Archive for April, 2019

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First Red Dragon Trip & 15/30 Live Blog

April 26, 2019

I’m not going to lie, I’ve been feeling a serious lack of motivation while I’ve been slumping through my second losing month of the year. It’s April? The fourth month of the year? I’m sitting here with less than 20% of the winnings I had by this point last year. Granted, I had an epic February in 2018 and followed that up with a $25k+ series in the Muckleshoot Spring Classic. Winning one of those tournaments can’t be expected to happen every year.

It’s not really even the losing that has gotten me down. The local game selection has been depressing. Even though we moved in late 2018, Palace is still the closest poker room to my house and where I prefer to play, but the games I’ve relied on for my bottom line have dried up substantially. The 15/30 was running almost every day in April of last year and now Friday nights are the only day I know it’s going to go and even then it’s started to feel shaky lately. PLO was running twice a week and used to be mind-boggling good action. That game has gotten progressively worse, to the point where it’s almost all regulars (and multiple pros) and last week it was dead before 9 PM. I couldn’t even jump in an 8/16 game to get a full day of work because that game was dead already too. PLO has basically zero chance to survive the summer when a number of the players keeping it alive disappear to Vegas for the WSOP. I didn’t even bother showing up this past week and I might shift my priorities elsewhere on future Wednesdays. I mean… I want to do my part to keep it alive, but I don’t have much interest in locking horns with some of the best players in the area for a couple hours every week, hoping some live ones will sit down with us.

Last Thursday I did something I’ve been wanting to do and checked out the Red Dragon poker room in Mountlake Terrace, a few exits north of Shoreline. I was extremely impressed. It’s a nice, cozy room and they were super busy. The real reason I went out there is because I heard they had a 20/40 Mix Game that spreads quite regularly. Ducky and I made the trip and pretty much as soon as we walked in they fired up the 20 Mix game. We started off with a mix of Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, Omaha Hi, Razz, Badugi, Omaha 8, Stud 8, and Double Board Omaha. Later, we added Big O and Ace-to-Five Triple Draw and removed some of the other Omaha games.

I don’t consider myself a mixed games wizard, but I was astonished at how soft that starting lineup was. I knew I was the best player in the game and I couldn’t even find a variant I thought someone might be better than me at. That might sound arrogant, but I like to think I make honest assessments. Part of the reason I’ve lost interest in the PLO game at Palace is because I know there are always multiple players better than me in it now. Anyways, almost the whole table in this mix game was playing exceptionally loose and the one guy I thought might be competent before the game started seemed like he was going out of his way to play horribly, particularly against me – like he wanted to put a gross one on me. I’m talking cold calling raises and drawing four cards kinds of gross. Fortunately, that bad beat never happened and I basically had that guy’s number the entire session.

I raced out to a +$2500 start and that wasn’t hurting my confidence any, but while I knew I was running good, I could also see the plethora of horrendous mistakes everyone else was making that helped get me to that lofty cushion. My heater extinguished, however, and I eventually got ice cold and the game got progressively worse throughout the night. It seemed like every time someone left or busted out, they were replaced by a better player and by the end of the night, I was looking around the table and thought everyone was mostly competent. So Ducky and I took off and I had to settle for a +$997 day.

I am looking forward to going back and plan to make a trip to Red Dragon at least once a week as part of my regular routine – even though it’s an absolutely brutal commute.

Last Friday I booked a -$1236 in a good 15/30 game and then I finished 16th in the Main Event of the Little Creek spring series on Saturday. That was yet another deep run that didn’t amount to a cash. Maximum amount of time wasted. Goodness that’s getting old.

I’ve come to the realization that I have a mental game weakness when it comes to busting out of tournaments. If I played 11 hours of 15/30 and lost $560, I wouldn’t be happy about it, but most of the time, I can just chalk it up to a poor day at the office and shake it off. But when I spend 11 hours playing a tournament and don’t cash… well, I find that EXTREMELY upsetting.

Or maybe it’s just because I haven’t been having any good results.

I have now fired 22 bullets in 17 tournaments this year and I have two cashes to show for it. Sort of. One of those cashes was in a tournament I fired two bullets at and I ended up with a net loss. The other cash was in a daily tournament… at a bowling alley… and I have to include that because if I don’t, then I haven’t cashed for a profit in a single tournament in 2019. I am currently down almost $7300 in tournaments this year for a sexy ROI of -91%.

Could this be the year that I finally lose money in tournament poker?

That reminds me… who wants to buy my World Series of Poker action?

Seriously. I’ll be selling a package here shortly when I get a better idea of what my schedule will look like. Uhm… I’m due?

Saturday was my last day playing poker in a casino, so that’s pretty much it for poker updates.

I posted some movie reviews yesterday. I’ve also been updating my TV Show Ratings and 2019 Album Ratings. It seems like most people have no idea what new music to listen to, so check that out if you want to stay up to date on good new content. ScHoolboy Q released a new album last night, so that’s what I’ll be listening to today.

I saw Avengers: Endgame last night. I’m going to see it again on Tuesday before writing about it, so here’s my quick, no spoilers thoughts: it was fucking awesome.

I will be live blogging my 15/30 session tonight, but it will also be the MLB debut of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., so I’ll be watching the Blue Jays game on my iPad while I’m playing for the first 3+ hours of my session.

Starting Lineup: Megaphone, Chief Wiggum, Part-Time, Ducky, and four non-regs

4:23 PM: I’m on tilt already. First off, Palace’s WiFi connection is fucking worthless. I can’t even watch Vlad Jr.’s debut on my iPad because it won’t connect so I’m watching it on my phone… which means I can’t type at the same time.

