Saturday, May 27, 2023

My WSOP 2023 Plans and Missions

After four and a half years working for StubHub I wrapped up my time there in March. I've been at the poker tables 3-4 days a week since and am going to take this unique opportunity of being between jobs at WSOP time to go huge (for me). I have plans to fire more bullets at the WSOP this summer than ever before. In 2006 I played 10 events. In those days it was pretty much one event per day every day at noon with no re-entries. 

Here is what I plan to play this year:

  • $1K Mystery Bounty (Flights A, B, and C with 2 bullets per flight)
  • $1,500 Monster Stack (Flight A and B)
  • $800 Deepstack (2 bullets)
  • $3K No Limit Hold'em (Maybe)
  • $500 No Limit Hold'em
  • $1,500 HORSE
  • $1,500 Turbo Bounty
  • $1,000 Tag Team
  • $1,500 Millionaire Maker (Flight A and B with 2 bullets each)

With this fat schedule in front of me I've been thinking about some missions that are outside of just win a bunch of money or make a final table (which I've decided to never give up on until I do it). Here are some that come to mind:

1) Draw a mystery bounty envelope
2) Have a 100K chip in my stack (I've had 25K chips)
3) 3+ cashes in the same year (I had 2 cashes in 2010 and 1 each in 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2018)
4) Finish in the top 1% in a WSOP event
5) Cash for a $10K profit in a single event (my record is riddled with just better than min cashes so $6,449 for 28th place in the 2009 $3K HORSE is my best result)

I'll be making 2 trips with the first being squarely centered around the Mystery Bounty where I plan to knock out 4 of 5 of the above.

In the Mystery Bounty, we start with 40,000 chips, blinds 100/200/200 and re-entry is possible through 12 levels although level 12 is the 3,000 big blind level so I might hesitate to re-enter that late. It will be 30 minute levels and each Day 1 is 22 levels long. By the end of Day 1 the big blind will be 30,000 so 3/4 of a starting stack. 

Of each $1K entry $77 goes to fees, $33 goes to dealer tips, $300 to the bounties and $590 to the prize pool. Last year the top 14% made the money with the min cash being just over $1,000. Payouts related to the $590 will start on Day 1. Eliminations on Day 1 aren't worth anything, but every elimination on Day 2 is worth a bounty.

At first glance at the structure I was thinking maybe 3% of the field would make day 2, but I've seen some indications that the smallest bounty will be $10,000. Meaning eliminating any player on Day 2 is worth at least $10K. 

I'm now thinking it's probably more like 1% of the field makes day 2 which would be $30K in bounty value for each player. Last year with 14,000+ entrants they had 50 bounties of $25K+ with a $1M, a $500K, a $250K and 3 of $100K along with an unclear number of other bounties.

In theory I could make the money, but not make day 2 and re-enter the next day 1 flight.

This article has a detailed recap of last year.

I will probably be terrible about updating the blog with my progress, unless I do really well. :)

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

A 1000 big blind win at Lucky Chances?


I know for a fact that the right thing to do when I'm winning in a given session is to play longer and press harder to capitalize on the intimidating nature of having a big stack. But part of me always feels like I want to hit and run to lock up a win. I have to remind myself that winning $500 or $1000 in a $5 big blind game might feel like a good win, but it's possible to book a 1,000 big blind win and I'll never do that if I leave early.

Yesterday I sat down at Lucky Chances in the $3/$5 game determined to stay no matter how well things went and only leave early if I got stacked at least 3 times. I bought in for $1,000 which is the max.

On the first hand I got dealt pocket aces! I didn't get a ton of action but picked up $200. Great start! Over the course of the next 6 hours I'd get deals AA 2 more times along with KK once, QQ twice, JJ once and TT once. I won with all of them!

I took the picture above at that 6 hour into the session mark and was ahead about $2,500, sitting on a $3,500 stack. Amazingly the guy to my right had me covered with about $4,700. And he was a really weak player! I was drooling over the notion of a massive pot, but sadly he left before we could stack off.

