Written Jan 2020, Published Feb 2021
This will be the last post in the 10k on the Table section for the short-term future. The intent of this blog was to document games 300/600 or higher, but I no longer live in LA and the highest game that runs in Las Vegas, that isn't in Bobby's Room, is 200/400 with the occasional bump to 300/600. Coupled with the smaller stakes is a significantly smaller bankroll, and while I may eventually resign to documenting 200/400 plus, I’m waiting for some life events to resolve themselves before I increase my exposure again.
I will almost definitely document the happenings of my life and financial situation in the other blog attached to this site, so for the time being I would look there for updates if you’re interested in following along ( thank you btw ). I would also advocate going back and reading the previous 7 entries on this page if you have time as it’s light reading, helps the flow of the story, and gives a good picture of what its like to attempt grinding the more exclusive games at an infamous venue like The Commerce.
Written Jan 2020, Published Feb 2021
I more or less ghosted The Commerce after my last unpleasant experience. I felt saddened by the thought of walking through those doors and settling in for another night of miserable players, apathetic staff, the hackneyed redundant foreplay of disingenuous hustlers, preferential treatment, acquiescing to nonsense, and losing to faces I dislike ( there are people in the game I’m very fond of fwiw ).
I would pop in infrequently over the course of the next 60 days - less than 10 times total before I couldn’t stomach Los Angeles any longer. Six of those sessions made the qualifying stakes cut:
2 25/50/100 PLO sessions: +$7,860, +$1,850
2 400/800 Mix: +$550, +$2,100
2 800/1600 Mix: -$24,600, -$42,100
Stats broken down by stakes is going to look pretty funny. I haven’t actually seen all the numbers and will for the first time as I write them out, but I know I did alright in 400/800 and got incinerated playing higher.
There are a few things that are fun to note prior to observing these results. The first being that the 4/8 and 8/1600 are the same players with the addition of one catalyst. The game becomes 8 handed which should play tighter, but the “VIP” is in every pot, and isn’t guaranteed to stay longer than a few hours, so most hands wind up with 4 or more players involved trying to capitalize on their opportunities. I tried picking my spots, but the variance increases drastically with so many players fighting for each pot regardless.
Secondly, I was way worse at all of the draw games outside of Badugi, relative to the field, and compared to now. I wonder how that would’ve changed things going back to the 2014 PPC where I felt outclassed by a mile in 2-7 vs guys like John Hennigan ( who beat me heads up ), and Jesse Martin ( who took third ).
Lastly, my biggest loss was in Super Stud 8, which is actually a game I feel quite strong in. What a drag.
So here we go. Overall Sessions:
25/50/100 PLO: +7,860, +1,850 = +9,710
400/800 Mix: +3,775, +4,040, -4,900, +20,450, +1,675, +17,100 ( 3 handed mix ), -23,500 ( heads up ss8/badeucey ), +550, +2,100 = +21,290 Worse than I thought tbh
500/1000 Mix: -19,100
800/1600 Mix: -10,900, -44,300 ( SS8 ), -23,500, -6,500, -24,600, -42,100 = -151,900 !!!
Overall Result -$140,000
Thanks again for taking the time to read about this experience! I’ll look forward to updating the journal one day with stories of retribution before they piss me off for good. Glgl!
Feb 17th, 2017
It sucks I took so long to update this thread, especially as it would've been great to keep the momentum of the mood coming into this post. I had hoped I could just post daily totals for some of these sessions on my busier days, but it turns out I like going into some detail, so when I got a little behind, sadly the blog sat idle. Hopefully I can find a compromise over time.
For the sake of reestablishing the appropriate headspace, to this point we are jumping through hoops to get in a game where the main attraction only plays an hour or two every night, most of the players, whether they're friends of mine or not, are miserable to sit with. There is relentless walking on difficult line-ups or select games. I've nearly gotten into two separate fights ( something I've omitted ) which is far from normal of me, and I've managed to win a grand total of one hand at showdown playing 800/1600 where I was all in on 5th street.
So why am I even playing in this fucking game? I guess because I like to compete? The adrenaline rush that comes with playing higher stakes? I probably would've sat if I were up against 6 John Monette's so long as I had headphones with me; at least I would feel confident that the game is on the level.
