Archive for the ‘poker’ Category

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$600 Limit Omaha 8 @ Venetian – Day Two: A Deep Run! (LIVE BLOG)

June 19, 2018

My latest update was Friday after busting the Golden Nugget 8-Game Mix much earlier than I wished. I ended up going back to our house and resting up. It seems weak, but I was harboring a secret.

Saturday I flew back to Seattle and headed to Anacortes for my niece’s graduation/18th birthday party and surprised my whole family by showing up when I had told everyone I wouldn’t be able to make it.

The Leak and I want to have a baby and with potential parenthood somewhere (hopefully) in our near future, I thought this could be the last (and first) time I could stay for the whole WSOP for maybe several years.

I was going to be selfish and not come home for this monumental event in my niece’s life. I justified it by thinking back to when I was her age and how much I cared if my aunts and uncles showed up for any of that stuff. I didn’t and they didn’t.

But I sure felt bad about it and the more I thought about it, the more I realized I had to be there, so I booked a round trip flight and got to spend this special day with my niece and the rest of my family and see my wife for the first time in 2+ weeks!

Congrats to Lexie! You have grown into a wonderful and absurdly mature young woman and I’m sure you will continue to do amazing things in your next phase of life at Portland University!

I was back in Vegas by midnight and Sunday morning I fired in the $1000 No Limit Hold’em Double Stack tournament.

I doubled up early when I opened with AJ of spades and c-bet the 882 two spade flop in a heads up pot. My opponent called. I turned the nut flush with the ten of spades and my opponent raised my 750 bet to 2000. I’m only losing to 88, 22, TT, and maybe T8 suited here so I expect to be winning most of the time here. I called and I was planning to check-call the river, but when he sized at 2500 and I studied him I decided that not only did I probably have the best hand but I was pretty sure he would call a jam also. He did and I was good.

What a great start!

Unfortunately that was my peak and I basically lost every pot I played after that.

Some of the key ones:

Under the gun opens to 350 at 75/150, there’s a flat and I look down at JJ. Kind of hate 3-betting JJ here, but with two players in and the opener only having about 20 bigs to start the hand I am quite happy to get it in against him, so I make it 1500 to go, planning to call a jam.

I did call a jam. But it came from a cold 4-bet all in of 40 big blinds from the small blind. The other two players folded and I was up against KK and failed to catch up.

I had already decided to call a jam when I 3-bet the JJ, but the plan was to call a 20bb jam, not a 40bb jam – that’s quite a difference and the range of hands that cold four from the blinds is much narrower than the ones the 20bb player might stack off with. I am definitely not enough of a NL tourney wizard to know the the definitive response but I suspect it’s closer to a fold than I initially thought. The problem at the time was I could lose 40bb and still have over 100bb and I was willing to flip at that point, if it indeed was a flip.

Alas, that started a pretty steady decline that culminated in a blind vs blind confrontation that saw it fold to me in the small blind and I looked down at AT against a very aggressive player in the big blind. He was super active and 3-betting a lot of hands, so when I raised it up I knew I was stuffing it on him if he 3-bet me. Sure enough he did, so I jammed it. I knew he had less chips than I did and he could easily eyeball my stack and see that that was the case and this prick still asked the dealer to count down my stack and made me wait a good twenty seconds before calling with… POCKET ACES.

What a douche.

I flopped a Broadway gutshot and I was pretty sure karma was going to bring it in but I bricked out and losing these 30 bigs left me with about 6-7 big blinds and I got my last 5.5 bigs in with AK vs 55 and lost the flip.

Just like that I was out in level 5 of a tournament I had doubled up early in. So goes my summer.

That was enough poker for me on Sunday but Tormund ended up making a deep run in the Double Stack, eventually busting in 542nd place for a min-cash.

Yesterday the $600 Limit Omaha 8 tournament at 4 PM at Venetian was my play.

I had nearly double starting stack in level 2 and by level 8 I was messaging The Joker wondering why my momentum seems to fall off a cliff after level 5 in every tournament I play this summer. Pretty much right after I did that things started to turn around for me and I ended up bagging 45.5k and coming back to blinds of 2000/4000 about 30 spots off the money.

I’m sure I have plenty of hands to talk about but this is the only one I’ll mention because it cracked me up.

Someone opens and I 3-bet with A236 all hearts on the button and he just calls. Not too sure about this play but I’m playing and I think playing heads up in position makes more sense than letting the blinds call cheaply, but I really don’t know.

Flop is 532 with two spades. Pretty bad for me, but I do have two pair and the second nut low. I’m getting scooped by A4 but that’s about it. He ends up betting all the way down on 532ssKs8s and I hate it… I hate it a lot… but he turns over AA87 with no spades. What.

I scoop.

Then he proceeds to stare daggers at me for the next several hours and eventually I just start busting out laughing. Like wtf. Is he bluffing on that hand? Using his two aces as blockers to A4… or does he have zero clue? Probably the latter.

Anyways, I bagged 45.5k and started today off extremely active. I’ve been involved in a lot of big pots. My stack peaked at 97.5k and fell all the way down to 25k after I opened AJ83 with hearts and the small blind 3-bet me. I decided to barrel off when I raised the KJ9hh flop and the board bricked me off with a 7 and a 9 and my opponent did not let his AA go. Holy hell. What a torch. Like 20 spots off the money when I was healthy. I mean, I think my line is fine but I need to save the 10k on the river bet. Once he calls the turn and the board pairs, he’s never folding, especially since I’m the one with the nut flush draw.

The next hand I opened AKK6 and a short stack raised me and I put him all in. He had AT53 and the board ran out Q5342. Pretty unreal.

That left me with 25k and I got that all in when the button opened my blind and I 3-bet A732 and bet dark and eventually got it all in on the turn and my aces and deuces with a 73 low was good for a double.

I flopped a full house a few hands later in a multiway pot and that brought me back up to 81.5k and I’m reminding myself not to get fancy and especially not to bluff calling stations.

I have 72k now and there are 35 players left. I am waiting to publish this until we are either in the money or I’m out. It would hurt too much to put the sweat on and then immediately bubble this thing.

Update: I still have 73k and there are 27 players left. We are redrawing for the final three tables and I just eyeballed all the stacks and I see about 5-6 that have 40k or less. It’s gonna be a race to the finish!

I really want to cash this thing just to stop the bleeding but my eyes are on first place. A min-cash in this thing doesn’t help my bottom line out too much. I need to ship it!

Playing in front of the stands (with not one person in them) and we aren’t even in the money yet!

6:22 PM: What a gift. One player limps, a short stack goes all in for 7k, the small blind is also short and calls the 7k and I call 1k more with J843. The four of us see the QT2 flop and everybody checks.

The turn is a 9, giving me the second nuts, while opening up a club flush draw (I have a jack high one). Eliminating players is obviously important but this pot is super critical to my stack so I bet to protect my hand and the limper calls and the small blind calls all in for less.

We do not want to see a club! River: 7 of diamonds! I bet, the limper folds, and my straight is good for everything, busting two players.

I now have 120k and there are 23 left.

6:59 PM: Please, please, PLEASE don’t. We are still at 23 and the collapse is on.

Folds to me in small blind, I raise AQ82 with spades. I double barrel J64ssK4 and check-fold river and he flashes me two jacks. Could have been worse, I guess.

Very next hand, someone opens and I 3-bet AAK5 with a suit on the button. I bet flop and then check down when the board runs out Q5267 and get scooped by A962.

Down to 72k.

7:10 PM: Without actually standing up and checking out all the stacks, I can see three people shorter than me, so I definitely have life here.

Sigh. And one of them just doubled as I typed this. Ugh.

7:19 PM: Whew. What a relief. We are in the money! I’m still in bad shape, so super happy to sneak in. Now I’m publishing and hopefully can start some run pure.

