Posts Tagged ‘omaha’

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$600 Limit Omaha 8 @ Venetian – Day Two: A Deep Run! (LIVE BLOG)

June 19, 2018

My latest update was Friday after busting the Golden Nugget 8-Game Mix much earlier than I wished. I ended up going back to our house and resting up. It seems weak, but I was harboring a secret.

Saturday I flew back to Seattle and headed to Anacortes for my niece’s graduation/18th birthday party and surprised my whole family by showing up when I had told everyone I wouldn’t be able to make it.

The Leak and I want to have a baby and with potential parenthood somewhere (hopefully) in our near future, I thought this could be the last (and first) time I could stay for the whole WSOP for maybe several years.

I was going to be selfish and not come home for this monumental event in my niece’s life. I justified it by thinking back to when I was her age and how much I cared if my aunts and uncles showed up for any of that stuff. I didn’t and they didn’t.

But I sure felt bad about it and the more I thought about it, the more I realized I had to be there, so I booked a round trip flight and got to spend this special day with my niece and the rest of my family and see my wife for the first time in 2+ weeks!

Congrats to Lexie! You have grown into a wonderful and absurdly mature young woman and I’m sure you will continue to do amazing things in your next phase of life at Portland University!

I was back in Vegas by midnight and Sunday morning I fired in the $1000 No Limit Hold’em Double Stack tournament.

I doubled up early when I opened with AJ of spades and c-bet the 882 two spade flop in a heads up pot. My opponent called. I turned the nut flush with the ten of spades and my opponent raised my 750 bet to 2000. I’m only losing to 88, 22, TT, and maybe T8 suited here so I expect to be winning most of the time here. I called and I was planning to check-call the river, but when he sized at 2500 and I studied him I decided that not only did I probably have the best hand but I was pretty sure he would call a jam also. He did and I was good.

What a great start!

Unfortunately that was my peak and I basically lost every pot I played after that.

Some of the key ones:

Under the gun opens to 350 at 75/150, there’s a flat and I look down at JJ. Kind of hate 3-betting JJ here, but with two players in and the opener only having about 20 bigs to start the hand I am quite happy to get it in against him, so I make it 1500 to go, planning to call a jam.

I did call a jam. But it came from a cold 4-bet all in of 40 big blinds from the small blind. The other two players folded and I was up against KK and failed to catch up.

I had already decided to call a jam when I 3-bet the JJ, but the plan was to call a 20bb jam, not a 40bb jam – that’s quite a difference and the range of hands that cold four from the blinds is much narrower than the ones the 20bb player might stack off with. I am definitely not enough of a NL tourney wizard to know the the definitive response but I suspect it’s closer to a fold than I initially thought. The problem at the time was I could lose 40bb and still have over 100bb and I was willing to flip at that point, if it indeed was a flip.

Alas, that started a pretty steady decline that culminated in a blind vs blind confrontation that saw it fold to me in the small blind and I looked down at AT against a very aggressive player in the big blind. He was super active and 3-betting a lot of hands, so when I raised it up I knew I was stuffing it on him if he 3-bet me. Sure enough he did, so I jammed it. I knew he had less chips than I did and he could easily eyeball my stack and see that that was the case and this prick still asked the dealer to count down my stack and made me wait a good twenty seconds before calling with… POCKET ACES.

What a douche.

I flopped a Broadway gutshot and I was pretty sure karma was going to bring it in but I bricked out and losing these 30 bigs left me with about 6-7 big blinds and I got my last 5.5 bigs in with AK vs 55 and lost the flip.

Just like that I was out in level 5 of a tournament I had doubled up early in. So goes my summer.

That was enough poker for me on Sunday but Tormund ended up making a deep run in the Double Stack, eventually busting in 542nd place for a min-cash.

Yesterday the $600 Limit Omaha 8 tournament at 4 PM at Venetian was my play.

I had nearly double starting stack in level 2 and by level 8 I was messaging The Joker wondering why my momentum seems to fall off a cliff after level 5 in every tournament I play this summer. Pretty much right after I did that things started to turn around for me and I ended up bagging 45.5k and coming back to blinds of 2000/4000 about 30 spots off the money.

I’m sure I have plenty of hands to talk about but this is the only one I’ll mention because it cracked me up.

Someone opens and I 3-bet with A236 all hearts on the button and he just calls. Not too sure about this play but I’m playing and I think playing heads up in position makes more sense than letting the blinds call cheaply, but I really don’t know.

Flop is 532 with two spades. Pretty bad for me, but I do have two pair and the second nut low. I’m getting scooped by A4 but that’s about it. He ends up betting all the way down on 532ssKs8s and I hate it… I hate it a lot… but he turns over AA87 with no spades. What.

I scoop.

Then he proceeds to stare daggers at me for the next several hours and eventually I just start busting out laughing. Like wtf. Is he bluffing on that hand? Using his two aces as blockers to A4… or does he have zero clue? Probably the latter.

Anyways, I bagged 45.5k and started today off extremely active. I’ve been involved in a lot of big pots. My stack peaked at 97.5k and fell all the way down to 25k after I opened AJ83 with hearts and the small blind 3-bet me. I decided to barrel off when I raised the KJ9hh flop and the board bricked me off with a 7 and a 9 and my opponent did not let his AA go. Holy hell. What a torch. Like 20 spots off the money when I was healthy. I mean, I think my line is fine but I need to save the 10k on the river bet. Once he calls the turn and the board pairs, he’s never folding, especially since I’m the one with the nut flush draw.

The next hand I opened AKK6 and a short stack raised me and I put him all in. He had AT53 and the board ran out Q5342. Pretty unreal.

That left me with 25k and I got that all in when the button opened my blind and I 3-bet A732 and bet dark and eventually got it all in on the turn and my aces and deuces with a 73 low was good for a double.

I flopped a full house a few hands later in a multiway pot and that brought me back up to 81.5k and I’m reminding myself not to get fancy and especially not to bluff calling stations.

I have 72k now and there are 35 players left. I am waiting to publish this until we are either in the money or I’m out. It would hurt too much to put the sweat on and then immediately bubble this thing.

Update: I still have 73k and there are 27 players left. We are redrawing for the final three tables and I just eyeballed all the stacks and I see about 5-6 that have 40k or less. It’s gonna be a race to the finish!

I really want to cash this thing just to stop the bleeding but my eyes are on first place. A min-cash in this thing doesn’t help my bottom line out too much. I need to ship it!

Playing in front of the stands (with not one person in them) and we aren’t even in the money yet!

6:22 PM: What a gift. One player limps, a short stack goes all in for 7k, the small blind is also short and calls the 7k and I call 1k more with J843. The four of us see the QT2 flop and everybody checks.

The turn is a 9, giving me the second nuts, while opening up a club flush draw (I have a jack high one). Eliminating players is obviously important but this pot is super critical to my stack so I bet to protect my hand and the limper calls and the small blind calls all in for less.

We do not want to see a club! River: 7 of diamonds! I bet, the limper folds, and my straight is good for everything, busting two players.

I now have 120k and there are 23 left.

6:59 PM: Please, please, PLEASE don’t. We are still at 23 and the collapse is on.

Folds to me in small blind, I raise AQ82 with spades. I double barrel J64ssK4 and check-fold river and he flashes me two jacks. Could have been worse, I guess.

Very next hand, someone opens and I 3-bet AAK5 with a suit on the button. I bet flop and then check down when the board runs out Q5267 and get scooped by A962.

Down to 72k.

7:10 PM: Without actually standing up and checking out all the stacks, I can see three people shorter than me, so I definitely have life here.

Sigh. And one of them just doubled as I typed this. Ugh.

7:19 PM: Whew. What a relief. We are in the money! I’m still in bad shape, so super happy to sneak in. Now I’m publishing and hopefully can start some run pure.

Let’s. Go.

7:28 PM: First hand after bubble bursts I post my big blind at 5k/10k with 60k to start. One player and SB limp, I check QT98 double suited.

Flop is A85 all hearts. I bet my queen high flush and only the limper calls.

Turn pairs the 5, I bet and he calls.

4 on river. I’m all in for less than a big bet, he calls and shows 5433 and his rivered boat sends me to the rail.

21st for $1200ish.

Wonderful. Published for five minutes and the sweat is over.

