Posts Tagged ‘texas hold em’

h1

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

December 4, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No justice.

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

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

Back up to 22.7k.

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

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

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

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

He tables 99.

Board runs out 87294.

Awesome.

I’m down to like 5500 after that.

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

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

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

QQ7KQ.

Good fucking game.

Whew.

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

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

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

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

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

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

So I’m going to play cash tonight.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Go figure.

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

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

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

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

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

I decide to call though.

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

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

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

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

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

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

🤷🏻‍♂️

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pat. One. THREE!

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

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

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

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

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

h1

Marathon Monday: 10/20 with Button Straddles!

November 26, 2018

I’m a little unsure what to expect today. The long holiday weekend might be an action killer. There are currently 4 names signed up for the straddle game starting in an hour and one of those names might be “Monday @ noon.” Also, there are always a couple of flakes on the list at the start of the day, so this is looking really bad right now. On the bright side, there is an 8/16 game going already, so heading to Palace at noon won’t be a total waste of my time. Hopefully we can get the red chip game off the ground by 2 PM. My hopes are not high for noon.

Last week wasn’t much of a poker week for me. Thursday we celebrated Thanksgiving with my side of the family and Saturday we celebrated with my wife’s side of the family. We didn’t play any poker on either of those days. Well, that’s not entirely true. There was an impromptu house game tournament on Saturday and I ended up chopping this 7-handed $20 buy-in heads up for +$30! Yesterday we had a medical appointment in Kirkland and then went to a Mayan Ruins themed Escape Room in Gig Harbor at 4 PM. We did not escape… and that brings my career record in escape rooms to 0 for 4. It’s pretty aggravating because I feel like I should be smart and clever enough to get out of these rooms on a regular basis and so far… none.

Friday I did play poker. If you read my last blog you know that I’m on fire and have a couple of cool streaks going. I have won eight sessions in a row and I have had a +$1000 upswing in eight sessions in a row. I managed to keep one of those streaks alive on Friday. I started my session off down $400 and I ended up peaking at over +$600. That qualifies as a +$1000 upswing in the session. Unfortunately, I followed that upswing with one of those nightmare sequences where it feels like I’m raising every other hand preflop but never winning a pot and never showing a hand. It’s the kind of thing that makes you look like a total maniac or someone on extra hard tilt. And yet, I’m just playing my normal game, while getting a very above average distribution of high quality starting hands and whiffing the flop or getting outdrawn with all of them. I didn’t even turn over a losing hand to save face. I just let the image ride. But I was tired, nearing reload status, and almost nine hours into my session, so I swallowed the loss and finished at -$282 and my winning streak ended at eight sessions.

I booked a trip to Los Angeles to play some events at the World Series of Poker Circuit stop at The Bicycle Casino during the first few weeks of December. I’ll be flying to L.A. next Monday and playing the $400 no limit Hold’em Monster Stack on Tuesday, the $400 H.O.R.S.E. on Wednesday, and the $400 limit Omaha 8/Better on Thursday. I thought the limit events were all one day, but they are actually two day events and I have a flight booked for Friday afternoon, so I’m actually unsure about the O8 tournament. I might just end up playing cash games on Thursday.

Hopping in the shower and heading to Palace shortly.

12:28 PM: I wasn’t sure the game would start on time, so even though it’s kind of weak, I’m happy to say cards are in the air already.

Starting lineup: new regular, Flea, Chief Wiggum, Rain Man, non-regular, Radio Mike

12:50 PM: First big clash: Flea straddles, Wiggum calls, I 3-bet AQ from big, Frankenstein 4-bets from UTG, and four of us call.

Flop is Q42 rainbow and I’m looking to check-raise Frankenstein but he checks back. Fortunately the first cold caller bets, Flea raises, Wiggum cold calls, and now I 3-bet. The non-reg and Flea call, but Wiggum caps it. Ugh. His line absolutely reeks of a set, but the pot is so massive now that we have to see a turn card.

The turn is a jack and Wiggum fires into the field. I think it’s reasonable to fold here since I am drawing dead a lot, but there’s one caveat: Wiggum is capable of showing up with some junky suited hands. It is possible he has Q4 or Q2 suited here, but I suspect he might play those hands differently on the flop, leading out with them or 3-betting initially rather than trying to keep everyone else in the pot.

I decided to call anyway and so did the two others still in.

River is a king and now when he fires out again I have a pretty simple fold, even with the size of the pot, because he’s never bluffing here and there’s just no way he’s playing worse than AQ this way. Someone else calls and he shows a set of 4s.

1:15 PM: Game is full with a list!

1:17 PM: Radio Mike 3-bets from the small blind and it folds to me in middle position. I look down at AA and make it 4-bets in my mind but for some reason I only put $30 in the pot (a call). That allows three players to call behind me for 3-bets. Maybe 4-betting doesn’t change anything, but this is definitely not ideal.

Flop is K75 with two spades, Mike leads out, I raise, and Frankenstein 3-bets. That clears the rest of the field and if Frankenstein has me beat here I’m just going to lose an extra big bet on the turn because I’m not about to let him free card play me. I cap it and they both call.

Turn is a blank and I get two callers, which means I almost certainly have the best hand.

River is an 8, which completes some funky draws and two pair hands, but I bet anyway and Mike calls. Looks like Big Frank was definitely planning to take a free card on the turn.

2:25 PM: Bulletproof is in the game. First time I’ve actually been able to use that name while I’m blogging. For further explanation, check out the Blog Nicknames page I’ve started. I’ve only done a few of them but Bulletproof is one of them.

3:16 PM: Part-Time continues to run obnoxiously good against me when he’s drawing basically dead. I have A6 of spades on the KQ5 all spade flop and he beats me with KJ.

I was thinking we might not survive the midday lull but Part-Time and Santa Claus have made us 8-handed.

3:29 PM: False alarm on Santa Claus. He sat down with $1000 then disappeared and his chips were removed before he came back.

One player is racking up now and that could make us 6-handed and a 6-handed game is not likely to survive the lull.

I got an email from Red Box saying that all rentals are $0.16 today so I guess if this game breaks I’m going to rent like 4 movies and see how many I can watch tonight.

3:48 PM: False alarm again. Santa Claus is here. The player that racked up did leave but we picked up another walk in so… 8-handed!

4:38 PM: I have to come clean about something. I made what I think might be the second worst fold of my poker career today.

But since you’ll probably be curious, here’s #1 first:

This was many, many years ago in a 4/8 game. It’s a 3-handed pot and after going all the bets on the flop, raising the turn and still getting re-raised, I decided to fold AA on a board of K777. Not only did I fold it, but I made sure everyone saw the genius lay down I was making.

They both had a king.

I can’t remember feeling more embarrassed at a poker table… but this next hand, from earlier today, comes pretty close:

It gets capped at least 5-ways pre and capped 4-ways on the JT7 rainbow flop. I have JJ.

Flea and I have been pushing the action on the flop so when the turn is an 8, Flea bets, gets called twice, and then a new aggressor check-raises the field, it’s fairly obvious that person has a straight, right?

Right???

So when the river is a 5, I decide to fold instead of overcall and put one more bet in this 32.5 big bet pot. I can be wrong 97% of the time and calling is still profitable… so what the fuck happened? I pitched my hand and the dude check-raising the turn wins with a set of tens.

It’s a nearly unforgivable mistake, but it’s Marathon Monday and I can’t afford to let myself tilt or quit so early in the day.

But Jesus. I can’t believe that actually happened. And I can barely believe I’m sharing it.

Actually, upon further thought, I think this was my worst fold ever. The 4/8 pot was less than $200. This pot was over $600. And it cost me $20 to call and take it.

