Posts Tagged ‘gambling for a living’

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August 2019 Poker Wrap-Up

September 4, 2019

I spent the last few days of August in Los Angeles, playing at The Bicycle Casino in Bell Gardens because they were hosting a $2100 H.O.R.S.E. tournament in their Legends of Poker series. I played that tournament on Friday and I already wrote about it in this post so if you missed it the first time around, you can click that link and go read how awesome I did in that event.

I got into L.A. on Wednesday just after 4 PM and started my trip off by… taking an extended nap. I wasn’t in action until 7 PM but I immediately got a seat in a 40/80 Limit Hold’em game. They had two games going at the time and the feeder game wasn’t particularly attractive as they had three props and a host playing in the game.

In my first orbit I have KK in late position in a 4-bet 5-way pot and one of the props was the preflop capper and leads out on a T95 flop. I raise it and all four opponents call. It checks to me when the ten pairs on the turn and I don’t see any reason to check here, so I bet and only two players call. I’m loving my hand now. The river pairs the nine and it checks to me again. I bet, the player in the blinds fold, and now the prop suddenly loves his hand and check-raises. I’m not folding here, but I also realize my hand is probably not winning. I put in the call and he shows me AA. It’s a bit of a strange line from him, but I really love his river check-raise, as once the player that can actually have tens and nines in his range folds, he knows he has the best hand because I’ve been saying I have a big pair ever since I 3-bet before the flop.

That was a nice start to my session, but I had a chance to get some back when I defended the KQ of spades in a 4-way pot and flopped a flush draw on T72. It was bet and raised back to me, so I just called and the PFR 3-bets it. Then the turn paired the ten and PFR and I both check-call. Three of us saw the 6 of clubs on the river, so I check-folded, but the preflop raiser check-called with… 98 of spades. You can never be too careful (other player had KT).

There’s a raise and three calls in front of me, so I cold call on the button with 76 of spades and we go 5-ways to a flop of J86 with two hearts and no spade. The PFR bets and it’s not my favorite kind of board to peel on with no backdoor flush draw, but this pot is bloated, so I take a card off. Three of us see the turn and I make two pair and raise it up when the PFR bets. She responds with a 3-bet and that kind of sucks, but you never know how unknown players are going to play their overpairs, so I’m showdown bound here. We are heads up to the river and I now have a full house on the J8676 runout. I’m sure there’s plenty of good arguments for a raise here, as she clearly has more combos of AA-QQ (18) than sets of jacks or eights (6), but my superficial read is that this player is competent and is not raising the turn with one pair, so I just call and she does show me JJ.

Yup. Great start to my trip. I’m stuck $1k in two hours.

But it did get better. Much, much better. I moved to the main game and got to enjoy the beautiful sight of multiple players limping in at the 40/80 level. My hot streak isn’t as interesting as my bad start. My big pairs just all held up. For hours. I peaked at +$2600, but got cold again during the last couple of hours of my session, including these two hands:

I have TT in a 4-bet pot and put in multiple bets against the other preflop aggressor on a 762 two spade flop. He’s check-calling on the 4x turn, so I have a pretty good idea where I’m at. The river is an ace, however, and I think an ace high flush draw was one of his most likely holdings, so I’m pretty happy when he checks to me and I’m able to check behind… but not quite as happy when he shows the AK of spades for the win.

It folds to Jonathan Ing on the button and he opens for a raise. Jonathan is notable because he’s the host of the mid-stakes Limit Hold’em games at The Bike and he was also the second player to complete my Coast-to-Coast Challenge when he did it on our Live at The Bike stream. Anyways, when he opens on the button, I expect him to be wide, so I 3-bet with Q9 suited and we take a flop of 987 rainbow. I bet and he calls. The turn is a jack and I check it over to him and he bets. I think Jonathan is capable, so I’m not automatically giving him credit for a straight here, plus I have a gutshot of my own, and make the call. The river is a 6 and that puts another one card straight on the board, but I check-call again and he did, indeed, get there with 55.

I didn’t stick around much longer after that and called it a night around 3 AM with a $924 profit.

I made it back to the casino around 4 PM on Thursday and decided to play some 20/40 Mix for my session because the 40/80 game looked prop-heavy again and there was only one table this time.

I walked to the casino and crossed the underrated and gorgeous L.A. River on my way.

I only took a couple of notes for this session.

I open with KTT8x in Drawmaha from the button and both blinds call. The flop is J94 with two diamonds and both players check-call. They draw 2 and 3 and I keep TT8 with one diamond. The turn is the 3 of diamonds and I draw the 8 of diamonds and the 7 of clubs, so I now have two pair in my hand and straight and flush draws on the board. It checks to me and I bet, but the small blind check-raises me and I don’t have a made hand on the board so I just call and the river pairs the 9. I call again and get scooped by JJJ4x. He even had my diamond draw covered. Pretty brutal.

I defend in Badacey with 754xx and draw two vs two players. I’m not even sure if this is a reasonable defend, but here we are. I pick up the 2 of clubs and pitch my 7 of clubs and draw two again with 542 now. They draw one and two. I make a 5432 Badugi and plan to check-raise, but it’s bet and raised back to me. I should probably be raising anyway because the chances that I am freerolling are pretty high, but I just call and try to make an A-5 hand. We all draw one. Bingo. I get an ace to make a wheel to go with my #5 Badugi. Seems pretty good to me. Since everyone was still drawing a card on the last draw, I lead out and I’m surprised when the first guy raises and the other player cold calls. I’m sure there are some things that could go wrong here, but I’m not sure I’ve ever made a hand this strong in Badacey, so I put in the 3-bet and they both call. The first guy shows 6532A with a 632A Badugi and the other player just flashed a 6432 Badugi but not his last card. Pretty nasty, but a very sexy, session-defining scooper for me.

I open with A443 with two spades in Omaha 8/B and someone calls on the button. The flop is A85 with two spades and we end up capping it. I have top pair with the nut flush draw and the third nut low, so I’m pretty happy about this spot. The turn is a 9, I bet and he calls. The river is a jack and we both check. He shows AT42 (no spades) and that is going to scoop me somehow.

I played until just after 1 AM and booked a $881 win.

I busted out of the tourney on Friday before they even posted the prize pool and I hopped in a 40/80 Mix game around 5 PM, but I didn’t take any notes and I finished that session +$1036, calling it an early night because The Leak (my wife) was on her way to our hotel from LAX.

