W-Day Minus 2: 86 In the Shade

IMG_2797Can your baller Vegas lifestyle beat this? Our host just bought the new house and things dragged out a little longer than expected, so it didn’t close until a week before Memorial Day weekend. Thus, there wasn’t really time to get things ready for people to start arriving when they did. I arrived in town just a few hours after he got here Saturday with a truckload of bedframes and accessories. The fridge just came today. And the AC, which seemed to be working indifferently when we got here, apparently has some issues, and it being a holiday weekend, it’s tough to get service, so it’s not working at all right now.

A quietish day for me today. Did some reading and paperwork in the morning, dropped in as a late-seated alternate into the Orleans Omaha Hi-Lo noon tournament (got rivered by quad 2s after turning the nuts for a high-only straight to go out), grabbed a chimichanga at Roberto’s (open 24 hours in Nevada!) instead of a burger or sandwich, and went back to the house where I called folks back home while dealing with hot sauce and guacamole dripping through holes that had been melted in the styrofoam take-out container. The Omaha tournament was a gas—not in a good way—with one early hand where a player who raised every street to the max showed down with a paired five on a non-low board. Then again, he managed to outlast me.
IMG_2796Got caught up on Game of Thrones from last night (are there any good memes from that one like last week’s Hodor doorstops?), then Silicon Valley and Veep. Thank you Apple Developer Program for my $1 Apple TV. Now if I could just figure out why I can’t find PrimeTime Poker Report from Poker Central on it. I can find re-runs of old poker shows, you’d think they’d make their own content available for replay.

Late-regged the $100 guarantee freeroll on WSOP.com and built my bankroll back there back up to 55¢ by coming in 25/600. I held the chip lead for a while while we were still at 200 players, then slipped down. After about three hours of playing while I was chatting with one of today’s arrivals and watching Bryan Cranston play LBJ in All The Way, I got it in shoving [js ts] over a raise from [ad kd]. Still half a buck!


W-Day Minus 3: Leaving Money On the Table

Yesterday got off to a slow start, as I hung around the house for a while working on the computer. I followed up a response to the WSOP’s soon-to-be-official Twitter boss Kevin Mathers about the sizes of the Daily Deepstacks with a link to my article from last year with a chart of the prize pools through the whole season. You might find it useful. Cliff’s Notes: Mondays are usually the largest prize pools, probably as everyone takes one last shot before they head home from a long weekend.

Played a little microstakes NLHE 6-Max on WSOP.com and lost the last $5 I had on there. [kc as] called after the two-diamond flop by [8d 6d] and I lose 45BB. Onward!

Headed over in the afternoon to the Orleans. There was a long list for the 4/8 O8 game, but 4/8 Omaha had a seat open and I popped in there. Before I get my chips, I’m in BB with a couple of tens in my hand, but fold after the flop. There’s a crazy guy in seat 1, raising every hand. As it happens, I should have played with my tens, because by the river I would have made a set in a huge pot, and it would be the only hand in the session that I would have won. Crazy guy was literally shoveling chips into other players’ stacks and it felt as if vultures were swarming to get at the carcass because every time a seat or two opened, it would be instantly filled. He was blowing through buyins so quickly that he’d put a hundred on the table after getting felted, and half the chips would be “in the pot” before the runner arrived with a rack. Frustrating not to be able to get a piece of that. After a hand where I made three pair on the [tx 7x 4x] flop, I lost a good portion of my chips when an ace made a better two pair and it was downhill from there.

I had a few hours to kill before either of the tournaments I wanted to play, so I went to the restaurant Tomer and I went to almost every night when I visited him during trips to the Series. Krung Siam’s just a couple minutes drive up Valley View Road from the Rio—though it’s a long, hot walk in the Vegas summer. Then again, what isn’t? Got Drunken Noodles at a 7 on a scale of 10. Either I’m getting older or my memory of their heat scale is faulty. After the first bite, I was wondering if this was a good idea before I needed to sit for several hours in a tournament. And yes, I am trying to smile there (this was pre-dinner). That’s just the way it comes out.

My choices for the evening were the 7pm HORSE tournament at the Orleans or the $15K guaranteed NLHE Survivor at the Venetian. I love playing HORSE, and the buyin was a third of the Survivor—which was an advantage on my poker blogger bankroll—but the median ROI advantage of the Survivor’s flat payout structure overcame my aversion to putting more than I’d just lost in the Omaha session in play, so I drove over and parked at the Venetian, registered for the tournament, then went looking for something like some ice cream to counteract the Drunken Noodles. Walked down to the Ben & Jerry’s at Casino Royale, but they didn’t have anywhere to sit; checked in at the new White Castle there but the line was incredible. There were any number of places in the Venetian itself to get gelato, but I wanted real ice cream, and finally found it after I went back up to the second level of the Venetian and found a Johnny Rockets, where I could get a chocolate shake.

The game did not start off well for me. I quickly lost half my chips by somewhere in Level 2. Not doing anything bad, just having hands go wrong. There was a fair amount of aggression in the early stages, so the pots got large fast, and that meant some punishment when I had to fold. After a while, things turned around and I beat my way back up to starting stack and above.

A couple of tables away, the final table of the first event in the Deepstack Extravaganza III was playing out. It was rather odd to think that both Carlos Mortensen and Joseph Cheong—each of whom has more than $11M in live tournament earnings—were playing in a $400 buyin tournament with a top prize of a little over $50K, but there they were, sitting next to each other without all the hubbub of the WSOP or WPT surrounding them. (Mortensen ended up 5th, Cheong took 4th.) Then again, I got knocked out of a $300 tournament by a billionaire a couple of years ago.


Somewhere in the middle of the tournament, I picked up [qx qx] and shoved from the BB over a bunch of callers and a short-stack raise. One of the big stacks called, and the short stack went all in to show [ax ax]. The big stack had [tx tx]. The aces held up, and the player tripled her stack, but I had her covered by enough that I came out with a gain. From there, for a while, I had a run of very good hand and the position to take advantage of them. People folded when I raised with not-so-good hands, and they called when I had monsters. And the monsters held up. I took out several players as the tournament played IMG_2794down to three—and then two—tables. We’d started with 73, so the Survivor format (please, someone in Portland start a series of these!) paid out $2.5K for seven players as a straight chop, with an eighth getting $750. Starting stack is 12K, average stack at chop time is 120K (a little more than that in the nice, clean, new Venetian tournament chips in the photo—I forgot my card protector at the house), so if you could get up to 100K or more, unless you did stupid stuff like try to knock more players out, you were golden. Some people can’t help themselves. One young guy who’d looked me over and given me the “I’m letting you get away with it this time” speech before laying down his SB to my UTG raise with [ah 6h] blew away a stack comparable to mine, and ended up with eighth place.

We survivors congratulated ourselves—I had a good time talking to my table neighbor Jason T who just swapped sides after the final table redraw and squeaked into the big money after falling victim to several of my three-bets—and picked up the payout chips from the desk. This almost proved to be my undoing. I stopped on the way to the payout cage to take a picture, then picked the chips up and got in line behind a guy with a couple racks of considerably more cash game chips. He asked if I’d been in the tournament (he may have thought I was in the $150K or the SuperStack that was still running), then asked about the payout, saying “Everyone get $2K”? I looked at the chips in my hand and there were indeed just the two $1K chips. I didn’t see how I could have dropped the $500 chip—I had a death grip on the yellows—so I walked back over the short path I’d taken and sure enough, there on the table where I’d taken the picture below was the $500. If you look close, you’ll see it’s a little smaller than the $1K chips; I’d stacked it on the bottom when I was picking them up, and didn’t notice it got left behind. Vanity may not kill you but it could cost you a pretty $500.

W-Day Minus 4: Let There Be Light

I stopped overnight on my way south to Las Vegas at a Motel 6 in South Sacramento. My wife’s rule of thumb is that if there’s a directional modifier attached to the name of the town or city, there’s probably something wrong. Bend v. North Bend (it may work even if the cities aren’t near each other), St. Louis v. East St. Louis, Sacramento v. South Sacramento. That’s not to say that the non-direction place names are necessarily good, just that the directional makes the city less savory.

I got to the motel about 8pm on a Friday night, and half the driveway was coned off. There were two guys in uniform at the entrance to the motel driveway, and on closer examination, they both had handguns strapped to their waists. The good news was, they weren’t police responding to some sort of horrible crime. The not-so-good news is, they were armed security hired by the motel, presumably because they feel there’s some sort of need for armed security. I checked in, went to my room, hauled all the computer equipment into the room (which was the plan, anyway) and hit the air conditioning. All I know is, when I go to Lincoln City, there’s no armed guards at the Motel 6.

Sacramento’s about halfway to Vegas on my route through Bakersfield. In the morning I hauled my stuff back out to the car, chatted up the morning duty guard (I did actually work a stint as a guard myself a couple of years ago), and got back on the road.