Ughhhhhhhh

4:50 PM: 30 bets go in the middle preflop and I get the QTT flop while holding the KT of diamonds and it gets capped 5-ways.

The turn is a queen and, determined not to repeat previous mistakes, I call down and lose to Q2.

I am down less than $100. I feel like I am down $1200.

4:56 PM: I am down $6 actually. I took two full laps around the building and I’m going to pretend like I just got here.

5:49 PM: Running better. I call a punter down on 7227A with A6 and donk river vs JJ.

Then I get the K88 flop heads up with 83cc in the straddle and my opponent caps flop with me and still bets the turn, allowing me raise again, so that was nice.

6:00 PM: Santa Claus makes it 3-bets from the small blind, I 4-bet with JJ, Bulletproof calls on the button and Santa caps it.

Flop is AK7 and Santa checks so I bet because he can literally have anything here. That gets Bulletproof out and Santa calls.

I’m planning to show down now but the turn is a jack and he donks out. I raise it and he 3-bets. Ugh. I call and as I do that he says, “partner, if you got this one beat, I guess it’s not my night.”

I feel like he’s being genuine and that means he doesn’t have the nuts, so when the river bricks, I feel pretty good putting in another raise. He might have aces or kings but he’s much more likely to have AK.

He calls and shows 77.

6:16 PM: What a day this is. So Palace has a dumb promotion called the Happy Hour Hand where they draw two cards and put them up on the board and if you win a showdown with those exact two cards, you win the jackpot money. This promo is in play from 7am – 11am and 12am – 2am, plus 3pm – 6pm on non-High Hand days.

So today there is no High Hands and the Happy Hour Hand was $600 if you win with the 4 of hearts and the 2 of clubs. I don’t know how long this has been going on… maybe 18 months? I’ve never even been dealt the Happy Hour Hand… as far as I know. Usually it’s some garbage like the 42o and it’s not even on my radar.

I’ve been getting some 42o today so it’s been more relevant than usual and this time when I looked down at the 42o it was $30 to me and I looked back and, by God, I had the magic hand. I called $30 cold.

Okay, not really sure why I’m doing that. There are all kinds of garbage suited hands that can make straight flushes (for a $400 jackpot) that I fold routinely, even for one bet, so why am I calling here? I think I just got wrapped in the moment of actually having the hand and knowing about it.

So we go to the flop and it’s something like QT6 with two hearts. I’m debating how I can ever possibly continue here, but then it checks around.

The turn is the 2 of hearts. Flea bets, he gets called, and I raise because I want the other players with nothing invested to fold their weak one card flush draws. Flea and the other player both call.

The river is a heart! We have life! I have to win a showdown and everyone has to show their hands so I let them show in turn and the second player has a set of tens… with a heart in his hand. Dammit.

I told Joker and Radio Mike that I had the Happy Hour Hand and that’s when the topic of the current time is brought up. It’s 6:15. The promo ended at 6, so I just torched $70 with the 42o for absolutely no reason.

I guess that’s my fault somehow? The times are clearly posted, but so is the damn hand. If I look back and the hand is taken down, I just fold and move on with my life. I’m barely ever thinking about this promo, so I’m not paying attention to what time it is. I turn around, see I have the hand, and play it. I’m supposed to turn around and check the board and then check what time it is, all while letting no one know I have the bonus hand?

Fuck that and fuck this promotion.

I’m not really mad but it is a bit annoying that they didn’t take the hand down at 6.

6:39 PM: It’s not all that bad though. Just look at this hat The Joker is wearing:

If that doesn’t make you smile, I don’t know what will.

7:20 PM: Tormund chiming in from the sidelines:

8:41 PM: Game is super loose and juiced right now, with players calling $40 cold with monsters like 43o and A5o but showing down winners.

I got stuck in a seriously bloated pot where I had to call three bets cold on the turn with the nut flush draw… and bricked.

Then there was this gem: it’s raised and multi-way to me in button with 96o and I defend the straddle.

Flop is 976 with two hearts and one diamond. Flea is the PFR and leads out, I raise, Radio Mike cold calls, Flea raises back, and I cap it.

Turn is the 5 of diamonds and we both call again.

River is the 8 of hearts. It checks to me. I have no idea what’s going on here, but I’m not about to bluff at this and get scooped somehow so I check back.

Radio Mike has 96 of spades. Flea has A7 of diamonds. We all chop.

Sometimes you just have to get 4-bets in 3-ways with the A7dd on 976hh. 🤷🏻‍♂️

Joker, Radio Mike, and I are all stuck in this game somehow right now.

10:06 PM: Sometimes you just have to close your eyes and keep calling. I’m in the straddle with 87o and it’s 5-bets to me, so obviously I put in another $30.

Flop is T93 with two diamonds and I have to call a raise cold without a diamond in my hand.

Flea donked into Joker on the flop and donks again when the 8 of diamonds turns. Joker just calls and I call also. So does a 4th player.

That player donks on the 6 of club river and now Flea and Joker both fold, so I call and I LOVE my hand now. He immediately says, “you’re good” and I turn my straight over for the full pot.

1:08 AM: Almost forgot to post a wrap up. Not much going on of note the last few hours, for me at least. I dropped down to -$400 but recovered and finished with a…

Final Score: +$382

Not bad considering I folded the winner in a $600 pot when I was already down almost $500. That kind of thing can derail an entire session and I kept it together for a full 12+ hours.

I rented three movies on my way home so I guess that’s my plan for tomorrow. I’ll be back in action Wednesday and Thursday for some pot limit omaha.

h1

Marathon Monday: The Santa Claus Game – 10/20 with Button Straddles!

November 19, 2018

But is it really The Santa Claus Game? Santa didn’t even come down the chimney last week. He left all the kids disappointed and lots of cookies and milk went untouched. Actually, in the four weeks The Santa Claus Game has been running, I believe Santa has played less than 8 hours total. I’ve played 40. This game is supposed to be hosted at the North Pole, not Gotham City. I dunno. Can I really justify naming a game after someone that has played in it less than 20% of the time it has been running? I like the name. It has a nice, jolly ring to it. I don’t like that after badgering the staff to make this game happen, it’s not a priority for Santa Claus to play in it. Shoot, it hardly seems like it’s even on his radar. I realize that people have day jobs and lives outside of the poker room, but come on dude.

I mentioned in my post on Saturday that I would be making a trip to Fortune for some 20/40 LHE action, hoping to put a dent in my rather large red number for the year.

It was a very bittersweet session. At one point, I had activated pure God Mode. I was crushing, winning every critical pot and running absolutely pure for hours.

Here’s an example:

I’m at the zenith of my run good, having just shown down AA twice in monster pots in a very short amount of time, coolering KK in one of those hands, when I open with 65dd from the cutoff, Sgt. Rock 3-bets me from the button – which is going to happen very seldom – and a loose player I have all steamed up already calls from one of the blinds.

The flop is 963 with two clubs and the blind donks right out. I think he’s capable of leading with draws and weak pairs here and while Sgt. Rock can certainly have overpairs, I raise this flop bet because I want him to fold his unpaired overcards if he whiffed the flop and play this pot heads up in position against the steamer. Unfortunately, Sgt Rock 3-bets and we both call.

The turn is a non-club 2, a very good continuing card for my hand as I now have straight outs in addition to my trip and two pair outs. Both of us check-call Sgt. Rock again.