  • Also, first hand of the session, Wiggum straddles on the button, I 3-bet AK of spades from the big blind and somehow six of us wind up putting in five bets each before the flop.
  • The board runs out A76sTsT and I wind up losing to someone’s T8 offsuit after flopping top top and turning the nut flush draw. That same player CRUSHED me last week and hit and ran the game for around $1500+ in less than 90 minutes. She’s well on her way to doing same shit today. Pretty cool.
  • So… instead of winning a $700+ pot on the first hand of the day and having a nice cushion for my first Coast-to-Coast performance, I lost this monster pot to someone that is probably going to jet before 6 PM.
  • Sigh.
  • 4:40 PM: And I just lost to her again: flop top pair with JTdd, turn a flush draw, and lose to bottom pair. I have literally lost ten pots in a row to her, dating back to last week, and I don’t think she outflopped me in a single one of them. Wtf.

    5:23 PM: Ducky opens, the lady crushing me 3-bets, I call from the small blind with two jacks, and it’s 4-way action.

    Flop is 982 and it checks around.

    Great start.

    Turn is a king and I think that’s a card I should send around and it checks to my boss and she bets. I’m content to show this down with passive action so I call and that leaves us heads up.

    The river is a jack! I check. She checks. And shows ace fucking king. Holy shit. How is that a thing? It’s not like she’s giving me air. She bet heads up in the last pot, so… wtf? It’s just the Poker Gods randomly messing with me? “Even when you win… you lose.”

    5:49 PM: Raise some limpers with KJ of hearts and then c-bet 4-handed pot on T93 rainbow.

    The turn is a queen and I’m pretty stoked when Megaphone check-raises me since we are in Overs now and I get to make it $150. He calls.

    The river is another ten and that’s not cool, but when he checks it over, I go for value and he just calls and then mumbles about how “gut shot was his only out,” which could only be true if he had, uh, 93?

    Anyways, after spotting them a rack immediately, I’ve been given a reprieve on my session after these last couple hands and get to start fresh.

    6:31 PM: This game is flimsy already. We already have an open seat and no list and half this lineup could up and leave at any moment.

    On the bright side, Flea finally decided to make a return to red chip games.

    7:45 PM: Here’s a list of hands that its impossible to win a pot with: AK, AQ, AJ.

    Megaphone is at his Megaphoniest. He’s been running extremely good and garbage hasn’t stopped spilling out of his mouth for hours now. One time, he was rambling and I looked up to see that not one player was listening to him and then I caught the dealer looking off into space like “lawd, save me” and I burst into laughter.

    Nothing exciting to report. I’m getting a decent amount of big aces and losing with all of them. That sums up my first four hours so far. Currently sitting near -$500 again.

    7:54 PM: In related news, my phone is almost dead, I don’t have a portable charger, and the USB ports at my table aren’t working.

    8:53 PM: Here’s how good I’ve been running the last three months:

    I come back from a break talking to my wife on the phone and see like $600 in chips sitting between me and seat 9 and then Taz comes over and says “these are going here” motioning to me and I’m wondering if someone thinks I won a High Hand or something… and then he says, “I should just leave them here” and I respond, “I don’t get it” and finally it dawns on me that those are his chips and he’s making a joke that I’m going to win them from him anyway so why waste time and I’m like “bro, you haven’t been around here for a while, huh?”

    9:49 PM: Someone limps, I raise KK, there’s a call, button 3-bets and I cap this 4-way pot.

    I bet flop and turn on QT53 and still have three opponents when another queen hits the river. I don’t think any of them have one, so I go for value and get called in two spots! My hand is good and I have sugar for the first time today.

    Not bad. I was -$800 less than two hours ago.

    10:12 PM: Heater alert! I followed that KK hand up by flopping top set with AA in a multi-way 3-bet pot and then flopping a full house with 82 suited from the small blind in a limped pot and getting way too much action when my hand seemed pretty face up.

    Suddenly I am up $700.

    11 PM: Welp, this game is on the ropes. We are now 5-handed. Nice surprise from that aces full hand from earlier. It went up for High Hand with 19 minutes to go so I forgot all about it and it held up! Send an extra $400 my way.

    I’m not going to try and blog and play short-handed so I’ll post a final tally when we wrap things up here.

    Final Score: +$2085

    Short-handed was good to me, even with Ducky getting a J32 flop with JJ vs my 33 in a blind vs blind hand when we were 4-handed.

    Feels good though. Good enough to put my month back in the black.

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    Movie Reviews: Pet Sematary (2019), Leave No Trace (2018), Tag (2018)

    April 25, 2019

    Pet Sematary (2019)
    Director: Kevin Kolsch, Dennis Widmyer (Holidays, Starry Eyes)
    Starring: Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, John Lithgow, Jete Laurence

    Anticipation Level: Medium

    How Was It? I hated it. It’s the first movie I’ve seen in 2019 that I thought about walking out of. Not that I would… but I did think about it. I can’t really compare it to Stephen King’s book (because I never read it) or the original film (because I don’t remember it), but on its own, I thought this movie was brutal… and not in the good kind of way that horror movies can be brutal. It just sucks. Jason Clarke is an actor I’ve identified as someone I’ve never liked in a single role (to be fair though, I’ve never seen Zero Dark Thirty or Mudbound, two critically acclaimed films he’s had roles in). Pet Sematary has a backstory involving the mom and her deformed sister that kept popping up and it is plenty disturbing, but in the “wait, why are we watching this” kind of way. I’ve heard these flashbacks play a critical role in King’s book, but I didn’t understand their relevance in the film. She’s scared of mangled human monsters? I mean… who isn’t? I know this was a remake so a lot of us know what is going to happen, but could they be any less subtle about the huge trucks whizzing past the driveway? And having been startled by semis speeding past multiple times already, what kind of shitty parents are letting their kids play anywhere near that road unsupervised? Come on. Massive kudos to the film editing crew for putting together a trailer that made this shit show look watchable.

    Replay Value: None.

