Posts Tagged ‘gambling for a living’

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October 2019 Poker Results

October 30, 2019

I only played two poker sessions during the week of the 14th through the 20th (so much for putting in huge volume this month) so I didn’t feel like it made a ton of sense to make a progress post last week.

Since things have been going pretty miserably for me, I’ve made more of an effort to focus on my mental game during my time off and find a system to help me keep things in a more logical perspective (i.e. noting my mistakes and how much variance is affecting my results) and hold myself emotionally accountable while making sure I take breaks at regular intervals to decompress.

I didn’t have too many interesting hands during my 15/30 session two Fridays ago, but it was notable because I peaked at +$1200 and it looked like I might actually book a good win but it wasn’t meant to be and I ended up finishing the day at -$369 somehow. The Buffet was in the game and on my immediate left, making life difficult for me. When you have a maniac right behind you playing every hand and you’re having a tough time connecting with the board, it can be really hard to navigate postflop. I found myself in a lot of heads up spots where I just had ace high against someone that is bluffing way too much. It feels pretty gross to just check-call down whenever I miss – especially since we are playing 25/50 Overs – so some of the time I would take aggressive lines and that didn’t work out well for me. For instance, I open AQ and we cap it preflop (which I usually never do out of position in heads up pots). I c-bet on K98 with two spades (none in my hand) and then bet-fold on a 5x turn only for him to show me A4 of spades. Fortunately, he did help bloat some pots that I did win, so it wasn’t all bad.

The biggest reason my session cratered is because of two sets I flopped from the big blind in raised pots.

The first hand was a multi-way raised pot that I defended from the big blind with 33. Master Splinter bet the flop, there was a call, and I check-raised on a board of T73 with two hearts. One of the original limpers cold-called my flop bet and I think four of us saw the turn. It was a 9 of hearts and that’s a pretty miserable card for me. I decided to lead into the field anyway and I was pretty happy when no one raised me. The river was a brick and since no one showed strength on the turn, I fired again and got called by the flop cold caller and Splinter. Before I turned my hand over, I said, “I’m not sure I can beat his hand” while referencing the flop cold caller and sure enough he had the 54 of hearts. That’s when Master Splinter showed a set of 7s and seemed to be criticizing me a little because he “knew” the other guy had a flush… like he was going to save a bet somehow if I checked at some point?

A short while later, I found myself defending the big blind in another raised pot, again with the 33. This time the flop was T73 with two clubs and a diamond and Taz decided to lead into the field after cold-calling from the small blind preflop. I deviated from my standard play in this spot and just called (a mistake) and I think only one player called behind me. The turn was a 6 and the three of us got four bets in. Taz is notorious for overplaying hands so I think 4-betting this turn makes sense and it seems like the other player probably has clubs. When the river is the jack of diamonds, bringing in a backdoor flush, and Taz still fires, I don’t see value in a raise, so I call and he ends up showing me the 98 for a straight.

Yeah, poker can be pretty hard when your sets don’t win.

Oh, we also played a 15/30 Mix session at Scarecrow Station the night before and I won $230 but it looks like I kept zero notes.

I went with Ducky to Red Dragon on Tuesday for some 20/40 Mix and started my session out with a pat T72A Badugi against three one card draws and everyone missed so I had about $250 of sugar for a potential coasting session.

A few hands later I opened from the cutoff with A444 and two diamonds in my hand and thoughts of using this as a bluffing candidate if nothing developed for me and I got 3-bet by the button. I drew a Q and a 7d so no improvement, but another relevant diamond blocker and check-called. I drew two again and caught an offsuit 7 and another small diamond so I went with my plan and check-raised and pat to snow after he called me. He drew one and then folded when I bet after the last draw. More sugar for coasting.

I had a weird Stud 8 hand where I had 88-4QAK against an opponent that started with a 9 up and looked like he had a modest two pair, at best. I called his bet on 6th street and he fired dark on 7th. I thought that was pretty strange since from his perspective I could still be drawing to a wheel, so when I made aces up on the river I figured to be scooping a lot of the time and it felt like an obvious raising spot. I’m not sure why, but my instincts were giving me pause and I ended up just calling and this guy showed me three tens. I wish I could look at the hand replayer for this one because I don’t recall a ten on his board, although he might have caught one on 6th street. I wish I could recall exactly because whether or not he smoked with it with a pair of tens or three tens makes a pretty big difference in how I should perceive this player. Unfortunately, this hand also ended my chances at coasting for the session.

During an A-5 Triple Draw round I managed to find losses with 6542A (#4) and 6532A (#3) in back-to-back hands and I have to admit that stung quite a bit.

Variance decided to make up for that little run of misfortune by giving me a dealt pat 6 in Badugi in a 5-way pot that was capped predraw and 3-bets 3-ways after the first draw and still good at showdown.

I went about two hours without really playing any hands before getting dealt 76532 (#3) in 2-7 Triple Draw and watching the action go raise, call, and 3-bets before the action got to me. I capped from the small blind and everybody called. Everyone else drew 1 or 2 cards and the button ended up raising me after drawing one. I 3-bet to charge the others or get them out and they folded but he capped it. We both stayed pat and I lead out again but when he still raised me on the big bet street, I could just immediately sense that I was beat and called down the rest of the way. I just feel that at this point I’ve told him that I have a really, really good hand at multiple points and he’s saying, “so what?” Does he play a smooth 8 this way? I’m not sure, but I’m guessing not. He probably plays #3 or #4 this way, but in the moment, I just knew I was beat by this point. I called down and, sure enough, he had a wheel. So I have now lost with #3 and #4 in A-5 and #3 in 2-7 and I have to admit I was pretty frustrated about it, but I also must note that these things don’t just happen in online mix games only! It’s possible to run horrible everywhere I play!

I can also steam everywhere! Double Board Omaha on the very next hand and I raise it up with AA87 with a suit and both blinds call. The flops are KJT and 543 and I bet when it checks to me (probably bad) and the small blind check-raises. The big blind cold calls and it says in my notes that I 3-bet hoping to get the pot heads up somehow (seems weird and optimistic) and the small blind did cap and the big blind did fold, so I guess it worked, but my logic here sucks as I don’t have a good hand on either board and people generally don’t fold after cold-calling two bets. I was probably dead on the KJT board and I had a gutshot and backdoor flush draw (and aces) on the 543 board. Fortunately, I drilled both turns and I raised his bet on boards of KJTA and 5436, so I had the nuts on the bottom and a big redraw on top. The river bricked though and I ended up chopping with AQ44. He flopped the nuts on top and a set on bottom and I somehow luckboxed my way to half of this pot and avoided getting scooped on the river.

I lost some funky Razz pots after that and had to settle for a -$551 day at the office.

Something else worth noting: when we left around 1:30 AM, Red Dragon had 9 games running. Meanwhile, Fortune had four games going and Palace had a single 4/8 table running. That’s pretty awesome for Red Dragon and depressing as hell for anyone that lives south of Renton… like I do. It seems like the good poker action in the Pacific Northwest is always gravitating further and further away from where we live.

On Thursday we put together a 15/30 Mix game at Billy Dubz’ Battlefield with some new faces, but those new faces didn’t seem interested in playing a long session as all three players new to me left before 10pm despite a 5pm game start. As such, we were all done playing by 11:30.

I only took a couple of notes for this entire session, but they are pretty interesting.

In a 2-7 NL Single Draw hand, with blinds of $10 and $15 (plus $15 dead from the button) and a $300 cap, it folds to Billy Dubz on the button and he opens for… $300. One of the blinds called him and the blind announced he was drawing one and Billy Dubz was obviously pa- uh… drawing two! They ran it once and Billy Dubz somehow managed to turn over a made 8 in what has to be the sickest NL 2-7 hand I’ve personally seen so far.

Another 2-7 NL Single Draw hand, one of the new guys opens for $60 and I cap it at $300 with K8652. He calls. He’s pat and I announce I’m drawing one and we agree to run it twice. He turns over a pat… ace? We’ve already played multiple hands of this game, so I’m perplexed at how this has happened, but here we are. As soon as we turn our hands up and everyone reacts to his holding, I can tell he genuinely forgot that aces are bad, so I’m preparing to give him $150 back if I happen to bink both draws. But what happens if I pair twice? Who knows. Perhaps I’m setting myself up to get freerolled with this mindset, but taking advantage of someone that doesn’t fully understand the rules of the game is not how I’m looking to make money… especially in a home game. Fortunately, I nail the first draw and don’t have to worry about it and then I pair on the second one and it’s a moot point anyway.

