Posts Tagged ‘no limit hold em’

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The Poker Gods Give Me A Break

June 23, 2018

But first…

Wednesday was the $1500 Limit Hold’em event at the WSOP and while it’s not my favorite tournament – I play LHE all year long and really enjoy the mix game events here – it is definitely my best game. I don’t know how cool it is to call yourself an expert at something but it’s definitely the variant I’m closest to having that status.

So needless to say, it’s one of the absolute must plays on my schedule and probably the event I have a best chance at a bracelet in because I also have extensive short-handed experience.

Well, I woke up on Wednesday feeling like absolute shit, feeling like I hadn’t slept at all the night before and showing obvious signs of an upcoming cold.

I decided not to play the event.

Things were going bad enough without me compounding matters by playing a $1500 event when I was under the weather, so I did something very painful to my soul and made the decision to skip it.

I ended up sleeping until about 3 PM and my wife and friends were giving me updates that were all less than starting stacks… I could still sit down with more than they had! I started to get the itch… and I was feeling better, wasn’t I?

Still, it didn’t seem like my best idea so I started reaching out to people and telling them the circumstances and asking if they wanted to gamble on 10% of my action.

I also contacted my normal backers and told them the situation and said I’d understand if they wanted to sit this one out or reduce their normal piece. They said they wanted it all.

Okay then. Game on.

By the time everyone got back to me, I had sold 60% of myself in my best game at no markup, but it seemed fair considering I was going to sit down with 15 big bets. An example of how short that is, it would be like sitting at $4/$8 with $120 and hoping you don’t go broke. Except in this $4/$8 game the blinds are going up every hour!

Plenty of people will sit in a $4/$8 game with $100 but anyone that has any understanding of variance knows that is utterly ridiculous. I never sit down in a limit structure with less than 37.5 big bets.

So yeah, my back was kind of against the wall. I was certainly more likely to bust early than actually run a stack up so I was okay only having 40% of myself.

It started off pretty miserably. First hand I played I opened KQ and got four way action.

Flop was very good: Q43 with two hearts. I bet, the first cold caller called, and Robert Campbell – a well-known and successful player – raised on the button. The blind folded and it was back on me. In a cash game, this is a snap 3-bet, but in a tournament where your chips are so much more important I think calling has merit. If we were heads up, that’s probably what I’d do, but with the player in between I think I have to try and raise him out. He folds to my raise but Robert 4-bets it. Gulp. I call.

Turn is the 6 of hearts. I do not have a heart in my hand and, not that it matters much now, the queen on the flop is a heart. On the flop it seems like his most likely holdings are flush draws, sets, and AQ. It would be pretty unlikely for him to overplay a worse queen like this, unless it was a combo draw and we know that’s not possible.

It seems pretty optimistic to come up with hands we are still beating so I check-fold.

If the turn bricked, I would have check-called this hand down, but when the flush gets there we are only beating bizarre overplays from someone I think is likely solid.

I ended up getting all the way down to 1825 which was like six big blinds.

I opened the QJhh and the big blind defended. I had 25 left behind when he check-raised me on the turn and bet river on Q74dd9d4 but the river counterfeit his 9s and 7s and I doubled up.

A bit later, I opened the KQ and the same player defended his big blind.

Flop was KJ9 and he check-raised me.

I’m content to call down here but when I made trip kings on the turn I felt like my hand was too good not to raise against a big blind defending range. So I popped it and he 3-bet me. Godammit. That is not good. I called.

He bet the river dark. Unfortunately for him it was a 9, double pairing the board. I raised my full house, once again leaving myself with 25 behind and he ended up folding JJ face up. Yikes.

Yeah. That dude hates me.

My biggest hand on Day 1, Robert Campbell opens in early position, I 3-bet QQ, and Humberto “the shark is hungry” Brenes 4-bets, and Campbell is all in.

The flop is dry and favorable and I check-call Humberto.

The turn gives me top set and I get a check-raise in.

The river is a blank, I bet and Humberto calls for less with TT. Robert turns over Q9 and I bust both of them.

A little bit of an oversight on my part there. I think check-calling down with QQ is fine in a tournament against a tight player’s 4-betting range, but if I knew how short Humberto was I would have tried to get the chips in as soon as possible. Think about the disaster this hand is if he checks back the turn.

I ended up bagging 26.5k and sat slightly above average heading into Day 2.

I had QQ eight times and made a set on four of them. Sounds amazing, but I lost with one of those sets and won with a c-bet on two of them. My only good pot with all those Queens was the double KO.

I had AA and KK zero times. 88-JJ once.

Variance is weird.

But I sure did have that one dude’s number. I rivered him in another big pot with A8ss on Q86sKs8 and he said something about how pure I’m running as I’m sitting there 0 for 7 in WSOP events.

Day 2 started off great. I was peaking at around 35k after 3-betting 99, checking back the king high flop in a 3-way pot and then binking my set against Sean Berrios’ top pair and getting extra double bets.

He would get his revenge soon enough.

Sean opens from middle position and I 3-bet the KQ of clubs on the button.

We went heads up to the KTT one club flop and he check-raised me. I don’t see much merit in raising here so I plan to call down unimproved and that’s what I do when the board runs out KTT67.

I’m pretty happy to hear him say, “Oh, I was trying to steal it,” but I’m not happy when he rolls over the 98 of clubs for a rivered straight.

Actually I’m shocked. Stunned. In disbelief.

Crushed.

Welcome to my 2018 World Series of Poker.

Nope, I’m not gonna chip up to 50k and cruise to my first cash of the series, picking off this torchy bluff line.

I’m going to lose this crucial pot and then never win another hand.

It’s not just that he chose this hand to bluff with. Whatever. Maybe he thinks I’ll fold AQ? 88? Who knows. But why does it have to get there?

Just look at this shit!! Just look at it.

5%! FIVE FUCKING PERCENT.

My series was already going so miserably and it looked like I finally might break through and this hand totally Shang Tsung’d me. And I knew it.

I fucking knew it.

It’s not like my game fell off a cliff or anything but I just knew I was done and I wasn’t wrong.

I opened 77, got 3-bet, peeled the JT6ss flop with 7s in my hand, and folded when the third player donked the 9s turn, even though I had a straight flush draw. Both players ended up having KQ and one of them had a big spade, exactly why I decided to fold even though I sort of improved.

