Posts Tagged ‘pot limit omaha’

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October 2019 Week 2: Poker is Hard… Really, Really Hard.

October 16, 2019

Spoiler alert in the post title. This has not been a good week. Maybe it’s a bit dramatic to say that it has been devastating, but I’m reaching a point in my year where I’ve realized I’ve had to fight tooth and nail for all my profit in 2019. Maybe I’ve been spoiled in the past. Maybe I’ve run way above expectation historically. I don’t know. But what I do know is that I’ve never struggled like this before. Not for this long. Not this consistently. It seems like every single month I’m digging myself a hole and spending the last week or two trying to get out of it. My overall results aren’t horrendous, but they have been quite middling. If I keep up the same pace for the rest of the year, my final result will be about half as good as any of my year end results for any of the past three years. I’m sure fluctuations in this business are super normal (especially when you don’t bink a tournament), but that’s still a pretty steep drop.

Well, let’s get to the sessions.

I showed up early to Palace on Wednesday to watch MLB playoffs and started my day off with an 8/16 Hold’em session. I folded to my big blind and got a free flop with the 63o for a potential Coast session. It looked really promising when the board fell Q637K and I bet all the way and just got called down by one of the limpers… but after I showed my hand he turned over the Q3 suited for a better two pair. The other people that saw the hand started razzing him about why he just called me all the way and he just said, “I’m scared of him.”

That guy obviously doesn’t read my blog.

It looked like I was going to have a pretty sizable loss for a short session, but I raised a bunch of limpers from the small blind with AQdd, got a free card on a flop of T9x with one diamond, check-called a jack turn and then got two callers when I drilled the king on the end.

That pot somewhat salvaged things and I moved to PLO only stuck -$108 for the day.

I’ve been having a lot of mixed feelings about PLO lately. I thought I was running above expectation the first two years of the game and it seems pretty clear now that I definitely was… plus the game has seen a dramatic shift. The complexion of the game is a lot worse than it used to be. It’s the same people in the starting lineup every week and instead of a bunch of loose players that have no idea what they are doing punting stacks left and right, it is mostly experienced regulars sitting down. I mean… how often is a situation going to come up where I’m going to stack a Lee Markholt?

Especially if I’m playing bad?

I call $15 on the button in a multiway pot with AK42 double suited. The flop is A84 with two clubs, giving me two pair and the nut flush draw. The PFR (who raised from UTG) leads out for a full pot-sized bet of $90, Part-Time (yeah, I’m going back to that… Mr. Freeze is a dumb name for him) calls, and action is to me. The PFR has like $400 behind to start the flop action and I have a little over $500 myself. I raised the pot, she jammed all in, and Part-Time got out of the way. We agreed to run it twice and her set of aces held up on both boards. I was pretty mad at myself for getting it in here, but I think that’s a bit results oriented because the turn card on the first board paired the 8 and I felt like I would have had to fold at that point and could have saved my stack. But I think an 8 is the only card that would make me want to fold, so the money is probably almost always going in on the turn.

I call $15 with AQQ3 single suited from the big blind and decide to lead out on the 532 two club board when I flop the nut flush draw. Part-Time is my only caller from the small blind. I bet $135 when the turn bricks off with a 9 and he calls again. And because I hate money and my game is super sharp in this session, I bet $200 on the jack river and he reluctantly calls me with his set of deuces. Boom. Another $400 punted.

Part-Time raises under the gun to $15 without looking at his hand and I’m next to act with TT22 double suited. Since the table is short-handed at this point, I decide to 3-bet it and hope to get it heads up. Mission accomplished. Part-Time calls $50 and we see a flop of Q87 with two spades. This gives me a ten high flush draw and four outs to a set – not much of a hand to speak of. I have some key blockers to the best straight draws though, so that’s something to keep in mind. I decide to check back and take a free turn card. It’s an offsuit 9 and when Part-Time makes it $80, I decide to use my blockers to represent the nuts and make a pot-sized raise to $305. It works out well, as he responds by stuffing it in my face. Now there’s over $900 in the pot and I only have about $200 behind and my flush draw is probably live. I’m getting 4.6 to 1 on a call here, so I need around 18% equity to call and a flush draw with one card to go is right around that number, so calling off seems pretty neutral… but it feels like a massive punt. Another massive punt. I make the call and Part-Time only wants to run it once. I bink a ten on the river, which gives me a brief glimpse of hope, but my set gives him a straight with the KJ in his hand and he had a set of queens before that anyway.

I took a break after basically felting for the third time in the session and I really had to wonder what was going on. It’s not like I was playing any hands. I was super card dead, but I still managed to punt off three buy-ins with three different flush draws. I decided to go play some Ultimate Hold’em in the pit because my boy Mexi Nugget was dealing at that table and the Nationals and Dodgers were tied in the 9th inning of Game 5 of the NLDS and Mexi Nugget is a die hard Dodgers fan and I had my Nats hat on because I bet them to win the World Series when they were 32-1. I don’t ever play in the pit unless I’m using a Match Play, but this was a social play so we could watch the end of the game together and I managed to win a little money while laughing at his misfortune as the Nats took a four run lead and eventually advanced to the NLCS.

I decided to sit back down in PLO after that and put myself at risk of having an all-time worst session. It seems like this should have happened already, but somehow a -$2300 I posted all the way back in June of 2016 is still the most money I’ve ever lost in a single play. That probably has more to do with my pain threshold than anything else though. It seems like when I’m down around $1500 or so in a live game, I start to unravel emotionally and find myself wanting to disappear instead of accepting the challenge before me and grind my way out of it. That’s something to work on, for sure.

Anyways, I sat back down and the game was really short-handed – five of us, I think. I made a little bit of a comeback, but only one hand during this span really sticks out in my mind. I decided to open with the 6532 single suited and Scarecrow was my only caller. Scarecrow was running insanely good in this session; I think he ended up winning over $5000, which is totally absurd. Anyways, he defends his blind here and then donks $35 on a Q42 rainbow flop. This board smacked me obviously, but it really shouldn’t be that good for my range, so I decide to just call. The turn is an offsuit 3, giving me the nuts, and Scarecrow bets $100. Again, I decide to just call because I want him to keep betting on the river and the hands he can have that can stand a raise aren’t numerous. I would be surprised if he called a pot-sized raise with two pair. Naturally, the river pairs the queen and when he bets $215, I make the call because I fucking hate money and he shows me the Q4 full house.

Unreal. The game broke shortly after that and I booked a cool -$1256 in the PLO streets and felt like I played some of my worst possible poker.

Here are my PLO win rates at Palace the last three years:
2017: $103.74/hr
2018: $85.98/hr
2019: $7.86/hr

Uhm yeah. I’ve reached a point where I’m wondering if I should even be targeting that game anymore. In addition to running quite salty this year, I’ve come to find myself feeling really bored when I play PLO. The pace of the game can be brutally slow and sometimes you go weeks in between hands where you find yourself in an amazing spot to stack someone. I’ve played entire sessions where I felt like I maybe shouldn’t have played even a single hand. Or maybe I just need to study and practice more. I didn’t put my name up for this week’s game and I think I’m going to take at least a few weeks off from PLO to get my mind right.

My plan on Thursday was to play the $400 NL event in the Muckleshoot Classic series, but then the Tampa Bay Rays went and shocked the world by forcing a Game 5 with the Houston Astros and I wasn’t about to miss that. MLB Playoffs > No Limit Hold’em tournaments. I feel like if I’m playing an NL tourney, I should be focusing on the action at the table as much as I can and I knew I wouldn’t be doing that during the baseball game, so skipping the tourney and playing 8/16 at Palace seemed like the right call. I could enjoy the game and give it my full attention while possibly auto-piloting my way to some income.

Alas, I was extremely card dead and managed to lose the few pots I did play and sometime around the 8th inning, my wife messaged me saying how much she missed me, so I went home after the Astros knocked off the Rays and booked a -$343 in less than three hours of play.

Friday night’s 15/30 session started with a lineup of Taz, FanBoy, Animal, Radio Mike, Mighty Mouse, Scrappy Doo and a new name I’m adding to the nickname section: Dreamcrusher. Head on over to Blog Nicknames to read the write up I did for this player today.

This session started off innocently enough. I made it to my first break with $20 of sugar after around 90 minutes of play. The most interesting spot during this stretch was finding myself with red aces on QJTccTc in a heads up pot versus the small blind. It feels super gross to bet the turn and fold here when I can check back and show down for the same price, but a) I don’t think my opponent in this hand will fold a queen or a jack in this spot and b) I don’t think he is capable of turning whatever he has into a bluff. Even check-raising a hand like AcQ is a pretty ambitious play on this board texture against an under the gun raiser. As such, I’m confident I can bet the turn and river for value and fold if he raises me with little concern that I’m laying down the best hand, so that’s what I did when he check-raised the turn. I’m not folding aces in heads up limit Hold’em pots… like ever… but this felt like an early moment of clarity for me and I still feel good about the fold.

Two hours later, I’d be taking my second break of the session and it’s safe to say things had unraveled. I was now stuck just over $1000. I mean… what in the FUCK? This 15/30 game is unbeatable for me all the sudden? Every Friday it’s the same shit.

There were a couple of brutal ones during this stretch.

In one pot, I had AJo in a 3-bet multiway pot and the flop was A53 rainbow. Scrappy Doo called 3-bets from the big blind and then donked into two raisers on the flop, but I felt compelled to raise because I don’t want anyone else to call for a single bet. That cleared the field out but then Scrappy 3-bet it and I called down without improving even though this is a line I never expect to be winning against. The 5 did pair on the river, so there was at least some chance I sucked out on A3. But I paid it off and Scrappy Doo turns over the 42 offsuit. In a 3-bet pot. I’m pretty sure that’s not a hand he’s defending with 100% of the time, but I’m sure glad he decided to gamble with it here.

In another hand, Dreamcrusher raises under the gun, I 3-bet TT next to act, and Taz calls 3 cold in the next spot. The three of us see a flop of 642 rainbow and I lead and 3-bet when Taz raises me. All three of us are still in for the turn. Perhaps I should be concerned when a 3 falls on 4th street after Dreamcrusher calls two bets cold on the flop, but I was very sure I had the best hand on the flop, and I didn’t think the turn should help her under the gun opening range (at a full table)… but I know Dreamcrusher is capable of playing almost any two cards from any position in almost any situation… so whether or not the turn should help an under the gun opening range is pretty fucking irrelevant here. In the moment, I bet the turn like a dummy and then paid her off after she check-raised and bet the river. She showed me the 75 offsuit.

I made it to one more break. I suppose I was already crumbling under the weight of another poor session on top of weeks of run bad in this particular game, but I was about to snap. I probably played another hour or two and during that span I ran super hot preflop and ultra bad after the flop. I lost with QQ to AK when my opponent called down and rivered a pair with no other draw in sight. I had JJ vs KQ on a QT973 run out in a massive pot. I had AK on a KT8cc79c runout and didn’t even bother calling a river bet. I had QTcc vs J9 on JT9cKQ in a massive pot I ended up having to chop. I had QQ again against a single big blind defender and got a disconnected king high board and of course he had K2 offsuit. And then I had TT vs 77 on K7447 in one of my final hands of the night. That last one was against FanBoy and I’m pretty sure he’s cognizant of the fact that I’m tilted out of my mind and making sharp folds is no longer on my agenda, but I decided to give him three streets of value anyway. That last one upset me so much that I decided to call it a night. Not because I lost another hand, but because I was clearly making very bad decisions and my emotions were out of control.

