Posts Tagged ‘world series of poker’

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WSOPc $400 HORSE @ The Bike – LETโ€™S GET A RANG (Stack Updates)

December 5, 2018

2:41 PM: Ubering to The Bike right now with an ETA of 3:02 PM, so I’ll be just in time for a slightly late start.

Yesterday that $400 Monster Stack had a brutal $70 admin fee. 17.5% taken out is always lovely. It is the same today.

Looks like we will be starting with 15k in chips and blinds at an odd 50/75 for the flop games and 25 ante for the Stud games. Betting limits will be 75/150 in the first level and levels are 30 minutes long.

This is supposed to be a two day event and we are playing up to 20 levels today, but the structure sheet only has 14 listed levels so maybe it is really a single day tournament. 20 levels would take us to about 2 AM tonight. Not really sure what to expect as far as that goes. If we reach a final table at 11 PM, I would definitely not want to come back the next day to play it.

Of course I have to get there first.

There is unlimited re-entry through the first 12 levels and, unlike yesterday, I will be firing multiple bullets if I’m unlucky enough to bust early in a limit structure.

I will post stack updates here, for sure, and maybe the occasional notable hand, but I want to focus more on my table than on writing, so don’t expect many hands, but check back for progress updates!

3:09 PM: Everyone standing in line with me to register is at my starting table, including two ladies that have 50% of each other (as heard as they were standing in line). One of them is Carol Fuchs, an accomplished mixed games player with over $520k in lifetime tournament cashes. I’ve played HORSE with Carol before.

I actually recognize a lot of the players in this field. Other notables: Miami John Cernuto, Allen Kessler, Frankie O’Dell, and Wendy Freedman – all with over a million in tourney cashes. Plus Wayne ‘Kevin’ LaMonica, a total maniac that took 2nd in the $1500 HORSE when I finished 5th at the 2017 WSOP. Also, one of the players from the 30/60 mix just sat down in the field.

My starting table seems reg heavy, but so does the whole field really.

3:47 PM: I mention that I’m not supposed to recognize half the field when I come from out of state and Carol asks me where I’m from and I say, “Washington.”

She says, “you don’t say…” and I realize I have been trolled because…

UW vs #1 Gonzaga in Spokane at 8 PM (Pacific) tonight on ESPN. My boys are 15.5 point DAWGS so not a lot of hope here but still… a very exciting game for my alma mater tonight.

5:00 PM: Just above starting stack after four levels and coming back to betting limits of 250/500.

I won a good multi-way Stud pot and scooped a heads up pot, blind vs blind, in O8 with AQ83 on Q72J8.

That’s pretty much the extent of my excitement so far.

7:10 PM: 26.5k after 8 levels coming back to betting limits of 600/1200.

Most notable hand last four levels: Stud Hi, guy on my right completes with a 6 up and I raise with A4-4 with two clubs and all my cards live. This clears the rest of the field.

He is pretty early so I think he is more likely to have a big pair in the hole than split sixes and the fact I have an ace is a big factor here.

So when he pairs his 6 on 4th and puts a 1000 chip in the pot, I put a 500 chip in to call. Technically he can bet 1000 here because he has an open pair on 4th but he didn’t say anything and I’m guessing a single over-sized chip defers to the normal limit. The dealer gives him change and he starts to protest but quickly realizes he has no argument and we got to 5th street…

…where I catch a 4 and make trips. He still bets and while I do think I’m leading here a lot against two pair, I decide that I’m going to call down unimproved and save a couple bets when he actually does have trips.

I do brick out and he fires 5th, 6th, and on 7th he bets without even looking at his card. Eek. I never improve but I call and I’m good against KK66x.

9:21 PM: It looked like I was going to fizzle right out of this thing but the last two levels were a heat stroke for me.

57k after 12 levels. Registration will be closed after this break. We are coming back to betting limits of 1500/3000.

11 PM: 76k after 15 levels coming back to 3000/6000 betting limits.

Board says there are 30 players left. I think it said 12 cash with $9600 up top for 1st. Average stack is 48.5k.

Frankie O’dell is at my table now. It’s my first time I’ve ever played with him.

Here are some highlights:

“I’m on the Mount Rushmore of that shit.” – in reference to Omaha 8 or better.

“People don’t go five bets with me, bro.” – after he gets in a cut off vs big blind raising war holding AA33 and busts a short stack that had QQ32.

Hopefully there is more to come.

12:05 AM: There is no better feeling than the swift death. I came back from break and played the first three hands of Omaha. And lost all of them. Just like that I went from 76k to 43.5k and was suddenly below average for the first time in many levels. Maybe ever.

Then I defended in Stud 8 with 54-2 and caught an ace on 4th but my board ran out 254 while he was showing xx-6K6K on 6th.

That hand left me crippled and with three small bets left, I got it in with 75-A in Stud 8, got three callers, caught a jack on 4th and got isolated by a guy with 75-63 and he immediately drilled the 4 on 5th.

That busted me in 22nd, ten spots off the money.

It’s the best. Playing all day and busting just shy of the money. I love it.

That’s it for me tonight and since I can’t play a day 2 in the Omaha 8 tournament, I will not be winning a WSOPc ring this trip.

Most likely I will be playing cash all day tomorrow then flying back on Friday in time for the (hopefully) resurrection of the 15/30 game at Palace at 4 PM.

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WSOPc @ The Bike – $400 No Limit Holdโ€™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. ๐Ÿคฏ

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. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

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. ๐Ÿค

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 doppelgรคngers?

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.

๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ

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.

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Main Event Day 3 – Sweat Post

July 7, 2018

There it is. My worst table draw yet. I’m starting the day with 51 bigs, so I’m far from the danger zone, but the five players on my left are all more accomplished than I am and four of them have me covered.

Josh Arieh has almost $8 million in career earnings and at least two WSOP bracelets that I saw, plus a (infamous?) 3rd place finish in the 2004 WSOP Main Event.

Max Altergott is a German high roller that seems to have disappeared from the live scene mostly over the last few years, but I’d guess he’s been playing a lot online.

Stanley Lee has a 3rd place finish in the WSOP Monster Stack and various other NL results that back that effort up.

Dustin Goff seems to have had all his success in the past month, so he’s probably feeling very confident.

The table chipleader is on my immediate right and seems to have very little live experience. That’s a plus, but I’m not in a great position to abuse him.

The player in seat 9 has no recorded cashes… and a short stack.

I imagine the tables in Brasilia will be breaking after the Pavilion, but I’m not sure. I wouldn’t mind seeing this table break early, but you always have to be careful what you wish for. Fist bump as you bag your chips and you might find yourself headed to a televised feature table with Phil Ivey and his mountain of chips and… his sunglasses. Sunglasses!!!

Chances are this lineup is not going to let me get away with opening 15% of my starting hands, so I will have to pick my spots wisely.

Chief Wiggum bagged up a stack of 56.2k and he’ll be tangling with Washington state notable Darren Rabinowitz.

Cards in the air in an hour. Stack updates here and on Facebook and I’ll post some notable hands here on breaks if I have time.

Let’s get it.

11:29 PM: Huge pot brewing:

Arieh re-jams here on T53cc.

Wow. S1 lays down AK of clubs, Arieh has 55, and s4 has AT! What a punt.

Josh Arieh sitting on over 400k now.

1 PM: I stacked the shortest stack at the table when he jammed KQ into my AA.

I just 4-bet jammed over a button open and small blind 3-bet with QQ right before the break. Button makes it 5k, small blind makes it 16k. I had about 130k and I’m not sure if I have any other reasonable line. They both folded.

I’m at 153k on break. Chief Wiggum has 63k.

Two other interesting hands I wasn’t involved in:

Two players limp and Josh Arieh makes it like 5.5x. Max Altergott on his immediate left makes it 18k, the limpers fold, and it’s back on Arieh. He starts breathing super heavy and when he makes it 55k I can see his hands shaking. Max stares him down for quite some time. I’m sure he sees what I’m seeing. Stuffs it on him. Arieh snap folds. (Later he says he won’t be lasting long if he keeps putting 55k in with T6 of diamonds.)

A bit later, Max raises under the gun and Arieh defends the big blind. Arieh check-raises the A62 flop and Max calls. They both check the turn. Josh makes a sizable bet on the river. He is breathing normal and looks calm. Max looks him over for a very long time. Looks at his legs and feet. Leans over and looks at his neck. It’s brutal. He makes the call after like four minutes. Arieh asks the dealer, “can I turn over my cards now?” and then tables A6 and immediately puts Max’s call in his stack and then says something about “maybe my live tells aren’t so obvious, huh?”

I don’t know about that. He looked completely different on both hands. I’m not really planning to make moves on Arieh because of this. My only real takeaway is that I’m never bluffing Max Altergott. Holy shit. I can’t be looked over for five minutes and not want to murder someone.

1:26 PM: Jack Effel just announced they are planning to have us play to the money tonight.

These guys and their waters. I can barely move. Wth.

2:22 PM: So bitter. I’m running at 16% VPIP and 5% PFR for the day, so obviously 63o defends when I raise KK under the gun. Flop is 763 with two diamonds. He check-raises me and I’m not deep enough to even consider folding. I jam and the board runs out clean for him.

Sigh.

So sick.

It hurts.

Now I have an 18 hour drive to Seattle that I’m ready to start five minutes ago.

Thanks for sweating everyone.

2:50 PM: Ugh. I dunno. Maybe I don’t have to go broke here. I’m not going to beat myself up about going bust with KK and I really am not interested in hearing anyone else’s take on the situation, but I’m going to reevaluate it anyway.

I started the hand with something like 150k, so I have a bit over 60 bigs. I make it 6k at 1200/2400 and he defends with 63o which is obviously horrible. I’m opening under the gun and I’ve been playing very tight. His defend is straight up terrible.

The flop is 763 with two diamonds. I have the king of diamonds. I’ve been playing a lot of small ball and I strongly considered checking back this flop (goddammit why didn’t I?), but I also thought there are too many turn cards I will hate, so I bet 8k and he made it something like 25k.

At this point I have 14k of 150k invested and still have 136k (56 big blinds) behind. The pot size has now ballooned to about 50k. I am never, ever folding on the flop, so the question is, do I call and reevaluate on the turn or jam it in here?

If I call, the pot will be about 67k and I’ll have 119k behind. Its hard to imagine folding the turn if the board comes clean. The problem is when it doesn’t come clean… like 4s and 5s and diamonds. Those cards are obviously better for his range and I can actually be folding the best hand a lot of the time.

That’s what was going through my head when I decided to jam. If he has me beat, he has me beat, but I won’t have to play any guessing games on bad run outs.

Checking back KK on this flop isn’t a must, but it does make those bad turns and rivers easier to navigate. Let’s say I check back and the turn comes the ace of clubs like it did. He actually might try to check-raise me there and if he does, I’m probably checking back that card also and looking to show down as cheap as possible on the river. If he leads, I can call a smallish turn bet and reevaluate on the river, probably calling smaller bets and folding more often to more polarizing ones.

Pretty frustrating spot. Annoying that he defended the 63o and even more annoying that I took the flop line that got him max action. I mix in some flop checks with strong hands so it sucks that I didn’t take that line here. I’d still be in there.

Oh well. I’m obviously extremely dejected but I can’t wait to take another shot next year.

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2018 WSOP Main Event – Day 2

July 6, 2018

You know what it is. I’m not going to spend too much time writing this morning.

It’s Day 2 of the Main Event. I’m sitting down with 137.9k coming back to 300/600 blinds, or 230 bigs. Lots and lots of play.

I have researched my whole table and once again seem to be in a very favorable situation. I can’t speak on my opponents’ abilities, but I do know how many chips they have and what their past results are.

I have zero superstars at my table. There is one player with almost $900k in tournament cashes, and he will be on my left a lot, but he only has 41k in chips. That’s still almost 70 bigs though, so I expect him to be a bit of a nuisance.