A bubble may have crushed my soul, so I guess I’m somewhat happy to cash something but this could have gone so much different. I could have saved 15k on that AJhh vs AA hand – or, God forbid, binked a heart or a straight for a huge scoop. Getting scooped back-to-back when I has AQ82 heads up vs the blind and AA5x heads up on the button absolutely derailed me.

FUCK!

My wife will be landing at midnight tonight and both of us will be playing the $1500 Limit Hold’em event at the WSOP tomorrow at 11 AM. It’s my best game and a tournament I have cashed two years in a row and plan on winning a bracelet in some day. Friday?

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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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Aria $470 Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8/Better (Live Blog)

June 2, 2018

So yesterday I didn’t have much of a plan and around 3-4 PM The Leak and I decided we were going to play cash games at Bellagio, but I dropped her off at the B and then parked our car at Planet Hollywood to skim on parking costs.

She informed me that the $20/$40 Limit Hold’em list was almost 25 deep and since I was walking through Planet Hollywood I decided to check out the $300 Triple Draw Mix (Badugi, 2-7, A-5) tournament I thought about playing. Well, it was 4.5 hours deep, but registration was still open and I could sit down with 15 bigs. Plus, I spotted Kevin Gerhart, a Run It Up warrior, in the field and asked him if he had less than the starting stack. He said “yes” and I thought, Hell, if this guy still thinks he has a shot, I might as well take one.

I actually managed to win some pots to start off on the right track, getting my 15k up over 30k but I lost a critical 2-7 hand that I never recovered from.

In the hand in question, I opened drawing one to a smooth 8 and a player I thought was capable called my raise and then patted after the first draw. I picked up on something that made me think he was snowing and when I made a pair of 8s after the last draw and he still bet, I gave serious thought to check-raising, but didn’t pull the trigger. He tabled a pair of 6s after I folded.

Sigh. That’s what I call having really good poker sense but not enough experience to know how to capitalize on it in a variant I’m not super familiar with.

I ended up busting in 17th or 18th place which was about ten spots off the money in what was a pretty small field of less than 70 runners.

Then I headed to Bellagio and immediately got a seat in a $40/$80 Limit Hold’em game. For those that follow my blog closely, you will know that I’ve only played a game this big once in my life and it was an utter disaster at Commerce back in January this year.

I suppose this session went better, but the game I was in wasn’t great most of the time. I played a little less than six hours and started off poorly down over a rack immediately and then around even for the rest of the time.

I did briefly play with Humberto “the shark is hungry” Brenes and Chau Giang, a former nose bleed stakes regular and likely future Hall of Famer, for an extended period of time, although he spent a lot of time out of his seat.

I would have booked a small win but I made a time game mistake. With the dealer push coming up in a few minutes, I posted my big blind knowing I wasn’t going to pay for the next half hour. Since I wasn’t going to finish the orbit I was about to pay the blinds for without paying more time, I should have just left right then.

Instead, I posted my big blind and my good friend The Crypt Keeper (whom hasn’t made a blog appearance in forever) raised under the gun and I defended with JTo.

I check-called the T9x flop, knowing his UTG opening range is weighted towards extremely strong hands and then I check-raised the turn when I made top two pair. He thought for a bit and then called.

The river was a king, which is an amazing card for his continuing range. I’m basically only beating AA and an optimistic line with AK at this point. Maybe AJ. No value in betting here and I can actually probably even check-fold against The Crypt Keeper because his bluff frequency is close to zero. I call though because that’s what you’re supposed to do and he shows me QQ for a straight.

I posted my small blind and played my button before the dealer change and then couldn’t take any more hands because I wasn’t paying time.

So I donated $360 to my buddy on a hand I shouldn’t have even let myself be dealt in on and that was the difference between a win and a loss yesterday.

-$230 in 5.5 hours which drastically increases my lifetime $40/$80 win rate to -$328/hour.

My plan was to play this Aria tournament today but we got in pretty late last night so I had to force myself out of bed and I did take my sweet time getting here.

I sat down about an hour after it started, but the structure is super deep and good, so still massive amounts of play.

Starting stacks are 20k and blinds were 100/200 when I sat down.

Blinds are now 150/300 and I have a little less than 22k with no super interesting hands of note yet. I recognize three players at my table, including a bald guy rocking a mullet – a look I would strongly recommend to Radio Mike if he’s reading this – but nobody I know by name.

Finally, some shoutouts before I publish:

-Snowflake got a nice cash (48th) in the $1500 O8 and The Sandman min-cashed it.

-Tormund hit and ran the shit out of Johnny Chan and Robert Mizrachi last night, sitting down in a big mix game during the Big O portion and won a roughly $5k pot and then immediately left when the game switched. LOL. I bet they were PISSED.

-Trey (or Goatluv), a dealer from Fortune made a deep run (46th) in the WSOP Casino Employee event.

-Hal, a floorman from Palace is deep in the $600 Venetian No Limit Hold’em Deep Stack Event. He reported that there are about 230 runners left out of a starting field of about 1600 and 154 spots pay. Looks like he’s starting Day 2 with about 30 bigs, which isn’t a big stack, but definitely workable. Good luck, Hal!

-Pacific Northwest Omaha superstar Kate Hoang is doing what Kate does: crush Omaha tournaments at the World Series of Poker. She is still alive with 36 left in the $1500 O8 and her stack looks to be about middle of the pack to start Day 3. Good luck, Kate!

Also – and I’m sure Kate will appreciate this 😳 – I spotted this gem of a thread on Facebook with 400+ comments of guys drooling over her.

1:21 PM: Today is a sad day. The Leak is leaving me for Washington and we won’t be seeing each other for the longest period of time since we first started seeing each other over six years ago.

I am going to miss her terribly and I can’t say enough what an amazing support system she is for me and my poker career. It takes a special person to let their husband disappear to Vegas for six weeks and grind poker tournaments while she’s at home and working. I try not to lose sight of the fact that I play a game for a living and I really do appreciate my wife letting me pursue this dream of mine.

I love you so much honey. I will try my hardest to make this time apart worth it!

1:31 PM: So I thought Bellagio had some pretty ridiculous MLB World Series futures, but when I was registering for this tournament in the Aria sports book I saw something that blew my mind.

They have the Mets at 10-1 to win the World Series and the Braves at 40-1.

Holy shit.

The Mets are a game below .500 with their ace on the disabled list and the Braves are in first place in the NL East and look like a much stronger team with a very good farm system that can help the big league club via promotions or as trade chips for someone like, I dunno, Manny Machado.

This line is stupid. I can’t comprehend what they are thinking.

I fired $100 on the Braves and $50 on the Mariners at 50-1.

🔥🔥💵🔥🔥

1:58 PM: Aria has the stream of the $3k Shootout on a TV and former Main Event champs Joe Cada and Joe McKeehan are at a final table full of sunglasses. Uhm. I like their chances.

2:08 PM: Just got word from Hal that he busted the Venetian tourney in 151st for a nice little cash to start his trip out. Congrats! Seat open at Aria, buddy!

2:17 PM: Wonderful. One opener at 300/500 blinds and I defend KKQ3 one suit and check-call on the K52 rainbow flop. Turn pairs the 5 and I get a check-raise in. River is an ace.

Sigh. What a horrible card. The low gets there and AA improves. I think for a while and maybe I make a mistake: I bet. I was thinking it’s pretty easy for him to have a hand he can call with that has a counterfeit low and my bet really only stings when he shows up with exactly AA. Of course that’s what he has though.

Actually it’s worse. He has AAT9. He doesn’t even have a low draw and the only way he can get any piece of this pot is with an ace. Ugh.

Momentum still evades me on this trip so far. Back to starting stack.

2:58 PM: Last hand before break I open from the cutoff with Q532 one suit. Big blind defends and donks on 986 two spade flop. I have good draws heads up in both directions but I elect to go with a call on this board texture. Turn is 7 of spades, giving me the third best low and a queen high flush. He bets, I raise, and he calls. River is my nut card: an offsuit ace. I now have a big flush and the nut low and he check-calls and I scoop a nice pot.

27.7k heading to 400/800 blinds.

3:22 PM: Unfortunate connection against the big blind. I have AT83 on QJ9 vs KTxx. On the bright side, I raised flop and checked back turn before calling on river. Back to starting stack.