On Saturday, I started out with some 20/40 LHE and then moved up to 40/80 LHE, but then I saw actor James Woods sitting in a mix game about to start and I inquired about what was going on because my name was on the 40/80 Mix game and I was told they were starting a 50/100 game with some Hollywood folks. I’d never played that big before, but I couldn’t resist. I took a seat.

In addition to James Woods, Carol Fuchs and her husband Martin Shafer were also in the game. I’ve been running into Carol in mix game tournaments over the last several years, but I’d never met her husband before or knew anything about him. I do now. He’s a co-founder of the film company Castle Rock Entertainment and they’ve put out over 50 movies since the late 80’s, including notable films like The Shawshank Redemption, Misery, A Few Good Men and The Polar Express. They also made The Ghosts of Mississippi, a film that got James Woods one of his two Oscar nominations. In addition, Seinfeld is listed among the T.V. shows they have produced. So… no one in this crowd is doing too bad in life.

I had a blast playing in this game, as everyone was super friendly and it was cool to see Carol and Martin playing straight up poker against each other. I also got to hear some interesting tidbits about some of their movies. Like how Stephen King walked out in the middle of their screening of Misery and everyone was freaking out because they thought he hated it. When they asked him about it later, King said he “loved it” and “was just scared” (because he knew the hobbling scene was coming up). They also told me that Bette Midler was their first choice for the role that eventually won Kathy Bates an Oscar.

There was also a lot of talk about Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood and they all hated it. Martin and Carol walked out of it and James Woods brought it up as offensive at multiple times during this session. Apparently, people in Hollywood – people that knew Sharon Tate – aren’t very enamored with QT’s revisionist history. I told them I liked it, but thought the ending was weird… because… it was. The whole concept is weird, honestly, and I’m not surprised that some in the industry are taken aback by it.

On to the poker…

The game is 2-7 Drawmaha and Martin Shafer opens, James Woods calls, and I 3-bet with T9853 single suited. They both call and we see a flop of 873 with two clubs. I have two pair and a flush draw and Woods helps me get three bets in on the flop. I pat and they both draw one. The turn is a 9 and Woods is my only caller. The river is a club and he pays my flush off with 33 in his hand. It’s always nice when you are freerolling for a scoop and get there.

2-7 Drawmaha again and this time I cap on the button with 98643 and four diamonds in my hand. The flop is AJ2 with two diamonds and two players call. I pat and they both draw one. The turn is a ten and only Carol calls. The river is a queen, giving me a straight to go with the obviously good low in my hand and Carol calls again and can’t beat any of it.

I’m up $2k early on and I’m pretty excited about it, but then the dreaded game of Archie comes along and I whiff straight draws with four low cards in my hand three pots in a row and lose back $1k just like that.

Stud 8 with three down cards, Carol opens with a king up and I raise with AK9ss-A. Tom Schneider, winner of four mix game WSOP bracelets defends with the 2d up. I pitch the king and keep the A9 of spades. I catch a 5, Carol gets a 3 and Tom gets the 7 of diamonds. I bet here, but it’s probably more of a check, especially when Tom catches an on suit low card after calling 3-bets on 3rd street. They both just call though. Carol leads out when she picks up an ace on 5th and I raise with my A9-A56 because Tom caught a jack and I’m really dumb. Tom doesn’t fold and this is starting to look pretty bad for me. I make aces and fives on 6th and that puts my board in the lead. I check to Tom who has three low cards showing now, he bets, and Carol raises. I probably should have been able to figure this out on 5th street, but I didn’t even think about it. When she opens with a king and leads out on 5th when she catches an ace, she obviously has the case ace in the hole. I’m probably in bad shape against her and I should have just called on 5th street… maybe even folded. I can see the light now and toss my hand into the muck and she does have aces and kings… just as she should.

Regular Drawmaha, James Woods limps, I raise with AAKK6 double suited, Schneider 3-bets me, Woods folds, and I cap it. The flop is Q65 with one of each of my suits. I bet and he calls. He draws three and I draw one. The turn is the 3 of spades and he check-calls me again. The river is the jack of spades and this time he leads out, I raise it, he calls, and I scoop the pot. Take that, bracelet winner!

I reached a peak of up around $4000, but I lost some back and I didn’t stick around too much longer after James Woods left (and Carol and Martin were long gone). I ended up booking a +$3186 win in the biggest game I’ve ever played in. Not too bad, but nothing special either. Also, I lost $600 in 30 minutes of 40/80 LHE earlier, so my total win for the day was closer to $2600.

The Leak thinking about getting her leak on.

We initially planned to go to Universal Studios on Sunday – mostly because I wanted to go on the new Jurassic World ride and Dina has never seen the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – but I checked on their app and the lines were already pretty insane, particularly the three hour wait for the Jurassic World ride. I mean, come on. That is just outrageous. How good can it be? (I watched a YouTube video of the ride and, well, it seems pretty cool, but it’s not that different from the previous version).

So we headed to The Bike instead and I played some more 40/80 Mix with Mr. James Woods.

I got off to a rough -$1k start, mostly because I lost a big Stud 8 pot. I started with A2-3 in a raised 5-way pot and caught a 5 on 4th street with no 4s visibly dead. A player with A8 up bets and I raise it and two others call, as does the bettor. I brick on 5th street and get squeezed for 3-bets by boards showing 575 and 632. The player that had A8 up caught a 4 before folding on this street, so one of my scoop outs is dead now, but this pot is so big and I already had one bet in on 5th, and I’m not seeing a great reason to fold yet. But then I brick again on 6th and their boards look like 5575 and 632x now. The board with trips leads out and I don’t want to get squeezed again, so I make a reluctant fold. They complete the hand and since I was in last position, I can look at the top card on the deck and see what my card would have been, so I take a peak and it was a four! That was only good for half the pot though as the 5755 board had fives full of sevens and the other player had 7632A for their low.

I got all of that back when I got involved in a 4-way Archie pot with a one card flush draw and got there on the last draw and got paid off by all three opponents, none of which had a low or a better high hand.

