Posts Tagged ‘texas hold em’

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Plays of the Week – August 11th, 2018

August 11, 2018

I’m back! I apologize for the brief hiatus, but I wanted to try something different this week: jotting down notes from my sessions and posting the best hands all at once in an end of the week summary. I enjoy doing live blogs of my sessions, especially when the characters are out in full force, but lately things have been going poorly (plus the 15 at Palace hasn’t been regular) and I wanted to shake things up and try something different.

As I noted in my last post – when I quit midday on Saturday – it was unlikely that I would play any poker Sunday through Tuesday.

That was mostly correct.

We spent Sunday at Emerald Downs for my niece’s birthday. I’m sure it’s going to break my dad’s heart to read this, but I don’t get it. One of my dad’s fondest memories of his own dad is going to the track together and betting on horses. We never did this while I was growing up so it never became a tradition for us.

As someone that gambles for a living, gambling on things I know nothing about – or in games with a negative expectation – doesn’t appeal to me. It actually physically pains me to watch my wife on the rare occasions when she wants to play in the pit or on a slot machine. I don’t find it fun and when you remove the “fun factor” all that is left is a -EV gambling situation in which you will never, ever win in the long run.

Betting on horses seems similar. I don’t know anything about the horses or their jockeys or their caretakers, or any of the factors that might come into play when you’re trying to find an edge. If I’m betting, I’m simply clicking buttons or picking names I like. But at least I can see the fun in it. It’s kind of like betting on baseball, but in baseball I’m aware of all the key components (not that it helps me any) and I genuinely enjoy watching the sport, money on it or not.

But then I tried to make a bet on the computer systems they have set up and I couldn’t even figure out how to find the race I wanted to bet on. I felt like I was reading gibberish. That’s not fun. We ended up having our niece and nephew bet on some horses for us and a horse named Little Joker (of course) came through with a first place finish and booked us a win for the day, but we were firing tiny bets. I guess it was kind of fun, but if I’m being honest, I wouldn’t feel like I was missing out on anything if I never went to another horse track for the rest of my life.

My plan on Monday was to visit Radio Mike at Cheney Stadium and take in a Tacoma Rainiers game. In a happy coincidence, possible future Hall of Famer Robinson Cano of the Seattle Mariners was starting his rehab with the Rainiers that night after an 80 game suspension for PED use. So suddenly this random game I was going to became an PNW event.

Normally when I visit Mike at Cheney, I sit in the broadcast booth with him and watch the game and we can chat in between innings, but because of Cano’s presence, this guy was at Cheney and asked Mike if he can sit in the booth with him and thus Joker and I were ousted to the stands with the rest of the pleebs.

But not before I snapped a selfie that found it’s way on the Mariners broadcast that night!

After the game, we stopped back in the booth and chatted with Mike for a while and by the time we finally left, the players were coming out of the clubhouse and, with no other obvious exit in sight, Joker and I followed Ben Gamel to the player’s exit where a group of fans were waiting and mobbed him for autographs while letting us pass them by with a mere, “good game tonight.”

I mean… I can understand them mistaking me for a triple A ball player… but this guy?

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Come on.

I decided to pop into Palace on my way home and play a mini-session with one goal: make $400 and leave.

I didn’t know I was going to make a highlight reel post at that time, so I didn’t jot any hands down from that session, but it was actually a pretty wild one. The game was pure action. I described it to Joker like this: Everyone is playing like it’s a race to see who can lose all their chips the fastest and so far I’m winning. I was down $400 right off the bat and it was looking like reaching my goal was going to be extremely difficult. And yet… after less than three hours of play, I cashed out +$565. Pretty sick.

Tuesday I did not play poker. I went and saw Mission: Impossible – Fallout with Uncle Leroy and then ran errands for the rest of the day before watching Felix Hernandez pitch his way out of the Mariners rotation by getting lit up by the Texas Rangers.

Wednesday, I was back in action, for some pot limit Omaha at Palace.

But first! The Man talks me into taking a seat in 3/6 limit hold’em because of the Happy Hour Hand promo and I got a swift reminder of why I never, ever play that limit while I’m waiting for a seat. I raise it up with AA and bet all three streets on a board of 63239 with one opponent calling me down. No flush is possible and I never get raised, so obviously I’m winning this pot, but then my opponent tables… 63. What. I’m not above playing 3/6 while I wait, but I just hate it because no one ever actually plays poker. Anyways, despite this debacle, I still finished +$17 and my 2018 win rate in 3/6 limit hold’em is now a monstrous 9.13 big bets per hour over 67 total minutes.

PLO got off to modest start. My first notable hand came up when I had A6xx in a raised pot and the flop came down 66A. I made the mistake of checking and my opponents all got to see the turn for free. I bet like $30 on the turn, which was a ten and two players called. The river was another ace and I was first to act. There was a flush draw available on the turn, so there was some chance my opponents were drawing, but otherwise, they probably had an ace, and I thought AT was a real possibility. I also thought if I checked, someone with AK would have a pretty hard time not betting for value. Basically, even though I had the second nuts here, I thought my most profitable line was check-calling. I save money and avoid tough decisions when the nuts is out there and my opponents might bluff missed draws or take themselves to value town with trip aces. So I checked, one of them bets a smallish $60, I call, and he does show me the AT. I flash my A6 and that guy is in disbelief for the next five minutes.

I spent most of the night up around $500 but then I had a couple of gross connections with The Man.

We were playing short-handed, but I was opening a bit too wide here with the J766, especially since the game was playing pretty loose and sticky. Basically, I’m rarely stealing the blinds or playing a pot heads up in position, so this is a hand that is going to play like garbage after the flop in a bloated pot and is better off sent into the muck.

It ends up going 3 or 4 ways to the flop and I don’t have position. It’s already a disaster. The board is decent though: J75 with two diamonds. I have top two pair and a jack high flush draw. It’s a pretty good hand, but not exactly one I’m looking to get stacks in with. I can bet though and I fire out $30 or so and The Man makes it $120 to go. I have a pretty good feeling that my two pair is good here, but if that’s the case then my flush draw is definitely not good. We are way too deep to gamble for stacks on the flop, so this is actually a pretty gross spot. If I don’t like my flush draw, I’m not going to have many run outs I love here. Any diamond is questionable, any straight card around the 75 is bad, any overcard could make a better two pair. Basically I only love jacks and sevens. Everything else is suspect. With that in mind, I should probably just fold to the flop raise, but I ended up calling.

The turn was a small diamond and I check-called about a half pot bet.

The river was a brick and I liked my hand when The Man decided to give up and check back, but he was being cautious with a king high flush and won the pot saying, “I think you are capable of checking the nut flush there.” He’s not wrong, but I’d still bet his hand.

A short while later, I’m raising it up on the button with the J987 double suited and I flop pretty huge: Q65 with two hearts, giving me a nut wrap and a straight flush draw. I bet the flop and The Man calls me from the small blind.

The turn bricks me and I am planning to barrel off on this one, so I fire a second bullet and The Man calls again.

The river is the 2 of hearts. The Man checks and I check back, hoping my modest flush is good. It is not. I didn’t see the rest of his hand but The Man ends up winning this pot with the T3 of hearts. I wish I got a better look at his hand and how he arrived at the river because a naked ten high flush draw would be pretty brutal to lose to.

There was another pot I played against The Man that started off with a $5 bet on the flop and ended up with me facing a pretty large raise on the river holding the second nut flush. This flush came in backdoor, so it was a bit less likely for him to have the hand he was repping, but in Omaha it’s much easier to back into something you weren’t initially drawing to and the minbet on the flop could entice more floats than usual. Also, I would expect him to never raise non-nut flushes here because that would be pretty silly. So it basically comes down to if I think he’s bluffing often enough here. It felt pretty gross because it seemed like he probably isn’t bluffing a lot here, but my instincts were saying call so that’s what I did and he ended up having the nut flush blocker and a bluff.

Hand of the Night

We are still short-handed at this point and The Man opens with a raise to $15, the small blind calls, and I make it $45 to go with T987 double suited and they both call.

The flop is what PLO dreams are made of: 965 with two clubs and a spade. I flopped the nuts, with multiple straight redraws to the nuts, a straight flush draw, and a backdoor flush draw. Let’s. Go. I bet $80, The Man calls, and the small blind pots it to $380. I go all in for less than the max bet of $680, The Man folds and I agree to run it twice with my opponent. The turn pairs the board on the first run out and I make a bigger straight on the second runout and… scoop it all!

I doubled up and then some in that pot and the small blind never took another hand and the game broke shortly after so I finished at +$883 in my PLO session.

Thursday morning I had an appointment with my endocrinologist in Bremerton and The Leak went with me and we decided to put our newfound interest in hiking to the test at Green Mountain, a trail we failed to complete in two attempts years ago when we still lived in Kitsap County.

It was a bit of a challenge – mostly because of the 85 degree heat – but we got it done this time!

