#PNWPokerCal Planner for 23 August 2016

Hit Job

If you haven’t already watched the KGW-TV piece that aired last Wednesday evening, take a couple minutes and give it a spin. I’ll wait.

I wouldn’t call it the worst piece of reporting ever done, but to flatly allege poker rooms that have been operating in the full light of day are “illegal” seems a bit odd, to say the least. And given that Portland Meadows has been running ads during the very same news broadcasts, it seems a bit hypocritical to be taking their money. The lawyer for the La Center rooms certainly looks trustworthy, doesn’t he?

Finally, the B-roll footage they use for the poster shot (also appearing at 1:12 in the video): they do know that’s not a good hand in any games currently in vogue, don’t they? Nice five-card draw hand, but nobody plays that.

The State of Portland Poker

imageMy poker schedule has been curtailed a bit by a job, but I did manage to get over to Final Table for their Friday night $10K guarantee, with ended up with 120 entries and a prize pool of $14,040.

I got there about 90 minutes after start time, determined to stick to a single buyin. Got kxkx my second hand but just won the blinds, and that was the only large pair I had the entire tournament. I was down a bit at the break (there were three shootout tables running), didn’t do the live rebuy or addon, and eventually got lucky with qxjx against axkx to double up to about 20,000. From there, I didn’t turn back.

imageFive hours in, we were just under 50 players left and I was below average but chugging along. We hit the money (20 players) a little before 3am, and we were at the final table a bit after 4. Finally got to play with the plaques Final Table got for their $100,000 guarantee. By the time we were down to 5, the chip leader was David, a reg from the club formerly known as Encore, Rich and Paul (both from Encore) were on his left, then me, and Jack, a reg from the 11am game at Final Table. Paul busted  and I played the short stack for another 30 minutes before shoving two hands in a row from the small blind and the button. I had about 15 big blinds left and shoved ax5x. Jack, in the small blind, had just doubled up through David and had axqx, he called, and I went out in 4th place for almost 1,600% ROI after leaving a tip.

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Gave some of it back to the ecosystem on Monday, at the old home game (5th of 8 after a rebuy and playing every hand for the first three rounds, though I did pick up the high hand bonus) and a quick post-tournament stop at The Game, where I ran into Gypsy, one of my housemates in Las Vegas, and talked to her after she cashed out for longer than I lasted at the table.

Deal of the Week: SoCal Poker Championships

The Los Angeles area has been the innovator in the world of low buyin mega-multi-entry day tournaments with large prize pools, something that’s possible because of its large population and therefore large player base. The Mega Millions series at the Bicycle Casino is just one example.

Now, four LA casinos have teamed up to offer the 2016 SoCal Poker Championships this fall, a five-day $3,000,000 guarantee tournament ($350 buyin for 12,500 chips) that has a grand total of 64 entry flights, with two flights over eight consecutive days at each of the four casinos. The flights are staggered from mid-September through early November, with the final stage of the tournament set for mid-December at the Bicycle.

The Gardens Casino kicks things off, with entry flights from 18–25 September. The top 10% of each entry flight receives $600, the top 8% gets $700, and the top 6% gets $800 and advances to Day 2. A Day 2 follows the last entry day at each casino (26 September for the Gardens), Players can register directly for Day 2 for $4,500 to get 210,000 chips.

Day 2 plays for 12 40-minute levels and is followed immediately by a Day 3 at each location (27 September at the Gardens), which plays down to 6% of the Day 2 field (0.36% of the starting field). Days 4 and 5 are at the Bicycle in December for all of the remaining players. If you make it to Day 4, you get a partial payout of $10,000.

Like most of these multi-entry day tournaments, if you qualify for Day 2 multiple times, you receive money for your abandoned stack above and beyond what you would get for just making Day 2 ($800). To encourage early participation, you get more for the earlier flights: an extra $2,200 at Gardens, $1,700 at the Bicycle, and $1,200 at Hustler (no bonus for a second qualification at Commerce).

And that’s not all. There is a $100,000 freeroll tournament for the 50 players who earn the most for participation in the series. Again, early participation is awarded, with twice as many points going to players in the Gardens flights (12) as those at Commerce (6). And you get 33 points for each Day 2 qualification.

First place is guaranteed $500,000 and a Mercedes Benz C Class car.

The Gardens and Bicycle qualifiers are scheduled during other tournament series at the casino, so they’re not the only reason to be there. If you’ve got other business in LA during the next few months, this is a series to look at.

This Week In Portland Poker

Once again, nothing special at press time. Tuesday, Final Table announced a 5pm Bounty tournament with a $500 guarantee, and it’s on their weekday schedule now, but I don’t know how well-attended it is.

Only a Day Away

  • Tonight at 7pm is another satellite for the Muckleshoot Summer Classic series.
  • There is a one-day $100,000 guarantee NLHE and $30K PLO tomorrow at the Bicycle Casino/WPT Legends of Poker. The Mega Millions event beat its $1,000,000 guarantee. Saturday is the first entry flight for the WPT Main Event, a $4,000 buyin.
  • The Atlantis Resort in Reno is host to the WPT Deepstacks tour through 29 August. The series ends with a 3-day $250K $1,100 buyin Main Event this weekend.
  • Sundays at noon through 4 September, Chinook Winds is hosting 1-seat guaranteed satellite tournaments for their Fall Coast Poker Classic Main Event ($550 buyyin, $200 addon) on 10 September. The satellites are $40 to enter (including fee and dealer appreciation), with $20 rebuys and a $20 addon.
  • San Jose’s Bay 101 Casino has the Bay 101 Open starting Monday. The Main Event next weekend is also a $1,100 buyin, but it’s likely to be more heavily stacked with pros from Northern California than the Reno event. There were 432 entries last year, making a $432K prize pool (less juice than the WPTDeepstack event, apparently)
  • Thursday is the start of HPT Indiana at Ameristar Casino Hotel, East Chicago. The opening weekend has a $100K guarantee Monster Stack ($300 buyin),
  • Also starting tomorrow is WSOP Circuit event at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, also kicking off a week from Thursday. The first event ($365 buyin) has six entry flights from Thursday through Saturday and a $150K guarantee.
  • The Last Sunday of the MonthTulalip Resort Casino is holding a $5K added tournament with a $230 buyin.
  • Sunday is the start of the Pure Poker Summer Showdown at Casino Yellowhead in Edmonton. Five events ranging from C$220 to C$1,100 buyins (no guarantees.
  • A week from Thursday is the Venetian Deepstack Extravaganza 3.5,
  • Thursday the 1st of September is also the opening of the Commerce Poker Series in Los Angeles.

Remember to keep an eye on the #PNWPokerCal Twitter hashtag and the PNW Poker Calendar for upcoming events!

#PNWPokerCal Planner for 17 August 2016

Tribune, Assemble!