Then I defend 88 and check-called Q76T board before folding on the J river when it seemed like I’m losing to way too much of his range.

Finally I busted when I opened four bigs with Q8 suited and failed to improve against 44.

I busted about 50 spots off the money, bringing my WSOP score to 0-8. Solid.

A few blog regulars did cash the event though: Snowflake (81st), Rocksteady (69th), and Sandman (21st).

I was still sick, so I jetted as soon as I busted and spent most of the day in bed, hoping a day of rest would have me feeling better.

It didn’t. It’s Friday night as I’m writing this and I seem to be getting worse rather than better.

But that didn’t stop me from heading to the Bellagio to see if I could turn my summer around with some cash game action.

I was mostly planning to play $20/40 LHE, but the list was absurdly long and there was a $30/$60 7 Card Stud game going and I had never played in a live Stud game before and I was feeling pretty excited about it. I checked the lineup out and they didn’t look like wizards so after booking a small win in $20/$40 Limit O8, I took my seat.

And I smashed their faces in. I absolutely crushed the game, putting a much needed large dent in my losses for the trip by booking a +$3480 in a little less than four hours of play.

Okay, I ran pretty pure. I made straights and flushes when I needed to. I made two pair when I fell behind. Almost all my big starting hands held up. I got good action both times I started rolled up. I also caught perfect a few times when I was missing key outs.

But I also played really well. I picked off bluffs and seemed to always have a really good sense of where I was at in hands despite having very little Stud Hi experience.

It was a pretty amazing session and it looked like this when I was done:

The game started fizzling out and I played as short as 3-handed for quite some time but after realizing we weren’t going to pick up players, I decided to cash out – not jump in another game – and book a much needed feel good win and take my sick ass home (after an impromptu 90 minute massage) and rest up for the $470 Triple Stud tourney at Aria tomorrow morning at 11 AM.

I will publish this before I head out tomorrow and post live tourney updates here.

Stay tuned!

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Golden Nugget $250 8-Game Mix Tournament – A Tournament I Can WIN (LIVE BLOG)

June 15, 2018

How do I know this? Because I’ve won it before:

That’s me… in happier times… shipping my third huge score in less than three weeks in Vegas in 2016.

Here I am winning the Rio Daily Deep Stack for $36k a few weeks before that:

And here I am at a WSOP final table a week before that:

And here’s one of my dogs with a cone head:

Someone said my blog has been depressing lately and I can’t disagree. But sometimes depressing is the reality. Poker is a game with lots of variance and sometimes things go really good – like that stretch above that I’m trying to remind myself of – and sometimes they go really bad – like the career worst slide I’ve been on so far this trip.

The thing about playing bigger buy in tournaments is that when you get cold the losses add up really quick. It’s the reason I don’t mind selling action when I play bigger series. I’ve certainly been on worse tournament streaks, but never in this short amount of time for buy in sizes this big. It makes it seem so much worse than it really is but that’s why good bankroll management is absolutely key in maintaining longevity in this game.

Anyways, it’s kind of sad when you’re playing tournaments you can win outright and still not be even for the trip, but shipping this one would go a long ways towards turning things around.

I’ll be posting stack updates and some hands as the day progresses. Tormund is joining me today for this event.

Cards were in the air at 11 AM and it looks like we will be arriving about ten minutes late.

Let’s get one.

11:29 PM: You know you’re running bad when you lose one pot and your first instinct is to check and see if they allow re-entry.

(unlimited re-entry for eight levels)

11:37 PM: Bravo to Golden Nugget for putting limit Omaha 8 immediately after PLO. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ‘πŸ»

First hand of O8, the small blind calls my open raise with K875 and scoops me.

Poker is alive and well, folks.

12:00 PM: 2-7 Triple Draw, it folds to me in the small blind and I decide to just call with three deuces in my hand and two big cards. My opponent raises and I call, planning to snow at some point depending on how things play out since I’ve seen 75% of the best card. I draw four which gets laughs and he draws one.

I improve to 432xx and check-call a bet. I draw two and he stands pat.

I check dark, he bets, and I look down at 75432, also known as the mortal nuts.

Yikes. He’s not going to be pleased with this one. I raise and he ends up staying pat and calling me down.

Then I start with 843xx on the button, raise one limper, the small blind calls two bets cold and the big blind also defends.

The small blind draws four! Gotta love it. Totally similar spot as the last hand, buddy. The limper draws one, so even when I improve to a one card draw, I go ahead and check it back with four active players in the pot.

I make a perfect 8 after the second draw and I think that’s good enough to raise even when the big blind leads and the limper calls. They both call my raise and I’m happy to see the big blind draw one and the limper stand pat. It would be super weird for him to play his hand this way and have me beat.

I bet after the last draw when they both check and only the limper calls and my hand is good.

More great game sequencing: they follow up no limit hold’em with limit hold’em.

12:15 PM: And… all three stud variants are back-to-back-to-back also. Everything perfectly set up to maximize game change mistakes from everyone.

12:35 PM: Complete in Razz with AJ-5 trying to steal and get called by an ace.

On 4th I catch a queen but he catches a king so now I actually have the best hand (although it’s insanely rough). I bet and he calls. No surprise there.

I catch a wheel card on 5th and he catches an 8. I bet and he tank-calls. Sigh. Just fold, dude.

On 6th I catch another wheel card and he catches a nine. I bet and he tanks… and calls! Wtf.

I bet dark on 7th and he calls. Oh oh. I flip over my last card and it’s a 3, my missing wheel card, giving me the nuts.

12:44 PM: Fanboy said the structure in this is garbage. Maybe he’s right. I just rivered kings and queens in Stud high against someone that obviously had jacks and tens. Unfortunately he filled up on 7th and I had to pay off three big bets.

It seems like I’ve been running pretty good but I actually have slightly less than starting stack after that big stud pot. Wtf.

12:50 PM: Stud 8, I complete with an ace up. I get called by a queen up and a king up.

On 4th I catch an offsuit 8, the queen catches a baby, and the king catches a ten. I bet and they both fold.

What?

1:10 PM: PLO, I make it 750 at 150/300 with A875 double suited and the big blind defends.

I bet 1200 on the AJ8 board when I flop two pair with the nut flush draw. He calls.

The turn is a ten and I’m planning to check this card back, but he bets 4000. It’s hefty, but I have a lot of outs so I call.