I ended up finishing -$1875 and I only played 6.5 hours. That ranks as my third worse session I’ve ever had in the 15/30 game at Palace and my performance in this game in 2019 has become alarming. Again, let’s take a look at my 15/30 win rates the last three years at Palace:
2017: $31.19/hr
2018: $58.05/hr
2019: $9.12/hr

Yes. This year has been depressing.

Even though I left the game early and my plan was always to play the Main Event of the Muckleshoot Classic on Saturday, I went home Friday night on the fence about it. I was really stewing and a good part of me knew that it would be a dumb idea to try to play a major tournament the next day. I decided to sleep on it and set my alarm for 8 AM to see how I felt in the morning. Well, my alarm went off at 8 and I gave getting up zero thought before turning it off and going back to sleep. I woke up a few hours later and didn’t even bother to look up how long late registration was open. I just took the day off and that means I missed an entire Muckleshoot Classic for the first time in 5.5 years. That means I’m going to have to grind my way to my annual standards of income the old fashioned way.

I played in the 10/20 Omaha 8 game at Palace on Sunday. After getting huge lists for the Sunday O8 game the first two weeks, this past week saw a massive dip in attendance. I can hardly blame the customers. The first two weeks we had a full game and a list that was 10+ deep all day of people that specifically came to play in the 10/20 game. However, both weeks the staff didn’t start a second red chip game because they didn’t want to break the 4/8 O8 game. Well, there’s a 4/8 O8 game every other day of the week… I don’t see why that needs to be a priority on the day they are trying to spread a bigger game and attract a different player pool. What happens when you lock out a full table worth of people that want to play 10/20 and force them to play 4/8? Not once, but two weeks in a row? They stop coming in. So there wasn’t much of a list to speak of in week 3 and the game started to fizzle around 7:30pm and was completely dead by 8pm (after going past midnight the first two weeks) and honestly, it makes me wonder about the future strength of the game. The players have already been conditioned to think that if they don’t have a seat to start the game, they might as well not even show up. Good job, Palace.

I got off to a terrible start in O8, reaching a low point of -$700 or so, but I rallied back before the game crumbled and ended up booking a $356 profit.

And then I was somewhat surprised when The Leak decided she wanted to play 8/16 and we ended up playing for another 6+ hours. I had some miserable moments in this session, taking the $611 I brought to the table and nearly turning it into $0. In fact, there was a hand where I would have been all in if I had bet the turn and river, but I checked back second pair and ended up winning the pot. I don’t ever get all in in a limit game, so that would have been a first. Like… the players at Palace have never seen in happen… in 5+ years. I just didn’t feel like reloading because I didn’t even really feel like playing. Fortunately, I rebounded and ended up booking a rather small loss, thanks to this pot:

The hijack opens, Radio Mike 3-bets from the cutoff and I cap with AK of spades on the button and it’s just the three of us. The flop is AJ9 with two spades and it checks to me. I bet, the HJ calls, and Mike check-raises. I think Radio Mike is overly passive after the flop, so AK is not in great shape against his check-raising range on this board texture, but since I have the nut flush draw as well and there’s a third player in the pot, I go ahead and 3-bet it anyway. They both call. I’m planning to check back a blank turn, but it’s a king and I feel like that gives me the best hand most of the time, so I bet and they both call again. The river is another ace and I’m a little surprised to see Radio Mike lead out. It’s a bit of a weird play. I actually thought he might have AJ on the flop or maybe a set, but the sets seemed highly unlikely when he just calls on the turn. Anyways, I have the nuts here, so I raise and he asks, “do you have quads,” and I respond, “you know I don’t have quads” (because it seems like he has to have AJ or A9 here). But then it is clear that he doesn’t have an ace and he asks if I have AK and I say, “yes,” but that doesn’t stop him from putting in the call and I’m somewhat shocked to see that he had pocket jacks.

That hand somewhat salvaged my session and I finished 8/16 -$78.

All in all, it was a -$3360 week of live poker for me – a devastating blow after finally getting off to a good start and, once again, I find myself stuck in the middle of a month. So what’s that, nine months in a row I’ve been stuck at the midway point? I’ve only had two losing months this year, so the final results aren’t terrible, but it’s not much fun fighting an uphill battle. Every. Single. Month. On the bright side, I had a rare very good week in online mix games to somewhat soften the blow.

On another bright side, this month marks three years since I last clocked in for a day job. That seems like an accomplishment worth celebrating. When I look at my bankroll when I quit working and compare it to now, it doesn’t feel like I’ve made much progress, but then I remember that we’ve bought two houses, I paid off my student loans, started an IRA, and cleared all our unnecessary debt and that seems pretty damn cool. That’s something to keep in mind during what has certainly been a down year for me. Poker has been good to us and I’ve made considerably more money playing poker than I ever did working a day job.

Stay the course.

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September 2019: Week One Results

September 17, 2019

Sorry about the extended break. That wasn’t my plan, but I didn’t get a chance to post a wrap up of the first week of September before I left for Lincoln City and then I decided I was just going to post a whole trip report when I got back instead of doing live updates and now it’s September 17th and I haven’t made a poker post for this month yet.

I got off to a bad start in September by posting my only losing cash game session of my L.A. trip when I went -$848 in that 40/80 Mix session with James Woods.

My first day back in Lakewood, I won $124 in about 40 minutes of 8/16 before playing an absurdly boring PLO session that saw the return of Lee Markholt to the game. I really enjoy his company, but his presence certainly doesn’t increase the quality of that game. I was insanely card dead and only played a few pots of note.

On the first one, I was in a raised multi-way pot with QJJ9 and got it all in on KJ7 vs Mr. Freeze’s KKxx and lost over $500.

Then Sandman made a rare guest appearance and bought in for $200 and got all of it in against my AAJ9 with AAT3 and got the T8346 runout for a quick double.

My only notable winning pot I made it $20 with AAKQ single suited after one limper, bet $15 on KK4 with two of my suit, and then my opponent led out for $75 when the 8 of spades brought the flush in. Against this player type, I probably should make a small raise, because he’s super loose and a bit wacky, but in the moment I decided to just flat. The river brought a 9 and he fired $200 and I stuck with my conservative line with a call and he showed a nine high flush and I won the hand. He has a pretty easy fold to a turn raise, so I think I might like my line, but this is also the kind of player that might actually call down, so I don’t know.

That hand somewhat salvaged my night and I finished -$261 in PLO.

On Thursday, I went and saw It: Chapter Two (2019) with my buddy and he likes to play poker at smaller stakes, so we headed to Fortune after the movie and I lost $141 playing 4/8 until 2:30 in the morning and woke up the next day after noon wondering what I’m doing with my life. I text my friend and told him we can’t do that anymore. I can’t justify sleeping in and feeling unproductive because I was up super late playing 4/8. That’s just dumb. I don’t mind playing lower stakes poker with him, but we need to find a more reasonable time of day for it.

On Friday, I was in the 15/30 game at Palace with a lineup that featured Taz, Ducky, Flea, Huey, Mr. Freeze, Splinter, and a couple others. I tried to coast by defending with 97o against Ducky’s under the gun raise and called down on a 9886x runout, but he had AA and he was coasting instead. That early cushion was enough to keep Ducky above the breakeven line for the entire session and he joined the The Coast Club for the second time with a Silver Level entry and the smallest win (+$379) anyone has ever coasted to. Good job, lil buddy, and you’re welcome.

I’ve been struggling in the 15/30 game for a while now, with two big losses (-$1350+) and only two small wins (less than +$300) over my last six sessions, so I was feeling kind of on edge during the early parts of this session. It didn’t help when I 3-bet Mr. Freeze with AJ and inexplicably folded when he check-raised me on KK2 and bet again when the 2 paired on the turn only for him to show me QJ high. Obviously, it’s pricey to make two $50 calls (Overs are 25/50) and be wrong, but if I’m not folding on the flop, I definitely shouldn’t be folding on the turn, plus I know he’s plenty capable of doing shit like this. Then I was in a 4-bet pot with 77 on 962s8s. I had the betting lead on the flop but decided to check the turn because Master Splinter had raised under the gun and I know he can be tricky. I called a bet on the 9s river and I was pretty happy to be able to show this hand down for one big bet, but he ended up showing me AQ of spades for a rivered flush.

So there I was, stuck a rack super early in another 15/30 session and I was honestly thinking about quitting and I really had to center myself with some breathing and mindfulness to try and remind myself that I actually love what I do, I’m lucky to do it, and sometimes I go on bad stretches, but I always come out of them.

And I made a comeback. I got Master Splinter back in a 3-bet pot with aces when he donk-called the flop and then called down on 83273 and then I defended 55 after Taz raised from the small blind with a limper already in. The flop was 653 with two spades and I got two bets in 3-ways. The turn was an ace and Taz donked that card and I got two bets in 3-ways again. Very nice. The river paired the board with a spade and they both paid me off, with the limper showing 87 of spades, a monster draw that got there with the wrong card.

Master Splinter opened from the button and I defend in the big blind with T7 of clubs. The flop was 853 with two diamonds and one club. This is not the kind of board I want to be folding on, but I don’t have a ton of immediate equity either, so I decide to check-raise and take the lead, knowing he has a wide range and will be folding a good amount of it before showdown. There are lots of good turn cards for me and the 9 of clubs is one of the best ones, so I continue my story and he punishes me with a raise. I say to Ducky, “he’s not going to like this one” and make the call. The river is a ten and I check-call saying, “that’s not the one, but it’s a payoff card,” and that river is good enough versus Master Splinter’s A8 of clubs. Yikes. Yep, he’s not going to like that one.

Then I have JJ in a capped 4-way pot and check back the K64 flop because Huey was the other preflop aggressor and he’s in early position with a strong range. The turn pairs the king and Huey leads out and gets called. I don’t love this spot, but I also don’t have enough information to fold, so I make the call also and whaddya know, the river is a jack. Huey leads again, the other player folds, I raise and Huey tanks for a while and eventually folds QQ face up.

Bang bang. Suddenly, I’m up $1100 and we are only 90 minutes into the session. Ah, I remember this feeling!

But… it wasn’t meant to be. I lost a series of dumb ones before I stopped taking notes altogether.

I opened on the button with T9 of clubs and Huey defended in the big blind. He donked the T43ssc flop and called my raise. He donked again on the 8 of spades turn and I called. The river was the 2 of diamonds and I paid his river bet off only for him to show me A5 of diamonds for a rivered straight. I actually like his bluff on the turn, especially considering how much of a nit I think he typically is, and if he had checked the turn, I assume he would have folded to a bet, so taking this line allowed him to realize his equity and, uh, that’s pretty annoying.