I did have a few other big hands after that though. With the $10 straddle on I raised one $10 limper to $45 in the cutoff with 98 of spades and got called by the button, both blinds and the limper. The flop came down KJT with one spade and with 4 opponents of course I gave up on the hand. It checked around. At this point I thought "7 of spades would be a nice card." And the turn came out the 7 of spades! To my delight the small blind bet $100, the limper called and I made it $425 to go. "Nice trap" said the limper. Now the small blind shoved for about $900 total! Of course I called, he showed KK for top set, the river was a 4 and I took down another nice pot.

A little later I got AA for a 4th time. The under the gun player limped for $10, I made it $45 and he called. He seemed like kind of a newb who was uncomfortable when the straddle was on. The flop came down J 8 4, he checked, I bet $60 and he called. I thought he might stack off all the way with a J based on how he'd called down with some top pair holdings earlier and that felt like a plausible thing for him to have. The turn was an 8 which I didn't love, but he checked and I bet $200. Now the villain threw out $325! Huh?! $200 is a call, $400 or more is a raise. I have no idea what $325 is. 

I asked the dealer. "What is that?" with an implied, is that a raise or a call. And he said "It's whatever you want it to be." Ha ha! There is no way that's right. In most places more than half of a min raise constitutes a raise. But whatever the rule, it can't possibly be up to me to decide. Anyway, getting check raised on the turn usually means your pocked aces are toast so I made the ruling that it was a call. :) And my opponent took back the extra. The river was a Q and my opponent quickly moved all in. I asked for a count and he had $493. I did not like this at all. I felt like I'd probably run into an 8 that tripped up. But sometimes when you have a huge stack people think you must be trying to push them around and they over play their hands as a result. Getting better than 2 to 1 pot odds I made the call, he showed QJ and my aces up prevailed.

The last big hand of the night was totally diabolical. I raised 88 and got a few callers. The flop came down J 8 3 and I thought "Damn! This is getting ridiculous how good I am running." I bet $100 and got raised to $210. My opponent only had about $600 in his stack and I thought about just shoving, but felt like I'd have the best chance of getting it all from a J if I just called. The turn was a brick, I checked, my opponent shoved instantly and I called even faster. All at the same time, within about a second or two, I showed my hand, my opponent showed JJ (!!) for top set and the river came out an 8!!! I thought "HOT DAMN! THIS IS RIDICULOUS HOW GOOD I'M RUNNING!" I even picked up an extra $100 from a high hand promotion Lucky Chances was running where any quads earned a $100 bonus. 

In the end I won $4,772! Of course I took a couple of pictures of my stack in different orientations, because why not. 

After 8 hours I thought about trying to push through for the 1,000 big blind win, but 954 big blinds is pretty good.

Also, I have to come clean about something. This game lately plays with the $10 straddle on 95% of the time so it's really a $3/$5/$10 game meaning this is only 477 big blinds. But still my biggest win in a long time.

I'm now on a quest for a $10,000 stack in one of the bay area $1,000 max buy-in games! 

Sunday, September 25, 2022

$800 Cap $2/$3/$5 at The M8trix

This week we took the blue pill and entered THE MATRIX! Wait it's actually THE M8TRIX! A spelling I truly H8! The whole building is powered by the body heat of the the humans trapped in the ghostly pods.

Seriously what are these things?!

The casino is on level 1 and there is not a hotel. WHAT IS THE REST?!


The M8trix opened in 2012 after buying the license to operate from a smaller poker room called Garden City that had 12 poker tables. Now after this huge expansion, they have 12 poker tables and a ton of extra space.

When I first went to the M8trix my impression was that it was really nice. The lists were always a mile long and they had the biggest games in town running what I think was $10/$25 no limit and sometimes uncapped buy in $25/$50. Having not been there for 4-5 years, it felt like it was a little bit on the downswing compared to its neighbor Bay 101. The felt was kind of dirty. The shuffling machine lost power a couple of times. The dealers were openly watching and discussing football and not completely paying attention to the game. The dirty chips are warn enough that if you really try with just the right stack you can get 21 into one slot on a rack.