The river is the 5 of clubs. Not exactly the card I wanted to drill as it completes the flush and puts four to a straight on the board. However, when the blind checks, I expect to have the best hand most of the time. There’s a chance he would check a better two pair because straights and flushes got there, but if that’s the case, I’m never going to get raised by him. He has to lead flushes in this spot and I suspect he would probably bet straights too. It’s slightly thin, but with the check in front of me, I think I have a value bet here. I’m not worried about Sgt. Rock. He never has me beat unless he has exactly 99 or happened to be emptying the clip with a big flush draw. Again, he’s never raising his sets on the river and if he does raise (with a flush), I have a very easy fold. If the steamer check-raises, I’m calling though. Sgt. Rock folds to my bet and the blind starts grumbling about how I “bingo every hand” like I haven’t been showing down nothing but premium holdings up until this point… and then he pays me off with a hand that was worse than what Sgt. Rock folded.

At that point, I had no less than five players on full-blown, throwing-their-cards-in-anger tilt. It was beautiful.

Unfortunately, the composition of my table changed and then the game also changed. I think I was up over $3000 at my high point. But then the whole table was clamoring for an automatic straddle game.

As you can see by today’s upcoming session, I’m not opposed to an auto-straddle game. However, being up over $3000, I wasn’t exactly thrilled to drastically increase my variance by posting a $40 straddle every orbit… a straddle that I’m going to defend liberally before the flop and that is going to put me in a lot of tricky, priced-in spots after the flop. Also, I’m going to be attacking other people’s straddles aggressively with hands I might fold preflop in other situations. For instance, if it is folded to me in middle position, I am highly incentivized to 3-bet a hand like A9o when I would fold the same hand when it’s folded to me in the same position in an unopened pot. But with the extra $40 out there and leverage to get the big blind out by making them have to call an extra $40 (instead of the normal $20), the situation becomes a lot more attractive. So you defend liberally and attack wider. I still think I have an edge in straddle games, but edge or not, the variance is drastically increased and things can get really ugly really fast.

For a while, the straddle game wasn’t affecting my session much, but heading down the stretch things started to go awry and I ended up losing somewhere around three racks back. Pretty annoying because when the game was playing normally, I was approaching a record win at Fortune. My personal best win at that location is +$3275 and if I wasn’t past that at some point Saturday, I was definitely within sniffing distance.

Alas, I finished the day at +$1675, which is a solid and somewhat satisfying dent in my deficit, but ultimately, a rather disappointing final result.

I had a miserable day of online poker yesterday, losing over $600, which is roughly 25% of what used to be my bankroll on Global Poker. Nothing like putting significant time into studying a game and then posting your worst results ever. I definitely had some c-game spots, but no one could accuse me of running good. I was going to post some of the key hands I played, but it’s already 11:16, I haven’t showered yet, and I need to be at Palace by noon, so I have to get moving. I’ve been playing mostly PLO 100, but after getting blasted yesterday, I think I might have to drop down to PLO 50 until I build back up again. I’m not too worried about playing “above my (online) bankroll” but I don’t have the option to reload on Global so I can’t be totally reckless.

Hopping in the shower. Publishing at noon. After a very rough game start last week, there are currently a very promising 11 names on the list for today.

12:14 PM: Pretty sexy starting lineup: Flea, Chief Wiggum, Part-Time, SUPER DAVE, Radio Mike, random, same Kitsap guy from last week

I’m playing 20/40 Overs with Flea, Wiggum, and Part-Time, so I bought in for twice as much as I normally do.

12:30 PM: Decent start so far. I brick flush draw in 3-bet multi-way pot and pick off Flea’s river bluff with AJ high. Then I 3-bet ATo and let Wiggum barrel off with A3 on A9646.

I ran out of time this morning, but I was going to mention that I was getting berated by one of the PLO 50 regs on Global Poker yesterday. Granted, he saw all the c-game I mentioned before, so I can’t blame him too much, but the hand that set him off is pretty perplexing.

I saved the hand history on my computer at home, but I don’t have it on my phone and the exact details are going to escape.

The gist is that I opened with a double suited KJxx hand, they 3-bet on the button, one of the blinds called, and I decided to call also.

The flop was KJx with two diamonds, so I had top two on a wet board. The blind led out for less than half pot and my stack-to-pot was small, so I had no choice but to get it all in here (I think), so I jammed, and the button tanked forever before calling and the blind also called. The button had KK and the blind had the nut flush draw and binked it.

Then the button spent the next 15 minutes berating me for my flop play. I’m no expert, but I don’t know what choice I have here in a 3-bet pot. I have top two, so sets of kings and jacks are unlikely. The button is obviously far more likely to have AAxx here than the hands that have me drawing dead, but what do I know.

NOTHING. I know nothing, according to that player.

He even made a comment saying something like “pokerbydarkknight.com” and I was super tempted to drop my actual blog link.

Granted I don’t know anything about this player either, but it’s always amusing to me when someone sums up your entire poker ability because of one hand or one session. This dude has no idea what kind of player I am or what I’ve accomplished. Like I said, I don’t know anything about this person either, but someone playing regularly at the top end of micro-stakes talking down to me is hilarious.

Just had button straddle with 82cc in a multi-way pot. Flop is 753, all clubs. Wiggum leads at it, there’s a caller, I raise, Wiggum 3s, and I’m sensing lots of strength, so when the caller drops out, I call also and I’m planning to call down but the river is another club and he still fires. Well, I already thought he might have flopped a flush, but if he didn’t, he sure has me beat now. I fold and he shows JTcc.

1:06 PM: SUPER DAVE was MIA for the first 45 minutes of the game and is already felted and gone. I think he contributed less than $500 today.

There is some tatted up random that looks like a punter in the game and the first hand I see from him, he calls $30 cold from middle position and then bets turn and river on AT5QQ after the flop checks through. I check-called down with KK after 3-betting pre from the big blind and getting an ace high flop against a field and he showed me the ole T3 suited.

Punter confirmed.

2:55 PM: Break from writing as I ate breakfast and spoke to a home loan agent.

Sick recent hand: new player in the game (that I just paid $400+ to for OFC last week) raises from early position, I 4-bet TT, straddle and a blind call, and he caps it at 5-bets.

Flop is pretty decent: T55 with two clubs. I get it capped with help from the PFR and the big blind tags along also, which is cool because I have him marked for a 5 and maybe he’ll overplay it on the turn.

That’s where things get weird: The turn is a small card and the PFR still bets. Wow. I raise it, the blind calls it cold, and the PFR 3-bets it. Holy shit. I cap it and the blind folds. That’s actually bad. I thought he had a 5 and I highly doubt he’s capable of folding one. It’s bad because it drastically increases the chances that the PFR actually has quad 5s. Yeah, there’s only one combo of 55, but he’s taking an absurdly aggressive line here with any other holding.

The river is a king and I am quite relieved to see him check and then just call.

He had AA, which is a bit crazy.

The $400+ I gave him last week feels a whole lot less painful now.

4:35 PM: Sometimes there aren’t a lot of interesting situations. I’m the straddle with T5o and a middle position player raises and I’m the only caller.

He leads out on the 555 flop and I raise him because me raising any hand here is absolutely ludicrous and I’m hoping it will lead to unwarranted action.

Unfortunately he just calls and then check-folds on a 9 turn, which is equally ludicrous.

Part-Time is gone and we have gained Blackjack and a certified lunatic (with an Overs button!).

4:58 PM: Oh yay! Good blog content. I open early with 88 and Wiggum 4-bets it and four of us see the flop.

I check-raise on 983 rainbow, the Kitsap player calls it cold, Wiggum 3s and I cap it.

The turn is a king and now things get interesting. I lead, the Kitsap guy goes all in for $40, and Wiggum cold 3-bets it. What the heck? Limit is a fast-paced game where decisions should be pretty instantaneous, but this one put me in the tank. I came out of it with a call and then I check-called river also.

Wiggum had KK. The other guy had 33.

What a sick cooler hand.

5:08 PM: It’s Santa Claus time! He sits down and takes a hand under the gun and makes it 3-bets without looking.

Merry Christmas!

6:19 PM: Running salty all the sudden.

