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This Week’s Poker Schedule (4/9/2018)

April 10, 2018

Going through one of those stretches where lots of random stuff is filling my calendar instead of playing poker. As I noted last week, I spent this weekend attending a celebration of life for my wife’s parents, so I didn’t play at all Saturday or Sunday*. It’s always interesting gaining a new perspective and experiencing something entirely different from the culture I’ve grown up in. Not to mention actually participating in the process and not understanding anything that is being said and worrying that I might disrespect someone unintentionally because I’m uneducated in their customs, or simply because I’m clumsy in executing them. For instance, you’re supposed to crouch down any time you walk past a monk, which I’m sure I didn’t do a number of times. Then I accidentally cut a monk off when we were walking in the same direction and we both insisted that the other go first. So I went first because I didn’t know if it was worse to cut him off or to try and outdo him in a politeness battle. Either way, I’m pretty sure someone in the room saw this infraction and was shaking their head.

Still, it was a great experience and I’m happy to honor my in-laws and I think it’s amazing that they wanted me involved in the ceremony. Not just involved as in I got to sit with everyone, but involved as in I was part of the inner circle of immediate family that participated in spoon-feeding both my wife’s mom and dad while the monks were chanting!

Here are some photos and a video to give an idea of what it looked like:

*though I did manage to watch every pitch of Shohei Ohtani’s ridiculous outing on Sunday. 6+ innings with a perfect game, 12 strikeouts, 1 walk, and 1 hit? On 91 pitches? After hitting .389 with 3 homers for the week? This dude is INSANE! “As advertised” does no justice to what this kid has done so far this season.

Monday night I played in a $5/$10 dealer’s choice house game and it was a lot of fun. I am happy to play at a third of my normal stakes if I’m playing games I don’t normally get to play. They don’t spread any razz, stud, stud 8, 2-7 triple draw, or badugi in any Washington casinos, so this is basically the only way to gain actual playing experience. I had a pretty good night overall, but ended up -$195 because I made the dreaded mix game mistake of playing a really big pot in a big bet game and setting myself up to get freerolled.

We were playing Big O8 and I started with over $400 and made what had to be a terrible call with a double suited hand that had 8432 in it and no ace from the small blind. To be fair, I have done zero studying of this game, so it’s not too surprising that I could make some mistakes, but that’s why I should just fold everything that doesn’t seem like a super obvious play (like suited A23xx hands) instead of setting myself up to get stacked in a game I have basically no experience in. Well, I called a small raise with this super marginal hand and saw the 433 with two diamonds flop. I checked on the flop, the PFR bet $15, the button called and it was back to me. I had no idea what to do. After thinking I should maybe just take a passive line and keep the pot small, I ended up convincing myself that if I potted it now I would probably just take it down and not have to split with a low (as I have basically no low draw), so I made it $76 and only the PFR calls. The turn is the 2 of diamonds. I am now only losing to 44 and A5 of diamonds for high, but my low draw has been reduced to a live 8. I have now successfully set myself up to get freerolled and I decide to try and pot control by checking, but my opponent is not letting that happen and bets $150. I call and I hate it. The river is an ace and he puts me all in and I don’t see how I can fold now after calling turn and leaving myself with less than $200 behind. I pay it off and I’m expecting to chop the vast majority of the time, but he shows A63xx with nut diamonds for a live 6 low (which beats my live 8) and a rivered boat to scoop everything. Absolutely sickening. I feel like I should have folded this hand preflop, but I have no concept of what I should have done after flopping a full house with very little scoop potential and no redraw to speak of. Keep it small and try to get to showdown? Check-call flop and check-fold turn? I honestly don’t know.

But that pot was my whole night. Instead of winning a few hundred dollars because I played well all night long, I lost a few hundred dollars because I played one hand poorly.

Tuesdays are basically always my day off and I spent it watching A Quiet Place, making dinner, and going to the gym with my wife. Now I’m writing this post and playing a couple online tournaments.

Tomorrow I will likely be playing PLO @ Palace but that doesn’t start until 6 PM and who knows how late it will go.

Thursday I’m not sure what I’m going to do. I’ve been occupied lately, but that hasn’t stopped me from checking in on Bravo and the 15/30 LHE game at Palace hasn’t gone three days in a row. Radio Mike going back to his day job and Joker and I being busy outside of poker lately hasn’t helped at all, but I can’t help but feel that interest in the game is somewhat waning. I hope I’m being dramatic, but there’s some things at play here. There have been multiple times where there have been tons of names on the list and the game just doesn’t go and that kind of sends a message to the players that starting the games they want to play in are not a priority. That’s a good way to make players give up on the game or just go elsewhere. Also, there have been some regulars complaining about the lack of action in the 15/30 game and that it’s not a “fun” game and have been boycotting it and encouraging others to play 8/16 and straddle every hand. I don’t really get that concept. You can straddle and gamble at 15/30 also and do what you can do make the game better, so my only real takeaway is these guys want to splash around at a smaller limit and they are trying to get other players to follow suit. Lastly, this Sunday Palace is going to be spreading 2/5 no limit hold’em for the first time. This is obviously not going to help the 15/30 LHE game gain any traction and it very well could kill it altogether. Who knows.

[Edit: I take that back. There’s a chance that it could help. If 15 people come in to play 2/5 NL and there are only 9 seats, that’s six players that could fill a 15/30 seat while they wait. Shrug.]

What I do know is that I’m not about to go back to playing 8/16 every day, so if I have to start travelling to Fortune to play in bigger games again, then that’s what I’m going to have to do. A daily 15/30 in my backyard is a dream, but I’m definitely starting to get concerned about it.

I’m less concerned about the game going on Friday, but my weekend is going to be dominated by family again. My wife has a cousin from San Diego visiting right now and her family wants to take him to The Met in Seattle and I feel like I should go with.

Saturday I have what I hope to be my final meeting with my CPA to complete my taxes. What an ordeal that has been. I won’t get into all the details, but the amount of money I’m supposed to pay the IRS has been very inconsistent and my CPA teased me with a final number that was so amazing I wasn’t surprised to discover a huge oversight when I checked her work and the amount I owed was actually more than five times what she quoted me. Groan. I am confident now that we have sorted out all the details and everything is in order.

After that, we are meeting up with my parents because my aunt and uncle are in town. I guess tentative current plans are to go to Little Creek Casino, but if I play any poker it won’t be a working session, it will be a I-might-have-to-leave-any-minute session which means I won’t be playing anything worthwhile.

Sunday Palace is having a $225 no limit hold’em tournament that starts at 10 AM. I haven’t looked at the structure too much, but I don’t really care. It should be fun! That’s the same day that Palace will be unveiling the 2/5 no limit cash game. If I have to choose between 15/30 and 2/5 I’m definitely playing 15/30, but if my options are 2/5 or 8/16, I might have something to think about, depending on the lineups.

That’s my upcoming week! I will try to blog on Thursday and probably for the Palace tournament on Sunday as well. You may have noticed that I got my own domain: http://www.batcavepoker.com and I also have access to new features for my blog so I will be working on giving the blog a sleek, new look, but when I will actually have time to do any of that is TBD. I’m also putting the final touches on my WSOP schedule so I’ll be posting that in the next week or so.

Stay tuned!

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PLO Live Blog (4/6/18)

April 6, 2018

Going to attempt a PLO live blog. Opener coming soon.

6:10 PM: Things are getting off to a slow start here. When I put my name up hours ago, I was 9th on the list, but there are currently only seven players starting the game.

Current lineup: two players I don’t know, an Invisible Man level nit, Mister Magoo, His Airness (super maniac) and a strong higher stakes reg from Muckleshoot. Two spots in the game. I’m not going to grind it out if they leave. $15/$30 game looks pretty attractive if this game fizzles out.

I told myself I was going to play tighter than normal and I already unnecessarily torched chips in a pot. On the other hand, I opened JJ55 with diamonds and put zero bets in on flop and turn on a board of 765d8d8 in a multiway pot before calling Mister Magoo’s $45 river lead and losing to 77. Not a good end result but feels like I lost the minimum.

6:23 PM: Pretty good last couple of days, despite some rather unfortunate circumstances.

Wednesday I won $1706 in five hours of $15/$30, which is nice, but I only played five hours because the game broke at 11:30 PM. I prefer to play 8+ hours and generally want to stay until 2 AM. Games breaking early are what my nightmares are made of.

More good and bad news yesterday. The good news is I booked another $915 win but the game was absolutely terrible and, even though I was planning to play a shorter session, it broke before I was going to leave… at 7:15 PM.

