Posts Tagged ‘no limit hold em’

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No Limit H.O.R.S.E. at the LAPC – Say What?

February 2, 2019

Honestly, I was skipping this event. I love HORSE. It’s my favorite game. But I don’t love no limit. I prefer limit structures, for all sorts of reasons, but mostly because I’m way better at them. Also, this tournament starts at 4 PM on a Saturday. Considering what I can make in a cash game on a weekend night (more on that later), why would I want to fire in a $350 tournament that starts late and might even last two days?

I wouldn’t. I would not want to do that.

But then I was at The Bike yesterday and someone recognized me from the LAPC and lured me into his conversation and asked me about the NL HORSE. I said something along the lines of “I’ve never played no limit for most of these games” and his friend that he was talking to (that was playing in the huge NL game on Live at The Bike) said, “yeah, that’s a good reason not to play it. I’ll take the under on 5% of the field having played a hand of no limit Razz.”

That basically translates to: don’t be such a pussy.

Okay, fine. I’ll be there.

The more I thought about it, the more excited and intrigued I got. It seemed like people would be flying out of this tournament because they’d be going all in in terrible spots or just because they are totally lost and I thought it would be a good idea to have unlimited rebuys until registration closed. Sure enough, there are unlimited rebuys.

Good. Now if I do something really stupid, I can just buy back in. I’m not going to be looking to punt my stack around and hope to get lucky, but I am willing to fire up to four bullets in this thing if I’m enjoying myself.

I also got to thinking about all the ways the big bet structure could change how the various games are played.

Let’s imagine a Razz hand. Someone opens with a 5 up and you look down at A2-3. For simplicity sake, let’s assume all cards are live. Pretend your opponent has 34-5. How big of a favorite do you think you are?

Here’s the answer:

You have the nut starting hand and you’re basically coin flipping.

Even against a rougher hand you’re not a huge favorite:

I’m not really sure how this should affect my strategy in a big bet structure, but against a large field of inexperienced and unpredictable players, I don’t think pushing small edges is going to be ideal. If someone opens and you 3-bet, they are unlikely to fold and look how big of an impact 4th street has on the equities:

Just like that, you go from a slight favorite to a sizable dog – even when your opponent catches a mediocre card like a 9. Unlike in limit, where you should usually still call here, they can bet enough to make your continuing decisions much tougher.

So the question is… when the stacks are deep, do we want to be bloating the pot on third street?

I don’t know. I think I’m going to be playing cautiously, mostly because I expect my opponents to have no clue what they are doing and that unpredictability is drastically going to increase everyone’s variance.

I feel like Hold’em, Omaha 8, and Stud Hi should come somewhat naturally to me in the big bet structure. Big pairs are going to be boss in Stud Hi.

Stud 8? No clue. I have a hard enough time trying to play that game well with a fixed betting structure. Honestly, my goal in this variant will just be to avoid losing heaps of chips. I’m just going to fold all the hands (not really)(but seriously, maybe).

I’m going to spend the next hour or so continuing to run sims in the various games to get a better grasp on my equities in certain spots.

But first, let me tell you about yesterday.

I checked in to The Bike just after 4 PM and immediately got a seat in a $40/$80 limit Hold’em game. Kiddie gloves are off. With a good amount of equity coming our way from the sell of our previous house, I don’t feel like I’m taking a shot at this level. I can play in it. I mean, shit, I haven’t even really gotten used to the swings at $20/$40 yet, but whatever.

Before I had chips, I was down $250. I played another pot in my first orbit and flopped a pair against an underpair but they turned a set… in a 3-bet kill pot.

Before I posted my first blind I was stuck $850.

Before I posted my second blind I was stuck $1400.

Before I won my first pot, I folded 44 to a raise and then watched the action go off multi-way and get 3-bet only to see this flop roll off:

That’s a pretty sick feeling when you’re stuck a rack and a half already, still looking for Pot A.

I started having flashbacks to my first $40/$80 session ever when I lost almost $2300 in less than two hours and rage quit because my body was literally shaking from tilt.

The good news was… I didn’t feel anything like that. I mean… I wasn’t thrilled about being stuck a mortgage payment in my first 15 minutes of play, but I was thinking about reloading, not bolting for the door and spending the next day walking around Disneyland by myself.

I didn’t buy more chips and I started winning a pot here and there but I was still stuck about $1500 three and a half hours into my session when momentum started to swing my way.

I picked up AA in a kill pot and it got raised in front of me. I jacked it up and the killer and raiser both called.

Flop was 992 with two spades and they both check-call a bet.

The turn is the 5 of spades and the killer leads out. The other guy folds. I’ve already established that the killer is the loosest (and probably worst) player at the table, however I did see him check-call flop in a similar spot earlier and then donk the turn with flopped trips. So I know he’s capable of having trips here (and probably flushes) with this line, but I also know he’s not be trusted. I call.

The river is a very unfortunate 4 of spades, putting four spades on the board and none in my hand, and he bets again. But I’m not folding AA in huge pots for one bet to a wild player, so I pay it off and he can only show a 53 with no spades and I drag a big one.

Then I get moved to the main game and one of my first hands I pick up AJ of clubs in a 6-way raised pot and flop the nut flush draw on a T76 board. I get three bets in on the flop and five of us see a turn that gives me the nuts. That clears the field down to three and my hand stays nutty on the river and I get one caller.

Just like that, I go from -$1500 to +$1200 in about 15 minutes!

Sick swings in this game.

I lost some dumb hands every now and then after that, but it was mostly smooth sailing for me the rest of the night.

My final score? +$5035 in 11.5 hours!

That’s good for my second best cash game session ever.

What a great start to my trip and a great first day of February, right on the heels of a +$10k month of January.

Feels good man.

Alright, it’s 2:15 PM right now, so I’m going to study up for the next hour or so and then get ready to head to Commerce.

Check back here after 4 PM for stack updates in the NL HORSE tournament and I’m sure I’ll also have some hands to write about.

4:11 PM: Might be hard to blog this. My table is 4-handed. There are 8 players in the tournament total. 😂

I can say I won 6 of the first 8 hands, all in Stud Hi, and two of them were pretty sizable.

Starting stacks are 12.5k but blinds are 25/50 with a 25 ante and 25 bring in with 20 minute levels.

A third table just got cards in the air. Looks like we are up to 15 entrants!

5:25 PM: Steadily building. I feel very comfortable with the format and my table draw. There are six levels before the first break so I’m just going to type up the most interesting hand I’ve played real quick.

Stud Hi, 25 ante, 75 bring in… I start with K6ss-9s and someone limps in front of me with a ten up. There’s a king and six up, but all the spades are live. I make it 300. The king and ten up call.

On 4th street, the king catches a 5 of spades and leads out for 600. Ten catches a blank and I get the four of spades. I like it. I like it a lot. The ten folds and I decide to just flat. Maybe I can raise to get it in here, but we feel too deep still.

On 5th, I catch the ace of clubs and he gets another small spade. That’s annoying. I check to him and he bets 2000, leaving himself with around 8-9k behind. I think this is a pretty silly bet when I catch an ace because… I stuff it in his face.

How much do you like a pair of kings here? Shoot, how much do you like kings up?

He tanks for a while and says “kings up no good” and mucks it.

Sims coming…

Interesting. I would have thought I’m a bigger favorite on 4th street. When I get it in on 5th, I certainly don’t think I have an equity advantage, but the ace is such a good card to bluff with. He said he had two pair, and maybe he did, but it’s worth noting that my equity on 5th jumps up to around 41% if he just has a pair of kings.

First Break: 16.9k

Coming back to 75 ante (in all the games!), 200 bring and 250/500 blinds for the flop games.

Registration is closed and I’m healthy on bullet #1! Leggo.

Second Break: 6800

I’m pretty sure I didn’t win a hand for the entirety of those four levels.

Oh wait. That’s not true. I was all in for my tourney life in Razz with 92-4J7T against a board of xx-J78J and I had bet somewhere around 2.5x the size of the pot. I have a board lock, but it’s pretty obvious he’s drawing to an 87 here and you know what? I don’t want to be called. If I make a normal sized bet and he calls, I could find myself in a really weird spot on 7th street. He doesn’t know I have a 9 buried, so that’s nice, but still… I don’t want to face any pressure or lose this pot with another card.

It’s probably a good thing I jammed because he tanked for like two minutes with his junky board facing a huge oversized bet.

Of course I got short just in time for Stud 8. It seems like I should be jamming my whole range, but it’s weird because the starting pot size is smaller in the Stud games.

I’m basically trying to survive until Hold’em unless I find a super obvious spot to get it in.

I folded K3-K under the gun with only one small card out, but it was an ace. I’m probably supposed to get it in here but I don’t know, so I fold.

Then a 5d opens and a 5h calls. I have Qh2h-Ad and I don’t know what to do, so I fold.

There are two hands of Stud 8 left after the break and then I will have the small blind in Hold’em with approximately 4-5 bigs (unless I bust or double first).

67 entrants, 35 left, 9 cash, with $6250 for 1st.