When I arrived there were four $1/$2/$3 games and three $2/$3/$5 games with no bigger games going. 

In for $800 as per usual

I got off to a not great start in a very innocuous way. I raised 33 to $25 over one caller, got 3 bet to $100, made the call, missed and folded on the flop. Then I raised to $20, got 3 bet to $90, made the call, missed and folded on the flop. Both of these hands should probably be folded to sizable 3 bets with $800 effective stacks, but in the moment I didn't want to look too weak. When you see a new face in a poker room that primarily serves locals, that person will usually be prey not predator. Also just the fact that I got 3 bet twice and to a larger sizing was not a great sign for this being a soft game.

Stuck $200 before my seat was warm I was faced with a big decision against a totally unknown opponent. I raised to $30 with AQ over two limpers who along with the big blind made the call. The flop came down AT5 giving me a solid top pair, they checked it to me and I made it $60. After two folds my one remaining opponent check raised to $140. Gross! Small check raises are usually big hands, but I think it's too weak to fold here. 

The turn came a 4 and my opponent asked for time. He goofed around with his chips for maybe 20 seconds and then announced a bet of $400. I looked down at my stack and I had $630 left. "FUCK!" I thought to myself. My opponent was a late 40's or early 50's Korean dude who was chatting it up with a few different players at the table. My instinct was telling me that he's a reg and was taking a shot at me because the early 40's guy you've never seen before should be bluffable. Then I looked back at the board and there were no draws. Is this guy actually check raising small to set up a big turn bluff with total air or is this just two pair or better like it should be? "FUUUUCK!" I thought again but slightly more drawn out. And why did he ask for time and take so long? Is this acting or actual uncertainty? In the end I decided, I think correctly, that the small flop check raise is almost always a strong hand looking for value and it's very rare for a pot size turn bet to be a total bluff at these stakes. I folded. Ugh.

Another hand I played cracked open the deep recesses of my brain and I remembered something I discovered in 2008 when I was playing 6 max online limit games. I was playing around 3,000 hands of $10/$20 6 handed limit hold'em 6 days a week at the time. Imagine there is a raise to $20, a caller in position, and then I call from the big blind. The flop comes out, I check, the preflop raiser checks and the caller checks. In this spot the preflop raiser is almost never slow playing in a multiway pot, and after we both check the other player is going to bet if they have anything. On the turn here I would instantly reflexively bet 100% of the time without even thinking about it. Risking $20 to win $60 when both of my opponents have told me they don't like it was just always a good idea. I didn't have hard data on this play, but it felt like I would just win 70% of the time and I was getting 3 to 1!

Back to the M8trix! The cutoff raised to $35, the button called and I called in the big blind with 76 of diamonds. The flop came down A 6 2 and we all checked. The turn was a T and I thought to myself "aren't I supposed to bet here?" not yet having explicitly recalling what I just described. I checked, the preflop raiser bet $55, the button folded, and I was able to sort out that he should never have an A unless it's AA. I check raised to $220 and he instantly mucked. 

The illusion of winning!

I was briefly about even in for $1,200 with $1,200 in front of me before a fairly steady and rapid decline.

On one hand I called $20 and then called a raise to $90 with T9 suited. The flop came down A65 rainbow and I check raised the 3 bettor from $100 to $260. This guy was tight and passive and I thought a lot of his three betting range was pairs JJ-KK and I could easily have 55, 66, A5 or A6 suited or 65. He thought for about a minute and then went to $650! Whoops!

On another hand this kid who looked 19 raised preflop to $25 and then bet $30 into 4 players with a pot of $100 on an 855 flop. He had no idea what he was doing any I thought he could have anything. One terrible player called and I decided to got to $200 with KQ. The kid instantly went all in for $300 total and the other guy folded. Getting more than 5 to 1 I called another $100 and lost to QQ. More whoops!

Buying more chips towards the end of a session is not cool

I don't really have any stories of me winning hands with good cards which I guess is not good considering I played for 5 hours. I did flop a set and a two pair, but got no callers on the flop on both. 

