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$15/$30 Limit Hold’em @ Palace (Live Blog)

February 22, 2019

It’s been a minute since I’ve posted live updates on my blog. I got back from California feeling a bit uninspired and just wanted to focus on the poker and good thing I did! All that extra attention on the game allowed me to post a record-setting loss last weekend. Sweet.

I’ve put in three sessions since then.

On Monday, I played 9.25 hours of 8/16 and they inexplicably let me walk out of the building with $297 more than I came in with. Weird. Fun fact: that was my longest session of 8/16 since July of 2018.

On Wednesday, I played 3.75 hours of pot limit Omaha. I have to say I’m getting concerned about the status of that game. It might be drying up. It used to populate a pretty solid list and stay strong until at least midnight and even managed to get a second night on Thursdays. Well, the Thursday game is officially dead now and this past Wednesday was super fragile. I didn’t quit after 3.75 hours because I was running bad; I quit because there were two of us left at 9:45 PM. Pathetic. What used to be a mind-blowingly juicy game that was populated by a bunch of people that had no clue what they were doing has become the same 7-8 regulars starting the game every week – three of them pros – and very little traffic outside of that core group. I still think the game is good because of a couple of spots, but it’s definitely not amazing. Plus, it’s weak now. My interest level in playing a 4-hour session that starts at 6 PM is pretty small. I hope the game starts to pick back up. I really enjoy playing PLO and I don’t really want to travel on Wednesday nights.

My session was very unspectacular. I can only think of three hands of note.

In the first one, I limped in with ATT5 with a suited ace, called a raise in a multi-way pot, and check-potted a near pot-sized bet on T32 two tone. That raise got a fold. It always kind of baffles me when someone makes a pot-sized bet and folds on the flop. I’m no PLO expert, but that seems bad. Unless they have a total airball or are making genius laydowns with smaller sets. I dunno.

In the second hand, there are a bunch of limpers and I make it $25 to go with AKJT double suited from the big blind. This is not a pot-sized raise, it is simply an attempt to juice the pot with a hand that plays great multi-way. I want them all to call and they oblige. The flop is 986 with two hearts and one diamond. I have nut diamonds but not hearts, so this is a mediocre flop for me, but I do have a lot of backdoor potential. I really want to see a turn. I check and it checks to last position and he bets $125 into $150. That’s kind of brutal. I was on the fence about whether this is a spot I can call or not, but I eventually opted to call. I do have six outs to the nuts and there are so many great turns for me. Unfortunately, after I call, it folds to Part-Time – who was second-to-last to act on the flop – and he makes a maximum raise to $450. Wtf. Now the flop bettor (the same dude that bet-folded when I flopped top set in my first notable hand) folds. Good bet, dude. I have like $600 behind and Part-Time has me covered. I can’t call this raise and not play for stacks and I don’t really want to get it in here, so I fold also.

We are playing 3-handed when my last notable hand comes up. Aquaman raises to $15 on the button, I call with T986 double suited and the big blind also calls. The flop is J76 rainbow and it checks to Aquaman. I believe he bets $30. I pot it. The big blind repots. Aquaman folds. The big blind started the hand with less than $400 so I’m happy to get it in here with him. We run it once and his set of sixes holds up.

I finished PLO at -$618.

I wasn’t really planning to play poker yesterday, but The Leak and I somehow ended up at Palace anyway and I logged another 9+ hours of 8/16. Is this my life now? I don’t think I’m above playing 8/16. Winning a couple of racks at 8/16 means winning $400. That amount of money is not negligible to me. $400 pays our cell phone bill for two months. It’s most of our car payment. It’s one seat to see “Hamilton”. I actually really enjoy playing with higher stakes regs that are playing down and acting like the money doesn’t mean anything to them. When someone acts like a limit is beneath them, they almost universally play like shit and punt their chips around. I don’t care if I’m playing 8/16 or 4/8. I’m not punting. When I happen to sit in a 4/8 game I still play like my livelihood depends on it. I imagine I will always be like that. I hope so.

But still… I can recognize the fact that playing 8/16 is probably not the best use of my time. Make the damn drive to Fortune, you lazy ass.

My session yesterday started off as a massive struggle. I lost some pretty crazy pots.

My top 3:

-I have AT and open from late position and get heads up against one blind defender. The flop is A92 rainbow and I lose to his KT.

-I have AA in a multi-way pot and after betting the T88 rainbow flop, I wind up losing to someone holding 53. Granted, he was all in for $1 on the turn, but… come on.

