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Poker Goals & Challenges Post your threads logging your travels up the poker ladder as you achieve your poker goals and dreams. "Challenges" does NOT mean prop bets, wagers, etc.

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Old 12-12-2017, 05:17 PM   #1
TheDarkKnight
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Join Date: Feb 2012
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Alcoholism and Jail Cells to multiple WSOP Final Tables: rock bottom to mountain climbing!

I already tried to start a blog thread on here that was deleted because I posted too many links. Fortunately, I copied my original post before that happened.

My new plan is to update you to the point where my blog started (which was around 2009, before I had any real poker success) and then rotate blog posts from 2009 and up with my latest posts until they eventually sync up and I only paste my latest blogs in here.


Hey folks,

I've been wanting to start a blog thread on this forum for my poker posts for a while now, but lately I've gone from posting about poker sporadically to providing consistent content.

A little background: I originally started playing poker in the last half of 2004 and by spring of 2005, I thought I had it made. After having some minor success with some small deposits on Poker Room and eventually busting them all, I finally ran $150 into multiple thousands and eventually found myself multitabling $20/$40 LHE on Party Poker.

I dropped out of the University of Washington with two weeks left in my senior year and I quit my job. I secured an apartment by printing up my results on Poker Tracker. I really thought I had it all figured out.

I didn't. My bankroll peaked at around $25k and I had no concept of money management or the variance in poker. And maybe I wasn't even good.

By spring of 2006, I had a DUI under my belt, I was evicted from my apartment, I let a scumbag (that was eventually outed on 2p2 later by someone else) borrow my Jeep Grand Cherokee on the promise that he would make the payments (he didn't), and I moved back in with my parents at age 24 - an unemployed college dropout with -$700 in my bank account (a figure I arrived at by cashing a NetTeller check for an amount I knew I had already been credited for) and over $30K in student loan debt.

I got a job in the summer of 2006 at a restaurant that I kept for over five years and while that helped me with my financial issues, I still had a problem that was preventing me from really getting anywhere in life: I was alcoholic.

I enjoyed plenty of success playing poker from 2006 to 2010, but none of it was sustainable and whatever bankroll I would manage to run up, I would eventually lose all of it.

In December of 2007, I was arrested for a drinking and driving incident for the second time. I stayed sober for about 18 months and then I relapsed.

Amazingly, during this relapse, I took the last few classes I needed to get my degree from UW. But in July 2010, I got arrested again for drunk driving and this being my third overall offense, I really thought I was going to pay the consequences this time.

Fortunately, I still had a trick up my sleeve. I was able to do a deferred prosecution and as long as I completed two years of alcohol treatment and didn't violate my probation over the next five years, the charge would be dropped.

I did the treatment - for the second time in my life - and I had an ignition interlock on my car for five years.

Unfortunately, this last DUI occurred three months before the probational period of my first offense was completed and I ended up having to do a month in jail anyway.

July 22nd, 2010 is the last time I drank alcohol.

I was still very interested in poker, but by the end of 2010 I still had nothing to show for all this talent I thought I had. For 2011, I resolved to dedicate myself to being a disciplined player and ironing out the leaks that seemed to plague me for all these years.

I think mid-to-late 2010 is the best place to start copying and pasting posts from my blog. I was sober at that point, but still really struggling with poker and I want a starting point that really reflects how much things have changed since my journey began.

Please keep in mind that these early posts are from over seven years ago and I don't think I had matured since my late teen years because of alcoholism.

Last edited by Mike Haven; 12-13-2017 at 05:22 AM.
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Old 12-12-2017, 05:17 PM   #2
TheDarkKnight
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Re: Alcoholism and Jail Cells to multiple WSOP Final Tables: rock bottom to mountain climbing!

September 13th, 2010

This is a bit premature, but I self-excluded myself from playing online poker for the rest of the month, so it’s not going to change much. Here are the results:

Starting Bankroll: $109.75
Ending Bankroll: $0.04
Net Profit: -$100.71
Deposits: $25
Cash Outs: $100
Transfers: $0
Rake Back: $35.71 (through Sept. 10th)
Bonuses: $50
Tournaments: +$69.20
Cash Games: -$341.33

Notes:

-I went busto on September 2nd and had to deposit money for the first time in ages. I put in $25 and got about $20 in rake back and built that $45 up to a peak of $366 within a week.

-I only cashed in 3 of 23 online tournaments I played before banning myself, but all of them were final tables. My best showing was 1st of 135 for +$149.50.

-When my bankroll reached $366, I decided to do something rare: cash some out.

-After my cash out and a couple days basically treading water, I decided to take a shot at a $100 buy-in NL cash game. This was 10x higher than I was usually playing and it seems whenever I decide to take a shot, the Gods punish me for it. The pivotal hands:

—I have Tc8c in the BB and someone raises it to $5. I’m going to fold if it folds around to me, but the SB calls and I decide to take a flop. The board comes T83 with two hearts. SB checks and the opening raiser has about $42 left and my objective is to get as much of it as possible. I figure if he has an overpair, I’m stacking him no matter what. If he has unpaired high cards, he might not call if I bet, but he’ll likely make a continuation bet if it checks to him and maybe even price himself in. Since checking seems to make me more money, that’s what I do. He goes all-in. Yay! The small blind calls $42. Boo! Not what I was hoping for at all. What does this guy have? I go into the tank for a bit… It’s really unlikely that he has TT or 88 since I have two of those cards and two of them are on the board… 33 is certainly a possibility, but I convince myself that it’s probably a big heart draw. Since I’m playing way over my head, the safe play would be to fold, but if I end up folding the winning hand, I’m not going to forgive myself. Since I think my hand is good, calling is out of the question, and I go all-in for $108. The SB calls and shows AhKh and the 4h comes on the turn and I don’t fill up. $270 pot and roughly 40% of my bankroll gets shipped to him.

—After that last beat, I decide to call it a night, but I can’t sleep at all because I’m steaming so bad. So I get back online and sit down in the same game looking to make my money back quickly. After a few hands, I pick up KK and make it $3.50 to go. Someone re-raises me to $10.50. Ugh. Am I really going to be up against aces right now? The button calls him. It folds back to me… only one hand has me beat, but do I believe it? I decide to go Matt Damon in Rounders and just shove it all-in for $100+. The re-raiser folds, which is great, but the button calls, which is shocking. What does this guy have that he’d play that way? Amazingly, he shows 22 and before I can even get over the shock of seeing his hand, he spikes a set on the flop, and stacks 70% of my remaining bankroll. Unbelievable. I’m playing on a Rush table, so I don’t even get the satisfaction of being able to berate him for such a horrendous play.

—I’m down to like $45 and take it to same $100NL game and decide that I’m getting it all-in at the first sane opportunity. After a few spots where my opponents fold, I pick up AQ and get one caller with position on me. I bet the pot on an A high flop and he calls. I get it all-in on a blank turn and he shows a flopped set and I’m busto for the second time this month.