River… 8! We fill up and I should always be good here based on the action. He checks and I decide to size smallish at 5k to make sure I get called. It’s a small bet relative to the pot size but it’s huge in the grand scheme of things. 5k is more than eight big bets in the limit games! Huge.

Don’t get greedy, get smart.

27.4k on first break.

1:34 PM: Horrible round of limit O8.

22.5k

1:54 PM: Start with two card draw to a wheel in deuce in a 3-bet pot and get run down by a three card draw when I get raised after the second draw and don’t improve.

18.1k

2:06 PM: No limit hold’em, someone opens to 1100 at 250/500 and 75 antes. I make a standard defend with Q5 suited.

Flop is T75 and he bets 1600 when I check. My hand is too good to fold here but I also think it’s too weak to check-call. He whiffs this flop a lot and I don’t expect him to get stubborn or try to float me, so I think I have a lot of fold equity here. I make it 4500 and he folds.

2:13 PM: Limit hold’em, my under the gun raise with AK gets called by the big blind and I check back after getting called twice on T65QQ and lose to… J6 off.

I mean you just have to defend with that hand. Especially when someone is trying to steal from under the gun.

Caught nothing but bricks after opening three hands in Razz.

16.6k

Totally allergic to momentum this month. It would be cool to be able to say I’m peaking 3+ hours into a tournament.

2:27 PM: Sheesh. Stud High, I complete with K6-A and the bring in defends.

On 4th, I catch a jack that’s suited with my ace and king and he catches an offsuit king. He calls again.

He’s all in on 5th for 525 and has somehow made it to this point with 25-3K4 and I have the best hand with ace high.

We both brick 6th but he catches a 6 on 7th to double.

Geez. Losing in Stud high to a Stud 8 hand is pretty cool. Especially when he catches a total brick on 4th.

12.2k

We are on Stud 8 now and PLO is next and there’s a pretty decent chance I’ll get it in there.

3:11 PM: 12.6k on second break. Registration is closed.

3:24 PM: And crippled. Open button in deuce with four to a wheel and the big blind defends, draws two and immediately makes an 8 perfect and I whiff.

3k, which is less than three big blinds.

I just ordered food and there’s a pretty good chance I’ll be out before I get it.

3:33 PM: Open with 3322T under the gun in deuce thinking there’s a decent chance it gets through. Instead I get raised and I’m all in drawing three against a one card draw.

I improve to 532 but catch two bricks on the second draw and he stands pat.

I draw two more and roll my 532. He turns over a T7. I turn over my first card and it’s an 8. Super live. I sweat my last card and immediately see a border – it’s paint. GG.

Tormund is still in with a below average stack. Not sure what I’m going to do with the rest of the day.

4:51 PM: Tormund is busto.

I am going to spend this Friday night in Vegas watching the Mariners and washing my clothes. πŸ‘πŸ»

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It’s Been A Long Time

June 14, 2018

I shouldn’t have left you…

…without a sick blog to sweat to…

Opener coming soon.

Currently playing $20/$40 Stud 8 and Omaha 8 mix cash game at the Rio with Jesus and he was badgering me about not blogging anything lately, so here I am.

I mean… it’s been pretty brutal. I haven’t had anything but pain to write about so far.

So when I last left you I was busting out of the WSOP $1500 8-Game Mix in sad fashion. I ended up playing $20/$40 o8 at the Rio that night because Tormund was making yet another deep run in the Daily Deep Stack.

He took third. For nearly $13k. So that’s four entires into the Daily Deep Stack with fields of 750+ each time and Tormund has finishes of 8th, 17th, and 3rd.

Unreal.

I took that pic of him above with the shiny fedora on and dubbed him a Daily Deep Stack legend on Facebook.

My cash game session was ho-hum. I played 4.25 hours and lost $119.

On the 10th I played the $470 HORSE tournament at Aria and once again never had any momentum in a great structure. I was so short bearing the end of registration that I was playing super loose trying to bust or luckbox my way back into contention.

Alas, I won the pots I got all in on and had over 11k when registration closed, a perfectly awkward stack to continue with.

It didn’t get me far. I busted shortly after registration closed and went to sulk for the rest of the night.

Actually I moved all my stuff from the time share I’d been staying in for two weeks to the Airbnb house we are going to be staying in the rest of the summer.

On the 11th, I had decided to not play the WSOP $1500 Stud 8 tournament but when I arrived at the Rio I decided to man up, sold an extra 30% of my action and took a seat.

After four levels, I had nearly doubled my stack. It was weird having things going well for once, but then my table broke and it was like my doom switch was immediately activated.

I was posting updates on Facebook since I wasn’t blogging and he’s a screenshot of the downfall:

Double my stack at second break and out before the third break. Truly amazing.

Then I sat down in PLO and ran second set into top set 45 minutes into my session and felted $500.

Geez-Us.

Yesterday I ended up late regging the $250 no limit hold’em Low Roller at Planet Hollywood. Totally unplanned.

I lost my first bullet pretty quick but I managed to survive all the way to the money! A cash!

The event was multiple flights and my flight had 253 entrants with 31 cashing and 16 players advancing to day 2.

I had a pretty small stack the whole day and then won a flip with 55 vs AJ and busted the same player when my KK held against his A6. Suddenly I had 30 bigs.

Nothing exciting happened for a while, but I did sneak into the money. I had about 15 bigs when it folded to me on the button and I looked down at an ace and jammed without looking at my second card – a correct play as I should be jamming any ace on the button here – and the small blind called and his 77 held, leaving me with less than two bigs.

I ended up getting them in a few hands later with J8hh and lost to 62o, even though I had twenty outs on the turn.

Good for a $625 cash, but I was in for $500, so…

I played some cash games last night and had a decent session, winning $820. Combined with my tiny cash it was my best day of the trip and I didn’t even make $1000!

7:49 PM: Really stupid Stud 8 hand: I open with AcK-Kc with an ace up behind me. He just calls and so does the bring in.

On 4th street, the ace immediately pairs and I catch the 4 of clubs. I’m quite certain he does not have two pair and it’s probably bad but I continue because I have a three flush and the bring in bricked.

On 5th, I catch a king! Everybody checks to me and I bet. I think they both call.

The both check and call on 6th also.

The aces check in the dark on 7th and the other guy checks also, but I don’t fill up, so I check back myself and show my three kings.

The guy with aces actually bitches about my hand before looking at his last card and slow rolling me with fives full of aces.