First, I have KQ in the straddle in a 3-bet pot vs KJ on K747J.

Then I have KQ in another 3-bet pot vs K8 on K96x8, all while a maniac is in total punt mode, bet-capping the flop and betting the turn with J9 out of position. Meanwhile, Radio Mike is showing up with K8 suited under the gun here for some reason.

Then I have Q8 suited in the straddle and bet a T84 rainbow flop and lose to K5. It’s the same maniac that had the J9 in the previous hand. So he spikes his miracle card and just check-calls and then lets me check back the river and show down for free.

It’s funny how some people are completely unaware of their image and how to exploit it. In one hand, he’s driving the action with middle pair on a wet board out of position against three opponents. And in the other hand, he’s turning a top pair that is totally unconnected from anything on the flop and… check-calls?

🤯

7:00 PM: Groan. I have T9dd in the small blind and call $20 first to act. The pot gets 3-bet and six or seven of us see the flop.

Someone bets the KJ7 one diamond flop, maniac raises, I cold call, so do Joker and Blackjack.

Five of us to the queen of diamond turn. I decide to check-raise the maniac, even though it’s tempting to lead right out and let everyone call a bet. But this pot is already massive and I want to charge anyone with a naked ace, ten, or 9. So I check-raise and Blackjack makes it $50, which allows me to cap it and charge the maniac in a side pot.

The river is a 9. I bet and the maniac folds and I have to split this monster pot with Blackjack’s T7.

Come. On. Fucking Cougs.

8:21 PM: I defend big blind with 76o, it gets raised and goes multi-way.

Flop is 742 with two diamonds. PFR bets, maniac raises, I’m not folding yet, and it winds up getting capped.

So when the turn is the 2 of diamonds, bringing in the flush and killing my two pair outs, I’m prepared to check-fold but it ends up checking around somehow.

That gives me a free 7 on the river with a hand I was going to fold and I end up winning this pot.

Joker, Radio Mike, and myself have created a challenge. It might already be a thing in poker, but it’s a new thing amongst us.

Here it is: it’s the Coast-to-Coast Challenge. This means sitting down in the game and never being stuck. You have to win the first time you put chips in a pot and you can never be stuck from that point on.

Since we’ve all made ourselves aware of The Challenge, none of us (and no one else that we’ve noticed) have pulled it off. I’ve definitely done it. I mean I have to have, right? I’ve played like 25,000 hours of live poker in my life. One time I posted my big blind on the first hand I got and won a $2200 Royal Flush jackpot. I think that counts? But it’s the only time I’m certain of.

Anyways, Joker was over two hours deep in his session and was drawing live on completing The Challenge when this hand came up.

I 3-bet some cold callers with KK, Joker defends his straddle, and the other guys call also.

Flop is TT8 and I bet, Joker raises, there’s a cold call, and I just call.

Turn is a king and I check-raise after Joker bets and the other guy calls. Joker calls but the third player drops out.

River is an ace and he calls my bet with a ten.

That confrontation put Joker in the Danger Zone and he went negative for the day not much later.

Not today, buddy.

8:55 PM: I 4-bet JTcc pre from middle position and I’m hoping it gets capped because there are like seven players in the pot. It does get capped.

Flop is 654 with two clubs and it gets capped again. I don’t think anyone folds.

The turn is a 2 and Santa Claus is the only bettor, but there is still no folding.

The river is the 3 of clubs and one of the blinds donks out. There are calls, I raise it, there might be another call, and the original bettor 3-bets it. Brutal. We all call and he tries to flip his hand over and the only card that lands face up is the 6 of diamonds. Well, that’s just beautiful. Send this monster my way. He had 76 and didn’t see the flush.

I am approaching crushing levels today.

10:39 PM: Nothing too exciting lately. I won another massive pot with a rivered flush.

There was this one: there’s a call, I raise with A9ss and then triple barrel against a straight-forward player on A65ccAcT and get check-raised on the river. So I folded. She showed me the ten of clubs when the whole table was begging her to show a bluff.

11:22 PM: Radio Mike takes off after a wimpy 11+ hour session and is replaced by Rosanne, which is pretty awesome.

What’s not awesome is when she shows me K7dd after calling $30 cold from the cutoff on her first hand dealt in on a final board of AQJTx. I had AA. I even had a pivot on the flop when a blind donked but she called two bets cold like a champ and instabinks.

11:52 PM: My dreams of total domination today have been expunged.

First my A6cc runs into the mighty 53 on a 65264 runout.

Then I have AQss in a 5-bet pot and after the 654 flop gets checked multi-way I have a chance to isolate Rosanne when she donks the ace turn but she responds with a 3-bet and then owns me with a value bet on the 8 river with AK.

Eek!

Godzilla in the game now.

1:00 AM: This game is insanely juiced right now. I just passed 13 hours of play and I don’t see how I can even consider leaving. The action is so crazy I decided to break out the old Donkey Tracker.

After sliding back a bit, I just had another heater and I might be peaking again.

I am done blogging for the night. My energy level is super low and I need to use all of it to keep my head in the game.

I will post a final score when I’m done and maybe the stats of these maniacs.

3:45 AM: Just wrapped up a 15.75 hour session and I am hurting but the game was so absurd.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about. This is Joker vs random drunk maniac.

Joker has T9 and gets the 876 flop capped. Then they cap it on the 9 turn. And since you can never be too careful, they cap it again on a king river. His opponent has K7. Joker was just reliving this hand as we were cashing out and said he can’t think of another time where he capped every street after the flop.

A sick hand from me: we are short-handed at this point but the game is super loose. The drunk maniac is in the straddle and I call with JTdd from the small blind. That lets the rest of the field come in for two bets before the imbibed guy raises it and I 4-bet and get it capped.

Flop is AQ8 with one diamond and I go ahead and play my hand like it’s the nuts because, shit, it might be. I have two opponents and there’s plenty of doubt about whether either of them have an ace or a queen. All my cards might be live. We cap it again.

Turn is the 9 of diamonds. No waiting. With a straight flush draw as an added bonus. They both call again.

River is the king of diamonds. We have hit gin. Straight flush. Not only that, but the big blind makes a flush also with 85dd and we get three bets from him. Plus a $400 jackpot.

Two calls in front of me, I jack up A9ss in the straddle.

Flop is A93 and I get check-raised by the small blind and Rosanne cold calls. I just call, planning to raise the turn, but…

…after a 5 hits, the blind leads and Rosanne raises. I make it 3-bets and they both call.

River is a ten and Rosanne check-raises me! So nasty. I don’t know what it is, but this is enough aggressive action that I have to concede I might be beat. I call and so does the other guy. She has AT. He had A5.

FINAL SCORE: +$2320

Marathon Monday indeed. Time to go die in my bed.

Bonus: I stopped using the Donkey Tracker when the game started to deteriorate and got short-handed, but here are some player stats from when I was doing it:

Rosanne 98% VPIP, 10% PFR

Random 72% VPIP, 17% PFR

Random 2 78% VPIP, 32% PFR

Joker 53% VPIP, 26% PFR

For what it’s worth, if the straddle isn’t raised and the button checks, that’s not considered Voluntarily Put $ In Pot, so I’m pretty sure that’s how Rosanne dipped below the Holy Grail of 100% VPIP.

h1

Marathon Monday – The Santa Claus Game: $10/$20 with automatic button straddles!

November 12, 2018

12:14 PM: Rough game start here: we are 5-handed with Frankenstein propping the game like a true sicko. When I was flooring here I didn’t even prop 8/16 games because it was too volatile and expensive for such short sessions. So… good on you, Big Frank! I hope he doesn’t get barbecued… not saying he’s at a disadvantage, but these things happen and I know from experience that is substantially more irritating when you are on the clock and have to give up your seat when the game fills.