Last hand is a Big O hand played pot limit with the $10 and $15 blinds stripped to $5 and $5 with $15 dead in the middle and a $300 cap. I limp along with KQJT7 double suited and see a flop of AJ3 with two spades and a diamond. The first limper leads $30. I have the nut flush draw and an inside Broadway wrap, but the two low cards on board are not ideal. As such, I don’t think I want to bloat the pot here, but I do want to see a turn card for cheap if I can. I call and so does one other player. The turn is a king so I now have the nut straight, the nut flush draw, and two pair. The flop bettor leads for $105 and I cap it for $265 total. The third player clears out and the other guy calls. He has KQT32 for the same straight as me, as well as a worse flush draw and a worse two pair. He also has no low draw. The first board is a brick but the second board is a 3, one of the two outs he had to quarter me here. Because that’s just how I’ve been running lately.

I ended up finishing -$620 for that session, which is actually my biggest loss in our mixed home games since my first time we played with red chips all the way back in January 2018. So I guess I can’t complain about everything.

I was happy to see 15/30 on Friday start with Flea, FBI Guy, and Animal in the game as the starting lineups have been less than ideal lately. A reminder of my current cold stretch in this exact game: I’ve lost 8 of my last 10 sessions for just over $5k and I’ve been running at -1.9 BB/hr during this stretch. My biggest win is $622 and I’ve had three losses of at least $1379 since late July. It’s basically been pure misery for 2+ months now and I can feel the added pressure to break the snide with each passing week. There is a lot of accumulated emotion associated with the Palace 15/30 right now and I’ve taken steps to combat it, mostly in the form of breaks every 90 minutes to reflect on the session so far and recollect myself if necessary.

I’d start this session off with multiple mistakes. First, I opened with black queens and Fanboy was my only caller from the big blind. He check-called a bet on an A43 all club flop so when the turn was a king, I didn’t see much reason to continue betting. I don’t think he’s folding an ace and if he had the nut flush draw, he has me beat now. Also, the hands I’m beating don’t have much equity against me so my hand doesn’t really need any protecting and the last thing I want to do is put two big bets in on the turn. So I check back and he leads out when the river pairs the ace. Fanboy is a tight player and I can hardly remember a time when I saw him bet the river as a bluff and get called, so this is just a fold, but I called and he showed me the A5 and immediately I’m annoyed at myself for paying him off.

Next, there’s a raise and call in front of me and I call with the A6 of spades. I’m not really a fan of this call. I’d prefer to see more players involved before I call two bets cold with a hand like this. The pot does go off 5-ways and I end up having position, so that’s not too bad. The board comes AJ9 with one spade and I try to limit the field and possibly take a free card by raising the flop continuation bet, but it totally backfires and comes back to me capped and still 5-ways. I hate my hand so my plan is to fold on the turn unless it’s a spade or maybe an ace or six, depending on the action. Huey was the PFR, initial flop bettor and the capper and Ducky 3-bet the flop from the big blind. It’s pretty standard for Huey to cap the flop with hands that don’t warrant it and then take a free card on the turn, so when he checks on a blank turn, I’m able to check back as well. Unfortunately, this means that when Ducky bets on a blank river and everyone folds to me, I now only have to call $30 to get to showdown with top pair in this rather monstrous pot, so I pay it off knowing I’m never good and he shows a set of jacks.

I get to my first break and I’m already down $600 and super annoyed at the outcome of both of those hands. Not just with the runouts and the circumstances, but also with my decision-making. The second hand I should have just folded preflop and instead I lost $200+ with it.

My second round of action was a lot better. I played a 3-bet pot with 66 from the big blind and held on strong on a runout of 543ccT7 against 55 and what was probably an overpair. That pot got me close to even. Then I flopped flushes in back-to-back orbits in hands I raised from under the gun. Unfortunately, both times, I didn’t get a single call after the flop. Still, by the the time I went on my second break, I was back in the black.

Here’s a hand Ducky is probably wondering about, so I’ll include it. He opens under the gun + 1 and I think I’m the only caller with AK in the big blind. The flop is A55 and I check-raise him. The turn is a brick and he raises. I’m certain I have the best hand here and I’ve seen Ducky raise the turn and check back rivers enough that I don’t want to let that happen here, so I make it three bets and he tanks for a while and eventually folds.

Some people just want to make the blog. There is a limper or two and I raise the big blind with AK. The flop is T42 with one spade (uh, it’s relevant to say this) and I continuation bet. I check most of the time I whiff completely in multi-way pots, but there are certain board textures that are better to bet on than others and I think this spot qualifies. Joker is my only caller from the small blind. The turn is the queen of spades, a great card to continue barrelling, as it gives me more equity and improves a number of hands in my range. Joker calls again. The river is a 5 and I decided to give up and when he shows me the J5 of spades I immediately regret it. I think he check-raises most of his tens and it’s unlikely he has a queen (although if he can have J5 here, he can have anything really), but most of his straight draws have a 5 in them. It just doesn’t seem like I’m winning many showdowns if I check back and since I think his range is weak here I want to put pressure on all his weak pair hands as we have enough history that he knows I’m not triple barrel bluffing very often.

I ran AA into J9 on 873TK and AK into JT on K958Q (a hand that probably warrants more discussion) and my inability to find upward momentum in this game continues. I did manage to hold on for a +$77 finish so that’s something, but hardly the results I’m looking for.

On Saturday, I headed up to Red Dragon. I got locked out of the mix game on some bullshit and played PLO for a bit. I ran my $300 stack up to $600+ before getting moved to the main game in a must move situation and I strongly considered just cashing out and watching the World Series. The main table looked a lot tougher and all the stacks were quite deep. I just wasn’t feeling it. But of course I sat down. Then I made it $20 with AAT2 with spades and got give callers. Action was on me on a flop of K93 with two spades and Dewey was next to act behind me and bet the pot out of turn. It folded back to me and I decided to go with it and made it $420 and we got my whole stack in. He says he only runs it once and he had top set, but I turned a flush and then the board paired on the river and I got stacked. I had three black chips in my pocket, but I didn’t go there to play PLO so I just got up and watched the World Series game until my Mix seat came open.

I was in a pretty foul mood by the time I got in the mix game. Because of shenanigans with the group chat and wait list, I had to wait almost three hours to get into the game when I should have started it. Not only did they not tell me the game was starting when I let them know I was right down the street, but they also bumped two ahead of me after I got there because of, well, whatever bullshit they told me. Anyways, I didn’t keep any notes for the session, but I can tell you that after about 2.5 hours of little of note, I went on a tear right before we were planning to leave. I think I was up about $300 and after seven hands of 2-7 Triple Draw and seven hands of Stud 8, I cashed out +$1140 for a much needed overall day of +$840.

The reason I played a short session at Red Dragon is because my buddy and I were staying the night in Marysville to play the last (ever?) Sunday tournament at Tulalip before they close their poker room forever on November 1st. The $345 no limit Hold’em tourney started at 11 AM with 12k starting stacks and blinds of 25/50. I did a good job of chipping up during the first level and had about 16k when these two hands came up:

Three players limped in and I called on the button with 76o. Six of us saw a flop of Q65 and a player that I have already pegged as a horrible spewer leads out for 200 and it folds to me. I called and so did the big blind. The turn was a 7 and I was happy and then the spewer jammed his remaining 5700 into a pot of 1200 and I wasn’t nearly as thrilled about the situation. This guy has made it clear that he wants to punt and I’d hate to not oblige him by folding here, but that’s a substantial bet and I’ve seen enough to know that he can have hands like Q7 or Q5 suited here. But still, that’s an insane bet with a good hand, but you never really know how scared people are of being drawn out on. I don’t love it, but I don’t see how I can fold here against this particular player. I make the call… and then the small blind jams for around 12k and I immediately fold because I never have that hand beat. He turns up the 98 for a straight and the punter had 64 so my read was accurate there, but suddenly I am down to 10k in chips.

Very active player raises to 325 from the cutoff and I make it 1150 to go with AA from one of the blinds. He calls. Flop is K63 rainbow. I bet 800 and he calls. The turn is a 9 and he calls 2000. Pot size is now somewhere around 8000 and I have around 6000 left and my opponent looks like he has a king that he’s never folding, so I shove it in and he snap calls and turns over 66 before I can even table my hand… and I’m out.

SWEET. Glad I came all the way out to Tulalip to play for an hour. They had about 60 names on the alternate list so I wasn’t about to re-enter and made my way over to the outlet stores and my buddy showed me mercy by busting out around 3 PM and I was able to make it home before first pitch of Game 5 of the World Series.

I was going to wrap this post up here, but then I realized that I’m not going to play anymore poker for the rest of the month so I might as well make this my October wrap up post.

Well, after that tourney bust out, I was looking at a pathetic month of +$22 with four days to go. I clutched up a bit on Monday by heading into Palace to put in a final 8/16 session and managed to have a +$624 day and likely lock myself up a profitable month.

Tuesday and Wednesday my priorities were centered around making sure I hit the gym and making sure I was somewhere I could watch Games 6 and 7 of the World Series.