Some views from the summit:

We got back to Lakewood around 6 PM and I was in need of a short nap because I was planning to play until 4 AM that night.

15/30 didn’t get off the ground, but we were blessed with a bit of that early Christmas action. I’ve mentioned it before but The Santa Claus Game is full of button straddling, bloated pot sizes, and lots of gambling.

In this hand, I’m the button straddle holding 88 and five players call before the action is back to me. I think this might be a pretty close spot because how well does 88 play against five opponents? But I obviously have the best hand and I do have the button, so I go ahead and raise it. Santa 4-bets it when it’s back to him and I go ahead and 5-bet cap it.

There are thirty bets in the middle when the flop comes down 322. Someone donks on the flop, I raise, the big blind cold calls, and the donker also calls.

The turn is a 4 and the flop bettor donks again. I raise it again. The big blind is really unhappy about the action, but winds up folding and my lone opponent calls.

The river is a king and betting is probably recommended here when he checks to me, but the pot is massive and I’ll be happy about winning it even if I miss a little value here. I check back and my hand is good.

I gave the key opponent in this hand the nickname of The River Man once upon a time, but that name is pretty bad and I’m going to discontinue it and refer to him as the maniac for any hands he’s in for the rest of this session.

Anyways, there are multiple limpers and the maniac raises, I 3-bet with AK from the small blind and it ends up getting capped.

It’s mulitway action so I check the 873 with two clubs flop and peel for one bet with the ace of clubs in my hand. It’s worth noting that someone bet into the maniac on the flop and he just called…

…because that says a lot about his hand strength when the turn is the king of clubs and it checks to him and he bets and the button calls. This is my absolute nut card. I now have top pair top kicker and the nut flush draw. When the maniac calls on the flop I think I can safely rule out any flushes and since everyone else checked to him, I don’t think they have flushes either. I go ahead and raise it. The big blind cold calls and the maniac and button also continue.

The river pairs the 7 and I’m not really sure where I stand now, so I check, the maniac bets and I’m the only caller. He tables two small cards. It looks like 32 of clubs so I ask the dealer for clarification and she pulls in 22 and I’m good.

And that’s why hands like this happen:

Button straddles, I 3-bet 77 from the small blind and it ends up getting capped at five bets with at least four of us seeing the flop.

It comes down Q65 rainbow and I check-call.

The turn is a 9 and the flop bettor checks to the maniac and he winds up betting after just calling on the flop. I feel like 77 is doing very good against his range here as he is always raising a queen on the flop, so I check-raise. The flop bettor cold calls (gross) and the maniac 3-bets it! Sick. We both call.

The river pairs the 5 and it checks to the maniac and he tables 97o when it’s his turn to act and ends up winning the pot with a very standard 3-betting hand on the turn.

Button straddles and it gets 5-bet capped again and this time I’m holding the A8 of spades. The flop is A72 with two spades and four of us wind up putting in four bets.

The turn is a 5 and the big blind is still leading, so I call and the maniac puts in another raise on the button. The blind just calls and I call also.

The river is a 3 and it checks to the maniac. The big blind calls and I’m positive that he at least has me beat, so I fold and the maniac tables 54o.

So nasty!

So yeah… this game is JUICED UP.

Which makes this next hand pretty special:

I open with 44 and the maniac calls me in position. The flop is K54 and he folds the instant my hand starts to reach for chips.

What.

The.

Hell.

I open with A8 of diamonds and get some callers. The flop is A42 with two spades and the big blind donks into me. I raise and he calls.

The turn is the 8 of spades and now the blind check-raises me. Pretty gross. My hand seems like it should be strong, but the two biggest drawing hands (spades and 76) got there, so I just call.

The river is a blank and I call a bet… and my opponent tables one of the most shocking hands he possibly can: pocket eights. The good ole one outer.

I ended up finishing this 7.5 hour 8/16 session at +$255.

Last night was a total disaster. I ran about as bad as you can.

There was a 4-bet pot where I had JJ on QJ4 rainbow and lost to Q6 of diamonds.

That about sums up how my night went. I missed every single flush draw I had the entire night and my opponent’s seemed like they always hit theirs against me. I did flop a flush twice and I got zero action both times.

I went -$571 in 76 minutes of 8/16 before the 15/30 game got started and I didn’t run any better there… I just lost more slowly, finishing at -$607 in 6.5 hours despite hitting a $200 High Hand.

That was a pretty lousy finish to what started off as a pretty good week.

All in all, I’m sitting at +$542 over 23 hours heading into today’s action.

On the bright side, this happened while I was writing this post:

CRUSHING!

Just got word that Palace already has 15/30 going so that’s where my day is going to start and hopefully end. If that game fizzles out early we will probably shoot up to Fortune.

No live blog tonight, but maybe I will post highlights later.

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Super-Sized Marathon Saturday – $15/$30 @ Palace (Live Blog)

August 4, 2018

It’s a modern miracle!

At 10:15 this morning, I woke up to the Bat Signal:

“How are you not in this game?”

15/30 is still going from last night… with at least two players that are still there from when I left last night.

I’m about to hop in the showers and be in action by 11.

Ready for a huge day! Let’s get one!

11:19 AM: Oh, it’s so beautiful. I left at 2 AM last night and there are four people still here!

Current lineup: Mr. Plow, Little Creek floor, massive fish, new guy that was here when I left and looks strung out, Part-Time, another new guy that was here when I left, Fleabag, and a non-reg that plays some big bet games. Mr. Plow and Flea also still here from last night.

8 of 9 players have 25/50 Over buttons.

It’s like a dream come true.

11:22 AM: Huge credit has to be given to The Man here. Palace had one open table when he started this game last night. It was a super sketchy start. I didn’t have much faith in it. We started 4-handed and I didn’t think one of the players was going to play. Meanwhile, there were like 12+ names on the 4/8 list. From a business standpoint, starting a 4/8 game is a total no brainer. So I really, really appreciate the sacrifice. He knows I’ve been frustrated lately and he 100% made this play to keep Joker and myself happy.

The game was never super strong last night, even when it was full, but here it is Saturday before noon and it’s still going. I guess they played 4-handed for hours and hours… and now it is full again, with a chance to go all day long.

Just goes to show that having a thriving 15/30 game is all about getting the cards in the air. We started with a flimsy 4-handed game 18 hours ago and it’s still going strong!

11:30 AM: Last night was another bad session for me. Playing short-handed and losing every time you have AK and AQ doesn’t help your bottom line very much.

Some major highlights:

5-handed, UTG opens, Joker cold calls, button calls, I 3-bet with JJ from SB, Rosanne calls from the big and everyone else calls also.

Flop is KJ2 with one diamond. I bet and they all call.

Turn is the 8 of diamonds. I bet and it’s three or four of us to the river.

River is the 7 of diamonds. I think briefly before firing a bet. I realize one of the more common drawing hands (T9) got there and backdoor diamonds are somewhat of a concern. The king of diamonds was on the flop and I have the jack of diamonds, so some of the best suited hands are blocked, but hands like AQdd, ATdd, QTdd, T9dd, A2dd, and Q9dd are all hands that make sense getting to the river.

I think my hand is too strong to check here though, so I bet, Rosanne raises and Joker calls $60 cold.

I hate it, but pot is massive, so I call and Rosanne tables 77 for a rivered set… that’s a good start… but Joker calling down and calling a raise on the river looks like a draw that got there so I wait him out… and he tables 43 of diamonds.

Just. Wow.

Another fun one: I straddle on the button and it’s 4-bets back to me with AQ, one of the blinds caps it and there are at least 20 bets in the middle heading to the Q83, two hearts, one diamond flop. It gets capped again and I put in none of the action. I’m just holding on for dear life.

Turn pairs the queen though and now I like my hand a lot. The blind driving the preflop and flop action slows down and checks, another player driving the action on the flop bets the turn, Santa Claus raises after doing nothing but call on the flop, and now I LOVE my hand – I 3-bet. The player in the blind reluctantly folds what was probably KK, the turn bettor calls, and Santa calls also. There are heart and diamond draws I’m looking to fade, and I’m slightly worried the turn bettor has 88 after helping cap flop and sticking around here.

River is the ten of diamonds. They both check to me. I bet and get check-raised by the guy going crazy preflop and on the flop.

This is the final board: Qh8d3h-Qd-Td.

This is the hand I lose to: 4d2d.

He was driving the action on the flop.

It was all pretty bad, but those were the two best ones. At the end of the day I was looking at -$868 in 15/30 and +$187 from 8/16.

11:48 AM: And it’s like yesterday never ended. Two idiots limp, I raise AA on the button, and four of us see the flop.

We are in Overs.

Idiot 1 donks on K95, Idiot 2 raises, and I 3-bet. They both call.

Turn is a 6 and now Idiot 2 check-raises me with Idiot 1 still hanging around.

River is a ten and both of us pay off Idiot 2’s 96 suited.

No justice. All pain.