Starting lineup: Frankenstein, a Kitsap County regular, dude that has been coming in recently, and Part-Time.

There were three other players that were signed up for the game but are still playing 8/16 because they “don’t want to play short-handed.” Uh, okay. If you idiots sat down we’d be 8-handed and the game would be even likelier to fill up and create a list.

12:32 PM: So… I had AA three times in the first 15 minutes of this 5-handed game. Here is how each hand played out:

#1 – I 3-bet AA, Kitsap guy 4-bets the straddle and I call. I check-call 975 flop and check-raise 9 turn and bet blank river to cooler his TT.

#2 – I 3-bet AA and all four opponents call. Flop is TT6 rainbow and they all call again. Turn is a queen and I’m very concerned about being beat here, but I want to show my hand down, so I check to see what happens and the button straddler bets. I’m the only call, so I check-call 8 river and lose to T4o.

#3 – I 3-bet AA and there are a couple callers, including Part-Time. Flop is A32 with two clubs, I bet and PT calls. Turn is an 8 and I expect Part-Time to bet way more often here than is reasonable, especially since I have the deck crippled. So I check-raise and we end up capping the turn. I swear if this dude shows me 54… River is the king of clubs, so the flush gets there, but my hand is worth at least one more bet and I still get raised. Fuck. Really? Considering the events of last week’s PLO game, I just might blow a gasket if I lose this pot to fucking Part-Time.

So I call and he rolls his hand super confidently and the first card I see is the 8 of clubs and I assume that I lost to a flush and I actually have to get out of my seat and look at his hand to see that he has a set of 8s. I win! And, even though I was super irritated with Part-Time’s invincibility against me last week, I still apologized for the mini-slow roll.

1:02 PM: We are now 7-handed and The Joker is in the game. And after all the credit I gave Frankenstein in my initial write up, I have now learned that he is actually off the clock. So I’m less impressed, but it’s still cool that he’s playing.

I’ve mentioned my friend Daniel O in my blog before. We traveled to Chinook Winds together last year and I see him at various local tournaments. He has started his own poker blog. He’s a part-time player that focuses on no limit hold’em, both tournaments and cash games.

He has a background as a professional writer and used to cover the World Series of Poker (and other series) for PokerNews, so his writing style is extremely articulate and insightful.

For someone that plays recreational hours and works a full-time job, his understanding of no limit concepts is impressive and I feel like reading his thought process has improved my own game.

I highly recommend checking his blog out:

Daniel’s Poker Shenanigans

1:24 PM: One more hand from earlier in the day:

I defend 63 suited and three of us see a flop of T63 rainbow. I lead out, Kitsap dude calls, button raises, I 3-bet, and the button calls, with Kitsap guy coming along.

Edit: button capped the flop

Turn is a king and I’m planning to check-raise the button here, but it inexplicably checks through.

I’m planning to bet for value on most rivers, but I’m wary of the 54 straight draw, so I’ll probably check-call 7s and 2s here. However, the river crushes my hand anyway and pairs the king. So I check, the Kitsap player bets and gets called by the button (weird), I fold face up to show how unlucky I got and then TT gets tabled!

Wow! What an escape!

1:50 PM: Forgot to mention how my sessions over the weekend went.

I ended up +$609 in the 20/40 O8 game at Muckleshoot on Saturday in 9 hours of play. It was bittersweet. On one hand, I booked a win and that was cool. On the other hand I was up at least $1800 at one point so the final result was super disappointing.

It’s funny how one hand can stick out as a turning point, but I was running pretty pure until this one came up and steadily dripped from that point on… a total momentum killer.

I had AQ43 double suited in a kill pot that I raised and got multi-way action on.

The flop was AQ2 rainbow… and I only got one caller, but he found a way to scoop me with 9765.

What?

The flop call is pretty mind-boggling. I usually refer to this player as a nit, so… I don’t know what’s going on here. He has zero scoop potential and his low draw is very suspect. He’s basically praying for half the pot.

He actually has a surprising amount of equity against my specific hand:

But when you consider the object of the game is to scoop the whole pot and you see that I scoop 605 times compared to his 28, or 95.5% of the total scoops, maybe it is as disgusting as I thought it was.

I wasn’t planning to play poker last night, but one of my best long-time friends messaged me and inquired if I wanted to play. He never plays poker, so even though I really wanted to take the night off, I agreed to meet up.

That led to me playing the longest 4/8 session that I’ve played in almost 18 months… back when I took a “day off” with my wife during the 2017 WSOP and we played a super casual 12+ hour marathon session with white chips.

So how did my 6.5 hours of of 4/8 action go? I finished +$897! A perfect time to run hot. I played a shit ton of hours of 4/8 before early 2015. I mean thousands and thousands of hours. Maybe 15,000 hours. It’s gross, I know. So a $900 win is far from the best I’ve ever done, but it’s big enough that I did some research to see when the last time I posted a 4/8 win like that was.

I couldn’t find it. I lost my phone in the Yakima River in July of 2014 and lost all the poker data I had logged from summer of 2011 to that point because I didn’t have it saved in any sort of cloud.

I do have spreadsheets with my cash game results dating back to January 2013 and I had to go all the way back to May 31st, 2013 to find a likely $900+ win in what was probably a 4/8 game. It’s just listed in my “cash games” section, but since it was a Friday night in 2013, there’s about a 97% chance I was playing 4/8 LHE.

So maybe my biggest white chip win in 5.5+ years.

Sick!

3:01 PM: We picked up Radio Mike to make us 6-handed but we’ve had no traffic and this game has almost no chance to survive the typical lull that occurs from 3pm to 6pm.

I have an invite to a 5/10 mix game at 7pm and I was on the fence about it, but now it’s looking like I’m at about 95%.

4:12 PM: Hard to post hands while we are short-handed, but here’s one:

I get 5-bets in 6-ways with two red kings. Flop is 753 with two spades. I bet, Joker raises – as the PFR 4-bettor so he has all the big pairs in his range – and Radio Mike calls two cold. I 3-bet and they both call. I’m quite happy to reduce the field by 50% and I know I have Joker beat, so I’m liking this situation.

The turn is the 8 of spades, which is a really good card for Radio Mike’s range. I very reluctantly check when it’s my action and Joker checks behind.

The river pairs the 8 and Radio Mike leads out. I would be shocked if he’s ever bluffing here but I didn’t check back the turn to fold the river, so I call, Joker folds, and Mike tables A2 of spades.

I know I won with aces a couple times earlier and I just flopped a set of kings and got max flop action and two more big bets from Frankenstein on K32AT, but my big hands in straddle games have been killing me. I’ve booked two small losses and one huge loss in three tries – and I’m stuck about $350 right now – and it’s largely because I can’t string together these key pots with my big hands. It feels like a lot of win one and then lose three going on.

It’s pretty frustrating.

4:53 PM: Building back up so I get the standard, momentum-killing 4-bet pot with QQ and the T64A2 runout vs AJ.

Interesting development: Twinkie just made us 6-handed, sitting down with $900. Since he’s the host of the mix game I’m invited to tonight, I’m not sure what to make of it. Granted, he’s not actually sitting down. His chips are just sitting there and he’s MIA, but… I wonder. 🤔

5:43 PM: Twinkie is officially in the game, but I do think he’s still planning on hosting. This game has never been full and isn’t particularly great right now so I’m not committed to staying here. Playing some different variants sounds a lot more fun.

Interesting hand: I defend with 98o, Joker 3-bets and five of us see the QJ3 two club flop. Joker checks to the button and he bets, so I’m getting around 16 to 1 to call with my gutshot… but my gutshot also makes AK and K9 a straight, so it’s pretty sketch. I also have the 9 of clubs in my hand for some backdoor flush possibilities. It’s a clear call but I am wary of the dangers. Joker also calls.