Let’s. Go.

7:28 PM: First hand after bubble bursts I post my big blind at 5k/10k with 60k to start. One player and SB limp, I check QT98 double suited.

Flop is A85 all hearts. I bet my queen high flush and only the limper calls.

Turn pairs the 5, I bet and he calls.

4 on river. I’m all in for less than a big bet, he calls and shows 5433 and his rivered boat sends me to the rail.

21st for $1200ish.

Wonderful. Published for five minutes and the sweat is over.

A bubble may have crushed my soul, so I guess I’m somewhat happy to cash something but this could have gone so much different. I could have saved 15k on that AJhh vs AA hand – or, God forbid, binked a heart or a straight for a huge scoop. Getting scooped back-to-back when I has AQ82 heads up vs the blind and AA5x heads up on the button absolutely derailed me.

FUCK!

My wife will be landing at midnight tonight and both of us will be playing the $1500 Limit Hold’em event at the WSOP tomorrow at 11 AM. It’s my best game and a tournament I have cashed two years in a row and plan on winning a bracelet in some day. Friday?

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Golden Nugget $250 8-Game Mix Tournament – A Tournament I Can WIN (LIVE BLOG)

June 15, 2018

How do I know this? Because I’ve won it before:

That’s me… in happier times… shipping my third huge score in less than three weeks in Vegas in 2016.

Here I am winning the Rio Daily Deep Stack for $36k a few weeks before that:

And here I am at a WSOP final table a week before that:

And here’s one of my dogs with a cone head:

Someone said my blog has been depressing lately and I can’t disagree. But sometimes depressing is the reality. Poker is a game with lots of variance and sometimes things go really good – like that stretch above that I’m trying to remind myself of – and sometimes they go really bad – like the career worst slide I’ve been on so far this trip.

The thing about playing bigger buy in tournaments is that when you get cold the losses add up really quick. It’s the reason I don’t mind selling action when I play bigger series. I’ve certainly been on worse tournament streaks, but never in this short amount of time for buy in sizes this big. It makes it seem so much worse than it really is but that’s why good bankroll management is absolutely key in maintaining longevity in this game.

Anyways, it’s kind of sad when you’re playing tournaments you can win outright and still not be even for the trip, but shipping this one would go a long ways towards turning things around.

I’ll be posting stack updates and some hands as the day progresses. Tormund is joining me today for this event.

Cards were in the air at 11 AM and it looks like we will be arriving about ten minutes late.

Let’s get one.

11:29 PM: You know you’re running bad when you lose one pot and your first instinct is to check and see if they allow re-entry.

(unlimited re-entry for eight levels)

11:37 PM: Bravo to Golden Nugget for putting limit Omaha 8 immediately after PLO. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ‘πŸ»

First hand of O8, the small blind calls my open raise with K875 and scoops me.

Poker is alive and well, folks.

12:00 PM: 2-7 Triple Draw, it folds to me in the small blind and I decide to just call with three deuces in my hand and two big cards. My opponent raises and I call, planning to snow at some point depending on how things play out since I’ve seen 75% of the best card. I draw four which gets laughs and he draws one.

I improve to 432xx and check-call a bet. I draw two and he stands pat.

I check dark, he bets, and I look down at 75432, also known as the mortal nuts.

Yikes. He’s not going to be pleased with this one. I raise and he ends up staying pat and calling me down.

Then I start with 843xx on the button, raise one limper, the small blind calls two bets cold and the big blind also defends.

The small blind draws four! Gotta love it. Totally similar spot as the last hand, buddy. The limper draws one, so even when I improve to a one card draw, I go ahead and check it back with four active players in the pot.

I make a perfect 8 after the second draw and I think that’s good enough to raise even when the big blind leads and the limper calls. They both call my raise and I’m happy to see the big blind draw one and the limper stand pat. It would be super weird for him to play his hand this way and have me beat.

I bet after the last draw when they both check and only the limper calls and my hand is good.

More great game sequencing: they follow up no limit hold’em with limit hold’em.

12:15 PM: And… all three stud variants are back-to-back-to-back also. Everything perfectly set up to maximize game change mistakes from everyone.

12:35 PM: Complete in Razz with AJ-5 trying to steal and get called by an ace.

On 4th I catch a queen but he catches a king so now I actually have the best hand (although it’s insanely rough). I bet and he calls. No surprise there.

I catch a wheel card on 5th and he catches an 8. I bet and he tank-calls. Sigh. Just fold, dude.

On 6th I catch another wheel card and he catches a nine. I bet and he tanks… and calls! Wtf.

I bet dark on 7th and he calls. Oh oh. I flip over my last card and it’s a 3, my missing wheel card, giving me the nuts.

12:44 PM: Fanboy said the structure in this is garbage. Maybe he’s right. I just rivered kings and queens in Stud high against someone that obviously had jacks and tens. Unfortunately he filled up on 7th and I had to pay off three big bets.

It seems like I’ve been running pretty good but I actually have slightly less than starting stack after that big stud pot. Wtf.

12:50 PM: Stud 8, I complete with an ace up. I get called by a queen up and a king up.

On 4th I catch an offsuit 8, the queen catches a baby, and the king catches a ten. I bet and they both fold.

What?

1:10 PM: PLO, I make it 750 at 150/300 with A875 double suited and the big blind defends.

I bet 1200 on the AJ8 board when I flop two pair with the nut flush draw. He calls.

The turn is a ten and I’m planning to check this card back, but he bets 4000. It’s hefty, but I have a lot of outs so I call.

River… 8! We fill up and I should always be good here based on the action. He checks and I decide to size smallish at 5k to make sure I get called. It’s a small bet relative to the pot size but it’s huge in the grand scheme of things. 5k is more than eight big bets in the limit games! Huge.

Don’t get greedy, get smart.

27.4k on first break.

1:34 PM: Horrible round of limit O8.

22.5k

1:54 PM: Start with two card draw to a wheel in deuce in a 3-bet pot and get run down by a three card draw when I get raised after the second draw and don’t improve.

18.1k

2:06 PM: No limit hold’em, someone opens to 1100 at 250/500 and 75 antes. I make a standard defend with Q5 suited.

Flop is T75 and he bets 1600 when I check. My hand is too good to fold here but I also think it’s too weak to check-call. He whiffs this flop a lot and I don’t expect him to get stubborn or try to float me, so I think I have a lot of fold equity here. I make it 4500 and he folds.

2:13 PM: Limit hold’em, my under the gun raise with AK gets called by the big blind and I check back after getting called twice on T65QQ and lose to… J6 off.

I mean you just have to defend with that hand. Especially when someone is trying to steal from under the gun.

Caught nothing but bricks after opening three hands in Razz.

16.6k

Totally allergic to momentum this month. It would be cool to be able to say I’m peaking 3+ hours into a tournament.

2:27 PM: Sheesh. Stud High, I complete with K6-A and the bring in defends.

On 4th, I catch a jack that’s suited with my ace and king and he catches an offsuit king. He calls again.

He’s all in on 5th for 525 and has somehow made it to this point with 25-3K4 and I have the best hand with ace high.

We both brick 6th but he catches a 6 on 7th to double.

Geez. Losing in Stud high to a Stud 8 hand is pretty cool. Especially when he catches a total brick on 4th.

12.2k

We are on Stud 8 now and PLO is next and there’s a pretty decent chance I’ll get it in there.

3:11 PM: 12.6k on second break. Registration is closed.

3:24 PM: And crippled. Open button in deuce with four to a wheel and the big blind defends, draws two and immediately makes an 8 perfect and I whiff.

3k, which is less than three big blinds.

I just ordered food and there’s a pretty good chance I’ll be out before I get it.

