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November 2019 Poker: 1st through 13th

November 13, 2019

I posted about my trip to Commerce already, but the 1st of November happened to fall on a Friday and I never covered that 15/30 session. Well, I had been dealing with a cold (for the second time in two weeks) for about 3-4 days already and I was feeling extremely questionable for that Friday session. It was bad enough that as we started driving to Palace, before we left our general neighborhood, I turned to Dina and said, “I shouldn’t play today, should I?” Of course, she is going to be fine with whatever decision I make, and I ultimately decided that I was going to try to power through.

I don’t think it was my best decision. I got off to a really rough start and found myself down over $700 at my first break, about 90 minutes into the session. I had already paid off with top pair vs better top pair and ran QJ into 87 on J9655 in a hand where Taz check-calls flop and just leads turn – a line that is very hard to fold to on that runout.

These two hands were the killers though:

I open with 99 and Huey 3-bets me. We both check on a flop of 873 rainbow. I lead out on the 6 of spades turn and he raises. This is kind of weird, although I do think Huey is capable of checking back an overpair on rare occasions. I call and then call again on the jack of spades river and he shows me AK of spades for a running flush.

I open with AT and get a couple of calls. The flop is AT4 and only the small blind calls me. The turn is an 8 and he check-raises. I’m basically only losing to 44 here, so I 3-bet and he calls. The river is a queen and he check-calls, so my hand is obviously good here… but… after I show, he turns over 88 for a turned set. I have to admit that one stung quite a bit. We were playing Overs on the flop, so he’s almost paying a big bet to see the turn here and then when he just calls my 3-bet, I feel like I never have the worst hand and get to experience the feeling of being slowrolled at showdown. I guess it’s technically a nitroll, but it’s hard for me to call someone a nit when they check-call a big bet on an AT4 flop with 88.

It’s weird… I took a break after 90 minutes and got a massage when I came back. I only took notes on a couple hands after that point but I still managed to lose almost another $700 for the day. I guess I must have been raising a decent amount of AJ+, JTss+ hands and whiffing the board.

Anyways, I was feeling completely miserable and after playing a huge, multi-way raised pot vs. Huey where we capped on a J98 flop when I had QT and he had T7.. only for him to turn a queen for a chop… I knew I was done for the day. I was pushing it with my health, but it’s amazing what your body and mind can withstand if you’re running good. Running bad though? I wanted to die. I felt 1000 times worse than when I showed up. I felt guilty for even being there. I even told the masseuse that I was dying and she could refuse service if she wanted, but she gave me a massage anyway. I left when it was over and started my November with a somewhat shocking -$1378 in just over three hours.

I was supposed to hang out with my dad for his birthday the following day and watch The Breeder’s Cup and gamble with him, but I was still feeling miserable and couldn’t fathom spending nearly 3 hours driving a car. I stayed home and hoped that a full day of rest might be enough to make me feel confident about flying to L.A. the next day.

I felt quite sick all day Saturday and when I went to bed, I was leaning towards cancelling my trip. I woke up around 8 AM and I still thought I probably shouldn’t go. However, when my alarm went off at 10 AM and I stood up, I thought I could do it. And I did.

I’ve already blogged about my entire trip to Commerce and it was good enough that it more than erased the deficit I created for myself on the 1st. But I was moderately sick the whole time I was in Cali and as I type this on Tuesday, November 12th, I still have a lingering cough and some fatigue on at least my 14th day dealing with this same cold. But today is the best I’ve felt in the last two weeks, so I think it’s pretty much over now.

My first session back from Cali was another 15/30 at Palace and I got off to a pretty decent start. In my first 90 minutes or so, I had TT+ five times and won each of those pots, although none of them were too exciting. I did, however, manage to lose the biggest pot I got involved in when I raised with 88 and got multiway action on a flop of T84 with two hearts. I got four bets in multiple ways on the flop and another bet in on a king turn, but the river was the 5 of hearts and someone led into me and I paid off his J9 of hearts. But thanks to my big pairs holding up, I was still up around $300 by my first break.

Over my next 90 minutes, I had TT+ six times and won four of those pots. I also made a straight with 65ss in a sizable pot. My key pot during this stretch was with TT in a raised, multiway pot where three of us put in three bets on a 975 two diamond flop and I had some concern that I might be behind. However, I turned top set and charged both players two big bets to see the river. The 5 of diamonds paired the board and brought in the flush draw and one of my opponents donked into me and I had the rare opportunity to put in raises on every single street.