Speaking of the World Series, I’m set to make decent money on that too. I have a side bet league that I do annually with some friends and at the end of the season we draft playoff teams to pick a World Series winner and I found myself with the #1 pick and took the Houston Astros. I also have a lifetime World Series bet with two of my friends (we drafted ten teams each) and I only managed to get one team into the postseason and it was, again, the Houston Astros. These two bets are worth $900 if the Astros win the Series.

But wait! All year long I thought the Washington Nationals were way better than their performance so when they finally looked like they might sneak into the postseason, I bet them to win the World Series at 32-1 in early August. I only bet $30 on that, so if they pull this off that bet is going to pay $960.

Pretty cool that my two best teams managed to face off in the World Series and I let that Nats bet ride all postseason without hedging it. As it stood yesterday, I would net $870 if the Astros won and $660 if the Nationals won… but I didn’t want the fucking Astros to win. Not really. I was looking at series prices every day and when I saw that Scherzer was good to pitch a potential Game 7 and the series price didn’t change, I fired another $50 on the Nats at +500. I just thought they were going to get it done. Now I make $910 on a Nats win and $820 on an Astros win and I can root for the team I’d rather see ship it. And since I include all forms of gambling when I reference my totals for the month, I’ll be able to include that in my final tally for October as well and it looks like I’m going to finish the month somewhere around +$1550 (the Nats are three outs away from winning Game 7 right now). Sigh. I guess I’ll take it. It’s another lackluster month, but I woke up on the 26th having a losing October, so I guess I’m happy with yet another clutch finish to yet another difficult month. I guess that’s the 2019 theme for me.

On Deck in November:

*L.A. Poker Open: $400 Omaha 8, $400 Stud 8, $400 HORSE next week at Commerce

And that’s about it. See you then.

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October 2019 Week 2: Poker is Hard… Really, Really Hard.

October 16, 2019

Spoiler alert in the post title. This has not been a good week. Maybe it’s a bit dramatic to say that it has been devastating, but I’m reaching a point in my year where I’ve realized I’ve had to fight tooth and nail for all my profit in 2019. Maybe I’ve been spoiled in the past. Maybe I’ve run way above expectation historically. I don’t know. But what I do know is that I’ve never struggled like this before. Not for this long. Not this consistently. It seems like every single month I’m digging myself a hole and spending the last week or two trying to get out of it. My overall results aren’t horrendous, but they have been quite middling. If I keep up the same pace for the rest of the year, my final result will be about half as good as any of my year end results for any of the past three years. I’m sure fluctuations in this business are super normal (especially when you don’t bink a tournament), but that’s still a pretty steep drop.

Well, let’s get to the sessions.

I showed up early to Palace on Wednesday to watch MLB playoffs and started my day off with an 8/16 Hold’em session. I folded to my big blind and got a free flop with the 63o for a potential Coast session. It looked really promising when the board fell Q637K and I bet all the way and just got called down by one of the limpers… but after I showed my hand he turned over the Q3 suited for a better two pair. The other people that saw the hand started razzing him about why he just called me all the way and he just said, “I’m scared of him.”

That guy obviously doesn’t read my blog.

It looked like I was going to have a pretty sizable loss for a short session, but I raised a bunch of limpers from the small blind with AQdd, got a free card on a flop of T9x with one diamond, check-called a jack turn and then got two callers when I drilled the king on the end.

That pot somewhat salvaged things and I moved to PLO only stuck -$108 for the day.

I’ve been having a lot of mixed feelings about PLO lately. I thought I was running above expectation the first two years of the game and it seems pretty clear now that I definitely was… plus the game has seen a dramatic shift. The complexion of the game is a lot worse than it used to be. It’s the same people in the starting lineup every week and instead of a bunch of loose players that have no idea what they are doing punting stacks left and right, it is mostly experienced regulars sitting down. I mean… how often is a situation going to come up where I’m going to stack a Lee Markholt?

Especially if I’m playing bad?

I call $15 on the button in a multiway pot with AK42 double suited. The flop is A84 with two clubs, giving me two pair and the nut flush draw. The PFR (who raised from UTG) leads out for a full pot-sized bet of $90, Part-Time (yeah, I’m going back to that… Mr. Freeze is a dumb name for him) calls, and action is to me. The PFR has like $400 behind to start the flop action and I have a little over $500 myself. I raised the pot, she jammed all in, and Part-Time got out of the way. We agreed to run it twice and her set of aces held up on both boards. I was pretty mad at myself for getting it in here, but I think that’s a bit results oriented because the turn card on the first board paired the 8 and I felt like I would have had to fold at that point and could have saved my stack. But I think an 8 is the only card that would make me want to fold, so the money is probably almost always going in on the turn.

I call $15 with AQQ3 single suited from the big blind and decide to lead out on the 532 two club board when I flop the nut flush draw. Part-Time is my only caller from the small blind. I bet $135 when the turn bricks off with a 9 and he calls again. And because I hate money and my game is super sharp in this session, I bet $200 on the jack river and he reluctantly calls me with his set of deuces. Boom. Another $400 punted.

Part-Time raises under the gun to $15 without looking at his hand and I’m next to act with TT22 double suited. Since the table is short-handed at this point, I decide to 3-bet it and hope to get it heads up. Mission accomplished. Part-Time calls $50 and we see a flop of Q87 with two spades. This gives me a ten high flush draw and four outs to a set – not much of a hand to speak of. I have some key blockers to the best straight draws though, so that’s something to keep in mind. I decide to check back and take a free turn card. It’s an offsuit 9 and when Part-Time makes it $80, I decide to use my blockers to represent the nuts and make a pot-sized raise to $305. It works out well, as he responds by stuffing it in my face. Now there’s over $900 in the pot and I only have about $200 behind and my flush draw is probably live. I’m getting 4.6 to 1 on a call here, so I need around 18% equity to call and a flush draw with one card to go is right around that number, so calling off seems pretty neutral… but it feels like a massive punt. Another massive punt. I make the call and Part-Time only wants to run it once. I bink a ten on the river, which gives me a brief glimpse of hope, but my set gives him a straight with the KJ in his hand and he had a set of queens before that anyway.

I took a break after basically felting for the third time in the session and I really had to wonder what was going on. It’s not like I was playing any hands. I was super card dead, but I still managed to punt off three buy-ins with three different flush draws. I decided to go play some Ultimate Hold’em in the pit because my boy Mexi Nugget was dealing at that table and the Nationals and Dodgers were tied in the 9th inning of Game 5 of the NLDS and Mexi Nugget is a die hard Dodgers fan and I had my Nats hat on because I bet them to win the World Series when they were 32-1. I don’t ever play in the pit unless I’m using a Match Play, but this was a social play so we could watch the end of the game together and I managed to win a little money while laughing at his misfortune as the Nats took a four run lead and eventually advanced to the NLCS.

I decided to sit back down in PLO after that and put myself at risk of having an all-time worst session. It seems like this should have happened already, but somehow a -$2300 I posted all the way back in June of 2016 is still the most money I’ve ever lost in a single play. That probably has more to do with my pain threshold than anything else though. It seems like when I’m down around $1500 or so in a live game, I start to unravel emotionally and find myself wanting to disappear instead of accepting the challenge before me and grind my way out of it. That’s something to work on, for sure.

Anyways, I sat back down and the game was really short-handed – five of us, I think. I made a little bit of a comeback, but only one hand during this span really sticks out in my mind. I decided to open with the 6532 single suited and Scarecrow was my only caller. Scarecrow was running insanely good in this session; I think he ended up winning over $5000, which is totally absurd. Anyways, he defends his blind here and then donks $35 on a Q42 rainbow flop. This board smacked me obviously, but it really shouldn’t be that good for my range, so I decide to just call. The turn is an offsuit 3, giving me the nuts, and Scarecrow bets $100. Again, I decide to just call because I want him to keep betting on the river and the hands he can have that can stand a raise aren’t numerous. I would be surprised if he called a pot-sized raise with two pair. Naturally, the river pairs the queen and when he bets $215, I make the call because I fucking hate money and he shows me the Q4 full house.

Unreal. The game broke shortly after that and I booked a cool -$1256 in the PLO streets and felt like I played some of my worst possible poker.

Here are my PLO win rates at Palace the last three years:
2017: $103.74/hr
2018: $85.98/hr
2019: $7.86/hr

Uhm yeah. I’ve reached a point where I’m wondering if I should even be targeting that game anymore. In addition to running quite salty this year, I’ve come to find myself feeling really bored when I play PLO. The pace of the game can be brutally slow and sometimes you go weeks in between hands where you find yourself in an amazing spot to stack someone. I’ve played entire sessions where I felt like I maybe shouldn’t have played even a single hand. Or maybe I just need to study and practice more. I didn’t put my name up for this week’s game and I think I’m going to take at least a few weeks off from PLO to get my mind right.

