Archive for June, 2019

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WSOP 2019: $1500 Limit Hold’em

June 29, 2019

Since I busted out of the $2500 Stud 8/Omaha 8 I’ve played four cash games sessions – mostly $40/$80 Limit Hold’em at Bellagio – and I’ve won a tad over $4300 during that span.

I also played the $550 Triple Stud tournament at Binion’s on Thursday and it was a strange run for me.

Sometimes I forget to dumb it down when I play these smaller non-WSOP events. You just have to show these people the best hand and not do stuff like this:

Razz, King brings it in and I complete with 66-9 from the cutoff with a 5 up behind me. The 5 and K both call.

xx-K2

xx-55

66-9T

I bet and both call.

xx-K2A

xx-553

66-9T8

My board is still “leading,” but even if I didn’t have a pair in the hole, I think this is a good street to check.

So even if I had the best low at this point, it makes sense to check here because I am actually kind of crushed if either one of them has a smooth draw. Even if they both have a pair, I’m a favorite to lose the hand.

So since I wouldn’t bet a made ten here, I’m not going to bet as a bluff with a pair in the hole either. I check and I’m happy to see them both check as well.

xx-K2AQ

xx-5533

66-T988

Now the bring in says something about I “must not have anything to check 5th street” and leads out with what is at best a made queen but since he didn’t bet 5th is probably a made king with a queen draw, so now I raise it, with the worst hand and the worst draw, and both of them fold.

Heeyyyyyy!

I’m not bragging here. That hand is going to be a torch most of the time and I just caught the ultimate parlay – not only for their boards to run out horribly but for them both to check 5th and then this guy leading out on 6th for who knows what reason.

Through eight levels and 4+ hours I hadn’t found a good spot to chip up in. Starting stacks were 30k and I had 30.8k on the first break and 20.2k on the second break. I wouldn’t get back above the starting stack until level 11 and I didn’t have an average stack until like level 15!

I had a really sick hand where I quadruple barreled in Stud 8 against a board that was showing 83J9 when I ended up bricking my low draw and finishing with just a pair of 5s. He called my bluff and… I scooped… a huge, super meaningful pot.

I think I had about 1.5x average stack after that pot but the rush was short lived.

I started with AK-K in Stud Hi and the bring in defended with 34-3 and immediately caught a 4 when I caught a jack and we put the rest of his chips in and he dodged all my outs for a double up.

And another sick hand (sorry, poker short hand copy and pasted from chat):

Stud 8, raise AA-T, 3h calls; I catch a Q, he catches 6c; I bet, he raises, I call; he catches J, I catch a 8; I bet, he calls; I catch a 3, he catches open jacks, and leads… I’m like… “you just said you had one hand and now you’re saying you have another?”… super tempted to jack him up here, but I decide on call; he bets 7th, I river a 3 and call with aces up. He shows 74… JACK

I guess his 6th street lead makes some sense because he probably thinks I have split tens, but… losing to three jacks is the last thing I expected there and it’s pretty nasty because I think this player would lead jacks up on 7th also.

This tourney paid seven spots and after this downswing, I had about half the average stack with 13 left. I was looking like a favorite to be the next person out but I won one small pot and managed to squeak my way to the final table, 8th in chips with 9 left.

There was one mega short stack and three other players with stacks similar to mine.

The mega shorty immediately tripled up, a similar stack doubled and another similar stack chipped up. Meanwhile I put money in the pot once and lost, so things were looking really bad for me.

I got all in once and survived for half (when I was a favorite to scoop) and that’s the only pot I got a piece of at the final table.

I still can’t believe it, but I somehow managed to finish in 6th place despite winning half of one pot since there were 13 left.

I guess I’ll take it. I finished 6th for $1280 in a tournament where I ran good for about 15 minutes total and spent the other 10.5 hours losing most of the pots I played.

Poker is weird.

Binion’s has a really, really good HORSE tournament that had Day 1A yesterday and Day 1B today and I was really torn about skipping it. I figure first place in that will be maaaaaybe $30k tops. But it’s hard to justify skipping a bracelet event for Limit Hold’em – my best game – when first place will probably be around $200k.

Cards are in the air at 3 PM and stack updates will be here and on the PokerNews app.

Ouch. Just spent a solid hour in the registration line so I’m sitting down at the end of level one right now. Can’t say I was expecting that. Bad planning? I guess the Crazy 8s tourney is the culprit? I late regged the $600 Deep Stack last weekend and the line wasn’t half this bad.

Oh well, time to spin it up!

Starting with 10k in chips and blinds at 100/200.

Don’t know anyone at my starting table, which seems strange. Very early impression is that I’m in a good spot here.

Edit: 12k starting stack

First Break

Pretty good start. I really like my table. It seems quite soft, even with Shirley Rosario and Tony Ma at it now.

I’ve kind of been running over everyone so far and I rivered a two outer against Shirley with 99 in a 4-bet pot when I would have folded the turn on K837 if she bet again. But she checked back with jacks and let me hit a 9 and then paid me off.

Yes, I fold turn. Even if her cold 4-bet range is wider than I think it is, I’m only beating AQ, AJ and hands like 66 and 55. I’m not sure she has any of those hands in her range here. Maybe AQ suited?

17,000

Second Break

Welp. I was cruising to a big stack.

Key pot:

Tony Ma limps under the gun, I raise with KK from middle position and big blind defends.

Flop is T86 with two clubs and Tony donks right into me. I raise, the big calls and Tony 3-bets. Eh. I’m either behind or against a big draw. I just call, planning to reevaluate on the turn.

It is the king of diamonds. Tony bets, I raise, other guy clears out, Tony raises again, I 4-bet and he 5-bets! I mean… he either has 97 or must think I’m some kind of chump.

He bets dark on river! It’s an offsuit queen. When I get 5-bet on turn, it’s hard to imagine what I’m beating against someone that has a clue, so I just call and he tables…

KT of clubs.

