Posts Tagged ‘poker tournament strategy’


Muckleshoot $400 5th Sunday of the Month Tournament (Live Blog!)

April 29, 2018

I didn’t blog my session yesterday, but if you read my post on Friday, you know I didn’t get home until nearly 4 AM, so when I started getting texts around 10 AM that the 15/30 game was going short-handed, with players that had been playing all night, I wasn’t quite ready to make my return to the casino. Seriously, by noon, three different people had text me to tell me the 15/30 game was going short-handed. I have to say it’s pretty cool that people see something like that and feel the need to flash the Bat Signal in the sky.

I ended up taking my sweet time getting to the casino, running a lap around my block, updating my rosters on MLB The Show, playing a game, and drinking my coffee, but The Leak was REALLY taking her sweet time. I gave her a significant head start on getting ready and I still ended up sitting around twiddling my thumbs for nearly 45 minutes. It was one of her all-time greatest getting ready performances in our 6+ years of being together.

It was past 2 PM when we left the house and I knew the 15/30 game was currently three-handed and I knew that two of the players had been there since the night before and that one of them was The Gnat.

I made a bold prediction to my wife: I said that after playing for over half a day straight and all through the night, The Gnat would quit shortly after I sat down in the game. There are players that love the challenge of playing against me and there are players that really want no part of it (and, of course, the majority of the players don’t give any shits). I’m pretty good at sizing up which group people belong to and while almost everyone doesn’t mind playing with me in full games, it’s extremely common for people to abandon ship as the games get shorter. I could tell The Gnat was a ship-jumper. He puts on quite a bravado facade and when he’s sitting next to The Flea he has been extremely arrogant and condescending to a lot of players – especially me. But I know he doesn’t want any part of me. Not really.

He exceeded my expectations. After I bought in, he immediately took a break and never got dealt in another hand.

Then he surprised me. After walking around the casino and socializing for a half an hour, he came back to the table and racked up his chips and suddenly started talking to me like we are friends. He said he finally got even and had been playing all night long and straight up admitted to everyone at the table that he’s scared of me and said that I’m the best player he’s seen at Palace so far. Wow. It was quite the 180 from all the shit talking he had been doing previously. If you go back and read my blogs from the past couple weeks, while I didn’t give him the name of The Gnat yet, you can probably figure out when I’m talking about this player (usually sitting next to The Flea) and I had been getting nothing but condescending vibes and disrespect from him. Which was fine. I actually find joy in people giving me reasons not to like them because I mostly make my living winning money from genuinely nice people and that’s something I sometimes feel conflicted about. I would probably be happier playing at a table with eight pieces of shit.

Anyways, I’m still not a Gnat fan and I’m sure he was just feeling the high of being stuck on a bender and finally getting sugar. He’s the type of dude I expect to go right back to being a dick the next time I see him. Maybe I can finally give someone the Two Face nickname.

I ended up absolutely smashing those guys three-handed. Granted, the deck was slapping me in the face. I was dealt an insane amount of premium pocket pairs and my unpaired starting hands flopped top pair or better at a very favorable frequency. When you are playing short-handed against a good player that’s also running hot, you have zero chance. I ended up winning $1422 in less than 90 minutes before killing off one of the players. I then played 8/16 for two hours and realized the 15/30 game wasn’t going to restart at a decent hour and decided to go home and rest up for the tournament instead of grinding out at smaller stakes.

I’m about to hop in the shower and head to Muckleshoot to play this tournament with a ridiculous start time of 10 AM. There’s a scheduler that knows nothing about his player pool. Poker players don’t want to wake up at 8 or 9 AM to play tournaments on a Sunday. Generally, we’d rather start at noon and play til 2 AM if we have to.

One thing I’ll elaborate on before I head out: I mentioned that we might have a WSOP Main Event-sized last longer bet in this tournament and I guess I should elaborate on that. Originally, Palace was supposed to host a 10 player $1100 buy in one table satellite today and the winner of this table would use the money to travel to Las Vegas and buy in to the $10,000 WSOP Main Event. At the last minute, a decent amount of the players decided they wanted to play the Muckleshoot tournament today and the satellite was cancelled. It was proposed to me that we do an $1100 last longer bet in the tournament instead and the winner of the last longer could use the money for the same purpose. Since my backers are covering this 100% for me, I don’t care what we do, but this last longer sounds much more appealing than the one table satellite, so I’m in.

When the satellite idea was proposed to me, I balked. I would have to put up $1100 for a roughly 10% chance at having 73% of myself and have to piece out the remaining 27% nine different ways. This didn’t appeal much to me. I have had plenty of people offer to put me in the Main and my absolute worst case scenario plan is that I’m going to sell 80% of my action at 1.25 markup and play the Main Event at zero cost to myself. 20% of myself 100% of the time sounds better than 73% of myself 10% of the time. You can do the math there and see that it’s a pretty simple decision, especially when you consider one route costs $1100 and the other route costs $0. But then my backers said they would just buy me in and I couldn’t say no to that. I believe the same deal would apply to this last longer bet.

Getting in shower and leaving shortly.

10:32 AM: Well, I started this thing off in spectacular fashion. Before I can even digest the particulars I’m posting with the 53 of clubs and find myself in a 6-way limped pot.

The flop is 532, I bet 400 into 600 and three players call.

Turn is brutal, yet interesting: 4 of clubs. The 2 of clubs is on the flop. So I now have two pair and an open-ended straight flush draw and the current best hand 0% of the time. It checks to me, I check, the button bets 2k, the small blind calls, and the big blind makes it 5k. I have a pretty monstrous draw so I’m not interested in folding here, but I do have a bit of a dilemma because calling can create some problems. But let’s be real here – I’m not folding this hand during the rebuy period.

I call. And the bad things happen. The button jams for 18k, the small blind folds, and the big blind calls for 10.5k. I spent some time trying to do the math of the situation and determined that I needed to call 13k to win nearly 40k, so I’m getting 3 to 1 and need to win 25% of the time to break even. I have four full house outs and nine flush outs, so I’m going to win about 26% of the time, plus I’m guessing I have two straight outs. Calling here is correct. Plus I can still rebuy for another 90+ minutes. I stick it in and whiff against two 6x hands.

That cost me almost 80% of my stack on my first hand dealt in.

I guess this is a good time to mention that the last longer bet is NOT in play. If it was, I probably would have check-folded this hand on the turn because the button reraising is so likely.

I wasn’t planning on playing snug, survival poker with my remaining 6k and I dwindled down to 5k before squeeze-jamming over a 1200 open and call at 100/200 with ATdd. This is a total gamble since I really don’t expect a 6x open to fold to a jam of my stack size, but I’m not looking to sit on a 25 big blind stack this early in a re-entry tournament with deep stacks. Unfortunately the small blind reshoves with a huge stack, which is always Fuck City for me. The other two guys fold and I’m heads up against AA.

The board runs out QJxKx which looks good but the river is a fourth spade, giving him a flush and I head to the counter to buy my second bullet.

11:07 AM: I guess I can offer the particulars now. Starting stacks are 25k with blinds beginning at 100/100 and currently at 100/200 with an additional 200 ante from the big blind. Registration is open for another hour.

Big Daddy started his job as poker room manager at Muckleshoot yesterday so hopefully he makes an appearance at some point today.

11:34 AM: One of my buddies and fantasy baseball foes is currently sitting behind the Pacers bench at Game 7 of the Pacers-Cavs series and I’m trying to spot him on TV. You can too. He’s wearing a big blue clown wig so it should be hard. He says he directly under the State Farm sign to the right of the Pacers bench. So sick!

11:45 AM: Notables in the field: Solomon Grundy, John Kim (on his third bullet!), Bill W, and Chief Wiggum.

12:09 PM: Some gifts from Muckleshoot:

I actually like the jacket, but I’m not sure I can wear a jacket with my name on it in public and not feel like a tool.

12:11 PM: 21.7k @ first break. Blinds are 200/400 with 400 big blind ante. Registration is closed. 89 players entered and 73 remain.

12:39 PM: Obviously super card dead. I’ve won one pot when I opened with AJ and flopped an ace on a super dry board and got two streets of action. I’ve speculated with A3ss and 77 and whiffed in raised multiway pots. I opened AQ and whiffed and the man called a river bet when all the draws missed and the board paired, losing to J9o.

12:44 PM: Blinds just went up to 300/600 and I have 17.6K. The good news: even though I’ve had ZERO momentum, I still have 30 bigs nearly three hours into this tournament.

12:51 PM: Tourney life decision: folds to me in hijack, I make 1500 with AKhh, button 3-bets to 5100, and it folds back to me. One thing I know for sure is that I’m not folding. Standard 4-bet jam here. Calling would put almost a third of my stack in pre so that’s not an option and folding is just silly. The only play here is JAM. I stick it in and he winds up folding.

A short while later, I open KK to 1500 and the next player is my only caller. Flop is QQJ with two hearts and I decide to check-call 2k. Turn is a 9 and I take the same line and she checks back. River ace of hearts and I’m very happy to see her check behind because that means my hand is always good.

Not exactly a huge coup with the kings but it’s better than losing the pot on a very dangerous board.


How good is Mitch Haniger at baseball? Didi Gregorius is getting all sorts of attention for his ridiculous start – and deservedly so – but Haniger is basically right there with him and has received almost zero national attention. Maybe it starts today?

1:26 PM: Heads up with Solomon Grundy in the blinds, he limps, and I check back T3o. He reads my blog sometimes so it’ll be fun if he winds up reading this hand.

Flop 654, he bets 1k and I call.

Turn is a 3 and he check-calls 2k.

River is a 2, bringing a final board of 65432 and putting a straight on the board and he checks to me. It would be pretty sick if he was inducing me with a 7 here, but I don’t think he’d take this line, so I bomb it for 10k and he folds.

1:31 PM: Two hands later and we have lift off! I have AA on the button and there’s a 2k open and a call from Solomon Grundy in front of me. I check the stack sizes and eventually make it 7500 because I’ve come to learn that my 3-bet sizing has been too small. Only the opener calls.

Flop is 876 with two clubs and I’m 100% committed and now I have to figure out the best way to get my remaining 24kish in. How likely am I to get action if I jam 20k into a 15k pot? Not really sure. It seems like he has an overpair or… nothing. I decide to go the milk route and bet 10k and if he has a set here, bless his soul. He calls.

Turn pairs the 6 and now I have an easy jam and, after acting like I have a decision, I put it all in and he snap calls with… KK, for the ultimate cooler. I dodge a king on the river and get a full double up.


2:14 PM: 64k coming back to 600/1200.

Here’s my buddy at the Pacers game with the blue wig and the shellshocked face in the background:

2:45 PM: Middle position opens to 3200 and I flat on button with AA. Sometimes you have to take some risks to accumulate chips and I think he’s more likely to put more chips in the pot with a c-bet than calling my 3-bet. Plus other good things can happen. The small blind jams go over 30k, the big blind and opener fold, and I snap call and roll and hold vs AQ.

106k at 600/1200.

2:52 PM: Just called a 20k jam with JJ and held vs KTcc to bust a player. We are surging!

3:08 PM: Here’s Bill W’s bust out hand. 100k pot, all in on the flop. Doesn’t get any sicker than this (might have to zoom in):

3:23 PM: Currently at about 150k with blinds at 800/1600. 29 players remain and ten of us will cash. First place is $10.2k.

3:41 PM: Here I am trying not to be embarrassed as Aquaman stops by to blatantly take a picture of me:

And here’s what my wife is doing:

Eating bugs.

And spiders.


4:11 PM: Here’s an aspect of no limit that drives me nuts: players that hold their cards in a way that blocks their chip stack so that you can’t see how much they have. It’s pretty damn relevant and it’s kind of awkward to ask the same person every time how much they have. Ugh.

Of course I could memorize the stack sizes but that seems to be a skill set I don’t have.

4:30 PM: Dinner break. 140k coming back to 1500/3000. I think there are 25 players left. Cards back in the air at 5 PM.

5:24 PM: One limper, cutoff makes it 15k at 1500/3000 and I call with 88 on the button. We are heads up to 752 flop and he leads 25k. He has about 55k behind and I have an overpair to the board. Not really sure what else I can do but put him all in here and hope my hand is good, so that’s what I do and he starts tanking and I’m ecstatic that I have the best hand.