3:33 PM: Open with 3322T under the gun in deuce thinking there’s a decent chance it gets through. Instead I get raised and I’m all in drawing three against a one card draw.

I improve to 532 but catch two bricks on the second draw and he stands pat.

I draw two more and roll my 532. He turns over a T7. I turn over my first card and it’s an 8. Super live. I sweat my last card and immediately see a border – it’s paint. GG.

Tormund is still in with a below average stack. Not sure what I’m going to do with the rest of the day.

4:51 PM: Tormund is busto.

I am going to spend this Friday night in Vegas watching the Mariners and washing my clothes. πŸ‘πŸ»

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It’s Been A Long Time

June 14, 2018

I shouldn’t have left you…

…without a sick blog to sweat to…

Opener coming soon.

Currently playing $20/$40 Stud 8 and Omaha 8 mix cash game at the Rio with Jesus and he was badgering me about not blogging anything lately, so here I am.

I mean… it’s been pretty brutal. I haven’t had anything but pain to write about so far.

So when I last left you I was busting out of the WSOP $1500 8-Game Mix in sad fashion. I ended up playing $20/$40 o8 at the Rio that night because Tormund was making yet another deep run in the Daily Deep Stack.

He took third. For nearly $13k. So that’s four entires into the Daily Deep Stack with fields of 750+ each time and Tormund has finishes of 8th, 17th, and 3rd.

Unreal.

I took that pic of him above with the shiny fedora on and dubbed him a Daily Deep Stack legend on Facebook.

My cash game session was ho-hum. I played 4.25 hours and lost $119.

On the 10th I played the $470 HORSE tournament at Aria and once again never had any momentum in a great structure. I was so short bearing the end of registration that I was playing super loose trying to bust or luckbox my way back into contention.

Alas, I won the pots I got all in on and had over 11k when registration closed, a perfectly awkward stack to continue with.

It didn’t get me far. I busted shortly after registration closed and went to sulk for the rest of the night.

Actually I moved all my stuff from the time share I’d been staying in for two weeks to the Airbnb house we are going to be staying in the rest of the summer.

On the 11th, I had decided to not play the WSOP $1500 Stud 8 tournament but when I arrived at the Rio I decided to man up, sold an extra 30% of my action and took a seat.

After four levels, I had nearly doubled my stack. It was weird having things going well for once, but then my table broke and it was like my doom switch was immediately activated.

I was posting updates on Facebook since I wasn’t blogging and he’s a screenshot of the downfall:

Double my stack at second break and out before the third break. Truly amazing.

Then I sat down in PLO and ran second set into top set 45 minutes into my session and felted $500.

Geez-Us.

Yesterday I ended up late regging the $250 no limit hold’em Low Roller at Planet Hollywood. Totally unplanned.

I lost my first bullet pretty quick but I managed to survive all the way to the money! A cash!

The event was multiple flights and my flight had 253 entrants with 31 cashing and 16 players advancing to day 2.

I had a pretty small stack the whole day and then won a flip with 55 vs AJ and busted the same player when my KK held against his A6. Suddenly I had 30 bigs.

Nothing exciting happened for a while, but I did sneak into the money. I had about 15 bigs when it folded to me on the button and I looked down at an ace and jammed without looking at my second card – a correct play as I should be jamming any ace on the button here – and the small blind called and his 77 held, leaving me with less than two bigs.

I ended up getting them in a few hands later with J8hh and lost to 62o, even though I had twenty outs on the turn.

Good for a $625 cash, but I was in for $500, so…

I played some cash games last night and had a decent session, winning $820. Combined with my tiny cash it was my best day of the trip and I didn’t even make $1000!

7:49 PM: Really stupid Stud 8 hand: I open with AcK-Kc with an ace up behind me. He just calls and so does the bring in.

On 4th street, the ace immediately pairs and I catch the 4 of clubs. I’m quite certain he does not have two pair and it’s probably bad but I continue because I have a three flush and the bring in bricked.

On 5th, I catch a king! Everybody checks to me and I bet. I think they both call.

The both check and call on 6th also.

The aces check in the dark on 7th and the other guy checks also, but I don’t fill up, so I check back myself and show my three kings.

The guy with aces actually bitches about my hand before looking at his last card and slow rolling me with fives full of aces.

Fuck. You. Buddy.

I got moved to the main game and have already whiffed a couple big draws in Stud 8 and find myself ready to leave. This game is trash compared to the one I came from the Golden Nugget’s 8-Game tourney starts at 11 AM.

8:09 PM: So fucking over it.

Start with Ad3d-Qd in Stud 8. King limps with a king dead and I complete. The bring in defends with a 6 up.

I catch an ace but the bring in pairs open sixes. The other player bricks, I bet, the bring in says “so fucking brutal. I put you on two aces in the hole” and then calls. I’m a little concerned.

But on 5th street I make open aces and he catches a five and I am no longer concerned. I bet, he calls.

On 6th, I brick and he pairs his five. Are you fucking kidding me? I’m concerned again. He checks to me and I decide to check back.

On 7th the dealer “accidentally” deals both of our cards face up and we both catch jacks. There’s some commotion but we can still play the hand out and he checks to me and I don’t see how I can check back now, so I bet and he snap calls me with sixes full of fives.

To recap, in less than thirty minutes, my opponent caught extremely good on 4th only for me to catch my miracle card on 5th and I still found a way to lose both pots.

Amazing.

I started off pretty good so I only lost $386 total but I have some pretty serious accumulated tilt going on and an early start tomorrow so I’m fine calling it yet another early night.

It’s no secret that this has been an incredibly disappointing and frustrating trip for me so far and I’m having some difficulty powering through right now.

I have two cashes in thirteen tournament bullets – in the two smallest events I’ve played – and both of them were min-cashes.

It all adds up to a sexy -90% ROI.

Cash games haven’t been spectacular either. I’ve played more hours than I did all last WSOP but it hasn’t amounted to much and I’m yet to really play a full session (my longest is < 6 hours). I’m running at $14.65/hour but I haven’t played much and that’s a paltry win rate for the stakes I’m playing.

Well, that’s my update for the week.

$250 8-Game Mix tourney at Golden Nugget at 11 AM tomorrow after a good night’s rest. I actually won this tournament in 2016 and a repeat would be pretty good timing this year!

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WSOP $1500 8-Game & My First Cash of the Summer!

June 9, 2018

No, not in a WSOP event. After my super disappointing finish in the $1500 HORSE, I just went back to my condo and stayed there the rest of the day taking it easy and relaxing.

I was planning to play cash games all day yesterday but I heard The Orleans had a $150 8-Game tournament in their series and it sounded like the perfect warm-up for my next WSOP event.

The Atom and myself showed up for the start of the tournament and The Joker and Tormund made appearances a few hours later. With 80 players (of 133 entrants) remaining, I was the only one left standing – far away from the money at 18. Nice showing, fellas!

I don’t have much to say about this tournament until the very late stages, specifically with four tables left, roughly six spots off the money.

I had a pretty healthy stack at this point, but even so, chips can disappear quickly, especially if you have big confrontations. We are playing limit hold’em six-handed and I open with 44 under the gun. Honestly, it’s a bit loose. I don’t know that I would consider it standard and I think folding here is pretty defensible, possibly even recommended. For instance, if I was in a loose, six-handed cash game, I would always fold 44 under the gun. But in a tournament, with most of my opponents playing on the tighter side, I think it’s okay. So I open the 44 and the lady on my direct left does a little bit of a stutter step like she is considering raising me but winds up cold-calling instead. We go heads up to the flop.

It is very, very sexy. KJ4. I bet. She raises. Oh sweet baby Jesus, it is my lucky day. No need to get coy here. I can eyeball her stack and see that she will be very close to all in if we play this hand out, so I go ahead and re-raise, knowing she’s going to have to call me down basically all the time if she has a hand. She calls my 3-bet.

