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Welcome Back, Dark Knight!

July 13, 2019

Alright… time to assimilate back to real life! On my immediate to do list was to get back in a productive routine that includes waking up early, meditation, going to the gym, and eating better. Someone recommended the Miracle Morning book series to me, so I ordered the book pictured below and it has already paid huge dividends in the short time I’ve been using it.

In addition to recommending meditation, Miracle Morning also asks that I read and write every morning, so if I’m going to write, I might as well share whatever is on my mind. I guess that means I’ll be blogging more regularly again.

Here’s the book I’m choosing to read for my morning routine:

I’m starting off with 5 minutes of meditation and 10 pages of reading, but I’ll be looking to ramp up the meditation with each week that passes. I think 10 pages is a good number – even for the long term. Over the course of a year, that’s 9+ 400-page books. That’s pretty intense. Right now I’m choosing to focus on mindfulness because that’s something I really need to improve on, but eventually I imagine that time could be devoted to poker reading – although my actual study sessions are much longer. But I actually think reading 10 pages of a poker book, taking notes, and trying to apply whatever I learn in that day’s session could be a good way to rapidly improve.

My return to the gym has been interesting. Since I took off for Vegas in early June, I went to the gym twice in about five weeks and I am kind of shocked at how much my strength and stamina have fallen off. I have been to the gym three times this week and I haven’t made it through one of my routines in entirety yet. Oh well, I’ll get there. On May 30th, I was benching 8 reps of 150 lbs and 5 reps of 160 lbs, but my first chest day back I was at 8 reps of 125 lbs and 6 reps of 135 lbs. Yikes! I think it will come back pretty fast though.

I actually arrived home on Saturday and Dina dropped the bomb on me that we were going hiking on Sunday and I reluctantly agreed. However, when I woke up early Sunday morning, I begged and pleaded with her to let me stay home and sleep, but she would not relent and assured me that I would be happy I went later on. Of course she was right. I mean… even when she’s wrong, she’s obviously still right… but in this case, she was right right.

We did the Packwood Lake Trail and while it was quite long, it was relatively easy and smooth. Here are some pics:

I can’t say hiking nine miles on my first full day back in Washington was my ideal plan, but I’m happy we did it. It was a nice way to hop right back into getting in shape.

I played my first session back home on Tuesday at Palace and stayed in the feeder game the entire night until it broke. I was having a pretty good session most of the night, sitting on about +$600 when my game got kicked up a notch when a bunch of loose players sat down and drinks started flowing. This type of thing can change a session in a hurry and I was fortunate to have things go my way as the action was ramped way up and finished the night as a +$1392 winner – good for my second best 8/16 session since the start of 2018.

Uh, welcome home?

I had been avoiding PLO before Vegas, but yesterday I spent some time studying and felt geared up to play some big bet four card poker. In fact, I was feeling pretty optimistic about my chances:

The thing about PLO is that if you’re playing right, big spots don’t come up very often. I did a good job of picking up pots when it seemed like no one had much, but these are the three pots that defined my session:

I open to $15 with KsTsT9 and get multiple callers. It’s not a great hand, but AsTx6s is a pretty amazing flop for it. I start by leading $40, Charlie Hustle calls, and before I can starting dreaming of stacking this nit when spades come or the board pairs, Big Baby check-raises me to $100. Well, that changes things. It’s tempting to call here and string Charlie Hustle along, but even though I smashed the flop, it’s not like my hand is invulnerable. I don’t want to see any face cards that aren’t a spade, for instance. Also, even though Big Baby has made a small raise here, I expect him to fold approximately 0% of the time if I raise the maximum. Might as well start building the pot while I have a massive equity edge. I make it $400, Hustle folds, and Big Baby snap-calls obv. The turn is the 3 of spades and I bet $300 (in case anyone forgot, $300 is the max bet in Washington state) and somehow Big Baby finds a fold with like $450 left behind. He said he had A6. I guess a spade was unlucky because I think he calls again on any other card.

