Archive for October, 2019

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October 2019 Week 2: Poker is Hard… Really, Really Hard.

October 16, 2019

Spoiler alert in the post title. This has not been a good week. Maybe it’s a bit dramatic to say that it has been devastating, but I’m reaching a point in my year where I’ve realized I’ve had to fight tooth and nail for all my profit in 2019. Maybe I’ve been spoiled in the past. Maybe I’ve run way above expectation historically. I don’t know. But what I do know is that I’ve never struggled like this before. Not for this long. Not this consistently. It seems like every single month I’m digging myself a hole and spending the last week or two trying to get out of it. My overall results aren’t horrendous, but they have been quite middling. If I keep up the same pace for the rest of the year, my final result will be about half as good as any of my year end results for any of the past three years. I’m sure fluctuations in this business are super normal (especially when you don’t bink a tournament), but that’s still a pretty steep drop.

Well, let’s get to the sessions.

I showed up early to Palace on Wednesday to watch MLB playoffs and started my day off with an 8/16 Hold’em session. I folded to my big blind and got a free flop with the 63o for a potential Coast session. It looked really promising when the board fell Q637K and I bet all the way and just got called down by one of the limpers… but after I showed my hand he turned over the Q3 suited for a better two pair. The other people that saw the hand started razzing him about why he just called me all the way and he just said, “I’m scared of him.”

That guy obviously doesn’t read my blog.

It looked like I was going to have a pretty sizable loss for a short session, but I raised a bunch of limpers from the small blind with AQdd, got a free card on a flop of T9x with one diamond, check-called a jack turn and then got two callers when I drilled the king on the end.

That pot somewhat salvaged things and I moved to PLO only stuck -$108 for the day.

I’ve been having a lot of mixed feelings about PLO lately. I thought I was running above expectation the first two years of the game and it seems pretty clear now that I definitely was… plus the game has seen a dramatic shift. The complexion of the game is a lot worse than it used to be. It’s the same people in the starting lineup every week and instead of a bunch of loose players that have no idea what they are doing punting stacks left and right, it is mostly experienced regulars sitting down. I mean… how often is a situation going to come up where I’m going to stack a Lee Markholt?

Especially if I’m playing bad?

I call $15 on the button in a multiway pot with AK42 double suited. The flop is A84 with two clubs, giving me two pair and the nut flush draw. The PFR (who raised from UTG) leads out for a full pot-sized bet of $90, Part-Time (yeah, I’m going back to that… Mr. Freeze is a dumb name for him) calls, and action is to me. The PFR has like $400 behind to start the flop action and I have a little over $500 myself. I raised the pot, she jammed all in, and Part-Time got out of the way. We agreed to run it twice and her set of aces held up on both boards. I was pretty mad at myself for getting it in here, but I think that’s a bit results oriented because the turn card on the first board paired the 8 and I felt like I would have had to fold at that point and could have saved my stack. But I think an 8 is the only card that would make me want to fold, so the money is probably almost always going in on the turn.

I call $15 with AQQ3 single suited from the big blind and decide to lead out on the 532 two club board when I flop the nut flush draw. Part-Time is my only caller from the small blind. I bet $135 when the turn bricks off with a 9 and he calls again. And because I hate money and my game is super sharp in this session, I bet $200 on the jack river and he reluctantly calls me with his set of deuces. Boom. Another $400 punted.

Part-Time raises under the gun to $15 without looking at his hand and I’m next to act with TT22 double suited. Since the table is short-handed at this point, I decide to 3-bet it and hope to get it heads up. Mission accomplished. Part-Time calls $50 and we see a flop of Q87 with two spades. This gives me a ten high flush draw and four outs to a set – not much of a hand to speak of. I have some key blockers to the best straight draws though, so that’s something to keep in mind. I decide to check back and take a free turn card. It’s an offsuit 9 and when Part-Time makes it $80, I decide to use my blockers to represent the nuts and make a pot-sized raise to $305. It works out well, as he responds by stuffing it in my face. Now there’s over $900 in the pot and I only have about $200 behind and my flush draw is probably live. I’m getting 4.6 to 1 on a call here, so I need around 18% equity to call and a flush draw with one card to go is right around that number, so calling off seems pretty neutral… but it feels like a massive punt. Another massive punt. I make the call and Part-Time only wants to run it once. I bink a ten on the river, which gives me a brief glimpse of hope, but my set gives him a straight with the KJ in his hand and he had a set of queens before that anyway.

