Archive for May, 2019

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World Series of Poker Schedule

May 31, 2019

Events in Purple are guaranteed plays (well, 95%) and events in Peach are targets if I’m available on that day (i.e. not in Day 2s or 3s).

Let’s get it.

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May 2019 Week 4: New 8/16 Record Session

May 26, 2019

Monday @ Palace

My jam on Mondays lately has been playing 8/16 at Palace to get my volume back up so that’s where I continued to play this past week.

First notable pot, I opened from the cutoff with 65 of diamonds and both blinds called. An unknown donked from the small blind on the 855 with one diamond flop and the big blind called. I usually raise here, but I didn’t think a raising war was going to break out, so I just called to raise the big bet street. The turn was the four of diamonds and the small blind bet again, the big called, and now I raised it. The small blind called but then the big blind back-raised to three bets. Hello, alarm bells. Nope, I’m not leaping out of my seat at my good fortune here; color me concerned. I just call and so does the small blind. The river is the ace of diamonds, turning my trips into a flush and it feels like I’m definitely winning when they both wind up checking to me. It’s a little strange that the big blind would check this card, so I’m slightly worried I could be getting check-raised or that he’s putting me on exactly AA for some reason, but that’s not going to stop me from trying to get some value, so I bet and I get called in one or two spots and my flush is good.

Second notable pot, I had TT in a straddled 5-bet 5-ways pot and flopped top set and avoided whatever land mines were waiting for me.

Then I had 55 in the big blind with one limper and the small blind in the pot and got the 55x flop. I got no action on that hand, but I did win a $400 jackpot.

Seems like a pretty good session, right?

How about no?

I played for 5+ hours and this was pretty much everything good that happened. The rest of the night was a constant bleed. I only wrote down one notable losing hand, so I’m sure I was getting a lot of good preflop hands and just not connecting with the board and whiffing when I did flop any draws.

There are limpers and I raise it up with AK on the button. The flop is AQ2 rainbow and I get a couple of callers. The turn is a 6 and this time only the cutoff calls. The river pairs the 2 and suddenly my opponent leads out with a bet. This guy is an 8/16 regular that never plays bigger and didn’t really start playing at Palace until after I graduated to bigger games, so I don’t have a ton of history with him. However, my perception of him is that he’s a wimpy abc type of player that trends on the nitty side. The deuce can’t be part of a flush draw, plus if he did happen to call me down with a naked bottom pair leading out with trips is moronic. It would be insane for him to show up with 66 here and this would be a bizzaro line with AQ, so my only logical conclusion is that he has an ace and thinks he’s chopping most of the time and winning some of the time by betting this river with an ace. It seems like he will call with an ace, so I raise it up and he does call… with K2 suited. Needless to say, I was stunned… by pretty much everything about this hand. The preflop limp along is whatever and the flop call is standard, but everything else – the turn call, the river donk, just calling after I tank-raised – pretty much blew my mind.

I only played for just over five hours because at 11 PM there was no list and two players left or busted from our full game, leaving us 7-handed and I was the only remaining player that seemed to have any interest in continuing “short-handed” because everyone else quit by 11:13. Pathetic.

Fortunately, my three key pots outweighed all the bad and I managed a small win for the night, but I also can’t help but note that the only reason I won money was because I hit a jackpot.

Result: +$255

Tuesdays are always my day off and Wednesday was our four year wedding anniversary, so I didn’t play any poker on those days.

Thursday @ Fortune

I’ve been meaning to start going to Fortune on a more regular basis and finally pulled the trigger this Thursday when Ducky bailed on our weekly trip to Red Dragon for the mix game there. The Fortune 20/40 game seems like it’s been struggling recently as no limit cash games have been taking over the room. I see only one 20/40 table running a lot of the time when I check out their app and they used to get three games some of the time. My interest level in playing there is much higher when they have multiple 20 games running. So when I made my decision to head that way they had two games running with no list and that was good enough for me to make the trip.

I got a seat immediately and they’ve made a change since I’ve last been here (which was over two months ago!) and players new to the game no longer have to post or wait for the big blind to get a hand. Needless to say, that makes it a little easier to complete The Coast-to-Coast Challenge. I ended up folding all my free hands and then the button opened and Gaston (explanation coming) called from the small blind and I defended with Q5 of hearts. The flop is 995 with one heart and we check it to the button and Gaston and I both call. The turn is a 6 and it checks around. The river is a 3 and I think there’s a good chance I have the best hand when the turn checks around and Gaston checks the river, but I’m also not seeing a ton of value here and I don’t know how anyone is playing yet, so I check and it checks through and my hand is good. The Coast is live!

So Gaston is a 20/40 reg at Fortune that always asks me what his nickname is whenever I see him, but I’ve probably played less than ten sessions with him, so it’s not like we’ve butted heads very much. But then again, Gaston is special. Some people are worthy of nicknames simply because there is no one else like them. I’ve never played with anyone as self-promoting as Gaston. 95% of the things he says is about how awesome he is. I’m honestly curious if he is even capable of normal human interaction. The first time he sat next to me, he was showing me pictures of his past chip stacks for like 15 minutes straight. I was looking around the table for help like, “is this really happening to me right now?” I actually saw him pull up his camera roll during this session and there were like 20-30 pictures visible and every single one of them was of a chip stack. Maybe even the same chip stack. Amazing.

If you’re unfamiliar with Gaston, he’s the main villain in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast movies. Here’s a reminder of the Gaston song in the movies: Gaston Song – I’m sure there’s a way to embed that video but I don’t have skills like that.

“No one’s slick as Gaston
no one’s quick as Gaston
no one’s into measuring dicks like Gaston.”

A short while later, I 3-bet with the QJ of hearts, flopped a flush draw and got three bets in on the flop and rivered a flush. I officially had some Coasting breathing room and it was smooth sailing for my first several hours, peaking at around +$1500 three hours in.

Could I finally pull off my first Coast-to-Coast?

Gaston opens from middle position and it folds to me with AK of hearts in the small blind. I ended up flatting here because Gaston is a good hand reader and I didn’t want to tip my hand strength. I’m not sure what hands I want to flat with here down the road (if any), so until we get more history, I like including some big hands in my calling range. The big blind is a weak player and I don’t mind keeping him. The flop is Q86 with one heart and I go ahead and check-raise the flop. When the big blind takes two cold to the face and Gaston calls also, I’m planning to give up on turn bricks, but when the turn pairs the queen while giving me a flush draw, this feels like a great card to bet, so that’s what I do. They both fold.