Going to need to focus on deep breathing and medding today. You know you have a lot of accumulated tilt when you are showing your emotions 30 minutes into a session.

Get it together, DK.

12:15 PM: Some justice:

Flea gonna Flea. Limpers, he pops it on button, I defend with QT and it’s multiway to the flop.

KJ9 with two spades. Ding ding ding! I donk. I know Flea will bet, but I also know he will get into a leveling war with me even though there are ten other players in the pot with us. I can check-raise him here, but then the other players have to call two bets cold. I’d rather collect the flop bets from the other players before making it 3-bets when Flea inevitably raises me because he seriously can’t help himself – he is the king of jamming the flop with little or no equity. So I bet and that’s exactly what happens.

Three of us to the 8 of spades on the turn. Not my favorite card, but I do have the ten of spades as minor back up. I bet, middle player calls, and Flea folds.

River is a 7. I bet and I’m good vs JT.

Flea opens, I 3-bet A6ss, and Part-Time calls from big.

I bet A64 all heart flop and Flea calls.

Turn is a T and now he check-raises me. I call.

River king. He bets, I call and I’m good vs KhJ.

A somewhat reasonable line from Flea but God bless his soul.

12:49 PM: This is what my dreams are made of… someone messages me on Facebook:

“Where is this Palace place and is there a seat open right now? I’m at Fortune.”

Yes. More of that please.

1:21 PM: AK-AQ curse still alive and well. Cutoff opens, I 3 with AK on button. Flop K83. Pretty tough board to win with AK heads up. Take it A6 of clubs.

1:44 PM: Flea gonna Flea. Tight-solid players raises, he calls. Others are in the pot also.

Flop is QT8, two spades, one diamond. I didn’t see the action.

Turn is J of diamonds. Tight-solid player bets into two opponents. I think he has AK here, like, always. Flea raises. Part-Time cold calls. Tight-solid 3-bets. No surprise there. Flea caps! Part-Time folds.

River 6 of diamonds. Tight-solid is apparently unaware of the levels of spew Flea is capable of and decides to check-call AK of spades here. Flea tables J9.

Totally clueless.

More Palace fun: 6-way limped pot and the flop is AQ3 all spades. It checks to Part-Time and he folds, seat five checks, Flea folds, s7 folds. We just went from 6-handed on the flop to 3-handed on the turn without a bet going in.

That is all.

2:19 PM: Damn. After at least 15 straight hours of playing and no sleep, Flea felts, says goodbye to everyone and then spends 15 minutes at the cage trying to get money.

It’s a no go.

Have a nice day, good buddy. Drive safe.

Suddenly we are 7-handed, but at least everyone has a decent amount of chips.

Also, a new player I’ve never seen play bigger than 4/8 just sat down with at least $1500. That can’t be bad for the game.

2:30 PM: I feel like I should mention something good happening so… aces held up heads up vs QQ.

2:44 PM: Sigh. What a joke. Game just went from 7-handed to 0-handed in five minutes.

So lame. On the list for 1/3 NL now.

+$110 in 15/30.

3:58 PM: 1/3 is super lame. Most of these pots are heading to flops with $12 in them.Muckleshoot just started a 20/40 O8 game. I’m on the fence… I’m tired… I’m annoyed… I might just go home… but I also know I won’t be playing Sunday, Monday or Tuesday so it’s hard to just toss an entire Saturday aside.

But sour mood plus tired is not a very good recipe for poker success so I probably will just go home.

4:25 PM: Confirmed done for the day. I’m definitely experiencing some burnout. After a miserable WSOP, the games in Lakewood are no longer reliable and I’ve run poorly when they have gone. I’ve basically been bleeding out since May and it’s a bit depressing. This is why people that play poker for a living never recommend this career path to anyone else. These stretches can be brutal and really ware on you. My motivation is seriously lacking right now. I want to go to Palace and play 15/30 and if that doesn’t happen, I just feel like sulking. It’s pretty gross.

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Live Poker Live Blog @ Fortune

August 2, 2018

I’m not sure where I’m going to play tonight. My initial plan was just to head straight to Fortune and be in a game by 4 PM, but a) I was behind schedule and b) Palace had ten on the list for 15/30 as I started heading north on I-5.

I’m currently at Palace playing 4/8, but I’m going to take off and head to Fortune if the 15 game hasn’t started by the time I’m done writing my blog opener.

As I mentioned previously, I did not plan to play poker Monday through Wednesday but something strange happened on Tuesday. My plan was to watch three movies at the theater, starting with Teen Titans Go! To The Movies at 11:30 AM. I’ll post my thoughts on the film in the future, but what happened after the movie was kind of alarming.

Before I stood up to leave, I started to feel dizzy. That didn’t seem too abnormal, but it lingered and when I tried walking out of the theater, the sensation stayed with me and I felt like my body wanted to topple over.

I sat in the theater lobby for several minutes waiting for things to clear up and they just didn’t. Okay. I wasn’t watching anymore movies and I was starting to feel concerned. I googled ‘vertigo’ and started reading up on what I thought I might be experiencing.

I didn’t feel comfortable driving – even across the street to Palace – so I walked to the casino where I could at least be in view of people that knew. I informed one of the dealer’s about what was going on and then I did something stupid and helped them start an 8/16 game.

It fizzled quickly and soon I was playing 6-handed poker while experiencing a new, disturbing physical sensation.

It went well. I played fine, but I was getting good starters in a short game and I won zero pots. After 49 minutes, I lost every hand I played and was -$365. Uh. What the hell am I doing? I didn’t plan to play poker and I was just killing time, so I picked up and felt like I was okay to drive home.

I did feel a bit nauseous, so I ended up taking a nap for a few hours and everything has been fine since then. But still, pretty weird and slightly concerning. Vertigo? Dehydration? Heat exhaustion? I don’t know. I can’t say I’m super worried just yet, but if it happens again I will definitely go see a doctor.

Anyways, my various medical ailments aside, I thought it was worth mentioning my brutal mini-session.

That makes me -$963 over my last 2.5 hours of 8/16. I’m guessing that has to be up there with the worst consecutive 2.5 hours of 8/16 I’ve ever had.

Some other interesting notes before I publish:

-Jose Ramirez, of the Cleveland Indians, is tied for the AL lead in homeruns and stolen bases. He’s looking like a virtual lock for a 40/40 season, something that hasn’t happened outside of The Steroid Era.

-Felix Hernandez is pitching for his tournament life tonight and it’s not a secret. He knows it. Jerry DiPoto knows it. We know it. What a shit ton of pressure for someone that has really struggled this year.

I feel for Felix. The fans are turning on him like he didn’t carry the franchise basically on his own for the past decade. He’s struggling bad and it sucks and something has to be done in the midst of a playoff race, but let’s not forget what The King has meant to our team.

-Speaking of playoff races, we bought flight tickets to New York City for the AL Wild Card Game. It’s a bold move: the Mariners are now tied with the Athletics for the second Wild Card spot and the schedule is about to get brutal: 20 of the next 29 are against the Astros, A’s, Diamondbacks, and Dodgers, all postseason caliber squads. But I have faith and I refuse to miss it if we make it.

Let’s go, M’s!

5:21 PM: Welp. I’ve given 15/30 an hour to start (40 more minutes than I planned to) and it doesn’t look close. The names are there but they are all playing 8/16 and no one seems particularly concerned with starting it. I’m out.

And there is NFL on TV. My God. It’s early August. There are 11 teams in the playoff picture in the National League.

Stop the madness.

5:40 PM: Ugh. Every part of my being doesn’t want to have to drive to Renton to play poker but I need to get in some red chip games. Officially driving to Fortune… I’ll be back in action in ~45 minutes.

6:37 PM: Back in action, sitting in 8/16 @ Fortune. I am fifth up for 20/40. I did kind of want to play 1/3 NL as my warmup, especially after spotting The Riddler in a game, but this 8/16 is short and looks promising. I’ll stay here for now.

I went +$60 in my one hour of 4/8 @ Palace and was the recipient of what felt like a record amount of passive criticism from my white chip table mates:

He’s raising A7 offsuit?”

“Three bets with KJ offsuit?”

I did have one cool hand where I 3-bet a dude that was raising way too many hands (hence 3-betting KJ) with AJo and triple barreled for value with ace high. He called me with A3 high and I looked at Blackjack, sitting at the table, and said, “not a bluff.”

6:48 PM: Time to talk about the elephant in the room: things have not gone well for me at Fortune in 2018. I have played seven “sessions” and I have booked a win exactly zero times. I’m -$5256 overall during those plays. That’s a “win rate” of -$260/hour!

To be fair, it’s only 20 hours total. That amounts to about two full sessions. I am -$4361 in the 11 hours of 20/40 I’ve played here this year. So I’ve undeniably been smacked around the last two times I’ve sat in that game.

So yeah, definitely looking to turn that around tonight. And if not, at least show the fortitude to power through and play the number of hours I plan to. FanBoy says it is criminal to leave before 3 AM and also claims the 20/40 games have been off the chain lately.