The turn is a 6. I bet and she calls.

The river is a ten. I bet and she says “I’m all in.” I thought she had less than my bet, so I just snap-roll my hand without saying anything. And she snap-rolls her hand.

She has AQ for a rivered straight.

How? We put in three bets each on the flop! How does she have a straight? What in the world? I mean, I sort of get it. It’s a reasonable hand to bluff with on the flop. I might fold smaller pairs and some other hands, plus she usually has decent equity when called. Maybe she takes a free card when I just flat. But when I raise flop and bet turn it is just max pain for me on the river. There are 5.5 small bets after the preflop betting, so after the flop action there are 11.5 small bets. On the turn, she is getting 6.75 to 1 to call with what looks like four outs. My hand looks a lot like AK, KJ, and sets – and my combos of KQ are reduced by her holding, plus I might not play that hand so fast in such a critical spot. Seems like a pretty standard fold on the turn for her.

But she didn’t fold and instead I’m losing this insanely important monster pot nearing the bubble to a rivered gutshot.

Then the dealer counts out her last bet and realizes it is a few thousand more for me to call. He looks at me, expectantly and I’m like “what?” He says it’s “xxx more,” and I say, “Okay, I never said ‘call.'”

Is this my classiest moment at the poker tables? No. No it is not. I’m not proud of it. But I have to say I was pretty devastated at the moment and having already lost a huge pot in horrible fashion, I wasn’t eager to put chips in the pot I never committed to.

A floor gets called over (the actual TD is on break) and the situation is explained and I am still refusing to pay the last partial bet and some dick at the table pipes in saying I should get a penalty for exposing my hand out of turn and the floor actually listens to him and issues me a one round penalty.

I was so thrown by this decision that I was rendered speechless and didn’t even bother fighting it because I was so mad I wasn’t sure what I would say in the moment. It didn’t even occur to me until later that my opponent also exposed her hand with action still pending. There is no logical way to give me that penalty without also giving her one.

Well, I had about 11k in chips and the big blind was 4k and I had to sit out a full orbit. When I was able to play again, my 11k had turned into less than 4k, which was less than one big blind.

Somehow I managed to spin that up and eventually had as many as 160k in chips.

I played a stud hand extremely poorly and a razz hand quite questionably and those two hands essentially cost me a very deep run.

Instead I busted in 11th for $380. Crumbs. But it is my first cash of the summer.

My friends and I went to The Saw Escape Room last night and it was a blast, but a little overpriced since I requested a private tour. We sucked though, getting through less than half of the rooms in time, although two rooms were basically buzzer beaters we were on the wrong side of. Lots of fun though! Check it out if you are in Vegas and a fan of the films.

Joker and I are about to head to the Rio to play the $1500 8-Game and I feel really good about it. It’s nice to iron the kinks out in a $150 event so I don’t make the same mistakes when the stakes are 10 times bigger.

Leggo.

3:05 PM: Walking towards registration on our way in, I spot Rep Porter a few strides ahead of us and ask if we can borrow his diamond card real quick (to skip the line). He actually stopped and started looking for it! What a guy. I told him I was kidding though.

A little bit of a late start here. Only three players at my table at the moment and one of them is Miami John Cernuto. I’ve actually played with him a decent amount. He’s not really someone I expect to put me in many tough spots.

We are 4-handed now and this tournament plays 6-handed. I’ve scooped a couple smallish o8 pots already.

3:34 PM: New player at my table: Sandeep Vasudevan. I recognized that name from the HORSE tournament and, sure enough, he went deep in that, finishing 6th for a career high score of $33k.

He also has two WSOP Circuit rings, including one last month in pot limit Omaha (the other was a no limit hold’em ring in 2013). So he’s fresh off two of the biggest scores of his life and I imagine his confidence is riding high.

3:48 PM: Scott Blumstein, the latest Main Event champ is seated directly behind me.

3:59 PM: Dang. Guy was getting a back/shoulder massage with his ass crack totally exposed and the masseuse with a direct view the whole time. I wanted to snap a pic but I couldn’t do it discreetly.

4:14 PM: Just got absolutely abused in no limit hold’em. I started with over 8k and I now have a touch over 4k. I think I opened four pots and for 3-bet every single time. I flopped two pair with KJ suited when my opponent flopped the nut flush. He slow played it and check-called flop and turn so I was able to check back on river.

I also defended my blind once and I started to think: I’ve folded some hands and I can think of five I played. We did the math: we played nine hands of no limit hold’em – you’re supposed to play six. Pretty cool, especially since it was such a profitable variant for me.

First hand of Stud high I start with a four flush and brick it. I did pick some chips back up with AA-K and rolled up jacks, but I didn’t get past 5th street either time.

I have a sad 4225.

4:52 PM: Sigh. PLO. Sandeep bluffs off his whole stack the hand previous, so he’s pretty short to start this next one. He opens to 200 at 50/75 blinds. I make it 675 with AKKJ one nut suit and he calls.

Flop 642. I bet pot (1425) and he’s all in for 1625 total. He rolls QQ75.

Board runs out 642A3 and he wins.

Down to 2550. Pretty stoked.

5:08 PM: 2850 on first break.

5:31 PM: Joker had 1000 in chips on break and we set the over/under on number of us surviving to the next break at 0.5.

We both liked the under side.

A few hands of 2-7 left and I will definitely be looking to get all in and double up in no limit hold’em.

5:50 PM: Joker has tripled up. I played zero hands of NL. I am down to 1550.

6:11 PM:

6:16 PM: Busted.

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WSOP $1500 H.O.R.S.E.: Let’s Repeat!

June 6, 2018

Not much time to write before the event starts. Tormund ended up taking 142nd in the Colossus for a smallish cash and I played 15/30 O8 cash at Orleans with The Atom for a bit before running out of steam early and booking a +$18.

Just registered the $1500 HORSE with The Joker. I took 5th in this one last year so hoping this is the event to activate some run good for me.

Pacific Northwesterner Adam Coates is still alive in the $10k O8 event. There are six players left. He’s second in chips. First place is over $400k. Holy. Shit. I can’t even comprehend the level of that sweat. PNW has come up just short twice already but I have a feeling about this one. There’s a mega short stack, but Adam is gonna have to go through superstars Eli Elezra and Paul Volpe to pull this off. Good luck!

The Joker just took this seat to the right of a Poker Hall of Famer… Barbara Enright. Eh. Could be worse. No one else at my table with tournament starting in 4 minutes.

I might post some hands and I’ll definitely post stack updates on breaks but my focus is going to be on… focusing.

Let’s go.

First Break: 6225

My starting table is amazing, so that’s a frustrating start. No strong players and multiple weaklings.

This first break was mostly a battle against my blood sugar. I had to change the batteries in my PDM for my Omnipod, I had to change my pod, and I had to change my Dexcom sensor.

Then I ate.

For some reason I forgot how to properly change my batteries so my whole PDM resets and doesn’t do bolus calculations for like three hours. And often, when I change my pod my first few boluses seem to have little affect.

So when it was time to configure my sensor with my current blood sugar, I was over 400. It wouldn’t even calibrate.

My last check was 478, but my check before that was 477 so it seems to finally be leveling out and hopefully going down from there.

Needless to say, I haven’t been in my comfort zone.

The Atom has over 16k at first break. Joker is at 5800.

2:26 PM: The biggest punter at my table is felted and I have less chips than I started with. No justice.

2:49 PM: I just brought it in with a 5 up in Razz. Pretty cool.