Well, okay then!

I think I had about 25k after that hand, but it was a tumultuous last 40 minutes or so, as I was involved a lot and lost a lot. I lost KJ vs 99 on K739x when I opened and big blind defended and then I called down with 77 in a 3-bet pot on 8332K against someone that has been raising and 3-betting a lot of garbage ace hands, but he had AA this time.

18,600

Third Break

Chipped up a little.

Key pot:

Open AThh and get called in four spots.

Flop is Q73 all hearts. I bet, aggro old guy raises next to act (boo), folds to big blind and he 3-bets (yay!), I just call, so does old guy.

Turn is 2x. BB leads, I raise, old man calls two cold, BB goes deep in tank and folds.

Still have nuts on river. I bet and he calls with QJ offsuit with a heart.

Dumb hand:

Open JTss, aggro old guy 3-bets and I call.

Flop is K95 with two spades. I check-raise and he calls.

Turn is an ace. No sense betting this card. He’s proven that he’s playing any ace and I’ve seen him overplay lots of weak Ax hands. I check-call.

River brick. He checks back with A8o.

Come on bro.

BRO!

23,200

Fourth Break

Things not going well for me. Lost with 99 to 88 on the river. Guy on my left has been playing way too many hands and running super hot. I’ve had a hard time beating him, but he’s been bleeding back to everyone else at the table.

Nothing else too exciting. Free Throw and Sandman both still in.

Two more levels tonight. Let’s find a peak stack, yeah?

15,500

END OF DAY ONE

Pot of the tournament:

Fishy old guy limps under the gun, Shirley Rosario raises, and I defend with QTo.

Flop is T97 with two diamonds and old guy donks right out, Shirley calls, and so do I.

Turn pairs the ten and I check-raise and both of them call.

River is an 8. I check and I want it to check around but Shirley bets. I can’t even contain my displeasure and blurt out, “are you serious?!”

And then I have to talk myself out of snap-tilt-calling and mutter, “never bluffing here” before tossing my hand in the muck.

Old guy calls and she shows QJ.

18.8k pot. After that hand I had 9.5k instead of 28.3k.

Pretty. Fucking. Brutal.

I dwindled down from there until I was mega short and flopped a pair with T3hh, blind vs blind, and doubled through QJ.

Then cutoff opens and I 3-bet red jacks and he calls.

Flop is A54 with all hearts. I check back and I’m planning on showing down.

Turn pairs the 4 and I call a bet.

Ten on river and I call a bet and lose to A2dd.

Sigh.

Two and 3-outers look pretty easy to hit… but 11-outers? Fuck. No.

So I was crippled again after that.

But then I cold 4-bet KK all in and got a reasonable K63Kx runout to triple up.

And then I lost another blind vs blind hand vs the old man where I had Q7cc vs 62o on 88676 runout. Another two-outer.

Then button opens, I 3-bet with KJdd and old guy calls. I bet in the dark, leaving myself with 1/4 of a big bet behind, and when I get called by both players on A75 I figure I’m probably close to dead.

Turn pairs the 7 and I bet my last 500, old guy calls, and button makes it 2500 and old guy calls. I stop the action and mention he can only make it 2000 and then the side pot gets messed up and I literally had to wait five fucking minutes knowing I’m drawing stone dead for them to figure it out.

I actually pulled out my phone to film the lunacy but I guess I didn’t press record.

They can’t even figure it out and the floor finally just says, “finish the hand” and button turns over 87o and I’m able to make my exit.

With ten minutes left in the day.

So dumb.

I guess I could have tried to bag one small blind?

Tomorrow there is a $360 HORSE tournament at Golden Nugget. That sounds fun and if I can wake up at a decent time that’s probably what I will do tomorrow.

That will be my last tournament until Day 1A of the Main Event on Wednesday.

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WSOP 2019: The Adrenaline Rush and Heartbreak of a Deep Run

June 25, 2019

When it comes to playing poker there is no greater feeling than making a deep run in a WSOP event. I’ve done it a couple of times before.

My third place finish in the Industry Event was a lot of fun, but the fact that it’s not an open bracelet event combined with the fact that it’s the luckiest I’ve ever been in a live tournament makes me feel like it will always come with an asterisk in my head. On the other hand, my big suck outs in critical spots felt like a lot of justice for all the brutal beats I’d taken super deep in all the tournaments before that one that had prevented me from making a real run at a major title.

In contrast, my fifth place finish in the $1500 H.O.R.S.E. in 2017 was just a surreal and amazing experience. By the time we got down to three tables, almost everyone left in the tournament was a known poker star.

This $2500 Omaha 8/Stud 8 felt pretty similar. Like, I know I’m capable of making runs like this and I think I can play most of the games at a high level, but another part of me is like wtf am I doing here with 15 left in a World Series of Poker tournament playing with the Shaun Deebs of the world?

It’s crazy.

I broke down a hand history with Phillip Hui on break and he was very happy to talk with me about it. I absolutely loved his table presence and I knew he would be approachable.

I spent all Day 2 locking horns with Andrey Zaichenko to the point where he finally lamented: “I can’t beat you.” He was on my direct right with an unfathomable amount of chips, looking destined for a final table appearance (he would take 4th), while I was on the bubble of this thing feeling the maximum amount of pressure about it.

Seriously.

After cashing 7 of 10 WSOP events with two top 5 finishes in 2016-2017, I was on an 0-11 WSOP stretch heading into this one and that’s overlooking the fact that I’ve been tossing up bricks all year everywhere else too. I really, really wanted to cash this tournament.

It was looking like I was going to sweat it out the entire bubble, but then I caught a little rush and suddenly found myself way above average, a lock to cash, and thoughts of having a real deep run.