Gulp. The results are obviously good, but the $15/$30 game being weak and dying early? Not so much. Missing Radio Mike already!

6:41 PM: Felted $500. Magoo and Airness limp and I limp along with A9cc77, SB makes it $15 and at least four of us see 984hh flop. Turn is Ad and SB leads $65; Magoo and Airness call and I pot it for ~$275, which is basically all in for me. I already know small blind is raising too many hands pre and the other two yahoos could have anything. Small blind calls and so does Magoo. Okay, no heart please. River offsuit 4. We all check. Magoo tables KQT all hearts… with a 4 dangler. Because that’s what Mister Magoo does – puts his chips in terribad and then stacks the pot in front of him.

7:11 PM: Magoo and His Airness have around $1k each now, so I reloaded for that much.

Players in this game complaining about how bad the $20/$40 LHE game is at Fortune – and that everybody knows everybody there. Whatever that means. What poker room doesn’t have regulars that know the other regulars? I’ve played enough at Fortune to know that the game can be pretty lame at times, but it’s not that bad. Certainly beatable. Then again, I guess I could see how “fun” players would be turned off. But what do you expect? The higher the stakes get, the more serious everyone is. Still, Fortune has plenty of “fun” players and the games can get really good there.

7:54 PM: First, a poker hand: someone opens and there are two callers, I call with Q765 double suited, a hand I should probably be folding. Flop is 664cc and His Airness leads out $70 and I’m the only caller. We are both over $1k deep at this point and he’s super bluffy so I don’t love raising here. Turn is 9c and he checks it over to me. I bet $130 and he snap calls. River is a queen, which basically gives me the nuts. I bet $200 and he snaps again and I have to wonder if I should have sized up.

Second, a baseball story: Radio Mike checks in from Cheney Stadium and asks if I can check the radio broadcast and make sure it’s playing online. I agree, as long as he works a “Dark Knight” into his play-by-play in the next inning.

They come back from commercial and he opens with a reference to last night’s massive rain delay: “A lot can change in one day: yesterday, lots of rain, dark night…” Gotta love it.

Also, he just mentioned that Shohei Ohtani hit his third homerun of the season tonight and said that Ohtani was “sandbagging” everyone in spring training. Spoken like a true poker player!

8:15 PM: Big connection alert!

There’s a raise to $20 and all the important people are in. I call with A4hh55. Flop is a beautiful Q63hh, giving us the nut flush draw and an open-ender. Everyone checks to me and I bet $80 into $120 and I’m quite surprised to get three callers. No worries: 8 of hearts on the turn and His Airness leads right out for $200. God bless him. Player in between folds and he only has $400 behind, so I make it $500, he calls and then check-calls the rest when the board pairs on the river and I’m still good.

Just like that, my -$500 start is now $1000 sugar and the right people are still in the game with decent stacks.

Forgot to mention that His Airness snap-reloaded for $1k.

9:28 PM: Nothing notable to report, other than His Airness busted and left. He is replaced by Hit&Run, whom has already felted his initial buy in, which means we are in no danger of him booking a quick win at the moment. I don’t think I’ve seen the turn since my last update.

10:38 PM: Discontinuing the blog for the night. I’ll post a wrap up on this one when I’m done but I just don’t think PLO cash makes for a very good live blog. It’s been almost 2.5 hours since my last notable hand. I doubt I’m playing super late, but there are still three names on the list for this game.

11:15 PM: A new hand!

Here’s a hand that illustrates how clueless I am when it comes to proper preflop play a) when the stacks are deep, b) a good player is in, and c) my hand will be face up, d) max bet/raise is $300 each time.

The good Muck reg opens under the gun and I’m next to act with AA72 double suited. Here’s how many times I’ve 3-bet today: 0. So I think flatting is my best play. This is a pretty good AA hand, but not super premium. I can make two nut flushes, but my cards are otherwise unconnected. I might as well just call, disguise my hand, and let the yahoos in behind me and spring to life when I flop well.

I flat. Next player makes it $50 and folds back to UTG and he makes it $165. At this point it’s worth noting that the preflop betting is capped – I cannot raise. I call the $165 and so does the other player. There is now $500 in the pot and max bet size is $300.

766 rainbow

The good Muck player leads $300 and we are still like $2k deep and there’s a player to act behind me, so I call. The other guy folds. This is a pretty good spot. His hand looks like a big pair, with good connectors – maybe even AA – and my range looks much larger and can have middle rundowns like 8765 double suited. I am not too worried about being beat here and I expect him to check-fold turn a lot and that’s exactly what happens.

Solid result but I can hardly say if I played it good or not.

Wrap Up:

Forgot to post this when I finished. I basically only played one more interesting pot the rest of the night and, much like every other big pot I played, it is questionable whether or not I should even be in the hand.

I limp in with KQJT all clubs. I think if this hand was a badugi, I would still play it, so the fact that it’s all one suit is pretty much the same thing, but slightly better because even though I have four clubs there is still some flush potential. But should I call a $35 raise in a 7-way pot with it? I’m less convinced that’s a good idea, but it does seem like it will be relatively easy to play after the flop. So with $245 in the pot we see a flop of K96 with two clubs. Well, I don’t see a way out of this one. The question is, how fast should I be playing this hand? Well, I have top pair, a gut shot wrap, and the second nut flush draw. One of the bright sides about having four clubs is that if someone does have the nut flush draw and decides to gamble, I’m blocking it pretty hard and I’m in great shape against someone that wants to do something stupid with two pair and I suspect I’m in okay shape against a set. I’ll check some of these matchups out in a bit. Anyways, it checks to me and I decide that playing my hand like it’s the best is the my optimal line and lead out for $200. The preflop raiser calls and a splashy, fun player makes it $500 to go with a little over $200 behind. Mister Magoo goes deep into the tank and I’m quite deep with him and he runs so pure I’m not sure I want him to get in there. He reluctantly folds and it folds back to me. I don’t necessarily want the PFR to hang around and I’m obviously willing to play for the splashy player’s stack, so I reraise to $800, the PFR folds and we decide to run it one time.
Turn card is a jack, giving me the nut straight, and the river is a ten, which drastically reduces my hand strength (any Qx hand ties me and AQ beats me now). Fortunately, I am up against a naked set of sixes and scoop this monster pot.

Just ran some simulations on this spot and it’s quite interesting. I can’t really imagine any way I can ever fold this after the flop, but heads up against the set, assuming he has no clubs in his hand, I’m the slightest of favorites. In fact, it’s so slight, it’s basically just a coin flip. Mister Magoo claimed to have the nut flush draw and if he had decided to tag along (which is typical of him – even facing $500 cold) then my winning chances drop all the way down to 26% (though still better than Magoo’s chances). Getting it in heads up here is clearly profitable, so I’m okay with my line, but it’s definitely nice to be on the right side of the end result.

All in all, I didn’t think I played amazing and most of the big pots I won were with hands I think I could have justified folding preflop. This session was a good example of why I drastically prefer limit hold’em to big bet games. In general, poker can be a boring game, with a slow pace, and playing solid winning poker requires that you fold tons and tons of hands and spend most of your time sitting out while everyone else gambles. In the big bet games – especially PLO – this is even more amplified. I go through some dry spells in LHE, for sure, but it seemed like I went two hours between every interesting hand I played last night and I think I even played looser than is recommended for my current talent level. I did watch the good player from Muckleshoot play a lot of hands. No one would dare classify me as a tight player (if they actually pay attention) in limit hold’em games and almost all the extra hands I play are entirely to exploit situations and increase my profits. I’m sure this is what the Muck player is doing in PLO, but I don’t think I’m good enough to play loose against multiple opponents with super wide ranges, especially since almost every pot is raised before the flop. But he seems to do it quite well and frequently ends up with some huge results. One day!

Final Result: +$2270

Pretty amazing result considering how card dead I felt. Wouldn’t have guess I’d end the first week of April up $5k after punting $1600 on the 1st, but that’s why you don’t sweat the bad days! It’s just one day.

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Ready Player One (2018)

April 3, 2018

Directed by: Steven Spielberg (E.T., Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, Jaws)
Starring: Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Mark Rylance, Lena Waithe, T.J. Miller, Simon Pegg

This movie was a lot of fun.

It takes place in the year 2045, when most of the world spends their free time in a virtual reality world called OASIS, where players can go anywhere they want and do anything they want (i.e. climb Mount Everest with Batman!). Because of the limitless possibilities, filmgoers will be in for loads of nostalgia as popular 80s and 90s pop culture icons are common choices for the gamers’ avatars. In the first 10 minutes or so, I saw Freddy Krueger, Batman, and Jason Vorhees – and the references never stop. This movie is littered with them and there’s no way you’ll be able catch them all on your first viewing. Plus, there’s a sequence in the movie that pays homage to Stanley Kubrick that is utterly fantastic.