On the way south I listened to a mix I put together a few years back, specifically targeted to keep me awake while I was driving, then switched over to the PokerNews Podcast, where I caught Chris Sigman of Vancouver calling in to Donnie Peters and Rich Ryan with an idea for generating some more heat at the November (or whatever it is this year) Nine.

Once I rounded Bakersfield and got to Interstate 15 toward Las Vegas, my trusty Ford Escort was overtaken by a steady stream of Porches, BMWs, Mercedes, and other luxury and semi-luxury sedans, most of which seemed to have been just driven off the lot that day without any type of license plate. I was doing anywhere between over the speed limit and way over the speed limit myself. Had to laugh at the absurdity of a distance sign with LAS VEGAS and SALT LAKE CITY stacked above each other. Then, after rounding a bend coming down out of the mountains, I found myself drawn to the collector of the Ivanpah solar farm, which I assumed at first was simply reflecting heat at the position from which I’d first seen it. As I drove down the incline and around the plant, however, it felt as if the bright light was following me, and I realized that it reflected sunlight in all directions. It was hot, and I started to wonder how long it would be before I burst into flame like an ant under a microscope.

I’m renting a room from an incredibly gracious host in Las Vegas, whose new house in town just closed last week. He and his folks just got into town in the morning with furniture and spent the whole day setting up beds, and even though it wasn’t really ready for room tenantry, he allowed me to come on in. Which is a good thing, because there are literally no rooms left in town for Memorial Day weekend.

Got my big computer set up (I’m travelling with a large contingent: my iPhone, four tablets of various types, two laptops (Windows and MacOS), and my main workstation, though I left one of the big screens at home. Wifi was already set up in the house. First things first. Played a tournament on WSOP.com for the first time in a year while my host and his folks went out to buy a few items and get some dinner and busted 30/82 after refusing to rebuy or add on. Then headed over to the Orleans for a little 4/8 Omaha Hi-Lo and made enough in fifty minutes to buy a nice little late-night steak dinner. Best hand included [as 2s] to make the nut-nut kill pot.

Part Time Nit

As mentioned in this week’s Planner, I appeared on the Part Time Poker podcast with game designer and poker writer Alex Weldon and 2015 WSOP $10K HORSE champion Andrew Barber. The topic of discussion was originally about setting a betting line on the age of the 2016 WSOP Main Event winner, but it grew to encompass the Poker Central/Amazon Coins poker vs. Hearthstone match earlier this week, as well as tournament ROI(a subject near and dear to my heart as everyone knows) and strategy.

The ROI discussion grew into a spirited debate, with Andrew questioning my data selection (more on that at a later time), and there’s the possibility that we may have some sort of upcoming wager on whether the Main Event champ this year will be over 40.

On the strategy segment, this was the situation. 20K starting stacks. Blinds are 150/300. The Hero in the hand has 22K, and HJ has 25K. UTG has about 10K and is described as “a short-stack maniac.” UTG opens for 1K in the hand. HJ–an older, tighter player–flat-calls the 1K. On the button, Hero calls with [ax tx]. They are the only three players to the flop, which is [kc qc jc]. Hero has Broadway, but no clubs. UTG leads for 3K and gets called by HJ. The question is, what does Hero do at this point? My advice was to fold, which led to Alex remarking “Steve is no longer the biggest nit we’ve had on the podcast.” I think people who’ve played with me know that I’m not exactly a nit, but here was my reasoning on this hand.

The game discussed is an $80 tournament. Alex mentioned that his chosen game level was in the $200-$300 range (with Andrew’s far above that), so they may be a little out of practice with lower-stakes play. My read was that the UTG maniac has put in 4K of a 10K stack, with the intention of pounding the rest in on the turn, with a pot of 9K (or 12K if  Hero calls the flop). HJ–a guy described as “tight”–can see that as well. When UTG shoves on the turn, HJ is either going to call or shove. It’s reasonably likely that one or the other of them has a club. And if it’s HJ, and he hits, then you’re risking either half your stack (if HJ just calls the UTG shove) or your tournament life (if HJ shoves).

If it’s just UTG, I’m calling every day.

Onward to Las Vegas.

#PNWPokerCalendar Planner for 25 May 2016

Third-Level Thinking

The title of my last article at PokerNews before the start of the WSOP makes it sound like it ’s only applicable to the Colossus II tournament the first weekend of series, but it applies to all of the NLHE events with buyins of $1K or less. Bringing antes up from Level 5 to Level 3 and shortening the length of levels in tournaments under $1K, makes it imperative to build up your stack in the first hour of play.


Part Time Poker

The poker news (as opposed to PokerNews) web site Part Time Poker started a weekly podcast a couple of months ago, hosted by Andrew (@abarber1) Barber—the winner of last year’s $10K HORSE WSOP bracelet—and game designer Alex (@benefactumgames) Weldon, who’s written a number of data-driven articles similar to mine (but better). Alex just did an article based on a poll Daniel Negreanu posted the other day asking people to guess the age of the Main Event winner.

When I tweeted out a link to his article and mentioned that I’d done a piece on the age of November Niners last year, he invited me to be on the podcast tonight, where we’ll be talking about that subject, as well as apparently the Hearthstone v. Poker challenge played yesterday on Poker Central’s Twitch channel.

So look for that to be up sometime Thursday.

Deal Of the Month: Kenny Hallaert’s WSOP Schedule Spreadsheet

Belgian pro Kenny Hallaert’s the only player who gets regular billing here at Mutant Poker, because he is, in part, an inspiration for the Planner. His name graces the #PNWPokerCalendar page every day, due to the immense amount of work he’s done for the past several years putting together a spreadsheet of events from all of the series running in Las Vegas.

The Schedule tab of the spreadsheet has the series in columns, with dates on the rows. Each event’s start time is shown, with event number, late registration cutoff (if available), description, and buyin. WSOP events are linked to the structure sheets, as are some others.


A second tab has Daily Tournaments at the series venues listed by time of day.

Of interest to non-Holdem players is the Non std. NLH MTT tab, which breaks out NLHE events that aren’t full ring (like 6-Max and Shootout) events, Omaha games, MixedDraw, Limit NLHEStudLadies, and Seniors in one location, organized by type of game and date.

There’s a General Info tab with links to schedules and structures. A tab breaking out Rake by buyin and venue. And a final List tab with all of the events organized by date and price. If you’re in town on 1 June and you’ve got $250, you can look there and find out that (apart from the many, many cash games or regular daily tournaments in town) you could play one of three NLHE tournaments at Planet Hollywood (11am for a $25K, 4pm for a $5K turbo, or 7pm—$160, $130, and $100, respectively). Or you could try the $240 HORSE game at 11am at Golden Nugget.


This Week in Portland Poker

  • The Portland Meadows Poker Room Championship Poker Series, continues through the weekend. Today is the first non-NLHE event, a $1.5K PLO tournament at noon (my last Portland poker for almost two months), with a $5K NLHE Monster Stack at 7pm. Tomorrow is the $1.5K NLHE Senior (50+) that includes an entry to the WSOP Seniors event and $500 travel money for 1st place (noon), then at 7pm is the $3K Big O tournament. Friday at noon is a satellite to Saturday’s series Main Event; at 7pm there’s a $30K NLHE game. The last call is Saturday at noon for the $100K NLHE  tournament, the last big thing in Portland before the start of the WSOP.
  • PDX Poker Club is running a special for players in their weekday noon $2K NLHE tournaments: Show up before the game starts and you get a $10 free door fee card, $10 off a joint (you’ve got to love the Portland poker scene), and free coffee. Offer good until they pull it. But the notice for the goodies only appears on the old Encore Club site.
  • Wednesdays and Sundays are New Player Days at The Game, with house-sponsired high hands in their shootouts. Wednesdays at 2pm is a $1.5K NLHE tournament; at 2pm on Sunday is an $800 NLHE freeroll.
  • Big O for those of you for whom two cards are not enough, at The Players Club on Friday night at 6pm. Also Sunday at 3pm.