I took a break after basically felting for the third time in the session and I really had to wonder what was going on. It’s not like I was playing any hands. I was super card dead, but I still managed to punt off three buy-ins with three different flush draws. I decided to go play some Ultimate Hold’em in the pit because my boy Mexi Nugget was dealing at that table and the Nationals and Dodgers were tied in the 9th inning of Game 5 of the NLDS and Mexi Nugget is a die hard Dodgers fan and I had my Nats hat on because I bet them to win the World Series when they were 32-1. I don’t ever play in the pit unless I’m using a Match Play, but this was a social play so we could watch the end of the game together and I managed to win a little money while laughing at his misfortune as the Nats took a four run lead and eventually advanced to the NLCS.

I decided to sit back down in PLO after that and put myself at risk of having an all-time worst session. It seems like this should have happened already, but somehow a -$2300 I posted all the way back in June of 2016 is still the most money I’ve ever lost in a single play. That probably has more to do with my pain threshold than anything else though. It seems like when I’m down around $1500 or so in a live game, I start to unravel emotionally and find myself wanting to disappear instead of accepting the challenge before me and grind my way out of it. That’s something to work on, for sure.

Anyways, I sat back down and the game was really short-handed – five of us, I think. I made a little bit of a comeback, but only one hand during this span really sticks out in my mind. I decided to open with the 6532 single suited and Scarecrow was my only caller. Scarecrow was running insanely good in this session; I think he ended up winning over $5000, which is totally absurd. Anyways, he defends his blind here and then donks $35 on a Q42 rainbow flop. This board smacked me obviously, but it really shouldn’t be that good for my range, so I decide to just call. The turn is an offsuit 3, giving me the nuts, and Scarecrow bets $100. Again, I decide to just call because I want him to keep betting on the river and the hands he can have that can stand a raise aren’t numerous. I would be surprised if he called a pot-sized raise with two pair. Naturally, the river pairs the queen and when he bets $215, I make the call because I fucking hate money and he shows me the Q4 full house.

Unreal. The game broke shortly after that and I booked a cool -$1256 in the PLO streets and felt like I played some of my worst possible poker.

Here are my PLO win rates at Palace the last three years:
2017: $103.74/hr
2018: $85.98/hr
2019: $7.86/hr

Uhm yeah. I’ve reached a point where I’m wondering if I should even be targeting that game anymore. In addition to running quite salty this year, I’ve come to find myself feeling really bored when I play PLO. The pace of the game can be brutally slow and sometimes you go weeks in between hands where you find yourself in an amazing spot to stack someone. I’ve played entire sessions where I felt like I maybe shouldn’t have played even a single hand. Or maybe I just need to study and practice more. I didn’t put my name up for this week’s game and I think I’m going to take at least a few weeks off from PLO to get my mind right.

My plan on Thursday was to play the $400 NL event in the Muckleshoot Classic series, but then the Tampa Bay Rays went and shocked the world by forcing a Game 5 with the Houston Astros and I wasn’t about to miss that. MLB Playoffs > No Limit Hold’em tournaments. I feel like if I’m playing an NL tourney, I should be focusing on the action at the table as much as I can and I knew I wouldn’t be doing that during the baseball game, so skipping the tourney and playing 8/16 at Palace seemed like the right call. I could enjoy the game and give it my full attention while possibly auto-piloting my way to some income.

Alas, I was extremely card dead and managed to lose the few pots I did play and sometime around the 8th inning, my wife messaged me saying how much she missed me, so I went home after the Astros knocked off the Rays and booked a -$343 in less than three hours of play.

Friday night’s 15/30 session started with a lineup of Taz, FanBoy, Animal, Radio Mike, Mighty Mouse, Scrappy Doo and a new name I’m adding to the nickname section: Dreamcrusher. Head on over to Blog Nicknames to read the write up I did for this player today.