One of my JJ hands caught a 953 flop where one of my opponents really telegraphed their hand strength. I didn’t have the betting lead before the flop, so I checked it to the player in position, he bet the flop, the big blind flatted, I check-raised, the in position player called and the big blind suddenly woke up with a 3-bet. 953 rainbow? Yeah, I hate my hand. I just called down from there and he showed me a set of nines. Still, I was up around $750 after 3+ hours.

I stayed pretty hot over the next 3-4 hours and ended up peaking around +$1800. Goodness, it looked like I might not only book a decent win in the 15/30 at Palace for the first time in forever, but I might even be on my way to a great session.

Alas, I cooled off a bit, but I had some interesting hands over my next stretch of play. First off, I defended my blind against a Radio Mike raise while he was in the midst of a terrible session – so bad he was having visions of possibly booking his worse loss of all-time. He’s also a good friend of mine, so I didn’t feel too great about what happened next. I had the QJ off and I believe we saw the T33 flop 3-handed and I decided to check-call. The turn was a king and when Mike bet again, I decided to check-raise because I didn’t think he was going to call down without at least a king and I was certainly capable of having a 3 defending from the big blind. Plus, if he called or raised, I probably had up to 8 outs to improve. So I check-raised and he did end up folding and I cringed a little to myself and didn’t show the bluff, but I’ll let him read about it now that he’s fully recovered (and even came back this session to book a win!).

Next, I had a spot against Joker that I’ve been thinking about ever since it happened. It’s 3-bets to me preflop and I have KK in the small blind and put the cap on it. The flop is ten high and disconnected, so I bet and two players call. The turn is an ace and I’m pretty sure I just lost the pot. I check it and Joker bets and while the third player is in the tank, I start thinking about how sick it would be to turn my hand into a bluff here and check-raise. From Joker’s perspective, when I cap from the small blind, he knows my range is extremely strong. I think if I check-raise here, the worst hand he will put me on is AQ, plus I still have sets of tens and aces in my range, but probably not AT very often. I honestly think that if I executed the check-raise here, he would have given serious thought to folding anything worse than AQ, especially since we are playing 25/50 Overs. Unfortunately, I just check-called and he decided to give me a free showdown on a queen river and tabled AJ. I feel like it was a really good opportunity to do something cool and outside-the-box and I think it would have worked. We’ve talked about the hand a little bit and he thinks he may have laid it down and I believe him.

Note: the thoughts on the above hand are extremely opponent dependent and based on tons of history. This would be pure spew against almost anyone else.

I guess it was a bit of a slide because I ended up finishing the night with a rather disappointing +$1077. On the other hand, that’s my biggest 15/30 win in four months and it nearly doubled my win rate in the game for the entire year so… I guess that’s the bright side?

I returned to Palace on Saturday for some 8/16 in an effort to increase my volume and my session started off uneventfully, as I was only down $100 or so after 3+ hours. I was card dead and unable to find any good spots, but at least I wasn’t losing ferociously like you can when you get a run of good hands that never win.

My next 90 minutes were a lot worse. First, I had A5dd on a flop of 764 with two diamonds in a multiway pot. My wife led out from one of the blinds and I was in early position and while I want more money to go in the pot, I don’t want to knock people out behind me, so I just called. The turn was a jack and this time I was the only player that called her bet. The river brought in my flush but paired the board with a 6 and she still bet out. I’ve played a tremendous amount of hours with my wife and I know that if she was wary of a flush here that she would probably check. I suppose she could have a jack high flush here, but my read was that she could beat a flush, so I just called and she turned over the 76 for a full house. I wish I knew more people’s tendencies that well. I also found myself with AQ on a queen high board vs KK and an 8 high flush vs a 9 high flush during this stretch and suddenly I was down $500.

I maintained there for a while before the wheels really fell off. I lost huge pots with AK, KK, AA, and AQ in quick succession. The AA was particularly nasty, as I got it capped multiway preflop and got multiple bets in on a J93 rainbow flop and still found a way to lose to K2 of hearts (and the more reasonable Q9 of hearts). I mean… what the fuck. I think that one broke my spirit, but I gutted it out until about 2 AM and made a mini-comeback before calling it quits. I thought I had a chance to post a top 3 worse 8/16 loss, but my late rally of a couple pots put me at a final score of -$954, which is still the 8th worst 8/16 session I’ve ever had – I’m talking bottom 2% ever.