Only a Day Away

  • Tomorrow is Day 1I for the Rivercard $150K at Pala Casino north of San Diego. There are daily entry flights (except for Mondays and Tuesdays) through Saturday. Day 2 on Sunday.
  • Friday at the Gardens Poker Festival  is a $50K NLHE no addon/rebuy tournament. The $75K NLHE Main Event is Monday (also no rebuy/addon).
  • Day 2 of the $100K guarantee Hydra at Sacramento’s Stones Gambling Hall is Saturday, but if you made it to Day 2 over the last weekend you probably already knew that.
  • Jason Somerville’s Run It Up Reno got going yesterday at the Peppermill Casino. There are 3 starting flights on Friday and Saturday for the 3-day $150K NLHE Main Event.
  • The Deepstack Extravaganza at The Venetian starts tomorrow. The kickoff is a $100K NLHE tournament with starting days Thursday through Saturday for $400 buyin.
  • The May Showdown at Vancouver’s River Rock Casino starts today with a C$220 buyin event. C$330 Turbo on Thursday, and two entry days on Friday and Saturday to the C$550 Main Event, with Day 2 on Sunday.
  • There’s a $150K NLHE Quantum Reload tournament at Planet Hollywood tomorrow with two starting flights Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, to start the Goliath 2016 series. Buyins increase each day ($130, $240, and $350, respectively) with 10%, 12%, and 15% of the field getting through to Day 2. Or you can buy in direct to Day 2 for $1.1K. They’re also running a number of satellites to the WSOP Employee over the weekend, and Tuesday is the first of two Exposed NLHE Hosted by Dutch Boyd tournaments, where you have to show both cards face up when you fold, which should be kind of interesting.
  • If you’re still in the PNW, Tulalip and Muckleshoot have their big last-Sunday-of-the-month games at 11am and noon, respectively.
  • Got $300K? Then you can enter to play Sunday’s Super High Roller Bowl (I’m sure legal pot sellers are just itching to sponsor this one; super high!) at Aria.
  • The Grand Poker Series at Golden Nugget runs three or more events most days starting next Tuesday.
  • Tuesday is the start of cash game action at the Rio for the WSOP. Daily Deepstacks start Tuesday as well. The first bracelet event is the Casino Employees event next Wednesday; the first open bracelet event is Colossus II next Thursday.
  • Over in LA, the Bicycle Casino Summer Poker Series starts next Wednesday with a $15K NLHE tournament. It runs all through June.
  • The Wynn Summer Classic starts on a week from tomorrow.
  • Binions joins the fray a week from Friday.
  • Coming up 5 June is Bay 101 Summer Madness, with a series of mostly $350 buyin tournaments through 12 June.
  • The new Medford Poker Club has a Grand Opening 10 June. If you’re down south, drop in for a look.

Check out the #PNWPokerCalendar for more poker.

#PNWPokerCalendar Planner for 18 May 2016

Wild Kingdom

I published the last hands of my Wild Kingdom series on Monday. It’s an all-cards exposed examination of a Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo Bounty tournament. There’s an index to all of the posts in the series (each covering about 20 hands). Shorter reading than the 300+ hands in the NLHE 6-Max series I did back in February and March, but more cards!

Portland Meadows Poker Room Is Open

The first tournament at the latest entry into the Portland poker market was played on Monday at noon in North Portland. New tables, new chairs, new space, though you might want to wear a jacket on cooler days as Portland Meadows is a big building with some draft coming in through the doors.

photo by Alex Ratchkov via Facebook

The first event drew 62 entries. It was a semi-freezeout with addons but no rebuys; the first prize pool was $3,440. The Poker Mutant was the second player out with jacks running into kings, but…

photo by Portland Meadows Poker via Facebook

Poker Keyboard Pro

If you use an iPad or iPhone to take notes on hands, you might be interested in an app that adds a keyboard with buttons for the suits, as well as terms like check, bet, straddle, flop, and river. Not sure if I’ll get a chance (or want) to use it in a couple of weeks at the WSOP—it may not be fast enough for some of the freeform notes I’ll need to take—but for a couple of bucks it’s worth checking out.


World Series of Poker

The WSOP kicks off in two weeks, with the first bracelet event, the Casino Employees NLHE getting under way on 1 June at 11am. There’s actually action going on the day before, with registration opening 31 May, along with live action and satellites.

If you’re not already aware of it, the WSOP is trying to ease the pain of waiting in lines this year with a couple of changes to the registration and payout processes.

If you’re not playing the Colossus (which starts just two weeks from tomorrow), you may still have time to take advantage of the new online registration process. The WSOP is using a system provided by Bravo—the company that makes the software used for live and tournament poker rooms in Vegas—to handle registration and payment (you can now use credit cards for events of $1.5K and smaller). Once you’ve signed up for the Bravo card and submitted a payment, you go to the Rotunda outside the poker area and do an in-person verification, and you’ll get your registrations for every tournament you’ve pre-registered for. After you’ve done the verification, if you register online for another tournament, you’ll be able to pick up your seat assignments and receipts at kiosks in the Rotunda. You can read more about the process at PokerNews.

As Chad Holloway reported last summer during the Colossus, meant “An hour and a half passed and the line didn’t seem to be making much progress” beginning about 10pm on the night the event hit the money. This year, the WSOP will be paying 15% of the entries, meaning half again as many people from every tournament will be getting into the money. To alleviate the payout problem, the WSOP is installing eQueue kiosks to be used “If excessive lines begin to form.” eQueue sets up a time for when you can go to the payout station and pick up your cash without standing in line.

If you’ve got people back home following you but you’re not likely to be picked up for the chip counts at WSOP.com by the stupid live reporters, you can use the new ChipIn mobile app to update reports on your chip stack that will get published on the site. The app goes live on 1 June and requires you to log in with your Ceasar’s Total Rewards card (which you should have since you need it to get seated at the tournament table).

More about eQueue and ChipIn in the official WSOP announcement.

World Poker Tour Season XV Schedule Announced

Late-breaking news from yesterday afternoon: the WPT’s new schedule is out and one of the first events in the season comes right after the WSOP, at Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles from 28 July to 1 September. Other usual West Coast stops are December’s move into Bellagio in Las Vegas, the January to March Los Angeles Poker Classic at Commerce Casino, and the rest of the California Swing in March at Bay 101 in San Jose and Sacramento’s Thunder Valley.

This Week in Portland Poker

  • Coming up 21 May at 2pm at The Game is a WSOP Main Event satellite event. $100 entry/rebuy and $50 addon and the winner receives a package including a seat and travel to Las Vegas. It’s been on the #PNWPokerCalendar for a couple of weeks; but it’s up against the three-seat tournament just announced at Portland Meadows. Which satellite will reign supreme?
  • Saturday is the beginning of the weeklong Portland Meadows Poker Room Championship Poker Series, covered in the Deal last week. 15 events, kicking off with a noon game with $33K in WSOP Main Event seats guaranteed (each with $1K in travel expenses).
  • Big O for those of you for whom two cards are not enough, at The Players Club on Friday night at 6pm.

Only a Day Away

  • Tomorrow is Day 1D for the Rivercard $150K at Pala Casino north of San Diego. There are daily entry flights (except for Mondays and Tuesdays) through 28 May. Day 2 on 29 May.
  • There are two more flights tomorrow for the Gardens Poker Festival  $500K guarantee tournament.
  • The Deepstack Extravaganza Warm-Up at The Venetian drew 196 players for Day 1A of the $100K guarantee kickoff event. Day 1C is today with Day 2 tomorrow. Tomorrow are two bounty events (noon and 7pm), with Omaha Hi-Lo Friday morning, and two two-day events starting on Friday and Saturday at noon. The Warm-Up ends next Wednesday, with the full Extravaganza starting Thursday.
  • Sacramento’s Stones Gambling Hall hosts the $100K guarantee Hydra tournament with two flights each day Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and Day 2 on 28 May.
  • Jason Somerville’s Run It Up Reno starts 24 May at the Peppermill Casino. The first couple of days include a $235 entry with added Main Event seats, an All-In-Or-Fold, a Survivor tournament, and PLO 6-Max.
  • The May Showdown at Vancouver’s River Rock Casino runs 25 to 29 May. Three events: #220 on Wednesday, $330 Turbo on Thursday, and two entry days on Friday and Saturday to the $550 Main Event, with Day 2 on Sunday.

Check out the #PNWPokerCalendar for more poker.

Wild Kingdom: Hands 161—176

Just four of the original 65 players remain in an online PLO8 Bounty tournament. I’m the chip leader as player 21, but even I only have 17BB. We’ve been in the money since we got to the final table, but I’ve also picked up several bounties. It’s going to be an action-packed batch of hands!

HAND 161 4000/8000 69J Q T
27 UTG A3J2 33.5K 30/37 52/38 49/20 37 0
7 D 8954 41.9K 23/8
41 SB 882K 114.8K 24/2
21 BB 68A9 134.7K 33/2 48/11 51/1 63 100

UTG has a suited ace and a great low draw, with 41% of the pre-flop equity. He pots to 28K. I have 8K in the pot already, UTG only has 5.5K behind, so I repot (88K), and he’s all-in. The board isn’t kind to him, cutting off escape avenues on each street. I take another bounty with sixes and nines, and player 27 goes out in 4th.

HAND 162 4000/8000 65T 4 5
7 BB 679J 41.9K 30/15 39/34 32/13 33/31 0/0
41 D 75Q8 110.8K 21/36
21 SB KK83 172.3K 49/12 61/18 68/49 67/69 100/100

I’ve got the other two players outchipped, but I’ve still got only a little over 20BB. I open to 24K with double-suited kings. BB goes all-in with a run-down and I call. The flop looks good for him, he has a variety of outs to a straight that don’t complete my club flush, but the turn and river just tease, leaving him empty. I collect the bounty and player 7 is out in 3rd.