He does wind up making the call though and I have to dodge… wait, what the hell? He has TT? Jesus. You can never be too careful, I guess, but he thought long enough that I was positive I had the best hand. Kind of a brutal unintentional slow roll. The turn is a 9, giving me straight outs, but I brick the river and I’m down to 52k just like that.

I know I had 52k because he opened the next hand and I jammed on him with AQ suites and he folded.

I’ve lost some more pots since then and I find myself in that special comfort zone of about 14 big blinds.

Not sure if that 88 hand qualifies as a blowup but it sure feels gross. I had 140k 36 minutes ago. 🤮

5:38 PM: Jammed AT right after posting that last update and busted a 32k stack when I outflopped his 88. Back up to 88k and we are down to 19.

5:55 PM: Open to 10k with KJdd and a loose player jams 27k. I snap and hold vs QTo.

Back to 111k. 16 left. Chief Wiggum and Solomon Grundy still in also.

6:06 PM: 14 players left and all seven at my table have 20+ bigs. Not sure what’s going on at the other table, but could be a bit of a bubble.

6:20 PM: Currently telling stories about getting arrested while I was playing poker at All Star Lanes and how I’ve been kicked out of every poker room in Kitsap County and Shoreline. Most people have a hard time seeing that but that’s because I’ve been sober eight years and basically no one on this side of the Narrows Bridge has ever seen that side of me.

6:31 PM: 13 players left. Blinds are up to 3000/6000 now and I have a little over 90k, which is the smallest stack at my table.

6:37 PM: 12 left.

6:49 PM: Dwindled all the way to 38.5k. Button opens 20k, I jam with A7dd and he calls, obviously, with… AJ.

Flop… all diamonds! And we are back to 90k.

6:55 PM: Cutoff opens 20k, folds to me in the big and I look down at JJ and all my chips go into the pot and he snaps so fast and excitedly I know I’m not going to see AK. Up against AA and there’s no miracle this time.

Bust in 12th for maximum time wasted and pain felt.

Ohhhhh it hurts.

No more poker today. Just gonna head home and lick my wounds.

Solomon Grundy still in with a short stack and Chief Wiggum has a very serious 300k+ stack, primed to make a run at first place.

There is a mixed house game tomorrow that I will most likely be attending and Global’s Rattlesnake Open events officially kick off at 5:30. I believe I will be multitasking but I haven’t talked to my wife about either, so who knows.


I went home and fell asleep before 9 PM which is absolutely absurd and woke up to messages from The Joker trolling me because The Gnat outlasted me in the tournament today.

That’s funny. The Gnat wasn’t there. But that’s not stopping him from telling everyone at the Palace that he made the final table and finished in 9th (a weird lie – why not say you took 1st or 2nd or 3rd?).

I’m sending Joker questions to ask The Gnat about his deep run and so far he has whiffed on everything: first place prize, tournament start time, did anyone from Palace go deep, etc. I thought there was some highly improbable chance that I overlooked this guy that is totally on my radar now, even though I walked through the whole room sizing every table up and seeing who I knew that was playing.

He is also claiming that he won this same tournament the last time it was played. Curious, I typed his first name on Hendon Mob and only four entries showed up and I quickly determined which one is his. He has three recorded cashes, all in the 2016 Muckleshoot Spring Classic:

13th in the $250 Shootout for $700
24th in the $300 NL for $500
9th in the $500 NL for $3070

That’s it. For his CAREER.

What a fucking clown. I’m half tempted to drive to Palace just to make him look stupid, but I need to be up around 8:30 AM for yoga and gym time.


Global Poker’s Rattlesnake Open Starts Tomorrow

April 28, 2018

First off, I made an edit on yesterday’s post about what it was that I’ve never seen before because there seemed to be some confusion:

Second off, if you are unfamiliar with Global Poker I wrote a pretty sizable write up about their online poker site last year. Click the link below to read about what Global Poker is and how to play for real money on the site… LEGALLY.

Global Poker: LEGAL Online Poker for U.S. Residents

Here’s a link to the schedule for the upcoming Rattlesnake Open:

Rattlesnake Open Schedule

If you want to play for real money, focus on the Sweeps Cash schedule. The Gold Coin schedule is play money. You might have to do some scrolling.

I will not be playing in the Global freeroll tomorrow because I will be playing Muckleshoot’s $400 5th Sunday event, but I will try to play as many real events as possible because winning Player of the Series is a thing that appeals to me. I would like to add to my trophy case.

I’m about to head to Palace for some 15/30 action, but I will not be live blogging because I’m going to save that energy for tomorrow’s tournament. We might be playing for a WSOP Main Event-sized last longer bet, so the sweat could be pretty serious.


This Week’s Poker Schedule (4/9/2018)

April 10, 2018

Going through one of those stretches where lots of random stuff is filling my calendar instead of playing poker. As I noted last week, I spent this weekend attending a celebration of life for my wife’s parents, so I didn’t play at all Saturday or Sunday*. It’s always interesting gaining a new perspective and experiencing something entirely different from the culture I’ve grown up in. Not to mention actually participating in the process and not understanding anything that is being said and worrying that I might disrespect someone unintentionally because I’m uneducated in their customs, or simply because I’m clumsy in executing them. For instance, you’re supposed to crouch down any time you walk past a monk, which I’m sure I didn’t do a number of times. Then I accidentally cut a monk off when we were walking in the same direction and we both insisted that the other go first. So I went first because I didn’t know if it was worse to cut him off or to try and outdo him in a politeness battle. Either way, I’m pretty sure someone in the room saw this infraction and was shaking their head.

Still, it was a great experience and I’m happy to honor my in-laws and I think it’s amazing that they wanted me involved in the ceremony. Not just involved as in I got to sit with everyone, but involved as in I was part of the inner circle of immediate family that participated in spoon-feeding both my wife’s mom and dad while the monks were chanting!

Here are some photos and a video to give an idea of what it looked like:

*though I did manage to watch every pitch of Shohei Ohtani’s ridiculous outing on Sunday. 6+ innings with a perfect game, 12 strikeouts, 1 walk, and 1 hit? On 91 pitches? After hitting .389 with 3 homers for the week? This dude is INSANE! “As advertised” does no justice to what this kid has done so far this season.

Monday night I played in a $5/$10 dealer’s choice house game and it was a lot of fun. I am happy to play at a third of my normal stakes if I’m playing games I don’t normally get to play. They don’t spread any razz, stud, stud 8, 2-7 triple draw, or badugi in any Washington casinos, so this is basically the only way to gain actual playing experience. I had a pretty good night overall, but ended up -$195 because I made the dreaded mix game mistake of playing a really big pot in a big bet game and setting myself up to get freerolled.

We were playing Big O8 and I started with over $400 and made what had to be a terrible call with a double suited hand that had 8432 in it and no ace from the small blind. To be fair, I have done zero studying of this game, so it’s not too surprising that I could make some mistakes, but that’s why I should just fold everything that doesn’t seem like a super obvious play (like suited A23xx hands) instead of setting myself up to get stacked in a game I have basically no experience in. Well, I called a small raise with this super marginal hand and saw the 433 with two diamonds flop. I checked on the flop, the PFR bet $15, the button called and it was back to me. I had no idea what to do. After thinking I should maybe just take a passive line and keep the pot small, I ended up convincing myself that if I potted it now I would probably just take it down and not have to split with a low (as I have basically no low draw), so I made it $76 and only the PFR calls. The turn is the 2 of diamonds. I am now only losing to 44 and A5 of diamonds for high, but my low draw has been reduced to a live 8. I have now successfully set myself up to get freerolled and I decide to try and pot control by checking, but my opponent is not letting that happen and bets $150. I call and I hate it. The river is an ace and he puts me all in and I don’t see how I can fold now after calling turn and leaving myself with less than $200 behind. I pay it off and I’m expecting to chop the vast majority of the time, but he shows A63xx with nut diamonds for a live 6 low (which beats my live 8) and a rivered boat to scoop everything. Absolutely sickening. I feel like I should have folded this hand preflop, but I have no concept of what I should have done after flopping a full house with very little scoop potential and no redraw to speak of. Keep it small and try to get to showdown? Check-call flop and check-fold turn? I honestly don’t know.

But that pot was my whole night. Instead of winning a few hundred dollars because I played well all night long, I lost a few hundred dollars because I played one hand poorly.

Tuesdays are basically always my day off and I spent it watching A Quiet Place, making dinner, and going to the gym with my wife. Now I’m writing this post and playing a couple online tournaments.

Tomorrow I will likely be playing PLO @ Palace but that doesn’t start until 6 PM and who knows how late it will go.

Thursday I’m not sure what I’m going to do. I’ve been occupied lately, but that hasn’t stopped me from checking in on Bravo and the 15/30 LHE game at Palace hasn’t gone three days in a row. Radio Mike going back to his day job and Joker and I being busy outside of poker lately hasn’t helped at all, but I can’t help but feel that interest in the game is somewhat waning. I hope I’m being dramatic, but there’s some things at play here. There have been multiple times where there have been tons of names on the list and the game just doesn’t go and that kind of sends a message to the players that starting the games they want to play in are not a priority. That’s a good way to make players give up on the game or just go elsewhere. Also, there have been some regulars complaining about the lack of action in the 15/30 game and that it’s not a “fun” game and have been boycotting it and encouraging others to play 8/16 and straddle every hand. I don’t really get that concept. You can straddle and gamble at 15/30 also and do what you can do make the game better, so my only real takeaway is these guys want to splash around at a smaller limit and they are trying to get other players to follow suit. Lastly, this Sunday Palace is going to be spreading 2/5 no limit hold’em for the first time. This is obviously not going to help the 15/30 LHE game gain any traction and it very well could kill it altogether. Who knows.

[Edit: I take that back. There’s a chance that it could help. If 15 people come in to play 2/5 NL and there are only 9 seats, that’s six players that could fill a 15/30 seat while they wait. Shrug.]

What I do know is that I’m not about to go back to playing 8/16 every day, so if I have to start travelling to Fortune to play in bigger games again, then that’s what I’m going to have to do. A daily 15/30 in my backyard is a dream, but I’m definitely starting to get concerned about it.

I’m less concerned about the game going on Friday, but my weekend is going to be dominated by family again. My wife has a cousin from San Diego visiting right now and her family wants to take him to The Met in Seattle and I feel like I should go with.

Saturday I have what I hope to be my final meeting with my CPA to complete my taxes. What an ordeal that has been. I won’t get into all the details, but the amount of money I’m supposed to pay the IRS has been very inconsistent and my CPA teased me with a final number that was so amazing I wasn’t surprised to discover a huge oversight when I checked her work and the amount I owed was actually more than five times what she quoted me. Groan. I am confident now that we have sorted out all the details and everything is in order.

After that, we are meeting up with my parents because my aunt and uncle are in town. I guess tentative current plans are to go to Little Creek Casino, but if I play any poker it won’t be a working session, it will be a I-might-have-to-leave-any-minute session which means I won’t be playing anything worthwhile.

Sunday Palace is having a $225 no limit hold’em tournament that starts at 10 AM. I haven’t looked at the structure too much, but I don’t really care. It should be fun! That’s the same day that Palace will be unveiling the 2/5 no limit cash game. If I have to choose between 15/30 and 2/5 I’m definitely playing 15/30, but if my options are 2/5 or 8/16, I might have something to think about, depending on the lineups.

That’s my upcoming week! I will try to blog on Thursday and probably for the Palace tournament on Sunday as well. You may have noticed that I got my own domain: and I also have access to new features for my blog so I will be working on giving the blog a sleek, new look, but when I will actually have time to do any of that is TBD. I’m also putting the final touches on my WSOP schedule so I’ll be posting that in the next week or so.

Stay tuned!


Muckleshoot Spring Classic $300 No Limit Hold’em (Updates)

March 16, 2018

As expected, I didn’t get to sleep until super late Wednesday and then, on top of that, I woke up multiple times throughout the night, so I made the prudent decision of skipping the $200 no limit hold’em tournament yesterday and basically took the day off instead, writing my MLB win totals post and watching March Madness games.