Despite the grumbling on Facebook about it, the Portland Tribune‘s Steve Law put together a relatively even-handed piece yesterday on the letter from the city that led to the closing of Encore Club last month. The article interviews several people on the Portland poker scene, including lawyer Mark Humphrey and Ricky Lee, general manager at Aces Full. It goes into a small amount of detail about the state Bureau of Labor and Insustries complaints that led to increased scrutiny of the the Portland poker clubs. It’s worth your time to take a look; whether you continue to play poker in Portland is dependent on the outcome of these events.

My own take is, this was a train wreck waiting to happen, and it was dumb luck that things  got as big as they did before  the crash happened. Labor law came into being because of some pretty egregious past practices, and whether you agree with them or not, they exist, so when someone feels they’re aggrieved by their quasi-employer—whether they have a case or not—the camel of government will stick its nose in the tent to see what’s up. And if they find something that looks like an unregulated, unreported, untaxed exchange of cash, it’s going to perk that nose up.

At the end, Encore’s weekly schedule had guarantees that were equal to nearly a third of the total in weekly guarantees at the Venetian in Las Vegas. It’s not something that can go unnoticed forever; all it can take is one disgruntled employee or customer to initiate the dismantling of the whole thing.

Here’s to hoping that doesn’t happen. Just when I was starting to get better at poker….

Bovada Nada

Anyone who’s followed the blog for any length of time knows I’ve played on Bovada and taken advantage of its unique all-cards-exposed anonymous play to mine the depths of hand histories. As you may have heard, they’re shutting down poker operations and transferring the platform over to the heretofore-unheard-of Ignition Casino.

Now, despite lots of heartache about their Mac client not working well until relatively recently, and complaints from other players, I can say that when I’ve cashed checks out from Bovada, they’ve gone through the deposit process with nary a hitch.I never had anything significant on the site (I don’t have anything significant) but I wasn’t about to move it over to Ignition.

I min-cashed a small NLHE Turbo Bounty tournament the night before the announcement, with a little bit I had on there after the summer, then played my money out  in a couple of tournaments. Maybe I’ll look at America’s Cardroom, they’ve got a series going this month….

The State of Portland Poker

I skipped my usual shot at the big time on Friday night and went for the funk: Big O at Portland Players Club (now in A&L Sports Bar across the intersection of NE 60th & Glisan from the old location). I hadn’t been in for exactly three months, what with seven weeks in Vegas and their reduced schedule, so I was eager to say hello.

A $30 buyin doesn’t sound like much, but Big O with unlimited rebuys can be a volatile game. I got there late and spent some time catching up after the summer with Chadd Baker, then jumped into the game in the last level before break.

I ended up on the table where one of the players was catching lots of cards, where almost everyone else had rebought at least once. I ended up rebuying in an early hand where I had to call with a good draw only to see it turn to much, then picked up a few chips before the break and added on.

The average number of rebuys neared two per player ($100, with the door) plus the $20 addon. With only  15 players and three payouts, the mony up top wasn’t huge, but if you took 3rd place, you were making the same money as 9th in a $10K across town, and only having to go through 12 people instead of 100. Plus you get all those extra cards!

I lost a big hand, folded a winner, then started chipping up before running kings and a flush draw into aces where I didn’t improve. Slowly checking places off my visitation list.

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Deal of the Week: Muckleshoot Poker Summer Classic

The week after the Chinook Winds Fall Poker Classic (last week’s Deal), the Muckleshoot Casino starts up its end-of-summer event. I don’t know if it’s chance or just excessive whining, but the two events aren’t scheduled against each other this year, so if you can’t make one or, just maybe, you’d like to play the only two major tournament series within 200 miles of Portland (sorry, Wildhorse), you’re not forced to choose.

Muckleshoot may be the largest casino poker room in Oregon and Washington, with 32 tables, though many of them remain cash tables during tournaments. Their events aren’t large in numbers and there are no guarantees, but the size of the buyins and money added to the pot make for some decent-sized prize pools.

There are five events on the calendar this year all start at noon:

  1. $250 NLHE Shootout, 14 September, Wednesday
  2. $200 NLHE, 15 September, Thursday
  3. $300 NLHE, 16 September, Friday
  4. $500 NLHE, 17 September, Saturday
  5. $750 NLHE, 18 September, Sunday

Structure sheets are available (almost laughably, they’re photos of printed structure sheets).

This month’s poker calendar from Muckleshoot shows the events and the buyins, mentioning $55K in added money, but neither the calendar or structure sheets mention how it’s distributed. According to Hendon Mob, last fall it was $4K, $4K, $5K, $10K, and $20K, but that doesn’t quite add up to the $55K. I’m guessing $5K for the first two events.

Competition in the Seattle area is tough, as you might ecpect. Rep Porter won the Main last fall, and Portland’s Jake Dahl came in 4th. The smaller buyin NLHE events brought in about 280 entries, with the Main getting 230, and 160 for the Shootout. Porter took home $48K for his win.

One of the interesting things about the Muckleshoot series is their satellites. Starting tonight and running every other Wednesday through 7 September, there’s a $125 mega satellite at 7pm that gets you your choice of one of two packages:

  • Entry into the $500 Saturday event and two of the other weekday events, or
  • Entry into the $750 Sunday event and one of the weekday events.

There are $225 mega satellites Sunday 11 September and at 7pm the following two days that award seats into all of the events.

This Week in Portland Poker

The good news is, even though I’m short on time this week, I’m able to keep up. The bad news is, there isn’t much to keep up on. So far as I’m aware, there isn’t anything off the regular schedules happening this week. Keep an eye out here and on the NW Poker group on Facebook.

And, stealing from Chevy Chase on the first season of Saturday Night Live: Portland poker is still not dead.