    Sequel Potential: The original got a sequel even though there is only one book and this movie has already grossed double its budget in the U.S. alone, so there’s definitely potential.

    Oscar Potential: None.

    3/10 (Bad)

    Gauva Island (2019)
    Director: Hiro Murai (Atlanta, Barry)
    Starring: Donald Glover, Rhianna, Letitia Wright, Nonso Anozie

    Anticipation Level: Medium

    How Was It? Uh, I guess it’s a cool showcase for previously released Childish Gambino music? Donald Glover works “This Is America” and both songs from last year’s Summer Pack set of singles into the script and it all fits just fine, but if you tuned in to this movie looking for fresh material from one of the most talented entertainers alive (like I did), you might wind up a bit disappointed. I didn’t find the story too compelling and Rhianna’s contribution was pretty minimal. It seemed like any random actress could have played that role. Guava Island is basically a 60 minute music video for songs we’ve already heard. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s not what I was hoping for.

    Replay Value: Not too much.

    Sequel Potential: Shouldn’t be any.

    Oscar Potential: Does this qualify for the Short Film category? I’m not sure I’ve ever seen an short film nominee and I’ll go out on a limb and say I still haven’t.

    5/10 (Decent)

    Leave No Trace (2018)
    Director: Debra Granik (Winter’s Bone)
    Starring: Ben Foster, Thomasin McKenzie

    Anticipation Level: Strong

    How Was It? Very good. Leave No Trace is about a war vet that finds solace living completely off the grid, in the woods of a park in Portland, Oregon, with his teenage daughter. This is their way of life and it seems like his daughter has never known any other way of living. This film is shot entirely in the Pacific Northwest (my home) and showcases how beautiful this part of the country is. I really enjoyed taking this journey with the two main characters, as they are plucked out of their routine and forced to live a “normal” life – you know, with housing, showers, electronic communication, and *shudders* responsibilities – and how each of them react to their new environment. Leave No Trace is a powerful film about survival, family, and how not everyone is wired the same way. Debra Granik is also responsible for directing the excellent Winter Bone that made Jennifer Lawrence a star and I’ve now thoroughly enjoyed both films I’ve seen from her, making her a name to keep an eye on.

    Replay Value: I’d be happy to watch this again.

    Sequel Potential: None.

    Oscar Potential: This film got basically zero awards attention and that makes it one of the most underrated films of 2018.

    7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

    Tag (2018)
    Director: Jeff Tomsic
    Starring: Jeremy Renner, Ed Helms, Jake Johnson, Jon Hamm, Hannibal Buress

    Anticipation Level: Low

    How Was It? Perfect! I mean… I go see a movie in theaters most weeks and I skipped this one, so I obviously wasn’t expecting much from it. Actually, I expected it to suck and found it to be quite entertaining. It’s not a high level comedy, but it was funny enough and this group of guys make for a good team. In fact, this world needs more Jon Hamm in comedic roles. I’m not sure what it is about him – maybe it’s the fact that he looks like someone that should only be in serious roles – but he is naturally hilarious. Jeremy Renner is also great in this, basically channelling his Hawkeye character for this game of adult tag. I was ready to poke holes in the plot but the script kept finding ways to plug them. It’s not a great film, but it’s a fun and mindless comedy.

    Replay Value: Comedies always play best the first time around.

    Sequel Potential: This is a story that could keep on going.

    Oscar Potential: None

    6/10 (Recommended)

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    Spring Round Up $560 No Limit Hold’em Main Event (Stack Updates)

    April 13, 2019

    30k starting stacks, 60 minute levels, and blinds starting at 100/200.

    One thing of note: my table isn’t breaking today so I get to play with the same guys all day long and so far it looks pretty decent.

    Stack updates here on break.

    First Break: Cool start. So far, I’ve had to fold a set, two pair, and top pair twice. Plus, I bricked a combo draw against a player that bets too big, never folds decent hands, and is ripe to get stacked. Alas, she already punted the whole thing to the tightest player at the table.

    I’m sitting on 18.4k after two levels.

    Second Break: A punter finally punted to me. I knew the guy on my left was playing too loose and floating flops, so in a raised pot I c-bet with KJ on Q95 and sent it over to him when I turn the nut straight and he crams with… K5. He bricked his chop outs on the river and that got me back around 40k.

    Something else weird that happened… I open on the button and the big blind calls.

    The flop is Q75 and the big checks it to me, the dealer isn’t paying attention and knocks the table to burn and turn and I say, “hold on” and she stops herself and then tosses an All In button in front of me. I’m sitting there with a 100bb stack and an All In button in front of me with 5 big blinds in the pot… holding ten high. Fortunately, the dude didn’t snap call and I was able to correct her, but WTFFFFFF.

    39k coming back to 400/800 blinds.

    Dinner Break: Sitting on 53k and that might be the most chips I’ve had this series.

    Fourth Break: 43.8k

    Most notable hand I got 25 bigs in pre with AK vs AQ and he weaseled his way into a chop.

    Riddler sitting on 200k+!

    9:29 PM: Pretty wild couple of levels. I lose most of my stack to the dude I should have busted when he had AQ vs my AK, this time when my TT runs into his QQ.

    Then I double with 99 vs… 86 of spades.

    Then I get in a 3-way all in with AQss vs AQ and AK… whiff a flush draw but make a straight for half of the main pot.

    And just now, someone “trapped” me with 99 and limp-jammed on my raise. I had AK and snap called, flopped the nut flush draw and two overs and now I’m checking out of the hotel to get the fuck out of here.

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    The Return of The Legend: $230 No Limit Hold’em and $340 No Limit Hold’em

    April 12, 2019

    So yesterday I wasn’t planning to blog during the tournament (and obviously I didn’t) but then my starting table broke and I found myself moved to a new table where I got to play with The Legend himself, and witness firsthand one of the most highly anticipated returns to the felt the poker community has ever seen and I knew I owed it to fans across the world to document this historic event.