Playing regular Drawmaha, three players limp in, and I complete with AAK92 single suited in the small blind and the big blind checks. I’m not an expert in this game, but my intuition says that even though I probably have the best Draw hand before the flop/draw, my hand and position aren’t good enough to raise in what is surely going to be a 5-way pot. Also, I’ve noticed a tendency for people to limp or cold call in live mix games with pat Draw hands like straights and flushes to encourage multi-way action, so that’s worth keeping in mind. The flop is 334 with one of my suit and it checks to James Woods. He bets, the button calls, I call, and now the big blind check-raises. We all call. I have the 2 of spades in my hand and that gives me a gutshot with a backdoor flush draw, but I feel like the straight draw might be near worthless here and decide to focus on trying to improve my Draw hand. I draw three and the other players all draw two each. I add 773 to my hand the turn is the 5 of spades, so I now have aces up in my hand and trips on the board. That’s a nice development, but with three other players in the pot, I still don’t love my Omaha hand. The big blind can easily have 44 here and someone with the case 3 can have a full house. I decide to check-call and this time it is James Woods that bets. Everyone else calls also. The dealer only has one card left, so he can’t burn and bring a river. That means the last card remaining is shuffled with the two burn cards and the dealer burns and brings a river. It’s a queen and we all call James Woods when he bets. He shows Q43xxx and that’s good for the Omaha half, but my aces up are good for the Draw half. We take a look at the other two burn cards and one of them was a 7! I was 33% to scoop this monster on the river!

Later we are playing 2-7 Drawmaha and the player on my left shows me his hand and asks me to tell him if he did the right thing later. He shows me T9873 with spades on a flop of 882 with two spades. He has a monster. I wasn’t really paying attention to the action up to this point, but I would imagine he’s putting in all the bets if he can. And then he pitches the 3 of spades to draw one and I tried to not let my jaw drop in shock. This is a guy that is literally wearing his WSOP bracelet on his wrist! Remember, this is 2-7 Drawmaha and the goal in this game is to make the best 2-7 holding in your hand and the best Omaha hand on the board. A pat 10 is pretty good, especially when you flop a big Omaha hand. Maybe he thought it was regular Drawmaha? But this is like the third or fourth hand of 2-7, so… I dunno. Anyways, he draws a king and I’m like, “wow.” The hand goes to showdown and someone draws a better low and another player has A8 for the Omaha half. I told him his mistake (because he asked) and it was determined that he would have gotten scooped anyway… but that’s not necessarily true. The turn is the same, but the river would have been different if he didn’t draw. Amazing.

It folds to James Woods in the small blind while we are playing Badugi and he raises. I look down at 652x and put in a 3-bet and he calls. He pats, which surprises me, and I draw one. He bets and I call. He pats and I draw one again. I improve to A52, but I’m still drawing to a Badugi. He bets and I call. He virtually bets in the dark, stares me down, and I fail to improve. I also fail to give this hand any logical thought and toss it in the muck. That’s when he shows me four hearts in his hand. Honestly, I’m embarrassed about this fold. If I would have taken a minute to think about how this hand played out, I would have realized that Jimmy can’t really have a Badugi here. When I 3-bet before the first draw, he just called me. He may play a weak Badugi this way, but he almost certainly wouldn’t bet such a weak hand after the last draw and the fact that he smoked it makes it even more likely that he doesn’t have shit. Anyways, we all got a good laugh out of his successful bluff and when I raised him on the next hand, he guffawed, “oh oh, he’s mad at me now. ‘I never liked any of his movies anyways!'”

I was super card dead for most of this session and floated between +$300 and -$300 for most of the day with only three mini-rushes in any direction, two of them downwards. I finished at -$848 and booked my only losing day of the trip, mostly because I let James Woods bluff me in a $560 pot.

All in all, I lost the tournament I went to L.A. to play, but I only had 40% of myself and I won $4566 in the cash games. I left for California stuck almost $2k for the month and managed to finish with a profitable August and that is a pretty satisfying result.

August Poker Highlights

*Beating Steve Garguile heads up in an All-Star tournament
*Playing in the biggest game I’ve ever played in and booking a solid win
*Playing 16+ hours with James Woods and other Hollywood movie people
*Clutching up during my Cali trip to turn my month around
*Winning in every live mix game session I played (+2.8 BB/hour)

August Poker Lowlights

*Getting crushed at Palace (-$4600)
*Getting crushed in online mix games (-2.72 BB/hour)
*Busting the $2100 H.O.R.S.E. tournament before the prize pool was posted
*Being stuck for most of the month

On Deck in September

*It: Chapter 2!
*Puyallup Fair
*Fall Coast Classic at Chinook Winds in Lincoln City, Oregon
*Adoptapalooza at Mud Bay in Gig Harbor (are we coming back with a third dog?)
*Overnight trip to La Center in southern Washington for 20/40 and 30/60 LHE action

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Legends of Poker: $2100 H.O.R.S.E. @ The Bike – Stack Updates/Live Blog

August 30, 2019

Stack updates and notable hands here.

This is actually considered Day 2 of this event. A few weeks ago, they ran a series of mixed game satellites and I considered coming out to play them, but I didn’t think it was worth the trip expenses to play them and possibly not even qualify. Anyways, those satellites were considered Day 1 of this event and it looks like 32 players total (~8 per flight) advanced to Day 2 and only a handful of them get to bring sizable stacks with them.

For those of us registering today, it is $2100 to buy in and we start with 180,000 in chips with blinds starting at 1500/3000. That gives us a total of 60 big blinds – or 30 big bets – so not a ton of play, but the pros with huge bankrolls are probably happy that the first level is going to be critical.

I’m sure there are going to be plenty of faces I recognize in the field but I’ve been playing and studying mix games a lot lately and I feel as confident as I ever have sitting down in a H.O.R.S.E. tournament. The stacks are small enough that getting off to a good start is going to be pretty crucial, so some early run good would be nice.

Levels are an hour long and our first (and only) break is after level 4, so I will post stack updates after critical pots here, but whatever hand histories I post will be pretty results oriented with no real analysis because I don’t have time for all that while I’m playing.

Let’s get it!

12:48 PM:

Slow start to cards in the air here.

Notables in the field: Allen Kessler, Frankie O’Dell, Daniel Ospina, Shirley Rosario, David Brookshire

I only have experience with one player at my table and he’s a straight forward nit. I sniped another player’s name and he has less than $15k in tourney cashes. The other players at my table look like favorable spots. 3 of my 5 current opponents satellited in.

12:50 PM:

Sigh. My table broke before we started. I am now at Daniel Ospina and Tim Frazin’s table. This table looks way more competent in general. Not cool. Oh well.

12:56 PM:

And we add Frankie O’Dell. LOL. Only two bracelet winners at my table now. NOT BAD.