3:29 PM: Registration is closed. 144 entrants. 126 left. $17.5k for 1st!

4:02 PM: Had a big connection with AK93 from the small blind. Limped pot and I lead out on 652 two diamond flop and two players call me. I have the nut low with a king high flush draw, so… loving this situation.

Turn is an offsuit 8 and things get funky. I bet and both players raise. I’m not really sure how to react to this, but I’m definitely not folding. I do feel like I can be getting quartered a lot of the time, even when I make my flush, but I still have a pretty robust hand.

Here’s a surprise: the river is the ace of diamonds. Okay, so I guess I had the nut flush draw. I also have a live three but that’s probably not a scoop card. Still, I should lead here because I’m guaranteed half and check-raising is dumb. I bet and only the button calls. He has 6432 for the nut low and the other guy claims to have had 74 in his hand.

This was a decent half pot but I chipped back down right away when I decided to give up my AJ54 when I paired my 5 on A925 rainbow board against a player that bet/3-bet the flop. She showed AA when I folded.

20.4k

Side note: the tournament area is not in the poker room, but out near the slots and cigarette smoke keeps wafting up my nostrils. So fucking disgusting. Can we please make this garbage illegal already? Yes, wishful thinking in a casino environment but breathing second hand smoke has to be my number one pet peeve.

4:20 PM: Sometimes you have to go gangster on them. One player limps, the button raises, and I make a very borderline defend with 7763 one suit.

Flop is KKJ two clubs and the button bets when it’s checked to him. I decide to raise as a bluff with my club draw as the remotest of backups if I get action. I think this is a good board to attack on and my hand is pretty worthless, so I can happily let it go if I get raised at any point. He calls.

Turn is the queen of clubs and he calls again when I bet my flush.

River is a blank and while I’m happy I haven’t been raised, my hand is not good enough to bet for value. I check and I’m probably going to call if he bets, but he checks back and my flush is good.

He is not happy.

Just switched to a new table and I only know one player. They call him Taxi. I chopped the Golden Nugget 8-Game Mix with him in 2016.

Peaking at 31.2k and coming back to 1000/1500 blinds after a break in a few minutes.

4:30 PM: Dealer in the box at my new table just interrupted a conversation about the outrageous rake (15%) in these tournaments and claimed that very few casinos in Las Vegas actually make money and a direct quote about Aria specifically: “this casino is so far in the hole it’s not even funny.”

Wouldn’t that be something?

5:14 PM: Kate Hoang update: she just took the chip lead with 21 left. Holy shit!

Meanwhile I’m peaking at 38.5k.

6:08 PM: Pretty unfortunate run out here: I have AK63 on 642TJ vs AK3J with a third player calling down with A852. Had a pretty good handle on 3/4 of that one and it slipped away on the river.

Just opened A754 from hi-jack and had to give up on QJ33K when I missed my flush draw and checked back the turn.

24k coming back to 2000/3000 blinds.

Blah.

6:54 PM: With the blinds at 2000/3000 I open with AJT2 with a suit and someone 3-bets me. I start the hand with 21k so I consider capping it, but I supposed there are flops I can give up on and preserve chips. I call.

Flop is KT3 and I check-call with my pair, gut shot and back door nut low draw.

Turn is a 6 and with only 9k left and multiple decent draws, I go ahead and get it all in there. He calls and tables AAK7.

River 9. Good game.

That bust out was with about 50 players left and makes three straight events where I never had much momentum.

On to the next one.

Headed to the Rio after that to sweat Kate a little and possibly play some cash games. Kate is currently third in chips with 15 players left.

8:28 PM: Sitting down in a $20/$40 Omaha Hi-Lo cash game with Tormund.

I believe Kate just final tabled the $1500 O8 event. I just got a notification that it will be streaming on Twitch. I will be tuning in.

False alarm: they are streaming the $100k High Roller on Twitch.

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Pot Limit Omaha – Where Nobody Knows What They’re Doing

January 13, 2018

The PLO game at Palace on Wednesdays has $1/$3 blind structure but it is $5 to come in, so it plays more like a $2/$5 game. The max buy in is $1000. My strategy when I initially sit down is to buy $500 in green and red chips and keep $1500 in black chips in my pocket. I like to start with a shorter stack while I get a feel for how the game is playing and see what the other stacks look like after a few orbits. If some of that action players double up or max buy, I will top off myself, unless I’ve already doubled up. Also, Washington state law has a cap at a bet and three raises and the max bet in Washington is $300, so while the game is pot limit, it does have some restrictions.

I don’t think I’m an expert PLO player. Shoot, I don’t even think I’m proficient – I think I would struggle in a lineup full of competent players. Fortunately, the typical Palace lineup is ultra juicy and I’ve been able to murder this game even though I don’t think I’m particularly good. I make some really dumb mistakes at times and in the interest of authenticity, I will usually post those hands.

Session 1 – January 3rd, 2018

I limp along on the button with TT95 double suited. This is a pretty poor hand. I’m only playing it because there are people in the pot I want to gamble with and it’s $5 to call. I’m definitely not looking to play a big pot with a flush. The flop comes down T96 rainbow, giving me top set and a backdoor flush draw. One of the limpers leads out for $20 – which is probably near pot – I call and so does the small blind. The turn is the Qc, giving me a flush draw to go with my set and both players check to me. I think this is a good spot to bet in a typical PLO game, but the thing I love about the Palace game is that these guys are simply incapable of folding. I really think the flop bettor has 87 and I don’t think he’s going to fold it, so I decide to check back and see a free river. I brick, the flop bettor makes it $45, I fold, the small blind calls and the bettor wins with 87xx.

I raise in MP with AQT2 double suited and four of us see the KT9 two spade flop. I have no spades in my hand and this board is super wet, so I check and it checks around. The turn is the As and it checks to me again. I only have one player to act behind me and I would imagine he would bet his straights and good flush draws, the two players in front of me have checked twice, so I bet $60 and wind up taking it down. Not too interesting except I’m surprised to get zero resistance on this board.

Someone makes it $15, His Airness (one of my all-time favorites) calls and so does the other action player. I call with KK73ss on the button and 5 of us see a flop of 954 with one spade. It checks around. The turn is the 6 of spades, giving me the second nuts and a king high flush draw. His Airness leads out $60, it folds to me, I make it $140, it folds to him, he makes it $280, and I call. The river brings my flush in, he makes a blocker bet of $80 and I make it $260, worried that I might lose him if I go for max value. He calls and my flush is good.

I can’t remember who my opponent was in this hand, but I wish I did because it’s a classic. I forgot to note where I am in this hand, but I’m guessing I was in one of the blinds. I call $20 with JTss88. Four of us see the flop and I lead $50 on T96 rainbow. One player calls me and I bet $130 on the 2 of club turn. He calls. The river is the Qc, giving me a straight, but completing a backdoor flush. I decide to check and pick off bluffs or misguided value bets. He bets $205. I call. He shows… Ac7cK7.

A player I will refer to as Slimer (for reasons that need not be mentioned) makes it $15 blind from UTG, His Airness calls, I make it $50 with QcJcJs9s from middle position and both of them call. The flop is Tc8cXs and it checks to me. I have a wrap, straight flush draw, and an overpair, so I bet $100. Only His Airness calls and then he donks $120 when the ten pairs on the turn. I’m not buying it. I make it $420 and he folds 7c6c face up. 9 of clubs on the turn one time?! I wrote these notes a week ago, so I don’t remember all the particulars. I’m sitting here typing this and wondering if raising the turn is really my best line, but I’m guessing the stacks were shallow enough that I determined I was willing to play for everything and didn’t want to do any guessing on the river.

This was a totally insane hand. I didn’t choose to write about it because I was in the pot, but because of how crazy it was and some of the questions it raises. Someone makes it $10, the pot is already mulitway, and I call with AJ75 with a suited ace on the button. The flop comes down 432 rainbow giving me the second nuts with a redraw to the nut straight and a backdoor nut flush draw. It checks to the player on my right and he bets $35. I call, Pay-Off Pete calls in the small blind, and now the big blind makes it $235. It folds to the flop bettor and he makes it $535 ($300 max bet in play now). I snap muck and it folds back to Peter. In a shocking development, Peter makes it $835 and the flop betting is now capped. The other two players both call. The turn is the 8h, Peter goes all in for $202 and both players call again. The river pairs the 8 and the big blind bets $300 and the other player calls. The main pot has ~$3200 in it and the whole pot is now $4000! The big blind scoops it all with 44xx. He flopped a naked set of 4s and turned a flush draw before filling up on the river. Peter and the other player both had 65xx with no redraws.

