Archive for the ‘poker’ Category

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$3/$5 NL Live Chat Blog – In the Mind of Madness!

July 3, 2021

People are always asking me about when I’m going to write another poker blog and seem to miss the live blog versions in particular. I have no intentions of starting those up again, but I’m basically always chatting with a group of poker friends as I play my sessions and I thought it might be interesting to transcribe those conversations as they would basically function as a live blog for anyone that wants to read them.

Note: I cut out most of the nonsense and edited out anything that would probably be offensive to people we are talking about or in general really. It’s also worth noting that I have a penchant for massive exaggeration for the sake of being entertaining and/or funny (even in private conversation) so don’t take everything you read here at face value.

TDK: I guess I’m going to play 3/5 like a good little TAG.
Dano: Live blog. One time.
TDK: That’s what I need to help me when I’m out of my comfort zone – a nonstop distraction!
Dano: Just stop doom calling it off and you’ll be fine.
Zinky: Start a vlog already. We want to see the max pain on your face when you lose every time.

TDK: Thwomp puts me to the test for whole stack with marginal top pair first pot I play. QTcc on Q72d5d6.
Zinky: More details.
TDK: Open $20, he flats button; bet $15 he calls; bet $35 he makes it $100 I call; check-call $175 river.
Zinky: I’d fold, but I don’t know Thwomp.
TDK: Definitely capable of blasting off and raising diamonds on the turn. He’s repping sets only really. Maybe 76dd.
Zinky: Maybe check-call turn?
TDK: Honestly not too surprised by his line… when I bet small on flop I was prepared for spaz.
Zinky: lol what did he have?
TDK: He had my foot in his ass.
Zinky: You punted him?
TDK: He didn’t show. I saw an ace. It was red.
Zinky: Nice call.
TDK: But seriously. If I lost that hand I’d be so heated.
Zinky: I think with marginal queens it might be better to check turn.
TDK: Maybe not heated, but demoralized.
Zinky: Did you min buy?
TDK: $500
Zinky: Nice. Show Joker how it’s done.

TDK: Open $20 button K8cc both blinds call; KT4r check around; 6 turn ditone now checks to me $30 SB $85 call; river K check to me… ?
TDK: This is basically a live blog lol.
Zinky: 1/3 bet? Don’t see a king checking river here. He probably had like 64ss lol.
TDK: I bet $50 into $230 planning to snap call a raise.
Zinky: What happened?
TDK: He called with AK lolololol
Zinky: Yikes. Weird hand. He missed so much value. Holy smokes.
TDK: Did he though?
Zinky: Yes.
TDK: If he 3-bet like a normal person he just wins pre, but yeah.
Zinky: He could have bet 175 you call river
TDK: Not anymore.
Zinky: I mean.. if he 3-bets now it’s QQ+ lol. You must have had a stunned look on your face.
TDK: or bluffs? I mean if you’re not 3-betting a button open from an active player with AK wtf are you even doing?
Zinky: He’s a nit.
TDK: I was shocked. Never in my life did I think I was losing when he check-calls 20% pot. Now I’m even again. Goddammit. And now Thwomp is on my direct left.

TDK: Now I’m down $300. Thwomp sits on my left and immediately flops set on me.
TDK: But I took the check-call marginal top pair on turn line this time.
Zinky: That’s good. Save money.

TDK: Limp along Jx9d button. QTX all diamond flop. Thwomp bets $20, MP calls, I call. Kx on turn. $50 call call. Kx river and they both check to me???
Joker: Rip it. What could go wrong?
TDK: Be serious.
Joker: I mean… I was? Bet 175? Fold to 475?
Zinky: Half pot or 66%. Fold to raise.
Joker: So exactly what I said?
Zinky: No one has a flush
Joker: Seems very unlikely. Also we block it. A really good blocker for a limped pot too.
TDK: I bet 33% and both players check-call with flopped flushes lol.
Joker: lol amazing. You saved more money than Zinky and I did. Was your 9 live? That’s what matters.
TDK: Yeah.
Joker: That’s kind of why I hate limping along. I almost never do it. Raise or fold.

TDK: Here’s another cool hand.
TDK: MP opens $20, two calls, I call SB with 88. 822ss checks to button, he bets $25, I call, everyone else folds. Turn Ts, we both check. River 8, we both check. He shows KK. How do I run so bad?
Joker: Nice check-call. You definitely wouldn’t have won ALL the money on the flop.
TDK: Why would I raise? I want all the other ding dongs in and he just flatted pre.
Zinky: How do you not bet river?
TDK: I figure he has a 2 or nothing. Maybe a small pocket pair. I don’t think he’s checking a 2 on river. He might call a small bet with a small pair.
Joker: He’s checking a 2 on the turn?
TDK: Maybe?
Joker: Why would he want a 4th spade?
Joker and TDK simultaneously: I mean…
Joker: lol
TDK: The moral of the story is
Joker: You suck?
TDK: I run super bad
Joker: Oh.
TDK: I suck at hand reading
Joker: Yeah
TDK: And I’m terrible overall
Joker: lol getting warmer
Zinky: Mike’s mental game today is A+
TDK: I think I’m doing okay mentally. Just being honest. Like… I kinda suck. That’s why I stay in 1/3. Where everyone sucks way harder.
Joker: haha, it’s true
TDK: Bright side: I’m getting paid $499.
Joker: ayyy happy July
Zinky: Bonus!

TDK: and I lose $1k flip vs ***** (sorry, no nickname yet, but he needs one) before I even get paid. Hoping to tell some good beat stories tonight.
TDK: Imagine running decent at 3/5
Joker: Welcome to 3/5!
TDK: Make it 50 from BB with AK after like 30 limpers and he’s only caller. 542dd. Check, he bets $100, I jam $500. He tank-calls with 99 and holds.
Joker: obv
TDK: like the line at least?
Joker: well, in general yes, but you have to remember you have ZERO fold equity vs ***** and I get we don’t hate a call here so it’s a funny spot.
TDK: so you bet flop? Or just check-call? or check-fold lol?
Joker: Check-call. He might check back turn. I just check-call and jam if we get there because I know he won’t fold lol. Jam a king. I dunno lol.
TDK: Solid.
Joker: lol
TDK: my strat tonight
TDK: lose the max with the worst hand
TDK: win the min with the best hand
TDK: crushing it so far
TDK: I’m not sure if I’ve made a right decision since my first hand vs Thwomp.

