How Was It? It’s hard to imagine a more accurate depiction of what it might be like to be a young teenage girl growing up in today’s world. Or the single father of a teenage girl. This movie reaches new levels of awkwardness and, even though I’m a male that grew up two decades earlier, I still found it plenty relatable. Elsie Fisher is great in this movie… another fringe contender for Best Actress that didn’t make the cut. I’m hesitant to recommend this movie because I doubt everyone will appreciate it, but I found it to be quite good.

Replay Value: Not a ton.

Sequel Potential: Very little.

Oscar Potential: Elsie Fisher got a Golden Globe nom, but no Oscar attention.

Dina Meter: I’m unsure if Dina would like this or not. It’s pretty slow and a little weird, but maybe?

7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

Summer of ’84 (2018)
Director: Francois Simard, Anouk Whissell, Yoann-Karl Whissell (Turbo Kid)
Starring: Graham Verchere, Judah Lewis, Caleb Emery, Cory Gruter-Andrew, Teira Skovbye, Rich Sommer

Anticipation Level: Medium

How Was It? I liked it. How could I not? It’s a movie set in the 1980s about a kid that thinks his neighbor might be a serial killer. Yes… right up my alley. I wonder how I would have reacted if there was an active serial killer in my town when I was growing up? Would I try to solve the mystery like these kids did? I really enjoyed the premise and feel of the movie, but some things didn’t really ring true to me. Where was the parental supervision? I know it’s the 1980s, but what are the chances parents would leave their teenage kids home alone when it is common knowledge there’s a killer loose in the area that targets boys in that age range? Or letting them play flashlight tag after midnight? Plus, of course the parents trust their kids enough to let them be out all hours of the night, but not enough to believe anything they say. Also, I didn’t love the casting in this movie… give me the cast of It or “Stranger Things” any day. But I’m just nitpicking… this movie was still pretty cool.

Replay Value: I’m a big horror fan and this one falls short of making the list of movies I’d want to own so I can watch them whenever I want.

Sequel Potential: I don’t think a direct sequel would work well here, but this genre spawns unwarranted sequels unlike any other.

Oscar Potential: None.

Dina Meter: Dina isn’t a big fan of scary movies and while this one isn’t particularly scary, it’s not really something I feel like she needs to see either.

6/10 (Recommended)

You Were Never Really Here (2018)
Director: Lynne Ramsay (We Need to Talk About Kevin)
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix

Anticipation Level: Low

How Was It? I couldn’t wait for it to be over. I honestly had no idea what was going on and I stuck with it thinking things might get fleshed out, but I never understood anything that was happening. Maybe it’s brilliant. You Were Never Really Here is at 89% on Rotten Tomatoes and an 84 on MetaCritic, so I can’t help but feel like I’m missing something. I have a tendency to largely agree with the critics so it’s nice when a movie like this comes along and proves that I actually do think for myself. This was one of the least enjoyable 2018 films I’ve seen.

Replay Value: One viewing was difficult enough.

Sequel Potential: Probably not.

Oscar Potential: No nominations.

Dina Meter: Dina would quit this movie in record time.

3/10 (Bad)

Note: I’m hesitant to call You Were Never Really Here a “bad” film because there is obviously something here that many people loved, but I didn’t think it was “decent” (a 5/10) and even “forgettable” (a 4/10) doesn’t quite embody my distaste for it. Let’s just say I found it highly unenjoyable.

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LAPC $570 H.O.R.S.E. @ Commerce

February 7, 2019

Chip counts here throughout the day. Maybe some hand histories.

I forgot to post a final score for my 40/80 session last night. Once I got stuck, I never recovered, fluctuating between -$1500 and -$500 for the rest of the night.

Well, at least until I took a break, sat back down and posted my big blind. Someone limps, a good prop player raises, a loose and bad player cold calls, and I look down at AQ offsuit. I don’t mind a 3-bet here, but I also don’t mind a call. It’s nice to have some good hands like AQ in my calling range from the big blind. Plus, AQo doesn’t play all that amazing in a 3-bet pot out of position against three players. So I call.

Flop is Q97 with two diamonds. I have the ace of diamonds in my hand. This is a slam dunk check-raise, so I go ahead and take that line and the prop player just calls and allows the loose player to call behind him for one more bet. I would expect him to raise anything better here.