My plan on Thursday was to play the $400 NL event in the Muckleshoot Classic series, but then the Tampa Bay Rays went and shocked the world by forcing a Game 5 with the Houston Astros and I wasn’t about to miss that. MLB Playoffs > No Limit Hold’em tournaments. I feel like if I’m playing an NL tourney, I should be focusing on the action at the table as much as I can and I knew I wouldn’t be doing that during the baseball game, so skipping the tourney and playing 8/16 at Palace seemed like the right call. I could enjoy the game and give it my full attention while possibly auto-piloting my way to some income.

Alas, I was extremely card dead and managed to lose the few pots I did play and sometime around the 8th inning, my wife messaged me saying how much she missed me, so I went home after the Astros knocked off the Rays and booked a -$343 in less than three hours of play.

Friday night’s 15/30 session started with a lineup of Taz, FanBoy, Animal, Radio Mike, Mighty Mouse, Scrappy Doo and a new name I’m adding to the nickname section: Dreamcrusher. Head on over to Blog Nicknames to read the write up I did for this player today.

This session started off innocently enough. I made it to my first break with $20 of sugar after around 90 minutes of play. The most interesting spot during this stretch was finding myself with red aces on QJTccTc in a heads up pot versus the small blind. It feels super gross to bet the turn and fold here when I can check back and show down for the same price, but a) I don’t think my opponent in this hand will fold a queen or a jack in this spot and b) I don’t think he is capable of turning whatever he has into a bluff. Even check-raising a hand like AcQ is a pretty ambitious play on this board texture against an under the gun raiser. As such, I’m confident I can bet the turn and river for value and fold if he raises me with little concern that I’m laying down the best hand, so that’s what I did when he check-raised the turn. I’m not folding aces in heads up limit Hold’em pots… like ever… but this felt like an early moment of clarity for me and I still feel good about the fold.

Two hours later, I’d be taking my second break of the session and it’s safe to say things had unraveled. I was now stuck just over $1000. I mean… what in the FUCK? This 15/30 game is unbeatable for me all the sudden? Every Friday it’s the same shit.

There were a couple of brutal ones during this stretch.

In one pot, I had AJo in a 3-bet multiway pot and the flop was A53 rainbow. Scrappy Doo called 3-bets from the big blind and then donked into two raisers on the flop, but I felt compelled to raise because I don’t want anyone else to call for a single bet. That cleared the field out but then Scrappy 3-bet it and I called down without improving even though this is a line I never expect to be winning against. The 5 did pair on the river, so there was at least some chance I sucked out on A3. But I paid it off and Scrappy Doo turns over the 42 offsuit. In a 3-bet pot. I’m pretty sure that’s not a hand he’s defending with 100% of the time, but I’m sure glad he decided to gamble with it here.

In another hand, Dreamcrusher raises under the gun, I 3-bet TT next to act, and Taz calls 3 cold in the next spot. The three of us see a flop of 642 rainbow and I lead and 3-bet when Taz raises me. All three of us are still in for the turn. Perhaps I should be concerned when a 3 falls on 4th street after Dreamcrusher calls two bets cold on the flop, but I was very sure I had the best hand on the flop, and I didn’t think the turn should help her under the gun opening range (at a full table)… but I know Dreamcrusher is capable of playing almost any two cards from any position in almost any situation… so whether or not the turn should help an under the gun opening range is pretty fucking irrelevant here. In the moment, I bet the turn like a dummy and then paid her off after she check-raised and bet the river. She showed me the 75 offsuit.

I made it to one more break. I suppose I was already crumbling under the weight of another poor session on top of weeks of run bad in this particular game, but I was about to snap. I probably played another hour or two and during that span I ran super hot preflop and ultra bad after the flop. I lost with QQ to AK when my opponent called down and rivered a pair with no other draw in sight. I had JJ vs KQ on a QT973 run out in a massive pot. I had AK on a KT8cc79c runout and didn’t even bother calling a river bet. I had QTcc vs J9 on JT9cKQ in a massive pot I ended up having to chop. I had QQ again against a single big blind defender and got a disconnected king high board and of course he had K2 offsuit. And then I had TT vs 77 on K7447 in one of my final hands of the night. That last one was against FanBoy and I’m pretty sure he’s cognizant of the fact that I’m tilted out of my mind and making sharp folds is no longer on my agenda, but I decided to give him three streets of value anyway. That last one upset me so much that I decided to call it a night. Not because I lost another hand, but because I was clearly making very bad decisions and my emotions were out of control.

I ended up finishing -$1875 and I only played 6.5 hours. That ranks as my third worse session I’ve ever had in the 15/30 game at Palace and my performance in this game in 2019 has become alarming. Again, let’s take a look at my 15/30 win rates the last three years at Palace:
2017: $31.19/hr
2018: $58.05/hr
2019: $9.12/hr

Yes. This year has been depressing.

Even though I left the game early and my plan was always to play the Main Event of the Muckleshoot Classic on Saturday, I went home Friday night on the fence about it. I was really stewing and a good part of me knew that it would be a dumb idea to try to play a major tournament the next day. I decided to sleep on it and set my alarm for 8 AM to see how I felt in the morning. Well, my alarm went off at 8 and I gave getting up zero thought before turning it off and going back to sleep. I woke up a few hours later and didn’t even bother to look up how long late registration was open. I just took the day off and that means I missed an entire Muckleshoot Classic for the first time in 5.5 years. That means I’m going to have to grind my way to my annual standards of income the old fashioned way.

I played in the 10/20 Omaha 8 game at Palace on Sunday. After getting huge lists for the Sunday O8 game the first two weeks, this past week saw a massive dip in attendance. I can hardly blame the customers. The first two weeks we had a full game and a list that was 10+ deep all day of people that specifically came to play in the 10/20 game. However, both weeks the staff didn’t start a second red chip game because they didn’t want to break the 4/8 O8 game. Well, there’s a 4/8 O8 game every other day of the week… I don’t see why that needs to be a priority on the day they are trying to spread a bigger game and attract a different player pool. What happens when you lock out a full table worth of people that want to play 10/20 and force them to play 4/8? Not once, but two weeks in a row? They stop coming in. So there wasn’t much of a list to speak of in week 3 and the game started to fizzle around 7:30pm and was completely dead by 8pm (after going past midnight the first two weeks) and honestly, it makes me wonder about the future strength of the game. The players have already been conditioned to think that if they don’t have a seat to start the game, they might as well not even show up. Good job, Palace.

I got off to a terrible start in O8, reaching a low point of -$700 or so, but I rallied back before the game crumbled and ended up booking a $356 profit.

And then I was somewhat surprised when The Leak decided she wanted to play 8/16 and we ended up playing for another 6+ hours. I had some miserable moments in this session, taking the $611 I brought to the table and nearly turning it into $0. In fact, there was a hand where I would have been all in if I had bet the turn and river, but I checked back second pair and ended up winning the pot. I don’t ever get all in in a limit game, so that would have been a first. Like… the players at Palace have never seen in happen… in 5+ years. I just didn’t feel like reloading because I didn’t even really feel like playing. Fortunately, I rebounded and ended up booking a rather small loss, thanks to this pot:

The hijack opens, Radio Mike 3-bets from the cutoff and I cap with AK of spades on the button and it’s just the three of us. The flop is AJ9 with two spades and it checks to me. I bet, the HJ calls, and Mike check-raises. I think Radio Mike is overly passive after the flop, so AK is not in great shape against his check-raising range on this board texture, but since I have the nut flush draw as well and there’s a third player in the pot, I go ahead and 3-bet it anyway. They both call. I’m planning to check back a blank turn, but it’s a king and I feel like that gives me the best hand most of the time, so I bet and they both call again. The river is another ace and I’m a little surprised to see Radio Mike lead out. It’s a bit of a weird play. I actually thought he might have AJ on the flop or maybe a set, but the sets seemed highly unlikely when he just calls on the turn. Anyways, I have the nuts here, so I raise and he asks, “do you have quads,” and I respond, “you know I don’t have quads” (because it seems like he has to have AJ or A9 here). But then it is clear that he doesn’t have an ace and he asks if I have AK and I say, “yes,” but that doesn’t stop him from putting in the call and I’m somewhat shocked to see that he had pocket jacks.

That hand somewhat salvaged my session and I finished 8/16 -$78.

All in all, it was a -$3360 week of live poker for me – a devastating blow after finally getting off to a good start and, once again, I find myself stuck in the middle of a month. So what’s that, nine months in a row I’ve been stuck at the midway point? I’ve only had two losing months this year, so the final results aren’t terrible, but it’s not much fun fighting an uphill battle. Every. Single. Month. On the bright side, I had a rare very good week in online mix games to somewhat soften the blow.

On another bright side, this month marks three years since I last clocked in for a day job. That seems like an accomplishment worth celebrating. When I look at my bankroll when I quit working and compare it to now, it doesn’t feel like I’ve made much progress, but then I remember that we’ve bought two houses, I paid off my student loans, started an IRA, and cleared all our unnecessary debt and that seems pretty damn cool. That’s something to keep in mind during what has certainly been a down year for me. Poker has been good to us and I’ve made considerably more money playing poker than I ever did working a day job.