After that I hit a cold stretch, starting with this pot. There’s an open, Gaston 3-bets (on my direct right now) from the cutoff and I cap it with 99 on the button. We end up going 5-ways to the 843 flop and I get called in three spot. The turn is a ten and I bet when it is checked to me. This card might beat me, but I shouldn’t be getting raised too often and if I do, I probably just have to fold. The big blind and Gaston call. The river is a 7 and it checks to me again. I feel like I’m probably good here, but I’m not super confident about it, so I check back and the big blind tables T6 of diamonds and then Gaston shows AT.

Then I had a 90 minute stretch where I picked up 99, JJ, or KK somewhere around 7-8 times and I lost with every single one of them. Suddenly I was only up $400 and my Coast was in jeopardy.

The sickest hand during that stretch was opening with KK, getting 3-bet by a loose player, and 4-bet by a good player from the small blind. The flop was 654 and the good player and I ended up putting in four bets. The turn was a ten and he check-called me. The river was a 7. I’m not worried about a straight here, but I am worried about AA. I’ve played my hand fast enough that he might be concerned with aces here. I thought he would probably still fire out on the turn with aces, so I went ahead and bet the river, especially since there are twice as many combos of JJ and QQ than AA. So I bet and he says something about me having a set before calling and I say, “I can’t beat aces” after he calls and… that is what he has.

But then I won a big pot with AQ and two with QQ and sucked out with AA vs KT on a KT696 board.

And I did it! I completed The Coast-to-Coast Challenge! I was getting super tired about nine hours in, but I powered through hour ten and became the first Gold entry.

Result: +$992

Friday @ Palace

Friday ended up being the 15/30 version of my Monday session.

I got off to a good start, raising with TT and getting donked into on KT3hh by Mr. Freeze with another player in the pot. That player called and I called also, so that I could make a raise on the turn when all three of us were in Overs. The turn is an offsuit six and Mr. Freeze leads again, other guy calls, and I get them both to put in $100 each on the turn. The river is an ace and now the middle player bets out when it checks to him. I mean… QJ sure makes a lot of sense. It makes enough sense that I don’t want to risk another $100 to find out, so I just call and hope that he has two pair. Mr. Freeze folds and my opponent does show AT for two pair.

Then I 3-bet a loose opener with A7 of diamonds and Mr. Freeze 4-bet on the button. The flop was AT3 and I started with a check-call. The turn paired the ace and I didn’t think that changed too much. I’m either way ahead or way behind still. I check-call. The river paired the 3 and I checked again and regretted it immediately. Mr. Freeze checks back and my hand somehow got there against TT. Woah. This is what he usually does to me. It was nice to put that guy on defrost for a little while.

I have the small blind on the button and there is some limping going on in front of me and I complete with 22. The flop is 652 rainbow, Taz bets and I raise. He calls and we go heads up to an 8 on the turn. Now he check-raises me. I’m honestly not sure about this spot. Taz had limped in from early position and is showing a lot of strength on this board texture. What hands would he play this way that I’m beating? 65? 86? Maaaaybe 87? Can he have an overpair? I guess it’s possible. In the moment, I raised it up and he thought for a long time before calling. The river paired the 8 and he checked to me again. Taz is capable of overplaying some hands, so that’s why I leaned 3-bet on the turn, and when he just calls, we can rule out straights but when the 8 pairs on the river, I’m not sure I love it. I can beat overpairs he limped in with from early position and some spazz with 87, which he is capable of. I’m not sure this is a betting spot and when I do bet and get check-raised, my hand is never good… but I pay it off and he shows 55 for a bigger full house. Maybe I’m being hard on myself, but I felt like I could have saved a big bet or two here somewhere.

Then I had a sick pot where I defended a raise multi-way with 63 of spades only for it to get back-raised and capped back to me and I wound up having to put four bets in with this garbage hand. Fortunately for me, the flop was a lovely 542 with two clubs and I suddenly had the nuts. I got four bets in multiple ways on the flop and by the time we reached the river, one player was all in and I only had one live opponent on the side, so I bet even when the flush got there on the last card. He folded and my hand was good for everything.

And then I made a one card Royal Flush for a $300 High Hand.

And yet… somehow I barely won for the session. In fact, just like on Monday, I ended up winning less than I picked up in High Hands. So even though I won some good pots, most of the session was either brutal or just bricking.

Result: +$236

On Saturday, I fired up a tournament on Global Poker while I was waiting for my wife to get ready and I ended up taking 1st of 51 in an $11 buy in for $342, so that was a nice and surprising start to my day.

It didn’t look like Palace was going to have a 15/30 game and Fortune only had one 20/40 with all 15 tables in action, so I didn’t want to go there either. We ended up going to Palace and I was content to play 8/16 all night.

And thank goodness. Because magic happened.

I picked up AK on the first pot I played and whiffed the flop and folded the turn, so I wouldn’t be Coasting in this session and that’s a damn shame because on the very next hand I had KK and won a massive pot and within my first hour of play I was up $1000.

And that was just the beginning. It was just one of those sessions where the game was super juicy with lots of raising and loose play and I happened to be running insanely good. I lost a massive pot with aces and I got overflushed once, but that’s about all I could really complain about. The rest of the session are what dreams are made of. I ended up hitting four High Hands for $200 each and two of those held up for the highest hand of the hour for another $100 each. After tips, I made a shade over $900 just in High Hands. But I also absolutely crushed.

I didn’t see much sense in writing down any hands because it was just pure run good all day long. I’ve had really good sessions, but almost all of them have cold stretches and I was hot in this one for almost ten hours straight.

How hot? This hot:

That’s a personal 8/16 record and as far as I know, it’s the most anyone has won in an 8/16 game at Palace. Ever. I certainly haven’t seen anyone even come close. My previous personal best in 8/16 was +$2377 and this is the 8th time in just over four years of playing 8/16 that I’ve won $1700 or more in a single session.

It’s so sick that I’ve actually never even won this much in a 20/40 game. My personal best in 20/40 is just under $3400. I did have a +$6754 session in the 15/30 last year, but I believe we were playing a lot of 25/50 Overs in that game.

