Archive for the ‘poker’ Category

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August 2019 Week Two: PLO, 15/30 Mix, 15/30 LHE, and the Oregon Coast

August 9, 2019

PLO game start on Wednesday featured Mr. Freeze, Charlie Hustle, Speed Racer, and some new faces.

I chipped up early, up about $500, when this hand came up:

There’s one limper, the button makes it $20, I make it $70 from the small blind with AAQJ double suited and the big blind and button both call. The flop is T75 with two spades and I lead out for $200 with aces and the nut flush draw. The small blind makes it $500 and we end up getting it in for a little over $800 total. We decide to run it twice. His hand is KJ96 with two spades and two clubs. He has a gutshot and a dead spade draw. The first board runs out Q-9 to give him a straight with KJ and the second board runs out 8-x to give him a straight with J9 and I find a way to get scooped in this $1800+ pot when I had 80% equity when all the chips went in.

A short while later, I limp in with QJ88dd and call a raise of $25. The flop is 983 rainbow with one diamond and I lead into four players for a pot-sized bet of $100ish. The same player from the last hand makes it $400 and we end up getting it all in again. It’s worth noting that this player tried to check out of turn on the flop, so I have his hand somewhat discounted here and expect my set to be the best hand here, hoping to fade draws, but he has 994x and this time I’m crushed. We run it twice again. The board runs out clean for him the first time, but on the second board I turn a flush draw and river a ten to make a straight and salvage half of this pot.

He says something about we are even now and I look at the $800 in his stack that used to be mine and I’m like “Yes… yes we are.”

I defend my big blind with JT74 double suited and decide to lead $20 on K62hh when I flop a jack high flush draw. This is a pure bluff and definitely not a standard play on my part. When I get called in two spots, I’m pretty sure I don’t want to make a flush, but when the turn is a queen and gives me some real equity in the hand, I decide to keep firing and make it $80 to go. They both call again. The river is an offsuit 8 and I’m not going to stop telling this story now that all the draws bricked. I bet $300 and they both fold.

I make a loose call in position in a limp fest with A542 single suited. This is a good multi-way Omaha 8 hand, but not so much in pot limit Omaha. But I get to see the flop for $5 and it checks to me on A63 rainbow with one of my nut suits – one of the better boards I could ask for. I bet the pot for $25 and then some weird things happen: the small blind min-raises to $50 and one of the limpers makes it $100. He has $175 behind and has a set here like 90% of the time, so learning from my mistake in a similar spot last week, this time I decide to just call and if the board pairs on the turn, I can fold and save $175. My hand is too good to fold, but it’s not like I have such a massive draw that I want to get stacks in here. I call and so does the small blind. The turn is a 5 and the limper puts the rest of his $175 in. I raised to isolate here (not sure if that’s correct though), the small blind folded, and we agreed to run it twice. He had AAxx and I was in pretty great shape with two board-pairing blockers in my hand. He bricked both board and I scooped the pot. The small blind said he had a set of 3s, so the big blind was missing 40% of his outs here.

Someone limps in, I make it $20 with KT87 double suited on the button. The big blind check-calls $40 on 977. The turn is a queen and this time he check-calls $100. The river bricks and I’m left with naked trips here. I’m pretty sure the big blind has at least a 7 and there’s no certainty that my hand is good here. I do think he would call with worse, but I think it’s too thin to bet for value here. I’m happy to see him check the river and I check back. He shows 97 for a flopped boat.

Down to 6-handed later in the night with The Riddler in the game now and we get it all in for a few hundred each on AQ8cc when I have AAxx and run it twice. He has A54x with two clubs and somehow manages to get his money back without making a flush as the first board runs out 7-6 to give him a straight.

So instead of Riddler being felted and moving on with his night, we get into another clash a short while later when I raise to $20 with AA93hh and Riddler and Charlie Hustle call. The flop is Q95hh, I bet the pot, Riddler raises and I put him all in for $381 total. We agree to run it twice and he shows K876 with three hearts, so he has an inside wrap and a dead flush draw. He makes a straight on both boards and the flush draw bricks and I get scooped again, this time with 68% equity when all the chips went in.

Riddler opens pre and I defend in the big blind with AKT3 single suited and maybe another player is involved as well. I check-call $40 on KJ2 with two spades. I have top pair, a gut shot and a ten high flush draw here, so I’m not super excited about it, but Riddler is notorious for over c-betting in this game, so I expect to be in pretty great shape against his overall range.

The turn pairs the king and now I really like my hand as a bluff catcher, especially when he bets a weak-looking $80. I was tempted to raise here, but I wanted him to keep betting his bluffs, so I just called.

The river was an offsuit 6 and this time when I checked it over to him, he bombed it for $250. I wasn’t planning to fold this river at all, but I also wasn’t expecting him to size up so much. I have to give him credit, this is a pretty good line no matter what he has. This sizing actually gave me something to think about and the more I thought about it, the more I thought it was probably a fold. The fact that I have the ten of spades in my hand is pretty bad, as it’s such a key drawing card and for me to be good here, I need Riddler to have draws that missed. Even so, I decided to stick with my initial plan and paid it off and he showed me KJxx.

The sick thing about that hand is I think I stack him if the situation is reversed, considering how willing he was to get it in on that AQ8cc flop when I had top set. Granted, he is deeper here, but still…

Riddler disappeared shortly after that hand and sent someone else to go rack up his chips and cash him out. He played for about 90 minutes total and won $800+ just from me. It was almost 2:30am at that point, so I can’t really fault him for wanting to quit, but I can’t say I was pleased about it either. Needless to say, when he quit the game, no one really wanted to continue on 5-handed so the game broke and I finished at -$385 in a session where variance really put my patience to the test.

I was aiming to put together a 15/30 Mix Game for Thursday night because my buddy was in town from Florida for the week, but it was looking grim with a couple of key players too busy to play. My buddy was really excited about it though, so I pushed the few that were on the fence over the ledge and it looked like I had a solid six ready to go. Most of the games we play are best suited for six or seven players anyway, so I had a perfectly sized lineup as long as everyone showed.

We did get six players including some familiar faces like Joker, Scarecrow, and Bulletproof, plus three I’ve never played in a mixed game with.

Here’s a pic of the group (look at those sexy $100 black plaques – way too cool):

I got off to a rough start in the game, losing the max ($300) in PLO when I got the 952d rainbow flop with AT95dd and Bulletproof check-raised the pot on the flop. We ran it once and I managed to get scooped by his J965 when he turned or rivered a jack for a bigger two pair.

I followed that hand up by getting $300 in with A9732 on the Q86 rainbow flop in Big O. I didn’t write any additional notes on that hand, but I think we ran it twice and I either got scooped or got quartered.

What I am sure about is that I was stuck $600 pretty much right from the jump and I was down $800 by 9pm.

Not the night I envisioned having when I realized that half the lineup would be pretty inexperienced in most of the games.

I rallied back though and found myself pushing past even into sugar territory right around midnight, just as the game went down to five players.

The key pot that pushed me into the green was a Stud 8 hand where I started with 2c9c-3c in a raised multi-way pot. I led out when I caught the best card in the deck for me – the ace of clubs – on the turn. No one raised and I kept betting on 5th when I picked up an offsuit 4. I made a perfect six low on 6th with an offsuit 6 and the queen of clubs gave me a massive scooper on the river and my first time having sugar for the session. Scarecrow started with rolled up tens on that one and there were at least four players still involved through 5th street, so it was quite the pot.

That hand also kick-started some momentum that propelled me to a strong finish and I somehow finished the night at 1:45am at +$1315, a pretty happy result considering where I was at 9pm.

15/30 started on Friday night with 28 players on the list. When the dust settled the reality was 9 seated players and no list. That means roughly 2/3 of the list was smoke and mirrors. That’s pretty gross. Palace’s system allows for anyone to walk up to the sign in computer and put their names on any lists they want. That means they can come in on a Sunday night and sign up for the 15/30 game that starts Fridays at 4 and whether they know that about the game or not is entirely up in the air. I also think some people just like to have their name up for the big game with no intention of actually ever playing in it. What’s not happening is players getting boarded by a floorman that can tell them the game is on Fridays only. It would be nice to find a way to weed out the pretenders and the uninformed, but I guess this is just the way it is.

The starting lineup featured the likes of FBI Guy, Mr. Freeze, Ducky, Huey, Master Splinter, a few non-regulars, and a ornery old man.

I introduced myself to a brand new player by defending my first big blind (with the Coast on the line) with the J3 offsuit, even though it was folded to me. Ah, the things we do for a challenge that doesn’t even really matter. The flop was pretty reasonable for me: T73 rainbow. I checked and raised. He called. The turn was an 8 and I decided to keep firing since I added a gutshot straight draw to go with my bottom pair, but my hand wasn’t looking hot when he called again. The river paired the ten and while that’s a good card for me, I don’t think he’s going to fold many better hands at this point, so I checked it over to him and he put out a bet. Gross. I feel like I’m not winning here very often, but I also have no history with this guy, so I put in the $30 to see what he played this way and all he can show me is a suited 65 high and I’m coasting.