Turn does give me the straight with a ten and I opt to check-raise the button and am very happy to see Joker fold. Button calls.

River is an ace giving any king a better straight. I think I’m okay bet-folding this spot. I’m already repping a straight on the turn and it’s highly likely my straight has a king in it, so it would be a really sick spot for him to bluff-raise the river. I think he has to always have it if that happens. So I fire a value bet and he calls and shows the set of 3s I sucked out on and I win the pot.

6:11 PM: Fun/annoying spot vs Radio Mike. I 3-bet with TT and pick up two callers, including Mike on the button in the straddle.

Flop is K94 with two diamonds and I bet and call when Mike raises me and we go heads up to an ace turn.

This time we both check.

River is a blank and I’m pretty sure he has a king and I’m pretty sure he will call one bet with it, so I check it over and now he bets. Here comes some fancy play syndrome: I think if I check-raise here he might fold a king, thinking that I whiffed my turn raise and now I’m unleashing the trap. It’s not an unheard of line from me and Radio Mike is more prone to trying to make good folds than some people so I go ahead and pull the trigger. He starts tanking and nodding is head while looking at me, so I flash a big smile back that says, “yep, that just happened.”

And he folds… then asks to see the bluff and I go ahead and oblige him.

6:23 PM: Twinkie just left but we picked up four players and now have a full game for the first time all day. And… His Royal Airness is on the list as a call in. Nope. We aren’t going anywhere.

6:41 PM – JOKER TAKES A WALK

I’m pretty sure I have the preflop details right but it is bewildering if I do. Joker 3-bets from SB, there are three callers, and I 4-bet with KT of spades from the cutoff and Joker 5-bet caps it, so six of us have put in $50 preflop.

The flop is AQQ with one spade. Joker leads, seat 8 raises, Radio Mike and seat 2 cold call and it’s on me. I could be drawing dead here, but the pot is so massive that I’m just going to take my chances… plus I do have a backdoor Royal Draw that I’m going to hit once every ten years or so. I call and five us head to the turn.

It’s the king of clubs. A pretty damn good card for me. This time it checks to s2 and he bets and we all call.

The river is a blank and now s8 bets when Joker checks.

So… Joker 3-bet and 5-bet pre and then bet the flop and called a raise. Seat 8 called 3-bets pre, raised the flop, check-called the turn, and now he’s donking on a total blank on the river.

But wait! Radio Mike calls and now seat 2 jacks it up, prompting folds from me and Joker (who flashes Q8 – lol what?). Seat 8 calls, Mike folds, and seat 2 tables… AJ! Then seat 8 tables QJ to win the pot.

The very next hand I have J9 of clubs and check-call Joker on flop and turn before check-raising river on QTxx8 – the second time I’ve check-raised him on the river and shown him J9 suited in a very short amount of time…

That prompted him to fire his cards into the muck like a 53 mph fastball and sprint out the front doors.

We didn’t see him again for 20 minutes.

It was during that time that I realized the mega punty raise from the AJ on the river of the previous hand actually cost him half of that massive pot. At the time, I saw QJ and assumed he folded a loser, but then I remembered the kickers didn’t play.

Yikes. No wonder he’s pissed.

But seriously… what’s up with that Q8 5-bet?

7:09 PM: Sick hand. Bloated pot pre. I’m out of position against four players that all look like they are punting in a 5-bet pot. So I check-call with AK on 943 and there are three of us to the king turn. I bet out at the exact same time as the player behind me but it ends up staying at one bet and it is still 3-handed. River pairs the king and I bet and the aggressor starts complaining like I just sucked out. I assume he was punting with 43 or something (he just showed me 73ss in a 5-bet pot) but turns out… he had aces!

Eek!

7:29 PM: His Airness is in the game and the Bravo app has attracted Snowflake to the building.

8:38 PM: Snowflake is in the game now and as he sits down he’s on the phone talking about he can outshoot Michael Jordan from the free throw line.

Of course I’m not letting him get away with that nonsense so I call him out and he claims MJ didn’t even shoot 80% from the line and I call bullshit on that and somehow I end up losing $5 because I took the over on 84%. Wait, what? How did we go from 80% to 84%? Pretty dumb, but I still liked my side and MJ shot 83.5%.

Come on.

8:58 PM – NICKNAME CHANGE ALERT

Due to recent events and popular demand, I am forever changing Snowflake’s nickname on my blog to Free Throw.

It seems fair. I’ve played maybe 30 hours with him lifetime and I think he’s talked about how good he is at shooting free throws for 25 of those hours.

10:21 PM: This game has been off the chains for hours now but most of the hands I’ve played have been pretty straight forward. Here’s one that had potential to get ugly:

I’m the straddle with 52o and it’s $40 back to me, I defend, and it gets 5-bet like four or five ways.

Flop is 532 rainbow and it gets capped again without me putting in a bet or a raise.

Turn is an ace and I’m calling one bet here but someone leads out and His Airness blows me out.

The river pairs the ace to crush my hand anyway, but His Airness has 64o for the flopped nuts!

It would have been interesting if the turn was a blank. If there was action in front of me, I am just calling down, but if it checked to His Airness and he bet… well, I’m raising his ass… so… disaster averted!

11:05 PM: Free Throw defends small blind, I call with JThh, there are multiple callers, His Airness raises from the straddle, I 4-bet and we get 5-bets in a billion ways. I am pleased.

Flop is K94 with one heart and I have to check-call three bets cold to stay in this monster. The 3-bet comes from Free Throw in the small blind and that winds up being the last aggressive action on the flop…

…so when I drill the fucking queen on the turn and Free Throw checks I take the betting lead. There are some calls and His Airness jacks it up. I 3-bet and get two callers. The board is total rainbow so I’m only vulnerable to board pairs.

It’s a clean 5! I bet and cooler His Airness’ pocket nines for a massive pot.

I’ve won a series of pots since then and have momentum in a straddle game for the first time in four straddle sessions.

Also, that JT vs 99 hand sent His Airness out the door, which is pretty unfortunate. We still have a full game but there is no list now.

12:33 AM: I am done blogging for the night. I definitely seem to lose writing steam around ten hours into my sessions.

We are currently 7-handed with Joker, Free Throw, and some randoms.

Not sure how much longer I will play. I am seeing Overlord at 11am tomorrow, plus I’d like to be otherwise productive… like making my wife a dinner and, for goodness sake, going to the damn gym.

I will post a final score when I cash out.

2:35 AM – Final Score: +$1400

Edit: In the hand at 1:24 PM, the button capped the flop, which is why I tried to check-raise the turn and was surprised it checked through.

h1

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

October 27, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twinkie BUSTED

3:46 PM: 54k after L4.

Tormund 52k

Frankenstein 110k

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

Dark Knight 97.6k

Frankenstein 200k

Tormund 60k

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

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

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

8:21 PM:

Dark Knight 160k

Frankenstein 97k

Tormund 40k

9:00 PM:

Tormund BUSTED

Kitsap Player BUSTED

Solomon Grundy BUSTED

2 of 3 Muck dealers still in

9:52 PM:

Frankenstein BUSTED

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

375 entrants

268 add-ons

$242,961 prize pool

45 players cash

$1360 to 45th

$51,022 to 1st

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

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

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

h1

My Nightmare Week of Poker

October 22, 2018

“And it just continues…”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just crazy.

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

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

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

Sigh.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yeah fucking right buddy. Sure you will.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t worry, folks! Punts incoming.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Also, this happened:

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

This hand pretty much defines my week:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is what October cash games look like:

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

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

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

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

h1

$20/$40 Limit Hold’em @ Fortune (Live Blog) and the Best Night of Radio Mike’s LIFE

October 13, 2018

I will be playing some 20/40 limit Hold’em at Fortune tonight, but first I’m sitting on the sidelines so I can recap the last couple of nights.