Fuck. You. Buddy.

I got moved to the main game and have already whiffed a couple big draws in Stud 8 and find myself ready to leave. This game is trash compared to the one I came from the Golden Nugget’s 8-Game tourney starts at 11 AM.

8:09 PM: So fucking over it.

Start with Ad3d-Qd in Stud 8. King limps with a king dead and I complete. The bring in defends with a 6 up.

I catch an ace but the bring in pairs open sixes. The other player bricks, I bet, the bring in says “so fucking brutal. I put you on two aces in the hole” and then calls. I’m a little concerned.

But on 5th street I make open aces and he catches a five and I am no longer concerned. I bet, he calls.

On 6th, I brick and he pairs his five. Are you fucking kidding me? I’m concerned again. He checks to me and I decide to check back.

On 7th the dealer “accidentally” deals both of our cards face up and we both catch jacks. There’s some commotion but we can still play the hand out and he checks to me and I don’t see how I can check back now, so I bet and he snap calls me with sixes full of fives.

To recap, in less than thirty minutes, my opponent caught extremely good on 4th only for me to catch my miracle card on 5th and I still found a way to lose both pots.

Amazing.

I started off pretty good so I only lost $386 total but I have some pretty serious accumulated tilt going on and an early start tomorrow so I’m fine calling it yet another early night.

It’s no secret that this has been an incredibly disappointing and frustrating trip for me so far and I’m having some difficulty powering through right now.

I have two cashes in thirteen tournament bullets – in the two smallest events I’ve played – and both of them were min-cashes.

It all adds up to a sexy -90% ROI.

Cash games haven’t been spectacular either. I’ve played more hours than I did all last WSOP but it hasn’t amounted to much and I’m yet to really play a full session (my longest is < 6 hours). I’m running at $14.65/hour but I haven’t played much and that’s a paltry win rate for the stakes I’m playing.

Well, that’s my update for the week.

$250 8-Game Mix tourney at Golden Nugget at 11 AM tomorrow after a good night’s rest. I actually won this tournament in 2016 and a repeat would be pretty good timing this year!

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WSOP $1500 8-Game & My First Cash of the Summer!

June 9, 2018

No, not in a WSOP event. After my super disappointing finish in the $1500 HORSE, I just went back to my condo and stayed there the rest of the day taking it easy and relaxing.

I was planning to play cash games all day yesterday but I heard The Orleans had a $150 8-Game tournament in their series and it sounded like the perfect warm-up for my next WSOP event.

The Atom and myself showed up for the start of the tournament and The Joker and Tormund made appearances a few hours later. With 80 players (of 133 entrants) remaining, I was the only one left standing – far away from the money at 18. Nice showing, fellas!

I don’t have much to say about this tournament until the very late stages, specifically with four tables left, roughly six spots off the money.

I had a pretty healthy stack at this point, but even so, chips can disappear quickly, especially if you have big confrontations. We are playing limit hold’em six-handed and I open with 44 under the gun. Honestly, it’s a bit loose. I don’t know that I would consider it standard and I think folding here is pretty defensible, possibly even recommended. For instance, if I was in a loose, six-handed cash game, I would always fold 44 under the gun. But in a tournament, with most of my opponents playing on the tighter side, I think it’s okay. So I open the 44 and the lady on my direct left does a little bit of a stutter step like she is considering raising me but winds up cold-calling instead. We go heads up to the flop.

It is very, very sexy. KJ4. I bet. She raises. Oh sweet baby Jesus, it is my lucky day. No need to get coy here. I can eyeball her stack and see that she will be very close to all in if we play this hand out, so I go ahead and re-raise, knowing she’s going to have to call me down basically all the time if she has a hand. She calls my 3-bet.

The turn is a 6. I bet and she calls.

The river is a ten. I bet and she says “I’m all in.” I thought she had less than my bet, so I just snap-roll my hand without saying anything. And she snap-rolls her hand.

She has AQ for a rivered straight.

How? We put in three bets each on the flop! How does she have a straight? What in the world? I mean, I sort of get it. It’s a reasonable hand to bluff with on the flop. I might fold smaller pairs and some other hands, plus she usually has decent equity when called. Maybe she takes a free card when I just flat. But when I raise flop and bet turn it is just max pain for me on the river. There are 5.5 small bets after the preflop betting, so after the flop action there are 11.5 small bets. On the turn, she is getting 6.75 to 1 to call with what looks like four outs. My hand looks a lot like AK, KJ, and sets – and my combos of KQ are reduced by her holding, plus I might not play that hand so fast in such a critical spot. Seems like a pretty standard fold on the turn for her.

But she didn’t fold and instead I’m losing this insanely important monster pot nearing the bubble to a rivered gutshot.

Then the dealer counts out her last bet and realizes it is a few thousand more for me to call. He looks at me, expectantly and I’m like “what?” He says it’s “xxx more,” and I say, “Okay, I never said ‘call.'”

Is this my classiest moment at the poker tables? No. No it is not. I’m not proud of it. But I have to say I was pretty devastated at the moment and having already lost a huge pot in horrible fashion, I wasn’t eager to put chips in the pot I never committed to.

A floor gets called over (the actual TD is on break) and the situation is explained and I am still refusing to pay the last partial bet and some dick at the table pipes in saying I should get a penalty for exposing my hand out of turn and the floor actually listens to him and issues me a one round penalty.

I was so thrown by this decision that I was rendered speechless and didn’t even bother fighting it because I was so mad I wasn’t sure what I would say in the moment. It didn’t even occur to me until later that my opponent also exposed her hand with action still pending. There is no logical way to give me that penalty without also giving her one.

Well, I had about 11k in chips and the big blind was 4k and I had to sit out a full orbit. When I was able to play again, my 11k had turned into less than 4k, which was less than one big blind.

Somehow I managed to spin that up and eventually had as many as 160k in chips.

I played a stud hand extremely poorly and a razz hand quite questionably and those two hands essentially cost me a very deep run.

Instead I busted in 11th for $380. Crumbs. But it is my first cash of the summer.

My friends and I went to The Saw Escape Room last night and it was a blast, but a little overpriced since I requested a private tour. We sucked though, getting through less than half of the rooms in time, although two rooms were basically buzzer beaters we were on the wrong side of. Lots of fun though! Check it out if you are in Vegas and a fan of the films.