Only a Day Away

  • See the  Deal above for for the Muckleshoot Summer Classic satellites.
  • Today is Day F flights for Mega Millions XV at the Bicycle Casino/WPT Legends of Poker. There are flights through Monday, with Day 2 of the event on Tuesday. Mega Millions has a $1M guarantee, entry for most flights is $160 with a $100 addon. It is a best-stack forward tournament, with money paid for abandoned stacks. Tuesday has a satellite to the $550 HORSE tournament (with 10% of the field receiving a seat and $550 cash for their $150 buyin) and a $565 Survivor tournament that pays $5K to 10% of the field. Legends of Poker continues through the end of the month.
  • The Summer Super Stack in Calgary continues through Monday, with a C$200K guarantee Main Event with flights Friday through Sunday. C$1.5K buyin.
  • In Santa Ynez, California at the Chumash Summer Poker Series outside Santa Barbara, there’s a $100K guarantee with a $350 buyin on Saturday to wrap things up.
  •  Albany’s Black Diamond Hot August Classic starts tomorrow, with a $100 buyin freezeout. Friday is a Bounty tournament, and Saturday has two games with a morning $150 buyin Tag Team event and $150 Big O in the evening. Sunday’s event is a $250 buyin with one rebuy.
  • The Atlantis Resort in Reno is host to the WPT Deepstacks tour for twelve days beginning tomorrow. It opens with a $5K guarantee Bounty tournament, then the first major event is a $400 buyin $50K guarantee on Friday. The series ends with a 3-day $250K $1,100 buyin Main Event next weekend. The Main Event had 330 entries and a $317K prize pool last year.
  • Sundays at noon through 4 September, Chinook Winds is hosting 1-seat guaranteed satellite tournaments for their Fall Coast Poker Classic Main Event ($550 buyyin, $200 addon) on 10 September. The satellites are $40 to enter (including fee and dealer appreciation), with $20 rebuys and a $20 addon.
  • San Jose’s Bay 101 Casino has the Bay 101 Open starting Monday. The Main Event next weekend is also a $1,100 buyin, but it’s likely to be more heavily stacked with pros from Northern California than the Reno event. There were 432 entries last year, making a $432K prize pool (less juice than the WPTDeepstack event, apparently)
  • A week from Thursday is HPT Indiana. That sounds like it’s a long way, but the venue is the Ameristar Casino Hotel, East Chicago, which is technically Indiana, but it’s just fifty miles from O’Hare airport (ORD), and since O’Hare is a major hum, you can often get round-trip flights from PDX for less than $200. Direct flight time is four hours. The opening weekend has a $100K guarantee Monster Stack ($300 buyin), The Main Event over Labor Day weekend has no guarantee ($1,650 buyin) but last September’s stop in Chicago had 432 entries with a $619K prize pool.
  • Closer to home is the WSOP Circuit event at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, also kicking off a week from Thursday. The first event ($365 buyin) has six entry flights from Thursday through Saturday and a $150K guarantee. The series wraps up on labor Day weekend, with the $1,675 buyin Main Event ($750K guarantee), a $250 Seniors Event on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend, a $580 Circuit ring tournament on Sunday, and that evening, the $5,300 High Roller tournament. Last year, the PH fall Circuit event was in November, and the Main Event had a $1.5M guarantee that went to nearly $2M with 1,304 entries. The spring event this year at Bally’s beat the $1M guarantee by $800K; there’s no telling why the WSOP is hedging their bets this fall, unless they expect people to be occupied for Labor Day.
  • The Last Sunday of the Month, Tulalip Resort Casino is holding a $5K added tournament with a $230 buyin.

Remember to keep an eye on the #PNWPokerCal Twitter hashtag and the PNW Poker Calendar for upcoming events!

#PNWPokerCal Planner for 10 August 2016

The State of Portland Poker 

Last Friday night was the first big tournament to run since the sudden closure of Encore/PDX Poker Club in the middle of July, and despite my own personal disappointment at not doing better, the First Friday $20K guarantee at Final Table appears to have been eagerly anticipated by local players itching to cash big.

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Final Table $20K line to enter at starting time.

I’ve played three dozen $20K events at Final Table over the past four years. Over the past year, at least two of them had overlays on the guarantees, for whatever reasons. Final Table discontinued their Fifth Friday events a while back, possibly due to an even more anaemic showing at those. So maybe they weren’t quite expecting what Encore’s closure—and possibly their change to the buyin structure—would do.

Previously, the $20Ks had buyins of $100, with a rebuy of $100 if felted, and a $50 addon. Now, I personally prefer that, but there has been a push in general toward live rebuys. Friday night was the first Final Table $20K with a $60 buyin, 2 live rebuys, and a $40 addon.

None of the other $20K events I attended had topped 190 players (other events like the $100Ks at Final Table have had far more). Friday night there were 235 entries, and a total prize pool almost double the guarantee: $36,160. Whatever my preferences might be, I think the days of felted rebuys in the $20K are over.

The atmosphere was a bit chaotic. I don’t think anyone was quite expecting the turnout they got, and it seemed like there was a line of people waiting to buy in almost through the entire four levels of play before the break, and an alternate list that was seating people after break. The tables went 10-handed, which is not usually the case at Final Table (one of the advantages they had over Encore).

On 20 events I have prize pool data for (sometimes I don’t make it that long), average expenditure for each player previously was $165, or a buyin, an addon, and 15% of another buyin. On Friday, even though the prize pool was nearly $3,000 more than any of the other $20Ks I had data for, the average expenditure was only $149 but represented the value of a buyin and addon and five-sixths of another buyin.

Me? I lost what was left of my first buyin with asks v kxkx, did a double rebuy, then lost everything with trip kings from the big blind against a flopped set that turned into a full house. Which is why we have to rely on Jason Brown for the picture below, because I wasn’t there long enough for the addons to make it to the board. (Obviously, there were more than three places paid.)

Image via Jason Brown

Image via Jason Brown

I wasn’t able to make it to Portland Meadows for their Saturday $10K—a regular weekly feature at noon—but Brian Sarchi provided this image of the tournament board when I reached out to him for information. That’s $95/entry, by comparison.

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All in all, not a bad turnout at either location, with prize pools of 80% and 70% over the respective guarantees for what are now the largest regularly-scheduled events on the Portland tournament poker calendar.

Much as I hate to play with live rebuys, Final Table’s move to the live rebuy system makes it more likely that they’re not going to be facing overlays in the big events, at least. I don’t think the same can be said for the morning tournaments, which have missed the guarantee all three times I played them in the past two weeks. Something’s going to have to change there, but for the big events, it looks like there’s still some healthy awards to be won.

I played Tuesday night’s $1.5K guarantee, getting knocked out axqx v. acqc on a 4x4cqx flop when the board ran out runner-runner clubs, but they went well over the guarantee. There were a couple of tables of 1/2 NLHE and a Big O game running. Lasted exactly one hand in the Big O game, when I got it all in on a tx6x4x flop with top two and an over pair (queens) against a straight with low draw and top set. 4x on the turn and 5x on the river improved everyone’s hand except mine.

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Deal of the Week: Chinook Winds Fall Poker Classic

Full info on this fall’s series at Chinook Winds is out, with both the schedule and structure sheets now available online. It’s just under four weeks out, with the $110 buyin, $15K guarantee Senior (55+) event opening things up on Tuesday, 6 September, and the $330 buyin, $30K Big O game on Wednesday. There’s a $20K NLHE 6-Max on Friday, with the $550 buyin, $200 addon, $100K guarantee Main Event running on Saturday (Day 2 on Sunday).

Last fall’s Main Event drew in 190 entries with the same guarantee and buyin structure, making a prize pool of $120K. It appears that unlike previous years, tickets for the events are no longer offered through Chinook Winds’ online ticketing system, so you will need to be onsite to buy in (you can, however, get tickets to The Monkees a couple weeks later online!)

