Posts Tagged ‘limit hold em’

h1

Welcome Back, Dark Knight!

July 13, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Uh, welcome home?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Something to think about.

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

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

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

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

The turn pairs the 5 and the same action occurs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First time for everything!

Then I hit another small jackpot with quad 8s.

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

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

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

What an achievement!

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

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

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

h1

WSOP 2019: Recap

July 9, 2019

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

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

So that means my 2019 WSOP is a wrap.

How was it?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

h1

WSOP 2019: $1500 Limit Hold’em

June 29, 2019

Since I busted out of the $2500 Stud 8/Omaha 8 I’ve played four cash games sessions – mostly $40/$80 Limit Hold’em at Bellagio – and I’ve won a tad over $4300 during that span.

I also played the $550 Triple Stud tournament at Binion’s on Thursday and it was a strange run for me.

Sometimes I forget to dumb it down when I play these smaller non-WSOP events. You just have to show these people the best hand and not do stuff like this:

Razz, King brings it in and I complete with 66-9 from the cutoff with a 5 up behind me. The 5 and K both call.

xx-K2

xx-55

66-9T

I bet and both call.

xx-K2A

xx-553

66-9T8

My board is still “leading,” but even if I didn’t have a pair in the hole, I think this is a good street to check.

So even if I had the best low at this point, it makes sense to check here because I am actually kind of crushed if either one of them has a smooth draw. Even if they both have a pair, I’m a favorite to lose the hand.

So since I wouldn’t bet a made ten here, I’m not going to bet as a bluff with a pair in the hole either. I check and I’m happy to see them both check as well.

xx-K2AQ

xx-5533

66-T988

Now the bring in says something about I “must not have anything to check 5th street” and leads out with what is at best a made queen but since he didn’t bet 5th is probably a made king with a queen draw, so now I raise it, with the worst hand and the worst draw, and both of them fold.

Heeyyyyyy!

I’m not bragging here. That hand is going to be a torch most of the time and I just caught the ultimate parlay – not only for their boards to run out horribly but for them both to check 5th and then this guy leading out on 6th for who knows what reason.

Through eight levels and 4+ hours I hadn’t found a good spot to chip up in. Starting stacks were 30k and I had 30.8k on the first break and 20.2k on the second break. I wouldn’t get back above the starting stack until level 11 and I didn’t have an average stack until like level 15!

I had a really sick hand where I quadruple barreled in Stud 8 against a board that was showing 83J9 when I ended up bricking my low draw and finishing with just a pair of 5s. He called my bluff and… I scooped… a huge, super meaningful pot.

I think I had about 1.5x average stack after that pot but the rush was short lived.

I started with AK-K in Stud Hi and the bring in defended with 34-3 and immediately caught a 4 when I caught a jack and we put the rest of his chips in and he dodged all my outs for a double up.

And another sick hand (sorry, poker short hand copy and pasted from chat):

Stud 8, raise AA-T, 3h calls; I catch a Q, he catches 6c; I bet, he raises, I call; he catches J, I catch a 8; I bet, he calls; I catch a 3, he catches open jacks, and leads… I’m like… “you just said you had one hand and now you’re saying you have another?”… super tempted to jack him up here, but I decide on call; he bets 7th, I river a 3 and call with aces up. He shows 74… JACK

I guess his 6th street lead makes some sense because he probably thinks I have split tens, but… losing to three jacks is the last thing I expected there and it’s pretty nasty because I think this player would lead jacks up on 7th also.

This tourney paid seven spots and after this downswing, I had about half the average stack with 13 left. I was looking like a favorite to be the next person out but I won one small pot and managed to squeak my way to the final table, 8th in chips with 9 left.

There was one mega short stack and three other players with stacks similar to mine.

The mega shorty immediately tripled up, a similar stack doubled and another similar stack chipped up. Meanwhile I put money in the pot once and lost, so things were looking really bad for me.

I got all in once and survived for half (when I was a favorite to scoop) and that’s the only pot I got a piece of at the final table.

I still can’t believe it, but I somehow managed to finish in 6th place despite winning half of one pot since there were 13 left.