I have about 25% of the average stack so…

Let’s run it up?

8:00 PM: I make it to Hold’em and I have 4.5 bigs after posting my small blind. Someone opens to 2.5 bigs, I jam with 66 and he calls wi-

Wait. He’s tanking. Wtf? Am I really going to win this pot without running the cards? What does he have to think about here? Nothing. He has nothing to think about. It’s a snap-call.

But he folds and I double up without a showdown. Holy shit.

Very next hand he opens again and the cutoff jams for slightly more than what I have. I look down at AK of spades and with my 10 big blind stack there is nothing to think about here. I put all my chips in. Opener folds and I’m in a race against…

AA.

Goddammit.

I don’t know why, but I feel pretty good about it and then I flop a flush draw and feel like I doubled up already.

But then… I brick out? How is that even possible?

Sigh.

Flipper convinced me to make a road trip to Vegas for Super Bowl Sunday and lured me with MLB Futures betting possibilities and, I mean, I’m not capable of saying no to that, so that’s what I’m doing tomorrow.

Which means I’m done playing poker today. We are probably going to be leaving pretty early, so I’m going to take it easy and go catch The Green Book at the theater and then head back to my spot.

No idea what my poker plans are tomorrow but I’ll be back in LAPC action on Monday for the $570 Omaha 8 or Better tournament.

Bricking is so fun!

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2018 Results

January 7, 2019

Volume Goals

play 1800 live hours

1800 is 150 live hours a month. Technically, I should be striving to play 160 hours a month, but considering how much time I spent playing online poker and studying poker, 1800 live hours is plenty. I met this goal by playing just shy of 1818 live hours of poker last year.

play less than 33% of live cash game hours at $8/$16 or lower

The gist of this goal is to put my days of playing lower stakes limit hold’em behind me. I spent way too much time at the $4/$8 level and I didn’t want to repeat the same mistake. Fortunately, $15/$30 was going regularly during the first half of 2018 and PLO has become a twice a week game. The $15/$30 sort of fizzled for a bit late in the summer, but seems to be making a comeback. I spent less than 25% of my live cash games hours at $8/$16 and lower. To be exact, 20% of my hours were in $8/$16 and 3.9% were in $6/$12 and lower. That means almost 75% of my cash game volume was at $15/$30 or higher (and I consider the PLO games to be in this category). That’s a good place to be.

play 500 hours of PLO (online and live)

Altogether I played 620 hours of PLO in 2018, with 377 hours in online cash games, 180 in live cash games, and just over 60 hours in tournaments. In addition, I played 17.5 hours of Big O and 121 hours of limit Omaha 8 or Better.

play one mixed game session a month

I wanted to play in more mixed games last year and I suppose I did, so I guess I achieved my goal, but I find myself a bit unsatisfied. I played 270 hours of poker in games that were non-Hold’em and non-Omaha. However, I only played 36 hours in home mixed games and that’s really where I wanted to increase my volume. In fact, I haven’t played in a home game since May of 2018 when I’d ideally like to do so at least once a month. I also played 55 mixed game hours in casinos, plus another 114 hours in tournaments. Lastly, in December I was introduced to an online training site that specializes in mixed games and logged an additional 64 hours of mixed game training in the last month alone. All in all, I put in substantially more hours here than my goal, but I’d like to play in more home games.

take more shots

I am notably nitty with my bankroll and my goal here was to step outside of my comfort zone a little bit more in 2018. I can’t really say I did that too much. I played just over 48 hours in $30/$60 or higher, but only 8 of those hours were at the $40/$80 level. $30/$60 is still in my wheelhouse, so really it’s just the 8 hours where I was legitimately shot-taking and my one Hold’em session was cut very short on account of all the pain from losing so much money so fast. I did play first tournament buy-in of more than $1500 though and it was the $10k Main Event!

play at least one online tournament a week

My goal was 52 online tournaments and I wound up playing 234 of them.

play a bigger WSOP schedule

Previously, the most events I played in a series was five tournaments in the 2017 WSOP. This past year I played in 10 WSOP events, plus 2 daily deep stacks at the Rio and another 10 non-WSOP events for 22 tournaments total during the summer.

play 100 hours of NLHE cash (online and live)

I played 61 hours in NL cash games with 41 of them coming online and only 20 live. Maybe some day I’ll round out my rather diverse repertoire by including the most popular form of poker in the world, but no limit Hold’em is still the last game I’m looking to play when I walk into a casino.

Win Rate Goals

1.25 big bets per hour at $15/$30 limit Hold’em

I remember when I started writing my 2018 Poker Goals, I thought I might be reaching to hit 1.25 BB/HR because I started the year off so poorly at this limit. Well, I sure turned that around, finishing at an absurd 1.96 BB/HR in the game I put by far the most volume in. It’s probably worth noting that I play with an Overs button basically 100% of the time they are in action, so a decent amount of these hours were played with multiple opponents playing $25/$50 with me and a handful of times the whole table had buttons.

1 BB/HR at $20/$40 (and higher) LHE

My struggles in bigger games were pretty well documented last year, but my volume was also way down. The presence of a regular $15/$30 game locally meant that I rarely made the trip to Renton in 2018 and I wound up playing a mere 93 hours of $20/$40 LHE and only 61 of them were at Fortune. Altogether I played only 127 hours at $20/$40, $30/$60 and $40/$80. Compare that to 2017 when I played almost 200 hours just at Fortune. I finished at -1.1 BB/HR at $20/$40 and up (for limit Hold’em) and I didn’t book my first win at Fortune until early September. Gross.

1.25 BB/HR at $8/$16 (and lower) LHE

I thought this number could see a lot of variance due to low volume, but I actually finished pretty close to my goal at 1.05 BB/HR.

$50/HR at $1/$3/$5 PLO

This was basically a goal just for the PLO game at Palace because of the weird blind structure with a $3 big blind but it’s $5 to see the flop. My goal for the year was to run half as good as I did in 2017 ($100/HR) because I thought my previous results were probably unsustainable. Well, I finished 2018 at $86/HR in the same game, so who knows… maybe it isn’t unreasonable to be winning this much.

10 bb/HR in live PLO

My goal was to make 10 big blinds per hour in live PLO games outside of Palace but I ended up playing only 4 hours in such games and lost a grand total of $1!

1 bb/HR in online $0.25/$0.50 6-max PLO

I got crushed in this exact game in 2017 (to the tune of -26 big blinds per hour!) so I really just wanted to finish 2018 in the green. I did! I put in the second most hours at this PLO limit and finished at 3 bb/HR. I still don’t think that’s particularly good but compared to 2017, it’s a massive step forward.

5 bb/HR in online PLO

I barely met this goal, finishing at 5.37 bb/HR for all my online PLO volume. While I met my goal at the $50 6-max level, I put most of my volume in at the $100 6-max and finished at -7.7 bb/HR there. I put in my third most hours at $50 full ring and that’s where my overall number got a boost by posting a rate of 36 bb/HR.

10 bb/HR in any no limit Hold’em cash game

I finished at a measly 1.5 bb/HR here over a low amount of volume. I did post a 5.6 bb/HR rate online in the bulk of my hours, so that’s something.

50% ROI in live tournaments

2018 felt like a borderline disaster in tournament poker, mostly because I cashed just 3 of 22 tournaments over a long, brutal summer and went 0 for 10 in WSOP events, including a $10,000 brick in the Main. Plus, my three cashes were all small, with my biggest cash being just slightly bigger than my average buy in for the entire summer. Ugh. It was just all pain. I did, however, finally have a breakthrough year in the Muckleshoot Classic series, finishing 1st for $20k in a $300 no limit Hold’em tournament, cashing five times total, and winning Player of the Series in the spring for an additional $6k. I also finished 1st in my first ever Big O tournament for $4900 at Chinook Winds in Oregon. Those three scores basically saved my year and I managed to avoid my first losing year of tournament poker ever by posting an 11% ROI in 2018.

30% ROI in online tournaments

I finished 2018 with a 70% ROI in online tournaments. Some other notable stats: I cashed in 49 of 234 total tournaments (20%) with 9 1st place finishes and 5 runner-ups – that means I finished 1st or 2nd almost 29% of the time I cashed. That’s pretty sick. My biggest score was a 1st of 166 in a
$100 Rattlesnake Open event on Global Poker for $3600. That win got me a cool write up in PokerNews.

Mixed Games

I didn’t make a win rate goal for mixed games, but I played enough hours in them that it’s worth noting: I finished at 0.47 BB/HR overall but 1.17 BB/HR in live games.