I flopped top set with QQ in a 4-bet pot a short while later and it held up and I was coasting with around $500 sugar at one point.

Ah, to think I was imagining Coasting in this session. Those dreams were shattered when I played another 4-bet pot and got check-raised by Master Splinter on J98 rainbow. I had QQ here, but his line looked super strong, so I just called down from that point and he ended up showing me quad jacks and by the end of the hand, I was no longer coasting.

It only got worse from there. The game was playing absurdly tight and almost every pot was played 2- or 3-handed. Somehow, I managed to flop top pair or second pair in a bunch of heads up pots and never seemed to have the best hand on the river – either because I never had the best hand or because I got drawn out on. This seemed to go on for a few hours, where I flopped showdownable hands in heads up pots and never won. I even flopped a set of sixes heads up against a big blind defend and lost to T9 on 763.

By 7:30pm, just 3.5 hours after the game started, I was down $1350.

Even when things started to turn around, I couldn’t help but be tilted about the hand. I raised with 77 and four of us saw the 873 with one club flop. Master Splinter donked from one of the blinds, I raised, a new player cold called, and Splinter just calls. The turn card was the jack of clubs and Splinter leads right out again. I have a serious case of the MUBS at this point and his hand sure looked a lot like T9 to me, but even so, I was contemplating whether I should still raise. I decided not to and the other player folded. The river was a 5 of clubs and when Splinter still wants to lead that card, I don’t see how I can do anything but call, so I call and he shows me a set of threes. Set over set and I get a total of three big bets from my opponent after the flop. That hardly feels like a win but at least I didn’t lose the hand.

Then I had AJ in a 3-bet pot and got a runout of QJxJA, but I only got 1.5 big bets this time because I whiffed my turn check-raise. My annoyance at missing bets on these two pots was somewhat alleviated when this one surprisingly got put up for High Hand and then somehow managed to hold up.

The game was 5-handed by 9:15pm and I was only stuck $500 at that point.

I made a note of that because I thought it was going to be the start of me crushing faces short-handed, but instead I went on another absurdly cold stretch with good hands. I lost with TT+ four times in quick succession and I lost with KJ to T7 on JJ98x, possibly because I decided to donk out from the small blind in a raised pot instead of check-raise the preflop raiser on the button.

Possibly the sickest hand of the night was a straddle pot when I had AKcc in the big blind. I 3-bet and Ducky 4-bet from under the gun. The straddler tagged along and we saw a flop of K96 with two spades and one diamond. Since I decided not to cap pre, Ducky had the lead and I checked it over to him. He checked back and so did the straddler. The turn was the ace of diamonds. Obviously, I’m usually leading in this spot, but I have a feeling Ducky is going to bet this card too frequently, so I check, he does bet, the button calls, and they both call my check-raise. I know I don’t want to see spades or diamonds on the river, so when it comes the 7 of hearts, I’m a pretty big fan of that card. I bet and… Ducky raises? It folds back to me and I do some serious tanking. I’m running bad and my mind isn’t functioning at its highest level, so of course I come out of the tank with the wrong decision and decide to 3-bet it. Ducky caps and I put out the crying call, knowing I’m never, ever winning here. He turns over the T8 of diamonds for a rivered straight. I just rarely have the best hand here and there’s no reason for me to be 3-betting the river. He has to have A7 suited exactly for me to have any value here and that’s not even a hand he’s guaranteed to raise the river with.

My wife and I were headed to the Oregon Coast early in the morning so we decided to call it a night just after 1am and by that point I was -$1379 for the night, my second straight disastrous session of 15/30 at Palace.

We had a great time on the Coast and I’ll post pictures at the end of this post. We initially planned to head down to the Florence, Oregon area and rent some dune buggies to take on the sand dunes and possibly spend a day floating the Rogue River, but neither of those things happened. Instead, we spent the first night at the Three Rivers Casino and then we spent all day on Sunday floating around the area where the Yachats River meets the Pacific Ocean before driving south and checking out what is supposed to be the biggest sea lion cave in the world.

It’s always exciting to go to a new casino, especially one with a smaller poker room, and put in a session. Three Rivers poker room only had one game going when we arrived and that game was… 10-handed 3/6 limit Hold’em! Wow. If you think I turned around and left, looking for anything else to do, you would be wrong. Quite the opposite. I was practically giddy with excitement to get into this game and play like a maniac. My plan was to play anything reasonable for up to two bets before the flop and do a lot of the raising myself, plus I was going to defend my big blind with basically every hand. I expected my numbers to be something like 70% VPiP and 40% PFR.

I didn’t waste much time making my presence felt. I think I folded my first two hands before winning around six in a row, including four straight kill pots (put in the game right after I sat down). By the time my first orbit was complete, I was up over $200 and roughly half the table had felted or left the game in frustration. That was okay with me since it allowed the rest of our party to get in the game and battle with each other.

Someone gave me an Overs button in this game and I was startled to learn that Overs wasn’t 4/8 or 6/12, but NO LIMIT. If the pot was contested between only players with Overs buttons after the flop, betting was no limit. So sick. Well, after getting a button, I had to tighten up somewhat. I couldn’t play 70% of my hands and possibly find myself in an Overs pot after the flop. I was still playing pretty loose, but when all but one of the Overs players left, I gave my button back. I was more interested in playing every hand than in felting a local.

I didn’t take notes for this session because LOL, but there were still a couple of really funny hands.

On the first hand, my buddy… let’s call him Mexi Nugget… limped in and I said, “that must be a really big hand” and limped in on the button with J3 offsuit. I had already raised his blind up with 72o earlier, flopped trips, and got paid off by him, so I’m literally blasting off trying to play pots with him.

The flop comes down 743; he leads, I raise, and he calls. The turn is an ace and we both check. The river pairs the 3, giving me trips, and he bets out again. I raise him and this time he 3-bets me and I call. He shows AA and the whole table goes into a frenzy.

On another hand, I raise pre and bet twice with KT on JT33 before checking on the queen river and saying, “I don’t think you can call with worse here.” I table my hand and he flashes a ten, but doesn’t show his other card and even the dealer says, “ten… with a kicker that doesn’t beat a king” and that’s when my buddy says, “oh really?” and turns over an ace for a sick slow roll that sends the whole table into a frenzy again.

On the very next hand, the flop checks around on 764 and Mexi Nugget takes the betting lead when the turn is a 9. My wife and his wife both call. The river pairs the 9, he bets again and they both call. His wife immediately shows K7 and he flashes a 9. My wife waits for him to turn over both cards and he eventually shows Q9 (I think) and she just flashes a 4 and pauses for about five beats before turning over another 4 for the sickest snap-reversal slow roll I’ve ever seen. I’m not sure that hand history did justice to what she did here. It was so fucking savage. The fact that it happened one hand after he slow rolled me and that nobody saw it coming just made it the best slow roll I’ve ever seen in my life. Needless to say, the entire table went nuts and everybody had a hearty laugh. That was arguably the coolest moment of the weekend. Does my wife have my back or what?

I ended up winning +$184 in what was the longest 3/6 session I’ve played in at least five years.

All in all, it was a small losing week for me and I’ll be looking to get back on track this week.

Oregon Coast pics:

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August Week One Poker!

August 8, 2019

What an exciting start to August!

On the 1st of the month, I had a dentist appointment in Silverdale and whenever that happens I try to make it a point to visit my old stomping grounds at All Star Lanes Casino where I was initially hired as a 4/8 prop back in January 2012 before moving on to dealing and flooring about a year later. All Star has a daily $30 (with $10 add-on) tournament with a hyper-turbo structure where the blinds double every 15 minutes. Initially, this structure isn’t too offensive, but generally when you reach the final table the average stack is something like 2-3 big blinds!

Playing in this tournament is like playing in a world I haven’t existed in for years now. It’s always funny to me when I shove with a 10bb stack when we are down to two tables or so and everyone kind of looks at me like I’m a maniac because nobody is open-jamming when they have such a massive chip count. For instance, if the blinds are 400/800, it would be rare to see a 10k stack just open ship it.

I made it to the final table and with around eight left I made a call that probably looked insane to most of the other players. With the blinds at 3000/6000, I was in the big blind and had a total stack of about 20k, which meant I was probably 2nd or 3rd in chips. LOL. Someone jammed for 18k from early position and it folded to me holding Q3 of clubs. No deals had been struck and only four players make the money so it’s not like I was on the edge of cashing here. I have roughly 33% of my stack in the big blind and if I fold, I’ll have over 20% of my stack in from the small blind. If I fold that hand, I’ll have less than two big blinds on the button and while that should mean I no longer have any fold equity, that is not necessarily true with this crowd. Basically, folding in this spot doesn’t give me much of a chance to win the tournament, but calling and winning this pot might. I’m getting 2.25 to 1 on a call here, so I need about 30% equity. Even against an absurdly tight 3bb shoving range of ~11.3% of hands, Q3 of clubs has around 31% equity, so I made the call and ended up backdooring a flush against AJ.