And if he doesn’t, I would expect him to raise me on the turn. It’s a black ten. I bet and they both call.

River pairs the 9. As long as the loose player didn’t stick around with one of those, I expect to win this pot. I bet and only the prop player calls. I have the effective nuts here. Nothing he would play this way beats me and I am desperate need of a nice pot and some upward momentum.

And then he turns over pocket kings.

That sends me into shock and I collapse from heart failure. Or low blood sugar. Oh yeah, that’s my thing.

After they stab glucose into my fatty tissues and revive me, I finish out the orbit and cash out -$2060 for the day after 8+ hours of poker.

The game was pretty good, but I didn’t see much point in reloading since I wasn’t planning to play much longer and I just called it a night instead.

Starting stacks in this HORSE are 15k with 40 minute levels. I have Carol Fuches and Ron Ware at my starting table.

First Break: 12,475

Not a great start. I won a couple of Stud 8 pots with split aces, but they were both small. I didn’t win any hands in Hold’em, Omaha or Razz, but I also didn’t lose any big pots.

My most notable hand came up in Stud when Ron Ware completed with the 8 of spades up. I have A6dd-A, isolate, and he calls.

I catch a blank on 4th and he makes another spade. I bet, he calls.

Another blank for me on 5th and another spade for him. My hand isn’t developing and his board is a disconnected three flush. I’m going to get raised a lot when I bet here, I think, so I check it over. He checks back.

I make aces and sixes on 6th and he catches the jack of clubs. I’m pretty sure I have to lead here, so I bet and now he raises me? Okay. My hand is too good to fold, so I’m paying this off.

I brick 7th and check-call again. He shows me a flush and I’m pretty sure he had it on 5th street. Interesting check back.

Second Break: 9175

I just went on an epic cold stretch in this tournament. I won a couple pots in Stud 8 in the first few hands after arriving late in level one and here’s what happened before I won my next pot (didn’t even steal blinds or antes):

-four full 40 minute levels passed

-nine different variants passed

-3+ hours passed

At least I wasn’t active and losing every hand I played. I was just ice cold. In fact, I only lost one pot of significance, but it was a doozy:

We are in limit Hold’em and the cutoff opens. Folds to my big and I defend with JJ.

Flop is QJ8 with two hearts and one diamond. It checks around. Gross start.

Turn is the ace of clubs and I highly doubt he’s going to check that card, so I send it over again. He does bet and now I raise and he calls.

River is the ten of hearts. A very bad card for me, but I’m considering going for some very thin value. I decide against it and check. He bets. I expect most players to bet this flop with AK, a flush draw, or any straight draw against a single big blind defend, so not really sure I can fold, but at the same time, I don’t expect to be winning very often.

I make the crying call and this guy shows me the K7 of spades.

Oh.

My.

God.

The hand that finally broke the cold stretch is back in Stud 8. Ron Ware limps a king, guy on my right limps, and I decide to come along with a very marginal AhTh-5d with no hearts or pair cards dead.

No one raises and I catch the Qh on 4th. Ron bets with K9 showing and I peel.

On 5th he catches a blank and I get the 6h. I call a bet again.

6th street is the Ks for me. I call another bet.

On 7th I somehow catch a jack and make a Broadway straight. Amazing. Ron check-calls and is in disbelief when I show my hand. He shows kings and nines, but can’t produce a full house and I scoop a much needed pot.

I played one more hand of note, 3-betting to isolate with 88 in limit Hold’em, but I picked up two additional hitchhikers.

I tried to peel the AAT flop for a single bet, but a flurry of raises pushed me out and AT ended up scooping vs A8.

Coming back to 500/1000 betting limits with about ten big bets. Registration will be closed after this break.

BUSTED

One of the first hands back, I lose a 3-bet pot with AK to 33 after c-betting Q86 and giving up on 5-6 runout.

The hand that cripples me, I open AA74 double suited aces from under the gun in Omaha 8 and only the blind defends.

Flop is 854 with two hearts, so I have an overpair, gut shot, the nut flush draw and a weak low draw. I bet and he calls.

