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Poker Update: July 2019 Week 4

July 30, 2019

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

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

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

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

Two of the sicker hands during that stretch:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OUT OF PITY.

Wtf.

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

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

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

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

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

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

No more depositing. No more playing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

15/30 at the Palace, folks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Movie Reviews: Midsommar, Toy Story 4, Spider-Man: Far From Home, Crawl, Child’s Play

July 26, 2019

Midsommar (2019) – This definitely won’t be for everyone. It’s director Ari Aster’s follow up to last year’s awesome Hereditary and it is every bit as unsettling and quite a bit weirder. Florence Pugh gives another top notch performance and already has two roles this year that could earn her some Oscar consideration. For the first half of this movie, I was enthralled, thinking it was one of the best of the year, but as it moved into its last act, I couldn’t tell if I was losing interest or if I was just shocked numb. I definitely preferred Hereditary, but Midsommar gets high marks for its gorgeous cinematography, crazy setting, over-the-top gore and a great acting job from Pugh. I recommend, but be warned.

7/10 (Highly Enjoyable… sort of)

Toy Story 4 (2019) – Somehow Pixar keeps pumping out extremely good sequels to their first franchise. For me, Toy Story 3 was the best film of the series and a perfect conclusion to this saga and one of my favorite films of the past couple decades, but when Disney can print a billion dollars with every new entry, you knew it wouldn’t be too long before we got another movie… and this probably won’t be the last one either. I really enjoyed Toy Story 4. The story meanders differently than previous installments and Forky is an amazing addition. The animation looks as good as ever and while the movie didn’t quite meet my expectations of being mind-blowingly good, I can’t say I was disappointed either. I am looking forward to watching it again and seeing if I can find a more magical appreciation of it.

7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) – I really enjoyed this. It’s consistently funny, has some awesome action sequences, and the cast is great. Jake Gyllenhall is a nice addition as Mysterio and I liked the way that character was handled. This movie was extremely pleasing but I did like Homecoming more, mostly because of Michael Keaton and the amazing scene between Peter and Vulture before the dance. Far From Home doesn’t have a sequence like that and for a hero known as “the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man,” this version of Spidey has seemed to spend very little time in New York.

7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

Crawl (2019) – If this movie doesn’t make you want to pack up your belongings and relocate to Florida, then I don’t know what will. This is basically Jaws in a crawl space with big ‘ole gators instead of a great white, so it’s not exactly breaking new ground, but it was pretty much exactly what I wanted and that made it entertaining enough.

5/10 (Decent)

Child’s Play (2019) – I was primed to hate this movie. How disrespectful is it to reboot a franchise when the original continuity is still producing new content? Series creator Don Mancini directed Cult of Chucky in 2017 and the original cast and crew are currently working on a T.V. series that continues the story of the first seven movies. So what the hell is this? Chucky is a just a highly capable A.I. doll that a disgruntled factory worker decided to flip the “bad” switch on? Eww. But somehow, some way, this movie works. It’s funny, it’s gruesome, and it’s pretty damn good. I’d… watch a sequel. *gasp*

6/10 (Recommended)

Bladerunner 2049 (2017) – There’s a lot to love about this movie – the cinematography and sound are unreal, Denis Villeneuve is a genius, Ryan Gosling is great, and the concept is really cool – but I just don’t get the Blade Runner series. I’ve heard plenty of people talk about the original like it’s an all-time classic and I’ve seen it twice now and both times I came away feeling underwhelmed. I enjoyed it, but I didn’t love it. I felt the same way about this sequel. It was good – fantastic from a technical standpoint – but the stories in both films didn’t move me at all. Maybe I just need to keep watching them until something clicks? The Blade Runner movies are really good, but I don’t think either of them are great.

7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

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15/30 Limit Hold’em on 7/20/2019

July 22, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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All The Pot Limit Omaha Hands

July 19, 2019

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

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

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

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

Yikes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ho
Lee
Shit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

h1

Welcome Back, Dark Knight!

July 13, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Uh, welcome home?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Something to think about.