TDK: Dude in s1 just said, “Man, I don’t know if I’m running bad or if I just suck at poker.”
TDK: I’m like, “wow, I’ve literally been sitting here for two hours wondering the same thing about myself.”
Joker: “well, for you it’s obvious.”
TDK: I burst out laughing when he said it. Because it’s 100% true. I really don’t know. I feel like I suck. But never having the best hand when chips go in the pot isn’t helping my confidence.
Joker: I hear that.
TDK: Every time I play this
TDK: dating back for years lol
Joker: Have you tried getting it in good?
TDK: Yeah.

TDK: Just resisted the urge to sqz ATo
TDK: DON’T FUCKING DO IT
Joker: Good choice lol. That was my final punt last night. Dude we were talking about straddles, I am SB with A5ss and make it 35, 3 calls and he makes it 235. I never do this but I make it 535. He jams with AK obv. ez hold. RIP Joker that’s how you finish -$2700. Seemed like a perfect spot. Maniac raising his own straddle. How could I be that far behind?
TDK. Lolz. I don’t know what a good spot looks like. Because I’m never right. ***** trying to tell everyone how much money i’ve taken off him. I’m like, “I’ve literally never won a single pot from you.”
Joker: Didn’t he just take 1k from you?
TDK: $500. 1k pot.
TDK: I’m serious though. I can only think of one time I’ve ever had the best hand at showdown vs him.

TDK: This is so brutal. I’m making the wrong play every single hand.
Joker: Bro. That’s variance still. Balance means being wrong sometimes.
TDK: TAG bets multiway as PRF on Q32r. I have 54 and check-call. It checks through on turn and river. He has 88.
Joker: I mean… maybe he doesn’t give up. You have to barrel turn and maybe he just heroes you off. Is that the right play?
TDK: He’s the biggest nit in the game. I don’t think he has it in him.
Joker: Getting to the river for one small flop bet isn’t the worst result. I suppose once the turn checks it’s probably pretty rare we shouldn’t be betting 5 high, but it depends on the runout I guess?
TDK: I turned a 5.
Joker: lol boooo.. i mean, free showdown isn’t bad there anyways so shrug
TDK: Sure. It’s prob cool to bomb river though. Like 1.5x.
Joker: Get there next time with an A so you can bet and have him fold
Joker: Bombing river is cool, I agree.

TDK: By God, we doubled through *****
TDK: For like $350 lololol
TDK: I had him dead on the flop and he turned ten outs. How does he miss?
Joker: That’s not what dead means?
TDK: Bro
TDK: AJ no heart vs K3hh on J64 all hearts
TDK: Stop your nonsense
Joker: You’re right. Turning a jack is impossible. Turning an A also impossible. Also turning a 4 or a 6. Totally impossible.
TDK: I see what’s happening here.
Joker: I’m on *****’s team?

TDK: We just flopped a set and doubled.
TDK: PRAISE THE FUCKIN POKER GODS
TDK: Dude flatted pre with AA and let me overcall with 44
Dano: He tried to tarp you bra
TDK: Now I’m deep and really don’t know what I’m doing
TDK: You thought I was playing bad before?
Dano: Kind of wish I was there right now. Good times seeing you out of your element. With your nlhe cash game ptsd prone to flair up at any moment.
TDK: It’s so real.
TDK (in reference to Joker saying “have you tried getting it in good?”: This worked surprisingly well.

TDK: Bros
TDK: We somehow won $504.
Joker: Congrats dude. You broke the curse. Here comes the 20k upswing.
Joker: Too bad you didn’t have more than 350 when ***** wanted to double you, but hey.
TDK: I’m always going to sit 500. Until I feel really good about what I’m doing. I had 1500 behind. Shrug.
Joker: Seems fine until you can handle the swings of 200bb buyins
TDK: lol 63 hours of 3/5 NL since 2014
TDK: We have bumped our liftime win rate up to -6 big blinds per hour
TDK: My lifetime NL live cash game win rate is 12 big blinds per hour over 300+ hours.
TDK: Maybe I don’t suck.

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Post-Pandemic Poker

June 21, 2021

I mean… that’s where we are now, right? I started playing again back in late March two weeks after I got my second Pfizer shot and now it’s almost July and things are basically back to normal. They certainly were in Vegas this month. Poker was 9-handed, barricades were gone, and maybe 10-15% of the players were wearing masks. Hell, the whole city was flooded with tourists and maybe 10-15% of all people were wearing masks. Palace made masks optional in mid-June and I hear the plexiglass is coming down on July 1st (it’s June 20th as I’m writing this). Perhaps that means we will be going back to 9-handed poker locally as well. I’d much rather play 7-handed myself, especially since the rake is the same, but it is what it is.

I’ve been back playing for 3 months or so now and haven’t really made any blog posts so I guess I’ll start with my two Vegas trips last month.

I made the trips because they had some mix game tourneys going on but my first live tournament since early February 2020 was a $600 no limit Hold’em at Venetian. I did a good job chipping up early on in this event but my stack was dwindling late and I eventually got back to some old bad habits and started playing absurdly tight the closer we got to the money. I guess I really didn’t want to bubble my first live tourney in 16 months and I put myself in an absolutely laughable position. I basically folded my way to a 2.5 big blind stack three spots off the money. Somehow I cashed it but I busted shortly after the bubble burst. It was nice to book a cash in my first tourney back but it was borderline embarrassing and I gave myself no chance to actually win this event.

$600 NL starting stack

I max late regged a $150 O8 tourney at the Orleans and ended up final tabling it, but I was the first player gone and it ended up being another mincash. I played five other tourneys but never got any momentum going in anything and ended up with two small cashes in seven tourneys which ultimately resulted in a net loss of about four average buy ins.

I played about 32 hours of cash and my overall results were pretty mediocre (but slightly profitable) thanks to an absolutely disastrous 20/40 mix session that saw me dump $1500 in just over two hours, which ranks as one of my all-time worst (maybe even #1) limit sessions in terms of big bets spewed per hour.

20/40 Mix @ Wynn

All in all, not a great couple of trips to Vegas, but I enjoyed myself. I didn’t miss the plexiglass and I didn’t miss having a mask on my face 100% of the time. We went to Hawaii in the last week of June and had to take Covid tests to fly there. I was nervous about it, even though I’m vaxxed. If the vaccines aren’t super effective, Vegas is a great place to pick up the virus. I tested negative and that makes me feel like the vaccine is doing its job. I’m fine living life like it’s business as usual at this point – although I think overall sanitization awareness and excessive hand washing will be normalized going forward and that’s obviously a good thing.