I guess I’ll take it. I finished 6th for $1280 in a tournament where I ran good for about 15 minutes total and spent the other 10.5 hours losing most of the pots I played.

Poker is weird.

Binion’s has a really, really good HORSE tournament that had Day 1A yesterday and Day 1B today and I was really torn about skipping it. I figure first place in that will be maaaaaybe $30k tops. But it’s hard to justify skipping a bracelet event for Limit Hold’em – my best game – when first place will probably be around $200k.

Cards are in the air at 3 PM and stack updates will be here and on the PokerNews app.

Ouch. Just spent a solid hour in the registration line so I’m sitting down at the end of level one right now. Can’t say I was expecting that. Bad planning? I guess the Crazy 8s tourney is the culprit? I late regged the $600 Deep Stack last weekend and the line wasn’t half this bad.

Oh well, time to spin it up!

Starting with 10k in chips and blinds at 100/200.

Don’t know anyone at my starting table, which seems strange. Very early impression is that I’m in a good spot here.

Edit: 12k starting stack

First Break

Pretty good start. I really like my table. It seems quite soft, even with Shirley Rosario and Tony Ma at it now.

I’ve kind of been running over everyone so far and I rivered a two outer against Shirley with 99 in a 4-bet pot when I would have folded the turn on K837 if she bet again. But she checked back with jacks and let me hit a 9 and then paid me off.

Yes, I fold turn. Even if her cold 4-bet range is wider than I think it is, I’m only beating AQ, AJ and hands like 66 and 55. I’m not sure she has any of those hands in her range here. Maybe AQ suited?

17,000

Second Break

Welp. I was cruising to a big stack.

Key pot:

Tony Ma limps under the gun, I raise with KK from middle position and big blind defends.

Flop is T86 with two clubs and Tony donks right into me. I raise, the big calls and Tony 3-bets. Eh. I’m either behind or against a big draw. I just call, planning to reevaluate on the turn.

It is the king of diamonds. Tony bets, I raise, other guy clears out, Tony raises again, I 4-bet and he 5-bets! I mean… he either has 97 or must think I’m some kind of chump.

He bets dark on river! It’s an offsuit queen. When I get 5-bet on turn, it’s hard to imagine what I’m beating against someone that has a clue, so I just call and he tables…

KT of clubs.

Well, okay then!

I think I had about 25k after that hand, but it was a tumultuous last 40 minutes or so, as I was involved a lot and lost a lot. I lost KJ vs 99 on K739x when I opened and big blind defended and then I called down with 77 in a 3-bet pot on 8332K against someone that has been raising and 3-betting a lot of garbage ace hands, but he had AA this time.

18,600

Third Break

Chipped up a little.

Key pot:

Open AThh and get called in four spots.

Flop is Q73 all hearts. I bet, aggro old guy raises next to act (boo), folds to big blind and he 3-bets (yay!), I just call, so does old guy.

Turn is 2x. BB leads, I raise, old man calls two cold, BB goes deep in tank and folds.

Still have nuts on river. I bet and he calls with QJ offsuit with a heart.

Dumb hand:

Open JTss, aggro old guy 3-bets and I call.

Flop is K95 with two spades. I check-raise and he calls.

Turn is an ace. No sense betting this card. He’s proven that he’s playing any ace and I’ve seen him overplay lots of weak Ax hands. I check-call.

River brick. He checks back with A8o.

Come on bro.

BRO!

23,200

Fourth Break

Things not going well for me. Lost with 99 to 88 on the river. Guy on my left has been playing way too many hands and running super hot. I’ve had a hard time beating him, but he’s been bleeding back to everyone else at the table.

Nothing else too exciting. Free Throw and Sandman both still in.

Two more levels tonight. Let’s find a peak stack, yeah?

15,500

END OF DAY ONE

Pot of the tournament:

Fishy old guy limps under the gun, Shirley Rosario raises, and I defend with QTo.

Flop is T97 with two diamonds and old guy donks right out, Shirley calls, and so do I.

Turn pairs the ten and I check-raise and both of them call.

River is an 8. I check and I want it to check around but Shirley bets. I can’t even contain my displeasure and blurt out, “are you serious?!”