    But first, let’s have a look at how cash games went for me the last couple days after my last bust out on Tuesday:

    It just goes to show how much more consistent cash games are than tournaments. I would have had to finish in 3rd place of the HORSE tournament to top my earnings in the cash games the last two days. I ran pretty good in the games (just look at those o8 numbers), but still, I find it much easier to make 100+ big bets in cash than to finish 3rd in a reasonably sized tournament.

    Back to yesterday’s tournament.

    I made notes on most of my key pots and this first one was at my extremely favorable starting table:

    Blinds are 100/200 and someone min-raises from early position and I call from the small blind with T8 of diamonds and the big comes along as well.

    The flop is Q95 rainbow but with no diamond and the big blind donks out 600 right as the PFR is about to bet 600 himself. He ends up just calling and I’m getting 4 to 1 with my gutter and dreams of stacking fools if I hit my straight, so I call also. I think this spot is probably a little light and a diamond on the flop would swing it to a no doubt call, but I don’t mind reaching a little bit when I’m positive my opponents are capable of huge mistakes. Plus, who knows, maybe other good things can happen.

    The turn is a king and the big bets 600 again and the PFR folds. Well, this is a slam dunk bluff-raising spot. You can tell by his sizing that his hand is probably weak and he most likely has a weak queen. I’m not exactly sure how I’d approach this if the PFR called, but when he folds, this spot is ripe for a takeaway. I make it 2200 and win the pot right there.

    With blinds at 200/400, someone opens to 800 and it folds to me in the small blind with TT. You know what I would hate? If I 3-bet this hand and then my opponent 4-bet me. I’m not getting all in with TT pre here, so I decide to make sure I don’t have to face that obnoxious spot and just call.

    We go heads up to the 965 flop and my opponent bets 3000 into a pot of 1900. It’s not often that I tank to a single flop bet, but this is pretty weird. It’s an absolutely insane sizing and ultimately I just decide I can accumulate chips just fine in spots that aren’t so murky and make a painful and annoying fold.

    Same blinds, someone opens to 800 and I call with 98 of spades on the button and we go heads up to Q97 with two clubs. He bets 1200 and I call.

    The turn pairs the queen and he bets 1500. I actually like that card and make another call.

    The river is a blank and he fires another 2200. It’s worth noting his bet size hasn’t increased very much and that’s a sign of weakness, plus I’m doing some noninvasive studying of him (meaning I’m not trying to stare into his soul) and he doesn’t look comfortable at all. I make the call and he says I’m good and I don’t make him show his hand.

    And then the Poker God’s intervene and break my highly favorable table and move me to The Legend’s table. I already know he doubled early in the tournament and as I sit down he’s playing a massive 3-way pot on 774 and one of his opponents basically has a starting stack in the middle before folding and his other one stacks off with Q7. The Legend has A7 and it holds and before I even take a hand, he’s sitting on a stack of over 100k with the blinds at 200/400 like a true legend should be.

    ChowMein is also at the table and I lost a reasonably sized pot to him by flatting his raise with KK and hoping to keep his range wide postflop or induce a squeeze behind me, but instead I found myself playing a 5-way pot and seeing an all heart flop with no heart in my hand. I called a bet from ChowMein and we went heads up to another heart turn and both checked. He bet the river and I folded and he flashed me the king of hearts.

    I must have chipped down in some other pots because when this next hand comes up I have about 13k with blinds still at 200/400.

    Someone opens to 1200 from the cutoff and ChowMein makes it 3400 on the button. Like I said, I have 13k here and I pick up TT in the small blind. It’s pretty gross. I don’t love jamming 30+ bigs here with tens against a raise and a reraise when I probably have zero fold equity, but I also don’t love my table draw and this seems like a good spot to gamble and hope to double up or start fresh somewhere else.

    I jam and ChowMein ends up calling with AK of clubs and I hold.

    That cripples ChowMein and he busts a short while later, making the table quite a bit easier.

    I open to 1000 with KJ of clubs and The Legend calls on the button and so does the big blind.

    The flop is JT4 with two clubs. We smashed it. There are a lot of hands I would check here and I think this is a reasonable good hand to balance my checks with, as there aren’t many bad free cards for us. The Legend checks back.

    The turn is the six of clubs, giving me a flush and I bet 1500 and The Legend calls.

    We are heads up to a board-paring six of spades on the river. Obviously, my first instinct is to bet, but then I start wondering what I can get value from and there doesn’t seem to be many hands. I thought he could have a busted one card flush draw though and maybe he would bluff with it. I thought he was more likely to fire a bluff than call a value bet, so I sent it over to him and he obliged me with a 3500 bet and I called. He shows KT and my hand is obviously good.

    I kind of wished I’d given some serious consideration to raising there. I never expected him to bet a hand like KT, so I figured if he bet, he’d mostly have bluffs in his range and it seems somewhat possible he could still have some ace high flushes in there as well. But after seeing the KT, I feel like I absolutely need to punish him with a raise. We have lots of history without having any actual history and the way I played this hand, I could easily see him calling a check-raise on the river. Maybe he gets away from it but I wouldn’t fault him for calling either.

    Two players limp at 300/600 and I make it 2500 on the button with AK and both players call. Yay!

    Flop is KJ4 and I bet 4500 when they check to me. If I’m beat here, I’m going broke. The stacks aren’t deep enough to find any folds. One player calls my bet.

    The turn is a 7 and I put him all in for 15k or so and he thinks a bit before folding.

    That puts my stack in the 40k region with blinds at 300/600, so I’m sitting on 65+ bigs at this point.