I have about three months of live cash game stats since I’ve been back to playing. All my non-Vegas hours have been at Palace. I haven’t made a return to Fortune yet. Palace is much closer and my win rate in the 1/3 NL games at Palace is still far greater than I could expect to do in a 20/40 game. I don’t think this level of success is sustainable, but I don’t really see much point in driving 40+ minutes to play somewhere else until it actually starts to level out. Plus, all my studying lately has been focused on NL games. Still, it’s important to keep that limit Hold’em muscle strong, so I’ll venture out to Renton soon enough. Rumor has it the 20/40 players there think I would get killed in that game, so I have extra interest in smacking them around a little bit. (Note: my lifetime win rate in the 20/40 at Fortune is 0.83 big bets per hour over a smallish but not insignificant sample size).

I’m averaging just over 30 hours of live play a week. My volume could definitely be higher. I don’t always get to the casino as early as I want to. I have a tendency to drag ass in the morning and take way too much time getting through my routine. Ideally, I want to be in the gym by 11 AM on my playing days and sometimes I don’t even start lifting until 1:30 PM. I should be in a game by 2 PM if I want to put in a ten hour session, but it usually ends up being closer to 4 PM most days.

I’ve played 306 live cash game hours so far in 2021 and 118 of them (38.6%) have been in 1/3 NL games, which is by far the most of any single level of any variant I’ve played. As anyone that has followed my blogs knows, this is a transition for me. I’ve always played in limit cash games. I’m surprised by the early results. I’m running at +24 big blinds per hour so far. I’m sure that’s unsustainable and my sample size is still really small, but damn, even if that win rate were to get cut in half over time, it is still a clear step up from grinding 8/16 and would rival a good 20/40 hourly. I have had a couple of miserable 3/5 NL sessions and that has caused me to mostly avoid the bigger game when it goes. I’m still getting my feet wet so why play with the few competent players in the building when the money is so easy to get at the 1/3 level? If you add in my 3/5 sessions, my overall NL cash game win rate drops to a much more reasonable, but still very sexy +16 big blinds per hour. I’m definitely happy with the outcome so far and I’ll be looking to dip my toes in the 3/5 waters again soon after spending a good amount of time studying NL cash game strategies on the beaches of Oahu.

I’ve played 128 hours across three different levels of limit Hold’em and my 1.37 Big Bets per hour is pretty in line with my career win rates. I’ve played 35 hours in live mixed games and I’ve somehow run at 1.48 Big Bets per hour despite that total blast off in the 20/40 mix at Wynn.

20/40 limit Hold’em

Overall, it has been great to be back playing and my results so far have been really good. My top goal for July is to increase my volume. I’ve kind of struggled to fall into a routine or schedule that works for both myself and my family, but I think I’m on the verge of figuring it out. Ideally, I’d like to play 40 hours over four sessions in a week with another 5+ hours set aside for studying. That would give me two days completely off from poker and another half day (after Dina gets off work) to focus on family time. Speaking of studying, I also want to be more willing to invest in my poker education. I’ve always been eager to pony up for books, but I’m yet to fully embrace the perks of studying online and with expensive software. I’m mostly going to spend July focusing on implementing all the new NL cash game concepts I’ve been learning, but I’d also like to pop into Fortune at least once for a 20/40 session. I’d also like to travel somewhere I’ve never been, either this month or next month, for a poker series, but I haven’t talked to my wife about it yet or settled on a destination. I’m currently considering Choctaw in Oklahoma, Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, Florida, or bestbet in Jacksonville, Florida. Stay tuned!

Meanwhile, here are some pics from Hawaii!

Luau in Waikiki
happy wife, happy life
what a beauty
View from parents’ hotel room
I’m sure she’ll be pleased I posted this
View from a house in the valley of Honolulu
Look at dad’s final table hat tho
Iggy destroying Jokers just like Uncle
Coming for you fools
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The Dark Knight Returns: a 2021 Poker Blog!

March 31, 2021

My poker blog was kind of on its way out anyways, but the Covid pandemic officially killed it. I was still playing regularly during the first two weeks of March, but the day that the NBA decided to suspend their season indefinitely is the same day that I decided it was time for me to take this thing seriously as well. I quit my session early and I didn’t go back again until late August. I did make a two day trip to La Center in southern Washington in late January where I had a couple of dream sessions and booked a +$9k trip and that was pretty much the extent of my poker success in 2020. Even when I was back to playing in the fall, we were in a tent, I was wearing gloves 100% of the time, and it just never felt like I was really back. I couldn’t get into it. When Covid started spreading around the local casinos in late October, I decided that I wasn’t going to play again until I got vaccinated.

I have to say this whole thing could have been a lot worse for my poker career. Just because I can’t work anymore doesn’t mean that I don’t have to pay bills and when you can’t pad your bankroll, well, it can only disappear. I was probably two months into the pandemic before it dawned on me that I should look into filing for unemployment. As a professional poker player, it just didn’t occur to me that that could be a thing for me. On the other hand, I pay my taxes and these were unusual circumstances. I was surprised how easy it was for me to get paid after hearing so many horror stories of people having trouble and how impossible it was to talk to anybody about it. Within a week, they paid me, and not just for that week, but all the weeks dating back to the middle of March. I stopped filing when I started playing again, but after deciding it wasn’t worth the risk, I got a doctor’s note (because I’m a Type I Diabetic) and started collecting unemployment again. Needless to say, there’s no way I would have been able to continue playing for a living if I wasn’t able to file for unemployment so that was an extremely pleasant surprise. I’d like to say it wasn’t as good as playing would have been, but uh, not like I was really crushing in 2019 or last year when I did play.

There is a bright side to this whole thing for me. I got way better at studying poker. I started using solvers, looking at GTO charts, and going over hand histories with accomplished online players. It’s not like I could do much of anything else. Also, I’ve been so reluctant to make the transition from limit games to spread and no limit games, but almost all of my studying during the past year has been focused on no limit strategies so there’s no excuse for me to hold off on it any longer. I will be playing plenty of no limit cash going forward and my tournament schedules will include a lot more no limit Hold’em events. I’ve always felt like I’ve been able to mostly hold my own in NLHE, but I think I’ve leveled up big time and I’m excited to see what kind of results I can produce.