Ironically enough, I ended up finishing Day 2 with more chips than Zaichenko. He was a total pain in the ass all day though. Every pot went through him. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say he played around 60% of his hands. Is that really possible? He was a beast. A borderline maniac. I was impressed though.

Here’s a sick hand with two tables left:

Thompson completed on 3rd with a ten up and got called in four spots!

I led out on 4th when I made open aces and Shaun Deeb, Danny Ratigan and Denis Stebkov all called.

On 5th, I honestly didn’t know what to do. This is where lack of experience can be costly. I’m not sure what my best line is here. My hand is 65-AA7. Deeb and Ratigan both had good looking low boards, so I ended up checking and it checked to Ratigan and he bet. I gave some thought to raising here to try and get heads up with Ratigan, but I didn’t think it was likely Deeb would fold to a raise, so I just called. Denis folded and Deeb called.

I checked again on 6th and it checked to Ratigan. He bet, I called, Deeb raised, and Ratigan 3-bet. I had a strong feeling I was getting squeezed here. Deeb looks like he can have a flush but if you look at the upcards reported above, it’s actually not likely at all, as the ace, 4 and 5 of diamonds are all accounted for on other boards. So he basically needs to have exactly some combo of the 2, 7, and 8 of diamonds in the hole to have a flush here. Also, how likely is he to check a made low with a four flush on 5th street? Not fucking likely.

Still, it seems like I’m drawing dead to the low half of the pot here, so calling off three more big bets to maybe win half seems precarious. I folded.

Ratigan ended up having 75 in the hole and caught an 8 on 7th to make a straight, so I would have got scooped on 7th anyway (I was in last position so the cards would be the same on 7th).

Deeb was making a play. He had a pair and a six low draw and got me to fold the high half of the pot. He would have looked like a genius if it worked and Ratigan bricked the river.

I hated letting him get away with it and I’m not going to lie… I was happy to see Danny scoop that pot and Deeb bust in 13th a short while later. I didn’t want to deal with Shaun at a final table, plus Danny Ratigan is from the Seattle area!

I’ll say this though. I don’t post much on Twitter but I’m pretty in tune with the poker Twitterverse and, well, Shaun is a controversial figure and can be extremely opinionated and pretty mean. I would not have been surprised to not like him. It was the opposite. I was impressed with everything about the guy. He was nice to everyone and the floors practically treated him like he was the Tournament Director. And his focus was unreal. He didn’t miss a thing at the table. I wish I had 20% of that focus level. I was blown away. That kind of thing is scary to play against.

One more hand from Day 2:

I think it would be pretty hard to report poker hands, especially when you start watching in the middle of a pot, and I think the PokerNews team generally does a really good job, but man, this one couldn’t be further from the truth.

Here’s what really happened:

Matt Vengrin is the bring in with the 2d and everyone folds to Phillip Long, in the effective cutoff position, and he completes with a ten up. I have the Qc up and two jacks in the hole and raise it. Vengrin defends the bring in and Long also calls.

On 4th street, Vengrin pairs his door card, Long catches an offsuit 6 and I catch an offsuit jack: a total gin card for me. It checks to me, I bet, and Vengrin raises to put himself all in. It’s enough of a raise that it allows me to re-raise if I choose to, so Phillip Long reluctantly folds and I call. Vengrin thinks he has me crushed because he has a deuce in the hole, but I show him the ultra bad news by turning up two jacks. Things had been going bad for me so I had a feeling he was going to fill up and I was going to lose this critical pot, but we both bricked through 6th street and I snap rolled my last card to give me jacks full and he only had the case deuce for a win. He squeezed the 9 of clubs and then crumpled it up, tossed it in the air, and hit the dealer in the head with it.

Compare the real hand to the hand reported above and it’s quite a different story.

Even Vengrin had his own version of events:

I mean… he was super unlucky to catch a 2 on 4th and be behind, but he definitely wasn’t rolled up here.

I finished Day 2 8th in chips with 12 players left and that was reason enough for my wife to wake up at 6am and book a flight to Vegas so she could be here if I somehow found my way to a bracelet. Blackjack even booked a flight to come sweat my Day 3 run.

When you get this far in a bracelet event it’s easy to start dreaming about what might happen. Based on chip distribution alone, my fair share of the bracelet heading into Day 3 was greater than 6%! A few pots going my way early while others bust out and that number starts to swing heavily in my favor.

What’s harder to imagine is the worst possible outcome happening.

I’ll let Blackjack tell his story:

It literally could not have gone worse for me. We started with about four hands of Stud 8 and I folded all of them, but I was super active in the Omaha round.

First, I flopped the nut low draw and a small pair on an all diamond flop. I checked back the flop but called down when the low came in and my A43x got quartered by A44x.

Then this happened:

I opened with AJ72 and no suits and Gerard 3-bet me on the button. With top top on the flop and the backdoor nut low draw, check-calling seemed best. While I’m blocking AA hands, it’s still something to be weary of when you get 3-bet in O8.

I loved the turn, as it gave me the nut low draw in addition to top pair. While I was happy to check-call the turn, I was going to lead the river if I made the nut low. If I get quartered with top pair and the nut low, then so be it. In fact, the only cards I don’t want to see on the river are a king, queen, ace or deuce. Ironically, I was still scooping if an ace came.

In fact, this is what my odds looked like heading to the river:

So I’m scooping this crucial pot 70% of the time and getting scooped 30%.

Obviously, I don’t know what he has exactly, so when the river comes a queen and he bets, all I know is this: I fucking hate it.

As noted earlier, a queen is one of the few cards where my hand feels like it gets destroyed. I have an easy showdown on pretty much every other card and now I have a super marginal one way hand. In fact, it’s so easy for me to get scooped here that I should probably just be folding when each big bet is so critical to my stack.