    Meanwhile, we are situated right by the podium where late arrivals and re-entries check in to find their seats and Cobra comes by for the second time and says, “Hey what’s up guys, I just woke up,” a line he already used the first time he re-entered and had to walk by us. 😂

    Two players limp at 300/600 and I limp along on the button with 96 of hearts and we go four ways to a flop of QT4 with two clubs and one heart. They all check to me so I try to pick the pot up with a bet of 1500 and two players call.

    I’m not going to barrel unless I pick up equity and the queen of hearts is a pretty great card for me to keep telling this story. I bet 4500 and only one player calls this time.

    The river is yet another queen. That’s a bad card, but when he checks, I don’t want to check behind and let him win with his KJ or J9 straight draws, so I bet 5000 with designs on trying to fold out those hands only. If he has a pair, he’s calling. He does call and I just pitch my hand into the muck.

    That hand sent me just below 30k.

    With blinds at 500/1000 I call a middle position raise with AThh on the button and a blind comes along also.

    The flop is KQJ with two clubs and they both check to me. I bet 4000, sizing with intents on jamming the turn, and both players call.

    The turn is an ugly 4 of clubs and they both check to me. It’s pretty gross, but I can’t check back here and possibly let another club or broadway card come off for free. When they both call, I have less than a pot-sized bet left, so if someone happens to have a flush here, I guess I’m just busting out. I jam. They both fold.

    I’m back over 40k now and when registration closes after level 6, I’m sitting on 46.5k. Meanwhile, The Legend has over 120k and I tell him that a true legend would forfeit that stack and start fresh just to prove he can do it again. He doesn’t oblige.

    I’m inactive until the 800/1600 blind level and find myself defending a middle position min-raise with QTo in the big blind.

    The flop comes down 875 with two diamonds and a spade. I expect this flop to whiff his opening range pretty hard and favor mine, plus I expect this player to react truthfully to a flop bet here, so I lead out 4500 and he calls. Well, that’s the last thing I expected. I figured he would fold most of the time and jam if he actually had something.

    I think with the stack sizes being what they are, I’m not going to try to bluff my way through this one after getting called on this board texture, but then I turn a queen (a second spade) and suddenly I feel like I probably have the best hand. The pot is almost 18k and he only has about 20k left, so I put him all in and he snap calls with… I’m not sure… it looks like A8… maybe it’s A9? The river is the 4 of spades and I win a very ni-

    Wait, what? He won? Apparently he had the A9 of spades and rivered a flush. It’s always a great feeling to not get a good look at your opponent’s hand before the river comes and not realize you lost the pot.

    That pot sends me back down to the 20bb range and on the very next hand it folds to a competent player on the button and he jams ~16bb. I look down at 33. I think this is a very close spot. I’ve looked it up since and if my opponent is shoving an unexploitable range (~34.5%) on the button with his stack size, then 33 is actually the worst pair I should call with.

    For him to be jamming 34.5% though, he needs to be shoving hands like K4s, J7s, T7s, T9o, and other suited hands down to 65. I think he’s shoving wide, but maybe not that wide so maybe 33 is a hand I should remove since it is at the bottom of my calling range. If I had 40-60 bigs here I certainly would have folded to maintain my stack size rather than engage in a coin flip situation. But with 20 bigs, I wanted to double up now and took the gamble. I called and held against his A8o.

    That puts me back at 40k when this next hand comes up.

    Dude playing really tight-solid in a small sample opens to 4000 under the gun with blinds still at 800/1600 and I look down at 99 in middle position. I’m sitting on about 25 bigs and this seems like a weird spot. Do I really want to get it in here against this dude that has opened two pots since he’s been at my table? No, sir. But 99 also feels too good to fold. I think I can flat here and re-evaluate postflop without necessarily putting myself in a set-mining only situation. I call.

    We go heads up to KK5 with two hearts and I call 4000 again.

    The turn is another king and he checks it over to me. It seems like I should be betting but I have a feeling this player is capable of checking better hands to me, so I check back, planning to re-evaluate on the river.

    The river is another king! That puts quads on the board. He checks it again. Ugh. I ended up checking here and letting him win with JJ. It’s interesting to note that I checked back the turn because I still thought he could check better pairs to me, but on the river I decided not to try to bluff him off those same hands that now lose to any ace. I thought if he had a hand like AQ, he would check this river, figuring he was unlikely to get value by betting but could by setting me up to bluff at it.

    At the time, I didn’t think it would be very credible for me to bluff the river since AQ was my only likely hand I could play this way and have the nuts on the river.

    In retrospect, I think I have to bet. How many pairs am I flatting with pre? Maybe JJ through 88? There are 6 combos each of TT-88 and one combo of JJ left. So that is 20 pair combos I could turn into river bluffs. There are 16 combos of AQ alone. If I’m ever flatting with hands like AJ suited or AT suited here, that gives me an extremely balanced range on the river to bluff and value bet with and since I’m probably never winning the pot when I check back 9 high, I think I had to bet here and I don’t think it would have required a large sizing since if I did have an ace, I probably wouldn’t go for a polarized sizing.

    Oh well. You live and you learn.

    I was back down to 20 bigs or so when it folded to the button and he opened. I had 66 in the big and decided to reshove, but this prick asked for my stack to be counted down before calling with QQ and I failed to improve and busted out.

    The Legend had about 160k when I busted and played extremely well from my observation. He was very calculated and took his time with every decision. He ended up finishing in 25th place for a small cash and after winning a Main Event seat in a satellite, that makes him 2 for 2 on the trip so far.

    After the tourney, Cobra and I had a nice little candlelight dinner together and some amazing steaks.

    I didn’t play any cash because I felt exhausted so I went and saw Pet Sematary and tried to rest up as much as possible for a new day.

    I feel good!

    This is a $340 no limit Hold’em event with 25k stacks, blinds at 100/200 to start, and 40 minute levels.

    Stack updates here on break.