-I have KQ of hearts and get the JT8 all heart flop. It doesn’t get much prettier than that… yet… I can’t beat K9o at showdown.

Fortunately, things picked up in the last few hours of my session when I won a massive pot with KQ when I flopped top two in a capped multi-way pot and turned a boat and followed it up with this strange hand:

Let me preface by saying I do not think I played this hand all that well. Four players limp in front of me, I limp along with 77 and it’s 6 or 7 of us to the T75 flop. It checks to me, I bet, the button raises, the small blind cold calls, and Master Splinter 3-bets it. My standard play is to go ahead and cap it here, collect all the flop bets, and hope someone still bets into me on the turn, but for some reason I decided to flat, planning to raise Splinter on the turn. The button caps it for me and four of us proceed to the turn.

The turn is an offsuit 6. It checks to me. This is why I should be capping the flop. People are willing to cram bets in on the flop but frequently slow down on the turn, so I need to get those extra bets in while I can. I do something risky here and check. The button raised and capped the flop so I expect him to continue bombing away here, but if he checks it back, this hand is a fucking disaster. He does bet, but then the small blind wakes up with a raise and Master Splinter calls two big bets cold. This is an interesting spot. The way this hand has played out, it sure looks like the small blind had a draw that got there on the turn. So… should I just be calling? Three different straights got there: 98, 84, and 43. I’m obviously most concerned about 98, as that hand makes the most sense, for any of my opponents to have really. But the small blind and button are both loose wild cards and I think that’s enough of an argument to warrant a 3-bet here. In the moment, I decided to proceed cautiously and just called. Button calls also.

The river is an offsuit jack and it checks to me. Now I’m officially bewildered. I actually started talking which is something I almost never do in a hand. I say to the small blind, “if you are check-raising here, it is the sickest,” and he replies with “if you bet, I’m raising” and part of me believes him. But I have a set of sevens, nothing changed, and it has checked to me on the river, indicating I have the best hand. So I put the bet out there. I think the button folds at that point and the small blind does check-raise me! Nasty. Master Splinter also folds, I put the call in, and the small blind immediately says, “you got it.”

LOL.

He flashed a ten and later claimed to have JT, but… who knows wtf is going on there.

That pot propelled to a +$454 for the day and the two 8/16 sessions at least made up for my PLO loss.

In other news, we have officially sold our previous house and my bankroll got a nice boost, even after paying off the remaining balance of my student loans. Good riddance!

Cards will be in the air around 4 PM. My goals for today are to complete the Coast-to-Coast Challenge and win $4000. Just the small stuff that I have total control over.

Check back in an hour for live updates.

Starting Lineup: Radio Mike, Flea, Chief Wiggum, random, Cobra, Part-Time, Master Splinter, Bulletproof

I am live for The Coast-to-Coast Challenge!

I opened with K9 of hearts from middle position on Radio Mike’s big blind on the first hand of the session, putting both of us at risk. He defended, as he must, and then check-folded when I flopped the nut flush draw on an ace high board.

Then I had half my sugar in posting the big blind with 44 and Master Splinter and Flea both raised the pot. I decided to gamble on The Challenge and hopped in.

Flop was K65 rainbow and I peeled when Flea bet because… I have to! Splinter folded and what do ya know… that’s a 4 on the turn! I check-raise and collect a bet on the river when I fill up.

I have $146 cushion to Coast with!

5:08 PM: Wiggum limps, I raise QQ, Part-Time 3-bets and Splinter caps it. Wiggum calls, as you should when you limp and it’s 4-bets back to you.

Four of us to the 973 two spade flop. We are in Overs now. Wiggum donks, I raise, the other two fold, and Wiggum calls. Wow. What an assist.

Turn is a ten and he check-calls.

River is the jack of spades and he donks again. I should probably just fold here, but all my sugar is in the pot now and The Challenge is on the line. I pay it off and lose to A6 of spades.

And The Challenge is dust.

6:12 PM: I’ve been struggling since losing with those queens and Flea continues to run way better than me when we tangle. I’ve whiffed AK a couple times now when he flopped a pair and just had 88 heads up vs him on J659J when he had JT.

6:22 PM: Part-Time limps, Wiggum raises from the cut and I 3 with KT of hearts. Both call.

Flop is 632 with two hearts and Part-Time donks, Wiggum raises and I just call. PT 3-bets, we both call, and having lost two big pots to rivered flushes, I can’t wait to brick this one off.