On the other hand, there are 7.75 big bets in the pot and if he’s bluffing as much as 11% of the time folding the best hand here would be an absolute catastrophe. Is he bluffing enough? It’s hard to say – not like I have a ton of history with the guy. What hands could he triple barrel with? A23x? Raggedy A2xx hands? A245? What if the river was a 9 or ten? Is he betting with AK53? The fact he double barreled the hand he did have leads me to believe if he missed the river, he would have to fire another bullet and that makes me feel better about my call.

Regardless, an absolutely sickening runout and, essentially, my knockout blow.

A hand or two later, I’m in the small blind and Phillip Long opens the button, I 3-bet all in with the AK53. He showed the QJ52 and the A87 rainbow flop meant we were going to chop 80% of the time and each of us had about 10% scoop equity. Somehow, he managed to realize his scoop equity when the board ran out 9-T to give him the nut high along with a better low and just like that… I was out.

I’m not going to lie… I was pretty shellshocked to be out in 20 minutes and sad that my wife flew out to sweat me and this is what happened. On the other hand, I got to spend a whole day with her on the weekend before her birthday so that was really nice. She gave me the go ahead to play the $1500 Razz – even urged me to play it – but I was feeling a bit demoralized and I wanted to spend time with her since she was here.

So we went and saw Ka at the MGM Grand.

Here is how Dina felt before the show:

And here is how she felt after the show:

In fact, she gave the show a 3 out of 10, which I thought was super harsh. I can’t say I really enjoyed the experience either though.

First, they wouldn’t let me bring my backpack in, even though I carry all my diabetic supplies and emergency items in it. I’ve never had anyone forcefully turn me away after I pull out the debilitating disease excuse, but they wouldn’t let me in. So we went to the bellhop to check our bags and that took 20 minutes to happen and in the process, I lost my Contigo water bottle because I’m not used to carrying it around as it is normally slotted on the side of my backpack. So that was cool.

Then, with 5 minutes before show time, our bags checked, all my items in my wife’s purse, we get our tickets scanned and they tell us her purse is too big to bring in. The same purse they saw earlier and didn’t say anything about. Well, I wasn’t having that and I didn’t get to throw much of a fit before they just waved us in.

I’ll give Ka a 6 out of 10. It is my least favorite show I’ve seen in Vegas. If it was the first one I saw, I would probably think more highly of it. I thought the music was really good and the stage was very impressive, but the show was the least interesting I’ve seen and while the stunts were pretty cool, they were also the least spectacular I’ve seen. Even Absinthe has better physical performances.

Updates Vegas Show Rankings

1. Absinthe

2. Michael Jackson: One

3. The Beatles: Love

4. O

5. Penn & Teller

6. Ka

I played the $600 No Limit Hold’em WSOP Deep Stack today and I had about 35k when this hand came up during the 300/600 level. An older white gentleman opened from MP to 1600 and I decided to flat with AQo. I think this is a fine hand to mix flats and 3-bets with against this player type. I think it’s an easy fold if he 4-bets and I don’t mind playing AQ in position in a single-raised pot either.

The small blind, a younger, capable-looking Asian guy 3-bet to 6200 and the opener folded. I’m not about to fold AQ in a squeeze spot against a player that seems capable of pulling the trigger, and I think there is serious merit to just stuffing it preflop at this point, but I elected to call.

The flop was QJ5 rainbow and he checked to me. I down bet 5500 into over 15k and he stuffed it on me. This sent me into the tank for a good three minutes. Obviously, I don’t love this spot, even with top top. On the other hand, I’m blocking queens and aces and I have ~20% equity if he has KK. I’m fucked if he has JJ, but I also think he can have some KQ, QT, KT, and maybe some spazzy Qx or Jx hands. I probably can’t have AA or KK here, so AQ is one of the best hands I would even think about folding here and that means I probably have to call with it.

I call. He tables KT, the turn bricks, but the river is an ace and I was busted.

Also, saw this guy in the Rio hallway yesterday and I have to wonder if I even have the right to be The Dark Knight when this guy is playing poker in this outfit:

That’s a level of commitment I will never reach.

Now I’m at the Bellagio playing some $40/$80 Limit Hold’em.

Spotted FanBoy doing work in the $80/$160 game:

Maybe I’ll post some hands here. Maybe I won’t.

Either way, I will post my end result after my session.

Result: +$3157

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WSOP 2019: $2500 Omaha 8/Stud 8 Sweat Post

June 21, 2019

I actually didn’t know I was going to play this one, but after spending a week back in Washington and spending all my study time thinking about Stud 8 or Better, I saw this on the schedule and realized I could make a deep Day 2 run and still be able to play the Monster Stack if I so desired.

Plus, I wasn’t too fond of landing in Vegas at 12:30 am last night and having a 10 am start for the Monster Stack today. The O.E. tournament doesn’t start until 3 pm. It feels good to have slept in and still have three hours to energize myself.

Cards in the air at 3! I expect this to be a pretty star-studded field. Maybe I’ll finally get to play with a Negreanu, Hellmuth, or Ivey. Leggo.

I don’t recognize anyone at my starting table and that seems pretty fortunate for a $2500 buy in.

I’ll post stack updates on breaks. Starting stacks are 15k with 60 minute levels. Kind of surprised to see the betting limits starting at 200/400.

First Break

Wow. I have an amazing table. It’s 8-handed and I had determined that only one player at the table is tough. I’ve seen some absurd play in both variants from multiple players.

My key pot during the first two levels, I have Qd8d-4d and get the bring in with an otherwise super marginal holding. However, there are multiple limpers and someone with an ace up completes and only the 5d is dead, so I called the 200 extra at 300/600 betting limits.

On 4th street, I catch the Td and the ace pairs his door card. Meanwhile, I’ve seen 14 up cards and only one diamond that wasn’t in my hand. The ace leads out, I call and one other player does.