    An Observation: We are at 200/400 and three players limp in… the big blind jams for like 10k. How is it possible that every single limper has something to think about? You thought your hand was only worth a one big blind limp and now suddenly it might be worth 25 bigs? Fuck outta here and fold your damn hands already.

    First Break: Sitting on just over 40k after three levels of play and that is pretty amazing considering I’ve whiffed with AQ four times, AK once and AJ once in raised pots. My table is playing loose, aggressive, and sticky, so I haven’t wasted any chips c-betting bricked flops when my opponents haven’t shown much tendency to fold.

    So maybe this hand wasn’t the greatest idea. Loose, sticky player limps at 200/400 and I make it 1500 with K4 of diamonds on the button.

    We go heads up to AQ4 with two diamonds and he check-calls 1500.

    The turn is a jack and I bet 4000 when he checks to me. I’m going to be pretty sick if he check-raises here but I don’t think it’s likely since I have an obvious range advantage and he probably needs like KT exactly to raise here. Mostly, I want the pot to be bigger if I get there on the river. He calls.

    The river is the 9 of diamonds and I don’t have to punt my stack. Yay! I bet 10k out of my 16k remaining rather than cramming because my polarized sizing haven’t been getting called… and he calls!

    That’s basically where all my chips have come from so far.

    Observation: Somehow the standard open size at my table has become 3.8x at the 500/1000 blind level. I’ve seen three different players do it in the last 15 minutes.

    Wtf.

    Second Break: 25.1k

    Geez. What does it take to get to 40k and keep building? I had a flurry of good hands in level 4 – TT multiple times, QQ, 99, and 77 – and managed to turn those hands into less chips than I started with. And then I just went two full levels without playing a hand.

    On the bright side, that 25 big blind stack I’ve been nursing the last twenty or so minutes was itching to get in the middle right as registration was about to close, so at least I managed to stay on a single bullet.

    Dinner break is at 5 PM, so we are only going to play a half hour so longer before then. I’ll be looking for good reshove spots with my stack size, like, you know, jamming 66 when someone has QQ.

    😁

    Dinner break is at 5:10 actually. One more full level.

    5:04 PM: And I’m out. Jam 15bb with 88 and run into AK and AA. Had a bit of a sweat when the board started T639 but no love on the river.

    I’m not going to lie. I feel a little discouraged. I just checked my ledger and I’ve now gone 18 tournaments in a row without a single cash. That’s pretty frustrating.

    Obviously, I am not running good, but I can’t pretend like I’m bossing these tournaments. I am simply not good at accumulating chips. I rely way too much on luck and there just aren’t many spots where you have a really good hand and someone else has a pretty good hand and you get paid off for heaps.

    I have done pretty well overall as a survivor in tournament poker, but I think it’s time to figure out how to level up.

    I’m going to take a break and decompress for an hour or two. I checked out the cash games and didn’t see anything appetizing. I’m sure the NL games are good and I should probably push myself to play them, but I feel like relaxing for a bit first. I haven’t hit the hottub up since I’ve been here so I might do that for an hour or so.

    h1

    Shazam! (2019)

    April 10, 2019

    Shazam! (2019)

    Director: David F. Sandberg (Annabelle: Creation, Lights Out)

    Starring: Zachary Levi, Mark Strong, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer

    Anticipation Level: Strong

    How Was It? Eh. The critics have been very kind to Shazam! and I don’t get it. I thought the trailer looked great and the tone of the film looked like a lot of fun, but I wound up thinking it was a bit too corny and some of the jokes really didn’t land for me – I’m looking at you, Santa Claus.

    There was a lot of potential in a story where a kid suddenly gets the powers and physique of a Superman-like superhero, but I felt like Shazam! left a lot of that potential untapped. Imagine you’re a teenage boy that can turn into Superman whenever you want. Are you going to spend your time charging people’s phones with your lighting fingers and taking selfies for money… or… doing literally anything else?

    Also, while I thought the individual performances of Zachary Levi and Asher Angel were pretty entertaining as the child and superhero versions of Billy Batson, they didn’t seem congruent at all. Angel plays the teenage Billy with quite a bit of gravity and a sprinkle of comedy while Levi is in full-blown, over-the-top little kid in a candy shop mode. Entertaining? Sure. I just wasn’t buying the separate performances as the same character.

    The villain in this movie is some dude that ends up housing the seven deadly sins in his body and the sins emerge as smoke monsters to help him wreak havoc. Do I need to say how dumb that is?

    Jack Dylan Grazer and young Faithe Herman give really fun performances in supporting roles as fellow foster kids.

    Overall, I was disappointed with Shazam! because it looked pretty good to me and it wound up leaving me cringing more often than it genuinely entertained me. It wasn’t terrible though. It definitely has funny moments and it was at least watchable. I’m sure lots of people will like it.

    Replay Value: I’d probably watch it again just because, but I might wind up actually hating it.

    Sequel Potential: Well duh.

    Oscar Potential: None.

    5/10 (Decent)

    h1

    $175 HORSE @ Wildhorse in Pendleton Sweat Post

    April 9, 2019

    Wow. I’m already shellshocked. First off, this is only a $175 buy in. I’m not really sure why they would make the Omaha 8 a $230 BI and drop the cost on this one. They are in the same ballpark in my eyes.

    Okay, whatever though. That’s not going to dissuade me from playing. But imagine sitting down in level one with 20k and learning that blinds are 200/400! We are starting with 50 big blinds. And they advertised double chips for all their events! What kind of shitty structure did it used to be?

    Yesterday, the O8 event starting with 20k chips but blinds started at 100/200. I ended up making a deep run on my second bullet and with 40 players left – and 20 cashing – the average stack was 10 big blinds. Not like doubling the chips did much good there either.

    This is going to get really dumb really quick.