Stay the course.

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September 2019 Poker Results (and Felix Hernandez’s last game as a Mariner)

October 7, 2019

I’m going to keep this one pretty short and sweet because my last couple posts took so long for me to publish and it would be nice to get on a schedule that’s more current.

I got back from Lincoln City Sunday night and I knew I wasn’t going to be playing poker on Monday or Tuesday because we had this poor little guy scheduled for his neuter appointment early Monday and we wanted someone to be home with him for at least the first three days after his surgery to make sure he wasn’t too swollen or having a hard time recovering.

Hammy was a completely different dog after we had him neutered, much calmer and way more respectful of our house and possessions, and we thought the procedure would have a similar effect on Albus, who we affectionately refer to as The Monster because he’s such a wild animal, but… he was ready to run around and play the day after his surgery and seems to be the same crazy dog we’ve had this past year and that’s fine by me.

I signed up for PLO on Wednesday, but I was such a late sign up and the list was real enough that I didn’t start the game and by the time I would have had a seat, I didn’t really want to play anymore. I had a doctor appointment early in the AM on Thursday in Bremerton, so I wasn’t planning on putting in a power session anyway. I started out in the 4/8 Omaha 8 game and just stayed in 8/16 LHE when my PLO seat came open. I finished -$180 on the day and Scarecrow won over $3k in the PLO game, so I can’t say I feel too great about my decision-making here.

Thursday we played a home game at Scarecrow Station. Yep, that’s what I’m calling the game at Scarecrow’s house from now on. We started out playing 12/24 Mix with 15/30 Overs but bumped the game up to straight 15/30 when Radio Mike left after realizing that the learning curve in mix games you’ve never even heard of is actually quite steep and too expensive for his taste. I wouldn’t mind playing as low as 4/8 if there were more inexperienced players that wanted to learn, but when the majority of us want to play 15/30 or higher, that’s a pretty hard sell.

It’s really tough to find affordable stakes to learn mix games at. I just went over my all-time records and my first six times playing in what I labeled as “mix games” were in a home game at Wildcat Lake in Kitsap County at 2/4 stakes from 2016 to 2017. That’s a nice way to ease into things. The next time I played was in January 2018 and this time it was at 10/20 stakes and I remember thinking it was pretty massive at the time and after I lost $1100+, I was pretty pissed about it. I mean… I had about 50 hours of mix experience total before making the leap to red chip games. However, five months (and three more house/mix sessions) later, I was at the Rio during the WSOP playing my first live mix game session ever and it was at the 20/40 level. My fourth live session ever was at the 40/80 level. Not necessarily because I wanted to play that big, but because there weren’t any other options if I wanted to play mix. Basically what I’m saying is, unless you can gather a group of friends together that don’t mind playing small, you better be willing to lose some money (or hope you run good) if you want to learn how to play all these different games.

Anyways, it was a ho-hum session at Scarecrow Station for me and I finished -$50 in 7.5 hours of play. In fact, Scarecrow was the only person that really won, following up his huge PLO session with another $1000+ win in our home game.

On Friday, we did something different. Billy Dubz was getting sick of seeing us struggle to arrange our home games in the group chat I started (even though we’ve now played 12 sessions in just over three months since I’ve been back from Vegas) and told us the week prior that he was going to host a game on this Friday night, complete with valet parking, crab and lobster dinner, cocktail waitresses, a personal masseuse, and hottub access. Turns out, only some of that was true, but it was still pretty impressive as he got two full games (one mix and one O8) and had a nice food spread laid out. This is my only session of the week that I kept any notes for, so I’ll share a few hands (so much for short and sweet).

2-7 no limit Single Draw, Scarecrow opens to $30, I 3-bet a smooth one card draw to an 8 and Scarecrow caps it for $400. I snap call and we agree to run it twice after declaring that we are both drawing one. I have 8432 and he has 9832. My J8 wins the first draw and his A9 wins the second one when I pair the 2, so we split the pot.

Stud 8, I defend with KK-2 in a multi-way pot vs three low up-cards. The 3rd street opener bricks and so does Scarecrow, but Logan has 75 showing on 4th. Meanwhile, I caught a king, giving me hidden trips and the lead in the hand. My initial plan is to check-raise Logan and force the other two to call two bets cold if they want to continue, but before I can do anything, Logan checks out of turn, so I bet fourth street myself and everyone calls. I lead with 2K3 on 5th and I’m pretty shocked when the 3rd street opener raises me with her board showing 29T. Very nice. Scarecrow folds here (or on 4th) and Logan reluctantly folds his low draw after bricking on 5th, leaving me heads up with someone that almost certainly has three tens in her hand. I 3-bet and she calls. 6th street goes one bet and so does 7th when I river a fourth king and have the pleasure of announcing, “quads” without having a pair showing on my board.

Stud 8, I call a raise with 24-6 with two hearts and two sixes dead. I feel compelled to continue when I catch the queen of hearts on 4th and on 5th I catch a 5 vs boards of 6KK and 289. Scarecrow leads with the kings, Logan calls, and I decide raise it, even though I have seen one of the threes. They both call. I’m not too sure about that raise, but I’ll take a look at that in a bit. On 6th street, Logan catches an ace, giving him a possible low, so even though I pick up a flush draw with the 9 of hearts, betting seems bad when they both check to me and I know neither of them are folding, so I check back and take the free card. 7th street is a 3 for me, giving me a straight and a 65 low, and I’m pretty happy to see Logan lead after Scarecrow checks. I don’t expect Scarecrow to fold two pair and I’m not even sure he would fold naked kings here, suspecting I might be trying to steal half the pot, so I raise it anyway and both of them do call and my hand is good for the scoop.

Here’s a look at that 5th street spot, with some of the hole cards they could possibly have, but painting the situation in my favor a little by not putting any threes in their hands:

In a pretty favorable spot, I have an equity edge, even though I’m not an equity favorite, so raising looks like it is probably right most of the time. I have to give Scarecrow two pair and kill a three (or kill two more threes) to find a spot where raising looks suspect, and even then my equity is around 32%, which makes it a nearly neutral play.

2-7 no limit Single Draw, Billy Dubz opens to $30, Scarecrow calls, Logan calls from the small blind, and I defend with 753xx. The draw goes 1, 2, 1, and 1. I make a 97653, so after Logan checks, I bet $100, Billy Dubz folds, and Scarecrow makes it something like $300 and I snap call and he pretty much immediately turbos his hand into the muck.

I finished that session at +$900.

I started this post like two weeks ago and now it’s October 7th and I’m so far behind that I’m just going to post my results for the rest of the month.

9/21: -$30 in 3 hours of 1/1 NLHE @ Chor’s Chamber (home game)
9/25: +$882 in 7.5 hours of 1/3/5 PLO @ Palace
9/27: -$215 in 10.5 hours of 15/30 LHE @ Palace
9/28: -$300 in 9.5 hours of 15/30 Mix @ Billy Dubz Battlefield (home game)
9/29: +$1305 in 10 hours of 10/20 Limit Omaha 8/B @ Palace (new game on Sundays at 3 PM)

That was quite the final session, accounting for almost all my profit for the entire month, as I finished September with just over $1500 in winnings. It’s been a pretty rough year so far. I’m sitting at 40% of what I won in my worst year as a pro and I only have three full months to close the gap. I guess that’s what happens when you don’t win at least $26,000 in a single tournament like I’ve done in each of the past three years. There’s still a chance to do that though because the Muckleshoot Fall Classic starts in a couple days. I’m only planning to play the $400 event on Thursday and the $750 Main on Saturday/Sunday, so I’m going to have to make it count.

Since the first week of October has already passed and I don’t feel much like writing a separate post for that at this point, I’ll just post those results real quick also. My poor performance so far this year has kind of lit a fire under me and I went ahead in put in 55 hours of volume in the first week of October, but I am doing so knowing that poker won’t be a priority in November, so I have to get busy this month.

10/1: +$670 in 6.5 hours of 8/16 LHE @ Palace (also a Coast-to-Coast session, my fourth overall)
10/2: +$17 in 3 hours of 8/16 LHE @ Palace
10/2: +$276 in 3 hours of 1/3/5 PLO @ Palace
10/3: +$956 in 8 hours of 8/16 LHE @ Palace
10/4: +$800 in 8.25 hours of 15/30 LHE @ Palace
10/5: -$340 in 1.5 hours of 1/3/5 PLO @ Red Dragon
10/5: +$275 in 9 hours of 20/40 Mix @ Red Dragon
10/6: +$305 in 9 hours of 10/20 LO8 @ Palace

That’s a +$2948 start over 49.5 hours in the first six days of October. Here’s to hoping for a huge month!