I had the AQ of spades on a AT9 two spade flop, but the board ran out J7 and I lost the pot to Master Splinter because he randomly decided to limp in from early position with J9 offsuit.

Then I had 88 vs J9 on K65K9 and no clue how my opponent reached showdown with it.

As I mentioned, I stopped keeping notes because I was beyond frustrated. It looked like I might finally have a nice session, but I lost it all back and when I called it a night, I was -$265 after 10+ hours. Ugh. The streak continues.

Saturday, we did a home game with a 15/30 Mix and I posted another small loss of -$148 in 9.5 hours.

Not a good first week of the month. I lost every session I played and I was headed to the Fall Coast Classic at Chinook Winds with a $1500 deficit – the 8th month in a row I’ve gotten off to a rough start.

Chinook Winds series results in the next post.

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August 2019 Week 4: Palace Tourney, PLO, Mix Games!

August 28, 2019

Last Sunday I wasn’t in any shape to go hiking super early in the morning, but I did wake up in time to play the $110 bi-weekly no limit Hold’em tournament at Palace. I was a bit slow-moving, but I managed to take a seat at the start of the second level and I took notes on my key hands throughout the tournament so I might as well share my journey here.

Everyone starts with 10k in chips and levels are 30 minutes long.

Blinds are 50/100, a player limps, and I make it 400 with KJo and get three callers. The flop is QT6 with two hearts. I’m not sure what the best line is here against three opponents, but I ended up betting 500 and someone in position made it 1500 to go and one of the blinds cold called the raise. I have the jack of hearts in my hand so making a straight with a heart on the turn isn’t the worst. The weirdest thing about this spot are the remaining stack sizes of my opponents. The flop raiser has 5000 behind and the caller left himself with 2500 and the pot will have 5700 in the middle if I call. I decided to call though and the action checked around after a king fell on the turn. When the small blind checks to me on a blank river, it seems like my hand is good, so I bet 1400 and both players call! I wasn’t expecting that, but no matter, my hand is still good.

I’ve been super activer and min-raise with K8o on the button at 100/200 and the big blind defends. He check-calls 300 on Q75hh and then leads 700 when the queen pairs on the turn. He has 4600 behind and this stab feels weak to me, plus I feel like there might be some leveling going on, so I put him all in and… he snap calls with JJ but… the river is a king and my punt attempt is suddenly netting me an extra 6000 in chips instead and I send a player to the rail shaking his head in disbelief. Sorry, guy.

Blinds are 100/200 and I make it 450 with AA under the gun. The next player calls and so does the small blind. I bet 500 on 433 and the initial flatter calls. The turn is a 7 and this time I bet 1600. He calls again. I know I have him and I know he doesn’t want to fold, so I go for it all on the river and put him all in for about 1.3x pot. He doesn’t do much thinking before making the call and walking out the door a few seconds later.

I have raised four pots in a row and won all of them without showing a hand when this next situation arises. There are multiple limpers at 150/300 and the button makes it 1200 to go. He started the hand with 5500 total and I have TT in the big blind. This is probably a snap raise in a typical tournament when you consider the stack sizes, but at Palace the players are overly nitty, especially with their aggressive actions, and the $110 buy in size is big for most of the field. With that in mind, and the player in question fitting the profile, this spot is pretty weird. I mean… this is a guy that might limp with AQo in this spot. I have a nice stack brewing at this point, but losing 18bb isn’t inconsequential to me. I knew this player’s range was tight, but I couldn’t resist making the raise to put him all in, especially since I was completely bullying the table. Why stop now? I make it 5500 to go, everyone else folds, and he calls with JJ, but I flop a set to bust him.

My table was already pretty annoyed with how easily I was accumulating chips but after that one they really wanted to let me know how fortunate I was. I’m like, “guys, I’m watching the same tournament you are, but you’re not going to see me get excited because I’m running good in round 4.”

The button open-limps at 150/300 and I call with 43hh from the small blind. The big checks and we see a flop of A42 with two hearts. Not bad. No one showed strength pre, so I lead out for 350 and the button makes it 1000 with over 10k behind. I make the call. The turn is the jack of hearts and I check it over to her. She bets 5000 into 2900, but I can tell she’s a very new player so that sizing is not concerning at all. I put her all in and she snap calls it off with A6o. Amazingly, she’s not drawing dead here as she has the 6 of hearts in her hand and that is a live flush draw. I am still blessed in the early stages of this tournament and the river bricks off and I bust another player and have 60k after four levels of play (and I missed one of them!).

Of course, variance proves why you don’t get excited because you run good for a few levels as I go completely card dead over the next four rounds. I only played three hands of note over this stretch:

Cutoff opens to 2600 at 400/800 and I call on the button with T9ss and 25k effective stacks. I’m not sure about this play and I’m curious what Nick Petrangelo’s UpSwing tournament course and the solvers would suggest. I am happy to report that it is a pure call! Wonderful. I thought there might be some 3-betting mixed in, but it looks like we are always supposed to take a flop with this one. Anyways, I sort of expect my opponent to play pretty straight forward after the flop. The board comes QQ7 with mixed red cards, so not a good one for me, but when he c-bets 2000 I decide to float to see if he has another shell in him. The turn pairs the 7 and he checks it over to me. I bet 3500 and he folds. This is a purely exploitive play, as I don’t think many experienced players are going to be folding the turn at a high frequency, especially when they have ace high hands.

Someone limps for 1200 and I make it 3600 with JJ on the button. It folds back to the limper and he ships it for around 32k. I have enough experience with this player to know he’s not a punter, so the question is, does he do this with hands like TT or AK? It’s a 26 big blind shove and I started the hand with around 70k, so if I call and lose this pot, it’s going to cost me almost half my stack. I tanked on this one for quite a while but ultimately decided that he’s more likely to trap with big pairs than unpaired hands and that I didn’t need to flip a coin yet when I felt like my edge in this field was pretty substantial. I folded and he decided to show me his kings instead of make me writhe in agony over that fold for the next half decade.

The same player makes it 2600 when I’m in the big blind with J6 of diamonds. This is another pure calling spot according to Nicky P, so we head to the flop and see a board of AJ8 with two diamonds. I check-call 4000. No need to overplay my draw on this board texture that heavily favors his range when we are both deep. The turn is an offsuit ten and he decides to check back. The river is the king of diamonds, making my flush, and putting a four card straight on the board. I think I can discount sets here, but he has two pair and straights a lot here, so I want to make this as difficult as possible for him. I bet 15k into 13.8k and he goes deep into the tank, but eventually comes out with a call and my flush is good.

That hand chipped me back up right before the final table and I headed there with 84k and the blinds at 800/1600 with ten players left and five of us cashing this thing. There were about four of us sitting on similar stacks and battling for the chip lead.

With eight players remaining someone opens to 15k with blinds at 1k/2k – your standard, ridiculous 7.5x open – and I have the misfortune of looking down at AK. If you think I’m excited about this spot, you would be wrong. My opponent started with 33.5k and she’s obviously never folding, so that’s what we are really playing for and I think this sizing screams pair so I’m almost always starting on the wrong side of a flip here. But I have AK and she has 15bb, so I put her all in and her queens hold up and I lose over 40% of my stack on the bubble.

This final table is so nitty that when one of the players shoves his 2.5bb stack from early position with 66 and loses to my 99, he thinks it was a mistake. And it’s not like he was being results oriented. I could tell he was thinking about folding before the flop. After busting that player, I had 16bb with seven left.

Some time passes and a player with a similar stack open-jams in front of me and I have AK again, but this time I hold and that pot gives me 14bb on the stone bubble.

I make it into the money when someone else busts out and then it folds to me on the button with 55 and 11.5 bigs. I jam and the small blind goes into the tank. I’m a little bit surprised and annoyed when he comes out of it with a call and shows 77. I’m never expecting to be crushed when he thinks about calling for that long. I don’t spike a set and that pot cripples me down to 1.5 bigs.

I double with Q3o in my big blind and then double again with KJ suited in my small blind and find myself with a reasonable 9 bigs on the button. I get that stack in on the button with 99, but AT calls and turns a pair to bust me in 5th place for a massive cash of $425 and my fourth biggest live tournament profit of the year! (Note: that’s not good).

I spent all night on Wednesday card dead in the PLO game at Palace.

Some good hands:

I get two pot-sized bets from two different players with JT87 on J97xx and another $200 from one player on the river when the board texture doesn’t change. He plays pretty good and my image is nitty at this point, so I’m surprised to see him call three streets here and not have the same hand I have.

I call $65 pre with KQT9hh in a 6-way pot and Riddler leads out $200 on the QJ8 two heart flop. I have the nut straight with straight and flush redraws, plus an opponent that has been so eager to get all in against me the last few weeks when I had him in terrible shape. I make it $500 and I have another $600 behind or so and that is going in if it has to. Honestly, I’m not super excited about this spot because I can see Riddler getting it in with a naked ace high flush draw here and he has been running so pure against me, so when it folds back to him and he comes out of the tank with a fold, I’m happy to take this sizable pot without a fight even though I have a massive hand.

A bad hand:

I make it $30 with KK66 double suited and get four callers. We see a flop of 983 with two hearts and since that’s one of my suits, I bet the pot and a shorter stack gets all in for a little less than $300. We agree to run it twice and her QT98 is way too strong for me to beat even once with four additional cards.

I didn’t have many notable hands and spent most of the night wishing something cool would happen. All in all, I finished the night -$316.

On Thursday, we had another 15/30 mix game and I wrote down a couple hands during the session so I could share them here.

We are playing Drawmaha 49 and this one probably needs an explanation. Drawmaha combines Omaha with draw poker and in this case the goal of the draw hand is to have the most pips in your hand. To clarify, a pip is the graphic on the cards. So the ten of clubs has ten clubs on it and each club is considered a pip. A ten has ten pips, a nine has nine pips, an eight has eight pips, and so on. The best possible hand is TTT9, or 49 pips, hence the name of the game. In Drawmaha, you get one draw after the flop action, so the goal is to make the most pips in your hand while also making a good Omaha hand. In this hand, I open with KQ985 on the button and both blinds call. I’m starting with 22 pips here, which is bad, but maybe it’s an okay hand to steal with on the button? Who knows. I don’t. No one in our game does. The flop is T87 with two hearts and I bet and get check-raised. He draws two and I draw two. The turn is a blank, but I get a 9 and an 8 to improve my pips to 39 and give me a set in Omaha. That’s enough of a hand to raise his turn bet, which he calls, and then the river pairs the board to give me a full house. He check-calls and I scoop the pot.

2-7 Drawmaha… similar game, except you are trying to make the best 2-7 hand in your hand. I open with 8542x with a suit and both blinds call. The flop is 542, giving me three pair and a backdoor flush draw and Logan alls my bet and draws 3. Well, okay! I draw one and improve to 85432 and the turn card is the six of clubs. I have a monster! A smooth 8 in my hand plus a straight on the board with flush and full house redraws. I bet and he calls. The river is a 7 and he check-calls again and my powerhouse hand is good for everything. Not the most exciting action… just want to share some hands in different games.