On 5th street I catch a low non-diamond and the aces catch a big card, and the other player has 9cKxAx showing. The aces lead, I call, and the other player raises! This is pretty shocking. Hard to figure what he has here. AcKc-9c makes some sense but the player with open aces has the ace of clubs showing m, so who knows. The aces just call and so do I.

I catch another low non-diamond on 6th and suddenly it looks like I have the only low draw and a super live flush draw. I check-call and we are still 3-handed to 7th.

I get the 6 of diamonds! That card pairs me so I don’t have a low, but that hardly matters. I lead, they both call and I scoop a nice pot.

A floor came over and high carded to move a player off our table and ended up taking the only good player and he immediately responded with “God-fucking-dammit” because he clearly felt the same way I do about our lineup.

Unfortunately, he was somehow replaced by Sandman. Wtf. Small world?

Still… we are on the far side of the room so hopefully the tables are breaking in the opposite direction because Sandman and I appear to be in a favorable situation.

21,200

Second Break

I have been absurdly card dead. That Stud 8 scooper is still the only real notable hand I’ve played. I’ve picked up some small pots here and there but otherwise I’ve been folding every single hand.

I got scooped by Sandman in a pot where I have AJ32 on K62hhhJh2 and Sandman has K62x, but it was a 6-way limped pot with only one bet on the flop and none on the turn, even though someone flopped the nut flush.

My table did add a poker legend in David Benyamine.

18,400

Third Break

Good couple of levels. No big scoopers but got half of some big multi-way pots. Finally a little momentum!

29,800

Fourth Break

We’re in this thing. One of the torchers at my table is betting out of turn on 7th with three pair in Stud 8 when my board is showing Ah9hQx4h… and the 235 in the hole! So huge scooper for me.

Also, Phil Ivey is sitting directly behind me.

Two more levels tonight.

52,200

Basically scrapped and clawed the last two levels. Dipped all the way down to 30k and rallied back in a big Stud 8 pot where I have a four flush on 4th, David “ODB” Baker is all in, and a third player is in there betting me on the side. I brick my flush, but river a pair of fives and that is somehow good for EVERYTHING. What a nice surprise.

So I busted ODB, which is cool, because he busted me in the 8-Game a couple years ago and I owed him one.

Somehow managed to bag near my peak.

Restart at 2 PM tomorrow. The only thing I know about my new table so far is that Phil Ivey won’t be on it (he’s still in though).

55,000

DAY 2

Here’s my starting table:

Probably not going to be many easy tables from here on it and this one certainly isn’t great. Alex Foxen is #1 in the GPI Rankings so he’s basically the top tournament player in the world right now. But he’s also a big bet specialist (and is double dipping here while carrying a big stack into Day 2 of the Monster Stack) and I’m not sure how adept he is at the mixed games. Chris Bell, Andrey Zaichenko, and Phillip Hui are all accomplished mixed games players though and Hui already has eight cashes and three (!) final tables in the 2019 World Series of Poker.

I’ll start the day 39th in chips with 128 players left and 61 of us cashing, so I’m in pretty decent shape to make the money right now but it would be really refreshing to get off to a fast start today and put this WSOP cold spell behind me.

Sandman is just behind me with 52.3k to start the day.

There are three other Washingtonians still alive and I’m familiar with Daniel Ratigan but don’t know him and Gregory Smith (Everett) and Kristy Means (Vancouver) I don’t know at all. I always like to see people from the PNW doing well here, so good luck to them also!

Ivey and Hellmuth still alive. Would be cool to play with either one of them at some point today.

Cards back in the air at 2 PM.

First Break

What a rollercoaster first two levels. I have a couple of really sick hands but not enough time to talk about them.

The good news is I am still in and I have more chips than I started with and around 40 players have busted already.

Actually… 80 left and I’m a little below average.

19 spots until the money.

60,800

Second Break

The streak is over! I cashed a WSOP event!

55 players are left.

Sandman still in also.

123,000

Dinner Break

Really don’t want to type about poker on my breaks, but the last two levels were really good to me, even though I made a mistake that led to a big loss on the last hand before break.

Real crazy pot with Andrey Zaichenko. He brings it in with 4d, I complete with Ac2c-4c, Chris Bell raises with a short stack, and Andrey raises when it gets back to him. I just call and Chris is all in. The pot is already massive.

On 4th, I get a 6x and Andrey leads with 48 showing. I love this spot, but I just call him with no immediate potential for high.

On 5th, I get the 5c and Andrey gets a jack, so I lead and he calls.

DK: Ac2c-4c6x5c

Andrey: XX-4d8xJ

Yum yum!

Meanwhile, Chris Bell’s board is bricking out. What a spot.

On 6th street, I make a wheel with a 3 and Andrey pairs his 8. I bet and he goes into a deep, deep tank.

Dear God. Is he actually going to pay this off? He does.

Huge scooper.

I think there’s about 37 left and average stack is around 162k.

206,000

Fourth Break

Still in. Didn’t bust like PokerNews said I did for a minute. 19 left. I have over 400k and average stack is 314k.

What a rush.

400k+

End of Day 2

I’m wiped. After peaking around 416k and being on a pretty good rush, things fell completely apart in level 19. I bricked some extremely strong hands and Shaun Deeb really put me in the fucking cage but wound up saving me because Danny Ratigan (Seattle!) ended up making a straight on 7th street. I won’t get into the details of that hand, but it was a brutal spot and Shaun got me to fold half of a very big pot and I would have got scooped.

I fell all the way down to about 130k but rallied back and ended up putting 387k in a bag.

There are 12 players left and I’m currently 8th in chips. Everyone is guaranteed $10k+ but there are big pay jumps starting at the final table and $213k and a bracelet at the top.

Let’s go get that tomorrow!

Day 3

Sorry… I barely had time to write yesterday and my wife is flying in today so I’m definitely not going to have time to write today. Best place to follow along will be on PokerNews or if someone here is updating progress on Facebook.