That pot propelled me to a heads up matchup with this guy:

Once upon a time, circa 2011, before All Star hired me and before I knew my heads up opponent here, I was playing a nightly tournament at All Star and I open-jammed with JT of clubs. This same player snap called me with AA and my hand ended up winning and he must have lit me up for a good 5-10 minutes (even though my hand was a totally standard shove) in true Hellmuthian fashion. As fate would have it, we ended up being the last two players remaining in the tournament and I can still remember him saying that he would never, ever chop with me. That didn’t bother me because I was happy to play it out and I ended up beating him and winning the tournament.

Fast forward to 2019 and we have become pretty good friends over the years and have a working relationship as well. This guy has probably had a piece of me in every major tournament I’ve ever cashed. Who would have thought when I sucked out with that JT and he berated me all night long that some day he’d be rooting me on at final tables of the World Series of Poker!

Well, here we are in 2019, battling heads up again and this time we aren’t chopping it either because, well, it’s way too fun to gamble it up and play it out. It’s not like there’s a big skill edge here: I think we had about 5bb between us when we got it in, my K9 vs his 83. He outflopped me, but I rivered a pair for sweet victory and am now 2-0 in heads up matches vs a Kitsap legend.

Also, I made $240 for my efforts and… that is my fifth biggest live tournament cash of the entire year. Totally crushing it in tourneys in 2019. I’ve mentioned it before, but I’ve never had a losing year in tournament poker and here we are seven months deep and I’m probably going to need one or two sizable cashes to turn this thing around before January.

I sat in the live 4/8 game for a few hours and this wouldn’t be notable except this happened:

My opponent was all in for $11 before the flop and then flopped the nut full house… I had two straight flush outs to win though… and I hit both of them!

This was the third Royal Flush I’ve ever had in a live Hold’em cash game and it’s kind of odd to come back randomly and hit one when I never hit one when I was playing there 40+ hours a week for 4+ years.

My jackpot for the hand was only $300 and after taking care of the staff (and giving the other player his $11 back), I left with $580 more than I walked in with.

Not bad!

15/30 on Friday was not a fun session for me. In the first 2.5 hours, I lost with TT+ five times and I was down over $800 already. During that span, one player seemed to beat me in every hand and then cashed out.

I was in full tilt pile mode:

A few hours later, there was a different random dude that walked in and beat me in every pot for an hour… and then he left too.

I was stuck over $1400 and the game was 7-handed at 8:30pm and not looking all that juicy. I was annoyed that two different players clobbered me and ran off with my former chips, plus I felt like I was playing my B- game, at best.

I decided to call it an early night and not force things. A couple of our nieces were visiting, so I swallowed the loss and went home and played Scattergories and Yahtzee with my wife and nieces.

Saturday I got to Muckleshoot around 5:45pm and took a seat in the 20/40 Omaha 8 game. Tree Bark, ChowMein, a Huey/Dewey/Louie, and some other regulars and some randoms made up the lineup.

I got off to a better start this time, picking up a couple decent scoopers with AAxx hands early on.

A couple good hands:

It’s 3-bets cold to me in a kill pot and I look down at AKTT with a suited ace. I used to fold a hand like this in spots like this routinely, but now I wonder if it’s worth seeing a flop, even though it only has value one way. Still, this isn’t the best spot for it. My hand plays better multi-way and it’s been raised twice in front of me, so we are probably going 3-handed most of the time. I’m guessing folding is best here, but in the interest of playing a more loose and aggro style I put the $90 in.

Well, my speculative call seemed to pay off when the flop was JT5 rainbow with one of my flush cards. I raised it up and we went heads up to the queen of diamonds turn. That gave me the nut straight, a set, the nut low draw (i.e. no low draw possible), and a Royal Flush draw. Seems pretty decent. I bet and got called and then the board texture didn’t change on the river and I got paid off for the scoop.

This next hand might be even more questionable. It starts with me defending the JTT4 with a suit in a multi-way pot. Gross.

No worries… now I’m going to lead out on the KQ8 rainbow flop because… I SUCK. I get punished with a raise and three of us proceed to the turn.

It’s the ten of spades. So now I have a set and a flush draw and no low will be possible. I ended up getting trapped for four bets. I figure they both have AJ and I think one of my draws is probably covered, but who knows which one, and what am I going to do? Fold now? Hahahahaha. I put in all the bets and…

…the river pairs the 8! That seems like a good card to bet. They both fold and the last player turns over the AJ of spades just to show me what a dummy I am.

I mean… I guess it’s pretty obvious I have a full house here, but geez, might be worth looking for similar spots when I don’t have it if they are so willing to fold the nut straight here.

A couple bad hands:

Kill pot, ChowMein raises in front of me, I flat with the A223 with bad hearts, and four of us go to the flop.

It checks to me on A96 with two hearts. I bet, the player behind me calls, and the big blind check-raises. I should probably be raising since I have a good hand both ways, but I felt like my high potential was pretty weak and figured the big blind has the same low draw most of the time. I ended up calling and so did the other player.

The turn was the king of clubs and I strongly considered raising when the big blind kept betting. I jusr didnt think he had a made hand. Again, I just called and this time the other player folded.

The river paired the 6 and the big blind fired again. I wasn’t convinced and at this point it seemed weird to turn my hand into a bluff, so I called and he shook his head in defeat. He did end up having a busted low draw with 532 in his hand, but he also had an ace and that huge 5 kicker of his was big enough to scoop my garbage hand.

Kill pot, I call a raise with A653 suited ace and then raise on 662ss and get two callers.

The turn was a 4, giving me a straight, the nut low with backup, and a full house redraw. I remember getting called in two spots here and thinking, there is nothing that can go wrong here.

Of course, the Poker Gods didn’t wait long to punish that serious lack of foresight. The river brought a spade and the first player led out. I called, the other guy folded and suddenly I’m looking at AJ3x with two spades in his hand and find myself getting quartered in this large pot I thought I had no chance of losing.

Pretty cool.

Overall, it was a lot better than my last O8 session at Muck as I finished +$620 for the day.

Sunday we were supposed to go hiking but one of us woke up feeling lazy (let’s just say it was me) so I rushed to Palace to max late reg their biweekly $110 NL tournament.

I immediately bluffed off 35% of my stack when I raised a limper from 200 to 700 with 97ss and then c-bet 500 on AT6 and put him all in for 2200ish on the jack turn. I don’t think he’s calling off his stack with many hands he’s limping in with here, but he had the ol’ KQ gutterball and it came in for him and I was down to 30 bigs already.

I leaked off a few more chips trying to force things before open-jamming my last 10bb with A2cc on the button and getting a reluctant call from the small blind’s 55 and busted out after failing to improve.

Solid showing.

On Monday and Tuesday, I played a couple of impromptu sessions because I had friends that were itching to play some poker.

First, my buddy from Florida met up with me at Palace and we played some 8/16. I started my session off by seeing a free flop with 86o and getting the 862dd board. I led out, got raised, 3-bet, and got called in three spots. The turn was a super ugly 5 of diamonds, putting a three flush on board and straightening things out, but when I bet, no one raised and one player folded. The river put a one card straight on board with a 3 and this time we all checked and somehow, after four players put in three bets on the flop and every draw got there, my hand was still good. The Coast was on!

My buddy didn’t show up until after 9 PM and said he was only going to play a couple of hours and I didn’t plan to play deep into the night myself, so when he called it a night around 12:30 AM, I left also even though I was +$735 and 70 minutes shy of an official Bronze Coast. Ah well! These are the kinds of quits a 3x Coaster can afford to make!

I met my old roommate in Southcenter on Tuesday to see The Farewell starring Awkwafina and we played some 4/8 at Fortune after the movie. I was playing hyper-LAG, but also running extremely hot preflop, picking up lots of big pairs and big aces, but I lost some pretty insane hands. Fortunately, I did flop quad 9s once and that held up for a $250 High Hand and gave me a +$212 finish for the night.

All in all, I finished the first week of August +$740 (including online play) and I’m pretty happy about that considering I sprinkled in a -$1489 15/30 session and played down in 3 of my 5 live sessions.

Also, I made some updates to the following pages:

Blog Nicknames: Added Godzilla, Green River Gary, and Grumpy, His Royal Airness
Books I’ve Read
TV Show Ratings (By Season): Added Big Little Lies s1/s2, Barry s2, Santa Clarita Diet s2/s3

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July 2019 Poker Wrap-Up

August 2, 2019

On the last day of July, I went hiking with ChowMein. This is something that has been bubbling for a while now. I think I first started crossing paths with Chow 7-8 years ago, noticing him and his crew at the Pendleton Round Up and in the Muckleshoot series. We started becoming friendly over the last couple years and for a while now we’ve talked about doing something outside of poker, particularly when we bumped into each other on a hike at Rattlesnake Ledge last year and realized we had another mutual interest. But that was roughly a year ago and we still hadn’t made anything happen. When I saw ChowMein in the 20/40 O8 game two Saturdays ago, we said the same shit we always say except this time I made a point to let him know we are really going to plan something.

We agreed to do a hike on Wednesday morning and after getting five questionable hours of sleep, my alarm went off at 5 AM and I met him around 8 AM at the Otter and Big Creek Falls trailhead in North Bend. It wasn’t the most challenging trail I’ve done, but after doing 8+ strenuous miles on Sunday, my calves were still burning and I was happy to take a more relaxing hike. Even so, Apple Health says I walked 11 miles and took over 24,000 steps on Wednesday, so it’s not like we didn’t get a workout in. Also, it was nice to get to know Chow on a more personal level and I’m pretty excited to develop a friendship with someone that likes to travel for poker and can help me elevate my own game.