A-5 Triple Draw… It’s a 4-way pot and Ducky is pat from the jump and firing away. Everyone else is still drawing and after the second draw I have a pat 86432 and when it’s my turn to draw I go into the tank and decide there’s just no way he’s playing his hand this strong against four opponents with worse than a made 86… so I draw one and so do the other two players. I brick and we all check to Ducky and he fires another bet. We all fold and he shows 777AA for a total suicide mission bluff that somehow gets through.

2-7 no limit single draw… blinds are stripped to 5 and 10 on this one with 25 dead in the middle and a $300 cap on the action. I make it $40 to go with a pat T9842, Logan calls from the small blind and Ducky defends the big. Logan pats, Ducky draws 2, and I pat. I’m bewildered by Logan’s flat with a pat hand and I know he doesn’t have much experience in this game, so I’m not positive that I have him beat, but it seems like I should. My plan is to make a bet on the smaller side, but when it checks to Ducky he leads out for $200 into a $145 pot. Yikes. I must have gone into the tank for 3-4 minutes here. I know Ducky is plenty capable of bluffing, even in horrible spots (did you read that last hand?), so I gave serious thought to this situation. Ultimately, I decided to fold because a) I thought he had to think it was pretty likely one of the two pat hands would call him and b) he said something earlier in the night about how he wouldn’t bluff in a similar 2-7 NL spot (and I didn’t think he was lying). I folded but Logan made the call and Ducky did make an 87643.

Big O, $300 cap, Logan raises to $20 and I call on the button with AAT98 double suited. Scarecrow defends in a blind. The flop is AKK and I bet $40 when it checks to me and only Scarecrow calls. Seems obvious he has the king so it’s not surprising when he leads out for $70 on the 7 turn. I pot to the cap and he calls. Someone asks how many times we want to run it and I tell them I only want to run it once. The river is a ten and I end up scooping the pot but sparking quite the debate.

Since I decided to only run it once, I ended up becoming quite the villain after this hand. The argument was that it was poor etiquette of me to only run it once if I have any history of running it twice. I argued that it made no sense for me to run it twice when there was no benefit for me to do so. I already had half the pot locked up, so running it more than once just gives Scarecrow multiple chances to realize his equity for the low half (assuming he had a low draw) and can only cost me money. I was told I shouldn’t make my decision based on how much equity I have in the hand and that I should be consistent in all situations. In the past, I let my opponent decide how many times to run it when we get all in in big Pot Limit Omaha hands, so for me to be vilified the first time I voiced a preference seems a bit unreasonable. On the other hand, I failed to realize that there is a benefit for me to run it twice: when he makes a low on the first run out, I have a chance to win 3/4 of the pot by scooping on the second board.

While I didn’t think I was a scumbag for running it once, I did at least agree that it was courteous to run it twice, especially in a home game with friends and especially because Scarecrow is doing all the dealing. Later in the night, I got a piece of paper and figured out what his equity in the second pot would have been and gave him $100 back (I looked it up on the computer later and it was actually closer to $90). I mean… I never even saw the guy’s hand. He said he had a king and three low cards and I believe him, but still. Maybe it wasn’t the coolest of me to only run it once, but I wonder how many of those guys would give someone a rebate like that after the fact.

I got off to hot start and was up $1200 early on, but cooled off considerably and had to settle for a +$535 night.

One of the players made this board in OFC before the game started and probably wants me to share it:

On Friday, I got off to a miserable start in 15/30 and was down $700 after about two hours, but I cracked Mr. Freeze’s aces twice and that got me close to even, which is about where I stayed most of the night, finishing at -$211 and wondering when the patented Dark Knight hot streak is going to kick in. I’ve now booked two small wins in my last six 15/30 sessions at Palace and have gone -$2766 over that stretch in a game that is usually my most consistent source of income.

On Saturday Scarecrow had hopes of hosting a mix game, but it looked really sketch to me, with lots of people saying maybe and one that was supposed to come but hasn’t played with us before. I was pretty skeptical about it, but The Leak was free to join us and since we were bringing 40% of a game ourselves, I chanced it that this would happen.

When we showed up around 6pm, Ducky and Scarecrow were there so we played some pineapple OFC and then some 4-handed 10/20 mix, but no one else showed up and Ducky had to leave after smacking us around for 30 minutes. All the maybes and the new player ended up flaking, but Joker and Riddler showed up and we started a 5/10 mix game around 8pm. Not exactly how I want to spend my Saturday night, but it ended up being a lot of fun and I know my wife enjoyed learning and playing all the different games and she ended up breaking exactly even, so it was a free lesson for her! After two different OFC sessions and three different mix game sessions, I finished the night +$194.

Also, I got this insane hand in 2-7 Triple Draw:

Last Monday Ducky, Joker and I went to visit Radio Mike at Cheney Stadium to see Felix Hernandez make a rehab start and to catch top 5 prospect Jo Adell in action. We also heckled Ty Kelly into retiring from baseball. Pics below:

Radio Mike trying to hide

Felix and Ichiro in the dugout

Jo Adell, Angels top prospect

Radio Mike working so hard his shoes flew off his feet

Crashing the booth

And this weekend we met up with Mexi Nugget and his wife in Kitsap County to hit up the local arcade bar and had a ton of fun.

I’m flying to L.A. tomorrow (today?) for the Legends of Poker $2100 HORSE tournament at The Bike on Friday. I’ll be playing some 40/80 Limit Hold’em too and I’m currently stuck for the month, so these next three days are going to be huge for my results.

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August Week 3: PLO, 15/30 and Nas Illmatic 25th Anniversary Show

August 21, 2019

PLO was insanely juicy on Wednesday with a starting lineup that featured Charlie Hustle, Speed Racer, a couple of bad regulars and some new faces.

I handed out some new nicknames to a couple regulars.

First off, we have Harry Caray. This guy has been a regular in red chip games over the past year and he’s quite the character so this name was a bit overdue, but I just didn’t have anything special in mind. He disappeared from the table for a bit one night and someone mentioned the play-by-play guy, referencing the fact that when he’s loaded up on booze he never stops rambling and is constantly narrating the hand in play and talking about what he had, even though a) it’s inappropriate and b) no one is listening to him. So I started thinking of famous broadcasters to name him after and decided to call him Drunk Harry Caray, but I have since been told I was being redundant because Harry Caray is apparently infamous for going on the air intoxicated.

Secondly, we have Logan. Logan is a regular in PLO and has played in some of my home games, plus I’ve been battling with him since my Kitsap County days, so we have history dating back to at least 2011. This name is a Wolverine from X-Men reference. Something about this player just makes me think of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine and it’s not rugged good looks. I think it’s his hair and maybe some sideburns in the past, or maybe it’s the numerous times I’ve seen him go on bezerker level tilt over the years. He’s gotten a lot better at not wearing his emotions on his sleeve at the poker table, but it can still be kind of funny watching him react to losing a series of pots. I’m going with Logan as the name because this dude is more the seasoned, worn down and weary version in Logan than the Wolverine from the earlier X-Men films.

On my first key pot, I raise some limpers to $20 with AKT9 with a suited ace and Speed Racer back-raises to $115 after initially limping for $5. He already has his nose open and is down over $700+ already, plus he only had around $240 to start the hand, so I happily put him all in, we run it once and his single suited J765 is way too strong for me to fade.

I’m not sure about the preflop action on this next hand, but I have AKQJ with nut clubs on a flop of T86 with two clubs and get it all in 3-ways with Speed Racer and another player. Speed Racer is all in for $187 on the flop but I’m all in with the other guy around $700 each. Speed Racer ends up tabling T87x with no clubs and the other guy has KQT8 with a worse flush draw. I have 50% equity and two opponents so that seems pretty good, but I’m playing a $1000 side pot with one player, so if I remove Speed Racer’s hand from the equity calculation and mark his cards as dead, I can see that I’m basically flipping a coin with the other play. We all agree to run it twice and I end up splitting the whole pot with the other deep stack when he makes kings up on the first runout and I make a flush on the second one.

I see a flop in position for $20 with A652 with spades and Logan leads $60 as the PFR on the 433 two spade flop. Speed Racer pops it to $200 and action is on me. I have the nut flush draw and a wrap here, but the board is paired and it has been bet and raised in front of me. Normally this would be a trivial fold, but I have to consider my opponents. I think it’s pretty unlikely that Logan connected hard with this board since he raised from early position and Speed Racer is in full torch mode, so he can have a lot of hands I have in bad shape. Speed Racer had about $400 left after the preflop action, so I can min-raise to $340 here and essentially put him all in while facing Logan with a nearly $300 raise. That’s what I do. Logan folds and Speed Racer puts the rest of his chips in. We agree to run it twice and I ask if he has a full house and he says, “not yet,” which makes me think he has a 3, but when he turns his cards over all he has are naked jacks. I brick the turn on both boards but river a straight both times and scoop the pot.

About 2.25 hours in, Speed Racer is stuck $3000 already and I’m somehow down $350. Seems hard to do, but here we are.

I call a raise to $20 with A653 single suited and it checks to me on a 743 with two hearts flop, so I flop the nuts plus the nut flush draw here and I make it $60 to go. Harry Caray calls and Logan check-raises to $300. This is nice. I make it $600, leaving myself with around $350 behind, and Harry Caray clears out. Logan goes into the tank… deep into the tank… and it’s perplexing. I thought when he check-raised here, we are getting it in and I am going to have him in pretty rough shape. He comes out of the tank by folding 776x face up. The longer he thought about it, the worse shape I thought I had him in, so I was pretty shocked, and honestly somewhat relieved, to see him fold top set here. I thought he probably had a straight without a redraw or maybe a weaker flush draw with a straight draw, but he had nine outs to scoop the pot and I was happy to see his hand go in the muck with how salty I’ve been running in PLO lately.

Next, I punted $600+ when I flopped a big combo draw with KKQTdd on AJ8dd63 and fired all the bullets and got called down by AJ6x.

In another punt, I have QJ83 double suited when the game is short-handed and open the pot. I call $40 on AK5ss when I flop a jack high flush draw and Riddler also calls. I should be done with the hand after that, as it seems like my spades won’t be good if I make them, but I pick up another flush draw with the 6h on the turn and it checks to me, so I decide I’m going to be barrell this one off if the spade draw bricks and bet for value if I make a heart flush or a straight. I bet $200 and both players call. The river is the 8 of hearts! Ding ding! I have the second nuts now. But then the player that led out on the flop – a tight and straight forward player – leads out for $300. I resist the urge to snap call out of frustration, but then I rewind the hand and remember that she led out on the flop and is now leading again here. The ace on the flop is a spade, so it makes sense for her to have the nut flush here, probably with a 5 in her hand also. I make the prudent fold and Riddler only has $55 left in a $600+ pot, so he makes the call and she does have Ah9h5dx. I dunno. Maybe that’s a fine line by me, but I felt like I was pressing at this point and I didn’t feel good about it and I still don’t.