-I played live for the first time in a loooooooong while. I went into Bremerton Lanes to see if they had a tournament and it was super dead. There were about five people waiting around in a live game and I decided to sit down against my better judgement. I bought in for $100 to play $4-$8, to kill the hour before the tournament, and basically just dwindled. I won two pots and they were both small and I never picked up any big hands. Lost $66.

Highlights from the live tournament:

—blinds @ 50-100 on deep stacks. One person limps, I limp with 66, SB calls, BB raises to $600. First limper folds, and since we are on deep stacks and I know this player will dump if I spike a set, I call. SB folds and the flop comes 953. He checks to me and it looks like a bet, but I’ve played with this guy before and I don’t think he’d make that raise w/out a pair, so I check behind and take one off. Turn is a 2 and he bets $800. I’m still pretty sure he has an overpair, but his check on the flop leaves enough doubt that I speculate with a call, plus I should have six outs, position, and some other river cards I might be able to bluff with. River is gin: a four peels off. No flush on board, so I’m sure I have the nuts. He leads out for $1000, which looks like an ace. I doubt he’d make that bet with KK/QQ/JJ, so I expect to get paid off and raise it to $2700, hoping he might even re-raise. He just calls and I’m surprised when he tables 99 for top set. hahaha… sorry buddy! Nice pot for me. It’s a pretty odd river call for him, but sometimes I think people need to show how bad of a beat they took… and I appreciate it!

—blinds @ 200-400. UTG goes all-in for about 1900 and I’m UTG+1 with AA and about $12K. I decide to just call because some players behind me have been raise happy. Everyone folds except the small blind, who calls also. The flop comes AT9 with two hearts. SB checks to me and even though I have top set, a bet is in order because that board is super draw-friendly. I bet out $1500 and the small blind becomes exasperated. I’m all for the cooperation play in a lot of spots, but this is not one of them. After throwing a mini-fit, he says “Fine, I’ll all-in” and raises about $7500 more. Hahahahhahaha. I call and flip over my aces and he tables QQ and walks away sonned.

—blinds @ 300-600. I pick up AA and raise to 1500. I have over $20K at this point and a player behind me has even more chips. We are easily the chip leaders at the table. He’s been really raise happy and doesn’t disappoint when he makes it $5500 to go. It folds around back to me and I go into acting mode. I count my chips, see how much I’d have left if I call and fold later, basically trying to sell AK or some other hand… After a minute or so, I go all-in and he instacalls and shows JJ. I hold and I have an enormous chip lead. I got chastised by a couple players after this hand, including my opponent. Some of the comments: “he had to think about that one” — “yeah, he must’ve been worried I had a set” etc. Uhhh… okay noobs. If I shove all-in without thinking about it, my hand range can be narrowed down pretty easily. I know if I had JJ in his spot, I would fold it. Hell, I wouldn’t have re-raised in the first place. Maybe my acting job didn’t play a role at all and he would have spewed with JJ regardless, but there’s certainly no rule that says if you have aces you must reraise as soon as possible.

—Per usual, when I get a huge chip lead, I get card dead for a long time and eventually dwindle down to an average stack. I make the final table with a good amount of chips, but all my opening raises get shoved on and I have to fold my attempts to steal the blinds.

—Busto hand: blinds are 2000-4000 and I have about $21K. Two people limp in, SB calls, and I have AT in the BB. I have enough chips left behind that the limpers can’t call me without fear and the limps indicate there isn’t a lot of strength out there, so I shove and take my chances. First person folds, but the second hesitates for a bit, sighs, and decides to call. She tables 99 and flops a set. GG. 7th place for money back. Laaaaaaaaaaaame.

Another ****ty month… but on the bright side, I cashed out more money than I put into gambling this month, so my wallet actually saw a profit. I keep saying that playing above my bankroll is one of my biggest leaks, but I don’t think it’s wrong to take shots. I don’t want to grind it out for nickels and dimes and no one makes it big by playing it safe. It would just be nice if one time I took a shot something ridiculous didn’t happen. Sigh. Until next month….
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Old 12-12-2017, 05:35 PM   #3
TheDarkKnight
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Re: Alcoholism and Jail Cells to multiple WSOP Final Tables: rock bottom to mountain climbing!

My first post in my regular poker series:

October 12th, 2017

I always have blog ideas running through my head and I don’t always execute them, but my poker blogs are almost always my most popular ones and I’ve been thinking of ways to write about poker that is interesting to read and isn’t too time-consuming for myself. Sometimes I will write about a whole tournament series I play and it takes me like a week to write it and I imagine it can be exhausting to read. So I had the idea of writing about my day-to-day sessions and just noting the biggest and most interesting pots I played. I don’t know if this will be a continuing trend or not – or if it’s even going to be entertaining – but I’m curious to see what kind of response it gets.

So yesterday I went to the Palace in Lakewood without much of a plan of what I was going to play. When I got in the shower around 3:30 PM there was a full $6/$12 Omaha 8 or better game with 6 people on the list and that looked promising enough. This a new game to the Palace spread and I hadn’t played it yet, so I was pretty happy to see that it was going strong and that I was going to be able to get some playing time in.

When I arrived at the Palace around 4:15 however, the $6/$12 O8 game was 5-handed and within seven minutes of me sitting down two players busted and another one left and then the game broke when one of the three remaining players took a $4/$8 hold em seat. I don’t know if the earlier list was misleading or not – or if my timeline is a bit off – but the game went from 9 seated players with 6 waiting to dead in roughly an hour. I played about two short-handed orbits and lost $2 before having to move on to other things.

When I arrived I had put my name up for the $1/$3 PLO game starting at 6 PM and for $8/$16 hold em, which is my main game. I got a seat in the second $8/$16 game around 4:50 PM and kept my name up for PLO, not really sure if I was going to play or not. There were like 20 players on the list and I wasn’t one of the first 9, so I would be making my decision based on who was playing and how long I had to wait to get in.

I’ve been reading Tommy Angelo’s Painless Poker the last few days and in an effort to refocus myself at the table, I set some new goals for my session. First off, I set a timer to take a break every hour. It’s seriously important to get up from the table at least once every two hours or so and walk around a little bit and take your mind off the game – even if it’s just for a few minutes. I chose 60 minutes because of my second goal for the night: to not be distracted by my phone while I was playing. Set timer, put phone away, and don’t look at it again until the timer went off. It was obviously easier to remember hands for one hour than it would be to remember them for two hours. And my last goal for the session was to look left for playing and folding tells on the opponents with immediate position on me. This is such an underrated observation and I can admit I don’t use it often enough. Last night I got crystal clear tells on the two players to my left and I always knew if they were going to play or not based on what they did after they looked at their cards. This is pretty important when you’re thinking about limping behind with a marginal hand from the hi jack or cut off or isolating a weak limper by raising when you’re not the button. For instance, a weak player with a wide limping range called from middle position and I was in the hi jack seat. I saw that the button was planning to play his hand and I looked down at AJ offsuit. This is a clear raise, regardless, but had I looked down at sometime like QT off, I would have elected to just fold. The button ended up 3-betting me and I check-folded when I bricked the flop.