Life Goals

-reach a new bankroll peak
-clear credit card debt
-pay off final student loan
-visit a new MLB stadium
-play poker in a new part of the U.S.
-meditate every day
-do yoga twice a week
-run/jog more
-lift twice a week
-drink more water, drink less soda
-eat better and smarter, less fast food
-bring my average blood sugar below 150
-bring my A1C below 7
-less distractions
-no toxic chatting/arguing/debating
-keep blogging about poker
-read Jared Tendler’s books
-study mix games
-watch at least two vlogs a week
-read about mindfulness/meditation

I’m not going to go through these one by one. I think I did get healthier in 2018, but not as much as I would like. I went to the gym more than in years past, but not consistently and while I was doing yoga and meditation pretty consistently in the first half of the year, I was done with both by the end of summer. I played poker in Oklahoma and Mississippi for the first time. We went to MLB games at Minute Maid Park in Houston and Globe Life Park in Arlington, both in Texas. My studying was pretty good in 2018, but I could be more consistent and organized. I never picked Tendler’s mental game books back up and I clearly need to. I also did not reach a new bankroll peak despite having another very good year of playing poker. Lots of room for improvement in just about everything here. I did keep up a consistent blog though. Yay!

Top 5 Sessions of 2018
1. +$6754 in 16 hours of $15/$30 at Palace
2. +$3690 in 6.5 hours of PLO at Palace
3. +$3429 in 4 hours of $30/$60 7 Card Stud at Bellagio
4. +$2820 in 8 hours of $15/$30 at Palace
5. +$2795 in 10.5 hours of $15/$30 at Palace

Worst 5 Sessions of 2018
1. -$2253 in 2 hours of $40/$80 at Commerce
2. -$2226 in 6.25 hours of $20/$40 at Fortune
3. -$2135 in 5 hours of $20/$40 at Fortune
4. -$1976 in 9.5 hours of $20/$40 Omaha 8/B at Muckleshoot
5. -$1714 in 11.5 hours of $10/$20 (with button straddles) at Palace

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First Blog of 2019: PLO @ Palace

January 2, 2019

Amazingly, we still don’t have internet in our new home. I could go on a rant about my recent experience with Dish but I’m guessing a decent amount of people have had terrible experiences with the various cable companies (Dish isn’t my first run in – 🖕🏻Comcast!).

Allegedly, we are scheduled for installation (activation?) tomorrow, but since this is our third scheduled install, I’m not exactly holding my breath. It’s also the last chance for Dish to remain our cable company. I’m hoping they come through because even though it repulses me to keep giving them our business at this point, I really don’t want to have to shop around and go even longer without internet when I already own a Dish modem/router.

Needless to say, I’ve been without a connection in my home for almost two weeks now. That makes things… difficult. I can’t type these blogs on a keyboard – I have to do it on a phone (as I am right now) and that’s why I’ve gone off the grid during this transition. I just don’t feel like typing these long preambles on my phone.

It’s also annoying because all my spreadsheets are connected via the net between all my various devices and Excel functions much friendlier on a PC than a mobile device. So I feel like I’m behind on all my accounting and just disorganized electronically altogether.

Plus, after putting in more cash game volume in the first three weeks of December on Global Poker than I had in any other month in 2018, I have played a grand total of one hour since my internet disappeared on the 21st.

While we do have unlimited data with Verizon, we don’t seem to get a great signal in our house – it is usually one bar and peaks at two bars. Not good.

But I’m powering through today, even though I don’t particularly like live blogging PLO cash games. As I’ve said many times before, it’s a lot of sitting on the sidelines and watching – more so than in limit hold’em.

So… my last post was on the 21st of December, huh? Eek.

I have played four live sessions since then and it has been a rather miserable experience.

After finishing -$1323 in my last post and taking four straight days off for Christmas celebrations, I was back on the grind last Wednesday for a -$1303 showing in 6.5 hours of PLO.

It’s pretty rare that I can walk away from a session and confidently say that I was playing my C-game but this was one such occasion. I already felt like I was off beforehand, but when I mistakenly 3-bet with A4J9 (single suited to the jack) thinking I had AAJ9 (single suited to an ace) and found myself calling down (for $800 total) on AT8(rainbow)2A, I knew something was wrong. I recognized my mistake before the flop came and it was frustrating to see The Crypt Keeper lead into five opponents on that flop (when I’m supposed to have aces!) and then feel like I need to call down because we wound up heads up after the flop action. I think my postflop play might be defensible (TCK had AT here but he’s capable of having all the various straight draws also), but I also know I lost $850 on a hand I would have folded preflop if I knew what I fucking had.

A while later, I opened on the button with a marginal hand and realized I was actually calling an under the gun raise. I mean… what am I doing with my life? I didn’t stay much longer than that. The game was good, but my game was not.

Emergency ejection.

I took Thursday off and was eager to be back in action Friday for some $15/$30 limit hold’em.

  • I got smacked. I wasn’t super active but I lost what felt like every pot I played, missing whenever I was drawing while they never seemed to miss no matter how thin they were drawing. I was overwhelmed with accumulated tilt and quit at 8:30 PM on a Friday after 4.5 hours of play.
  • Yikes.
  • I finished at -$1334, the first time I’ve ever posted three straight losses of $1000+ in my entire poker history (and mind you, this was actually three straight of -$1300+).

    I have started working on my 2018 results post and I’m thinking about my 2019 goals and it’s pretty clear that while my mental game is substantially stronger than the average player (especially in this area), there is still so much room for growth and learning. It will be an area of focus for the new year because while I think quitting when I recognize I’m not playing well for whatever reason (i.e. my PLO quit above) is a good thing, quitting because I’m upset about variance is simply unacceptable. While it’s better to leave than sit and steam, possibly hemorrhaging chips, I should have a better grasp on the concept of variance and it should have little affect on my mood – it’s just part of the game.

    Saturday seemed like another good time to take a breather but The Man informed me that he wants to spread $15/$30 on both Fridays and Saturdays at 4 PM and if that’s his desire I sort of have to the first in line to make sure it happens.

    I clocked in for some Saturday $15/$30 and was happy to see the game start and stay solid until I left. I booked a feel good win of +$585 after 9 hours of play.

    Sunday was another day off and I wasn’t sure what Monday was going to be. Being New Year’s Eve, I wasn’t positive the Santa Claus Game was going to go and it didn’t come close to starting… for the second straight week… granted, both days were holidays of sorts (Christmas Eve the week before), but I have a feeling the coup de grace has arrived. If it doesn’t go next Monday we can officially proclaim it deceased.

    With no $10/$20 straddle, I ended up playing $8/$16 and I was very non-committal about it. I really wanted to ditch the game and go watch Aquaman but the theater where I’m an A-List member was sold out and while I was tempted to actually pay to go to theater next door, I resisted the urge and stayed put.

    But I did leave when my wife got off work and booked a +$35 in 6 hours in my last session of 2018.

    So here we are in 2019. I’m anxious to share my 2018 results and post my goals for the new year, but it’s not going to happen until I can sit at a computer and do some typing. Hopefully that issue will be resolved tomorrow. If not, it’s probably going to be another week or so.

    There are currently 17 players signed up for the PLO game start at 6 PM. I will be back with a starting lineup around that time and hopefully lots of interesting hands to post after that.

    Happy 2019 ya’ll. Let’s get it.

    Starting Lineup: Guy I know from Kitsap, Part-Time, PLO reg, LHE reg, Charlie Hustle, Hit&Run, 8/16 reg, and Lee Markholt

    I think there were 20 names on the list when I got here and that has been whittled down to a full game and 4 players waiting. One of the no shows was Big Baby. 😞

    I give this starting lineup a C+.

    6:23 PM: Some funny hands:

    One hand after I pot Lee on the K84 rainbow flop with KQJ8 single suited in a raised pot (he folded), he raises from the small blind and says, “let’s try this again.”

    Flop 873 with two diamonds and Lee check-calls a pot-sized bet from Part-Time and then does so again on a black ten turn. River is another straight card and Lee check-calls $300. Part-Time tables KQT9 for the nuts and Lee says “you have no idea how lucky you got,” while tabling Ad8d8, and then mutters quietly, “you fucking…”

    And I start laughing out loud because it’s funny to hear someone so accomplished cursing at a Palace regular. But then I feel bad because no one else heard him curse and it seems like I’m just laughing at him losing a big pot.

    I call $15 on button with J987 single suited and bet $60 on a 942ss flop when everyone checks to me. I have top pair and a weak flush draw here, which seems good enough to stab with. Part-Time and Charlie Hustle both call.

    I’m already basically done with the hand… unless I make top two on the turn… which I do. They both check-call a $270 pot-sized bet. Yikes. I have spades, but I don’t want to see one.

    River is the king of spades. Part-Time checks, Charlie Hustle bets $300 and I snap-fold my flush. Part-Time goes into the tank, but really he’s just waiting for me because he didn’t realize I folded so fast. When prompted he quickly folds also.

    Charlie Hustle turns over one card – the ace of spades – and says, “you like that, Lee?”

    Lee responds, “you gotta show more than one card if you want people to think you’re bluffing.”

    I gave it zero thought because he’s literally never calling $270 on the turn hoping he can represent a flush if a spade hits on the river… in a 3-way pot.

    Some people might have that kind of creativity and gumption… but Charlie Hustle is not one of them.

    6:59 PM: Charlie Hustle just called a big river bet and stood up and cheered after he won the pot.