From The Joker, in regards to Barbara Enright, Poker Hall of Famer:

Lhe Ep raise Barbara defends. Flop q64ss she donks. He flats. Turn 3c she bets again and calls the raise. River 7c she check calls he has AQ she rolls 37hh 🀣

Just a pure torch from a “legend” of the game. A prime example of why you shouldn’t worry about name players until you actually see how they play.

3:43 PM: Just met Chris “DeathDonkey” Vitch and he told me he reads my blog which kind of blew my mind although it probably shouldn’t – we both post semi-regularly in the Limit Hold’em forums on Two Plus Two.

13,675 after four levels.

Adam Coats still alive with four left in the $10k O8. I tried to snap a pic but the quality was garbage.

6:17 PM: Adam doing work:

There are still four players remaining. They have really been battling it out.

I’m sitting on 19.8k on dinner break, which should be well above average. The worst players at my table have busted but it’s still pretty good.

My most notable hands:

Before the first break, I played a weird stud hand where I opened with K8-T because there were three jacks up behind me and nothing else to worry about.

The first jack up calls me and we both brick on 4th street and he calls again.

I make a pair of kings on 5th and I’m jolted into shock when my opponent raises with his board showing xx-J67 rainbow with two jacks dead. So bewildering. He doesn’t have jacks and if he called with a draw, it hasn’t developed. So he’s saying he has 76-J67 or… 77-J67? Bizarre he would call with either of those hands with two jacks dead. I guess 98-J76 makes some sense.

Either way, never folding here. I call and make open kings on 6th and it’s probably optimistic to think I can check-raise this card, but that’s what I try to do and it checks through.

I don’t fill up on 7th, but I do bet for value and get paid off. My hand is good.

Dang. I had another good hand but I’ve been sitting here for 20+ minutes trying to jog my memory and it hasn’t happened yet… so PUBLISH.

8:00 PM: Adam just busted the $10k O8 in 3rd place for $181k. What a sick run. The PNW continues to represent!

9:11 PM: Sitting on over 40k coming back to 300/600 blinds.

One fun hand: I open with split aces in Stud high and only the bring-in calls.

I catch an offsuit six and he catches paint and he calls my bet.

On 5th I catch an offsuit three and he catches a king and I decide that if I was on a steal here I would give up, so I go ahead and check-raise. He calls.

He calls on 6th and 7th also and I end up making aces and nines to win a big one.

Tormund is making a deep run in the $250 Deep Stack and is currently in the money with a pretty decent stack.

The Atom and The Joker are out of the HORSE event.

Two more levels tonight and I’m in great shape to advance.

9:42 PM: Registration is closed with 731 entrants. 328 are left and 110 cash. $202k up top.

And Phil Ivey just entered right before this level started.

11:21 PM: Well, I made it to Day 2 for the first time this series, but what a disastrous last two levels. I am bagging 23.3k.

Here are some of the worst hands from these two levels:

I open in o8 and call a 3-bet with AK32 double suited. Flop is Q73 with two of my ace high suit. I check-raise and he calls. Not much that can go wrong here, right?

Turn is a 2. Oh wait. Yeah. That can happen. I decide to keep on betting because I do have two pair and the nut flush draw and that could be a counterfeit card for him also. He calls.

River was a 9 and at this point I don’t know if I’m bluffing or value betting so I check and call when he bets and I have to chop with a naked A4. Ugh.

Stud Hi, there’s a limp, I raise with K9-Q all diamonds and two players call.

I spike a king on 4th and they both call again.

On 5th street I get raised by a board showing three spades. I strongly consider folding but I still have a three flush and a pair, so there are 6th street cards I can continue on and he may not have a flush yet. I call.

I make open kings on 6th and I’m somewhat surprised to see it go check-check.

I brick the river and still check and this time he bets. I call because I’m confused now.

He shows an ace high flush and a pair of aces. He said he had aces on 3rd and a flush draw on 5th and got there on 7th. Kind of a strange line with AA-8, but pretty crafty.

The hand that broke my spirit:

Folds to me in Stud 8 and I’m in a good spot to steal with 8J-8. Only the bring-in defends.

I catch a 4 and he catches a queen and calls my bet.

On 5th street I catch a queen and he catches a jack and decides to lead out. I think he thinks I’m going low and I’m quite confident I have the best hand – especially since I have a queen and a jack and it would be weird for him to defend with either of those cards in the hole. I raise. I expect him to fold here. He doesn’t.

On 6th I catch a blank and he makes open sixes and bets out. I’m so perplexed I end up calling him down even though I don’t improve and he does have three sixes.

Holy shit. I can’t really wrap my mind around this hand. I get his thinking on 5th but seems like it should be a fold when I’m blocking multiple outs. I dunno… but it stung.

Finally, there’s a button open in o8 and I 3-bet AJT2 double suited. He calls.

Flop is A98 with two spades. Not great. Not terrible. I bet and he raises. Now it’s really not great. My low draw is already counterfeit and I do have a straight draw but only three of my outs are scoopers. I do have a flush draw but it’s only ten high and the ace on the flop is the non-spade so he has the nut flush here a lot. I call because it seems like the right thing to do.

Turn is a 5 and I check-call again. Maybe another small card gets me half also?

River is a ten and I’m pretty happy when it goes check-check and he turns his hand over and I don’t see a low. Looks like a scoop for me! Uh, nope. He has AQJx with a busted nut flush draw… but his QJ is the mortal nut for high and he doesn’t even know he has it. I get scooped.

So yeah, pretty brutal last couple levels.

We restart at noon tomorrow with blinds at 500/1000 so not the end of the world but not what I was thinking would happen when I was sitting on 50k three hours ago.

I played a decent amount with Andrey Zaichenko ($3 million in lifetime cashes) and… what a piece of work. I didn’t know who he was until I saw him write his name on his bag, but he was messing around on his iPad the whole time, not paying attention to anything, constantly being asked to ante, putting his antes right in front of him so the dealers couldn’t reach it, and not folding his upcards. I thought he was a dick before I knew who he was and I still think he’s a dick.

Tormund is making a really deep run in the $250 Daily Deep Stack. There are 40 players left out of 1050 and $36k for first place. I’m grabbing some food with The Atom and going to sweat him a bit but I’m not looking to stay here much later.

Restart at noon!

1:25 AM: Tormund still in with 14 left. They are flying out of this thing. Looks like I’m gonna see it through.

1:46 AM: Tormund heading to the final table, let’s go!

2:40 AM: Tormund busts in 8th when he reshoves AK vs AQ and the blind wakes up with TT and holds to bust them both.

Sleep time.

DAY TWO

11:59AM: Only player whose name I know at my starting table is Tony Ma and most of his success was over 15 years ago. I am slightly below average and somehow have the most chips at my table. Pretty crazy coincidence. Still lots of play for these games though. 205 remain. 95 spots until the money.

Leggo.

12:06 PM: Rep Porter, Kate Hoang, Tommy Hang, Ian Johns, Scott Clements are some of the players still in with Washington roots.

12:15 PM: Early scoop! I make a flush in a 3-way Stud 8 pot with Tony Ma showing xx-26A7 on his board and somehow pays me off without a low.

39k

12:24 PM: Yikes. Running good. I open QQ under the gun, next player calls and big blind defends.

Flop AJ8, big blind donks, I peel, cold caller raises, and we both call. My plan is to fold unimproved.

Turn is a ten, the second best card in the deck for me as it gives me eight additional outs. I check-call and we are heads up.

River is a beautiful 9. I lead and my opponent reluctantly calls with AJ.

I c-bet a set of 9s in a 3-bet pot after that and got a fold.

51.1k

12:35 PM: Ugh. Scooped with AQJ3 by A552 on a Q98(rainbow)75 runout. He called turn for over half his stack and catches his only scoop card. What. Just brutal.