Joker and I are about to head to the Rio to play the $1500 8-Game and I feel really good about it. It’s nice to iron the kinks out in a $150 event so I don’t make the same mistakes when the stakes are 10 times bigger.

Leggo.

3:05 PM: Walking towards registration on our way in, I spot Rep Porter a few strides ahead of us and ask if we can borrow his diamond card real quick (to skip the line). He actually stopped and started looking for it! What a guy. I told him I was kidding though.

A little bit of a late start here. Only three players at my table at the moment and one of them is Miami John Cernuto. I’ve actually played with him a decent amount. He’s not really someone I expect to put me in many tough spots.

We are 4-handed now and this tournament plays 6-handed. I’ve scooped a couple smallish o8 pots already.

3:34 PM: New player at my table: Sandeep Vasudevan. I recognized that name from the HORSE tournament and, sure enough, he went deep in that, finishing 6th for a career high score of $33k.

He also has two WSOP Circuit rings, including one last month in pot limit Omaha (the other was a no limit hold’em ring in 2013). So he’s fresh off two of the biggest scores of his life and I imagine his confidence is riding high.

3:48 PM: Scott Blumstein, the latest Main Event champ is seated directly behind me.

3:59 PM: Dang. Guy was getting a back/shoulder massage with his ass crack totally exposed and the masseuse with a direct view the whole time. I wanted to snap a pic but I couldn’t do it discreetly.

4:14 PM: Just got absolutely abused in no limit hold’em. I started with over 8k and I now have a touch over 4k. I think I opened four pots and for 3-bet every single time. I flopped two pair with KJ suited when my opponent flopped the nut flush. He slow played it and check-called flop and turn so I was able to check back on river.

I also defended my blind once and I started to think: I’ve folded some hands and I can think of five I played. We did the math: we played nine hands of no limit hold’em – you’re supposed to play six. Pretty cool, especially since it was such a profitable variant for me.

First hand of Stud high I start with a four flush and brick it. I did pick some chips back up with AA-K and rolled up jacks, but I didn’t get past 5th street either time.

I have a sad 4225.

4:52 PM: Sigh. PLO. Sandeep bluffs off his whole stack the hand previous, so he’s pretty short to start this next one. He opens to 200 at 50/75 blinds. I make it 675 with AKKJ one nut suit and he calls.

Flop 642. I bet pot (1425) and he’s all in for 1625 total. He rolls QQ75.

Board runs out 642A3 and he wins.

Down to 2550. Pretty stoked.

5:08 PM: 2850 on first break.

5:31 PM: Joker had 1000 in chips on break and we set the over/under on number of us surviving to the next break at 0.5.

We both liked the under side.

A few hands of 2-7 left and I will definitely be looking to get all in and double up in no limit hold’em.

5:50 PM: Joker has tripled up. I played zero hands of NL. I am down to 1550.

6:11 PM:

6:16 PM: Busted.

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WSOP $565 No Limit Hold’em COLOSSUS & Kate Hoang Heads Up For A Bracelet

June 4, 2018

So after busting the Aria O8 event on Saturday, I went to the Rio to quasi-sweat Kate Hoang’s deep run in the $1500 WSOP Omaha 8 tournament and play some $20/$40 O8 cash myself.

My O8 game was actually very good but there was no love for me and I ended up finishing -$643 over about four hours and multiple extensive breaks away from the table watching Kate’s final table.

I ended up cashing out around 2 AM and the WSOP staff called it a night around the same time and added a fourth day to Kate’s event and she was due back at 2 PM Sunday with four players, left sitting second in chips.

I am very much rooting for Kate – and anyone from the Pacific Northwest really – so Tormund and I got to the Rio a little after 2 PM hoping to see her close out a win before our HORSE tournament started at Venetian at 4 PM. There was early good news as we passed one of the remaining players at the entrance indicating that they were now down to three players.

The short stack was pesky and hung around for a while, but they eventually eliminated him and Kate was heads up for a bracelet for the second time in three years. In fact, she took an insanely brutal beat against Josh Arieh at the $10k PLO8 final table last year that cost her a huge chip lead and eventually the tournament. So three straight years with a final table and at least two second place finishes locked up. Needless to say, Kate is on everyone’s radar now.

Tormund and I hung around to watch this heads up battle until about 4:15 and it looked like Kate might close it out before we left, but the other guy fought back and eventually took a commanding lead. The players went on break and that was our cue to try to go make our own money and root her on from afar.

They ended up battling heads up for nearly four hours, constantly changing chip leads and forcing the staff to add at least three levels of play that previously did not exist. Alas, Kate ended up finishing in second place for a hefty cash of $148,150. Amazing.

And yet I really feel her pain. Kate has been nothing but humble when I’ve heard people talk about her success but I know she had to really, really, REALLY want that bracelet. Hell, I would.

Still, it was another amazing performance from one of our area’s top players and I’m personally quite confident that Kate has bracelets in her future.

In other local player news, The Sandman is making waves in the $2500 Mixed Triple Draw Lowball tournament. He bagged a top two stack after Day 1 and was still alive with 12 players left after Day 2. I slept in super late today and wanted to catch up on some things otherwise I would have shown up to the Rio early today to sweat his sick run. I’ve been keeping an eye on it via PokerNews and he currently sits 7th in chips with ten players left and a guaranteed payout of nearly $12k.

Yesterday I played the $600 HORSE tourney at Venetian and while I did manage to accumulate some chips for the first time this trip, it was another incredibly disappointing finish. I made it to dinner break with about 30k, which was well above average, but came back from break and immediately lost three pots in a row and was back to nearly starting stack.

Some brutal run outs in the stud variants crippled me. First I had four to an ace high flush and a gut shot in a three way pot in stud high only to finish with an ace high hand. Then in Stud 8 I was facing an opponent clearly trying to punt by betting an obvious pair of 2s with no low draw and I had four to a low working plus all my cards as likely winners if they pair. I missed my low and made a pair of kings on 7th, but he rivered fours and deuces to scoop me. Why not raise my hand at some point, you say? Because punters don’t fold. This guy was going to 7th street no matter what our boards looked like or what I did.