For anyone unfamiliar with Lincoln City, it’s about 90 miles southwest of Portland, on the Oregon coast more or less due west of Salem. There are a couple of routes to take from the metro area (about 2 hours if you stay under the speed limits), the more direct of which is down Highway 99W through Dundee and Dayton, but that can be torturous due to high traffic, particularly if you’re coming from the east side of Portland or from the north. My personal preference is to take Interstate 5 south all the way to Salem, then cut across on Highway 22 until it intersects Highway 18. It’s 15 miles longer, but can take less time. Coming south on US101, it’s about two-and-a-half hours from Astoria. If you don’t want to make the drive, there are some public transportation options, but the first thing to check would be the Chinook Winds shuttles that operate from Portland, Vancouver, and other cities in the metro area. Call the number on the schedule to make sure they’re running (you will need a Winners Circle cards from the casino).

If you’re planning to stay overnight, it’s time to book your room. The resort itself had reasonably-priced rooms when I last checked, which hasn’t been the case in the past (no view, and smoking, but reasonable). That probably won’t be the case for long. I’ve also had good luck with last-minute reservations at the Motel 6, which is about three-quarters of a mile from the casino (and you pass Pig ‘N’ Pancake on the way!)

If you’re at the beach on a Sunday before it all starts, there are satellites to the Main Event at noon for $20.

This Week in Portland Poker

At press time, I’m not aware of any special events scheduled for this week, so let’s do a little inventory.

  • Portland Players Club is located at A&L Sports Bar on NE 60th & Glison, just off I84. They run mixed game dealer’s choice Omaha shootouts Wednesday and Friday afternoons, with Big O tournaments Wednesday and Friday evenings and Sunday at noon.
  • Claudia’s has shootouts in the afternoons every day, with evening tournaments seven days a week.
  • Aces Full has a noon tournament every day except Sunday, with shootouts in the later afternoon.
  • Rialto Poolroom has nightly shootouts, and hosts the Monday Mix.
  • Portland Meadows runs tournaments at noon seven days a week, with shoootouts starting in the afternoon and a 7pm tournament. The noon Saturday tournament is a $10K guarantee, with a $5K on Sunday.
  • The Game specializes in shootouts, starting at 11am, and has a Sunday afternoon $800 freeroll tournament.
  • Final Table has a tournament at 11am weekdays, and another at 7pm, with a different schedule on weekends. Their regular schedule now includes a $10K on Friday night, with the $20K on the First Friday. They also have an active shootout section opening at 11am.

Only a Day Away

  • This weekend at the WPT Legends of Poker at the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles is the start of Mega Millions XV. There are starting flights from Friday, 12 August, with two or three flights each day through 22 August. Most flights are $160 with a $100 addon. 10% of the players make the money, and 5% advance to Day 2. On weekends, there is a third flight for $550 where 10% of players advance. Players advancing to Day 2 make $1,000, and you can enter as many flights as you like. If you get more than one stack through to Day 2, you choose which stack to play and get $2,500 cash and an entry into a $1.1K event for each abandoned stack. You can also buy in directly to Day 2 for $4.3K. There are two mega-satellites that feed directly into Day 2. Last year’s Legends of Poker Mega Millions had a prize pool of $1.7M, with more than a quarter-million up top. Round-trip flights to LA that span the last few days of Mega Millions are still only about $200.
  • Today is the start of the Venetian August Weekend Extravaganza, which runs through the weekend with three starting days for a $250 buyin $80K guarantee. I wasn’t able to find flights to Las Vegas at the last minute for less than $300 though.
  • The Deerfoot Inn in Calgary is the setting for the Summer Super Stackwhich features a C$200K guarantee Main Event (C$1.5K buyin) with entry days 19–21 August. At current exchange rates, the buyin is $1,140. A round-trip direct flight from PDX to Calgary (YCC) for the last two days of the Main is $425, and the flight’s less than two hours.
  • Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are entry days for the Arizona State Poker Championship at Talking Stick Resort outside Phoenix. Buyin is $1.1K, you can still find round-trip flight to Phoenix at the last minute for about $400.
  • Last-minute addition at River Rock Casino in Vancouver, BC.

  • Monday is the start of the Summer Poker Series at Chumash Casino Resort. Their $100K guarantee ($325 buyin) is Saturday the 20th. Chumash is 125 northwest of Los Angeles.
  • The Black Diamond Hot August Poker Classic starts a week from Thursday in Albany. See last week’s Deal.
  • That same day is the start of the WPTDeepstacks Reno at Atlantis Casino Resort Spa. There are a total of 16 events, with a $250K guarantee Main Event from 26–29 August ($1.1K buyin). Roundtrip flights at the end of the series are running about $300.
  • The Bay 101 Open runs 22–29 August in San Jose. Seven events, most in the $350–$550 buyin range, with the Main Event at $1.1K. The winner of the Main gets a seat into next spring’s WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star as well as the prize money. Special events include Omaha Hi-Lo and a NLHE Partners tournament. Most events are no re-entry, though you can enter each o fht eMain Event flights one time each. Tournaments start at 9am, making it tough to get a morning flight before play begins, but you can still get a flight Saturday morning at 6am that puts you in San Jose before 8am for $160 round-trip.
  • If you’re looking for a late-summer trip and you’re nautically-inclined, CardPlayer Cruises is offering a 7-Night Pacific Coastal Cruise, leaving Seattle on 16 September (it’s a little bit out, but I presume you need to reserve your room earlier). The cruise stops in Astoria, San Francisco, and Victoria before returning to Seattle, and the schedule in the poker room (open only to passengers booked thtough CardPlayer Cruises) includes a $340 CardPlayer Poker Tour event and cash games. You have to call for pricing on the cruise, and CardPlayer Cruises doesn’t report their results to Hendon Mob, so there’s no way to tell how many participants there might be or how much action the cash games have, but if you want to take a gamble….

#PNWPokerCal Planner for 3 August 2016

Poker Portland

20160729 Final Table $8KI didn’t get a chance to make it out much over the weekend, but I did play Final Table’s $8K guarantee on Friday night. 94 entries and live rebuys ($40 buyin/rebuy/addon) easily made the guarantee, for a prize pool of $11,680. Unfortunately, none of it was mine, as I had a great spot to 3-bet with qxqx in late position and got called by axjx. Then he flopped axjxjx and I was drawing very sliim. I did chop the 11am $1.5K guarantee on Monday, which had a small overlay with only 22 entries. The other big games in town over the weekend were at Portland Meadows. Tuesday I dropped in at Aces Full. They’re running a noon game every day except Sunday, with shootouts on Fridays and Saturdays in the afternoon, according to Ricky. Their website got back online while I was there, they’re running a $1K guarantee at noon on Friday and Saturday. The Tuesday game was just 10 players with a $480 prize pool. I squeaked into 3rd place.

Too Old for the Main?