I only played $8/$16 for about 90 minutes, so I didn’t have a lot of interesting hands, but these were my key pots for the session:

-Several limpers, I raise A9 of clubs from the small blind. Flop comes King high with two clubs and I have a clear lead for value with my nut flush draw and I get three callers. The turn bricks me and I elect to check-call now since I feel I don’t think I’m getting many folds and there is not enough players to bet my draw for value. The river is a 4 of clubs and I lead out, the turn bettor calls, and last position raises. I make it three bets and get paid off by the last player and win my first sizable pot of the night.

-I complete 95dd from the SB after a few limpers and check-raise the 975 flop. Heads up to the 2 on the turn, I bet and he calls. The river is an 8, which isn’t ideal, but I feel confident that he has a 9 with a decent kicker and while he could have 98, he will never raise the river with it. It’s possible that he could have 76 suited or JT, but this is a player that I can snap-fold the river to if I get raised and his body language and timing is in total pay off mode, so this is an easy value bet and my hand is good.

-After taking a break, I post in late position and get the 93 offsuit, a player limps, a good player raises, and I’m never folding for one more bet after posting in the cutoff, so I call and four or five of us see the 954 flop. The player from the previous hand donks out, the good player just flats (which is never a made hand), and I call. The flop bettor is very straight forward, so I feel my hand is never good here, but the pot is too big to fold just yet. The turn card is a 7, which may give me additional straight outs and I call a bet after the preflop raiser folds. The river is a 3, giving me two pair, and he bets again. This is kind of an interesting spot and I took some time thinking about it. This player doesn’t strike me as the kind that will bet the river when the one card straight gets there, if he doesn’t have it, so I didn’t think I could raise. At the same time, I couldn’t really come up with any hands he would take this line with that have a six in them. Confused, I decided to just call and I won the pot after he showed 54 suited. And of course, I look like a maniac because by the time the hand ends no one remembers that I posted, but they will remember that I called a raise with 93 offsuit and I’m okay with that.

I finished my $8/$16 session up $261 and moved on to PLO around 6:10 PM after a number of people didn’t show and I got a spot in the starting lineup, which looked irresistibly juicy to me.

I actually created this game. Well, sort of. I really felt like the entire Seattle and Tacoma area was missing out by not spreading a PLO game anywhere. I think they spread it in Tulalip and maybe at Snoqualmie, but those are two casinos that I never go to and I think the PLO games there play big. So an entry level PLO game was entirely missing from the greater Seattle area. My idea was to spread a $1/$2 game with a $300 max buy in. It seemed like it would be very popular and stakes people could stomach while trying to learn the game. Well, I got the Palace to spread PLO, but they made it a $1/$3 blind game with a $5 bring in and $500 max buy in. So the blinds were in the realm of what I was going for, but because of the $5 bring in, the game was going to play about 2.5x bigger than what I had in mind. In other words, this is no entry level game and it probably wasn’t going to attract any $4/$8 hold em players. And honestly, it’s bigger than I’m comfortable playing. If it attracted mostly solid players with more experience than me, I probably would never play it, but fortunately it tends to be pretty soft and even some of the more experienced players seem to make what appear to me to be clear, massive errors.

As I’ve said, I’m no PLO expert. I have less than 15 sessions of live play lifetime, so I will make mistakes in the hands I share. I’m still in the early stages of learning and I tend to play a very passive, low variance game. For instance, I’m not apt to 3-bet many hands, especially when I’m out of position, because the players in this game just don’t fold. That may seem like a good argument for 3-betting very good hands, but since I lack experience, I’d rather navigate smaller pots with a bigger edge after the flop than bloating them preflop when I’m not a huge favorite against a wide range of holdings.

-My first key pot was entirely exploitive. A very loose and active player opened to $10, there were some callers, and I called with 9764 single suited on the button – a very marginal holding, but my goal is to play as many pots in position against this player as I can. I got a very sexy 532 rainbow flop and I ended up stacking the preflop raiser for about $400 when he slow played his flopped wheel and check-raised me on the turn.

-My next interesting hand came up when I limped the small blind in a 6-way pot with AKT6 with the AK of hearts. The flop was QTT with two clubs and a heart and I led out for $15, which was about half pot. One player called and the button made it $40 to go. I don’t love this spot because he should have QT a lot, but it’s way too early to consider a fold yet and I have nut kickers with my ten, so I call. The turn brought the Jack of hearts, giving me a straight and a Royal Flush draw and I check-called a bet of $100. The river was a K and I decided to lead out for $175 fearing he might check back and got snap-called by… AT42, no clubs! Yes, this game is pretty soft, folks!

-I got another cheap flop from the blinds with K754 and led out for $15 on the K77 with two hearts flop. I got called in a couple spots and decided to turn my hand into a bluff catcher when the Ah hit the turn. I check-called $75 on the turn – heads up now – and then $100 on a blank river and lost to AK7X. Pretty unfortunate situation, but I felt like I lost the minimum, especially with his river sizing.

-Here’s a bad play that worked out well. I decided to limp in with the ATss62dd, which is not only a weak hand, but doubly bad considering I had two active and aggressive players to my left. Of course I got punished by a $20 raise and ended up seeing the flop 6-handed. The board came out K72 with two spades and I decided this was a good board to lead out on with my pair plus nut flush draw. With the King of spades on board I didn’t think I was likely to get popped unless someone had a set of Kings or sevens and I suspected I had plenty of fold equity. In an effort to keep my opponents’ ranges wider, I have been making smaller bets than everyone else in the game and led out for $65 into $120 here. I picked up one caller and had position for the 7 on the turn, which felt like a good card to barrel for $110 and I picked up the pot.

-I open to $15 from late position with AKQ2 with a nut suit. Both blinds call and I bet $20 on the JTX with two clubs flop. The big blind check-raises to $60 and while I like my wrap, I don’t have a flush draw, so I just flat his raise. The turn is a 9 and he leads out and seems flabbergasted when I jam on him for about $320 effective. He calls and my straight holds up.

-I raise a series of limpers to $20 with QJ98 with two clubs on the button. Five players call and we see a very sexy flop of T92 with two clubs, giving me a pair with a 17-card straight draw and a flush draw – an absolute monster. I bet $75 when it is checked to me and I’m willing to get all the chips in if I have to, but instead I just get three callers. The turn is an ugly 6 of diamonds and one of the callers leads out for $300 (which is a max bet). A player in between folds and now it is on me. The turn bettor has about $225 behind and the other player in the hand looks like he’s going to fold. It’s pretty obvious that my opponent has 87 and since it seems like the other player is going to fold, it doesn’t make sense to put in the remaining $225 before hitting my hand, so I just call and then fold when the river comes a 2. He ended up showing the 87 and while I don’t know what his other two cards were, the chances of me losing this pot to an 87 are insanely small!