End of Level 1

Took me an hour to win my first pot. I had a couple of good starters in Razz that bricked out.

Key pots:

Open KTcc, get 3-bet and then big blind caps it. We call. Flop is K86ddc and we both call big blind’s bet. I’m planning to call down here on most runouts. Turn is another 6 and the big bets, I call and then the other player raises. Big blind folds and I think about it for a while before folding. Seems like a weird spot to bluff and I’m not beating any value hands, so folding seems right.

Defend utg open with AQo. Flop is KK9 and I check call. Turn is a 3 and I check-raise. I might have the best hand here, so this is a mergy bluff. He calls though and the river is a small card and I don’t think he’s ever folding better after calling turn, so I check and he checks back and my hand is good!

That’s the only pot I’ve won so far.

134,500

End of Level 2

Defend QQ53ss and lead out on T94 rainbow in 3-way pot. Both players call. I check on 2x turn and the PFR leads, Ospina calls, and I call. River pairs the 4 and when Ospina folds, I call because the low bricked and I’m only losing to AA, A24x and A34x type hands. He has AA3x though.

AAJ6ss vs AJ85 on AT3ssT2 (annoying/unlucky chop)

(AT)-68T9-(3) vs (23)A4KJ-(Q) in Razz (super lucky dodge/scooper)

114,500

More notables: Miami John, Carol Fuchs, Jeff Madsen, Max Pescatori, David Levi

End of Level 3

(Ah2)-7h72hQh-(K) vs (xx)-5s4s48-(x) and (xx)-Qc4cJcKc-(x) – they have flush and low and I brick my flush/full house draw

(2-5)-2-8 vs (xx)-T-T in Razz. Hallelujah! I had like 5 big bets for this hand)

79,500

Pretty fun.

End of Level 4

Table broke. New table still has Frankie O’Dell but also has the guy with < $15k in cashes and just looks a little better in general.

3-bet a middle position open with AxKd in Hold’em and c-bet QdJd8x. Check back on 5d and we both check on 3x river and I lose to JTo with no diamonds. 🙄

I get my last 20k or so in with (4-8)-7-T-5 vs (x-x)-7-9-3 in Razz and finish with 87542 but he has 87532 for the perfect FU to cap my exit from a tournament that I never even had a hint of life in.

I basically won two meaningful pots in almost four hours of play and neither of them were good spots.

That was not fun. Back to the cash games.

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August 2019 Week 4: Palace Tourney, PLO, Mix Games!

August 28, 2019

Last Sunday I wasn’t in any shape to go hiking super early in the morning, but I did wake up in time to play the $110 bi-weekly no limit Hold’em tournament at Palace. I was a bit slow-moving, but I managed to take a seat at the start of the second level and I took notes on my key hands throughout the tournament so I might as well share my journey here.

Everyone starts with 10k in chips and levels are 30 minutes long.

Blinds are 50/100, a player limps, and I make it 400 with KJo and get three callers. The flop is QT6 with two hearts. I’m not sure what the best line is here against three opponents, but I ended up betting 500 and someone in position made it 1500 to go and one of the blinds cold called the raise. I have the jack of hearts in my hand so making a straight with a heart on the turn isn’t the worst. The weirdest thing about this spot are the remaining stack sizes of my opponents. The flop raiser has 5000 behind and the caller left himself with 2500 and the pot will have 5700 in the middle if I call. I decided to call though and the action checked around after a king fell on the turn. When the small blind checks to me on a blank river, it seems like my hand is good, so I bet 1400 and both players call! I wasn’t expecting that, but no matter, my hand is still good.

I’ve been super activer and min-raise with K8o on the button at 100/200 and the big blind defends. He check-calls 300 on Q75hh and then leads 700 when the queen pairs on the turn. He has 4600 behind and this stab feels weak to me, plus I feel like there might be some leveling going on, so I put him all in and… he snap calls with JJ but… the river is a king and my punt attempt is suddenly netting me an extra 6000 in chips instead and I send a player to the rail shaking his head in disbelief. Sorry, guy.

Blinds are 100/200 and I make it 450 with AA under the gun. The next player calls and so does the small blind. I bet 500 on 433 and the initial flatter calls. The turn is a 7 and this time I bet 1600. He calls again. I know I have him and I know he doesn’t want to fold, so I go for it all on the river and put him all in for about 1.3x pot. He doesn’t do much thinking before making the call and walking out the door a few seconds later.

I have raised four pots in a row and won all of them without showing a hand when this next situation arises. There are multiple limpers at 150/300 and the button makes it 1200 to go. He started the hand with 5500 total and I have TT in the big blind. This is probably a snap raise in a typical tournament when you consider the stack sizes, but at Palace the players are overly nitty, especially with their aggressive actions, and the $110 buy in size is big for most of the field. With that in mind, and the player in question fitting the profile, this spot is pretty weird. I mean… this is a guy that might limp with AQo in this spot. I have a nice stack brewing at this point, but losing 18bb isn’t inconsequential to me. I knew this player’s range was tight, but I couldn’t resist making the raise to put him all in, especially since I was completely bullying the table. Why stop now? I make it 5500 to go, everyone else folds, and he calls with JJ, but I flop a set to bust him.

My table was already pretty annoyed with how easily I was accumulating chips but after that one they really wanted to let me know how fortunate I was. I’m like, “guys, I’m watching the same tournament you are, but you’re not going to see me get excited because I’m running good in round 4.”

The button open-limps at 150/300 and I call with 43hh from the small blind. The big checks and we see a flop of A42 with two hearts. Not bad. No one showed strength pre, so I lead out for 350 and the button makes it 1000 with over 10k behind. I make the call. The turn is the jack of hearts and I check it over to her. She bets 5000 into 2900, but I can tell she’s a very new player so that sizing is not concerning at all. I put her all in and she snap calls it off with A6o. Amazingly, she’s not drawing dead here as she has the 6 of hearts in her hand and that is a live flush draw. I am still blessed in the early stages of this tournament and the river bricks off and I bust another player and have 60k after four levels of play (and I missed one of them!).