41.1k

12:50 PM: Phil Hellmuth is two tables behind me and I just heard someone there call him an “idiot player.”

Sigh. Someone just 3-bet me all in in Razz with 62-6 and gets a triple up. Why?

36.5k

What a volatile start.

1:18 PM: Start with a three flush in Stud Hi and get 3-bet by an ace up. I immediately improve to a four flush but this guy’s board on 5th is xx-AAA. Come on.

33.7k

1:31 PM: Ughggggg. Just got scooped in a massive 4-way pot in Stud 8 when I have 32-45 on 4th and only one ace dead. Got back-to-back bricks and had to pay three big bets to see 7th. So sick.

18k

1:47 PM: 10 bigs starting the flop games. Need a lot of love here. 40 spots off the money atm.

2:04 PM: What an absolutely painful start. The thrill of immediately chipping up to 50k only to have it disappear just as fast.

That Stud 8 pot is going to be one I remember forever. If I can find an ace or six I scoop that monster and I’d be sitting with like 70k right now. I have some thoughts about 7th street on that one I might extrapolate on later. I think there’s some chance I can win half of that pot.

Anyways, I’m sitting on 11k at the first break and I’ll be coming back to a big blind of 1500 with like six hands of o8 left.

We are still about 40 spots off the money and it’s definitely looking grim but I’m not dead yet!

2:31 PM: Heading to the ante games with two big bets. GL all in!

2:54 PM: Super cold in Razz (although I did get the 88-8 one time) and I’m all the way down to 4400 after antes and a 6 up opens so I raise my first playable hand and we get it all in. I start with 26-7 and he has A3-6.

Fortunately his final board is A3-6QQ8-J.

Unfortunately my final board is 26-7K5K-2.

There are roughly 130 players left when I bust – 20 spots off the money – and for the second time in three years I turn a 50k+ stack on Day 2 of HORSE into a non-cash.

My frustration level right now is so high I was in an Uber back to my timeshare before I even considered what I wanted to do next.

I’m going to cool off and possibly nap for a few hours and go from there. I probably won’t play again today as I have some stuff to catch up on anyway. I’ll put in a power cash session somewhere tomorrow and my next event will be the WSOP $1500 8-Game Mix on Saturday.

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WSOP $565 No Limit Hold’em COLOSSUS & Kate Hoang Heads Up For A Bracelet

June 4, 2018

So after busting the Aria O8 event on Saturday, I went to the Rio to quasi-sweat Kate Hoang’s deep run in the $1500 WSOP Omaha 8 tournament and play some $20/$40 O8 cash myself.

My O8 game was actually very good but there was no love for me and I ended up finishing -$643 over about four hours and multiple extensive breaks away from the table watching Kate’s final table.

I ended up cashing out around 2 AM and the WSOP staff called it a night around the same time and added a fourth day to Kate’s event and she was due back at 2 PM Sunday with four players, left sitting second in chips.

I am very much rooting for Kate – and anyone from the Pacific Northwest really – so Tormund and I got to the Rio a little after 2 PM hoping to see her close out a win before our HORSE tournament started at Venetian at 4 PM. There was early good news as we passed one of the remaining players at the entrance indicating that they were now down to three players.

The short stack was pesky and hung around for a while, but they eventually eliminated him and Kate was heads up for a bracelet for the second time in three years. In fact, she took an insanely brutal beat against Josh Arieh at the $10k PLO8 final table last year that cost her a huge chip lead and eventually the tournament. So three straight years with a final table and at least two second place finishes locked up. Needless to say, Kate is on everyone’s radar now.

Tormund and I hung around to watch this heads up battle until about 4:15 and it looked like Kate might close it out before we left, but the other guy fought back and eventually took a commanding lead. The players went on break and that was our cue to try to go make our own money and root her on from afar.

They ended up battling heads up for nearly four hours, constantly changing chip leads and forcing the staff to add at least three levels of play that previously did not exist. Alas, Kate ended up finishing in second place for a hefty cash of $148,150. Amazing.

And yet I really feel her pain. Kate has been nothing but humble when I’ve heard people talk about her success but I know she had to really, really, REALLY want that bracelet. Hell, I would.

Still, it was another amazing performance from one of our area’s top players and I’m personally quite confident that Kate has bracelets in her future.

In other local player news, The Sandman is making waves in the $2500 Mixed Triple Draw Lowball tournament. He bagged a top two stack after Day 1 and was still alive with 12 players left after Day 2. I slept in super late today and wanted to catch up on some things otherwise I would have shown up to the Rio early today to sweat his sick run. I’ve been keeping an eye on it via PokerNews and he currently sits 7th in chips with ten players left and a guaranteed payout of nearly $12k.

Yesterday I played the $600 HORSE tourney at Venetian and while I did manage to accumulate some chips for the first time this trip, it was another incredibly disappointing finish. I made it to dinner break with about 30k, which was well above average, but came back from break and immediately lost three pots in a row and was back to nearly starting stack.

Some brutal run outs in the stud variants crippled me. First I had four to an ace high flush and a gut shot in a three way pot in stud high only to finish with an ace high hand. Then in Stud 8 I was facing an opponent clearly trying to punt by betting an obvious pair of 2s with no low draw and I had four to a low working plus all my cards as likely winners if they pair. I missed my low and made a pair of kings on 7th, but he rivered fours and deuces to scoop me. Why not raise my hand at some point, you say? Because punters don’t fold. This guy was going to 7th street no matter what our boards looked like or what I did.

I was down to 6000 in chips with blinds at 1000-1500 when we arrived at limit hold’em and I had 1500 in the big blind holding AJ. Matt Grapenthien, a notable mixed games player, opened in early position, the button called, and I 3-bet to get my stack in. They both called and I bet my last 1500 in the dark before the dealer brought the flop. It was a pretty favorable AT3 rainbow board and I was quite happy to see Grapes make it 3000 to go. The button tanked for quite some time and called two bets cold. The turn paired the ten and Matt bet again. I don’t love that card because tens are definitely hands Matt would raise on the flop to try to isolate with a player all in, but I still thought I had very good winning chances. The button called again. The river was a 5, Grapes bet, and the button called. Grapes rolled over A6 and I was pretty happy to see that I had tripled up.

And then the button rolled his hand. Why is he rolling his hand? How can he ever have the best hand here? Maybe he has an ace with a slightly better kicker? Surely, he would call the flop much faster if he had AK or AQ. Nope. He doesn’t have either of those hands. He doesn’t have an ace at all actually. Nor does he have trip tens.

He has pocket fives. A rivered full house. A hand that 98% of poker players would snap fold on the flop for two bets cold without giving it a second thought.

This is one of those poker stories that sound almost too unbelievable to be true. I mean I don’t really believe it and it happened to me. I think I actually sat in my seat for a full two minutes after I busted out in disbelief. It was such a sick parlay for it to happen. In a no limit tournament, my four big blinds would never get a fold from 55, but in a limit event, with a third player in the pot, THAT RAISED THE FLOP TO ISOLATE, there is no way I should have ever lost here. I had Grapes drawing dead to a chop on the turn and he gave me another chance at protection by betting his A6 again.

Ugh. I wouldn’t have had a great stack after that, but it would have been a full triple up and would have given me some hope of getting back into the fight. Alas, it was my fourth consecutive bust out in Vegas so far to go along with two small losses in cash games. It has not been a good first week.

I’m about to hop in the shower and head to the Rio to play the 5 PM (and last) flight of the Colossus. The structure in this event is one of the worst at the WSOP and no limit tournaments are not my preference, but I have cashed the Colossus in back-to-back years. Hopefully I can run deep again and maybe make my first Day 2 of the trip? That would be pretty cool.

I will post updates here – and keep an eye on what Sandman has going on – but probably won’t get too in depth with it as I’m playing.