In my last hand, someone opens to $15, I make it $45 with AKQQ single suited, the small blind min-caps it for $75, Riddler calls $75 from the big and the original opener makes it $375… but he can’t. So we all see the flop for $75 each. I think the flop was T86 with two clubs and it checks me. I have the second nut flush draw and an overpair in a bloated pot and everyone has checked to me. I bet $300. It folds to Riddler and he check-raises all in and has me covered. The other player clears out, I call and he announces the good news, “aces and the nut flush draw.” Sweet. I’m super dead. We run it twice, but that doesn’t help me any and I am felted for -$1570 total and it’s almost 2 AM, so I call it a night.

Pretty sweet. I lose almost $1600 in a session where Speed Racer blasted off $4000 in just over three hours. That’s a pretty sick overlay to get zero piece of.

One more thing about this session… yes, I realize my blog might not be the most flattering thing for some players, but I write this to be entertaining and I’m also going to be honest about the action, so if someone plays bad, I might say they play bad, but for the most part, these people are protected by the anonymity of having nicknames and I would never humiliate someone at the table that wasn’t a good friend of mine… meaning I will poke fun at Joker and Ducky relentlessly, but I won’t ever say or do anything at the table that might embarrass regulars I’m not close to. With that said, losing $4000 in this PLO game is extreme and doing so in just a few hours is insane. Yes, I wanted to get a piece of that action, but I also felt bad for the player losing it. I highly doubt he is a wealthy individual. So in the hand where he lost his last buy in and called it a session, he gets stacked in a set under set situation versus Charlie Hustle and Charlie Hustle literally gets up from the table and gives himself a standing ovation… while Speed Racer is still sitting at the table, probably stunned at how much he has lost and how fast he has lost it. And this asshole is basically rubbing it in his face. No class. I think he’s the biggest jerk I’ve ever played with.

I put together a 15/30 Mix Game for Thursday night, but to the dismay of some of those that showed – Jesus, Ducky, FanBoy, Scarecrow – I didn’t take any notes on hands and nothing jumps out in my mind.

We did get a guest appearance from someone I don’t really know that has an, uhm, special playing style. An example: He opens in 2-7 Triple Draw and I 3-bet with 9653x, planning to draw one against someone I already know is pretty crazy. He calls… and draws four! I draw one and bet when he checks to me. He calls, draws four again, and I pat with 98653. After taking four new cards on the second draw, he leads right out into my pat hand. That’s not a concern against this player and raising here seems like a consideration, but I doubt I can fold to a 3-bet against this guy and he will hit a miracle a small portion of the time. So I just call and he draws two! LOL. He leads again after the last draw and I happily call and win the pot against his T7.

Unfortunately, this guy only stuck around for a couple hours and my session was pretty middling overall. I don’t think I was ever up more than $400 or stuck more than $300. I finished at exactly +$100 for the night.

Since I don’t really have any hands to talk about from this session, I think now is a good time to talk about the previous week when my buddy from Florida played Badugi for the first time. I forgot to mention it in my last post and it is way too good to omit.

Let me begin by saying that my friend is a long time pro that has done extremely well in PLO games in Florida for many years now and has relationships with the likes of Main Event final tablists Tony Miles and Zhen Cai, as well John Esposito, the 3rd place finisher in the $50k Poker Player’s Championship at the WSOP this year. So he’s had a ton of poker success and some serious connections.

But not much Badugi experience. Maybe none.

On his first hand of Badugi, it is raised in front of him and he 3-bets on the button. I have a made ten in the small blind and cap it. I pat, a player in between draws, and my friend pats on the button. I’m somewhat concerned, but I lead after the first draw to see what happens, they both call, I pat, the other player draws again, and my friend now breaks and draws two! My hand holds up after all the draws and I win the pot, so I ask my buddy what he started with and he said he had a pat 9!

That pot was immediately followed by this next hand. The details of this one are a little fuzzy to me at this point, so I’ll just stick with the essential details. After the first draw, Bulletproof and I are both pat and my Florida friend was still drawing. I must have had the betting lead because Bulletproof checked after patting and my friend donked out after the second draw. I only had a made queen at this point, but I also know this guy can’t really be trusted after the events of the last hand, so I call and Bulletproof ends up folding and then finds himself in a state of shock when my friend still draws a card after betting into two pat hands. Bingo. Of course, this sends the whole table into fits of laughter. I pat with my queen and end up winning the pot. Bulletproof claims that he folded a made 9 on this hand, but I can’t really wrap my mind around that one. That would be a strong fold even if my friend wasn’t a total wild card and I don’t remember the action being so heavy before the second draw that a 9 should be check-calling.

15/30 on Friday had a starting lineup featuring Ducky, Harry Caray, Mr. Freeze, Huey, Master Splinter, and Taz. I was handcuffed by the deck the entire session and never had much momentum going in either direction. I only had two interesting hands all night.

Harry Caray open-limps from the cutoff, Taz raises on the button, Freeze calls from the small blind, and I defend with Q6 of diamonds. But Harry Caray back-raises and it winds up getting capped four ways preflop. It’s not a bad one: Q66. I check-raise and cap with Harry Caray helping me drive the action and Mr. Freeze caught in between. I’m pretty sure Freeze has the case 6 and I feel like Harry is pretty likely to have aces or kings here. The turn is an ace, so when I get raised by Harry Caray again after capping the flop and leading the turn, it’s a bit concerning. Mr. Freeze calls $100 cold and it’s pretty early in the night so I can’t rely on alcohol to be feuling Harry’s aggression here. I beat AQ and that’s about it – and AQ is a massive overplay; it should be obvious that at least one of the blinds has trips here. So I just call and hate my hand a little more when Harry finds another shell on the river and Mr. Freeze calls, but he is overplaying AQ and Freeze had the other 6. What a shock.

Two players limp in and I raise on the button with AA and they both call. The flop is 983 rainbow and the first limper tries to check-raise me, but Harry Caray calls a string raise on him and the dealer rules it a call, so Harry calls a single bet also. The turn is a queen and the first player says he has the best hand and we are both, so that’s annoying, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to fold aces to him. Harry calls and so do I. The river pairs the 8 and now the first guy checks and says that card might have killed him. Who knows what that means. Q9? Harry also checks and I happily fire out a bet and they both call. I am obviously winning this pot, but I’m still pretty shocked to see the first player show pocket kings (remember, he limp-called preflop) and then I’m even more shocked when Harry Caray turns over 87 and the chips are sent his way. I mean… think about all the ways chaos had to conspire against me for me to lose that pot.

With no momentum in either direction all session, I finished the night at +$258.

On Saturday I went to the Nas concert at ShoWare Center in Kent with FanBoy and Free Throw to see the hip-hop legend celebrate the 25th anniversary of his classic debut album Illmatic. It was a lot of fun and our seats were amazing. We were in the front row, so we got to see cool things like a security guard get reamed after telling DJ Premier that he couldn’t walk along the aisle in front of the stage, plus someone in our party got a dap from Lupe Fiasco mid-performance. I’ve always heard that Nas isn’t a great performer and, honestly, he lived up to that billing. It was still great seeing him perform, but he seemed to mostly just be going through the motions and by the time he finished the night with “One Mic,” the background vocals and the crowd were carrying most of the workload – he literally just stopped rapping. I’ll try to post some pics and video below.

Az

Lupe Fiasco

Nas

I was supposed to go hiking with The Leak on Sunday, but I didn’t get home from the concert until around 2 AM and she woke up at 5 AM to leave, so that was a hard no from me. I did wake up in time to play the Palace biweekly $110 no limit Hold’em tournament and since this post isn’t long enough already, I decided to keep notes on my journey through it.

Actually… I’m going to publish now and do the tournament in my next post.

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August 2019 Week Two: PLO, 15/30 Mix, 15/30 LHE, and the Oregon Coast

August 9, 2019

PLO game start on Wednesday featured Mr. Freeze, Charlie Hustle, Speed Racer, and some new faces.

I chipped up early, up about $500, when this hand came up:

There’s one limper, the button makes it $20, I make it $70 from the small blind with AAQJ double suited and the big blind and button both call. The flop is T75 with two spades and I lead out for $200 with aces and the nut flush draw. The small blind makes it $500 and we end up getting it in for a little over $800 total. We decide to run it twice. His hand is KJ96 with two spades and two clubs. He has a gutshot and a dead spade draw. The first board runs out Q-9 to give him a straight with KJ and the second board runs out 8-x to give him a straight with J9 and I find a way to get scooped in this $1800+ pot when I had 80% equity when all the chips went in.

A short while later, I limp in with QJ88dd and call a raise of $25. The flop is 983 rainbow with one diamond and I lead into four players for a pot-sized bet of $100ish. The same player from the last hand makes it $400 and we end up getting it all in again. It’s worth noting that this player tried to check out of turn on the flop, so I have his hand somewhat discounted here and expect my set to be the best hand here, hoping to fade draws, but he has 994x and this time I’m crushed. We run it twice again. The board runs out clean for him the first time, but on the second board I turn a flush draw and river a ten to make a straight and salvage half of this pot.

He says something about we are even now and I look at the $800 in his stack that used to be mine and I’m like “Yes… yes we are.”

I defend my big blind with JT74 double suited and decide to lead $20 on K62hh when I flop a jack high flush draw. This is a pure bluff and definitely not a standard play on my part. When I get called in two spots, I’m pretty sure I don’t want to make a flush, but when the turn is a queen and gives me some real equity in the hand, I decide to keep firing and make it $80 to go. They both call again. The river is an offsuit 8 and I’m not going to stop telling this story now that all the draws bricked. I bet $300 and they both fold.

I make a loose call in position in a limp fest with A542 single suited. This is a good multi-way Omaha 8 hand, but not so much in pot limit Omaha. But I get to see the flop for $5 and it checks to me on A63 rainbow with one of my nut suits – one of the better boards I could ask for. I bet the pot for $25 and then some weird things happen: the small blind min-raises to $50 and one of the limpers makes it $100. He has $175 behind and has a set here like 90% of the time, so learning from my mistake in a similar spot last week, this time I decide to just call and if the board pairs on the turn, I can fold and save $175. My hand is too good to fold, but it’s not like I have such a massive draw that I want to get stacks in here. I call and so does the small blind. The turn is a 5 and the limper puts the rest of his $175 in. I raised to isolate here (not sure if that’s correct though), the small blind folded, and we agreed to run it twice. He had AAxx and I was in pretty great shape with two board-pairing blockers in my hand. He bricked both board and I scooped the pot. The small blind said he had a set of 3s, so the big blind was missing 40% of his outs here.

Someone limps in, I make it $20 with KT87 double suited on the button. The big blind check-calls $40 on 977. The turn is a queen and this time he check-calls $100. The river bricks and I’m left with naked trips here. I’m pretty sure the big blind has at least a 7 and there’s no certainty that my hand is good here. I do think he would call with worse, but I think it’s too thin to bet for value here. I’m happy to see him check the river and I check back. He shows 97 for a flopped boat.

Down to 6-handed later in the night with The Riddler in the game now and we get it all in for a few hundred each on AQ8cc when I have AAxx and run it twice. He has A54x with two clubs and somehow manages to get his money back without making a flush as the first board runs out 7-6 to give him a straight.