So that’s my plan. Play my best until I’m ready to go home around 3 AM.

6:59 PM: The Joker is at the Mariners-Blue Jays game tonight and if you’re not familiar with this seemingly non-rivalry I can assure you that there is nothing more annoying, as a Mariners die hard, than watching the Blue Jays play at Safeco Field. I don’t know if they all come from Canada or if they already live in the Seattle area, but Jays fans come out in droves for games in Seattle. It is no exaggeration to say that they outnumber Mariners fans like 5 to 1.

It’s embarrassing. It’s disgusting. It’s absolutely true.

Two or three years ago, it prompted Felix Hernandez to yell, “this is my house!” after shutting the Jays down.

Anyways, Joker is aware of this issue and is well prepared for the situation. Here’s a look at the sign he prepared for tonight’s game:

7:25 PM: Strange hand during my 8/16 warmup: under the gun limps, I raise KQ of spades, some others call.

It’s like six of us to K42 with two clubs and one diamond. I bet and only the button and utg limper call.

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

River pairs the deuce and brings in the diamonds and now utg donks. Pretty comical. I’m presumably only losing to suited A2 hands and 4x hands that went running diamonds – the king on the flop was a diamond.. I call and the button overcalls. Okay…

…under the gun tables 32 offsuit, so we quietly thank the gods he exists, and then the button tables Q8 of diamonds. Wow. This game might be okay.

7:46 PM: Chatter at my table, re: Felix Hernandez:

“Goddamn Felix.”

“They should just cut him or DFA him.”

“Coughed up the lead already.”

“I just don’t get it. Why do they keep marching him out there?”

So annoying.

First off, Seager had a double play ball there.

Secondly, why is he throwing 0-2 pitches over the middle?! Goddammit!

7:58 PM: Meanwhile, over at Cheney Stadium:

July 31st was The Man’s birthday and a bunch of Palace folk headed to the Tacoma Rainiers game tonight to celebrate. I did receive an invite to this shindig but while being a professional poker does allow me to take whatever days off I want, I do have to make money at some point in time and well, the last few months have been rough. I basically already took five of the last six days off, so an impromptu trip to a minor league baseball game on a Thursday night seemed like bad time management.

Anyways, that’s Radio Mike and The Man in the play-by-play booth at Cheney pretending to be on the air. I know they aren’t because I have begged Mike to let me get on there with my overwhelmingly extensive baseball knowledge and he won’t budge. I’ve taught him everything he knows about poker, so you’d think it’s the least he could do. Alas, I guess I have to win a bracelet before that happens. Shoot, I had to make a WSOP final table before the guy even gave me a follow on Twitter!

8:29 PM: Starting a third 20/40 game now. Solid warmup: +$541 in just under two hours of 8/16.

As predicted, Joker makes the Root Sports broadcast:

8:49 PM: Good start to 20/40… I guess. Someone opens, I 3-bet 99, button cold calls.

Flop is JTT and I decide to check and overcall.

Turn is a queen, button bets, other guy folds and it seems silly to fold when picking up extra equity, but this spot is pretty gross. I call.

River is an 8. This board smacks his range pretty hard so it’s not super unlikely I’m beat here but I do think I have to lead here. I bet and he calls with… AA.

9:47 PM: Had about an hour of being card dead, occasional 3-bet of a late position open and losing. Then button opens, SB 3s, and I cap with 99.

Flop is 976 with two spades. SB donks, I raise, he raises, I cap. Button is still in there calling.

Turn is ace of clubs; I bet, they call.

River is the 3 of spades. Pretty gross. I’m pretty sure small blind is made so just have to fade the button here. I bet, button calls, SB folds QQ and I’m good.

Very next hand, it’s 3-bets to me and I have KK in the small blind. I cap. It’s three of us to the flop. Big blind calls the cap but the original opener makes a weird fold.

JT3 with two clubs on flop. I bet, BB calls, button raises, I call, and BB folds (another wtf moment). It’s pretty standard to 3-bet and keep my finger on the trigger here but I know the button knows my small blind capping range is nutted, so I just call down and he shows me AA.

10:00 PM: The Riddler comes up to my table when we are 5-handed and (audible to the whole table) asks: “how’s your game?”

How the hell am I supposed to answer that question? Just such a silly thing to ask when everyone can hear the conversation.

10:09 PM: New music tonight: Travis Scott, Mac Miller, H.E.R., YG, and Iggy Azalea… in that order of interest. Travis Scott is really next level, by far the best of the non-rapper/mumble rapper crowd.

Moved to one of the main games. Lots of history with basically everyone here. FanBoy and FanGirl both in it, a Palace reg… only one player I don’t recognize.

10:16 PM: FanBoy switches tables with one of the biggest nits at Fortune.

And on the day I buy my ticket to NYC for the Wild Card Game, the Mariners drop out of the second Wild Card spot for the first time since… May?

10:53 PM: Flipper is in the building. The Joker is in the building. Hopefully his presence doesn’t have the same affect on me as it did on the Mariners. FanBoy is out of the building.

10:59 PM: Joker’s stupid face already causing problems for me. I open AJ, only FanGirl defends her big blind and then check-calls me down on JJ5KT with AQ.

Wtf.

And then AA vs 66 heads up on T867T.

Dude’s not even in my game yet.

11:12 PM: Standard private exchange between Joker and Batman:

Right after I post that screenshot, I open AK from cutoff, the nit 3s from SB and I call.

Flop is K53. I put one raise in and she snap-raises. I call down and she shows me AA!

Comical!

12:03 AM: Poker just hates me. One limper, I raise AQ, BB defends, limper 3s, I call.

Flop is Q73. He bets, I raise, he calls.

Turn 6, he check-raises. So gross. I call down. He has KK.

12:28 AM: Pretty amazing. Joker opens button, I 3 with TT, he calls.

Flop is A73 with two hearts. I bet-call and lose to T8 of hearts on the river.

Few hands later, limper, Joker raises, I 3 KK, and it’s four of us to JT9. The limper donks, Joker calls, I raise, blind calls and the donker calls.

Turn is a blank and the donker donks again. Joker folds and I just call. So does the player in the blind.

River is another brick and they both check to me. I don’t see how I can’t bet here. How can I possibly be beat? I bet and say to Joker, “if I lose this hand I’m going to be pissed.” The blind calls and the other guy folds. I table and the player in the blind tables JT.

What a joke. No 3 AM for me. This game is shitty, I’m tired, and now I’m down over $700. Literally the moment Joker walked in the building I started bleeding out and losing with the top of my range every hand.

Ugh.

My goal for the night was to persevere. It seems like I didn’t do that, but I don’t think persevering after midnight, in a bad game, 40 minutes from home is the time and place. I’m disappointed, but there’s not really much you can do when all your biggest hands are losing.

-$808 in 20/40, which puts me at -$207 for the day and continues a brutal small sample size in 20/40 at Fortune this year.

Poker will be happening Friday and Saturday. I’m not sure where yet. I was leaning Fortune but man it’s been painful out here.

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Muckleshoot 5th Sunday NL Deep Stack Tournament (LIVE BLOG)

July 29, 2018

I will be doing a live blog of the $400 5th Sunday no limit hold’em event at Muckleshoot today. It’s a pretty sick one: $400 buy in and only $20 of that goes to the house. At least that’s what it says on PokerAtlas. It’s pretty hard to believe. If so though, that’s amazing.

More info on the Muck tourney later. First, a look at this past week:

Monday +$825 in 7.5 hours of 8/16 LHE

Tuesday OFF

Wednesday +$873 in 4 hours of 1/3 PLO and -$96 in 3 hours of 8/16 LHE

Thursday +$104 in 17 minutes of 4/8 LHE and -$120 in 5 hours of 8/16 LHE

Friday -$597 in 90 minutes of 8/16 LHE

Saturday OFF

The biggest takeaway here is that I played zero minutes of 15/30. Have we officially reached a point where 15/30 isn’t even a thing anymore? I’m going to have to wait until October to play in that game regularly again?

Friday was the worst. Obviously I had a miserable mini-session, but I walked in to the casino, saw that 15/30 wasn’t going to happen on a Friday night, and I just didn’t really want to be there. It’s easy to win when you’re tired or unengaged, but losing? That’s way tougher. Down three racks in 90 minutes, in a game I don’t even want to play, losing to KQ with A2 when I check-raise my opponent on the A74 rainbow flop? Yeah, I’m out of here.

I’m not opposed to powering through tough sessions – in fact, it can be a welcome challenge at times. I’ve turned four rack deficits into solid wins on multiple occasions. But I just didn’t want to play 8/16 on a Friday night. It’s depressing.

Not a bad week overall, but I am sad about the current state of poker in Lakewood. It was really nice not having to drive out to Fortune for half a year.

Muckleshoot tournament info: $400 buy in, unlimited re-entry for 2+ hours, 25k stacks with blinds starting at 100/100, and 30 minute levels.