Just bonkers. The big blind had the opportunity to close the action on the flop for $35 with two possible straights on board and three players invested in front of him already. Instead, he raised with the 4th best hand on the flop (granted, I’d rather have his hand than mine) and wound up having to pay $800 more to see the turn! And over $1000 total before he finally made the best hand. Just sick.

And I think Peter should have folded on the flop, as played. He opted to check-call with the nuts originally to avoid a high variance line before seeing the turn and by the time it came back to him it was $535 to go and it was obvious that at least one – if not both – of his opponents had the same hand he did. And while he had a pair of 4s with his straight, he had no actual redraws. He had $45 invested at this point and had to risk over $1000 to win, at best, half of what was in the pot – with basically no chance to win it all. There is just no way that’s a profitable play. Sometimes you flop the nuts in PLO and the best play is folding.

We are playing 4-handed at this point, Peter limps in, I limp on the button with KQ93dd, one of the blinds makes it $15 and everyone calls. The flop is AJT with two diamonds giving me the nut straight and the nut flush draw. It checks to me, I bet $25, and only Peter calls. The turn is a king and I bomb it because I want to charge Peter the max if he turned a straight and I’m freerolling. The river bricks though and he leads pot, I go all in, etc. and he escaped with half the pot with his ugly QTxx or whatever he had… all I remember is that it was super gross!

I ended up finishing this session +$1380

Session 2 – January 10th, 2018

This session had all the potential to be my biggest losing session in any game ever.

In my first disaster hand, Action Bronson limps, another action player limps, a good player makes it $25, and I call with AKJ5 with a suited ace. Five of us see the QT5 rainbow flop. I have bottom pair, a broadway wrap, and the backdoor nut flush draw. Action Bronson pots it for $125 and it folds to me. I’m only $600ish deep at this point, so I make it $425 to commit, he puts me all in. He has KJT9 which is actually a big favorite over my hand. I just ran the odds and he’s 50% to scoop and 23% to tie, which means my scooping chances are only 27% (and I did this calculation assuming has no backdoor flush draw). So I actually got it in pretty bad here and wound up getting stacked.

This is right after that last hand, so I’m on a fresh reload and reconsidering my approach. I don’t 3-bet in this game a lot, but by this point, it’s clear to me that the good player is constantly trying to isolate Action Bronson and the other active player and doesn’t necessarily have great hands when he’s doing this. So when Action Bronson limps and this guy makes it $20 again and another player calls, I decide to 3-bet with AQQ5 double suited to $85. Action Bronson folds, but the last two players call. The flop is T32 rainbow and since there is over $250 in the pot and I started the hand with $500ish and the board is super dry, I just bomb it to commit myself. They both fold. Eh. Maybe not the right line of thinking on the flop. The board is super dry, so a pot-sized bet is kind of ridiculous, as I’m only likely to get action from hands that flopped sets or big straight draws. I suppose I was just happy to take the pot down right there and not have to do any guessing on future streets, but I’m not sure it’s the right approach.

Active player (a major regular – I just haven’t thought of a good name yet) felted a hand or two ago and reloaded for $200 in red and opens to $15, the good player tries to isolate from the button to $35, the small blind calls, and I defend JJT7 double suited from the big blind. The flop comes down T85 giving me an overpair, a bad gutshot, and two backdoor flush draws. The active player leads out for $50 and the good player just calls. It folds to me. Since the good player is just calling here, I don’t expect him to have a hand that can stand a raise and the active player could literally have plenty of hands I’m doing well against and started with $200 and only has $115 behind now, so I decide to make it $225 expecting to get all in with the active player in a heads up situation. It almost goes to plan. The good player does fold… after the active player calls with $200 in green chips that he had hiding behind his stacks of red! So now I’m playing against a $400 effective stack instead of a $200 effective stack! Turn pairs the 5 and gives me a flush draw, so I put him all in and he calls me with… JJT7! The exact same hand! Minus a flush draw. I miss my freeroll and we chop the pot up. I had told this player last week that he needed to keep his big chips visible at all times so I now take this opportunity to give him a friendly remind of why he’s supposed to do that.

I call $15 on the button with JTT8 double suited and it checks to me on the JT6 all club flop. I don’t have clubs, but I do have a set and I like the fact that everyone checked to me. I bet $50 so I’m guessing there were four or five of us that saw the flop. I get called in two spots. One of the players is a bad LHE player that I’ve never seen play PLO and the other guy is a PLO reg that I don’t expect to have a big hand here. The turn is an 8 and now the second player leads out for $50. I thought they both might have weak flushes on the flop and now that one of them has checked twice and the other is making a very weak bet, I decide to put the pressure on with a raise to $250. It feels like a stroke of genius until the first player goes all in for $519 and now I’m sitting there wondering how I can possibly be so bad at this game. The second player folds and it’s back on me. I ended up trying to do some math while at the table, but I have to admit it’s not a strong suit of mine. I ended up calling it off, but I’m almost sure this is a fold. I’m blocking my outs pretty hard, having both a ten and an 8 in my hand. I’ll do the math now though. I will assume there was $75 in the pot preflop, $150 more on the flop, $300 plus $519 on the turn for $1044 total and it costs me $269 more to call. I’m getting roughly 3.88 to 1 to call and I have 8 total outs (the third player in this pot actually folded 66, so I’m in much worse shape than I think). I need 5 to 1 to call, so I’m coming up short. He always has the nut flush here and I’m not getting the right price. If all my outs were clean, calling is close enough to correct that it would be fine to continue, although finding myself in this predicament at all seems like pretty poor hand planning. I called it off and whiffed. I think my line of thinking on the turn is reasonable, but I had played less than an orbit with this guy and I really have no clue what his tendencies are. You just don’t see someone flop the nut flush in a multiway pot and check it twice very often in PLO. Oh well. Lesson learned.

Another disaster hand: I didn’t write details for this hand, but I can paint a picture. I have KQJ9 with a suited king and I believe I 3-bet this hand preflop. The flop was 953 with two spades, giving me top pair with three overcard kickers and a king high flush draw, and I made a bet of probably 60-75% pot and only the player on my right called. The turn was an offsuit 6 and I decided to bet again and he check-raised me $300 more. I called it off and we both checked when the 3 paired on the river. He shows A42x with no spades.

I’m running pretty pure at this point and find myself in the game for $2000 and I have $150 of it left in front of me. I did buy another $1000 in black chips, but they are still in my pocket, but I haven’t put any of them on the table yet because I’m unsure if I’m really willing to lose $3000.

I end up finding a spot to 3-bet with AKT7 from the small blind and commit myself before the flop in a 3-handed pot. I bet the rest of it in the dark and manage to go runner runner flush with the T7 in my hand to triple up.

I eventually build that $150 stack up to $1450, without reloading, before my next catastrophe.

I have AA54 with a suited ace and I decide to limp in UTG. A 3-bet in this game is super rare, so if I make it $15 UTG what will usually happen is I’ll be playing out of position in a 5- or 6-way pot. So by limping this hand (and I have a limping range in this game), I might have an opportunity to make a big 3-bet if someone else raises. The next player to act makes it $20 and he picks up two callers. I can only make it $100 and I feel like all three players are going to call and my hand will be kind of face up, so I just call. The flop is K32 with one spade. The PFR has never played PLO before, so I expect him to c-bet his entire range here – he does. The other two players fold and I am very happy to play for stacks (~$400 effective at hand start), so I pot it and we end up getting it in. Unfortunately he has KK in his hand and I whiff everything even though I turn a spade draw as well.

