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Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019?)

March 18, 2020

Director: Celine Sciamma (Girlhood, Tomboy)

Starring: Noemie Merlant, Adele Haenel

Anticipation Level: High

How Was It? This might end up being an all time great love story. I’m not going to lie, the first 45-60 minutes I was thinking this movie was good, but not great – it is definitely a very slow burn – but the payoff is tremendous and the second half was explosive and phenomenal. The film has really stuck to me. I’ve thought about it a lot in the 24 hours since I’ve seen it.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire is a movie that manages to convey intense emotions without the use of a traditional score. In fact, music is only used twice in the whole film and when that happens it is people in the story creating it, not a film composer. It’s an interesting and effective tactic, as film scores are often used to dictate emotional response from audience. Here, everything is organic. Real. True.

I asked both my friends I saw the movie with which actress gave the best performance and we all unanimously voted for Adele Haenel, the gal that plays Heloise, the bride-to-be that is being painted and married off to some unseen rich Italian man. I asked the question because when subtitles are being read, it’s harder to pick up on the nuances of the acting on screen. But Haenel is so commanding, my “trick” question was met with swift and confident replies that aligned with my own opinion.

This movie is full of poetry and art. I’m positive it will take multiple viewings to appreciate to its full extent and it’s definitely a film I will be happy to revisit in the near future. With all due respect to Call Me By Your Name, I think this is the best film about passionate love in the last 5+ years. An absolute must see that pleasantly lingers hours after seeing it and might morph into a classic over time.

Marriage Story is an absolute must see movie with some knockout performances. It’s currently among my top 3 movies of the year and definitely has a chance to win the Best Picture Oscar. Check it out on Netflix streaming right now.

Replay Value: I was going to see it again last week, but, uhhh… the world is a different place right now.

Sequel Potential: None.

Oscar Potential: I’m confused. This movie was nominated for a Foreign Language Golden Globe but got zero attention from the Oscars. I just can’t believe this didn’t at least get a Best International Feature Film nomination and I have to wonder if it was somehow not considered a 2019 release by the Academy. That’s the only explanation I have.

9/10 (Sensational)

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February 2020 Movie Reviews

March 4, 2020

Welcome to the Letterboxd era. Someone told me about this movie app in late January and I’ve been obsessed with it ever since. The app basically functions as a social media film diary and you can make it as comprehensive as you want it to be. You can simply log whenever you see a movie and keep a watchlist… or you can go all out like I have and log every movie you’ve ever seen and copy and paste reviews from your blog to the app, and pay a little money for an upgraded experience so you can track all sorts of stats that are fun to look through. If you’re a fan of cinema, I can’t recommend this app enough. It’s a must have.

Link to my profile: Dark Knight on Letterboxd

The Invisible Man (2020, theater) – It’s weird how fond of Elisabeth Moss I am. Looking through her filmography, I’ve seen 6% of the movies she’s ever had a role in and I’ve never seen anything she was the star of. I’ve never seen Mad Men. I’ve never seen The Handmaid’s Tale.

You know what I have seen? I’ve seen her performance in last year’s Us. It was a small role, but it caught my attention. I was wondering why this actress was going all out and how she could seem so familiar and yet I’d never heard of her.

And now I’ve seen The Invisible Man and seeing her crush this role is one of the least surprising things ever. I don’t know what it is about her, but she conveys every emotion in incredibly convincing fashion. I buy everything she’s doing on screen.

Moss is the biggest reason to go see this movie but I thought it was a very good reboot of the classic Universal Studios monster as well. Its story is grounded, driven as much by spousal abuse and control as by the more fantastical elements you’d expect in a movie about an invisible man. Even the way the villain turns himself invisible feels like technology that could happen in the not too distant future.

I wouldn’t exactly call this movie scary, but it is thrilling and tense, and people highly susceptible to such things will probably find it plenty unnerving. The third act of the movie is fun, but it’s also a bit confusing and briefly threatens to send things completely off the rails. Overall, I was satisfied with it though and The Invisible Man is the first really enjoyable movie of 2020.

Also, I owe it to Elisabeth Moss to watch more of her work. She is truly brilliant.

7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

Doctor Sleep (2019, blu-ray rental) – I got about 10 minutes into this before I seriously considered turning it off… not because I wasn’t enjoying it, but because I felt like I really needed to revisit The Shining before taking Doctor Sleep on. It’s been long enough since I’ve seen The Shining that I don’t remember much of it – sure, I easily recall Jack Nicholson’s tremendous performance and multiple iconic scenes have stuck with me over the years, but I don’t remember the nuances of the film, like the themes it tackled or if it uncovered why Danny “shines” or why The Overlook hotel is the way it is.