This session started off innocently enough. I made it to my first break with $20 of sugar after around 90 minutes of play. The most interesting spot during this stretch was finding myself with red aces on QJTccTc in a heads up pot versus the small blind. It feels super gross to bet the turn and fold here when I can check back and show down for the same price, but a) I don’t think my opponent in this hand will fold a queen or a jack in this spot and b) I don’t think he is capable of turning whatever he has into a bluff. Even check-raising a hand like AcQ is a pretty ambitious play on this board texture against an under the gun raiser. As such, I’m confident I can bet the turn and river for value and fold if he raises me with little concern that I’m laying down the best hand, so that’s what I did when he check-raised the turn. I’m not folding aces in heads up limit Hold’em pots… like ever… but this felt like an early moment of clarity for me and I still feel good about the fold.

Two hours later, I’d be taking my second break of the session and it’s safe to say things had unraveled. I was now stuck just over $1000. I mean… what in the FUCK? This 15/30 game is unbeatable for me all the sudden? Every Friday it’s the same shit.

There were a couple of brutal ones during this stretch.

In one pot, I had AJo in a 3-bet multiway pot and the flop was A53 rainbow. Scrappy Doo called 3-bets from the big blind and then donked into two raisers on the flop, but I felt compelled to raise because I don’t want anyone else to call for a single bet. That cleared the field out but then Scrappy 3-bet it and I called down without improving even though this is a line I never expect to be winning against. The 5 did pair on the river, so there was at least some chance I sucked out on A3. But I paid it off and Scrappy Doo turns over the 42 offsuit. In a 3-bet pot. I’m pretty sure that’s not a hand he’s defending with 100% of the time, but I’m sure glad he decided to gamble with it here.

In another hand, Dreamcrusher raises under the gun, I 3-bet TT next to act, and Taz calls 3 cold in the next spot. The three of us see a flop of 642 rainbow and I lead and 3-bet when Taz raises me. All three of us are still in for the turn. Perhaps I should be concerned when a 3 falls on 4th street after Dreamcrusher calls two bets cold on the flop, but I was very sure I had the best hand on the flop, and I didn’t think the turn should help her under the gun opening range (at a full table)… but I know Dreamcrusher is capable of playing almost any two cards from any position in almost any situation… so whether or not the turn should help an under the gun opening range is pretty fucking irrelevant here. In the moment, I bet the turn like a dummy and then paid her off after she check-raised and bet the river. She showed me the 75 offsuit.

I made it to one more break. I suppose I was already crumbling under the weight of another poor session on top of weeks of run bad in this particular game, but I was about to snap. I probably played another hour or two and during that span I ran super hot preflop and ultra bad after the flop. I lost with QQ to AK when my opponent called down and rivered a pair with no other draw in sight. I had JJ vs KQ on a QT973 run out in a massive pot. I had AK on a KT8cc79c runout and didn’t even bother calling a river bet. I had QTcc vs J9 on JT9cKQ in a massive pot I ended up having to chop. I had QQ again against a single big blind defender and got a disconnected king high board and of course he had K2 offsuit. And then I had TT vs 77 on K7447 in one of my final hands of the night. That last one was against FanBoy and I’m pretty sure he’s cognizant of the fact that I’m tilted out of my mind and making sharp folds is no longer on my agenda, but I decided to give him three streets of value anyway. That last one upset me so much that I decided to call it a night. Not because I lost another hand, but because I was clearly making very bad decisions and my emotions were out of control.

I ended up finishing -$1875 and I only played 6.5 hours. That ranks as my third worse session I’ve ever had in the 15/30 game at Palace and my performance in this game in 2019 has become alarming. Again, let’s take a look at my 15/30 win rates the last three years at Palace:
2017: $31.19/hr
2018: $58.05/hr
2019: $9.12/hr

Yes. This year has been depressing.

Even though I left the game early and my plan was always to play the Main Event of the Muckleshoot Classic on Saturday, I went home Friday night on the fence about it. I was really stewing and a good part of me knew that it would be a dumb idea to try to play a major tournament the next day. I decided to sleep on it and set my alarm for 8 AM to see how I felt in the morning. Well, my alarm went off at 8 and I gave getting up zero thought before turning it off and going back to sleep. I woke up a few hours later and didn’t even bother to look up how long late registration was open. I just took the day off and that means I missed an entire Muckleshoot Classic for the first time in 5.5 years. That means I’m going to have to grind my way to my annual standards of income the old fashioned way.