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WSOP 2019: Update

June 18, 2019

I always start off thinking this, but this is really going to be an abbreviated post. I feel like I should probably post a little update since I haven’t made a new post since June 9th.

Here’s what has happened since then.

On June 10th, I played Day 2 of the $1500 WSOP 8-Game Mix and busted out before the money bubble burst. I had another tough table draw and I never had more chips than I started the day with and felt like I was constantly put in brutal spots.

Here are a couple:

I was the bring in for Razz with a 9 up and Jameson Painter opened utg with an 8 up. Obviously, there were four other low cards out, but they all folded and I defended with A2-9. On 4th street Jameson caught a King and I caught a Jack. I bet and he called. On 5th street, He caught an ace and I paired my 2, but my board was still leading so I bet out and I was immediately punished with a raise. This is just a mistake on my part. Let’s say I didn’t pair the 2 and I had something like A3-9J2 and Jameson has a hand like 34-8KA, he’s still a 60% favorite even when the 2 helps me, so his raise here makes a lot of sense and my bet actually sucks… and it really sucks since the 2 actually hurt my hand. Clearly, my best play is just to check-fold here even though my board is “leading.”

Another hand that helped cripple me was in Stud Hi. The least established player at the table limped in with the ace of spades up, I completed with JJ-8 and Jameson Painter called with a 9 up. On 4th street, we all seemingly bricked, so I bet again and they both called. 5th street felt similarly bricky, so I bet again, Jameson called, and the ace up check-raised. By now, his board looked like xx-As5c2c. I was perplexed, but I also hadn’t improved. However, both Jameson and I had a three on our boards, so a straight didn’t seem likely. My board hadn’t improved at all, so this is probably just a fold here, but I convinced myself to take another card off and Jameson called as well. I bricked again and the As5c2c caught the 4s and I folded when he bet again and so did Jameson.

Neither of those hands are too catastrophic, but I should have saved at least two big bets between the two of them.

I ended up taking the rest of the day off on the 10th as I was tired and annoyed.

On the 11th, I played 10 hours of $20/$40 Mix and got off to another absolutely brutal start, almost immediately gifting them two racks and playing catch up the entire session, but I managed to settle for a modest -$345, which is ironic because…

…that’s exactly how much I won the next day in 5.5 hours of $40/$80 LHE at Bellagio.

On the 13th, the last full day in Vegas of my first trip this summer, I started by busting the $400 NL tournament at Aria in a timely fashion, laughed off thoughts of a re-entry, took a nap and watched the Raptors win the NBA title, then headed to Bellagio for a late night $40/$80 LHE session. I played from 9:30 PM to 5:30 AM and booked a rather sick +$5515 winner – my second biggest win in a cash game session (in terms of actual money won) ever and a total trip saver!

Sexy:

So overall my first trip looked like this:

+$4955 in 30 hours of cash games
One mincash in five tournaments for -$3410

Makes you wonder about priorities. Yes, tournaments can lead to life-changing scores, but cash games are how I make my living. I feel like I should make them more of a focus during WSOP time and I’ve adjusted the back half of my schedule a bit to give myself more time for cash game. Basically, I’ve just eliminated all the smaller NLHE tournaments from my schedule. I like them as a warmup for the Main Event, but I had four on my schedule and I’ll probably wind up just playing one of them now.

I’ve played one session since I’ve been back in Washington, but it was only 4.5 hours of $8/$16 for -$292 while my dogs were at the groomers. I may play another session tomorrow and maaaaaaaaaaybe PLO at Palace on Wednesday night and I land back in Vegas Thursday after midnight and my next event is the $1500 No Limit Hold’em Monster Stack at 10 AM on Friday.

Other WSOP Notes: Through 36 completed events, Washington state hasn’t shown up very much.

Rep Porter took 5th in the $1500 Stud Hi for almost $20k and his good friend Rick Fuller took 10th in the $1500 Omaha 8 or Better for $12.3k.

FanBoy got a mincash in the $1k Double Stack.

Sandman has been our MVP so far, following up his 5th place finish in the $2500 Mixed Triple Draw with a 5th place finish in the $1500 2-7 Triple Draw for a $26.8k score despite showing up over an hour late on Day 3 while sitting 6th in chips of 17 left.

Also, Noah Bronstein just busted 15th in the $1k Double Stack for $29.6k. He also took 13th in the 8-Game Mix for $7.5k and has six cashes total now.

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WSOP 2019: $1500 8-Game Sweat Post

June 9, 2019

Quick update:

Friday I had to switch from the Rio to some condos across the street and I really wanted to go grocery shopping to stock up and put a stop to spending $60/day on food.

I happened to wake up at 6am though, so I put in a 7+ hour session in the 20/40 Mix game before checking out at 2 PM. I got off to a rough start, bottoming out at -$1300, before rebounding for a -$560 finish in my first cash game session of the summer.

My buddy didn’t get in til after 7pm and we weren’t done with groceries until like 10pm, so my thoughts of putting in another cash session were extinguished due to a 11 AM start on Saturday.

Yesterday, I played the $400 8-Game Championship at the Orleans and finished 21st or 22nd for $860 – which is somehow my biggest cash of the entire year, online included. Jeebus. The 8-Game at Orleans was one of the two cashes I had all last summer, so a nice little 8-Game repeat heading into the 8-Game tournament that really matters.

Cards will be in the air at 3 PM. I’ll post stack updates here on breaks but no hand histories (probably). I’m 0-2 in this one lifetime and on an 0-10 stretch in WSOP events. Let’s break the snide and build a stack today!

First Break: 13,750

10k starting stacks with 60 minute levels. Got off to a fast start at an easy table until it started filling up with accomplished mixed games players.