I have the most chips at the table and the three other players with 90k+ seem to be the least experienced. The three of them have a combined $45k in live tournament cashes. I played with one of them on Day 1 and I’m happy to see him at my table again today. The player on my immediate left has 107k in chips but zero recorded cashes. That doesn’t mean he sucks, but it’s a good start. I would definitely rather have $0 in cashes with lots of chips than the guy with $900k in cashes.

The players on my direct right have the second and third most in recorded live tournament cashes, so I’m happy to have immediate position on them and they only have 56.2k and 24.2k in chips. Even 24k is still 40 big blinds, so everyone has stacks to play with today and nobody can be dismissed.

Tormund is starting the day with 62k and has former WSOP Main Event champ Jonathan Duhamel on his immediate left. That means he will probably get a TV cameo today, as ESPN loves to show former champs. Look for a rugged looking red head when they flash to Duhamel.

Something like this:

Check back here for updates every two hours when we are on break. Cards in the air in 34 minutes. Let’s get it!

Just got word that I’m posting too many pictures of Tormund and it’s scaring away the people, so here’s one of the Pavilion before game time:

12:14 PM: Some notes:

-Tormund said he got crippled first pot he played and that Duhamel already doubled. None of that is good news. He still has 20k+ though, so far from actually crippled.

-There was a 3-way pot at my table that was raised once preflop and went check around flop, bet and two calls on turn, and check around on river. The board was KK9KJ and two of the hands were 99 and AK. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

-The player I played with on Day 1 has yet to show up 80 minutes into the day. He did this a bit on Day 1 too, so it’s not exactly alarming. But hey, he has $14.5k in lifetime cashes and this is only a $10k buy in, so…

First Break 155k

I am a pretty big fan of my table.

The most experienced and successful player seems to be on the nitty side, although that could be because of his stack size.

The guy on my left that has zero cashes is a total noob. He looks like he’s played very little live poker and there was a hand where it folded to my small blind, I called, and he just folded without seeing the flop for free.

The guy I thought would be the worst at the table, in seat 5, is not disappointing. Through 58 hands he’s rocking a 34% VPIP and 22% PFR, but I have him pegged as a punter, not a dangerous LAG. I’ve already played two notable pots with him, in back to back hands.

Hand 1: I make it 1300 with QQ. It folds to him in the big blind and he makes it 4200. We are super deep and I’m in position against a splashy bad player (imo), so I decide to call and go to the streets. Flop is AT8 with two diamonds. He bets 4k and I’m always taking a card off here with the Q of diamonds in my hand. The turn is a 7 and he fires 6k. Now I’m strongly considering folding since I didn’t pick up any extra equity, but after tanking for a long time and watching him stare in my direction, I’m not exactly convinced. I call. River is a king and he ends up checking. I check behind and he shakes his head like he’s losing and then turns over KJo. Okay buddy.

Hand 2: I make it 1300 with T9dd on the very next hand. I’m pretty early and my image might be bruised after that last pot, so this is probably a fold, but I get it through to my boy in the small blind and he reraises me to 3300. I’m practically LOLing as I call this ridiculously small 3-bet, happy to play my hand in position against this dolt. Flop is K82 with two diamonds and he checks it over to me. Since he tried to barrel off the last hand, he probably has something here, so I check back. Turn is a six and he checks again. My read is the same, but I decide to bet this time because I don’t expect him to raise very often and I want the pot to be bigger on the river when I get there and I can show down for free if I make a pair. I bet 3500 and he calls. I’m planning to bomb the river for more than pot when I make my draws and check back my misses because I expect him to rarely fold. I brick, give up and he shows… K4 of clubs.

He’s either setting the whole table up right now or he’s primed to punt later. I hope I’m the one to catch it.

Obviously I chipped up so it wasn’t all bad. I had AK in a 3-bet pot and got the AAK flop and two streets of value. I flopped top two with AQ. I 4-bet once with KK and took it down pre.

I am in the pavilion so the tables will be breaking in here, but the break order is good. I’m in the black area and the green and yellow areas break before we do. I want to stay here all day!

Tormund fell all the way to 14.5k but has doubled twice and now has 50k.

1:28 PM: First hand back, buttons opens to 1700 at 400/800 and I decide to see a flop from the BB with 74o getting such a good price. It comes down 773 rainbow. I check, he bets 1200 and I make it 4000. He’s the same guy I flopped the AK full house against and I played that hand slow after the flop, so I thought a check-raise here would look bluffs. He calls. Turn is Ah, opening up a backdoor heart draw. I lead 3000, which looks like a weak stab, hoping to induce a raise, but he just calls again. River is the jack of hearts. He has less than 20k behind, the pot is over 18k, and I don’t think he can fold an ace here, so I put him all in and he snaps with Q8hh.

Sigh.

124.7k

3:50 PM: Pretty dead level for me. The hand I posted already was the only substantial pot I played the whole time. There was a spot where a short stack opened button, small blind called, and I 3-bet AQ suited from the big. Looks like a good spot to squeeze so I thought button could jam a wider range here (and I’m obv snap-calling), but they both ended up folding.

The guy in seat 5 has noticeably tightened up. After rocking a 34/22 in level six, he’s now at 26/20 and I’m a bit perplexed at the random spazz those two hands I shared earlier.

The guy with $900k in lifetime cashes is sitting at 16/8, but he just won a MASSIVE pot on the last hand of level seven when he 4-bet pre, bet flop, and jammed turn on T7dd47d board and his opponent went into the tank for the first ten minutes of dinner break before eventually calling it off with KK and losing to AA. From the sidelines I thought it was painfully obvious seat two had AA and I would have folded QQ and JJ fairy quickly, but KK with a diamond is just a brutal spot. That gives seat two a lot of chips and I’m hoping he continues to play a nutty style, but I won’t be surprised if he opens things up.

Dinner Break

Dark Knight – 133k

Tormund – 50k

Chief Wiggum – 43k

Tormund got coolered by Duhamel with ESPN cameras all over them. Not sure how that works into coverage since it doesn’t start until 5:30 PM, but there’s a good chance this clip gets in there.

6:28 PM: Sitting on 134.5k after 8 levels and coming back to 600/1200 blinds. That was a rocky level for me. I got as low as 80k or so before chipping back up. I have some notes below of hands I’ll try to flesh out but I’m expecting a call from The Leak and that will probably take up most of my break.

After dinner, Tormund followed me into the bathroom and stood directly behind me as I peed into a urinal and somehow thought that would be more awkward for me than him. He told me to let him know anytime I need an escort to the bathroom and I considered going up to his table with my arms tucked inside my hoodie and saying, “I need help peeing.”

I whiffed a big combo draw with KJss in a 4-way raised pot. I was the opener and decided to check flop and I let 88 bet and then showdown on a T97ssT7 runout. I thought there was some chance I had best hand on river and I did consider check-raising flop, but with a bet and a call out there already, I thought it would have been unlucky to work.

One of the weaker players at my table opened to 3000 and the bad player in seat five called and I decided to see a flop with 75 of clubs on the button. I know s4 is going broke with overpairs that get beat and I want to play with s5. Flop comes down QQ5 with two spades. The PFR checks and s5 bets 5000. I actually think s4 has a better pair than me most of the time and s5 can have a wide range here, so I decide to make it 13k. The PFR tank-folds (KK!) but s5 eventually jams on me and I have to let it go.

I was on a bad run already when I opened the J9dd, s2 calls in position and s5 calls from the big. Flop is AT7 with two hearts. I c-bet 4k and they both call. Turn is a king and I decide I’m going to give it one more bullet and make it 12k to go and they both fold.

Whew.

(JJ hand)

(AK 4-bet jam)

Dark Knight – 134.5k

Tormund – 40k

Chief Wiggum – 50k

8:45 PM: Can’t really seem to get anything going today. I 3-bet a cut off open with JJ on the button, he called and called again when I c-bet smallish on an ace high, two flush flop. I gave up after that and folded to a river bet when diamonds got there. I’ve done some studying of this spot and my opponent is going to be very ace heavy here. It would be pretty hard for him to have a lot of bluffs on the river. I suppose he could turn small pairs into a bluff, but I’m okay with my line. Annoyed though.

I got moved into the Brasilia room with about a half hour left in level 8. It’s an unfortunate move. I really liked my old table even though good things hadn’t really happened yet. I have zero info on my new table but there’s a 370k stack on my immediate left, and three other players wearing poker patches, including Liv Boeree.

I got word just before the break that Tormund has busted. Not really sure what happened but he was having a rocky day.

Chief Wiggum is up to 70k.

I guess I just made a cameo on ESPN, walking with my bag to my new table.

One hour left tonight.

10:46 PM: Liv Boeree attracting the cameras:

12:30 AM: What a rough day. I never had any real momentum to speak of and the chances I had to chip up didn’t really work out. I was handcuffed after my table move by going card dead and by having a huge stack and a super short stack on my immediate left. Both of those factors made it unwise to try and open wide. One guy can call and 3-bet with impunity and the other guy is too short to raise-fold against. I did end up busting the shorty when I opened the button with AJ and he jammed with A4.

Because of these dynamics I had absurd stats of 13% VPIP and 7% PFR after my move. Granted, that’s only a 75 hand sample, but it was pretty brutal. The big stack on my left was at 36/27 and Liv Boeree was at 25/17, but the rest of the table had VPIPs between 11% and 17%. That’s an extremely tight table.

This tournament is amazing. What kind of poker tournament can you be card dead for basically ten hours and have things not go very right and still be in there? It was a rough day, but I’ll be starting level 11 with 51 big blinds and hopefully I will snap off another good starting table draw. It looks like there are about 2800 left and I believe around 1200 make the money. I think there’s a decent chance that could happen tomorrow.

See you then!

h1

Main Event Sweat Post

July 4, 2018

I’m not gonna lie, it’s been a brutal month in Vegas. I will do a full recap when I get home, but after over a month here I have managed a measly three min-cashes (none in the WSOP) while enduring many bricks – including shocking instant exits and last minute exits when my opponents are trying to punt to me – and lots and lots of pain.

Today I am playing my first Main Event ever and I have to say it feels totally surreal and I haven’t even stepped foot in the Rio yet. I can’t even really describe what I’m feeling right now. I’m not particularly nervous (please no superstar wizards on my left on Day 1 and please don’t put me on a feature table) but I am sort of in disbelief. I’ve never woken up and had playing the $10,000 Main Event on my list of things to do for the day. What a day.

We start with 50,000 in chips and blinds starting at 75/150 so everyone is sitting down with 333 big blinds and insanely deep stacks. We will be playing five two hour levels today before bagging and resuming play on Friday.

Bagging seems pretty simple. If you somehow just maintain a starting stack throughout the entire day you would start level 6 on Day 2 with over 80 big blinds.

And yet every year, many players – players much better than me – don’t make it to Day 2. I read that Max Silver picked up AA on the very first hand of the day yesterday and somehow got his opponent to put in all 333 bigs before the flop with KK only to see a king flop and find himself busted on the first hand of the Main. What a horror story.

I don’t have any expectations today except I want to play as well as possible and mainly I don’t want to rush my decisions, especially the big ones should they arise.

I will NOT be posting updates while I’m playing. I will be paying attention to what’s happening at my table. I will post stack updates on breaks and maybe a critical hand or two if I have the time or feel it’s necessary.

Check in here every few hours for an update!

Let’s do this. THE MAIN EVENT! Holy shit!

11:01 AM: Jack Effel still doing announcements.

Good news: I recognize zero players at my starting table! ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป

11:43 PM: For the third NL tournament in a row I had AA cracked in the first orbit! I had two black aces on a flop of 8h7h4h vs 6h5h! I check-called flop and turn but folded to a river in a 3-way pot. I lost 4% of my stack.

1:06 PM: First off, I love, love, LOVE my table. I don’t recognize a single player, there is a decent amount of limping, almost no 3-betting, and very little bluffing. Through the first level, it seems very soft.