The gist of the plot revolves around the creator of OASIS passing away and leaving behind a number of Easter eggs and keys for players to search for with the final prize being complete control of OASIS. There’s definitely a bit of a Willy Wonka thing going on here. We are introduced to a group of ragtag gamers that quickly become the favorites in the contest and they are in a race against the big bad corporation IOI to the finish line for control of OASIS.

Most of Steven Spielberg’s action-adventure film takes place in OASIS and is computer animated and we see the film’s heroes as their avatars much more frequently than we see the human actors. This is probably a good thing. Tye Sheridan plays Wade/Parzival, the film’s main hero, and his time spent as Parzival (his avatar) was much more interesting than when the film focused on his human life. Sheridan doesn’t do a bad job here, but his performance is missing something that I’m having a hard time putting a finger on. Wonder? Life? I dunno, I just thought he was a little on the dull side and kept thinking they should have found someone better. The supporting cast is much better. Olivia Cooke is fun and sexy as both Art3mis and Samantha. T.J. Miller does some funny voicework playing a scary and formidable-looking avatar but giving the character a self-conscious and silly tone. Ben Mendelsohn checks in with his standard slimy bad guy role as the head of IOI and does some of his best work to date.

The animation in this movie is spectacular and I imagine that Spielberg’s crew is in line for some Oscar attention. Ready Player One certainly works best when we are in OASIS and taking in the action from that point of view, which is kind of ironic because there’s definitely a message in this film that we need to be less “plugged in” and more in tune to the real world.

One thing about Ready Player One that I either missed or didn’t fully grasp was the role of IOI. I know the corporation is technically the bad guy, but I didn’t understand what the real world consequences were if they won the contest or how they became a known evil empire that is somehow allowed to operate unchecked by any sort of political authority or law enforcement. I remember there was a scene where actual police officers show up in the real world and I was like “wait… what?” And what exactly does the company do? Help women get pregnant? Maybe a second viewing answers these questions for me, but a movie can’t be truly great if you finish it and you’re not sure why the bad guy was the bad guy.

Still, Steven Spielberg can tally up another successful adventure film full of spectacle. The director has a long history of making these types of films and leaving us with an all-time classic. Ready Player One doesn’t reach those heights, mainly because of an average lead actor and unclear consequences, but it was still very enjoyable – especially considering it clocks in at almost 2.5 hours – and the film is visually great and the nostalgia factor enhances the fun. Hard to imagine anyone being too disappointed with this movie – it checks most of the boxes – and it gets a solid recommendation from me.

Replay Value: I did not watch this in 3D and I wonder if that was a mistake. It seems like the kind of movie you would definitely want to see in 3D. That might make it worth seeing again in theaters. I would watch it again regardless though.

Sequel Potential: This was based on a book and I’m not sure if there are more novels in the same world, but it’s easy to imagine how they could continue this story.

Oscar Potential: Seems like a cinch for a Visual Effects nomination and could get some editing and sound love. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it up for Best Score. I wonder if it will qualify for Best Animated Feature. If so, that could be a nomination, but it wasn’t strong enough to get Best Pic or Best Director nods.

Dina Meter: I think Dina would like the spirit of this movie, but because of the animation and the fast and furious action, she might not be able to handle it. She doesn’t do rollercoasters, 4D rides, or watch movies in 3D because she gets motion sickness, so Ready Player One might be too much for her – even without the 3D.

7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

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Minithon Monday: $15/$30 @ Palace 4/2/2018 (Live Blog)

April 2, 2018

As I figured it was a late start today. We didn’t get back from Bellevue until after noon and I took a nap until about 2:30 PM.

I was thinking of not blogging today, mostly because a friend from Kitsap (The Atom) is coming to play and is liable to talk my ear off and make this a difficult task, but the lineup and list have made me feel like I should be blogging.

Starting lineup: The Tick (he’s back!), FBI Guy, Taz, The River Man, couple loose players, and a Palace reg I’ve never seen play this big.

4:28 PM: Solid start. I raise a bunch of limps with AQo on the button and Taz donks from UTG on A83cc which usually means a strong hand but doesn’t always mean I’m beat. We end up putting in three bets on the flop three ways and I call down on A83x8 runout and outdraw his A3.

Two limps, I raise KJo on button. Flop is AQ9 and only the dude playing up for the first time calls me. He reluctantly check-calls 8 turn and he’s not being deceptive so I fire the third barrel when I miss everything on the river and he folds JJ face up.

5:13 PM: Light bulb moment! 💡A rather new reg that started coming in for PLO and now plays 15/30 regularly finally has a name. I was looking for someone that constantly wanders into danger and always escapes unscathed. This player is always getting in terrible spots in PLO and plays way too many hands at LHE but his results have been quite good even though he doesn’t play well after the flop either. It has been an extended run of good fortune that kind of boggles my mind. He is Mister Magoo (thanks Bad Boy!).

5:30 PM: Here’s a river spot I’m unsure of. I have bet flop and turn with TT on a board of Q98ccs6sQs and I still have four opponents on the river. The repeat queen is obviously nice and the backdoor flush can be made with a pair of mines on the flop. Two players have checked to me and two players are yet to act. I think it’s close and probably closer to a bet, but I check and win the pot.

5:36 PM: I just raised five hands in a row (AQ, AJdd, AJss, KQss, JTo), c-bet all of them, triple barrel bluffed one of them, and lost every single pot. So my image just got a nice boost that could be aided if I can actually make a damn pair at some point in time.

6:22 PM: Well, we started with a pair, but my 88 is < Magoo’s QQ and fortunately the damage is limited as he flats pre, flats jack high flop, bets turn and checks back king river.

Coolered by The Tick: get a free play with QTo and the QQJ flop vs his QJ and more minimal damage as he waits til river to raise me.

Down about $350 so far.

6:41 PM: Weak-tight predictable player limps cut, I raise 95hh on button, both blinds call. Flop 973 rainbow, Sb donks, I raise and we are heads up. Turn ace and I’m bet-folding here but he just calls. River blank and pretty obv check back spot here and he shows A6 of clubs (with no club on flop). 🤦🏻‍♂️

7:05 PM: FBI Guy hit and ran the hell out of this game, winning about $2000 in less than three hours and wasting no time taking it out the door. He is replaced by The Atom, which is a definite downgrade.

7:34 PM: Had to scroll back to see when the last time I won a pot was. Time stamp at 5:30, two hours ago. Solid. Full disclosure: I 3-bet a button straddle and double barreled AQ high and got a fold, but does that really count?

Just double barreled A2dd on J774 and got folds again. I suppose the dry spell is over, but those are hardly pots.

8:11 PM: Magoo opens cutoff, I 3-bet KdQh from small blind, and he caps. We are heads up in 30/60 Overs now. Flop Q66 two diamonds and I debate check-raising but then I remember his soft ass line with QQ earlier and I decide to check-call down. I check-call Jd turn, and check-call king river and end up chopping with his very own KQo.

And then I tipped a dealer I don’t even know personally a $1 for this pot I just won $5 in. In retrospect, that seems a bit unnecessary.

8:35 PM: Geez. Open the AcKh and spike a perfect Ah on the turn after c-betting Q42hh, but I get check-raised by a passive player and wind up paying off unimproved on the river and losing to her flush.

8:48 PM: There’s a raise and a call in front of me and I call 55 on the button. 5-way action to 652 flop and all the bets go in 3-ways. I was really hoping to get heads up with Magoo to activate 30/60 Overs, but Bingo Man is going nowhere. Turn pairs the 6 and Magoo bets, I raise, and now Bingo Man cold threes from the big blind position. Gulp. Magoo calls and I cap, although I’m a bit unsure at this point. Anything less than sixes full feels like an overplay at this point. Maybe deuces full? A naked 6? They both call my cap. I’m unsure what I’m going to do if Bingo Man leads river, but they both check and call and I win a monster. Magoo had AA and couldn’t find his way out of this one – no matter how many times he was told he was crushed.

Tormund Giantsbane (“Game of Thrones” reference) in the game now. He’s a prominent player from the Shelton area that would have beat me in the Muckleshoot Player of the Series if he played at least four events. He also plays in the big mix game at Muck occasionally. He has been showing up more and more at Palace lately for PLO and 15/30.

9:23 PM: Today is blog LEGEND Radio Mike’s last session of the offseason. Offseason, you say? Yes. Starting this week, Mike will go back to his day job as the radio broadcaster for the Tacoma Rainiers, the AAA affiliate of the Seattle Mariners.