I was down to 6000 in chips with blinds at 1000-1500 when we arrived at limit hold’em and I had 1500 in the big blind holding AJ. Matt Grapenthien, a notable mixed games player, opened in early position, the button called, and I 3-bet to get my stack in. They both called and I bet my last 1500 in the dark before the dealer brought the flop. It was a pretty favorable AT3 rainbow board and I was quite happy to see Grapes make it 3000 to go. The button tanked for quite some time and called two bets cold. The turn paired the ten and Matt bet again. I don’t love that card because tens are definitely hands Matt would raise on the flop to try to isolate with a player all in, but I still thought I had very good winning chances. The button called again. The river was a 5, Grapes bet, and the button called. Grapes rolled over A6 and I was pretty happy to see that I had tripled up.

And then the button rolled his hand. Why is he rolling his hand? How can he ever have the best hand here? Maybe he has an ace with a slightly better kicker? Surely, he would call the flop much faster if he had AK or AQ. Nope. He doesn’t have either of those hands. He doesn’t have an ace at all actually. Nor does he have trip tens.

He has pocket fives. A rivered full house. A hand that 98% of poker players would snap fold on the flop for two bets cold without giving it a second thought.

This is one of those poker stories that sound almost too unbelievable to be true. I mean I don’t really believe it and it happened to me. I think I actually sat in my seat for a full two minutes after I busted out in disbelief. It was such a sick parlay for it to happen. In a no limit tournament, my four big blinds would never get a fold from 55, but in a limit event, with a third player in the pot, THAT RAISED THE FLOP TO ISOLATE, there is no way I should have ever lost here. I had Grapes drawing dead to a chop on the turn and he gave me another chance at protection by betting his A6 again.

Ugh. I wouldn’t have had a great stack after that, but it would have been a full triple up and would have given me some hope of getting back into the fight. Alas, it was my fourth consecutive bust out in Vegas so far to go along with two small losses in cash games. It has not been a good first week.

I’m about to hop in the shower and head to the Rio to play the 5 PM (and last) flight of the Colossus. The structure in this event is one of the worst at the WSOP and no limit tournaments are not my preference, but I have cashed the Colossus in back-to-back years. Hopefully I can run deep again and maybe make my first Day 2 of the trip? That would be pretty cool.

I will post updates here – and keep an eye on what Sandman has going on – but probably won’t get too in depth with it as I’m playing.

5:10 PM: Great planning on my part. I’m currently four rows deep in line to register the Colossus. The Atom was walking out of registration as I walked up and said it took him a solid 30 minutes to get through.

Sandman update: 5th of 8 left. I’ll see if I can snipe a pic on my way to my seat.

One more interesting piece of info: Phil Ivey played the Colossus yesterday. Let that sink in.

He’s baaaaaaaaack.

5:31 PM: And I’m in. Starting with 5k and blinds at 25/50. I recognize zero players at my table, but superficial judgement is it looks promising.

5:35 PM: Just lost half my stack on the third hand.

Not really. Blinds are 50/100 now.

5:58 PM: Sandman is at the Triple Draw Mix final table, sitting 5th of 6 left, and guaranteed at least $22.3k.

I’m down to 3375 already after whiffing a 3-bet pot with KJdd and giving up with 77 in a raised pot on Q43A.

6:29 PM: I stole the blinds.

And this is officially the coolest thing to happen to me so far this trip:

6:36 PM: Tormund finally making his way through the Colossus registration line.

Stole the blinds again… with KK.

Tormund just walked by my table, looked at my stack, and shook his head.

7:06 PM: I made it to the break. I have 2200 coming back to 100/200/25. That’s 11 bigs. Wonderful.

Sandman down to final five. He looks like the short stack. Scott Seiver and Chris “DeathDonkey” Vitch are still in there. $31.8k guaranteed.

Just watched Sandman double.

8:12 PM: Got a 3-bet jam through with AQ but dwindled back down to 10.5 bigs and got it in at 100/200/50 with AJ vs 55 and 99 and found no help.

Standing in line to re-enter and sit down with 25 bigs.

πŸ‰πŸƒπŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

8:25 PM: First hand at my new table finds five players all in: A5ss vs JJ vs QQ vs AQ vs JJ.

Flop: Q22.

GG, fellas.

8:28 PM: This may have been my worst use of $565 ever. I’m basically sitting down with 12 big blinds: 4850 @ 200/400/50 now.

8:43 PM: Jammed 3600 with 55 right into KK.

GG.

Having a great time so far.

9:11 PM: The Atom and Tormund are still in the Colossus. Just got texts from Tormund saying he busted JC Tran and crippled Ishmael Bojang. He must have a decent stack going and just dispatched his toughest opponents.

11:00 PM: Sandman busts the $2500 Triple Draw Mixed Lowball event in 3rd place for almost $72k. Another sick run from a PNW player. Congrats man!

11:10 PM: Tormund and The Atom are both still in the Colossus. Tormund has 67k and The Atom is sitting on 18k @ 500-1000 blinds. They have three hours of play left tonight and I’m debating whether I want to play cash until Tormund is done or go to sleep at a decent time. I’m tentatively planning to play the Triple Draw Mix tourney at Binions at 11 AM tomorrow.

11:33 PM: Tormund just lost most of his stack so I’m gonna sit down in 20/40 O8 and hope something good happens in the time I’m here.

3:35 AM: I guess I should post a wrap up of sorts. The Atom min-cashed the Colossus and Tormund is actually putting something together and is currently 15 minutes away from bagging.

I’m actually having a good o8 session. I am up well over $1k and leaving soon.

Yet another local is doing big things. I’ve been crossing paths with Adam Coats for years now and he’s no stranger to deep WSOP runs, having finished 131st in the Main Event in 2014 and 8th in the $1500 O8 the same year. Well, Adam is at it again, bagging up the second best stack after Day 2 in the $10k O8. There’s $418k up top in this one and of course I’ll be keeping an eye on that and rooting Adam on.

Tormund just bagged up 116k and is headed to Day 2 of the Colossus and I cashed out a +$1440 winner while I was waiting for him. A nice change of pace for our household.

I will be taking it easy tomorrow, catching a movie with The Atom and playing O8 cash at The Orleans so I’m fresh and rested for the $1500 HORSE on Wednesday.

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Final 2018 WSOP Schedule

May 21, 2018

Here’s a link to my final 2018 World Series of Poker schedule. I’ll be targeting non-NL events all around Vegas. Events highlighted in green are the ones I’m 100% to play unless a deep run in something else prevents me from doing so.

Vegas Tourney Schedule

I am not selling action for anything except possibly the Main Event. I will know in the next week or so if that’s something I’ll need to do or not.