    Oh how the fibers of my being loathe him.

    He is the worst.

    7:33 PM: Charlie Hustle is up $1500 already so obviously he’s out of here. Weird how that works out. His wife is always hurrying him out of here when he wins big early. I’m not a big fan of the hit and run artists, but people are welcome to do whatever they want with their money… but don’t insult our intelligence with your bullshit. Just get up and leave. We don’t need to hear an excuse every time.

    Seriously. Fuck that guy.

    He is replaced by some dude I don’t think I’ve ever seen before… sitting down with $200.

    9:01 PM: Random blind on blind violence from the blinds between me and Lee. We both see the flop for $5 and I have an ugly JJ84 triple suited (three clubs) but get the KJ6 rainbow flop. Lee leads out for $25 and I make it $80 to go. He calls pretty quickly.

    Turn is the 5 of hearts and he check-calls $210, which surprises me.

    River is a queen and it looks like he’s going to bet it but ultimately checks. It’s tempting to go for value but really I’m targeting 66 only – that’s pretty narrow. He’s not going to call me with two pair (on the turn even – unless he picked up a flush draw). If he didn’t have a set he probably has a big straight draw and that might have come in. I don’t think he would check river with straights very often but I also don’t think he’s calling often enough to go for max value, so I check back and he does have 66 (with a jack blocker! And the nut heart draw!)

    10:51 PM: Card dead here and this game is fizzling early tonight. We are currently 7-handed, with Part-Time absolutely crushing the game and Twinkie has joined us.

    Speaking of Twinkie, it’s time for a name change. I hate it. I always have. Someone suggested Scarecrow to me and I loved it… but I somehow ended up going with… Twinkie? Huh.

    No. Sorry buddy. You are The Scarecrow. Embrace your Bat-villainy. Not many people get to be part of my actual Rogue’s Gallery. It’s okay. We are still friends.

    Since I’ve sat back down at the table Scarecrow has put multiple hundreds of dollars into basically every pot I’ve witnessed so far. He’s certainly worthy of a better name than Twinkie.

    11:19 PM: Someone said I haven’t been updating much but this is what most of my hands have looked like: raise to $20 with AKJ9 single suited to the ace, get four callers, check-fold 877 flop. That’s basically been the gist of it.

    But here’s one: I open AKQJ single suited and get two callers. Flop is KQQ and since I’ve checked the flop after raising like ten hands in a row, I go ahead and stay consistent with the new norm and check this one as well. It checks through in a 3-handed pot.

    Turn is a blank and the big blind leads out for near-pot. I call, other player folds.

    Seems like the jig could be up here but he still leads for $150 on a blank river. I make it $400 and he folds.

    That’s it.

    12:28 AM: Same opponent and this time I have QJJ5 double suited and he leads $30 on J77. I make it $125. He calls.

    Turn is a 6 and he check-folds to a $200 bet from me. I thought playing this hand fast might confuse him into a payoff – if he has a 7 – but alas, $125 is all the action I could muster.

    1:29 AM: Ugh. What timing. I open AJ97 double suited and get 3-bet to $50.

    Four of us see an A86 rainbow flop and I lead out for $110. The PFR calls and so does another player.

    Turn is a jack and I bet the $300 max and now the PFR raises another $300. Gross. The third player stacks off for less than $300 total and I call and then call for another $200 when I make three pair on the river. He has AA.

    And I was planning to leave soon anyway, so I player another orbit or so and cashed out for a final tally of +$16.

    Wonderful. Nothing like losing all your profit at the buzzer.

    Now I go home and pray for internet tomorrow.

    h1

    Pot Limit Omaha & Big Announcement (Live Blog)

    December 12, 2018

    First off, let me catch you up. It’s been a week since my last blog, which is one of the longest droughts here since I started posting regular poker content. My bad. I didn’t much feel like blogging my last night in L.A. and I played truncated sessions on Saturday and Monday, the latter because the 10/20 Santa Claus Game did not go (for the second straight week – yikes!).

    Thursday was my last night in L.A. and I played a 15/30 Mix at The Bike. The game was a mix of 5-Card Omaha (high only), 2-7 Triple Draw, Badugi, Badeucy, Badacey, and Archie. I got over 9.5 hours of experience and finished at +$1015, a decent enough score to transform my trip from a moderate disaster into a more neutral affair.

    That wrapped up my time in California for the year and it was pretty disappointing. I went 0 for 8 in tournaments in the Golden State for a total loss of $3000 and cash games weren’t much better as I finished -$1447 over 60 hours. Most of that damage was thanks to a -$2253 performance in just under two hours of 40/80. Whoops. That’s an overall loss of $4447 in Cali over 100+ hours total. I’m hoping to play a huge slate in the LAPC next month (I’ll post my schedule wish list sometime soon) and looking forward to getting off to a hot start on the road next year.

    Since I was landing back in Seattle around 1 PM on Friday, I urged The Man to push the restart of the 15/30 game on Fridays at 4 PM up a week and it got back off the ground easily and was still going strong with a list when I left just after midnight. The Palace red chip games are the best for blogging and Friday night would have made for good material, but I was jet lagged and coming off a poor night of sleep on top of that and playing poker at all was questionable enough without trying to add writing to the mix. The entire table was playing 25/50 Overs for a good portion of the night so I started with $3000 in front of me and was having a very good session until cooling off towards the end of the night. I finished at +$703 after 8+ hours. There are already seven names on the list for this upcoming Friday. If you want to play a red chip LHE game in Lakewood, call and put your name up!

    Saturday I went to Muckleshoot to play in the 20/40 limit Omaha 8 game and it got off to a brutal 5-handed start and stayed that way for nearly two hours. The game wasn’t good and I had made the decision to migrate elsewhere (i.e. Fortune), apologized to the other four players, racked up my chips, passed on my next big blind, and then a new player finally sat down. And a few minutes later, so did another one. I unracked and continued to play and eventually the game filled up. However, my wife was with and she was clearly not into playing 4/8 at Muck and contacted a friend of hers to go hang out for a bit. I decided to call it a night when she came back because I wasn’t super into my session and I could tell she didn’t really want to play anymore either. I finished at -$547 after just over 5 hours of play.

    Sunday was just an errand and relaxing day with my wife.

    Monday I was planning to put in a Marathon Monday session and blog it, but the game didn’t even come close to starting. Radio Mike was in Vegas, Joker has a day job or some dumb shit, and Chief Wiggum was MIA for whatever reason. It can be hard to get a game off the ground when multiple key pieces are missing and the general day time crowd at Palace isn’t itching to jump up in stakes or start short-handed. This game would probably work better with a 4 PM start, but it’s probably more likely to just die a swift death. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s no longer a thing by January.

    Yesterday was my day off, so I went to see Creed II and my list of movies I’ve seen and haven’t reviewed has grown quite large. I will probably post my ratings in the next week or so.

    BIG ANNOUNCEMENT

    I have arranged with The Bike to get on their streaming poker show Live At The Bike on Wednesday, January 23rd. I will know more as the date gets closer, but they locked up three seats for me, so Radio Mike and Joker will be on the show with me. That’s the max the host would guarantee me, but Frankenstein will also be travelling with me and possibly Tormund and FanBoy as well. I think the game is going to be 20/40 limit hold’em.

    Here are a bunch of links to LatB stuff so you can start following the show now and have things figured out by the time I appear on it:

    Live at The Bike live stream
    Live at The Bike on YouTube
    Live at The Bike on Twitch
    Live at The Bike Twitter

    Should be fun!

    PLO starts at 6 PM tonight and there are a staggering 17 names on the list already. I’m very happy to see that because the game had been fizzling out a bit before I left for Cali.

    Check back for live updates at 6!

    5:21 PM: Driving to Palace now. List has 19 players on it. Very curious to see what it looks like when the dust settles after 6.

    Starting Lineup: 8/16 reg, random red chip non-reg, Big Baby, nitty reg, Charlie Hustle, Part-Time, plo reg, The Crypt Keeper

    Seems pretty good. Nice to see Crypt Keeper back. He’s not particularly good for the game, but when the player pool is small and flimsy, you need your regulars in seats. Also, for whatever reason, there are 2-3 players that were coming every session but stopped showing when TCK was in Vietnam. Two of them are playing right now. The two non-regulars probably won’t be in the game long, but there are already two huge spots in the game and they both have $700+.

    Let’s go get it.

    6:21 PM: After the dust settles we have a full game and four remaining players on the list, so 19 was really 13, which is actually pretty damn good.

    I made the nuts on the turn with no redraws against Big Baby and decided to flat and raise rivers, but the river brought a 4-card straight and he check-folded. Boo.

    6:32 PM: I limp early with AKJ9 rainbow, Big Baby makes it $20, big blind calls, and so do I.

    Flop is K73 and it checks around.

    Turn is a 4 and I bet $30 into $60 and only Big Baby calls.

    River is an offsuit ace. I bet $100 and I go from thinking he’s going to fold to thinking he’s going to call to getting raised to $400. I think about it for less than 0 seconds and call. He tables AQQ6 and I win the pot.