I’ve logged 82 hands so far and the loosest player is sitting at 29% VPIP and the tightest is at 13%. No one seems dangerous. I hope I get to play here all day long.

I was sitting just below starting stack when this hand came up on the last hand of level 1. A 22/8 opens from early to 600 and it folds to me in the big blind, holding A6 of clubs. This is the biggest open raise I’ve seen at my table and part of me wants to fold, but I feel like I can win a huge pot if I make the best hand. I will not be looking to play a big pot with one pair.

The flop is 985 with two hearts and one spade and I decide to check-call 1000. I’m planning to bet 6s and 7s and possibly hearts.

The turn is the ten of spades and we both check.

The river is the jack of spades and this is obviously a great bluffing card for me, so I fire out 3600 and he immediately expresses displeasure and goes into the tank.

I expect him to fold hands as good as sets here, but after tanking for over two minutes he eventually calls it off with 77.

I have just above 43k heading to 150/300.

Omg the halls are straight madness during break. If you’re claustrophobic or hate crowds you might have a panic attack.

3:36 PM: I have made it to dinner break with 47k. I have to say I’m a bit disappointed with my current stack size because my table draw is such a gift.

I have 152 hands logged so far and I have been the second loosest and most aggressive player at the table. There is one loose/bad calling station at my table and everyone else has been playing pretty snug and straight forward.

I rivered the second nuts on JTxxK against the calling station after he bet flop and turn, and when he led 3000 on the river and I made it 11k I had visions of being completely incapable of folding my hand if he happened to jam on me. If he happened to barrel off with AQ here I’d be out of the tournament. I considered raise-folding but I can feel this dude is just too capable of jamming with worse. Fortunately he basically snap-called and ended up showing JT.

I was peaking over 60k after that hand.

I ended up chipping back down when I flopped top pair against aces and ended up paying off small bets all the way down.

I thought I had a great spot when the station open raised, I called with 65hh from cutoff, both blinds called, and we ended up going to flop four ways.

It was sexy: 874 with two diamonds. The station leads out for 800 and I decided to make it 2200 since a) I had two players to act behind me and b) if the station has a good hand, he’s never folding. NEVER.

Everyone folded.

Dang it. I really think if he has TT+ there I might end up stacking him (depending on runout). Pretty unfortunate.

Tormund is firing the Main. I have 5% of him, or 15% of him, depending on if Joker ever pays me for the 10% I fronted for him.

Tormund Update: 61k on dinner break

Cameras in the building.

6:29 PM: Just below starting stack after three levels. I have four more hours to take advantage of this tremendous opportunity I have at my table. I doubt I will ever have it easier the rest of the Main.

I don’t really have any notable pots to mention.

I am now the most active player at my table and by far the most aggressive. There is still some limping going on and basically no 3-betting – especially no light 3-betting.

I have been playing a lot of pots against the station at my table and I am getting way the best of it, but still haven’t picked up the big clash I’m trying to get involved in.

I am yet to hit a draw after the flop which has kept me from being able to get past the starting stack.

But hey, I’m still in there and I am definitely in a favorable spot for the rest of the night.

Four hours of play left!

If you are watching on ESPN or PokerGo (later), you might be able to catch a glimpse of me if you see any of these guys:

-I am directly behind Benjamin Pollack. I’ve seen cameras pointed at him and they are aiming right at me.

-Former Main Champ Robert Varkonyi is at the table in front of me.

-Former Main runner-up David Williams is at the table behind me.

Tormund Update: 58k

7:33 PM: The easiest chips at the table has busted.

8:50 PM: Finally was able to chip up at my easy table. I’m at 74k and have very good reads on every player and I feel like I’m exploiting appropriately. I’ve taken down the pot 100% of the time I’ve 3-bet light and I suspect I’m the only player doing that based on the 3-bet frequencies at my table.

I’ve had good timing/reads with my bluffs, but I haven’t really gotten paid off when I’ve had big hands, except that rivered straight very early in the day.

Two more hours left in Day 1!

Tormund sitting on 60k.

12:07 AM: What a rush! As I’ve mentioned I was totally in control of my table. Pretty amazing, considering how many great players are out there and I got such an easy draw.

I finished the day as the most active and aggressive player at the table. I played 31% of my hands and the next closest was 24%. One guy was at 13%, another was at 19%, and everyone else was between 22-24%.

I raised 18% of my hands, one other player raised 15%, and everyone else was in the 9%-13% range except for the two nits at 3% and 6%.

I was sitting at about 80k with two hands left in the night.

I opened to 1100 at 250/500 with JJ from UTG+1 and a 23/11 with no history of 3-betting makes it 4050 with a stack of 25k to start. Definitely not looking to get 40+ bigs in here with JJ against an uncreative player, so I call.

Flop is J32. Pretty cool because this player type with his stack size is never folding. I check and he just jams it in. I snap and hold vs his QQ.

Very next hand I open 1100 with QQ and one middle player and the super nit in the small blind call.

Flop is Q65 with two clubs. I bet 1600, first guy calls and the small blind jams for nearly 15k. Happy happy joy joy!! The other guy is deep with me so I call and try to give him some rope to do something stupid but he tank-folds (88… what?) and small blind is so tight I’m hoping he turns over a made hand… but he has the A3 of clubs and I dodge it and bust a player for the second hand in a row… on the last hand of the night.

I bagged a very sexy 137.9k and Tormund bagged 61.9k. Just got word from Chief Wiggum also and he bagged 51k.

We will all be back in action after a day off for Day 2 on Friday.

h1

The Poker Gods Give Me A Break

June 23, 2018

But first…

Wednesday was the $1500 Limit Hold’em event at the WSOP and while it’s not my favorite tournament – I play LHE all year long and really enjoy the mix game events here – it is definitely my best game. I don’t know how cool it is to call yourself an expert at something but it’s definitely the variant I’m closest to having that status.

So needless to say, it’s one of the absolute must plays on my schedule and probably the event I have a best chance at a bracelet in because I also have extensive short-handed experience.

Well, I woke up on Wednesday feeling like absolute shit, feeling like I hadn’t slept at all the night before and showing obvious signs of an upcoming cold.

I decided not to play the event.

Things were going bad enough without me compounding matters by playing a $1500 event when I was under the weather, so I did something very painful to my soul and made the decision to skip it.

I ended up sleeping until about 3 PM and my wife and friends were giving me updates that were all less than starting stacks… I could still sit down with more than they had! I started to get the itch… and I was feeling better, wasn’t I?

Still, it didn’t seem like my best idea so I started reaching out to people and telling them the circumstances and asking if they wanted to gamble on 10% of my action.

I also contacted my normal backers and told them the situation and said I’d understand if they wanted to sit this one out or reduce their normal piece. They said they wanted it all.

Okay then. Game on.

By the time everyone got back to me, I had sold 60% of myself in my best game at no markup, but it seemed fair considering I was going to sit down with 15 big bets. An example of how short that is, it would be like sitting at $4/$8 with $120 and hoping you don’t go broke. Except in this $4/$8 game the blinds are going up every hour!

Plenty of people will sit in a $4/$8 game with $100 but anyone that has any understanding of variance knows that is utterly ridiculous. I never sit down in a limit structure with less than 37.5 big bets.

So yeah, my back was kind of against the wall. I was certainly more likely to bust early than actually run a stack up so I was okay only having 40% of myself.

It started off pretty miserably. First hand I played I opened KQ and got four way action.

Flop was very good: Q43 with two hearts. I bet, the first cold caller called, and Robert Campbell – a well-known and successful player – raised on the button. The blind folded and it was back on me. In a cash game, this is a snap 3-bet, but in a tournament where your chips are so much more important I think calling has merit. If we were heads up, that’s probably what I’d do, but with the player in between I think I have to try and raise him out. He folds to my raise but Robert 4-bets it. Gulp. I call.

Turn is the 6 of hearts. I do not have a heart in my hand and, not that it matters much now, the queen on the flop is a heart. On the flop it seems like his most likely holdings are flush draws, sets, and AQ. It would be pretty unlikely for him to overplay a worse queen like this, unless it was a combo draw and we know that’s not possible.

It seems pretty optimistic to come up with hands we are still beating so I check-fold.

If the turn bricked, I would have check-called this hand down, but when the flush gets there we are only beating bizarre overplays from someone I think is likely solid.

I ended up getting all the way down to 1825 which was like six big blinds.

I opened the QJhh and the big blind defended. I had 25 left behind when he check-raised me on the turn and bet river on Q74dd9d4 but the river counterfeit his 9s and 7s and I doubled up.

A bit later, I opened the KQ and the same player defended his big blind.

Flop was KJ9 and he check-raised me.

I’m content to call down here but when I made trip kings on the turn I felt like my hand was too good not to raise against a big blind defending range. So I popped it and he 3-bet me. Godammit. That is not good. I called.

He bet the river dark. Unfortunately for him it was a 9, double pairing the board. I raised my full house, once again leaving myself with 25 behind and he ended up folding JJ face up. Yikes.

Yeah. That dude hates me.

My biggest hand on Day 1, Robert Campbell opens in early position, I 3-bet QQ, and Humberto “the shark is hungry” Brenes 4-bets, and Campbell is all in.

The flop is dry and favorable and I check-call Humberto.

The turn gives me top set and I get a check-raise in.

The river is a blank, I bet and Humberto calls for less with TT. Robert turns over Q9 and I bust both of them.

A little bit of an oversight on my part there. I think check-calling down with QQ is fine in a tournament against a tight player’s 4-betting range, but if I knew how short Humberto was I would have tried to get the chips in as soon as possible. Think about the disaster this hand is if he checks back the turn.

I ended up bagging 26.5k and sat slightly above average heading into Day 2.

I had QQ eight times and made a set on four of them. Sounds amazing, but I lost with one of those sets and won with a c-bet on two of them. My only good pot with all those Queens was the double KO.

I had AA and KK zero times. 88-JJ once.

Variance is weird.

But I sure did have that one dude’s number. I rivered him in another big pot with A8ss on Q86sKs8 and he said something about how pure I’m running as I’m sitting there 0 for 7 in WSOP events.

Day 2 started off great. I was peaking at around 35k after 3-betting 99, checking back the king high flop in a 3-way pot and then binking my set against Sean Berrios’ top pair and getting extra double bets.

He would get his revenge soon enough.

Sean opens from middle position and I 3-bet the KQ of clubs on the button.

We went heads up to the KTT one club flop and he check-raised me. I don’t see much merit in raising here so I plan to call down unimproved and that’s what I do when the board runs out KTT67.

I’m pretty happy to hear him say, “Oh, I was trying to steal it,” but I’m not happy when he rolls over the 98 of clubs for a rivered straight.

Actually I’m shocked. Stunned. In disbelief.

Crushed.

Welcome to my 2018 World Series of Poker.

Nope, I’m not gonna chip up to 50k and cruise to my first cash of the series, picking off this torchy bluff line.

I’m going to lose this crucial pot and then never win another hand.

It’s not just that he chose this hand to bluff with. Whatever. Maybe he thinks I’ll fold AQ? 88? Who knows. But why does it have to get there?

Just look at this shit!! Just look at it.

5%! FIVE FUCKING PERCENT.

My series was already going so miserably and it looked like I finally might break through and this hand totally Shang Tsung’d me. And I knew it.

I fucking knew it.

It’s not like my game fell off a cliff or anything but I just knew I was done and I wasn’t wrong.

I opened 77, got 3-bet, peeled the JT6ss flop with 7s in my hand, and folded when the third player donked the 9s turn, even though I had a straight flush draw. Both players ended up having KQ and one of them had a big spade, exactly why I decided to fold even though I sort of improved.

Then I defend 88 and check-called Q76T board before folding on the J river when it seemed like I’m losing to way too much of his range.

Finally I busted when I opened four bigs with Q8 suited and failed to improve against 44.

I busted about 50 spots off the money, bringing my WSOP score to 0-8. Solid.