5:10 PM: Great planning on my part. I’m currently four rows deep in line to register the Colossus. The Atom was walking out of registration as I walked up and said it took him a solid 30 minutes to get through.

Sandman update: 5th of 8 left. I’ll see if I can snipe a pic on my way to my seat.

One more interesting piece of info: Phil Ivey played the Colossus yesterday. Let that sink in.

He’s baaaaaaaaack.

5:31 PM: And I’m in. Starting with 5k and blinds at 25/50. I recognize zero players at my table, but superficial judgement is it looks promising.

5:35 PM: Just lost half my stack on the third hand.

Not really. Blinds are 50/100 now.

5:58 PM: Sandman is at the Triple Draw Mix final table, sitting 5th of 6 left, and guaranteed at least $22.3k.

I’m down to 3375 already after whiffing a 3-bet pot with KJdd and giving up with 77 in a raised pot on Q43A.

6:29 PM: I stole the blinds.

And this is officially the coolest thing to happen to me so far this trip:

6:36 PM: Tormund finally making his way through the Colossus registration line.

Stole the blinds again… with KK.

Tormund just walked by my table, looked at my stack, and shook his head.

7:06 PM: I made it to the break. I have 2200 coming back to 100/200/25. That’s 11 bigs. Wonderful.

Sandman down to final five. He looks like the short stack. Scott Seiver and Chris “DeathDonkey” Vitch are still in there. $31.8k guaranteed.

Just watched Sandman double.

8:12 PM: Got a 3-bet jam through with AQ but dwindled back down to 10.5 bigs and got it in at 100/200/50 with AJ vs 55 and 99 and found no help.

Standing in line to re-enter and sit down with 25 bigs.

πŸ‰πŸƒπŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

8:25 PM: First hand at my new table finds five players all in: A5ss vs JJ vs QQ vs AQ vs JJ.

Flop: Q22.

GG, fellas.

8:28 PM: This may have been my worst use of $565 ever. I’m basically sitting down with 12 big blinds: 4850 @ 200/400/50 now.

8:43 PM: Jammed 3600 with 55 right into KK.

GG.

Having a great time so far.

9:11 PM: The Atom and Tormund are still in the Colossus. Just got texts from Tormund saying he busted JC Tran and crippled Ishmael Bojang. He must have a decent stack going and just dispatched his toughest opponents.

11:00 PM: Sandman busts the $2500 Triple Draw Mixed Lowball event in 3rd place for almost $72k. Another sick run from a PNW player. Congrats man!

11:10 PM: Tormund and The Atom are both still in the Colossus. Tormund has 67k and The Atom is sitting on 18k @ 500-1000 blinds. They have three hours of play left tonight and I’m debating whether I want to play cash until Tormund is done or go to sleep at a decent time. I’m tentatively planning to play the Triple Draw Mix tourney at Binions at 11 AM tomorrow.

11:33 PM: Tormund just lost most of his stack so I’m gonna sit down in 20/40 O8 and hope something good happens in the time I’m here.

3:35 AM: I guess I should post a wrap up of sorts. The Atom min-cashed the Colossus and Tormund is actually putting something together and is currently 15 minutes away from bagging.

I’m actually having a good o8 session. I am up well over $1k and leaving soon.

Yet another local is doing big things. I’ve been crossing paths with Adam Coats for years now and he’s no stranger to deep WSOP runs, having finished 131st in the Main Event in 2014 and 8th in the $1500 O8 the same year. Well, Adam is at it again, bagging up the second best stack after Day 2 in the $10k O8. There’s $418k up top in this one and of course I’ll be keeping an eye on that and rooting Adam on.

Tormund just bagged up 116k and is headed to Day 2 of the Colossus and I cashed out a +$1440 winner while I was waiting for him. A nice change of pace for our household.

I will be taking it easy tomorrow, catching a movie with The Atom and playing O8 cash at The Orleans so I’m fresh and rested for the $1500 HORSE on Wednesday.

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Aria $470 Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8/Better (Live Blog)

June 2, 2018

So yesterday I didn’t have much of a plan and around 3-4 PM The Leak and I decided we were going to play cash games at Bellagio, but I dropped her off at the B and then parked our car at Planet Hollywood to skim on parking costs.

She informed me that the $20/$40 Limit Hold’em list was almost 25 deep and since I was walking through Planet Hollywood I decided to check out the $300 Triple Draw Mix (Badugi, 2-7, A-5) tournament I thought about playing. Well, it was 4.5 hours deep, but registration was still open and I could sit down with 15 bigs. Plus, I spotted Kevin Gerhart, a Run It Up warrior, in the field and asked him if he had less than the starting stack. He said “yes” and I thought, Hell, if this guy still thinks he has a shot, I might as well take one.

I actually managed to win some pots to start off on the right track, getting my 15k up over 30k but I lost a critical 2-7 hand that I never recovered from.

In the hand in question, I opened drawing one to a smooth 8 and a player I thought was capable called my raise and then patted after the first draw. I picked up on something that made me think he was snowing and when I made a pair of 8s after the last draw and he still bet, I gave serious thought to check-raising, but didn’t pull the trigger. He tabled a pair of 6s after I folded.

Sigh. That’s what I call having really good poker sense but not enough experience to know how to capitalize on it in a variant I’m not super familiar with.

I ended up busting in 17th or 18th place which was about ten spots off the money in what was a pretty small field of less than 70 runners.

Then I headed to Bellagio and immediately got a seat in a $40/$80 Limit Hold’em game. For those that follow my blog closely, you will know that I’ve only played a game this big once in my life and it was an utter disaster at Commerce back in January this year.

I suppose this session went better, but the game I was in wasn’t great most of the time. I played a little less than six hours and started off poorly down over a rack immediately and then around even for the rest of the time.

I did briefly play with Humberto “the shark is hungry” Brenes and Chau Giang, a former nose bleed stakes regular and likely future Hall of Famer, for an extended period of time, although he spent a lot of time out of his seat.

I would have booked a small win but I made a time game mistake. With the dealer push coming up in a few minutes, I posted my big blind knowing I wasn’t going to pay for the next half hour. Since I wasn’t going to finish the orbit I was about to pay the blinds for without paying more time, I should have just left right then.

Instead, I posted my big blind and my good friend The Crypt Keeper (whom hasn’t made a blog appearance in forever) raised under the gun and I defended with JTo.

I check-called the T9x flop, knowing his UTG opening range is weighted towards extremely strong hands and then I check-raised the turn when I made top two pair. He thought for a bit and then called.

The river was a king, which is an amazing card for his continuing range. I’m basically only beating AA and an optimistic line with AK at this point. Maybe AJ. No value in betting here and I can actually probably even check-fold against The Crypt Keeper because his bluff frequency is close to zero. I call though because that’s what you’re supposed to do and he shows me QQ for a straight.

I posted my small blind and played my button before the dealer change and then couldn’t take any more hands because I wasn’t paying time.

So I donated $360 to my buddy on a hand I shouldn’t have even let myself be dealt in on and that was the difference between a win and a loss yesterday.

-$230 in 5.5 hours which drastically increases my lifetime $40/$80 win rate to -$328/hour.

My plan was to play this Aria tournament today but we got in pretty late last night so I had to force myself out of bed and I did take my sweet time getting here.

I sat down about an hour after it started, but the structure is super deep and good, so still massive amounts of play.

Starting stacks are 20k and blinds were 100/200 when I sat down.

Blinds are now 150/300 and I have a little less than 22k with no super interesting hands of note yet. I recognize three players at my table, including a bald guy rocking a mullet – a look I would strongly recommend to Radio Mike if he’s reading this – but nobody I know by name.

