Posts Tagged ‘professional poker’

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15/30 Live Blog: It’s Almost Tournament Season

March 23, 2019

First off, I’m a little skeptical about today’s session. It’s 75 minutes before game start and there are only six names on the list and Palace has all ten tables in action. That’s a lot of players in the building not wanting to play 15/30, plus the list for bigger games is almost always at least 33% bullshit. I doubt they are going to break a full game to start a weak short-handed 15 game, but we shall see.

My priorities shifted to baseball this past week. I wrapped up an online draft via Discord in my super deep 23 keeper dynasty league last weekend before having two drafts on Sunday – one for an AL Only auction league and one for the 5 keeper dynasty league that I run.

On Tuesday, I had another draft and in this one a group of six draft four teams each for most wins and then write in one of the last six team in for our final team, giving us a total of five teams each. Then we draft four players each for most homeruns (top 2 only) and four pitchers for most wins (also top 2).

I won’t bore you with my fantasy rosters, but I will share the results of that last draft since it’s a bit easier to digest.

Here are my picks with the draft pick at which I took each in parentheses:

  • Indians (5)
  • Phillies (8)
  • Reds (17)
  • Padres (20)
  • Rangers (write in)

I’m not too thrilled about those results. I took the Indians over the Dodgers and the Phillies over the Nationals and Braves, mostly because those picks align with my win total bets. The Reds, Padres, and Rangers were all last place squads that topped out at 67 wins last year, so that’s pretty frightening. The Pads and Reds are both projected to finish around 80 wins though, so they are supposed to see big improvement. The Twins and Mets both got sniped right before I took the Reds so I basically got the first team off the board not really capable of making the playoffs. I thought the Rangers were the only team in the leftovers (Marlins, Giants, Tigers, Royals, Orioles) with enough MLB-ready talent to exceed projections but unfortunately that was a popular theory as four out of six of us took Texas with our last pick.

  • Aaron Judge (2)
  • Nelson Cruz (11)
  • Matt Olson (14)
  • Max Muncy (23)

I liked this draft. I think I’m the only person that got four guys capable of hitting 40+ and Judge is one of maybe 2-3 players that can put up insane totals in the 50+ region. Muncy hit 35 homers in less than 400 ABs last year, so I like that upside even if he’s unproven. Unfortunately, I am also the first person to get dinged with a major injury as Olson just hit the shelf until June.

  • Chris Sale (3)
  • Aaron Nola (10)
  • David Price (15)
  • Rick Porcello (22)

Uhm. Go Red Sox? I expect Boston to win a lot of games and a good portion of those games are going to be lopsided wins. In addition, all three of these Red Sox starters have long leashes – they are going to routinely pitch into the 7th inning. Wins are pretty volatile and kind of a stupid stat, but I can envision each one of these guys winning 20 games and not even having to be spectacular to do so. With that said, I expect Sale and Nola to be strong Cy Young contenders if they stay healthy.

Last Saturday I booked a +$1455 in 12 hours of 15/30, wrapping a second straight weekend of +$2000+.

Tuesday I went +$123 in 2 hours of 4/8 killing time before a draft at All Star Lanes and then I went to bed early so I could wake up in the middle of the night to watch the Mariners open the MLB season in Japan against the Athletics at 2:35 AM PST. I played 8/16 while watching the game and finished at +$450 in 6 hours.

I took Wednesday off from PLO and set my alarm to watch Ichiro Suzuki’s farewell game and Yusei Kikuchi’s MLB debut, but this time I stayed home and slipped in and out of sleep after about 7 innings before being wide awake for the extra inning finale (but not Ichiro’s exit 😢).

Thursday I played 2.5 hours of 20/40 at Fortune and lost $150 before checking out Jordan Peele’s Us in IMAX (review next week after I see it again).

Last night I played 10+ hours of 15/30 and won a whopping $145.

That puts my month at about +$4300 which is pretty cool considering I led off with a -$1700 session.

Like I said… it’s tournament season starting next week. I’ll post my upcoming schedule when I get to Palace and have some time.

4:14 PM: Welp. This is pretty dumb. The list was 9 deep when I got here but four players were call-ins (myself included) and three of them are still not here. Plus, as soon as they tried to start the game two players that were here took their names off.

That left a list of 7 with three call-ins and one person not wanting to start short-handed. A table actually broke and the other guys wanted to start 3-handed so that’s what I’m doing right now, which makes it virtually impossible to blog until we fill up a little bit.

There’s more bad news on the horizon as well. I think two of the three names up as call-ins are pretty unlikely to sit down and play short long enough for this game to fill up.

4:27 PM: Flea makes us 4-handed and he was one of the names I thought might not play, so that’s a nice start. He’s sitting down with $1000, but I’ve started a super short game with him before and he bailed after winning $800 in 20 minutes, so we’ll see what happens this time.

4:43 PM: And the other call-in I thought might not play just made us 5-handed, which is still going to make it hard to blog while I’m playing, but at least I won’t be on the button or in the blind every hand now.

This game is very reliant on Flea and the other player winning if it’s going to have real legs. I’m off to a bad start, so that’s promising. I just had QQ vs A8 and K8 and somehow the board came out 88AKA.

What.

(I check-called flop and check-folded turn)

Upcoming Tournament Schedule

  • Friday, March 29th: Muckleshoot Classic $300 No Limit Hold’em
  • Saturday, March 30th: Muck Classic $400 No Limit Hold’em
  • Sunday, March 31st: Muck Classic $200 No Limit Hold’em
  • Friday, April 5th: Muck Classic $400 No Limit Hold’em
  • Saturday, April 6th: Muck Classic $750 No Limit Hold’em Main Event
  • Monday, April 8th: Spring Round Up $220 Omaha 8 or Better
  • Tuesday, April 9th: Spring Round Up $165 H.O.R.S.E.
  • Thursday, April 11th: Spring Round Up $220 No Limit Hold’em
  • Friday, April 12th: Spring Round Up $330 No Limit Hold’em
  • Saturday, April 13th: Spring Round Up $550 No Limit Hold’em Main Event
  • Saturday, April 20th: South Sound Classic $560 No Limit Hold’em Main Event
  • That’s a lot of no limit Hold’em on the horizon (puke) and the mix game events are super small buy ins, but it should be a fun three week stretch anyway. I haven’t been to Pendleton, Oregon for the Round Up since spring of 2016, back when my biggest tournament score was still less than $6000, so it will be my first time making the trip with a sizable bankroll.

    5:25 PM: Holy shit. Super Dave – the #1 all-time Palace maniac – with a shocking Saturday night appearance, makes us 7-handed just as Flea was threatening to quit. Unfortunately, he is only sitting down with $200 and says he can play for less than an hour.

    He could literally be busted in two hands. It wouldn’t surprise me at all.

    5:32 PM: I’m not sure how many hands it was, but Super Dave is busted… and gone.

    5:34 PM: Back to 6-handed… the nut low number of players. At 5-handed we can play without the PSJ drop and just a $1 rake, but 6-handed the PSJ is $4 and rake is $2, which is a HUGE, disgusting, almost unbearable difference. I hate chopping 6-handed but with that kind of price you have to and, honestly, we shouldn’t even be playing at all, in protest.

    5:44 PM: Flea just quit, cashing out around $1500, but then a new player walked in the door and said he’d sit down if Flea sat back down… so Flea sits back down… with $1000, going south in the most in-your-face fashion I’ve ever seen. It’s pretty scummy, but I’m happy to see him sitting back down with $1000, even if it’s $500 less than he had literally five minutes ago.

    6:22 PM: I haven’t really been able to post any hands, so here’s a couple:

    Cobra opens button (back when we are 4-handed), I 3-bet J8 of hearts, which is bottom of the range stuff here and not an auto 3-bet spot for me. Part-Time calls from the big and Cobra also calls.

    Flop is T95 with two hearts and one spade. I bet and only only Part-Time calls.

    Turn pairs the ten and brings another spade. Part-Time likes to bet weak, made hands or draws when he gets checked to in spots like this, so I play this like I will an overpair some of the time and check it over to him with the intentions of raising and betting the river if he calls. He does bet and calls my raise.

    The river is an 8 and since I might have the best hand and he’s probably not folding a nine, I check it, planning to bluff catch his missed draws. He checks back and tables 86 of spades and I win the pot with a jack kicker.

    7-handed now, Flea opens mid position, I 3-bet KQo from the small blind, and he caps it.

    Flop is J53 rainbow. I check and he bets. Flea is generally wide and just because he capped pre, he doesn’t need to have a strong hand here and this board is pretty dry. I don’t like check-calling and trying to make something with king high, so I check-raise and plan to barrel off. I think it’s a reasonable line as kings, queens, tens, and nines are all good cards for me. Plus, taking the betting lead gives me a chance to win without improving.

    And that’s what happens… the board runs out ten and jack and he folds to my river bet.

    The game is full for the first time now!

    6:53 PM: I guess my only interesting hands are bluffs today. Someone limps under the gun, a posting player raises his option, and I defend Q9o.

    Flop is 653. Seems like a whiff, but this board texture favors my range and bricks theirs. Also, I saw this dude that raised his post 3-bet with KJo from the small blind and then lead into three opponents on a 765 flop, so he’s obviously over c-betting and in terrible spots. I raise and the under the gun player calls (yikes) and so does he.

    I might give up here if the turn bricks, but when it comes a 7, I have to keep telling the story and they both fold when I bet.