I won a crazy limit Hold’em pot. I’ll let my tablemate Sean Snyder tell it (note: I’m under the gun):

😂😂

I show that tweet to Joker and he says:

I got moved of that table shortly after and I know no one at my new table. I think I recognize one of them but I’m not sure.

Next update in two hours!

Second Break: 16,500

That’s all. See you in two hours!

Third Break: 18,800

I went ice cold for about 90 minutes and then I got scooped in a brutal Stud 8 hand where I had three aces on 5th street and I fell below 10k for the first time after that hand.

But then I played a 3-bet 3-way 2-7 Triple Draw hand and made #1 after one draw and ended up busting someone and went on a little rush after that to get back near my peak stack size.

I have a pretty brutal table. Everyone is playing well and the guy I busted was replaced by end boss Benny Glaser.

Four more levels to a bag!

Fourth Break: 26,500

Benny Glaser busted in an hour, which was nice, but he was replaced by another world beater in Naoya Kihara. Things have been going pretty well so far, even with a somewhat unfavorable table draw.

Two more hours!

Day 1: 17,000

Ugh. I was peaking around 32k after level 9 and then my table broke and I got moved where I proceeded to get wrecked.

Restart tomorrow at 2 PM.

Day 2 Restart

Cards in the air at 2 PM. I have Matt Glantz on my right with heaps. I’ve seen the names Ian O’Hare and Jameson Painter but I’m not familiar with them.

225 left, 92 cash and average stack is 27k or so. Time to spin it up!

BUSTED

Brutal spot after brutal spot. Lots of fun.

$1100 Mega Satty to the $10k HORSE next @ 8 PM.

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Movie Reviews: Rocketman, John Wick 3, Long Shot

June 7, 2019

Rocketman (2019) – I really enjoyed it. Taron Egerton gives the performance of the year so far. He was amazing as Elton John and it’s pretty hard to take the role of a well-known musical legend and make it your own. He absolutely crushed it. He was arguably better than Remi Malek in Bohemian Rhapsody and that performance won an Oscar. I liked how the film used Elton’s biggest hits to help tell the story and, of course, Elton John has plenty of iconic songs to pick from. Also, the costumes in this were insane and should be a lock Oscar winner in that department. Rocketman might not be the most enjoyable movie of the year, but it might be the best one so far. 8/10 (Must See)

John Wick 3: Parabellum (2019) – More of the same here. Good, fun action and some cool cinematography. If you liked the first two movies you should like this one also, but it’s not really doing anything new or making the overarching story any more interesting. I’ll say it’s the weakest in the franchise so far, but I’d still watch a part 4. 6/10 (Recommended)

Long Shot (2019) – I really enjoyed it. The only Seth Rogen movie I didn’t skip in the last half decade was Steve Jobs, so it’s nice to see him in something that doesn’t suck and he was pretty funny in this. Charlize Theron was also great and there’s a scene where she needs to solve a national crisis that is pure comedy gold. 7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019) – God, I hate to call myself a Ted Bundy fan. That can’t be the right word. Historian? I’ve read The Stranger Beside Me twice, plus various other Bundy publications and I’ve seen multiple movies and documentaries. I know this story inside and out and I’m definitely fascinated with it, especially since a lot of it happened in the Pacific Northwest and the fact that he escaped from jail twice (spoilers!) is mind-boggling and honestly kind of awesome. I also loved the casting of Zac Efron and thought he looked great. Yet somehow I absolutely hated this movie and I’m not entirely sure why. It just felt like it lacked authenticity and trying to tell this story from Ted’s girlfriend’s point of view was a misstep. I was bored out of my mind watching this and it wasn’t from overexposure. It just sucks. 3/10 (Bad)

Enemy (2013) – This was insanity. Anything from director Denis Villeneuve is must see cinema, so I went back and checked out this thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal and it was fantastic. There’s a lot to dissect in this one and it’s not obvious what everything means but I enjoyed unraveling the mystery and I was absolutely riveted the entire time I was watching. Enemy is strange and awesome, and a must see in my book, but definitely not for everyone. 8/10 (Must See)

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WSOP 2019: $470 O.E. @ Aria

June 6, 2019

Nope. Not a WSOP event. This is the loser’s bracket.

Joker, Ducky, and Sandman all moved on to Day 2 of the $1500 HORSE and I’m pretty jealous about it, but I’ll be cheering them on from afar and I’ll post updates here if they give me any. They are still 150 spots off the money and all three of them are barely average, or worse.

This tournament I’m playing is half Omaha 8 and half Stud 8. 25k starting stacks with 30 minute levels, so quite a bit of play, but it is a one day tournament.

Someone from Muckleshoot is on my immediate right and I saw the player from Palace that was at my HORSE table yesterday in the field also. Billy Dubz (and Mrs. Dubz) is in here too. So far there are 106 entrants.

Stud 8 hand, my board runs out A3-2sAs7s5-8 and have to chop with 9s and 7s when he has no open pair. Kinda sucks because it seems like I should be scooping that pot at a very high frequency.

Stack updates here on breaks and maybe some hands throughout this one.

Break #1: 30,500

One limper and I defend a raise with A872hhh. The flop is A65 rainbow and I check-call when the limper donks the flop and the other player calls. My hand is not great here; I have good high potential and a very weak low, but it’s enough to see turns and rivers.

The turn is a king that doesn’t open up a flush draw, so I check-overcall again and the river is gin: a 4! I’m looking to check-raise both players here but the preflop raiser folds when the other one bets. I check-raise and wind up scooping the pot with the nut high and a live deuce. I didn’t get a good look at her hand.

Here’s how you know your table is good: I have two pair and a flush draw on 6th street in Stud 8. One of my opponents has two kings showing and bets dark after we both call. The third player looks like he has a low draw and winds up raising on 7th street. I brick everything and the player that raised on 7th scoops the pot with a ten high straight and no low. Pretty sick that it can be bet and raised to me on 7th when I have up to 13 outs to scoop both of them.