It sure felt good because I was looking like I might post my third losing month of the year already (and I still might), but that session was enough to put me in the green for May and give me a good chance to stay there.

Result: +$3430

That was a nice bounce back after a miserable showing last week. I ended up winning just over $5200 this week and it was desperately needed.

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May 2019: Week 3 Poker Wrap-Up

May 19, 2019

Monday @ Palace

I think I want Mondays to be the day I play at Fortune, but this past week we had to be up early on Tuesday for an appointment and I’m basically never going to travel to a casino if I know I have to leave early-ish. Looks like the same thing is going on this week, so most likely I’ll be playing at Palace again tomorrow.

My 8/16 session was mostly ho hum. I played just over six hours and never really had any momentum in either direction. I can’t recall any horrific hands (but there are plenty of those to come) and my session basically boiled down to one critical pot.

Someone raises from early position, there are multiple callers, and the small blind makes it 3-bets. I have the 54 of clubs in the big blind and I don’t mind gambling here since the pot is going off multi-way. The early position player caps it.

The flop comes down 762 with one club and I’m going to be seeing the river most of the time here, even facing heavy action. The flop gets capped, with the small blind and early position player exchanging raises and two of us trapped in between these two obvious big pairs.

The turn is the jack of clubs and the small blind still leads out, I call, and the early position player still raises. This is where the other player in the pot suddenly wakes up with a cold 3-bet. Woah. This actually shocks everyone in the hand, myself included. The small blind can’t find a fold for two more big bets with whatever big pair he has and I’m obviously not folding now that I’ve added a flush draw to my straight draw. The other big pair also calls.

The river is the 2 of clubs, giving me a flush but pairing the board. I don’t see how this is anything other than a check-call spot. It’s pretty obvious that both the small blind and early position player have QQ+ and the other player said he wasn’t worried about all that when he 3-bet on the turn, so how much should I like my hand here? Dude called two bets cold pre, so the only (reasonable) hand I’m beating now is 76 suited? Maybe he lost his mind with AJ, but that doesn’t mean I should be leading out here. It seems like he’s showing up with full houses most of the time. So we all check it over to him and when he checks and is visibly frustrated, I snap-roll my hand and win the pot with a flush. The small blind had aces, the early player had kings, and the other guy had… J7o. Well okay then.

There was one other hand I played that I thought was notable, just because my hand-reading during it was pinpoint, allowing me to collect an extra big bet or two that I think almost everyone else would leave on the table.

I open with the T9 of hearts and a passive player that I had not seen 3-bet the entire session raises me. I call.

The flop is KJ9 with two clubs and this is a check-call for me.

The turn is the queen of clubs so I lead out and my opponent still raises me. Yes, I said this player is passive so this raise is kind of mind-boggling, but I also think he has zero tens in his range and there is no way he has a flush with the king and queen of clubs on board. It seems pretty obvious to me that he has aces or kings (or maybe QQ or JJ), so I go for a savage 3-bet and bet again when the river bricks off and, sure enough, my hand is somehow scooping here (he didn’t show).

Result: +$407

Wednesday on Global Poker

I knew I wasn’t going to play PLO at Palace on Wednesday. The game has gone from an A+ to a C-, at best, and it’s not really worth arranging my whole day around what usually amounts to a four hour session. I’m probably done with it until after I get back from the WSOP in mid-July.

Global has their Rattlesnake Open II series going on right now and I thought Wednesday was the night of their limit Hold’em events, but I was actually a day ahead of schedule. Unfortunately, that meant that I wasn’t going to play live poker on Thursday either and I have been enjoying playing the mix games at Red Dragon on Thursdays. But I have been studying no limit Hold’em tournaments the past week in preparation for the WSOP and I was eager to put some of the stuff I was learning into practice, so I played on Global anyway.

The first tournament I played was an $11 freezeout and I was immediately rewarded for my efforts by finishing 1st of 167 entrants for $358.22! That’s pretty inconsequential in the grand scheme of things, but it always feels good to win any reasonably sized tournament outright.

The second tournament I played was a $3 rebuy and I reached the final table on two bullets and an add-on, sitting third in chips. Unfortunately, on the very first hand at the final table, I played a 3-bet pot with KK vs TT and my opponent flopped a set, crippling me, and I did not recover, finishing 9th of 153 entrants.

Two tournaments, two final tables. Not bad.

I played three other tournaments and min-cashed one of them (for a small loss).

Result: +$314.33

Thursday on Global Poker

I don’t make playing on Global much of a priority these days, but I do always mark my calendars for the limit Hold’em events in their big series because on a site that never has LHE games running, my edge figures to be pretty massive considering that’s the variant I play primarily to make a living.

I ended up playing six tournaments on Thursday, three of them the LHE events in the Rattlesnake Open series, and managed only one cash, a 13th place finish (of 282 entrants) in the $11 LHE event. I had the displeasure of stone bubbling not one, but two tournaments on the day. Both of them paid 27 players and I found a way to finish 28th twice.

The craziest hand I played was in the $55 LHE tournament. We weren’t on the bubble quite yet, but we were getting down there and I opened with AJo from under the gun and it folded to the big blind and he defended.

The flop was 443 with two hearts and one club. I bet and the big blind check-raises me. Considering that I expect none of these people to play LHE regularly, I find this check-raise laughable because there is no way his range is balanced here. Is he check-raising with a 3 here? Pocket sixes? Are these people that never play LHE flatting with hands like QQ+ preflop? I don’t really expect it. So I expect his range to be very draw and bluff heavy here and an under the gun raiser is literally NEVER folding to a check-raise on this flop and this board is a bad start to get folds later on from ace highs. I call.

The turn is the king of clubs and when he leads out, I think this is spot where I should be raising instead of calling. If he does have a 3 or a medium pair, he might fold to a raise and if his range is full of draws and bluffs like I suspect then raising protects my equity and charges the draws. If the river is bricky, I can check back if he calls and hope to win showdowns vs draws. If he has a pair, he’s not going to fold on the river after calling the turn, so no sense turning my hand into a bluff there. I raise and he calls.

The river is the six of clubs. He leads out. There is no way I’m winning now and I should fold, especially since this is a tournament and every big bet is precious. But I can’t help myself. I want to see how I lost. I call and he shows… the 92 of clubs.