So when Rose the Hat and The True Knot show up on screen and the script acts like we are supposed to be familiar with them, I was like huh?

I decided to power through and I’m glad I did because Doctor Sleep is a great sequel that stands on its own while paying much tribute to the original, including a finale that is about nostalgic as it gets.

I’ve only seen three of Mike Flanagan’s films (Gerald’s Game and Hush also), but he’s already proven himself one of the horror genre’s most capable directors. Doctor Sleep is probably more psychological thriller than straight up horror movie, but it does have plenty of scary elements and I’d say it’s right up there with Jordan Peele’s Us as the genre’s best film of 2019.

I wouldn’t consider myself an Ewan McGregor fan, but I liked him just fine in this movie. The whole time I was watching his performance, I kept thinking of Jason Bateman and wondered if he would have been better in the role. That’s probably not fair, but I couldn’t shake it. Kyleigh Curran as Abra Stone was great and that character really made the movie. It was kind of refreshing to see a young child experiencing unknown supernatural abilities and immediately embrace them, rather than be terrified about what’s happening to her like every other kid we’ve seen in similar situations.

Doctor Sleep has a bit of an epic feel to it and that should be no surprise since it clocks in at a whopping 152 minutes. Even so, I thought it was paced just fine, giving plenty of development for side characters and adding some unexpected emotional impact.

This is another win for Mike Flanagan and yet another successful adaptation from a Stephen King novel. One of the cool things about using Letterboxd is that it unlocks all sorts of interesting statistics. I’ve already spent a significant amount of time scrolling through movies on the app and marking everything I’ve ever seen and I was somewhat surprised to see that I’ve seen more movies written by Stephen King than any other screenwriter (Well, written by or adapted from his novels). Well, if you’re a fan of King or a fan of the horror genre, then Doctor Sleep is a must watch.

7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

Bad Boys For Life (2020, theater) – The first Bad Boys was an all-time favorite for me as a teenager, but I revisited it on Netflix last year and found it nearly unwatchable and Bad Boys 2 was completely forgettable, so I can’t say I was looking forward to a third entry in 2020. I was kind of surprised though – I didn’t hate it. It was entertaining enough and Martin Lawrence was pretty funny. I don’t think it’s going out on much of a limb to call in the best entry in the franchise, so if you like this series, you can’t really go wrong here, but at the same time, it’s nothing special either.

5/10 (Decent)

Missing Link (2019, Hulu) – A fun, but not great animated adventure that inexplicably won a Golden Globe over the far superior Toy Story 4. I watched because I like to see as many Oscar-nominated movies as I can, but this is one you can skip if you’re not watching with your kids.

5/10 (Decent)

Honeyland (2019, Hulu) – This is the only Oscar-nominated documentary I watched and I was pretty underwhelmed by it, so I wasn’t shocked when it didn’t win last month. I have to admit I started distracting myself about halfway through this one, so I didn’t feel any emotional connection to the story when I was supposed to, but I was also expecting it to grab my attention and hold on to it from the jump and it just wasn’t interesting enough. Critics absolutely adored this movie, so take my rating with a grain of salt.

5/10 (Decent)

Joker (2019, purchased, second viewing) – Still amazing.

Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey (2020, theater) – This was better than I thought it was going to be, but I was honestly expecting an unwatchable train wreck so that’s not saying much. Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn was one of the few pluses in Suicide Squad and I still enjoy the character here.

The additions to the cast are pretty blah. Huntress is a cool character, but Mary Elizabeth Winstead gives a weird take that feels a bit too aloof for my taste. I’ve long looked forward to a Black Mask appearance but Ewan McGregor’s version does absolutely nothing for me.

DC’s cinematic universe is such a mess. Wonder Woman, Shazam!, Aquaman, and Harley Quinn all exist in the same world as Ben Affleck’s Batman, Henry Cavill’s Superman, and Jared Leto’s Joker – all of which may never appear on screen again. Meanwhile, Batman is being rebooted in his own timeline and Joker just had massive success in what was supposed to be a stand-alone film. I don’t know how DC plans to get all these characters in the same world but I’m sure whoever is writing The Flash movie has had many a headache trying to figure it out.

I realize Birds of Prey is not supposed to be a good movie, but it’s definitely supposed to be a fun one. It’s moderately entertaining, but it’s probably no surprise that it’s nothing special.