    6:46 PM: Weird, my big announcement I posted earlier disappeared. Not sure how/when/why that happened, but it’s back now. Scroll up. It’s in big, bold letters if you missed it.

    6:51 PM: Nit limps, I make it $20 with AAQ7 double suited to the aces and Big Baby plus the limper call.

    Flop is J76 rainbow with one of both of my suits and I’m planning to check back but Big Baby leads for $40 and I call.

    Turn is the queen of diamonds, giving me two pair and putting two diamonds on board (which I don’t have). He bets $145 and I call again.

    River is an offsuit 8 and I call $200 this time. I’m never folding queens up here against a dude that has no clue about proper hand strengths. Unfortunately he has the JJ85 here and evens the score.

    7:36 PM: Charlie Hustle with a classic Charlie Hustle moment: after calling in a raised pot preflop, everyone folds to the PFR on A74 rainbow and the PFR claims he had AA. Charlie Hustle says he had the last ace. No one acknowledges him, so he says it again. By the time he says a variation of the same thing a third time, I have the counter going. SIX! Six times he feels the need to mention he had the last ace after check-folding the flop.

    Good job, buddy.

    8:14 PM: I lost a big pot to Crypt Keeper when I flopped a set and he turned the nut flush, but I rebounded by making the nut straight in back-to-back hands against Charlie Hustle, although he eventually folded in both hands.

    But what I really wanted to say is that no one has left this game yet. Yeah, I know… it has only been 2.33 hours, but still… I think that might be a Palace PLO record.

    The list is now six deep with the one and only Joker second up.

    8:43 PM: Oh no, looks like Charlie Hustle might have to stick around tonight!

    Multiple limpers in front of me and I look down at AA42 with no suits. I’ve reached a point where I’m basically always raising with my AA hands, but I think this is a good spot to just call. I can make it $30 here but no one is going to fold and I’m going to be in a bloated pot with a hand that plays poorly multi-way. Plus limping here gives my limping range some balance on ace high boards as my opponents won’t be able to rule out top set in the future if I can show this hand down.

    There is no raise pre and seven of us see the A83 two diamond flop. Charlie Hustle bets $15 when it checks to him and I makes it $60. That clears the rest of the field and he calls. This is a sexy spot. I have the ace of diamonds in my hand, so not only can I rep the nut flush on future streets, but it also drastically decreases the chances that Charlie Hustle is NOT on a draw. That means I have him smashed and he’s going to pay off.

    Turn is a 2 that puts two spades on board and he check-calls $130.

    The river is the 9 of spades and he checks to me. The backdoor flush got there but I think he has to lead flushes here, so I feel pretty good betting for value with my set but I size down at $150 to a) not punt a max bet when he has a flush some of the time and b) increase the chance that I get paid off by his sets. Because that’s what he has here. I don’t think he’s showing up with two pair very often.

    He snap calls and my hand is good vs 88xx.

    Meanwhile, The Crypt Keeper is so buried on my immediate left in seat 9 that he’s not even bothering trying to protect his cards when he looks at his hand. Actually, that doesn’t do it justice: he’s literally lifting his cards so that I (and probably seat 7 also) can see all four of them easily if we were so inclined – it’s not a matter of not protecting them, he is basically broadcasting them to us.

    I’m not looking. Not my style. But sometimes it’s hard not to accidentally catch a glimpse.

    9:17 PM: I can’t remember how we got here but…

    That’s my hand, there is like $2.5k in the middle (my hand is blocking $800+ in front of me) and the board is Jc5sKcQd.

    Turn action: Big Baby bet $35, Charlie Hustle called, I pot to $175, button goes all in for $235, Big Baby makes it $535 (!), Charlie stacks off, and I cap it at $835. Big Baby calls.

    I have the nuts with the nut redraw and there are heaps of chips in the middle. I’m surprised at the turn action – not that Big Baby is punting $800+ with the same hand and (probably) no redraw – but that the other two players put their whole stacks in. I obviously do not want to see the board pair.

    River is… a ten. Eww. Now any hand with an ace and a Broadway card has a straight but at least I still have the nuts.

    Charlie Hustle had KK and the button had QQ so I’m splitting this monster with Big Baby who did, indeed, have the naked AT.

    That hand finally knocked the first two players out of the game and for some reason Joker passed on his seat.

    I guess this is that reason:

    10:05 PM: Eww. Slimer is in the game now and there is no list.

    Also, Big Baby is dusted… because this just happened:

    He opens to $15, there’s a call, I call QQ33 single suited and there are four or five of us to the flop.

    Board is QT5 with two clubs. He pots, I pot, he pots and is all in. We run it once and my hand holds up against a naked AA.

    One seat open. Game condition just went from very good to mediocre. Mr. Plow also in now.

    10:41 PM: The Man is in the game! He limps this hand, I make it $20 with KKT8 single suited, The Crypt Keeper makes it $35, it folds back to The Man and he makes it $50. That’s a cap, folks. We both call.

    Oh, there’s a fourth player in also. I know that because I led out for $120 into $200 on the K32 two club flop. Crypt Keeper is my only customer.

    Turn is the jack of diamonds, so now there are heaps of draws to dodge. I bet the pot and he calls.

    River pairs the deuce. Praise the Gods. He obviously has some sort of draw here so I don’t think he’s ever calling. My only hope to get more money in the pot is to check and hope he bluffs at it. That’s probably unlikely – my hand seems pretty face up – but it’s worth a shot. He checks back and I win the pot.

    11:23 PM: Slimer is gone already but the game is full again and there are four names on the list! I have a dentist appointment at 10 AM in Kitsap County and my alarm is set for 7:45 AM, so I’m not sure how late I will be staying tonight. I think I can push it until 1 AM without wrecking my entire day tomorrow.

    12:10 AM: Alright, I’m tired so I’m playing my last orbit. I will post if anything exciting happens.

    12:18 AM: Nothing to report.

    Final Score: +$1060

    h1

    WSOPc @ The Bike – $400 No Limit Hold’em Monster Stack

    December 4, 2018

    My apologies. I’ve been a bit blog-lite this past week. I played a very truncated PLO session on Wednesday and then I ended up taking Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday completely off, as I’ve been busy starting the process of buying a new house and spending time with my wife before traveling to Los Angeles yesterday.

    I did play nine hours at Fortune on Friday and I initially kept some notes thinking I might blog some hands later but I wound up having a pretty epic stretch of being card dead before losing with all my playable hands for most of the night. I was down between $800 and $1200 basically the whole session before heating up right as I was planning to leave. I somehow salvaged a +$42 day. I’ll take it.

    That brings my win rate in the Fortune 20/40 game up to a respectable -$93/hour in 2018. To be fair though, my total 2018 volume in that game amounts to about 1.25 weeks of play – and I’ve had plenty of terrible weeks in my time, so it’s nothing to be discouraged about.

    I arrived in L.A. around 3 PM and a friend from high school picked me up from LAX and we headed to The Bike to watch Monday Night Football and catch up with each other, so I didn’t get in a poker game until around 8:45 PM, which is a super late start for me.

    I was debating what limit I wanted to play because I typically play down when I know I’m going to be playing a shorter session than usual and I wasn’t about to play until 5 AM. But I swallowed the “it’s all one long session” pill and sat in the 20/40 game.

    Again, I was insanely card dead. I raised some hands on the button and 3-bet from the small blind against a button open a couple of times, but nearly 3.5 hours deep into my session I realized I had played about five hands total outside of those wider range spots.

    My image was mega-nit. And yet, I couldn’t get a big blind defend to fold 84o on K74QK when I had AJ. Granted, I saved the third barrel on the river, but I didn’t think a board-pairing card was going to get a fold from any pairs he had and I beat all his missed draws anyway… but so went my session.

    My only notable pot was capped 4-ways preflop with AKss and getting called down by two players on K94ccJc6. That was the highlight of my night.

    I finished at -$369 after just over four hours of play.

    But I ran into Sandman who was playing in the short-handed 40/80 game and after my feeder game died and I quit, we sat around and bullshitted for an absurd 2+ hours.

    So today is the last flight of the $400 no limit hold’em event in the World Series of Poker Circuit series going on at The Bike this week. I honestly have no clue what any of the structure looks like. I’m just going to show up at 4 PM and go for it.

    I will post stack updates here and some key pots. The HORSE tournament I’m playing tomorrow also doesn’t start until 4 PM, so if I don’t go super deep in the Monster Stack I will definitely be hopping in some cash games tonight.

    4:12 PM: Fought through traffic and am a bit late. Particulars in a few. Comedian Norm MacDonald is in the field. I know this because the cage was gossiping about it as I was registering.

    4:23 PM: 30k starting stacks with blinds starting at 25/50 and 30 minute levels. I haven’t looked at the actual blind structure, but I imagine it’s at least reasonably stair-stepped.