I played in the 10/20 Omaha 8 game at Palace on Sunday. After getting huge lists for the Sunday O8 game the first two weeks, this past week saw a massive dip in attendance. I can hardly blame the customers. The first two weeks we had a full game and a list that was 10+ deep all day of people that specifically came to play in the 10/20 game. However, both weeks the staff didn’t start a second red chip game because they didn’t want to break the 4/8 O8 game. Well, there’s a 4/8 O8 game every other day of the week… I don’t see why that needs to be a priority on the day they are trying to spread a bigger game and attract a different player pool. What happens when you lock out a full table worth of people that want to play 10/20 and force them to play 4/8? Not once, but two weeks in a row? They stop coming in. So there wasn’t much of a list to speak of in week 3 and the game started to fizzle around 7:30pm and was completely dead by 8pm (after going past midnight the first two weeks) and honestly, it makes me wonder about the future strength of the game. The players have already been conditioned to think that if they don’t have a seat to start the game, they might as well not even show up. Good job, Palace.

I got off to a terrible start in O8, reaching a low point of -$700 or so, but I rallied back before the game crumbled and ended up booking a $356 profit.

And then I was somewhat surprised when The Leak decided she wanted to play 8/16 and we ended up playing for another 6+ hours. I had some miserable moments in this session, taking the $611 I brought to the table and nearly turning it into $0. In fact, there was a hand where I would have been all in if I had bet the turn and river, but I checked back second pair and ended up winning the pot. I don’t ever get all in in a limit game, so that would have been a first. Like… the players at Palace have never seen in happen… in 5+ years. I just didn’t feel like reloading because I didn’t even really feel like playing. Fortunately, I rebounded and ended up booking a rather small loss, thanks to this pot:

The hijack opens, Radio Mike 3-bets from the cutoff and I cap with AK of spades on the button and it’s just the three of us. The flop is AJ9 with two spades and it checks to me. I bet, the HJ calls, and Mike check-raises. I think Radio Mike is overly passive after the flop, so AK is not in great shape against his check-raising range on this board texture, but since I have the nut flush draw as well and there’s a third player in the pot, I go ahead and 3-bet it anyway. They both call. I’m planning to check back a blank turn, but it’s a king and I feel like that gives me the best hand most of the time, so I bet and they both call again. The river is another ace and I’m a little surprised to see Radio Mike lead out. It’s a bit of a weird play. I actually thought he might have AJ on the flop or maybe a set, but the sets seemed highly unlikely when he just calls on the turn. Anyways, I have the nuts here, so I raise and he asks, “do you have quads,” and I respond, “you know I don’t have quads” (because it seems like he has to have AJ or A9 here). But then it is clear that he doesn’t have an ace and he asks if I have AK and I say, “yes,” but that doesn’t stop him from putting in the call and I’m somewhat shocked to see that he had pocket jacks.

That hand somewhat salvaged my session and I finished 8/16 -$78.

All in all, it was a -$3360 week of live poker for me – a devastating blow after finally getting off to a good start and, once again, I find myself stuck in the middle of a month. So what’s that, nine months in a row I’ve been stuck at the midway point? I’ve only had two losing months this year, so the final results aren’t terrible, but it’s not much fun fighting an uphill battle. Every. Single. Month. On the bright side, I had a rare very good week in online mix games to somewhat soften the blow.

On another bright side, this month marks three years since I last clocked in for a day job. That seems like an accomplishment worth celebrating. When I look at my bankroll when I quit working and compare it to now, it doesn’t feel like I’ve made much progress, but then I remember that we’ve bought two houses, I paid off my student loans, started an IRA, and cleared all our unnecessary debt and that seems pretty damn cool. That’s something to keep in mind during what has certainly been a down year for me. Poker has been good to us and I’ve made considerably more money playing poker than I ever did working a day job.

Stay the course.

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September/August 2019 Music

October 11, 2019

I always hear people complaining about how bad music is nowadays and they couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, there is more quality music flooding the industry than ever before. It’s impossible to listen to it all, but… I try to. I give everything a chance and at the end of every month I’ll post everything I listened to and how much, what my favorite album was, what the other must have albums are, and what songs I added to my 2019 Bangers Playlist.

Stop complaining and take some guidance!

Because some albums come out later in the month and I don’t get much of a chance to listen to them before making my post, I’ve decided to make my new music posts containing all albums I’ve listened to over the last two months. New albums for the most recent month will be in bold.

Also, check out my 2019 Albums page to see where I have rated any albums I’ve formed a solid opinion on.