My dogs went with us and we took a lot of pics and I thought a lot of them came out pretty good, so here are some of the best ones:

I think we spent about 4-5 hours on the trail and after a two hour drive home, it was nearly 4 PM. My plan was to play PLO when the game started at 6 PM, but I was lacking good sleep and I’d been up since 5 AM, so I knew it was questionable whether I should be playing at all. PLO has been lucrative for me over the past month and I didn’t want to miss a good game, so I was there for the start of it, but I knew I was walking on the edge. I figured if things went well, I would be fine, but I was conscious of the fact that I might not be in the mental condition to grind out a grueling session.

The lineup was a bad start. The game was 8-handed and featured the likes of Bulletproof, Mr. Freeze, and Charlie Hustle. One of the Huey, Duey, and Louie triplets was making a rare appearance and there were a couple other non-regulars that weren’t good action as well. There were two players in the game that I was excited about.

I started with $700 and had another $700 in my pocket for topping off. I was about 40 minutes into the session with maybe $650 in front of me when this hand came up:

I made a rather loose open to $15 with QJT5 triple suited (three spades) from the hijack, the button called, and Bulletproof defended his big blind. This is a hand I should definitely be folding. I have an extremely loose player on the button and I have a three card hand. When my hand is triple suited, the fact that I have a useless dangler is magnified. It just makes no sense to get involved with a handicap when I know I won’t even have position in the hand like 80% of the time.

The flop is pretty good for me: T53 with two hearts. I have top two pair and some interesting backdoor potential on a board that shouldn’t flop many sets or quality straight draws. So when I bet $30, the button folds, and Bulletproof check-raises me to $80, I think my hand is in pretty good shape. Considering I am still over $500 deep though, my hand plays less well if he’s willing to get stacks in here, so I just call and I’m planning to fold if the flush comes in and he bets, but otherwise mostly continue.

The turn is an offsuit king and he bets the pot, which I believe was $205. I added straight outs in addition to my two pair, so I’m definitely not folding now. After calling $205, I’d have just over $300 behind and, in the moment, I thought that if I jammed now, I could avoid making difficult river decisions and it seemed like my hand should still be good most of the time. Of course, he could have flush draws that now made kings up, so that’s something to consider. Also, if I just call on the turn, I can save myself $300+ when the river brings the flush and it’s not like my hand is in a commanding position here. I think calling and re-evaluating on the river is the best line, but unfortunately I stuffed it and Bulletproof put me all in and showed me a king high flush draw… that turned a set of kings. My two pair was dead, but I had six outs to the nut straight. The river was the queen of hearts and BP won with a flush.

I was stuck $700 already and as I pondered my future for a few hands, I realized that I didn’t love the lineup and I wasn’t in prime poker playing condition, so I called it a night… and a month. I played a hand I should have folded and got myself stacked. Then I jammed the turn and got it in extremely bad, when I could have called and folded when the flush came on the river, saving myself $300+ and giving myself a chance to salvage my session.

Ah well. At least I left instead of possibly compounding my problems. Not the way I wanted to end my month though.

July Poker Highlights

*Playing the WSOP Main Event for the second time
*Rivering the nuts and getting paid off by Steve Gee in the Main for 50% stack increase early in the Main
*+$1392 in 8/16 and +$3789 in PLO in my first two sessions back from Vegas
*Getting a 15/30 Mix game off the ground
*Winning my first MTT on America’s Cardroom
*Winning $1400 in less than 3 hours of 5/10 6-max on ACR
*Increasing my ACR bankroll by like 600%
*Randomly sitting in Pai Gow because Radio Mike was playing and making a Royal Flush for a $150 bonus (lifetime winner!)

July Poker Lowlights

*Busting the Main Event
*Global Poker shutting down Washington state players
*Getting my face smashed for -$1837 in the 20/40 O8 at Muck
*Punting $700 on the last day of the month

Overall, I ended up winning about $5500 last month, basically all of it from playing PLO and that’s pretty cool because I was souring on that game leading up to the World Series and I feel my interest level being reinvigorated.

On Deck in August

*traveling to the Oregon Sand Dunes for a weekend getaway
*seeing Nas in concert for the first time at the ShoWare Center in Kent
*watching Angels top prospect Jo Adell play at Cheney against the Tacoma Rainiers
*traveling to L.A. for the $2100 H.O.R.S.E. tournament at The Bike
*possibly going to Universal Studios so Dina can check out the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and we can go on the new Jurassic World ride

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Poker Update: July 2019 Week 4

July 30, 2019

Last Saturday, my poker plans were somewhat up in the air. I knew The Man was pushing to have a 15/30 at Palace at 4 PM, but I wasn’t much of a believer, especially when I saw four on the list at 3:30 and assumed one of those names was my own. The Fortune 20 game didn’t look all that promising, so my attention turned to Muckleshoot to see if they might get their 20/40 O8 game off the ground this week. Around 3:45 PM, I saw 6 names on the list for that so that’s where I headed.

When I got there, the game was full, but they made it 10-handed to accommodate me. The lineup included O8 legend ChowMein, Billy Dubz, Tree Bark, one of the Huey, Dewey, and Louie brothers, plus a dealer from Palace that I was surprised to see playing in such a big game. A few people expressed surprise that I would be playing O8, including Charlie Hustle coming over from a no limit game to say, “you know this is different from PLO, right?”

Yup. I didn’t just nearly final table a $2500 O8 tourney at the World Series last month. And I don’t play all the games as much as I can. One trick pony here.

I got off to a brutally slow start. It took me 2.5 hours to win my first scooper and before that happened, it’s not like I was getting half of any decent pots either. I think I got half of two meaningless pots up to that point.

Two of the sicker hands during that stretch:

It’s a 30/60 kill pot and I open with double suited AA63 and only the kill calls. The flop is KQ4 with two spades, giving me the nut flush draw, and he check-calls a bet. The turn is a jack and since I have two aces in my hand, I’m blocking the nut straight pretty hard, and while he probably turns a lot of two pair hands, I don’t expect to be getting raised too often and I have outs when that does happen. The river pairs the jack and when he checks to me again, I feel like my aces are usually good here, so I fire a bet and he check-raises me. This would be a pretty insane bluff and I have the best draw that missed, so I go ahead and give him credit for a hand and lay it down.

Someone opens, I 3-bet with AQ73 double suited and ChowMein calls from the small blind. The flop is a beautiful 977 with two spades, giving me trips with the nut flush draw. I bet and Chow check-raises me and the other player clears out. I call, planning to raise the turn and he does bet on the 8 of diamonds and calls my raise. The river is a 4 and I end up with trips and the second nut low. He check-calls and shows… AKT2 with no spades… for the zero equity bluff on the flop. I mean… I get it. He’s hoping that I bricked and will just fold on the flop or turn, but that doesn’t make it any less painful that half this pot is being sent his way now.

My first scooper wasn’t all that exciting either. I opened with AQQ2 double suited, got two callers, c-bet the J32 rainbow flop (dumb), got called in both spots, and then bet again when the 2 paired on the turn and they both folded. +6 small bets! Yay!

I was already down about $1100 when this hand came up:

I limped along in late position in a kill pot with AJ64 double suited and called a bet on K62 rainbow. Three of us saw the 5c turn and I called again, picking up the nut flush draw with my pair and second nut low. The river was an offsuit jack, giving me two pair and the second nut low. I ended up overcalling a bet, hoping that I was good in one direction, but expected to get quartered a decent amount of the time, and scooped some of the time.

I remember thinking that I hoped the bettor just had a naked 43 and when he turned over his hand, I saw the straight and for some reason sent my hand sailing into the muck, even though he didn’t have an ace with it. The other player mucked and the 43 ended up scooping the pot, but my A4 low was good for half. I was already stuck over two racks and here I am folding the best low in a pretty sizable pot.

It almost made me want to leave because nothing tilts me harder than my own absent-minded mistakes. It’s unforgivable to short circuit like that.

But I stuck it out and opened with the AA62 double suited, got a couple of callers and c-bet the AT3 two diamond flop. Just top set and the nut flush draw and an emergency low draw. Nothing to see here. I get two callers and one of them leads out when the 4 of diamonds hits the turn. I have the nut flush and the second nut low now. I should have raised here, especially when I noticed the other player was all in on the turn for less than a big bet. There’s some chance my low is good and I have the high side of the pot locked up. The river is a 5, so now I have the nut flush AND the nut low. Bingo. If I was losing the low side of the pot, I’m now getting at least a third of it. The other live player in the pot, still leads, I raise, he 3-bets, and I cap it. I’m expecting him to turn over a wheel and a flush here – because wtf else could he have – so when he tables AKT3 with a king high flush, I automatically see a wheel and assume he’s getting a quarter of the pot. BUT HE DOESN’T HAVE A DEUCE IN HIS HAND and the other player folds and somehow I have this entire pot all to myself. A much needed step in the right direction.