Turn is the 2 of clubs. He checks and I think for a while about whether or not I should bet here. I’m blocking A3 pretty hard and I’d expect him to lead that hand anyway. I decide to bet and he jacks me up. I call.

River gives me top set and a live 7, but I’m getting scooped by almost any 3x hand now. Maybe it’s a fold, but pot is big so I call and pray for a piece. He has 63 and that scoops me.

That left me with less than 2.5 bigs, which I got in two hands later with K643 double suited in a 3-way pot. I made the nut low but bricked a flush draw and had to settle for half the pot.

I opened under the gun in Razz with 63-4 and almost no low cards out and it folds to the bring in. He has a queen up and I know he’s going to bust me. I just know it.

He does call and shows A5 in the hole.

Amazingly, I make an 86 on 5th and he’s caught nothing but face cards and he’s drawing dead already.

A short while later, I open the 84-3 and get multi-way action. On 5th street I have 84-3J9, Ron Ware has 4Q5 showing and Craig Chait has 2QA. Craig has bet and Ron has called. I have 1.5 big bets left and while I do have the best made hand at the moment, I’m pretty sure I’m a favorite to get stacked here… so… obviously I go with it.

I pair the 9 and they both improve and that means I am drawing dead here like 99% of the time.

GG

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A Trip to Hell and Back

February 6, 2019

My last post was on Saturday when I played the no limit HORSE tournament and I had mentioned that I was considering going to Vegas for Super Bowl Sunday.

Well, I did.

And let me just say it is the worst decision I’ve made in 2019. So dumb.

Did I really even want to go? No. Not really. Why the hell would I make a 7+ hour round trip to play poker when there are plenty of amazing games all within a 15 mile radius of where I’m staying in L.A.? So I can watch a game I don’t give one shit about? I mean… I had already bet on Patriots when there were eight teams left and I hedged with the Rams in the actual title game, so I was guaranteed to make a little money, but still… I don’t care about watching the Super Bowl.

I suppose the theory was the games would be packed with tourists during Big Game Weekend and, while that maybe have been correct for Friday and Saturday, the poker room saw a mass exodus right before kickoff.

There was one 40/80 game and it was not good at all. I was looking around the table and I was pretty confident there was only one possible donator in the game. I was going to drop down to 20/40 but then I ran an ace high flush into a straight flush against the loose player and lost six big bets on turn and river and suddenly I felt like I had to stick around in this game a little longer.

Then the one loose guy shows me 99 on A76T9 in a massive pot when I had AK.

Then TT vs JJ in a big pot where we both had overpairs the whole way.

Then A4 vs 22 in a blind vs blind, no preflop raise pot on A62KJ. Fortunately, that hand went check-call, check-check, and check-call. I was really trying to sell weakness with top pair and, uh, I guess I got lucky I decided to take that line.

Then I opened KT suited and got heads up against the big blind on a T925T board when he had 99.

I mean, come on.

Finally, I 3-bet KK and got the J22JA runout against AJ. Again, sort of lucky because my opponent just calls flop and turn before I check-called river.

But by that point, I had won a single pot of significance when my JJ rivered a set against QQ (again, one bet on each street postflop somehow though) and I was stuck almost $2200 and I knew the goddamn game wasn’t any good. So what the hell am I even doing?

I picked up just shy of two hours of play and swallowed the -$2186 bludgeoning. Granted, it’s only a couple of racks in that game, but that financial loss is still pretty meaningful to me.

I was on flaming white hot tilt because here I am running ultra bad in a shitty game… in Vegas?… when I could have just stayed in L.A. and maybe get barbecued there as well, but at least I’d be in a good game and feel like my chances of turning things around quickly were highly possible.

Part of me wanted to blame Flipper for dragging me along on this dumb ass trip, but ultimately, I know I’m an adult capable of making my own decisions and I could have just said no, like my instincts were screaming to.

So this was my own fault. And nothing pisses me off quite like my own dumb mistakes.

It didn’t help that part of the allure was being able to make MLB bets while I was in Vegas BUT as anyone with any sort of foresight might be able to determine, the sports books were outrageously packed. I wasn’t about to wait in a line of 300 people to place bets.

Not that the Westgate Superbook had MLB win totals posted anyway. Nor did Bellagio.

What a waste.