I prefer when I need two hands to carry my racks to the cage

In the end I lost $1,303 which is my biggest loss of the year. This is amazing considering I have 23 sessions of $5 big blind no limit averaging close to 5 hours per. I would expect to have been stuffed harder at least once.

In my post WSOP project that I really should have named, I'm +$3,616 over 83.5 hours. One more weekday evening cash session this week and then off to Thunder Valley Friday for WSOPC tournaments.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

5 Straight Cash Game Winning Sessions! ($800 Cap $2/$3/$5 at Bay 101)

Do not check raise this man!

With my tournament play and the fact that I've been playing a lot more recently, I'm behind on going over my cash game sessions so going to mush the story of 5 sessions into one post!

On Tuesday (about 2 weeks ago now) it was one of the hottest days of all time in the bay area and seeking some much needed AC I abandoned my family to suffer in the heat and headed to Bay 101. 

On the hand of the night I got dealt red KK in the small blind. The hijack opened to $20, the cutoff and button both called and I made it $105 to go. The raiser and the button called and the flop came down Q63 with two spades. Not a bad flop at all. I bet $150 and only the preflop raiser called with what I assumed a Q, flush draw or pair 77-JJ. The turn was a T and after eyeing my opponent's stack and seeing he only had about $550 left, I pushed all of my chips into the pot! When I didn't get snap called I knew I must be good. After about 2 minutes my opponent asked if I wanted to run it once or twice. I immediately said "once" holding up one finger and the dealer told us that we couldn't make arrangements until the action was closed. I guess however I said "once" looked weak, because at that point I got called with no further hesitation. The river was a J which I didn't love, but I rolled over my hand and it was good. 

This was such a sweet hand! This pot was about $1725 which is one of the bigger one's I've won in my 2022 resurgence. After the hand another guy that has been a Bay 101 reg for quite a while said "Wow. You played those kings perfectly." 

In an extremely smooth 4 hour session I booked a $1,382 win!


My next session was much longer lasting 8 hours. On the most memorable hand of the session I called a raise to $25 with KQ of clubs and called a bet of $40 on a J98 two diamond flop heads up. The turn was the A of diamonds, bringing in the flush draw. When my opponent bet again I got suspicious and raised him from $100 to $300. He looked back at his cards and called. I figured he probably had a hand with a pair and a big diamond. The river brought another A and this time I bet $500 with total air! After about a minute he called with QQ with the Q of diamonds! Gross! He said he knew I was a "good bluffer" and would have folded to anyone else. Certainly this is my largest bluff gone wrong in 2022. 

Despite the $800+ spew with total air, I still booked a $492 win.


In the big hand of the next session I raised to $20 with AK of hearts, the dude to my left went to $60, one player called in between, I went to $220 and the guy who made it $60 ripped it for $850! I wasn't thrilled about this, but against this opponent I was never folding AK suited preflop. I called, showed my hand and he said "Wow. I need a five." Huh!? The board ran out J8722 and I was good. It's a common recommendation to play A5 suited aggressively so your opponent's can't always put you on a huge hand when you're pushing hard, but this guy took it too far. I won $692 on the night.

+$692 and an intimidating chip shadow ;)

The next time I walked into Bay 101 I felt like I was due for a loss and I got off to a terrible start. I lost $400 to QT with KK all in on the flop on a QT572 board and then I got involved in the biggest pot of my 2022 campaign.

I raised A2 of clubs and got 5 callers with $790 in my stack. The flop came down T 7 3 with the T and 3 of clubs giving me the nut flush draw. I bet $60, got one call from a guy with a $200 stack, and then a raise to $500 from a big stack who covered and a cold call from the big blind who only had about $700. My decision was to either fold or have all of us get it all in on the flop. I had $710 left with a shot to win a little over $1,700. I knew I was bout 1 in 3 to make my flush, but that if the board paired I'd likely make the flush and lose the pot. This was close. In the end I called and was up against TT and T7, a 7 came on the turn and I lost. :(

I was stuck about $1,300 after that pot, but came all the way back plus some and booked a $565 win!

+$565 that looks like +$1,800!