I actually did wind up playing a decent slate of online tournaments on Global Poker:

  • $5.50 $5K GTD NLHE Rebuy
  • $33 $8K GTD NLHE 2R/1A
  • $5.50 $750 GTD PLO Rebuy
  • $55 NLHE (deep)
  • $11 $250 GTD Limit Hold’em
  • $22 NLHE 2R/1A
  • $11 $500 GTD PLO 2R/1A

*note: 2R/1A means two rebuys and one add on.

I ended cashing in 3 of my 7 events, final tabling both PLOs, finishing in 5th and 3rd. I also took 11th in the $8K GTD. I was making a decent run in the $5K rebuy but ran KK into AA for 30 bigs each.

All in all, a small little profit for the day while I was relaxing at home watching basketball.

I honestly kind of hate the Muckleshoot Classic series. It is unbelievable that in the 6+ years I’ve been playing in it they have basically made no adjustments. It is still a five day series that has five no limit hold’em events. Ugh. A little variety couldn’t possibly hurt. It’s probably asking too much to expect them to do an 8-Game tournament or a H.O.R.S.E., but not having a PLO event on the schedule in 2018 blows my mind. You’re telling me a $200 PLO with re-entries event wouldn’t be wildly popular?

Of the five events, I think the $750 Main is the only must play and the only one I actually look forward to. I basically never play the whole series and almost always skip the $500 tournament.

There is the $200 limit Omaha 8 or Better tournament, but they treat it like a bad step child they hope no one notices. It doesn’t get its own day of the series. Instead, it’s buried at 7 PM on the first night and they think it’s so prestigious it doesn’t even qualify for points in the Player of the Series competition. In other words, it’s not really part of the series.

Eh. I don’t expect them to make changes at this point. I asked for a PLO tournament a year or two ago and made a good argument but nothing changed and maybe it never will. I’m sure the no limit hold’em specialists love this series, but I’m close to the point where I may start coming out for the Main Event only.

The Leak accompanied me to the Muck today and this will probably be one of maybe three tournaments she’ll play all year. I asked my CPA if we could write her tournament buy ins off as a charitable donation earlier this week and was informed that we cannot.

Cards will be in the air in about 15 minutes. I will be posting stack updates and some hands here and there.

12:06 PM: We appear to have started with 12k in chips, but I’m not entirely sure because I have 10.5k after triple barreling TT28T with J9 and getting picked off by AQ.

12:18 PM: Woah. The Leak just messaged me saying she doubled up already. Crazy! Details to come.

Puget Sound legends Rep Porter and Lee Markholt making appearances. When I call people legends I’m usually joking but these guys are legit superstars. Rep has three WSOP bracelets, Lee has a WPT title, and both of these monsters are in the top 5 of the Washington state all-time money list.

One seat at my table remains open and I recognize two of my eight current opponents. One is a Muck regular that ranks near me on the Washington state money list and the other is someone that plays at Palace that recently hit a massive Royal Flush jackpot and is someone I want at my table in limit hold’em.

12:33 PM: The Leak tells me she had AA and let her opponent bluff of his stack. No info on board texture or his hand though.

12:40 PM: Everyone asks me why I don’t play more no limit hold’em. It’s because I hate it. The pace of the game… all the posturing… Jesus, can we just get on with it? I know there are some spots that require some real thought, but the guys that take 20+ seconds every time they have anything but a standard fold spot are just terrible humans.

1:01 PM: Forgot to mention this but I ended yesterday’s March Madness action in 31st place of 31 entries in the bracket pool I’m in. I don’t know about you but I find that level of sucking quite impressive.

1:30 PM: 9150 on first break coming back to 100/200. The Leak has a ridiculous 36k stack.

Some other notables in the field: The Riddler, Bill W, Flexx, Slimer, Sandman, Solomon Grundy, decent amount of Palace regulars.

2:10 PM: Sick hand at my table not involving me: JJ vs 22 on J6225. 😮

Probably worth mentioning this now. We spent the first 20 minutes of this level talking about Global Poker and one of my tablemates was trying to sell his conspiracy theory that Global’s software “isn’t rigged,” but that “it’s not random,” and “more bad beats happen there than anywhere else” he’s ever played.

Then this JJ vs 22 hand happened and I said, “yup, that sort of thing never happens in real life.”

2:48 PM: Super card dead for first three hours so this was a nice reprieve: I open 500 with AA and button calls. Flop T98 with three diamonds, giving me the nut flush draw with my overpair. I started the hand with about 9k and there’s basically no scenario where I’m ever getting away from it. I bet 1000 and he calls. Turn pairs the 9, I bet 2500 and he calls. Ace on river relieves any concerns of being beat (not that I thought I was) and I stuff it for 5k. He doesn’t think too long before calling with AT and giving me a full double to 18.5k. Peaking!

3:27 PM: I have about 19k and The Leak has 39k on second break and coming back to 300/600 with big blind anteing an additional 600 each hand.

3:55 PM: One limper, SB completes, and I make it 2200 with QQ and the limper calls. Flop is K82 and I let him bluff off 7k with AJ by check-calling all three streets. He didn’t think about his decisions at all and kept the bets small (2k, 2k, 3k) so it was a pretty easy call down.

4:24 PM: Ouch. My table broke and my new table probably has 5-6 guys that are better than anyone else at my last table. Bad beat.

4:46 PM: When the small blind calls and you look down at QJ suited and think, “well, I can’t not raise this” and then they jam and you’re both 25+ bigs deep. 🤢🤢🤢

5:06 PM: The Leak and I are both in the 26k-28k range heading to dinner break. Blinds will be 600/1200 when we resume in 40 minutes.

6:55 PM: Didn’t play a hand forever and then a flurry of action.

I defend Q8ss, flop top pair on a super wet boar, but only get one street of action.

I open AQ and get jammed on by a short stack with KT and bust him.

Super active and hyperLAG opens to 4500, I flat with ATdd. I would have 3-bet jammed this on him a while ago, but I had chips all the sudden and wanted to take a flop with him. I call 7k on T52hhd and then bet 12k when the 2 pairs and gives me the nut flush draw, prepared to call a jam, but he folds.

7:26 PM: Open 4500 with AK and button calls. I c-bet T82 flop for 5k and he calls. Turn is an ace and I check-call 9k. River queen and I check-call 14k and he shows 33.

Peaking at 98k, coming back to 1200/2400. The Leak has 46k. There are seven tables left and less than 63 players. Can’t see how many cash or how many started.

7:52 PM: The Leak has busted. We are down to six tables and apparently 41 players cash. The money bubble is approaching.

Meanwhile… Virginia is in serious jeopardy of becoming the first #1 seed to lose in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Obviously, they are my champions.

8:24 PM: Down to 5 tables… four spots off the money.

It took 8.5 hours but someone is finally lighting me up for wearing a Blair Walsh jersey in a Seattle casino.

8:49 PM: Hand-for-hand, I’ll have 12 bigs after posting big blind and ante this next hand.

9:03 PM: Cashed it and then snap-doubled with 55 vs AK. Peaking at 105k.

9:20 PM: Freeroll is on. Under the gun opens and I jam 15 bigs on button when AQ and spike a queen vs AK for the full double.

197k now! 😮😮😮

9:36 PM: Four tables left.

9:48 PM: Open 21k @ 4k/8k and 8k ante with AA and someone flats in position. Flop 754 two hearts, I lead 30k (never folding), he jams, and I dodge his flush draw with AThh.


9:55 PM: Call a 5 BB jam from the big with Qc8. He shows A6ss and turns aces up but I river a four card flush with my Qc to bust him.

389k with 25 left. Average stack is 160k.

10:33 PM: Open 26k with A6cc from cutoff with big blind having 95k behind at 5k/10k. I would actually hate it if the big jams on me because he’s been playing kind of snug, so when that does happen I’m ever-so-slightly unprepared but after doing some shoddy math, I decide I have to go with it. He tables KQo and has a gut shot, flush draw, and two overs on the turn and bricks it all.

519k with 18 left.

The homie Christian is dealing and asked for a shout out and I kind of have to honor that request since he delivered that AQ > AK suck out to set this rush into motion.

A Kitsap County area player (and former softball teammate of mine) is at my table now making a deep run, something he’s done consistently over the past three Classic series. Kudos to him!

11:16 PM: Reshoved over a 10bb jam with AQ and the short stack has KK and doubles through me.

261k. Puts me close to average now with 16 left.

11:25 PM: Defend < 3bb open with A5dd and it checks around on A86hhh flop. I check-call 2.5bb on jack turn and inexplicably get a free showdown on jack river vs… AcKh!

Lost the pot but minimal damage vs his holding.

Down to 180k though.

Players busting all over the place. I think we are down to ten now, on the final table bubble.

Scratch that. 11 left.

11:52 PM: Chipped down in a blind vs blind situation but just made final table with a paltry 116k.


Second final table of the series and third one in the last week? Seems decent for someone that doesn’t really play tournaments. And thank goodness the limit O8 tourney doesn’t count otherwise I’d be in the running for the $6k top prize for Player of the Series. 🤦🏻‍♂️😡

12:01 AM: I’m starting FT with the shortest stack and 2.5 bigs about to go through me. Will definitely be looking to get it in this next orbit.

12:08 AM: Ouch. Blinds went through me and then went up.

But… as I was typing that, I stacked off with ~3.75 bigs with A6cc and doubled through… AT! Christian is my magic dealer! Back up to 200k(10 bigs).

12:39 AM: Sick double with QQ vs AK all in pre with a K66 flop. Queen on turn! Let’s. Go. Back up to around 500k coming back to 15k/30k.

12:55 AM: MP opens to 60k, I flat AJo and we both check on KQ2 all club flop (no club in my hand). Turn is Td and he bets 85k. If he flopped a flush, god bless him but I’m not going to mess around on this board texture. I jam, he snaps. Uh oh. He rolls KJ with Jc and bricks out.

We are chip leading over a milly. Still nine players left.

My opponent mutters something about how trapped I was and I’m thinking “yeah, nice check, buddy.

1:10 AM: One player busts and then I open A9ss and a < 10bb stack jams on me and I double him up when his AQ holds.


1:10 AM: Huge double. Flat AJcc and get it in on J54hh vs 98hh and hold in 1 million pot.

1.7 million

6 left.

1:39 AM: Winner. $20k

2:15 AM: Ended up getting $20k with 5 players left. 1st was $24k so it was an easy deal for me to make. One double up for any of them would have drastically leveled the playing field so very happy to lock up the $20k.

Registered for tomorrow and planning to show up in level 3 or 4.


Little Creek South Sound Championship $340 No Limit Hold’em Main Event – A Final Table Run!

March 11, 2018

This tournament kind of snuck up on me. The South Sound Championship series at Little Creek isn’t exactly on my radar. The preliminary events aren’t that attractive and the weak field sizes don’t really make them worth playing. You typically have to final table to make the money and probably have to finish top 3 to feel really good about it. Well, at least I would.

The Main Event is a little different though. I don’t play it every time it comes around – mostly because I forget about it – but it’s decent enough. I actually took 4th in this event back in spring of 2014 and that was a career high score for me at the time. I think I cashed for a little over $4K. 20K in starting chips for $340, 45 minute levels and the level jumps are tolerable. There’s definitely some play in it. Also, the fields at Little Creek are insanely soft. Overall, the play is surprisingly passive and pretty straight forward. There are some guys that can play and put pressure on you, but they are the Puget Sound rounders, not the locals. Most of the Shelton area players are really easy to play against. That makes this event with a deeper structure attractive even though the field size is kind of ho hum. There were 92 entrants in this one and that paid the final table only.

One annoying feature of the Little Creek tourneys is that they are 10-handed. How is this still a thing in 2018? Just brutal. 10-handed poker sucks period, but feeling crowded the whole time you’re playing makes it so much worse. And this isn’t a temporary thing. You have to suffer all day long, even at the final table.

I only had one player I’m familiar with at my starting table. The highly unorthodox, extremely talky, and slightly obnoxious Puget Sound superstar known as Flex. I actually wrote about Flex in a very unflattering light (I believe I called him “Loudmouth”) in one of my first tournament write-ups back in 2012. Oh hell, I’ll go ahead and link it even though it’s somewhat embarrassing for myself as well: Freddie’s $110 Deep Stack. It’s worth noting this was over six years ago and propping $4/$8 limit hold’em was my only job at the time. So… fair warning! Anyways, having Flex at the table isn’t a great thing. He is capable of making things difficult for you and drastically increasing your variance in a field that otherwise doesn’t require much risk early on. It also means you could double up early, so there’s that!