I can’t wait!

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Friday Frenzy: 15/30 LHE & Rattlesnake Trophy Hunting! (LIVE BLOG)

May 11, 2018

Since I last posted on Tuesday, something big happened: I finally won an event in a Global Poker series. If you’ve been following along here, you probably know I’ve had two runner-up finishes in the Rattlesnake Open already and I also took second in an event during January’s Grizzly Games as well. Needless to say, even though the money is nice, finishing in second is super frustrating – especially when things like oversized trophies and Global swag is on the line!

My final opponent in this tournament is super accomplished (based on his Sharkscope stats) on Global, but it didn’t take me long to see that I had a massive advantage over him in heads up play. He was playing very straight forward and letting me get away with murder, like getting folds in spots where it’s blatantly obvious that my range is weak and he seemed to almost never bluff. It’s pretty hard to win heads up if you are relying on having the best hand every pot. With a decent chip lead, I thought I was going to have to get very unlucky to let this one slip away… and then I did. I think I had about a 2 to 1 chiplead when we got all the chips in preflop with my AT vs his A2 and he spiked a deuce that held up and suddenly I had a 2 to 1 disadvantage. My wife was already asleep and my brother-in-law that lives with us was also asleep and I have to admit I was struggling to contain my volume after losing that hand.

Still, I recognized that I was a favorite and I wasn’t too worried about things, but I also knew that another unlucky all in confrontation would result in yet another second place finish. I could really feel the pressure I was putting on myself. I have to admit that shipping one of these events was pretty damn important to me. I ended up regaining the chip lead through pure exploitative poker and eventually got him all in with another dominated ace and managed to hold on this time for the win! Much like when I lost the chip lead, I was struggling to contain my volume and excitement as I was quietly celebrating my win all by myself. I did it. Finally!

My first Global Poker trophy! I’ll post a pic when I get this thing.

Not only did I finally ship a trophy event, but I finally had success in one of their bigger buy ins and the actual win was almost triple my previous high on Global. This also put my online bankroll north of $6k and gets me out of the $3-$3.5k range I seem to get stuck in before falling back down. I didn’t set out to do a bankroll challenge or anything, but it’s worth noting that I have only deposited $300 on Global. I feel totally comfortable putting money on there now, but initially I was pretty skeptical about depositing any serious money online and now I’m hoping I’ll never have to.

This win also boosted me back into the Player of the Series race. After playing only one of the three events on Tuesday, I had dropped all the way down to 41st. Apparently you get 10 points for every tournament that you play, so the 11 events I’ve missed so far was having a dramatic affect on my place in the standings. Prior to Wednesday’s win, the 110 points I would have from playing those 11 tournaments was the difference between 41st place in the PotS race and being in the top 8. Pretty sick. After managing one measly min-cash on the day of the series I’ve been looking forward to the most (Limit Hold’em Day), I now sit in 10th place on the leaderboard. Now missing 11 tournaments is the difference between 10th and… 1st. Assuming I cashed zero times in the 11 additional tournaments (unlikely), I would currently have a 20 point lead over second place. Ugh. Who needs an extra $5000 I guess?

My wife still doesn’t seem to embracing the opportunity here. We are heading to her parents house for Mother’s Day tomorrow and then my parents house for Mother’s Day on Tuesday and then next Saturday we are apparently attending a wedding. As has been noted, missing tournaments has been detrimental and Saturdays and Sundays are especially important as there are six events each day. I basically have the green light to play tomorrow – either by visiting for an hour in between the day and night events or by playing on the iPad while I’m there – but I’m not sure how I’ll manage Tuesday and there’s no way I can play next Saturday unless she shows mercy on my soul and doesn’t make me go to a wedding for two people I don’t even know. I suppose if I fall out of contention by then it won’t matter, but if I’m in the thick of it, those last two days are going to be super critical. I can’t really blame her though, especially since I’m going to be gone for six weeks for the World Series of Poker, but I’m right there! I can ship this thing!

Something else interesting has happened because of my recent win. I’ve been contacted by both a Global Poker representative for inclusion in their upcoming press release and by PokerNews. I’m still waiting for questions from PokerNews, so not exactly sure what that will entail, but seems like I’m going to be getting some publicity in the near future. The PokerNews editor mentioned reading my blog, so hopefully they will include a link in their write up and if I happen to get any new readers please feel free to subscribe and follow along!

I am definitely NOT a fan of multi-tabling on my iPad while playing live poker, but I kind of have to do it. My live play volume has been waaaaay down this month – mostly because I’ve been staying home to play online. Even with the iPad multi-tabling, I’m still only on pace for just over 80 hours of live play for the month of May. That’s roughly half my normal volume. Kind of inexcusable. The $3500 cash was really nice and the chance at a $5k package is appealing, but the kind of money I can make in these online tournaments pales to what I make playing live poker.

So I will be heading to Palace shortly and hoping that the 15/30 game gets off the ground if it hasn’t already (I haven’t checked for a bit). Unfortunately tonight’s Rattlensnake events are all 4-max tournaments, so it is going to be really challenging to play live while playing 4-max on my iPad, but I did manage a 2nd place finish doing exactly that last week.

Expect this blog to be live for a little over an hour or so before I get involved in the tournaments, then I will probably go mostly quiet for a few hours, and then back to regular updates when I’m back to playing live only.

See you in an hour!

4:25 PM: Sitting down in 8/16 and should get an hour worth of updates in before online poker takes over.

I was hoping to play 15/30 all night but the game looks a ways off. There are 8 names on the list but one of them (the Gnat) is MIA and there are multiple potential flakers. Looks like I’ll be playing 8/16 for a while, which is probably for the best considering the distraction level I’m about to experience.

8/16 lineup: The Queen, FBI Guy, Grumpy (yay!) and some other random I’m not overly familiar with.

4:53 PM: Wonderful start. Admittedly playing a little sloppy so far and then I get to add this gem to torment: two limpers, I limp T8ss, someone raises, some blinds call, FBI Guy comes through with the limp-raise and six of us see the flop for three bets. It’s pretty nice! J93 with two spades and one heart. FBI Guy checks and I start the fireworks as the original PFR helps me get it capped with five of us still in. Turn is gin: 7 of hearts! We have the nuts. I go ahead and lead because the PFR screams of draws that check the turn and three players call me. River is a 2 of hearts and now the PFR raises me. Jx of hearts is my primary candidate to be losing to but instead this guy was capping the J9x two spade flop with four opponents holding the KThh. AS YOU SHOULD.