What a torch. Horrible defend. Horrible flop to bluff an under the gun raiser on. It could make sense against a late position open, but I’m never folding the flop here and I’m rarely folding ever. Horrible hand to bluff with. He has no real equity. At least a hand like 65 has some clear outs, in addition to possible pair outs. Then he gets spanked for two big bets on the turn. At least he got the river right. And this dude is one of the best tournament players on all of Global Poker and I’m not just saying that, I’ve looked up his results on Sharkscope. Uhm yes. More limit Hold’em tournaments please… where even the world beaters on the site have no clue. Unfortunately, in three weeks of daily tournaments during the series, only one day is devoted to limit Hold’em. Oh well.

Result: -$163.25

Friday @ Palace

I have decided to make someone an official Bat-Villain because, well, he deserves it at this point. I’ve noted many times now that Part-Time has been running magically against me for months, consistently getting the best of me in every big pot we play. It doesn’t matter how strong my hand is – he either has me coolered or gets there when he’s punting. There is just no justification for someone to be ownin me this badly and not get a nickname promotion.

I’ve had difficulty coming up with a proper new name for him. I considered Bane and Ra’s Al Ghul, two of Batman’s most formidable foes. But Ra’s has functioned as a mentor to a young Bruce Wayne and Bane broke The Bat’s back. I really don’t want to give Part-Time that much credit.

But since Part-Time has been coolering me in pot-after-pot for months now and I’ve been running ice cold against him, I think it is fair to change his name to MR. FREEZE.

So, of course, in what would be my worst 15/30 session of the year so far, Mr. Freeze was at the center of my destruction.

The first brutal hand to come up was a multi-way raised pot that I flatted on the button with QT of spades. The flop was 742 with two spades and Mr. Freeze led right out from one of the blinds, there were multiple callers before me, and I raised my draw for value. Mr. Freeze immediately 3-bets, there are some calls, and I cap it. The turn is the 3 of spades and before I can even jump out of my seat and celebrate, Mr. Freeze fires an insta-bet. This dude is no idiot. If he flopped a big made hand, he is not betting this card. Free Throw calls in between us and I just call. The river is a blank. Mr. Freeze bets $30, Free Throw calls, and I mention that we are in Overs now. Free Throw says something like, “Batman must really like his hand” and I reply, “no, I have a queen high flush and I don’t think it’s winning.” But that’s not going to stop me from calling and Mr. Freeze turns over the cooler: A5 of spades.

ICE COLD.

Later on, I open with AQ and get some callers that have position on me, including Mr. Freeze. The flop is Q53 rainbow and since I’ve been raising and whiffing a lot of flops, I think this is a great board texture to check-call on and raise the turn, especially since Mr. Freeze likes to bet when checked to. Plus, the flop size is normal, but when the other players fold we will be in Overs on the turn. The turn is a blank and I’m pleased to see my plan go so swimmingly, but of course he 3-bets me and winds up showing a set of fives.

ICE COLD.

There are some early limps, the button raises, and I 3-bet with KK from the small blind and everyone calls. The flop is A98 with two spades. I start with a check and it checks to the button and he fires out a bet. I debate whether or not I should be raising here and decide that no one is going to fold an ace or a good draw and I don’t really want to isolate myself out of position with two outs. I should be either way ahead or way behind. I just call and this allows the other two players, Mr. Freeze included, to call behind me. The turn is the six of hearts and I’m pretty happy to see it check around. I am quite certain I have the best hand now and I’ll probably go for value on the river… but it’s a queen. Nope, that’s not a card I’m going to bet since it improves the best straight draw. I check, Mr. Freeze bets, and the button calls. I’m not expecting to be winning often here, but I make the call and Mr. Freeze shows the 75 of diamonds because JT would make too much damn sense and I must be punished for not check-raising the flop.

ICE FUCKING COLD.

I am having a miserable session and the hands I posted are just the most extreme examples or maybe they just felt that way because Mr. Freeze is delivering the knockout blows, but I was steamed up enough that I felt the need to walk around the building, clear my head, and try to center myself. I was messaging Joker and Radio Mike, telling them that I was on (or approaching) level 9 tilt. I basically categorize it like this: level 7 tilt is visible tilt; level 8 is reactionary tilt (via gestures or verbal); and level 9 is when you can feel the tilt start to physically overwhelm you. I’m not exactly sure what level 10 tilt is, but it probably can get you kicked out of a casino. I suppose it could also be the straight up suicide missions I see some people go on after losing a particularly brutal pot. It’s something like, “well, if I’m going to lose like that, I might as well give the rest of these chips away too.” For instance, last night I saw a player that was playing reasonably well lose with 76 suited on a board of A767A to AJ and then limped in with 95o the next hand, called a raise, and donked on a flop of Q52. The next hand he called three bets cold from middle position and ended up showing J3 of clubs. He was felted with an orbit or two. Dude lost one sick hand and couldn’t bare to keep chips in front of him any longer. That’s level 10 Suicide Tilt.

Anyways, I take a walk around the building and by the time I’m done, I feel like I’ve calmed down. I’m not even on level 7 tilt anymore. So I sit back down and it’s my turn to post the big blind. Perfect. The pot gets raised and it’s going off at least six ways so I defend with the 65o. The flop is J74 rainbow and it checks to the PFR, they bet, Ducky check-raises from the small blind, I cold call, and so do three other players. The PFR also just calls. I drill the 8 on the turn and bet when Ducky checks to me. Two of the cold callers call and Ducky seems to sense danger and folds. The river is a queen and I’m pretty thrilled to have the nuts and I desperately need a big pot. I bet, the first guy calls and the second guy raises. No worries. He is totally clueless and fully capable of raising with two pair here. I 3-bet and this dude 4-bets me by splashing way more chips than is necessary to raise into the pot. No no no no NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. He has the nuts. It’s always the nuts. One hand back and I’m already back on level 8 tilt. And of course this fucking guy is sitting in Mr. Freeze’s old seat.

“Cooler than a polar bear’s toenails.”

My night wouldn’t get any better. I didn’t really have more absolutely sickening hands, but I wasn’t winning any pots either. My big aces were whiffing and my big pairs weren’t winning. My draw were all bricking. You know… the standard run bad stuff that drains a stack.

I reached level 9 tilt. I could feel myself starting to leak. Once that happens, I give myself one orbit to get it together or I’m fucking out of there. I can run bad all day, but I’m not about to lose because I’m playing bad. I called it quits before 10:30 PM on a Friday night. Pathetic.