A few blog regulars did cash the event though: Snowflake (81st), Rocksteady (69th), and Sandman (21st).

I was still sick, so I jetted as soon as I busted and spent most of the day in bed, hoping a day of rest would have me feeling better.

It didn’t. It’s Friday night as I’m writing this and I seem to be getting worse rather than better.

But that didn’t stop me from heading to the Bellagio to see if I could turn my summer around with some cash game action.

I was mostly planning to play $20/40 LHE, but the list was absurdly long and there was a $30/$60 7 Card Stud game going and I had never played in a live Stud game before and I was feeling pretty excited about it. I checked the lineup out and they didn’t look like wizards so after booking a small win in $20/$40 Limit O8, I took my seat.

And I smashed their faces in. I absolutely crushed the game, putting a much needed large dent in my losses for the trip by booking a +$3480 in a little less than four hours of play.

Okay, I ran pretty pure. I made straights and flushes when I needed to. I made two pair when I fell behind. Almost all my big starting hands held up. I got good action both times I started rolled up. I also caught perfect a few times when I was missing key outs.

But I also played really well. I picked off bluffs and seemed to always have a really good sense of where I was at in hands despite having very little Stud Hi experience.

It was a pretty amazing session and it looked like this when I was done:

The game started fizzling out and I played as short as 3-handed for quite some time but after realizing we weren’t going to pick up players, I decided to cash out – not jump in another game – and book a much needed feel good win and take my sick ass home (after an impromptu 90 minute massage) and rest up for the $470 Triple Stud tourney at Aria tomorrow morning at 11 AM.

I will publish this before I head out tomorrow and post live tourney updates here.

Stay tuned!

11:45 AM: Fashionably late to the Aria, sitting down with 20k at 200/400 betting limits. Lots of play.

I have a good feeling about today.

11:54 PM: LOL. First pot I play is Stud 8. I’m heads up with 76-58 against xx-3K and get scooped after my board runs out 76-58JJ-T and he makes threes full of fours somehow.

๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

Assuming his hole cards…

Yup. Staying consistent!

12:43 PM: Thought about this earlier and meant to post it but forgot. Yesterday the tournament on my schedule was the $2500 Stud 8/Omaha 8 tourney at the WSOP. Obviously I didn’t play it. I just want to put my cash game score in perspective.

I would have had to finish 16th or better in that WSOP event to make more money than I did in four hours of cash play yesterday. And if I did manage to finish 16th or better, that would probably happen on Day 3 of the tournament, after 20+ hours of play and two full nights of sleep.

Thank you Poker Gods for the quick fix.

๐Ÿ’‰๐Ÿ’‰

1:22 PM: This is kind of bizarre. I have 22.1k on first break… more than the starting stack. Weird.

The champ is in the building. Kung Fu Panda, now known as FanBoy, is sitting down with 20k in level 5 after playing until 7 AM yesterday. Sounds like A-game to me so I obviously I swapped 10% with him.

2:23 PM: Interesting Stud 8 hand. Some details may be inaccurate here. I raise a complete with a 6 up, an ace buried, and three spades in my hand. Guy behind me raises again with an ace up and three of us see fourth street.

The ace up catches a 9, I catch a queen, and the other player bricks also. Everybody checks.

On 5th I have JsAs-6sQxTx, the guy with xx-A98 bets and the third player folds. My hand is pretty bad here but… so is his. I don’t care what he has in the hole, it can’t be very good. I call.

He catches a 4 on 6th, which sucks because now I’m like I getting freerolled but I call feeling like my hand is likely good for high unimproved.

I was going to call without looking on 7th, so when he checks, I check back without looking. Eh. I can fire a bet here if I catch a king. He ends up showing a pair of 5s and no low so I’m drawing super live to scoop but I turn over a five of my own and he scoops instead.

After the hand I say, “wow, you were stronger than I thought.”

This hand seems pretty suspect and I can’t really put into words very well how I arrived at the river or even understand why myself… but since I got there with 18+ outs to scoop I feel like my instincts were spot on here. I don’t know if that makes it a good play or not though.

3:05 PM: 29.6k after seven levels, playing 800/1600 betting limits now.

3:41 PM: Sandman in the field with the max late reg – something you can do when you have a $70k cash under your belt already.

4:29 PM: The collapse is on. After going so card dead I put in one big bet over a 100 minute span, I have A2-2KQK-A in Stud Hi against a queen up on 3rd and lose to three nines somehow.

I now have 13.4k. Will it be like every other tournament I’ve played this summer where once it starts to go downhill it never stops? Or will start a new trend of clawing my way back into contention?

Stay tuned!

4:46 PM: 19.7k coming back to 1500/3000 betting limits.

Sandman registered an hour ago?

Here’s his stack:

That’s about 50k. I swear some people just have that good mojo for the whole summer. To be fair, it was me the last two years, but… I’m still pretty jealous!

4:56 PM: Big scooper in Stud 8. Peaking!

33.6k.

5:21 PM: Razz has been absolute murder on my stack. We’ve been playing almost six hours and I’ve won a single hand of Razz – and that includes winning on third street. I’ve had lots of Stud Hi monsters in Razz… usually when I’m the bring in. I’ve had rolled up 7s. What I never have is a winning hand.

26.2k after yet another winless round of Razz. Primed to run good in the $1500 Razz tomorrow?

5:29 PM: A gem from last round of Razz:

Lots of low cards out so I just call with 65-4 after a 3 opens to 2000. Guy behind with an ace raises all in for 2600 total and we both call.

We check to 7th street.

Me: 65-4QT2-9

All In: xx-AT73-x

Third Player: xx-3Q97-x

On 7th, the third player bets and I instantly go to fold my hand and then stop myself. Why? I actually paused because I had to make sure I didn’t have this dude board-locked. I didn’t, so I folded because it makes zero sense to bet a rough hand here with no side pot. He turns over a 98. Lol. What? Fortunately the all in had that beat and I didn’t have to flip any tables over.

Crazy Stud Hi hand as I’m typing this:

9h up opens and I defend 7s6s-3s from the bring in.

On 4th, he catches an ace but I make open 3s and opt for the full double bet. He calls.

On 5th, I brick and he catches open aces! Wow. Nice hand, buddy.

But wait! He checks. Uhm okay, I check too.

And… I make open trips on 6th. I bet and he folds. Well played, sir.

6:00 PM: Peaking! 38k but below average.

And… back to Razz we go. ๐Ÿ˜ข

6:08 PM: Yup. Lost a big Razz pot. Standard. Down to 19.1k. WTH.

6:16 PM: 17.4k on break coming back to 3000/6000 betting limits. 30 left. 11 cash. I’m in bad shape. Still can’t win a goddamn Razz hand.

6:36 PM: What a joke this is.

One hand of Razz left after the break. There’s a limp, I complete with A2-5, Sandman calls with a 3, another player calls, and the limper calls.

Sandman catches a 2 on 4th, I catch a 7, and the other two brick out. Sandman leads, one player calls, and I have two big bets left and I’m never folding before 7th, so I go ahead and raise it, Sandman calls, and the other player folds.

On 5th he catches a 4 and I catch a jack. He puts me all in and I call.

I ask if he has a pair and he says no, but he’s got a nine. Okay, that’s good news.

Me: A2-57JJ-x

Sandman: 96-3247-8

I need a three or a four. I look down at a no liner (ace, deuce, or three), but it’s an ace and I take my happy ass out of the poker room and immediately head for the parking lot.

I was planning to play the $1500 Razz at the WSOP tomorrow but a) I am undeniably sick and b) after winning one Razz hand in seven hours today, I’m not sure I want to.

I’m going to go home, rest up, try to improve my health, and see how I’m feeling in the AM.

Good day all.

.

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WSOP $1500 8-Game & My First Cash of the Summer!

June 9, 2018

No, not in a WSOP event. After my super disappointing finish in the $1500 HORSE, I just went back to my condo and stayed there the rest of the day taking it easy and relaxing.

I was planning to play cash games all day yesterday but I heard The Orleans had a $150 8-Game tournament in their series and it sounded like the perfect warm-up for my next WSOP event.

The Atom and myself showed up for the start of the tournament and The Joker and Tormund made appearances a few hours later. With 80 players (of 133 entrants) remaining, I was the only one left standing – far away from the money at 18. Nice showing, fellas!

I don’t have much to say about this tournament until the very late stages, specifically with four tables left, roughly six spots off the money.

I had a pretty healthy stack at this point, but even so, chips can disappear quickly, especially if you have big confrontations. We are playing limit hold’em six-handed and I open with 44 under the gun. Honestly, it’s a bit loose. I don’t know that I would consider it standard and I think folding here is pretty defensible, possibly even recommended. For instance, if I was in a loose, six-handed cash game, I would always fold 44 under the gun. But in a tournament, with most of my opponents playing on the tighter side, I think it’s okay. So I open the 44 and the lady on my direct left does a little bit of a stutter step like she is considering raising me but winds up cold-calling instead. We go heads up to the flop.

It is very, very sexy. KJ4. I bet. She raises. Oh sweet baby Jesus, it is my lucky day. No need to get coy here. I can eyeball her stack and see that she will be very close to all in if we play this hand out, so I go ahead and re-raise, knowing she’s going to have to call me down basically all the time if she has a hand. She calls my 3-bet.

The turn is a 6. I bet and she calls.

The river is a ten. I bet and she says “I’m all in.” I thought she had less than my bet, so I just snap-roll my hand without saying anything. And she snap-rolls her hand.

She has AQ for a rivered straight.

How? We put in three bets each on the flop! How does she have a straight? What in the world? I mean, I sort of get it. It’s a reasonable hand to bluff with on the flop. I might fold smaller pairs and some other hands, plus she usually has decent equity when called. Maybe she takes a free card when I just flat. But when I raise flop and bet turn it is just max pain for me on the river. There are 5.5 small bets after the preflop betting, so after the flop action there are 11.5 small bets. On the turn, she is getting 6.75 to 1 to call with what looks like four outs. My hand looks a lot like AK, KJ, and sets – and my combos of KQ are reduced by her holding, plus I might not play that hand so fast in such a critical spot. Seems like a pretty standard fold on the turn for her.

But she didn’t fold and instead I’m losing this insanely important monster pot nearing the bubble to a rivered gutshot.

Then the dealer counts out her last bet and realizes it is a few thousand more for me to call. He looks at me, expectantly and I’m like “what?” He says it’s “xxx more,” and I say, “Okay, I never said ‘call.'”

Is this my classiest moment at the poker tables? No. No it is not. I’m not proud of it. But I have to say I was pretty devastated at the moment and having already lost a huge pot in horrible fashion, I wasn’t eager to put chips in the pot I never committed to.

A floor gets called over (the actual TD is on break) and the situation is explained and I am still refusing to pay the last partial bet and some dick at the table pipes in saying I should get a penalty for exposing my hand out of turn and the floor actually listens to him and issues me a one round penalty.

I was so thrown by this decision that I was rendered speechless and didn’t even bother fighting it because I was so mad I wasn’t sure what I would say in the moment. It didn’t even occur to me until later that my opponent also exposed her hand with action still pending. There is no logical way to give me that penalty without also giving her one.

Well, I had about 11k in chips and the big blind was 4k and I had to sit out a full orbit. When I was able to play again, my 11k had turned into less than 4k, which was less than one big blind.

Somehow I managed to spin that up and eventually had as many as 160k in chips.

I played a stud hand extremely poorly and a razz hand quite questionably and those two hands essentially cost me a very deep run.

Instead I busted in 11th for $380. Crumbs. But it is my first cash of the summer.

My friends and I went to The Saw Escape Room last night and it was a blast, but a little overpriced since I requested a private tour. We sucked though, getting through less than half of the rooms in time, although two rooms were basically buzzer beaters we were on the wrong side of. Lots of fun though! Check it out if you are in Vegas and a fan of the films.