HAND 163 4000/8000
41 BB 94J5 110.8K 44/40
21 D K6JQ 214.2K 56/0

I’ve got nearly twice what BB has in chips. I min-raise to 16K and BB folds.

HAND 164 4000/8000
41 D JT93 102.8K 49/0
21 BB 8K97 222.2K 52/40

D folds.

HAND 165 4000/8000
41 BB K625 98.8K 50/37
21 D 6Q74 226.2K 51/18

I fold my button.

HAND 166 4000/8000 8K7
41 D A9T6 102.8K 60/21 70/25
21 BB 3J47 222.2K 43/37 31/49

I call D’s min-raise with a double-suited hand. He’s got a wrap around the lower cards on the flop and pots 32K. I fold.

HAND 167 4000/8000 AK9
41 BB 24J2 118.8K 40/33 12/18
21 D TKA8 206.2K 60/16 88/0

I raise to 24K from the button and BB calls with deuces. I pot 48K with flopped top two pair and he folds.

HAND 168 4000/8000
41 D K44A 94.8K 30/18
21 BB AAJ3 230.2K 71/31

He doesn’t even try.

HAND 169 4000/8000 2T6
41 BB 9QQ3 90.8K 66/0
21 D 9583 234.2K 36/56

I limp in from the button and BB checks his queens. He folds to a bet on the flop of 16K.

HAND 170 5000/10000 622
41 D 78QQ 82.8K 61/4 83/10
21 BB 867A 242.2K 46/55 20/72

Blinds are up again. D limps in and I check. He min-bets with two pair and a flush draw, I fold.

HAND 171 5000/10000
41 BB 25A5 92.8K 49/47
21 D 94T5 232.2K 52/7

I fold the button.

HAND 172 5000/10000 8QJ
41 D A257 97.8K 47/50 46/24
21 BB 6J2K 227.2K 53/6 54/1

This is where I start to lose control of the game. I had more than twice D’s stack, but that doesn’t mean a lot in PLO8. I wanted to go for the kill here and went with the double-suited hand. I’m not as far behind as all that pre-flop, and call a pot vet to 30K. I’m marginally ahead for the high half on the flop, with middle pair, but I don’t have the flush draw and no good low, so I fold to a c-bet of 60K.

HAND 173 5000/10000 K87 9 9
41 BB T273 127.8K 36/24 80/14 90/8 100
21 D T3A3 197.2K 64/31 20/56 10/38 0

I start this hand with 64% overall equity. Suited ace, low pair, second-nut low draw against essentially nothing. I open to 30K and get called. The flop isn’t so good for me, a ten makes two pair for BB. I need an ace or the case three for the high pot, or another low card. Nothing comes, however, and BB’s seven is all he needs for the win.

HAND 174 5000/10000
41 D 2429 255.6K 45/32
21 BB Q475 69.4K 56/20

Now I’m the one who’s massively outchipped. D raises to 30K and I fold.

HAND 175 5000/10000 2K3 7 T
41 BB 3962 265.6K 41/34 43/1 10/0 0/0
21 D 47AK 59.4K 59/22 57/73 90/100 100/100

I open to 30K and BB calls. Both of us start with good low draws, but his gets counterfeit on the flop. BB bets 30K with two pair, I have almost that many chips left and call with the straight draw, nut low draw, and top pair. On the turn, I have 95% equity, and the river doubles me up with a scoop.

HAND 176 5000/10000 6QJ 7 A
41 D 243J 206.2K 40/44 66/25 87/25 100/100
21 BB K256 118.8K 60/11 34/1 13/0 0/0

D calls and I pot to 30K, which he calls. I want to go in for another double-up, and I’ve got a decent low draw, but I don’t know his is even better. The turn isn’t good for me, although I pick up bottom pair, but I commit, and bet 60K, D calls with middle pair. I shove the last bit in on the turn with just 13% equity, D calls, and he scoops the hand for the tournament win.


I was involved in this tournament for the majority of its run, going from 30/60 in Level 3 to 5K/10K (Level 25) in just 176 hands, an average of about 8 hands per 10-minute level, a little slower than a NLHE tournament, but not as much of a difference as in a live PLO8 game, where dealing plus split and side pot distribution can make for slower play even with skilled Omaha dealers.

I saw 65 showdowns at my table(s)—37% of the hands played—with 37 lows made (57% of showdowns). I was involved in nearly two-thirds of the showdowns myself (41 overall), winning highs in 25 (61% of showdowns) and lows in 9 (22%), with 5 scoops. I also won 17 hands without showdowns (nearly 10% of the hands I was dealt).

I put money into the pot in more than half of the hands I was dealt, even before play got short-handed. In fact, my VPIP didn’t stay below 60% until nearly hand 100. In part that was because I was short-stacked, but even after I took the chip lead with just a few players left, my VPIP was lower than it had been in the early stages of the game.

Before hand 75 I didn’t make a single pre-flop raise. In the last 100 hands, though, my PFR was 18%, nearly one in five hands.

Two attributes were most prominent in the hands that won chips either through getting other players to fold by raising or in showdowns. A suited ace combination featured in 65 of the hands that won without showdown or for the high hand (37%). 62 of those types of hands (which overlap to some extent) had three or more low-qualified cards (including aces).

27 of the hands that won low pots at showdown had suited aces (73%). The same number had three or four low cards (rather than just two). Only 18 of the low pot winners had A2 combos.

44 high or winning hands (25% of all hands) had pairs of tens or better, with 28 having pairs under ten (at least one winning had had both). 26 included three or more Broadway cards.

What conclusions can we draw from this? Well, the sample size is small, so drastic conclusions shouldn’t be made from this data, but the gross disparity in winning hands with suited aces—for both low and high pots—is something I plan to explore further. And I suspect that players may overvalue their nut low draws (A2) and high pairs.

If you’ve enjoyed the series, let me know. It’s going to be the last of its kind from me for a while, as my coverage of the WSOP starts in just about two weeks!

Wild Kingdom Index

Wild Kingdom: Hands 141—160

Bovada $500 PLO8 Bounty

The tournament is in the money and down to the last six players. I’ve been hanging on as player 21 for 40 hands not in the 10BB or less range. 11BB is the chip average right now. Believe it or not, but in two hands I’m going to be the chip leader.

HAND 141 2500/5000 234 9 6
27 CO JA7Q 73.9K 11/4
6 SB J8KK 11.5K 27/0 29/0 85/0 100/0 100/0 100/0
39 BB A5KT 34.8K 17/29 20/30 0/100 0/100 0/100 0/100
7 UTG 5493 53.4K 15/39
41 UTG1 53J4 112.1K 24/39 27/39 15/16
21 HJ 98Q7 39.2K 20/1 25/3 0/0

The big stack in UTG1 limps in with double-suited cards and a low three-card straight, I come along with a middle three-card. SB has a single-suited pair of kings, BB doesn’t have to do anything with three Broadway cards including a suited king. I’m the only person left out on the flop: SB picks up the second nut flush, BB has the nut low, and UTG1 has outs to a full house and draws to chop the low.

SB shoves for 6.5K after the flop, BB raises to 13K, and UTG1 and I fold. Once we’re out of the way, it’s a simple chop no matter what happens.

HAND 142 2500/5000 Q56 5 6
27 CO 7AT8 73.9K 18/19
6 D 7Q47 16.5K 13/4
39 SB TJ3K 39.8K 14/0 16/0 4/0
7 BB JT39 53.4K 22/0 28/0 13/0
41 UTG JK3K 107.1K 21/0 33/0 39/0 44/0 4/0 0
21 HJ 8654 34.2K 18/49 30/67 48/60 56/60 96/38 100

UTG calls with double-suited kings and I come along with a four-card straight in HJ. SB calls and BB checks. Going into the flop, I’m the only player with a low draw. The blinds check the flop, but UTG has second-nut flush draw and bets 20K. I shove my bottom-two pair for another 9.2K and UTG and I are HU for the turn. Another five brings his outs down to the last king in the deck, but a river six works for me. After ruling the roost for a while, he’s back in the mix with the rest of us, actually down in third place for the moment.

HAND 143 2500/5000 QK3 A 7
27 HJ K2Q7 73.9K 10/7
6 CO 5JA3 16.5K 14/46 21/44 22/16 17/0 0/0
39 D 8884 34.8K 23/1
7 SB TQ27 48.4K 20/7 29/7 48/8 29/21 0/0
41 BB 5396 72.9K 24/21 31/21 11/5 0/33 0/100
21 UTG JKA9 78.4K 20/0 33/0 38/0 67/0 100/0

I’m UTG and chip leader by a small amount. I’ve got three Broadway cards and a suited ace and limp in. CO has three wheel cards, SB has some garbage to bring along, and BB checks. Everyone checks the flop. SB has the best chance for the high pot with the flush draw and middle pair, but I have top pair.