I have to say, I have really enjoyed playing with him these past several months. He’s become one of my best friends in poker. He can talk shit with the best of them and makes me laugh all the time. Plus, anyone that can keep up with me talking baseball is a huge rarity and a GIANT plus. He prefers to keep his day job private, but he has learned that you can’t play poker with me and not talk baseball and, deep down, I think he appreciates having someone around that’s on his level as far as our favorite sport goes.

Mike is a way above average player in these games, so his absence isn’t going to hurt the games any, but it’s going to suck not having him around the next six months – even if it does signal the return of the best game in the world.

It’s been a pleasure, sir! Go Mariners!

10:58 PM: As expected, Atom has been talking to me a lot making it hard to update and now Tormund is chiming in too with a lot conversation. He’s also struggling to get on my blog on his phone right now, so when you read this later just understand that the first rule of Fight Club is we don’t talk about Fight Club. I’m not always kind about opponent play and I’d prefer these people don’t know I’m writing about them. And yes, I know I’m sort of the one that brought it up!

I’ve made a bit of a comeback but I’ve had some brutal run ins with The River Man in big pots. He’s been all in against me four times and has felted zero times. One time was a big multiway pot where it was capped pre abs obvious post that I had the best hand with 99 on J8462 but he was all in for $20 on the river, I made it $50 after someone else called and got an extra $30 from that player but The River Man produced 75 for a straight. A while later I get a free play with K9 and we get his stack in on A99 and he has…A9.

11:32 PM: A couple of weird spots with KK. First hand I 3-bet button and Tick caps out of position. Flop QJ4. We are now losing to AA, QQ, and JJ. He bets and I raise it anyway. Turn is 8c and he donks. I honestly don’t know what to make of this but it will make sense soon enough. I call and call again on blank river and he shows ATcc. So he turned a double gutter and a flush draw and bet out.

Same orbit, I’m in the big blind with KK again and Bingo Man has opened cutoff and Tick cold-called button. I 3-bet and Bingo caps. I cap with Bingo on Q42ss flop and decide to go into call down mode. I check-call 4 turn and 7s river and I’m kind of surprised to see him turn over AKss for a rivered flush.

I somewhat reluctantly agreed to chop jackpots with The Atom earlier and he just turned over quad threes for $400 and shipped $175 of it my way. Chopping jackpots is just something that’s not really on my radar and I play with people I’m friends with all the time and we never do that, so just kind of caught me off guard, but hey, he helped me inch a little close to even!

Down about $500.

12:58 AM: I have to admit to some punting. First I defend the A6o from a cutoff open from Bingo Man and decide to make a loose peel on 973. The turn is a 5 and I think this is a good card to check-raise against what should be a pretty wide range. He thinks long enough that I think I have some fold potential on river if I brick out, which I do. I fire and he calls begrudgingly with KK.

Another blind defend against a Bingo cutoff open. I have K5o and he just got spanked the previous hand so I thought there was some spew potential here. I check-raise the KT4 flop, but he 3-bets and I’m just calling down now. Oh wait, no I’m not. We just binked a five! I check-raise again, he 3-bets, and I cap it. Hold up. What? I cap it? I dunno… that’s pretty optimistic. I must realize that on the river, which is a queen (a bad card) and check-call and lose an unnecessarily large pot to KT.

1:10 AM: I make an early raise with T9cc – not a standard open for me but mixing it up here. Bingo Man and The Tick call from the blinds. I c-bet the 822c flop, realizing I’m never getting immediate folds here. They both call. Turn is 7c, an excellent card to double barrel; Bingo calls and Tick check-raises. Oh please just let me spike this on him. Hallelujah! The river is a jack and we put in all the bets because I feel like I’m only losing to J2, 82, and 72 and if he has one of those hands he just gets to win a big one. He shows me the 82hh.

More punting or bad luck? Or a little bit of both? 🤷🏻‍♂️

1:25 AM: Feels like I’m running really, really bad (and not playing A-game to boot), but I’m only down around $400. Not too terrible. The game isn’t amazing right now so I’m feeling like calling it a session and going to bed at a decent time.

2:58 AM: Well that was a surprising end to the night. I had decided to play my last orbit and I was all racked up about to book a loss of about $300 when I picked up KK with an early open from Rocksteady and a cold call from Bingo Man in front of me. I 3-bet and Rocksteady caps. Flop is queen high and we go three bets there and I once again get beat into submission holding the mighty pocket kings and go into call down mode. Rocksteady puts the brakes on when the river is a king though and check-calls and shows me that I snapped of his AA.

Very next hand, Tick limps, I raise with A9o and both blinds call. Flop is T8x and Tick donks. I think A9 turns too many good cards to fold here, so I peel one off and spike an ace on the turn. He still leads into me with another player behind and I just call him down and he shows KT. This seems to be a pretty standard Tick line, where he continues to fire when the board texture starts to favor my range more than his. It’s kind of confusing, but he shows up with marginal hands so often in these spots that I wonder if I should be exploiting it more by raising the big bet streets more often when I only have one pair hands. I feel like I’ve built up the kind of dynamic with him where he’s never folding pairs against me, so raising should make me an extra big bet usually.

Here’s another strange hand vs The Tick that illustrates this tendency but doesn’t quite call for a more aggressive approach. He opens from the cutoff and I 3-bet him from the button with Q8hh. He caps. Flop is AKQ and I wind up calling him down unimproved when he fires all the bullets. I don’t have any tangible explanation for this call down because it seems like we are losing so often against a capping range that barrels off here, but there I am on the river calling a bet. I feel like I’m picking up something subconsciously telling me he’s not as strong as he wants me to think he is. Like when he caps pre, it’s done with a force and quickness that wants to exude strength that doesn’t really exist. And the timing and nature of his betting after the flop is giving off faux strength also. I’m not huge on physical tells, but when my instincts are telling me to take lines or make calls that don’t otherwise make sense, I figure it has to do with something I’m seeing – even if I can’t pinpoint exactly what it is. So I call down here and he shows me 88, which kind of boggles my mind. What hands does he think I’m going to call flop and turn with and give up on river?

Anyways, those suckouts with KK and A9 propelled me into the green and peak stack status and I managed to post a decent +$725 in what I felt was a pretty mediocre session where I felt I made more mistakes than usual. Cut that April deficit in half!

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$540 No Limit Hold’em $200K GTD on Global Poker! (LIVE BLOG)

April 1, 2018

Pretty exciting happenings on this Easter Sunday!

First off, Global Poker is offeringa ridiculous $540 buy in no limit hold’em tournament with a $200K Guarantee. On Easter Sunday. They need 400 entrants to meet the guarantee and there are currently only 152 signed up with about two hours before game time. The tournament has a pretty sexy structure. Everyone starts with 20,000 in chips and blinds start at 10/20 and stair step every 15 minutes for the first several levels before going up every 12 minutes thereafter. So yeah, you start with 1000 big blinds. Extra deep. There is a $70 satellite at 1 PM that I may or may not play. It’s a super fast structure and they give away 20 seats. I might take a shot at it.

I’m currently playing a $110 tournament starting with 10,000 in chips and a decent structure. I have Tizull at my starting table and he’s streaming live on Twitch while he’s playing, so I’m obviously watching that as I’m playing.

The Joker is playing Day 2 of the Run It Up Reno Main Event today. I told him to keep me in the loop so I can post updates here all day long. His starting table has a few good players: RIU vet Albert Ng, tournament grinder Jesse Capps, and notable streamer Jamie Staples. He said Jamie is filming everything, so if you go check out his stream (not sure where it’s live) you can probably catch a lot of Joker today.

Finally, it’s Sho Time! Two way star Shohei Ohtani makes his MLB pitching debut at 1:10 PM against the Oakland Athletics today! I can’t wait to see how he does – especially since he is on two of my fantasy teams!

Anyone that wants to sweat my online play can get on Global and check out these tournaments:

12:43 PM: Welp. I decided to sign up for the $77 satellite for the $540 tournament and then decided not to and got the welcome news that I’m not allowed to unregister. So… I guess I’m playing it!

Also just sat at a 1/2 PLO table with Tizull.

12:49 PM: Update from The Joker: he was moved to a different table and now has Ronnie Bardah (record holder for most consecutive WSOP Main Event cashes) and Twitch streaming legend Lex Veldhuis on his right! Jesse Capps also moved along with him. Not getting any easier!

12:57 PM: Okay, I guess I did unregister the satty. Weird. It said I couldn’t like five times. I guess because I already did! Shrug.