So it's Friday, two days from my last post. By now I've given up on the idea of getting in the early game, and have decided to just show up around 4pm or so and hope for the best. If nothing else I'll play PLO or smaller mixed, and not sweat the hustle of getting a seat in the big game. I play one hand of 25/50 PLO before I'm called over for the 800/1600 mix. Vladimir Schemelev has reached his daily quota of calling everybody at the table a pederast and a few spots have opened up.
In spite of all the bullshit, I'm feeling relaxed, and am prepared to settle in for a long night. I win my second hand at showdown ever playing 800/1600, 2 hours into my session, where I find myself already down $29,000 and all in on 3rd street playing Stud Hi-Low No Qualifier, but can't manage to spin it up from there. Reload.
This section previously contained an unfortunate experience with a player that prompted my hiatus from the LA scene. It was a person I have a deep respect for as a player, but life is a very complex problem. Our paths crossed during one of those difficult stretches, and it wasn't good. Nothing too crazy; just a really bad day on top of an already impossible week.
Last year he and I set some time aside between play to resolve our issues. I think it's especially important to cultivate healthy relationships as best as you can with the people you work alongside, and a nice bonus when you're able to speak well of said people off of the job. This career path is inherently selfish, predatory, depressing, and unkind. Adding to that aesthetic is no way to live life. It felt nice to mend fences, and redacting the details of our encounter feels like a healthy step forward. The following paragraph isn't a reflection of this person, but how I've felt about my time in LA's finest since forever, so that bitch's memoriam stays. /update
The Commerce is the circle of apathy: Many of the players are miserable, entitled, assholes who don't feel bad about taking their sad frustrations out on undertrained, poorly treated dealers that don't care enough about the asshole players to get better at their job, so the whole operation is designed to fail. I've hated nearly every minute I've spent there.
I finished down $6,500 on the session.
Feb 15th, 2017
After a day off from the worst loss of my career, I was looking forward to redemption, but when I got to the Commerce nobody was around to play. Some time passed and a few guys were interested in starting 3 handed and seeing what might come from it.
I intend on preserving the anonymity of the players of these games out of respect to them, but quite frankly only a handful of them deserve it if I'm being honest, and it's not like I'm reaping the great rewards of good etiquette, but still I will try to honor the intent unless I know it doesn't matter, or they deserve the call out ( next post ).
In any case we started 400/800 with one of the few people in this game I feel close with, who happens to be a very strong player, along with a kid I'll call 'Smug Mango' ( he's fucking smug and eats a lot of mango ). An hour or so went by, I played alright, and ran good booking a $17,100 win before SM wandered off silently with no plan to return. My friend and I sat and talked, waiting to see if SM was coming back - it was his request to start the game - but not to be.
At this point my girlfriend took a cab over to surprise me, and my friend decided to head back to his room. I was still planning on hanging around in case 800/1600 started, but my girl and I were hungry, and I figured I'd drive her home so she could have the car for the rest of the day. I inform the floor-person of what I'm doing and ask that I be contacted if the big game begins to form. He assures me it won't be a problem.
Naturally I'm tragic, and what winds up happening is we begin driving home when my gf mentions that she's thinking about just staying at Commerce with me, and getting some work done on her laptop. I suggest we head back now and eat at the casino restaurant, but she wants to let the dogs out, which is obviously reasonable. I know in my gut that I'm being an idiot for leaving the casino, and sure enough, 90 minutes later I'm locked out of the 800/1600 game with no heads up or warning; I totally deserve this.
I play some 25/50 PLO in the meantime, and do fine ( PLO results under 50/100 not included in these posts ) when old FTP Pro shows up and suggests starting a HU 400/800 Super Stud 8/Badeucey mix which sounds great! I treaded water in SS8, but I'm on a huge 'impossible to make a Badugi in Badeucey' dry spell, and my opponent is having a field day with 9/9s.
I'm stuck $23,500 after a few hours, but still pretty happy with my spot, although FTP pro's play has slowed down considerably, and he's asking me the mundane questions people ask you when they think you're a fish: "So where are you from? Do you like skiing?"
At this point the catalyst for the 800/1600 game has left and some of the guys join our table asking if we want to start a new 800/1600 mix. We oblige although I'm $28,500 away from running through the money I have on hand so I'm not working with many bets. I lose a Badugi hand with a dealt 8 perfect, get called by Ace high in Stud 8 correctly, and I'm out the door.