This was the last hand of the night. I’ve built back up at this point and I open with KK66 double suited. I get some callers and the big blind makes it $70. I call and so do the others. The flop comes down T82 with two spades and one club and it checks around. The turn pairs the deuce and gives me a flush draw and it checks to me. I bet about 70% pot and it folds back to the big blind. After 3-betting pre and checking twice postflop, he now decides to pot. He had around $600 to start the hand and his line doesn’t really make any sense, so I don’t see any way I can consider folding here. After his pot-sized raise, there’s not enough left behind for decision-making, so I put him all in. He calls and the river doesn’t change the board texture. He tables AsJs9X and my KK is good. So he flopped the nut flush draw and an open-ended straight draw in a bloated pot and decided to check on the flop… and it cost him the pot. And his stack. I would have folded to any reasonable bet on the flop.

Thanks to that last hand I managed to finish the night -$111 after being stuck $1850 at one point. Felt like a huge win for me. I realize some of these hands are pretty unconventional, but I’m constantly playing this game with inexperienced players with questionable card sense. I would play much tighter and take different lines against a lineup of competent players, but the money just splashes around so fast in this game, I feel like I have to try to get it while it’s there. It’s pretty rare for the PLO game to last more than four hours and it’s not uncommon for someone to double up and leave after playing for less than an hour. I can’t really say that I know what I’m doing but I think I make good adjustments in this game texture and my results in it have been tremendous.

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$1/$3 PLO Session @ Palace

October 12, 2017

I always have blog ideas running through my head and I don’t always execute them, but my poker blogs are almost always my most popular ones and I’ve been thinking of ways to write about poker that is interesting to read and isn’t too time-consuming for myself. Sometimes I will write about a whole tournament series I play and it takes me like a week to write it and I imagine it can be exhausting to read. So I had the idea of writing about my day-to-day sessions and just noting the biggest and most interesting pots I played. I don’t know if this will be a continuing trend or not – or if it’s even going to be entertaining – but I’m curious to see what kind of response it gets.

So yesterday I went to the Palace in Lakewood without much of a plan of what I was going to play. When I got in the shower around 3:30 PM there was a full $6/$12 Omaha 8 or better game with 6 people on the list and that looked promising enough. This a new game to the Palace spread and I hadn’t played it yet, so I was pretty happy to see that it was going strong and that I was going to be able to get some playing time in.

When I arrived at the Palace around 4:15 however, the $6/$12 O8 game was 5-handed and within seven minutes of me sitting down two players busted and another one left and then the game broke when one of the three remaining players took a $4/$8 hold em seat. I don’t know if the earlier list was misleading or not – or if my timeline is a bit off – but the game went from 9 seated players with 6 waiting to dead in roughly an hour. I played about two short-handed orbits and lost $2 before having to move on to other things.

When I arrived I had put my name up for the $1/$3 PLO game starting at 6 PM and for $8/$16 hold em, which is my main game. I got a seat in the second $8/$16 game around 4:50 PM and kept my name up for PLO, not really sure if I was going to play or not. There were like 20 players on the list and I wasn’t one of the first 9, so I would be making my decision based on who was playing and how long I had to wait to get in.

I’ve been reading Tommy Angelo’s Painless Poker the last few days and in an effort to refocus myself at the table, I set some new goals for my session. First off, I set a timer to take a break every hour. It’s seriously important to get up from the table at least once every two hours or so and walk around a little bit and take your mind off the game – even if it’s just for a few minutes. I chose 60 minutes because of my second goal for the night: to not be distracted by my phone while I was playing. Set timer, put phone away, and don’t look at it again until the timer went off. It was obviously easier to remember hands for one hour than it would be to remember them for two hours. And my last goal for the session was to look left for playing and folding tells on the opponents with immediate position on me. This is such an underrated observation and I can admit I don’t use it often enough. Last night I got crystal clear tells on the two players to my left and I always knew if they were going to play or not based on what they did after they looked at their cards. This is pretty important when you’re thinking about limping behind with a marginal hand from the hi jack or cut off or isolating a weak limper by raising when you’re not the button. For instance, a weak player with a wide limping range called from middle position and I was in the hi jack seat. I saw that the button was planning to play his hand and I looked down at AJ offsuit. This is a clear raise, regardless, but had I looked down at sometime like QT off, I would have elected to just fold. The button ended up 3-betting me and I check-folded when I bricked the flop.

I only played $8/$16 for about 90 minutes, so I didn’t have a lot of interesting hands, but these were my key pots for the session:

-Several limpers, I raise A9 of clubs from the small blind. Flop comes King high with two clubs and I have a clear lead for value with my nut flush draw and I get three callers. The turn bricks me and I elect to check-call now since I feel I don’t think I’m getting many folds and there is not enough players to bet my draw for value. The river is a 4 of clubs and I lead out, the turn bettor calls, and last position raises. I make it three bets and get paid off by the last player and win my first sizable pot of the night.

-I complete 95dd from the SB after a few limpers and check-raise the 975 flop. Heads up to the 2 on the turn, I bet and he calls. The river is an 8, which isn’t ideal, but I feel confident that he has a 9 with a decent kicker and while he could have 98, he will never raise the river with it. It’s possible that he could have 76 suited or JT, but this is a player that I can snap-fold the river to if I get raised and his body language and timing is in total pay off mode, so this is an easy value bet and my hand is good.

-After taking a break, I post in late position and get the 93 offsuit, a player limps, a good player raises, and I’m never folding for one more bet after posting in the cutoff, so I call and four or five of us see the 954 flop. The player from the previous hand donks out, the good player just flats (which is never a made hand), and I call. The flop bettor is very straight forward, so I feel my hand is never good here, but the pot is too big to fold just yet. The turn card is a 7, which may give me additional straight outs and I call a bet after the preflop raiser folds. The river is a 3, giving me two pair, and he bets again. This is kind of an interesting spot and I took some time thinking about it. This player doesn’t strike me as the kind that will bet the river when the one card straight gets there, if he doesn’t have it, so I didn’t think I could raise. At the same time, I couldn’t really come up with any hands he would take this line with that have a six in them. Confused, I decided to just call and I won the pot after he showed 54 suited. And of course, I look like a maniac because by the time the hand ends no one remembers that I posted, but they will remember that I called a raise with 93 offsuit and I’m okay with that.

I finished my $8/$16 session up $261 and moved on to PLO around 6:10 PM after a number of people didn’t show and I got a spot in the starting lineup, which looked irresistibly juicy to me.

I actually created this game. Well, sort of. I really felt like the entire Seattle and Tacoma area was missing out by not spreading a PLO game anywhere. I think they spread it in Tulalip and maybe at Snoqualmie, but those are two casinos that I never go to and I think the PLO games there play big. So an entry level PLO game was entirely missing from the greater Seattle area. My idea was to spread a $1/$2 game with a $300 max buy in. It seemed like it would be very popular and stakes people could stomach while trying to learn the game. Well, I got the Palace to spread PLO, but they made it a $1/$3 blind game with a $5 bring in and $500 max buy in. So the blinds were in the realm of what I was going for, but because of the $5 bring in, the game was going to play about 2.5x bigger than what I had in mind. In other words, this is no entry level game and it probably wasn’t going to attract any $4/$8 hold em players. And honestly, it’s bigger than I’m comfortable playing. If it attracted mostly solid players with more experience than me, I probably would never play it, but fortunately it tends to be pretty soft and even some of the more experienced players seem to make what appear to me to be clear, massive errors.

As I’ve said, I’m no PLO expert. I have less than 15 sessions of live play lifetime, so I will make mistakes in the hands I share. I’m still in the early stages of learning and I tend to play a very passive, low variance game. For instance, I’m not apt to 3-bet many hands, especially when I’m out of position, because the players in this game just don’t fold. That may seem like a good argument for 3-betting very good hands, but since I lack experience, I’d rather navigate smaller pots with a bigger edge after the flop than bloating them preflop when I’m not a huge favorite against a wide range of holdings.

-My first key pot was entirely exploitive. A very loose and active player opened to $10, there were some callers, and I called with 9764 single suited on the button – a very marginal holding, but my goal is to play as many pots in position against this player as I can. I got a very sexy 532 rainbow flop and I ended up stacking the preflop raiser for about $400 when he slow played his flopped wheel and check-raised me on the turn.