    First Overs pot of the day:

    One player limps, I raise 98 of hearts, Part-Time defends, and the limper calls.

    Flop is 873 and I get check-raised by PT. I call, planning to call this one down.

    Turn is a 4. I call $50.

    River is a 5. It completes 96 (plus 65 turned a straight) and gives 86 and 76 a straight also, but I think Part-Time is good enough to know that if he has something like JT or T9, he has to bluff here. I don’t think he would turn his 8s or 7s into bluffs here so maybe this is a folding spot, but I pay it off and get to look at pocket sixes.

    7:10 PM: It’s the return of FBI Guy! If you haven’t checked out my Blog Nicknames entry for him, you should. He’s already acted out of turn multiple times and he’s been playing for less than an orbit. He says to Part-Time, whose cards are plainly visible in front of him that he didn’t see his hand and Part-Time snaps back, “I thought you were a policeman. You’re supposed to see everything. You see nothing.”

    7:17 PM: A big clash: Flea opens, two call, and I defend with 54o.

    Flop is AK3 with two clubs. Flea bets, the other call, and I call closing the action and getting 11 to 1.

    The turn is a 2 and fireworks start. We check to Flea, he bets, the cutoff raises and the small blind calls $60 cold! Uhm, yes please. I 3-bet and Flea caps it! The cutoff folds! 😮. The two of us in the blinds call and I go to the river, praying to dodge clubs and board pairs.

    It’s a jack! I’m only losing to QT of clubs now. The small blind power folds like a jack ass and I bet because I don’t want the river to check behind and, well, maybe something cool will happen. He raises! I re-raise and he finally slows down with pocket aces and calls.

    Monstah pot!

    I was working on -$1k before that hand and now I’m only down a few hundred.

    Lineup Update: random old man, Part-Time, Joker, FBI Guy, random, Cobra, Flea, and one open seat.

    8:11 PM: Random opens and I 3-bet AJo and he caps.

    Flop is A86. He bets, I call.

    Turn is another ace. He bets. I’m up against a strong range here it seems, but my hand is too good to just call. I raise, he raises, I call. Sigh. Nice little cooler unless he’s spazzing.

    River brick. I call and he shows 88.

    And then doesn’t take another hand and leaves us 7-handed. FBI Guy is not one to play short-handed and Flea is on fumes, so this game is in the Danger Zone again.

    And I’m back to -$800.

    Blah.

    I don’t get how there can be two full games with a list on Friday and this game has been struggling all night on a Saturday.

    9:06 PM: We are down to 6-handed and that includes FBI Guy and Flea, so Joker and I just set an over/under of 40 minutes for the game breaking. The over is probably a good bet. It seems like every time I worry the game could break it picks up again… but we shall see.

    9:09 PM: And just like that, we pick up a player! Oh wait, it’s The Invisible Man… we are still pretty much 6-handed.

    9:39 PM: Down to 5-handed and one of them is The Invisible Man. On the bright side, we are back to $1 rake with no PSJ drop.

    First hand of 5-handed play, I lose $200 in a blind vs blind hand where I have A4 on AJ562 and Flea has J6o.

    11:08 PM: And we’re down. Flea quit. Cobra quit. Invisible Man quit. Yawn.

    I finished at -$91 and I’m happy with that since I was down almost $1k, made a comeback, and was down almost $1k again.

    I think I’ve settled into a groove of blogging about once a week. It’s hard (and kind of brutal) to write during every session I play and lately I’ve only been playing three days a week, so the opportunity hasn’t really been there anyway.

    I’ll be posting stack updates and some hand histories during the slew of tournaments coming up though, so expect a lot of content over the next three weeks starting next weekend.

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    $15/$30 Live Blog and Recap of Last Week

    March 15, 2019

    I’m going to start with a little recap of the last week before we get into today’s 15/30 session.

    As I noted in my March 2019 Goals post I’m not making live poker a priority this month. I’m still playing 2-3 days a week, but I’ve been staying home and playing online tournaments on Mondays and Thursdays, plus The Leak and I have been spending a good amount of time rewatching Game of Thrones to get ready for the season 8 premiere next month.

    I ended a 5-session losing streak in the 15/30 game on Friday night with a modest +$630, but Saturday I finally had a breakthrough, signature Dark Knight win with a +$1905 day. I can’t say the downswing is over, but it’s at least a nice reprieve from the constant beatdowns I’ve been getting handed.

    Saturday night actually briefly threatened to be another frustrating session. I was coasting along for hours, probably in the +$1500 to +$1800 range for most of the night when the game got ultra good with two all-timers – His Airness and Marlo – taking seats. There were a couple other good spots too, so the game was ultra juicy.

    Unfortunately, I went 1.5-2 hours in these crazy conditions without winning a hand and when the dust settled, and both Marlo and His Airness were gone, I was actually stuck.

    Some of the key pots during this stretch:

    Marlo raises, I defend A3 suited and check-call on the T33 flop when we are in Overs. The turn is a jack and I check-raise and cap it after he 3-bets me. The river is another jack and it’s definitely not a good card for me. I’m losing to all his Jx hands now, but he’s a total maniac and he can still have AA, KK, QQ, Tx, and all sorts of other random, terrible shit that he will call with, so I bet and call when he raises and he shows J8.

    Then I lost to His Airness when I had T9 on 997 and he made a one card flush on the river after check-raising me on the jack turn with QTo.

    Then I had AA against His Airness on a J964 rainbow board and he 3-bet me on the turn after I check-raised. I check-called the 7 river and he says, “you’re not going to like this” and turned over 85.

    There were some other tough hands during this stretch but those were the only ones I see notes for. Pretty gross.

    Fortunately, I rallied back and posted the solid win I’ve been craving since I returned home from L.A. in mid-February.

    On Sunday we hosted a mix game at Scarecrow’s house and played $5/$10 dealer’s choice with $8/$16 Overs and $1/$2 blinds for big bet games.

    We had a full game most of the day with Scarecrow, Flipper, Joker, Cobra, Ducky, Bulletproof, Riddler, and BlackJack all in attendance at one point.

    Off the top of my head, games we played included: PLO, Big O, Omaha 8/B, Razz, Super Razzdugi, Baduecy, 2-7 Triple Draw, 2-7 Drawmaha, Double Board Omaha, Super Stud 8/B, Super Stud Hi, and Badugi – plus some games I’d never played before like 2-7 no limit Single Draw, Pips (fun!), and Crucifix.

    We played about 9 hours of 5/10 before switching to 10/20 limits for the last 2-3 hours.

    It was a wild game – with most people more concerned with playing hands to gain experience than playing well – and highly recommended if you want to learn some new games without the stakes being brutally high.

    All in all, I finished +$515 in 11.5 hours.

    That capped a pretty solid weekend that saw me go +$3050 over the three days and get March on the right path.

    An update on my March tournament grind:

    I ended up stopping in All Star Lanes yesterday after my dentist appointment in Kitsap County and won their daily morning tournament for $180 and that gives me 8 cashes in 39 tournaments (20%) with two wins and a 2nd for the month.

    Unfortunately I have been bricking all the higher BIs online and I’m currently +$131.68 for a whopping 14% ROI for the month.

    The month is roughly halfway over now and I’m about 40% of the way through my 100 tournament challenge and my schedule is only going to get busier, so it’s unlikely I’ll meet that goal unless I really grind it out on my free days.

    PLO started on Wednesday with The Crypt Keeper, Charlie Hustle, Part-Time, some semi-regs, and a couple of randoms.

    About 15 minutes into the session a really sick hand came up. I ended up paying $30 to see the flop with 7665 double suited (probably not advisable in a multi-way pot) and The Crypt Keeper, Charlie Hustle and a Kitsap friend ended up getting $1k each in the middle on the A87 with two hearts board. My Kitsap buddy went deep into the tank on the flop thinking about whether he was willing to play for stacks here or not (a direction things were clearly headed) and when he came out of it by joining the party, I couldn’t help but blurt out, “you better win this pot. If he [Charlie Hustle] wins, he’s leaving; and no one wants to see him [The Crypt Keeper] with $3000 in front of him.”

    The turn was the six of diamonds and TCK and Kitsap got a few more hundred in and everyone turned their hands up.

    Charlie Hustle: AAQJ

    Kitsap: QT98 with Q high hearts

    Crypt Keeper: T965 with two hearts

    River… 7 of hearts, bringing in the flush but pairing the board.

    Charlie Hustle wins a $3k+ pot and asks to be dealt out and then leaves after playing for 20 minutes.

    Holy fuck, I hate him. I barely hide my contempt at this point.

    Meanwhile, 6th street went on for some time and we discovered that one player folded 88 (a hand he disclosed before cards were turned up). I had two sixes and a seven in my hand. Kitsap had an 8. Crypt Keeper had a 6. That gives Charlie Hustle one ace and two sevens to improve on the river.

    Pretty sick. But it wasn’t even a top 2 beat of the night. Well, at least not in number of outs.

    Part-Time got $1k in on the flop with a naked JJ vs KK on KJ5r and rivered quads in a $2k+ pot.

    Then one of the security guards at Palace check-jammed for ~$400 on Q95r holding KQQx against Crypt Keeper holding KKQ9 and somehow the turn was the case king.

    So nasty!