Result: -$2089

I actually had to look back and see where that ranked as far as one of my worst sessions ever. It’s up there, but I was surprised that it wasn’t my worst performance in a 15/30 game at Palace. I actually went down memory lane and found a blog post from that session. It was a fun re-read so I’ll post a link as it pretty much sums up how I was feeling throughout this session:

My Worst 15/30 Session Ever

Saturday @ Palace

15/30 never even came close to starting, so I ended up playing 8/16 for most of the day with a little 4/8 sprinkled in at the beginning and the end. I had another rocky session, losing in plenty of ridiculous ways that I don’t feel like recounting here, but when the feeder game started to get short, things started to turn my way for a bit and I was able to salvage the day a little.

Result: -$228

Yup. Another miserable week. After Friday’s session, my wife even had to ask if I’m just running bad at this point. I mean… I think so. I’ve said it before and I still believe it to be true: there is not a massive gap between my A-game and my C-game and I think my C-game is better than most people’s A-games (people that I play with regularly). I’ve played limit Hold’em at a successful level for so long that a lot of it is totally ingrained, learned to the level of Unconscious Competence and I don’t even need to think to play correctly most of the time. I just do it automatically. I play well on auto-pilot and even in emotional turmoil. Plus, I’m still adept at playing exploitively.

But I can see where she’s coming from. This is what my cash game graph looks like since I posted that huge $5k win on the 1st of February (note: the b/e line is at the very top of the graph!):

Yes. That is fucking ugly. I see three downswings and two of them are massive. And let’s not forget I bricked a bunch of tournaments during this time and they aren’t even represented here. It’s been a rough 3+ months. No doubt. The worst extended run I’ve ever been on. I hear the new mortgage curse is a real thing.

But I didn’t suddenly forget how to play and my opponents haven’t all magically turned into Hold’em wizards.

My cash game results for the year are still pretty good (thank you January!):

And when I look at my cash game results since summer of 2014, panicking because I’m stringing a few losing months together seems pretty silly:

Trust the process.

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May 2019 Week 2 Poker Wrap-Up

May 13, 2019

So in lieu of the live blogging, I took some notes during my sessions on the key pots I played so that I could possibly write about them later if I decided to do a review of my sessions.

Wednesday @ Palace

I went in a little early on Wednesday to get a few hours of 8/16 in before the PLO game started and only two hands really stuck out to me from the session, mostly because Part-Time continues to run insanely pure against me. I can’t even imagine what he thinks about it all, but I picture him going to sleep and having dreams about playing pots against me because he seems to cooler me or get there any time we lock horns. It must feel like free money to him.

On the first hand, there are some limpers, he raises from the small blind and I defend with 33 from the big blind. The flop comes down T83 with two clubs and three of us end up putting in a raise on the flop with Part-Time the one capping the betting. The turn card is an ugly six of clubs, completing the flush draw and a 97 straight, so I’m pretty happy to not get raised after it checks to me and I bet. I still have two opponents when the river is a 7. I have Part-Time squarely on an overpair at this point and I’m picking up vibes from the other guy in the hand that he doesn’t have a straight, so I go for some savage value here and only Part-Time calls. I table my set and then he tables a set of eights because obv.

The other hand of note, I raise with KT of spades under the gun and get 6-way action to a flop of QJJ with one spade. I decide to c-bet this flop and I get a call from the small blind before Part-Time check-raises from the big. He would play a jack this way, so I’m just looking to make the best hand now. I call and so does the small blind. The turn is the ace of spades, giving me the nut straight and a Royal Flush draw that will be worth over $10,000 if I can find a queen of spades on the river. Part-Time checks and I bet. I think the ace is a reasonable card to check-raise if you have a jack or better, so when he just calls it seems clear that I have the best hand. The other player folds. The river is a 4 and now Part-Time donks out.

What?

I basically always have the MUBS at this point when I play a pot with Part-Time and when I called on the flop, I was thinking about how I’m probably still going to lose if I make my hand and now here I am getting donked into on the river after being check-called on the turn. But since he called a raise from the big blind in a 6-way pot, he might have all the jacks in his range and that gives him way more combos of trip jacks than full houses and because of the board texture and the action, most of the hands that make boats are unlikely anyway. In fact, I think we can safely eliminate AA, QQ, JJ, and 44 from his range and when we do that, that leaves us with 72 combos of trip jacks and 18 combos of full houses. Even if we put some of the junkier offsuit jacks into his preflop folding range, he still clearly has trips here far more often than boats, especially considering how the turn action went. I didn’t need to do all this combo counting at the table – it’s pretty intuitive – to put in the raise, so I jacked it up and when he just calls I’m obviously never losing, but this is Part-Time vs Dark Knight so of course he turns over QJ here.

Result: -$18

PLO started at 6 PM and it was mostly uneventful for me. I gradually grinded to about +$400 before things started to sour. I managed to go on a four hour stretch without winning a single hand and bottomed out at -$600.

The first hand that started my downward trend I have K9xx in a limped pot from a blind, bet $20 on K92 rainbow, and my only caller is one of the McPoyle brothers from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia:

The turn is a 6 and when I lead $50, McPoyle makes it $165 and this spot sucks because I think he’s capable of doing this with hands like K6 and maybe as bad as 62. In other words, he doesn’t know what he’s doing and if he has me beat here, I probably just have to pay it off. I call. The river is a ten and when we both check I assume I’m probably winning the pot, but he ends up showing a set of 9s.

I’ve put $1100 on the table and I only have about $370 of it left when I double through McPoyle while holding A665 with a suited ace in clubs and get it all in on a board of J74cc8 and hold even when the board pairs on the river.

Shortly after that, I get a rather large bluff through with KT97 on a board of QJ54 and get my opponent to lay down AA76 face up so I’m back to over $800 in my stack when this hand comes up:

It’s a raised pot and I have 9766 with a suit on a board of T86 rainbow and wind up getting all $800 of it in against The Crypt Keeper on the flop. There’s a third player also all-in, but he only has about $200 of it, so the side pot is way more important here. I have the nuts and bottom set for a redraw, but I’m not loving the spot. Crypt Keeper obviously has the nuts also and probably has a redraw with it and the other guy wanting to get his stack in is concerning as well. We run it once… the turn is an ace and the river is a queen and Crypt Keeper winds up scooping it all with J97x and felting me. The other player had 88 in his hand, so my scooping outs were actually pretty minimal, even for the side pot. That left me dusted and since the game was short-handed, not great, and it was almost 1 AM, I just called it a night.