September Note: I didn’t get to listen to much music this past month and nothing new really got much attention (and not a lot of interesting new music came out anyway) and none of last month’s albums got extra spins either. As such, there isn’t much movement in my rotations below.

HEAVY ROTATION (heard whole album many times)

EARTHGANG – Mirrorland
Little Brother – May the Lord Watch
Rapsody – Eve
SiR – Chasing Summer

SOLID ROTATION (heard whole album at least twice)

Rick Ross – Port of Miami 2

COURTESY ROTATION (heard whole album)

38 Spesh – A Bullet for Every Heathen
Black Milk – DiVE
BROCKHAMPTON – GINGER
Jidenna – 85 to Africa
Joell Ortiz – Monday
Missy Elliott – ICONOLOGY EP
Ras Kass – Soul on Ice 2
Snoop Dogg – I Wanna Thank Me

SKIM ROTATION (haven’t heard whole album)

Alchemist – Yacht Rock 2
Bon Iver – i,i
Bun B – Bun B Day – EP
Common – Let Love
Dame D.O.L.L.A. – Big D.O.L.L.A.
Ghostface Killah – Ghostface Killahs
Justine Skye – BARE WITH ME – EP
KXNG Crooked – The Weeklys, Vol. 3
Post Malone – Hollywood’s Bleeding
Raphael Saadiq – Jimmy Lee
Snoh Aalegra – Ugh, those feels again

Out of Rotation (removed from my current playlist)

A$AP Ferg – Floor Seats
Curren$y – Hot August Nights
Obie Trice – The Fifth
Slum Village – The Source
Taylor Swift – Lover
Tool – Fear Inoculum
Young Thug – So Much Fun

TOO NEW (zero listens)

Kemba – Gilda
Kevin Gates – I’m Him
Skyzoo & Pete Rock – Retropolitan

ALBUM OF THE MONTH

EARTHGANGMirrorland – This is really the only new album I gave more than a courtesy listen to in the past month, but it’s a good one. EARTHGANG is part of J.Cole’s Dreamville imprint, a hip-hop label that now rivals Kendrick Lamar’s T.D.E. as the best collective in rap music. I can see old school listeners wanting to dismiss EARTHGANG and loop them in with the influx of trap crap that is invading the airwaves these days, but that would be a huge mistake. I’ve seen more than a few people compare EARTHGANG to Outkast and while the comparison has some merit – mostly because both groups hail from Atlanta and the influence is obvious – comparing anyone to Andre 3000 probably isn’t fair. No one in EARTHGANG strikes me as an elite rapper. With that said, you don’t need to be an elite rapper to make really good music and EARTHGANG has a vibe to them that makes their entire album sound cohesive and highly enjoyable, maybe even addictive. As you can see below, I’ve already added five songs from their 14-track album to my Best of 2019 playlist and I don’t think they have a weak song on it. I’ve probably listened to Mirrorland 5-6 times through already and I feel pretty confident saying its firmly in my top 10 albums of 2019 already. J.Cole and co. stay winning.

2019 Bangerz Playlist Additions

Common ft. Daniel Caesar, “HER Love”
Dave, “Black”
EARTHGANG. “Top Down”
EARTHGANG ft. Young Thug, “Proud of U”
EARTHGANG, “This Side”
EARTHGANG, “Avenue”
EARTHGANG ft. Malik, “Fields”
Joell Ortiz, “Captain”
Raphael Saadiq, “Kings Fall”
Scarlet Parke, “What We’ve Become”

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September 2019 Poker Results (and Felix Hernandez’s last game as a Mariner)

October 7, 2019

I’m going to keep this one pretty short and sweet because my last couple posts took so long for me to publish and it would be nice to get on a schedule that’s more current.

I got back from Lincoln City Sunday night and I knew I wasn’t going to be playing poker on Monday or Tuesday because we had this poor little guy scheduled for his neuter appointment early Monday and we wanted someone to be home with him for at least the first three days after his surgery to make sure he wasn’t too swollen or having a hard time recovering.

Hammy was a completely different dog after we had him neutered, much calmer and way more respectful of our house and possessions, and we thought the procedure would have a similar effect on Albus, who we affectionately refer to as The Monster because he’s such a wild animal, but… he was ready to run around and play the day after his surgery and seems to be the same crazy dog we’ve had this past year and that’s fine by me.