It’s good timing because since I’ve been away, Palace has started spreading no limit cash games. On any given day, there are probably two 1/3 NL games going and I’ve even seen 3/5 games going a few times on the weekend. This was not a thing a year ago and that only contributed to me not really feeling like I needed to focus on strengthening that muscle. I’m still not entirely sure that I can make a better hourly playing 1/3 than 8/16 limit, but I do know that my skill edge comes into play more and I can utilize exploits way more effectively. I won’t go as far as to say that limit Hold’em is Bingo, but you’re usually going to have to show down the best hand and my biggest edges in those games are patience and not tilting because I’ve lost a couple pots. If I can make ten big blinds per hour in 1/3 though, I should definitely be playing that over 8/16. I don’t know if that’s a reasonable win rate, but it seems like it could be doable.

I started my first day back in 4/8 limit and finished a small loser in about an hour before heading to a 1/3 game around 6 PM. I was pretty disappointed with the game when I sat down in it. Everyone was playing pretty tight and passive and the average pot was really small. I was definitely thinking I’d be better off in 8/16. But there was only one game and the list was super long and the floor didn’t seem keen on starting a second one. So I stuck it out.

In my first couple hour or so, I was startled by the passivity in my game. Here’s a list of things that shocked me:

-My first big pot I straddled the button with 73o, some players called and we saw a J43 flop. It checked to me and I decided to bet on the larger side and got one caller from middle position. The turn gave me two pair and he check-called another chunky bet. The river was a king and I was thinking I was going to put him all-in, but he donked into for about half his stack and I just didn’t see any value in raising so I called and he showed me… JJ? Imagine seeing a $6 button straddle, followed by both blinds calling, looking down at JJ and being like, “I guess I’ll just call.”

-A different player ended up showing AQo in a pot I straddled on the button with no other preflop raising.

-A different player open-limped the cutoff and called my button raise and ended up showing… QQ.

-The same player that had AQ earlier called my MP open to $10 with AQ again, despite only having $40 behind.

-A different player flatted my MP open of $10 with less than $100 and ended up showing AK.

All of those hands are insane to me. It reminds me of when I used to prop 3/6 games where no one raises anything preflop. It’s just weird. It can be really easy to value town yourself when people are playing huge hands so passively.

Fortunately the game got really good as the night progressed. By midnight I saw someone opening to $30 and probably not even looking at his hand. I saw that same player open huge and then call off a $200 shove with 43o.

Which brings me to an interesting hand. I already know this guy is a certifiable maniac. Not a maniac with any rhyme or reason, but a total punter. So he opens to $20 and it folds to me in the big blind and I defend with 66. The flop is T32 rainbow. I check to him and he bets $50 into $33. I actually hate all of my options. This is a dude that I am not entirely sure wouldn’t punt-shove it all in here with KJ and it’s not like I want to get $280 in on the flop, so raising seems extremely high variance. Calling seems like a good play, but I don’t expect this dude to slow down and I think he’s usually going to be triple barrel all-in on the river, so if I call flop, I think I have to know I’m calling down for stacks and I can’t imagine many runouts where I’d talk myself into a fold vs. this player. So fold now? Seems absurd, but I just think I can find a better spot to stack this guy. The only issue is that he might punt to someone else first. I decided to wait and find a better spot and, sure enough, he blasted off $500 to me over the next 30 minutes.

I had some good connections that probably never should have happened. The guy that had a set of jacks against my 73 earlier straddled to $9 on his button and I made it $32 from the big blind with my own pair of jacks. He was my only caller and we saw a J83 flop. I down bet $15 and he called. The turn paired the 8 and I down bet again to $30. I figured he might attack that sizing if he had a draw or air, but he wasn’t going to fold anything good and he was going to raise trips anyway. He did make it $90 and I just called. The river was a blank and I check-jammed on him and got called by 87o, a hand that should have clearly folded pre.

Later, there were a couple limpers and the cutoff made it $13 and I had KQo on the button. I’d 3-bet here a lot of the time, but I hadn’t seen this guy do much raising, so I just took a flop in position and four of us saw a JT3 flop. One of the blinds led out for $10, a limper called, and the PFR made it $30. I’m not going anywhere against this action so I call and so do the other two players. The turn is a blank and the PFR bets $60 when it checks to him. Another simple just call and one other calls. The river is an ace and the PFR bets almost half his stack. As soon as I start thinking, he tells me how much he has behind like he can’t wait to put the rest of it in. So I oblige him. The other player folds and he says, “aces are good, ” before calling and flipping over his set of jacks. KQ wasn’t even on his radar and when he saw it, he pretty much blew a gasket. “How could you call with that? I guess I should have just gone all-in preflop.” I confirmed I would have folded if he did that. His reaction to my hand is hilarious and makes me really excited to be playing no limit with the local player pool.

I started off my night kind of rough. I was $800 within the first couple hours, but by the end of the night I had $2000 in front of me and ended up booking a $1200 win on my first day back.

I’ve now played three 1/3 sessions at Palace (I played twice in the fall) and I’ve won over $1000 all three times. Obviously, that’s not a realistic expectation going forward, but it’s certainly a nice start in my transition to big bet games.

I haven’t really ironed out my poker goals for 2021, but my current schedule has me playing about 34 hours a week and I’ll probably be playing mostly 1/3 with some 8/16 and 20/40 sprinkled in.

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A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985)

August 18, 2020

Director: Jack Sholder (The Hidden, Alone in the Dark, Supernova)

Starring: Mark Patton, Kim Myers, Robert Englund, Robert Rusler

Anticipation Level: Low

How Was It?

This review may contain spoilers.

It’s kind of odd that Scream, Queen! inspired me to start re-watching the Nightmare series, but didn’t make me particularly want to revisit the movie the documentary is about. That’s because I’ve always hated it and have long thought of it as my least favorite in the franchise. I guess that makes sense. I fell in love with these movies when I was a kid and not only does Freddy’s Revenge feel completely out of place in the context of the whole series, but it’s not surprising that the wise-cracking pop culture icon of the later installments is what appealed to me as a child. This Freddy is still pretty dark and scary (I mean, he claws his way out of Jessie’s body) and what is now largely recognized as a running homsexual subtext weirded me out when I was younger. I just have never enjoyed this movie and it’s probably the film in the series I’ve seen the least.