September Poker Highlights:
*deep run in Chinook Winds Main Event
*month-saving 10/20 O8 session in brand new game at Palace

September Poker Lowlights:
*serious burnout in Lincoln City
*lost in mix games for the month, both online and live

On Deck in October:
*Logic with JID and YBN Cordae @ WaMu Theater on 10/8
*Muckleshoot Fall Classic Series 10/9 to 10/13
*Bunko! at my parents’ house… haven’t played since I was a kid… can’t wait!

Some highlights from Felix Hernandez’s last game as a Mariner:

These videos might be terrible and I certainly didn’t bother to edit them, so watch if you want, but don’t expect a professional cut here.

Felix coming out of the bullpen before the game:

Felix in a bases loaded jam and looking like he could be facing his last batter as a Mariner… but then something cool happens:

Felix comes back out for the top of the inning and the rest of the team stays in the dugout:

Felix’s last batter as a Mariner:

Me trying to give Seth Brown (a strikeout victim) a Felix K balloon in between innings:

Attempt #2:

Felix showing some love to the King’s Court section after the game:

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September 2019 Week 2: Fall Coast Classic @ Chinook Winds Casino

September 25, 2019

I headed for the Oregon Coast around 11 AM on Tuesday and arrived at my hotel in Lincoln City around 4:30 PM and sat down in the $240 H.O.R.S.E. tournament that started at 5 PM around 5:35.

My first hour was okay and I had chipped up from the 14k starting stack to around 18k by the first break, but I basically only won two decent sized pots the whole tournament and I was out by 8:30. Whoopee.

I’m not a big fan of the cash game options at Chinook Winds during this series. It is basically all big bet poker – Big O and no limit Hold’em only really. Those of you that read my blog regularly know that I almost never play either of those games. I probably have less than 200 hours of live NL cash experience and less than 10 hours of Big O cash under my belt. I saw 4/8 Omaha 8 on the board, but I don’t know if they actually had a game going or not because I had no interest in playing something that small. Not that I had any interest in playing 1/3 NL or 1/2 Big O either. I decided to sit down in a 1/3 game though and played for about 90 minutes before realizing I was bored out of my mind and couldn’t take it anymore. The pace of big bet cash games just drives me nuts and really tests my patience. I can’t stand watching people take forever to make what should be trivial decisions. Limit poker just moves along so much faster. I realize the decisions are much easier in limit games, but it’s the time being wasted in obvious spots that gets to me. Bro, you don’t need to balance your timing tells for every decision you make and you don’t have a difficult spot every time it’s your turn to act. Not everyone is guilty of being a primadonna, but there always seem to be a couple in any NL game I sit in. Can we just play, please?

I called it a night around 10 PM and booked a +$284 win; good enough to get me a little sugar on my first day of the trip. I spent the rest of my night playing online and watching Fleabag on Amazon Prime.

Wednesday was the $160 Omaha 8 or Better tournament. I got off to a rough start, doing cool stuff like getting scooped with AJhhQ9 on QQ4hh and AA42dd on T33d7dT in a heads up pot, plus AAJT on AJ6K5 because my opponent decided to limp along on the button with the mighty QT96. That left me with about half the starting stack after six levels of play.

On the hand that crippled me, I’m in the small blind with KQJJ on J976x against one limper and the big blind and both players have 85 somehow. The guy that limped in had 885 actually… and no ace obv… because who needs an ace when you have an 8 and a 5?

I busted shortly after that, sometime around 7:30 PM, and again found myself not wanting to play in any of the cash games. Here I was, out of the two tournaments I really wanted to play without making any sort of run in either of them and the Main Event wasn’t until Saturday. I didn’t want to play in any of the cash games, I didn’t want to play in the High Roller, and I wasn’t super excited about the Big Bounty NL tourney the next day either. I had two full days to kill and next to zero motivation to play poker on any of them. I really just wanted to go home. I’m not going to lie, I was feeling pretty depressed about the whole situation. Nothing like suffering from burnout when you’re 200+ miles away from home.

But I had paid for five nights at the hotel and it was non-refundable. Still, I didn’t play live that night. I just went back to my hotel and played online and watched more Fleabag.

The next day, I showed up for the $660 Big Bounty tournament right at the start of level 2 around 11:30 AM.

Early on, I was involved in a strange hand where middle position opens to 600 at 100/200, someone I know from Palace calls in position, I call with KQ from the small blind and the big blind defends. The flop is QJT and it checks to the PFR and he fires 1100 (we started with 27k in this one), the Lakewood player calls, I call, and then the big blind check-raises to 3500. The PFR gets out of the way, but the local guy makes the call, and the action is back to me. This is a pretty good flop for my hand, but this spot is looking dicey. It’s hard to imagine either of these guys having AK here, but K9 is certainly possible, and if either of them have a king in their hand, my draw is basically worthless. I decide to let it go. The turn card is a 2 and they both check. What? The river is a 4 and it goes bet 6000 and call. The big blind shows a set of queens and the local guy shows a set of jacks. Wow. Turns out AK is squarely in both of their ranges.

I chipped down when I opened with AK and checked back the T76 flop, before calling bets on an ace turn and jack river when the big blind had A7. He sized small on the river, giving me a very easy call, but that hand left me with a 17k stack.

I dwindled from about 30bb to 10bb before getting that stack in with AK only to get snap-called by A6o and watched in horror as that player collected my bounty.

The Big O tourney was about two hours deep, so I coughed up $160 and jumped in that. I had only played one Big O tournament in my life before, during the 2018 version of this same tournament, and, uh, that went okay.

I collected a mass of chips pretty early in this one, as multiple players were willing to punt entire stacks in horrible spots. On one hand, I saw a free flop from the big with Q7542 and potted into four players on Q22. The under the gun limper calls and calls another pot-sized bet on a ten turn. She has been playing super loose, so I’m not too concerned that she’s walking the dog here, but when the river is an ace, I expect that card to beat me almost all the time. It seems pretty obvious that she has a 2 and she almost certainly has an ace in her hand. But she has less that 25% pot let, so I put her all in, she calls, and… my hand scoops? Because she has 233Jx? Well, okay then.

After taking the add-on for $80 and an additional 10k in chips, I think I had around 48K when registration closed.

I call a raise in a multiway pot with AKJ52 double suited from the blinds and the board comes KQ3 with two spades (one of my suits). It checks around on the flop and when the king pairs on the turn, I pot it for 12k. A player that limped and called from early position is my only caller. I’m a little concerned, so when the river is a 2, I check it over to him even though I filled up. He fires 11k into 36k and I make the call. He shows KQxxx and scoops the pot.

I dwindled to 6bb from there and got that in with AQQ22 vs A6532 and got the QT8 flop, but still had to settle for a chop because two low cards – one of them an ace – hit the board. I didn’t chip up from there and busted a short while later, about 30 spots shy of cashing, sometime around 7:30 PM.

Again, I was in no mood to play cash games I didn’t really want to play. I’d already been playing poker for around 8 hours and while I had nothing planned on Friday, I decided to call it a night anyway. Online poker and Fleabag again!

I took my sweet time getting to the casino on Friday and I initially played in a 1/3 NL game for about 90 minutes and booked a small win before getting a seat in a 1/2 Big O game.

As I’ve mentioned, I have almost no experience playing this game, but it didn’t take me long to realize that almost the entire table was playing absurdly loose and that I should have an edge just by playing reasonably tight.

Naturally, I lost almost two full buy-ins getting my money in good and failing to realize my equity. I was willing to dust one more buy-in and I tried to do just that when I got involved in a massive 3-way pot with a pair and the nut low draw. I was pretty happy to call one player’s all in, but then a reasonable player check-raised the pot. There were two diamonds on the flop and I didn’t have a flush draw, so I was pretty sure this was probably a fold, but the longer I thought about it, the more I thought I wanted to go with it. I ended up going all in for slightly more and he called. I didn’t take a note on this hand and I wish I would have because I can’t remember what the cards were, but I’m pretty sure my opponent had the nut flush draw and the second nut low draw. What I do remember about this hand is that I somehow ended up scooping it and I think I was supposed to fold on the flop. I stuck around for a little while longer, but the game wasn’t as juicy as it was before and I had made all my money back and then some, so I booked the win and finished +$125 for the day.

My entire table taking a break at the same time

This is a 5-way Big O pot because, you know, no one actually needs aces in their hands

The Main Event was on Saturday and it’s one of the best tournaments in the Pacific Northwest all year. The initial buy-in is $600 for 40k starting stacks and 45 minute levels. I sat down about halfway through the second level and by the end of the third level I had a stack of 47k.

Someone makes it 1300 after a limper at 200/400 and the cutoff and button both call. I call with JT of hearts from the small blind and the big blind defends also. Six of us see a flop of T88 rainbow and it checks to the button and he fires 3000 into 7k+. I call. The big blind, limper and original raiser fold, but the cutoff also calls. The turn is a 3 and it checks around. The river pairs the 3 and I check, planning to call if someone bets and expecting to win most of the time. The cutoff fires 6000 and the button calls.