Turn is a 7 and PT bets and we both call again.

River is an ace and everyone checks.

Standard.

Part-Time turns over A4 of hearts and I’m kind of shocked I whiffed my draw with how I’ve been running. Wiggum has 44 and Part-Time takes it down.

Bulletproof opens and I defend with AKo.

Flop is 743 all diamonds and I check-call with the king of diamonds in my hand. I can definitely play offense here but I want to keep his range wide and make mine look weak, plus I have a hand I can showdown unimproved on most runouts.

Turn pairs the 3 and the river bricks off – a great runout for picking off bluffs but he has the 87 because how the hell can I beat that monster after this flop?

Currently working on -$850 already and wondering why I’m not allowed to win pots in this 15/30 game all the sudden.

6:58 PM: Misery loves company. Flea posts in the cut, the hijack open-limps, Flea checks, and I jack these two weak ranges up with the QJo on the button. Radio Mike 3-bets from the small blind and I ask, “how much do you want to bet neither of us win this hand?” The limper calls but Flea folds.

Flop is T32 rainbow and the two of us call Mike’s flop bet.

The turn is a welcome queen and I overcall again. I’m not thrilled to see Mike double barreling here, but I’m committed to showing this down now.

The river is a 9 and it goes bet and raise in front of me. Now I have an easy fold and Radio Mike turns over pocket aces before paying off the limper’s T9 offsuit.

7:32 PM: Bulletproof just informed me and Radio Mike that he turned in his Overs button, which prompts me to ask, “what? We aren’t running bad enough for you?”

Not only are we both square in the middle of solid losing sessions, but we are on epic overall downswings as well.

I turn to Mike and say, “can you imagine not wanting to play Overs with us right now?”

And… on cue… one limper, I raise A9 of spades and we go multi-way to 943 two spade flop and I go ahead and check since I’ve been checking every other fucking flop and I have two players behind me eager to punish my constant whiffs. Bulletproof bets on the button, a wild player check-raises and now I put in the 3-bet. They both call.

Turn is an offsuit king. I bet and Bulletproof raises me. Other guy folds. I already know. This dude is going to show me a king high fucking flush draw and win this pot.

River is a 2 and it goes check-check. He turns over the K8 of spades.

Insane.

But at least this ding dong kicked in his Overs button.

8:13 PM: Free flop with Q3o. I’m up against one limper and the small blind. Flop is 322 with two spades. I bet, get raised by the limper, and the small blind cold calls. Comical. Of course I get a flurry of action on the 322 flop. I call.

Turn is a queen. I donk. They both call. Pretty happy to dodge the check-raise from the small blind.

River is an offsuit 6. I bet and the limper calls. He turns over 54o because how the hell could I possibly be good when I get flatted on the river here?

8:24 PM: Part-Time straddles button, someone calls, I raise with 99 and they both call.

Flop is 632 two tone and Part-Time and I get it capped and the third player drops out after putting in two bets.

I took a passive line with top pair against Part-Time in a recent hand and it 100% cost me the pot, so I’m not about to let that happen again. If I’m behind here, I guess I’m going to lose the bets but…

…when the turn comes an 8, I’m not about to let him check behind. I bet in Overs and he shows me mercy by just calling.

River pairs the 3, I bet and he folds!!! Holy shit. The bleeding has stopped.

For now.

9:13 PM: Heating up.

First, I defend K4cc in a raised pot and check-call a jack high flop that gives me a flush draw. Turn is a king and the player with the betting lead is super loose so I go ahead and check-raise and I’m surprised to see Radio Mike take two big bets cold. The splashy player also calls. I’m not sure where I’m at here.

Fortunately, the river is the best card in the deck: the ace of clubs. I bet and Radio Mike calls with what he said was QT.

A while later there’s a flurry of action and it’s 3-bet to me in a multi-way pot holding T8 of hearts in the big blind. I’m happy to see a flop here, so I put the call out.

It comes down A65 with two hearts and one spade. The small blind donks right out, I call and so do some others.

Turn is the 9 of spades, giving me 3-4 more outs and I call again.

Three of us left for the 4 of hearts on the river. Small blind still leads but he’s not a cautious player and I can see the other player is going to fold so I raise it up and get called by AJ of spades.

Finally, hitting some draws. It’s been a while.

I have now won the last four pots I’ve contested and have a little upward momentum.