And then I have to talk myself out of snap-tilt-calling and mutter, “never bluffing here” before tossing my hand in the muck.

Old guy calls and she shows QJ.

18.8k pot. After that hand I had 9.5k instead of 28.3k.

Pretty. Fucking. Brutal.

I dwindled down from there until I was mega short and flopped a pair with T3hh, blind vs blind, and doubled through QJ.

Then cutoff opens and I 3-bet red jacks and he calls.

Flop is A54 with all hearts. I check back and I’m planning on showing down.

Turn pairs the 4 and I call a bet.

Ten on river and I call a bet and lose to A2dd.

Sigh.

Two and 3-outers look pretty easy to hit… but 11-outers? Fuck. No.

So I was crippled again after that.

But then I cold 4-bet KK all in and got a reasonable K63Kx runout to triple up.

And then I lost another blind vs blind hand vs the old man where I had Q7cc vs 62o on 88676 runout. Another two-outer.

Then button opens, I 3-bet with KJdd and old guy calls. I bet in the dark, leaving myself with 1/4 of a big bet behind, and when I get called by both players on A75 I figure I’m probably close to dead.

Turn pairs the 7 and I bet my last 500, old guy calls, and button makes it 2500 and old guy calls. I stop the action and mention he can only make it 2000 and then the side pot gets messed up and I literally had to wait five fucking minutes knowing I’m drawing stone dead for them to figure it out.

I actually pulled out my phone to film the lunacy but I guess I didn’t press record.

They can’t even figure it out and the floor finally just says, “finish the hand” and button turns over 87o and I’m able to make my exit.

With ten minutes left in the day.

So dumb.

I guess I could have tried to bag one small blind?

Tomorrow there is a $360 HORSE tournament at Golden Nugget. That sounds fun and if I can wake up at a decent time that’s probably what I will do tomorrow.

That will be my last tournament until Day 1A of the Main Event on Wednesday.

h1

WSOP 2019: The Adrenaline Rush and Heartbreak of a Deep Run

June 25, 2019

When it comes to playing poker there is no greater feeling than making a deep run in a WSOP event. I’ve done it a couple of times before.

My third place finish in the Industry Event was a lot of fun, but the fact that it’s not an open bracelet event combined with the fact that it’s the luckiest I’ve ever been in a live tournament makes me feel like it will always come with an asterisk in my head. On the other hand, my big suck outs in critical spots felt like a lot of justice for all the brutal beats I’d taken super deep in all the tournaments before that one that had prevented me from making a real run at a major title.

In contrast, my fifth place finish in the $1500 H.O.R.S.E. in 2017 was just a surreal and amazing experience. By the time we got down to three tables, almost everyone left in the tournament was a known poker star.

This $2500 Omaha 8/Stud 8 felt pretty similar. Like, I know I’m capable of making runs like this and I think I can play most of the games at a high level, but another part of me is like wtf am I doing here with 15 left in a World Series of Poker tournament playing with the Shaun Deebs of the world?

It’s crazy.

I broke down a hand history with Phillip Hui on break and he was very happy to talk with me about it. I absolutely loved his table presence and I knew he would be approachable.

I spent all Day 2 locking horns with Andrey Zaichenko to the point where he finally lamented: “I can’t beat you.” He was on my direct right with an unfathomable amount of chips, looking destined for a final table appearance (he would take 4th), while I was on the bubble of this thing feeling the maximum amount of pressure about it.

Seriously.

After cashing 7 of 10 WSOP events with two top 5 finishes in 2016-2017, I was on an 0-11 WSOP stretch heading into this one and that’s overlooking the fact that I’ve been tossing up bricks all year everywhere else too. I really, really wanted to cash this tournament.

It was looking like I was going to sweat it out the entire bubble, but then I caught a little rush and suddenly found myself way above average, a lock to cash, and thoughts of having a real deep run.

Ironically enough, I ended up finishing Day 2 with more chips than Zaichenko. He was a total pain in the ass all day though. Every pot went through him. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say he played around 60% of his hands. Is that really possible? He was a beast. A borderline maniac. I was impressed though.