Levels 1-2

Blinds 25/50, there’s a raise to 150 and I defend T6hh from the big blind. Four of us see the QJ8 with two hearts flop. I end up calling 300 on the flop and all four of us are still in. My draw is pretty big, but this isn’t the board texture I expect to get folds on, so jacking it up here just bloats the pot out of position when I haven’t made anything yet. The turn bricks and I have to call another 600. I think we are heads up at this point and the small blind has been the aggressor the whole time and he checks when the river is a 9 and I make my straight. I bet 1500 and he pays it off.

Blinds 25/50, I call 150 from the cutoff with KQo with multiple players in already. The flop is Q52 with two hearts and one diamond. There are six of us in and Flex leads out for 500 (after PFR checks), player to my right makes it 1000, and I immediately have the instinct that I want to raise. That’s odd because raising seems like the worst of my options in this spot most of the time. I push this thought aside and decide to just call and see what happens. Everyone else folds and Flex calls also. The turn is the 9d and both players check to me. I do not believe this is any sort of trap and I’m not really surprised by this action considering my instincts that neither player seemed strong on the flop. I bet 1700. Flex calls and the player that raised the flop snap folds. Yup. With that said, I don’t expect to get paid off on many rivers, so I will be checking back a lot of cards. The Kd on the river is an interesting one, but before I can think too long about what I’m going to do, Flex fires out a healthy bet of 7500. There is a key piece of missing information that makes this not a snap call. I don’t have the Qd and the Qd was not on the flop. If Flex has a queen, which seems likely, then he has the Qd half of the time and it makes a lot of sense that he just went running diamonds. In fact, it makes so much sense that this might actually be a clear fold. The only other logical hand I lose to is JT of hearts. It’s also hard to come up with hands he could be bluffing with. A4hh? A3hh? 43hh? Other missed heart draws? QJo? QTo? I don’t think so. Sometimes I think I’m taking up too much time in spots that actually probably require a bit more thinking. In retrospect, all things considered – especially the bet sizing – this seems like a pretty easy fold, but in real time, I decided to pay it off even though I called out his hand before he showed it to me: queen high flush.

There was another hand at the 50/100 level where Flex had limped in under the gun, there were two other limps and I made it 600 to go with AK and Flex ends up beating me with J7o on AJ67x, making two pair and getting another healthy river bet from me. As I said, he’s sticky and drastically increases your variance. On the bright side, I decided to pot control turn and check back.

Still, after the first two levels I had 7700, which means I had lost over 60% of my stack already and was wondering if I should punt the rest of it and rebuy if I didn’t chip up early in L3 (the last level to rebuy).

Levels 3-4

Blinds 75/150, I defend J4cc from the big blind for 400. Three of us see the A84 with two club flop. I check, the next guy donks 700 into Flex (the PFR) and he calls. I started the hand with about 10K I think and, again, I don’t expect anyone to fold on the flop and I have too many chips to want to get them all in right now. I call. The turn is a 7 and I check again, the next guy bets 1000 and Flex makes it 4500. I actually give some thought to making a mathematically incorrect call here. If I make my flush on the river, I can’t imagine that Flex will be able to fold with such favorable pot odds, so I could feasibly call here and fold when I brick and probably double up when I make flushes and maybe trips. It’s 100% a bad play, but there is appeal to gambling to double up since I have a half stack and if I miss I’ll be that much closer to rebuying for a fresh stack. I ultimately decide to make the prudent play of laying it down though and so does the other player and Flex shows us both the A7.

Blinds 100/200, I open to 500 with A9 of spades and only the big blind defends. Flop is 762 with two spades and the big blind check-calls 500. The turn pairs the 2 and I decide to keep barreling and bet 1200. He calls again. Sigh. I guess I have to get there. Oh, hello 3 of spades! He checks and I have 5500 and really think if he has anything he’s going to call jam, so I stuff and he does call… with 75o and I double up to 15.5K. We’re healthy again!

Blinds 100/200, someone opens to 600, Flex calls, and I make a very loose defend with 96o. Flop is J65, I check, PFR bets 1200, and Flex folds. I think this is a standard peel. I bink the 9 on the turn, check, he bets 2100 and I make a somewhat hefty raise to 7200, he stuffs it and I snap call. He tables AA and I hold to double up to 37K. Hey, loose preflop call justified! You cooler these people when they have big pairs and they are not folding.

Levels 5-6

Blinds 200/400, someone min-raises to 800 and I call with 33 in position. Flop is 742 and he checks to me. I bet 1300 and he calls. Turn is a jack and he checks again. I already ran this hand by someone else because I ended up hating it. He has done nothing in this hand to make me think he has anything at all, so I feel like betting again here is best. I bet 2200 and he raises me to 7500. And then he proceeds to stare daggers at me. I take my sweet time with this decision and whenever I look at him, he is staring me down, not breaking eye contact. This, plus his two checks and extremely narrow value range (sets? KK, AA?), has me thinking I have the best hand and that he probably wants me to fold. I noted that we were 20K effective and this is basically a decision for his stack size. I ultimately decide this is the kind of high variance spot I’m trying to avoid in this field and make the fold, but I hated it. When I ran this by a friend he suggested checking back turn and possibly calling rivers. I countered that it seems better for me to set my own bet size on the turn while protecting my weak hand and check back rivers than it is to check turn and let him set the bet size on the river and have to play more of a guessing game. Oh well.

Blinds 300/600, I open to 1500 with TT and call a ~9k jam and hold vs AK.

Blinds 300/600, four callers and I check 92o from the big blind. The flop is K92 with two hearts and a diamond and I lead out for 1300 and get two callers. The turn is a very safe 5d and I bet 5000. The next player goes to call with a 5K chip and accidentally drops two of them into the pot, effective min-raising me to 10K. The other player folds and it’s back to me. I do believe it was an accident, but I’m also not in love with the situation. I decide to play it safe and just call. The river is the Qd, which is not a great card for me and I’m pretty happy to see him check back and my two pair holds vs KT.

Blinds 300/600, I open to 1600 with AJhh and only the big blind calls. Flop is T63 with one heart and we both check. The turn is the 2s and I call 2200. River pairs the 6 and he fires out 2600. This is the guy that was staring daggers at me earlier and this spot is much less pressure and I’m getting the same live read and basically snap call this time. He shows A9ss and I win the pot.

I have 68K after six levels on the third break of the day.

Level 7

Blinds 400/800, someone jams 5400 and I call with JJ, but wind up losing to his AJ.

Blinds 400/800, someone opens to 1700, there’s a call, and I make it 4800 with AA. The opener jams for 11K and the other player is pretty deep behind with me and goes into the tank. For the briefest of moments, I actually think he’s going to jam, but he ultimately winds up folding. I snap call and the all in tables… AA. What. The player that folded audibly winces when a ten spikes the river and claims he folded pocket tens. Considering how much time he took and that he looked like he might jam, I believed him. What a dodge! I end up splitting with the other aces.

Another player familiar to me is at my table now, a long time frenemy that I named after Batman villain Solomon Grundy a long time ago because, well, there’s a resemblance. I’ve been crossing paths with Solomon Grundy for years now and he pops into my cash games once in a while but I almost always see him in the bigger local tournaments and even sometimes on the road.

Once upon a time, I sat in a $5/$10 no limit hold’em cash game at Little Creek, thinking it was just a $3/$5 game and ended up selling action to my wife (back when she was my girlfriend and we didn’t share money yet) when I realized I was playing in a bigger game. I was a $4/$8 limit player at the time and didn’t play much no limit and certainly didn’t play it at this level (and never have again), so I was far out of my comfort zone. Anyways, Solomon Grundy was in this game and I will never forget the pain of getting all $800 I had in front of me in the middle with KK and seeing him table AA. It broke my heart and crushed my soul at the time. Losing $800 was a lot to me back then and having it all happen in one hand was stunning.

Well, I bring Solomon up because he opens the button to 3k here with blinds still at 400/800 and I look down at 99 in the small blind. He has about 16K behind and his sizing is quite big, so I decide that I’m just going to have to embrace the variance of this spot and play for stacks. I 3-bet to 10K because the big blind was deep with me, but he folds and Grundy stuffs the rest of his stack in. I snap and he tables 77 and I win a big pot and wish him well.

Blinds 400/800, very next hand and I’m on the button now and open to 2200 with AJo. I have two very capable and aggressive players in the blinds, so I don’t expect to get folds very often and I will be continuing if the SB 3-bets and probably getting it in against the BB’s stack size. Only the big defends and the flop comes down A84 with two diamonds. He check-calls 2700 on the flop and then check-calls 6000 when the 4 pairs on the turn. The river is a queen and he has about 10K behind and checks. I don’t see much upside to betting here since I’m chopping with all the aces I was beating now and it’s hard to imagine him calling with worse. I check back and win and after he makes a comment about “how does he have an ace on the button after winning a big pot?” and I wonder if jamming river actually makes perfect sense because of the metagame dynamics.

87.4K on dinner break.

Levels 8-9

Blinds 600/1200, I defend K8hh for 3000. Flop is KQ8 all clubs. Not excited to play a huge pot here, so I check-call 5500 on the flop and then we both check when the turn brings the four card flush in. The river is a blank and he sizes super small at 5200 and I pay it off.

Blinds 600/1200, one limper, button makes it 3100, and I have AKcc in the big blind. Button has been playing rather snug and we are both deep, so I elect to take the lower variance line of just flatting and taking a flop and the other player comes along as well. Flop is A73 with two spades and I check-call 3500 and the other player overcalls. The turn is the 4s and since I expect to be ahead of the button’s range and am now highly vulnerable to spades on the river, I decide to lead out for 8500. I’m a little concerned about the limper, but I also realize my hand can look like a flush here, so I think it’s fine, even though my sizing is quite small. I am happy to see both players fold.

I open to 2800 with 33 and only the big blind defends. The flop is 942 with two diamonds and he donks a hefty 6k. He has about 18k behind and his flop sizing is big, so this is a really weird spot. Still, it seems way too weak-passive to just fold flop. How often is he leading out big with strong hands? Instead of making sure I put a c-bet in first? I flat. The turn pairs the 9, which I love, but he jams for 18k, which I don’t love. This is a tough spot and I spent a long time in the tank thinking about it and came quite close to folding. Ultimately, his line didn’t make much sense to me and he did not seem comfortable at all. I was quite sure he was bluffing. My main dilemma was if he was bluffing with hands I lose to, like 4x of diamonds or 55 maybe. Since losing this pot wasn’t going to cripple me and I thought he was full of crap, I made the call and he tables A8o and bricks the river and I ship a sexy pot, leaving the rest of the table in legit shock.

Blinds 600/1200, I open to 2800 with JJ and the sticky, solid player on my direct left calls. We are heads up to AT8. Here’s the thing, I expect this guy to continue on this board texture a lot of the time and that is going to make things difficult for me if I’m the aggressor. I also expect him to bet worse hands a lot when I check and checking would be my go to line when I have hands like AK or AQ here. We both check the flop. The turn is a 9 and since I’m never bet-folding this card and I showed weakness on the flop, I think check-calling is best here. I check-call 3000. The river pairs the 8 and I am quite happy to check-call 5000, expecting to win this pot almost all the time. I don’t think he has an ace and I’m blocking straights pretty hard. Unfortunately, he shows me the 87o for trips.

I’ve been jotting my hands down all day and after that hand, as I’m typing stuff on my phone, he asks “are you writing down that I’m a donkey” and I say, “no, I wrote that down a long time ago,” which got a solid laugh out of him. We banter a little more and then he says something about “let’s just take their chips” motioning to the other players like we should just stay out of each other’s way and I’m like, “wait, what did you just call me with?”

Blinds 600/1200, I call 3100 with AJ on the button and we are heads up to KT9 flop with two clubs. I have the ace of clubs and peel for another 3100. The turn pairs the ten and he bets another 3100. I’m not sensing strength and I feel like that’s a better card for my range than it is for his, so I eventually pop him to 8500, expecting him to fold a lot. He calls though and the river double pairs the board with a 9 and I decide to give up. He shows K2 of clubs and I feel a little sick. First, that I didn’t consider 3-betting pre and second, because I didn’t put pressure on him on the river. I felt much less sick about this hand when I saw this guy pay off a turn bet and a massive river bet on a 98xQJ board with AJ a short while later (his opponent had 97). I’m pretty sure I saved chips on the river here.