So what did I do with my day in Vegas? I skipped out in the first quarter of the Super Bowl and took an Uber to a movie theater to watch Free Solo on an IMAX screen. I’ll post a review later but let me just say right now that it blew my head off. What an unbelievable story.

And then we went back to L.A. So… basically, I went on a 7+ hour road trip to dump $2200 in a bad game and not fight for it and watched a movie.

Stellar.

Never again.

Monday was the $570 Omaha 8 tournament in the LAPC and I had an amazing table draw.

One guy was playing almost every hand and raised blind under the gun at least four times, even when the blinds were getting big.

Another guy couldn’t even read the board.

Naturally, I couldn’t take advantage of the situation in the slightest. None of my hands were connecting hard and a lot of my good two-way hands were getting scooped when I had marginal hands for high because multiple players were in there with total junk that made better high hands.

It was frustrating.

The pot that crippled me found me defending the big blind with A732 with a suited ace against the loosest player at the table.

The flop was a very sexy J54 and I check-raised and barreled/punted off on Q-T runout. He called me down with KJ72. I think this is a fine line, but I called it a punt because this dude is not folding anything reasonable (or unreasonable, for that matter) and I should probably go passive when I brick the turn.

That hand left me with about one big bet as registration was closing. I had an opportunity to forfeit my stack and sit back down after registration closed with 15 big bets. I dunno. Thats pretty borderline. I asked tournament director Matt Savage if I could have the same seat if I forfeited and he said it would be a random draw.

I decided not to re-enter. First hand after the break, the mega loose player raised blind under the gun and I got my last 1100 in with AAK8 with suited ace, both blinds call and four of us see the flop, which is probably two too many opponents for me to get any piece of this pot.

The board runs out J83d5dJd, giving me the nut flush, but pairing the board as well. Of course, the blind raiser has the monstrous QJ83 and I’m one of the first ten or so players busted out of the tournament.

GG.

Then I sat down in a 20/40 Stud game about 90 minutes later and picked up $615 sugar on the first hand I was dealt in, drawing insanely live for The Coast-to-Coast Challenge, but it wasn’t meant to be. Somehow I managed to finish that session at -$555 in 2.75 hours.

Speaking of The Coast-to-Coast Challenge, Free Throw became the third player enshrined, going the distance in an 8 hour 20/40 session at Fortune for +$1k last night.

I spent yesterday at The Bike playing 40/80. I got off to a nice +$1500 start but then things went sour for a really long time and I spent most of the session stuck, bottoming out around -$1500.

The most curious thing that happened last night didn’t involve any hands. The Bike employs hosts for the different limits and multiple prop players. The hosts get to sit in the games indefinitely, but the props only get to fill seats when there is no list.

I got a front row seat to see the politics of this play out for a little bit. Apparently one of the props cut in front of two other props to jump back in the game and the host took exception to this and things got palpably heated between them.

Fast forward to a few hours later, when the host has gone home for the night, and the game is now full with no list and three props are playing.

A few players went walking and then the first person to leave the game… was a prop player.

And then the second player to leave the game… was a prop player… the same one arguing with the host earlier about getting in the game.

Meanwhile, one of the players walking… is a prop player.

So our 9-handed game quickly became 5-handed after two players left and two players disappeared – and 75% of the people leaving holes in the game are paid prop players.

Wait. What’s their job description again?

I thought it was pretty impressive to see the one prop getting in a public spat trying to get in the game and then abandoning it when it needed her most.

I’ll give the walking prop credit for coming back and playing deep into the night short-handed. We played with 5 or less until about 3 AM.

I finally got hot again when it was down to three of us and booked a +$1708 after 10.25 hours of play.

I’m playing at The Bike today. I’ve been playing about 3.5 hours already and got off to a decent start but then I dwindled and running QQ into KJ and… KJ… on QT5ss9sJ was enough to put me in the red. I once again bottomed out around -$1500, but they let me win my last two contested pots and now I’m stuck less than $400.

Scratch that… just ran KQdd into 88 in a kill pot on Q839J (yay, free showdown!).

Not planning to live blog this session, but I might post some hands if the urge grabs me and I’ll certainly post a final score when I’m done here.

With my HORSE event starting at 1 PM tomorrow, I’ll probably only play until around 1 or 2 AM.