    I had a very uneventful session myself. I noted a few hands I played, but they aren’t very remarkable. The only hand I played that was truly noteworthy was this one:

    I open to $15 early with AQT9 with T9 of diamonds and get six callers. Yikes.

    The flop is Q76, all diamonds, giving me a mediocre flush. The small blind leads out $40 into $105, which is not a strong looking bet. I am not a fan of the situation, with many players to act behind me, but I decide to peel and see what happens. Two players call behind.

    Turn is the ace of clubs, giving me top two pair to go with my weak flush. The small blind checks and so do I. The next player bets $120 into ~$265 and the other two players fold.

    It’s probably safe to assume that an ace or queen are legit outs and the 8 of diamonds gives me a straight flush. I’m getting like 3.2 to 1 on a call, so assuming no future betting I need about 23% to breakeven here. If I need to improve, I’m roughly 10%, so this is almost surely a fold considering I might not even get paid off if the board pairs.

    In the moment though, I decided there was some chance my hand was good here. It’s not like $120 into $265 in a 4-way pot exudes strength. But even if he doesn’t have the nut flush, I’m still losing to king, queen, and jack high flushes. I didn’t like it much at the time and I like it even less now that I’ve had time to think about the spot more, but I called.

    The river paired the board with a 7 and I decided that my hand was most likely not going to win a showdown and, recalling multiple comments from previous weeks about how exploitable I am (tight-solid/straight-forward), I decided to lead out for $300 as a bluff. My opponent didn’t think too long about it before folding an ace high flush face up.

    Considering that my Kitsap friend has made multiple ridiculously “good” folds against me in recent weeks, I also decided to turn my hand face up – not to show my current opponent up, but shatter my image a little bit and make me tougher to play against.

    I got off to a decent start in the game, but that hand above was the only pot I won in a stretch of 4+ hours, and we only played for 5 hours so I was folding and bricking almost the entire night.

    Incredibly, The Crypt Keeper cashed out between $6000-$7500 after immediately being stuck $1000. That’s impressive.

    I finished at -$57 after going +$51 in 2+ hours of 4/8 LHE.

    That reminds me… while I was playing 4/8, I posted this on Facebook:

    And then this:

    In the hand described above, I completed the big with As3x after the superstar open-limped from the cutoff and the big blind raised. The flop was K83 all spades and I raised when it checked to the limper and he bet. The big blind then 3-bet and the cutoff folded. At that point, I played my hand as a draw and planned to call down, but the big blind checked back turn and river.

    One of the things this guy said was “I’m losing to a guy that has no clue what he’s doing,” and I just responded, “I’m sure you know more than I do.”

    This whole scenario got me thinking. While I took his comments in stride and didn’t lash back at him at all or get defensive, I was certainly planning on playing target poker if he had stuck around. I was going to go out of my way to make things really, really difficult for him.

    And honestly, that’s not very cool.

    I remember a time when I couldn’t wait to have $200 to play 4/8 with and when I did have that money, I usually couldn’t afford to lose it. I think that’s where all that “testosterone” originates from. I imagine a decent percentage of the 4/8 player pool can’t afford to lose the money they are playing with and that’s why they are so emotionally attached to the results of each and every hand.

    So yeah, I’m not sure how proud I should be of bullying someone like that, even if they sort of have it coming. My job is to make poker players feel welcome and enjoy their time at their table, even if they are a bit of a dickwad.

    On to today’s 15/30 session.

    Starting Lineup: Master Splinter, FanBoy, Flea, Ducky, Joker, Cobra, and an old regular I haven’t seen in a while.

    Plus… a long overdue nickname for a top regular: I’ve been waiting for that magic moment when I came up with something undeniable for him and it happened last week when he was being super loud and obnoxious and said something like, “yeah, you can hear me from the parking lot” and BOOM! There it was: Megaphone.

    FanBoy grabbed the seat on my life with promises of trying to punish me and make my blog multiple times tonight so we shall see how that goes.

    Joker, FanBoy, Ducky, and myself are all already out for the The Coast-to-Coast Challenge.

    My first winning pot saw me defending QTo when Ducky opened from middle position.

    Flop was K97 rainbow and this is a hand I’m bluffing with on this board so I check-raise and he calls.

    No worries. I bink the straight on the turn and he calls again.

    The river is a 6 and now he folds and it looks like the triple barrel unimproved would have got the job done anyway.

    4:51 PM: Open hijack with 55 and FanBoy gets in his first Dark Knight isolation 3-bet, but Ducky comes along from the small blind to spoil his plans (and also make my hand worse). I call.

    Flop is 743 with two hearts and one club. FanBoy isn’t one to recklessly c-bet and this is a good flop for my hand and I do not want to give a free card, so I donk out. He calls and Ducky 3-bets. I want FanBoy out and it’s not a given that Ducky has me beat anyway, so I 3-bet and we go heads up to a board-pairing 3 of clubs.

    This is a good card for me, but I don’t want to get check-raised, so I check back, planning to call on most river cards.

    The river is a 6 and Ducky leads out. Well, this is a river I can raise. I doubt he expects me to show up with a straight here, so there’s no need for me to fear the worst just because he led out on a “dangerous” river card. I raise, he snap calls and we split the pot when he shows 65 of clubs – a hand that flopped a straight and turned a straight flush draw!

    And he ain’t happy.

    5:02 PM: FanBoy off to a rough start and was near crumbs when FanGirl hit a natural Royal Flush and brought him over $500 in red chips to buy him a little more time before felting.

    5:14 PM: Instant karma:

    I defend QQ when FanBoy opens under the gun and check-call down on KT6ddc5cTc in a 3-way pot. Pretty sure I can fold this hand on the river because he’s prob never bluffing with an unknown hitchhiker tagging along, but I reluctantly call and he turns over KK.

    A few hands later, I open AK, he 3-bets, two others call and I call.

    Flop is K84 with two spades and I check-raise FanBoy and cap when everyone else folds. I’m losing to AA, KK, and 88 only? I like my hand here.

    Turn is a jack and he calls when I bet.

    River is the 3 of spades and I decide to check that card since he can have ace high flush draws here and I have a funky feeling anyway. He bets, I call, and he shows AA.

    Then he 3-bets me when I open QTcc and shows me 99 on the Q97xx board.

    Wtf.

    6:24 PM: Rallying back after the FanBoy fiasco by getting three streets of value with AA on A4384 vs Flea and then this strange hand:

    Cobra opens button with both FanBoy and myself posting big blinds. I defend J9ss and FanBoy also calls.

    Flop is 872 with one spade and this a check-raise bluffing candidate so I take that line and Cobra calls.

    Turn pairs the 8 and he calls again.

    River is a 7 and there is no way he’s folding overpairs or ace high here, so I’m just giving up. He checks back and I concede by saying “jack high” and he says, “that’s good.”

    Woah. I may have gotten lucky against a small pair here or maybe he just had a worse straight draw. Who knows. Either way, it was a nice and surprising result.

    7:13 PM: Ducky opens, I defend with AA and check-call on AT9. Normally, I would check-raise flop immediately, but Ducky will barrel off more often than most and this board should definitely hit his range better than a big blind defending range.

    I get a check-raise in on the 8 turn, but the river is a 7 and now I’m in full bluff-catching mode and check-call to lose to KJo.

    Nice execution, shitty result.

    8:11 PM: More weirdness with Cobra. He opens from mid and I 3-bet KT of clubs on the button and Flea tags along from a blind.

    Flop is J93 with one club and Cobra donks into me. I prefer to play this hand heads up and possibly take a free card on the turn, so I raise to isolate and it gets the job done, plus Cobra just calls.

    Turn is the ace of clubs and I’m definitely planning to barrel that card but Cobra donks out again. This is really bizarre and it’s strange enough that I seriously consider raising. It just seems weak and part of me is itching to attack. I go against my instincts and just call.

    River bricks off and we both check and… he shows 97 of diamonds which… is pretty brutal to see.

    Trust your instincts.

    9:27 PM: Not much of a notable hand, but I bet turn on 922K with KK just as the high hand buzzer was going off and my opponent folded. I waited a few seconds for the buzzer to finish sounding and turned my cards face up for the new high hand period.

    Kings of deuces is super weak with ten tables going so FanBoy immediately offered me $5 for my hand and I rejected him.

    15 minutes went by and FanBoy says, “wow. Kings full of deuces is still good.”

    And I’m like, “what the hell dude. I totally forgot about it and now I have a sick five minute sweat.”

    And then I forgot about it again and with 36 seconds left someone pointed it out again for maximum buzzer-beating pain and…

    … it held!

    Ship an extra $400 my way.

    10:27 PM: Another weird one with Cobra: he opens and I 3-bet with QT of clubs. I c-bet on ATx one club flop and he calls.

    I’m probably checking back a lot of turns but when I make queens up I fire a value bet and get check-raised. Never folding here. Also not raising.

    River is a king and he still leads and that’s strange enough that I want to see it even though I should never be good here. I am simply curious. I call and he shows AT.

    Pretty gross considering I should be getting a free showdown against that hand. He’s basically looking to get value from QT, KT, and KQ only, when it’s unlikely I’m showing up with the latter two hands, as I’d probably choose to check back the turn with them. So is it a bluff? I’m never folding AQ+ here so… 🤷🏻‍♂️

    12:10 AM: Cold stretch. Whiffing flops and draws. Pretty sure I’m 0-5 with flush draws tonight.