The turn gives me top two pair and ruins CO’s chance for a low (but makes top and bottom pair for him) SB has low and Broadway draws, BB’s got the best low draw, as well as a gut-shot straight draw. Everyone checks again.

The river counterfeits one of SB’s two low cards, leaving BB with the best low of 7653A. My two pair is still good for the high. I bet 20K and CO calls, maybe thinking his A3 is good or misreading the low. Both the blinds fold, so BB misses out on the low half of the pot and half the bounty. I take the whole thing. Player 6 is out in 6th place.

HAND 144 3000/6000 K4K
27 UTG 56AT 73.9K 18/36
39 CO 3T43 34.8K 20/34
7 D 5JQ6 43.4K 13/10
41 SB 9QQJ 67.9K 32/0 66/0 88/0
21 BB 4J7T 104.9K 26/2 34/42 12/0

SB limps in with single-suited queens, min-bets the flop, and takes the hand

HAND 145 3000/6000
27 BB K468 73.9K 22/11
39 UTG J395 34.8K 18/18
7 CO AA6Q 43.4K 29/35
41 D 76KQ 73.9K 16/2
21 SB J6TJ 98.9K 16/0

CO pots to 21K with single-suited aces and wins the pot.

HAND 146 3000/6000 33K 4 K
27 SB 8A25 67.9K 15/38 34/39 73/16 43/36 89/36 100
39 BB 84J6 34.8K 16/3 46/5 19/1 46/0
7 UTG K65A 52.4K 23/16
41 CO T96Q 73.9K 34/0
21 D 25A7 95.9K 16/39 30/40 14/16 22/36 21/36 0

I’m the first limper as D, with a suited ace, the nut low draw and four low cards. SB has almost the exact same hand, just one worse rank on the top end. He limps. BB checks with garbage. Everyone checks the flop but SB’s hand is far better with the flush draw. SB bets 9K on the turn, folding out BB, who has the best hand at the moment (which he can’t possibly expect). I make the call, violating one of the dictums of PLO8: never draw for half the pot. SB bets 18K on the river and I lay down. Holdem players may think that was a bad laydown, but this is Omaha, and SB had me beat witih AKK84 v my AKK74: two cards from the hand must play, and in this case what was a worse card for making lows would have made all the difference if I’d called.

HAND 147 3000/6000 8A3
27 D T7AT 88.9K 8/5
39 SB Q586 28.8K 21/10
7 BB 59JT 52.4K 21/0 32/0 18/0
41 UTG 962T 73.9K 20/18
21 CO A5QQ 80.9K 36/42 68/52 82/66

I limp in with my queens from CO and go heads-up with BB, who’s double-suited. BB check-folds the flop when I bet 15K.

HAND 148 3000/6000
27 CO 8992 88.9K 23/>0
39 D 924K 25.8K 12/24
7 SB 6JAQ 46.4K 33/12
41 BB 546T 73.9K 25/8
21 UTG 35J6 89.9K 12/20

SB attacks the BB with a raise to 18K and gets a fold.

HAND 149 3000/6000 33K 6 9
27 UTG 7TJ5 88.9K 21/1
39 CO A75Q 25.8K 30/16 66/17 7/13 0/14 0
7 D TAQ9 52.4K 30/0
41 SB 8272 67.9K 17/2
21 BB 432T 89.9K 16/39 34/39 93/14 100/29 100

CO pots to 21K with a double-suited hand and less than 5K behind. I min-raise to 36K from BB and he calls all-in. It’s speculative on my part, but if a low comes with an ace, my three-card straight has a good chance of catching. The paired flop is even better. Neither of us have a heart draw, he needs a backdoor something to survive. There’s a little hope for him on the turn for a low, but I scoop when the river comes and get the bounty for player 39, out in 5th place.

HAND 150 3000/6000 499 K A
27 BB 5Q2A 88.9K 25/35 58/44 49/27 16 100
7 UTG 4K83 52.4K 16/25
41 D 8Q86 64.9K 33/0
21 SB JKQ4 118.7K 29/0 42/0 51/0 84 0

I limp into the hand from SB and BB pops it up to 18K with the low draw. I call. Neither of us bet the flop or turn, and we check the river. I probably could have bet the turn when I was ahead, but I was leery of the nines.

HAND 151 3000/6000
27 SB 78A5 106.9K 32/32
7 BB 4K7T 52.4K 22/18
41 UTG JJ86 64.9K 33/>0
21 D K484 100.7K 15/4

SB opens to 12K and BB folds.

HAND 152 3000/6000
27 D 7863 112.9K 12/9
7 SB 6J83 46.4K 24/8
41 BB K7QA 64.9K 43/5
21 UTG 5439 100.7K 26/37

I raise from UTG to 21K and everyone folds.

HAND 153 3000/6000 KKA
27 UTG 58JQ 112.9K 37/3
7 D 8T3J 43.4K 17/6
41 SB 3593 58.9K 23/39 45/40 5/19
21 BB T62K 109.7K 29/15 55/15 95/6

SB limps into the hand. I check from BB, then bet 12K on the flop with trips to forstall any flush draws and get a fold.

HAND 154 3000/6000 9T8 3 4
27 BB 35Q7 112.9K 21/20
7 UTG 7478 43.4K 29/5 48/15 78/7 84/9 100/0
41 D 5A7K 52.9K 39/27 53/34 22/18 15/41 0/100
21 SB 938K 115.7K 16/0

UTG raises to 21K with a pair and some cards in the middle. D makes the call. About half of UTG’s stack is in. The rest of UTG’s stack goes in on the flop (I kind of wish I had my cards back) and D calls. They split the blinds and make a few chips each.

HAND 155 4000/8000
27 SB 6TT3 106.9K
7 BB 4589 47.9K
41 UTG K5J5 57.4K
21 D 765A 112.7K

Blinds are up again and only two of us are above 10BB. UTG folds, I pot from D to 28K with a suited ace, and the blinds fold.

HAND 156 4000/8000 KA3 K J
27 D 7234 102.9K 15/40 36/42 21/70 9/47 0
7 SB Q8J6 39.9K 29/0
41 BB 9A67 57.4K 30/11 64/14 79/1 91/0 100
21 UTG 94T5 124.7K 27/6

I fold UTG and D raises to 16K with a good low draw. I think if I was him I might have committed to the full pot (28K), as that would have forced either of the players in the blind to commit fully to the hand or fold. Instead, SB folds and BB just calls. The flop gives BB a flush draw, top pair, and a potential low, though he doesn’t know how good (or if) D has a low. D’s wrapped around the low cards with the possibility for a wheel. He makes the pot bet here for 36K, and BB runs with it, shoving to 41.4K. D has to make the call. D misses everything. BB doesn’t get his flush, but just the ace is good enough, and he scoops the pot.

HAND 157 4000/8000
27 UTG J854 45.5K 21/60
7 D T6KJ 35.9K 27/0
41 SB Q4T4 118.8K 24/0
21 BB 393T 124.7K 30/0

I get a walk in BB.

HAND 158 4000/8000 743 5 J
27 BB K7KQ 45.5K 36/0
7 UTG 8336 35.9K 26/29 58/29 100/2 100/0 100/0
41 D 6QT6 114.8K 18/0
21 SB 2AK8 128.7K 20/30 42/30 0/98 0/100 0/100

UTG makes a move with a pair of threes, potting to 28K, with less than 1BB back. I have a suited ace and the nut low draw and re-pot to 92K. UTG and I are HU to the flop after he puts in his last chips. I flop the low end of the wheel, but the five I need makes a higher straight for UTG, who’s made a set. That comes on the turn, I’ve got the wheel for the low and UTG takes the high with the straight to the seven.

HAND 159 4000/8000 T3Q A 7
27 SB 8J47 37.5K 25/6
7 BB KK3T 39.9K 45/0 64/0 88/0 69/0 100/0
41 UTG 4J29 114.8K 14/21
21 D A824 132.7K 23/55 36/58 12/29 31/50 0/100

I raise from D to 28K with a suited ace and nut low draw, BB goes all in with kings, and I call. BB makes two pair without the kings on the flop. The turn pairs my ace but gives him a flush draw reducing my chances of making a winning two pair or straight. The river is safe, and we chop the small blind.

HAND 160 4000/8000 47Q 6 6
27 D 2233 33.5K 27/26
7 SB K55A 41.9K 25/5 52/12 18/56 6/100 0/100
41 BB 7A94 114.8K 24/15 50/32 82/4 94/6 100/0
21 UTG 4Q2T 134.7K 24/5

Blind-on-blind action. SB raises to 24K with fives and a suited ace. BB re-raises to 72K with a suited ace and slightly better low draw. SB goes all-in to call. The four on the flop reverses the roles of the two players, double-pairing BB and giving SB a shot at the low. They split the pot.