Of course, variance proves why you don’t get excited because you run good for a few levels as I go completely card dead over the next four rounds. I only played three hands of note over this stretch:

Cutoff opens to 2600 at 400/800 and I call on the button with T9ss and 25k effective stacks. I’m not sure about this play and I’m curious what Nick Petrangelo’s UpSwing tournament course and the solvers would suggest. I am happy to report that it is a pure call! Wonderful. I thought there might be some 3-betting mixed in, but it looks like we are always supposed to take a flop with this one. Anyways, I sort of expect my opponent to play pretty straight forward after the flop. The board comes QQ7 with mixed red cards, so not a good one for me, but when he c-bets 2000 I decide to float to see if he has another shell in him. The turn pairs the 7 and he checks it over to me. I bet 3500 and he folds. This is a purely exploitive play, as I don’t think many experienced players are going to be folding the turn at a high frequency, especially when they have ace high hands.

Someone limps for 1200 and I make it 3600 with JJ on the button. It folds back to the limper and he ships it for around 32k. I have enough experience with this player to know he’s not a punter, so the question is, does he do this with hands like TT or AK? It’s a 26 big blind shove and I started the hand with around 70k, so if I call and lose this pot, it’s going to cost me almost half my stack. I tanked on this one for quite a while but ultimately decided that he’s more likely to trap with big pairs than unpaired hands and that I didn’t need to flip a coin yet when I felt like my edge in this field was pretty substantial. I folded and he decided to show me his kings instead of make me writhe in agony over that fold for the next half decade.

The same player makes it 2600 when I’m in the big blind with J6 of diamonds. This is another pure calling spot according to Nicky P, so we head to the flop and see a board of AJ8 with two diamonds. I check-call 4000. No need to overplay my draw on this board texture that heavily favors his range when we are both deep. The turn is an offsuit ten and he decides to check back. The river is the king of diamonds, making my flush, and putting a four card straight on the board. I think I can discount sets here, but he has two pair and straights a lot here, so I want to make this as difficult as possible for him. I bet 15k into 13.8k and he goes deep into the tank, but eventually comes out with a call and my flush is good.

That hand chipped me back up right before the final table and I headed there with 84k and the blinds at 800/1600 with ten players left and five of us cashing this thing. There were about four of us sitting on similar stacks and battling for the chip lead.

With eight players remaining someone opens to 15k with blinds at 1k/2k – your standard, ridiculous 7.5x open – and I have the misfortune of looking down at AK. If you think I’m excited about this spot, you would be wrong. My opponent started with 33.5k and she’s obviously never folding, so that’s what we are really playing for and I think this sizing screams pair so I’m almost always starting on the wrong side of a flip here. But I have AK and she has 15bb, so I put her all in and her queens hold up and I lose over 40% of my stack on the bubble.

This final table is so nitty that when one of the players shoves his 2.5bb stack from early position with 66 and loses to my 99, he thinks it was a mistake. And it’s not like he was being results oriented. I could tell he was thinking about folding before the flop. After busting that player, I had 16bb with seven left.

Some time passes and a player with a similar stack open-jams in front of me and I have AK again, but this time I hold and that pot gives me 14bb on the stone bubble.

I make it into the money when someone else busts out and then it folds to me on the button with 55 and 11.5 bigs. I jam and the small blind goes into the tank. I’m a little bit surprised and annoyed when he comes out of it with a call and shows 77. I’m never expecting to be crushed when he thinks about calling for that long. I don’t spike a set and that pot cripples me down to 1.5 bigs.

I double with Q3o in my big blind and then double again with KJ suited in my small blind and find myself with a reasonable 9 bigs on the button. I get that stack in on the button with 99, but AT calls and turns a pair to bust me in 5th place for a massive cash of $425 and my fourth biggest live tournament profit of the year! (Note: that’s not good).

I spent all night on Wednesday card dead in the PLO game at Palace.

Some good hands:

I get two pot-sized bets from two different players with JT87 on J97xx and another $200 from one player on the river when the board texture doesn’t change. He plays pretty good and my image is nitty at this point, so I’m surprised to see him call three streets here and not have the same hand I have.

I call $65 pre with KQT9hh in a 6-way pot and Riddler leads out $200 on the QJ8 two heart flop. I have the nut straight with straight and flush redraws, plus an opponent that has been so eager to get all in against me the last few weeks when I had him in terrible shape. I make it $500 and I have another $600 behind or so and that is going in if it has to. Honestly, I’m not super excited about this spot because I can see Riddler getting it in with a naked ace high flush draw here and he has been running so pure against me, so when it folds back to him and he comes out of the tank with a fold, I’m happy to take this sizable pot without a fight even though I have a massive hand.

A bad hand:

I make it $30 with KK66 double suited and get four callers. We see a flop of 983 with two hearts and since that’s one of my suits, I bet the pot and a shorter stack gets all in for a little less than $300. We agree to run it twice and her QT98 is way too strong for me to beat even once with four additional cards.

I didn’t have many notable hands and spent most of the night wishing something cool would happen. All in all, I finished the night -$316.

On Thursday, we had another 15/30 mix game and I wrote down a couple hands during the session so I could share them here.

We are playing Drawmaha 49 and this one probably needs an explanation. Drawmaha combines Omaha with draw poker and in this case the goal of the draw hand is to have the most pips in your hand. To clarify, a pip is the graphic on the cards. So the ten of clubs has ten clubs on it and each club is considered a pip. A ten has ten pips, a nine has nine pips, an eight has eight pips, and so on. The best possible hand is TTT9, or 49 pips, hence the name of the game. In Drawmaha, you get one draw after the flop action, so the goal is to make the most pips in your hand while also making a good Omaha hand. In this hand, I open with KQ985 on the button and both blinds call. I’m starting with 22 pips here, which is bad, but maybe it’s an okay hand to steal with on the button? Who knows. I don’t. No one in our game does. The flop is T87 with two hearts and I bet and get check-raised. He draws two and I draw two. The turn is a blank, but I get a 9 and an 8 to improve my pips to 39 and give me a set in Omaha. That’s enough of a hand to raise his turn bet, which he calls, and then the river pairs the board to give me a full house. He check-calls and I scoop the pot.

2-7 Drawmaha… similar game, except you are trying to make the best 2-7 hand in your hand. I open with 8542x with a suit and both blinds call. The flop is 542, giving me three pair and a backdoor flush draw and Logan alls my bet and draws 3. Well, okay! I draw one and improve to 85432 and the turn card is the six of clubs. I have a monster! A smooth 8 in my hand plus a straight on the board with flush and full house redraws. I bet and he calls. The river is a 7 and he check-calls again and my powerhouse hand is good for everything. Not the most exciting action… just want to share some hands in different games.