I obviously hadn't intended on taking so long to update this, but the next entry will explain my absence, and while it involves poker, it has nothing to do with the results. I'll be catching up quickly friends; thanks for hanging in there. <3 <3
Feb 13th, 2017
You know those films that start with the ending, then they go through the story until you get back to the opening scene, only to find out that the opening scene wasn't actually the ending, and that there's plenty more weird shit to follow?
I showed up at The Commerce around 3 in the afternoon to find the morning game hadn't run, and a 800/1600 Super Stud8 game had been underway from the previous night until about 9am. I joined a 150/300 must move for a few orbits until a 400/800 started up with a friendly and very gamble-y guy I've seen play in the big Las Vegas mixes.
At the same time a 1k/2k PLO/2-7 TD mix was kicking up, and it wasn't 20 minutes before our Las Vegas friend opted out of our game in favor of that one. Typical of the Commerce scene, suddenly the game was threatening to break, but a few other characters said they would fill in the gaps if we changed the mix some and kicked up the limits.The table obliges and I record a +$1,675 win in the 4/8.
Our 2 hours a night fly-by 'VIP' was due to show up, and it was understood that the game would be bumped to 800/1600 when he arrived - Very exciting! In both the 500/1000 and 800/1600 I once again underperformed, but ran horrendously acting as everybody's second best hand minus a couple of Badugi pots. Coolers aside, 7th street was notoriously brutal, as I watched multiple three way hands I was designed to scoop go the other way at the last minute. Obviously part of the experience, but I was aching to collect a massive pot stuffed with $500 lavender chips.
I finished down $19,100 before we jumped to 800/1600, and lost an additional $10,900 when 2 hour fly-by quit the game. Players began racking up their chips ( I did not need a rack =) ) when the Super Stud 8 squad appeared thirsty for action. This is great!
I scooped one single pot for the full 3 hours, where all of my money went in by 5th street. Absolute torture, and I didn't feel like there was much I could've done differently. Add an additional $44,300 to our aforementioned losses, and I've nearly doubled my worst losing day ever.
That's it, the twist is that there is no twist, and the opening scene of the ending scene is all I can give you for Sunday's session. Valentine's Day Eve, you just made the list motherfucker.
Feb 10th, 2017
The plan for Friday was to to try to find the sweet spot where I wouldn't have to make three trips to and from the casino to get on the list, get into the game, and also fade paying for a hotel, but I've been so behind in sleep that I skipped the morning shift and showed up later in the afternoon when I thought a seat would free up.
I got in no problem, and managed to dig myself a nice hole out of the gate. It took me a good 30 minutes to settle in and quit butchering spots. I'd guess that I found a problem with 5 of the first 8 hands that I played, again not giving myself enough time to think, or leveling myself with my own unnecessary false tells.
Eventually I settled in and played a solid B game for the majority of the night. A 800/1600 HOREBT game opened up that often times looked better than our 400/800, but if one of us left it would break the table and screw over the other players, so we coasted on our gentleman's agreement.
Really I can't think of the last time I thought I played a great complete day of mixed outside of one 75/150 in early 2016, and a 40/80 session 3 years earlier. I'm pretty critical of myself, but it's definitely an accurate statement, and I wonder if some of the guys I respect feel this way when there are 10+ games alternating. I'm not saying a perfect game, but a perfect game to the best of my abilities. I imagine most entries could be me kicking myself for a handful of fuck ups, so let's just note that this supposition is implied moving forward.
We were 4 handed around 7am when I felt myself really getting tired, and came to the conclusion that shorthanded fuck ups would make me hate life, so I booked a win. Never feel bad about booking a win, fam. People who call people fam probably book wins all the time. Disgusting.
Feb 6th, 2017
When I returned to the casino, the 400/800 game that had been running all night had been bumped up to 500/1000, and was looking like a nice place to be. With some of our normal group grinding that game, our 400/800 actually began on time 4 handed, so my morning roadwork was essentially pointless.
Maybe I'm supposed to suffer a little for my money!? Maybe today I've earned my keep!? For the first 45 minutes I was the only player that didn't win a hand past the flop.
It's a funny thing to find yourself properly buried in a fast-action short-handed game, then immediately the table fills, and begins to move at a crawl. Perhaps I can get even by dinner.