So instead of Riddler being felted and moving on with his night, we get into another clash a short while later when I raise to $20 with AA93hh and Riddler and Charlie Hustle call. The flop is Q95hh, I bet the pot, Riddler raises and I put him all in for $381 total. We agree to run it twice and he shows K876 with three hearts, so he has an inside wrap and a dead flush draw. He makes a straight on both boards and the flush draw bricks and I get scooped again, this time with 68% equity when all the chips went in.

Riddler opens pre and I defend in the big blind with AKT3 single suited and maybe another player is involved as well. I check-call $40 on KJ2 with two spades. I have top pair, a gut shot and a ten high flush draw here, so I’m not super excited about it, but Riddler is notorious for over c-betting in this game, so I expect to be in pretty great shape against his overall range.

The turn pairs the king and now I really like my hand as a bluff catcher, especially when he bets a weak-looking $80. I was tempted to raise here, but I wanted him to keep betting his bluffs, so I just called.

The river was an offsuit 6 and this time when I checked it over to him, he bombed it for $250. I wasn’t planning to fold this river at all, but I also wasn’t expecting him to size up so much. I have to give him credit, this is a pretty good line no matter what he has. This sizing actually gave me something to think about and the more I thought about it, the more I thought it was probably a fold. The fact that I have the ten of spades in my hand is pretty bad, as it’s such a key drawing card and for me to be good here, I need Riddler to have draws that missed. Even so, I decided to stick with my initial plan and paid it off and he showed me KJxx.

The sick thing about that hand is I think I stack him if the situation is reversed, considering how willing he was to get it in on that AQ8cc flop when I had top set. Granted, he is deeper here, but still…

Riddler disappeared shortly after that hand and sent someone else to go rack up his chips and cash him out. He played for about 90 minutes total and won $800+ just from me. It was almost 2:30am at that point, so I can’t really fault him for wanting to quit, but I can’t say I was pleased about it either. Needless to say, when he quit the game, no one really wanted to continue on 5-handed so the game broke and I finished at -$385 in a session where variance really put my patience to the test.

I was aiming to put together a 15/30 Mix Game for Thursday night because my buddy was in town from Florida for the week, but it was looking grim with a couple of key players too busy to play. My buddy was really excited about it though, so I pushed the few that were on the fence over the ledge and it looked like I had a solid six ready to go. Most of the games we play are best suited for six or seven players anyway, so I had a perfectly sized lineup as long as everyone showed.

We did get six players including some familiar faces like Joker, Scarecrow, and Bulletproof, plus three I’ve never played in a mixed game with.

Here’s a pic of the group (look at those sexy $100 black plaques – way too cool):

I got off to a rough start in the game, losing the max ($300) in PLO when I got the 952d rainbow flop with AT95dd and Bulletproof check-raised the pot on the flop. We ran it once and I managed to get scooped by his J965 when he turned or rivered a jack for a bigger two pair.

I followed that hand up by getting $300 in with A9732 on the Q86 rainbow flop in Big O. I didn’t write any additional notes on that hand, but I think we ran it twice and I either got scooped or got quartered.

What I am sure about is that I was stuck $600 pretty much right from the jump and I was down $800 by 9pm.

Not the night I envisioned having when I realized that half the lineup would be pretty inexperienced in most of the games.

I rallied back though and found myself pushing past even into sugar territory right around midnight, just as the game went down to five players.

The key pot that pushed me into the green was a Stud 8 hand where I started with 2c9c-3c in a raised multi-way pot. I led out when I caught the best card in the deck for me – the ace of clubs – on the turn. No one raised and I kept betting on 5th when I picked up an offsuit 4. I made a perfect six low on 6th with an offsuit 6 and the queen of clubs gave me a massive scooper on the river and my first time having sugar for the session. Scarecrow started with rolled up tens on that one and there were at least four players still involved through 5th street, so it was quite the pot.

That hand also kick-started some momentum that propelled me to a strong finish and I somehow finished the night at 1:45am at +$1315, a pretty happy result considering where I was at 9pm.

15/30 started on Friday night with 28 players on the list. When the dust settled the reality was 9 seated players and no list. That means roughly 2/3 of the list was smoke and mirrors. That’s pretty gross. Palace’s system allows for anyone to walk up to the sign in computer and put their names on any lists they want. That means they can come in on a Sunday night and sign up for the 15/30 game that starts Fridays at 4 and whether they know that about the game or not is entirely up in the air. I also think some people just like to have their name up for the big game with no intention of actually ever playing in it. What’s not happening is players getting boarded by a floorman that can tell them the game is on Fridays only. It would be nice to find a way to weed out the pretenders and the uninformed, but I guess this is just the way it is.

The starting lineup featured the likes of FBI Guy, Mr. Freeze, Ducky, Huey, Master Splinter, a few non-regulars, and a ornery old man.

I introduced myself to a brand new player by defending my first big blind (with the Coast on the line) with the J3 offsuit, even though it was folded to me. Ah, the things we do for a challenge that doesn’t even really matter. The flop was pretty reasonable for me: T73 rainbow. I checked and raised. He called. The turn was an 8 and I decided to keep firing since I added a gutshot straight draw to go with my bottom pair, but my hand wasn’t looking hot when he called again. The river paired the ten and while that’s a good card for me, I don’t think he’s going to fold many better hands at this point, so I checked it over to him and he put out a bet. Gross. I feel like I’m not winning here very often, but I also have no history with this guy, so I put in the $30 to see what he played this way and all he can show me is a suited 65 high and I’m coasting.

I flopped top set with QQ in a 4-bet pot a short while later and it held up and I was coasting with around $500 sugar at one point.

Ah, to think I was imagining Coasting in this session. Those dreams were shattered when I played another 4-bet pot and got check-raised by Master Splinter on J98 rainbow. I had QQ here, but his line looked super strong, so I just called down from that point and he ended up showing me quad jacks and by the end of the hand, I was no longer coasting.

It only got worse from there. The game was playing absurdly tight and almost every pot was played 2- or 3-handed. Somehow, I managed to flop top pair or second pair in a bunch of heads up pots and never seemed to have the best hand on the river – either because I never had the best hand or because I got drawn out on. This seemed to go on for a few hours, where I flopped showdownable hands in heads up pots and never won. I even flopped a set of sixes heads up against a big blind defend and lost to T9 on 763.

By 7:30pm, just 3.5 hours after the game started, I was down $1350.

Even when things started to turn around, I couldn’t help but be tilted about the hand. I raised with 77 and four of us saw the 873 with one club flop. Master Splinter donked from one of the blinds, I raised, a new player cold called, and Splinter just calls. The turn card was the jack of clubs and Splinter leads right out again. I have a serious case of the MUBS at this point and his hand sure looked a lot like T9 to me, but even so, I was contemplating whether I should still raise. I decided not to and the other player folded. The river was a 5 of clubs and when Splinter still wants to lead that card, I don’t see how I can do anything but call, so I call and he shows me a set of threes. Set over set and I get a total of three big bets from my opponent after the flop. That hardly feels like a win but at least I didn’t lose the hand.

Then I had AJ in a 3-bet pot and got a runout of QJxJA, but I only got 1.5 big bets this time because I whiffed my turn check-raise. My annoyance at missing bets on these two pots was somewhat alleviated when this one surprisingly got put up for High Hand and then somehow managed to hold up.

The game was 5-handed by 9:15pm and I was only stuck $500 at that point.

I made a note of that because I thought it was going to be the start of me crushing faces short-handed, but instead I went on another absurdly cold stretch with good hands. I lost with TT+ four times in quick succession and I lost with KJ to T7 on JJ98x, possibly because I decided to donk out from the small blind in a raised pot instead of check-raise the preflop raiser on the button.

Possibly the sickest hand of the night was a straddle pot when I had AKcc in the big blind. I 3-bet and Ducky 4-bet from under the gun. The straddler tagged along and we saw a flop of K96 with two spades and one diamond. Since I decided not to cap pre, Ducky had the lead and I checked it over to him. He checked back and so did the straddler. The turn was the ace of diamonds. Obviously, I’m usually leading in this spot, but I have a feeling Ducky is going to bet this card too frequently, so I check, he does bet, the button calls, and they both call my check-raise. I know I don’t want to see spades or diamonds on the river, so when it comes the 7 of hearts, I’m a pretty big fan of that card. I bet and… Ducky raises? It folds back to me and I do some serious tanking. I’m running bad and my mind isn’t functioning at its highest level, so of course I come out of the tank with the wrong decision and decide to 3-bet it. Ducky caps and I put out the crying call, knowing I’m never, ever winning here. He turns over the T8 of diamonds for a rivered straight. I just rarely have the best hand here and there’s no reason for me to be 3-betting the river. He has to have A7 suited exactly for me to have any value here and that’s not even a hand he’s guaranteed to raise the river with.

My wife and I were headed to the Oregon Coast early in the morning so we decided to call it a night just after 1am and by that point I was -$1379 for the night, my second straight disastrous session of 15/30 at Palace.

We had a great time on the Coast and I’ll post pictures at the end of this post. We initially planned to head down to the Florence, Oregon area and rent some dune buggies to take on the sand dunes and possibly spend a day floating the Rogue River, but neither of those things happened. Instead, we spent the first night at the Three Rivers Casino and then we spent all day on Sunday floating around the area where the Yachats River meets the Pacific Ocean before driving south and checking out what is supposed to be the biggest sea lion cave in the world.

It’s always exciting to go to a new casino, especially one with a smaller poker room, and put in a session. Three Rivers poker room only had one game going when we arrived and that game was… 10-handed 3/6 limit Hold’em! Wow. If you think I turned around and left, looking for anything else to do, you would be wrong. Quite the opposite. I was practically giddy with excitement to get into this game and play like a maniac. My plan was to play anything reasonable for up to two bets before the flop and do a lot of the raising myself, plus I was going to defend my big blind with basically every hand. I expected my numbers to be something like 70% VPiP and 40% PFR.

I didn’t waste much time making my presence felt. I think I folded my first two hands before winning around six in a row, including four straight kill pots (put in the game right after I sat down). By the time my first orbit was complete, I was up over $200 and roughly half the table had felted or left the game in frustration. That was okay with me since it allowed the rest of our party to get in the game and battle with each other.

Someone gave me an Overs button in this game and I was startled to learn that Overs wasn’t 4/8 or 6/12, but NO LIMIT. If the pot was contested between only players with Overs buttons after the flop, betting was no limit. So sick. Well, after getting a button, I had to tighten up somewhat. I couldn’t play 70% of my hands and possibly find myself in an Overs pot after the flop. I was still playing pretty loose, but when all but one of the Overs players left, I gave my button back. I was more interested in playing every hand than in felting a local.

I didn’t take notes for this session because LOL, but there were still a couple of really funny hands.

On the first hand, my buddy… let’s call him Mexi Nugget… limped in and I said, “that must be a really big hand” and limped in on the button with J3 offsuit. I had already raised his blind up with 72o earlier, flopped trips, and got paid off by him, so I’m literally blasting off trying to play pots with him.