Result: -$1082

Thursday @ Red Dragon

Ducky and I headed to Red Dragon to play some 20/40 Mix and I did something I don’t think I’ve ever done before: I lost almost $1000 while waiting for the game I wanted to play in to start.

Let me preface this by saying that the PLO game at Red Dragon is borderline ridiculous. I’m not talking about the action in the game… I’m talking about the structure of it. It’s a 1/3 game, so the blinds are $1 and $3, but it’s $5 to come in just like at Palace, but in this game the maximum buy in is $300, so the most you can sit down with is effectively 60 big blinds. That’s already really shallow, but in the game I was playing, almost everyone (myself excluded) was straddling to $10 on the button. This effectively reduces the maximum buy in to 30 big blinds and if a pot gets raised preflop, stacks are going in on the flop if anyone has a piece. I’m sure the game is still plenty beatable, but this structure definitely increases the short-term luck factor and probably drastically decreases a good player’s edge overall.

First hand that cost me my stack, I have AKQT with a suit in a straddled pot and make it $40 to go. I get two callers and flop a king high flush draw on 972 with two spades. I pot the flop and get it in against both my opponents. That’s obviously not good. One of them probably has the nut flush draw, so I’m likely in bad shape here. The turn pairs the 2 and the river is a 6, so I miss everything. One guy had the nut flush draw and made trip twos but the third player had 985x with no spades and his hand and scoops everything with a straight.

Second hand that cost me my stack, I make it $40 again with KKT9 with a suit and get two callers. I pot and get it in on Q83 rainbow and both players call. The turn pairs the 3 and the river is a 9. I’m up against AKKT and JT9x and the same player that stacked me in the first hand does it again by rivering another straight, even though I chop with a jack and three of his tens are blocked. Sigh.

My third time (nearly) getting stacked, it is not straddled, but there are three limpers, and I pot it with AKKT with a suited ace in clubs, and two players call. I bet 2/3 pot on AQ3 with two clubs and get one caller. We are super shallow after the flop betting, so I put him all in even though the turn pairs the queen and he has KQ53. So after thinking I kind of smashed the flop, I suddenly have one out to win this pot. It doesn’t come.

I think I lose another smallish pot before deciding I’d rather sit around and wait for Mix to start than to keep felting buy ins in this PLO game.

Result: -$978

The players on the Mix Game list weren’t willing to start short-handed so that’s what led to my PLO debacle. I actually started playing PLO at 2:55 PM and we didn’t start the Mix Game until 6:05 PM so it was a brutal (and painful) wait. In fact, I spent nearly an hour just sitting at an empty table.

But we did end up playing Mix and, goodness, I did not have a fun time. I spent most of the night losing every key pot I played and I think I bottomed out at -$1400 which certainly had me contending for my biggest overall loss in a single day.

We are playing 2-7 Triple Draw and an early position player opens, gets two callers, and I 3-bet from the small blind with 7652x, a pretty smooth one card draw to a seven. My opponents all call and wind up drawing 3, 2, and 2. I don’t improve after the first draw and maybe that means I’m supposed to check here out of position against a field, but I bet and got raised by the 3-card draw and both other players called. I called also. The raiser patted behind me and the other guys drew two again. On the second draw, I spiked a 4, giving me the fourth best deuce hand you can make and I was able to check-raise the field. The other pat hand raised back, clearing the field, and I capped it. We both patted again and I bet the river and got raised. He’s definitely saying he has the nuts or close to it, so I just call and sure enough he drew three to a wheel on the first draw. Pretty sick. It seems like I might have lost some unnecessary big bets here, but I’m not sure. If he made an 85, would he just call my check-raise and let the other guys keep drawing for one more bet? Would he just call with an 86? I’m not sure. I don’t know the player at all. I wonder what I would do in his spot. It should be pretty intuitive that I had a good one card draw and when I check-raise the field after the second draw, I clearly made my hand… and he still raised me. Maybe I should just be calling down at that point, even with a seven?

I was running pretty unlucky in general by this point already, so that hand definitely left my ears ringing a bit, but it wouldn’t even be the most frustrating pot I lost that night.

We are playing 2-7 Razz, someone completes with an 8 up in early position, another player calls, I make it $40 to go with 82-3, and a super splashy player calls $40 cold with a ten up. The 8 up calls, the other guy oddly folds, and the three of us head to fourth street. I catch a 7, the ten catches a 6, and the 8 gets a 4. I have the betting lead and the best board showing, so I bet, but it’s worth noting that the 84 is usually drawing smoother than me at this point. They both call. On fifth, I pair the 7 and their boards are T66 and 84K. We all bricked, but the dude with the made king fires a bet and I’m tempted to raise here, but as I mentioned earlier, he probably has a better draw than me anyway, so I just call. So does the T66! I catch another 7 and the 84K catches an ace (the worst card in this game). The other guy must have caught another pair or a face card because the player with the made king fires another bet and we both call again. Yes, this hand is pure insanity. I can’t wait to see how the dude with the T66J showing beats me in this hand. I get a 4 on my last card and make an 87432 and expect to be winning this pot most of the time now, but it’s not such a monster that I’m going to raise when the 84KA fires another bet on 7th. I call and so does the other guy that I have board locked.

I have my earbuds in and the river bettor says something after we call. I thought he might have said he had an ace and that makes sense because he doesn’t seem to want to turn over his cards. I wait him out a little longer and he’s still not showing so when the other guy tables his hand, I show mine as well. Then, after successfully getting us both to show our hands out of turn, this dickbag reveals a made 86 and I couldn’t help but blurt out, “why are you just now turning over that hand?” He said that he said he had an 8. Okay. Who gives a fuck what you said. Turn that shit over. We were both obviously sitting there waiting for him to do something. And then I end up showing because I don’t want the other player to think I’m slow rolling him. Dude makes an 86 and just gets called in two spots and doesn’t know it’s basically the nuts?