At this point in the night, a new player got in the game and seemed to be quite intoxicated. I called her down in a couple of hands when she was bluffing and suddenly found myself with sugar for the first time about 4.5 hours into the session after being down nearly $1400 at one point.

Things went south from there, however, as she ended up leaving the game and ChowMein seemed to have me beat on every pot we played together. I don’t feel like recounting all of these hands, but he was beating me up so badly that when I had an AA2x hand on the KT36T runout and he donked the river, I whined, “that’s supposed to be a good card for me,” and he actually showed me a ten from his hand out of pity.

OUT OF PITY.

Wtf.

Kill pot, Billy Dubz opens and I 3-bet with AKK5 single suited. He calls and then check-calls on KT4 rainbow. The turn is a queen and he check-calls again. The river is an ace and he checks it over to me. This might seem like a thin value bet, but there is absolutely no way he has a straight here. I can’t imagine that he would just check-call with AJ on the turn and there’s no way he’s raising from early position in a kill pot with a hand that has a jack in it but not an ace. Even if he did have a hand like QQJT, I think he would just lead out with it on the river. So this seems like a pretty obvious value bet to me. I bet and he hates it but makes the call with… AAQT… for a rivered set of aces. Nothing like losing to a one outer on the river when you’re already in the middle of getting creamed.

That hand pretty much broke my spirit but it actually happened before the string of losses I suffered at the hands of ChowMein. I stuck it out until nearly 3 in the morning, but I was super tired and called it a night at -$1837, booking my biggest loss in over two months and probably confirming Charlie Hustle’s suspicions that I have no fucking business in that game.

Sunday was a softball game organized by a fitness group I’m part of on Facebook that is run by one of the dealers at Palace. We probably got about 30 people together to play a game and it was a ton of fun.

Here are some pics of me and Hammy in action, courtesy of BlackJack:

On Monday, Ducky and I met my niece at T-Mobile Park so Albus could enjoy Bark at the Park night and watch a Mariners game. I couldn’t believe how good he was! He seemed to really enjoy himself, hardly ever barked, and didn’t use the bathroom in the stadium at all – although if he popped a squat in the third base area as an “F U” to Kyle Seager when we got to walk around the field, I would have been okay with that.

Tuesday was a total day off for me but I did receive notice from Global Poker that Washington state players would no longer be allowed to play on the site. About a year ago, Global decided that Washington state players could no longer deposit on the site but they could still play if they already had money on there. Well, that’s all over now.

No more depositing. No more playing.

It was a good run. I put $300 on the site and took off over $8500, so even though my volume wasn’t very high on there, it was still a profitable practice arena for pot limit Omaha and no limit Hold’em tournaments.

The starting lineup for PLO on Wednesday featured Mr. Freeze, Charlie Hustle, Speed Racer, a couple other regs, a splashy non-reg and Bulletproof making a special guest appearance.

Speed Racer felted $500 in about 20 minutes and took off… and then didn’t show up for 15/30 on Friday. His rush appears to be over and it wouldn’t surprise me if he stopped coming in altogether now. I’ve seen this sort of thing happen many times over the years. I hope he proves my theory wrong.

I only played a couple of key pots in this session.

In the first one, I make it $20 after a series of limpers with AKK7 single suited. I only got called in seven spots and we saw a flop of KQ3 with two diamonds, so I bombed for $160 and two players called (one of them all in). The turn was an offsuit ten and Mr. Freeze led for $300. I call. River pairs the ten and Freeze check-folds to my $300 bet. The all in player turns over Q33 so I had a ton of board-pairing outs on the river.

My second notable pot was way later in the night, when we are 4-handed. Someone makes it $10, I make it $30 on the button with J965 double suited. It’s not a great hand but plays fine if I get it heads up in position. Both blinds obv call and so does the opener. They all check to me 652 with one diamond and I bet $85 with my huge top two pair hand. Riddler calls and so does a loose player. The turn is the queen of diamonds and they check to me again. I feel fine betting that card, as it shouldn’t make too many two pairs and it gives me a flush draw. I bet $300 and only the loose player calls. The river is a brutal deuce that pairs the board and now I’m losing to a hand like 9877. I have some showdown value, but not much. I decide to turn my hand into a bluff and he goes into the tank but comes through with a fold!

I was in the game for about $900 and if I got called and lost that pot, I would have had $400 in front of me at the tail end of the night, so it was quite the relief when he let that one go.

I ended up +$668 for the day, but the real story was this happening:

That’s a nearly $5500 stack in front of her.

I think she was in for $1000 and ended up cashing out over $6000 for the biggest win I’ve ever seen in this PLO game. This mostly happened because the player on her direct right raised every hand the entire night and blasted off over $4000. She also won a monster pot where she had JT on JT646 and got heaps in on the flop so when she bet $300 on the river it was so obvious that she had a set of jacks that one player folded a six on the river. That was like a $2500 pot. Sick.

Thursday was our 15/30 Mixed home game. We played all the standard mix games like Baduecy, Badugi, 2-7 and A-5 Triple Draw, 2-7 Razz, Stud 8, Omaha 8, but we also added some big bet games like PLO and 2-7 no limit single draw. We did put a $300 cap on the big bet games though.

FanBoy, Ducky, Jesus, Bulletproof, Free Throw, and Scarecrow all showed up for the game.

I ended up winning $1200 and a good portion of my profit came from 2-7 single draw, a game I have almost no experience in. I just kept getting dealt good pat hands and getting paid off. Twice I had a pat 9 or better and got the max.

The only cool hand I took a note on was in A-5 Triple Draw. FanBoy raised under the gun and I defended the big blind with AA5xx. I drew three and he drew two. I improved to AA54x (no, I didn’t keep two aces!) and check-called a bet. I drew two and he stayed pat. This time I ended up with A5454, so now I’ve seen three aces and half the fours and fives. I decide to check-raise and snow (bluff). FanBoy calls and then breaks after I stand pat. Success! I bet after the draw and he… folds.

Not sure if that’s a great play or not, but it seems like a good hand to snow with.

Anyways, it was a lot of fun and I’m hoping we can get a game together 2-3 times a month.

15/30 had a rough start on Friday with only seven players taking seats, including Taz and Master Splinter. One of the floors from Palace was also playing that game for the first time that I’ve seen. Also, everyone that started the game took an Overs button and it pretty much played at 25/50 after the flop for the entire night.

I gave the former floor an early welcome to the game by 3-betting his hijack open with K5 of diamonds on the button. He donked on the 862 two diamond flop, I raised him up and then triple barrelled when the board ran out Jx-7x and he flashed the ace of diamonds and folded.

Later on, with the game full now, that same player limped, I raised with A2 of hearts, guy on my left cold calls, tight-solid player on the button 3-bets and Splinter calls from the big blind. Whoops. Five of us take the T76 rainbow flop and it checks around. The turn is a jack and it checks around again. The river pairs the jack and it checks to the preflop 3-bettor and she bets. The two players in front of me fold and I have one left behind me. This is a super easy call because she literally never has a hand here. She wouldn’t make this bet with better ace highs and I don’t see how she can have a pair. She’s not checking a jack back on the turn and I think she would bet the flop with 99 and 88. The only real concern is the player behind me calling with a small pocket pair, but I’ll take my chances. I called and won the pot and the table was kind of shocked that I would make that call and gave me some flak, especially when the person I picked off immediately left the game. Master Splinter said he folded pocket fives. Tough to make that call with fives with all the strength everyone has shown throughout the hand.

I open with 99 and get three callers. The flop is 973 with two diamonds and all three players call again. The turn card is the jack of diamonds and all three players fold when I bet. How good of a game are you playing in when you get called in three spots on 973dd and the Jd improves none of their hands? It honestly baffles me and that’s why I took a note on this otherwise unremarkable hand.

I spent most of this session up between $700-$1100, but then this crucial pot came up:

It gets capped 6-ways before the flop and I have JJ on J87 with two clubs and I get it capped again with Mighty Mouse and Hit&Run. The turn is the 9c and Hit&Run is the new bettor. We both call. The river is the 6 of clubs and it checks around. Hit&Run shows up with the mighty 42 of clubs that he limped from under the gun and called a cap with and it’s good enough to take this monster pot down.

15/30 at the Palace, folks.

Later in the night, the game is short-handed, and a player from Canada that I run into at Fortune and sometimes in Las Vegas and Reno is in the game now. She has an extremely loose and aggressive style. It borders on maniacal even, but she’s not clueless. Anyways, she opens from under the gun playing 6-handed, I 3-bet with KJo and the former floor caps it. The flop is K64 with two hearts. We check to the floor guy and he bets. She calls and since I feel like I’m only losing to AA, AK, KQ and one combo of KK here, I check-raise. He 3-bets and we both call. Okay, he’s saying KJ is no good. But then the turn is a jack and I get a check-raise in and both players call. The river pairs the 6 so now I’m losing to AA again, but he has eight combos of just AK and six combos of AA, so betting here seems mandatory. It seems like the other player was drawing and since the 6 on the flop was one of the suited cards, she can’t have a flush draw that turned into trips on the river. I bet and they both call. I’m kind of surprised by her call and I say, “I hope he doesn’t have aces, but I know I got you beat,” and then she flashes me the 96o and it honestly SHOCKED ME INTO SILENCE. She said something about not raising the river because I might have a set and I’m just sitting there trying not to vomit on myself.