    Current lineup: Jesus, FanGirl, FanBoy, Sandman, Master Splinter, Joker, Ducky, Cobra

    Joker, Ducky, and Cobra are creating quite the Murderer’s Row. I think I’ve seen that section of the table go: Joker opens, Ducky 3-bets, and Cobra caps it like ten times.

    2:23 AM: Sorry. I definitely lost steam with the writing after about 10 PM, but also nothing too exciting happened either.

    I was only briefly stuck a little bit and I was never up more than a rack and a half, so it definitely wasn’t a volatile session.

    Final Score: +$582

    h1

    The Return! $15/$30 @ Palace (Live Blog)

    March 8, 2019

    So in my last post I was lamenting a terrible month of February and eager to play my first session of a new month. Well, I posted another loss of 55+ big bets. That gives me five straight losing sessions in the 15/30 game and three of them have been for more than 55 big bets. In this case, it was a -$1710 session exactly. Losses that big are the equivalent of losing $440 in 4/8 or $880 in 8/16. Big losses. Maybe not on the level of my worst losses, but I typically only have a handful (or two) of sessions this bad each year and right now they are just coming in rapid succession. It’s the kind of run that makes you question everything. Did I suddenly forget how to play limit Hold’em?

    Naw. It’s just variance, but it is definitely being compounded by some less than stellar decision-making. My head has been clouded by constant losing and that sixth sense (subconscious instincts built up over hundreds of thousands of hands) that usually provides clarity in murky situations has been mostly absent these last few weeks. Mostly, I have not been having fun. It’s hard to go to the casino every day and not just lose, but lose violently.

    So I decided to take a week off. Usually, I’m ready to get back in action after a couple days off – and I was this time as well – but I stuck to my plan and I haven’t played live poker since last Friday.

    One of my top priorities this month was to prepare for the Muckleshoot Spring Classic and I did start doing that during this time off, spending a couple days playing poker tournaments online. So far, I’ve played 27 tournaments (on my quest to 100) and I’ve cashed 5 of them (18%) with three final tables that led to a 1st and a 2nd. Unfortunately, I’ve been cashing the smaller buy-ins and whiffing the bigger ones, so my ROI for the month is a modest 15%. All in all, I’d have to say I’ve ran pretty bad so far, losing almost all the important flips and late, big confrontations I’ve had.

    On Wednesday, one of our dogs, Yogi, passed away. He was an old dog and I’m not sure how good his quality of life has been these last couple of years, so I was kind of happy for him that he was able to move on. He had breathing problems – typical of older Poms – and while he always wagged his tail and kept trooping along, I am glad to know he is truly at peace now. He traveled everywhere with us and got to see lots of awesome places and go on many adventures.

    R.I.P. Yogi.

    3:53 PM: 22 names on the list.

    Starting Lineup: Master Splinter, Chief Wiggum, Ducky, Part-Time, Flea, Joker, and a couple other regs

    Joker currently Coasting. I’m out already.

    4:20 PM: Flea is the only limper and it folds to my big blind and I check with KTo.

    Flop is KKJ with two spades and I start with a check call since I have the board clobbered and I expect Flea to barrel off more than any other player.

    I check-call turn and check-raise when the board bricks out and he has something he can call with so I get to show my hand.

    I win the pot and he starts chuckling. And then chuckles some more. And keeps chuckling.

    Ducky turns to me and says, “I think he thinks that’s funny” and I whisper back, “so do I.”

    5:35 PM: Been a pretty inactive first 90 minutes for me but I just had a big confrontation with Chief Wiggum.

    He limps along on the button and I raise from the small blind with TT and both limpers call.

    Flop is AT6 with two spades and I get raised by Wiggum on the button. We are not in Overs, but we will be after I call, so I opt to wait for the turn to raise. Could be dangerous, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen Wiggum raise on the flop for a free card with a draw.

    Turn is a blank and we each put out four bets in Overs and then he calls a river spade with 66.

    But, the victory was somewhat short-lived because as I was typing this I raised with AK and got the KT7 all diamond flop with the ace of diamonds in my hand. Wiggum had J9 of diamonds and we put in four bets on the flop before I check-called down without improving.

    6:50 PM: A preface to this next hand:

    Joker opens and I 3-bet KQ on the button. I get check-raised on J87cc (with a club) in my hand and then I get check-raised again when I turn a king. Nice. I dare him to check-raise me again on the river (because I want a free showdown) but it’s an ace and he bets. I’m not beating much against this line but I pay it off anyway and he shows AA, taking a play right out of my own book by flatting my 3-bet pre in a spot he used to always cap. Good job, blog.

    Which brings me to this hand:

    Someone limps, Joker raises, I 3-bet with KK from the big and that gets us heads up.

    Flop is J64 with two clubs and we end up going four bets. Unlike the previous hand against Chief Wiggum, Joker is plenty capable of raising the flop with a pair plus draw and checking back the turn when he misses. The value range I’m losing to is AA and JJ. Maybe 66, but I’m not sure he’s jacking up a limper from the hijack with that hand. He can have a number of flush draws, including ones that have a jack in them, and I don’t want him checking back any of those hands.

    Even though Joker capped the flop, I still lead a ten on the turn for all the reasons listed above and I’m very happy to see him just call.

    The river is a queen and I ended up checking but I think I should have bet. I can probably rule out JT when he flats the turn so I’m really just checking because QJ got there? He can’t have AK of clubs because I have the Kc in my hand. I suppose he could still have AA here, but I think I like a bet.

    He checks back and my hand is good.

    Apparently he turned a pair with his flush draw. 👀

    9:25 PM: More fun with Joker. I open utg with AQo, Ducky 3-bets next to act, and Joker cold caps it from MP. We both call.

    Flop is pretty good when you have AQo from the worst position and get raised twice: AAJ rainbow. It seems silly to bet here without the lead, but Joker is the kind of player that might check back a hand like KK after all that preflop action, so maybe I should be leading here. But I check and it checks around.

    Turn is a 9 that opens up a diamond draw. I lead out and only Joker calls.

    I’m ranging him in big pairs that checked back the flop so I’m kind of surprised when I get raised on a rather innocuous 5 of diamonds on the river. I look down at the ace of diamonds in my hand and a flush on the river makes even less sense. So after thinking about it for a while I say, “you must have KQ of diamonds exactly.” But I put the call out and that is the hand he shows me.

    Yawn.

    And this is why I can’t have winning sessions.

    10:38 PM: Just called a raise in a multi-way pot with QJcc and flopped a flush and went two bets on flop and three Overs bets on the turn, plus a bet on the river… and won.

    This is the kind of thing that basically never happened the last few weeks.

    11:00 PM: Cobra is sitting next to me playing in a pot while holding a plate in front of him, eating Mongolian beef, and after the dealer brings the turn a chopstick comes flying off his plate, along with various bits of noodles, sauce and meat.

    The table stops in stunned silence for a bit and Cobra breaks it by saying, “oh my God, is that an ace on the turn?” and everyone started dying.

    It might have been a you had to be there moment, but I was laughing my ass off.

    Final Score: +$630

    I didn’t have many hands to blog about because I wasn’t involved a lot tonight. I don’t think I was ever stuck more than $100 and I was never up more than $800, so not a very volatile session.

    It’s a pretty small win, but a much needed slump buster. I’ll take it.

    h1

    March 2019 Goals

    March 1, 2019

    But first, let me talk about February 2019 real quick.

    It was the worst month of poker in my career.

    I basically look at my poker career as starting in June of 2011. By that point, I was almost a year sober and I had just spent almost all of May 2011 sitting in a jail cell for a probation violation, preparing myself for success when I got out.

    I had been playing poker for nearly seven years before that and while I had a good amount of success, I was also a raging alcoholic during that period and totally incapable of keeping a bankroll together. I could have been one of those poker boom success stories you hear about nowadays, but I blew my chance. I had a massive leak (drinking) and no concept of bankroll management, plus I wasn’t nearly as good as I thought I was.

    At one point, in the spring of 2005, I had turned $300 into something like $25k in a few months, at a time when I was basically living check to check. So that was a massive amount of money to me. Enough, that I was sitting in class at UW, weeks shy of graduating from a good college, and “realized” that I was wasting my time there when I could be making $100/hour playing poker online. So I dropped out. And quit my job.

    By spring of 2006, I was unemployed with -$700 in my bank account, an eviction notice on my apartment door, and my Jeep Grand Cherokee on loan to a fellow player expecting him to make my monthly payments (he didn’t).

    I suppose that was my absolute worst rock bottom, but I would bottom out at least two more times in the next half decade.

    So yeah, maybe I’ve had a worse losing month in my life. I’m not sure. Like most long term losing players, I stopped keeping track back then and have no trace of these dark times records now.

    However, I am sure that February 2019 is the worst month I’ve had since I quit drinking over eight years ago.It was my first month losing over $5000. And I started the month with a $5000 cushion. Crazy. I’m pretty sure that 10k slide is the worst cash game downswing I’ve ever had.

    Yesterday I decided to put in a marathon 8/16 session in the hopes that I could crack the Top 40 in hours and get $15 meal comps for the month of March (got ’em!), even though I was out of town for over a third of the month.

    I had a chance to avoid a record-setting losing month, but I posted a -$490 to set a new bar after finding ways to lose with AA on A33, JJ to 52 on 833 rainbow, and 99 to JT on 963 rainbow, just to name some of the more memorable uppercuts to my chin.