On Thursday, I stayed home to play the LHE events in the Eagle Cup on Global Poker.

It was a nightmare session. My plan was to play the three Eagle Cup events (with $11, $33, and $55 buy ins), the nightly $5 no limit rebuy, a 6-max PLO rebuy, and the dinky nightly $11 LHE.

First off, in the $5 rebuy, I got in 8 bullets, which is somewhere near my all-time record for that event. I think I may have been in 9 bullets previously but I’m positive I’ve never been in 10. My strategy during the rebuy period is to go all in preflop with any reasonable hand until I double up at least once and if that doesn’t happen as the rebuy period nears its end, I start jamming super light and sometimes it gets pretty ugly.

I didn’t have much of a stack after adding on after the rebuy period closed and in the first orbit after the break, my KK got outflopped by a big blind defend with 97 and that was GG for me.

In the $11 Eagle Cup I busted out without ever winning a hand. I actually ran pretty good, flopping extremely well, but I couldn’t fade a river. Not once. The draws got there… every. single. time.

I was crushing in both the $33 and the $55, sitting on a top 10 stack for most of both tournaments. I can’t remember what happened in the $55, but as we were approaching the bubble of the $33, a player with about 7bb opened from the lojack, the cutoff called, I 3-bet AJ of clubs on the button and they both called.

The flop was QT7 with two clubs – about as good as I could ask for without flopping a made hand. It checks to me, I bet and the shorty check-raises me and I get him all in for a little less than 4bb on the flop. He has K7o. It holds.

What.

With 28 players left and 27 making the money, the same player opened from the lojack again and I 3-bet with JTcc on the button.

We went heads up to a flop of JJ2 with two spades and he check-raised me again. I flatted the flop to raise the Kd turn and he bet-called.

The river was the 4s and he leads right out. I have 1.25 big bets left so if I raise and he has me beat, I eliminate myself in 28th place. So I call and he has the AQss.

Fortunately, I folded my way to the money with less than half a big blind. I ended up quadrupling up with T9o under the gun before busting in 22nd with the same hand from my big blind.

Meanwhile the dude that walked on water against me in those two critical pots went on to finish in 2nd. Of course!

I can’t remember any brutal connections in the $55, but I fizzled out after the bubble burst and finished in 17th place for $100. Yippee.

Even with the two cashes in the two biggest events I played, I still booked a small loss for the night.

Last night we got the 15/30 going around 6:45 PM and the most notable thing about that session was this:

Radio Mike had the best night of his life. Not just in poker, but best night of his entire life. Period. He searched through his mental Rolodex and said he couldn’t think of a single day in his life that made him happier. Not his first wedding night. Not his second wedding night. Not the day he opened his acceptance envelope to the University of California. Not the times he filled in for Rick Rizz to call some Seattle Mariner games.

This is it. This is the pinnacle. He managed this personal best 15/30 win even after running KK into QQ on a KQQ4J board. I went to grab him some empty racks after that hand and he was like, “NO. I can do this.”

Congrats buddy.

Meanwhile, I have nothing interesting to say about my session. I was mostly floating around even for many hours before the wheels just fell off completely.

It did make me think as I was driving to Fortune today. What adjustments should one make when you are running atrociously? Basically what I’m thinking of is when I’m getting a normal or above average distribution of good hands before the flop and raising a lot of pots, but never connecting with the board and almost always having multiple opponents to deal with.

Do you start raising less hands? Do you play less exploitively? Do you start checking your entire range on the flop since you never have a hand?

I do not think it is correct to stop raising hands I would otherwise always raise. It is gross… to be consistently aggressive before the flop and feel like you never have something you can bet after it, but playing passively isn’t making a proper adjustment, it is simply playing poorly.

I do think it’s okay to play less exploitively when your credibility is shot and your image is horrible. When you are playing exploitively, you are playing a wider range and you need to get folds more often than when you are only playing a tight-solid range. But when it seems like you are spewing chips left and right, you aren’t going to get those folds and opponents will be more emboldened than usual to make plays at you.

Anyways, that’s what I was thinking about last night as I was getting smashed on and again as I was driving out here. I lost about $800 overall last night.

I’ve been in this 20/40 for an hour now and lots of interesting things have happened: I’ve already established myself as a maniac and as the table alpha and put someone on tilt after we played this hand:

I have the small on the button and there are two big blinds. We are short-handed so when under the gun raises here it’s similar to a hijack open, except there is more dead money than usual and his range should be even wider. So when I look down at A8hh on the button it looks like a clear 3-bet to me and we go heads up to the flop.

It is 973 with one heart. My image is already bad so I elect to check back here and see if I can get a sexy turn card. Also, my hand is one I’d prefer to show down most of the time so by checking back I don’t have to call three barrels, plus I induce bluffs.

The turn is an 8 and this feels like a clear bet when he checks to me, but I know my range looks super weak here (whiffed big cards) so when I bet, I’m almost expecting this: he check-raises me. I call and I’m planning to call river too.

The river is an ace and he check-calls and does that thing where he’s in disbelief so I twist the needle by saying, “oh don’t act like my 8 wasn’t good. If you can beat that show it.” He says something back mockingly and shows his neighbor his hand (which means he probably had me beat) but doesn’t show me. On the bright side, he’s clearly steamed. He asked to be dealt out the next hand.

5:51 PM: I spent the first hour of play writing this post and I spent the last hour in contact with Apple Support trying to connect a new earbud to my AirPods. That was a no go.

It has been a very active two hours for me, as I have been playing a very high variance style, opening a lot of hands and bluffing more than usual because the pots are almost always heads up or 3-handed.

It hasn’t gone that well. I ran K2ss into A2 a few orbits ago on Q9224. That was annoying. I’m down a little over $500 at the moment.

It’s a little harder to write updates in this game because it is super fast-paced and there always seems to be one or two players walking, so I almost always seem to be involved in pots.

We’ll see how it goes though.

6:24 PM: I’m not sure if the main game is any better than the one I was in, but I was having a hard time at that other table.

So now I have some players I know on my left: FanBoy and Sgt. Rock.

FanBoy is immediately threatening me: “Guess what we’re having for dinner tonight? Barbecue Bat!”

Normally the thought of him doing stupid things behind me would be music to my ears but I’m running so cold and my decisions have been so difficult my last several hours of play that I’m not really embracing this promise of high variance poker action.

Of course, he’s probably all talk and will play his normal, boring abc game. Well, until he reads this!

I just raised three hands in a row and got very little resistance. Ah yes. This is more my speed.

7:40 PM: I am frustrated. This has been a tiresome session. I have spent all of it between -$500 and +$100, but almost all of it on the stuck side of things. Every time I get back over the hump stupid things happen.

I just got rivered in big pots by the same player in the same orbit. First my K9hh loses to A5cc on 954T5 and then he opens early with T9ss, caps the 987 flop, check-calls the king turn, and donks the 6 river to beat my AA.

Pretty damn annoying.

8:18 PM: Q8ss vs Q4 on Q8675. TT < 44. Approaching -$800 now. This is so silly.

8:32 PM: Here’s a win if I’ve ever seen one: I open early with QQ and FanBoy 3-bets me. I call and we are heads up to a flop of 975. I check-raise and he flats.

Turn is a jack and he raises my bet. I call down on a brick river, sighing openly while saying, “I can only beat AJ.”

The bad news is he doesn’t have AJ.

The good news is he does have QQ.

For those of you counting at home, that’s a net profit of $12 for the hand.

The comeback is on!