Joker and I are about to head to the Rio to play the $1500 8-Game and I feel really good about it. It’s nice to iron the kinks out in a $150 event so I don’t make the same mistakes when the stakes are 10 times bigger.

Leggo.

3:05 PM: Walking towards registration on our way in, I spot Rep Porter a few strides ahead of us and ask if we can borrow his diamond card real quick (to skip the line). He actually stopped and started looking for it! What a guy. I told him I was kidding though.

A little bit of a late start here. Only three players at my table at the moment and one of them is Miami John Cernuto. I’ve actually played with him a decent amount. He’s not really someone I expect to put me in many tough spots.

We are 4-handed now and this tournament plays 6-handed. I’ve scooped a couple smallish o8 pots already.

3:34 PM: New player at my table: Sandeep Vasudevan. I recognized that name from the HORSE tournament and, sure enough, he went deep in that, finishing 6th for a career high score of $33k.

He also has two WSOP Circuit rings, including one last month in pot limit Omaha (the other was a no limit hold’em ring in 2013). So he’s fresh off two of the biggest scores of his life and I imagine his confidence is riding high.

3:48 PM: Scott Blumstein, the latest Main Event champ is seated directly behind me.

3:59 PM: Dang. Guy was getting a back/shoulder massage with his ass crack totally exposed and the masseuse with a direct view the whole time. I wanted to snap a pic but I couldn’t do it discreetly.

4:14 PM: Just got absolutely abused in no limit hold’em. I started with over 8k and I now have a touch over 4k. I think I opened four pots and for 3-bet every single time. I flopped two pair with KJ suited when my opponent flopped the nut flush. He slow played it and check-called flop and turn so I was able to check back on river.

I also defended my blind once and I started to think: I’ve folded some hands and I can think of five I played. We did the math: we played nine hands of no limit hold’em – you’re supposed to play six. Pretty cool, especially since it was such a profitable variant for me.

First hand of Stud high I start with a four flush and brick it. I did pick some chips back up with AA-K and rolled up jacks, but I didn’t get past 5th street either time.

I have a sad 4225.

4:52 PM: Sigh. PLO. Sandeep bluffs off his whole stack the hand previous, so he’s pretty short to start this next one. He opens to 200 at 50/75 blinds. I make it 675 with AKKJ one nut suit and he calls.

Flop 642. I bet pot (1425) and he’s all in for 1625 total. He rolls QQ75.

Board runs out 642A3 and he wins.

Down to 2550. Pretty stoked.

5:08 PM: 2850 on first break.

5:31 PM: Joker had 1000 in chips on break and we set the over/under on number of us surviving to the next break at 0.5.

We both liked the under side.

A few hands of 2-7 left and I will definitely be looking to get all in and double up in no limit hold’em.

5:50 PM: Joker has tripled up. I played zero hands of NL. I am down to 1550.

6:11 PM:

6:16 PM: Busted.

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WSOP $1500 H.O.R.S.E.: Letโ€™s Repeat!

June 6, 2018

Not much time to write before the event starts. Tormund ended up taking 142nd in the Colossus for a smallish cash and I played 15/30 O8 cash at Orleans with The Atom for a bit before running out of steam early and booking a +$18.

Just registered the $1500 HORSE with The Joker. I took 5th in this one last year so hoping this is the event to activate some run good for me.

Pacific Northwesterner Adam Coates is still alive in the $10k O8 event. There are six players left. He’s second in chips. First place is over $400k. Holy. Shit. I can’t even comprehend the level of that sweat. PNW has come up just short twice already but I have a feeling about this one. There’s a mega short stack, but Adam is gonna have to go through superstars Eli Elezra and Paul Volpe to pull this off. Good luck!

The Joker just took this seat to the right of a Poker Hall of Famer… Barbara Enright. Eh. Could be worse. No one else at my table with tournament starting in 4 minutes.

I might post some hands and I’ll definitely post stack updates on breaks but my focus is going to be on… focusing.

Let’s go.

First Break: 6225

My starting table is amazing, so that’s a frustrating start. No strong players and multiple weaklings.

This first break was mostly a battle against my blood sugar. I had to change the batteries in my PDM for my Omnipod, I had to change my pod, and I had to change my Dexcom sensor.

Then I ate.

For some reason I forgot how to properly change my batteries so my whole PDM resets and doesn’t do bolus calculations for like three hours. And often, when I change my pod my first few boluses seem to have little affect.

So when it was time to configure my sensor with my current blood sugar, I was over 400. It wouldn’t even calibrate.

My last check was 478, but my check before that was 477 so it seems to finally be leveling out and hopefully going down from there.

Needless to say, I haven’t been in my comfort zone.

The Atom has over 16k at first break. Joker is at 5800.

2:26 PM: The biggest punter at my table is felted and I have less chips than I started with. No justice.

2:49 PM: I just brought it in with a 5 up in Razz. Pretty cool.

From The Joker, in regards to Barbara Enright, Poker Hall of Famer:

Lhe Ep raise Barbara defends. Flop q64ss she donks. He flats. Turn 3c she bets again and calls the raise. River 7c she check calls he has AQ she rolls 37hh ๐Ÿคฃ

Just a pure torch from a “legend” of the game. A prime example of why you shouldn’t worry about name players until you actually see how they play.

3:43 PM: Just met Chris “DeathDonkey” Vitch and he told me he reads my blog which kind of blew my mind although it probably shouldn’t – we both post semi-regularly in the Limit Hold’em forums on Two Plus Two.

13,675 after four levels.

Adam Coats still alive with four left in the $10k O8. I tried to snap a pic but the quality was garbage.

6:17 PM: Adam doing work:

There are still four players remaining. They have really been battling it out.

I’m sitting on 19.8k on dinner break, which should be well above average. The worst players at my table have busted but it’s still pretty good.

My most notable hands:

Before the first break, I played a weird stud hand where I opened with K8-T because there were three jacks up behind me and nothing else to worry about.

The first jack up calls me and we both brick on 4th street and he calls again.

I make a pair of kings on 5th and I’m jolted into shock when my opponent raises with his board showing xx-J67 rainbow with two jacks dead. So bewildering. He doesn’t have jacks and if he called with a draw, it hasn’t developed. So he’s saying he has 76-J67 or… 77-J67? Bizarre he would call with either of those hands with two jacks dead. I guess 98-J76 makes some sense.

Either way, never folding here. I call and make open kings on 6th and it’s probably optimistic to think I can check-raise this card, but that’s what I try to do and it checks through.

I don’t fill up on 7th, but I do bet for value and get paid off. My hand is good.

Dang. I had another good hand but I’ve been sitting here for 20+ minutes trying to jog my memory and it hasn’t happened yet… so PUBLISH.

8:00 PM: Adam just busted the $10k O8 in 3rd place for $181k. What a sick run. The PNW continues to represent!

9:11 PM: Sitting on over 40k coming back to 300/600 blinds.

One fun hand: I open with split aces in Stud high and only the bring-in calls.

I catch an offsuit six and he catches paint and he calls my bet.

On 5th I catch an offsuit three and he catches a king and I decide that if I was on a steal here I would give up, so I go ahead and check-raise. He calls.

He calls on 6th and 7th also and I end up making aces and nines to win a big one.

Tormund is making a deep run in the $250 Deep Stack and is currently in the money with a pretty decent stack.

The Atom and The Joker are out of the HORSE event.

Two more levels tonight and I’m in great shape to advance.

9:42 PM: Registration is closed with 731 entrants. 328 are left and 110 cash. $202k up top.

And Phil Ivey just entered right before this level started.

11:21 PM: Well, I made it to Day 2 for the first time this series, but what a disastrous last two levels. I am bagging 23.3k.

Here are some of the worst hands from these two levels:

I open in o8 and call a 3-bet with AK32 double suited. Flop is Q73 with two of my ace high suit. I check-raise and he calls. Not much that can go wrong here, right?

Turn is a 2. Oh wait. Yeah. That can happen. I decide to keep on betting because I do have two pair and the nut flush draw and that could be a counterfeit card for him also. He calls.

River was a 9 and at this point I don’t know if I’m bluffing or value betting so I check and call when he bets and I have to chop with a naked A4. Ugh.

Stud Hi, there’s a limp, I raise with K9-Q all diamonds and two players call.

I spike a king on 4th and they both call again.

On 5th street I get raised by a board showing three spades. I strongly consider folding but I still have a three flush and a pair, so there are 6th street cards I can continue on and he may not have a flush yet. I call.

I make open kings on 6th and I’m somewhat surprised to see it go check-check.

I brick the river and still check and this time he bets. I call because I’m confused now.

He shows an ace high flush and a pair of aces. He said he had aces on 3rd and a flush draw on 5th and got there on 7th. Kind of a strange line with AA-8, but pretty crafty.

The hand that broke my spirit:

Folds to me in Stud 8 and I’m in a good spot to steal with 8J-8. Only the bring-in defends.

I catch a 4 and he catches a queen and calls my bet.

On 5th street I catch a queen and he catches a jack and decides to lead out. I think he thinks I’m going low and I’m quite confident I have the best hand – especially since I have a queen and a jack and it would be weird for him to defend with either of those cards in the hole. I raise. I expect him to fold here. He doesn’t.

On 6th I catch a blank and he makes open sixes and bets out. I’m so perplexed I end up calling him down even though I don’t improve and he does have three sixes.

Holy shit. I can’t really wrap my mind around this hand. I get his thinking on 5th but seems like it should be a fold when I’m blocking multiple outs. I dunno… but it stung.

Finally, there’s a button open in o8 and I 3-bet AJT2 double suited. He calls.

Flop is A98 with two spades. Not great. Not terrible. I bet and he raises. Now it’s really not great. My low draw is already counterfeit and I do have a straight draw but only three of my outs are scoopers. I do have a flush draw but it’s only ten high and the ace on the flop is the non-spade so he has the nut flush here a lot. I call because it seems like the right thing to do.

Turn is a 5 and I check-call again. Maybe another small card gets me half also?

River is a ten and I’m pretty happy when it goes check-check and he turns his hand over and I don’t see a low. Looks like a scoop for me! Uh, nope. He has AQJx with a busted nut flush draw… but his QJ is the mortal nut for high and he doesn’t even know he has it. I get scooped.

So yeah, pretty brutal last couple levels.

We restart at noon tomorrow with blinds at 500/1000 so not the end of the world but not what I was thinking would happen when I was sitting on 50k three hours ago.

I played a decent amount with Andrey Zaichenko ($3 million in lifetime cashes) and… what a piece of work. I didn’t know who he was until I saw him write his name on his bag, but he was messing around on his iPad the whole time, not paying attention to anything, constantly being asked to ante, putting his antes right in front of him so the dealers couldn’t reach it, and not folding his upcards. I thought he was a dick before I knew who he was and I still think he’s a dick.

Tormund is making a really deep run in the $250 Daily Deep Stack. There are 40 players left out of 1050 and $36k for first place. I’m grabbing some food with The Atom and going to sweat him a bit but I’m not looking to stay here much later.

Restart at noon!

1:25 AM: Tormund still in with 14 left. They are flying out of this thing. Looks like I’m gonna see it through.

1:46 AM: Tormund heading to the final table, let’s go!

2:40 AM: Tormund busts in 8th when he reshoves AK vs AQ and the blind wakes up with TT and holds to bust them both.

Sleep time.

DAY TWO

11:59AM: Only player whose name I know at my starting table is Tony Ma and most of his success was over 15 years ago. I am slightly below average and somehow have the most chips at my table. Pretty crazy coincidence. Still lots of play for these games though. 205 remain. 95 spots until the money.

Leggo.

12:06 PM: Rep Porter, Kate Hoang, Tommy Hang, Ian Johns, Scott Clements are some of the players still in with Washington roots.

12:15 PM: Early scoop! I make a flush in a 3-way Stud 8 pot with Tony Ma showing xx-26A7 on his board and somehow pays me off without a low.

39k

12:24 PM: Yikes. Running good. I open QQ under the gun, next player calls and big blind defends.