Blinds 600/1200, my notes say I opened to 3500 with QQ here. That seems strange. Maybe there was a limper or I must have had some other reason to increase my sizing. Anyways, I end up getting called in three spots. The flop comes down 873 with two hearts and the big blind just donk-jams 25k. I call, the others fold, and he tables 98o. Just a total overjam spazz with a weak top pair hand. Unfortunately, his suicide attempt gets a safe landing when a 9 spikes the turn and I can’t counterfeit him on the river. The first hand of the tournament that made me truly nauseous.

Blinds 1000/2000, dealer accidentally gives the small blind a third card and the SB has it set to the side, not touching his actual hand and says “it’s this one.” Meanwhile, I’m looking down at KK in middle position, sweating the situation. The dealer calls it a fucking misdeal. Jesus, we know what card is the burn, buddy, wtf are you doing? I’m tempted to say he should call the floor, but I think that reveals my hand strength anyway, so whatever. It’s a misdeal. So gross and unnecessary.

Levels 10-11

Blinds 1200/2400, we have some bad note taking here. It says someone opens to 5000 and I make it 14k with a 60k stack and he calls. Flop is ten high and I c-bet 16k and he folds. What I didn’t list was my actual hand. I believe I had QQ.

Blinds 1200/2400, I open 6k with AA, big blind defends and folds to a c-bet and I am peaking again with 19 players left.

Blinds 1200/2400, I open 6k with AQhh and big blind defends. I bet 8500 on Q62 two spade flop and he check-raises to 28.5k, leaving himself with ~14k behind. I jam and he snaps with Q5 and I hold and bust him. Peaking!

Blinds 1200/2400, it folds to the small blind and he says “5 more” and then tosses out a single 5K chip. Dealer rules it a raise to 7400, which is 5000 more than the big blind. I’m sitting there with K7o and I’m not really liking what’s going on here. I’m not even sure saying “5 more” and throwing in a single oversized chip is a raise, and if it is, it almost certainly is a raise to 6200 and not to 7400. But whatever. I try not to be “that guy” if I can and don’t say anything. I call. The flop is 742 and the small blind hardly even looks at the flop before betting 12k. Since he is giving off such strong physical tells, I think calling and letting him continue to bluff (or folding if his demeanor changes) makes more sense than raising. Turn is a 3 and again he puts zero thought into the situation and bets 16k. Easiest call of my life. The river is a 6 and since I think my hand is good 98% of the time here and that he probably can’t call anything on this run out, I check back and win vs AK.

I now have 190k with 17 players left and average stack is 108k.

Blinds 1500/3000, I open to 7500 with KQo and someone jams to 33.4K. Easy call. He tables QJss and spikes a jack to double through me.

Blinds 1500/3000, someone opens to 7500, there’s a call, and I decide to call with KQo. Four of us see a king high flop and after the opener checks, the first call jams for ~42k total. Can’t really call with KQ pre and fold here, so I make the call and the other players fold. He tables AK and I get super lucky by spiking a queen on the turn, winning a huge pot, and busting a player. I am peaking again at just under 200k.

Blinds 2000/4000, I open to 10k with 99 and the sticky player on my left makes the call. The flop is K72 with two spades. I would pretty much always c-bet this flop texture, so I bet 14.5k and he calls. Turn pairs the king and also brings a third spade. We both check. The river is a 7, which I actually hate because this guy has proven he’s capable of having 7x hands in his range. I check again and he bets 30k. Kind of a tough spot here. What am I really beating with that he can call on the flop with? Small pairs only really. Unfortunately, he would now have to bluff with those hands. But really, it’s a pretty small range: 66-33. He would almost certainly check back with 88. Anything else he can have, I am probably losing to, unless he’s on a weird airball. Again, seems like an easy fold in retrospect, but I called and he shows KJ.

That dips me below average with 12 players left. I have 125k and average is 141k.

Blinds 2000/4000, I open to 11k with AJ and call a 40k jam and bust a player holding KT. Down to 11 and on the money bubble.

Blinds 2000/4000, button opens to 10k and I make it 40k from the small blind with QQ. I am quite surprised to see him call. Flop is 886 with two diamonds. There is 84k plus antes in the pot and he has about 125k behind. The board texture isn’t super wet, so I can probably get away with betting something like 33-40% pot here, but I decide I don’t want to do any guessing if bad turns come. I just put him all in and put max pressure on him. We are on the stone bubble, so I’m actually surprised when he starts thinking about it and when he ends up tanking for a very long time, it dawns on me that he has a real hand. A pair. I want him to call. He does. Tables JJ. Turn blank. River blank! He’s out! And I basically get a full double as we move to the final table and into the money.

In fact, I start the final table with 350k, which is either the chip lead or close to it, and the average stack is 184k.

A look at the prize pool:

10th – $608
9th – $608
8th – $1065
7th – $1220
6th – $1520
5th – $2130
4th – $2890
3rd – $4560
2nd – $6235
1st – $9580

In other words, the payouts are brutally flat. There is a bigger jump from 9th to 8th than from 7th to 6th and all the jumps are pretty insignificant until four players left. At this point, I am going to be disappointed with anything less than 4th place, I think.

Blinds 3000/6000, I open to 16k with AJ and the big blind defends. Flop is AJ9 one spade and he check-calls 18k quite quickly. He checks-calls 40k very fast on the Ts turn also. River is the 6s, which brings in a backdoor flush, but I have the ace of spades and the jack of spades is on the board, so I’m not concerned about a running flush and he has shown such an eagerness to call that I go for it all on the river and put him all in for his remaining 150k. Unfortunately, he mucks it. Still a nice pot for me to start the final table.

Blinds 3000/6000, folds to me in small blind with AJ. Big blind is nitty and has about 12 big blinds. Easy jam. He snaps and rolls QQ. Sigh. He holds and I double him up. 370k with 8 left.

Blinds 3000/6000, I open to 14k and the button calls. Flop is AKJ and I think this is a good board to pot control. I check-call 25k. Turn is a blank and I check-call 25k again. I’m very unconcerned about my hand with his bet sizing. River bricks again, I check, he bets 30k and I snap. He rolls KQ and I’m good.

Blinds 3000/6000, folds to me on the button and I have A5o. The small blind has a decent-sized stack and plays too tight to play for stacks with him, but the big blinds started with 40k and I’ll definitely get it in with him. I open to 16k and only the big blind calls, which is really strange considering his stack size. Flop is 775 and he open-jams. Snap call. He tables AT and I hold and bust him.

I am now peaking near 500k with 7 left and am totally set up to ship this whole thing.

Blinds 3000/6000, one limper, I make it 20k with AJ and he calls. Flop is QJ5 and he donks 50k. Did I say I was set up to win this thing? Hold that thought. Can I possibly fold AJ here? It is atypical to donk good hands into the PFR so the line is toying with me. But the fact that I am thinking about folding it means that my instincts are telling me something is different here. Sigh. I don’t listen to them. I decide my hand is too good to fold on the flop and if I’m not folding on the flop, then it’s hard to imagine folding ever given his stack size, so I jam. He snaps with QT and I dust off an extra 125k to him.

Blinds 4000/8000, and I’m about to make another misstep. I open to 20k with 55 and the nitty player on my left jams for ~100k. If I asked myself before the hand if I was willing to get 100k in pre against this player before I opened the answer would have been “no.” The problem is, this guy is so tight, I feel like he’s folding roughly 85% of the time. Maybe more. Since he’s almost certainly jamming AK and AQ and probably some more unpaired hands, I have to call and I end up doubling him again when his AA holds up. I actually did flop a one card four flush, but nope!

Blinds 4000/8000, I open to 22k with T9 of clubs. I am increasing my opening sizing when the sticky player that was on my left earlier is in the blinds. He calls and the flop is AAK. He checks to me and I size way down at 15k to make it look like I’m itching for a call and he folds 77 face up.

Blinds 4000/8000, I open to 23k with 44 and only the small blind calls. Flop is K76 all spades and we both check. Turn is 4d, giving me a set and he checks to me again. He has somewhere between 70k-80k and with the pot size at around 60k, I just go ahead and put him in. He then flashes me the ace of spades and a 7… and mucks. Wow. What a flop check by me and what a turn.

Blinds 6000/12000, I open to 30k with QT suited and the nit on my left jams for 85k. Goddammit. I call. He has KK and doubles through me for the third time. UGHHHHHHHHHHH.

That puts me down to 178k and the sticky, good player has all the chips now and proposes a deal. He offers us all $3500 each and he gets the rest (which is a little over $7k). I have about 15 bigs, which is either the shortest stack or the second shortest, and the second biggest stack probably doesn’t even have 22 bigs. The next player out gets $1220 and we are going to have to finish in at least 3rd to get more than $3500. I don’t particularly want to make a deal, but I have zero leverage, and neither does anyone else really. Still, I stay silent and let everyone else talk it out. I am fine playing. Absolutely fine. But if everyone else agrees, I think I have to take the deal. The reality is, the six of us are all very close to push/fold stacks and I might be the only one that actually realizes that and will play accordingly. Also, the payout structure is so flat that surviving and laddering up isn’t overwhelmingly appealing. They all eventually agree to the deal and I begrudgingly agree as well. Can’t be too upset about a $3500 return on a $340 investment, but the competitor in me was a little sad. The competitor in me also would have been pissed if I was the next person out for $1220, so….

A nice little score that gets me almost even in live tournaments for the year.

I have six more possible events in the Muckleshoot Spring Classic over the next week and after typing 5000+ words in this post, I will definitely not be posting play-by-play blogs for each event! Heck no. But I will keep you guys updated.


2018 Poker Goals

March 8, 2018

Sorry, this is way overdue, but better late than never! My playing schedule is going to be very tournament heavy over the next couple weeks. I will be playing $15/$30 today and tomorrow at Palace, but I’ll be heading to Little Creek Casino for their $340 No Limit Hold’em Main Event on Saturday. I have an online fantasy baseball draft on Sunday night, so I’ll probably just take the day off or play on Global that day, then back to Palace for a $15/$30 Marathon Monday session. Tuesday will be an off day and then Wednesday is the first day of the Muckleshoot Spring Classic series. They have events every day, Wednesday through Sunday, and I sold action to all of them, so that’s my tentative plan for next week. I typically skip the $500 on Saturday if I’m not in the running for Player of the Series (which I never am) so that I can be rested up for the $750 Main Event the next day instead. I have multiple cashes in the Main Event of this series over the last several years, but I have zero final tables and I think only one or two cashes in preliminary events. My phone data goes back to August of 2014 and Muckleshoot has been my worst location during that stretch. I have 0 cashes in the last 11 Classic events I’ve played, so I’m looking to break a cold stretch and finally do something big in this series. I’m way overdue! I will take notes and try to make posts at the end of the day, but that’s something that is much easier to do when I’m on the road by myself than when I’m at home with my wife.

Now onto the goals!

Volume Goals

-play 1800 live hours
-play less than 33% of live cash game hours at $8/$16 or lower
-play 500 hours of PLO (online and live)
-play one mixed game session a month (house games)
-take more shots
-play at least one online tournament a week
-play a bigger WSOP schedule
-play 100 hours of NLHE cash (online and live)


1800 total live hours is 150 hours a month which should be easily attainable and if you’ve been following my blog, you know I’m on pace to crush that number.

Playing 67% of my cash game volume at $10/$20 or higher seemed problematic a few short weeks ago, but $15/$30 has been going basically every day at Palace and this should be another goal I will demolish. I was mostly an $8/$16 player for the last three years, but this year I will be playing almost entirely red chip games.

With online play, 500 hours of PLO should be a number I will hit, but my real goal here is to play more in live PLO cash games, particularly when I’m traveling out of state. Even locally, I wouldn’t say I’ve been committed to playing PLO. I average about two sessions a month and I went three months in a row without playing at all last year. I would like to add an Omaha 8 or Better goal but really the only place I go specifically to play O8 is The Orleans in Las Vegas, so it’s not something that comes up much and I only play it when I’m in Vegas if it wasn’t my priority for the day… meaning, I busted out of tournament and it’s 9 PM and I still want to play some poker, but with like zero pressure.