Having watched it again though… it’s not terrible. Like… it’s certainly better than Nightmare 4. Freddy is still pretty dark and menacing in this installment. His first scene has him mostly in the shadows as he drags his glove blades along the seats of the bus walking towards Jessie. Later, he pulls back his scalp to show Jessie his brain. Plus, when he does talk, Englund’s voice and cadence is still scary sounding. He’s not a cartoon character in this movie.

But this movie is pretty damn silly in a lot of parts. I’m sure I don’t need to mention Jessie’s dancing scene as he’s putting things away in his room. The scene with the bird? I have no clue what that was. Is Freddy a dream demon or can he possess things in the house when everyone’s awake? Or how about when Jessie goes to the gay bar in the middle of the night and runs into his gym teacher? That’s strange enough, but then the teacher makes him run laps at the school and take a shower afterwards? This whole thing feels like it should be a dream sequence, but it doesn’t seem to be.

Imagine being the police and finding a high school kid wandering around a highway butt naked in the middle of the night and then discovering his gym teacher dead at the school the next day. I’m not saying that kid is obviously the killer, but you MIGHT want to have a chat with him.

This movie has some good visual effects. The scene when Jessie is at Grady’s house and Freddy steps out of Jessie’s body is pretty spectacular. It’s gnarly and I love when you can see Freddy’s eye looking around at the back of Jessie’s throat. This movie is pretty light on death scenes though because when Grady dies, we are about an hour into the movie and he’s only the second death. I also like the melting effects in Freddy’s death scene.

On the other hand, the Freddy makeup looks atrocious in some of the shots in this movie. It looks fine overall, but there’s a couple of takes where it’s obvious they got really lazy with it.

The pool scene used to be the saving grace of this movie for me, but it’s not as cool as I remember it. I thought he slashed up a whole party full of teenagers, but there’s only a few deaths directly caused by Freddy. I’ve always envisioned a lot more carnage in my head. There’s a great shot of Freddy with the fire blazing behind him as he stands tall with his arms up in the air and says, “you are all my children now.”

This movie has another shitty ending. Freddy is basically defeated by “I love you”s and a kiss. That’s about as lame as turning your back on him to end a movie, but at least we get the cool melting visual effects here. I mean… is Jessie even into this chick? I’m not sure how this even works. The big controversy of this movie is all the homosexual subtext and the writer of the movie is now on record as admitting that he wrote that all in there on purpose… so what is this? Jessie’s character appears to be at war with his sexuality, so it’s just strange that a woman saying “I love you” is what gets rid of the Freddy demon inside him.

My only comment on the acting is that it’s mostly fine. Mark Patton (who is gay himself) is on record saying that his performance was based on how the script was written, so it’s pretty sad that the backlash from this movie drove him out of Hollywood and out of America. He was just doing his job and the writer painted him as a scapegoat for all the criticism. Nothing cool about that.

Overall, this movie is better than I remembered. Definitely not the worst in the series. It’s also not a good movie. As of now, I think this is probably better than Nightmares 4, 5, and 6, but at least those movies were bad and didn’t take themselves seriously. Freddy’s Revenge is definitely still trying to be scary and serious, so the fact that it’s not good is less forgivable.

Replay Value: Historically, this movie has had the least replay value in the series for me, but I think that is subject to change. Still, it’s not a Nightmare movie I’m excited to watch.

Sequel Potential: Evil never dies.

Oscar Potential: None.

4/10 (Lackluster)

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J. Cole – Friday Night Lights (2010) – A Classic?

June 30, 2020

I’ve decided to scrap the idea of making a single post the review albums for an entire month. I finally finished my February reviews last week and I just sit on these things for too long. Going forward, I’m going to post one album review at a time. Each month, I’ll post a review for two older albums, representing two different time periods: modern and old school. I consider the old school time period to roughly stretch from the early 1980s to the mid 1990s. There is so much old school rap that I’m unfamiliar with that I really want to focus on listening to some of the more iconic albums and artists I have overlooked. Those are the projects I’ll be highlighting for the foreseeable future. So I’ll be going into those reviews with basically zero exposure to those albums. I consider the modern hip-hop period to stretch from the mid-1990s all the way up until now. I will mostly be highlighting albums that I really enjoyed during this time period and could post reviews from albums that dropped as recently as last year or as early as the late 90s. The rest of my reviews will be focused on 2020 albums, alternating between very recent drops and the ones I’m still trying to catch up on. I think my review system is locked in enough that I feel comfortable posting reviews after listening to an album 2-3 times.

MODERN ALBUM OF THE MONTH: J. COLE – FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS (2010, RAP)

1. “Friday Night Lights (Intro)” – N/A
2. “Too Deep For the Intro” – 3.5
3. “Before I’m Gone” – 4
4. “Back to the Topic (Freestyle)” – 3.5
5. “You Got It” ft. Wale – 3.5
6. “Villematic” – 4
7. “Enchanted” ft. Omen – 3.5
8. “Blow Up” – 4.5
9. “Higher” – 4
10. “In the Morning” ft. Drake – 4
11. “2Face” – 3.5
12. “The Autograph” – 4
13. “Best Friend” – 3
14. “Cost Me A Lot” – 3.5
15. “Premeditated Murder” – 4
16. “Home For the Holidays” – 3.5
17. “Love Me Not” – 3
18. “See World” – 4
19. “Farewell” – 4
20. “Looking For Trouble” ft. Kanye West, Big Sean, Pusha T, & CyHi the Prince – 3.5

Spin Rate: 4.89
Most Played Track: “Blow Up” (9x)
Average Song Rating: 3.89/5
3.5+ Percentage: 89.5%
Cuts: 0
Bangers: 9

Thoughts: This mixtape is largely considered a classic among modern hip-hop heads and I can’t really disagree. I thought almost every song on this album was good and it has the most bangers of any project I’ve reviewed so far. I believe this is Cole’s third mixtape and dropped before his debut major label album to hold the fans over. Mixtapes are hard to get your hands on, so good luck finding it somewhere other than YouTube. This is the only Cole tape I’ve listened to and I’m unfamiliar with his debut album, so I’m still trying to get up to speed on Cole’s earliest stuff as I assess his overall placement in the all-time lists. He’s certainly earned a spot in my top 5 rap artists of the past decade at this point and this tape only cements his legendary status among current hip-hop artists. Cole’s delivery sounds incredibly hungry and the production on this project is extremely strong. A massive win and an album that people still giddily mention today.