Flop AJ8, big blind donks, I peel, cold caller raises, and we both call. My plan is to fold unimproved.

Turn is a ten, the second best card in the deck for me as it gives me eight additional outs. I check-call and we are heads up.

River is a beautiful 9. I lead and my opponent reluctantly calls with AJ.

I c-bet a set of 9s in a 3-bet pot after that and got a fold.

51.1k

12:35 PM: Ugh. Scooped with AQJ3 by A552 on a Q98(rainbow)75 runout. He called turn for over half his stack and catches his only scoop card. What. Just brutal.

41.1k

12:50 PM: Phil Hellmuth is two tables behind me and I just heard someone there call him an “idiot player.”

Sigh. Someone just 3-bet me all in in Razz with 62-6 and gets a triple up. Why?

36.5k

What a volatile start.

1:18 PM: Start with a three flush in Stud Hi and get 3-bet by an ace up. I immediately improve to a four flush but this guy’s board on 5th is xx-AAA. Come on.

33.7k

1:31 PM: Ughggggg. Just got scooped in a massive 4-way pot in Stud 8 when I have 32-45 on 4th and only one ace dead. Got back-to-back bricks and had to pay three big bets to see 7th. So sick.

18k

1:47 PM: 10 bigs starting the flop games. Need a lot of love here. 40 spots off the money atm.

2:04 PM: What an absolutely painful start. The thrill of immediately chipping up to 50k only to have it disappear just as fast.

That Stud 8 pot is going to be one I remember forever. If I can find an ace or six I scoop that monster and I’d be sitting with like 70k right now. I have some thoughts about 7th street on that one I might extrapolate on later. I think there’s some chance I can win half of that pot.

Anyways, I’m sitting on 11k at the first break and I’ll be coming back to a big blind of 1500 with like six hands of o8 left.

We are still about 40 spots off the money and it’s definitely looking grim but I’m not dead yet!

2:31 PM: Heading to the ante games with two big bets. GL all in!

2:54 PM: Super cold in Razz (although I did get the 88-8 one time) and I’m all the way down to 4400 after antes and a 6 up opens so I raise my first playable hand and we get it all in. I start with 26-7 and he has A3-6.

Fortunately his final board is A3-6QQ8-J.

Unfortunately my final board is 26-7K5K-2.

There are roughly 130 players left when I bust – 20 spots off the money – and for the second time in three years I turn a 50k+ stack on Day 2 of HORSE into a non-cash.

My frustration level right now is so high I was in an Uber back to my timeshare before I even considered what I wanted to do next.

I’m going to cool off and possibly nap for a few hours and go from there. I probably won’t play again today as I have some stuff to catch up on anyway. I’ll put in a power cash session somewhere tomorrow and my next event will be the WSOP $1500 8-Game Mix on Saturday.

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WSOP Event #4: $1500 Omaha Hi-Lo 8/Better (Live Blog)

May 31, 2018

It’s time.

The World Series of Poker is here. Technically it kicked off with the Casino Employee Event and $10k No Limit Hold’em Turbo Bounty yesterday, but today will be my first day in action.

The Leak and I left Tacoma at about 7:30 PM on Tuesday night and I drove straight through until 8 AM, which put us just across the Nevada state line. The Leak took the reigns from there and got us to Las Vegas by about 2 PM yesterday.

I didn’t sleep much in the car, so after driving through the night I wasn’t about to play any meaningful poker on my first day in Vegas. I just lounged in the Bellagio sports book watching the Stanley Cup, Mariners, and the Super High Roller Bowl on PokerGO while The Leak played 20/40.

I have to say this is the most prepared I’ve ever been for the WSOP. I’m in the best physical, mental, and financial shape I’ve ever been in while I’m here and I actually feel well rested in Las Vegas for what feels like the first time ever.

I probably won’t be doing much live blogging for most of the tournaments here (stack and break updates for sure though) but Omaha Hi-Lo is probably the easiest variant to write during, so check back for updates all day!

Cards are in the air at 3 PM.

1:43 PM: Eating a light lunch before the tournament starts and I’m near the sports book and I am quite horrified by the World Series odds I can see from my seat:

Angels 13-1

Giants 33-1

Mets 20-1

Rockies 22-1

Twins 35-1

Mariners 50-1

What.

The.

Hell.

I don’t necessarily think the Mariners have a real shot to win the World Series this year – the Astros, Indians, Red Sox, and Indians are all clearly better teams just in the American League – but looking at the odds for some of these other teams, that price is extremely attractive. I’m going to torch a Benji on it.

I don’t think any of the teams I listed above are clearly better than the Mariners and the Angels being seen as that much better than Seattle is baffling to me. I’ll give them an edge in starting pitching, but when healthy, I like our lineup and our bullpen more. 13-1? Jesus.

That is just crazy talk.

1:55 PM: Omaha Hi-Lo is definitely not the variant I’m the most prepared for. I just checked my YTD numbers and I’ve logged a total of 16 hours of O8 in 2018. That’s the culmination of two tournaments and six “sessions” in which I played more than 45 minutes once (2.25 hours).

Still, I feel good about my general strategy and I seem to play tournaments better than I play cash games.

I have top five finishes in LO8 at the LAPC and at the Round-Up in Pendleton over the last couple years, plus a cash in this same event last year, so I know I’m capable of a deep run even though I’m a bit rusty.

2:21 PM: First look at the Thunderdome:

Looking to make an appearance there for the third consecutive year.

2:34 PM: Last year saw 902 entrants for this event with over $238k for first place so… yeah… this would be a nice one to ship!

2:45 PM: Longest hour of my life! Let’s do this already. I’m the first player at my table which is fine. I can name check everyone’s receipts as they sit down and look at their Hendon Mob stats.

Players start with 7500 in chips for this event with blinds leading off at 50/100 and 60 minute (!) levels.

3:06 PM: Impressive start from our dealer. It took him over three minutes off the clock to deal the first card.

Six opponents at my table currently and I only recognize one of them. I don’t really think he’s a notable but I’ve seen him around at the WSOP and LAPC.

3:12 PM: Scooped on my first contested pot. I open cut off with A854 suited ace of hearts and the big blind 3-bets. I call down on 872hh97 and he scoops with AA3x.

Pretty great flop for me – top pair, nut flush draw, second nut low with backup – but I showed some restraint and put the minimum in to get to showdown.

From my seat, I can see two players that play at Palace sometimes (no nicknames).

A Pacific Northwesterner just sat down at an open seat at my table! Represent!

Sandman sighting.

3:44 PM: First scooper! I open AA2x with hearts and make the nut low and nut flush against one opponent.

3:54 PM: Cold call a raise with AK62 suited in diamonds and we go five ways to ultra sexy K53 two diamond flop. PFR leads, I raise, and two call. Turn is an offsuit 8 and they both call again. River pairs the 5 and I get check-raised by the PFR. The third player calls two bets on the river also, so I feel pretty fortunate to chop with the PFR’s 5432, but… that could have gone better.

4:05 PM: 6175 after L1. About to take my first mid-level bathroom break because this is what life as a hydrated diabetic is like!

4:14 PM: Tormund is staying with me and was on the fence about playing this event, but he is now confirmed in the field.

4:23 PM: I raise one limper with A732 spades on button and bet all streets on J83cc79 and… scoop! Above starting stack for the first time.

4:29 PM: I have seen seven marked cards. Could be a coincidence or one player just looking at their cards the wrong way, but six of the seven have been wheel cards.

Sigh. Scummy.

We’ve already had two cards replaced. I’m not the type to bring it up and have them removed but I’ve definitely noticed it. No one will be seeing the backs of the cards I’m playing, that’s for sure.

4:45 PM: Three aces have been replaced and our table is under heavy scrutiny now. It seems like a difficult problem to solve but the floor said if we keep having issues, he’s going to watch for an entire orbit and look at every hand folded and try to see who is doing it.

Woah.

Extreme, but effective.

5:03 PM: 9550 on first break.

5:24 PM: Bad start to L3. I 3-bet AK42 double suited, the small blind caps and three of us see 642 two club flop. I have two pair and the nut flush draw here, but I’m clearly drawing to half the pot. I wind up getting trapped for three bets and, in retrospect, I’m probably best off just folding when it’s three bets back to me.

Instead, I call, call turn, and *gasp* call river when I make aces up and the third player folded on turn. I can probably save three big bets on this hand, but instead I get torched for -2200 chips when my opponent shows me a blatantly obvious A53x.

Ugh.

6:07 PM: Back up to around starting stack after scooping with AKT3 on QJ8A5.

For those that don’t know, check out PokerNews for regular updates on all WSOP events. I’ll be updating my stack size on the MyStack app so it will appear in their chip counts.

7:04 PM: Running cold. And bad. I 3-bet AAJ3 double suited and get heads up in position (with a 2 exposed). I get check-raised on T94 two spade flop (with no spades in my hand) and wind up folding on river when my backdoor low draw whiffs and the queen of spades lands on the river.

Down to 4900 with blinds going up to 150/300 in seven minutes.

7:36 PM: Starting 125/250 blinds with 5000.

8:21 PM: Solid dealer performance here: she flips up a card to the 3 seat (5th card exposed of his today) and sets it off to the side after she replaces it… and then mixes it into the muck.

I’m like, “what’d you do with the king of spades?”

She reaches into the muck and turns over a random card: The queen of diamonds. ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ

She’s about to put that back and flip another one over and I’m like, “nooooooo…. just use the queen.”

And then it took what seemed like forever for her to figure out what to do with it.

“Just put it face down on the top of the deck. We’re gonna make it through this.”

๐Ÿ˜‚

8:34 PM: Chipped up a bit on the last hand before L6. Folds to button, he opens, and I 3-bet AT32 double suited. He calls. Flop is KQJ with two diamonds, giving me the nuts with a three high flush draw. I start with a bet and he calls. I think this is a perfect board texture to check-raise on bricked turns. I just expect him to bet a high percentage of the time, thinking this board is not good for my range. He does bet and then calls me down when the river bricks off also.

6k starting 150/300 blind level.

8:52 PM: Got back over starting defending my blind heads up with QJT8 and scooping on a KQ47A run out.

But then got quartered by A764 when I had AA54 and we both made lows but she turned a flush.

I have no had a suited AA with a wheel card hand four times and I’ve lost chips all four times. Amazing stuff.

9:03 PM: I did it! Open AAQ2 suited spades. Big blind 3-bets and I cap. He check-calls QTx flop and then check-folds when the ten pairs on the turn.

9:27 PM: Down to 5k after my AJ54 gets scooped by AQQx when I make aces and jacks and he flops a set.

My table appears to be one of the next ones to break.

9:51 PM: My table broke. No one I recognize at my new one though.

Kate Hoang sighting. Local LEGEND!

10:22 PM: Ron Ware takes the open seat at my table. I played with him at the LAPC earlier this year. He won the $1500 8-Game bracelet last year.

10:55 PM: I’ve literally been card dead for eight straight hours…

…but I’m still in there.

Tormund just text me that he busted.

11:29 PM: Extremely short after getting a free play with AK38 and flopping a king, second nut low draw and a bad flush draw against a set that quaded up on the river.

On the button with 1475 and blinds at 250/500. Yuck.

11:44 PM: Open AAKQ with a suited ace and get three callers. That’s a bad start.

I’m all in on K74 rainbow flop. One guy raises and the other cold calls. Sigh.

Turn is a queen. Hmm… okay. This time it goes check, bet, call on the side.

River pairs the 4 and it goes check, bet, fold.

I’m blocking sets of kings and queens, so I feel like it would be really unlucky to bust here, but the bettor has KK in his hand and I didn’t bother to look at his other two cards.

Gross. Not a fun start to the Series. Basically folded for 8+ hours straight and then had bad things happen most of the time I had premium hands. I do think I made some mistakes in a few spots, but mostly I just had nothing to work with the whole day. I spent 95% of the tournament below starting stack. Pretty disappointing but that’s how it goes sometimes.