This year’s Main Event final table bucks the trend of a bunch of wünderkind with an outlier or two. For the past several years, there haven’t been more than two final tablists over 32, this year, only two players are under 30, and 51-year-old Cliff Josephy leads the pack. This week, I revisited a PokerNews article I did last year. With charts!

Roger Tracey

According to reports on the NW Poker Facebook group, Roger Tracey died in a car accident Monday. Roger dealt at several clubs over the past several years, and worked at Spirit Mountain and Chinook Winds casinos before that. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

Deal of the Week: Black Diamond Hot August Poker Classic

I don’t generally get a chance to try out the samplings of poker down the valley, but I’m hoping to get the chance to play some of this series at the Black Diamond in Albany.

The room is just off the freeway on the north side of town, about 70 miles from Portland. There’s a 6-Max tournament on the 18th, a Bounty tournament on the next night, Tag Team and Big O tournaments on Saturday the 20th, and a 60K starting stack $250 buyin on Sunday. That all sounds good to me.

The 6-Max has a 42-person cap, which leads me to believe that there may only be 7 tables in the room, so seating may be limited. The announcement has a phone number you can call for particulars.

There are no guarantees, but if the $250 buyin Sunday game got 4 tables, it would have a $9K in the pot. With 4 or five payouts for 36 players, that’s still some significant money. See my “Sweet Spot” article.

Might be a good excuse to visit my family in town.

This Week In Portland Poker

  • This week’s big event is the First Friday $20K guarantee at Final Table. According to their web site, it’s a $60 buyin with 2 live rebuys and a $40 addon. It also says “More Details to Follow,” but I haven’t seen anything as of press time. An email that went out Tuesday afternoon indicates that they plan to run a $10K guarantee with the same buyin as the $20K on Friday nights.

Follow @pokermutant on Twitter to get updates on late-breaking specials.

Only a Day Away

  • At Thunder Valley’s Ante Up Poker Tour World Championship, the $250K Monolith drew 767 players for a $285K prize pool. Coming up this weekend is the Head to Head Championship, and the $500K guarantee Ante Up World Championship (entry Friday and Saturday, $1,650 buyin).
  • WPT Legends of Poker at LA’s Bicycle Casino has entry flights to a $240 buyin $500K guarantee from Friday through Tuesday.
  • The Summer SuperStack at Calgary’s Deerfoot Inn kicks off on 10 August. The first event is a C$550 buyin with three starting days.
  • 10 August is also the start of the Venetian August Weekend Extravaganza. The big event is a three entry day $80K for $250. They are partnering with the Bicycle Casino to award seats to the Mega Millions event running during the Legends of Poker.
  • The Arizona State Poker Championship runs 12–16 August at Talking Stick Resort outside Phoenix. Entry days Friday through Sunday, both limited to 470 entirs and 130 alternates, with the final day Tuesday the 16th. $1.1K buyin.
  • The Chumash Summer Poker Series runs from 15–21 August, at the Chumash Casino Resort about 125 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Most of their events are too small to make the trip worthwhile, but they are featuring a $325 buyin $100K guarantee on 20 August. And if you get there a few days early there’s a $40 Big O tournament.

The Main Event Comes of Age, Revisited

During the 2015 WSOP Main Event, I wrote an article for PokerNews on the trend toward younger winners at the World Series of Poker Main Event over the past decade, and provided an interactive chart of everyone since 2005. That was before 72-year-old Pierre Neuville and 61-year-old Neil Blumenfield made the final table.

Over at the 2+2 Pokercast last week, the hosts attributed a quote to Dan Harrington from 2004, saying that nobody over 40 would ever again win the Main Event. Obviously, that didn’t happen last year, but with the chip leader this year being Cliff Josephy, who’s 51, the possibility exists for Harrington’s prediction to fall.

Josephy doesn’t have the kind of lead that Joe McKeehan had in 2015, and he’s the only player 40 or older as we go into the hiatus for the November Nine. Qui Nguyen, in second place in chips, is 39, however, so there’s a possibility he might turn 40 before the final table starts back up. Not sure whether that qualifies as “over 40” by Harrington’s standards.

If it does, then the prediction is already busted. Jerry Yang was 40 when he won the Main Event in 2007. And that year, by the time the table was down to three players, the title was going to someone 40 or older no matter what, because Yang’s opponents were Tuan Lam (41, in second place) and Raymond Rahme (62, in third). If Darvin Moon had beat Joe Cada in 2009, he would have been 45, and there were two other players at the table who were over 40. Joe Hachem was 39 when he won—the year Harrington made his prediction—so maybe it wasn’t such a good call.

In the years following the boom of online poker, there was likely some effect on the ages of Main Event final tablists, but some research would need to go into determining how much of that was the result of a volume of players of younger ages entering the tournament. There have been 108 players that have reached the official final table of the Main Event from 2005 to now, 16 of them (just under 15%) were over 40. Six of the top 3 finishers from 2005 to 2015 (18%) were were 40 or older: Yang, Lam, and Rahme in 2007; Dennis Phillips in 2008; Darvin Moon in 2009, and Blumenfield in 2015.

Back before the WSOP started, I was asked on a podcast that shall go unnamed what odds I’d put on a player 40 or older winning the Main Event. I took the number of players from last year’s final table that fit the category, divided by the number of overall players, and rounded down to come up with 4:1. It got a bit of laughter from the hosts who are, I believe, both under 40, which I am definitely not. But looking back over this data, I think my off-the-cuff prediction wasn’t too far off.

The chart below has the finishing places for all of the years up to 2015. Positions for 2016 are by chip count at the start of this year’s November Nine. The line with the circles is the winner (or chip leader, for 2016) and the line with the square is the runner-up. You can roll over each year to see names and positions.

#PNWPokerCal Planner for 27 July 2016

A little later post for today’s Planner than usual due to a last-minute engagement last night, but worry not, I’m not going away for a while.

Poker Portland

Despite all the gloom and doom, there is still poker being played in town. I haven’t made the rounds of all of the clubs, but I dropped in on Monday at Final Table for their 11am tournament, which has now been bumped up to a $1,500 guarantee (from $1,000). The format has changed somewhat since May, with two live rebuys ($20 for each buyin) rather than felted rebuys. I hate live rebuys, but I like 11am. What can you do? They got 31 players, 32 rebuys, and 23 addons (also $20), for a prize pool of $1,720 and $695 for 1st. Just missed the money there.

Tuesday was The Game. I got there not long after opening while the single table they had was running 1/1 NLHE, didn’t get seated until just before noon when the game switches to 1/2. A couple of players wandered in after 1pm and went on the list. No second table by the time I left before 2pm.

Earlier today I made my first trip back to Portland Meadows since I got back a week ago. Their noon $1,500 guarantee started off with just a single table, but was up to 38 entries with 10 rebuys ($30 each) by the time I busted in round 5 (no rebuy for me today). They were still under the guarantee, but only by $60 and there was still another 30 minutes left before the break for rebuys and addons. On the way there, I drove by Aces Full (site down for maintenance, it says, and the last item on their official Facebook page is from June, but there was an A-board out front and the ‘OPEN’ sign was on).