The flop comes down 743; he leads, I raise, and he calls. The turn is an ace and we both check. The river pairs the 3, giving me trips, and he bets out again. I raise him and this time he 3-bets me and I call. He shows AA and the whole table goes into a frenzy.

On another hand, I raise pre and bet twice with KT on JT33 before checking on the queen river and saying, “I don’t think you can call with worse here.” I table my hand and he flashes a ten, but doesn’t show his other card and even the dealer says, “ten… with a kicker that doesn’t beat a king” and that’s when my buddy says, “oh really?” and turns over an ace for a sick slow roll that sends the whole table into a frenzy again.

On the very next hand, the flop checks around on 764 and Mexi Nugget takes the betting lead when the turn is a 9. My wife and his wife both call. The river pairs the 9, he bets again and they both call. His wife immediately shows K7 and he flashes a 9. My wife waits for him to turn over both cards and he eventually shows Q9 (I think) and she just flashes a 4 and pauses for about five beats before turning over another 4 for the sickest snap-reversal slow roll I’ve ever seen. I’m not sure that hand history did justice to what she did here. It was so fucking savage. The fact that it happened one hand after he slow rolled me and that nobody saw it coming just made it the best slow roll I’ve ever seen in my life. Needless to say, the entire table went nuts and everybody had a hearty laugh. That was arguably the coolest moment of the weekend. Does my wife have my back or what?

I ended up winning +$184 in what was the longest 3/6 session I’ve played in at least five years.

All in all, it was a small losing week for me and I’ll be looking to get back on track this week.

Oregon Coast pics:

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July 2019 Poker Wrap-Up

August 2, 2019

On the last day of July, I went hiking with ChowMein. This is something that has been bubbling for a while now. I think I first started crossing paths with Chow 7-8 years ago, noticing him and his crew at the Pendleton Round Up and in the Muckleshoot series. We started becoming friendly over the last couple years and for a while now we’ve talked about doing something outside of poker, particularly when we bumped into each other on a hike at Rattlesnake Ledge last year and realized we had another mutual interest. But that was roughly a year ago and we still hadn’t made anything happen. When I saw ChowMein in the 20/40 O8 game two Saturdays ago, we said the same shit we always say except this time I made a point to let him know we are really going to plan something.

We agreed to do a hike on Wednesday morning and after getting five questionable hours of sleep, my alarm went off at 5 AM and I met him around 8 AM at the Otter and Big Creek Falls trailhead in North Bend. It wasn’t the most challenging trail I’ve done, but after doing 8+ strenuous miles on Sunday, my calves were still burning and I was happy to take a more relaxing hike. Even so, Apple Health says I walked 11 miles and took over 24,000 steps on Wednesday, so it’s not like we didn’t get a workout in. Also, it was nice to get to know Chow on a more personal level and I’m pretty excited to develop a friendship with someone that likes to travel for poker and can help me elevate my own game.

My dogs went with us and we took a lot of pics and I thought a lot of them came out pretty good, so here are some of the best ones:

I think we spent about 4-5 hours on the trail and after a two hour drive home, it was nearly 4 PM. My plan was to play PLO when the game started at 6 PM, but I was lacking good sleep and I’d been up since 5 AM, so I knew it was questionable whether I should be playing at all. PLO has been lucrative for me over the past month and I didn’t want to miss a good game, so I was there for the start of it, but I knew I was walking on the edge. I figured if things went well, I would be fine, but I was conscious of the fact that I might not be in the mental condition to grind out a grueling session.

The lineup was a bad start. The game was 8-handed and featured the likes of Bulletproof, Mr. Freeze, and Charlie Hustle. One of the Huey, Duey, and Louie triplets was making a rare appearance and there were a couple other non-regulars that weren’t good action as well. There were two players in the game that I was excited about.

I started with $700 and had another $700 in my pocket for topping off. I was about 40 minutes into the session with maybe $650 in front of me when this hand came up:

I made a rather loose open to $15 with QJT5 triple suited (three spades) from the hijack, the button called, and Bulletproof defended his big blind. This is a hand I should definitely be folding. I have an extremely loose player on the button and I have a three card hand. When my hand is triple suited, the fact that I have a useless dangler is magnified. It just makes no sense to get involved with a handicap when I know I won’t even have position in the hand like 80% of the time.

The flop is pretty good for me: T53 with two hearts. I have top two pair and some interesting backdoor potential on a board that shouldn’t flop many sets or quality straight draws. So when I bet $30, the button folds, and Bulletproof check-raises me to $80, I think my hand is in pretty good shape. Considering I am still over $500 deep though, my hand plays less well if he’s willing to get stacks in here, so I just call and I’m planning to fold if the flush comes in and he bets, but otherwise mostly continue.

The turn is an offsuit king and he bets the pot, which I believe was $205. I added straight outs in addition to my two pair, so I’m definitely not folding now. After calling $205, I’d have just over $300 behind and, in the moment, I thought that if I jammed now, I could avoid making difficult river decisions and it seemed like my hand should still be good most of the time. Of course, he could have flush draws that now made kings up, so that’s something to consider. Also, if I just call on the turn, I can save myself $300+ when the river brings the flush and it’s not like my hand is in a commanding position here. I think calling and re-evaluating on the river is the best line, but unfortunately I stuffed it and Bulletproof put me all in and showed me a king high flush draw… that turned a set of kings. My two pair was dead, but I had six outs to the nut straight. The river was the queen of hearts and BP won with a flush.

I was stuck $700 already and as I pondered my future for a few hands, I realized that I didn’t love the lineup and I wasn’t in prime poker playing condition, so I called it a night… and a month. I played a hand I should have folded and got myself stacked. Then I jammed the turn and got it in extremely bad, when I could have called and folded when the flush came on the river, saving myself $300+ and giving myself a chance to salvage my session.

Ah well. At least I left instead of possibly compounding my problems. Not the way I wanted to end my month though.

July Poker Highlights

*Playing the WSOP Main Event for the second time
*Rivering the nuts and getting paid off by Steve Gee in the Main for 50% stack increase early in the Main
*+$1392 in 8/16 and +$3789 in PLO in my first two sessions back from Vegas
*Getting a 15/30 Mix game off the ground
*Winning my first MTT on America’s Cardroom
*Winning $1400 in less than 3 hours of 5/10 6-max on ACR
*Increasing my ACR bankroll by like 600%
*Randomly sitting in Pai Gow because Radio Mike was playing and making a Royal Flush for a $150 bonus (lifetime winner!)

July Poker Lowlights

*Busting the Main Event
*Global Poker shutting down Washington state players
*Getting my face smashed for -$1837 in the 20/40 O8 at Muck
*Punting $700 on the last day of the month

Overall, I ended up winning about $5500 last month, basically all of it from playing PLO and that’s pretty cool because I was souring on that game leading up to the World Series and I feel my interest level being reinvigorated.

On Deck in August

*traveling to the Oregon Sand Dunes for a weekend getaway
*seeing Nas in concert for the first time at the ShoWare Center in Kent
*watching Angels top prospect Jo Adell play at Cheney against the Tacoma Rainiers
*traveling to L.A. for the $2100 H.O.R.S.E. tournament at The Bike
*possibly going to Universal Studios so Dina can check out the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and we can go on the new Jurassic World ride

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Poker Update: July 2019 Week 4

July 30, 2019

Last Saturday, my poker plans were somewhat up in the air. I knew The Man was pushing to have a 15/30 at Palace at 4 PM, but I wasn’t much of a believer, especially when I saw four on the list at 3:30 and assumed one of those names was my own. The Fortune 20 game didn’t look all that promising, so my attention turned to Muckleshoot to see if they might get their 20/40 O8 game off the ground this week. Around 3:45 PM, I saw 6 names on the list for that so that’s where I headed.

When I got there, the game was full, but they made it 10-handed to accommodate me. The lineup included O8 legend ChowMein, Billy Dubz, Tree Bark, one of the Huey, Dewey, and Louie brothers, plus a dealer from Palace that I was surprised to see playing in such a big game. A few people expressed surprise that I would be playing O8, including Charlie Hustle coming over from a no limit game to say, “you know this is different from PLO, right?”

Yup. I didn’t just nearly final table a $2500 O8 tourney at the World Series last month. And I don’t play all the games as much as I can. One trick pony here.

I got off to a brutally slow start. It took me 2.5 hours to win my first scooper and before that happened, it’s not like I was getting half of any decent pots either. I think I got half of two meaningless pots up to that point.

Two of the sicker hands during that stretch:

It’s a 30/60 kill pot and I open with double suited AA63 and only the kill calls. The flop is KQ4 with two spades, giving me the nut flush draw, and he check-calls a bet. The turn is a jack and since I have two aces in my hand, I’m blocking the nut straight pretty hard, and while he probably turns a lot of two pair hands, I don’t expect to be getting raised too often and I have outs when that does happen. The river pairs the jack and when he checks to me again, I feel like my aces are usually good here, so I fire a bet and he check-raises me. This would be a pretty insane bluff and I have the best draw that missed, so I go ahead and give him credit for a hand and lay it down.

Someone opens, I 3-bet with AQ73 double suited and ChowMein calls from the small blind. The flop is a beautiful 977 with two spades, giving me trips with the nut flush draw. I bet and Chow check-raises me and the other player clears out. I call, planning to raise the turn and he does bet on the 8 of diamonds and calls my raise. The river is a 4 and I end up with trips and the second nut low. He check-calls and shows… AKT2 with no spades… for the zero equity bluff on the flop. I mean… I get it. He’s hoping that I bricked and will just fold on the flop or turn, but that doesn’t make it any less painful that half this pot is being sent his way now.

My first scooper wasn’t all that exciting either. I opened with AQQ2 double suited, got two callers, c-bet the J32 rainbow flop (dumb), got called in both spots, and then bet again when the 2 paired on the turn and they both folded. +6 small bets! Yay!

I was already down about $1100 when this hand came up:

I limped along in late position in a kill pot with AJ64 double suited and called a bet on K62 rainbow. Three of us saw the 5c turn and I called again, picking up the nut flush draw with my pair and second nut low. The river was an offsuit jack, giving me two pair and the second nut low. I ended up overcalling a bet, hoping that I was good in one direction, but expected to get quartered a decent amount of the time, and scooped some of the time.

I remember thinking that I hoped the bettor just had a naked 43 and when he turned over his hand, I saw the straight and for some reason sent my hand sailing into the muck, even though he didn’t have an ace with it. The other player mucked and the 43 ended up scooping the pot, but my A4 low was good for half. I was already stuck over two racks and here I am folding the best low in a pretty sizable pot.

It almost made me want to leave because nothing tilts me harder than my own absent-minded mistakes. It’s unforgivable to short circuit like that.

But I stuck it out and opened with the AA62 double suited, got a couple of callers and c-bet the AT3 two diamond flop. Just top set and the nut flush draw and an emergency low draw. Nothing to see here. I get two callers and one of them leads out when the 4 of diamonds hits the turn. I have the nut flush and the second nut low now. I should have raised here, especially when I noticed the other player was all in on the turn for less than a big bet. There’s some chance my low is good and I have the high side of the pot locked up. The river is a 5, so now I have the nut flush AND the nut low. Bingo. If I was losing the low side of the pot, I’m now getting at least a third of it. The other live player in the pot, still leads, I raise, he 3-bets, and I cap it. I’m expecting him to turn over a wheel and a flush here – because wtf else could he have – so when he tables AKT3 with a king high flush, I automatically see a wheel and assume he’s getting a quarter of the pot. BUT HE DOESN’T HAVE A DEUCE IN HIS HAND and the other player folds and somehow I have this entire pot all to myself. A much needed step in the right direction.