I've scribbled a graph below to give you a proper indication of how the day went. There was a point towards the end where I would go card dead for a long stretch before finally being dealt a speculative hand that I would inevitably wind up playing, and losing, as if it were a test from the poker gods that I continuously failed. My punishment was being sent back into card dead limbo until I could resist the forbidden fruit that is 245K with a suit from the HJ in Omaha 8. It's the best hand I've seen all night, let me tell'ya...
23 hours of awake that set a destructive precedent for the week. I missed Tues collecting my broken down car. On Wednesday I sat in the car at 6am, and just couldn't bring myself to do the drive there-back-and there again, so I showed up 30 minutes from game time, and was shut out accordingly. I drove back home and spent the last few days looking after my sick girlfriend.
I've got a new approach for today, and if this one doesn't work, I will have an apartment and a hotel room in Los Angeles.
Feb 4th, 2017
Showed up Friday around 10am, and was the first person at our empty table, but couldn't get into the game because I didn't make it onto the starter's list. I decided to skip traffic and head home after 4 hours of playing some 40/80 when it was clear nobody would be moving for a while.
There's a player that comes in for a few hours towards the end of the night that acts as the predominant catalyst of the later, bigger game. Around 4pm I would expect my seat to open, and 3 of us would wind up playing while the rest of the table takes fake phone calls, and swap out their Bellagio flags, until the lineup looks reasonable to them again. Fittingly enough this "VIP" is beating the game for 6 figures since his return. Pros are overrated.
On Monday I decided not to risk being shut out of the game again and woke up at 5 in the morning to make sure I was there when the floorman clears the board. You cannot call in from outside of the casino to be put on the list, and rooms are currently $200-300 a night, although that's still probably the way to go.
At 6am I make it to Commerce and see the 400/800 game still running from the night before that was surprisingly full ( shoutout to Dan Zack and Jungle ). Part of the lineup included regulars from our morning game, so at this point I'm concerned this 400/800 might interfere with our normal game, and I'm going to find myself without a seat yet again. I drove an hour back home to see my girlfriend off to work, went for a run, and got as much as I could done before driving back to the Commerce in time for the 11 o'clock game. I'm feeling pretty overworked at this point, and I have yet to play a hand of poker.
I currently to be up again in 5 hours, so I'm going to make this a 2-parter, and head to bed for now. I guess that means I must have played something...
Feb 1st, 2017
Really disappointed with my complete performance for the second day straight. I'm struggling to find a full day's worth of thoughtful decisions, focus, and feel weaker in the game than I ought to because of it.
With the Los Angeles Poker Classic Tournament Series picking up steam, it's becoming harder to get in the big game without some real legwork or a hotel room unfortunately, so the next month should prove interesting.
I also need to do a better job of not feeling obligated to keep the game running when 4 people decide to click sit out for a few hours, until people they want to play with come back to the table. There's some real professional game-walking and blind-skipping being utilized which is something I've never participated in, but hours of 3 handed with John Monette and Tommy Hang is flipping at absolute best. Since the game changes every 8 hands, I would argue that you're not getting a large enough sample in any one game to "pay for the education" or whatever.
Jan 31st, 2017
I thought it could be interesting to offer a small window into the daily swings of high stakes mixed games. For now my intentions are to document only stakes above 200/400, with the main game being a 400/800 18 Game Mix - meaning the game we play changes every 9 hands. When my schedule is especially hectic, or I'm too sleep deprived, I'll just update with results, other times I'll try and elaborate on the session a little bit.
Here's a list of the games we play for those interested: Limit Hold 'Em, Omaha 8, Razz, Stud, Stud 8, 2-7 NLSD, Big O, PLO, PLO8, 2-7 Triple Draw, A-5 TD, 2-6 TD, A-4 TD, Badugi, Badaci, Badaci A-4, Badeucey, Badeucey 2-6, Super Razzdeucy or daci, 2-7 Razz, Stud No Qualifier, and Archie. I realize this is more than 18 games, but typically a few are shuffled in and out.
Many of these games are ones I have very little experience in, so I'm learning on the fly, and when you're playing against the best guys, the learning curve isn't very forgiving.
Today's lineup was especially tough. I Made too many mistakes early on not giving myself enough time to think things through, and didn't make many hands, but found a small win still.