A-5 Triple Draw… It’s a 4-way pot and Ducky is pat from the jump and firing away. Everyone else is still drawing and after the second draw I have a pat 86432 and when it’s my turn to draw I go into the tank and decide there’s just no way he’s playing his hand this strong against four opponents with worse than a made 86… so I draw one and so do the other two players. I brick and we all check to Ducky and he fires another bet. We all fold and he shows 777AA for a total suicide mission bluff that somehow gets through.

2-7 no limit single draw… blinds are stripped to 5 and 10 on this one with 25 dead in the middle and a $300 cap on the action. I make it $40 to go with a pat T9842, Logan calls from the small blind and Ducky defends the big. Logan pats, Ducky draws 2, and I pat. I’m bewildered by Logan’s flat with a pat hand and I know he doesn’t have much experience in this game, so I’m not positive that I have him beat, but it seems like I should. My plan is to make a bet on the smaller side, but when it checks to Ducky he leads out for $200 into a $145 pot. Yikes. I must have gone into the tank for 3-4 minutes here. I know Ducky is plenty capable of bluffing, even in horrible spots (did you read that last hand?), so I gave serious thought to this situation. Ultimately, I decided to fold because a) I thought he had to think it was pretty likely one of the two pat hands would call him and b) he said something earlier in the night about how he wouldn’t bluff in a similar 2-7 NL spot (and I didn’t think he was lying). I folded but Logan made the call and Ducky did make an 87643.

Big O, $300 cap, Logan raises to $20 and I call on the button with AAT98 double suited. Scarecrow defends in a blind. The flop is AKK and I bet $40 when it checks to me and only Scarecrow calls. Seems obvious he has the king so it’s not surprising when he leads out for $70 on the 7 turn. I pot to the cap and he calls. Someone asks how many times we want to run it and I tell them I only want to run it once. The river is a ten and I end up scooping the pot but sparking quite the debate.

Since I decided to only run it once, I ended up becoming quite the villain after this hand. The argument was that it was poor etiquette of me to only run it once if I have any history of running it twice. I argued that it made no sense for me to run it twice when there was no benefit for me to do so. I already had half the pot locked up, so running it more than once just gives Scarecrow multiple chances to realize his equity for the low half (assuming he had a low draw) and can only cost me money. I was told I shouldn’t make my decision based on how much equity I have in the hand and that I should be consistent in all situations. In the past, I let my opponent decide how many times to run it when we get all in in big Pot Limit Omaha hands, so for me to be vilified the first time I voiced a preference seems a bit unreasonable. On the other hand, I failed to realize that there is a benefit for me to run it twice: when he makes a low on the first run out, I have a chance to win 3/4 of the pot by scooping on the second board.

While I didn’t think I was a scumbag for running it once, I did at least agree that it was courteous to run it twice, especially in a home game with friends and especially because Scarecrow is doing all the dealing. Later in the night, I got a piece of paper and figured out what his equity in the second pot would have been and gave him $100 back (I looked it up on the computer later and it was actually closer to $90). I mean… I never even saw the guy’s hand. He said he had a king and three low cards and I believe him, but still. Maybe it wasn’t the coolest of me to only run it once, but I wonder how many of those guys would give someone a rebate like that after the fact.

I got off to hot start and was up $1200 early on, but cooled off considerably and had to settle for a +$535 night.

One of the players made this board in OFC before the game started and probably wants me to share it:

On Friday, I got off to a miserable start in 15/30 and was down $700 after about two hours, but I cracked Mr. Freeze’s aces twice and that got me close to even, which is about where I stayed most of the night, finishing at -$211 and wondering when the patented Dark Knight hot streak is going to kick in. I’ve now booked two small wins in my last six 15/30 sessions at Palace and have gone -$2766 over that stretch in a game that is usually my most consistent source of income.

On Saturday Scarecrow had hopes of hosting a mix game, but it looked really sketch to me, with lots of people saying maybe and one that was supposed to come but hasn’t played with us before. I was pretty skeptical about it, but The Leak was free to join us and since we were bringing 40% of a game ourselves, I chanced it that this would happen.

When we showed up around 6pm, Ducky and Scarecrow were there so we played some pineapple OFC and then some 4-handed 10/20 mix, but no one else showed up and Ducky had to leave after smacking us around for 30 minutes. All the maybes and the new player ended up flaking, but Joker and Riddler showed up and we started a 5/10 mix game around 8pm. Not exactly how I want to spend my Saturday night, but it ended up being a lot of fun and I know my wife enjoyed learning and playing all the different games and she ended up breaking exactly even, so it was a free lesson for her! After two different OFC sessions and three different mix game sessions, I finished the night +$194.

Also, I got this insane hand in 2-7 Triple Draw:

Last Monday Ducky, Joker and I went to visit Radio Mike at Cheney Stadium to see Felix Hernandez make a rehab start and to catch top 5 prospect Jo Adell in action. We also heckled Ty Kelly into retiring from baseball. Pics below:

Radio Mike trying to hide

Felix and Ichiro in the dugout

Jo Adell, Angels top prospect

Radio Mike working so hard his shoes flew off his feet

Crashing the booth

And this weekend we met up with Mexi Nugget and his wife in Kitsap County to hit up the local arcade bar and had a ton of fun.

I’m flying to L.A. tomorrow (today?) for the Legends of Poker $2100 HORSE tournament at The Bike on Friday. I’ll be playing some 40/80 Limit Hold’em too and I’m currently stuck for the month, so these next three days are going to be huge for my results.

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August Week 3: PLO, 15/30 and Nas Illmatic 25th Anniversary Show

August 21, 2019

PLO was insanely juicy on Wednesday with a starting lineup that featured Charlie Hustle, Speed Racer, a couple of bad regulars and some new faces.

I handed out some new nicknames to a couple regulars.

First off, we have Harry Caray. This guy has been a regular in red chip games over the past year and he’s quite the character so this name was a bit overdue, but I just didn’t have anything special in mind. He disappeared from the table for a bit one night and someone mentioned the play-by-play guy, referencing the fact that when he’s loaded up on booze he never stops rambling and is constantly narrating the hand in play and talking about what he had, even though a) it’s inappropriate and b) no one is listening to him. So I started thinking of famous broadcasters to name him after and decided to call him Drunk Harry Caray, but I have since been told I was being redundant because Harry Caray is apparently infamous for going on the air intoxicated.