1:18 PM: Just felted a buy in in PLO when my AQJ9 double suited ran into 44xx on J94 rainbow. Goodbye $200! I’m a little below starting stack in the $110 tourney.

The Joker just sent word that they are in the money in Reno. Congrats bud!

1:33 PM: Going well so far! Down 2.5 buy ins at PLO and down to ten bigs in the $110 tournament. But at least Ohtani looks great!

1:36 PM: And we’re felted 3.5 buy ins at 1/2 PLO and done with that.

1:38 PM: Basically doubled in the $110 with A6ss > QJ all in pre. Peaking at 12K.

1:40 PM: It’s all bad. Just lost AQ < JJ and down to 4 bigs. And Ohtani just gave up a 3-run homer. GREAT START TO MY DAY.

1:43 PM: Tilt level is extreme right now. Everything falling apart all at once. I’m watching this stream and watching Ohtani give up that bomb and The Leak is trying to talk to me, asking me if I can help her get plants out of the car, while I’m sitting here with a four big blind stack in the $110. Total input overload. I can’t handle it right now!

Woah. Just jammed 3.5 bigs with Q4hh and got called in two spots by AQ and AK. Flop 942 two hearts. Hello! Queen on turn. King of hearts on river. Triple up! 12.2K at 400/800.

1:54 PM: Good news from Reno: The Joker is chipped up with 370K @ 3000/6000 and 62 players left.

2:00 PM: On break in the $110 and coming back to about ten big blinds. Something really tilting that Global Poker does in cash games is if you bet all in on the river and get called, the reload prompt will show up as soon as they call… like before showdown. It feels something like this: “click – you’re fucked. Would you like to reload? Oh, and by the way, here’s how you lost.”

I played $15/$30 Mix until 3:45 AM last night and I won a measly $100. I was up around $800 at my peak and I wasn’t too thrilled with the game mix. They kept taking out all the Stud games (which I was crushing in) and we played basically all games I’ve only played in this mix (Badeucy, Archie, 2-7 Drawmaha). Of course, my inexperience in these games led to a solid $200 mistake where I kept an ace in Badeucy thinking I had a good badugi and was informed at showdown that the ace is high both ways. I was up about $500 heading to the last game and lost $400 in the last orbit, whiffing everything in Badeucy. Solid! I definitely like playing mix games, but the main reason I want to play mix is so that I can get more experience in games I basically only play at the World Series of Poker, so taking out the Stud is very, very annoying. In fact, I’m not planning to play any events that have Archie, Badeucy, or Dramaha, so cutting all the relevant games out of the mix is really brutal.

Just lost with AQ to JJ again. We are super short again. Back to 4 big blinds. Yawn.

2:27 PM: And I’m out of the $110. Got my last 2.5 bigs in with K6o and get calls from Q7o and J7o. It looks great for a triple up on 8628 but the jack spikes on the river and I get to focus on the $540 tournament starting in one minute.

Only stuck $850+ for the day so far. Not that bad. Sigh.

2:55 PM: Last half hour has been better. Off to a good start in the $540 event, currently sitting at over 23K stack and at a pretty good table with no known crushers, according to Sharkscope and at least one player that seems intent on torching off his stack.

Update from Reno: Joker has 300K with average at 255K and 49 players left.

And Kyle Seager just made up for a bases loaded strikeout by getting a lucky hop over Yonder Alonso’s head for a game-typing RBI single.

And my boy Shohei is currently in line for the win in Oakland. Need him to pitch one more inning for a possible quality start though and he was at 80+ pitches in his first MLB start, so seeing him in the bottom of the 6th seems unlikely.

3:03 PM: Just picked off a big river bluff from the torcher at my table and he vowed to play every hand I’m in from now on. Very next hand I limp with 55 for 60 and he jams 13.5K next to act with four players to act behind him. Folds to me and I type: “how much time bank should I use before calling with AA?” and end up folding. Very next hand… is it possible? A dream come true? I have AA. I limp again for 60 and… he folds. Bad beat! But wait, it gets worse. One other limps, big blind checks and I bet 85 into 210 on J99 flop. Other limper calls and I check-call 190 on king turn. River double pairs the board with another king and we both check and I lose a very small pot to QT. 27.4K @ 30/60.

And Ohtani just pitched a very quick 6th inning! Let’s goooooooooooo!

3:14 PM: Dammit. The player gunning for me and eager to give me his entire stack just got moved to balance tables. Unlucky (or lucky – who knows).

3:17 PM: Sigh. Just lost a big one in the $540. One limper, I make it 4x with 65ss and he calls. Flop is 763 with one spade. I bet 400, he makes it 1100 and we are happy to call here. Turn is a 9 and we both check. River is a 6 and he bets 2000 into about 3000. I feel like my hand is too good to call here, right? But… what do I get called by? Thing is… I think a raise here looks bluffy from me considering the board texture, so I think a decent-sized raise gets paid off by a decent amount of hands I beat. I make it 8200 and he snaps with 33. Whoops. Down to 17.4K @ 50/100.

Well, that was a bit spewy. Why fold and move on to the next hand when you can dust off 33% of your stack with 65? Stupid.

3:33 PM: First break of the $540. Wow. Global met the guarantee. 419 entrants. I really didn’t think that would happen.

Dee Gordon just hit a go-ahead homerun in Seattle. DEE GORDON. He hits like two bombs a year. And Haniger with the 2-run bomb! LETS GO MS!

And I just called off almost 100 bigs pre in a rebuy with 99 vs AA and doubled up with a flopped set. LOL. Rebuys.

3:41 PM: Back to 23K in the $540. Opened Q8ss and got called in two spots. C-bet J76cc flop and they both called. I give up and check ace turn, which checks around. River is a queen and it checks to the button who bets full pot. Small blind folds and it’s up to me. This line seems super bluffy to me, unless he’s floating flop with KT, which is somewhat hard to swallow. Plus, after it checks to him on turn and river, does he really think he’s getting paid off for a pot-sized bet with a good hand? I call and I’m good vs 54.

3:56 PM: Joker picks off a bluff with KJdd on T84ddAhAc to chip back above average. Sick call!

388 left in the $540. $40.2K up top. 54 cash.

4:08 PM: Mariners win! Eddy Diaz with the three up three down three strikeouts save. A Kimbrel! Meanwhile, Angels bullpen is trying to mess up Shohei’s win. Athletics have the bases loaded with the winning run up and one out.

Just doubled in the $11 rebuy. Made it 5.5x with KK and get one caller. Flop is QT9 all hearts. I jam 2600 into 1300 with Kh in my hand and they call with T8dd. Snap bangs the ten on the turn, but ace of hearts on the river to dodge the fuckery.

4:17 PM: Reno update: Joker has 275K with average stack at 400k coming back to 8k/16k blinds. 31 left.

Also, Angels hold on to give Shohei Ohtani his first MLB win.

4:30 PM: Two hours into the $540 and basically nothing has gone right for me. My 1000 big blind starting stack is all the way down to 14 bigs.

4:51 PM: Boom! Doubled in the $540 with AQ > AJ. Back over 20K and 20+ bigs!

5:12 PM: Hanging in with 20 bigs in the $540. Just tripled up with AK > A6 and AJ in the $11 rebuy. 42 left in that one and 27 cash. I’m 18th. $5 Rebuy started at 5 PM and I already tripled with AA in that one. Joker just checked in. He’s at 495k at 10k/20k blinds with 21 left. It’s getting serious!

5:27 PM: Sigh. Just doubled the same player twice seven spots off the money in the $11 rebuy. First time he jams 2.5 bigs from small blind and rivers an ace with A2 after I spike an 8 with 84. Next hand he jams ~7 bigs from button and I reshove with A7o and he spikes a 3 on the turn to beat me with A3. WTF. Now I have less than 7 bigs seven spots off the money. But I do have the button.

5:33 PM: Joker has made the final two tables of the Run It Up Reno Main Event! 578k with average stack at 700k. $56k up top!

I’m currently at 9 bigs in the $540 with 164 left. Four spots off the money in the $11 with no chips.

Just doubled twice in the $11. Back to 20+ bigs two off the money.

Just had KK and TT this past orbit in the $540 and my < 10bb jams did not get called.

5:47 PM: Huge Joker update: he just won two sizable pots to chip up over 1M with 16 players left and average stack at 780k!

Just cashed the $11 tournament myself. Not quite as exciting, but… I am going to make at least $9 in this tournament.

5:57 PM: FUCK. Just busted the $540. Talk about never having momentum after the first two levels. Dwindled all the way to 4.25 bigs and jammed A4 suited and lost to KQ. Wonderful.