-I make another loose call with the KTT7 with two spades on the button when the LAG (loose-aggressive) player opens to $15. The flop comes K72 with one spade and I raise his flop bet of $40 with a caller in between to $130. He calls, the other player folds, and I bet $300 on the 3 of spades turn. He calls again and then folds when the river bricks out and I bet $200. I actually didn’t think he had much of a hand to call with, which is why I sized down, but maybe this would have been a good spot to experiment with a funky bet size like, say, $50 and see if I could get the LAG to spazz out.

-I raise one limper to $20 with AKJJ with a nut suit and get multiple callers to see the J62 rainbow flop. There was either $100 or $120 in the pot and this board was super dry, so I sized very small at $30 hoping to sell a weak hand and possibly induce some unwarranted aggression. I got my wish when the most experienced (and who I think is the best) player in the game popped me to $90. Everyone else folded and with my only concern being the gut shots around the 62, I felt like protecting my hand wasn’t a priority and instead decided to sell a weak made hand like AA that he could push me off later by simply calling his raise. I also felt like this player would know I was nutted if I 3-bet the flop and would fold a lot of his range. The turn card was a ten of clubs, opening up straight draws and a back door flush draw, and I checked again and then put him all in after he bet $200. He unhappily called and I stacked him when the river paired the board.

-I open the button with KK42 double suited to $15, the small blind calls, and the big blind reraises to $50. I just call and so does the small blind. The flop comes down AKX with two hearts, giving me middle set and the nut flush draw. I actually saw a player at the final table of one of the WSOP PLO tourneys fold KK in this spot earlier this year, but the big blind is overly aggressive and doesn’t necessarily have to have AA when he 3-bets here. However, when he leads out for $40 on the flop, the only reasonable play for me is to simply call. I don’t want to get all in against a set of aces here and if he doesn’t have AA, then I have him annihilated and might as well let him continue spewing money into the pot. In real time, however, I didn’t think this through and decided to raise to $130 and ended up getting two folds, immediately realizing my mistake.

-As I said, I don’t always play good when I play PLO, so I’ll include my absolute worst hand of the night and one of the worst hands I’ve ever played in live PLO. I limp in early position with J976 single suited, which would be marginal even on the button, but is specifically terrible here as I have two active and aggressive players on my direct left. Fortunately they both limp along, but the big blind punishes everyone by making it $30. Seeing as how I’ve already made a mistake by playing in the first place, it would be smart to just give up the $5 and let this go, knowing I’ll be playing out of position against three players with a bad hand, but… I call? The flop comes K75 giving me a pair, a gut shot, and a backdoor flush draw and the PFR (preflop raiser) leads out for $120. We are both super deep here and I should be in decentb shape against his range, so I call, which would be fine if this were a heads up pot… but it’s not. One of the players behind me goes all in for $390, another short stack goes all in for ~$120, and the PFR folds. So now I’m looking at a pot of ~$900 and it’s $270 for me to call. Considering my hand, this is an easy fold… but I’m not done making huge mistakes yet! I’m not sure what I’m hoping my two opponents have, but I somehow talk myself into thinking I have some sort of reasonable equity here and make an atrocious call. The board bricks out for me and the bigger all in player wins with his 55. Just an all around horrifyingly bad hand by me and I got exactly what I deserved – a hand I should have folded turned into a $400+ loss.

-My final big pot of the night ended up being one of the craziest PLO hands I’ve ever played. I raised to $20 after a limper with As8sKcQc and bet $20 after seeing a flop of K94 with a club and a spade heads up in position. My opponent check-raised me to $75 and since 99 was the only hand I was in terrible shape against, I decided to see a turn with a good amount of back door equity. The turn brought the Ten of clubs and my opponent checked to me. I could see K9 checking this turn, or even a set of 9s, and maybe I should frequently represent the nut straight here, especially since I have a king high flush draw and a couple of gut shots to the nuts. It’s unlikely I will get check-raised very often, so I think betting has plenty of merit, but I decided to take my free card and got a very pleasant Jack of clubs on the river, giving me a King high straight flush. My opponent led out for $90 in what was a $190 pot. I made it $325 and due to some miracle from the poker gods, he decided to reraise me to $525. After going into the tank for a little bit and thinking about his bet sizing, I realized he didn’t even make a legal raise (he raised me $200 after I raised his initial bet $235) and made him put in another $35 before I made it $860 total. At this point, he started berating himself for misreading the situation. He had the A of clubs and the 8 of clubs in his hand and thought that he was blocking the 87 of clubs and Q8 of clubs for the only straight flushes and now realized that KQ of clubs also made a straight flush and that it was the only thing I could possibly have. He was right. I could never have anything else. I would never turn the naked Q of clubs into a bluff here when my opponent had already put $560 in on the river with at least an Ace high flush (he could have 87 of clubs himself) when I can only make it $300 more. It seemed like he wanted some mercy and really took a lot of time to call that last $300 to the point where multiple people at the table were complaining about it. But he did call and I won a sick $1800+ heads up pot.

I ended up finishing the PLO session up $1900 even though I made plenty of mistakes. I thought this blog idea would be fun, but here I am sitting at 3500+ words and a couple hours wasted and thinking maybe this isn’t a great concept. My goal was to spend 10-15 minutes writing about my session and I have far exceeded that. So… enjoy this post! It will probably be the last of its kind!
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Old 12-13-2017, 02:37 PM   #4
TheDarkKnight
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Re: Alcoholism and Jail Cells to multiple WSOP Final Tables: rock bottom to mountain climbing!

My bad. I posted this in the wrong forum. I would suggest subscribing because I have lots of content to post! I will probably update every few days until I catch up to current timeline.
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Old 12-13-2017, 03:36 PM   #5
Knittle
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Re: Alcoholism and Jail Cells to multiple WSOP Final Tables: rock bottom to mountain climbing!

Hey man,

You still in Seattle?

I live in Seattle currently!

Reach out bro!

Thanks,

Tyler
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Old 12-13-2017, 04:02 PM   #6
TheDarkKnight
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Re: Alcoholism and Jail Cells to multiple WSOP Final Tables: rock bottom to mountain climbing!

I live a little south of Tacoma. I play mostly at Palace in Lakewood and Fortune in Renton.
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Old 12-13-2017, 06:49 PM   #7
Knittle
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Re: Alcoholism and Jail Cells to multiple WSOP Final Tables: rock bottom to mountain climbing!

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDarkKnight View Post
I live a little south of Tacoma. I play mostly at Palace in Lakewood and Fortune in Renton.
Ah nice, Queen Anne here.

Moving more South because rent prices are insane.

I haven't checked out Palace but Fortune is Fortune :P
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Old 12-14-2017, 04:48 PM   #8
TheDarkKnight
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Re: Alcoholism and Jail Cells to multiple WSOP Final Tables: rock bottom to mountain climbing!

March 31st, 2011

It’s no secret that I fancy myself a poker player. I’ve been dabbling in the hobby for years now. Those of you that are familiar with my story know that I went on an insanely hot and extended run early in my poker career way back in 2005. I played my first hand of Texas Hold Em in August of 2004 and by June of 2005 I had a bankroll of $25,000.