Fall Coast Poker Classic Satellites

Every Sunday noon through September 4th, there’s a 1 Seat guaranteed tournament for the Main Event of the Fall Coast Poker Classic at Chinook Winds in Lincoln City. According to Devin Sweet, who’s worked the last couple of Chinook Winds series as a tournament official, the poker room has been moved upstairs.

Photo via Devin Sweet/NW Poker Facebook group.

Details for the series are not yet available on the Chinook Winds web site, but you can check out the NW Poker Facebook link above for a look at the schedule. The Main Event satellites are $20 buyin with a $10 entry fee and $10 dealer appreciation fee, $20 rebuys through level 4 and a $20 addon at level 4. The buyins are for 10K chips, and according to the info on the web site, the dealer appreciation (half the cost of the buyin) only gets you 1K in chips, which seems odd, so check at the desk to make sure it’s not a typo. The addon is 20K. Each Main Event seat is $550 dollars.

Deal of the Week: Surviving the Bike

The WPT Legends of Poker starts its month-long run Thursday at the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles. There are a number of interesting events on the schedule, but some items that caught my budget-conscious eye are coming up in the next couple of weeks.

Event 14 is a $240 buyin $500K guarantee with two days of play and five days of entry flights (with two flights per day). 10% of the players from each of the flights go to Day 2. Everyone who makes Day 2 gets $400. You can play more than one flight and if you qualify twice, you get $2K. You can buy directly into Day 2 for $1,750, and there are two mega satellites for Day 2 entry ($200 buyin).

The last two flights for the $500K run on 9 August at noon and 5:30pm. Day 2 is 10 August. Also on 10 August is a $365 Survivor, with a $3K payout for the top 10%. Roundtrip flight to LAX midweek is less than $300 right now, you can take a couple shots at the $500K with a backup for the Survivor (and/or a satellite for the $4K WPT Main Event  the night of the 10th) for about $1,500 plus the cost of a room.

This Week In Portland Poker

Big events are a bit leaner these days. I haven’t spotted any special events this week, but here’s a few items.

  • Friday night at 7pm at Final Table is an $8K guarantee with $40 buyin, 2 live rebuys, and a $40 addon. Next week will be the First Friday $20K, which the July schedule on the site says is $100 with a live rebuy and $50 addon. but which the home page says will be $60 with 2 live rebuys and $40 addon for the 5 August event.
  • The Portland Meadows schedule has a $10K scheduled for Saturday at noon ($70 entry/reentry and $40 addon) and a $5K noon Sunday ($50 buyin and reentry, $30 addon).

Follow @pokermutant on Twitter to get updates on late-breaking specials.

Only a Day Away

  • The Ante Up Poker Tour World Championship continues at Thunder Valley. This weekend is the Monolith (everyone’s going for names inspired by the Colossus, but this just reminds me of 2001), a $250K guarantee with a $425 buyin. There are two flights on Friday (11am and 4pm) and a morning flight on Saturday, with Day 2 on Sunday. Sunday also has a $10K Bounty tournament. Monday is a $5K HORSE event, and two satellites into next wee’s $100K Action 8, NLHE 8-Max tournament ($250 buyin) Next Wednesday is a $20K NLHE 6-Max event, then a 2-day $400 buyin Heads Up tournament on Thursday. Next Friday and Saturday are entry days for the $500K Main Event ($1,650 buyin).
  • This weekend at the WPT Legends of Poker opening is a $200K eventwith six starting flights over three days (Friday through Sunday). $240 buyin with direct buyin on Day 2 (Monday) for $1,500. Next week includes a number of single-day events, including the odd mixture of Big O/Omaha 8/Stud 8 (next Thursday, $235 entry). A week from Friday is the beginning of Event 14, mentioned in the Deal section above.
  • The Tulalip $10K added tournament and Muckleshoot $3K added game are both on Sunday.
  • The Summer SuperStack at Calgary’s Deerfoot Inn kicks off on 10 August. The first event is a C$550 buyin with three starting days.
  • 10 August is also the start of the Venetian August Weekend Extravaganza. The big event is a three entry day $80K for $250. They are partnering with the Bicycle Casino to award seats to the Mega Millions event running during the Legends of Poker.

#PNWPokerCal Planner for 20 July 2016

I’m Baaaack!

I go away for a couple of months and you guys break Portland poker? I can’t leave you alone for a minute!

Seriously, though, I’m a bit sad that after talking up the Portland poker scene for weeks with fellow media, players, and others that near the end of the WSOP the biggest club in town shuts its doors almost overnight. Whatever issues there were with The Club Formerly Known as Encore, I had my two largest-ever cashes there (even though they didn’t report them to Hendon Mob), I had my first-ever cash over $1K there, and it’s where I had my first outright win in a $100+ buyin tournament.

For now, though it looks like the other clubs are operating as usual. I’m going to cross my fingers and hope that they’re still there when I get home tonight.

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Limon

Abe ‘Limon’ is the host of a regular 5/5 PLO game at Commerce Casino in LA, the co-host of Poker Central’s Live at the Bike show Wednesday nights, and the man behind the #PokerSesh (streamed live by Live at the Bike’s Twitch channel on Mondays). I’ve been a guest on #PokerSesh a few times over the past two years, Limon used my research skills to win a $5K prop bet during last year’s WSOP, and we grew up just a few miles (and a few years) apart in Eugene-Springfield. Finally got a chance to meet up at Angel City Brewing in LA (and get my $250) while I was on my way home from Vegas. He’s been very supportive of my writing—mostly because he hates tournament poker—and it was great to get the chance to meet up with him.

Monster Podcast

Mitchell Towner, the winner of the WSOP Monster Stack, was quoted in the official write-up giving props to “some of the podcast guys,” and elaborated in other interviews that specifically he meant whatever it is that Grant Denison and Adam Levy are calling their podcast this week. In the July 14th edition, titled “How to Run a Monster Bluff,” it is revealed that Towner was the college roommate of one of the Poker Guys. Listen to the episode to find out which (I don’t really know, they’re starting to sound so much alike to each other I can’t tell them apart).

#PDXPokerCal

I’m shortening the hashtag. Five extra characters available in my tweets!

This Week in Portland Poker

  • PDX Poker Club is no more. But you know that.
  • A&L Sports Pub is jumping into the triple Omaha format with a $3K guarantee Big O/PLO/PLO8 tournament on Saturday at noon. $40 entry/reentry. $30 addon. Chadd is saying something in the comments on the FB post about reenteries being able to buy a double stack for $80, not sure if that applies to original entry or not. Why make these things so obscure? BTW, I still hate FB as a means for getting info out.
  • Portland Meadows Poker Club has stepped up with a $10K guarantee tournament at noon on Saturdays ($70 entry/$40 addon) and a noon $5K ($50 buyin/$30 addon) on Sundays. Not technically special events, but new to the #PDXPokerCal.
  • The Game still has their June calendar up.
  • If you want to make the final table of next year’s WSOP Millionaire Maker, maybe you’d better start playing now at Claudia’s daily tournament.