I signed up for PLO on Wednesday, but I was such a late sign up and the list was real enough that I didn’t start the game and by the time I would have had a seat, I didn’t really want to play anymore. I had a doctor appointment early in the AM on Thursday in Bremerton, so I wasn’t planning on putting in a power session anyway. I started out in the 4/8 Omaha 8 game and just stayed in 8/16 LHE when my PLO seat came open. I finished -$180 on the day and Scarecrow won over $3k in the PLO game, so I can’t say I feel too great about my decision-making here.

Thursday we played a home game at Scarecrow Station. Yep, that’s what I’m calling the game at Scarecrow’s house from now on. We started out playing 12/24 Mix with 15/30 Overs but bumped the game up to straight 15/30 when Radio Mike left after realizing that the learning curve in mix games you’ve never even heard of is actually quite steep and too expensive for his taste. I wouldn’t mind playing as low as 4/8 if there were more inexperienced players that wanted to learn, but when the majority of us want to play 15/30 or higher, that’s a pretty hard sell.

It’s really tough to find affordable stakes to learn mix games at. I just went over my all-time records and my first six times playing in what I labeled as “mix games” were in a home game at Wildcat Lake in Kitsap County at 2/4 stakes from 2016 to 2017. That’s a nice way to ease into things. The next time I played was in January 2018 and this time it was at 10/20 stakes and I remember thinking it was pretty massive at the time and after I lost $1100+, I was pretty pissed about it. I mean… I had about 50 hours of mix experience total before making the leap to red chip games. However, five months (and three more house/mix sessions) later, I was at the Rio during the WSOP playing my first live mix game session ever and it was at the 20/40 level. My fourth live session ever was at the 40/80 level. Not necessarily because I wanted to play that big, but because there weren’t any other options if I wanted to play mix. Basically what I’m saying is, unless you can gather a group of friends together that don’t mind playing small, you better be willing to lose some money (or hope you run good) if you want to learn how to play all these different games.

Anyways, it was a ho-hum session at Scarecrow Station for me and I finished -$50 in 7.5 hours of play. In fact, Scarecrow was the only person that really won, following up his huge PLO session with another $1000+ win in our home game.

On Friday, we did something different. Billy Dubz was getting sick of seeing us struggle to arrange our home games in the group chat I started (even though we’ve now played 12 sessions in just over three months since I’ve been back from Vegas) and told us the week prior that he was going to host a game on this Friday night, complete with valet parking, crab and lobster dinner, cocktail waitresses, a personal masseuse, and hottub access. Turns out, only some of that was true, but it was still pretty impressive as he got two full games (one mix and one O8) and had a nice food spread laid out. This is my only session of the week that I kept any notes for, so I’ll share a few hands (so much for short and sweet).

2-7 no limit Single Draw, Scarecrow opens to $30, I 3-bet a smooth one card draw to an 8 and Scarecrow caps it for $400. I snap call and we agree to run it twice after declaring that we are both drawing one. I have 8432 and he has 9832. My J8 wins the first draw and his A9 wins the second one when I pair the 2, so we split the pot.

Stud 8, I defend with KK-2 in a multi-way pot vs three low up-cards. The 3rd street opener bricks and so does Scarecrow, but Logan has 75 showing on 4th. Meanwhile, I caught a king, giving me hidden trips and the lead in the hand. My initial plan is to check-raise Logan and force the other two to call two bets cold if they want to continue, but before I can do anything, Logan checks out of turn, so I bet fourth street myself and everyone calls. I lead with 2K3 on 5th and I’m pretty shocked when the 3rd street opener raises me with her board showing 29T. Very nice. Scarecrow folds here (or on 4th) and Logan reluctantly folds his low draw after bricking on 5th, leaving me heads up with someone that almost certainly has three tens in her hand. I 3-bet and she calls. 6th street goes one bet and so does 7th when I river a fourth king and have the pleasure of announcing, “quads” without having a pair showing on my board.