4/10 (Forgettable)

Luce (2019, blu-ray rental) – There’s a lot I liked about this film, particularly the performances from Octavia Spencer and Kelvin Harrison Jr., the kid that played the title character Luce (pronounced like the word ‘loose’). Spencer is always great and Harrison Jr. oozed so much charisma I couldn’t help but think he has a bright future.

I didn’t care for the way the story unraveled. It’s supposed to be a mystery, with student pitted against teacher, and the audience is constantly guessing who is manipulating who. That’s fine, but what is annoying is how the narrative shifts perspectives, withholding and revealing information at its convenience. There isn’t a single character that is followed and established as an unreliable narrator so it doesn’t make sense for things not to unfold in a straight-forward manner. It’s done this way to keep us guessing but that’s just lazy writing.

The storytelling didn’t ruin the movie for me but it did make me pause and take note. Overall, I liked Luce. It’s intriguing and has some good performances.

7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

Toy Story 4 (2019, Disney+, second viewing) – Enjoyed watching it a second time, but it doesn’t reach the greatness that the original and part 3 hit.

Apollo 11 (2019, blu-ray rental) – A bad ass documentary about the Apollo 11 launch into space and mankind’s first steps on the moon. This doc features real footage from the late 60s and makes it look incredibly and unbelievably crisp – it is truly amazing stuff.

Neil Armstrong’s and Buzz Aldrin’s and that other guy’s (geez, no wonder no one remembers him) journey to the moon is a feat that still blows my mind in 2020. I can’t even fathom this happening in our day and age, let alone 50 years ago.

This is an absolute must watch documentary that somehow didn’t even get a nomination from the Academy. I mean… this was substantially better than Honeyland in just about every way possible. I don’t get it.

Check Apollo 11 out. It is truly a marvel.

8/10 (Must See)

Waves (2019, blu-ray rental) – I have a couple of friends that have been treating Waves like it is the Holy Grail of all 2019 movies and claimed that I have no credibility when it comes to opinions on films until I watched it.

Not going to lie… that kind of made me want to hate it.

But this movie is awesome. The first half shocked my face off with its frantic pacing and unpredictable narrative and then the second half slows down to an absolute crawl and gets really meaty with the character development. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anything like it. The climax is smack dab in the middle of the movie and the second half is the characters dealing with the ramifications of what happened. It was a cool concept and the filmmakers knocked the execution out of the park.

Kelvin Harrison Jr. – the same kid I praised in my review of Luce – gives another great, yet completely different, performance in this movie. I said he oozes charm and charisma in Luce, but in this movie he’s the exact opposite: scary and unhinged. Taylor Russell plays his sister in the movie and does a good job carrying the second half.

Waves is a somewhat traumatic experience. It’s kind of hard to talk about without spoiling anything, so I’ll just say it’s a must see film that you need to see for yourself.

8/10 (Must See)

Chico & Rita (2010, Netflix)) – This is the first movie I’ve watched as a result of Letterboxd. I was scrolling through one of the many lists on here and saw that this was an Oscar-nominated Animated Feature once upon a time that somehow completely slipped my radar.

I liked it a lot! It’s a love story that spans decades as two explosive personalities keep coming back to each other because of their passion for music. It’s touching and heartbreaking with cool-looking animation and a bad ass jazz soundtrack.

7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

Movies I watched in February that I haven’t written about yet: Jojo Rabbit, Ford v Ferrari, The Two Popes, Shutter Island (rewatch)

Expect to see a lot of Scorsese over the next few months. I’m going to be going through and ranking his whole catalog. Prior to starting this journey, I’ve seen only 12 of his 26 feature films. Less than half of the filmography of one of the greatest directors of all-time? Yeah, that needs to be fixed.

Check out my list on Letterboxd (Note: only the top 12 are really ordered): Martin Scorsese rankings

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January/February 2020 New Music

March 1, 2020

Notes: I was in LA the first week of February, so I decided to skip my monthly music post last month. After this post, I will be cleansing my Priority playlist of all pre-2020 albums (except maybe a few I really want to keep in rotation). In the next few days, I’ll have a post with some albums I’ve rated and reviewed, plus I post ratings for as many albums I’m taking off my playlist as I can.