VPIP at this stage of the tournament is skewed because the table is short-handed and you necessarily have to play more hands. I’m holding at 50% through these hands, making three more pre-flop raises. My overall PFR is up to 8%, after sticking at 0 for the first 75 hands. Six of my hands went to showdown in this group, and I won the high pots in five of them, losing only one. I took three hands without a showdown.

My showdown hands were the only hands that went to showdown (not surprising, considering the small number of players left; at least two of us need to be in it for a showdown). There were lows on four of the showdowns. Again, the predominant factor in winning hands was a suited ace (7 in high hands, 4 in low hands). That doesn’t mean they won because of the suited ace, but hands where the player got involved and won had the suited ace. It could mean they decided to play the hand, call a bet, whatever.

Five hands had high pairs. Nine of the winning high hands had three or more low-qualified cards (including an ace).

I was planning to publish the next (and final) batch of hands Sunday, but I’m going to hold off until Monday. Duty calls!

My Time is Coming: Week 16 or My Time Is On Hiatus

Another unimpressive week of (mostly) tournament poker. This is my last regular update for a while. It’s not that I’m going to take a break from writing, I’m just going to be doing so much writing, I’m not sure how much I’ll be writing here, and my poker playing is going to be limited a bit over the next couple of months as I prepare and then head down to Las Vegas to cover the World Series of Poker as a live reporter for the WSOP. I wasn’t expecting that to happen when I started these collations (which I think are mostly read by me, anyway); hopefully anyone who misses them will find solace in the stuff I report from Vegas. If you’re going to be in the Rio between Memorial Day and mid-July, drop me an email at pokermutant at mutantpoker.com or @pokermutant on Twitter.

Bovada $5K NLHE Turbo

Hate-regged a tournament after busting out of the Final Table $20K. Deep stacks with 50BB when I got into it. Raised to 600 from 200 UTG with [jh 8h] and got 3 calls. [8c 4c 3s] on the flop, I checked, UTG1 bet 2.7K and got called by HJ and D. I shove to 9.7K, UTG1 goes all in for 6.7K, HJ is all in and D calls. I make two pair by the river, but UTG1 has a set of queens on the turn. I get a small side pot and go out in the next hand.

Fifteen minutes. 10 hands. 324th of 398 entries.

Bovada $500  PLO8 Turbo

When I play turbo, I play turbo! First hand I’m CO and pick up [kh 9h 5c kc]. I limp after UTG, D goes all in for 610. BB pots to 2.3K. UTG is all in for 2K. I don’t really think I should fold here, so I’m in for 3K. BB puts a last 170 in. I’m the only one of the four players with below-average equity. Yay! The board runs our [6h 2c td qs 4d]. I pick up a little equity by the turn, but end up with just the kings. UTG’s queens and fours take the high main and secondary pots, BB makes the best low on all pots with 7642A. I get a <2BB high second side pot and go out on the next hand. I’m not always this bad at Omaha (see below).

Two minutes. 2 hands. 33rd of 44 entries.

Bovada $1K NLHE 6-Max Turbo

Got up to four times the starting stack in the first forty hands, then this. The table was five-handed, I was on the button with 17K (34BB) and [tc ad]. I raised to 1.5K, SB called with [8c 9c] and BB shoves 12K. I read it as a squeeze and re-raise all in (SB has more than twice my stack). BB turns over [8s 6h], the flop is [kd 5h 7d]. You can probably guess the rest. [kh] on the turn to make it seem like maybe I’d escaped getting sucked on, then [9s] for the coup de grace. I’m down to less than 10BB and out four hands later.

Thirty-eight minutes. 60 hands. 36th of 75 entries.

Bovada 0.02/0.05 NLHE Zone 6-Max

Two big hands. The first is [jc qd] in BB. D raises to 2BB after three folds. SB re-raises to 6BB, and I 4-bet to 13BB. D folds, SB makes the call. The flop is [5h 7h 6c] and SB check calls my 41BB all-in with [kd ah]. [jh] on the turn puts it away for me.

Second was in SB with [8s 9h]. Three folds, D calls, I make an out-of-position raise to 3BB and get called by BB and D. The flop hits me hard with [8h tc js]. I check-call a 3BB bet from D, BB folds [kc 8d]. The [qc] on the turn makes my straight. D has about 50BB left and bets 4BB. The pot has 20BB in it and I raise to 25BB. D makes the call. [ts] on the river and I put 50BB in, more than D has left. He calls with [jd 5h].

Thirteen minutes. 34 hands. +120BB.

Final Table $1K NLHE

I’m up a little bit and open to 500 with [as 6s]. Jack, one of the regs, re-raises to 1.5K and I make the call. [6h 6c 4s] on the flop. I bet, jack looks at me and shoves all in, and I call. He has [qx qx] and binks the queen on the turn.

Thirty minutes. 14th of 14 entries.

Bovada $500 PLO8 Hundredaire

I double up on hand 4 with [kc 9c th ah] as UTG1. I limp, then go to the flop three-ways after a raise to 160 from D. I’m wrapped around the [qd js 6c] flop, and check-call a bet of 280. The [ts] on the turn makes my straight, D bets 550 and I raise to 2K. D is all in for another 225 and I make the call. He has the flush draw but not much else, and the river [3c] knocks him out.

By hand 21, I’ve been up to 7.5K then slipped down to 5K. With [kh jc 5s ks] as UTG2, I follow another limper, then get into a four-way pot for 2K total after a raise from SB. I end up in pretty much the same situation as D in the hand before, with a nut flush draw against a straight. I’m out not long after.

Fifty minutes. 31 hands. 32nd of 42 entries.

PDX Poker Club $2K NLHE

Took an irregular shot at a noon tournament (they tend to run too late for my schedule). Got as high as 130K at a point when that was more than two times the chip average, then lost 40K on a hand with tens against aces. In a SB v BB battle, I raised [qx 9x] and make top pair on the turn, didn’t bet it, and let [kx tx] get there on the river and take me for another 25K. Then I shoved [qx tx] into [ax ax] when I had less than 10BB while we were still at two tables.

Four hours and five minutes. 13th of 34 entries.

PDX Poker Club $8K NLHE

Got in late because I was called into work unexpectedly. Took a couple hits, then shoved 11BB over a mid-position raise with [qx qx] in the BB. Got called by [ax 8x] and he hit the ace on the turn.

One hour and fifteen minutes. 79th of 124 entries.

Bovada 0.02/0.05 PLO8 6-Max

The first bonanza came on hand 8. I bought in for the 100BB max and was already up 16BB. In SB with [8c 4d kd kc] I limped in with UTG and HJ. I hit middle set with the nut flush draw on the [jc ac kh] flop and potted to 5BB. UTG and HJ called. [js] on the turn and the only things I’m worrying about are [jd jh] and a pair of aces. Not even a chance for a split pot. I pop to 20BB and UTG goes to 40BB. HJ is all in to call for 38BB. I have both players covered and pot to 110BB, HJ calls for his remaining 42BB. The river is [qs]. UTG has [jd as 2h 9d] for a full house but not one as good as mine. HJ has the straight with [qh 8s td 7c].

Bonanza 2 took a little longer. Hand 23 we’re five-handed and I get [ts 7c qh td] on the button. UTG and I limp. SB has been a regular pre-flop raiser and puts in 5BB, which UTG and I both call. Once again, I make middle set on a [4c tc qd] flop, this time with top pair, as well. SB pots to 16BB, UTG folds, I re-pot to 64BB, SB is all-in for a total of 122BB, and I call. He has bottom set with [ac 4h 2c 4s], as well as the club flush draw and a backdoor low. The turn crushes him, though, as I get [th] for quads. There’s an irrelevant [7d] on the river.

Bonanza 3 on hand 30. In CO six-handed with [7d ac ad 7h]. HJ raises to 3BB and I pot to 10BB. D calls, SB calls, HJ calls. 55BB in the pot pre-flop. I have everyone covered by 200BB, so even if everything goes wrong with this hand, I’m in good shape. The flop isn’t auspicious: [tc 3c 5d]. The best that can be said for it is that I have [ac]. SB and HJ check, I go with my over pair and bet 40BB. D is all-in for 38BB. SB goes all in for 125BB. I make the call. SB turns over [6s 8c 2s 4c] for the club draw and tons of straight draws. D has [2h td 4d 2d] for one of the straight draws. Pre-flop against the other two hands, I have 50% equity. Post-flop, I’m down to 27%. The turn is [kh] and the river is [js], and somehow my pair of aces holds, to scoop a pot of more than 175BB.

Forty-six minutes. 43 hands. +425BB.


Wild Kingdom: Hands 121—140

Bovada $500 PLO8 Bounty

Three hours into an online 65-entry PLO8 Bounty tournament and we’re down to twelve players, with three spots to go before the first payout. I’ve been at or under 10BB for the past 20 hands as player 21. Let’s get to the action!