Here’s a sick hand with two tables left:

Thompson completed on 3rd with a ten up and got called in four spots!

I led out on 4th when I made open aces and Shaun Deeb, Danny Ratigan and Denis Stebkov all called.

On 5th, I honestly didn’t know what to do. This is where lack of experience can be costly. I’m not sure what my best line is here. My hand is 65-AA7. Deeb and Ratigan both had good looking low boards, so I ended up checking and it checked to Ratigan and he bet. I gave some thought to raising here to try and get heads up with Ratigan, but I didn’t think it was likely Deeb would fold to a raise, so I just called. Denis folded and Deeb called.

I checked again on 6th and it checked to Ratigan. He bet, I called, Deeb raised, and Ratigan 3-bet. I had a strong feeling I was getting squeezed here. Deeb looks like he can have a flush but if you look at the upcards reported above, it’s actually not likely at all, as the ace, 4 and 5 of diamonds are all accounted for on other boards. So he basically needs to have exactly some combo of the 2, 7, and 8 of diamonds in the hole to have a flush here. Also, how likely is he to check a made low with a four flush on 5th street? Not fucking likely.

Still, it seems like I’m drawing dead to the low half of the pot here, so calling off three more big bets to maybe win half seems precarious. I folded.

Ratigan ended up having 75 in the hole and caught an 8 on 7th to make a straight, so I would have got scooped on 7th anyway (I was in last position so the cards would be the same on 7th).

Deeb was making a play. He had a pair and a six low draw and got me to fold the high half of the pot. He would have looked like a genius if it worked and Ratigan bricked the river.

I hated letting him get away with it and I’m not going to lie… I was happy to see Danny scoop that pot and Deeb bust in 13th a short while later. I didn’t want to deal with Shaun at a final table, plus Danny Ratigan is from the Seattle area!

I’ll say this though. I don’t post much on Twitter but I’m pretty in tune with the poker Twitterverse and, well, Shaun is a controversial figure and can be extremely opinionated and pretty mean. I would not have been surprised to not like him. It was the opposite. I was impressed with everything about the guy. He was nice to everyone and the floors practically treated him like he was the Tournament Director. And his focus was unreal. He didn’t miss a thing at the table. I wish I had 20% of that focus level. I was blown away. That kind of thing is scary to play against.

One more hand from Day 2:

I think it would be pretty hard to report poker hands, especially when you start watching in the middle of a pot, and I think the PokerNews team generally does a really good job, but man, this one couldn’t be further from the truth.

Here’s what really happened:

Matt Vengrin is the bring in with the 2d and everyone folds to Phillip Long, in the effective cutoff position, and he completes with a ten up. I have the Qc up and two jacks in the hole and raise it. Vengrin defends the bring in and Long also calls.

On 4th street, Vengrin pairs his door card, Long catches an offsuit 6 and I catch an offsuit jack: a total gin card for me. It checks to me, I bet, and Vengrin raises to put himself all in. It’s enough of a raise that it allows me to re-raise if I choose to, so Phillip Long reluctantly folds and I call. Vengrin thinks he has me crushed because he has a deuce in the hole, but I show him the ultra bad news by turning up two jacks. Things had been going bad for me so I had a feeling he was going to fill up and I was going to lose this critical pot, but we both bricked through 6th street and I snap rolled my last card to give me jacks full and he only had the case deuce for a win. He squeezed the 9 of clubs and then crumpled it up, tossed it in the air, and hit the dealer in the head with it.

Compare the real hand to the hand reported above and it’s quite a different story.

Even Vengrin had his own version of events:

I mean… he was super unlucky to catch a 2 on 4th and be behind, but he definitely wasn’t rolled up here.

I finished Day 2 8th in chips with 12 players left and that was reason enough for my wife to wake up at 6am and book a flight to Vegas so she could be here if I somehow found my way to a bracelet. Blackjack even booked a flight to come sweat my Day 3 run.

When you get this far in a bracelet event it’s easy to start dreaming about what might happen. Based on chip distribution alone, my fair share of the bracelet heading into Day 3 was greater than 6%! A few pots going my way early while others bust out and that number starts to swing heavily in my favor.