Verdict: 8/10 (Must Listen)

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2020 WSOP First Draft Schedule

February 27, 2020

Welp, the schedule has been finalized and here’s a list of all the events I have marked so far:

5/28 – $1500 Limit Omaha 8/B
5/30 – $1500 Dealer’s Choice
6/1 – $2500 Triple Draw Mix
6/2 – $1500 7 Card Stud
6/4 – $1500 HORSE
6/7 – $3000 HORSE
6/11 – $1500 Stud 8/B
6/12 – $1500 2-7 Triple Draw
6/16 – $1500 Razz
6/19 – $2500 9-Game Mix
6/27 – $1500 Limit Hold’em
7/5 – $3000 6-Max Limit Hold’em
7/12 – $1500 8-Game Mix

I will be targeting zero No Limit Hold’em events. That’s not unusual for me, but I’ve never been more out of practice than I am right now and I’m not exactly planning to ramp up my NLHE volume in the next three months. I’m going to sit the Main Event out this year unless I have a big Series before it starts. As great as that tournament is, I can’t really justify firing $10k at a No Limit Hold’em event right now. I’m wondering how my time in Vegas would play out looking at this schedule. There’s a good chance I make two trips this summer. The first trip is pretty easy to see: I’ll be there for the $1500 O8 on May 28th and I’ll probably stay through the $1500 Deuce on June 12th. With only two tournaments I really care to play over a two week stretch, I’ll probably come home until the $1500 LHE on June 27th. Somehow the $1500 Razz never seems to fit my schedule – I’ve never played that tournament. Of course, the schedules for all the neighboring casinos haven’t been released yet and I’m sure they will have events I want to play.

This is all assuming that the entire series doesn’t get cancelled because of the Coronavirus!

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2020 LAPC Event #6: $600 H.O.R.S.E.

February 6, 2020

On Tuesday I showed up for this event only to discover that I had my days mixed up and the $600 Stud Hi tournament was that day. I was on the fence about that one when I headed down to LA, but I showed up that day to play a tournament so I hopped in.

I decided not to blog that one just to switch up my mojo and when I got off to such a blistering start that my tablemates couldn’t help but express their jealousy I thought maybe I was going to do a typical Dark Knight thing: crush a tournament I didn’t really plan to play.

Alas, it doesn’t matter much how you start, it’s all about how good you run/play when the limits are large. I ran pure for the first three levels but after that, not much good happened for me and I whimpered along to a 19th place finish – ten spots off the money and my second straight day of wasting 10+ hours to outlast nearly 80% of the field and still not really sniff a cash.

Yesterday, my wife and I decided to go to Universal Studios and it was amazingly empty so we didn’t have to wait in hardly any lines. Last time I was here, the Jurassic World ride had just opened and had a line with a three hour wait basically all day… so I didn’t bother going. Yesterday, we waited maybe two minutes after walking through the queue.

Some pics:

We capped our night with dinner at the Italian restaurant on the Universal City Walk and a viewing of Bad Boys For Life.

I dropped my wife off at the airport this morning and now it’s back to business. This is my last chance for redemption. I can’t play the Draw Mix tourney on Friday because it’s a 2-day event and I fly out early Saturday, so this is my last hurrah this trip.

20k starting stacks, 40 min levels

Let’s.

Go.

First Break

Card dead first three levels. I defended QJo in Hold’em and got the KT9 flop and a check-raise in on the turn during the first level and that’s the only cool thing that’s happened so far. I’ve played zero O8 hands, zero Razz hands, and zero Stud Hi hands so far.

18k coming back to 400/800 betting limits.

Second Break

Groan. I was up to about 28k before an ugly last couple of hands in Limit Hold’em before the break.

Hand #1: Guy opens, I 3-bet AQo, Frank Kassela caps from SB, BB calls it off, and four of us see a 952 flop. Frank bets and we all call. Turn is a jack and it checks around. River pairs the 9 and Frank gets called in one spot and his TT is good.

Hand #2: Very next hand, Ari Engel opens from lojack, I 3-bet AQo again, Frank caps button, and the three of us see KKx flop. It checks around. Turn is an ace, Ari leads, I call, and Frank overcalls. River is a blank and Ari still bets. I hate my hand. I think AQ is one of the worst hands Ari would value bet in this spot and I don’t think he’s ever bluffing here, so I figure I’m rarely scooping this pot. I think Frank is capable of checking back a king on the flop, but I’m guessing he’s usually betting, so I figure I have him beat. I’m getting almost 11 to 1 though, so I torch off the 1200, Frank folds AJ behind me and Ari tables the K8hh.

19k coming back to 800/1600 limits.

Third Break

I have crumbs. Tournaments are so weird. It’s pretty rare for me to string together multiple days in a row in cash games where I never have an extended upswing but in tournaments it can be like clockwork. I think I had a two hour period this whole series where I can say I ran well.

I’ve played almost 40 hours in tournaments the past 10 days.

The rest of the time I’ve lost most of the important hands I’ve played with a random pot that goes my way every few hours or so.

Blah.

More of the same these last three levels. I start with 74-3 in Razz and an opponent with a 9 up gets all her chips in. She makes a QT low. I can’t beat it.

I have 8bb in LHE when Ari raises from SB. I defend 64dd and we see a flop of 932dd. He bets, I raise, he calls. Turn is Ks and he check-calls. River is the Js and I have one big bet left. I decide to save it and check back. He’s never folding anything with showdown value. He tables… Q6o. I know he was calling but it’s still just sickening.

Then I have < two bigs left and call Ari’s raise with K9o. Three others tag along. Flop is A54 and it checks to a nit on the button and he bets. I text my friends that I’m out. Everyone else folds and he shows AJ but then the board runs out 9-9!

Quintuple!

Then I had a bad o8 orbit where I opened twice, bricked and folded.

3500 coming back to 300/1500/3000

Need things to go exceedingly well for me to get back in this thing and not have a BUSTED update in the next few minutes.

BUSTED

A fitting end to my series. I start with A5-4 in Razz with a 5 and 4 dead and all the deuces and treys live. Ari opens with his 5 up, I 3-bet and he calls. I catch a 3 on 4th and he gets a 7. I bet he calls. I pair the 3 on 5th and he gets a deuce. He leads and I’m all in.