I was good, sure. I studied the game extensively, reading any book I could get my hands on and I thought about poker day and night, even when I was away from the tables. More importantly, I was absurdly lucky. I was making all sorts of mistakes when it comes to sustaining a bankroll. I’d move up two levels within the same session and happened to go on an upswing that lasted for three months through every level I tried. I wasn’t rolled for the levels I was playing, but it didn’t matter because I wasn’t losing.

When I did start to go through the inevitable downswings, I couldn’t afford them at the levels I was playing at and soon found myself struggling to get by financially. That was pretty problematic since I’d already quit my job and dropped out of the University Of Washington. Why bother going to class when I could be making $100 an hour gambling online? It was a fair question and even if my degree was within arm’s reach, what good was a college diploma going to do me if I was playing cards for a living? Needless to say, my early run of success completely blinded me as a poker player and practically ruined my life. Six years later, I’m still recovering from some of the damage I caused myself.

But poker never left me. Throughout the years, I’ve had a lot of minor successes. I’ve always been a good tournament player and every once in a while I’ll pull off a huge, life-saving cash in a big tournament. Then I’ll be rolled for a couple months until I blow it all back in cash games. This has pretty much been my poker career since my year as a “pro.”

Yet, for some reason, I’ve always thought of myself as a good player… but that’s total bull****. Whatever minor successes I may have had playing cards over the past five years has been completely negated by my alcoholism or severe leaks in my poker game. I might deposit $50 online and grind my way to a $600 bankroll, go out for drinks one night, come home plastered, wake up the next day, log on to my poker account and see my balance sitting at $0. This happened on several occasions. Why can’t they make an interlock system for computers?! I would have saved thousands over the years.

With alcohol mostly out of my life for the past three years (I relapsed for about 8 months), I can no longer blame drunkenness for my inability to maintain a bankroll. I have roughly three years of sobriety since January 2008, but I’ve been a consistent loser during that time. I might have a month or two of profit here and there, but I recently purchased some online tracking software and my cash game results over the past couple years are alarming. They are terrible.

So with all this in mind, I made a vow to myself that in 2011 I would make money gambling. I don’t care how much I win, I just don’t want to be a loser anymore. I’ll save my goal to be a professional for 2013. Right now, I just want to slowly turn this ship around. So far, so good.

I have tracked my results sporadically for years now, but I’ll usually lose interest when I start to go through a rough patch or I don’t like what I’m seeing anymore. I can’t say I have a lot of big losing months saved on my computer anywhere… but most of my really good months can be easily located. This year, I decided it’s best to be honest with myself. Starting in January, I’ve tracked every single aspect of gambling that I’ve done: from online gambling, live cash games, local tournaments, house games to pit games, sports betting, and personal wagers. If I bet someone $5 that they can’t eat a hot pepper, I’m logging that bet somewhere. I know EXACTLY how well I’ve done since the start of 2011 and my results are promising.

I’m currently on a four month winning stretch that started with a +$528 month in December. Here are my 2011 results:

January: +$71.91
February: +$212.68
March: +$129.16

Total: +$413.75 (+$941.75 including December)

Pretty modest numbers, but mission accomplished so far. I’m making money gambling... consistently. Even so, those results are disappointing if we do a little more number crunching. Here are some other notable facts:

*I’m up $792 in live tournaments in 2011. I’ve played 16 tournaments and cashed in 7 of them for a 44% in the money rate. Even more ridiculous, I’ve finished in the top three 6 of the 7 times I’ve cashed and I have 3 wins. I’m destroying live tournaments.

*I’m up $666.45 in online tournaments in 2011. I’ve cashed in 60 of 361 tournaments I’ve played (16.6%). My biggest cash is for $360, so I’m yet to get that huge score I’m anxiously waiting for. I’ve done well in online tournaments for the year, but I’ve had some incredibly bad luck so far. I usually have something absurd happen to me in the very late stages of big money tournaments.

*I’ve made $474.14 in rakeback in 2011. Rakeback is a feature offered on some poker sites. Every pot you play gets raked and Full Tilt Poker offers 27% rakeback, so once a week, I get a depost into my account for rakeback.

*Between tournaments, rakeback, and live cash games (~+$179), I’ve made about $2110… yet I’m showing a mere $400 profit for the year.

The conclusion: When it comes to online cash games, I AM THE WORST PLAYER ALIVE. To be specific, I’m down roughly $1500 playing cash games online and I’ve spent most of March trying to figure out what exactly I’m doing wrong. I started reading my fixed limit books again and I tried to focus on playing one limit only: $0.50-$1… and I had success. I showed an $83.85 profit at that limit for the month of March.

Unfortunately, I didn’t start this plan until the 4th of the month and I’d already done severe damage to my bankroll by then. I also strayed away from my plan later in the month. For instance, tonight I decided to play one table of $2-$4 and got unlucky on back-to-back hands in my first orbit. A crushing start to a game I shouldn’t even be playing. Of course, I tilted after that and blew 100 big bets of my current limit before I swallowed my pride and left the table. In 40 minutes, I lost more money in one session of $2-$4 than I made all month grinding it out at $0.50-$1. It’s these kinds of scenarios that have kept me from sustained success: poor bankroll decisions, playing too many tables, steaming/tilting when I get unlucky, chasing losses, and running absurdly poorly when I do take a chance. Even though I was more restrained in March than I’ve ever been–78% of the hands I played were at the $0.50-$1 fixed limit level–I still managed to show a big loss in online cash games. In the 22% of hands I played outside my preferred limit I lost $663. Talk about a painful lesson in bankroll management… but at least I’m making sure I see it… and I proved I could make a profit if I stick to my guns and play the limits I should be playing.

A third of the way through 2011, I feel decent about my chances to be a successful poker player. I’ve shown a tremendous flair for winning tournaments, both online and live, and revisiting some poker literature really helped my live cash game out this month. I had a rough patch the past couple days that turned a great month into a merely good one, but I see good things ahead in that respect. I still feel like I’m swimming upstream, fighting my inability to win playing cash games online. Despite all the success I’ve had, my profit margin is small and I can blame it entirely on getting destroyed in online cash games… but it’s a leak I’m working on and my big goal for April 2011 is to a show a profit in the online games. If I can turn that around for good, my modest profits will start to turn into substantial ones and I’ll be well on my way to achieving my 2013 goal.

Other notes:

*I’m up $13.70 in house games… playing for change with my dad, my brother and his friend.

*I’m stuck $25 in the pit (all from BlackJack) year-to-date. I avoid The Pit like The Plague, but Chips Casino in Bremerton offers a $5 and $10 Match Play on Wednesdays and turns a few hands of BlackJack into highly profitable bets. Unfortunately, I fall for the trick and keep playing after using my coupons. Stupid.

*I lost $122 on the NCAA tournament this year.
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Old 12-14-2017, 04:53 PM   #9
TheDarkKnight
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Re: Alcoholism and Jail Cells to multiple WSOP Final Tables: rock bottom to mountain climbing!