    On the bright side, we sold a house and got some much appreciated padding to the bankroll.

    So I guess, in a sense, February was a really good month for us.

    But goodness am I glad to see March.

    My goals for March are going to be a bit different than normal. Palace basically has three must play days for me (PLO on Wednesdays and 15/30 on Fri/Sat) and that leaves me with four days a week to occupy my time elsewhere.

    With the Muckleshoot Spring Classic coming up at the end of March, my focus is going to shift towards setting myself up for success in what is probably going to be an all no limit Hold’em schedule.

    My top poker objective for the month of March is to play 100 NLHE tournaments before the Muckleshoot Spring Classic starts.

    In addition, I will be focusing all my study on no limit Hold’em tournaments for the next six weeks or so (also looking ahead to the Spring Round Up in Pendleton, Oregon next month).

    Almost all of the tournament volume will be accomplished online at Global Poker, but I am also aiming to play 3-4 of the Muckleshoot weekly tournaments as well.

    My other goals for the month are health related. I have been lifting, meditating, hiking, and doing yoga since 2019 started, but it hasn’t been as consistent as I’d like. I’m pretty good at going to the gym twice a week, but I really need to be in there four times a week. And meditating on a daily basis.

    Also, here’s a look at the first draft of my desired WSOP schedule. My must play events are highlighted in purple. Also, I have not looked at schedules for anywhere else yet, but I will definitely be playing some non-WSOP events.

    Once I get a better grasp on what I’ll be playing, I’ll offer some series packages and pieces of various tournaments. Anyone that wants action in the Main Event can hit me up now and I’ll start making a list.

    Seeing as how I’ve lost four consecutive 15/30 sessions in painful fashion, I will not be live blogging my tonight. Maybe tomorrow.

    Last year, March was my best month thanks to the Spring Classic and I’m looking forward to trying my best to repeat as Player of the Series.

    Leggo.

    h1

    $15/$30 Limit Hold’em @ Palace (Live Blog)

    February 22, 2019

    It’s been a minute since I’ve posted live updates on my blog. I got back from California feeling a bit uninspired and just wanted to focus on the poker and good thing I did! All that extra attention on the game allowed me to post a record-setting loss last weekend. Sweet.

    I’ve put in three sessions since then.

    On Monday, I played 9.25 hours of 8/16 and they inexplicably let me walk out of the building with $297 more than I came in with. Weird. Fun fact: that was my longest session of 8/16 since July of 2018.

    On Wednesday, I played 3.75 hours of pot limit Omaha. I have to say I’m getting concerned about the status of that game. It might be drying up. It used to populate a pretty solid list and stay strong until at least midnight and even managed to get a second night on Thursdays. Well, the Thursday game is officially dead now and this past Wednesday was super fragile. I didn’t quit after 3.75 hours because I was running bad; I quit because there were two of us left at 9:45 PM. Pathetic. What used to be a mind-blowingly juicy game that was populated by a bunch of people that had no clue what they were doing has become the same 7-8 regulars starting the game every week – three of them pros – and very little traffic outside of that core group. I still think the game is good because of a couple of spots, but it’s definitely not amazing. Plus, it’s weak now. My interest level in playing a 4-hour session that starts at 6 PM is pretty small. I hope the game starts to pick back up. I really enjoy playing PLO and I don’t really want to travel on Wednesday nights.

    My session was very unspectacular. I can only think of three hands of note.

    In the first one, I limped in with ATT5 with a suited ace, called a raise in a multi-way pot, and check-potted a near pot-sized bet on T32 two tone. That raise got a fold. It always kind of baffles me when someone makes a pot-sized bet and folds on the flop. I’m no PLO expert, but that seems bad. Unless they have a total airball or are making genius laydowns with smaller sets. I dunno.

    In the second hand, there are a bunch of limpers and I make it $25 to go with AKJT double suited from the big blind. This is not a pot-sized raise, it is simply an attempt to juice the pot with a hand that plays great multi-way. I want them all to call and they oblige. The flop is 986 with two hearts and one diamond. I have nut diamonds but not hearts, so this is a mediocre flop for me, but I do have a lot of backdoor potential. I really want to see a turn. I check and it checks to last position and he bets $125 into $150. That’s kind of brutal. I was on the fence about whether this is a spot I can call or not, but I eventually opted to call. I do have six outs to the nuts and there are so many great turns for me. Unfortunately, after I call, it folds to Part-Time – who was second-to-last to act on the flop – and he makes a maximum raise to $450. Wtf. Now the flop bettor (the same dude that bet-folded when I flopped top set in my first notable hand) folds. Good bet, dude. I have like $600 behind and Part-Time has me covered. I can’t call this raise and not play for stacks and I don’t really want to get it in here, so I fold also.

    We are playing 3-handed when my last notable hand comes up. Aquaman raises to $15 on the button, I call with T986 double suited and the big blind also calls. The flop is J76 rainbow and it checks to Aquaman. I believe he bets $30. I pot it. The big blind repots. Aquaman folds. The big blind started the hand with less than $400 so I’m happy to get it in here with him. We run it once and his set of sixes holds up.

    I finished PLO at -$618.

    I wasn’t really planning to play poker yesterday, but The Leak and I somehow ended up at Palace anyway and I logged another 9+ hours of 8/16. Is this my life now? I don’t think I’m above playing 8/16. Winning a couple of racks at 8/16 means winning $400. That amount of money is not negligible to me. $400 pays our cell phone bill for two months. It’s most of our car payment. It’s one seat to see “Hamilton”. I actually really enjoy playing with higher stakes regs that are playing down and acting like the money doesn’t mean anything to them. When someone acts like a limit is beneath them, they almost universally play like shit and punt their chips around. I don’t care if I’m playing 8/16 or 4/8. I’m not punting. When I happen to sit in a 4/8 game I still play like my livelihood depends on it. I imagine I will always be like that. I hope so.

    But still… I can recognize the fact that playing 8/16 is probably not the best use of my time. Make the damn drive to Fortune, you lazy ass.

    My session yesterday started off as a massive struggle. I lost some pretty crazy pots.

    My top 3:

    -I have AT and open from late position and get heads up against one blind defender. The flop is A92 rainbow and I lose to his KT.

    -I have AA in a multi-way pot and after betting the T88 rainbow flop, I wind up losing to someone holding 53. Granted, he was all in for $1 on the turn, but… come on.

    -I have KQ of hearts and get the JT8 all heart flop. It doesn’t get much prettier than that… yet… I can’t beat K9o at showdown.

    Fortunately, things picked up in the last few hours of my session when I won a massive pot with KQ when I flopped top two in a capped multi-way pot and turned a boat and followed it up with this strange hand:

    Let me preface by saying I do not think I played this hand all that well. Four players limp in front of me, I limp along with 77 and it’s 6 or 7 of us to the T75 flop. It checks to me, I bet, the button raises, the small blind cold calls, and Master Splinter 3-bets it. My standard play is to go ahead and cap it here, collect all the flop bets, and hope someone still bets into me on the turn, but for some reason I decided to flat, planning to raise Splinter on the turn. The button caps it for me and four of us proceed to the turn.

    The turn is an offsuit 6. It checks to me. This is why I should be capping the flop. People are willing to cram bets in on the flop but frequently slow down on the turn, so I need to get those extra bets in while I can. I do something risky here and check. The button raised and capped the flop so I expect him to continue bombing away here, but if he checks it back, this hand is a fucking disaster. He does bet, but then the small blind wakes up with a raise and Master Splinter calls two big bets cold. This is an interesting spot. The way this hand has played out, it sure looks like the small blind had a draw that got there on the turn. So… should I just be calling? Three different straights got there: 98, 84, and 43. I’m obviously most concerned about 98, as that hand makes the most sense, for any of my opponents to have really. But the small blind and button are both loose wild cards and I think that’s enough of an argument to warrant a 3-bet here. In the moment, I decided to proceed cautiously and just called. Button calls also.

    The river is an offsuit jack and it checks to me. Now I’m officially bewildered. I actually started talking which is something I almost never do in a hand. I say to the small blind, “if you are check-raising here, it is the sickest,” and he replies with “if you bet, I’m raising” and part of me believes him. But I have a set of sevens, nothing changed, and it has checked to me on the river, indicating I have the best hand. So I put the bet out there. I think the button folds at that point and the small blind does check-raise me! Nasty. Master Splinter also folds, I put the call in, and the small blind immediately says, “you got it.”

    LOL.

    He flashed a ten and later claimed to have JT, but… who knows wtf is going on there.

    That pot propelled to a +$454 for the day and the two 8/16 sessions at least made up for my PLO loss.

    In other news, we have officially sold our previous house and my bankroll got a nice boost, even after paying off the remaining balance of my student loans. Good riddance!

    Cards will be in the air around 4 PM. My goals for today are to complete the Coast-to-Coast Challenge and win $4000. Just the small stuff that I have total control over.

    Check back in an hour for live updates.

    Starting Lineup: Radio Mike, Flea, Chief Wiggum, random, Cobra, Part-Time, Master Splinter, Bulletproof

    I am live for The Coast-to-Coast Challenge!

    I opened with K9 of hearts from middle position on Radio Mike’s big blind on the first hand of the session, putting both of us at risk. He defended, as he must, and then check-folded when I flopped the nut flush draw on an ace high board.