Finally, some shoutouts before I publish:

-Snowflake got a nice cash (48th) in the $1500 O8 and The Sandman min-cashed it.

-Tormund hit and ran the shit out of Johnny Chan and Robert Mizrachi last night, sitting down in a big mix game during the Big O portion and won a roughly $5k pot and then immediately left when the game switched. LOL. I bet they were PISSED.

-Trey (or Goatluv), a dealer from Fortune made a deep run (46th) in the WSOP Casino Employee event.

-Hal, a floorman from Palace is deep in the $600 Venetian No Limit Hold’em Deep Stack Event. He reported that there are about 230 runners left out of a starting field of about 1600 and 154 spots pay. Looks like he’s starting Day 2 with about 30 bigs, which isn’t a big stack, but definitely workable. Good luck, Hal!

-Pacific Northwest Omaha superstar Kate Hoang is doing what Kate does: crush Omaha tournaments at the World Series of Poker. She is still alive with 36 left in the $1500 O8 and her stack looks to be about middle of the pack to start Day 3. Good luck, Kate!

Also – and I’m sure Kate will appreciate this 😳 – I spotted this gem of a thread on Facebook with 400+ comments of guys drooling over her.

1:21 PM: Today is a sad day. The Leak is leaving me for Washington and we won’t be seeing each other for the longest period of time since we first started seeing each other over six years ago.

I am going to miss her terribly and I can’t say enough what an amazing support system she is for me and my poker career. It takes a special person to let their husband disappear to Vegas for six weeks and grind poker tournaments while she’s at home and working. I try not to lose sight of the fact that I play a game for a living and I really do appreciate my wife letting me pursue this dream of mine.

I love you so much honey. I will try my hardest to make this time apart worth it!

1:31 PM: So I thought Bellagio had some pretty ridiculous MLB World Series futures, but when I was registering for this tournament in the Aria sports book I saw something that blew my mind.

They have the Mets at 10-1 to win the World Series and the Braves at 40-1.

Holy shit.

The Mets are a game below .500 with their ace on the disabled list and the Braves are in first place in the NL East and look like a much stronger team with a very good farm system that can help the big league club via promotions or as trade chips for someone like, I dunno, Manny Machado.

This line is stupid. I can’t comprehend what they are thinking.

I fired $100 on the Braves and $50 on the Mariners at 50-1.

πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ’΅πŸ”₯πŸ”₯

1:58 PM: Aria has the stream of the $3k Shootout on a TV and former Main Event champs Joe Cada and Joe McKeehan are at a final table full of sunglasses. Uhm. I like their chances.

2:08 PM: Just got word from Hal that he busted the Venetian tourney in 151st for a nice little cash to start his trip out. Congrats! Seat open at Aria, buddy!

2:17 PM: Wonderful. One opener at 300/500 blinds and I defend KKQ3 one suit and check-call on the K52 rainbow flop. Turn pairs the 5 and I get a check-raise in. River is an ace.

Sigh. What a horrible card. The low gets there and AA improves. I think for a while and maybe I make a mistake: I bet. I was thinking it’s pretty easy for him to have a hand he can call with that has a counterfeit low and my bet really only stings when he shows up with exactly AA. Of course that’s what he has though.

Actually it’s worse. He has AAT9. He doesn’t even have a low draw and the only way he can get any piece of this pot is with an ace. Ugh.

Momentum still evades me on this trip so far. Back to starting stack.

2:58 PM: Last hand before break I open from the cutoff with Q532 one suit. Big blind defends and donks on 986 two spade flop. I have good draws heads up in both directions but I elect to go with a call on this board texture. Turn is 7 of spades, giving me the third best low and a queen high flush. He bets, I raise, and he calls. River is my nut card: an offsuit ace. I now have a big flush and the nut low and he check-calls and I scoop a nice pot.

27.7k heading to 400/800 blinds.

3:22 PM: Unfortunate connection against the big blind. I have AT83 on QJ9 vs KTxx. On the bright side, I raised flop and checked back turn before calling on river. Back to starting stack.

3:29 PM: Registration is closed. 144 entrants. 126 left. $17.5k for 1st!

4:02 PM: Had a big connection with AK93 from the small blind. Limped pot and I lead out on 652 two diamond flop and two players call me. I have the nut low with a king high flush draw, so… loving this situation.

Turn is an offsuit 8 and things get funky. I bet and both players raise. I’m not really sure how to react to this, but I’m definitely not folding. I do feel like I can be getting quartered a lot of the time, even when I make my flush, but I still have a pretty robust hand.

Here’s a surprise: the river is the ace of diamonds. Okay, so I guess I had the nut flush draw. I also have a live three but that’s probably not a scoop card. Still, I should lead here because I’m guaranteed half and check-raising is dumb. I bet and only the button calls. He has 6432 for the nut low and the other guy claims to have had 74 in his hand.

This was a decent half pot but I chipped back down right away when I decided to give up my AJ54 when I paired my 5 on A925 rainbow board against a player that bet/3-bet the flop. She showed AA when I folded.

20.4k

Side note: the tournament area is not in the poker room, but out near the slots and cigarette smoke keeps wafting up my nostrils. So fucking disgusting. Can we please make this garbage illegal already? Yes, wishful thinking in a casino environment but breathing second hand smoke has to be my number one pet peeve.

4:20 PM: Sometimes you have to go gangster on them. One player limps, the button raises, and I make a very borderline defend with 7763 one suit.

Flop is KKJ two clubs and the button bets when it’s checked to him. I decide to raise as a bluff with my club draw as the remotest of backups if I get action. I think this is a good board to attack on and my hand is pretty worthless, so I can happily let it go if I get raised at any point. He calls.

Turn is the queen of clubs and he calls again when I bet my flush.

River is a blank and while I’m happy I haven’t been raised, my hand is not good enough to bet for value. I check and I’m probably going to call if he bets, but he checks back and my flush is good.

He is not happy.

Just switched to a new table and I only know one player. They call him Taxi. I chopped the Golden Nugget 8-Game Mix with him in 2016.

Peaking at 31.2k and coming back to 1000/1500 blinds after a break in a few minutes.

4:30 PM: Dealer in the box at my new table just interrupted a conversation about the outrageous rake (15%) in these tournaments and claimed that very few casinos in Las Vegas actually make money and a direct quote about Aria specifically: “this casino is so far in the hole it’s not even funny.”

Wouldn’t that be something?

5:14 PM: Kate Hoang update: she just took the chip lead with 21 left. Holy shit!

Meanwhile I’m peaking at 38.5k.

6:08 PM: Pretty unfortunate run out here: I have AK63 on 642TJ vs AK3J with a third player calling down with A852. Had a pretty good handle on 3/4 of that one and it slipped away on the river.

Just opened A754 from hi-jack and had to give up on QJ33K when I missed my flush draw and checked back the turn.

24k coming back to 2000/3000 blinds.

Blah.

6:54 PM: With the blinds at 2000/3000 I open with AJT2 with a suit and someone 3-bets me. I start the hand with 21k so I consider capping it, but I supposed there are flops I can give up on and preserve chips. I call.

Flop is KT3 and I check-call with my pair, gut shot and back door nut low draw.

Turn is a 6 and with only 9k left and multiple decent draws, I go ahead and get it all in there. He calls and tables AAK7.

River 9. Good game.

That bust out was with about 50 players left and makes three straight events where I never had much momentum.

On to the next one.

Headed to the Rio after that to sweat Kate a little and possibly play some cash games. Kate is currently third in chips with 15 players left.

8:28 PM: Sitting down in a $20/$40 Omaha Hi-Lo cash game with Tormund.

I believe Kate just final tabled the $1500 O8 event. I just got a notification that it will be streaming on Twitch. I will be tuning in.

False alarm: they are streaming the $100k High Roller on Twitch.