* indicates second month on PRIORITY playlist

HEAVY ROTATION (heard whole album many times)

*Apollo Brown – Sincerely, Detroit (October)
*BENNY THE BUTCHER – The Plugs I Met (June)
Brent Faiyaz – F**k the World
Eminem – Music To Be Murdered By
*Griselda – WWCD
*Lana Del Ray – Norman F*****g Rockwell (August)
Lil Wayne – Funeral
Mac Miller – Circles
*Roddy Ricch – Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial
Royce da 5’9″ – The Allegory

STRONG ROTATION (listened to most of album 3-4 times)

*Black Pumas – Black Pumas (June)
*DaBaby – Baby on Baby (March)
Dreamville – Revenge of the Dreamers [Deluxe]
*Free Nationals – Free Nationals
*JACKBOYS – JACKBOYS
Mick Jenkins – The Circus
Mustard – Perfect Ten (June)
*Rich Brian – The Sailor (July)
*Tobe Nwigwe – FOURIGINALS (October)
*Young Thug – So Much Fun [Deluxe]

SOLID ROTATION (heard whole album at least twice)

Andrew Kelly – Annex
*Denzel Curry – ZUU (May)
D Smoke – Black Habits
*Fat Joe & Dre – Family Ties
Halsey – Manic
*Harry Styles – Fine Line
*KAYTRANADA – BUBBA
Kota the Friend – Lyrics to Go, Vol. 1
*Polo G – Die a Legend (June)
*Stormzy – Heavy Is The Head
*The Game – Born 2 Rap
YGTUT – I.O.U.

COURTESY ROTATION (heard whole album)

A Boogie wit da Hoodie – Artist 2.0
*BENNY THE BUTCHER – Tana Talk 3 (2018)
Billy Woods & Kenny Segal – Hiding Places (March)
Boldy James – The Price of Tea in China
*Cam’ron – Purple Haze 2
*DaBaby – KIRK (September)
*Flawless Real Talk – Every Second Matters
Kamaiyah – Got It Made
*Kevin Abstract – ARIZONA BABY (April)
Lil Baby – My Turn
Roc Marciano – Marcielago (2019)
Tame Impala – The Slow Rush

SKIM ROTATION (haven’t heard whole album)

070 Shake – Modus Vivendi
Denzel Curry & Kenny Beats – UNLOCKED
Green Day – Father of All…
Guapdad 4000 – Dior Deposits
*KXNG Crooked & Bronze Nazareth – Gravitas
K. Michelle – All Monsters Are Human
Pop Smoke – Meet the Woo 2
Tink – Hopeless Romantic
Twista – Lifetime EP
*XXXTENTACION – Bad Vibes Forever
YFN Lucci – HIStory

TOO NEW/NO LOVE (zero listens)

G Herbo – PTSD
Planet Asia & 38 Spesh – Trust the Chain
Young Nudy – Anyways

ALBUM OF THE MONTH

Royce da 5’9″The Allegory – review in next post

Highly Enjoyable

Bangerz Playlist Additions – Follow me on Apple Music @DarkKnight1717 to add my playlists

Apollo Brown ft. Slum Village, “All Day”
Apollo Brown ft. Supa Emcee, Kuniva, & Alexis Allon, “Break the Code”
Boldy James ft. Vince Staples, “Surf & Turf”
Brent Faiyaz, “Rehab (Winter in Paris)”
Dreamville ft. JID, Lute, & 6LACK, “Still Dreamin”
Eminem, “Darkness”
Eminem ft. Royce da 5’9″, “You Gon’ Learn”
Eminem ft. Royce da 5’9″, Black Thought & Q-Tip, “Yah Yah”
Eminem, “Premonition (Intro)”
Eminem ft. KXNG Crooked, Royce da 5’9″, & Joell Ortiz, “I Will”
Eminem ft. Don Toliver, “No Regrets”
Fabolous ft. Lil Durk, “Cap”
Fat Joe & Dre ft. Eminem & Mary J. Blige, “Lord Above”
Free Nationals ft. JID, Kadhja Bonet & MIKNNA, “On Sight”
The Game ft. Anderson .Paak, “Stainless”
Harry Styles, “Lights Up”
Kevin Abstract, “Georgia”
Lana Del Rey, “F**k it I love you”
Mac Miller, “Good News”
Mac Miller, “Hand Me Downs”
Mac Miller, “Everybody”
Mac Miller, “Woods”
Mick Jenkins ft. EARTHGANG, “The Light”
Polo G ft. Lil Baby & Gunna, “Pop Out Again”
Royce da 5’9″ ft. Ashley Sorrell & Benny the Butcher, “Upside Down”
Royce da 5’9″ ft. Conway the Machine, “Fubu”
Royce da 5’9″ ft. Sy Ari Da Kid, White Gold, Cyhi the Prynce & T.I., “Black Savage”
Royce da 5’9″, “Rhinestone Doo Rag”
Royce da 5’9″ ft. Westside Gunn, “Overcomer”
Smoke DZA & BENNY THE BUTCHER, “By Any Means”
Stormzy, “Rachael’s Little Brother”
Stormzy, “Superheroes”
Young Thug ft. Gunna, “Hot”

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2020 WSOP First Draft Schedule

February 27, 2020

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

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

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

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

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2020 Oscar Rankings/Predictions

February 9, 2020

Oscar Rankings

I won’t rank any movies in parentheses because that means I haven’t seen them yet.