I open to $15 under the gun with AAT9 single suited and pretty much the whole table calls before Big Baby does me the favor of making it $30 on the button. Both blinds also call and, in a game where pretty much no one ever folds preflop, this allows me to pot it to $200 and maybe get this thing heads up? The riff raff clears and Big Baby unsurprisingly calls, but Mr. Freeze gets stubborn from the big blind and puts in $200 as well. So with $600+ in the middle, the three of us see a flop of 732 with two diamonds. The diamonds give me the nut flush draw with my overpair and this board figures to whiff their ranges pretty hard. If either of these yahoos somehow have a set here, I guess they get to stack me if my draw misses. I bet $300, Big Baby folds, but Mr. Freeze calls. I know he doesn’t have a set here because he would raise the flop, so it seems like he has a flush draw. It makes me feel like I’m probably never losing this pot. The turn is an off suit 9 and he check-calls $300 again. The river is an off suit queen and we both check. I announce “aces” and he turns over JJ54 with diamonds. Imagine the river coming an ace and that somehow costing me this pot. I’m actually kind of surprised it didn’t, considering how pure Mr. Freeze has been running against me this year.

Big Baby opens to $15 and there are a couple of callers and I have the K763 double suited on the button. This is not a hand I would normally play – it is MUCH more reasonable if I had an ace instead of a king – but I’m going out of my way to play pots in position against Big Baby, so I speculate and both of the blinds come along as well. In PLO, you want to play hands that can flop huge and win big pots and one of the books I’ve read talks about imagining the best possible flop for your hand and if you can’t think of one, then you should probably just fold. Well, for the K763 double suited, is there a better possible flop than the 542 that gives me the nut straight, redraws to bigger straights, and a king high flush draw? No there is not. Somehow I have found my “Eureka!” board and even better, one of the blinds leads out for $40 and there are a couple of callers when it gets to me. I’m getting action! I make it $280 and the player that led from the blinds tells me “I’m not folding,” as he puts out a call. Big Baby does find a fold, but the second player that called $40 now back-jams to $560. I make it $860 and the player in the blinds says something about me not being able to raise because the action should be capped and I’m just sitting there like “uh, no” and he asks the dealer to call the floor over and the dealer is about to do so and I say to the dealer, “do you really need the floor to come over here and tell you that there is a bet and three raises allowed on every street in this casino you’ve been dealing in for a decade?” So he doesn’t call the floor over and the player is like “I don’t know why you’re raising. I’m not folding.” He must’ve said “I’m not folding” five different times on this flop. Does he think I’m bluffing here and that I want him to fold? I don’t get it.

The turn card is a wonderful offsuit 3. I mean… do I even want to hit a spade? Not really. I want my hand to remain the nuts. It seems like the big blind could have 63 as well, but I don’t have him marked for a flush draw. However, the other player could definitely have an ace high flush draw in addition to some other form of equity. The 3 is a gin card though and it’s incredibly unlikely either of them has the same straight as me now. I bet $300 and the other player calls.

The river is an offsuit ace. Ding ding! I bet $300 and the other player calls and… my hand is good for EVERYTHING. I never got to see the big blind’s hand, but the other player had 6655 – pretty sick considering the turn tied him with any naked 63 hand that flopped the nuts. His hand also makes it much less likely that the big blind flopped the nut straight and that makes that nearly $1500 call down postflop all the more LOL.

The three of us that saw the river put in almost $3500 total in this pot, so if you include the preflop action and the dead money on the flop, this pot was probably somewhere around $3700, making it the second biggest PLO pot I’ve ever won. Insane!

The big blind went from having a big stack to basically dust on this hand and, I’m not gonna lie, I really enjoyed doing it to him. I’ve never seen this dude before, but he was totally insufferable to play with. Every time it was his turn to act, he went into “TV Time” mode and probably took 15-20 seconds with every decision and even longer when he actually had one to make. It really made it seem like this game was all about him and we were all just there to watch his greatness. In addition to being a massive CLOCKsucker, he had a lot of opinions after each hand and really wanted everyone to know how smart he was (even though he sucked). He also bragged about being in Vegas the last six weeks playing no limit tournaments and I couldn’t help but look up his results on HendonMob and of course they are basically nonexistent – almost no cashes to his name and none this summer. Also, after he built his stack up to around $1500, he got the attention of one of the dealers about to tap into the table, smiled, and said to her, “they don’t know who I am.”