I’ll be back with notable superstars in the field today, but one thing I know for sure is this:

TORMUND IS IN THE BUILDING.

10:16 PM: Field is pretty sparse to start. Flexxx commented on my post on Facebook saying something about Tulalip having a $300 buy in tournament with $10k added to the prize pool. That might explain the small crowd here at the moment, but with two hours to register there is plenty of room to grow.

Bill W is only notable here that I can see. I see lots of PNW tourney regs though.

10:40 PM: This shouldn’t even be a notable hand but it is just because of how ridiculous it is. There’s a post in the hijack and the button makes a standard 6x raise (lol) to 600. I defend with 98 of clubs and hijack also calls.

Flop is 943 with one club. We check to button and he bets 2k into 1900 (lol). It’s such a giant bet on a really dry board I actually laugh out loud and shake my head, but I do call and the hijack folds.

Turn is a queen and we both check.

River is a seven. I’m happy to show down here and I think I get more value by check-calling on this runout, so that’s my line. He bets 2500 and I call. I’m good.

10:48 PM: This is more familiar: player opens to 300, there’s a call, I call with AJ and five of us see the flop.

Board comes down J73 and it checks to me. I bet 800 into 1600 and only one player calls. It is worth noting that this player is the first cold caller of the raise, so he checked the flop after the PFR checked. Which means he was likely content to let the flop check around.

Turn pairs the jack. He checks to me and I bet 1300. It’s a small bet. I want him to stick around with a weak hand or do something stupid. He seems to take the latter route by check-raising me to 3100. I call obviously.

River is a ten and he leads out 5200. No need to raise here. I feel like I’m bluff catching almost always, so I never expect him to call if I raise and I will be shocked if has anything good here. I call.

He turns over 33 for a full house. Wow. Obviously a pretty bad cooler spot, made worse by the fact he checks the flop after the PFR checks and gives four opponents a chance to see a free turn. Why anyone would do that is beyond me – it just makes no sense.

But people playing in a way that makes no sense is something that makes total sense to me.

I just won a nice 3-bet pot with AK though so despite that -8k hand I actually have over 30k right now.

11:15 AM: One limper, button makes it 1200, I make it 3600 with QQ from the small blind, the limper calls (!!) and the button sails 75+ bigs in the middle. I was planning to call a jam when I 3-bet, so I tank briefly just because there’s a third player still in the pot and then I reshove. The limper starts tanking, long enough that I turn to Bill W on my direct left and give him a ‘wtf is happening right now’ look. He eventually folds.

Button shows AK. Well, this is a pretty unnecessary 170 big blind flip.

Board runs out 654… J…. A.

Just sick. Instead of 48k (240 bigs) I now have 8.2k. That’s still 41 bigs, but it’s almost 1/3 of the starting stack and that’s when I start looking at the tourney screen wondering how long re-entry is open for.

Speaking of re-entry… Tormund is on his second bullet. I don’t know the exact details but it involved a “seven deuce” and cards being rammed up bodily orifices you’d rather not have any company.

The poker gods just refuse to give the kids a break.

12:06 PM: Not playing tight with 20-30 bigs during the re-entry period, so when someone makes it 1200 after a limper I go ahead and defend the 4x raise with J8o. I’m looking to catch any reasonable piece and get it in here. Three of us see the flop.

Flop comes down T93 with two diamonds (I have 8 of diamonds). I don’t expect to have much fold equity here so I go ahead and let the PFR c-bet (2500), other guy folds, I jam 5700 and he starts tanking (lol). I love it. I’m probably against an ace high hand here, so all my pair outs are likely live here and, by golly, this guy might actually make a ridiculous lay down. He finally talks himself into calling by saying he thinks I’m on a draw (like I’d play a made hand differently?) and I turn a straight against his A2 of spades.

Back up to 12.4k. Kind of awkward. Two minutes before re-entry ends and my stack is now too big to punt or forfeit – but half the starting stack I could sit down with for another $400. I guess I’m rolling with this bullet.

Tormund heading to break with 37k. I also spotted Minh Cash in the field.

12:39 PM: Hijack opens to 1100 at 200/400/400 and cutoff and button both call. I’m in the small blind and before I even look at my cards I’m already thinking this would be a nice spot to squeeze. I do need a bit of a hand though because the button has proven to be loose and reckless. I look down at 88. I’d say that qualifies. I ship in 11.6k. The opener and cutoff fold and the button calls, as expected.

This time my 88 holds vs his 66 and I double up.

Someone flopped a set on me for the third time this tournament but then I won a couple of pots with a c-bet after that.

Currently sitting on 27.8k.

1:12 PM: Two limpers at 300/600/600 and I make it 2600 with 77. I get it through the rest of the field and the first limper, but the bad loose player takes a flop with me. No surprise there.

Flop is AAK. And here’s the beauty of having a massive range advantage: he checks to me and I bet 1100 into 7300 and he folds.

2:18 PM: I chipped down a bit when I defended A3 of spades and flopped an ace and a backdoor flush draw. I called two streets before getting a free showdown and losing to AT.

But then I opened AA under the gun, got a caller, and a big blind defend.

Flop was AT9 rainbow and with 7200ish in the pot, the big blind led out for 2800 and had about 7k back. I had about 17k myself. I don’t want to blow either of these guys off their hands, as I’m really only vulnerable to gutshots (and I think we can assume the blind doesn’t have one of those), so I just call and so does the other player.

The turn is a queen, which is one of the worst cards for me. It improves some straights and makes my hand more vulnerable. The blind jams for 7200 and I go ahead and reshove myself. The other guy folds and I have my opponent drawing dead with two pair.

I have 33k coming back to 1200 big blind. Tormund claims to have more chips than that, but can’t come up with a rough number.

3:00 PM: Open JJ to 2500 at 600/1200 and Bill W jams for a little less than 20k. Folds back to me and I have a pretty trivial call here, but I take a few seconds just to make sure. I put it in there and hold vs AQ.

Peaking at 52k. That’s about average now…

Look at this ridiculous stack at my table:

4x average is pretty massive at this stage of a tournament like this one.

3:16 PM: Defend T7cc. Flop is J97 with two diamonds and one club. I elect to check and he jams for 12k – a little more than pot.

Eh. I hate my line already. I should have just put him all in myself. I flopped well enough to contend for his stack size here, but I prefer having hands like AK, AQ, and KQ fold rather than forcing themselves to showdown.

I end up calling and he’s actually in really good shape with 88. He has me beat, he’s blocking two of my straight outs, and my two pair makes him a straight. Pretty gross. His hand holds up and while I’m pretty sure he would have called a donk-jam, I think I still prefer that line.

Anyways, I lose 15k on that one and I’m back down to 32k.

3:38 PM: Down to 36 players now. 12 cash. Minh Cash on my immediate right now with a Minh Cash kind of stack.

3:49 PM: Minh Cash doubles! He is now over 35k.

4:38 PM: Blinds keep going though me without winning any hands. Down to 12 bigs but it did look like Tormund got a big double.

5:05 PM: Coming back to 1500/3000 with exactly 10 bigs. Tormund coming back to 30+ bigs.

5:18 PM: Minh Cash is facing a button jam and a small blind jam holding AJ, for about 10 bigs effective, and… decides to call it off. He’s up against 99 and AK.

Jack of hearts in the window, followed by two small hearts. Minh Cash has the ace of hearts to boot. He holds and more than triples.

Very next hand, button is crippled and jams 4000. Minh Cash calls and I call Q9o. This a pretty standard spot to check down and never bluff. Board runs out AK2-4-J and Minh Cash says, “I can’t win,” so I table my hand and the button wins with 33. But I saw Minh Cash’s hand. He had 84. I’m like, “what’d you have?” because maybe my eyes deceived me, but he confirms the 84 and I’m like “dude.” So the button winds up quadrupling instead of busting.

I get a few jams through with KQ and A3, but I pick up the 77 and dude’s hands are shaking as he calls. Tormund said he wanted to sweat my all in, so I say, “Tormund, I’m all in with the worst hand” before the cards are turned over… because I already know.

Sure enough, he tables the TT and that holds and I bust out in 20th, eight spots shy of the money.

What a brutal stretch this is.

Tormund is well above average with 19 left now and that’s pretty cool because I have 30% of him.

No Tormund Shuffle today please. 🤞🏻

5:31 PM: Someone jams AT into Tormund’s KK and he busts that player to chip up over 200k. 18 players left now.

6:52 PM: They are down to 13 left and playing hand-for-hand. Tormund is at 210k with average stack at 182k.

I forgot to mention there were 95 total runners in this event. Also discovered that $20 entry fee wasn’t a real thing. PokerAtlas made it seem like they might only take $20 out, but the admin fee is $20, plus there’s $20 taken out for the dealers and $10 taken out for the Tournament of Champions. So they are actually taking out $50, not $20.

7:02 PM: Tormund is in the money! Our boy has dipped below average stack though.