Note: The only thing I actually said out loud was what I put in quotes, but I was definitely thinking all the rest and the fact that I was pissed about it wasn’t exactly a secret. I mean… I’m already getting smashed in the game and now I’m being slow rolled in a massive pot? Ducky actually tried to defend this prick later, saying that he didn’t think it was that bad of a slow roll and I’m like HUH? Okay, he said he had an 8? That’s nice. Prove it maybe? If I heard him I would have said “me too” but I didn’t, so after he says something and neither of us react, it’s time to show the cards. Anything after that is egregious IMO.

I was honestly mad enough that I was tempted to call it a night, but after getting some fresh air, doing some breathing, and reminding myself there was a guy in there calling raises and reraises with a ten up in Razz games and literally giving money away, I was able to collect myself and make a nice recovery for the night.

Another 2-7 Razz example with the maniac: I raise with 54-3 and he calls me down on these runouts:

Me: 54-3723-x
Him: xx-7KT9-x

Bless his heart.

And one more hand just to show how it felt like the Poker Gods were conspiring against me on this night:

We are playing A-5 Triple Draw and I defend a raise with 642. All three of us draw two. I improve to a one card draw and decide to lead out and they both call. I draw one and they draw two again. I make a 6, bet and they both call. I pat and they draw two again (!). I bet and get a call, so I table my hand and that’s when the dealer is like, “there’s another draw left.” During the third draw, the dealer had to shuffle the burns and the muck to complete the action. This leads to an extensive argument and literally not one person at the table is in agreement with me, so I’m sitting there replaying the action in my head, wondering if I’m the only person that can count to three. Even Ducky is chiming in saying he thinks there’s another draw when he wasn’t even paying attention to the damn hand. What a good friend! Finally the dealer asks me if I want him to call the floor over and I just say no and let this dude draw for a fourth time against me while my hand is face up, figuring that if he missed, we can just move on. Fortunately, he did miss, but if he didn’t… yeah, we’re going to take a look at those cameras.

Result: -$352

Friday @ Palace

First hand of the day I 3-bet with AK and get a K97 rainbow flop against Master Splinter and Part-Time. We are in Overs and they both call. The turn is a blank and I get check-raised by Splinter. I call him down and there will be no Coast-To-Coast for me because he has a set of sevens.

And that sets the tone for my whole session. I won some raise-and-take-its and some raise-and-c-bet pots, but they were few and far between and I didn’t win my first showdown for 3+ hours. And then I won three straight. I think I bottomed out at -$1200 but rallied all the way back to nearly even before shit hit the fan all over again and I found myself all the way back down to -$1400.

Fortunately, I heated up towards the end of the night when the game got short.

Result: -$360

Saturday @ Palace

I actually got off to a decent +$500 start on Saturday, but it was short-lived. I had a lot of medium and big pairs and I can only remember winning with one of them. I’m talking like 1 for 15 with TT+. I had some hand examples from this session, but they are basically just bad beat stories and I’m ready to wrap this post up.

Probably the most notable thing that happened in this session was that we had a full game with three on the list when a big pot happened where FanGirl lost with trips to a flush on the river. After losing that pot, she didn’t take her big blind and quit the game. FanBoy announced that he was out too. Then Huey says he doesn’t want the big blind either. The next player takes his stub of chips and leaves the table. I post the big blind, but the player in seat 7 is frustrated, shaking his head, and decides to quit too. Just like that, five players have vanished. The floors have no clue about the crisis happening on our table, so they are taking their sweet time trying to fill the one seat they think we have open and I watch in horror as the first two players on the list end up passing on the game. I was willing to keep playing, even as short as 3-handed, but needless to say, we never got dealt another hand. How does that happen? Full game with three on list to a broken game in the span of a single hand. Absolutely sick.

Result: -$458

One of my good friends walked into the casino and I decided to hang out for a few extra hours and play some 4/8 with him. I ended up hitting quad fours for a $152 jackpot. And then I committed a white chip sin and took my opponents to Value Town on the river because that extra $16 I win in a jackpot hand is $16 that can pay for my Apple Music membership this month. It all adds up and I’m not one that thinks it is okay to draw arbitrary lines of decency when it comes to betting or checking bonuses. I’ve actually seen people bark at someone for betting a potential high hand on the river against them. Like dude… that might not even hold up. Let’s all calm down and play poker.

Result: +$88

Yup. That was a miserable week. What went right? Anything? I got off to decent starts in PLO on Wednesday and 15/30 on Saturday, but I spent almost my entire week losing my ass in every session I played. I mounted some comebacks and limited the damage a little bit, but this was one of the most trying weeks of cash game poker I’ve ever played.

When I said I wanted to change things up on my blog, I’m not sure this is what I had in mind. This took way longer to write than I was hoping for. But then again, I guess I had some abnormal stories. On the bright side, I got my volume way up.

Final Results: -$2956 in 44.25 hours

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Avengers: Endgame (2019)

May 9, 2019

Avengers: Endgame (2019)

Director: The Russo Brothers (Avengers: Infinity War, Captain America: Civil War, Captain America: The Winter Soldier)

Starring: The whole squad

Anticipation Level: Epic

How Was It? This was execution at its finest. I absolutely loved it and you really have to admire what Marvel has accomplished, not just in this film, but in what they’ve created with their entire cinematic universe. It is truly unprecedented in the history of movies. Not every film has been great, or even good, but they’ve landed far more hits than misses and Endgame is a perfect conclusion to it all. It is pure fan service and a total crowd pleaser with many laugh-out-loud, surprising, and fist-pumping moments. Thor was a total scene-stealer; Chris Hemsworth is a riot in this movie. Even at an incredibly steep 3+ hour run time, it zipped by and I was thoroughly entertained all the way.

Prior to this movie, I was starting to feel that superhero fatigue. I didn’t like Ant-Man and The Wasp and I was lukewarm on Shazam!, Aquaman, and Captain Marvel as well, so I was really happy Endgame knocked it out of the park. I think the Russo Brothers get it. You take a look at their directorial credits and all their movies are in the upper tiers of the MCU, with The Winter Soldier possibly being my favorite.

I think Marvel did a great job with the roll out of this movie. I loved the trailer. Well, the one that I saw anyway. It gave away nothing. They knew the movie would crush no matter what and didn’t have to spoil anything to get people in the seats. I mean… how much cooler would it have been if we didn’t all know beforehand that The Hulk was going to show up in Ragnarok? I had no clue the direction Endgame was going to go and I have to admit I was shocked by a lot of it, particularly the whole first act.