9:24 PM: In less good news, we have traded Flea for The Invisible Man and the borderline maniac for Mighty Mouse, which is like the nut low exchange in both cases.

9:40 PM: Open with A7hh and only get the two blinds as opponents. Flop is 986 with two hearts… will the hot streak continue? I bet and they both call.

Turn is a black queen. I bet and they both call again.

River is a black jack. They check to me. I was planning to give up but this a great river to bet when they both check. It’s pretty weird to check a straight on this runout so I assume neither of them has one and fire the last clip, mostly targeting one pair hands. The small blind folds but the big blind is thinking about it, turns away from the table, pays for his food, phones a friend and absentmindedly comes back with the call. K9 is good.

10:31 PM: Back to more losing, but there’s good news. I have acquired the Jesus Seat without even moving: the four loosest players are on my right and the four tightest players are on my left.

11:18 PM: I can’t really make sense of this one. Master Splinter opens and the small blind calls and his entry into the pot is enough reason for me to defend the 63 of clubs.

We see the K53 with two clubs flop and I opt for a check-raise when the small blind folds. Splinter calls.

The turn is an offsuit 7, giving me straight outs and I continue to barrel, hoping I might fold out pairs less than a king, plus I have enough hand strength to stand a raise. He does raise. I call.

River is a nine of diamonds and I check it over and… he checks and says, “you got it.” I’m skeptical but I turn over my hand and he shows the AJ of clubs. I suppose he doesn’t think I’m ever folding river when I bet-call the turn, but I can’t imagine ever calling if he fires the river.

A nice break.

12:15 AM: Heating up again. I call a raise in a multi-way pot with 33 and get the very difficult to play 833 flop. Unfortunately, the flop bet does come from my right so I’m not able to put a flop raise in, but I do get a raise in on the turn and a payoff.

Then I open the AT of diamonds, get 3-bet, check-call the QJ8 flop and snap off a 9 on the turn and get Overs bets on the turn and river.

Meanwhile, The Leak has turned a near -6 rack session into a winner, giving schlubs like Radio Mike and myself hope that we too, some day, can pull our heads out of our asses and figure this thing called poker out.

1:02 PM: I made a joke via group text earlier that I am running so bad that I’m folding on the button when it folds to me and I have Radio Mike and The Invisible Man in the blinds. Radio Mike is in the small in this situation and trends pretty tight and The Invisible Man has a defending range of about 6%, so it’s a pretty automatic spot with any reasonable hand.

But now I have a little extra pep in my step after winning some pots and the last two times it folded to me, I jacked it up without looking. The first time they both folded, but the second time Radio Mike 3-bet and I looked down at the powerhouse known as 93 offsuit. Normally I would cap it here with a hand so good, but I decide to play it coy and disguise my strength by just calling.

The flop is TT9 and when Radio Mike leads out, I feel like if I call it’s going to be obvious that I have at least a 9 and I probably have at least a deuce kicker, so I go ahead and play it straight up, jacking him up on the flop because I should be doing decently against his small blind 3-betting range. He calls.

The turn is a 6 and he check-calls again. I think Mike is capable of having big pairs in his range still so I’m not planning to bet river.

A queen of spades hits the river and that is definitely not a good card for me, so I’m happy to see him check and I really didn’t want to show this hand down, but here we are. He tables the 88 and I say, “you’re going to hate this” and table my piece of cheese and put a quick halt to the little bit of momentum he was finally picking up. All because I had to pick on the blinds of a couple of nits.

And honestly, I don’t feel very good about it.

Seriously.

1:47 AM: And suddenly the game has imploded. We were full with a list like 20 minutes ago and now we are 5-handed… after two new players sat down. Quite the exodus.

No more live updates. I’ll post a result when I’m done.

1:49 AM: The Invisible Man is limping in with JJ 5-handed. What a boss. Okay now I’m done updating.

2:26 AM: Good thing I played some short-handed poker. I was so close to even, sitting at about -$100, when I picked up KQ of spades in the big blind and 3-bet when the button opened.

Flop was 963 and my c-bet got called.

When the turn paired the 9 and gave me a flush draw, I decided to check-raise because this player always bets when I check to him in a spot like this. So… he has a pretty weak range when he bets here. I picked a good time to take this line because he powns me with a 3-bet. I call.

And… bink! 2 of spades on the river. I check and raise! And he 3-bets. Come on. I call and he has 66.

And then I spewed off a few more hundred before quitting the game.

Final Score: -$664

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