-My next interesting hand came up when I limped the small blind in a 6-way pot with AKT6 with the AK of hearts. The flop was QTT with two clubs and a heart and I led out for $15, which was about half pot. One player called and the button made it $40 to go. I don’t love this spot because he should have QT a lot, but it’s way too early to consider a fold yet and I have nut kickers with my ten, so I call. The turn brought the Jack of hearts, giving me a straight and a Royal Flush draw and I check-called a bet of $100. The river was a K and I decided to lead out for $175 fearing he might check back and got snap-called by… AT42, no clubs! Yes, this game is pretty soft, folks!

-I got another cheap flop from the blinds with K754 and led out for $15 on the K77 with two hearts flop. I got called in a couple spots and decided to turn my hand into a bluff catcher when the Ah hit the turn. I check-called $75 on the turn – heads up now – and then $100 on a blank river and lost to AK7X. Pretty unfortunate situation, but I felt like I lost the minimum, especially with his river sizing.

-Here’s a bad play that worked out well. I decided to limp in with the ATss62dd, which is not only a weak hand, but doubly bad considering I had two active and aggressive players to my left. Of course I got punished by a $20 raise and ended up seeing the flop 6-handed. The board came out K72 with two spades and I decided this was a good board to lead out on with my pair plus nut flush draw. With the King of spades on board I didn’t think I was likely to get popped unless someone had a set of Kings or sevens and I suspected I had plenty of fold equity. In an effort to keep my opponents’ ranges wider, I have been making smaller bets than everyone else in the game and led out for $65 into $120 here. I picked up one caller and had position for the 7 on the turn, which felt like a good card to barrel for $110 and I picked up the pot.

-I open to $15 from late position with AKQ2 with a nut suit. Both blinds call and I bet $20 on the JTX with two clubs flop. The big blind check-raises to $60 and while I like my wrap, I don’t have a flush draw, so I just flat his raise. The turn is a 9 and he leads out and seems flabbergasted when I jam on him for about $320 effective. He calls and my straight holds up.

-I raise a series of limpers to $20 with QJ98 with two clubs on the button. Five players call and we see a very sexy flop of T92 with two clubs, giving me a pair with a 17-card straight draw and a flush draw – an absolute monster. I bet $75 when it is checked to me and I’m willing to get all the chips in if I have to, but instead I just get three callers. The turn is an ugly 6 of diamonds and one of the callers leads out for $300 (which is a max bet). A player in between folds and now it is on me. The turn bettor has about $225 behind and the other player in the hand looks like he’s going to fold. It’s pretty obvious that my opponent has 87 and since it seems like the other player is going to fold, it doesn’t make sense to put in the remaining $225 before hitting my hand, so I just call and then fold when the river comes a 2. He ended up showing the 87 and while I don’t know what his other two cards were, the chances of me losing this pot to an 87 are insanely small!

-I make another loose call with the KTT7 with two spades on the button when the LAG (loose-aggressive) player opens to $15. The flop comes K72 with one spade and I raise his flop bet of $40 with a caller in between to $130. He calls, the other player folds, and I bet $300 on the 3 of spades turn. He calls again and then folds when the river bricks out and I bet $200. I actually didn’t think he had much of a hand to call with, which is why I sized down, but maybe this would have been a good spot to experiment with a funky bet size like, say, $50 and see if I could get the LAG to spazz out.

-I raise one limper to $20 with AKJJ with a nut suit and get multiple callers to see the J62 rainbow flop. There was either $100 or $120 in the pot and this board was super dry, so I sized very small at $30 hoping to sell a weak hand and possibly induce some unwarranted aggression. I got my wish when the most experienced (and who I think is the best) player in the game popped me to $90. Everyone else folded and with my only concern being the gut shots around the 62, I felt like protecting my hand wasn’t a priority and instead decided to sell a weak made hand like AA that he could push me off later by simply calling his raise. I also felt like this player would know I was nutted if I 3-bet the flop and would fold a lot of his range. The turn card was a ten of clubs, opening up straight draws and a back door flush draw, and I checked again and then put him all in after he bet $200. He unhappily called and I stacked him when the river paired the board.

-I open the button with KK42 double suited to $15, the small blind calls, and the big blind reraises to $50. I just call and so does the small blind. The flop comes down AKX with two hearts, giving me middle set and the nut flush draw. I actually saw a player at the final table of one of the WSOP PLO tourneys fold KK in this spot earlier this year, but the big blind is overly aggressive and doesn’t necessarily have to have AA when he 3-bets here. However, when he leads out for $40 on the flop, the only reasonable play for me is to simply call. I don’t want to get all in against a set of aces here and if he doesn’t have AA, then I have him annihilated and might as well let him continue spewing money into the pot. In real time, however, I didn’t think this through and decided to raise to $130 and ended up getting two folds, immediately realizing my mistake.

-As I said, I don’t always play good when I play PLO, so I’ll include my absolute worst hand of the night and one of the worst hands I’ve ever played in live PLO. I limp in early position with J976 single suited, which would be marginal even on the button, but is specifically terrible here as I have two active and aggressive players on my direct left. Fortunately they both limp along, but the big blind punishes everyone by making it $30. Seeing as how I’ve already made a mistake by playing in the first place, it would be smart to just give up the $5 and let this go, knowing I’ll be playing out of position against three players with a bad hand, but… I call? The flop comes K75 giving me a pair, a gut shot, and a backdoor flush draw and the PFR (preflop raiser) leads out for $120. We are both super deep here and I should be in decentb shape against his range, so I call, which would be fine if this were a heads up pot… but it’s not. One of the players behind me goes all in for $390, another short stack goes all in for ~$120, and the PFR folds. So now I’m looking at a pot of ~$900 and it’s $270 for me to call. Considering my hand, this is an easy fold… but I’m not done making huge mistakes yet! I’m not sure what I’m hoping my two opponents have, but I somehow talk myself into thinking I have some sort of reasonable equity here and make an atrocious call. The board bricks out for me and the bigger all in player wins with his 55. Just an all around horrifyingly bad hand by me and I got exactly what I deserved – a hand I should have folded turned into a $400+ loss.

-My final big pot of the night ended up being one of the craziest PLO hands I’ve ever played. I raised to $20 after a limper with As8sKcQc and bet $20 after seeing a flop of K94 with a club and a spade heads up in position. My opponent check-raised me to $75 and since 99 was the only hand I was in terrible shape against, I decided to see a turn with a good amount of back door equity. The turn brought the Ten of clubs and my opponent checked to me. I could see K9 checking this turn, or even a set of 9s, and maybe I should frequently represent the nut straight here, especially since I have a king high flush draw and a couple of gut shots to the nuts. It’s unlikely I will get check-raised very often, so I think betting has plenty of merit, but I decided to take my free card and got a very pleasant Jack of clubs on the river, giving me a King high straight flush. My opponent led out for $90 in what was a $190 pot. I made it $325 and due to some miracle from the poker gods, he decided to reraise me to $525. After going into the tank for a little bit and thinking about his bet sizing, I realized he didn’t even make a legal raise (he raised me $200 after I raised his initial bet $235) and made him put in another $35 before I made it $860 total. At this point, he started berating himself for misreading the situation. He had the A of clubs and the 8 of clubs in his hand and thought that he was blocking the 87 of clubs and Q8 of clubs for the only straight flushes and now realized that KQ of clubs also made a straight flush and that it was the only thing I could possibly have. He was right. I could never have anything else. I would never turn the naked Q of clubs into a bluff here when my opponent had already put $560 in on the river with at least an Ace high flush (he could have 87 of clubs himself) when I can only make it $300 more. It seemed like he wanted some mercy and really took a lot of time to call that last $300 to the point where multiple people at the table were complaining about it. But he did call and I won a sick $1800+ heads up pot.

I ended up finishing the PLO session up $1900 even though I made plenty of mistakes. I thought this blog idea would be fun, but here I am sitting at 3500+ words and a couple hours wasted and thinking maybe this isn’t a great concept. My goal was to spend 10-15 minutes writing about my session and I have far exceeded that. So… enjoy this post! It will probably be the last of its kind!

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2015 Poker Goals – March Wrap Up

April 3, 2015

Every month I’m going to reflect on the previous month of poker and see how well I’m doing at accomplishing my 2015 goals:

Log 1200 live hours

As I noted in my February Wrap Up, I have upped my goal from 750 hours to 1200 hours. Since I’m frequently playing when I’m working, I am still able to play nearly full-time hours despite having a day job. In March, I played an absurd 174 hours, my largest output since the first half of 2012 probably. That kind of pace is unlikely to continue, but I think I can average about 120 hours most months.

focus on how well I played, how well I controlled tilt, and how well I paid attention to game flow instead of how well I ran.
continuing taking notes throughout all my sessions and combing through them later.