    First hand at this table is 3-bet preflop and then 3-bet on a flop of J93hh with bets going in on turn and river on a final board of J93hh63h and the hands are KJo and QJo. 🤯

    So very next hand I open 88 and get three callers. I bet 60% on 773cc flop and the guy with KJ the previous hand makes it 900. Yeah, I’m sure. After the display last hand I’m not inclined to do much folding here, so I call and end up calling down on a 773ccK2 runout and he showed me the KTo. Good job, dude.

    He’s on my direct left so this could be annoying. But in my very small sample so far, he appears to be more likely to be a punter than an adept LAG crusher. TBD.

    4:43 PM: Well, this is cool. Really fucking cool. Dude on my right makes it 250 at 50/100, I call with 77, possible punter calls, and so does big blind.

    Flop is 753 rainbow and when it checks to me it seems bad not to bet but I just know the guy on my left is betting, so I check. He bets 800, the big calls, and now the PFR makes it 2200 with about 13k to start with on the flop. I make it 5600, the other two fold, and he jams. I snap.

    He turns over 65 of spades. Turn 4. River 8.

    I also lost with JJ to the speeder when he had AK, so I now have 11,025 left of my 30k starting stack.

    No justice.

    I still have 100+ bigs, so lots of play left, plus I’m willing to fire two bullets in this thing… at least… but wtf. I’ve been playing 30 minutes and I’ve already fumbled a massive punt attempt. So annoying.

    4:56 PM: Raise to 300 and call in front of me. I call with QJ suited and five of us see the Q74 two tone flop. It checks to me and I bet 1000, the possible punter makes it 2500 on the button and it folds back to me. I stuff it in his face and he says, “here’s your double up” and calls with Q9 of clubs which somehow doesn’t beat me.

    Back up to 22.7k.

    I don’t think I want to bust at this table. It seems pretty good.

    5:53 PM: Middle position player limps, I make it 850 at 100/200 with QQ, punter calls, folds to MP and he jams for 17k!

    So this guy is on his second bullet and came to the table saying he lost set under set. I’ve already seen him get picked off once and complain that no one folds at our table. Then a short while later, one player limped in and he just jams 17k on the button.

    So… this jam is super fishy. I debate whether it’s better to fold and not play such a high variance spot when I have so many spewers at my table, but I can’t justify it. I call.

    He tables 99.

    Board runs out 87294.

    Awesome.

    I’m down to like 5500 after that.

    Two hands later, there’s a limp, a raise to 700 and I have AJo. Honestly, jamming 25+ bigs here is a little spew, but I’m not looking to grind out this short stack when I can just rebuy if I bust, so I stuff it in there and the punter behind me, with zero chips invested in this pot, calls it cold. Everyone else folds.

    I say, “well, you can’t call me with worse” as I table my hand.

    He responds, “No, you have me crushed” and tables KJ of clubs.

    QQ7KQ.

    Good fucking game.

    Whew.

    I’m not going to lie. I’m pretty steamed up right now. I have four hours to re-enter and I can sit down with 150 bigs for the next 45+ minutes, but I’m not really sure I want to.

    It’s a damn shame I can’t automatically sit at the same table. That shit was a gold mine.

    I’m going to walk around for about 20 minutes and see if I still want to murder someone.

    6:30 PM: Well, I was wavering on re-entering or not and the deciding factor was this Monster Stack tournament is going to stretch into Thursday if you go super deep.

    As most of you that follow my blog know, I’m not one to target no limit hold’em events. The main reason I came here this week was to play the HORSE and O8 tournaments on Wednesday and Thursday.

    Even though the prize pool for the Monster Stack is going to be substantially larger, I’d rather spend my time playing a mixed event. Plus, I have a way better chance of winning a ring in HORSE.

    So I’m going to play cash tonight.

    I’m currently debating whether I want to play 20/40 at The Bike or check out the 25/50 at Hustler or possibly the 20/40 mixed game at Hollywood Park if that game is running.

    7:42 PM: Sandman and I took an Uber to Hollywood Park Casino. I’m taking a seat in 30/60 Mix with a rotation of Archie, Badeucy, Badugi, 2-7 Triple Draw, Razzdeucy, and Badacey.

    This is probably not going to be a good game to live blog, so I may not be doing any updates for the rest of the night. I shall see. I’m sitting down with $2500.

    8:01 PM: Good start. 3-bet 7542x with a tri (three to a Badugi) in Baduecy and wind up with a pair and no Badugi after three draws. 👍🏻

    8:37 PM: Oh my goodness. The dealer abuse going on in this game is absurd. These guys obviously have very little experience dealing these very non-standard games and they are getting lit up with every mistake. It’s pretty frustrating.

    It’s pretty cool all you pricks know how to play these games, but uh, it might take a few tries for a dealer that’s never dealt a game to figure it out – especially when it goes beyond “deal four cards face down.”

    But… I’m in Inglewood… so I’m just going to sit here quietly. 🤐

    9:30 PM: Sandman sits in the game and one of the players says, “there’s two of you now,” which I think is a statement that we are doppelgängers?

    I’m running pretty below average so far. I’m starting good, holding like 80% of a near nut hand and bricking out in the 5 card games.

    I just had 652Ax with a tri in Badacey and got three callers pre-draw and all three opponents drew three cards each. So I obviously got zero pieces of that one.

    10:24 PM: Here’s a bet I would have lost: Sandman is younger than me. Not just younger than me, but substantially younger than me. Like 7 years. I thought he was my age. Maybe older. The guy doesn’t look a day older than 43 (I’m 36).

    10:59 PM: Sandman and I are in Southern California. He’s wearing an LA Dodgers hat and I’m wearing a Brooklyn Dodgers hat. We are both from Seattle. No one else has Dodgers gear on.

    Go figure.

    Someone brought up the fact we have the same hat on and this somehow led to me blurting out, “I hate the Dodgers,” while wearing their hat… in Inglewood, California.

    Probably not my best idea. I might as well waltz into Fenway with a Boston jersey on and say, “Fuck the Red Sox!”

    I mean… it’s not that bad, but still… not smart.

    11:27 PM: Here’s an Archie hand and let me preface this by saying I have almost zero clue what proper strategy is in this game. You are dealt five cards and there are three draws. You need 6s or better to qualify for high and an 8 or better or qualify for low. It’s a split pot game and you want to scoop.

    One player limps and Sandman raises. I have QQ44x on the button. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do here. It’s a decent high hand but it has little scooping potential.

    I decide to call though.

    They both draw two and I draw one. That seems promising. So I call when Sandman bets and so does the other guy.

    Sandman bets again and I call even though I bricked. So does the other player.

    I make queens full on the second draw and on this street they both check-call me and draw two again.

    It checks to me again after the last draw and I obviously bet. The original limper calls and Sandman folds. I table my hand and it’s a scooper but he looks flustered and turns over… AAA?

    Wait… what? Did he limp in with three aces? Was he drawing to something else and end up making three aces? He drew two on every street, but he never showed any aggression. I’m not going to pretend like I have a good grasp on this game yet, but all of that seems weird to me.

    That was my largest pot of the night so far and I have no clue if it was standard or a punt attempt I got lucky on.

    🤷🏻‍♂️

    11:51 PM: Praise Jesus. 2-7 Triple Draw, I open with 7542x, the button 3-bets, small blind calls, and I cap.

    SB takes two, I take one, and button takes two.

    I pair the 7, but I fire again and we draw 2, 1 and 1.

    I pair the 7 again. Ugh. I still bet and this time I decide to stand pat after the SB draws one. This is called a snow, or in laymen’s terms, a bluff. I’ve seen three 7s already which drastically reduces the strong hands they can make. So I’m standing pat and bluffing, hoping they brick out.

    The button ends up drawing one also and somehow I get two folds when I bet. Phew!

    Sometimes when you can’t ever make your draws at the nuts you just have to pretend like you already have it.

    I don’t know if that’s the greatest snowing spot, trying to fade two one card draws, but it worked!

    2:35 PM: I’m basically done writing for the night but this hand is worth mentioning.

    We are playing Badugi. Sandman opens in front of me, I 3-bet with A73x, and the guy on my left calls 3-bets cold. Sandman caps it.

    Sandman stands pat, I take one, and the guy on my left draws three. THREE!

    That’s all I really wanted to say, but I guess the rest of the hand is pretty interesting.

    Sandman bets after the draw, I call unimproved and so does the third player.

    Pat. One. THREE!

    Sandman leads again, I call unimproved, and the other guy raises! Sandman calls. Eh. Not sure what to do here, but I decide to give it up. I should probably call. When Sandman just calls I’m probably drawing live against him and the other dude has obviously proven to be clueless and spewy in this game.

    They both stand pat and action goes check check on the last round. The guy on my left made a rough ten and Sandman wins with a 9.

    But if I was taking a drink of something I think I would have spit it out all over the table when that guy called three bets cold and then drew three. Holy shit.

    4:07 PM: Not sure if playing that mix was the best use of my time. I finished -$259 in 8 hours of playing games I’m not proficient in. It was fun though. I like playing something different once in a while, but if my goal is to maximize my earn while I’m here… eh. I’m better off playing LHE, PLO, or O8.