On Sunday I made my way back to Graton with 2 friends. One of the two has played a fair amount of small stakes limit hold'em, but almost zero no limit. I gave him one starting hand chart, a dozen rules to follow (e.g. Always raise if you're first in, raise 4X-5X the big blind, treat all turn and river raises or large bets as 2 pair plus hands etc.) a 45 minute lesson on the drive over and offered to sit with him at $1/$1/$3. We played for 5 hours each had 4 drinks, my friend won $170 and I booked an $826 win! My other friend sadly lost $1,600 in the $2/$3/$5. Boo! The games at Graton are certainly not as good as Bay 101.


My $10,000 starting bankroll is now at $14,919 after 78.5 hours! While this is not a huge sample size, it's not nothing. 

While my original plan was to play 250 hours between mid July and mid May to fund my 2023 WSOP plans, I'm doing so well and feeling so good (and really having fun playing!) about it that I'm now thinking to try to run my profits up to $10K+ and then head to LA or Vegas for a few days to play bigger games in October or November. I know games in those areas that are nominally $5/$10, but actually $5/$10/$20 much of the time are always running. This would require maybe a $2,500 buy in which sounds equally terrifying and exciting!

Saturday, September 17, 2022

$300 HORSE Run Good Poker Series at Graton


I love HORSE tournaments. What I observe is that just about every player will be weak in at least one of the 5 games and I'm at least competent in all of them. I have two WSOP cashes in HORSE (You can read about my 28th place cash in the 2008 WSOP $3,000 HORSE if you are interested) and have won a bunch of smaller HORSE events online. Pokerstars used to have a $109 buy in HORSE tournament every day with a $5,000 guarantee where we'd often have either 48 or sometimes 40 players creating an overlay. I had one run where I won it two days in a row and then finished 3rd the next day.

I mention the above not just to walk down memory lane and not just to FLEX but to contrast it with the guy at my table who announced that this was the first time he had ever played HORSE. 5 of my 7 table mates didn't got as far as to announce this, but it was obvious that they had pretty much never played any of the stud games and were just flying by the seat of their pants.

My starting stack

We started with with 20,000 in chips playing 200/400 stakes. They randomized the first game and we started with the R in HORSE - Razz - which is 7 card stud trying to make the lowest possible hand. On the second hand the guy who had never played before raised showing a 6 and got called by a guy showing a 9. On 4th street the guy with a 6 caught a 7 and bet. The guy with a 9 got another 9 and called the bet! It is hard to put into words how bad this is.

We got 70 entrants and first place was $5,530 which I think is a pretty good turnout for an event of this nature. I did take a bunch of pictures of my chips...

We're winning!

We're losing!

We're winning again!

We're winning even more!

I had about 50K in chips playing 2500/5000 stakes when a big hand came up in the Stud Hi-Lo split (where the best hand and worst hand split the pot). On third street it looked like this (I'm in seat 1):

Seat 1: 23 in the hole, 7 showing
Seat 4: 7
Seat 6: Q
Seat 7: J
Seat 8: T

The Q was forced to bet 1,000 (the bring in), the J made it 2,500 and the rest of us called.

Seat 1: 23 in the hole, 78
Seat 4: 78
Seat 6: Q8
Seat 7: JJ
Seat 8: T5

The JJ bet 2,500 and we all called.

Seat 1: 23 in the hole, 784
Seat 4: 78Q
Seat 6: Q8K
Seat 7: JJ6
Seat 8: T56

In order to win the low half of the pot you need 5 unpaired cards 8 and below (the E in HORSE is Eight or Better referring to this qualifier). I had a shitty low, but with the cards showing I was thre only one who can have a made low. The guy with T56 in theory could be drawing to a better low, but he started with a T up and probably has a pair of Ts or maybe started with 3 suited cards. My chances of getting half the pot here are excellent so when the JJ6 guy bet, I raised from 5,000 to 10,000 and everyone except seat 6 came along.