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Only a Day Away

  • The Venetian Deepstack Extravaganza finishes this weekend in Las Vegas. Thursday, Friday , and Saturday are $400 flights into a $200K guarantee with the final day on Sunday. The evening schedule is $300 and $200 (mostly bounty) tournaments.
  • Are you in the LA area? Then you still have time to get to the Hustler Casino’s Grand Slam of Poker. Thursday at 4pm and 7pm are $100 satellites for the $400 buyin $500K guarantee main event. That has two starting flights per day, Friday through Tuesday, with a final day on Wednesday.
  • Today is the start of the Wildhorse Summer Poker Rodeo in Pendleton. Five events Wednesday through Sunday. All at noon. Last year these events got about 275 players each, with prize pools ranging from $17K on Sunday (the smallest) to $80K for the $300 event on Saturday.
  • Thunder Valley outside of Sacramento kicks off the Ante Up Poker Tour World Championship tomorrow with the $155 buyin $100K Catapult tournament. Five starting flights Thursday through Saturday, with final on Sunday. The series has 20 events and multiple satellites, with the main event being a $500K guarantee $1,650 buyin the first weekend of August.
  • At LA’s Bicycle Casino next Thursday, the Legends of Poker gets under way with a 2-day $100K guarantee, $350 buyin freezeout. It runs through the end of August and culminates in a $4K buyin WPT televised event.
  • The last Sunday of the month is 31 July. At 11am there’s a $10K added $275 event at Tulalip Casino north of Seattle. At noon the same day is a $330 buyin $3K added tournament at Muckleshoot Casino, southeast of Seattle.

Check out the #PNWPokerCal for more poker. It’s good to be back!

W-Day Plus 45: Game Over, Man

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When last we met, I was off to cover the end of the $1,500 Stud 8 event. The final day was interesting, with some blowups at a table featuring Bryan Devonshire, Gaurav Kalro, and Michael Ross. It may be one of the first times “Angry” John Monnette was observed trying to calm down an argument.  Monnette and Kalro went on to the final table, along with Brandon Shak-Harris, who wore a polar bear suit all three days of the tournament, even on the Thunderdome stage.

The final table was where I made a monumental screw-up, writing down cards on Monnette’s third-place bustout hand in a way that when I wrote it up made it look as if he should have won. It took me more than twenty minutes to figure out the right sequence, and by then I was already in hot water for not getting an important final table elimination up on time. That wasn’t pleasant, and it was less so when I went to the Orleans after David Prociak won his bracelet to try to take my mind off of messing up and lost my buyin on the first hand when I flopped top two with kxjx against kxqx and the queen came on the turn.

Bricked four WSOP.com tournaments the next day; five if you count the Bovada game I took a couple bounties in without making the money (still a loss). Made a little playing low-stakes cash online.

The next day was Saturday, the first of the starting days of the Main Event. I saw a lot of NW players over the three days, including a lot of Portland Meadows’ Brian Sarchi.

Somehow the schedule I’d been working 2pm or 3pm starts through 2am, seemed to leave more time in the day than the 11am (and now noon) starting times for the Main. And, of course, the fields just got bigger and more draining, with 764 players on 1A ballooning to 4,240 on 1C. The live reporting staff did not grow, however, so we were increasingly spread out over multiple rooms trying to track players and put up content. Despite being pretty drained each day, I fit in a couple of small tournaments on Bovada, getting into the top half of a PLO game and a NLHE Super Turbo, but missing the money on both.

On my day off between 1C and 2C, I did some stuff around the house, then played the WSOP Media Tournament, where fellow reporter Molly Mossey made a better two pair to take most of my chips, then an old lady from Vegas and some dude teamed up to take the last of my chips when I shoved axkx and they had ax7x and axjx, both making the low pair. 36th of 100.

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Then went to Orleans for the evening, hoping to catch an O8 game. While I was waiting for a seat, I played the 1/3 NLHE, got queens on the first hand, and raised to $20 over a couple of limpers. Two players called, there was a flop of something like 7x6x2x and I bet $50. Two callers again. I’d bought in for $200. One of them had more than that but the other was a little shorter than me. They check to me on the turn and I put in the rest of my chips, and the shorter stack calls with 7x8x, with a pair, and whacks the eight on the river, leaving me with $17 as I got called over to the O8 game.

That was also a shitshow, as the guy on my right raised every single pot. It wasn’t to his advantage; in the time I was there he made three or four extended trips to the cash machine for fresh hundreds, but the money he was blowing off was not going to me, and the high variance of the bloated pots eventually caught me. He actually got the last of my chips, but he was still down several hundred dollars. Went back to the house, played a $1.25K guarantee on WSOP.com and took fifth place out of 180 for a small amount of redemption.

My last days on the WSOP Live Reporting crew were kind of a letdown. There were more than 3,200 players coming back for Day 2C, with the bulk of them starting the day in Paviliion, the biggest of the rooms, where the cash games are staged through most of the series. More than 350 tables. Part of challenge of live reporting is knowing where people are. With about ten people covering the day, that’s 35 tables each to start the day, and if you’ve ever played an event the size of the Main, you probably know how quickly players get moved around.

Small clubs that use applications like The Tournament Director can find players when they move, but most large tournaments is a little less rooted in the 21st century. The floor staff doesn’t keep track of where players go, they just randomly assign seats with cards. It’s a flexible system that works fine for keeping the game going—the mechanics of the game don’t rely on who is where—but if you have a need to keep track of a chip leader or famous pro in a sea of ball caps and hoodies, you’re SOL. So live reporting teams need to track the players by being at the tables as they break and looking at the seat cards as they move (or asking the players).

Spread out over multiple rooms, though, the Main Event sends players throughout the complex, and they don’t get their seat assignments until they get to the new room, so if a table (or usually 2 or 3 tables) is moving from, say, Pavilion to Amazon, they get walked through the back halls or the main corridor, to a door where they get their seat cards. Which means someone has to follow them from one to another, and hopefully catch each and every one of them as they get their seats. That’s all I did on Day 2C. Didn’t write a word, I think, because the pace of table breaks meant I never really would have had time to get to the other side of the room to my computer to write something up: I would have missed a table breaking or been interrupted so that the hand would have been old news by the time I finished it. I did put in about seven miles of walking, more than twice what I did on usual reporting days, according to my iPhone.

Day 3, I spent the day doing chip counts. Nothing but chip counts. Then on Day 4, I was back on breaking table duty. The duty was a little different, there were only about 750 players to start, everyone was in the Brasilia Room, but the number of notables on each table was concentrated.