Still alive in the $11 and I have a top 40 stack in the $5 rebuy, but there will be no saving this day at this point. I have lost over 1/3 of my online bankroll today. Solid!

6:09 PM: Real Joker update:

Peter Lynn Eliminates An Opponent

6:39 PM: Just final tabled the $11 tournament. Started with 173 players, but I’m struggling to find the joy in the accomplishment right now. Immediately lost a player and I am 5 of 8 left.

Update from Joker, on a crazy hand from Chris Moneymaker: “He 3bets pre and then triple barrels a jack high board shoving the river and the kid folds AJ for 500k shove into about 1.5m. Backdoor flush got there but that’s it. He shows KJo. He goes ‘I had the best. You had QJ or TJ.’ Felt like he has KK at worst. I don’t blame the kid for just check calling down but man.. so gross to have him show you that.

And that’s how you win the World Series of Poker Main Event folks!

6:52 PM: Sigh. Jam ~8 bigs under the gun with ATo and get called by 77 and we’re out in 7th for $123.20. YAWN. Currently 117 of 157 left in the $5 rebuy and I’m not regging anymore tournaments. Calling it a day and hanging out with The Leak when I bust (or win) this one, but I will post updates from The Joker in Reno when I can. He’s currently on dinner break for an hour.

7:28 PM: I’m in the money of the $5 rebuy and didn’t even realize it. I currently have just over 20 bigs. I sat down in a $0.50/$1 PLO game and it took me less than five minutes to lose a full buy in with a straight plus nut flush draw that gets outdrawn by a bigger straight draw. Sigh. Running amazing in the 4-card game today!

7:46 PM: Cards back in the air in Reno. 15 left. Next jump at 12. Everyone gets $2150 at the moment.

I am 37 of 58 left in the rebuy.

8:14 PM: Ugh. I’m so steamy. Just busted the $5 rebuy in 42nd for a measly $31 when I jammed a little less than 10 bigs with 77 and KK called and held. Holy cow. What an epic bad day. I lost $1566.79 despite cashing half the tournaments I played and even final tabling one of them. Of course, I whiffed the two big ones and got absolutely SMASHED in the PLO streets. I won like one decent pot the whole time I played and got stacked multiple times in quick fashion. Just sickening. I torched off about 40% of my online bankroll today, which is hard to swallow, but it doesn’t matter much in the grand scheme of things. I knew I was playing high variance with the online roll by playing in a $540 tournament, but losing 6.5 buy ins in PLO at stakes bigger than I typically play was the real kicker. Oh well. I’ve been in much worse shape than I just left myself in. I’ll be back!

Time to focus on quality time with my wife, but I will post updates on The Joker’s super deep run in the Main Event here whenever he messages me them and The Leak allows for it. Stay tuned!

9:17 PM: Joker has final tabled the Run It Up main and he’s above average! What a sick run.

10:19PM: 8 left in Reno. Joker has 14 bigs.

10:24 PM: He ladders! 7 left. He’s guaranteed $5600 at this point and I’m pretty sure that’s a career high score for him. Achievement unlocked. Leggo.

11:07 PM: Watching the live stream of the final table now. It’s on Twitch… search for Run It Up and it should come up. Looks like multiple people are hosting it. JOKER!

11:25 PM: I put the jinx on him. I got to watch about 15 minutes live before he got it in with AK vs 33 and lost the flip to bust in 5th. I heard Jamie Staples say he has 17k locked up now, so I’m guessing Joker gets somewhere around $10.5k for his 5th place finish. Sick run, dude! Congrats.

A little post-day wrap up coming shortly.

So March 2017 was an amazing month for me. I had the best cash game month of my entire career and I coupled that with my fourth largest cash ever in a tournament. All in all, it amounted to a net profit that is the second best month I’ve ever had, just behind June 2016 when I had back-to-back $32K+ scores. I did cash the WSOP H.O.R.S.E. for $45k last year, which is my biggest cash ever, but I gave up 40% to my backers, so June 2017 only ranks as my third best month as far as personal net profit goes.

Off to a stellar start in April – already stuck $1500+! I love it. Sometimes it’s fun to start with a nice hole and dig my way out of it. Granted, anything I have on Global Poker started with a $300 deposit, so it all feels like gravy to me anyway and doesn’t hurt my bottom line. It’s kind of silly to play a $540 buy in with a $3500 bankroll, but it’s even sillier to worry about $540 when I’m overolled for that BI size in real life, so… gotta go for it. They’ve only had one tournament like that in the entire time I’ve played on Global so far.

I have a doctor’s appointment at 7:30 AM in Bellevue tomorrow and I probably won’t be home until around noon and there’s no way I’m going to play poker before taking a nap, so no clue what time I will start playing tomorrow or if I even will at all. This weekend my wife’s parents are having a huge celebration that is big in the Cambodian culture and we will be occupied with that all day Saturday and Sunday. It’s looking like I’ll only be playing full sessions on Thursday and Friday this week. I will try to get down to the casino at a reasonable time tomorrow, but I’m not going to push it if I’m not feeling up to. I have to wake up at 5:00 AM and I’m still up now, so my whole day might be screwed up. I’m definitely taking Tuesday off and going to see Ready Player One and I’m signed up for PLO on Wednesday but the way my schedule is currently looking I’ll probably head to the casino much earlier than the 6 PM start time for that game.

That’s all for today. Congrats again to Peter for a spectacular run and a great sweat!

Peter’s Elimination Hand (link here so they don’t get mad at me for sharing the picture below)

Oh man, you can see it all in his face:

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Friday Frenzy: $15/$30 @ Palace 3/30/18 (LIVE BLOG)

March 30, 2018

3:19 PM: A little bit of a late arrival to Palace. We slept in ridiculously late for no good reason.

I ended up taking Tuesday off, as planned, but did play ten tournaments on Global Poker and managed one measly cash.

I also took Wednesday off from live poker but ended up playing on Global again. I got off to a similarly terrible start and was 0-6 while making decent runs in my last two events standing. Well, those ended up very well:

That makes 11 or 12 titles on Global and both of those scores were my best ever on the site. I also won 300 big blinds playing $1/$2 PLO and $0.25/$0.50 PLO cash games. All in all, a pretty great day online which has my Global bankroll at its peak and primed to play in their $200K GTD $540 event this Sunday – with an amazingly deep (1000 bigs to start!) structure.

Last night The Leak and I attended the Seattle Mariners home opener for the sixth consecutive year.

What a game! King Felix was amazing, going 5+ scoreless against a very good Indians team and Corey Kluber’s one mistake to Nelson Cruz was the difference in the game, a 2-1 Mariners win! Great way to start the year, edging out one of the two best starting pitchers in the American League.

3:49 PM: Started off with a $4/$8 warmup and played a fun hand where I 3-bet AQhh multiway from the small blind, call a cap, check-call J98hJ board and shrug-call blank river heads up and win against king high – and then spent the next ten minutes getting berated by that player, before leaving for $15/$30.

$15/$30 starting lineup: lady that had been coming in recently then disappeared for a while, Chief Wiggum, a rather annoying non-reg that Hollywoods almost every hand, a total unknown, a classic maniac, and a couple of nits.

4:50 PM: Nothing too exciting so far. We lost the maniac already, which sucks. I’ve picked off some bluffs and have a little sugar right now.

Dealer is asking me if I have any nicknames for seat four and I don’t. Not because he’s not deserving of one – he is quite special – but just because he doesn’t play much. The dealer suggested “The Pest” or “The Flea” because he super annoying. I won’t say who this dealer was, but it definitely was NOT The Man’s wife. Seriously, I don’t even think she works today.

I think my most interesting hand came against seat 4 when I opened button with QTo. Flop is KTx and we both check. Turn is a blank and he checks, acts like he’s going to fold, and then says, “maybe I can suck out” and calls. River is a ten. He checks and feigns fold again and snap calls when I beat and shows how unlucky he got with K4. Almost played me like a fiddle!

Speaking of fleas, it has been a few weeks since I’ve seen The Tick in here. Please come back! It will turn around, buddy!

5:14 PM: Hmmm… maybe he is The Flea. I open cutoff with JJ, Flea 3-bets big blind and I cap. Flop is ATx, he leads, and I call. Turn king, he bets and I call. River ace, we both check, he turns over K6ss and puts a $1 on his cards to tip the dealer before I do anything – a move straight out of the Douchebag Handbook.

Some wonder how I can have a win rate so high in this game and it’s literally because people go out their way to give me chips.

6:00 PM: I guess Palace is spreading PLO on Fridays @ 6 PM now. When I got here I put my name up, but I thought I was signing up for next Wednesday. Not planning to hop in at the moment, but I may change my mind after comparing the lineups.