I won’t say Endgame is one of those superhero movies that transcends the genre – like The Dark Knight – but it’s one of the best movies in the MCU and considering the scope of it all, it’s an immensely impressive achievement. I’ve already seen it twice and I’d probably enjoy a third viewing as soon as tomorrow, so it should hold up well over time. Endgame was about as good as I could have hoped for, managing to wrap up a 22-film arc, with plenty of laughs and maybe a few tears.

Replay Value: For a three hour movie, the replay value is insane.

Sequel Potential: They will probably still be making movies based on these characters a hundred years from now.

Oscar Potential: Infinity War got a nomination for Best Visual Effects, so consider that a lock for Endgame. I suppose there’s some outside chance this could get a Best Picture nomination, but it’s more popcorn film/blockbuster awesome than Oscar worthy storytelling.

8/10 (Must See)

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An Update! And Status of the Blog

May 7, 2019

I’ve been giving serious thought to discontinuing the poker blog. Obviously, my volume of posts has been way down from when I was doing this very regularly and there are a number of reasons for this. First off, I started a bad trend when I came up with the idea of live blogging my sessions. It drastically increased traffic to my blog, but it also put pressure on me to keep providing consistent content and sometimes that can be very hard to do because not every poker session is all that interesting. Sometimes you get killed and sometimes you run super hot, but that doesn’t mean you play a bunch of pots worth writing about. “And here I had pocket aces and they held up.” Cool. Also, I have found that PLO doesn’t work as a live blog. I just need to take notes and talk about the hands later. And actually, I think that’s the point I’m at with limit Hold’em as well. I feel like I’ve done a fine job of coming up with good content while I’m playing, but sometimes I feel like I’m really forcing it.

And that’s the thing… I’m writing all this shit while I’m playing. That is just dumb. And for what? I don’t benefit from this in any way other than providing free entertainment to whoever wants to read it. I guess there’s some satisfaction in that, but not enough to shift my entire focus while I’m doing what is supposed to be my job. With that said, going forward, I won’t be doing live blogs of my cash game sessions because my focus needs to be on the game and playing as well as I can. Maybe once in a while, I’ll do a throwback live blog, but don’t expect them going forward. However, I will still provide live updates of my progress in any tournaments I play. I plan to take notes and post hands after my sessions, but I’m not really sure how I’m going to implement that yet. Maybe as a once a week post with how all my sessions went? I dunno.

Another reason I’ve kind of lost some interest in this is because a number of my opponents read my blog and some of them are making adjustments before my eyes and implementing my own strategies against me. This is probably a dilemma for any poker writer, but those people are at least making money selling books or writing articles. I’m sure that helps offset the annoyance of making your opposition better. So what’s a better use of my time? Writing free strategy advice that people that play with me can use to help their games or doing my own studying away from the tables and improving my game instead?

When I started doing regular poker content, my goal was to give insight on what it’s like to play mid-stakes poker for a living. I feel like I’ve done a decent job of doing that and that will be my focus going forward as far as my writing goes.

So yeah… sorry about all that. I’m sure some of you will be upset by this news, but devoting so much time to this just doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. I will still provide regular poker content, it just won’t be nearly as consistent as it has been the last 18 months or so.

I did wind up finishing April with my second losing month of 2019. It’s been a pretty middling year so far, mostly because I haven’t had a meaningful cash in a tournament yet. My cash game numbers have actually been really good so far.

This past week, my wife actually lit me up about my lack of volume recently and this wasn’t news to me, but I decided to dig into it anyway, just to see how I’ve been slacking. Here are some volume comparisons over the first four months of the last two years.

2018 live cash game volume (January through April): 632.75 hours
2019 live cash game volume (January through April): 412.75 hours
2018 Global Poker volume (Jan thru Apr): 270.25 hours
2019 Global Poker volume (Jan thru Apr): 188.5 hours
2018 live tournament volume (Jan thru Apr): 97.5 hours
2019 live tournament volume (Jan thru Apr): 111.25 hours

I don’t need to do any calculations here. I can eyeball those numbers and see that my volume is down almost 33% across the board. That’s insane. No. It’s pathetic. I know the biggest reasons are because the 15/30 game is going once a week and PLO has dried up, but that’s no excuse to just quit doing my job. I need to be in there playing 8/16 if I have to. My $22/hour lifetime win rate in that game isn’t anything to sneeze at. I can pay plenty of bills with that kind of income. And if I don’t want to play 8/16, I just need to head up to Fortune and play in that 20/40 game no matter how bad I think it is because here’s the thing: what one person thinks is a bad lineup, someone else out there thinks is a gold mine. I’ve heard people say the Palace 15/30 game isn’t that good and I look around the table and wonder wtf they are talking about. It’s an amazing game and I’ll make Fortune my next amazing game if I have to. I have a $33.62/hour lifetime win rate in that 20/40 game there and I’m sure I can do much better than that if I played regularly. I had planned to increase my volume there this year and so far I have logged a total of 9 hours at Fortune in 2019. There’s no reason I shouldn’t be making at least one appearance a week… so you know what? I’m going to start doing that.

I have felt inspired in May so far. Granted, I’ve already taken 3 of 7 days off, but I played 17+ hours of 15/30 this weekend and won $1200+ over two sessions and I forced myself to go play a full 8/16 session last night and booked a decent win. I took today off to go to the movies and make dinner, but I imagine I’ll put in 40+ hours over the next four days before celebrating Mother’s Day with my parents on Sunday.

My WSOP schedule is mostly finalized. I’m not exactly sure what day I will be headed down there, but I’m pretty much a lock to play the $1500 8-Game Mix, the Milly Maker or $1500 7 Card Stud, the $600 PLO Deep Stack or the $1500 Stud 8/Better, the $1500 Monster Stack, the $1500 Limit Hold’em, the $10k Main Event, and the $3k H.O.R.S.E. I’ve sold out the tournament package I came up with and I’ve also sold out my action for the Main Event – all amongst my close friends – but I still have another 15-20% I’d be willing to sell for the $3k H.O.R.S.E. if anyone wants a piece. Hit me up on Facebook or email at maccent17@gmail.com. My markup is 12%. Also, I will be playing some events on the fly if I don’t advance deep in the events I know I’m playing, so if you want me to hit you up for random pieces, let me know.

I will keep notes on my sessions this week and hopefully play enough fun hands to have something to talk about next week.