HAND 121 1250/2500 26Q 9 4
65 D TTJ9 24.4K 9/0
16 SB KA35 8.9K 23/37 61/43 35/85 13/63 100/100
6 BB J2TJ 28.6K 17/0
7 UTG AT64 34.2K 27/15
28 HJ 797Q 13.5K 15/0
21 CO 3276 16.2K 17/22 39/30 65/2 87/0 0/0

Disaster strikes! I limp in with the third nut low draw. SB has a suited ace and three low cards, and pots to 8.8K, with only 120 chips behind. I re-pot and he goes all-in to call. I lose my best low card but make two pair on the flop to pull ahead for the high, and I’m still good on the turn, but the river gives SB both a straight and the low, and I double him up, leaving me with less than 2.5BB on the next hand with the blinds going up.

HAND 122 1500/3000 2AJ T 6
65 CO 46TA 24.4K 29/24 53/32 39/52 88/42 100/0
16 D T27J 20.3K 11/7
6 SB 79KJ 26.1K 15/0
7 BB 384K 34.2K 9/17
28 UTG QK29 13.5K 19/0
21 HJ QA38 7.3K 23/31 47/41 61/33 12/21 0/100

I’m in dire straits. I have so few chips that I can go all-in without making a pot-sized raise, and I do that as second-to-act. CO calls. Target on my back, bounty on my head. I’m double-suited with an ace and the second nut low draw, and just barely ahead for overall equity. My ace is better than CO’s, but he has a better low. The turn is grim, as it gives CO two pair for the high, as well as the better low draw, but I get lucky on the river, which invalidates his low, and we split the blinds.

HAND 123 1500/3000 85J 4 K
65 HJ 73Q6 26.6K 10/0
16 CO 2JQT 20.3K 32/0
6 D 437A 24.6K 15/27 56/28 29/44 13/87 0/100
7 SB Q96A 31.2K 24/2
28 BB 792J 13.5K 14/0
21 UTG 2356 9.6K 12/22 44/24 71/16 87/13 100/0

I’ve got four low cards, a five-rank run-down, and on the next hand I’m going to lose a third of my stack as BB. I shove UTG, D calls with a suited ace and four low cards. I get lucky and pair my five on the flop; we chop up the blinds on the river. Not everyday you win chips in PLO8 with just a pair of fives.

HAND 124 1500/3000 A9K 5 8
16 UTG T4T5 20.3K 16/11
6 CO 336A 26.9K 14/34 43/49 40/16 25/40 0/100
7 D JAQ4 29.7K 28/12
28 SB 576J 10.5K 18/3
21 BB 98K7 11.8K 25/>0 67/6 60/9 75/14 100/0

Player 65 is moved to the other table. CO min-raises to 6K with the low draw and suited ace, and when it gets to me in BB, I shove. He calls.He catches the diamond draw on the flop, but I make two pair, and he needs running cards for a low. I get lucky and my pairs hold up. He gets lucky and makes the low on the river for a split.

HAND 125 1500/3000 834 J K
16 BB 66J7 20.3K 26/1 41/2 36/5
6 UTG J83A 27.6K 21/28 30/30 25/20 34/20 89/7 0/0
7 CO 2T3Q 29.7K 32/6
28 D A4K7 9.0K 17/20 25/22 4/95 7/100 0/100 0/100
21 SB 4KA8 12.6K 15/14 23/15 44/20 75/20 11/7 100/0

Going for three in a row. Then again, we are at just five players on the table, so the blinds are coming around fast. UTG limps in, D calls, and I put in the extra 1.5K from SB. BB checks. I make two pair on the flop to move me up from the bottom of the equity ladder. UTG bets 6K, D is all-in for just about that much, and I have the option to fold with 9.6K behind, call with 3.6K behind, or shove and hope top two is best. I shove, BB folds, and UTG calls the 3.6K. We’ve got two all-in players and a pot of 37.1K. On the turn—well, I did get it in with the best hand at the time—a jack makes a better two pair for UTG, and I have 7% overall equity in the hand: UTG has the spade flush draw, as well. I get a massive save on the river with the king, and we short stacks split the main pot, with me getting a sizable (7.2K) side pot all to myself because neither UTG or I have a low.

HAND 126 1500/3000
16 SB 2877 17.3K 14/5
6 BB KJ5K 15.0K 32/0
7 UTG 992K 29.7K 20/0
28 CO 4J83 15.0K 14/8
21 D 6642 22.2K 21/45

My stack has gone from 2.5BB to 7BB in just four hands. Not exactly a spot where I can get complacent, but I can take a breather, even though this hand has 35% equity in this spot, better than even BB’s kings, overall (and mostly because of the low straight draw. BB doesn’t get to do anything with the kings, he gets a walk.

HAND 127 1500/3000
16 D 37T9 15.8K 34/6
6 SB 4K53 16.5K 22/48
7 BB AAAA 29.7K 6/0
28 UTG QK5J 15.0K 22/0
21 CO 8QJ6 22.2K 24/6

What a time to get dealt quad aces, eh? It doesn’t mean a thing in Omaha, so there’s not much BB can do when SB pots to 9K as an open with a suited king and three low cards. There’s no single card that can come that can improve his hand; he can’t make a set, a straight, or a flush. He folds.

HAND 128 1500/3000 745
16 CO 239K 15.8K 12/16
6 D K8J4 19.5K 19/1
7 SB 8T3A 26.7K 34/38 41/45 95/100
28 BB 889J 15.0K 12/0 24/0 1/0
21 UTG 73QA 22.2K 29/43 38/51 4/100

I limp my suited ace and SB comes along. SB leads out on the flop with the flush and second nut low. BB folds. I’ve got a low, but since I could be beat there and I don’t have much of anything for the high (I could get a backdoor full house or quads, I suppose), I fold.

HAND 129 1500/3000 K2A 8 J
16 UTG 859T 15.8K 23/0
6 CO T5Q2 19.5K 15/23
7 D 967K 32.7K 18/5
28 SB 3QJ7 12.0K 26/14 49/24 47/51 29/89 0/100
21 BB A48K 19.2K 21/26 51/41 53/26 71/11 100/0

SB limps into my BB. He bets 6K on the flop with the flush draw, I have top two pair and shove. SB only has 3K behind and makes the call. The cards run out to the river and he takes the low. My two pair stays good. Since there was nobody else in the pot and there aren’t any antes, the split doesn’t make a difference to either of our stacks.

HAND 130 2000/4000 428 Q K
17 BB TQK2 10.3K 20/0 45/0 46/0 69/0 100/0
27 UTG TA67 68.9K 18/27
16 UTG1 Q6AT 15.8K 5/27
6 UTG2 2J75 19.5K 16/6
39 HJ AJ49 54.0K 13/33 31/45 16/67 6/44 0/0
7 CO 8639 32.7K 13/0
28 D JA98 12.0K 17/0 31/21 40/55 31/44 0/0
21 SB 436Q 19.2K 10/0

We’re at final now with just eight players. The biggest stack is between the button and the SB (me!). HJ—one of the big stacks—makes the call with a suited ace, then D shoves for 12K double-suited with an ace. BB has even less and makes sort of a desperation shove with 1BB in and just 1.5BB behind. HJ makes the call, he’ll still be in 2nd chip position if he loses. The lows of both HJ and D are counterfeit on the flop, nobody has a club flush draw, D’s behind in the chance of having the best high hand on the river, but he does for the moment. On the turn, BB has the best high hand and D picks up the best draw, for the heart flush. The river prevents anyone from getting a low, BB takes a 33K main pot with queens, and D gets 3.2K for the side pot high, with eights.

HAND 131 2000/4000 J93 3 K
17 SB 9726 33.0K 7/3 11/11 3/6
27 BB 5452 68.9K 15/37 27/41 19/27
16 UTG JA73 15.8K 7/15
6 UTG1 678T 19.5K 20/0
39 UTG2 QQ4K 42.0K 10/0
7 UTG3 AKQK 32.7K 18/0 30/0 26/0
28 HJ J953 3.2K 9/11 15/17 28/0 63/0 92 100
41 CO 88TT 92.7K 8/0 19/0 24/0 37/0 8 0
21 D 8J46 17.2K 18/5

UTG3 has kings and a suited ace and limps in. HJ has garbege and goes all-in for less. CO and SB limp. BB checks, and there’s a bounty in the offing. The stack at risk hits three pairs on the flop: any pairing of the board will make a full house and likely be the winning hand. Nobody has the club flush draw, UTG3 and CO have straight draws. CO bets 19.2K on the flop after a check from UTG3. Everyone but the all-in player folds. The turn makes HJ’s full house, though CO still has an out (only the [tc] remains) for a better full house. HJ takes the main pot after the river, and CO gets a side pot of 3K.