His final hand is Q752x.

I can’t beat it.

My board runs out A5-433K-3.

And I’m out. And I’m done for this trip. I don’t fly out til Saturday so I’ll probably play cash tomorrow but I’m actually going to look into flights for tonight.

Get fucked, L.A.

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LAPC 2020 Event #4: $600 Omaha 8/B

February 3, 2020

And… we’re back. I played 40/80 cash all day on Saturday and bounced back from an early -$2k start to finish at +$2575 and get February off to a solid start.

Yesterday was the Super Bowl so I headed to the movie theater for entertainment and caught a couple of Best Picture nominees in Jojo Rabbit and Ford v Ferrari. I won’t post my thoughts on those movies before the Oscars so I’ll just say this: Jojo Rabbit is probably a top ten 2019 movie for me and Ford v Ferrari was better than I thought it was going to be – certainly in my top 20 and probably in my top 15.

This event started at noon and is actually a 2-day event, something I didn’t know before coming down here, and this info has thrown a wrench into my plans. I was going to play the $600 Draw Mix tourney on Friday but I fly out early Saturday so I can’t play that one now. I could change my flight to Sunday but I’d rather not travel on Oscar day.

20k starting stacks, 40m levels, blinds starting at 100/100.

Check back here for stack updates on breaks every couple hours or so.

First Break

Not a bad start considering some of the run outs I’ve had so far:

AQ63 vs A32 on Q6228

AJ42 vs A842 on AAK68

AA32 vs A73x on 86452

I did have one lucky one that went my way when I raised one limper with double suited A632 and then he donked into me on JT3ss. I had two players behind me and decided to raise to possibly clear out some duplicate backdoor lows and take a likely free card if I brick the turn against a passive player. And if everyone calls two bets, I’m fine wit that because I have the nut flush draw here – AND BOTTOM PAIR. The other two players do fold though and I check back the 5 turn. I think betting here could be fine since I’m not getting scooped on the river very often, but I know if I brick this guy isn’t folding so I might as well wait until I have the best hand to put more money in. I check back and the river is a 4 and he check-calls and I scoop.

25.4k

The most chips I’ve had in three tournaments so far is 133% of the starting stack so I have a chance at a peak series stack on the next pot I win. 😂

Pretty sad, but you gotta start somewhere.

Second Break

Card dead this stretch but I did reach a series peak stack of 145% (29k) but I’ve dwindled back down after getting scooped on the first hand back from break. I had a couple of interesting hands but I don’t have time to talk about them.

20.5k

Third Break

Well, I haven’t made it this far yet, so that’s something. But variance is not being kind to me and I can’t take advantage of the punts. Dude calls my 3-bet cold with KK93 and then calls down on T824J in a 3-way pot when I have AQT3 double suited. A different guy opens button when I have AA52 in the big and gets the KQ86T runout with QJ76 and scoops me. Blah.

I’m ready for my first rush of this series… right… now.

15.5k coming back to 1000/1500 blinds.

91 entrants. 12 cash. 56 left and I think we play to the money today.

Fourth Break

Momentum!

Found a nice scooper with AK64 on AK32Q and peaked at around 43k but lost a couple non-showdown hands before the break.

30.5k coming back to blinds of 1500/2500 with 38 players left.

Fifth Break

No justice in poker. I might still be in this thing but I haven’t run even remotely decent.

I got up over 45k when I had AK82hh on 962hhJTh board in a 5-way limped pot, but I was short so I wasn’t pushing the action and no one called my river bet.

And then pain.

First, I limp along with J542 double suited on the button and raise a bet from the cutoff on T65ss. I’m just trying to clean up outs by getting this heads up if I can. Everyone else folds and he just calls. Mission accomplished. Turn is a 3 and he donks into me. Kind of strange but it seems like he should have at least 42 here also, so I just call. River is a beautiful ace and he still leads. I go into a long enough tank that this dude probably thinks he’s getting the whole pot no matter what I have and I just think he has to have 42 here also so I just call to prevent myself from losing extra chips when I’m in a worst case scenario. He turns his cards over and emphasizes the 42 in his hand. I’m showing my 42 also and the dealer is trying to figure things out and my opponent does that thing where they get all annoyed and say, “it’s a chop,” so it’s up to me to mention that this fucking guy has a 7 in his hand and I end up getting quartered.

Then I get quartered again with AK72hh on 766hh59 against AQ92. 🤦🏻‍♂️

Then I get scooped when I have AT82 vs an all in opponent (4bb) holding AQ32 on AT8JK.

I went all the way down to 15.5k but I got some mercy folds with AAKTdd when two players called pre and I put my tourney life on the line on a 773dd flop. Definitely happy to win that one uncontested.

25k coming back to 2000/4000 blinds and 28 players remain.

BUSTED

Today couldn’t have been more agonizing. I would have rather busted out six hours ago. I ran like shit all day and won just enough pots to keep me alive but almost every hand I played had a comically horrible outcome.

On the hand that crippled me, the cut opens and I defend with AK74. Flop is AT3 and I check-call a bet. Turn is a king and I donk out and he calls. River pairs the ten and I bet and he raises. I go into about a two minute tank but I know I’m beat here because he’s never bluffing so I’m mostly just cursing my unending brutal bad luck. Part of me just wants to toss my last two bigs in and make the call but that’s just a give up, so I finally fold. He didn’t show but after we redrew for finally three tables, he told me he had AT which is exactly what I thought he had. So fucking sick.

I fold to my big blind and put my last chips in vs utg raise without looking. I turn over KQJ9 which isn’t bad and I even make trip jacks but he has AJ22 and I busted out in 21st, nine spots off a cash, despite running like dog shit all day long.

Sigh.

HORSE tomorrow.

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LAPC Event #3: $400 T.O.E. (Stack Updates)

January 31, 2020

What’s T.O.E.? Well, it’s 2-7 Triple Draw, Omaha Eight or Better and Stud Eight or Better.

The rest of the details are the same as the first two tourneys: 15k start, 30 min levels, no re-entry, etc.

I slept miserably last night and woke up later than usual so we have an ETA if roughy 2 PM right now so we are going to miss the first two levels. That’s pretty sad because I expect to have a pretty large edge in 2-7. If the field is reasonably sizable I’d imagine only a handful of people are playing 2-7 on any regular basis. I play it all the time and I’ve had to learn the hard way how easy (and costly) it is to make mistakes in this game. If you don’t play it regularly and never study it, chances are you are going to SUCK. Needless to say, it would be ideal to play as many hands of 2-7 when this event is at its softest and loosest.