What’s harder to imagine is the worst possible outcome happening.

I’ll let Blackjack tell his story:

It literally could not have gone worse for me. We started with about four hands of Stud 8 and I folded all of them, but I was super active in the Omaha round.

First, I flopped the nut low draw and a small pair on an all diamond flop. I checked back the flop but called down when the low came in and my A43x got quartered by A44x.

Then this happened:

I opened with AJ72 and no suits and Gerard 3-bet me on the button. With top top on the flop and the backdoor nut low draw, check-calling seemed best. While I’m blocking AA hands, it’s still something to be weary of when you get 3-bet in O8.

I loved the turn, as it gave me the nut low draw in addition to top pair. While I was happy to check-call the turn, I was going to lead the river if I made the nut low. If I get quartered with top pair and the nut low, then so be it. In fact, the only cards I don’t want to see on the river are a king, queen, ace or deuce. Ironically, I was still scooping if an ace came.

In fact, this is what my odds looked like heading to the river:

So I’m scooping this crucial pot 70% of the time and getting scooped 30%.

Obviously, I don’t know what he has exactly, so when the river comes a queen and he bets, all I know is this: I fucking hate it.

As noted earlier, a queen is one of the few cards where my hand feels like it gets destroyed. I have an easy showdown on pretty much every other card and now I have a super marginal one way hand. In fact, it’s so easy for me to get scooped here that I should probably just be folding when each big bet is so critical to my stack.

On the other hand, there are 7.75 big bets in the pot and if he’s bluffing as much as 11% of the time folding the best hand here would be an absolute catastrophe. Is he bluffing enough? It’s hard to say – not like I have a ton of history with the guy. What hands could he triple barrel with? A23x? Raggedy A2xx hands? A245? What if the river was a 9 or ten? Is he betting with AK53? The fact he double barreled the hand he did have leads me to believe if he missed the river, he would have to fire another bullet and that makes me feel better about my call.

Regardless, an absolutely sickening runout and, essentially, my knockout blow.

A hand or two later, I’m in the small blind and Phillip Long opens the button, I 3-bet all in with the AK53. He showed the QJ52 and the A87 rainbow flop meant we were going to chop 80% of the time and each of us had about 10% scoop equity. Somehow, he managed to realize his scoop equity when the board ran out 9-T to give him the nut high along with a better low and just like that… I was out.

I’m not going to lie… I was pretty shellshocked to be out in 20 minutes and sad that my wife flew out to sweat me and this is what happened. On the other hand, I got to spend a whole day with her on the weekend before her birthday so that was really nice. She gave me the go ahead to play the $1500 Razz – even urged me to play it – but I was feeling a bit demoralized and I wanted to spend time with her since she was here.

So we went and saw Ka at the MGM Grand.

Here is how Dina felt before the show:

And here is how she felt after the show:

In fact, she gave the show a 3 out of 10, which I thought was super harsh. I can’t say I really enjoyed the experience either though.

First, they wouldn’t let me bring my backpack in, even though I carry all my diabetic supplies and emergency items in it. I’ve never had anyone forcefully turn me away after I pull out the debilitating disease excuse, but they wouldn’t let me in. So we went to the bellhop to check our bags and that took 20 minutes to happen and in the process, I lost my Contigo water bottle because I’m not used to carrying it around as it is normally slotted on the side of my backpack. So that was cool.

Then, with 5 minutes before show time, our bags checked, all my items in my wife’s purse, we get our tickets scanned and they tell us her purse is too big to bring in. The same purse they saw earlier and didn’t say anything about. Well, I wasn’t having that and I didn’t get to throw much of a fit before they just waved us in.

I’ll give Ka a 6 out of 10. It is my least favorite show I’ve seen in Vegas. If it was the first one I saw, I would probably think more highly of it. I thought the music was really good and the stage was very impressive, but the show was the least interesting I’ve seen and while the stunts were pretty cool, they were also the least spectacular I’ve seen. Even Absinthe has better physical performances.