October 23rd, 2017

I'm blessed!

Or least that’s what I’ve been told recently. But I’ll get to that later.

First, I’ve decided to continue with my idea to write about my sessions. I enjoy writing about poker, probably more than anything, plus I think taking notes during my sessions helps keep me accountable.

I didn’t write any notes while I was in Reno for the Run It Up series, but hopefully I’ll post a trip report sooner rather than later.

Okay, so on to my $8/$16 session at the Palace today. I mean, it started off innocently enough. Actually it started off in $6/$12 Omaha 8/B, but I didn’t stay there too long and quickly took my $29 profit to the $8/$16 game. I actually really enjoy playing Omaha and it’s a nice change of pace, but it’s hard to justify playing in a split pot game at lower stakes when all the quads on the PSJ board are $499, the Spade Royal is over $33,000 and two other Royals are $6000. It’s not like I play for jackpots, but at those numbers, I just have to play in the Hold Em game.

Like I said, my session didn’t start off well and after an hour I was down about $200 overall and it was mostly because of this hand:

Button straddles, I three bet TT from the small blind, everybody folds and I’m heads up with the button. The flop comes down 752 rainbow and I check because the button likes to bluff and will probably put me on overcards. He does bet and I check-call, planning to raise the turn. The turn is a Jack and I execute my plan and the button just calls my check-raise. The river is a blank and I go for some thin value because I expect him to be a little confused and pay off light and he raises me? Now I’m confused – and I don’t fold when I’m confused, so I call and he shows me a set of Jacks!

I continued to trend down when I opened the AJ off from early position and got called by a somewhat tight and passive player on the KK5 flop. The turn was a 3 and we both checked and I paired my Ace on the river. I don’t think betting is wrong here – he has a small pair or medium pair often enough to justify a value bet, but bet-calling the river was a mistake and he showed me KQ after I paid his raise off. This is definitely a player I can reliably bet-fold the river to.

Next, I opened with AA and got three callers and was check-raised by the big blind on the JJ2 flop. I know this player is capable of trying to run me off an ace high hand and he’s also capable of having a Jack here, so I decided to turn my hand into a bluff catcher and just call down, like I would with AK. The turn was a blank and I called another bet. I would bet the river if he checked to me, but it paired the 2 and he fired again. I called and he showed AQ high.

At this point, I was trending back up and I was talking to the dealer in the box about how my buddy said I’m “blessed” while we were down in Reno, indicating that I really have nothing to complain about when it comes to poker. I hate losing, especially in tournaments, and it’s natural to feel bummed out when you bust events, but looking at what I’ve done over the past couple years it was hard to argue with him. Variance has really been on my side lately. I’ve been cruising at an ROI of 331% since November 2015 in live tournaments. That’s insane!

So as we were talking about being “blessed”, the dealer (a friend of mine) was saying how it’s true and that I never seem to miss a flop in limit Hold Em either. On cue, I’m dealt the TT in the big blind, raise five limpers, and get the T32 with two spades flop. As if that’s not sexy enough, I’m heads up on the turn with a player that has an Overs button (Overs buttons increase the betting to $12/$24 when those players are heads up) and he raises when the 8 of diamonds hits. I three bet and he calls. This is a pretty tight player, so when he raises the turn and a brick hits the river, I think there’s some merit to trying to check-raise again. We know where 75% of the tens are and I would expect him to have at least two pair when he raises me on the turn, so he seems heavily weighted towards sets of 2s, 3s, or 8s. So if the river bricks out, it’s really hard to imagine him checking those hands behind. But the river was a 6 of spades and I thought he would check that card back a lot, even when he had sets, so I bet and got paid off.

I was up $60 overall after a couple hours, but the run good was activated now. I raised the small blind with QJ of diamonds, bet the AJ5 one diamond flop, check-called the 5d turn and check-raised the Kd river. Then I limped along on the button with 98hh and stabbed at the A63 one heart flop, got one straggler, fired the 3h turn, and then raised the river when he led on the Jh. That one got him talking to himself!

Then I started flopping sets all over the place. I flopped sets of 8s and 6s for massive pots. I flopped a set of fours that won a good pot. I had 44 on an A52x3 run out. All in pots that were raised before the flop. I triple barreled with AdQc on the J42dd8dQ board and my rivered pair was good. Then I got the AAxA board with AQ and this was actually a weird one. I had raised before the flop and then I bet the flop and turn and my opponent raised me on the turn and then folded when I three bet? I mean, that is just comedy. What hand is he trying to represent? What is he trying to get me to fold? I guess he’s bluffing there, but what a crazy board to try and bluff a preflop raiser on.

All in all, it was a great session that started off slowly before I started running so hot half the table was mumbling to themselves. Normally, I’d never leave when I’m running this good and playing well on top of it, but I haven’t seen my wife in ten days and wanted to make sure I was home before she got off work, so we could at least spend a little time together before she went to bed. So I booked a hefty $1120 win for the day and called it an early night.

Welcome back to Gotham, TDK!
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Old 12-14-2017, 05:14 PM   #10
TheDarkKnight
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Re: Alcoholism and Jail Cells to multiple WSOP Final Tables: rock bottom to mountain climbing!

December 14th, 2017

2018 Poker Schedule

Here’s a look at the series and tournaments I’ll be targeting in the first half of 2018. Any event in bold is a tournament that I will 100% be playing, barring unforeseen circumstances. Any event that has an asterisk (*) in front of it means that it has multiple starting days and I’m not really committed to any particular one. I’m not exactly planning to play the WSOP Main Event this year, but I’m not ruling it out as a possibility either. A lot depends on how things go in the first six months of the year, but I almost certainly will NOT be playing it unless I have up to 80% of my action sold.

As of now, the only trip I have booked is the first of three to Commerce, so there is still plenty up in the air. My wife said I could stay for the whole WSOP this year, but that’s kind of hard to believe. We’ll see how she feels come June – especially since her birthday is smack dab in the middle of the series. I haven’t looked for any side events during the WSOP, but I’m sure Venetian, Aria, and Golden Nugget will have some things I’m interested in adding to my schedule.