I want to play more mixed game poker this year, so that I’m fresh and ready come WSOP time. Ideally, I’d like to play a mixed game a couple times a month, but even 12 sessions in a year would be a big improvement over my past volume. I seem to play most of the games pretty well using mostly natural instincts and card sense, but I’d like to gain more actual experience.

When I say take more shots I mean in games I might not exactly be bankrolled for. For instance, I shouldn’t be such a nit when I’m in L.A. and Vegas and I should sit down in the $40/$80 games some of the time. A bad session isn’t going to crush me, but a great one could be huge. The concept of having a bankroll for a particular game assumes that you are playing that game regularly. Taking shots seems fine if I’m smart and careful about it. Also, I have some interest in playing the $100/$200 mix game at Muckleshoot, but I wouldn’t do so without taking on a partner or two. Hit me up if you’re interested!

On average, playing one tournament online a week is a piece of cake. When I do play online, I typically play 5-8 tournaments in a single night. This is to help keep me sharp for NLHE tournaments, which I very rarely play live.

My WSOP schedule has been increasing every year, but I’m ready to kick it up a few notches. I already have a room booked for May 30th through June 12th and that could cover up to seven WSOP events and I may wind up staying through – and playing – the Main Event. Certainly I will not be done with Vegas after June 12th. There are at least two more must play events on my schedule after that first trip. The most events I’ve played in a year was five in 2017 and it would be cool to at least double that number for 2018. In all likelihood, if I play the Main Event, I will be selling up to 90% of my action and I will probably need more assistance than my usual backing arrangement.

My weekly goal is 30 minutes of NL cash games online. This seems like the bare minimum practice I need. When I’m playing online though, I drastically prefer PLO and when I play live, it is incredibly rare for me to actually sit in a no limit cash game. 100 hours is way more than my actual weekly goal would add up to, but this is a skill set that I really need to start developing. I feel like I’m a fine NL cash game player, but I’m far from being an expert and I wouldn’t feel comfortable playing anything bigger than $3/$5.

Win Rate Goals

-$15/$30 LHE: 1.25 BB/HR
-$20/$40 LHE (and higher): 1 BB/HR
-$8/$16 LHE (and lower): 1.25 BB/HR
-$1/$3/$5 PLO: $50/HR
-Live PLO: 10 bb/HR
-$0.25/$0.50 6-max PLO: 1 bb/HR
-Online PLO: 5 bb/HR
-No Limit Hold Em: 10 bb/HR
-Live Tournaments: 50% ROI
-Online Tournaments: 30% ROI

*note: limit games are expressed as big bets per hour and no limit and plo are expressed as big blinds per hour


First off, it’s not going to break my heart if I don’t meet some of these goal. My real goal is to play amazing poker all the time and hopefully the money comes my way. These numbers just seem like reasonable bench marks. For the non-LHE games, I probably won’t play enough hours for short-term variance not to have a dramatic affect on my final results. But still, I feel like this is where I would like to be at.

I imagine I will play more $15/$30 LHE than any other game this year. When I was sitting at $7/hour after 200 hours in the Palace $15/$30 (thanks mostly to High Hands and Jackpots), I thought a final goal of even 1 BB/HR might be a reach after such a rough start. But after making $11k in four days, my numbers look more like what I’m accustomed to and I think continuing to beat Palace LHE games for somewhere between 1.25 and 1.75 big bets per hour is plenty doable.

Bigger games are tougher, but last year I smashed my goal of 0.75 BB/HR at $20/$40 or higher. No reason I can’t do that again, but since $30/$60 happens at Palace a few times a month now, and I plan to take some shots in even bigger games, I’m going to temper my expectations for the time being.

As I noted earlier, I don’t expect to be playing much $8/$16 this year, so this could be a number that could see a lot of variance.

I won $100 an hour in the PLO game at Palace last year, but I’m positive that’s unsustainable. If I won even half that much an hour in 2018, that’s probably still smashing. I may have set this goal too high, but whatever. Shoot for the moon!

I listed the Palace game separately since it has a 1/3/5 structure. For all other games where you can limp for the price of the big blind, I think a 10 bb/hour goal is solid. Same can be said for no limit hold cash games.

My goal of 1 bb/hr for $0.25/$0.50 6-max PLO online is a joke. Considering I lost 26 bb/hr at this exact game last year, anything in the positive is a huge turnaround and I’ll take it. My results in full ring PLO games are basically the opposite. I don’t really know what I should be making at PLO online, but anything positive seems like a good start and somewhere between 5 and 10 bb/hr is probably a solid target.

I will come back to earth eventually with live tournaments and when I do, it will probably be to the tune of my first losing year of tournament poker ever. Even when I was an idiot alcoholic I never had a losing year in tournaments. But with my average buy-in increasing every year and a rather small sample size, posting a final score in the red is bound to happen.

My ROI in tournaments on Global Poker is currently 13%. My ROI in 755 online tournaments over the past 3+ years is -1%. Setting a goal of 30% here is actually kind of a big deal. But there are so many different players absolutely smashing the Global Poker tournaments that I refuse to believe I can’t drastically improve on my past performance. I can’t speak to my performance on sites before Global, but I do know my biggest reason for lack of success on Global is an abysmal performance in anything with a buy-in of $20 or higher. My average ROI is 83%, which is on par with the beasts on the site, but basically all my good fortune has happened in the smallest buy-ins.

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 had a very successful first year as a professional poker player, but my bankroll at the end of 2017 was actually smaller than it was when I quit my job. To be fair to myself, we did buy a house and I put more money down than I ever planned to and then we spent the first several months fixing up our new home and the costs piled. We also aggressively paid down our debt. I paid off two student loans and one credit card and now we have one of each to go. Then I sent a very painful bundle of money to the IRS for taxes and did so all throughout 2017 as well. I also dropped a chunk of change into an IRA account and invested in some digital currencies. Plus, I like to spend money on experiences. We go to multiple MLB games a year, see plays like “Hamilton”, travel a lot, and I’ve been to Universal Studios and Disneyland twice each since October 2016. I make a budget every month, but we aren’t exactly pinching pennies. I enjoy living and experiencing life. With that said, there have been multiple moments where I look at my total bankroll number and think “WTF?” I had a massive year for an $8/$16 player and I had less money than I started with? I’ve been working on this post for a while now and I’ve gotten healthy over the past few weeks and saw considerable growth for the first time in a while. Being able to play $15/$30 on a daily basis five minutes from home should be like giving myself a raise that is nearly double my previous cash game hourly. That’s obviously extremely helpful. With that said, I feel comfortable playing $30/$60 regularly. I want to say I felt comfortable playing $40/$80 – I didn’t have any nerves – but I also quit the game after dropping a couple racks in about an hour. That’s not giving myself a chance to overcome a poor start. I do that all the time at my normal limits. I want to end 2018 with at least a $40/$80 bankroll, even if I won’t be playing it regularly.

I mentioned we still have a little credit card debt and I have one student loan left. Even though I want to grow my bankroll, clearing unnecessary debt is and has been a bigger priority for us.

My wife and I travel once a year to visit a new MLB stadium. We’ve been doing this since 2014 when we went to Anaheim to watch watch the Angels play the Dodgers. In 2015, we went to San Francisco; 2016 we went to Denver, Colorado to watch the Rockies; and last year we went to Dodger Stadium and the Mariners spring training complex in Peoria, Arizona; I also happened to be driving into L.A. during Game 2 of the NLCS and made a spur of the moment decision to buy tickets to watch some playoff baseball and make my third visit to Dodger Stadium of the year (I did a park tour in January 2017). This year our current plan seems to be to visit New Orleans then drive to Houston for an Astros game and then drive to Arlington for a Rangers game before flying back home out of Dallas.

I would also like to go to somewhere I’ve never been for a poker trip. I played at Thunder Valley last year and some new casinos in L.A. earlier this year, but the only place I’ve played poker outside of Washington, Oregon, California, and Nevada is at Ameristar in Blackhawk, Colorado. One of the best things about my profession is that I can travel and work at the same time and seeing new places is one of my favorite things to do.

Lots of health goals. I was doing really well with meditation and yoga for a while there and I’ve fallen off the cliff since $15/$30 started getting spread every day. I’ve mentioned this before, but my balance has been struggling, and on the days that I plan to play, I want to be there as soon as the game starts and I typically don’t leave before 1 AM, which leaves very little room for production on my work days. I plan to play today and I haven’t looked at Bravo yet, so I just need to accept the fact that I need to get some things done before I go play and I might have to wait a bit to get into the game. Meditation, yoga, lifting, and jogging are all things I can incorporate back into my life when I normalize my sleep schedule and accept that I don’t need to be playing poker every waking hour of my work days.

My diet is absolute shit. I’ve never been huge on preparing my own meals, but I am at an all-time worst right now. I’ve always been skinny and gaining weight has been near impossible for me throughout my life. Well, I’m finally average weight for my height and I have some actual flab going on. I’m sort of happy about that, but I’m not happy about how I got there. I eat at the casino probably 10+ times a week and I eat fast food now more than I ever have because I feel I don’t have time for anything else. I used to have a goal of making one meal a week, but that’s fallen off to like once a month, if that. It’s all quite pathetic and I’d like to focus on eating better and healthier, starting with making my own meals more often. I also would like to make water my drink of choice. I do pretty good about that when I’m playing poker, but I tend to gravitate towards diet soda when I’m at home.

I have some goals for my diabetes as well. I think I do a decent job overall with my blood sugar, but I can definitely manage it better and I’m certainly not helping myself with a lot of my meal choices. My numbers still trend higher than they should and I want to work on lowering them. Exercising regularly and eating healthier will go hand in hand with that.

Less distractions. I just want to use my time more efficiently. My days can start off really poorly. I might spend the first two hours drinking coffee and doing pointless stuff online and before I started live blogging my sessions (which I think is productive), I would spend my time out of hands doing stupid stuff on my phone and not paying attention. I am a pillar of strength at the poker table, but when I play online, that chat box gets me sometimes. It’s so much easier to tell someone what you think or respond to their stupid comments when you’re sitting at home behind your computer screen. I admit I can be a bit toxic in that regard and I need to work on channeling my live table presence into the online arena. I also have a tendency to get into stupid and pointless arguments and debates on Facebook, online forums, and the like. I suppose I enjoy debating and witty banter, but it’s a bad use of time that I could spend doing something else way more productive and healthier.

I plan to keep blogging about my poker experiences. It’s amazing how much my audience has grown since I decided to start posting regular poker content. I appreciate everyone that has been reading and rooting me on!

Finally, some study goals. By goodness, I’m going to read through both of Jared Tendler’s books and do all the damn work he asks me to do. My rough stretch through January and into February proved that I still have a lot of work to do on my mental game. I also want to study and play mix games more often, keep watching poker vlogs, and continue reading about meditation and mindfulness – and making the time to do all that.


2018 Poker Schedule (LAPC, WSOP)

December 14, 2017

Here’s a look at the series and tournaments I’ll be targeting in the first half of 2018. Any event in bold is a tournament that I will 100% be playing, barring unforeseen circumstances. Any event that has an asterisk (*) in front of it means that it has multiple starting days and I’m not really committed to any particular one. I’m not exactly planning to play the WSOP Main Event this year, but I’m not ruling it out as a possibility either. A lot depends on how things go in the first six months of the year, but I almost certainly will NOT be playing it unless I have up to 80% of my action sold.

As of now, the only trip I have booked is the first of three to Commerce, so there is still plenty up in the air. My wife said I could stay for the whole WSOP this year, but that’s kind of hard to believe. We’ll see how she feels come June – especially since her birthday is smack dab in the middle of the series. I haven’t looked for any side events during the WSOP, but I’m sure Venetian, Aria, and Golden Nugget will have some things I’m interested in adding to my schedule.