Quarter a player with AAK2ss vs AQT2hh on 876h8h9x and then scoop the same player on the next hand with AQT9 on J93A5.

Cards are back in the air for HORSE Day 2.

Break #2: 34,500

Joker has busted the HORSE, short of the money.

Same with Ducky.

Not sure what Sandman is doing but he had the shortest stack of the three so he’s probably on his way to the final table.

Open AAT9ss and three players call, including both blinds. I c-bet KJ6ssd flop and two players call. The turn is the ten of diamonds. I wind up checking, but I should probably bet since I have two aces blocking the nuts, plus I have the nut flush draw. It checks around though and then it checks around again on the 3c river and the big blind scoops with AK3x. He turned a diamond draw so my turn check did not cost me the pot, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have bet.

7 up opens in Stud 8, I call with 75-8 with two hearts. There were no sixes or hearts dead, plus all the low cards are super live. The bring in 3-bets with the 7 of clubs and we both call. The three sevens in play are the only low cards that were out.

On 4th, the bring in has 7c2s, the other player bricks, and I catch a 3. We both call a bet from the bring in.

On 5th, the bring in pairs the 2, the other guy bricks and I catch a 9. She bets and we both call again.

On 6th, she has 7228, the other guy catches a low card and I get a 4 to make an 87543 low. She bets, he calls, and I call also. It’s not too hard for my low to be beat here.

On 7th, I catch a 6 to make a straight and a 76 low. I has monster! They check to me and the bring in calls and I scoop a big one.

I had a little rush right before the break but otherwise I was mostly card dead these last four levels.

Sandman is still in the $1500 HORSE. He has 30k with 168 players left. 113 cash and average stack is 45k.

Break #3: 16,500

Registration is closed. 165 runners with 23 of us getting paid and nearly $17k up top for 1st.

Every pot is pretty critical right now. I just defended in o8 and flopped the nuts with 753x on 864hh with no backup in a 3-way pot. I check-called flop and turn but the river was another heart and when it went bet and call in front of me, I decided to fold and the bettor had A73x with hearts.

And just like that I’m down to 28.6k and 1/6 of my stack is gone.

And Sandman just busted the HORSE shy of the money.

Just dipped below starting stack for the first time since the first level. My third nut flush loses to second nut flush and lows brick out.

I’m so card dead. Finally get the 8s7s-2s and bring it in. Someone completes and there are five of us in and no spades dead. I call and get the 9h on 4th and it’s bet and raised to me and that’s the end of this hand.

I’ve had a couple good starters in o8 but I’ve chopped with both of them and I was lucky to do that as I caught a “fuck you” card on the turn both times.

Just got moved off a pretty good table and my new table looks way more competent.

I’ll be coming back from break with 8.5 bigs.

4th Break

Got it all in by river with AAT2hh on KT2h3h7h and had to chop with AK96.

Seems unlucky. I haven’t won anything resembling a pot in over two hours now.

3-bet an all in with split tens and get two hitchhikers with low cards.

They both catch big cards on 4th. Yay! I bet and they both call. Come on.

I bet 5th and only one of them calls and I’m all in against him on 6th. The all in player has open jacks and I have improved at all so I’m losing to him but the side pot is way bigger.

I’m up against 23-5K49 and he catches… a 9! I’m almost double but still pretty damn short.

7c6c-8c goes brick brick and I’m back to 15k.

Three more suited babies brick and down to 7.5k.

Triple up with split queens when I make a boat and neither of my opponents make a low. 25k.

Defend 6543 in a 3-way pot with bets going in on every street on an AQ725 board. Holy shit, I have 59k! Peaking for the first time in about six levels and that puts me right around average stack.

Crazy!

4th Break: 59k

Every pot is hypercritical. I went from roughly two big blinds to 3rd of 8 at my table in about an orbit.

And players are dropping pretty fast since we restarted. We’ve lost almost a player a minute so far. There are 58 left and 23 cash.

I’m peaking around 75k right now in Level 15, which is the first time I’ve been above average since Level 8.

Blind vs blind, complete A743 badugi and he checks. I bet AJ3 rainbow and he calls. Turn pairs the jack and I bet again. He calls. Not a fan of that development but he could have a low draw. River is a 9 and I check. He bets. This is a critical pot and my hand doesn’t seem strong but it would be brutal to get bluffed here and can have a busted low, so I put the call out and scoop the pot vs the bluff.

Then I scooped Barbara Enright in a 3-bet pot and suddenly I have 113k. Average stack is 76k and there are now 54 left.

Limped pot and my AJ52ss from small blind gets scooped by limper’s KQJJ on JT2s4sK. At least I got a free showdown.

Down to 73k and back to below average.

Start with 42-3 and it gets completed and 3-bet and I get the 42-323Q-7 run out but somehow find a way to scoop

Peaking at 123k.

5th Break: 93k

39 players left. I’m 0-4 in Aria tournaments (since 2014) so it would be cool to get on the board here. Also, Aria is my third worst location (since 2014) and a whiff here will make it my 2nd worst (Commerce is #1), so, uh, how about we clutch up and get a cash one time?

Billy Dubz has been at my table for a little bit and he just got crippled when his K9xx lost to Barbara Enright’s AAT8 on K922x.

Billy Dubz busts and I lose half my stack in the same hand. Down to 43k ten spots of the money.

Don’t do it to me, please.

Sigh. Complete bring in with 8s5s-2s and shorter stack gets all in with split jacks and I catch a 3d on 4th but can’t make a low or anything else and I have crumbs now.

I think that makes me 0 for 5 today with three suited babies, although I do think I had an 8 in my hand every time.

And I bust in 31st place.

Goddammit. There is literally nothing worse than wasting an entire day to fucking bubble a tournament. It’s 9 PM and I have NO mental energy left to try to jump in a cash game.