Most everyone else uses handwritten notes to track players, but as a multimedia producer and computer programmer, much of my time over the past several decades has been asset tracking, so I went with a little more high-tech approach and used Google Sheets. I could track and update players, switching off between my iPad and iPhone as I needed to charge up. If I saw anything interesting, I just flagged down Will Shillibier or Valerie Cross, who were working the breaking side of the room.

Here’s a sample of the spreadsheet from Day 4. The tournament started off with players in the Tan, Orange, and Purple sections of the room, breaking in that order. I went through the sections trying to get descriptions of the players we were tracking, then I color coded and sorted as players moved. Some of the players in the sample started moved from Orange but everyone here is in Purple (too dark to read black type on, I just used a blue). I could add in players that were added to tracking like Moraes (usually because they had acquired a lot of chips), and players where I missed their seat change went to red with a ‘0’ table number until I found them. My plan was to make the Sheet public for my fellow live reporters, but I never really got the chance to explain it to anyone in time to make it useful, so you, dear reader, are the recipient of my knowledge. Not that it’s all that complicated.

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The kerfuffle of the night came at dinner break when PokerNews’ Marty Derbyshire came up to me—while I was looking through eliminations on the Results page for people who would no longer be at tables when I got to them and talking to my wife on the phone—to tell me that we had screwed up the chip leader. I duly reported his observation to our group chat and things hit fans.

IMG_2908For the break posts, live reporters get chip counts as close to the break as possible. Sometimes big hands can make large swings in chips, sometimes action at the table makes it tough to count. That’s info that goes into the live reporting post that’s supposed to be live as soon as the break starts. According to what Marty told me later, Donnie Peters asked the dealer (we can’t touch the chips) break down a player’s stack after break had started, revealing some obscured large-denomination chips. Anyway, I was glad I knew where the guy was sitting when the head of the live reporting team came over to look for himself.

The last two levels after dinner were pretty anticlimactic for me. The pace of table breaks slowed to about one every fifteen minutes as the number of players dropped below 300. Three tables were moved to the feature tables, I tried to get in a hand near the end of the night, featuring a 60bb shove from the big blind into a pot of less than 8bb from brief chip leader Michael Botwin, but it was ruled too insubstantial to be posted. Best I could do with my iPad’s virtual keyboard, which makes entering in cards rather difficult. So I shook some hands, said goodbye to players and co-workers, picked up my check, and left the building while most everyone else was left to cover the last three days of action before the November Nine.

IMG_2914I have a couple of things to wrap up before I leave Las Vegas to see if there’s still poker being played in Portland so I decided to take one last shot at the big time before I left and entered a satellite tournament for the $5K buyin $2M guarantee at the Venetian this weekend. There were 6 seats guaranteed, and at first it looked a little sparse, because there weren’t even 60 players.

The first couple of levels were pretty harsh. I went from 12,000 chips down to 3,375 (I know exactly because there were three 1K chips, three 100s, and three 25s). I had Doug Lee on my left (Lee took 2nd place in last year’s $2M at the Venetian, for $330K). David Levi, who I’ve covered in a number of events over the past several weeks kept coming over and talking to a couple of players at my table—he’s waved hello to me at the WSOP a number of times—but I don’t think he recognized me at without my reporter’s lanyard and in something other than a black shirt. In any case, I knew I was in some deep company.

I recognized Lee but didn’t remember his name or exactly where I knew him from. When I asked him, he wouldn’t tell me, though he said he did remember the card cap and that we’d played together before. He also kept bringing up a hand with 9x8x that wasn’t from last night. I did shove and win with 9ctc against a pair of eights, but the nine-eight doesn’t sound like me. I’ll remember him next time.

I started to come back when I flopped top set with jxjx against qxqx and doubled up. Then i got aces and raised, and everyone folded when I really wanted a call (I think).

I got it in bad with kxqx against axkx and hit the queen on the flop to double up, then took out a shorter stack with txtx v. 8x8x. Four hours in, I’d climbed up to 30K, and we had 34 players left, with 11 seats for the $5K and a cash prize of $1,068 for 12th.

We got down to two tables (see seat card above) and I had a guy on my left with about 200K. He announced after a couple of hands that he was “Done,” and he could, indeed, have just blinded off, without there being any way for him to lose out on his seat. I was up to about 70K myself by this time, and in second place on the table, although not really in the position where I could completely sit back.

I picked up ackd in late position. I had 18BB, the big stack was still gone, there were three players to act behind me, and only one of them had a stack my size. I shoved. The button, a man, let’s just say, older than myself, hems and haws about what a position I’ve put him in, and then finally calls with qsqx. Fine. I can’t avoid that. The flop has a king on it, but by the river there’s a four-flush on the board and I don’t have that ace. We’re three spots from the money and I’ve got a big blind and an ante left.

I somehow manage to sextuple up on my first hand with qx9x. I get an ace on the next hand and win that, too. Suddenly, I’m not even the short stack any more and we’re in hand for hand.

The big stack comes back, plays some more hands, talks with Doug Lee, then heads out again. We lose another player. I get kcqc and shove, I get called by axkx, and this time I can’t get lucky.

It’s kind of agonizing to be one card away from getting a chance to play the $5K. No spade on the river of that race with the queens and I’d have been off drinking a beer with the 200K guy with no need to play a hand. Even if the guy hadn’t had queens and folded, I could have made it with the extra round of chips I would have taken in.

Anyway, came home. Played a couple of tournaments on WSOP.com. Took third place in a bounty tournament and seven bounties that took a little of the sting off. I think I can hold my own against these guys (yes, that’s the leap of fantasy every wanna-be poker player makes).

Props to both Josh Cahlik and Mickey Doft, who were invaluable sources of info on how to do the right things on the days I worked with them. And to Live Reporting head honcho Rob Kirschen for giving me the chance.

W-Day Plus 43: In the Money

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Just a note of good luck to the Oregon players left in the field of 800 for Day 4 of the Main Event. Kao Saechao (above) is in the top half of the field with 410K, everyone left is in the money (1,011 places paid). Nick Davies and Sean McMahon are also still in. I ran across Kao as I was checking counts on notables and big stacks (the British guy whose chips are still stacked on the left is in the top 20, and William Tonking, a November Niner from two years ago is standing on the right).

It’s my last day of work here at the series unless something changes. More on that tomorrow, I think.

W-Day Plus 35: Obligatory Post

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My view at the dinner break. Covered Event #60: $1,500 Stud 8 from 2pm to 2am, as we went from 128 players to 14. Only three of the Day 1 Top 10 are still in the tournament; the current chip leader, David Prociak, started yesterday in 104th position. Poker is like that.

Came back to the house, played PLO8 and dropped another 200bb. Got it all in bad once and got it all in good once, in the end it didn’t matter. Poker is like that, too.

Slept. Got up. Now it’s time to go back.