Updates Vegas Show Rankings

1. Absinthe

2. Michael Jackson: One

3. The Beatles: Love

4. O

5. Penn & Teller

6. Ka

I played the $600 No Limit Hold’em WSOP Deep Stack today and I had about 35k when this hand came up during the 300/600 level. An older white gentleman opened from MP to 1600 and I decided to flat with AQo. I think this is a fine hand to mix flats and 3-bets with against this player type. I think it’s an easy fold if he 4-bets and I don’t mind playing AQ in position in a single-raised pot either.

The small blind, a younger, capable-looking Asian guy 3-bet to 6200 and the opener folded. I’m not about to fold AQ in a squeeze spot against a player that seems capable of pulling the trigger, and I think there is serious merit to just stuffing it preflop at this point, but I elected to call.

The flop was QJ5 rainbow and he checked to me. I down bet 5500 into over 15k and he stuffed it on me. This sent me into the tank for a good three minutes. Obviously, I don’t love this spot, even with top top. On the other hand, I’m blocking queens and aces and I have ~20% equity if he has KK. I’m fucked if he has JJ, but I also think he can have some KQ, QT, KT, and maybe some spazzy Qx or Jx hands. I probably can’t have AA or KK here, so AQ is one of the best hands I would even think about folding here and that means I probably have to call with it.

I call. He tables KT, the turn bricks, but the river is an ace and I was busted.

Also, saw this guy in the Rio hallway yesterday and I have to wonder if I even have the right to be The Dark Knight when this guy is playing poker in this outfit:

That’s a level of commitment I will never reach.

Now I’m at the Bellagio playing some $40/$80 Limit Hold’em.

Spotted FanBoy doing work in the $80/$160 game:

Maybe I’ll post some hands here. Maybe I won’t.

Either way, I will post my end result after my session.

Result: +$3157

h1

WSOP 2019: Update

June 18, 2019

I always start off thinking this, but this is really going to be an abbreviated post. I feel like I should probably post a little update since I haven’t made a new post since June 9th.

Here’s what has happened since then.

On June 10th, I played Day 2 of the $1500 WSOP 8-Game Mix and busted out before the money bubble burst. I had another tough table draw and I never had more chips than I started the day with and felt like I was constantly put in brutal spots.

Here are a couple:

I was the bring in for Razz with a 9 up and Jameson Painter opened utg with an 8 up. Obviously, there were four other low cards out, but they all folded and I defended with A2-9. On 4th street Jameson caught a King and I caught a Jack. I bet and he called. On 5th street, He caught an ace and I paired my 2, but my board was still leading so I bet out and I was immediately punished with a raise. This is just a mistake on my part. Let’s say I didn’t pair the 2 and I had something like A3-9J2 and Jameson has a hand like 34-8KA, he’s still a 60% favorite even when the 2 helps me, so his raise here makes a lot of sense and my bet actually sucks… and it really sucks since the 2 actually hurt my hand. Clearly, my best play is just to check-fold here even though my board is “leading.”

Another hand that helped cripple me was in Stud Hi. The least established player at the table limped in with the ace of spades up, I completed with JJ-8 and Jameson Painter called with a 9 up. On 4th street, we all seemingly bricked, so I bet again and they both called. 5th street felt similarly bricky, so I bet again, Jameson called, and the ace up check-raised. By now, his board looked like xx-As5c2c. I was perplexed, but I also hadn’t improved. However, both Jameson and I had a three on our boards, so a straight didn’t seem likely. My board hadn’t improved at all, so this is probably just a fold here, but I convinced myself to take another card off and Jameson called as well. I bricked again and the As5c2c caught the 4s and I folded when he bet again and so did Jameson.

Neither of those hands are too catastrophic, but I should have saved at least two big bets between the two of them.

I ended up taking the rest of the day off on the 10th as I was tired and annoyed.

On the 11th, I played 10 hours of $20/$40 Mix and got off to another absolutely brutal start, almost immediately gifting them two racks and playing catch up the entire session, but I managed to settle for a modest -$345, which is ironic because…

…that’s exactly how much I won the next day in 5.5 hours of $40/$80 LHE at Bellagio.