7:29 PM: Tormund getting comfortable at the final table:

10th place pays $950.

Minh Cash is also in there, sitting with about average stack. Tormund has about ten bigs.

A brief interview: tormund-interview-1.m4a

7:54 PM: Ugh. Just saw Minh Cash get all the chips in on a JT8 flop vs 77 and the board runs out JT8-T-7. I can feel his pain from here. He has about 75k in front of him and the other player has over 250k now. Really, really gross. So brutal.

8:11 PM: A little redemption for Minh Cash when he jams KK and the same player calls it off with 88 and the kings hold.

I was going to update his new stack size but he was on the turn facing a jam from… Tormund. Minh Cash winded up folding.

8:22 PM: Sigh. Tormund runs KK into AA. We are on crumbs.

He’s all in for less in the big blind and triples with K8 of spades.

Next hand, it folds to him in the SB, he jams 37k and BB folds.

Back to 53k!

8:49 PM: Tormund jams < 2 bigs on button and his A2 loses to A9. He busts in 9th for $1050, giving me a tiny rebate on my buy in back.

Minh Cash is still in there with 8 left, but we are out. Good luck, Minh Cash!

I probably won’t play any poker until Thursday.

Tomorrow I’m going to the Mariners vs Astros with FanBoy on my birthday. My goal is to get a disabled Jose Altuve’s autograph because, let’s be real, he has nothing better to do.

Tuesday I’m having a movie marathon day. I’m going to start out with Teen Titans Go! to the Movies, then Uncle Drew, and finishing with Ant-Man and the Wasp. Not the most exciting lineup but it should be funny at least.

Wednesday we are having a Leak Day. That starts out with an early morning hike near the Lewis River by Mt. St. Helens. Not sure what the rest of the day will entail, but we will do whatever she wants.

So that leaves Thursday as my next play day and that probably means I’ll head to Fortune or maybe the Little Creek NL cash game.

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Hand History Highlights

July 23, 2018

So I didn’t end up blogging during two pretty epic sessions. I had a +$2666 PLO session that I didn’t blog any hands from and this past Saturday was possibly the craziest 8/16 game I’ve ever participated in.

The Triple Up

I always sit down in PLO with between $500 and $800 on the table and $1000+ in black chips in my pocket for swift and discreet top offs and reloads. I wouldn’t need those extra chips for this session.

I’m UTG with QdJd8d8. I decide to limp in because I want to play, but I don’t want to bloat the pot from early position and risk getting 3-bet. I don’t mind limp-calling with it and going from there. So I limp in, someone does raise it and six of us go to the flop for $25 each.

Pot is $150 and it checks to me on Td9d3. Now I’m pretty happy to get it in and I start trying to build the pot by leading out for $80. Tormund raises me a couple of stacks and John Kim pots it. Everyone is about $800 deep on the flop and though I’d rather get this in heads up (3-way action could indicate a set and a bigger flush draw), I decide to go with it. All three of us get our stacks in and agree to run it twice.

First Board: Td9d3-X-K

Second Board: Td9d3-Xd-Y

I scoop this $2400+ monster pot in the first 30 minutes of the session. John Kim had TT. Not sure what Tormund had. My diamond draw was obviously the nuts, so folding here would have been a catastrophe.

Leveling Up

It’s been five days since this session, so some of the finer details are lost on me. In this pot I had A873 with nut hearts. I believe this pot was limped around preflop.

The flop is JT3 with two spades and one heart. Everybody checks.

The turn is the four of hearts. It checks to me and I decide to bet my pair plus nut flush draw plus weak gutter and this much weakness in front of me. I bet $20 and the player on the button – the most experienced and possibly the best PLO player in the game – makes it $85 to go.

Everyone else folds.

I’m not buying it. What hand other than 44 in the hole can really justify a value raise here? There’s two spades on the flop and sets are vulnerable to the straight draws around the jack and ten, so I’m basically eliminating non-44 sets from his range when he checks back the flop. I think I can remove JT for the same reasons. I don’t think he has a strong made hand and I suspect he thought the same about my range and that’s the main reason he was raising me.

Time to level up. This isn’t like hold’em where I can check-call with bottom pair some of the time. If he has a good bluffing hand like 7665, I’m still losing to that if neither of us improve.

It’s worth noting at this point that I thought he raised me to $105 based on how his chips were positioned, so I wasn’t trying to put max pressure on him when I made it $310. But I do end up potting it because I can only make it $280. He ends up calling.

The river pairs the 4 and misses both flush draws. Seems like a very safe card to continue my story and since I don’t think he has much and I want to look like I might want a call, I bet $200 and he tanks for a tiny bit before folding.

A friend and I were talking about the final table of the WSOP and all the close spots that came up. Like Tony Miles huge bluff with the 75. If John Cynn calls there he’s a genius hero. He just won the WSOP Main Event. If he calls and Tony Miles shows… jacks full or something of that nature, John Cynn looks like an idiot for doubling his opponent up with such a weak hand.

These spots come up all the time, especially in big bet poker. This PLO hand I just posted is a good example. I felt like a gangster after that hand. My analysis was solid and led me to good conclusions and a nice pot when I didn’t have anything. But what if he had a four and a flush draw and decided to call it off on the river with trips? Am I an idiot now? Naw. I analyzed correctly and got unlucky. But what about when he has threes full? How cool do I feel punting $500+ in this pot that had $30 in it on the turn?

And that’s what makes poker so fun, deep, and exhilarating!

Running Good

I open with KKJ4 double suited and three players call. Flop is 99x and I decide to check back when it’s checked to me.

Turn is the ten of diamonds and one of the blinds leads out $20 into $50 and one other player calls. I have a gut shot, a weakish flush draw, and an overpair. Also, neither of my opponents are experienced PLO players. I don’t trust their abilities to determine hand strengths in this game. I decide to peel and see what happens on the river.

It’s the king of diamonds, giving me the nut full house and bringing in the flush. The first guy leads out for $40, the second player calls again and I make it $135 to go. The first player tanks for a bit and then jams on me for $300+ and the other guy folds. I call and beat his T9.

Obviously I got super lucky here but that river action is what I’m thinking of when I say I don’t trust their ability to read hands or recognize relative hand strength.

The Craziest 8/16 Game Ever

By the time I got to the main game I had already hit a High Hand for $400, so I moved over with about $1000 in chips.

And then I found out they were playing 16/32 Overs. What? I’ve legitimately never seen or heard of that happening in a Palace game. But I was excited because pretty much everyone at the table had a button. And the pots were MASSIVE.

The first time I saw someone try to raise the turn to $64 with blue chips, I immediately went and got myself $500 in red, to make betting on the big bet streets swift and easy.

First, A Hand

This hand happened at a previous table, but it’s important to note because the main villain is in the main game when I get there.

This player had already proven to be speeding around a little bit, so when he opens and one other cold calls, I 3-bet 77 on the button. He caps it. We go 5-handed to the flop.

It’s Q74 with two diamonds. He leads out, there’s a call, I raise, the small blind calls cold, and the other two call.

Turn is a 6 and the speeder and small blind both check-call.

River is an 8 and the small blind leads out. He definitely has some fives in his range so I’m not happy about this, but then the preflop capper raises! I know he’s been speeding around, but he capped it preflop! And bet the flop! What is he trying to say he has? He doesn’t look like he’s bluffing, plus I have the small blind to deal with also, so I muck my hand in disbelief. The small blind calls and flashes 86 of diamonds (good lead, champ) and the speeder tables…

…wait for it…

…oh my god it’s so good…

…T9 offsuit!

Wow. MAGA indeed.

So yeah. That guy is in this crazy 16/32 game and so is a newer player that has a big mouth and a very itchy trigger finger. In fact, I counted five maniacs/spewers sitting in a row before I even sat down. I was practically hyperventilating in anticipation while I was waiting to move to the table. What if all the money’s gone?! I didn’t even know these psychos were playing for double the stacks after the flop.

So I finally get my seat in this insane game and The Flea is sitting on my right and we have a quick and abrupt conversation.

Flea: Did you just get back from Vegas?

Me: Nope.

Flea: Oh, I thought that was you that was in Vegas.

Me: Nope.

A Bad Beat Story

I open AA under the gun. One psycho raising every hand 3-bets me and the psycho with T9o caps it.

Flop is AK3 and we all check.

Turn is a blank. I bet and they both fold.

Foul Deck

This game is jammed up and I’m in there speculating with the T9 of spades in a raised pot on the button. There’s like 13 people in the pot.

Flop is J62 with two spades and there’s a flurry of action. Guy in s4 donks, Flea raises, I call it cold, FanBoy’s girlfriend (I’ll call her FanGirl for the rest of this hand) calls cold and six of us see the turn for two bets.

It pairs the jack and brings in the flush. Everyone checks to me, I bet, FanGirl check-raises, and s4 cold calls with what is clearly three jacks. It seems like FanGirl has a flush and if that’s true, I kind of have to lean towards bigger flushes than I have. She can have all the ace high, king high, and queen high flush combos and she may be folding junky suited hands like 83 of spades. So I play it cautious and call.