LAPC @ Commerce

January 15th – $350 Omaha 8/Better
January 16th – $350 Triple Stud
January 17th – $350 Stud 8/Better
January 18th – $350 Omaha/Stud 8/Better

January 24th – $350 Limit Hold Em
January 25th – $350 HORSE
January 26th – $350 No Limit Hold Em
January 26th – $350 TOE (O8, Stud 8, 2-7 Triple Draw)
January 27th – $350 No Limit Hold Em
January 27th – $350 No Limit Hold Em/Pot Limit Omaha
January 29th – $570 Omaha 8/Better
January 30th – $570 Stud
February 1st – $570 HORSE

February 11th – $1100 Limit Hold Em
February 12th – $1100 Omaha 8/Better
February 13th – $1100 HORSE

PacWest Classic @ Chinook Winds

February 21st – $150 Omaha 8/Better
February 21st – $80 No Limit Hold Em Bounty
February 22nd – $150 Big Omaha 8/Better
February 23rd – $200 No Limit Hold Em
February 24th – $550 No Limit Hold Em Main Event

Summer Poker Classic @ Muckleshoot

March 14th – March 18th
March 21st – March 25th

WSOPc @ Planet Hollywood (Vegas)

March 22nd – April 2nd

WSOPc @ Harrahs (New Orleans)

May 10th – May 21st

World Series of Poker @ The Rio

May 31st – $1500 Omaha 8/Better
June 1st – *$365 No Limit Hold Em GIANT
June 2nd – *$565 No Limit Hold Em Colossus
June 3rd – $365 No Limit Hold Em Online
June 3rd – *$365 Pot Limit Omaha GIANT
June 6th – $1500 HORSE
June 8th – $565 Pot Limit Omaha
June 9th – $1500 8-Game
June 11th – $1500 Stud 8/Better
June 14th – $1500 Stud
June 16th – *$1000 No Limit Hold Em Double Stack
June 20th – $1500 Limit Hold Em
June 22nd – $2500 Omaha/Stud 8/Better
June 23rd – *$1500 No Limit Hold Em Monster Stack
June 24th – $1500 Razz
June 30th – *$888 No Limit Hold Em Crazy 8
July 2nd – *$10,000 No Limit Hold Em Main Event
July 9th – $3000 6-Max Limit Hold Em
July 12th – $3000 HORSE


2016 Poker Update – January through April

May 6, 2016

I’ve been struggling to update my blog regularly lately, so a week into May I’m somehow just now writing my first blog about my 2016 poker results.

Well, my year started off amazing… like so good, it was feeling surreal. For the first three months of the year, I was trending at $33.53 an hour in all forms of poker and was well on my way to having what could be my best year ever. By far. In fact, March 2016 was the best month of gambling I’ve had since June of 2005, when I turned a $150 deposit on Poker Room into a $25,000 bankroll. Some of you might not know how that story ended. Less than a year later, I had -$900 in my bank account, I was unemployed and homeless – I had to move back in with my parents – and I was starting to lose my battle with alcoholism. It would take half a decade before I returned to sustained success at the poker table. So even though I had an amazing run in the summer of 2005, it was merely a run of good variance that I rode all the way up to the $20/$40 level on Party Poker. Back then, I didn’t understand anything about variance or bankroll management, so it’s no surprise I eventually went broke – and I would do so again many times over the next several years. So when I think about my poker career, I really consider 2011 the start of it… and May 2016 was my best month since then.

And then April 2016 was my worst month. I posted zero wins in my first eight $8/$16 sessions and I wasn’t just posting losses, I was getting trounced. During that stretch, a -$406 session was my second best result. At my worst, I was down over 250 big bets at the $8/$16 level for the month. I managed to shave about half of that off before it was all said and done, so while things could have been worse, it still resulted in my worst month since January 2011.

Here’s a look at how my goals are shaping up:

Play 1250 hours

Through the end of April, I had played 573 hours of poker which puts me on a pace that would exceed 1700 hours of live play. That’s even more hours than I played last year and honestly, a week into May, I’m exhausted. I’m averaging over 140 hours a month of poker play – and I work 30 hours a week at my day job. That’s over 260 hours of work a month so far. Needless to say, it’s drastically decreased my quality of life away from the casino. I’ve posted very little on my blog; I’ve seen three movies in theaters this year and I still haven’t seen a number of the more important films from 2015 (The Big Short, Spotlight, The Martian, Creed); and, most importantly, I can feel the strain it’s putting on my marriage. Lastly, I just never relax and taking some time off to just do nothing is probably an underrated factor in my long term success. Certainly it would behoove me to spend more time working on my game away from the tables that I don’t learning curve doesn’t become stagnant. So, going forward, I will be taking more time off poker so I can maintain a semblance of balance in my life.

Play 150 hours of Omaha 8 or better and maintain a 1 BB/HR win rate

So far I’ve played 10 sessions of Omaha, totaling 33 hours, for a net loss of -$6 (and actually I got killed in a $10/$20 session on May 4th that I’m not including those results). Of course, these results are basically worthless, but one thing I can make note of is that my average session has been less than 4 hours each. In fact, I’ve only played one session that reached 8 hours in length. Of course, part of the issue is that five of these sessions have either been warm ups for other games or just killing time. It’s probably unlikely that I will achieve my goal of playing 150 hours of O8, especially since the game at Clearwater is a good 90 minutes away now and the game in Renton is on Mondays when I work my day job. So the majority of my O8 play will probably happen when I take poker trips to play big tournament series like the WSOP next month.

Play 100 hours of no limit cash games

Eek. Through 4 months I’ve played one NL cash game session for just over one hour and a profit of $39. With Super Sundays at Muckleshoot falling on Sundays when I work, I just haven’t made getting into NL cash games a priority. It’s pretty difficult to justify making the trip to Auburn when I am mashing an $8/$16 game ten minutes away from home.

Do the Advanced Poker Training weekly challenge every week and spend at least an hour a week playing hands on APT

I’ve done a number of the APT weekly challenges, but certainly not all of them. Maybe not even half. I did simulate a bunch of MTTs leading up to the Muckleshoot Spring Classic with settings mirrored to match those of the events I planned to play. While there are aspects of the software that I find laughable at times, a one time payment for a lifetime membership has already been justified. Still, I could spend more time on the website improving my game away from the table.

Play 3-5 WSOP events

I’m just now starting to sell action for the 2016 WSOP. I’ve already booked a flight to Vegas on May 31st to play the $565 NLHE Casino Employee Event the next day, the $565 NLHE Colossus later that week, and the $1500 H.O.R.S.E. on June 7th. My wife and I are also both playing the $1500 Omaha 8 or Better event in mid June. Finally, I am planning to play the $1500 NLHE Monster Stack the last week of June, but I have not booked a flight for that trip yet. I’m looking to sell up to 60% of my action for the $1500 events and I’ve already capped my sold pieces at 30% for the smaller events. Let’s get it!

Cash a WSOP event

I actually accomplished this goal already, unexpectedly. In late February I made the trip to Vegas to play the WSOP Circuit stop at Ballys and while I didn’t cash either of the events I went to play – the $250 H.O.R.S.E. and the $330 Monster Stack – I final tabled a $330 NLHE event that I only decided to play last minute. I came back on the second day of the tournament with a short stack and I decided to take a different approach to short stack tournament poker and it paid off handsomely. Rather than getting my chips in the middle every time I had a +EV push, I passed up on some marginally profitable jamming situations with the intentions of hanging around and laddering up. I’m not going to debate the merits of this approach here, but so far I am happy with the results it has produced. I ended up final tabling with quite a few notable WSOPc grinders, including current Card Player 2016 Player Of The Year front-runner Ari Engel. I eventually found a super sexy spot where I was able to jam 17 bigs over an open and a flat with AK, but wound up losing the race when the flatter found a call with 77. But I managed to score my first WSOP cash, a final table no less, and binked my second $5000 score in less than five months. Still, while a WSOPc cash will show up on my WSOP resume, it will even more legitimate when I get it done at the Rio this summer. With 5 events lined up, I like my chances, especially with how well I’ve been doing in tournaments lately.

Read through Jared Tendler’s The Mental Game Of Poker vols. 1 & 2 and do ALL the work

Here’s where my poker game has suffered the most. When you’re running pure and nothing feels challenging, it’s easy to get complacent about the mental game. I’ve literally spent next to zero time working on my mental game away from the table in 2016. I was crushing it, so why bother? So when things finally got brutal in April, I was ill prepared. I said I was done for the month after multiple sessions… but then the mental game work I’ve put in the past few years kicked in and I told myself not to be a wimp and get in there and play. And I wound up cutting my losses for the month nearly in half. So while my mental game probably hasn’t progressed much this year, it’s refreshing to know that I’ve built up enough skill that I can battle through the darkest of times and that the accumulated tilt doesn’t last nearly as long as it used to. The extra time off going forward will open up more time for me to continue developing my mental muscle.

Maintain a 1.25 BB/HR win rate at the $8-$16 level

For the first three months of the year, I was running pure, trending at 1.74 BB/HR over 315 hours of play through the end of March. Looking at a graph of my results, I had very little negative variance, with my biggest valleys being about -60 big bets and my plateaus lasting maybe a week before I’d go back to crushing. As noted earlier, I finally experienced some extended negative variance in April and my win rate sat at exactly 1 BB/HR entering May 2016.

Reach a $30,000 bankroll

Here’s where things get really disappointing. Despite being on pace for what would be my best year of poker ever, my bankroll is actually less now than when the year started. There are a number of reasons why this has happened – some of which I won’t go into detail here – but it’s incredibly frustrating. Still, even with basically no forward progress, I think I will manage this goal before the year is over.

That sums up my progress towards my 2016 poker goals. It’s bittersweet. My results have been borderline fantastic – on top of my WSOPc final table, I also made multiple deep runs in the Muckleshoot Spring Classic (two cashes) and another deep run in the Spring Round Up in Pendleton, Oregon. All told, I’ve cashed 5 of 11 major events I’ve played so far this year for an ROI of 83% and I’ve been a hand or two going the other way from cashing for tens of thousands of dollars. So the results have been good, but I’ve been running myself into the ground and I haven’t put enough time into my game away from the tables as I should. So here’s to hoping for a more relaxing, but even more profitable summer in the upcoming months!


I Suck At Tournament Poker

March 8, 2013

God, it sure feels like I do. I mean, my history in online tournaments pre-Black Friday and even playing live up through all of 2011 suggests otherwise, but my success (or lack thereof) since the start of 2012–particularly in big ($150+) events–has been…unsettling. I managed to post a profit in tournaments last year and went deep in multiple major events, but the overall result is lackluster and disappointing. So far in 2013, I’ve fizzled out of a couple events and have been cold decked out of a few others. All these experiences have lead me to the following conclusions:

a) I handle the short term luck factor in tournaments very poorly. This is a concept that creeps into my limit hold em cash games very seldom. Generally, when it comes to variance in cash games, I realize that over time, all the money I lose when I get unlucky eventually comes back, with interest, and often within the same session. I also grasp the fact that these frequent beats are a result of poor play and that errors from opponents is how I make money playing poker. Therefore, I never berate players and rarely tilt, spending as much time playing my A-game as possible. I have a much harder time applying these same concepts to tournament play. Perhaps it’s the absolute nature of tournament poker: once your chips are gone, you’re out. If you get unlucky or coolered in a massive pot, you are usually out or crippled, and the amount of chips you have directly correlates with how you can play. And when you bust out, you might have to wait a month to play in another good event. All of this tends to make me highly upset during a tournament and almost always afterwards. I mean, I don’t want to be bothered by anyone and my day of poker is usually mentally over with. For the third time in less than two months, I immediately left the casino instead of waiting for the dinner break to use my free meal voucher and socialize with the other players. I lose, I’m gone. No goodbyes. Rarely a “nice hand.” It’s not a good look.

b) I have no idea what style suits me best. Without a doubt, I’ve experienced my most success using a tight-aggressive (TAG) and frequently nitty style. The problem is, while this style gets me to the money most often, it also leaves me short stacked in the late stages of tournaments and relies far too heavily on what cards I’m being dealt (luck) and has much less to do with playing position correctly, exploiting my opponents’ tendencies, staying unpredictable, and playing poker after the flop (skill). However, my ventures into playing a loose-aggressive (LAG) style have led me to continual destruction (often self-inflicted). I have little doubt that a controlled LAG style is the best way to play tournaments, as it makes you highly unpredictable and sets you up to make the final table with a bundle of chips and the ability to make moves your short stacked opponents can’t afford to. Note that I said “controlled,” which seems to be where I go wrong. My use of the LAG style is frequently misguided and random, as I’ll show when I start talking about the $180 tournament I played at Little Creek on Friday night. Ultimately, the biggest problem here is that the TAG style is my comfort zone. It’s not how I want to play, but it’s the style I feel most comfortable using and my history of experimenting with the LAG style has been… questionable.