    Then I had half my sugar in posting the big blind with 44 and Master Splinter and Flea both raised the pot. I decided to gamble on The Challenge and hopped in.

    Flop was K65 rainbow and I peeled when Flea bet because… I have to! Splinter folded and what do ya know… that’s a 4 on the turn! I check-raise and collect a bet on the river when I fill up.

    I have $146 cushion to Coast with!

    5:08 PM: Wiggum limps, I raise QQ, Part-Time 3-bets and Splinter caps it. Wiggum calls, as you should when you limp and it’s 4-bets back to you.

    Four of us to the 973 two spade flop. We are in Overs now. Wiggum donks, I raise, the other two fold, and Wiggum calls. Wow. What an assist.

    Turn is a ten and he check-calls.

    River is the jack of spades and he donks again. I should probably just fold here, but all my sugar is in the pot now and The Challenge is on the line. I pay it off and lose to A6 of spades.

    And The Challenge is dust.

    6:12 PM: I’ve been struggling since losing with those queens and Flea continues to run way better than me when we tangle. I’ve whiffed AK a couple times now when he flopped a pair and just had 88 heads up vs him on J659J when he had JT.

    6:22 PM: Part-Time limps, Wiggum raises from the cut and I 3 with KT of hearts. Both call.

    Flop is 632 with two hearts and Part-Time donks, Wiggum raises and I just call. PT 3-bets, we both call, and having lost two big pots to rivered flushes, I can’t wait to brick this one off.

    Turn is a 7 and PT bets and we both call again.

    River is an ace and everyone checks.

    Standard.

    Part-Time turns over A4 of hearts and I’m kind of shocked I whiffed my draw with how I’ve been running. Wiggum has 44 and Part-Time takes it down.

    Bulletproof opens and I defend with AKo.

    Flop is 743 all diamonds and I check-call with the king of diamonds in my hand. I can definitely play offense here but I want to keep his range wide and make mine look weak, plus I have a hand I can showdown unimproved on most runouts.

    Turn pairs the 3 and the river bricks off – a great runout for picking off bluffs but he has the 87 because how the hell can I beat that monster after this flop?

    Currently working on -$850 already and wondering why I’m not allowed to win pots in this 15/30 game all the sudden.

    6:58 PM: Misery loves company. Flea posts in the cut, the hijack open-limps, Flea checks, and I jack these two weak ranges up with the QJo on the button. Radio Mike 3-bets from the small blind and I ask, “how much do you want to bet neither of us win this hand?” The limper calls but Flea folds.

    Flop is T32 rainbow and the two of us call Mike’s flop bet.

    The turn is a welcome queen and I overcall again. I’m not thrilled to see Mike double barreling here, but I’m committed to showing this down now.

    The river is a 9 and it goes bet and raise in front of me. Now I have an easy fold and Radio Mike turns over pocket aces before paying off the limper’s T9 offsuit.

    7:32 PM: Bulletproof just informed me and Radio Mike that he turned in his Overs button, which prompts me to ask, “what? We aren’t running bad enough for you?”

    Not only are we both square in the middle of solid losing sessions, but we are on epic overall downswings as well.

    I turn to Mike and say, “can you imagine not wanting to play Overs with us right now?”

    And… on cue… one limper, I raise A9 of spades and we go multi-way to 943 two spade flop and I go ahead and check since I’ve been checking every other fucking flop and I have two players behind me eager to punish my constant whiffs. Bulletproof bets on the button, a wild player check-raises and now I put in the 3-bet. They both call.

    Turn is an offsuit king. I bet and Bulletproof raises me. Other guy folds. I already know. This dude is going to show me a king high fucking flush draw and win this pot.

    River is a 2 and it goes check-check. He turns over the K8 of spades.

    Insane.

    But at least this ding dong kicked in his Overs button.

    8:13 PM: Free flop with Q3o. I’m up against one limper and the small blind. Flop is 322 with two spades. I bet, get raised by the limper, and the small blind cold calls. Comical. Of course I get a flurry of action on the 322 flop. I call.

    Turn is a queen. I donk. They both call. Pretty happy to dodge the check-raise from the small blind.

    River is an offsuit 6. I bet and the limper calls. He turns over 54o because how the hell could I possibly be good when I get flatted on the river here?

    8:24 PM: Part-Time straddles button, someone calls, I raise with 99 and they both call.

    Flop is 632 two tone and Part-Time and I get it capped and the third player drops out after putting in two bets.

    I took a passive line with top pair against Part-Time in a recent hand and it 100% cost me the pot, so I’m not about to let that happen again. If I’m behind here, I guess I’m going to lose the bets but…

    …when the turn comes an 8, I’m not about to let him check behind. I bet in Overs and he shows me mercy by just calling.

    River pairs the 3, I bet and he folds!!! Holy shit. The bleeding has stopped.

    For now.

    9:13 PM: Heating up.

    First, I defend K4cc in a raised pot and check-call a jack high flop that gives me a flush draw. Turn is a king and the player with the betting lead is super loose so I go ahead and check-raise and I’m surprised to see Radio Mike take two big bets cold. The splashy player also calls. I’m not sure where I’m at here.

    Fortunately, the river is the best card in the deck: the ace of clubs. I bet and Radio Mike calls with what he said was QT.

    A while later there’s a flurry of action and it’s 3-bet to me in a multi-way pot holding T8 of hearts in the big blind. I’m happy to see a flop here, so I put the call out.

    It comes down A65 with two hearts and one spade. The small blind donks right out, I call and so do some others.

    Turn is the 9 of spades, giving me 3-4 more outs and I call again.

    Three of us left for the 4 of hearts on the river. Small blind still leads but he’s not a cautious player and I can see the other player is going to fold so I raise it up and get called by AJ of spades.

    Finally, hitting some draws. It’s been a while.

    I have now won the last four pots I’ve contested and have a little upward momentum.

    9:24 PM: In less good news, we have traded Flea for The Invisible Man and the borderline maniac for Mighty Mouse, which is like the nut low exchange in both cases.

    9:40 PM: Open with A7hh and only get the two blinds as opponents. Flop is 986 with two hearts… will the hot streak continue? I bet and they both call.

    Turn is a black queen. I bet and they both call again.

    River is a black jack. They check to me. I was planning to give up but this a great river to bet when they both check. It’s pretty weird to check a straight on this runout so I assume neither of them has one and fire the last clip, mostly targeting one pair hands. The small blind folds but the big blind is thinking about it, turns away from the table, pays for his food, phones a friend and absentmindedly comes back with the call. K9 is good.

    10:31 PM: Back to more losing, but there’s good news. I have acquired the Jesus Seat without even moving: the four loosest players are on my right and the four tightest players are on my left.

    11:18 PM: I can’t really make sense of this one. Master Splinter opens and the small blind calls and his entry into the pot is enough reason for me to defend the 63 of clubs.

    We see the K53 with two clubs flop and I opt for a check-raise when the small blind folds. Splinter calls.

    The turn is an offsuit 7, giving me straight outs and I continue to barrel, hoping I might fold out pairs less than a king, plus I have enough hand strength to stand a raise. He does raise. I call.

    River is a nine of diamonds and I check it over and… he checks and says, “you got it.” I’m skeptical but I turn over my hand and he shows the AJ of clubs. I suppose he doesn’t think I’m ever folding river when I bet-call the turn, but I can’t imagine ever calling if he fires the river.

    A nice break.

    12:15 AM: Heating up again. I call a raise in a multi-way pot with 33 and get the very difficult to play 833 flop. Unfortunately, the flop bet does come from my right so I’m not able to put a flop raise in, but I do get a raise in on the turn and a payoff.

    Then I open the AT of diamonds, get 3-bet, check-call the QJ8 flop and snap off a 9 on the turn and get Overs bets on the turn and river.

    Meanwhile, The Leak has turned a near -6 rack session into a winner, giving schlubs like Radio Mike and myself hope that we too, some day, can pull our heads out of our asses and figure this thing called poker out.

    1:02 PM: I made a joke via group text earlier that I am running so bad that I’m folding on the button when it folds to me and I have Radio Mike and The Invisible Man in the blinds. Radio Mike is in the small in this situation and trends pretty tight and The Invisible Man has a defending range of about 6%, so it’s a pretty automatic spot with any reasonable hand.

    But now I have a little extra pep in my step after winning some pots and the last two times it folded to me, I jacked it up without looking. The first time they both folded, but the second time Radio Mike 3-bet and I looked down at the powerhouse known as 93 offsuit. Normally I would cap it here with a hand so good, but I decide to play it coy and disguise my strength by just calling.

    The flop is TT9 and when Radio Mike leads out, I feel like if I call it’s going to be obvious that I have at least a 9 and I probably have at least a deuce kicker, so I go ahead and play it straight up, jacking him up on the flop because I should be doing decently against his small blind 3-betting range. He calls.

    The turn is a 6 and he check-calls again. I think Mike is capable of having big pairs in his range still so I’m not planning to bet river.

    A queen of spades hits the river and that is definitely not a good card for me, so I’m happy to see him check and I really didn’t want to show this hand down, but here we are. He tables the 88 and I say, “you’re going to hate this” and table my piece of cheese and put a quick halt to the little bit of momentum he was finally picking up. All because I had to pick on the blinds of a couple of nits.

    And honestly, I don’t feel very good about it.

    Seriously.

    1:47 AM: And suddenly the game has imploded. We were full with a list like 20 minutes ago and now we are 5-handed… after two new players sat down. Quite the exodus.