Seat 1: 23 in the hole, 784K
Seat 4: 78Q3
Seat 7: JJ64
Seat 8: T569

On 6th street it checked to me and I bet again. Everyone called. At this point we have 69,000 in the pot. 

Everyone was dealt their last card (I paired my 4), it checked to me, I checked it and seat 4 squeezed his last card last to act. Finally he bet 5,000, the face up JJ in seat 7 called, the other guy folded and I called. "You've got the low" he said pointing to me. "I have a pair of aces" he continued. A pair of aces? In what world is that going to be the best high hand here?! The guy in seat 7 showed that he has just one pair of jacks with no low. The guy with the aces showed his hand and he had AA2 in the hole meaning he has 8732A for low and I have 87432! Gross! This guy didn't even realize he had a low!

The player in Seat 4 pictured here

At this point the guy is seat 7 said something to the effect of an incredulous "What were you doing betting there?" to me. This made my blood boil! I have a lot to learn when it comes to poker in general and I'm far from a Stud Hi-Lo expert but this guy did not know his ass from a hole in the ground (that's a phrase right? I'm not making that up?) and it's a special pet peeve of mine to get my play criticized right after losing a big pot.

This can't be good

I lost a couple of other pots right away and my stack was down to a very sad 7,000 or so. I ended up finishing in a disappointing 26th. 

On a happier note this robot that works at "The Boathouse" brought me some kung pow chicken after the tournament. 
Despite resembling, a trash can you're not trash robot!

After 2 tournaments firing a total of 3 bullets with one cash my $6,000 tournament bankroll is at $5665. I'll be back at the tournament tables on September 30th playing WSOP Circuit events at Thunder Valley.

We'll see if I can get through one post without over the top disparaging of my opponents who I'm sure are actually fine people and are just there to have fun...but don't bet on it!

Thursday, September 15, 2022

$200 Run Good Poker Series No Limit Tournament at Graton


Straight cash homey

I recently put together a package of about $6,000 in tournaments that I'll be playing over the next few weeks at Graton and Thunder Valley and sold off about 25% of my action to friends and family for their own entertainment value. I've been continuing to win in cash games and happened to have $6,000 in cash so I took a picture of it. Don't get too excited backers! These are not tournament proceeds pictured!

The first event was a $200 NLH event at Graton that is part of the Run Good Poker Series.

Our hero looking optimistic outside the casino

Our hero in the tournament area looking determined

Our hero's receipt

Our hero's phone reflection behind the ring case

Time to run it up!

We started with 10,000 in chips with blinds at 100/100 with a 100 big blind ante (I will from now on denote the blinds and big blind ante in the format of 100/100/100 so I don't have to write out "with a big blind ante) playing 20 minute levels. One cool added element was we had 10 players who were "mystery bounties." These were F list celebrities like Tyson from Survivor or some blogger I'd never heard of along with a few of Graton's most noted or regular poker players. Each had an envelope like the one shown below. If you busted the player with the bounty you won a prize ranging from $50 in Run Good gear to $1,000 in cash. The average value seemed to be about $250.


After 40 minutes of playing there was an earthquake! Not a big one, but we were almost directly on top of the epicenter and there was shaking for about 25 seconds. We actually stopped play for a few minutes before resuming.
Shake what your mama gave ya!

Unfortunately everyone knows that earthquakes are bad luck. After about 2 hours my stack looked like this.


Then with a short stack I got a cheap look at a flop in the big blind with JT, the flop came down J high and I lost to KJ. 

Luckily we got one reentry and decided to fire one more bullet! 

Hope springs eternal with each additional bullet fired

Two chips and a chair

With the stakes at 500/1000/1000 I was in the big blind with 9,000 and SIX people called for 1000 in front of me. Did I mention the field was trash? None of them looked like they really liked it so I shoved with K9 off. This might be questionable, but I thought if I could get past the under the gun limper I might be able to get rid of everyone. To my surprise I got called by both the under the gun player who was all in for 7,000 and another in the field who had me covered. When the cards got flipped over I was up against 88 and 44 which was pretty great. Even better I flopped a K and won the pot. Hooray!

Behold! An actual stack!