HAND 132 2000/4000 55K J T
17 D 7688 29.0K 2/0
27 SB K73A 64.9K 47/14 78/37 82/15 92 100
16 BB 2JT3 15.8K 10/13
6 UTG JA69 19.5K 5/9
39 UTG1 J4Q6 42.0K 8/14
7 UTG2 48Q7 28.7K 9/0
28 UTG3 9293 16.2K 2/13 23/17 18/5 8 0
41 HJ 9Q8T 91.7K 9/0
21 CO T456 17.2K 19/28

UTG3 has a pair of nines and 23 for a low draw. He pots to 14K—almost his entire stack—and SB calls with a sllightly better low, suited ace, and suited king. And a lot more chips. SB bets the flop with two pair and an ace kicker, and UTG3 puts his last 2.2K in, if the board hadn’t paired, he might have won with two pair, but the fives on the flop work for SB and he takes out player 28 in 9th place: the first of the players to cash.

HAND 133 2000/4000
17 CO J26T 29.0K 10/9
27 D 2A78 85.1K 6/44
16 SB T847 11.8K 23/2
6 BB 3JJQ 19.5K 15/0
39 UTG QKK6 42.0K 27/0
7 UTG1 968A 28.7K 12/15
41 UTG2 8A9Q 91.7K 6/>0
21 HJ J529 17.2K 11/12

Action folds to D, who raises this pot and takes the blinds after knocking out player 28.

HAND 134 2000/4000 882 6 6
17 HJ 94JT 29.0K 20/0
27 CO AQ4J 91.1K 19/0 38/0 0/0 0/0 0/0
16 D K58T 9.8K 18/0
6 SB 3TJ5 15.5K 14/5
39 BB 22A8 42.0K 20/33 37/33 100/0 100/0 100/0
7 UTG QK93 28.7K 7/0
41 UTG1 3KQ5 91.7K 4/5
21 UTG2 A372 17.2K 12/68 25/71 0/89 0/100 0/100

I have the three lowest cards and open to 14K from UTG2. CO is in, and BB calls. Both have me well covered. BB flops the nuts (he’s got deuces over eights, but also eights over deuces). I’ve got the best low draw. I go all-in for my last 3.2K, CO raises to 53.5K, drawing dead on his flush, and BB is all-in for 28K. Everyone gets chips from the pot, but CO’s about 20K lighter after winning the low side pot. BB gets the high pots for both main and side, and I take the low main. Mmmmm, lo mein.

HAND 135 2000/4000 TA4 6 Q
17 UTG2 6582 29.0K 14/9
27 HJ 3JJT 73.9K 19/0
16 CO KKT4 9.8K 12/0
6 D 5A2K 13.5K 11/40 38/60 73/74 81/100 0/100
39 SB 728Q 51.6K 16/0
7 BB QT42 28.7K 6/28
41 UTG 3864 91.7K 12/0
21 UTG1 9Q9A 26.8K 20/0 62/0 27/0 19/0 100/0

I limp in with a pair and a suited ace. D shoves for 13.5K with another suited ace and a good low draw. I’m the only caller. It looks at first like I might be scooped, with D’s king kicker for the ace and his low coming through on the turn, but the river queen saves my bacon and we chop the blinds.

HAND 136 2000/4000 A5Q 4 7
17 UTG1 98QJ 29.0K 12/0 57/0 57/0 0/0 0/0
27 UTG2 9A6K 73.9K 17/3
16 HJ KQ82 9.8K 5/0
6 CO 82T6 16.5K 7/2
39 D 65J7 49.6K 18/0
7 SB 35J2 24.7K 4/30 43/48 43/60 100/100 100/100
41 BB 8A45 91.7K 27/22
21 UTG 34TQ 29.8K 12/4

UTG1 min-raises with a badugied rundown and SB calls with three wheel cards. Pre-flop, SB has a slight edge in equity because of the low draw, which increases slightly on the flop. SB shoves with bottom pair and a number of two pair outs, as well as a wheel draw on top of the low draw. UTG1 makes the call for 16.7K—most of his chips—with no low and just second pair (and an ace on the flop). It seems insane to me. The four comes on the turn, locking up a scoop for SB.

HAND 137 2500/5000 582 3 7
17 UTG 8273 4.3K 12/0 16/1 33/0 33/0 44/0 0/0
27 UTG1 5J59 73.9K 17/0
16 UTG2 Q7KA 9.8K 13/7 21/23 7/15 7/15 0/69 0/100
6 HJ 47AK 16.5K 13/34
39 CO JTQT 49.6K 8/0 12/0 10/0
7 D JJA4 53.4K 4/28
41 SB TTA3 87.7K 10/44 13/49 16/86 16/86 6/37 0/100
21 BB 6289 29.8K 32/5 42/9 54/0 59/0 56/0 100/0

The loser of the last hand is now UTG with less than a big blind. He shoves 4.3K, putting his bounty up for grabs (in his favor, he does have four low-qualified cards). UTG2 goes all-in for 9.8K, with a suited ace and three Broadway cards. CO calls with a number of the cards UTG2 needs to complete his Broadway and a pair of tens. SB has the other tens and a low draw and makes the call. Over 35K in the pot and I’ve already got more in the pot than I need to call, even with garbage? Why not?

SB bets 43.4K on the flop with the best made low. I decide my top and bottom pair and high pot draws are good enough and make the call. CO is the only other player not already all-in and he’d have to call off his stack on the hope of making something high, so he folds.

The turn counterfeits SB’s low and my two pair (which I was splitting with UTG in the main pot). That’s more of a significant issue for SB, since I’m still ahead for the high in the two side pots.

The seven on the river counterfeits one of UTG2’s low cards, meaning he’s sharing the same 7532A low with SB for the pots they’re involved in. It also makes my nine-high straight.

SB and I just get our money back from side pot number 2. Side pot 1 was the two of us and UTG2; I get the high and they quarter the low. The same goes for the main pot, which included just enough from UTG to keep them from losing chips because of the quarter. The bounty, unfortunately, isn’t awarded proportionally to who got UTG’s chips, it just gets split evenly between the three of us. Player 17 is out in 8th place.

HAND 138 2500/5000
27 BB 4Q96 73.9K 13/11
16 UTG Q6AJ 10.8K 12/15
6 UTG1 2852 16.5K 11/15
39 HJ J332 39.8K 20/30
7 CO 6T9Q 53.4K 9/0
41 D J978 88.8K 24/>0
21 SB 4T4K 41.7K 14/0

Yet another posty-bloodletting lull. BB gets a walk.

HAND 139 2500/5000 64J J A
27 SB 55J7 76.4K 20/0
16 BB 3T4K 10.8K 20/6 51/12 48/1 5/0 0/0
6 UTG 9839 16.5K 9/0
39 UTG1 4A86 39.8K 13/12
7 HJ 9Q27 53.4K 12/2
41 CO A27A 88.8K 12/15 49/28 52/56 95/35 100/100
21 D 7Q35 39.2K 19/9

Well, now that’s over, time to get back to carnage. UTG1 limps in with four low-qualified cards, CO has the nut low draw, a suited ace, and aces, and pots to 22.5K. BB calls all-in with a couple low cards and a king suited in hearts, just like CO’s ace. UTG1 folds his limp. Oddly enough, BB’s slightly ahead for the high pot pre-flop. He somehow manages to stay in contention on the flop, then gets dealt a blow on the turn, only to lose it all on the river as CO makes a full house for the high. Player 16 is eliminated in 7th place and player 41 takes the bounty.

HAND 140 2500/5000
27 D J977 73.9K 18/0
6 BB 87Q6 16.5K 13/5
39 UTG 9265 34.8K 8/33
7 UTG1 9T33 53.4K 26/0
41 HJ KK2A 107.1K 35/23
21 CO 286Q 39.2K 7/14

HJ raises to 15K with the kings and suited A2 to take the blinds.


By necessity, I get a bit more active in this group of hands, putting money into 10 of them (maintaining a 50% VPIP over 140 hands). Getting short-stacked after Hand 121, put me in the position of making three pre-flop raises in a row, nearly as many as I’d made in the previous 120 hands. I went to showdown nine times, profiting in all but the first (Hand 121, again). None of my profitable showdowns were scoops; I won the high hand in seven of eight and the low in one. I picked up a third of a bounty in Hand 137, though I got half the pot in which the player was knocked out. Even though I managed to pull off a recovery after the first hand of the group, I’m in the bottom three of the six players left in the tournament, and still down around 8BB.

Fourteen of twenty hands went to showdown in this group. That’s 25% of the showdowns at my table for the entire tournament, in just 14% of the hands. Ten of the showdowns resulted in low pots, a third of the low pots awarded (on this table) so far.

Fourteen of the hands that won either high or low pots had suited aces. In a sort of odd reversal, thirteen of the winning high hands had three or more low-qualified cards, including ten of the hands that won the high at showdown.