Not sure what’s on deck for tomorrow. There’s a $300 Triple Draw Mix at Planet Hollywood that I’m interested in and the first flight of the WSOP $365 No Limit Hold’em Giant starts at 7 PM. Maybe I’ll play cash. Maybe I’ll let my wife decide what we are doing.

The WSOP Colossus starts on Saturday, there’s a H.O.R.S.E. event at Aria on Sunday that I’m playing and I might play the $1500 WSOP Dealer’s Choice on Monday, but the next WSOP event I’m 100% playing is the $1500 H.O.R.S.E. on Wednesday.

Until then…

h1

2017 WSOP Trip Report – Part Two (the good stuff)

July 5, 2017

This is the second part of my 2017 World Series Of Poker trip report. In Part One I talked about the six non-WSOP events I played and the few cash game sessions I put in. This post will be all about the 2017 WSOP.

Those of you that are friends with me on Facebook know that I like to post sweat threads for most of the bigger events that I play in and I post a decent amount of critical hands on there. Not only does it make it more fun for anyone following, but it also gives me a great reference point for when I type up these blog posts. However, there are times when I’m not posting because I really need to focus so I’ll do my best to recall what I can.

My first WSOP event of the year was the $1500 Omaha 8 or Better, which was the only event I played in the 2016 WSOP that I didn’t go deep in. I’m looking at my sweat thread right now and I actually didn’t post a single hand in it and I honestly can’t think of any specific hands that really stand out. Starting stacks were 7500 and it looks like I peaked on Day One at around 18K at the end of the 200/400 level. There was a key blind versus blind hand at the start of the 250/500 level where I lost a bundle. My comment on Facebook says: “flopped the world and then counterfeit, counterfeit to get scooped.” If I remember correctly, I had an A23X hand where I went three bets with the small blind preflop and then I flopped the nut flush draw with three nut low draws and I paired on the turn and river, to give me two pair and a live card low, while my opponent made a wheel. I continued to lose chips, getting as low as 4300 before finding a double up just before the end of Day 1. I bagged 10,100 with blinds starting at 600/1200 on Day 2, putting me at 220th of 254 remaining, and only 136 players cashing – happy to still be alive, but not looking like a favorite to cash.

I did get to play with Jason Mercier for the first time on Day 1, but it was for a very short time. However, it was still notable, because he was sitting on my left and the player to his left was playing 30/60 limit hold em on Ignition while playing in this tournament and Jason keep peeking over at his iPad and making comments about the action. After watching this happen for quite some time, I finally said: “I wonder if anyone on that table would believe you if you said you were colluding with Jason Mercier right now.” Obviously, not a serious accusation on my part.

I led off Day 2 by getting scooped in my first confrontation, which left me with 4.5 big blinds, but I tripled up on my all in and an hour into Day 2 I had 32,000 in chips and over 15 big blinds. This gave me a relatively comfortable stack that I nursed over the next couple hours, but by the time the money bubble approached, I was back in the danger zone, with 4.5 bigs on the stone bubble. Daniel Weinman bet me $20 that I couldn’t remember the names of everyone at our table after the bubble burst, so when we all made the money, I happily collected from him also. I did triple up again, but my run finally came to an end when I called a raise with Ad4dQ3, saw the Qd5d3 flop, and eventually got all in on the turn, which was a 7. Obviously that was a very good flop for my hand, as it is really difficult to scoop me while I should have plenty of scooping potential. However, my opponent had a pretty miraculous A277, and a brick river gave him the knockout and I had to settle for 105th place and $2315.

Next up in the WSOP for me was the $565 No Limit Hold Em Colossus. Just like in 2016, I waited until the last flight to play this event. You only start with 5000 in chips, so it tends to play pretty fast. If you lose with a big hand early, you are likely to be out or crippled – there just isn’t much room for error or big folds. The first notable pot I played, I open with 33 from late position to 150 at the 25/50 level and only one of the blinds defends. The flop is AA3, with two diamonds, and she check-calls a bet of 150. The turn is a 9d and she check-calls 400. River is a 6 and she checks to me again. On the turn, I had determined that she was pretty strong, likely holding an ace or a flush, so I decided to go for full value by jamming 3600 into a 1500 pot. I guess it was a bad move because she tanked for a long time and finally folded 75dd face up. The early stages of this tournament are filled with recreational players so I just don’t expect people to fold hands that strong very often at all. On the other side of the coin, a lot of those recreational players might have taken time off work and flown down to Vegas just to play the Colossus and probably don’t want to bust during the first level… so maybe I misread the situation. Either way, a pretty sick fold that felt like a big missed opportunity for me – she’s probably calling 1000 100% of the time.

After four levels, I had built my starting stack up to 13.5K and I had it up to 18K during level five before losing with AA to J7 (!) and falling back down to 12.5K. By the 500/1000/100 level with the money bubble in sight, I was sitting on a 27K stack and playing poker with Cate Hall for the first time. I won’t go as far as to call Cate unlikable, but in this sample size of one encounter, she’s been one of the least friendly famous pros I’ve played with. She stared daggers at her opponents, had big headphones on, and I don’t think she said a word to anyone, except to ask for a chip count. In fact, I three bet jammed on her once with AK suited and had my chips in perfect stacks of 20 and totally visible, as easy to count as possible, and she still asked me how much I started the hand with. I had to resist the urge to burst out laughing at how comical that was. I’m not saying that everyone that has had success and becomes recognizable has to be an ambassador for the game and always be approachable and friendly, but I do think it’s a better table presence than being stone-faced and quiet all day. Shrug.

We reached hand-for-hand play around 11:30 PM, needing to lose one or two players to make the money. At this point, there were roughly 55 tables running, so each table had to deal one hand and then stand up and wait for all the other tables to finish. With that many tables, it seems like the bubble would burst on the first hand most of the time. I’m not sure how many hands were actually dealt because there was a lot of sitting around and waiting going on, but amazingly, no one busted for 45 minutes. Considering the circumstances, it was the sickest bubble I’ve ever seen. Shortly after the bubble burst, I jammed about 12 bigs from the button with QJ and it folded to Cate in the big blind, who tanked for a while before finding the call with A4 and doubling up through me. I got my remaining five bigs in shortly after and lost that confrontation, busting in 309th place and cashing the Colossus for the second straight year.

Next up was the $1500 H.O.R.S.E., an event that I really felt like I had something to prove in. I made it to Day 2 of it last year with over 50K in chips and managed not to cash after running a five street bluff and whiffing 20+ outs against a pair of 7s that called every street. Ultimately, I busted seven spots away from the money. In my initial post of my sweat thread on Facebook, I had this to say: “Not all tournaments are created equal: I want this one more than the others.” I had a really good starting table in this event, with zero notable players, three different players I had history with and none of them were strong. I felt like it was a pretty fortunate situation, especially when I glanced at the table behind me and saw at least four bracelet winners sitting together: Greg Raymer (1), Anthony Zinno (1), Vanessa Selbst (3) and Ian Johns (3). LOL! I chipped up steadily over the first four levels, with a stack of 11K at the first break and 17k by the second break. Unfortunately, tables were breaking the wrong way and my easy table broke and I got placed with 2015 WSOP Player Of The Year Mike Gorodinsky and another elite pro in Connor Drinan. I had just under 20k at the dinner break and I was mostly flat for the last five levels of the night before going on a little rush before the end of the day and bagging 30,800.

Day 2 started with 175 players and 111 of us would cash. I started Day 2 with 60% of the chips I started it with last year and I got a good taste of how bad I punted when I cruised to the money with ease this year. I’m not suggesting I played that big pot poorly and I would probably take the same line again, but it’s pretty clear that pot was the reason I didn’t cash last year. I was a little below average when the money bubble burst, but I had 62K after scooping a well known pro in a hand I thought was a little weird. I defended my big blind heads up with Q532 and check-called a bet on an A65 flop. I turned a Q and decided to lead out and my opponent called. The river was another A and since I expected my opponent to have one most of the time when he opened-raised from middle position, I checked and planned to call, hoping to get half. He did bet and I was pretty shocked when he turned over a naked 43 low and I got the scoop. I lost a big pot in limit hold em when the button opened and I three bet KK from the small blind and Don Zewin four bet from the big blind. The three of us saw an Ace high flop and, having no history with Zewin, I just check-called it down and he showed me TT, which turned a set. Having played with Zewin now and watching him play on the live stream of a later final table, I would have at least folded the river because he’s actually a pretty huge nit.

I ended up busting Mike Gorodinksy in this tournament, which is pretty notable because I had seen him go all in around 15 times (no exaggeration) and stay alive already. In fact, I had already joked with him that I was going to get all in for the first time of the whole tournament and end up busting before him. Alas, we got it in preflop when I had AJ92 and he had AT53 and I was in terrible shape after the flop came T62, but the board ran out a miraculous J-6 and I finally got rid of the toughest opponent at my table. I had 60k after that hand and then I played a huge Razz pot that really got my adrenaline pumping. The player on my left was playing super aggressive and seemed to have no method to his madness – just pure unrestrained aggression. I completed on third street and the player to my left reraised and we were heads up. I wasn’t planning to make a lot of folds against this player but he caught perfect on 4th, 5th, and 6th, while I caught bad, but not terrible cards. On the end I had a 9 low and he had a 456 showing on 5th street! Obviously, any number of those cards could have paired him and this player was very likely to run a big bluff, so after being in the tank for several minutes on 7th, I finally looked directly at him and said “I can only beat a bluff” and as soon as I said that he gulped. I actually laughed out loud after seeing that because the timing was so perfect I had to wonder if it was intentional, but at that point folding was out of the question and I put the call in and won a massive pot that put me just under 100K as we headed to dinner break with 47 left.

After dinner, the heater was officially on. I had 268k by the next break. We had a redraw at 27 left and there was nothing but wizards at my table… and then the last seat was filled by Wayne LaMonica. The first hand we played was Razz and LaMonica was first to act after the bring in and, at a table full of world beaters acting behind him, he completed from first position with the worst up card (a 10)! Naturally, moments later, someone busted at another table and LaMonica was moved to balance and the reactions from my table were hysterical. Basically everyone made some sort of audible groan while Max Pescatori actually asked the TD “are you sure that’s right” and A.J. Kelsall to my right mumbled “this can’t be real.” I ended up bagging 243k which put me in the top half of the remaining 18 players advancing to Day 3.

On Day 3, I went into hyper focus mode and didn’t post any updates at all on Facebook, but I can recall a couple of key pots I played leading up to the final table. The first one was against Esther Taylor when I defended a JJ97 against her open. I check-called the T82 flop and then check-called when the 2 paired on the turn. I don’t think she has a full house very often and I expected to scoop with a Q, J, or 9 river. The river was a perfect J and I lead out. I don’t know how great my river lead is since I expect her to bet all her A2 hands, especially the ones that are full, but I hate missing value on the river by trying to check-raise, especially when accumulating chips is so important, as it is in tournaments. Another key pot was against Max Pescatori. I can’t remember if I defended my big blind against an UTG open or if we were heads up in the blinds, but I do know I had a disguised AJ2X holding and I rivered a jack high flush on a double paired board and bet for value and got paid off.

By the time the final table was set, I was second in chips with 720k and only LaManiac (sorry, too easy) had more than I did. I had now cashed 6 of my last 8 WSOP events and was making my second final table appearance in 12 lifetime tournaments. Not bad! And it was particularly satisfying to final table the H.O.R.S.E., as it’s more of a testament to being an all around good player.

The final table was absolutely loaded: Max Pescatori is a four-time bracelet winner; David “Bakes” Baker and Brandon Shack-Harris are both multiple bracelet winners; David Singer won his second bracelet in this event; E-Tay is well-known high stakes cash game regular with over $800K in lifetime tournament winnings; and Kyle Loman and A.J. Kelsall appear to known quantities with rising status. I’d say that Kevin LaMonica and myself were the only total unknowns at the final table.