Well, that’s not what I was expecting. The cutoff is an aggressive younger guy that I had played NL cash with the night before. I think if he had an 8 or anything good, he would have bet the flop when the PFR checked, so I think he’s bluffing almost all of the time here. My dilemma is the button. He bet the flop and checked back the turn when a blank hit, so it’s hard to give him much of a hand here. I can see him stabbing the flop with pocket pairs and picking off river bluffs with those hands, so even though I don’t really beat any tens here, I think I have to make this call. I toss out the 6k, the cutoff snap folds and the button shows T9 and my hand is good.

It’s worth noting that I took my time on the river on this one, really thinking it over, and while I was doing so, the cutoff eventually expressed frustration and annoyance. Of course, this could be a reverse tell, but when he snap folds after I call, you really have to question his sense of decency.

This tournament has a $200 add-on for another 30k in chips that is pretty mandatory for just about anyone still in. For 33% of the original buy-in, you can get 75% of the starting stack. So even though I was sitting on just over 80k at the dinner break and close of registration, I did the add-on and went to dinner with a stack of 113k.

I was sitting on 132k after 8 levels when I doubled the same player up twice when he jammed on the button in consecutive orbits and I called from the small blind. The first time my KQ lost to his KJ and the second time my AT lost to another KJ. Those two pots left me with 93k after nine levels, the first time all tournament that I had chipped down during a level of play.

I then went the entire next two levels without winning a single pot, or really playing any hand of significance, and I dwindled down to 73k and was coming back to blinds of 1500/3000 with 500 antes (24 bigs).

And here’s my most insane hand of the entire series:

A good, solid player opens to 10k from early position at 4000bb and I defend in the big with KQ of spades and effective stacks of around 50 bigs.

The flop is KQ4 with two clubs and I check it over to him and he bets 14k. I decided to check-call here because I didn’t think he was going to have a ton of continues against a check-raise, although with the two clubs on board, I think there’s some merit to thinking I could get floats from clubs, Qx, AJ, AT type hands, so maybe that’s faulty logic.

Anyways, the turn is an ace and now my plan to check-raise has transformed into a plan of getting to showdown as cheaply as possible. An ace is literally the worst card in the deck for my hand, as I’m now losing to a bunch of hands I wanted him to have on the flop (AA, AK, AQ, JT). I check-call 18k.

The river pairs the queen and I now have a full house. Honestly, this doesn’t change many of the concerns I had on the turn other than I now beat AK and JT. It is worth noting that I don’t think this player would bet hands that had a pair and straight draw on the turn, so I don’t think he’s ever showing up with AJ, AT, QJ, or QT here. I think it is reasonable to lead out with a bet, but while I feel I have a pretty solid read on his range, I’m not sure I’m good enough to fold if he jams on me. Also, since I don’t think he double barrels the pair plus draw hands on the turn, I also don’t think he has a lot of hands to call with. So I check it over to him to see what he does. He thinks for a while and bets 18k again.

That’s actually a pretty small bet and my first instinct was to raise. The thing about raising is that it only makes sense if you think you are going to get called and I didn’t think this particular player would call, even with a hand as good as AK and, as previously mentioned, I didn’t think he could have a queen in his hand unless he now had a full house. So if I remove AK from his calling range, the next best hands he can call with are JT and KQ. Everything else has me beat. This didn’t seem like a range I wanted to target, so I said, “this is an insanely nitty call” and put out the 18k. He turned over 44 and I won the pot.

Obviously, I didn’t expect him to have 44 in his range here. I thought he was too tight to open small pairs from such an early position and didn’t even give it a thought. Still, I stand by my line here. My image was really nitty and solid at this point, so if I wake up with a raise on the river, I’m not even sure he calls with this hand. He might be good enough to lay it down. He’s better than I am. The only way I get called here is if he thinks I’m reckless enough to raise with naked trips in this spot (and obviously I am not). Interestingly, if I had check-raised the flop, I would have doubled up on this hand by getting it in bad.

That was a pretty key pot for me late in Day 1 and I ended up bagging 218.5k with around 120 players left and 45 of us cashing. Average stack at this point was around 175k, so I was in pretty good shape.

Actual tryouts for Wheel of Fortune taking place in the Bingo Hall of the casino

I was 3rd in chips at my Day 2 table and saw that I had the second most tournament success after researching my fellow players and I had direct position on the most seasoned vet.

I lost a big flip early on when I opened with JJ and a stack of 107k shoved from the small blind on me. This player was playing at the table behind me on Friday night in a cash game and was being super loud and obnoxious all night. I also noted that when he left his table, his entire table quit playing immediately. My takeaway? He’s a maniac. Which means I’m not folding here. I call and he shows AQ and makes a pair.

The very next hand I open with TT utg+1 and a 131k stack jams on me. The big blind is 6k so this is a 22bb shove and if I lose this one, I will have less than 10bb. I’m kind of reeling from the last hand and I can just picture how pissed I’ll be at myself if I call it off here and he shows JJ+. My read on this guy is that he’s pretty solid, so it’s not a snap call spot. Even if I give him a range of 88+, AJs+, AJo+, KQs, and KQo, my equity is barely 50%. I think that’s a pretty loose range for him though and when we start trimming the bottom of it off, the equity shifts in his favor. Just removing AJo and KQo, brings his equity up to 52%. Adding in the fact that I love my table draw, I think this is a fine spot to make a fold and move on. I muck it, but I don’t like it.

I made it to the 10k big blind level with around 223k and I had just over 20 bigs when I looked down at AK in late position and felt like this was going to be a tournament-defining spot. Sure enough, Ryan Stoker, a notable tourney grinder from the Spokane area opened to 25k and the dude that doubled through me with AQ jammed on him for more than I had. We were about 30-40 spots off the money at this point and I didn’t see much merit in folding here. I didn’t even really think about it. Let’s go. I called it off and Stoker folded. This time he had the JJ and this time I won the race and doubled up to an above average stack.

Of course, my opponent couldn’t take his loss in stride and had to try and ridicule me for making what I think is a pretty standard call.

Him: What, you just wanted to go home?

Me: Uh, yeah, since Wednesday night.

As we started to approach the bubble, I lost another flip, this time my AK < 99 for -100k, leaving me with 275k with the big blind at 12k, 8 spots off the money. 23 bigs is far from the danger zone, but it’s a stack size that could very well get in preflop in a coin flip situation.

I admittedly played extremely snug during this phase of the tournament, even finding myself doing embarrassing stuff like this:

It folds to the small blind and he makes it 32k at 12k big blind and I have A6o in the big. I had like 15 bigs at this point and I believe my opponent’s opening range is 100% here because of how tight I’ve been playing. So this is a slam dunk jam spot, but being a couple spots off the money, I just praised the Gods that I was not on a live stream so I could fold in peace (and blog about it publicly later). It feels gross, but with zero cashes on my ledger for the trip so far, I really didn’t want to go home without one when I was so close.

It’s worth noting that the small blind in the previous hand was playing extremely well this whole tournament and I was shocked at how adept he was considering my earlier research. Later on I discovered that Taylor Bleak with $0 in career cashes was actually Taylor Black with over $2.4 million in cashes. That made a lot more sense. Eh, just a little $2 million typo on the end of day reports!

Fortunately, I eeked into the money with about 12 bigs and doubled up in my first orbit by reshoving with A5 suited on the button against a cutoff open and had my opponent’s KQ dead by the turn.

I was peaking around 420k when I started getting moved around. I got moved into the big blind at my new table and after folding preflop on that hand, that table broke and I moved into another big blind at my third table in three hands. On that last hand, it folds to the cutoff who opens, gets called by the button, and I look down at 77 in the big blind. I have a great reshove stack here and should have some fold equity, so I jam it in and the cutoff folds but the button says he doesn’t think he can lay it down. He eventually calls with AJ and I hold for a huge double that puts me around 890k with 27 players left.

I open to 55k with blinds at 10k/20k from early position with TT and Tam Nguyen is next to act and makes it 300k, leaving himself with ~400k behind. It folds back to me. Tam is kind of an Oregon legend. He has over $1 million in lifetime cashes, ranks 9th on the all-time money list in Oregon and I believe he’s still #1 all-time in earnings at the Wildhorse Round Ups in Pendleton, Oregon. He’s basically a mid-stakes tourney crusher. My read on him is that he’s pretty nitty and straight-forward and this is a massive raise. It’s not a spot where I can call and see a flop and if I jam on him here, he’s never folding and much like the TT scenario earlier where I folded, I’m not in very good shape against what I perceive to be his range. Once again, I muck TT before the flop.

Action folds to the cutoff, the guy that stacked off with the AJ earlier, and he min-raises to 40k. Now that I have chips, I can do cool things like 3-bet the A9o on the button to 105k and punish these wide opens. What I don’t expect to happen is for my opponent to call, but he does.