On the 13th, the last full day in Vegas of my first trip this summer, I started by busting the $400 NL tournament at Aria in a timely fashion, laughed off thoughts of a re-entry, took a nap and watched the Raptors win the NBA title, then headed to Bellagio for a late night $40/$80 LHE session. I played from 9:30 PM to 5:30 AM and booked a rather sick +$5515 winner – my second biggest win in a cash game session (in terms of actual money won) ever and a total trip saver!

Sexy:

So overall my first trip looked like this:

+$4955 in 30 hours of cash games
One mincash in five tournaments for -$3410

Makes you wonder about priorities. Yes, tournaments can lead to life-changing scores, but cash games are how I make my living. I feel like I should make them more of a focus during WSOP time and I’ve adjusted the back half of my schedule a bit to give myself more time for cash game. Basically, I’ve just eliminated all the smaller NLHE tournaments from my schedule. I like them as a warmup for the Main Event, but I had four on my schedule and I’ll probably wind up just playing one of them now.

I’ve played one session since I’ve been back in Washington, but it was only 4.5 hours of $8/$16 for -$292 while my dogs were at the groomers. I may play another session tomorrow and maaaaaaaaaaybe PLO at Palace on Wednesday night and I land back in Vegas Thursday after midnight and my next event is the $1500 No Limit Hold’em Monster Stack at 10 AM on Friday.

Other WSOP Notes: Through 36 completed events, Washington state hasn’t shown up very much.

Rep Porter took 5th in the $1500 Stud Hi for almost $20k and his good friend Rick Fuller took 10th in the $1500 Omaha 8 or Better for $12.3k.

FanBoy got a mincash in the $1k Double Stack.

Sandman has been our MVP so far, following up his 5th place finish in the $2500 Mixed Triple Draw with a 5th place finish in the $1500 2-7 Triple Draw for a $26.8k score despite showing up over an hour late on Day 3 while sitting 6th in chips of 17 left.

Also, Noah Bronstein just busted 15th in the $1k Double Stack for $29.6k. He also took 13th in the 8-Game Mix for $7.5k and has six cashes total now.

h1

WSOP 2019: $1500 8-Game Sweat Post

June 9, 2019

Quick update:

Friday I had to switch from the Rio to some condos across the street and I really wanted to go grocery shopping to stock up and put a stop to spending $60/day on food.

I happened to wake up at 6am though, so I put in a 7+ hour session in the 20/40 Mix game before checking out at 2 PM. I got off to a rough start, bottoming out at -$1300, before rebounding for a -$560 finish in my first cash game session of the summer.

My buddy didn’t get in til after 7pm and we weren’t done with groceries until like 10pm, so my thoughts of putting in another cash session were extinguished due to a 11 AM start on Saturday.

Yesterday, I played the $400 8-Game Championship at the Orleans and finished 21st or 22nd for $860 – which is somehow my biggest cash of the entire year, online included. Jeebus. The 8-Game at Orleans was one of the two cashes I had all last summer, so a nice little 8-Game repeat heading into the 8-Game tournament that really matters.

Cards will be in the air at 3 PM. I’ll post stack updates here on breaks but no hand histories (probably). I’m 0-2 in this one lifetime and on an 0-10 stretch in WSOP events. Let’s break the snide and build a stack today!

First Break: 13,750

10k starting stacks with 60 minute levels. Got off to a fast start at an easy table until it started filling up with accomplished mixed games players.

I won a crazy limit Hold’em pot. I’ll let my tablemate Sean Snyder tell it (note: I’m under the gun):

😂😂

I show that tweet to Joker and he says:

I got moved of that table shortly after and I know no one at my new table. I think I recognize one of them but I’m not sure.

Next update in two hours!

Second Break: 16,500

That’s all. See you in two hours!

Third Break: 18,800

I went ice cold for about 90 minutes and then I got scooped in a brutal Stud 8 hand where I had three aces on 5th street and I fell below 10k for the first time after that hand.

But then I played a 3-bet 3-way 2-7 Triple Draw hand and made #1 after one draw and ended up busting someone and went on a little rush after that to get back near my peak stack size.