LAPC @ Commerce

January 15th – $350 Omaha 8/Better
January 16th – $350 Triple Stud
January 17th – $350 Stud 8/Better
January 18th – $350 Omaha/Stud 8/Better

January 24th – $350 Limit Hold Em
January 25th – $350 HORSE
January 26th – $350 No Limit Hold Em
January 26th – $350 TOE (O8, Stud 8, 2-7 Triple Draw)
January 27th – $350 No Limit Hold Em
January 27th – $350 No Limit Hold Em/Pot Limit Omaha
January 29th – $570 Omaha 8/Better
January 30th – $570 Stud
February 1st – $570 HORSE

February 11th – $1100 Limit Hold Em
February 12th – $1100 Omaha 8/Better
February 13th – $1100 HORSE

PacWest Classic @ Chinook Winds

February 21st – $150 Omaha 8/Better
February 21st – $80 No Limit Hold Em Bounty
February 22nd – $150 Big Omaha 8/Better
February 23rd – $200 No Limit Hold Em
February 24th – $550 No Limit Hold Em Main Event

Summer Poker Classic @ Muckleshoot

March 14th – March 18th
or
March 21st – March 25th

WSOPc @ Planet Hollywood (Vegas)

March 22nd – April 2nd

WSOPc @ Harrahs (New Orleans)

May 10th – May 21st

World Series of Poker @ The Rio

May 31st – $1500 Omaha 8/Better
June 1st – *$365 No Limit Hold Em GIANT
June 2nd – *$565 No Limit Hold Em Colossus
June 3rd – $365 No Limit Hold Em Online
June 3rd – *$365 Pot Limit Omaha GIANT
June 6th – $1500 HORSE
June 8th – $565 Pot Limit Omaha
June 9th – $1500 8-Game
June 11th – $1500 Stud 8/Better
June 14th – $1500 Stud
June 16th – *$1000 No Limit Hold Em Double Stack
June 20th – $1500 Limit Hold Em
June 22nd – $2500 Omaha/Stud 8/Better
June 23rd – *$1500 No Limit Hold Em Monster Stack
June 24th – $1500 Razz
June 30th – *$888 No Limit Hold Em Crazy 8
July 2nd – *$10,000 No Limit Hold Em Main Event
July 9th – $3000 6-Max Limit Hold Em
July 12th – $3000 HORSE
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Old 01-05-2018, 04:26 PM   #11
TheDarkKnight
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Re: Alcoholism and Jail Cells to multiple WSOP Final Tables: rock bottom to mountain climbing!

Kind of had to go on hiatus here because my flashback blogs are at a point where I wind up in jail for a month and I did a decent amount of writing in there that I wouldn't mind transferring online. Maybe.

But continuing with my more recent blogs:

October 27th, 2017: PLO Wednesday

Wednesdays are Pot Limit Omaha day at Palace in Lakewood, but the game doesn’t start until 6 PM and I had to be up early the next day, so I tried to be at the casino by 4 PM so I could leave around midnight and still get about eight hours of play in.

This meant I was going to do some game-hopping. I was like 4th or 5th up for $8/$16 limit Hold Em but $6/$12 limit O8 had a seat open, so I started with some split pot four card poker. The game was unreal – one of the best O8 games I’ve ever seen. There was only one other player folding before the flop and she limped with 9883 in a kill pot, so who knows what kind of hands she’s not playing. That’s a lot of dead money in every pot. I did win about $70 but I ran far below average in the few hours I was playing, considering how much overlay there was in every hand.

There were a number of pots I got unlucky on – specifically my premium suited A2 hands were coming up with no pieces – but this was probably my favorite hand of the session: everybody is in for one bet, I call 9932 single suited on the button. The flop comes A85 rainbow and it checks to me and I bet my nut low. One of the blinds calls, a limper raises and both of us call. The turn pairs the Ace, the middle player bets, I call, and now the other guy check-raises. We both call. The river is another Ace and it is a bet and call to me. I actually say out loud: “can you ever have 88 here?” before calling and to my pleasant surprise the bettor has 55xx with no low and the other guy has the nut low, so the fives full are counterfeit and I win the high with Aces full of nines and split the low. The player with the 55 verbally expresses his pain and misfortune and all I can think is “wtf are you doing on the river, buddy?”

$1/$3 PLO starts at 6 PM and the lineup is amazing, but I get off to a terrible start by making a loose flop call that ends up costing me around $400 when the turn greatly improves me to an expensive second best hand. It’s one of those spots I look back at and realize I’m still not very good at this game. “Small” mistakes can lead to huge losses in big bet games.

Very next hand, after reloading, I 3-bet an AA hand to $50, bet $120 into $150 on the 963 rainbow flop in a three way pot and then stack off when the blind check-pots it. I dunno… maybe this is a fold? At best, I’m against a random two pair hand, but I’m more likely against a set or something like 9876. I might have to look at this spot closer because when I bet the $120, I thought I was committing myself and maybe that’s not exactly true. Anyways, I’ve been playing less than 30 minutes and I’m already down $800and that’s a bad spot to be in a game where lots of players love to hit and run and the game tends to not have very long legs; a four hour spread is not uncommon.

Next interesting spot I try to isolate a fun player with KK52 with hearts and both blinds call, as does the limper. The flop is an amazing AK9hh, giving me middle set and the nut flush draw and I bet $40 into $80 when they check and only the limper calls. The turn is a black ten – one of the few cards I hate – and he checks but doesn’t seem strong, so I confidently bet $85 and he calls again. The river is a black 8, which doesn’t really change anything, and I bet $125 and he folds.

I call a min-raise from the big blind with K5ssJJ and bet $20 into $50 when I flop the nut flush on AT4. A middle position player calls and so does the small blind and then we all check when the Ace pairs on the turn, an absolutely terrible card for me. The river is a 9, the SB checks and I check for pot control and to throw the action player some rope because he bluffs a lot. He bets $75 and the SB calls and now I’m perplexed. The river bettor can easily be bluffing, but can the SB ever be check-calling a full house? It seems unlikely, and I doubt he’s folding flush to this particularly gut, so I don’t see how I can fold the nut flush in this spot. I call and they both show full houses. The river bettor has A9 after flopping a Jack high flush and the small blind has 99 after flopping a nine high flush. Pretty sick run out and super unfortunate because the player with A9 is the type that will pay off for the max with a Jack high flush.

I then got AA97 all in preflop for about $500 effective and was pretty fortunate when his AAxx hand flopped a flush draw and bricked out for a chop. I later stacked this same player when I had T766 in the big blind and got him all in on a Q96 flop vs his 987x hand.

My last key PLO pot was perhaps a missed opportunity. I limped behind with AK73 doubled suited on the button and one of the blinds made it $15 to go. Four of us saw a flop of KK4 with two clubs and they all checked to me. I bet $20 and only the preflop raiser called. The turn was a ten, I bet $60 and he called again. I thought he had naked Aces or maybe a hand like QQJx, so when the river came an Ace, I can’t say I was overly excited about it. Granted, I’m blocking AA, but just because you’re blocking a hand doesn’t mean they can never have it. Still, it would be ludicrous to check my hand behind, so I bet $100 and I wasn’t exactly thrilled when he check-raised me to $300. I then did what no respectable player should ever do: hemmed and hawed about my misfortune before calling with the second nuts and winning the pot (he had JTT9). My antics are deplorable here, but really, no reasonable player would check-raise the river with his hand so while my fear of losing to AA here might be valid in a normal game, this one is full of all sorts of wonderful surprises.

I won solid pots on the last two hands I described and chipped away at my early deficit and managed to book a small profit of $101 when the game broke at 10 PM.

I was considering calling it a night since I was planning to leave around midnight and I loathe playing short sessions. Plus, I had a doctor’s appointment early in the morning, but my wife was still wanting to play and the $8/$16 game looked pretty good with some unfamiliar faces. “Allow me to reintroduce myself – my name is…”.