    HORSE @ 3 PM tomorrow. I’m good at all those games. Let’s get a RANG.

    h1

    Chinook Winds $600 No Limit Hold’em Main Event (Stack Updates)

    October 27, 2018

    I wasn’t going to blog at all because I’m still sick, but I’ll at least post stack updates here. I might post a hand here and there but I won’t be posting any in depth analysis.

    Starting stacks are 40k with blinds currently at 50/100. Massive amounts of play in this one. Plus there is a $200 add on for 30k more chips if you make it to level 7.

    I’ve already seen a 6x and a 12x (from the cutoff!) open at my table, which is just absurd.

    1:09 PM: A7ss > AA on T7476 in a 42k pot.

    He min-raised my open pre and put minimal pressure on me before I turned the best hand.

    2:09 PM: 64k coming back to 150/300/50.

    2:34 PM: Notables in the field: Tormund, Flexxx, Solomon Grundy, Frankenstein, three Muckleshoot dealers, Kitsap local, Oregon superstar Max Young…

    Twinkie BUSTED

    3:46 PM: 54k after L4.

    Tormund 52k

    Frankenstein 110k

    5:51 PM: 67.6k heading to dinner break. Also made it to the add on period so I paid $200 for another 30k in chips.

    Dark Knight 97.6k

    Frankenstein 200k

    Tormund 60k

    7:13 PM: Huge pot. I get a free play with KT and get the TT5 flop vs QT. We end up putting in like 50k each on the turn. I didn’t love it because that is heaps and the dude was playing tight and scared but I couldn’t discount the fact that he might be overplaying worse tens.

    I was in the big blind and I can have a bunch of weak tens in my range, so I jammed and prayed he had something slightly worse.

    He did. The 2 bricked the river and I now have over 160k.

    8:21 PM:

    Dark Knight 160k

    Frankenstein 97k

    Tormund 40k

    9:00 PM:

    Tormund BUSTED

    Kitsap Player BUSTED

    Solomon Grundy BUSTED

    2 of 3 Muck dealers still in

    9:52 PM:

    Frankenstein BUSTED

    10:12 PM: 184k after 10 levels coming back to 1500/3000. Two more 50 minute levels tonight.

    375 entrants

    268 add-ons

    $242,961 prize pool

    45 players cash

    $1360 to 45th

    $51,022 to 1st

    Board says 224 left, but it said that a long time ago so I’m sure that’s not accurate.

    11:57 PM: Right as TD pauses the clock to announce it’s bagging time, I open 2.5x with 22 bigs on button holding 77 and I’m never folding pre. The big 3-bets to 7 bigs and I jam. She mini-tanks and calls it off with ATss and binks a ten on the river.

    A little bittersweet. I basically busted on the last hand of the day but it could be worse. I could come back tomorrow and play for several hours and still not cash… now I can at least wake up and immediately head back to Tacoma.

    h1

    My Nightmare Week of Poker

    October 22, 2018

    “And it just continues…”

    That’s a quote from Dave Niehaus, long time radio guy for the Seattle Mariners, during their epic run to the playoffs in 1995.

    I swear every time I lose a hand I can hear Niehaus saying that in my head. But it doesn’t have the same good vibes. Not even close.

    I’ll dig a little deeper into what’s going on later, but I have already done some research to see when the last time I had four straight losing sessions of -$450 or worse and I had to go all the way back to January when I was at Commerce and the negative variance drove me away from poker to a day at Disneyland by myself instead.

    So yeah, it’s once or twice a year level downswing going on.

    I know I had a miserable WSOP this year, but tournaments are tournaments – you are going to go through insane cold stretches. Cash games are much more consistent. Plus I did well in the cash games while I was in Vegas and that helped ease the pain.

    I decided to take a break from live blogging in the hopes that I could turn things around by increasing my focus rather than constantly writing between hands. I took notes though so I could post some of the more interesting and critical pots.

    Thursday I went -$82 in 4/8 LHE while waiting for PLO to start.

    We started PLO short-handed so this first hand takes place 6-handed.

    Aggro player opens to 10, I call from the cutoff with KJhh55 and 3 of us go to the flop.

    I flat his 20 lead on the AT5 with two clubs flop. The PFR is overly aggressive so he isn’t heavily waited towards sets here, but I don’t want to play a massive pot with bottom set. If we end up getting a bunch of chips in, it will basically never be a very good thing for me. So I call.

    Turn is an offsuit 7 and now he bets $25 into $70. That’s way too weak not to raise. I make it $80 to go which is pretty small also but I’m sort of gambling here, hoping to keep him in the pot and planning to navigate the river well. He calls.

    No need to worry about tough decisions on the river because a queen gives me the nuts. He check-calls $150 pretty quickly. I have to imagine my set was good but I’m very curious about what he had here. Maybe AQxx?

    Someone makes it $15 and I call from the small blind with AKQT double suited. It’s a hand I can 3-bet with, but my recent studying argues that you should prefer to keep the pot multi-way before the flop, so while I could make a small raise here and probably still get multiple calls, flatting here guarantees everyone will call and reveals almost nothing about my hand strength, so I just call and we do see the flop multi-way.

    The flop is K54 with two diamonds, so I have top pair with the nut flush draw and three good kickers. Sets on this board are unlikely; I’m blocking KK and 55 and 44 shouldn’t be in many hand combos, although some of this guys are absurdly loose. I don’t mind playing a big pot against straight draws or kings up here. I lead out $35 and I’m willing to play for my whole stack here, I think. Crypt Keeper and the worst player at the table call.

    Turn is a jack, so now I have top pair and a MASSIVE draw: a broadway wrap and the nut flush draw. I bet $150 and Crypt Keeper makes it $450. Other dude folds and I started the turn with just over $700 and I’m never folding, so I stuff it in there.

    He immediately hates it. How could he? Let’s examine this situation: there is around $1325 in the pot and it costs him $261 more to call. He’s getting over 5 to 1 to call with a hand he thought was worth raising the turn. He only needs to win about 17% of the time to break even here.

    So obviously he folds. What a gift. Can you even imagine what kind of hand he would take this line with? I haven’t run any sims but I doubt there’s a hand he could possibly do this with that doesn’t have at least 17% against my exact hand.

    Just crazy.

    I call $15 with 6544 double suited (so there are some hands that produce small sets) and it goes multi-way to K84 with two clubs. There are a couple players that have position on me, so I check and it checks around.

    The turn is an ace and a tight player (that wasn’t the PFR) bets $55. I call and so does Crypt Keeper.

    River is a 3 and they both check to me. The flush draw missed and the only straight is 52, so a bet feels pretty mandatory. It’s hard to imagine either of them playing a bigger set this way, but I’ve seen the player that bet the turn make some ridiculously tight river checks, so I do consider knuckling back… but I can’t do it. I bet $100, TCK folds, and the nit calls with KK.

    Sigh.

    Joker makes it $20 after at least one limper and I call on the button with AQ86 with clubs.

    I believe five of us see the T42 with two clubs and a spade flop. I have a naked nut flush draw here, which isn’t much of a hand, but when they all check to me on the button, I bet $80 because it seems unlikely I won’t be able to barrel my way to victory here with this much weakness in front of me. I’m quite surprised to see Joker call. You’d think as the PFR if he had any semblance of a hand he’d probably bet the flop and if he has a draw I know it can’t be much of one. Another player also calls.

    The turn is the 7 of spades, so now I have a double gutter to go with my flush draw. It’s a pretty good card because it gives me extra equity, but it does open up a spade draw. This time I bet $300 when they both check to me. My line makes sense. If I had a good made hand here I would want to charge the max to draw out on me. Joker calls again.

    The river is the 3 of spades, leaving me with ace high. I’m not sure what I would do here if Joker checked it – the backdoor flush and some straights got there – but he decided to lead out for the $300 max. It’s a decent spot to bluff in. How much do I like a set of tens now? Not much. But it doesn’t matter because I have nothing, so I just fold rather than torch $600 trying a potential rebluff.

    Those are the only hands I thought were worthy of sharing, but I was basically ice cold all night long. Even with the $450 gift from The Crypt Keeper I finished -$498 after nearly nine hours of play.

    Friday I was hoping to show up to Palace around 4 and get the 15/30 game off the ground. I ended up getting there around 5 and 15 minutes later I was pulled out of an 8/16 seat because Flea agreed to play 3-handed with Radio Mike and me to help get the 15 game off the ground and hope seats would eventually fill up. There were probably four or five other guys that play 15/30 in the building but none of them like to play short-handed. They’d rather sit in small games than play short-handed for 15 minutes so we can get a bigger game going. It’s honestly pathetic.