So last night, I’m playing in the $180 event of the Spring Classic at Little Creek Casino and within the first two levels I run JJ and TT into overpairs on favorable boards and lose a bunch of chips, but stay alive. Then I flop a full house with QQ in a raised pot and make 0 chips after the flop and then I flop another boat with 22 in a 3-way raised pot and manage a measly +700 in chips. I raise with 99 over one limper and both blinds also call. We see a flop of TT6 and only the big blind calls my bet of 500. At this point in the hand, I feel like I should tell another story.

Flashback to the Fall Classic $230 Main Event at Little Creek last year. I get into a massive leveling war with the big blind in the hand I’m talking about in the last paragraph. A few people limp into the pot for 200 or 300, something in that range, and I make it at least 1000 on the button (OTB) with a deep stack holding the monstrous T8o. The big blind repops me to, say, 2700 and everyone in between folds. My first instinct is to fold, well, because I just got caught with my pants down and T8o isn’t exactly AK… but then I start thinking… I already have this guy sized up as someone that pays attention and is capable of making plays and realize that he probably realizes that I’m raising light. So if I know that he knows this, how can I possibly let him get away with it. For the first time that I can remember, I pull off the preflop 4-bet bluff and make it 6500 to go. For some reason on this day, I have chosen to sit with my chair backwards so that my arms can rest on top of the chair and my face is basically buried in my arms. I am nervous, oh boy, am I nervous, but this is the same posture I’ve taken the entire tournament. Regardless, after sizing me up for quite some time, this guy pulls the trigger and ships it all in. I spend very little time posing for the cameras before tossing my hand into the muck and he turbo fastrolls 96o. Good play, sir. And the lesson learned here is that if I trust my read, I can’t let him have the last move (the 5-bet shove) because even if he “knows” I’m bluffing, he can’t call me, much like I couldn’t call him even though I was sure he was full of it.

Flashfoward to the 99 on the TT6 flop. After he calls my flop bet, I’ve already determined that a) I’m showing down and b) I’m going to keep the pot small. So I check back on the turn and call an 1100 bet on the river and he shows me JT. Nice.

I definitely have a fishy image at this point because I’ve had lots of big hands and I’ve shown NONE of them so far, so when it folds to me in the small blind and I raise to 450 with AQ the big blind makes it 1475 quickly and with a tone in his voice that says: “find someone else to pick on.” So… I shove it on his ass and he folds.

Then, I proceed to play AK so poorly that I’m not going to write about it out of fear that no one will ever back me again. I mean, seriously… Worst. Line. Ever.

So now I’ve been involved in a number of pots, have lost almost 67% of my stack, and I’ve tabled zero hands. My terrible image is still intact. Blinds are 50/100, one player limps, the button makes it 500, the worst player at the table in the small blind flats, and I look down at QQ. I’m sitting on 6200, which creates for a rather awkward situation. My inclination is to just shove it here, but that’s a huge re-raise and I want at least some action on my hand. I opt to 3-bet it to 2000, an amount that virtually commits me to the pot, and my plan is that, if called, I’m going to shove it all-in on any flop unless something dictates that I shouldn’t. This is a gambling line, but I want chips. I’ll take the risk. Everyone folds except for the kid in the small blind which is the perfect result. He checks to me on the KJx flop and I shove my remaining 42 big blinds into the pot and he calls pretty quickly with AT for… a gut shot. I’m holding two blockers and he somehow misses his 5-outer and I have a playable stack again.

Naturally, my playable stack lasts one orbit before this happens: Blinds are 100/200, the kid from last hand limps, I limp in with 99, one other player and the button limp in, the small blind completes, and the big blind raises to… 400! Yes, a min-raise. I’d love to hear the thought process on that one. The kid calls, and I briefly consider 3-betting because given the action so far, I almost certainly have the best hand and should be able to take it down right here. Alas, my confidence is shot and I decide to just call, as does everyone else. 6-way action for 2400 to see a flop of T98 with two diamonds. Not the best flop for a set, but the pot is big enough that I’m never folding here with my stack size. The big blind leads out for 700, lighting those chips on fire and kissing them goodbye because, well, because he just announced that he has absolutely nothing with such a weak beat on a super dangerous board. The bad player to my right makes it 1400. Perfect. I practically min-raise it to 3000, prepared to get it all in if anyone comes over the top of me, but everyone folds around to the kid, who only has 3100 total, which he proceeds to shove into the pot as he fastrolls TT for top set. FML. I actually have a chance to fold here for 100 more, but I’m getting 85 to 1 and it’s probably correct to draw to my 1-outer. I miss it and am back to short stacking it.

Final hand. Folds around to the button who has yet to not raise in this situation. He makes it 700 to go, the loose kid to my right calls, and I look down at A8. A few things to consider here that I didn’t take the time to think over at the table. The button has open-raised in this situation four times now. Once, I 3-bet with QQ and he got out of the way pretty quickly. Another time, I flat called with A2o and he checked the flop and turn when medium cards hit the board and folded when I bluffed the river after a 4-card straight showed up. Giving this information, calling preflop makes a lot more sense as this opponent took a pretty passive line with a hand he missed with and folded without resistance when I bluffed the river and he folded when I 3-bet the queens… so when I decide to raise it up to 2700, I’m only going to get action when he can… go all-in. Which he does. I deliberate for quite a while and study him. I’m not getting much information there, so I start looking at my pot odds and realize, with horror, that I’ve priced myself in with A8o for my tournament life. Awful planning on my part. Just terrible. I shake my head and put my chips in and he shows me QQ and the dealer wastes little time killing me off as he brings out the Queen high flop. GG.

Honestly, I’m so discouraged with my tournament play that I went to the cashier and had to go through the arduous and embarrassing process of refunding my tournament buy-in for the main event because well, I don’t want to waste my time and money (or my backers’ money) when I’m not feeling good about my game. I’ve had some terrible luck in the Oregon tournaments, but my play in the local ones has been pretty awful. I just need a break to collect my thoughts and think about what I need to fix.


$300 NL Muckleshoot Poker Tournament

September 9, 2011

Okay, so I’m pretty embarrassed right now. It’s 11:45 A.M. and I’m sitting on my computer typing up this trip report for a deep stack poker tournament with 30 minute levels and starting stack sizes of 200 big blinds that started at 10:00 A.M. in a casino that is at least an hour’s drive away! Do the math there and you can see that I busted out of a tournament with an amazing structure within the first 20 minutes… something I thought was virtually impossible for a player of my caliber. I’d have to run AA into KK preflop and lose to a set, right? Apparently not… and here’s my story:

So the tournament starts with 3 players at my table missing and the cut off raising to 125 with blinds at 25-50. Before I can even look at my cards, the big blind–with the small blind and me still to act before him–has tossed out a call already. I look down at AcTc and 3-bet to 375. Seat 6 in the big blind instantly calls, not even considering for a second what it means that I saw him call out of turn and still decided to re-raise. The opener from the cut off folds pretty quickly and I take the pot down with a continuation bet after a pretty dry flop. Seat 6 already seems like a fishy noob to me.

I open to 150 from the hi-jack folded to me with ATo and the cut off and button (seat 6) both call. Not a great result… but a K72 board is about as dry as it gets, so I C-bet 375 and the lady in seat 5 raises to 1050 and seat 6 reraises to 2200. LOL. I fold and seat 5 folds KTo face up. Wow. Now I’m thinking both seat 5 and 6 are retards. A few hands later they get involved in another pot where seat 5 calls pretty substantial bets from seat 6 and folds to his all-in on the river.

Another hand occurs that I can’t remember exact details of, but I flopped a gut shot in position in a raised pot and declined the option of stealing on the flop when it checked to me. A little discouraged and gun shy from the previous couples hand, I limp in with KQo UTG+1 and get two limpers behind me and one of the blinds. Flop comes T42, two clubs. I check and it checks to black dude in Seat 7… He bets 150 into a 250 pot. He doesn’t seem like a tough player to me, and I have two overs and the Qc, so I decide to float him out of position and re-evaluate all my options on the turn regardless of what card falls. I spike the Ks and decide to let the donkey keep pushing, figuring I’m way ahead of him the vast majority of the time. He bets 400 and I merely call. The Ac spikes the river… Since the way I’ve played my hand actually looks like a mediocre club draw, I’m worried he’s checking behind on that river most of the time and I want to get a little more value out of my hand, so I decide to lead right into him for 600. He calls pretty quickly and shows me Ad5h. Groan.

UTG raises to 125 and one person calls in front of me. I have the button and 7h4h and can’t resist making the call in position on both players. The blinds both call, and we go 5 ways to a Q53, two club flop. It checks around to me… Even though betting here seems reasonable, I feel like 3 of my 4 opponents are loose and one of them is willing to get all his chips in, so I try to turn the nuts for free. The turn is Ts and it checks to me again. Now I can’t resist trying to take the pot down with so much weakness in front of me. I make a 60% pot-sized bet and black guy calls me. River is the 9s, which brings in a running spade draw, KJ, and some random 9x straight draws I think he might still pay off with… so I decide to check behind and he shows 9c7c, a hand I think he calls any reasonable bet with.


So I’m sitting on around 8K and realizing that I’ve managed to lose 20% of my stack during the first level of the tournament. I’m a little perturbed by this result, but not wanting to switch gears too much just yet, I open to 150 with the 8h7h. Only seat 6 calls me in position. He’s the table chip leader and has seemed to me to be the most reckless player at the table. I’m eager to find a good spot with him. The board comes down QhTs5h. Since my image has been pretty bad so far, with some failed c-bets and semi-bluffs in my recent history and facing an opponent that I’ve seen willing to put a lot of chips in the middle, I decide to play my flush draw cautiously and check it to him… not wanting to get blown off my good draw by betting into him and allowing him to make some absurd raise. He checks behind me. 6h on the turn. Gin! I decide to lead out for 325 which I don’t think seems like a very strong bet after checking the flop, but with only 375 in the pot, that’s actually a pretty solid bet in retrospect. My opponent calls. The river is the Jd. I decide on a pot-sized bet of 1025. With a couple failed bluffs in my recent past and what I think has been a relatively weak line from me so far in this hand, I feel like this bet should reek like a bluff on my part. My opponent doesn’t take too long to announce he’s all-in. My first reaction is glee; he’s fallen for my trap! But then I realize I’m about to be all-in with an 8 high flush in the first level of a deep stack tournament. Not exactly ideal. Is it possible I’m beat here?? I take about a minute thinking it over and my answer is there’s no way in hell this opponent has me beat in this spot. If he had a big flush draw, why would he check behind on the flop when I gave him a chance to take it down by showing weakness in front of him. Then, he merely smooth calls me on the turn with a flush? I’m not buying it. Finally, aside from my river bet, I feel like I’ve played the hand rather meekly and that my river bet looks like a bluff. If he had a big flush, does he really think I’m paying off in this spot for my entire stack? Hardly! Plus, this is the third time in 20 minutes this same player has basically put his tournament life at risk. Even though I think an 8 high flush is pretty weak to be stacking off with at this stage of the tournament and I can fold and still have 130 big blinds, when I add up all the pieces of the puzzle (my bad image so far, his spewy image, my line this hand, his line this hand, etc.), folding in this spot seems ludicrous when it appears as though I’m increasing my stack drastically the vast majority of the time. To me, it really looks like he either rivered a straight or somehow thinks two pair is good. I make the call and he shows me Ah3h for the nut flush.

I’ve been trying to come up with ways I don’t get stacked in that spot with that action against that player and I just can’t come up with anything good. I was already a little frustrated with my play/luck so far and I can’t imagine how much more tilted I would be if I decided to fold my flush there and he doesn’t show me his hand. I’d have a hard time moving past it, thinking that I missed an obvious opportunity to double up. I wish I would have made the Hellmuthian lay down and could have managed to collect myself afterwards, but considering how he played the hand, I just don’t see any other option.