LaMonica was playing very crazy at the final table, doing things like straddling in limit hold em and completing dark first to act in the stud games, regardless of what his up card was. My wife made a comment on Facebook during this stage of the tournament saying that “one player is dumping chips to everybody but Mac (me).” Indeed, he had doubled up multiple short stacks in very precarious spots, but I did appreciate the fact that all of my formidable opponents were always at risk any time they entered a pot. However, it is safe to say that David Singer probably wouldn’t have won a bracelet in this event without a strong assist from LaMonica. I felt pretty unfortunate that I never really benefited from having such a loose, reckless player at the table.

Brandon Shack-Harris and E-Tay got their small stacks in a couple of times with safe results before eventually busting in 9th and 8th places, respectively.

With 7 players left, I found myself holding a four flush on 4th street in Stud high against Max who had an obvious pair of kings. I raised Max on 4th, planning to go with this hand and Wayne LaMonica came along also, and Max called. LaMonica paired the 10 he caught on 4th and checked to Max who lead out again. I had just under three big bets left and wasn’t planning to fold and I honestly didn’t think I’d lose LaMonica by raising – he’s the last player I’d expect to fold open tens – so I raised it up to get all in, LaMonica did fold (!), and Max put me all in. I didn’t have to sweat long as my next card gave me a flush and I more than doubled up.

Kyle Loman and “Bakes” busted in 7th and 6th shortly after and I headed to dinner break with 826K, which put me in third of the remaining five players. Max and A.J. were both coming back to less than 12 big blinds, so I really liked my chances of finishing in at least 3rd.

Unfortunately, I doubled Max up almost immediately after the dinner break when I opened with 76-3 two spades in Stud 8 and he defended with a 3 up. On 4th street, he caught a 4 and I caught the king of spades, which was a bad, but not terrible card. He’s never folding on 4th, so betting my hand doesn’t make any sense, so I checked it over and he bet. I’m no Stud 8 expert, so I really don’t know if folding or calling is correct here. It just seems like there are too many good 5th street cards for me to give up, so I made the call. Obviously I would fold if I bricked 5th, but I caught a ten of spades. Even though Max caught a 6 and could be freerolling me at that point, I had to make the call as Max was all in. Max had two pair and a three low at that point, so I was actually in a pretty decent spot to bust him; he bricked on 6th and I caught an Ace for some split potential but the 9d on 7th totally bricked me and Max got a full double.

I ended up opening another Stud 8 hand that I had to fold on 3rd (correctly) after the action got too hot behind me and finally I opened the 88-5, LaMonica called, and David Singer reraised from the bring in, I called and Lamonica folded (weird). Singer caught a 7 on 4th and I caught the 9 of clubs, giving me a three flush. I checked and Singer bet… It seemed like I had the best hand for high and I only had about 1.5 small bets left so I just went with it. Unfortunately, Singer had buried aces and I was in bad shape. I caught running deuces on 5th and 6th to take the lead, as Singer caught low and a brick, but he made two pair on 7th, and I would need to fill up to stay alive. I didn’t and I busted in 5th for around $45,000.

Obviously this was an amazing finish for me. It was my biggest tournament cash ever and my second final table in my last eight WSOP events. I’m really proud of myself, but in retrospect, I wish I would have played tighter in Stud 8. Fact of the matter is, I felt lost in a lot of the pots I played and the pay jumps were immense. Max Pescatori ended up busting less than ten minutes after I did and he made an extra $18,000 – that’s pretty huge. I would have felt a lot better losing my stack in Hold Em or Omaha because I would know I was making the right plays. In Stud 8, I’m not sure if I made mistakes or if I just got unlucky. Either way, it’s a clear area to focus on leading up to next year’s Series.

I got to play with a lot of notable pros in this event and all the people I final tabled with in this event were class acts with good senses of humor. Wayne LaMonica was an amazing presence and a game-changer at the table. Some of what I have said here may seem disparaging, but he took on a table full of players that were undoubtedly all better than him and played with absolutely no fear. He ended up going heads up with David Singer for the bracelet and had Singer almost all the way to the felt before Singer made an epic comeback to capture his second bracelet. Esther Taylor, Kyle Loman, and Max Pescatori were all really cool and E-Tay actually invited Dina and I to hang out, but we were unable to ever make it happen, which is pretty damn disappointing, as mingling with the elite players of poker is definitely something I’m interested in doing. I also got approached by Daniel Negreanu during one of the breaks in this event and we actually had a real conversation about the difficulties of balancing a relationship during the WSOP. I have to say it was pretty wild being treated as a peer by arguably the most famous poker player in the world.

My next WSOP event was the $1500 8-Game. I have to admit a hit a wall during this event. I had played 41 hours of H.O.R.S.E. over the previous four days and by about the sixth level of this tournament I could feel the exhaustion overpowering me. I felt like I got a pretty good starting table in this event, but I wasn’t really able to take advantage of the situation. I had a really loose player on my direct left that basically played every pot and played hyper aggressive. He was playing totally reckless and putting bad beats on everyone. I only beat him in one pot, when I flopped a set of sixes in limit Hold Em and he gave me max action. The rest of the time, I just lost every single pot to him, while he sprayed my chips around the table to everyone else.

I was down to 4k in the fourth level when I flatted a raise in no limit Hold Em with AJ of diamonds. I got my stack in after a flop of J64 in which my opponent flopped the nut flush draw with AK of clubs. He missed and I scored a full double up. I had a little over 12k after four levels and I didn’t really gain any momentum either way over the next four hours, but managed to peak at 16.5k heading into the last two levels of play for the night. At this point there were 160 or so players left and 70 of us would cash, but I was sitting on a below average stack.

As a limit specialist, it’s in my best interest to avoid big clashes in the big bet games (no limit Hold Em and pot limit Omaha) but I found myself in exactly that kind of spot when it folded to me on the button in PLO and I had the AJ97 double suited. This is a standard open, but my problem was that I knew the guy on my left was going to three bet pretty much every time – it’s what he’d been doing all day long no matter what game we were playing. So if I opened this hand, I knew that he was going to pot it and at that point he’d have half his stack in and we were going to have to play for the whole thing because there was no way I’m ever folding. And that’s what happened. He had AK53 and we both made club flushes, but his was the nuts and I went from having a decent stack to having a short stack. I didn’t find any good spots in the ante games to get all in, but I picked up pocket tens in no limit Hold Em and got my last ten bigs in, but David “ODB” Baker called me from the big blind with A8 and I couldn’t beat it at showdown. So I busted in 132nd at 1:15 AM after 10 hours of play and felt like I’d never been that tired in my life. I had been grinding mix game tournaments 10 hours a day for five straight days and my brain was ready for a break!

I ended up taking the next day off, but the following day I was playing what would be my last event of the 2017 World Series of Poker: the $1500 Limit Hold Em. No doubt about it, limit Hold Em is my strongest game and I suspect that I have more recent experience in this variant than 95% of the field. I got off to a rough start, dipping down to 5500 quickly, but I had an epic third level and emerged as the early chip lead of the tournament. In level three alone, I flopped three sets AND quads once and made it to showdown in every single hand. I also had an incredibly sick hand that I didn’t win. I had AK in a 5-way pot that was capped preflop where I got a QTxJT run out versus JJ. By the end of the level I had just over 19k despite losing that 8500 pot!

I was up to 24.5k after six levels and was getting to play with Barry Greenstein for the first time. I had gone through a dry spell and had only shown down one hand since Barry sat down (pocket aces), so I was pretty surprised when he called my UTG raise next to act at a 9-handed table and ended up showing me A5 of clubs to beat my AQ. That’s like a 0% play in my game, especially at a tight table, so it really makes you wonder. Barry was super cool though – funny and very friendly. Our table was pretty tough, so I appreciated it when it was breaking and he looked at me and said “pretty much any table out there has to be better than this one.”

My first significant pot at my new table is one of the most interesting LHE hand I’ve ever played. I got a free look with 98 from the big blind after four players limped and the small blind completed. The flop was T63 rainbow and one of the limpers bet, followed by calls from two more limpers, the small blind, and myself. The turn card was a J of spades, putting two spades on board. This time it checked around to the button and he fired in a bet. The small blind folded and I decided that the button’s range was too wide not to exploit. It’s unlikely he flopped top pair or better after flatting on the flop and it’s hard to imagine what hands he calls the flop with that have a jack in it, so I raised and the rest of the field folded. He called and the river was an ace. I continued my story and fired another bluff and he went into the tank for many minutes. In fact, I’ve never seen someone think so long in a limit format. And then he called… with Q9 of spades. Yes. Queen high. So sick! It seemed pretty genius until he said he put me on the 54 of spades, which makes it sound like he called because he thought of one hand he could beat. I peaked around 30k, but wound up bagging 14.4k after my 99 got beat in a big pot by AT. That put me 106th of 132 remaining players heading to Day 2 with 93 of us cashing. Maybe I’ll bag a big stack one of these days and not have to sweat the bubble? Not this year!

I started Day 2 off ice cold. In the first 75 minutes I only played two pots both of which I defended a raise from my big blind. I did score a double up when I got a T64QT run out with QT versus AQ, but that just got me back to where I started the day. Finally after over an hour of folding everything, someone in front of me raised and I played to get it in with AQ. He had AK, but I flopped top two pair and scored the double up. By the end of the first break, nearing the money bubble, I had built my stack up to a respectable 47.8K.

That was good enough to get my fourth WSOP cash of the summer, but I went right back into ice cold mode. By the time we had played four hour long levels, I had only entered a pot outside of the blinds five times – that’s just over one hand an hour! I dwindled all the way back down to 15k before doubling up with the K9 versus 77 and getting back up to 46k and immediately lost with AK to JJ and fell right back down to 15k.

I finally found some momentum by tripling up and then peaking at 70k after I opened with AQ and rivered Broadway against Alex Luneau. The rush I’d been waiting all day for was immediately extinguished, however, when the button tried to steal the blinds with 87o and I woke up with AA and lost a number of bets to his flopped two pair. I did end up busting Luneau to chip up a little bit one last time, but the same player that cracked my aces opened from middle position with A7o and I played to get it in with 88 and he made trips to bust me in 45th place for $3500.

I suppose I was happy to make a deep run despite having very little to work with on Day 2 and I should have busted with that AQ versus AK most of the time, so it’s hard to complain, but losing with those aces after being so card dead all day when I had finally caught some real momentum stung. If I had won that pot, I would have been a top 15 stack with less than 50 players left and had a real chance at making another final table run. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be and the guy that crippled and then busted me went on to a 4th place finish.

So that was my 2017 World Series of Poker. After this event, I was in 27th place on WSOP Player of the Year leaderboard, which kind of blew my mind. I really wonder what I could have accomplished if I kept plugging along, but I busted my last event on the 13th and I didn’t fly out of Vegas until the 21st and in between I just played the downtown tournaments I talked about in Part One.

I can’t help but feel like this was another wasted opportunity and a little bit of poor planning on my part. My wife made a deal with me that I could stay for the whole Series if I made a final table – and then I did that. But what I should have done is flown home after busting the Limit Hold Em event, take a week off to relax and study, and then flown back in time for the $1500 NLHE Monster Stack and a number of tournaments I was interested in to follow. But instead, I burned myself out in the downtown events and I was ready to come home and any chance I had of being relevant in the Player of the Year race evaporated.

Still, it was another great Series for me, as I cashed for the seventh time in my last ten WSOP events and made a final table for the second consecutive year in what has been a pretty limited schedule. Next year – barring the addition of a newborn or the latest stages of a pregnancy – I will be staying for the whole Series and playing my biggest schedule yet, possibly including my first Main Event. I’m planning to drive myself down and I might fly back if there is a big gap in between events I want to play, but otherwise I will be in Vegas all six weeks. I owe it to myself to really see what I can do over a full schedule and I think that I have proven that I am capable of playing for bracelets, so that’s my new goal: I want to win a bracelet.