    No more live updates. I’ll post a result when I’m done.

    1:49 AM: The Invisible Man is limping in with JJ 5-handed. What a boss. Okay now I’m done updating.

    2:26 AM: Good thing I played some short-handed poker. I was so close to even, sitting at about -$100, when I picked up KQ of spades in the big blind and 3-bet when the button opened.

    Flop was 963 and my c-bet got called.

    When the turn paired the 9 and gave me a flush draw, I decided to check-raise because this player always bets when I check to him in a spot like this. So… he has a pretty weak range when he bets here. I picked a good time to take this line because he powns me with a 3-bet. I call.

    And… bink! 2 of spades on the river. I check and raise! And he 3-bets. Come on. I call and he has 66.

    And then I spewed off a few more hundred before quitting the game.

    Final Score: -$664

    h1

    My Worst Weekend Ever

    February 18, 2019

    I can’t pretend like I’ve faced a lot of adversity in the 15/30 game at Palace. This is what my lifetime graph in the game looked like before Friday night:

    A little bit of a slow start, a long period of absolutely crushing, a somewhat sizable breakeven stretch and back to more crushing.

    It’s not like it’s a small sample either. This is nearly 700 hours running at 1.95 big bets an hour. Sick numbers.

    I usually live blog my Friday sessions but I was feeling uninspired this weekend and, well, I’m glad I took a break.

    This is what my Friday night blog would have looked like:

    I raised with this hand and whiffed.

    I raised with this hand, flopped top pair, and lost.

    I lost. I lost. I lost.

    I don’t remember winning a single hand of consequence.

    I do remember going 0 for 6 against Flea at showdown and half of those hands was me opening from late position and him defending from a blind – a highly advantageous scenario for me.

    I basically lost every hand I played for seven hours and decided to quit at -$1651 and went home before midnight on a Friday.

    Pathetic.

    Amazingly, Saturday started off even worse. Rather than mostly whiffing every flop, I was either starting with big hands or connecting hard with the flop… and then losing. That’s the hemorrhaging kind of losing rather than the slow, steady drip type of losing I did the previous night.

    Needless to say, I wasn’t in the mood for that shit. I started my session at 4:30 and I was ready to quit by 6:30, already stuck $800 and losing in horrible fashion. The Leak was telling to go home.

    I didn’t though and things started to turn around. I had JJ against Part-Time’s AA and after exchanging multiple bets pre and on the flop, I called down on 9832 before betting a river jack when he checked to me.

    Unfortunately, there was a third player in the pot and he had T7 and rivered a straight, meaning I was drawing completely dead. Even though the third player is an action guy, I resisted the urge to 3-bet the river and accepted the fact that he probably had a straight.

    Here’s how you know it’s time to leave: there are limpers and a raise in front of me and I 3-bet with AQo from the cutoff. Flea caps the button, a mostly tight-solid player takes all that action to the face from the small blind and then donks right out on a Q97 rainbow flop. I already hate it. Then the action player calls and Part-Time raises. This is what I meant when I said it might be time to go home: I tanked and I seriously considered folding. Is there merit to folding here? Maybe. Two different players are betting and raising right into the preflop 3-bettor and capper. That’s pretty strong.

    But if I’m folding AQ on Q97 rainbow in a 4-bet pot, what the fuck am I even doing playing poker? This is LIMIT Hold’em. I just have to hang on and call down and hope I win. This is not a spot I think I should be raising.

    So I do end up calling and I’m happy to see the small blind just call. He’s not the type of player that would flat with better than AQ here and try to check-raise the turn.

    The turn is a jack and that is not a good card for my hand and it’s made even worse when the action player donks out. Part-Time calls and I could be drawing dead but I can’t fold now. Small blind also calls.

    The river is a 5 and it goes bet and call in front of me. I don’t think I have the best hand, but if I folded here and was wrong it would be catastrophic so I make the overcall and the action player shows J9 for two pair and Part-Time has 86 for a straight.

    Cool.

    I already have a bad case of the MUBS (Monsters Under the Bed Syndrome) so when I open AK, get two calls and the flop comes down AAQ, I’m practically begging to lose the hand. I want the pain. Two opponents? Two blind defenders? Deck crippled? I can do it. I really think I can.

    I bet and they both call. Good start.

    Turn is a 7 and they both call again.

    River pairs the 7 and I get check-called by A3.

    I mean… it’s kind of like losing, right?

    This is my best result in my first four hours of play. I’m already down over $1000.

    A short while later, I finally catch a break. I 3-bet the action player with 55 after he opens from MP and then I c-bet the KT3 with two hearts flop. He calls.

    I catch a magic 5 on the turn and then I get check-raised. Before I get too excited it is worth noting that the turn is a heart, putting a three flush on board. Against some players I would just call here, but against this dude, I have to put the raise in. He calls.

    Whatever worries I had about him having a flush are alleviated when the 3 pairs on the river. I bet and he calls.

    Holy shit. Finally. A much, much needed substantial pot.

    I feel a minor weight released from my shoulders.

    And then he turns over pocket tens.

    How? How is that a thing?

    The guy even says he thought I had a flush so his river check-call has to be born out of pure pity.

    I’m disgusted.

    Then I beat Flea at showdown for the first time in two sessions and things actually did start to turn around for me. For real this time.

    I bottomed out at -$1600 and slowly rallied back to -$400 and then I flopped the nut flush draw in a big pot that would have had me in the green, but… I whiffed. And then I got cold again.

    In the midst of this new downward spiral I got the KT8sss flop with AsK in a 4-bet pot and ran into pocket kings and failed to improve.

    A half hour later I was back to -$1600.

    Then I flopped an ace with AJ in a 4-bet multi-way pot and I was -$1850.

    I had like ten chips in front of me. I took a break and thought about whether I wanted to quit or not. Most likely, I was only going to play for an hour or so longer, so making a full reload didn’t make a lot of sense. But I also wasn’t about to sit back down and try to play 15/30 with less than $150 front of me.

    The game was good. Very good. And we had two cars at Palace.

    I was hurting. For sure. I wanted to quit. Just accept defeat and leave. Come back and fight another time.

    But the game was good and after some stretching and breathing, I decided to commit.

    I sat back down with another $1800 and text my wife that I wasn’t going hiking the next day, nor was I going to be productive in any sort of way.

    I was going to play deep into the night and fight for my chips back.

    I actually started to make a comeback, maybe getting as low as -$900, but it just wasn’t meant to be for me this session.

    The wheels fell off again and at 5:15 AM, this hand came up:

    Guy on my right playing hyper-aggressive opens from mid and I 3-bet to isolate with 55. Flea caps on the button and we both call.

    The flop is J82 rainbow. Flea bets and the other dude calls. I’m getting 14-1 here and there’s some chance I have the best hand. Flea will cap light and I’m not sure I’ve ever seen him not c-bet with the betting lead, so I’m not giving him tons of credit here and the other dude is check-raising 100% of the time he has a pair of 8s or better. I peel.

    The turn gives me a set and now I get a check-raise in and two big bets from both my opponents.

    The river is an offsuit 6. I bet, Flea calls, and the other guy check-raises me.

    Unreal.

    This seems like a spot I should be 3-betting but while this guy is absurdly aggressive, he’s not clueless. I don’t think he’d even check-raise 86… and if he’s not check-raising that hand… then I can’t really imagine what hands I want him to call three bets with.

    I don’t think he would show up with 66 here so I actually call out “97 of spades” (because there are two spades on turn) and decide to just call.

    Sure enough, that is the exact hand he shows me. Not that it needed to be spades. I’m sure he’d continue on turn with all the suited 97s.

    I was already racked up and prepared to leave on account of being tired, so I played til my big blind and quit around 5:20 AM.

    I finished at -$1746 in 13 hours.

    That put me at -$3397 for the two days and while I knew it was my biggest cash game loss in a 2-day period, I wondered how many times I’ve ever lost 50+ big bets in back-to-back sessions.

    I did have back-to-back losses of 44 big bets as recently as December of 2018 in the 15/30 game.

    In April of 2017 I followed up a 47 big bet loss with a 56 big bet loss. That basically counts, but doesn’t meet the terms exactly.

    In December of 2015 I had a four session stretch where I lost 40 big bets, 45 big bets, 57 big bets, and 73 big bets. That is insane.

    I found one! In October of 2015 I had a 69 big bet loss and I went out and lost 55 big bets in my very next session.

    So I guess this weekend’s loss is not without precedent, but you can see how often this kind of thing happens. About once a year?

    So yes… an epic bad weekend, but really that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Since that disastrous trip to Las Vegas on Super Bowl Sunday I’ve gone on a -$9146 spiral over my last 108 hours.

    I’m pretty sure that’s my worst cash game downswing ever, over any stretch, and it is such a super small sample size.

    Hopefully it isn’t just the beginning.

    h1

    Cali Trip Report and PLO Hands

    February 13, 2019

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    So I’ve basically been in Los Angeles for three weeks straight with a little mini-trip home for a weekend in between.

    To illustrate, I’ve played 5.5 hours at Palace (my home court) since January 18th.

    I’ve been gone a lot. And I feel discombobulated. Unorganized. Tilty even?

    I was playing on Global Poker last night and after establishing a new record number of bullets fired in the $7K rebuy, I actually had to unregister some tournaments because I knew I was in total C-game mode. Somehow I managed to take 3rd in the $5.50 PLO rebuy to almost salvage my night.