One of these days, I will really start paying attention to the game when I’m playing. It is quite easily one of my biggest weaknesses. I kept accurate notes for most of my $8/$16 sessions, but I continue to struggle to pay attention when I’m not in hands.

I’m also learning how to go through my notes in a more efficient manner – skimming past hands that seem totally standard and focusing on the ones that gave me trouble. It should be noted that the statistics I’m about to post are for $8/$16 sessions only and don’t include notes from one of my more important sessions of the month – where I started off stuck $700 and stayed in the feeder game playing short-handed for several hours (and thus unable to take notes between hands). I ended up crushing the short-handed game and then went on an absurd run after the game broke and I finally made my way to the main game. At that point, with so many hands unrecorded – and it being the first of the month – I decided to continue not keeping notes for the session. So for a period where I went from stuck $700 to cashing out over $1300 sugar, I have no hands logged for an absurd amount of positive variance. I also played 65 hours of $4/$8 where I did not keep notes.

Here are the hands I have decided to track to keep variance in perspective:

AA – 4/8 (50%)
KK – 4/12 (33%)
QQ – 7/14 (50%)
JJ – 7/12 (58.3%)
TT – 4/8 (50%)
77-99 – 14/43 (32.5%)
22-66 – 8/28 (28.6%)
All Pairs – 52/125 (41.6%)
Sets – 16/18 (88.9%)
AK-AQ – 25/65 (38.5%)
AKs-ATs – 12/30 (40%)
KQs-KTs – 5/13 (38.5%)
QJs-JTs – 4/17 (23.5%)
Flush Draws – 19/40 (47.5%)

Thoughts: Running at over 40% for all my pairs seems like a pretty favorable result. Running at less than 50% for AA-QQ is definitely below average, however. It’s also worth noting that I made a set 18 of the 125 times I played a pair, or 14% of the time – which is almost exactly average. More importantly, I almost never lost with my sets and I nearly always got an abundance of action when I had one. I’m curious to see how the smaller suited Broadway hands do going forward. I completed nearly half of my flush draws which is a highly favorable result – although I lost some of those hands. Between the sets and flush draws – and running above average with my pairs overall – I would have to say variance was mostly on my side in March.

spend less than 20% of my total hours in 4/8 games

I played 66 of 150 cash game hours at the $4/$8 level – or 44%. However, subtracting 34 hours as a floor man, that total becomes 32 of 116 hours – or 27.6% – a reasonable result. For the year, I’ve played 191 of 403 total hours (47.4%) and 95 of 308 (31%) of my non-working hours at the $4/$8 level. Including my tournaments hours, it probably comes pretty close to my 20% target.

log 100 hours of spread limit

I played some small stakes NLHE when I was in Vegas this past month and my conclusion is that I’m still not very good at that format of poker. Obviously, at 11 hours of play logged for the entire year, this is an incredibly small sample size, but the results are consistent with an ongoing pattern of performing poorly in no limit cash games. In Vegas, I lost every session I played and it should have been worse – I jammed 100+ bigs preflop with 99 vs AA and rivered a straight. Over my past 163.5 hours of no limit/spread limit, I’ve won slightly less than 50% of my sessions and I’m running at almost -10 big blinds per hour. I have been unlucky in some hands, for sure, but the biggest problem I’ve identified is that I play overly aggressive and try to win every hand I play rather than being selectively aggressive and picking my spots more wisely overall. Starting this month, I want to log at least one 8-10 hour session of no limit and focus on correcting these mistakes.

continuing reading about mental game, develop mental game profiles, and improve my c-game

focus my learning — don’t study multiple variants at the same time or games I’m not playing frequently

I finally finished the series of questions in Jared Tendler’s The Mental Game Of Poker designed to pinpoint potential problems and give an outline of my current mental game. This can be referred to and adjusted as I improve or discover new concerns over time. Working on this had halted my reading for the most part, but I should be able dedicate time for that soon. With the Pendleton Spring Round Up and World Series Of Poker coming up, I’ll probably adjust my focus to studying Omaha 8 or better and tournament play over the next few months.

treat poker like a job with set hours and not like a hobby

With 445 hours in roughly 12 weeks, I have been playing full time hours despite the fact that I work 20-30 hours a week on top of that, so my poker playing is like a second job these days. My work off the tables has suffered a bit, but for the most part, I’m taking my poker time very seriously and putting in the hours unless I feel like I’m not playing near my A-game.

watch opponents closely in tournaments and develop exploitative styles for each of them instead of playing laggy for laggy’s sake

take my time in critical pots and really think things through before acting

set a new career high tournament score

I played 5 tournaments last month, but one of them was a freeroll and two others were very small, local tournament, so I’ll focus my attention on the bigger events I played.

I played the $150 daily tournament at the Venetian and I dominated my table for most of the day, feeling like I was really playing well. I got lucky in some spots to dodge a couple coolers, but I consistently increased my stack throughout the event without much resistance until I got in a blind vs blind situation late where I flopped trip aces and my opponent turned a gutshot straight. I ended up betting the turn, re-raising my opponent when he raised me, and ultimately calling off against his 5-bet jam. I had completed with A8 from the small blind so I figured my opponent was never giving me credit for an Ace – and I surely wasn’t giving him credit for one – and I had a decent amount of outs against any hand that was beating me. In retrospect, calling his initial raise makes a lot of sense because I’m not getting action on a 3-bet unless he’s committed to a bluffing line or I’m crushed. Instead, I lost a decent portion of my stack on the hand and my momentum disappeared soon after. I managed to make the final table, but ultimately busted out in 9th in a tournament that paid 8. I busted when I shoved my short stack from the button with the big blind away from the table. I don’t even remember my hand, but the small blind woke up with AJ and that was good enough to bust me. It was my second final table in a medium-sized tournament that didn’t even pay. Even though the end result was poor and I may have misplayed a big pot, I felt very good about my overall play and thought the style I chose for this event would be profitable in the long run.

I followed that deep run up by playing in the Muckleshoot Spring Classic $750 Main Event and finished 14th of 226 runners, ending a nearly year long drought of not cashing in a $150 or higher tournament. Once again, I played well and ran pretty good before getting cold late and losing a couple crucial pots. Midway through the tournament I was moved to an extremely tough and loaded table: multiple WSOP bracelet winner Rep Porter, Adam Coats – who got TV time on ESPN during the main event and made multiple deep cashes in the 2014 WSOP – and a couple of other local players I’m pretty sure play for a living. Not only did I outlast all four of these tough players but I held my own in a couple of difficult pots against Rep, including one where he put me in an extremely tough spot and I found the correct call. And then I busted him. It’s not that I beat a top pro in a couple of pots, it’s that I was able to make the correct decisions because I knew what he was thinking and how he perceived me and that is something to be happy about. Obviously, I was a bit disappointed to fall just short of some serious money ($45,000 for 1st!) and I had a very real chance of crossing off my goal of a new career high tournament score, but I feel like my tournament play is improving and things are trending in the right direction. I feel something big is about to happen. I believe.

double my current bankroll size

maintain a 1 BB/HR win rate at 8/16

start playing 20/40 regularly by end of year

I finally had a month where my bankroll saw serious growth. It’s probably been a year or longer since I’ve seen a 10% increase in a single month, but I did much better than that in March. Doubling the bankroll I started 2015 with should be a very attainable goal and honestly, I hope to do much, much better.

I had an amazing month of $8/$16, running at 3.48 BB/HR for the month overall, and an absurd 5.27 BB/HR in the $8/$16 at the Palace in Tacoma. It was a month where I set a new personal record for an $8/$16 win on the 1st of the month – and then I absolutely annihilated that new record just a couple weeks later when I had this session:

For the year, I am now running at:
1.68 BB/HR in $8/$16 LHE
1.04 BB/HR in $4/$8 LHE
1.3 BB/HR in all limit games

In April, I will be making a 4 or 5 day trip to Pendleton, Oregon for the Spring Round Up – a tournament series I haven’t attended since Fall 2012 and never with a sizable bankroll – and I am currently planning on playing the $225 O8 and $225 H.O.R.S.E. tournaments. I may play a few other events, but I’ll likely focus on cash games the rest of my stay. Also, anyone interested in buying up some of my WSOP action, I’m ready to start selling. You can e-mail me at maccent17@gmail.com or PM me on Facebook. I’m currently planning on playing the Casino Employee Event and the Colossal, but I will be there for at least a week and if things go really well, I would be interested in increasing my stay.