Stud 8, I call a raise with 24-6 with two hearts and two sixes dead. I feel compelled to continue when I catch the queen of hearts on 4th and on 5th I catch a 5 vs boards of 6KK and 289. Scarecrow leads with the kings, Logan calls, and I decide raise it, even though I have seen one of the threes. They both call. I’m not too sure about that raise, but I’ll take a look at that in a bit. On 6th street, Logan catches an ace, giving him a possible low, so even though I pick up a flush draw with the 9 of hearts, betting seems bad when they both check to me and I know neither of them are folding, so I check back and take the free card. 7th street is a 3 for me, giving me a straight and a 65 low, and I’m pretty happy to see Logan lead after Scarecrow checks. I don’t expect Scarecrow to fold two pair and I’m not even sure he would fold naked kings here, suspecting I might be trying to steal half the pot, so I raise it anyway and both of them do call and my hand is good for the scoop.

Here’s a look at that 5th street spot, with some of the hole cards they could possibly have, but painting the situation in my favor a little by not putting any threes in their hands:

In a pretty favorable spot, I have an equity edge, even though I’m not an equity favorite, so raising looks like it is probably right most of the time. I have to give Scarecrow two pair and kill a three (or kill two more threes) to find a spot where raising looks suspect, and even then my equity is around 32%, which makes it a nearly neutral play.

2-7 no limit Single Draw, Billy Dubz opens to $30, Scarecrow calls, Logan calls from the small blind, and I defend with 753xx. The draw goes 1, 2, 1, and 1. I make a 97653, so after Logan checks, I bet $100, Billy Dubz folds, and Scarecrow makes it something like $300 and I snap call and he pretty much immediately turbos his hand into the muck.

I finished that session at +$900.

I started this post like two weeks ago and now it’s October 7th and I’m so far behind that I’m just going to post my results for the rest of the month.

9/21: -$30 in 3 hours of 1/1 NLHE @ Chor’s Chamber (home game)
9/25: +$882 in 7.5 hours of 1/3/5 PLO @ Palace
9/27: -$215 in 10.5 hours of 15/30 LHE @ Palace
9/28: -$300 in 9.5 hours of 15/30 Mix @ Billy Dubz Battlefield (home game)
9/29: +$1305 in 10 hours of 10/20 Limit Omaha 8/B @ Palace (new game on Sundays at 3 PM)

That was quite the final session, accounting for almost all my profit for the entire month, as I finished September with just over $1500 in winnings. It’s been a pretty rough year so far. I’m sitting at 40% of what I won in my worst year as a pro and I only have three full months to close the gap. I guess that’s what happens when you don’t win at least $26,000 in a single tournament like I’ve done in each of the past three years. There’s still a chance to do that though because the Muckleshoot Fall Classic starts in a couple days. I’m only planning to play the $400 event on Thursday and the $750 Main on Saturday/Sunday, so I’m going to have to make it count.

Since the first week of October has already passed and I don’t feel much like writing a separate post for that at this point, I’ll just post those results real quick also. My poor performance so far this year has kind of lit a fire under me and I went ahead in put in 55 hours of volume in the first week of October, but I am doing so knowing that poker won’t be a priority in November, so I have to get busy this month.

10/1: +$670 in 6.5 hours of 8/16 LHE @ Palace (also a Coast-to-Coast session, my fourth overall)
10/2: +$17 in 3 hours of 8/16 LHE @ Palace
10/2: +$276 in 3 hours of 1/3/5 PLO @ Palace
10/3: +$956 in 8 hours of 8/16 LHE @ Palace
10/4: +$800 in 8.25 hours of 15/30 LHE @ Palace
10/5: -$340 in 1.5 hours of 1/3/5 PLO @ Red Dragon
10/5: +$275 in 9 hours of 20/40 Mix @ Red Dragon
10/6: +$305 in 9 hours of 10/20 LO8 @ Palace

That’s a +$2948 start over 49.5 hours in the first six days of October. Here’s to hoping for a huge month!

September Poker Highlights:
*deep run in Chinook Winds Main Event
*month-saving 10/20 O8 session in brand new game at Palace

September Poker Lowlights:
*serious burnout in Lincoln City
*lost in mix games for the month, both online and live

On Deck in October:
*Logic with JID and YBN Cordae @ WaMu Theater on 10/8
*Muckleshoot Fall Classic Series 10/9 to 10/13
*Bunko! at my parents’ house… haven’t played since I was a kid… can’t wait!

Some highlights from Felix Hernandez’s last game as a Mariner:

These videos might be terrible and I certainly didn’t bother to edit them, so watch if you want, but don’t expect a professional cut here.