I have spotted them a rack of blue already.

πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»

5:10 PM: The Man is trying to start 15/30 super short-handed and as appealing as it is to play 3-handed with The Gnat, it’s going to be tough enough 3-tabling 4-max while playing in a full live game. That’s a pass from me for now.

5:15 PM: Here’s something that annoys me:

What the hell am I supposed to do with that chicken? Cut it up myself? Eat it like a Neanderthal? Seems like I shouldn’t have to ask the kitchen to cut my chicken in a way that makes sense for a salad.

5:25 PM: Sigh. They are starting 15/30 right as my tournaments are about to start and there are only four players that have bought chips so far. Spectacular.

This should be… interesting.

Finish 8/16 -$191.

5:29 PM: Part-Time, The Gnat and some random are in the game… and now The Man is sitting down to make it 5-handed while he’s working… because beating up on the floor man at 15/30 is what I want to do. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

5:57 PM: The Global tourneys all have two rebuys and one add on. I have been playing splashy in the Low, running my stack all the way down to 270 from 3k starting before building it back up 1800 and getting stacked when my AA ran into the mighty 74 blind defend.

On the bright side, I’m back up to 3k stack.

6:20 PM: On bullet #2 of the $22 Medium. I open 66 and guy with 30 bigs left jams on me. It’s a rebuy so I’m willing to gamble here. I somehow hold against his T2o.

He reloads and then stuffs 100 bigs on the button. I have 77 in the small blind and even though I’m flipping most of the time I can’t resist the gamble. It’s not a flop – I have his Q7 crushed. But he spikes a Queen on the turn and now I have 30 bigs.

A few hands later, he opens on button and I try to induce by making a small raise. He jams, I snap call, and his 44 holds to bust me.

And then they move that player that player the next hand… only to replace him two hands later!

No justice!

6:38 PM: Final bullet of Medium, as my 30 big blind reshove with AQ can’t shake AJdd and he makes a flush to bust me.

6:51 PM: And QQ < KT to bust the Medium. Sometimes you just run awesome.

I have about 30 bigs in the Low and same in the High.

7:03 PM: And out of the Low. 12 big button jam with A2ss loses to 55.

Then I get 16 bigs in pre with JTdd vs TT, flop a jack and lose to the one-outer on the river in the High.

Second bullet there.

And now my live game waits for me to bust two tournaments before going on pause. We are 5-handed… one player is felted… and two others are on break.

😴😴😴

7:08 PM: Weird hand against The Gnat. Some limps in front of me, I raise KJo on the button, and then The Gnat check-raises and caps on J95. He checks to me on a blank turn and I’m wary, so I check back. River is another blank and he checks again so obviously I have to to bet now and he check-calls mewith… AJ!

Unknown opens, I 3-bet 66 on button and he caps out of position. I call down on Q7752 and he shows me 22.

What.

7:35 PM: On break in the High and I added on 3000 chips for $50 to my 7000 stack. Meh. Not great value but whatever.

I just flopped sets in back-to-back huge pots in the live game. I’m crushing it but the game is on fumes.

7:51 PM: The Gnat just went runner-runner flush on me, so he’s obviously singing now.

Gosh dang, he’s so good!

7:57 PM: And I’m out of the High. Solid 0-3 showing tonight. 3-tabling 4-max NL while playing 5-max live poker is haaaard.

I basically never input my own bet. Just bet half pot, pot, or whatever preset sizings there are.

Plus I do cool things like this:

Yes, that’s me timed out and folded with the nuts.

πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»

My wife is here now and we are about to have dinner and then time to focus up on this live game.

8:38 PM: Well I was up $1500 in the 15/30 game but it’s come crumbling down quickly.

First I lost with AK on QTxK9. Then I folded JJ on A77xK. Then I had TT vs QcJc on T98cc and never improved. And just now I bet the K65 flop, Gnat raises all in to $20, big blind calls, and I call because that’s the only thing I can do. The 6 pairs on the turn and the big blind fires the first $60 Overs bet of the evening. I’m perplexed but call. River 9, same action, and he rolls K9.

Solid -$700 swing in one orbit.

10:13 PM: We have gone card dead, folks. I did pick up the QQ once and got out flopped by KT and then I missed the nut flush draw in a 3-bet pot, but those have been my only hands of note. After turning the faucet on for an orbit, my downswing has becomemore of a slow drip.

10:17 PM: And immediately after posting that last update, I 3-bet KK and it goes cap and cold call behind me. Four of us see the T33 two hearts flop and I get it capped with the preflop capper. One player calls two bets but winds up folding so we are in Overs for the turn action. I’m running kind of bad at the moment so leading out for $60 feels almost spewy but I’m only losing to TT and AA, so bombs away! I’m quite relieved to see him just call. The river is the queen of hearts and now we are only beating JJ. So I check and he checks behind with the one hand we still beat.

10:57 PM: The Tick, Gnat, and Flea are all in the building and I left my insect repellent at home.

11:14 PM: Kung Fu Panda in the game! Threatening to buy in for less than $400…

πŸ‘€πŸ‘€

12:22 PM: Kung Fu Panda and Snowflake are sitting next to me totally distracting me. I am crushing though. These guys keep commenting on how I win every pot I play, I always have it, they give me too much action, etc.

One big connection I have KJdd in a 3-bet pot and then get the QT3dd flop with Overs in play. Bink the flush on the turn and get six bigbets from my opponent.

Here’s Kung Fu Panda’s stack:

So you can see why he’s jealous.

1:57 AM: Snowflake is now in the game and he’s possibly wasted and telling everyone he’s going to 3-bet me every hand. I have a feeling my variance is about to get tumultuous.

The Leak is also playing in this game for some reason.

The Gnat felted. The Flea is in.

2:06 PM: This just happened: Snowflake is being so annoying that The Flea just asked for a seat change to move away from him.

The fucking FLEA wants to move because someone is annoying HIM!

3:15 AM: Session is over. Sorry for the lack of content tonight. Snowflake was sitting behind me and Kung Fu Panda and talking to us for hours before he got in the game and writing about hands became very hard to do.

It was a good, smooth session though. Very minor hiccups for the last several hours as I cruised to a +$2209 finish.