Here’s to more run good!

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Check-Raise: My Journey From Spewy Amateur To Poker Professional – March 2011

March 31, 2011

It’s no secret that I fancy myself a poker player. I’ve been dabbling in the hobby for years now. Those of you that are familiar with my story know that I went on an insanely hot and extended run early in my poker career way back in 2005. I played my first hand of Texas Hold Em in August of 2004 and by June of 2005 I had a bankroll of $25,000. I was good, sure. I studied the game extensively, reading any book I could get my hand on and I thought about poker day and night, even when I was away from the tables. More importantly, I was absurdly lucky. I was making all sorts of mistakes when it comes to sustaining a bankroll. I’d move up two levels within the same session and happened to go on an upswing that lasted for three months through every level I tried. I wasn’t rolled for the levels I was playing, but it didn’t matter because I wasn’t losing. So when I did start to go through the inevitable downswings, I couldn’t afford them at the levels I was playing at and soon found myself struggling to get by financially. That was pretty problematic since I’d already quit my job and dropped out of the University Of Washington. Why bother going to class when I could be making $100 an hour gambling online? It was a fair question and even if my degree was within arm’s reach, what good was a college diploma going to do me if I was playing cards for a living? Needless to say, my early run of success completely blinded me as a poker player and practically ruined my life. Six years later, I’m still recovering from some of the damage I caused myself.

But poker never left me. Throughout the years, I’ve had a lot of minor successes. I’ve always been a good tournament player and every once in a while I’ll pull off a huge, life-saving cash in a big tournament. Then I’ll be rolled for a couple months until I blow it all back in cash games. This has pretty much been my poker career since my year as a moronic “pro.”

Yet, for some reason, I’ve always thought of myself as a good player… but that’s total bullshit. Whatever minor successes I may have had playing cards over the past five years has been completely negated by my alcoholism or severe leaks in my poker game. I might deposit $50 online and grind my way to a $600 bankroll, go out for drinks one night, come home plastered, wake up the next day, log on to my poker account and see my balance sitting at $0. This happened on several occassions. Why can’t they make an interlock system for computers?! I would have saved thousands over the years. With alcohol mostly out of my life for the past three years (I relapsed for about 8 months), I can no longer blame drunkenness for my inability to maintain a bankroll. I have roughly three years of sobriety since January 2008, but I’ve been a consistent loser during that time. I might have a month or two of profit here and there, but I recently purchased some online tracking software and my cash game results over the past couple years are alarming. They are terrible.

So with all this in mind, I made a vow to myself that in 2011 I would make money gambling. I don’t care how much I win, I just don’t want to be a loser anymore. I’ll save my goal to be a professional for 2013. Right now, I just want to slowly turn this ship around. So far, so good.

First off, let me make a disclaimer. For absurd reasons, gambling online in Washington is illegal. The sites I play on enforce this law. I will be making references to my “online” results frequently in my blog posts. THESE RESULTS SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY. ALL ONLINE RESULTS I POST ARE EITHER A FIGMENT OF MY IMAGINATION OR FOR PLAY CHIPS ONLINE. I INCLUDE THEM WITH MY OVERALL RESULTS BECAUSE… UHHH…. IT MAKES ME FEEL GOOD.

I have tracked my results sporatically for years now, but I’ll usually lose interest when I start to go through a rough patch or I don’t like what I’m seeing anymore. I can’t say I have a lot of big losing months saved on my computer anywhere… but most of my really good months can be easily located. This year, I decided it’s best to be honest with myself. Starting in January, I’ve tracked every single aspect of gambling that I’ve done: from “online” gambling, live cash games, local tournaments, house games to pit games, sports betting, and personal wagers. If I bet someone $5 that they can’t eat a certain jalepeno pepper, I’m logging that bet somewhere. I know EXACTLY how well I’ve done since the start of 2011 and my results are promising.

I’m currently on a four month winning stretch that started with a +$528 month in December. Here are my 2011 results:

January: +$71.91
February: +$212.68
March: +$129.16

Total: +$413.75 (+$941.75 including December)

Pretty modest numbers, but mission accomplished so far. I’m making money gambling, consistently. Even so, those results are disappointing if we do a little more number crunching. Here are some other notable facts:

*I’m up $792 in live tournaments in 2011. I’ve played 16 tournaments and cashed in 7 of them for a 44% in the money rate. Even more ridiculous, I’ve finished in the top three 6 of the 7 times I’ve cashed and I have 3 wins. I’m destroying live tournaments.

*I’m up $666.45 in online tournaments in 2011. I’ve cashed in 60 of 361 tournaments I’ve played (16.6%). My biggest cash is for $360, so I’m yet to get that huge score I’m anxiously waiting for. I’ve done well in online tournaments for the year, but I’ve had some incredibly bad luck so far. I usually have something absurd happen to me in the very late stages of big money tournaments.

*I’ve made $474.14 in rakeback in 2011. Rakeback is a feature offered on some poker sites. Every pot you play gets raked and Full Tilt Poker offers 27% rakeback, so once a week, I get a depost into my account for rakeback.

*Between tournaments, rakeback, and live cash games (~+$179), I’ve made about $2110… yet I’m showing a mere $400 profit for the year.

The conclusion: When it comes to online cash games, I AM THE WORST PLAYER ALIVE. To be specific, I’m down roughly $1500 playing cash games online and I’ve spent most of March trying to figure out what exactly I’m doing wrong. I started reading my fixed limit books again and I tried to focus on playing one limit only: $0.50-$1… and I had success. I showed an $83.85 profit at that limit for the month of March. Unfortunately, I didn’t start this plan until the 4th of the month and I’d already done severe damage to my bankroll by then. I also strayed away from my plan later in the month. For instance, tonight I decided to play one table of $2-$4 and got unlucky on back-to-back hands in my first orbit. A crushing start to a game I shouldn’t even be playing. Of course, I tilted after that and blew 100 big bets of my current limit before I swallowed my pride and left the table. In 40 minutes, I lost more money in one session of $2-$4 than I made all month grinding it out at $0.50-$1. It’s these kinds of scenarios that have kept me from sustained success: poor bankroll decisions, playing too many tables, steaming/tilting when I get unlucky, chasing losses, and running absurdly poorly when I do take a chance. Even though I was more restrained in March than I’ve ever been–78% of the hands I played were at the $0.50-$1 fixed limit level–I still managed to show a big loss in online cash games. In the 22% of hands I played outside my preferred limit I lost $663. Talk about a painful lesson in bankroll management… but at least I’m making sure I see it… and I proved I could make a profit if I stick to my guns and play the limits I should be playing.

A third of the way through 2011, I feel decent about my chances to be a successful poker player. I’ve shown a tremendous flair for winning tournaments, both online and live, and revisiting some poker literature really helped my live cash game out this month. I had a rough patch the past couple days that turned a great month into a merely good one, but I see good things ahead in that respect. I still feel like I’m swimming upstream, fighting my inability to win playing cash games online. Despite all the success I’ve had, my profit margin is small and I can blame it entirely on getting destroyed in online cash games… but it’s a leak I’m working and my big goal for April 2011 is to a show a profit in the online games. If I can turn that around for good, my modest profits will start to turn into substantial ones and I’ll be well on my way to achieving my 2013 goal.

Other notes:

*I’m up $13.70 in house games… playing for change with my dad, my brother and his friend.

*I’m stuck $25 in the pit (all from BlackJack) year-to-date. I avoid The Pit like The Plague, but Chips Casino in Bremerton offers a $5 and $10 Match Play on Wednesdays and turns a few hands of BlackJack into highly profitable bets. Unfortunately, I fall for the trick and keep playing after using my coupons. Stupid.

*I lost $122 on the NCAA tournament this year. RAPED.