    My O8 event was a frustrating experience. I went two hours before I got any piece of a pot and I was down half my stack at the first break and I had only played like five hands.

    I never got any momentum going and busted at the buzzer before re-entry closed, so I bought back in and sat down with 16 big blinds on my second bullet.

    I immediately chipped up and was running good enough that the player on my right kept saying, “how are things going today, Mike?” and I was sitting there thinking, “uhm, well, I’m on my second bullet and we are still super far away from the money so… let’s save the run good needles for when it actually means something?”

    Sure enough, I peaked around 60k, which was about double average at the time, and that was the last of any momentum for me.

    Several hours later, I’m sitting on a short stack ten spots off the money and get my last 4+ bigs in with AQJ3 with a suited ace against AKJ4 and find no love.

    I’ll post stack updates here and maybe some hands on the break. Betting limits are already up to 500/1000 so going to need momentum early to stay relevant in this one.

    1:11 PM: Nothing like limit Hold’em to torch my stack. I defend 62hh in a multi-way pot and have to put in three bets on A43hh before calling another bet on 8 turn and bricking out. Then I get limp-raised in the next pot with AKhh in my small blind and check-call a brick flop 3-handed before check-folding turn.

    Just like that, half my stack is gone… because this structure is 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻

    1:33 PM: Sitting on exactly 10k after three levels for half a starting stack. I would hate to give up if I bust out before registration closes but the structure is so bad I’m not sure I can justify it, even at such a low price point.

    2:04 PM: Uhm. Can we play Razz all day? I’ve seen three different players limp with a face card up. Not defend their bring in. Voluntarily limp.

    2:42 PM: Was down to crumbs and managed to double up a couple times.

    Back up to 7600 with limit Hold’em coming up next hand! This is a superficial statement but I think LHE is the worst game to be short in when you are playing HORSE.

    2:53 PM: Folds to me on button and I raise with K9 of clubs with less than 4 big blinds.

    The big blind defends and I bet the flop without looking at it when he checks to me. He raises to put me all in and I call.

    Board is QQT and he has Q8 so that’s not cool.

    Turn is a jack!

    River is a king!

    Double up. Back to 9700, giving me 8 big blinds.

    3:22 PM: Registration is closed and I’m still on my first bullet. Unfortunately, I’ll be coming back to 5900 with betting limits at 1500/3000.

    3:49 PM: Got moved tables and found myself under the gun playing LHE with just over two big blinds. Fortunately, I picked up 44, but I got two callers and the K65 flop and one of my opponents had 77. The turn gave him a set, which is actually a good card for me, but I bricked the river.

    Fun times. Next event is no limit Hold’em on Thursday.

    h1

    Muckleshoot Classic $750 No Limit Hold’em Main Event (Stack Updates)

    April 6, 2019

    Last Sunday, I ended up skipping the $200 no limit Hold’em event in the Muckleshoot series, mostly because they are no longer rewarding extra cash for Player of the Series. I actually did pop into Palace for a few hours to take my shot at the $2000 Happy Hour Hand while I watched the Mariners game and ate a free meal, but I just played 4/8. I didn’t hit the Happy Hour Hand, but I did hit a jackpot and ended up winning +$366 in less than two hours. I left after the M’s game because someone hit the big jackpot.

    That session closed out my March and I ended up having a decent, but slightly below average month. After a disastrous February, I’ll take it though, especially after dumping over $1700 in my first session.

    Monday was a hiking day. We checked out the Twin Falls Trail near Olallie State Park in North Bend.

    On Tuesday, I popped into Palace for a late night 8/16 session and ran super hot, picking up JJ-AA about ten times in less than five hours. Unfortunately, I won only one of those hands and that led to a solid -$485 to start my April.

    I tried a bit of a different tactic after watching an online PLO video and decided to buy in short for my session, starting with $280.

    My first notable pot came up when a wild and drunk player opened for $15 after two limpers and I decided to defend with KJ86 single suited. The flop was J54 with one of my suit and it checked to the wild player and he bet $60. He only had $40 behind, so I min-raised and that got it heads up. I turned a king and that was good enough to scoop the pot.

    I open to $15 with AK64 single suited, the small blind calls, and the wild player makes it $60. Not folding against him, so I call and so does the small blind. The flop is A22 with two spades and one of my suit. The wild guy leads out $120 and I call. The turn is the 7 of hearts, giving me the nut flush draw, and he bets $200. I put him all in for his remaining $120 and he calls with AK86 and no flush draw. I take a look at his hand and have just enough time to say, “so I’m dodging two eights only?” before the dealer brings the 8d on the river. Ugh.

    That hand crippled me, so I reloaded small again.

    I open AQT6 single suited on the button and both blinds call. The flop is T65 with two hearts and one diamond and I wind up getting all-in with Part-Time for a couple hundred here. The turn is an offsuit ace, but the river is the 7 of hearts, which almost surely beats me and it does, as he turns over 764x with two hearts.

    I defend with AJJ5 single suited and bet the pot and wind up getting it in on J65 rainbow against the wild player’s QJ86… so he’s pretty much drawing dead… but the turn is the queen of spades and suddenly he has two queens and spades to beat me. The river is the ten of spades and I get stacked by the drunk player again.

    Multiple limpers and I make a pot sweetening raise to $20 from the big blind with AAK5 single suited and everyone calls. Flop is KK6 rainbow and Joker calls my $50 bet. The turn is another 6 and this time he calls $110. I have like $300 behind and I decide to check the 2 on the river. In retrospect, I should definitely be betting here. I have a case of the MUBS going on at this point in the session, so I have a feeling I’m beat here, but I’m never folding, so since I only have $300 left, I should be going for value for those times Joker shows up with worse kings here. If he happens to have K6, K2 or 66 somehow, well, I guess I just get to lose $300. But when I let him check behind with hands like KQJ9 and all those sorts of combos, it’s pretty terrible. He does check back, but he also has AK and we split the pot.

