You’re Asking Me

You’re asking me, “will it be alright?”
Because I’ve been around, I have the insight
And I was there the first time so I must know what it’s like
If you’re asking me, don’t take my advice
—Ray Davies, “You’re Asking Me”, Working Mans Café

It’s hard and time-consuming to keep up with everything going on in the tournament poker world, even just the stuff close to home here in the Pacific Northwest. Not everyone is good about putting up info in a timely fashion (as I write this less than two weeks before the Tulalip Pow Wow, the schedule for that series still isn’t up on the Tulalip Casino web site). It’s incredibly easy to overlook or miss things that are going on. But here’s a collection of hopefully-useful links and Twitter feeds to keep you busy not that I’ve hung up the calendar.


The Poker Mutant is retired from poker as of today.

No poker today. No poker tomorrow.

I’ll still make the ocassional game, but for now I’m out of the game on a regular basis. I’m going to post some links over the next couple of days for people to reference for the info I used to collect.

Thanks to all of the folks who have offered encouragement and support over the years, particularly my little gang Poker Team 1Daryl VogelBrad Press, and Steve Myers. Many thanks to my cousin-by-marriage Kelly Buechler for introducing me to my first home in 2007. Best wishes to my former programming colleague Tomer Berda for advice and a couple of great experiences at the feet of a poker master. Thanks to Mark Humphrey for offering me the good room in his Las Vegas condo on my longest shot at playing in las Vegas back in 2012 and Jeremy Harkin for a god deal when I needed one for someplace to stay in Vegas when I worked the WSOP. Sean Gentry and Darin Stout for some damn good photos of me at the table. Rebecca Hanington and Devin Sweet for they-know-what. Ben May and Brian Sarchi and the late John Ogai and everyone else who operates or has operated a poker room in Portland. Chadd Baker for Portland Players Club. My travel and intellectual partner David LongJoe Brandenburg, Elizabeth Tedder, Jacqi Burkhart, and the always-entertaining Angela JordisonCat MartinHeath Bloodgood, and the rest of the staff at Final Table for helping with the website project. Everyone I didn’t have time to list before I hit Update.

R-Day Minus 2

The Poker Mutant will be retiring (mostly) from poker on 1 January. This is the latest installment in his thrilling countdown to the End of Times.

After I got to the hotel last night, I spent some time figuring out what my plans for Sunday were going to be.  Aside from the 1pm and 7pm tournaments at the Venetian, I didn’t know of anything else more than just something to play in town my last day.

First off, I fired up to see  what was on their schedule. Right off the bat I noticed there was a $100K GTD at 3pm for a $320 buyin, and a $50K NLHE 6-Max at 6pm. Both of them had satellites, an important point for the $50K, because the buyin was $1K. So my initial plan was to maybe play some cash, come back to the hotel  early in the afternoon for the online tournaments, and get up at 4am for my flight.

Before I went to sleep, I payed a small tournament and some low stakes cash.

Best laid plans.

The first part went fine. Breakfast, unexpected morning drinking, a handy cab for a ride to the Orleans, and relatively short waiting to get onto a 1/3 table, then an opening 15 minutes later in 4/8 Omaha Hi-Lo. I came out after a couple of hours with about enough to cover my cab ride over, though not the Lyft back. Got set up for the 10-Seat GTD NLHE Satellite for the $100K. Got in for two buyins but didn’t want to do a third, so I relaxed until the actual $100K GTD started.

This one was a little painful, I laid down what would have been the winning hand in an early all-in when I would have tripled up, then busted out on a hand where we got all in on a run turn after I’d made a flush against a set, only to have him get a full house on the river. I don’t know if these things have  seemed more painful because I’d rather be going out on an up note but they are really pissing me off in a way they usually don’t.

I decided to leave the room and headed back to the Venetian for Event #17 $30K NLHE. Kao Saechao  was still in Day 2 of the $260K GTD. I got into the tournament late (precisely at 4:20, I noted to the table, most of whom were older than me and nobody admitted to understanding) with the hope that I could repeat the early success of my late buyin from yesterday, but it was not happening. I was out by 6pm.

So it was to the 1/2/5 PLO cash game for me. For about an hour. And that’s how my poker time in Las Vegasis is going to come to and end. Bang and whimper.

R-Day Minus 3

The Poker Mutant will be retiring (mostly) from poker on 1 January. This is the latest installment in his thrilling countdown to the End of Times.

It’s official, I will not be winning a total of $100K between mid-September and the end of the year, so the poker retirement is final.

My last chance, after a couple of great weeks at home, was to shoot for the Venetian Deepstack Extravaganza Event #14 $260K GTD NLHE, literally the last major tournament of the year in my league. $400 buyin, 30K in chips, 30-minute levels…I could manage that.