At this point in the night, a new player got in the game and seemed to be quite intoxicated. I called her down in a couple of hands when she was bluffing and suddenly found myself with sugar for the first time about 4.5 hours into the session after being down nearly $1400 at one point.

Things went south from there, however, as she ended up leaving the game and ChowMein seemed to have me beat on every pot we played together. I don’t feel like recounting all of these hands, but he was beating me up so badly that when I had an AA2x hand on the KT36T runout and he donked the river, I whined, “that’s supposed to be a good card for me,” and he actually showed me a ten from his hand out of pity.

OUT OF PITY.

Wtf.

Kill pot, Billy Dubz opens and I 3-bet with AKK5 single suited. He calls and then check-calls on KT4 rainbow. The turn is a queen and he check-calls again. The river is an ace and he checks it over to me. This might seem like a thin value bet, but there is absolutely no way he has a straight here. I can’t imagine that he would just check-call with AJ on the turn and there’s no way he’s raising from early position in a kill pot with a hand that has a jack in it but not an ace. Even if he did have a hand like QQJT, I think he would just lead out with it on the river. So this seems like a pretty obvious value bet to me. I bet and he hates it but makes the call with… AAQT… for a rivered set of aces. Nothing like losing to a one outer on the river when you’re already in the middle of getting creamed.

That hand pretty much broke my spirit but it actually happened before the string of losses I suffered at the hands of ChowMein. I stuck it out until nearly 3 in the morning, but I was super tired and called it a night at -$1837, booking my biggest loss in over two months and probably confirming Charlie Hustle’s suspicions that I have no fucking business in that game.

Sunday was a softball game organized by a fitness group I’m part of on Facebook that is run by one of the dealers at Palace. We probably got about 30 people together to play a game and it was a ton of fun.

Here are some pics of me and Hammy in action, courtesy of BlackJack:

On Monday, Ducky and I met my niece at T-Mobile Park so Albus could enjoy Bark at the Park night and watch a Mariners game. I couldn’t believe how good he was! He seemed to really enjoy himself, hardly ever barked, and didn’t use the bathroom in the stadium at all – although if he popped a squat in the third base area as an “F U” to Kyle Seager when we got to walk around the field, I would have been okay with that.

Tuesday was a total day off for me but I did receive notice from Global Poker that Washington state players would no longer be allowed to play on the site. About a year ago, Global decided that Washington state players could no longer deposit on the site but they could still play if they already had money on there. Well, that’s all over now.

No more depositing. No more playing.

It was a good run. I put $300 on the site and took off over $8500, so even though my volume wasn’t very high on there, it was still a profitable practice arena for pot limit Omaha and no limit Hold’em tournaments.

The starting lineup for PLO on Wednesday featured Mr. Freeze, Charlie Hustle, Speed Racer, a couple other regs, a splashy non-reg and Bulletproof making a special guest appearance.

Speed Racer felted $500 in about 20 minutes and took off… and then didn’t show up for 15/30 on Friday. His rush appears to be over and it wouldn’t surprise me if he stopped coming in altogether now. I’ve seen this sort of thing happen many times over the years. I hope he proves my theory wrong.

I only played a couple of key pots in this session.

In the first one, I make it $20 after a series of limpers with AKK7 single suited. I only got called in seven spots and we saw a flop of KQ3 with two diamonds, so I bombed for $160 and two players called (one of them all in). The turn was an offsuit ten and Mr. Freeze led for $300. I call. River pairs the ten and Freeze check-folds to my $300 bet. The all in player turns over Q33 so I had a ton of board-pairing outs on the river.

My second notable pot was way later in the night, when we are 4-handed. Someone makes it $10, I make it $30 on the button with J965 double suited. It’s not a great hand but plays fine if I get it heads up in position. Both blinds obv call and so does the opener. They all check to me 652 with one diamond and I bet $85 with my huge top two pair hand. Riddler calls and so does a loose player. The turn is the queen of diamonds and they check to me again. I feel fine betting that card, as it shouldn’t make too many two pairs and it gives me a flush draw. I bet $300 and only the loose player calls. The river is a brutal deuce that pairs the board and now I’m losing to a hand like 9877. I have some showdown value, but not much. I decide to turn my hand into a bluff and he goes into the tank but comes through with a fold!

I was in the game for about $900 and if I got called and lost that pot, I would have had $400 in front of me at the tail end of the night, so it was quite the relief when he let that one go.

I ended up +$668 for the day, but the real story was this happening:

That’s a nearly $5500 stack in front of her.

I think she was in for $1000 and ended up cashing out over $6000 for the biggest win I’ve ever seen in this PLO game. This mostly happened because the player on her direct right raised every hand the entire night and blasted off over $4000. She also won a monster pot where she had JT on JT646 and got heaps in on the flop so when she bet $300 on the river it was so obvious that she had a set of jacks that one player folded a six on the river. That was like a $2500 pot. Sick.

Thursday was our 15/30 Mixed home game. We played all the standard mix games like Baduecy, Badugi, 2-7 and A-5 Triple Draw, 2-7 Razz, Stud 8, Omaha 8, but we also added some big bet games like PLO and 2-7 no limit single draw. We did put a $300 cap on the big bet games though.

FanBoy, Ducky, Jesus, Bulletproof, Free Throw, and Scarecrow all showed up for the game.

I ended up winning $1200 and a good portion of my profit came from 2-7 single draw, a game I have almost no experience in. I just kept getting dealt good pat hands and getting paid off. Twice I had a pat 9 or better and got the max.

The only cool hand I took a note on was in A-5 Triple Draw. FanBoy raised under the gun and I defended the big blind with AA5xx. I drew three and he drew two. I improved to AA54x (no, I didn’t keep two aces!) and check-called a bet. I drew two and he stayed pat. This time I ended up with A5454, so now I’ve seen three aces and half the fours and fives. I decide to check-raise and snow (bluff). FanBoy calls and then breaks after I stand pat. Success! I bet after the draw and he… folds.

Not sure if that’s a great play or not, but it seems like a good hand to snow with.

Anyways, it was a lot of fun and I’m hoping we can get a game together 2-3 times a month.

15/30 had a rough start on Friday with only seven players taking seats, including Taz and Master Splinter. One of the floors from Palace was also playing that game for the first time that I’ve seen. Also, everyone that started the game took an Overs button and it pretty much played at 25/50 after the flop for the entire night.

I gave the former floor an early welcome to the game by 3-betting his hijack open with K5 of diamonds on the button. He donked on the 862 two diamond flop, I raised him up and then triple barrelled when the board ran out Jx-7x and he flashed the ace of diamonds and folded.

Later on, with the game full now, that same player limped, I raised with A2 of hearts, guy on my left cold calls, tight-solid player on the button 3-bets and Splinter calls from the big blind. Whoops. Five of us take the T76 rainbow flop and it checks around. The turn is a jack and it checks around again. The river pairs the jack and it checks to the preflop 3-bettor and she bets. The two players in front of me fold and I have one left behind me. This is a super easy call because she literally never has a hand here. She wouldn’t make this bet with better ace highs and I don’t see how she can have a pair. She’s not checking a jack back on the turn and I think she would bet the flop with 99 and 88. The only real concern is the player behind me calling with a small pocket pair, but I’ll take my chances. I called and won the pot and the table was kind of shocked that I would make that call and gave me some flak, especially when the person I picked off immediately left the game. Master Splinter said he folded pocket fives. Tough to make that call with fives with all the strength everyone has shown throughout the hand.

I open with 99 and get three callers. The flop is 973 with two diamonds and all three players call again. The turn card is the jack of diamonds and all three players fold when I bet. How good of a game are you playing in when you get called in three spots on 973dd and the Jd improves none of their hands? It honestly baffles me and that’s why I took a note on this otherwise unremarkable hand.

I spent most of this session up between $700-$1100, but then this crucial pot came up:

It gets capped 6-ways before the flop and I have JJ on J87 with two clubs and I get it capped again with Mighty Mouse and Hit&Run. The turn is the 9c and Hit&Run is the new bettor. We both call. The river is the 6 of clubs and it checks around. Hit&Run shows up with the mighty 42 of clubs that he limped from under the gun and called a cap with and it’s good enough to take this monster pot down.

15/30 at the Palace, folks.

Later in the night, the game is short-handed, and a player from Canada that I run into at Fortune and sometimes in Las Vegas and Reno is in the game now. She has an extremely loose and aggressive style. It borders on maniacal even, but she’s not clueless. Anyways, she opens from under the gun playing 6-handed, I 3-bet with KJo and the former floor caps it. The flop is K64 with two hearts. We check to the floor guy and he bets. She calls and since I feel like I’m only losing to AA, AK, KQ and one combo of KK here, I check-raise. He 3-bets and we both call. Okay, he’s saying KJ is no good. But then the turn is a jack and I get a check-raise in and both players call. The river pairs the 6 so now I’m losing to AA again, but he has eight combos of just AK and six combos of AA, so betting here seems mandatory. It seems like the other player was drawing and since the 6 on the flop was one of the suited cards, she can’t have a flush draw that turned into trips on the river. I bet and they both call. I’m kind of surprised by her call and I say, “I hope he doesn’t have aces, but I know I got you beat,” and then she flashes me the 96o and it honestly SHOCKED ME INTO SILENCE. She said something about not raising the river because I might have a set and I’m just sitting there trying not to vomit on myself.

There is literally no part of that hand I can wrap my mind around. I’m not going to lie, it sent me straight into Level 8 steam and it sent the other player out the door (he had AK).

But she was just getting warmed up wrecking my face. I think before that hand, I was still up around $800, but then I must have lost something like ten straight showdowns to her, plus some other hands where I folded earlier. By the time variance decided to stop shitting on me, I was down $1400 and flirting with Level 10 tilt. I thought about rage quitting at least three times as my frustration was impossible to contain.

Fortunately, things turned around, I stopped the bleeding and composed myself and salvaged a -$115 session.

Saturday we visited my parents to celebrate my birthday and Sunday we hiked Poo Poo Point Trail. Apple Health calculated that hike at 8.7 miles, 21k steps, and 122 floors. Not bad!

Ugh. What a slog. I didn’t mean to turn this into a huge post, but I guess some of you that have been complaining that I haven’t updated in a while had something to read for the last hour.

When I had the inspiration to write every day, my intention wasn’t to have it spill over for a week before I published anything. I’ll try to be more concise next time!

Note: that pic in the PLO section was actually Bulletproof’s stack and not the girl’s. She just wanted to sit in front of it and look cool. I told her I’d take a pic and post it if she wanted me to. Hate to give Bulletproof credit for setting a record in that game, but I must be honest.