    By this point, the wild drunk player has felted like 5-6 times and has lost somewhere around $2000 total… but he felted me twice and I got none of it back.

    Joker makes it $20, I make it $70 with AAK7 and he calls. Flop is QT5 and I have around $500 behind, so I decided to check back the flop because I don’t want to get all in here when my Stack-to-Pot Ratio is over 3. The turn is a 7 and there is no flush draw available. Joker leads out with a pot-sized bet of $150. This could be a fold here, but I do have a gutter and a paired dangler to go with my overpair, so I decide to call and see if he fires again on the river. I feel like he probably knows I have AA in my hand, but I also feel like he’d have to think I’ll call $300 on the river if I call $150 on the turn. The river is a king, which is pretty interesting, as it improves my hand to kings and sevens, plus drastically increases the chances of my AAxx hand making a straight. I expect this card to get me a free showdown a lot of the time, but Joker comes out firing for the max bet of $300. Since I expected him to check a lot, it feels a little weird, but I highly doubt he’s bluffing in this spot and I make the fold.

    We ended up playing 4-handed for a long time and I stopped taking notes. Every time I battled back a little bit, something stupid would happen and I’d be right back to a few hundred dollars in front of me.

    For instance, I potted twice with 99xx on T9327 and got calls from both Wolverine and Joker on both streets and then Wolverine fired into both of us on the river. Shouldn’t ever be a bluff, so I made the reluctant fold.

    Another example: I end up in a 3-way 3-bet pot with JJ32 double suited and wind up potting the 732 rainbow flop and getting called in two spots. The turn is a 9, completing the rainbow, and I potted again, this time getting one caller. The river is a 6, completing the only draw he can have on the flop, and he still checks it to me even though I have like $120 behind. I check back and he tables the A45x. Yawn.

    Finally, I had JT98 double suited in a 3-bet pot and ended up getting my stack in vs Joker on J98 rainbow flop. I had two backdoor flush draws and three pair, plus a straight draw, but I was pretty sure Joker flopped a straight. We ran it twice and his QT held up on both boards.

    That finished a -$1200 PLO session for me and looking back over these hand histories, it’s pretty hard to believe I lost that much. Super unlucky.

    I took Thursday and Friday off to rest up and be as fresh as possible for Muck’s Main Event today.

    10:22 AM: Standing in registration line. I will not be posting hand histories while I’m playing, so check back here for stack updates every few hours and maybe I will have some notable hands to talk about on breaks, but I intend to focus on the action at my table as much as possible.

    10:43 AM: 20k starting stacks and blinds at 25/50 with 45 minute levels.

    LOL @ the dealer calling me a “professional” when I sit down. That seems wildly inappropriate and unnecessary, whether it is true or not.

    Only one player I know at my starting table and I recognize another one as probably solid. First glance my table doesn’t seem all that great, but we shall see.

    11:13 AM: Sigh. Max Young, the most successful tournament player in the Pacific Northwest the last few years, just sat at my table, so…. that sucks. On the bright side, I get a close up look at how he’s transformed himself into an absolute tourney crusher.

    1:09 PM: Played a big 3-bet pot with AA vs 99 and got two streets of value before checking back river on J33hhJTh. I wasn’t planning to check river because I thought she was pair heavy but with both the flush draw and TT getting there, I decided to check back thinking I’m only targeting KK and QQ for value.

    A short while later, I got about 2600 in pre with AKss vs same player and her T9ss didn’t hit the board.

    Then I had a player open to 500 at 100/200 and I 3-bet AA to 1500 and knew as soon as he started thinking that he was 4-betting and willing to stack off. He makes it 4400 and I put him all in for just north of 13k (65bb!) and he calls it off with AK.

    93425

    Sigh.

    I’m over 30k, but I’ll have to get an exact count when I get back to the table.

    33.6k

    3:36 PM: 54k after eight levels and coming back to 300/600 blinds. Looks like roughly 155 left of 282 starting and average stack is somewhere around 36k. 42 of us will cash and come back tomorrow.

    6:11 PM: Very last hand before the dinner break I open to 2500 from under the gun at 500/1000 with QQ and the very next player makes it 7500. Folds back around to me and we are both 40+ bigs deep and he’s a tight player 3-betting an under the gun raise from early position also, so definitely not looking to get stacks in here pre. I call.

    Flop is KK6 and I check-call 6k.

    Turn is a blank and he puts me all in. My opponent is Green River Gary and he is just never fucking around here. I am pretty confident if he had a hand like JJ he would check back this turn. So… I’m pretty annoyed about it, but I fold.

    He gives me a courtesy show of the AK of clubs.

    Sigh.

    It was a pretty card dead two levels for me and I somehow managed to lose almost half my stack in the last orbit.

    My table is unbelievably amazing though. Green River Gary is my toughest opponent and he is basically a straight-forward abc Reg. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to take advantage of the situation so far.

    I’ll be coming back to 28.1k and this is what things look like right now:

    edit: I had QQ on the hand before break

    7:27 PM: Taking a selfie with the winner of yesterday’s $400 event: The Riddler!

    Congrats dude!

    7:46 PM: Second orbit after the break, I’m in the big blind with Q4 of clubs and there’s a min-raise and caller in front of me, so I defend.

    Flop is QT4 with two hearts and one club. I end up getting it all in against the PFR and he has… QT.

    Good fucking game.

    God. So frustrating to get such a gift of a table and instead of steadily chipping up the rest of the night, I’m going home with another brick in my backpack.

    Cobra and I are heading to Pendleton, Oregon for the Spring Round Up tomorrow, so that should be pretty cool. I haven’t been there since spring of 2016 and I’m looking forward to it. My first event will be the $150 O8 on Monday.