But here we are.

Ducky has departed for SeaTac and Fanboy said something about “buying” Palm Springs, so this one is just going to be Joker and myself.

I feel like I should point out that my group is currently a combined 0-8 in tournaments so far this trip.

I went +$421 in the Mix at The Bike on Wednesday night and +$1617 in the Commerce Mix last night, so apparently I am actually capable of stringing some winning hands together. Check back here for stack updates every break and hopefully one of us can finally do something interesting today!

First Break

Well, I only got half an hour of play in before the first break and in typical tournament fashion I had almost zero playable spots. We actually started with 2-7 Triple Draw and I folded 6 of 6 hands, including giving the big blind a walk twice when I was in the small blind. That was kind of painful, but I’m not going to go out of my way to get involved with weak holdings. That’s what they do!

I won a small pot with KJ95 double suited when I opened from the button and flopped top two, but that’s all I have to report so far.

Dark Knight 14.6k

Joker 13k

Second Break

Holy hell. I have all the injustice tilt. I am not allowed to win pots in tournaments right now. I’ve won three hands today but only one of any significance and, honestly, it was basically a punt on my part. I’ll say this much: there were raises on two streets and my hand at showdown was J7643 in 2-7. Super gross.

Here’s another absolutely sick 2-7 hand: I open with 8652 and guy behind me 3-bets, and I 4-bet. I draw one and he says, “whoops” and draws two. I bet dark and he calls. I draw one and… he pats?! Wtf. I brick and check and… he checks back?! Good God, what kind of garbage am I about to lose to? I make a J8 on the third draw and part of me thinks maybe? He checks back and shows T98xx.

I can’t even fathom it. This is why I was excited about 2-7 today… but I am super crippled. I got all in on the last hand before break drawing to three scoop outs with a nut low draw. I made the low, so I survived but both of my opponents had A4 for the same low so I only got 1/6 of the pot.

Dark Knight 1800

Joker 18.8k

I have three big blinds now so this could be quick for me.

Dark Knight BUSTED

What a joke this is. I double up utg on the last hand of Omaha 8 and then we move on to Stud 8.

I’m bring in with A2-5 and some ding dong opens with K3-3 and we eventually get all my chips in on 5th and going into 7th I have A2-5456 vs K3-3K2x (edit: he had K3-3J2x on 6th and rivered a 2) and I brick 7th and he catches two pair. No double.

Then I lose a smallish pot where I give up on 5th and then former LAPC co-TD Justin Hammer opens with a 7 up in front of me. I have 95-A with two diamonds and only three big blinds so I decide to go with it and we get all in on 4th and he shows 97-79 and all I have at showdown is a pair of 5s.

So I’m out. And I’m pretty bitter about it. I haven’t even been close to being in one of these things yet.

Joker still in with a starting stack. I’ll keep his progress updated here. I’m going to bang my head against a wall for about an hour before I decide what cash games I’m going to play tonight.

My next tournament isn’t until Monday so I won’t have any new posts until then.

🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬

Update:

Joker BUSTED

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2020 LAPC Event #2: $400 H.O.R.S.E.(Stack Updates)

January 30, 2020

Same details as yesterday. Just Joker and me in this one. Radio Mike doesn’t play mix and, after showing up three hours late and busting in 15 minutes, Ducky claims that “tournaments are boring.” So… he’s sitting this one out. However, FanBoy has arrived in LA and says he’s “coming for [me].” So I guess we have three sweats today.

We took our time getting ready and our ETA is about 1:30, so we are looking to sit down sometime just after the start of level 2… which is actually the same structure as level 1.

First Break

A decent start so far. I’ve won some small pots and got half a big multi-way Stud 8 pot with a queen high flush.

Dark Knight 20k

FanBoy 18k

Joker 12k

Update

Ducky couldn’t handle my ribbing and has decided to torch another $400 by registering this tournament.

Second Break

Not a good stretch for me. I had some good Razz starters that turned to dust and basically played no other hands. I’m back to starting stack.

Dark Knight 14.2k

Ducky 17k

Joker 14k

Fanboy 15k

Third Break

Still card dead. I had a dumb Stud 8 hand where I’m drawing to a better low than my opponent and make 8s and 4s instead but get scooped by a very disguised three of a kind.

I also had KQdd in Limit Hold’em when I had nine bigs and UTG raised and UTG+1 3-bet… I was next to act and decided to pitch it. It ended up getting capped 3-ways and then this was the board on the turn:

One of the guys in the pot had TT with a diamond so I didn’t fold a Royal Flush but the 4d on the river would have more than tripled me up…. because if I go with the hand, I’m capping it and I’m never folding.

Instead, I’m taking less than 8 bigs to the next level.

Dark Knight 8k

Fanboy 22k

Ducky 8k

Joker 9k

BUSTED

Poker tournaments are so brutal sometimes. I get moved to a new table where I’m the shortest stack and they greet me with three straight bring ins when we are playing Razz and then I finally get a playable hand holding 65-7 but there are two 8s, two aces, and two deuces dead. One of the 8s opens and Barbara Enright raises with a deuce up. I’m next to act with an ace still behind me. Sigh. I’m starting rough and half the outs I have to the best hands I can make are already accounted for. I feel like that makes this a fold but I honestly don’t know. I had like 5-6 bigs at this point. I ended up mucking.

Then I anted all the way down to 3500 (2.33 bigs) and finally had half the table fold to me in Stud holding a AT-K. I decided to go with this one and someone with a 9 up put me all in after thinking about it for a while. He had K9-9 and I caught a bunch of totally worthless cards and busted out.

Ducky busted a little bit before me and Fanboy was on fumes when I left the room. No idea what Joker has but he’s probably not in great shape either.

We all suck.

I’ll post updates on how Joker and Fanboy are doing.

Update

Joker BUSTED

Update

Looks like Joker and I are starting a 20/40 Mix with James Woods, Ron Ware, and Miami John

Update

Fanboy BUSTED

Confirmed we all do suck. Fanboy in 60/120 LHE now, Radio Mike and Ducky in 20/40 LHE, and Joker and I still in 20/40 Mix.

$400 T.O.E. tomorrow.