The flop is QQT and he check-calls 65k quite fast and I’m not about to punt my newly acquired chips off, so I am going to give up here.

The turn is a blank and we both check.

The river pairs the ten and he leads out for 180k. Well, I don’t really see how I can fold here. All the draws missed and his medium and small pairs have all been counterfeit, although check-calling with those hands on the flop is pretty sick. He’s repping such a narrow range here and my hand doesn’t look like much, so I make the call. He shows T6 of hearts.

I don’t get it. I’ve played like two orbits at this table and this dude is calling my 3-bet with junk because… he thinks he can outplay me out of position? Perhaps I sized too small preflop? I need to be making it like 130k? I dunno. Maybe he’s just a maniac punter? Either way, it’s super gross and I can’t say I felt great about losing almost half my stack with ace high. I think my river call is fine on this runout, so maybe I’m just being results oriented here, but it sucks to lose these chips back right after I finally gave myself some breathing room.

I got moved yet again and was back in that 12-15bb region when I reshoved the button with KJdd over a hijack open and my opponent called with QQ to bust me in 21st place for $2320.

All in all, I was pretty bummed about my trip to Lincoln City. It was nice to cash in the Main, but it was also really disheartening to peak with three tables left only to be out a short while later, all because some dude couldn’t lay down the T6 suited before the flop. I think I may have made a bet-sizing mistake with my 3-bet before the flop, but still. That hurt. Also, I put in almost no volume in the cash games and was absolutely miserable for most of the week. It makes me wonder how eager I am to go back.

I’m not saying it’s a bad series… it’s actually quite good. I think the staff is top notch and I like that they do some different, non-Hold’em events, but cash games are my bread and butter and when I’m out of tournaments that’s what I want to be doing and they just don’t have games I want to play in. So when I’m out of a tournament, it’s like “now what?” I’ve been saying forever that I need to play more no limit Hold’em cash, so maybe I just need to embrace it and grind it out when I’m at Chinook Winds.

I ended up making about $630 for the trip overall, but my hotel room alone cost me $500+, so I can’t really say it was a good trip.

What I can say though… is that Fleabag is an amazing show. Holy shit. It’s definitely not going to be for everyone, but it blew my damn mind. Check it out on Amazon Prime.

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September 2019: Week One Results

September 17, 2019

Sorry about the extended break. That wasn’t my plan, but I didn’t get a chance to post a wrap up of the first week of September before I left for Lincoln City and then I decided I was just going to post a whole trip report when I got back instead of doing live updates and now it’s September 17th and I haven’t made a poker post for this month yet.

I got off to a bad start in September by posting my only losing cash game session of my L.A. trip when I went -$848 in that 40/80 Mix session with James Woods.

My first day back in Lakewood, I won $124 in about 40 minutes of 8/16 before playing an absurdly boring PLO session that saw the return of Lee Markholt to the game. I really enjoy his company, but his presence certainly doesn’t increase the quality of that game. I was insanely card dead and only played a few pots of note.

On the first one, I was in a raised multi-way pot with QJJ9 and got it all in on KJ7 vs Mr. Freeze’s KKxx and lost over $500.

Then Sandman made a rare guest appearance and bought in for $200 and got all of it in against my AAJ9 with AAT3 and got the T8346 runout for a quick double.

My only notable winning pot I made it $20 with AAKQ single suited after one limper, bet $15 on KK4 with two of my suit, and then my opponent led out for $75 when the 8 of spades brought the flush in. Against this player type, I probably should make a small raise, because he’s super loose and a bit wacky, but in the moment I decided to just flat. The river brought a 9 and he fired $200 and I stuck with my conservative line with a call and he showed a nine high flush and I won the hand. He has a pretty easy fold to a turn raise, so I think I might like my line, but this is also the kind of player that might actually call down, so I don’t know.

That hand somewhat salvaged my night and I finished -$261 in PLO.

On Thursday, I went and saw It: Chapter Two (2019) with my buddy and he likes to play poker at smaller stakes, so we headed to Fortune after the movie and I lost $141 playing 4/8 until 2:30 in the morning and woke up the next day after noon wondering what I’m doing with my life. I text my friend and told him we can’t do that anymore. I can’t justify sleeping in and feeling unproductive because I was up super late playing 4/8. That’s just dumb. I don’t mind playing lower stakes poker with him, but we need to find a more reasonable time of day for it.

On Friday, I was in the 15/30 game at Palace with a lineup that featured Taz, Ducky, Flea, Huey, Mr. Freeze, Splinter, and a couple others. I tried to coast by defending with 97o against Ducky’s under the gun raise and called down on a 9886x runout, but he had AA and he was coasting instead. That early cushion was enough to keep Ducky above the breakeven line for the entire session and he joined the The Coast Club for the second time with a Silver Level entry and the smallest win (+$379) anyone has ever coasted to. Good job, lil buddy, and you’re welcome.

I’ve been struggling in the 15/30 game for a while now, with two big losses (-$1350+) and only two small wins (less than +$300) over my last six sessions, so I was feeling kind of on edge during the early parts of this session. It didn’t help when I 3-bet Mr. Freeze with AJ and inexplicably folded when he check-raised me on KK2 and bet again when the 2 paired on the turn only for him to show me QJ high. Obviously, it’s pricey to make two $50 calls (Overs are 25/50) and be wrong, but if I’m not folding on the flop, I definitely shouldn’t be folding on the turn, plus I know he’s plenty capable of doing shit like this. Then I was in a 4-bet pot with 77 on 962s8s. I had the betting lead on the flop but decided to check the turn because Master Splinter had raised under the gun and I know he can be tricky. I called a bet on the 9s river and I was pretty happy to be able to show this hand down for one big bet, but he ended up showing me AQ of spades for a rivered flush.

So there I was, stuck a rack super early in another 15/30 session and I was honestly thinking about quitting and I really had to center myself with some breathing and mindfulness to try and remind myself that I actually love what I do, I’m lucky to do it, and sometimes I go on bad stretches, but I always come out of them.

And I made a comeback. I got Master Splinter back in a 3-bet pot with aces when he donk-called the flop and then called down on 83273 and then I defended 55 after Taz raised from the small blind with a limper already in. The flop was 653 with two spades and I got two bets in 3-ways. The turn was an ace and Taz donked that card and I got two bets in 3-ways again. Very nice. The river paired the board with a spade and they both paid me off, with the limper showing 87 of spades, a monster draw that got there with the wrong card.

Master Splinter opened from the button and I defend in the big blind with T7 of clubs. The flop was 853 with two diamonds and one club. This is not the kind of board I want to be folding on, but I don’t have a ton of immediate equity either, so I decide to check-raise and take the lead, knowing he has a wide range and will be folding a good amount of it before showdown. There are lots of good turn cards for me and the 9 of clubs is one of the best ones, so I continue my story and he punishes me with a raise. I say to Ducky, “he’s not going to like this one” and make the call. The river is a ten and I check-call saying, “that’s not the one, but it’s a payoff card,” and that river is good enough versus Master Splinter’s A8 of clubs. Yikes. Yep, he’s not going to like that one.

Then I have JJ in a capped 4-way pot and check back the K64 flop because Huey was the other preflop aggressor and he’s in early position with a strong range. The turn pairs the king and Huey leads out and gets called. I don’t love this spot, but I also don’t have enough information to fold, so I make the call also and whaddya know, the river is a jack. Huey leads again, the other player folds, I raise and Huey tanks for a while and eventually folds QQ face up.

Bang bang. Suddenly, I’m up $1100 and we are only 90 minutes into the session. Ah, I remember this feeling!

But… it wasn’t meant to be. I lost a series of dumb ones before I stopped taking notes altogether.

I opened on the button with T9 of clubs and Huey defended in the big blind. He donked the T43ssc flop and called my raise. He donked again on the 8 of spades turn and I called. The river was the 2 of diamonds and I paid his river bet off only for him to show me A5 of diamonds for a rivered straight. I actually like his bluff on the turn, especially considering how much of a nit I think he typically is, and if he had checked the turn, I assume he would have folded to a bet, so taking this line allowed him to realize his equity and, uh, that’s pretty annoying.

I had the AQ of spades on a AT9 two spade flop, but the board ran out J7 and I lost the pot to Master Splinter because he randomly decided to limp in from early position with J9 offsuit.

Then I had 88 vs J9 on K65K9 and no clue how my opponent reached showdown with it.

As I mentioned, I stopped keeping notes because I was beyond frustrated. It looked like I might finally have a nice session, but I lost it all back and when I called it a night, I was -$265 after 10+ hours. Ugh. The streak continues.

Saturday, we did a home game with a 15/30 Mix and I posted another small loss of -$148 in 9.5 hours.

Not a good first week of the month. I lost every session I played and I was headed to the Fall Coast Classic at Chinook Winds with a $1500 deficit – the 8th month in a row I’ve gotten off to a rough start.

Chinook Winds series results in the next post.

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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.