Felix coming out of the bullpen before the game:

Felix in a bases loaded jam and looking like he could be facing his last batter as a Mariner… but then something cool happens:

Felix comes back out for the top of the inning and the rest of the team stays in the dugout:

Felix’s last batter as a Mariner:

Me trying to give Seth Brown (a strikeout victim) a Felix K balloon in between innings:

Attempt #2:

Felix showing some love to the King’s Court section after the game:

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Joker (2019)

October 5, 2019

Joker (2019)

Director: Todd Phillips (The Hangover movies, Old School, Road Trip)

Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy

Anticipation Level: Epic

How Was It? Honestly, I thought a one-off Joker movie that had nothing to do with the current DC movie universe being directed by the guy responsible for The Hangover movies was a pretty terrible idea. But then Joaquin Phoenix was cast in the lead role and suddenly you had to wonder what this movie might be because Phoenix is a generational talent. And then the first trailer dropped and I was completely sold. By the time Joker won Best Picture at the Venice Film Festival and the first critical reactions started rolling in, Joker was my my most anticipated film of 2019.

And it totally lived up to the hype. It’s my favorite film of the year with just under three months left in 2019. It almost feels cliche to make that claim since everyone knows I’m a diehard Batman fan (my nickname is Dark Knight, for crying out loud), but it’s just phenomenal. All the praise being lauded on Joaquin Phoenix is well deserved. He’s incredible. It’s hard to imagine anyone giving a performance that can even hold a candle to what Heath Ledger did in The Dark Knight, but Phoenix does just that in this movie. I think Ledger’s Joker is more in line with what comic book fans have come to expect of the character (i.e. genius psychopath/criminal mastermind), but the Joker in this movie is perhaps even scarier because he’s born out of mental illness and neglect and, well, there’s nothing supernatural about that. In fact, it’s easy enough to imagine that some people in the real world are actually out there boycotting this film right now because they are worried about its potential influence. You know… because it’s so different than all the other violent movies and video games out there that it deserves its own special spotlight. *eyeroll*

Joker is a very unsettling film. I mean… I loved it. I absolutely loved it, but I would not say it is an easy watch. It is a difficult and disturbing film. Joaquin Phoenix dives so deep into this role that I saw one reviewer say, “I’m worried about him” and that person wasn’t trying to be funny. He’s so good I can’t imagine anyone else winning the Best Actor Oscar this year. The only way he loses is if this role is too dark for the Academy or if they have some sort of recency bias against handing over a statue for the same role twice in just over a decade. Taron Egerton was great as Elton John in Rocketman but Joaquin Phoenix is simply better.

The cinematography and score are also Oscar-worthy in this movie. The film is beautifully and intimately shot, keeping the viewer highly invested in what’s happening on screen and the score ratchets up the tension and never lets up. You will be on edge the entire time and if you are concerned about what might happen, you probably should be.

My problems with this movie are pretty minor. Obviously, Joker takes place in Batman’s world, but this film never really feels like a comic book movie. The story occurs long before Bruce Wayne donns and the cape and the cowl and while the Waynes are a presence, Bruce is just a young kid and his influence on the story is pretty minimal. That’s fine. This movie is about Joker, not Batman. Still, it’s hard for me to imagine this Joker being Batman’s biggest foe 15 years in the future. Joaquin Phoenix is almost 45 and there’s no indication that Arthur Fleck is much younger, so… this Joker is going to be 60 when Batman starts showing up? Uh, okay. But that doesn’t really matter as this movie is a standalone film and Todd Phillips has indicated that Phoenix’s Joker will not be appearing in any upcoming Batman films and setting up that future rivalry is not the point of this movie anyway.

Joker might not be the most enjoyable film experience due to its dark and disturbing nature, but it’s my favorite movie of 2019 so far and Joaquin Phoenix gives another remarkable performance that just might earn him his first Oscar.

Replay Value: It’s a tough watch, but I’m ready for Round 2 and it’s a must own film for me.

Sequel Potential: A Joker movie that happens before Batman becomes Batman? How could there not be a sequel? Because Joaquin Phoenix doesn’t do sequels and I don’t expect him to appear as Joker again.

Oscar Potential: Phoenix is a lock nominee and my favorite to win Best Actor right now. I think the cinematography and score also have a chance to get nominated. I’d put it in the Best Picture race myself, but the fact that 30% of critics have given it negative reviews isn’t very promising in that regard.

8/10 (Must See)