Secondly, we have Logan. Logan is a regular in PLO and has played in some of my home games, plus I’ve been battling with him since my Kitsap County days, so we have history dating back to at least 2011. This name is a Wolverine from X-Men reference. Something about this player just makes me think of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine and it’s not rugged good looks. I think it’s his hair and maybe some sideburns in the past, or maybe it’s the numerous times I’ve seen him go on bezerker level tilt over the years. He’s gotten a lot better at not wearing his emotions on his sleeve at the poker table, but it can still be kind of funny watching him react to losing a series of pots. I’m going with Logan as the name because this dude is more the seasoned, worn down and weary version in Logan than the Wolverine from the earlier X-Men films.

On my first key pot, I raise some limpers to $20 with AKT9 with a suited ace and Speed Racer back-raises to $115 after initially limping for $5. He already has his nose open and is down over $700+ already, plus he only had around $240 to start the hand, so I happily put him all in, we run it once and his single suited J765 is way too strong for me to fade.

I’m not sure about the preflop action on this next hand, but I have AKQJ with nut clubs on a flop of T86 with two clubs and get it all in 3-ways with Speed Racer and another player. Speed Racer is all in for $187 on the flop but I’m all in with the other guy around $700 each. Speed Racer ends up tabling T87x with no clubs and the other guy has KQT8 with a worse flush draw. I have 50% equity and two opponents so that seems pretty good, but I’m playing a $1000 side pot with one player, so if I remove Speed Racer’s hand from the equity calculation and mark his cards as dead, I can see that I’m basically flipping a coin with the other play. We all agree to run it twice and I end up splitting the whole pot with the other deep stack when he makes kings up on the first runout and I make a flush on the second one.

I see a flop in position for $20 with A652 with spades and Logan leads $60 as the PFR on the 433 two spade flop. Speed Racer pops it to $200 and action is on me. I have the nut flush draw and a wrap here, but the board is paired and it has been bet and raised in front of me. Normally this would be a trivial fold, but I have to consider my opponents. I think it’s pretty unlikely that Logan connected hard with this board since he raised from early position and Speed Racer is in full torch mode, so he can have a lot of hands I have in bad shape. Speed Racer had about $400 left after the preflop action, so I can min-raise to $340 here and essentially put him all in while facing Logan with a nearly $300 raise. That’s what I do. Logan folds and Speed Racer puts the rest of his chips in. We agree to run it twice and I ask if he has a full house and he says, “not yet,” which makes me think he has a 3, but when he turns his cards over all he has are naked jacks. I brick the turn on both boards but river a straight both times and scoop the pot.

About 2.25 hours in, Speed Racer is stuck $3000 already and I’m somehow down $350. Seems hard to do, but here we are.

I call a raise to $20 with A653 single suited and it checks to me on a 743 with two hearts flop, so I flop the nuts plus the nut flush draw here and I make it $60 to go. Harry Caray calls and Logan check-raises to $300. This is nice. I make it $600, leaving myself with around $350 behind, and Harry Caray clears out. Logan goes into the tank… deep into the tank… and it’s perplexing. I thought when he check-raised here, we are getting it in and I am going to have him in pretty rough shape. He comes out of the tank by folding 776x face up. The longer he thought about it, the worse shape I thought I had him in, so I was pretty shocked, and honestly somewhat relieved, to see him fold top set here. I thought he probably had a straight without a redraw or maybe a weaker flush draw with a straight draw, but he had nine outs to scoop the pot and I was happy to see his hand go in the muck with how salty I’ve been running in PLO lately.

Next, I punted $600+ when I flopped a big combo draw with KKQTdd on AJ8dd63 and fired all the bullets and got called down by AJ6x.

In another punt, I have QJ83 double suited when the game is short-handed and open the pot. I call $40 on AK5ss when I flop a jack high flush draw and Riddler also calls. I should be done with the hand after that, as it seems like my spades won’t be good if I make them, but I pick up another flush draw with the 6h on the turn and it checks to me, so I decide I’m going to be barrell this one off if the spade draw bricks and bet for value if I make a heart flush or a straight. I bet $200 and both players call. The river is the 8 of hearts! Ding ding! I have the second nuts now. But then the player that led out on the flop – a tight and straight forward player – leads out for $300. I resist the urge to snap call out of frustration, but then I rewind the hand and remember that she led out on the flop and is now leading again here. The ace on the flop is a spade, so it makes sense for her to have the nut flush here, probably with a 5 in her hand also. I make the prudent fold and Riddler only has $55 left in a $600+ pot, so he makes the call and she does have Ah9h5dx. I dunno. Maybe that’s a fine line by me, but I felt like I was pressing at this point and I didn’t feel good about it and I still don’t.

In my last hand, someone opens to $15, I make it $45 with AKQQ single suited, the small blind min-caps it for $75, Riddler calls $75 from the big and the original opener makes it $375… but he can’t. So we all see the flop for $75 each. I think the flop was T86 with two clubs and it checks me. I have the second nut flush draw and an overpair in a bloated pot and everyone has checked to me. I bet $300. It folds to Riddler and he check-raises all in and has me covered. The other player clears out, I call and he announces the good news, “aces and the nut flush draw.” Sweet. I’m super dead. We run it twice, but that doesn’t help me any and I am felted for -$1570 total and it’s almost 2 AM, so I call it a night.

Pretty sweet. I lose almost $1600 in a session where Speed Racer blasted off $4000 in just over three hours. That’s a pretty sick overlay to get zero piece of.

One more thing about this session… yes, I realize my blog might not be the most flattering thing for some players, but I write this to be entertaining and I’m also going to be honest about the action, so if someone plays bad, I might say they play bad, but for the most part, these people are protected by the anonymity of having nicknames and I would never humiliate someone at the table that wasn’t a good friend of mine… meaning I will poke fun at Joker and Ducky relentlessly, but I won’t ever say or do anything at the table that might embarrass regulars I’m not close to. With that said, losing $4000 in this PLO game is extreme and doing so in just a few hours is insane. Yes, I wanted to get a piece of that action, but I also felt bad for the player losing it. I highly doubt he is a wealthy individual. So in the hand where he lost his last buy in and called it a session, he gets stacked in a set under set situation versus Charlie Hustle and Charlie Hustle literally gets up from the table and gives himself a standing ovation… while Speed Racer is still sitting at the table, probably stunned at how much he has lost and how fast he has lost it. And this asshole is basically rubbing it in his face. No class. I think he’s the biggest jerk I’ve ever played with.