    Well, Flea did play with us. For about 30 minutes. I managed a small profit, but Radio Mike was stuck $600 and Flea had basically all of it. So he smacked us for +$600 and then said he wanted to take a break. He disappeared for about 15 minutes and then sat back down and acted like we were all waiting for more people to sit down before we started playing again. No, motherfucker, let’s go. I’m not going to lie. I started lighting him up, saying how I gave up my seat in 8/16 because he said he wanted to play 15/30 with us and now I’m sitting there with my thumb up my ass sixth up on the list instead of playing poker. I was pissed. More so for Radio Mike. If I was the one stuck $600 and he abruptly quit on me like that… man… I can handle bad beats, horrible variance, people being idiots extremely well – at least externally – but stuff like this I cannot abide. It’s a total chickenshit dickhead move. Just when Flea was starting to seem like he might not be a total scumbag, he pulls this move.

    So since we are sitting there and not playing and Palace only has one open table left, The Man brings over a bunch of a blue chips and asks if he can start an 8/16 game. I’m fine with it because we obviously aren’t going to play red chips and no one was filling seats. I just want to play poker. But as soon as Radio Mike and I agree to the 8/16 game, Flea starts saying he wants to keep playing 15/30 and acts like Radio Mike is the reason we aren’t playing anymore.

    Then he says, “fine, I’ll just play Mike (that’s my name) heads up.”

    Yeah fucking right buddy. Sure you will.

    So that 8/16 game got off the ground and I got absolutely pummeled to the tune of -$600 before switching tables twice and making a comeback. The Leak and I had something come up and ended up leaving after only four hours and I somehow managed to finish at -$12 which felt like a miracle and ended my stretch of $450+ losses.

    When you consider -$12 as a turnaround, you know things have been going bad.

    Saturday my motivation was seriously lacking. My plan is to alternate between playing 20/40 O8 at Muckleshoot and 20/40 LHE at Fortune on Saturdays and this past weekend it was time for a Muckleshoot appearance. However, as late as 2 PM there was no one on the list and only a couple players on the list just after 3, so I took the easy route – like I do way too often – and went to Palace in the hopes of playing in the 1/3 no limit hold’em game.

    What I didn’t know was that the game started at 5 PM. I thought as soon as the list got long enough they fired off, so when I got there at 3:15 PM I was informed that it would be almost two hours before that happened. Ugh. So I ended up playing 4/8 for almost two hours. Gross. I won exactly $1.

    Here are some of the notable hands from my NL session:

    Lady opens to $20 and another player flats. I have QQ on the button. I don’t know any of these players well enough to know their tendencies, so I can’t think of many good reasons not to reraise with QQ here. I make it $75 to go and I will not be folding to jams and it would have to take some serious evidence for me to fold after the flop. They both end up calling. I started the hand with less than $300 and they both had less than me.

    Flop is 872 with two diamonds and they both check. There is around $225 in the pot and I have $190 left, so a jam is reasonable here. I’m not sure it’s the most profitable line. I actually can’t make any reasonable bet on the flop without making the turn extremely awkward, so I size very small at $50 hoping to get some action and taking my chances that I might get outdrawn. The lady check-raises to $100 and the other player calls. Woah. Wasn’t expecting that. But as I said earlier, I’m never folding, so now I have a clear jam spot and ship all $190 in and they both call!

    The turn is a diamond (I have the queen of diamonds) and the river is a queen, so I end up with top set. The lady turns over KK and the other guy mucks, but eventually claims he had AA. He never showed his hand to anyone, so who knows. Everyone else at the table seemed to take his word for it, but I find it very hard to believe – especially after his opponents table KK and QQ. Most people are going to show their AA when they get cracked at these stakes, but even more so when KK and QQ are both out in the same hand. Mark me up as a nonbeliever.

    This hand caused quite a stir at the table, with some of the players acting like I just successfully landed on the moon by winning this pot and the lady looking at me like I’m the biggest idiot she’s ever laid eyes on. Meanwhile, I’m sitting there wondering if I’m the only one that’s ever played poker before. What am I supposed to do with QQ on an 872 after getting called in two spots pre with less than a pot-sized bet left after the flop? It’s about as standard as standard gets.

    Don’t worry, folks! Punts incoming.

    It was basically all downhill for me from there. I lost almost every pot I got any resistance in and I doubled barreled with QJ after checking back the flop as the PRF on the 965T2 board. I bet a little less than pot on the river so it stung a bit when I got called by JT.

    And just as they were starting a 15/30 game, this hand came up:

    I open to $10 with A2hh and the player on my left makes it $20 and everyone else folds. I suppose I could play chicken here and repop it but I’m happy to play a flop for such a good price.

    The flop is K32 with one heart. I check and he bets $25. I have enough that I can’t really fold here, but I don’t think my hand plays very well as a check-call. I have bottom pair and every card that isn’t an ace or doesn’t pair the board is going to be an overcard to my hand. I think this is a good hand to bluff with, especially on this board. I have found that attacking king high, disconnected boards is a good strategy in no limit hold’em. Think about what hands he can 3-bet with pre that are happy to call a check-raise on this board. AA, KK, and AK are the top ones. I suppose he can have some KQ and maybe KJ in there. Even hands as strong as QQ are going to have a hard time calling. I think that’s a pretty narrow range of hands that are happy to continue. Meanwhile, I’ve shown that I’m capable of having hands like K2 suited here. I make it $80 to go and he does end up calling.

    I think that weights him towards a pair of kings so I’m planning to give up on the turn when I don’t improve or pick up outs. The turn is the 4 of hearts, giving me a pair and a straight flush draw. The pot has just under $200 in it now and his stack is slightly bigger than that. I put him all in. I think I’m going to get a lot of folds here, maybe even from hands as good as AK, but even when I do get called, I’m going to win the pot around 25% of the time by making two pair or better. He ends up tanking forever and I really think he’s going to end up folding, but he finally calls it off with KQ and the river pairs the 4, so I end up turning an early +$500 start into a -$349 finish.

    The 15/30 game was AMAZING. There were no less than four players having a competition to see who could torch off their chips the fastest and in the most hilarious fashion. It was a total zoo. I won a large pot with KQ on a QJTccXXc runout where I had four opponents on the river and somehow still had the best hand after the flush got there and I won another decent one where I rivered a straight with AK. The rest of my time in this game was pure torture. I loosened up a little in some spots to play pots in position with the spewers, but for the most part my starting hand selection was pretty rigid and basically every time I played a pot I flopped absolutely nothing. When I flopped something as good as a gutshot it felt like I had a set. Not really, but I was just excited to have some piece of the board. I kept getting quality big ace hands (AJ+, ATs+) and all they did was cost me chips. I’d put in four bets before the flop, pay one or two bets to see the turn in a bloated pot when I flopped nothing, and just fold, fold fold folfdlfa=ffold fol! It was brutal.

    Also, this happened:

    Someone sent me that video and I wish they had let roll a little longer because I was seconds away from saying, “uh, I’m not leaving.” Like I’m going to leave $2500+ in an abandoned poker room because someone burnt some toast. Pffffft.

    This hand pretty much defines my week:

    I open with A7dd, there’s a call, Joker 3-bets, spewer caps on the button and we all call.

    Flop is 743 with two spades and one heart. It checks to the button, I raise, one fold, Joker calls two cold, and the button calls.

    Turn is the 9 of hearts. I bet and they both call.

    River is the 7 of hearts. I bet, Joker almost looks like he’s going to raise, but ends up calling and the other guy folds.

    I roll my hand and he rolls the AQ of hearts. I don’t really understand the flat call on the river and when he does call, it makes me think my hand is good, so it felt like a mini-slow roll. It’s pretty obvious the button doesn’t have anything so there’s no reason to go for an overcall. While I’m capable of showing up with sets of 4s and 3s here, I think rivering the nut flush still warrants a raise in this spot. Anyways, it’s pretty sick to flop a 7, make him call two bets cold on the flop, hit another 7, and still find a way to lose to AQ. But that’s my gift lately.

    I finished that 15/30 session at -$674, which put my total losses for the day over $1000.

    So this is what my last 8 days look like now:

    10/12 -$790
    10/13 -$1440
    10/14 OFF
    10/15 OFF
    10/16 OFF
    10/17 -$449
    10/18 -$580
    10/19 -$12
    10/20 -$1022

    -$4293 over an 8 day stretch. I’m not 100% positive about this, but I think that’s my worst week of poker ever, as far as cash games go.

    I’ve been studiously tracking my results since June of 2011 and even though I had a day job until fall of 2016, I’ve basically played full-time hours for 7.5 years now. The worst month I’ve ever had was -$4219 in August of last year. I’ve only eclipsed -$2000 one other time. So that kind of puts this past week in perspective. This last week was worse than the worst month I’ve ever had. That is pretty sick.

    This is what October cash games look like:

    I had a +$2k PLO session earlier this month and I took second in that tournament on Global last Tuesday, so it hasn’t been all bad. I currently sit at -$1100 for the month so I’m not in serious jeopardy of challenging my all-time worst result.

    Also, when I go through stretches like this, it’s important to remind myself of the bigger picture. Here’s what that looks like:

    This brutal stretch is just a little blip on the radar of the poker life.

    I will be headed to Lincoln City, Oregon tomorrow though and I’ll be playing in about $1500 worth of buy ins, so I have a chance to save the month of October or keep piling up the negative results.