I have a pretty brutal table. Everyone is playing well and the guy I busted was replaced by end boss Benny Glaser.

Four more levels to a bag!

Fourth Break: 26,500

Benny Glaser busted in an hour, which was nice, but he was replaced by another world beater in Naoya Kihara. Things have been going pretty well so far, even with a somewhat unfavorable table draw.

Two more hours!

Day 1: 17,000

Ugh. I was peaking around 32k after level 9 and then my table broke and I got moved where I proceeded to get wrecked.

Restart tomorrow at 2 PM.

Day 2 Restart

Cards in the air at 2 PM. I have Matt Glantz on my right with heaps. I’ve seen the names Ian O’Hare and Jameson Painter but I’m not familiar with them.

225 left, 92 cash and average stack is 27k or so. Time to spin it up!

BUSTED

Brutal spot after brutal spot. Lots of fun.

$1100 Mega Satty to the $10k HORSE next @ 8 PM.

h1

WSOP 2019: $1500 H.O.R.S.E. Sweat Thread

June 5, 2019

First off, some shoutouts to some locals that have had success so far:

-Bulletproof cashed the Employee Event for a little profit.

-Sandman final tabled the $2500 Triple Draw tournament for the second year in a row, this time finish in 5th (3rd last year) for just over $30k. What a boss.

-Joker finished 120th out of 6100+ runners in the WSOP $600 No Limit Deep Stack for ~$2600 and JJ Neville from Kitsap finished 84th in the same event for ~$3500.

-Billy Dubz’ significant other participated in a 3-way chop for $14k each in the $300ish Omaha 8 or Better tournament at the Orleans.

And I’m looking to do damage today! Amazingly, I have a Palace regular (no nickname) at my starting table. Unreal. Joker and Ducky are playing this event also, but probably late regging.

10k starting stacks. Hour long levels.

H.O.R.S.E.

Let’s go.

Stack updates on breaks here.

Note: I’ll update my chip count occasionally via the MyStack app, so my stack s will automatically show up in the PokerNews coverage. But don’t get excited if you see my name near the top. All that means is I’m updating my stack myself and no one else!

Just know this: trending above 10k = good and trending below 10k = bad.

Break #1: 9550

Nothing notable to report. My table is full with no one I recognize outside of the local player, so no world beaters are going to be starting there. That’s nice.

I won a decent-sized Razz hand and lost a decent-sized Stud Hi hand.

Best hand so far, it folds to small blind, he raises and I 3-bet AJhh and double barrel on KT8cc4 before he donks on the queen of club river. For some reason, I’m not convinced he has a flush here and I will fold to a 3-bet so I end up raising my straight and he just calls and my hand is good.

Just lost five blinds with AQ right before the break and that’s about it so far.

Just sat back down and my fellow Palace player has been moved off my table. Good luck to him.

Break #2: 2100

I’m on fumes. The first 20 minutes or so of this tournament were fun but nothing good has happened since then. I’ve lost every significant pot I’ve played with some particularly gross runouts in Omaha and Razz.

I’m coming back to 8.5 bigs so I’m in bad shape here.

Joker is sitting on 14k.

Break #3:

Wait. There’s no break yet. I’m out. Got up to 3000 and busted in Stud with KT-TAJx-x. I got all in on 4th street vs split jacks that never improved. Pretty frustrating day and start to my summer.

Joker just reached dinner break with 23k. Ducky still doesn’t have a seat. Dude is going to sit down with 25 bigs. What a baller. I’ll update this post with their stacks throughout the rest of the night.

Not sure if I’m going to play cash tonight. I have an 11 AM start at Aria for their $470 O.E. tournament tomorrow, so I’m not gonna travel or play super late. I would like to play the 20/40 Mix here at the Rio but they have one game with 18 on the wait list right now? Same with 20/40 o8. Not sure what’s going on there and currently I don’t feel much like investigating. There’s a basketball game on T.V. right now so I think I’m gonna watch that for a bit.

9:21 PM:

Joker 35k

Ducky 30k

Sandman 40k

End of Day 1:

Joker 25.5k

Ducky 23.1k