I’m a bit of a weirdo when it comes to stuff like this. I came to the casino planning to play $15/$30 LHE and it’s really unlikely I’ll switch gears now and play PLO out of the blue.

But some lineups you can’t resist. There is already one player sitting down that is really good at PLO, so I’m leaning no at the moment.

6:15 PM: Just got back from my second run to the gas station to get The Leak something for her allergies and incoming cold and pick up JJ on my second hand and… go running quads to secure the top High Hand spot with 5.5 minutes left. Leggo!

6:37 PM: Naw. I’m not calling him The Flea. It fits but someone has to be Hollywood and this guy is the biggest actor I come across here.

Hollywood straddles, big defends, I 3-bet QTss and they both call. Flop is Q43 two diamonds and one spade, I bet, Hollywood raises, big calls, I 3-bet and they both call. Turn is 9s, I bet and both call. River is a lovely ace of spades, I bet and Hollywood raises. I reraise and he goes into his whole routine and feigns a muck which I thought meant he was eventually capping it… but then he did something weird… and folded.

Also, ship that High Hand for +$220!

7:33 PM: Couple of tough pots in a row. I have QQ in the big blind and the lead on JT9dd6d (with Qd) in a pot that was capped pre and 3-bets on flop. I get two callers there and the river is an ace. I check, UTG bets, and the cutoff calls. This is also the first street that’s been in Overs, so I’m facing a $60 bet. Kind of painful but I just don’t think I’m ever good here. I fold and AA beats TT. 😮

Very next hand, there’s some limping, button raises, I 3 with the KQhh from SB and all call. Flop is QT6 two diamonds. I bet, Hollywood raises, cutoff cold calls, I 3, Hollywood caps and we all see diamond turn. I check-call. I check ten river, Hollywood checks, cutoff bets, I call, Hollywood raises and I end up folding. Hollywood wins with J9dd.

8:00 PM: It’s always fun when you can sense the whole table rooting against you. Audible groans from people that weren’t even in the hand when I win a pot. Someone turning over an ace high when I give up on the river and someone else not in the hand chiming in with a giddy “that’s good!”

And just now, a “get him” when the third player in the pot folds.

I’m not complaining. I actually really do enjoy it.

🤷🏻‍♂️

8:26 PM: Just ran AQ into 66 on Q64 flop. I am basically even… with the High Hand… which makes the fact that multiple people are openly rooting against me all the more hilarious. I mean… I’m used to it when I’m crushing, but not as much when I’m running really mediocre.

9:40 PM: This place is about to riot because there are 19 players on the list for $15/$30 and they are not starting a second game. There are four $8/$16 games going and basically the whole list is in those games.

I have to admit, if I showed up late and got locked out with 19 on the list and there was no second game in sight… I’d probably just start going to Fortune instead. I’m not making a recommendation but there’s no way I’d be cool with that.

Man, I’ve had this situation where s7 opens from the cutoff and I’m the only caller from the big blind come up about five times and every single time he’s flopped top pair or better. I’ve had top and middle pair a few times and every time I think he can’t always have it and he always does.

And with that latest matchup, I am now stuck… and this game sucks. There are no spewers. No maniacs. No world beaters either, but still.

And as I type that, there’s a straddle and a 5-way pot for three beats each. 😂

9:54 PM: Some odd Overs dynamics: under the gun limp and I reluctantly check the JTdd. Flop is Q99 and I’m actually planning to check-raise, but he checks back. I’m obviously bluffing the turn here but hey, I just made a straight and there’s less than $25 in the pot. I think it’s clear he’s rarely calling $60, so I check again and he checks back. River is an ace and I didn’t take this line to start betting now. I check, he bets $60 and I can’t even contain my grin at the hilarity of it. I raise and he snap-calls and I somehow get him to put $120 into a $22 pot on the river. 💪🏻

10:05 PM: Here it is again: s7 opens cutoff and I defend AQhh heads up. I check-call down on KQ3J6 and he shows KJ.

Every time? EVERY TIME?

I am up less than $100 overall and I’m probably down $500 in this defend vs cutoff scenario alone.

10:45 PM: I am putting on a clinic on how to lose money playing out of position tonight. Two limps, button raises, I 3-bet AQ and they all call. Flop is TT8 with two clubs and I check-call button and three of us see 6c turn. I have Ac so this is an easy check-call. We are heads up and the river is a queen. I think leading has merit but I end up check-calling another $60 and he shows me the T9hh. Sigh.

11:25 PM: The Joker is at Run It Up Reno and just bagged 188k (47 bigs) in the Main Event, which is way more exciting than anything happening at my table. Good luck Pesky!

11:35 PM: Running AWESOME! I’m straddling on the button because this game is trash right now and needs action. Hollywood calls and says “oh, he straddled, I raise!” but dealer won’t let him, someone else raises, I look down at KK and know I can get five bets in without revealing my hand strength so I call and they put the bets in for me. They both check to me on 754 flop and Hollywood check-raises and caps when I 3-bet and the other player is in there too. Turn is a 6 and we all check. River is a 3. A fucking 3. And I have to chop this pot with AQ and KQ. Solid lines from both these champions.

I mean they are both trying pretty hard to torch off their chips here but I think I have to bet the turn. They both raised and reraised preflop and I can have anything, especially straights. That makes this a mandatory turn bet for my range, even if it’s not a great card for my actual hand. Plus, when they both check, I have no good reason to think I’m beat anyway. KQ turned a flush draw but maybe the AQ folds?

The dealer from earlier said she likes The Flea better. She’s right. Hollywood doesn’t even come close to describing how annoying this dude is.

11:56 PM: Small victories! Seat 7 opens cutoff and I defend my big blind with 55. We’ve seen this about seven times already with the same outcome. Flop is 742 and I check-raise… he tanks long enough before calling that I know I got him this time. Turn 3, I bet and he folds! HE FOLDS!

Meanwhile, he has like $130 in front of him, which is goddamn amazing considering I’ve given him $500 of my own chips.

12:02 AM: Well it’s a new day now so they decided to finally start the second $15/$30 game. I’m on the move list because my game is epic bad, but if I move tables I won’t be able to take The Flea’s chips and that’s something I really want to do. It’s a close call. The other game is substantially better. At least three players worse than anyone in my current game.

12:07 AM: My mind is kind of blown right now. I said earlier that I haven’t seen The Tick in weeks. Well, he’s here. And he’s been here since before I got here. It’s funny… I was looking at him earlier and I thought That sure looks like a respectable version of The Tick. But I didn’t think it was actually him. It’s the first time I’ve seen him without a hat on and he’s wearing glasses. And he’s sticking to $8/$16. God bless him.

12:22 AM: Sigh. The good news is I moved to the second game. The bad news is someone I wanted to play with took my old spot. Then, after no one left my previous game for 3+ hours, two other players cashed out and took another player I wanted to play with. 🤦🏻‍♂️

There is still a maniac in the second game. I believe I called him The River Man in my last blog. Plus there’s another player I don’t recognize and that’s always a good thing. The rest of the table is filled out with decent regs, including The Invisible Man.

12:29 AM: Amazing! Another player left and now three of the four players I came over to play with are in my old game. Is this real? Seriously. No one left that game for the last 3+ hours and three people have left in the ten minutes since I switched tables. I swear, sometimes the poker gods just hate you.

12:51 AM: The bad news is The River Man is almost out of chips. The good news is he just doubled up. The bad news is he doubled upthrough me. 🤦🏻‍♂️

12:59 AM: I just saw something crazy. The River Man raised pre and everyone checked Q55. The turn was a ten and the big blind led out and The Invisible Man raised (after open-limping) and the big blind called. River was a blank and the big blind check-called and The Invisible Man shows KJ high. 😮😮😮 A stone cold three big bet bluff! Never seen that from him before. And apparently this detour from his comfort zone was too much to handle because he literally didn’t take another hand and cashed out instead.

1:40 PM: I was eating chicken wings while playing 6-handed so no updates, but Peter “The Joker” Lynn checked in from Reno with a printout of chip stacks after Day 1A of the Main Event:

Joker in 9th and some random with the chip lead.

8:34 AM: Whoops. Forgot to post a wrap up. Not a very good session. Never had any upward momentum. Any time I got ahead I’d lose pots. On the bright side, I didn’t lose pots all day either.

Final Score: -$90

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So Many Movie Reviews! Three Billboards, Phantom Thread, Game Night, Lady Bird, and more!