River pairs the six, FanGirl checks, s4 bets, I basically snap fold and she pays it off. He wins with KJ.

Me, to FanGirl: How big was your flush?

FanGirl: Ten high.

Me: Uhhh… I had a ten high flush.

FanGirl: 97 of spades.

Me: 👀

Sorry Ass Dealers

I’m not going to lie, I felt a little bad for the dealers during this game. But only slightly. It wasn’t the easiest game to manage. There was criticism, lots of cursing, some dealer abuse. One player in particular was a real difficult customer. But he was also the main catalyst in the game.

I tried to prime the dealers as they sat down. “Just deal and pretend like you can’t hear anything.”

Well, the catalyst ends up losing a pot and calls the dealer a “sorry ass dealer” and the floor happens to hear something as he’s walking by and it’s repeated what he said and now he’s getting kicked out. On his way out, he grabs a stack of blue chips and tosses it across the room and then says “fuck you” and “suck my dick” to everyone on his way out.

And yes, his ejection totally ruined the game. It went from being off-the-charts good to being pretty good.

I was crushing this game at one point and my stack looked something like this:Unfortunately I started running absurdly bad and wound up cashing out +$202 (and that includes the $400 I got for High Hand. Yikes!). It was quite an epic collapse. I think I may have been +$1500 at my peak.

Sick Cameo

A rare in-season appearance from the legend Radio Mike: I told him I had to snap a pic because I’d never seen him with so many chips in front of him (those racks are seat 2’s).

WSOP Main Event Bust Out Hand

I’ve been interested in messing around with solvers and I wound up downloading a free trial of PokerSnowie and while I haven’t sunk my teeth into the intricacies of the software I did try to run a sim of the hand I busted out on in the WSOP Main Event.

The numbers aren’t exact (I start the hand with the same number of blinds) and I didn’t bother adjusting irrelevant stack sizes. I’m covered by my one opponent and that’s all that matters.

To recap, I opened with KK under the gun, it folded to the big blind and he defended. Flop was 763 with two diamonds and he check-raised my 8k bet to 25k. While I did consider checking back the flop, facing the check-raise is the first interesting spot in the hand.

PokerSnowie’s suggestion:PokerSnowie suggests calling 100% of the time. As you know, I jammed and busted to 63o. What’s interesting about that screenshot, is that even though the AI suggests 100% call, the EV of calling and raising are pretty similar. I’m not sure what to make of that and I haven’t figured out how to analyze that further.

So let’s pretend I called and the turn was a black ace, as it was. And let’s pretend my opponent goes for a bet size of about half-pot, a reasonable assumption considering I would still have 1.7x pot behind after the flop action. Here’s what PokerSnowie suggests:

Both calling and raising have negative expected values. It’s a 100% fold… and I continue on in the Main Event with 46 bigs and plenty of play for the rest of Day 3.

Conclusion? I can now sleep easily at night knowing that I did, indeed, punt my way out of the 2018 Main Event.

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Muckleshoot $300 NL 4th Sunday (Live Blog)

July 22, 2018

10:26 PM: Making an appearance at Muckleshoot in an attempt to increase my live tournament volume. $300 buy in gets you 25k in chips with blinds starting at 100/100 and 30 minute levels.

I already bluffed off 20% of my stack after getting a free play from the small blind with Q9o.

I lead out for 200 in a 4-way pot on T86 and only the small blind calls.

Turn is an ace. I check, not really planning to call very often. He bets 500 and I’m not surprised to see him bet. None of the draws improved and it’s pretty hard for him to have made hands that can stand a raise, so I make it 1700. He calls.

River is king. I bet 2100 and he snaps with A6. Bad result but I’m fine with my line there.

Dealer just told me I can’t have my headphone charger on the table. I use it as a card protector so I’m pretty annoyed. She asks, “is it an electronic?” I respond, “yes, it’s a card reader.”

A little help, Big Daddy?

I recognize a few players at my table. I’ll give one a nickname, since he pops into Palace on occasion and always plays the same local tournaments I play. I will call him Minh Cash.

Looking around the room to see who else in here. I see Bill W and Solomon Grundy but that’s it. Field is kind of small so far. Only six tables in play and all of them have multiple open seats. Registration is open for another 95+ minutes though.

10:51 AM: Defend 3x raise in 4-way pot from small blind with KTo (note: small and big are both 100).

Flop is T74 with two spades. It checks around.

I lead 600 on deuce turn and only the cutoff calls.

River is an ace. A card players will bluff on a lot. If I had the best hand on the turn, I still expect to have the best hand most of the time. I’m losing to nut flush draws that checked back on the flop in position and A7, A4, and A2. Basically I expect him to be bluffing a lot if he bets, so I snap call his 1300 and I guess we’re going to have to include 53 in his preflop cold calling range now.

18.5k

Bright side: unlimited re-entry for 90 more minutes!

11:04 PM: Minh Cash coolered for stacks in a 5-bet pot with his QQ running into AA.

11:23 PM: More bluffing. Open 98hh. C-bet total air. He calls on K32. Turn blank. River ace. Prompts me to bet again. He calls with K6.

Had another weird spot. SB makes it 800 after multiple limps. I defend A3dd.

Four ways to 762 one diamond, one spade flop. Everybody checks.

Turn 3 of spades. I bet 1600, button calls and SB makes it 4100. Really weird spot. Hard to imagine what good hands he plays this way. Probably not overpairs. Sets make some sense, I guess. Spade draws? Probably not with that small of sizing, out of position against two players. He’s been playing pretty aggro so I’m tempted to stuff it on him, but I reluctantly muck instead. So does the button.

Defend 76cc in 5-way pot. Flop is AK3 with two clubs. It checks to cutoff and he bets 1100. He probably has the weakest range of anyone besides me (this is 53 guy), so I jam it on him. Everyone folds.

11.6k

My image is horrible right now, so time to tighten up for a bit and go for extra value when I have something.

11:47 AM: A5hh whiffs on J76hh4-2. Poker is so annoying sometimes.

12:18 PM: Decided to jam the QJdd with 30ish bigs against what I knew was a strong hand. I was planning to forfeit my stack if I was going to L5 with 20-30 bigs, so I just gambled here and tried to double up. He had AA. And I flopped a king. That was the extent of the sweat for me.

Starting 200/400 with 25k now on bullet #2.

12:28 PM: New table has Bill W on my direct right and a player that has 120k somehow.

12:54 PM: Mentioned to Bill W that today is my 8 year anniversary since my last drink… and that got him started telling me all kinds of stories that blew my mind.

If you don’t know, Bill W runs an addiction/recovery center. My nickname originates from one of the founders of AA, so while that name might seem like I’m poking fun at what he does, as someone that has dealt with repercussions of alcoholism since I was in high school, I actually have a tremendous amount of respect for him.

1:09 PM: Bill W limps UTG, I make it 1700 at 300/600 and we go 4-ways to J94 flop. I don’t really like c-betting with my stack size, so I check, the first caller bets 3000 and the other two fold. Not to sure about this spot. It costs me 3000 to win a pot that has 11.3k in it so I’m getting almost 4 to 1 on a call. The board is coordinated around the J9 so there’s no guarantee both my cards are live. The bet size is pretty small in relation to the pot, so I go ahead and speculate.

Turn is a ten. Let’s. Go. I check. He puts me all in and I snap. He tables 44.

River: Ten.

GG.

Pretty solid showing. Two bullets and I never had more than the 25k starting stack.

👍🏻

That’s probably all the poker for me today. I don’t want to jump in a cash game right away so I’m not heading to Fortune and Palace doesn’t even have an 8/16 game yet.

I plan to make a post of my “highlight reel” for my PLO session on Wednesday and the insane 8/16 game I played in at Palace on Friday night.

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Enemy Territory: $20/$40 @ Fortune

July 19, 2018

No. Fortune is not really the enemy, but it is a pretty foreign location to me at this point. I have logged 14 total hours at Fortune in 2018. Once I stopped in while waiting for the Muck Main Event to finish, once I stopped in before seeing Kendrick Lamar at the White River Amphitheater in Auburn, and once I stopped in briefly before heading to a home game. That brings the number of sessions I’ve played at Fortune because I planned to play a session at Fortune in 2018 to a grand total of one. I played a five hour session of 20/40 and got a swift kick in the ass to the tune of -$2135.

The reason my volume there has fallen off a cliff – despite good results: 1.47 BB/HR in 2017 – is because Palace hasn’t really given me a reason to go play anywhere else.

That seems to be changing. 15/30 is hit or miss at this point and The Leak and I stopped in Palace today, but we were playing in a lame short-handed feeder 8/16 game, the main game looked even worse, and 15/30 was probably hours away.