Needless to say, I couldn’t stand the dude. So yes, I enjoyed snatching up his ego and tossing it in the garbage where it belongs. But honestly, I shouldn’t even care if someone thinks they are a hot shot – it doesn’t affect my bottom line any. And while I can observe that he is full of himself, I don’t think finding joy in his misfortune is a great personality trait on my end.

Something to think about.

Those pots helped propel me to a +$3795 session – my second best win in PLO ever.

On Friday, I played 15/30 at Palace and I started off by taking a couple notes, but gave up on that pretty quickly.

I did note the first pot of the day though, as I was in the small blind and the Coast was on the line. Ducky opened from mid, there were some callers and the 87o had enough potential to defend the Coast with, so I called. It’s loose, but come on. It’s the Coast! I would fold truly garbage hands here, but marginal hands that can flop well, I’m calling.

The flop comes J65 with two hearts. The first limper donks and Ducky just calls. I call and so does the big blind.

The turn pairs the 5 and the same action occurs.

The river is the 4h, completing my straight but also making a possible flush. Still, I’m not going to draw to my hand and check when I get there and with only one bet going in on the flop, I’m not overly concerned about a flush being out there. I bet, the aggressor calls, and so does Ducky? That was unexpected, but it makes more sense when he turns over the 98 of hearts.

No Coast today. But at least this nice win didn’t propel Ducky to a Coast either.

I had another early hand where I 3-bet Taz with A4dd on the button and he donked $25 into me on 944hh which allowed me to punish him for $100 on the turn. Needless to say, I was pretty surprised when he check-raised me on the 2h river and showed up with a naked flush draw after taking this line.

So that got me off to a rough start, but I rebounded somewhat and spent the first four hours floating around even before finding some turbulence and bottoming out around -$500 six hours into my session.

Fortunately, I found some momentum after that. Unfortunately, it was all downward and I was -$1300 at 11:30 PM.

It seemed like a limit the damage kind of session, but by 1:30 AM I was +$1200! What?

Things started going my way when the button straddled, I just called from the small blind with 44 because the game has gotten loose and I want to play a multi-way pot, and after a bunch of random different people raising and back-raising six or seven of us have put in five bets each.

The flop is 532 rainbow. Not bad when you don’t hit a set. Someone on my left leads, FanBoy raises, I call, the player on my left 3-bets, and FanBoy caps. I think five of us put the cap in on the flop.

FanBoy is pretty tight and called 3-bets cold before the flop, so I have him squarely on a set here or maaaaybe A4 suited. I’m actually planning to fold on the turn when the board pairs the 2 – that’s how confident I am FanBoy flopped a set – but it inexplicably checks around. Shows how much I know.

The river is a jack and it checks around again and I sheepishly show my fours ready to turn them back over when someone shows me a better hand… but no one does. The pot is mine. FanBoy had the 43 suited which is wildly out of character for him. That’s why you call on the turn when the board pairs and you’re getting 24-1 even though you think a full house is probably out there.

The Happy Hour Hand was KhKs and not only did I get dealt that hand but I won a sizable pot with it, plus the $500 jackpot.

First time for everything!

Then I hit another small jackpot with quad 8s.

And somehow, a session in which I was -$1300 7.5 hours in ended up being a +$1536 day.

Not a bad first week back. +$6700? I’ll take it.

Also, shoutout to Austin Hortaleza for making an insanely deep run in the WSOP Little One for One Drop tournament. He ended up outlasting 6200+ runners – a near Main Event-sized field – and finished in 12th place for just north of $47k.

What an achievement!

Lastly, Austin Lewis was one of the players at my starting table in the Main. He ended up busting in 16th place for $400,000 yesterday. Wth.

I’m not positive but I think the dude that knocked me out finished even higher. Viktor Rau sure looks like the dude that busted me with those aces. Same hairstyle, same profile, identical neck-hugging grey sweater. The only reason I’m not 100% positive is because when he was on T.V. he was wearing sunglasses and I can’t really make out his face. So I’m not sure.

Still, it’s nice to think the guy that stacked me ended up making a super deep run with those chips I used to have. Rau finished 13th for $600k.

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