There is literally no part of that hand I can wrap my mind around. I’m not going to lie, it sent me straight into Level 8 steam and it sent the other player out the door (he had AK).

But she was just getting warmed up wrecking my face. I think before that hand, I was still up around $800, but then I must have lost something like ten straight showdowns to her, plus some other hands where I folded earlier. By the time variance decided to stop shitting on me, I was down $1400 and flirting with Level 10 tilt. I thought about rage quitting at least three times as my frustration was impossible to contain.

Fortunately, things turned around, I stopped the bleeding and composed myself and salvaged a -$115 session.

Saturday we visited my parents to celebrate my birthday and Sunday we hiked Poo Poo Point Trail. Apple Health calculated that hike at 8.7 miles, 21k steps, and 122 floors. Not bad!

Ugh. What a slog. I didn’t mean to turn this into a huge post, but I guess some of you that have been complaining that I haven’t updated in a while had something to read for the last hour.

When I had the inspiration to write every day, my intention wasn’t to have it spill over for a week before I published anything. I’ll try to be more concise next time!

Note: that pic in the PLO section was actually Bulletproof’s stack and not the girl’s. She just wanted to sit in front of it and look cool. I told her I’d take a pic and post it if she wanted me to. Hate to give Bulletproof credit for setting a record in that game, but I must be honest.

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15/30 Limit Hold’em on 7/20/2019

July 22, 2019

15/30 started full on Friday with a lineup that featured Mr. Freeze and Taz, a bunch of semi-regulars, and the kid that smashed the 15/30 and PLO for about +$5k over the last week. Ducky and FanBoy managed to lock themselves out initially. Everyone also agreed to play with Overs buttons so this was basically a 25/50 game after the flop for almost the entire night.

I got two full rounds to find a hand to start The Coast with after stealing the blinds with AA, but I ended up opening the A2 suited, bricked the flop, and was quickly out of contention.

My first real key pot came up when Mr. Freeze opened, got called by a tight player, and I defended with 22 in the big blind. The flop was 962 with two spades, Mr. Freeze bet, the tight player raised, I 3-bet it and Mr. Freeze capped. We both called. I’m not sure Mr. Freeze would play an overpair this way when I show up with a cold 3-bet, so I’m already a little bit concerned. The older tight player also has 99 and 66 in his range still.

The turn card is an offsuit 8 and I still like my hand enough that I’m leading out here, but when I get raised by Mr. Freeze again and the other player calls $100 cold, well, it’s time to put on the brakes.

The river pairs the 9. I slowed down because it seems like Freeze has a set here, so I’m not going to play my hand like it’s the best now just because I filled up. I check, he bets, the other player calls, and I hold my hand up in front of my face like, how is this hand losing right now? before shaking my head and putting in the call. Mr. Freeze says, “I missed my straight flush draw” and turns over the T7 of spades absolutely sure that he’s winning this pot. I table my full house and the other player shows that he had TT.

Pretty weird spot. I know Mr. Freeze is capable of opening with junky suited hands, so it’s not entirely shocking that he showed up with what he had here, but T7 of spades and 75 of spades are the only combo draws that turned a made hand and I wasn’t even thinking about either of those holdings being in his range. In retrospect, the nine on the river is a really good card for me… not just because it fills me up, but also because it reduces the number of combos that beat me from six to four. I’m still fine with my river line though because even when you add in the big draws (two combos), he still has me beat more often than not.

The kid on the heater opens, I 3-bet with QJ of hearts on the button, Taz calls $45 cold from the small blind and my boy caps it up. Flop is Q83 with two hearts and Speed Racer and I cap it again. The turn card pairs the 8 and it takes all my willpower, but I check it back. This guy can have a ton of hands here and I should have his range pretty well smashed, but he has capped it twice now and if I was losing, this card didn’t help me any. The only cards I hate on the river are aces and kings and two of those still make me a flush. The river is a jack, giving me top two pair and when he checks it over to me again, I know I have the best hand now, so I bet, he snap calls and then shows me pocket kings (bigger two pair) after I table my hand.

Well, I sure didn’t see that coming. Very strange line from him on the big bet streets.

Two players limp, I raise with AJo, and four of see the J72 with two diamonds flop. I bet and two players call. The turn is another jack and that card puts two flush draws on the board now. I bet and they both call again. The river is an offsuit ten and Speed Racer donks into me. Well, I’m not calling with a hand this strong against a player like this, so I raise him up and he 3-bets me. That makes me hate it a little more. He’s saying he has 98 here and he’s plenty capable of showing up with that hand on the river, even without one of the two flush draws to go with it, but when I call, all he can turn over is K7 – a hand with way too much showdown value to turn into a bluff. Wait, was it a bluff? I don’t even know. Maybe I should call him Bizarro or The Backwards Man.

I raise under the gun with QT of clubs, Taz calls next to act, Speed Racer threes on the button and we call. The flop is 422 with two clubs. Taz and I both check-call. The turn card is the 3 of diamonds. Speed Racer bets, I call, but now Taz check-raises and Speed Racer 3-bets. Ugh. This is a weird spot because I could be drawing dead, but both of these guys have plenty of history overplaying their hands on the turn.

I ended up folding, but I wasn’t sure about it. Taz capped the turn and then when the 9 of clubs hit the river, he checked it over to Speed Racer and called a bet. Speed Racer turned over 66 for… a pair of sixes (LOL)… and Taz had A2 for trips. If I stay in, my flush is good. This is actually one of the better scenarios I could be in, so it’s worth examining the math here. There’s $155 in the pot before the flop, another $75 on the flop, and since Taz rarely hits the brakes once he puts his foot on the accelerator, I think it’s reasonable to assume he will cap the turn. So including my $50 and $200 each from the other two on the turn, it’s going to cost me $150 to continue in a pot of $673. That gives me pot odds of roughly 4.5 to 1, so I need about 18% equity to continue here and against their exact two hands I only have 14.29%. Sure, I could have implied odds on the river, but when I make my hand, I’m not going to be betting out with it after the turn gets capped and I certainly won’t be check-raising. If I knew Taz wouldn’t cap it, my odds are pretty close to breakeven, but when you factor in that I could be drawing dead here a decent amount of the time, I think my fold is not only reasonable, but correct even in an almost perfect scenario. If Taz has a straight and Speed Racer has, well, what he had, then my equity jumps up to 19% and it’s slightly profitable to continue. But for that to be the case, I need one player to have a made hand that blocks none of my outs and I need the other player to be on a total punt.

Ducky opens and there are multiple callers to me, holding Q6 of clubs in the small blind. I play pretty tight from the small blind in raised pots, but when a bunch of ding dongs cold call a raise, I’m going to speculate more often, especially with reasonable suited hands. I make the call and the flop is KJ4 with two clubs. Ducky stays in the lead and three of us call. The turn card is the 8 of clubs and I go ahead and lead out since I’m in first position in a multiway pot. This works out wonderfully because Ducky calls and then Speed Racer raises. I make it three bets, Ducky tanks and calls $100 more, and Speed Racer also calls. The river is the three of clubs and I check it over to Ducky and he bets. This is basically always the naked ace of clubs, but the pot is so massive and I have the second nuts, so I put out the call, annoyed, and Ducky turns over the AT of clubs and shows everyone what a genius he is by just flatting the turn with the nuts and costing himself $100.

Ducky and I talked about this hand a bit the next day and I thought his flat of my 3-bet was pretty silly, as there is almost no scenario where he makes more money with that line. His best case scenario is an extra $50 total by waiting until the river to raise and that’s assuming that Speed Racer calls $100 cold after Ducky practically turns his hand face up and shows everyone he has the ace high flush. When you factor in action-killing clubs and board pairs, it’s pretty clear that raising the turn is always going to make more money in the long run. What we didn’t talk about, however, was how well his first flat call worked out for him. I led out on the turn, he just called with the nuts, and then two players raised after that! That’s a nice little chain of reactions. Of course, when he shows up with a 4-bet all the sudden, his hand is pretty face up there too, but the pot is too big at that point for me to fold and Speed Racer could still be drawing to something. Also, there’s some chance he could have AA with the nut flush draw and decided to gamble it up. Not likely, but it’s in the realm of possibilities.

My last key pot of the night was as the game was dwindling down and we had four straight chops. Cobra opens from middle position, I 3-bet with 97 of hearts, and Taz caps it. The three of us see a flop of Q73 with two hearts. Taz bets, Cobra folds, and I just call. I have a big draw here, but I’m out of position against someone that 4-bet preflop and if he has TT+, each bet that goes into the pot on the flop actually costs me money in the long run. The turn is the 4 of hearts and I check-raise. Taz follows that up with a 3-bet and since we’ve established his history of massively overplaying the turn, I cap it. He calls. The river is another heart. I check-call and he shows KK with a heart. Standard. This is obviously a bad result, but if the hands were reversed, we would have capped the flop and then the action would have slowed down on the turn. If I were in position with kings and he led out, I would have called. If he checked, I would have checked back. If I were out of position with kings, I would have check-called. So in both scenarios, we cap the street when I have the most equity and put in one bet when I don’t. Yes, this hand had a bad end result, but we play similar spots many times over the long run and it’s clear that I am absolutely murdering him in this situation. Keeping that in mind helps dull the sting when he spazzes out and then gets there once in a while.