Best Picture
1. Parasite
2. Joker
3. Marriage Story
4. Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
5. 1917
6. Jojo Rabbit
7. The Irishman
8. Little Women
9. Ford v Ferrari

Prediction: 1917

Best Director
1. Sam Mendes, 1917
2. Bong Joon Ho, Parasite
3. Todd Phillips, Joker
4. Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
5. Martin Scorsese, The Irishman

Prediction: Mendes

Best Actress
1. Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story
2. Renee Zellweger, Judy
3. Saoirse Ronan, Little Women
(Charlize Theron, Bombshell)
(Cynthia Erivo, Harriet)

Prediction: Zellweger

Best Actor
1. Joaquin Phoenix, Joker
2. Adam Driver, Marriage Story
3. Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
4. Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes
(Antonio Banderas, Pain & Glory

Prediction: Phoenix

Best Supporting Actress
1. Laura Dern, Marriage Story
2. Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit
3. Florence Pugh, Little Women
(Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell)
(Margot Robbie, Bombshell)

Prediction: Dern

Best Supporting Actor
1. Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
2. Al Pacino, The Irishman
3. Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes
4. Joe Pesci, The Irishman
(Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood)

Prediction: Pitt

Best Original Screenplay
1. Parasite
2. Knives Out
3. Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
4. Marriage Story
5. 1917

Prediction: Parasite

Best Adapted Screenplay
1. Joker
2. Jojo Rabbit
3. The Two Popes
4. Little Women
5. The Irishman

Prediction: Jojo Rabbit

Best Animated Feature
1. Toy Story 4
2. Klaus
3. Missing Link
4. I Lost My Body
5. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

Prediction: Toy Story 4

Cinematography
1. 1917
2. Joker
3. The Lighthouse
4. Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
5. The Irishman

Prediction: 1917

Costume Design
1. Little Women
2. Joker
3. Jojo Rabbit
4. Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
5. The Irishman

Prediction: Little Women

Makeup and Hairstyling
1. Joker
2. Judy
3. 1917
(Bombshell)
(Maleficent: Mistress of Evil)

Prediction: Bombshell

Production Design
1. 1917
2. Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
3. Parasite
4. Jojo Rabbit
5. The Irishman

Prediction: 1917

Visual Effects
1. 1917
2. The Lion King
3. The Irishman
4. Avengers: Endgame
5. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Prediction: 1917

Score
1. Joker
2. 1917
3. Marriage Story
4. Little Women
5. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Prediction: Joker

International Feature
1. Parasite
2. Honeyland
(Pain & Glory)
(Corpus Christi)
(Les Miserables)

Prediction: Parasite

Documentary Feature

Prediction: Honeyland

Original Song

Prediction: Elton John & Bernie Taupin, “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again,” Rocketman

I don’t know anything about film or sound editing or sound mixing and I haven’t seen any of the shorts, so I won’t make any predictions there.

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2020 LAPC Event #6: $600 H.O.R.S.E.

February 6, 2020

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

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

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

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

Some pics:

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

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

20k starting stacks, 40 min levels

Let’s.

Go.

First Break

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

18k coming back to 400/800 betting limits.

Second Break

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

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

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

19k coming back to 800/1600 limits.

Third Break

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

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

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

Blah.

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

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

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

Quintuple!

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

3500 coming back to 300/1500/3000

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

BUSTED

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

His final hand is Q752x.

I can’t beat it.

My board runs out A5-433K-3.

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

Get fucked, L.A.

h1

LAPC 2020 Event #4: $600 Omaha 8/B

February 3, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

First Break

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

AQ63 vs A32 on Q6228

AJ42 vs A842 on AAK68

AA32 vs A73x on 86452

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

25.4k

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

Pretty sad, but you gotta start somewhere.

Second Break

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

20.5k

Third Break

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

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

15.5k coming back to 1000/1500 blinds.

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

Fourth Break

Momentum!

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

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

Fifth Break

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

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

And then pain.

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

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

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

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

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

BUSTED

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

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

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

Sigh.

HORSE tomorrow.