Nice way to follow up a bounce back session, eh?

Sunday we returned to Palace again for the 10/20 Omaha 8 or Better game and it was a sad sight. Only six of us showed up and after playing for about 20 minutes without anyone else sitting down, I noticed they were dropping $5 a hand – $2 for rake and $3 for the jackpot board. That’s insane for a 6-handed split pot game that is playing pretty tight. Even worse, the jackpots are all puny. All the quads are $70 or less and you have to make a Royal Flush or Bad Beat to win anything even remotely exciting. I couldn’t bear to play with the jackpot drop on and I asked the floor if he would text the manager to see if we could take the drop off and play for $2 rake a hand. The manager obliged, understanding that the game would probably break otherwise, but half the players wanted to keep it on! I couldn’t believe it! The main objector was Charlie Hustle, a self-proclaimed math teacher and a professor at UW-Tacoma, and I must’ve looked at him like he’s the stupidest person I’ve ever laid eyes on. He said he would be upset if he hit something big. I was just incredulous that these guys would want to sit around and pay $5 a hand playing this short and chopping pots they were mostly limping into.

I didn’t bother arguing. I racked up my chips and left the game, expecting my wife to also get up and knowing those bozos weren’t going to sit around and play 4-handed. Sure enough, the game broke. Good decision, dummies. Charlie Hustle couldn’t help but call me a “fucking wuss” multiple times after I left the table and mention that I “gamble with thousands of dollars all the time but cry about $3.” I don’t think he knew my wife was playing in that game and she lit him up pretty good, basically articulating everything I was thinking about the silliness of paying that drop and then when Charlie Hustle mentioned that he’s a math teacher – as in “you don’t need to school me on the academics of this” – she hit him back with: “not a very good one.” Gasp!

We ended up staying and played 4/8 and 8/16. I smacked them in my brief 4/8 session for +$219 in under two hours and had a decent +$475 in 8 hours of 8/16 with most of that profit coming from a $355 jackpot for a straight flush.

More importantly, this dude crushed it, having one of his all-time best 8/16 sessions right after making one of his all-time best comebacks in the 15/30 game on Friday. A weekend of accomplishments for Radio Mike and you can see just how pleased he is about it all.

But not as pleased about the photo op:

I also played a 6+ hour 8/16 session on Tuesday and booked a -$593. A good chunk of that can be attributed to running JJ and QQ into AA three different times and a critical pot where I had AK with a diamond on a board of QJT with two diamonds and got it capped multiple ways. The turn brought in the flush, but I bet since they checked to me and I can stand a raise, but two players just called. The river was a king and Curious George led out and showed me the 84 of diamonds. All in all though, I ran salty all night.

There was also a sequence of events that sent me outside to cool down. I had AK in a capped multiway pot and since I was out of position and without the betting lead, I checked the KQT flop, planning to check-raise the button. After I checked, the next player to act tried to power fold his hand but the dealer gave it back him (maybe) or The Leak told him not to muck (allegedly), but either way, he tried to fold and someone encouraged him to take his hand back. And then it checked around.

The turn was a 5 and I bet out. Now the player decided to call his remaining $12 (making his power fold attempt all the more ridiculous) and I ended up losing to his 54 on the river when he made two pair.

Okay… that was annoying… but wait! There’s more!

On the very next hand, Flea raises from the cutoff after a limper and I 3-bet A3 of clubs. The guy from the previous hand calls from a blind and we see a flop of A76 with two diamonds. The power folder donks the flop, Flea raises and both of these guys are way too loose and aggro for me to consider folding, so I put the 3-bet on with plans of checking back the turn and showing down unimproved if I can. They both call. The turn is a 3. Ding ding ding! The power folder donks again and now Flea decides to clear out the way (yeah, he flopped a monster), and I raise it again. He calls. The river pairs the 6 and brings in the flush and this dude leads out again. I’m pretty tilted about this runout, but I call, expecting to lose to A8+, but praying for spazz and he does show me spazz… only it’s the J4 of diamonds… Lets not forget that he is taking the max torch line with chips he shouldn’t even have (if he power folded the previous hand, he starts this one with $12 – he’s a felter)… so… yeah… this was a difficult sequence of hands to swallow.

Note: these last two hands actually happened in Sunday’s session

On the bright side though, I’m up about $1000 after the first two weeks of the month and that’s the best start I’ve had to a month in… forever. So maybe I can close November out strong and put together the kind of results I’m accustomed to.

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