The game had some empty chairs and one of the first pots I played, I opened with K9 of clubs and barreled all the way when I flopped a flush draw and rivered a club. I didn’t show my hand, but I couldn’t help but notice one of the players (not in the hand) staring daggers at me the whole time. I don’t consider myself cocky, but I’ve been doing extremely well at limit Hold Em for many years so I carry myself with a lot of confidence at the table. I think this sometimes puts a target on my back and I’m perfectly okay with that. When people try to go out of their way to beat me or show me up, it’s usually pretty advantageous to my bottom line. Anyway, I could sense I was about to enter into an ego battle with this guy. I’d like to think I don’t play with ego, but I am aware of when other people are and I try to adjust accordingly.

The first hand I play against this guy, I open from the hi jack with 98 of spades and only the two blinds call, including him. The flop is 772 with one spade and they both check-call my continuation bet, which is not surprising as this board doesn’t induce many folds – people will literally call with any two cards. Because of this dynamic, I will typically double barrel my bluffs on the turn even when I miss completely – and I don’t have a lot of bricks. Any J, T, 9, 8, 6, 5 or spade give me a pair or a draw, and cards like Aces, Kings, or Queens are good bluffing cards. Needless to say, I’m betting a lot of turns when I’m not sensing any strength from my opponents. A Queen hits the turn, I bet, and I’m now heads up with my man. The river is an Ace and he quite mindlessly leads out. I already know the guy is going to try to outplay me and he looks blatantly weak, so I feel this is an easy bluff-raise spot, something that basically never comes up on the river in limit Hold Em. I raise, he folds, and I can’t resist the urge to show him the 9 high. Sometimes you gotta give them what they want.

One of the downsides to showing a hand like that is that it raises the stakes of the ego battle a little. Rather than looking for a spot or two to show me up, this dude is now 100% gunning for me and has moved two seats to my left. We definitely prefer to have him on our right under these circumstances.

In this hand, an early position player raises, another cold calls, and I have 88 on the button. I can definitely three bet here, but I feel like the under the gun player is tighter with his aggression and decide to just flat. The small blind calls, as does our new buddy in the big blind. The flop comes down T63 rainbow and everybody checks to me. This is an obvious bet. The SB calls, our friend check-raises and both players in between cold call. Well, I wasn’t expecting that. I call and the five of us see the Jack of hearts on the turn, putting two hearts on board. Everybody checks to me again. At this point, I don’t really know what’s going on. Someone could definitely have a T or a J, so I check back. The river is the Ten of hearts, completing the backdoor flush and I get checked to again. This is a super thin spot, but when you really think about it, it seems apparent that I have the best hand. The problem is, can I get called by worse? I certainly think so. I doubt anyone would check trip tens on the river even though the backdoor flush came in and it seems pretty obvious that the two early position players have nothing, so I’m targeting the blinds with a value bet here. I’m almost certain the big blind has a weak pair here and that he will pay it off, so I bet. He does call and so does the preflop raiser, but I confidently table my hand and win the pot.

I’m not done with this guy quite yet. It folds to me on the button and I raise with 98o and he three bets from the small blind. I call and he checks to me on the 854 with two diamonds flop. He checks and is holding his chips across the betting line waiting to call like he is never folding. I bet, he calls. Turn is the 3 of diamonds and he does the same thing. I bet, he calls. River is the 9 of diamonds, putting four diamonds on board and giving me top two pair. He does the same thing he’s done on the flop and turn and waits for me to act, but I have no diamond so I check behind. And then he bets. I look at the dealer like WTF and I can see that he wasn’t watching the river action and now the big blind is yelling at me for saying he checked when he didn’t do anything. Yeah, okay buddy. I’m new here, I have no idea what’s going on. The floor gets called over and since I’m not sharing my side of the story I know it’s going to be ruled a bet because the dealer wasn’t paying attention, so I just put the call out there expecting to pick off a bluff the majority of the time anyway and that’s exactly what it is and I win the pot. Then I have to listen to his yammering about saying he checked when he didn’t do anything, even though after my initial objection I haven’t said anything about it.

I play one more hand with this dude before he physically threatens me. I have the QT of spades and call his raise from the big blind in a multiway pot. The flop basically bricks me completely except for the Jack of spades and I get trapped for a cap on the flop on the off chances that I can hit a backdoor Royal Flush for $35,000. Yes, that’s a real number. The Spade Royal Flush is over $35,000 right now at the Palace in Lakewood. I’m not going to be the dude that folded a $35k Royal because I didn’t want to make loose calls on the flop with only backdoor potential. Anyways, as I’m getting owned for the four bets on the flop, I tell the player capping it on my right “this could be ugly” – an advance quasi-apology in case I end up winning this pot with a hand I would almost always fold.

I missed the turn and did not continue, but after the hand, the dude I’ve been battling with says something to his friend in their language and then says things like “I don’t like that ****” and “that’s why I moved over here” in English. I can’t help but feel like he’s talking about me and because of my comment to the other player during the last hand, I kind of feel like he’s insinuating that we are cheating in some way and attacks against my integrity are about the only thing I won’t put up with while playing poker.

So I say, “wait, why’d you move over here?”

He responds aggressively with “am I talking to you?”

“No. I just wanna know why you moved over here.”

This goes on for a little bit and he doesn’t share what he said to his friend, but continues to talk loudly to me and say things like “I’m the wrong one to mess with.” I dunno. I’m never looking to fight anyone, but if someone is accusing me of cheating we are going to have a conversation about it because I pride myself in playing a very fair poker game.

The floor comes over due to the commotion and now the guy is telling me I’ve been playing “straight up” and acting like he wasn’t talking about it. Eh. Whatever.

He ends up leaving soon after and that’s too bad because he probably would have enjoyed watching me get massacred from that point on.

First, my AQ loses to TT on a AJ5TJ run out where the TT player has to put three bets in on the flop before spiking his set.

Then I get four bets in on the turn with J8 vs 87 on 8328 against a guy that has no clue what his hand value is and he gets bailed out by a 3 on the river for a split pot.

Finally, a hand so unbelievable it will seem like I have to be making it up – but I have witnesses!

We are playing 5-handed now so I have little respect for a cut off open and I three bet with KT offsuit. Both blinds come along and the cutoff also calls. The flop is QTT and I bet when it checks to me, the SB calls, the cutoff raises, I three bet and both players call. The turn is a 6 of spades, putting two spades on board, and the cutoff donk again. I raise, the SB calls two bets cold and the cutoff now folds. Lol. The river is the 7s, completing the backdoor flush and the small blind leads out. I kind of thought he had a ten and the only missing ten was the spade so it seemed pretty likely his trips backdoored a flush and I just called.

He shows the 93 of spades.

To recap: he called three bets cold from the small blind before the flop; he pays three bets on the QTT one spade flop to see the turn; and he calls two bets cold on the turn when he finally has a prayer.

God bless him. Poker is far from dead.

I ended the $8/$16 session down $85 and called it a night with a meager win of slightly less than +$100.
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