    I’m totally off my routine and I have to admit it’s throwing my shit off completely. I’m excited to get back into the routine of normal life and start being productive again.

    But first! A recap of my Cali trips:

    • 1/20: +$135 in 5 hours of 20/40 LHE @ Commerce
    • 1/21: 18th of 186 for -$120 in $350 Omaha 8 tournament @ Commerce
    • 1/22: -$350 in Triple Stud tourney @ Commerce
    • 1/22: +$69 in 1.5 hours of 20/40 LHE @ Bike
    • 1/22: +$161 in 3.5 hours of 20/40 Mix @ Bike
    • 1/23: +$1945 in 10.5 hours of 20/40 LHE @ Bike
    • 1/24: -$350 in Stud 8 tourney @ Commerce
    • 1/24: +$4 in 2.5 hours of 8/16 Stud 8/Big O @ Commerce
    • 1/25 to 1/29: back in Washington
    • 1/30: -$700 in Limit Hold’em tourney @ Commerce
    • 1/31: -$350 in HORSE tourney @ Commerce
    • 1/31: +$1235 in 5.5 hours of 40/80 LHE @ Commerce
    • 2/1: +$5035 in 11.5 hours of 40/80 LHE @ Bike
    • 2/2: -$350 in NL HORSE tourney @ Commerce
    • 2/3: -$9 in 1 hour of 20/40 LHE @ Bellagio
    • 2/3: -$2177 in 2 hours of 40/80 LHE @ Bellagio
    • 2/4: -$570 in Omaha 8 tourney @ Commerce
    • 2/4: -$555 in 2.75 hours of 7 Card Stud @ Commerce
    • 2/5: +$1708 in 10.25 hours of 40/80 LHE @ Bike
    • 2/6: -$2060 in 8.25 hours of 40/80 LHE @ Bike
    • 2/7: -$570 in HORSE tourney @ Commerce
    • 2/8: Day off
    • 2/9: +$20 in 9 hours of 20/40 LHE @ Bike
    • 2/9: +$184 in 4.75 hours of 40/80 LHE @ Bike

    Cash games: +$5695 in 78 hours

    Tournaments: -$3360 in 48 hours

    Meh. You can do the math there. It was an okay trip, but when you factor in expenses it basically equates to a huge waste of time… except one thing! I got a lot of experience at the 40/80 level. That is valuable.

    Actually…. if you erased that insane trip to Las Vegas from my results ledger, it would look a whole lot better. Not amazing… but I could probably at least label it a good trip.

    Gosh damn Flipper.

    The tournament side of things was a massive disappointment. I cashed only one time in eight events – which is only slightly below average – but I was in two bullets when I cashed and still managed to lose money in the event. More annoyingly, I never made an actual interesting run in any of the LAPC events. I never had a stack at a stage of the tournament where I really thought I had a chance to do some serious damage.

    Sometimes it makes you wonder… why bother?

    Sigh. Next year!

    I’m back at Palace tonight for some PLO. I’ll jot notes and post some hand histories later and probably publish tomorrow (Thursday).

    Starting Lineup: Kitsap Reg, 8/16 Reg, Part-Time, Charlie Hustle, Hit&Run, JOKER, Lee Markholt, Crypt Keeper

    Notable Pots:

    I make it $15 with AAJ2 with a suited ace in clubs and get 5-way action to the Q54 rainbow flop. I start with a check, Hit&Run bets $75 and everyone else folds. It’s not a great spot, but I’m against a player that can have a hand as weak as a pair of queens with no draws here. Plus I do have a gutshot and a club is on the board. It’s not much of a hand, but I think I have to continue here.

    The turn is the king of clubs, giving me the nut flush draw and another gutshot, and I have a very easy check-call when he makes a weak-looking bet of $125. I can’t remember what the stack sizes were at this point, but there’s probably some merit to check-potting here. His bet size seems like weakness, so I think I might have a decent amount of fold equity here and I have a lot of outs when I do get called, but Hit&Run makes some super marginal calls and he’s not the kind of player I’m trying to get to fold better hands. I just call.

    The river pairs the 4 and he makes another bet in the $125 range and that card and bet size gives me the snappiest of calls. That sizing was already weak on the turn, so it’s pathetic on the river. He shows QJ75 (with bad clubs) and the 4 counterfeited his two pair and gives me a winner. Like I said, that’s a hand that should be folding if it gets raised to $425 on the turn and I honestly don’t think he’d make that lay down so that’s why I just check-call instead of trying to exploit the weakness I was sensing.

    I believe I limped along with the TT86 with clubs in this hand and bet $10 when it checked to me on the Tc9c6s flop. I had top set, a gutshot, and a bad flush draw and the 8/16 Reg check-called. The turn brought the only club I wanted to see – the 7 – and gave me a straight flush. I bet $20 and he check-called again. I remember sizing down in this spot because I had just played a hand against the same player where I took a much stronger line and thought he might incorrectly smell weakness here. The river brought a blank and I decided to pot it and he folded.

    There’s a series of limpers and Part-Time makes it $30 on the button. I call with KQT9 with a suit and most of the others call as well. Flop is Q86 rainbow and it checks around. The turn completes the rainbow with a ten and gives me top two pair. Despite the lack of flush draws, the board is pretty coordinated here, so I send it around again and the Kitsap guy bets $125 and everyone else folds. It’s not a great spot and I think folding might actually be best here, but I decide to see another card. The river is a blank and we both check. I show my top two pair and then five minutes later he shows me top set.

    There’s a raise from early position and multiple callers and I defend the big blind with AQ52 single suited with spades. The flop is K43 with two spades, giving me a wheel wrap and a queen high flush draw. I decide to start with a check, the PFR checks, Joker bets $50, it folds to Part-Time in the small blind and he calls, and with somewhere around $600 in front of me I’m going with the hand and pot it. Joker makes what looks like a painful fold, but Part-Time almost immediately puts me all in. He has a set of fours and only wants to run it once and the turn card pairs the board and just like that I am felted.

    I reload for $800 and it doesn’t take long for me to raise it up to $30 with AAK6 single suited with hearts and get it all in again with Part-Time on the T73hh flop. I bet $125 on the flop and by doing so, I knew I was committing myself to seeing all five cards, so we ran it once again. Part-Time has a set of 7s this time, someone says they folded three hearts, but somehow I river a flush anyway. Not that it matters. The board immediately paired on the turn and I’m felted again.

    I was having a pretty middling session up to that point and just like that, in about 15 minutes, I lost around $1500 in two hands. I took a lap around the building and decided that I couldn’t possibly quit at 9 PM, three hours into my first session back in Washington, so I reloaded another $1000.

    I make it $20 with an AA hand and can’t recall either of my side cards. Maybe because the flop was A82 rainbow and I didn’t them? I bet $20 and both Part-Time and the Kitsap player call. Turn is the ten of spades, opening up a flush draw and a lot of straight draws, so I pot it this time and only one player calls. The river brings in the flush, but it’s a 2! I’m pretty sure my remaining opponent has a hand he can call with so I bet $200 and he does call… and shows a set of 8s and the nut flush. Yikes! It’s nice to win a pot here, but after the hand all I can think about is how I would have doubled up if Part-Time had his hand.

    By now, Aquaman has made a very surprising appearance in this game and he gives me a very kind assist in this next pot. Someone opens to $15 and I call with JT75 double suited from the blinds. The flop is K96 rainbow, but has one of each of my suits on board, plus I have a sneaky double gutter that only makes nut straights. I check, there’s a $75 bet, Aquaman calls, and I’m happy to continue here as well. The turn completes the rainbow with a blank-looking 3, but that card actually gives me the elusive triple gutshot! I check, the flop bettor fires $200 on the turn, and Aquaman calls again, leaving himself with just under $300 behind. The fact that Aquaman just calls here instead of jamming leads me to believe he’s on a draw, so he probably has at least one of the same straight draws as I do. Still, I don’t see how I can fold here so I call and I’m desperately rooting for a 4 on the river because that card will look like a total brick. I’m planning to check-raise 4s and lead with 8s and queens. The river is an 8, I bet $300 and they both end up folding. Later, Aquaman asks if he would have potted the flop or turn would I have called and says he had a set of 9s. Uhm… hell no, I wouldn’t call.

    There’s a series of limpers to me in the big blind and I make a pot sweetener raise to $20 with AKJT double suited and they all call. The flop is an incredibly sexy AQ8 with two clubs and a spade, giving me ALL the draws… plus top pair. I bet $60 and get calls from Charlie Hustle and Joker. The turn pairs the 8 and that card is a bit annoying to me because if either of these guys has an 8 it basically destroys my hand. However, my hand still looks like it could be AA, so I bet out $125 and Charlie Hustle immediately calls. Sigh. I’m done with it. The river is a ten and that gives me a straight and I am not planning to call a bet here. Part of me is tempted to pot it if he bets (since I can still have AA) but even though this guy has a lot of nitty tendencies, I don’t ever see him make big folds. We both check and he shows A8. I can’t remember his exact side cards, but I ran a sim on this hand and my equity vs his A8 on the flop is over 70%. Pretty disgusting.

    I had a -$233 showing while playing 8/16 before PLO started and finished PLO at -$394. Considering I was stuck $1700 for the day one point, I was pretty happy with that end result.