The next big hand came up a few levels later when with the stakes at 2000/4000/4000 I shoved in middle position with AJ off for 31,000 and got cold called by a player in the field who had about 100K in chips. I was hoping to see TT or 99, but to my delight my opponent rolled over AT! And we held! Huzzah!

$9,255 up top!

A little less than the 70K I had after AJ holding

After 5 hours WE MADE THE MONEY with a stack of about 50,000. 32 spots out of 256 paid with a min cash of $280.

Then I got dealt A9 in the small blind and shoved against the big blind who had...TT. Bullshit! I had him covered by 2,500 which is what I had in my stack after that hand.

You disgust me $500 chips!

But then we got it all in for half a big blind and won!

And then raised all in with JT suited and stole the blinds! Could it be a half big blind story?

Back to 30K!

Then...well...we got it all in with A8 vs 99 and did not win. In the end I finished in 24th, captured 2 pay jumps after I was down to 2,500 and got paid out $375. After a $10 tip to the staff it was a -$35 day, but felt like a victory.

Looking back I never got dealt a pair higher than 66 or any ace better than AJ off in 5.5 hours of play. Medium and big pairs and big aces are gold in a tournament with 20 minute levels and to get none and still make the money makes me feel like I played well and got the most I could have out of really weak cards.

My next event is $300 HORSE and I've already played but will recap it soon.

Saturday, September 10, 2022

$1,000 Cap $2/$3/$5 No Limit at The California Grand Casino

Black Chips are sadly not $100s in California

I made my way to The California Grand in Pacheco last week for the 3rd time in my life and the first time in 7 or 8 years. Once again I was too lazy to take a picture, but not too lazy to find some on the internet.

The outside

The inside

I have never seen anyone APPLAUD their opponents

Over or under 2.5 of those drinks getting knocked over

While it was not as lively as the promo photos, all ~15 tables were full with six or seven $2/$2/$3 NL games, two $2/$3/$5 NL games and some limit hold'em games as big as $15/$30.

The games were 10 handed which is a material change from the 8 handed Bay 101 games and more materially I had a few players that were somewhere between competent and solid at my table. A huge benefit of Bay 101 (and Matrix also) is the fact that there are always 6 or 7 or sometimes 8 $2/$3/$5 games going and I pretty much always change tables if I'm up against more than 1 decent player. At the Grand one game was a must move and the other was the main game so I was stuck with a tougher than normal lineup. 

With that said, looking back at my notes from 5 hours of play I think there was only one hand worth noting. About 20 minutes before the hand in question I observed a hand where 5 people limped in for $5, the big blind made it $50 and not surprisingly everyone folded. It got me thinking that in that spot you could almost certainly show a profit making it $50 with any two. If you go to $25 you're sure to get called by everyone and if you make it $100 your risk reward might be off, but going to $50 you're risking $45 to pick up $30 neglecting any post flop equity.

Inspired by this hand and this thinking, I made it $40 over two limps with A9 off on the button. Both blinds called and the under the gun limper went all in for $206! So much for everyone folding! If it wasn't for the two bozos behind me I'd be getting a great price only needing to call $166 to win $325 (factoring in the $5 limp folder and the $6 rake). I figured Mr. $206 probably had a big pair, but getting about 2 to 1 if there was any chance he had a hand like 77 or 88 or spazzed out with JT suited I was getting the right odds. I didn't think these particular bozos were trapping with AA or KK so I shoved for about $900 and blew them out. My opponent turned over KK. Gross! But I flopped two aces and won the pot! Hooray!

Looking back after the fact if his range is any pair, I'm 37% which is more than the ~34% equity I need to make this a profitable move (assuming the bozos never call).

Behold! Poker Cruncher!

In the end I lost $110 which is not a bad result for having weak cards in a slightly tougher than average game in a session where I was losing the entire time. I'm $1087 ahead after 50 hours which is kind of OK, but after a slow start I'm feeling good about it.


My WSOP 2023 Plans and Missions

After four and a half years working for StubHub I wrapped up my time there in March. I've been at the poker tables 3-4 days a week since...