I never seemed to get too much momentum going in this session. Whenever I was trending in the right direction, I would play a big pot and lose it and be close to even again. As such, I ended finished the session +$180 after 9+ hours of poker.

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All The Pot Limit Omaha Hands

July 19, 2019

I have to admit, I’ve had a hard time getting back on track. The poker has been good. Last week was a pretty amazing week of poker and immediately made up for the annoyance of busting the Main Event without cashing for the second year in a row. Everything else has been a little suspect though. I know what I want my routine to be, but it has been difficult to execute on some days.

I wrote about last Friday’s session, but what I didn’t write about was the fact that I played until 3 in the morning and then didn’t wake up until 2 PM on Saturday. That’s not a good way to start a “Miracle Morning.” Also, I don’t think I’ve ever felt fresh and ready to tackle the day after going to bed super late and waking up super late. Usually, that’s a recipe for being completely useless for an entire day.

My plan was to play some 20/40 Omaha 8 or Better at Muckleshoot, but the list never really seemed to develop and I didn’t help things by not showing up. I think that game is supposed to start at 4 PM most Saturdays and when I dropped Dina off at Palace around 5 PM, the list was only showing 5 players including me and I didn’t feel like waiting around for a game to start.

Playing 20/40 at Fortune could be another option, but that game seems to have either massively dried up or been taken over by no limit Hold’em cash games. I almost never see two 20 games going anymore and there have been times when I’ve looked during peak business hours and they didn’t have a game going at all.

Yikes.

I’m not sure if the big limit games at Muck and Fortune are struggling because it’s summer and players were gone for WSOP or if they are legitimately dying off, but I’m hoping it’s not the latter. Speaking of which, I haven’t seen a single person on the list for the 20/40 Mix at Red Dragon since I’ve been back either. Goodness! What the hell am I going to play when it’s not Wednesday or Friday?

So with no real options on a Saturday night, I decided to stay at Palace and play 8/16. Ho hum. I don’t have much interesting to say about that session except that I ended up getting my ass handed to me for most of it. I was nearly felted from my initial $600 buy in towards the end of the night, playing 3-handed, before I reluctantly reloaded for another $200 because no one has ever seen me felt in a limit game at Palace (except when I’ve sat down with the minimum buy in for fun) and I want to keep it that way.

There were two hands from playing short-handed that kind of blew my mind. I was playing with two Palace dealers, one of them being BlackJack. On the first hand, BlackJack opened on the button, the other dealer called in the small blind and I defended with 53o. Yes, pretty loose, but hey, it’s a straighter!

The flop came down J64 with two spades. We both check-call BlackJack’s continuation bet. In this type of short-handed, or button vs. blinds situation, I usually like to take the lead with my draws – especially if the flop favors my defending range – since everyone’s ranges are much wider than normal, but BlackJack has proven to be incredibly sticky – even calling me down with king high in a spot where I was like, “woah, if he’s not folding there, he’s not folding anything with any showdown value ever.” So I adjust, and after he reads this, I probably adjust again.

The turn is an offsuit 9 and we both check-call again.

The river is an offsuit 2 and I have made the nuts. I definitely like to lead when I make my hands some of the time, but random deuces on the river are not scary and of all the draws I can have on the flop, 53 is probably one of the least likely ones. I elect to check, BlackJack bets, I think the other player folded to the river bet, I check-raised, and then BlackJack 3-bet and put me into a brief moment of shock and elation. I had to double-check the board and make sure that I didn’t overlook some other bigger straight, but nope, my hand is indeed the nuts, so I put the cap on it and he calls. I announce that I have the nuts and he says, “me too” and snap rolls the 53 of spades and I must have sat there looking at his hand in disbelief for a good 20 seconds before finally turning mine over and collecting one of the most disappointing half-pots I’ve ever had the displeasure of sharing.

The other hand that blew my mind was when it folded to the other dealer in the small blind and he raised it up. I defended with the Q3o and we went off to a flop of A93 rainbow. He checked to me and recent history had told me that his check was probably weakness and not a trap, so I bet and he called.

The turn card was the queen of spades and he decided to donk lead into me. Interesting. Obviously, my hand improved and given his check-call on the flop, it’s pretty clear that I’m still good here, so I raise it up and he calls.

The river is an offsuit jack and once again, I’m quite shocked when he decides to check-raise me. This is never a bluff and if he’s not bluffing, my hand is never good. He’s not playing his hand this way and showing up with one pair on the river. Still, this is one of those spots where his line is so weird that I’m happy to pay the $16 to see what the hell he played this way. Really, only two hands make sense to me and I say out loud, “you can only have king ten of spades or queen jack here” before putting in the call. He responds with something like, “you know it’s funny… I have neither of those hands and I played this terribly, but…” and then rolls over the T8 offsuit.

Ho
Lee
Shit

I would love to hear what his mind was thinking when he was playing the flop and turn on that one.

I was stuck all session and usually short-handed play is my time to shine and I’ve rallied back from the dead many a time when the game gets short, but not this instance. BlackJack had my number. I can’t say I lost every pot we played together, but he showed down the winner waaaaaaaay more than I did.

I think I was stuck over $600 at some point and I finished at -$436 after 10.5 hours.

Dina and I played even later this time, quitting just after 3:30 AM and again, we didn’t wake up until past 2 PM the next day. So much for hiking in the morning!

Sunday ended up being a complete waste of a day. I spent it playing online poker and watching the WSOP Main Event final table. I played about 16.75 hours total (multi-tabling, so one hour of 3-tabling = 3 hours) and it was basically a wash. I did decent in cash games ($14.68/hour) playing mostly PLO on Global Poker, but I went 1 for 6 in tournaments and my cash was for +$2.60 and my average buy in was $23.50, so I ended a measly +$15.31 for the day.

Needless to say, on both days last weekend I did absolutely nothing productive, aside from play poker and watch poker, and it’s not like I won any money doing that.

Monday was a step in the right direction, as I got back in the gym and did some other productive stuff. We met our friends at a Japanese Steakhouse for lunch and it’s always fun to go into Uncle Batman mode.

I’ve been dabbling in America’s Cardroom over the past month and Monday night I won my first tournament on the site. The structures on ACR are insane. It’s the anti-Global Poker. The blinds are absurdly stair-stepped and players are allowed to late register and re-enter for an insane amount of levels – like 15! A $5 tournament on Global with 200 players could be over in 2-3 hours, but the $5 tournament I played on Monday night on ACR had almost 500 entrants and took me over eight hours to win!

The lesson learned here is that if I want to play tournaments on ACR, it has to be a dedicated session. I can’t just pop in a tournament while I’m making dinner and hope it will be over in a couple hours.

I started with $200 on ACR, so a nearly $500 score was a massive boost to my bankroll.

On Tuesday, I played some online PLO on Global after Dina went to sleep and had what might be my best cash game day ever on that site as I finished the day +$639.87. I usually only play $0.50 blind games and don’t play super long sessions on Global, so winning 13+ buy ins is not a common occurrence.

I’ve talked about playing online PLO on the blog before and how much I’ve struggled to show a profit at it. In 2017, I got absolutely murdered in the $50 PLO 6-max games, but last year I turned myself into a roughly breakeven player. This year, I’ve been running at about 11bb/hr in online PLO. The sample size is still pretty small, but it does seem like things could finally be turning around.

PLO on Wednesday featured an interesting starting lineup. Most of the decent/good regulars were MIA and there were a couple of really juicy spots in the game.

My session started off well enough when one of the spots limped, I made it $20 with AKQ8 double suited, Riddler made it $60 on the button, and we both called.

I flopped the nut flush on the K92 board and since this isn’t the kind of board I expect Riddler to c-bet on, I decided to lead out for $100. Riddler folded but the other player called.

The turn brought an offsuit 7 and my opponent check-called $150.

The river paired the king, so I’m now losing to full houses, but I have a king in my hand and I’m pretty sure he has a flush anyway. I would normally go for the max of $300 here, but with the board pairing, I size down to $200 to increase my chances of getting called. He calls pretty quickly, my flush is good, and I’m immediately up about $600 to start the night.

One player limps in, I make it $20 with KQJ9 double suited and 4 or 5 of us see the Q64 rainbow flop. I have top pair and all sorts of back door draws. I’m not sure this is a flop I necessarily want to bet. I just have a naked top pair at this point, but I have a hand that absolutely needs to see the turn. If I bet and someone bombs it on me, I’m going to have to fold and that is just disgusting. In the moment, I didn’t really think this through and c-bet to $60 and got called by the button only.