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

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

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

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

The turn pairs the 5 and the same action occurs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First time for everything!

Then I hit another small jackpot with quad 8s.

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

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

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

What an achievement!

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

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

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

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WSOP 2019: Recap

July 9, 2019

It’s official. I will not be returning to Vegas to play the $3k H.O.R.S.E. event this coming Sunday. Even with a $600 H.O.R.S.E. the day before at Venetian, I’m having a hard time justifying the trip to myself.

First off, I’m going to be adding somewhere around $500-$800 in expenses to play one (maybe two) tournaments? That’s some serious rake. Secondly, how soft is that field really going to be? By this weekend, the Main Event will be down to the last day or two and I imagine Vegas will largely be cleared out and when the dust settles, only the most serious of WSOP grinders will be left behind. It would be a fun challenge to battle with that crowd, but I’m happy to be home and I’m eager to start gearing up for next year already.

So that means my 2019 WSOP is a wrap.

How was it?

I’ll grade it as okay. I’m sure some people would be ecstatic with the results I had. I did well in cash games, almost made another WSOP final table, and I got to play in the Main Event! But the goals I have for myself are a lot higher than what I achieved this summer. I’m not mad about it… but I would say I’m slightly disappointed. It does rank as my third best WSOP ever, but that’s not really saying much. I only played 1 or 2 tournaments in 2014 and 2015, had really good summers in 2016 and 2017, and got my ass kicked last year.

This year I played 72+ hours of cash games and won a total of $9400. I won basically all of that in 25 hours of 40/80 limit Hold’em at Bellagio and broke even in ~50 hours of everything else, mostly mix games. Makes you wonder why I didn’t play more 40/80, especially when mix games move at a snail’s pace compared to limit Hold’em. All I can really say is… I’m a wimp. I played my last 40/80 session on June 28th and with my Main Event starting on July 3rd, I wanted to make sure I locked up a solid profit for my trip rather than see if I could really run it up or have variance bring me back to ground zero.

As far as tournaments, I went 3 for 10 for -$6680 over 91+ hours, but I didn’t cash the Main, so that accounted for a $10,000 loss and I only had 20% of myself in that one. Removing the Main, I cashed 3 of 9 for +$3320 with my 12th place finish in the $2500 Stud 8/Omaha 8 accounting for basically all my tournament success this year.

Since I only had 20% of myself in the Main, I personally finished with a small loss in tournaments during the Series and my personal poker profit was somewhere north of $8000.

Here’s a look at some expenses for the trip:

Airfare/Luggage: $780 (two round trips)
Lodging: $1300 (22 nights at ~$59/night)
Ubers: $530 (~$23/day)

Not including food, my Vegas stay cost me around $2600 and my net profit was somewhere around +$5500 which is a pretty decent but slightly disappointing overall result. With games in the SeaTac area as dry as they get at any point in the year, it is highly unlikely I could have done better by staying home, so there’s that at least.

I went 1 for 6 in WSOP events this year, so I now have 1 cash in my last 16, which feels super gross to even type out. However, lifetime, I now have 8 cashes in 30 tournaments with two final tables and a top 12 finish, so even with two bricks in the Main Event my career ROI is still way above average at the Series. I guess I can’t complain, but the last two years have left me feeling extremely unsatisfied, especially since I’m a way better player now than I was in 2016 or 2017.

I have found balance difficult to achieve when I’m in Vegas for long periods of time. I went to the gym once while I was there; I ate like shit and I slept like shit, going to bed past 4 AM most nights and waking up past 1 PM most days. I didn’t meditate. Basically, the only productive thing I did besides play poker was study poker. I’ll give myself credit for at least doing a decent amount of studying. Also, even with getting a late start and coming back home for a week, I still found myself homesick by the end.

Ideally, at this stage of my poker career, I feel like I should at least be playing every $1500 buy in with a limit structure. This year that would have been nine tournaments. Plus I think the $2500 Mixed Triple Draw and Stud 8/Omaha 8 tournaments should be a focus and some day the $3000 limit Hold’em 6-max and H.O.R.S.E. tourneys should be must plays as well. And I should be playing at least some no limit Hold’em events. That means I want to be playing something like 12-15 events at the WSOP every year and this year I only played six?