I put together a 15/30 Mix Game for Thursday night, but to the dismay of some of those that showed – Jesus, Ducky, FanBoy, Scarecrow – I didn’t take any notes on hands and nothing jumps out in my mind.

We did get a guest appearance from someone I don’t really know that has an, uhm, special playing style. An example: He opens in 2-7 Triple Draw and I 3-bet with 9653x, planning to draw one against someone I already know is pretty crazy. He calls… and draws four! I draw one and bet when he checks to me. He calls, draws four again, and I pat with 98653. After taking four new cards on the second draw, he leads right out into my pat hand. That’s not a concern against this player and raising here seems like a consideration, but I doubt I can fold to a 3-bet against this guy and he will hit a miracle a small portion of the time. So I just call and he draws two! LOL. He leads again after the last draw and I happily call and win the pot against his T7.

Unfortunately, this guy only stuck around for a couple hours and my session was pretty middling overall. I don’t think I was ever up more than $400 or stuck more than $300. I finished at exactly +$100 for the night.

Since I don’t really have any hands to talk about from this session, I think now is a good time to talk about the previous week when my buddy from Florida played Badugi for the first time. I forgot to mention it in my last post and it is way too good to omit.

Let me begin by saying that my friend is a long time pro that has done extremely well in PLO games in Florida for many years now and has relationships with the likes of Main Event final tablists Tony Miles and Zhen Cai, as well John Esposito, the 3rd place finisher in the $50k Poker Player’s Championship at the WSOP this year. So he’s had a ton of poker success and some serious connections.

But not much Badugi experience. Maybe none.

On his first hand of Badugi, it is raised in front of him and he 3-bets on the button. I have a made ten in the small blind and cap it. I pat, a player in between draws, and my friend pats on the button. I’m somewhat concerned, but I lead after the first draw to see what happens, they both call, I pat, the other player draws again, and my friend now breaks and draws two! My hand holds up after all the draws and I win the pot, so I ask my buddy what he started with and he said he had a pat 9!

That pot was immediately followed by this next hand. The details of this one are a little fuzzy to me at this point, so I’ll just stick with the essential details. After the first draw, Bulletproof and I are both pat and my Florida friend was still drawing. I must have had the betting lead because Bulletproof checked after patting and my friend donked out after the second draw. I only had a made queen at this point, but I also know this guy can’t really be trusted after the events of the last hand, so I call and Bulletproof ends up folding and then finds himself in a state of shock when my friend still draws a card after betting into two pat hands. Bingo. Of course, this sends the whole table into fits of laughter. I pat with my queen and end up winning the pot. Bulletproof claims that he folded a made 9 on this hand, but I can’t really wrap my mind around that one. That would be a strong fold even if my friend wasn’t a total wild card and I don’t remember the action being so heavy before the second draw that a 9 should be check-calling.

15/30 on Friday had a starting lineup featuring Ducky, Harry Caray, Mr. Freeze, Huey, Master Splinter, and Taz. I was handcuffed by the deck the entire session and never had much momentum going in either direction. I only had two interesting hands all night.

Harry Caray open-limps from the cutoff, Taz raises on the button, Freeze calls from the small blind, and I defend with Q6 of diamonds. But Harry Caray back-raises and it winds up getting capped four ways preflop. It’s not a bad one: Q66. I check-raise and cap with Harry Caray helping me drive the action and Mr. Freeze caught in between. I’m pretty sure Freeze has the case 6 and I feel like Harry is pretty likely to have aces or kings here. The turn is an ace, so when I get raised by Harry Caray again after capping the flop and leading the turn, it’s a bit concerning. Mr. Freeze calls $100 cold and it’s pretty early in the night so I can’t rely on alcohol to be feuling Harry’s aggression here. I beat AQ and that’s about it – and AQ is a massive overplay; it should be obvious that at least one of the blinds has trips here. So I just call and hate my hand a little more when Harry finds another shell on the river and Mr. Freeze calls, but he is overplaying AQ and Freeze had the other 6. What a shock.

Two players limp in and I raise on the button with AA and they both call. The flop is 983 rainbow and the first limper tries to check-raise me, but Harry Caray calls a string raise on him and the dealer rules it a call, so Harry calls a single bet also. The turn is a queen and the first player says he has the best hand and we are both, so that’s annoying, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to fold aces to him. Harry calls and so do I. The river pairs the 8 and now the first guy checks and says that card might have killed him. Who knows what that means. Q9? Harry also checks and I happily fire out a bet and they both call. I am obviously winning this pot, but I’m still pretty shocked to see the first player show pocket kings (remember, he limp-called preflop) and then I’m even more shocked when Harry Caray turns over 87 and the chips are sent his way. I mean… think about all the ways chaos had to conspire against me for me to lose that pot.

With no momentum in either direction all session, I finished the night at +$258.

On Saturday I went to the Nas concert at ShoWare Center in Kent with FanBoy and Free Throw to see the hip-hop legend celebrate the 25th anniversary of his classic debut album Illmatic. It was a lot of fun and our seats were amazing. We were in the front row, so we got to see cool things like a security guard get reamed after telling DJ Premier that he couldn’t walk along the aisle in front of the stage, plus someone in our party got a dap from Lupe Fiasco mid-performance. I’ve always heard that Nas isn’t a great performer and, honestly, he lived up to that billing. It was still great seeing him perform, but he seemed to mostly just be going through the motions and by the time he finished the night with “One Mic,” the background vocals and the crowd were carrying most of the workload – he literally just stopped rapping. I’ll try to post some pics and video below.

Az

Lupe Fiasco

Nas

I was supposed to go hiking with The Leak on Sunday, but I didn’t get home from the concert until around 2 AM and she woke up at 5 AM to leave, so that was a hard no from me. I did wake up in time to play the Palace biweekly $110 no limit Hold’em tournament and since this post isn’t long enough already, I decided to keep notes on my journey through it.

Actually… I’m going to publish now and do the tournament in my next post.

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

August 9, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oregon Coast pics:

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August Week One Poker!

August 8, 2019

What an exciting start to August!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not bad!

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

I was in full tilt pile mode:

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

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

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

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

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

A couple good hands:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A couple bad hands:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pretty cool.

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

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

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

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

Solid showing.

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

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

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

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

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

Also, I made some updates to the following pages:

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

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July 2019 Poker Wrap-Up

August 2, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July Poker Highlights

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

July Poker Lowlights

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

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

On Deck in August

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