The turn card was basically gin for me: the ten of spades. In addition to top pair, I now have a 17-card straight draw (with 11 nut outs) plus a flush draw. After getting called on the flop, if my opponent is drawing, his draws will be around the 6 and the 4, so all my straight outs are usually good if they hit. My hand is big enough now that I definitely want to put money in the pot, so I bet $150 and he raises me to $350. Gross. I can’t recall how much he had behind, but I remember resisting the urge to put him all in because I didn’t think it made much sense to pile while I was still drawing when I can check-fold the river and save x amount on those times I miss. I figured he would probably call on the river most of the time when I improved, so I wasn’t too worried about missing value by just calling.

Unfortunately, the river bricked me and he decided to check back with Q44x.

I can’t remember what his fourth card was, but I checked out the turn equities for this hand, assuming his fourth card wasn’t a blocker to my draw (i.e. 3 of clubs) and I was actually a slight favorite on the turn. I wondered how much having the queen in his hand affected things, so I replaced it with a suited ace and that changed my equity from 52.5% to 50%.

Shortly after that, I limped along with the KQT5 double suited, some others limp, and the button made it $25 and we all called. The flop was AQ6 with two clubs, giving me the nut flush draw and a gut shot. I check-called $105 and we were heads up.

The turn was the 7 of diamonds, giving me a second flush draw and I check-called $300. I figure my opponent has AA here most of the time, so I found myself in another spot where I have a massive draw on the turn and decided not to pile when I know I don’t have the best hand and I don’t have any fold equity. I’m just going to fold when I miss and bet when I get there. If the board pairs, I’m going to check and if he bombs it, I’m going to fold.

The river bricks me again and for the second time in a very short period I miss a huge draw in a sizable pot. Those hands cost me a combined $860 and my good start has quickly turned into a deficit.

There are some limpers, I make it 20 from the small blind with AATT and they all call. The flop is T77 with two diamonds and I size down to 30 and only Mr. Freeze calls.

I think he’s likely to have a 7 here or maybe a draw, so when the turn is an offsuit 8, I size down again to $50, trying to induce a raise. He doesn’t oblige and just calls again.

The river is the 8 of diamonds and suddenly my flopped nut full house is somehow the FIFTH nuts – even though no overcard has come – as there are now four combos of straight flushes and quads possible. Pretty weird. In Omaha, these hands are far more likely than in Hold’em so I have to admit it is slightly concerning. I did give some consideration to check-calling here, letting Mr. Freeze take himself to value town, bluff, or limit the damage when one of the better hands is out there, but I ultimately decided his most likely holding was a 7 and this time I sized up to $200 and he snap called and my hand was good.

Hit&Run opens to $15 and for some reason I call with AQ72 with three clubs in my hand on the button. I’m not sure what I’m thinking here. I know I want to get involved with a loose, sticky player when I’m in position, but my hand is extremely disconnected and I’m blocking my own flush draw when I flop one. This is just spewy, I think.

I think four of us see the A96 rainbow flop and they all check to me. I think it’s pretty reasonable to bet here. I should have the best hand a lot, plus I have a backdoor flush draw, and there aren’t many draws to speak of on this flop. I bet $60 and only the big blind calls.

The turn pairs the 9 and I decide to check back.

The river is an offsuit 2 and he checks to me again. This player has been getting creamed and I’m pretty sure he’s steaming pretty bad right now, so I decide to get tricky because he’s a thinking player. I down bet to $40 hoping he will see opportunity and try to take the pot away by raising. He starts thinking and does line up a raise and as soon as he puts it in the pot I immediately toss a chip in to call.

And then he shows me quad nines. I owe him $150.

Excellent execution, Dark Knight. I played a hand I should have folded preflop and cost myself $225 while having the worst read of all-time.

I limp in with JT87 single suited and call a raise to $20 from the big blind. It’s 4 or 5 of us to a flop of TT3 rainbow and the big blind leads $25. This player has been passive, so I figure he probably has AA here. There’s a chance he has AATx, but I’ll cross that bridge when I need to. I make it $60, building the pot for value, but also to gauge whether another ten might be out there. One of the spots calls $60 cold from the small blind and the big blind also calls pretty quickly. If you think I’m happy about this development, you would be wrong.

The turn is the 2d and they both check to me. I think the small blind probably has a ten and if he doesn’t have a ten, he probably has threes full. If no one has a full house yet, I still don’t think my jack kicker is super likely to win a showdown, so I check back hoping to fill up on the river and re-evaluate if I don’t.

The river is the 6d and the small blind leads out for $200 and the big blind folds. In addition to my prior concerns, a running flush also got there, so I don’t see any reason to give this much thought and I fold immediately.

Our game went from full to 5-handed in about 15 minutes, with roughly $8000 being picked up off the table. The two presumably weakest players at the table cashed out for over $5500 between them. One of those guys also spanked the 15/30 game for over $2000 profit last week, so for someone I’ve never seen play in the big games before, he must be feeling some kind of adrenaline rush right now.

I played a couple key pots when the game got short and the first one happened when we were 5-handed. I open to $15 with A885 single suited and get two callers. The flop is 882 rainbow and I start by check-calling a bet of $50. I have all the cards worth having here, so raising doesn’t make sense. He either has pocket twos or he’s bluffing and he’s probably not going to stop betting in either scenario. He could be taking a stab with some sort of overpair, but he’s making a pot-sized bet on the flop, so I don’t really think that’s the case.

The turn is a 6 and I check-call 100.

The river is a king and he has about $350 behind. Sure, I could lead out here, but I think if he’s bluffing, he’s still going to fire and if he somehow made a full house along the way, I don’t think he’s going to check back with it. I check, he bombs for $300 and I put him all in. I guess he wasn’t on a total bluff because he put his last $50 or so in and I won a nice pot.

My last key hand of the night came up when we were 4-handed and I’m really conflicted with how I feel about it. I did something pretty dumb. Out of kindness.

I’m playing 4-handed with a dealer from Little Creek, a splashy security guard from Palace, and a really nice regular that normally doesn’t play a long time in PLO. She will stab at it for an hour or two and risk a couple hundred dollars, but today she has built herself up a sizable stack and is hanging around when the game has gotten super short. Last week she invited Dina and me to come by her house (she lives on an island) and use her paddle boards and kayaks around the lake sometime this summer. That extremely friendly gesture is fresh in my mind as this next pot comes up.

She limps in, I make it $20 on the button with 7655 double suited and all three opponents call.

The flop is 985 rainbow, giving me the nut straight, bottom set, and two backdoor flush draws. Uhm. Yum yum. Action checks to the nice regular and she donks out for $80. I make it $300 to go and that clears out the blinds, but she quickly calls. I’m pretty sure she also flopped the nut straight here and with almost no thought before calling after getting raised, I don’t think she has a redraw with it.

The turn card is the 3 of diamonds, so now I have the nuts with flush and full house redraws. She leads out for $300. She probably has about $500-$600 behind. I guess she could have picked up a flush draw also, but I suspect she is mostly donking again because she still has the nuts and thinks she should bet it since the board texture didn’t really change. I’m pretty sure I’m freerolling her face off. So obviously… I call?

The river pairs the 3, giving me a full house and she checks it over to me. I’m pretty sure this is already the biggest pot she’s ever played in this game and I know she just went from having half of it to having none of it, so… I check back?

I felt like I was being nice in the moment – and I was – but it didn’t take me long to regret doing so. I’m sure she would have been really upset to get raised $300 more on the turn and then call off her stack on the river, but she would have gotten over it, and she’s sitting in the game, so there’s always a risk that you are going to lose all the chips in front of you. It’s part of the game. Not only that, but this is my job. I don’t have any other way of making money. It seems pretty dumb to limit my own income being nice when the person I’m being nice to has a job they can go to to replenish whatever they lose. She will be fine. But me leaving that $500 on the table is a car payment I could have covered. It’s inexcusable. If my wife is like wtf when she reads this, I can’t blame her. I’m sorry, honey! It won’t happen again!

Edit: Reading through this post to edit, it also dawned on me that checking the river is bad because when I check back she should believe that she is never losing the whole pot – and rightfully so. So when I checked back – at least for a few brief seconds – she certainly didn’t think she was getting scooped in the biggest pot she’s ever played in this game.

In addition, she still has $500 in front of her. $500 she can still use to take my chips! How dumb am I going to feel when I could have felted her and sent her home, but instead she doubles through me? Or if she loses those chips to the other players at the table? Or how should those players feel if she ends up stacking them when they know I should have stacked her already? These guys probably wouldn’t think that way, but I’ve created a branch of reality that shouldn’t exist. I’m positive if I felted her in that hand she would have left for the night.

It’s a nice reminder that you can be nice in demeanor, but it’s important to always play ruthless poker for many reasons, some of which are purely ethical.

It ended up being a pretty rocky PLO session, but those last few pots helped boost me to +$819 for the day. Prior to the WSOP, I had lost in 6 of my last 7 live PLO sessions for a total of -$5068 and I’ve pretty much erased that entire downswing in my last two sessions and my interest level in PLO has been reinvigorated.

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Welcome Back, Dark Knight!

July 13, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Uh, welcome home?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Something to think about.

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

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

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

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

The turn pairs the 5 and the same action occurs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First time for everything!

Then I hit another small jackpot with quad 8s.

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

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

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

What an achievement!

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

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

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