So the question is, how do I reach that goal while keeping myself sane and productive in Las Vegas and my wife happy at home while I’m gone for weeks at a time? That is a mystery I’m going to try to solve by this time next year. My ultimate goal is to win a bracelet and that’s pretty hard to do if I’m not playing as much as I possibly can during June and July.

I never posted goals for 2019, so I’ll be thinking about that over the next few days as I assimilate to being back home and getting myself on the path for maximum success come this time next year.

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2019 WSOP: Main Event Day 2 Sweat Post

July 6, 2019

Here’s what my Day 2 table is looking like:

This looks way more favorable than my Day 1 table where it seemed like everyone could play pretty well. Of course, past results don’t indicate everything. I know some NLHE players that are better than me that have very few recorded live cashes.

Still, it looks promising. There are only three players with more in career cashes than me, but I actually rank second in the GPI at this table. Even 2016 Main Event champ Qui Nguyen is less seasoned and accomplished than I am since his big win.

The only bad news is that the likely best current player at this table is on my immediate left with twice as many chips as me.

Playing with Qui Nguyen should be interesting. I imagine there will be cameras on him today and maybe even a long shot chance that he gets us on a feature table. Qui is a loose cannon so I will be looking to play pots in position against him and let him bluff chips off to me. He is capable of pulling the trigger in insane spots that don’t even make sense, so I’m not planning to get into any leveling or raising wars with him. I doubt I will be attempting to squeeze light against him and I’m curious how the player behind me will react when he opens and gets callers. I expect everyone else at this table to be playing pretty straight forward.

I have the second smallest stack at my table, but it hardly matters – I’ll be starting the day with exactly 70 bigs. Plenty of stack to work with when we have two hour levels.

I think I made two avoidable mistakes on Day 1 and I would guess they cost me about 35k total in chips, so I’ll be looking to find clarity in similar murky spots today. I think I’m at a good table to chip up and put myself in position to contend for a cash on Day 3.

Let’s get it. Stack updates after every level here.

Dinner break is at 8 PM! That’s nine long hours from now. Gross.

Qui Nguyen doing the “shuffle up and deal” right now.

He sits down and I say, “that speech cost you a small blind.”

Seat one literally just punted his entire to stack to the champ.

Qui opens, he makes a small 3-bet from out of position, Qui calls.

Flop 543. He bets, Qui raises, he snap-calls.

Turn 10. He donks 25k, Qui makes it 60k, he snap-calls.

River 5. He donks all in, Qui snaps. s1 has AA, Qui has A2.

They each started that hand 140 bigs deep.

Unreal.

Two people already busted from this table.

Under the gun makes it 1800 at 400/800, one player flats, and I call with QJdd from the small blind and the big blind also calls.

Flop is A64 with two diamonds. It checks to the original flatter and he bets 3200, I call, the big folds and the PFR check-raises it to 9000. The flop bettor folds and I have no fold equity here, so I’m not jamming, but I want to see a turn card. I call, planning to fold if I miss the turn.

It’s the king of diamonds. This is a very good card. Not only do I make my hand, but his most likely ace high flushes are severely blocked. He can’t have AK, AQ, or AJ of diamonds. He can have ATdd or any small suited aces, but if that’s the case, I guess I’m just flying home today.

There’s around 29k in the pot already, my hand looks a lot like a flush draw, and I only have around 36k behind, so I’m not gonna give him a chance to check behind here, nor do I want to make any tough decisions if the board pairs on the river or another diamond comes.

I think when he check-raises the flop he probably has a set or an ace high flush draw. If he has the latter, there’s nothing I can do about it now.

I go all in.

He doesn’t snap, so that’s nice, but he also doesn’t think very long.

He turns over two red aces.

And now I’m packing my bags to fly back to Seattle.

GG, Vegas.