March 28, 2018

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017) was a movie that I immediately wrote off when it was announced, but as the release date approached, I was intrigued enough to check it out. It was fun. All the main actors are funny and I was laughing through most of the movie. I wish there were more animal encounters, but I can hardly complain about this sequel – it was better than it had any right to be. Anyone interested in watching this shouldn’t be disappointed.
Replay Value: It is fun enough to watch again, but unless Dina wants to see it, that probably won’t happen.
Sequel Potential: Can you believe this grossed $400 million in the United States alone? To put that in perspective, that’s just under the combined box office receipts for Justice League and The LEGO Batman Movie. It did more business than Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Spiderman: Homecoming, and Thor: Ragnarok! Unreal. So yeah, lots of potential for more Jumanji.
Oscar Potential: Zero nominations.
Dina Meter: My wife would have definitely enjoyed this movie.

6/10 (Fun)

Phantom Thread (2017) was more high level filmmaking from director Paul Thomas Anderson. Daniel Day-Lewis gives his typical powerhouse performance, although this one has quite a bit less dazzle than some of his best work. Still, his high strung and OCD fashion designer Reynolds Woodcock is another very memorable DDL character. The writing, direction, and acting are all very well done in this film, but fair warning, it does get a bit weird towards the end. I doubt general audiences would be enthralled, but those of you that enjoy more artsy films should find a lot to appreciate here. Phantom Thread is a film that is already making me reexamine my new movie ratings because it doesn’t seem to fit the “Highly Enjoyable” or “Fun” categories, but it was certainly a better film than Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.
Replay Value: I would take this journey again.
Sequel Potential: Zero.
Oscar Potential: Acting nominations for DDL and Lesley Manville, plus Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Score, and an unsurprising win for Best Costume Design – it is a movie about a fashion designer!
Dina Meter: Definitely not Dina’s kind of movie and if she did watch it, she would have been out in the last half hour.

7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

Lady Bird (2017) was a lot of fun, but I have a confession. The trailers for films are so long these days that I no longer make it a priority to be in the theater when the movie is supposed to start. The actual film almost never starts until 15 minutes after its listed showtime. Well, I walked into Lady Bird over ten minutes late and the feature presentation looked like it was well in progress. Walking in late to a Best Picture contender is inexcusable and I think it may have hindered my experience ever-so-slightly. Still, I definitely enjoyed Lady Bird. Saoirse Ronan was absolutely terrific and her character, while a flawed teenage girl trying to figure things out, was one of 2017’s best movie characters. Laurie Metcalf was also great as Lady Bird’s mother. On the other hand, this movie was a good contrast for Timothee Chalamet’s performance in Call Me By Your Name. After seeing him in this, I’m upgrading his performance in Call Me By Your Name to truly phenomenal. I give Lady Bird a strong recommendation and I feel like I owe it another watch myself.
Replay Value: High on my list to see again immediately.
Sequel Potential: Seems very unlikely.
Oscar Potential: Five nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, plus Saoirse Ronan for Best Actress and Laurie Metcalf for Best Supporting Actress.
Dina Meter: I am looking forward to watching this with Dina and I am sure she will like it.

7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

The Post (2017) was an enjoyable politically-charged newspaper thriller with a standard Oscar-worthy performance from Meryl Streep and lots of quality work from the rest of the cast. The story of a government cover-up and a small newspaper putting everything on the line to publish the conspiracy was actually quite a bit more entertaining than I was expecting. It’s still difficult for me to picture The Washington Post as the Oakland Athletics of the newspaper world, but this movie has a bit of a Moneyball feel to it. I tend to prefer Steven Spielberg’s adventure spectacles, but at this point, I think you have to give the guy credit for being very adept at making political thrillers.
Replay Value: Not really a movie I’m looking to watch more than once.
Sequel Potential: N/A
Oscar Potential: Two nominations: Meryl Streep and Best Picture.
Dina Meter: I think she’d like The Post.

7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) might be one of the most polarizing films of 2017. I’ve seen people say it was the best film of 2017 and I’ve seen people say they hated it. Honestly, it’s a tough film to rate. There was definitely times during the movie when I thought it was the year’s best film. Frances McDormand gives my favorite performance of the year – of that, I am certain. Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson also chip in with exceptional performances. Much like the film itself, Rockwell’s unhinged police officer is one that is likely to divide audiences. He’s an idiot and a total loose cannon that seems to have no leash and there seems to be no good explanation for his free reign of destruction. The character is rather despicable but Rockwell’s acting is off the charts. I loved him in this movie. Three Billboards is brutal, shocking, and full of twists and turns and will possibly leave audiences shaking their heads or unsatisfied, but I thought it was great. McDormand and Rockwell give two of my favorite performances of 2017 and the plot, although absurd at times, is insanely entertaining. This movie is a total spectacle and a must see in my books.
Replay Value: I am looking forward to watching it again.
Sequel Potential: Almost none. I guess it’s possible, but I don’t see any reason to continue this story.
Oscar Potential: Seven nominations: Best Picture, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, Best Original Screenplay, and Woody Harrelson, plus well deserved Oscar wins for Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell.
Dina Meter: I have no clue where my wife will fall on this movie, but I’m looking forward to finding out.

8/10 (Must See)

Game Night (2018) was tons of fun. Absolutely Hilarious and totally unexpected. Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams were terrific and had great comedic chemistry. Jesse Plemons is also hysterical every time he’s on screen. I mean absurdly funny… like I laughed through almost every second of his screen time. Game Night twists and turns so much you’re never really sure what’s real and what’s not (and neither are the characters in the movie) and it doesn’t get so outlandish that it becomes ridiculous. This would have been the best comedy of last year and after a brief glance it looks like I’d have to go back years to find a straight comedy that I enjoyed more than Game Night. If you missed this in theaters, make sure you check it out on home release – it’s a must see comedy and very fun flick.
Replay Value: Comedies are best the first time, but I’d happily watch this again.
Sequel Potential: Successful comedies always have sequel potential.
Oscar Potential: None.
Dina Meter: If Dina doesn’t love Game Night I’ll be shocked.

8/10 (Must See)

Annihilation (2018) is writer/director Alex Garland’s follow up to his terrific Ex Machina. I don’t know. There’s a good movie in here somewhere, but I didn’t love it. Annihilation is intriguing, at worst, and there are some thrilling moments when the women enter The Shimmer and encounter some strange beasts, but the last 20 minutes or so of the film are definitely going to lose viewers. I’ve read a number of people that loved this movie, but I’m among those that were kind of boggled after Natalie Portman reaches the lighthouse. Ex Machina was a bit weird too, but I think it was substantially more palatable than Annihilation is. The cast here is okay, but nothing remarkable. I’ve read enough good things about Annihilation to know it has an audience, but it was a slight miss for me.
Replay Value: Debatable.
Sequel Potential: I believe this was the first adaptation in a series of novels.
Oscar Potential: A February release and a divided audience are going to hurt its chances, but I suppose a Best Adapted Screenplay could be a long shot.
Dina Meter: I think making Dina sit through this would ruin her day.

5/10 (Decent)

Red Sparrow (2018) did not grab me at all. To be fair, I was incredibly distracted while watching it, as I explained in this post, but even if I was focused on the movie, I don’t think I would have been impressed. This is the least inspiring performance I’ve seen from Jennifer Lawrence to date and none of the characters I saw were interesting or likable at all. I walked out of this movie probably less than halfway into it.
Replay Value: I will probably give this a second chance on home release.
Sequel Potential: $44M in gross with a budget of $70M is a dud. Let’s just stop now and let J-Law focus on meatier roles.
Oscar Potential: More like Razzie potential. Seriously… drawing live IMO.
Dina Meter: Dina could probably stomach this movie if she were multitasking.

3/10 (Bad)

Game Over, Man (2018 – Netflix) was a comedy I was looking forward to since it was written by and starring the dudes from “Workaholics,”, but this is stupid comedy, not smart comedy. Game Over, Man relies on shock value and grossout humor and while it has some funny moments, it’s mostly just really dumb. It’s basically Die Hard with three idiots instead of Bruce Willis and a posse of forgettable bad guys, none of which have the charisma of Alan Rickman. No idea how this movie has a 5-star rating on Netflix, but I expect that start plummeting as more people start watching it. This movie wasn’t trying to be good, but it also didn’t succeed very well at being silly entertainment. You can safely skip this, unless you enjoy bad comedies and a lot of people do.
Sequel Potential: There was a sequel teaser similar to the credits of 22 Jump Street. No idea if it’s a real thing or not, but it probably shouldn’t be.
Oscar Potential: None.
Dina Meter: Dina was laughing before she fell asleep, but so was I. I’m confident she would have lost interest too.

3/10 (Bad)