8:49 PM: Highlight of my night right here: there’s a limp fest in front of me and get hyper speculative with the ole K8o on the button. The blinds are cool and decide not to punish me.

The flop is KJ8 with two diamonds. One of the limpers bets, I raise, the blinds fold, and two of the other limpers cold call. So does the initial bettor.

Okay, now we need to dodge.

8 of clubs on the turn. Wonderful. Now I need them to hit their draws! I bet and only one of them calls. What the hell? One of the cold callers and the flop bettor folded. Wtf is that? Cold call two and the 8 pairs and we can’t continue now? I guess they both had jacks, a holding that just got substantially worse against top pair.

River is the 4 of clubs and my opponent just power folds.

That got me up for High Hand… which amusingly held up for 12 minutes but now JJJAA is up there. Damn.

8:58 PM: FanBoy finally showing how he got the name:

9:15 PM: Woah. I am heating up.

QQ good, AK gets lucky vs KJ on QJx9T, and then AA wins a huge pot that was capped 3-ways pre and 3-bets 3-ways on the flop.

Almost even again!

Just needed The Legend in the box to activate my run good.

9:41 PM: Well I worked my way all to the black but this is why I can’t have nice things – and also why you shouldn’t poke the bear.

Folds to my button and I open 84cc because I have FanBoy and Sgt. Rock in the blinds and they fold around 130% of the time, but FanBoy 3-bets and says, “put this on the blog!”

I call and we go to a flop of Q63 with one club. He leads, I raise, he 3-bets and I call because I can smell something and I can turn good cards.

The turn is an ace and I decide to give it up and he tosses the J9 of diamonds in my face.

Goddammit.

10:57 PM: Bring The Legend back! Seriously. I can’t win a meaningful pot with anyone else, but I won like $1k while he was here. Back to whiffing everything!

Stuck around $300 now.

11:07 PM: What the fuck. Folds to me with small blind on button and I raise without looking.

Big blind check-calls me on flop and turn on AA8Q before donking on the 4 river.

I guess it’s time to look. I have A3o. Part of me wants to call but how the hell do I not have the best hand here? I raise it and he snap-calls with A9, a kicker that plays.

Stuck over $500 again. This is a total joke.

Defend KQ heads up and run into AQ on Q526T. It’s honestly comical sometimes.

11:35 PM: A raise and three callers in front of me and I have AA in the big. I jack it up.

Flop is K62 with two clubs and it gets capped.

She rivers a flush.

HOW THE FUCK DO YOU MAKE A FLUSH?

They make it look so easy. I’ve missed 100% of my flush draws tonight.

Very next hand I have 88 in the small blind against a button open. He’s all in for 3 small bets with AK.

J625… K

I actually thought I was going to win that one because the pot was so small.

I am now stuck over $1k… again.

What a fucking nightmare this is.

11:42 PM: Open AThh, someone 3-bets, and we go to a T82 flop. I check-raise and he flats.

Turn is a 4 and I bet and call his raise.

River is a King. I check-call and he shows AK. Granted, he turned a flush draw so it wasn’t a total punt, but still.

And then as I’m being shown this fucking hand on the river the waitress comes up and tells me they can’t make the food I ordered.

That officially sent me outside to clear my head. I am seriously debating if I even want to keep playing. I’ve already played 8+ hours which is usually my goal, so it’s not like if I reload I’m going to grind it out for six more hours.

I have to admit I’m kind of peeved right now. Which makes me think I should maybe call it a night.

12:11 AM: I was making a little bit of a comeback so of course this hand comes up to fuck things up.

Open A9cc, one flat in position and both blinds defend.

Flop is AK8 with two clubs. It’s the fucking world. What can go wrong?

I bet and they all call.

Turn is a brick and now the in position player raises when I bet. The blinds both fold and I’m sitting there thinking about rage 3-betting because how the hell can I be beat every single meaningful pot? And can I possibly miss another flush draw?

Of course I can. And I will. I don’t pull the trigger on the torchy 3-bet but I do call and whiff and then pay off AK on the river.

Great flat pre. Very expert. You got me.

12:19 AM: Just got an “F bomb” warning because I guess that’s where I’m at right now.

Spewer opens, there’s a call, I 3-bet AQ, and FanBoy calls it cold.

It’s like 5-way action for 3-bets to the AK3 two heart flop and I bet and of course FanBoy pops me, a blind calls, and I just call also.

Turn is a brick and we check-call again.

The river is a Queen and I check, FanBoy bets, other dude folds and I turn to him and say, “I’m at the very top of my range but I’m sure I’m still losing” and check-call. He rolls over AA and I say, “it’s so fucking sick.”

I’m back outside. The only reason I didn’t cash out yet is because I wanted to type this up before telling The Leak we are leaving.

So you want to be a professional poker player?

Final Score: -$1440

The bad run at Fortune continues. This is what my 2018 looks like here:

-$2135 in 5 hours

-$2226 in 6.25 hours

-$808 in 4 hours

+$97 in 10.5 hours

-$1440 in 9 hours

It’s a super small sample. Totally meaningless. I’m sure I’ve had similar runs many times in my years of playing poker.

But I can’t help but feel like every time I come here I just get TORTURED.

And I do. That’s a spewing rate of -$189/hour playing poker at Fortune this year.

No wonder I’ve been staying away.

Goodness.

UPDATE: I really want to put these results in perspective. In the grand scheme of things, they are utterly meaningless, as I mentioned before. But I want to clarify. Those five sessions add up to 34.5 hours for the entire year. That’s less than one week of playing poker for me. That’s less than 2% of the total volume I will put in for an entire year. So as ugly as it looks, it is just noise.

My volume at Fortune has gone from semi-regular to nonexistent. I have played 5 sessions of 20/40 at Fortune this year. Last year I put in 25 plays and overall I have put in 45 sessions of 20/40 at Fortune lifetime. My first session of 20/40 there dates back to May of 2016, so in the roughly 29 months Fortune has been open, I have put in only put in around 10% of my total 20/40 volume there in the last 10.5 months.

In other words, this “year long” torture chamber is only a blip on the radar of my total volume at Fortune. There’s definitely a lingering affect going on, but when you take a step back, it’s easy to see that it is just variance.

My overall results, despite this horrendous run, are still pretty good. My win rate in the Fortune 20/40 has gone from a sexy $47.26/hour to a still respectable, but not very attractive $23.42/hour. I would wager that I’m more likely to be a 1 BB/hour player than a 0.6 BB/hour player, but my overall sample size is still too small to really determine much of anything.

I’ve mostly been able to justify not driving 30+ minutes to play in a tougher 20/40 game by having games close to home that I can expect to earn as much or more in. Unfortunately, since I’ve been back from the WSOP the 15/30 game that was running almost daily before summer has become more of a once a week game. On the other hand, we are now playing PLO twice a week and the 20/40 O8 game at Muckleshoot has become a good opportunity on Saturdays. That gives me four playing days a week where I don’t even need to consider driving out to Fortune.

Still… I’m not really one to back down from a challenge. I know the game is tougher at Fortune. The crazy thing about this year is that I have been experiencing insane variance whenever I play there. While that is not notable in itself, what is notable is the fact that 20/40 pots are generally heads up or 3-handed affairs. It’s not like games at the Palace where every pot is contested with 5+ players. Games like that have high variance. When every pot is heads up or short-handed, the variance should actually be less severe. But I have had the opposite experience this year. Clearly. The vast majority of the time I have been in a heads up pot with a strong hand at Fortune, I have found a way to lose – and it has been messing with my head.

I don’t really plan to increase my volume at Fortune going forward, but it does seem like I should try to play there at least twice a month. One thing is for sure: I definitely need to get this monkey off my back… with a signature Dark Knight huge win!