So I could stay and play 8/16 short-handed with my wife… or head to Fortune where they already have two 20/40 games going. There is no list for 20/40 so I won’t be surprised to walk in and see a 4-handed feeder game going, but hopefully it’s closer to being full. I like playing short-handed but not necessarily at the start of my sessions and the more players in the 20/40 games the more likely it is that at least one of them is pretty good.

4:30 PM: I don’t have many nicknames for players at Fortune. Just a couple. There are two full games going right now. Neither of them look very good though.

I do have some new nicknames for some Palace players though.

First off, the most overdue nickname ever. This player is one the top regulars at Palace and probably employs the tight-solid strategy better than any Palace regular when he’s on his A-game (i.e. not drinking). Note: Joker and I are not tight-solid players. He’s one of the good guys. He’s small in stature, but stocky.

I introduce you to Mighty Mouse.

Second nickname is for a player that is a sometime regular. I’ve seen him disappear for long periods of time but when he plays he comes in often. His style used to give me fits: he borders on maniacally aggressive but is a tad more selective and restrained than the true psychos. Still, I admire his tenacity – he unrelentingly attacks weakness. He is a bit hard-headed and can be easy to trap though.

Once upon a time, I thought of the perfect name for this player but I have since forgot. If I ever remember, I will probably change it, but for now, this player will be called Mr. Plow, as in Homer Simpson’s moniker when the streets of Springfield were covered in snow.

Finally, a name change. Action Bronson is a fitting moniker for that player, but a) it’s slightly obscure and b) I have something better.

When this player is in the game, the pots automatically get bigger, maybe even double in size. He’s a huge advocate of button straddles and almost always gets the whole table on board with it. In fact, he won’t even play 15/30 because he claims that 8/16 with straddles is a much better game. Not really sold on that. You can loosen a 15/30 up just like you can an 8/16, but whatever. Also, this player is the only one I’ve seen, maybe in history, that habitually plays his big blind, small blind, and button as his last three hands of a session before picking up and leaving. 100% of the time. He’s a game-changer. Someone is going to have a good session when he sits down (once in a while it’s him) because every pot is like a splash pot. I know it’s the middle of summer right now but it always feels like Christmas when he’s at the table.

He is Santa Claus.

5:41 PM: There are two full 20/40 games going at Fortune. I’ve moved twice already. The games seem pretty typical at the moment. What that means is that most pots are heads up or 3-handed.

Only notable hand I’ve played so far was when I 3-bet Q9o on the button after the same player opened three hands in a row, just as a way to say: not on my watch.

He check-raised me on a queen high flop and I called there and turn before betting river when he slowed down. He paid it off and my message was sent.

I have played with four of the players at my table. One of them is definitely good, two of them are probably small winners, and the other is likely a small loser. Three players I don’t know have over $3000 in front of them.

Also, I have already folded AQ preflop.

5:52 PM: Yesterday I played PLO at Palace. I got tuned up pretty good in 4/8 Omaha 8 and 8/16 while I was waiting. I went -$453 in 90 minutes of play. It was spectacular.

Fortunately PLO went much better. I finished at +$2663. I have some hands I want to type out, but I’ll wait until I’m on a break or when I get home, so I can focus on what’s happening in front of me.

6:00 PM: Just saw a player show down 75o after limping in under the gun. So…. that’s good news.

6:24 PM: Rigged. I open KJdd, good player 3-bets, loose player calls small blind, and I call.

Flop is KT3 with two diamonds. I decide to go with check-raise and it gets capped 3-ways.

Not planning to lead many turns and the ace of clubs is definitely a check-call. Good player bets and we both call.

River is 2c. I check-fold and the loose player pays off with AQ. Good player has a set of 3s.

Just heard the player on my right call the dealer a “cunt” under his breath. That’s pretty cool. Poker is full of all sorts of wonderful people.

6:54 PM: Solid connection. I check-raise the QJxK board with KJ against the fishiest player at the table. He has QQ. Great timing. Currently working on -$500.

7:44 PM: Approaching -$1000. I’ve won one small pot in the last 2+ hours.

I’ve had a lot of late position open/big blind defend spots against s1 and he has won 100% of them so far. That’s been pleasant.

But as I was typing this I 3-bet AK on button and barreled off on KJ2Q2 and never got check-raised! Back to -$600.

This game is about to get juicy though: The Invisible Man just sat down.

8:15 PM: Cutoff opens, I 3-bet AT, he calls. He donks on AKQ so I just call down on AKQ73 runout. He has A7.

Under the gun opens, fish calls, I defend AKss. Hard not to 3-bet with the fish in there but I hate giving away my hand strength out of position and narrowing my range. When I call, I can still have anything.

So when I check-raise the 822s flop, I can reasonably rep trips, or an eight. They both call flop. I feel like I’m good.

Turn 3 of spades. I bet, UTG calls, and the fish folds.

River 8 and I have to chop this stupid pot with A9.

Everything is going swimmingly.

8:46 PM: Defend QT in 4-way pot. Flop is KJx rainbow. Two of us call. Turn 3. I’m the only caller. River 7. Check, check. He shows A3o.

Nice line, DK.

Wish this pot was heads up instead. Might have to re-examine this spot but it seems bad to isolate with queen high out of position on KJx against someone that raised multiple limpers.

8:54 PM: Good lord. Defend QQ heads up. Check-call T53. Check-raise 4. Check-call 2. Lose to A5.

FUCK.

9:15 PM: Just took a steam walk to clear my head from this super annoying session I’m having and received what was the coolest text message I’ve ever read. Maybe some day soon I will share it.

Came back and posted in the cutoff. Multiple limpers, I check 54o, and then bet the A34 flop when everyone checks to me. I somehow get five players to fold. One of them says to me, “easy game.”

Yeah man. Totally. Just running this shit over right now.

9:21 PM: Sigh. Finally get a good run out. Defend 74dd vs button open and SB call, check-raise A54dd flop, button folds, SB calls. He check-calls down on A54dd43d.

Very next hand, there’s two limps, I raise AK from SB and it’s four way action to A86.

Fast forward to the river and I’m getting scooped by A7.

Yup. Easy game.

9:39 PM: One thing I definitely do miss about playing at Fortune is that, for the most part, people leave me alone. I’m all for creating a friendly, fun, and entertaining atmosphere at the table. I think it’s much, much better for poker and makes it more enjoyable for everyone. But if I was being completely honest, I would rather just listen to music than socialize all day long. Most of the time.

I listen to audio books when I’m driving so the only time I have to really listen to music is at the gym or when I’m playing poker. And these days there’s so much stuff coming out all the time that it’s hard to keep up… especially if I’m never checking it out the 40 hours a week I’m sitting at a poker table.

So yeah, it’s been nice to just sit here for 5+ hours of uninterrupted musical enjoyment.

Now I can listen to The Internet’s new album without having to pause it after every hand to courteously listen to the sixth street talk I have no interest in.

9:52 PM: FanBoy texting me that 15/30 at Palace is jamming. Everyone has Overs. Ugh.

There’s a big difference between the Palace 15/30 and the Fortune 20/40. It’s pretty huge actually. You could randomly take any player off the 20/40 here and they would almost always be a top 5 player at Palace. It’s just night and day really.

10:11 PM: Raise button with QQ. K22 flop. I end up folding turn. Small blind wins with K6o.

It’s all so gross I’m struggling to stomach it right now.

Defend J9. Flop 964. He has 44.

Can’t. Take. Much. More.

-$1700

10:45 PM: Middle position opens JTo. I 3-bet AA on the button. He wins.

Massive pot: I have QJhh in MP after limpers, I raise and it gets capped 7-ways.

I peel one off on 872 with one heart. All seven players are still in.

Turn is a queen. Someone donks, two calls, I raise. One player cold calls but I do get two folds. 🙌🏻 The other two just call. I like my hand but I’m definitely not sure about it.

River ace. It checks around. Turn donker has KQ.

Ugggghh.

10:59 PM: JJ v KK. That’s all.

11:02 PM: 88 v QQ on 9 high board.

11:03 PM: TT v KK on AAxxx.

I’m going to lose all my chips tonight.

11:11 PM: Legit just steam-punted $100 and that is my cue to get the hell out of here.

I was able to carry all my chips in one hand to cash out. Not sure how many times that’s happened in a limit game in the past five years, but it’s probably less than three.

I was pretty sure this was going to be a record loss, but this is what I have remaining from a $3000 buy in:

That’s a final score of -$2226, less than $100 away from being an all-time worse loss.

I guess my pain threshold kicks in somewhere around -$2k these days. Once I hit that number, I can really start to feel it physically and any series of negative variance afterwards is enough to make me want to quit.

This isn’t really a good thing. Increasing my pain threshold is something to work on, especially as I continue to move up in limits. I can’t really play 40/80 and start to think about giving up at -$2k.

So yeah. That’ll teach me to think I can go somewhere besides Palace to play poker. Home field advantage is a real thing and after posting back-to-back $2k losses in the 20 at Fortune, I wouldn’t be surprised if I don’t go back there the rest of the year.