I caught the 6am Spirit Airlines flight to Las Vegas this morning, having paid extra for their Big Front Seat. What they don’t tell you at Spirit—and I get the feeling that there are a lot of things they don’t tell you at Spirit—is that the chairs are so flimsy that when the person who didn’t pay for extra legroom moves their legs and their knees hit the back of your seat, that it’s like having a donkey kick you in the lower back. Anyway, it was a great $3 can of Diet Coke.

Rode the city bus from the airport to the South Strip Transit Center. Even though the public areas of Vegas are pretty white, I was the only non-African-American on the city bus leaving the airport at 8:15am on a chilly Saturday., and there were a dozen passengers and a driver.

Caught the Deuce up the Boulevard to the Venetian and bought my ticket for the tournament, which was set to start just after noon, then headed over to the Fashion Show to see if I could scare up a cheaper breakfast than I could get at The Venetian. I could not. In fact, after I decided against a heavy plate of pancakes or a burger, I picked an Asian Chicken Salad that was not the worst I’ve ever had. The one I had at an Irish bar in Spokane was worse.

Picked up some Diet Coke at CVS, then trudged back across three skybridges and through the Palazzo to get back to the poker room.


Along the way, I spotted this rad slot machine! The first board game I really remember having was based on Thunderball, and while I’m really not a slot fan, I had to sit down and plug a couple dollars in this baby. Two spins at the max credits and I was up to $8.50. I probably should have declared myself a winner in Vegas at that point, because it was the last money I won today.

By the end of the first level of play, I was already up 8500 chips, after hitting a gutshot to the nut straight with [8c9c]. Another attempt to get clever really cost me when 68 flopped me the nuts, but someone with a similar idea had that and a flush draw to back it up, which he turned. That cost me all but 8K.

I managed to double up before the first break, then lost my chance to double again when I called a raise wth 9x9x, had the short stack in my left shove and the original raiser shove in for more. He had AxQx, the short stack had 8s, and the board ran out 2x3x4x8x9x. Then I let my aces get cracked by nines and lost more than I needed to (like half my small stack). And on my next button, I shoved Qx9x from the button and a new player in the big blind had AxKx and it was over.

i really didn’t want to reenter, but back to the cage I went with another $400. I was 178 on the alternate list, and they were calling 110 or so.

Sixty-five minutes later and I was in again, with another 30K in chips and blinds just about to go up to 500/1000 with a 1000 big blind ante. Won the last hand just before break 2, so I was up by about 4K.

Bullet 2 only lasted about 90 minutes. Eventually, I jammed KxQx into a short-stack raise, he had aces, I was short ago a Andy went out.

Bullet 3 (no wait this late in the game!) seemed like it was going to be the one. Early on, I raised with queens and got a couple of calls, then the board ran out three treys. An early positio caller jammed a little more than the starting stack and I called with my full house. He had fours, and I doubled up.

That same player doubled up against an aggressive player on the dealer’s left. I was on the button the next hand and the aggro guy was on the big blind. We had roughly similar stacks, like 40bb. I raised QJ and he shoved after thinking a bit. I thought he might be steaming about the double up from the previous hand, but no, he had AxKx, which I found out when I called him. He had something to really steam about when a jack hit the river and I also doubled up through him.

Our table broke not long after and I did extremely well at the new table. By the last break of the day, I had more than 250K, which Would have been better than a median stack at the end of the day. Unfortunately…

A short stack new to the table raised all in and I called wth A8. He had QT, so naturally, he won the hand. #PortlandNuts

That and blinds took me down below 200K. Then, in one of those hand that seem like setups, just as the tournament clock was stopped at18 minutes to Gomez before bagging, with nine hand left to go, I was in the button.

The player who had doubled up through me raised. I had jacks. Some poker common sense would say to just fold my way to Day 2, with a decent if not stellar stack, and get into the money. The bad poker brain says: “JACKS!”

I shoved. None of the players left to act had as many chips a shot I did. Apart from a huge stack who had more than a million chips afternoon one of the most bizarre hands I’ve seen, and a player on my right, I had been the chip leader before the double up. But nontheless, I shoved.

then the small blind shoved for more chips than the original raised. Not as many as me, but enough. The original raiser said something about not wanting to lose wit I had his hand, but he called. Small blind had queens. Original raiser had kings. Yuck.

At least, that was what I thought until the flop, which was all spades but with a jack. None of the pairs had a spade. Then a queen hit the turn. And another queen on the river. The guy with kings was eliminated. I was chopped down to 70K, less than 10bb.

Next hand, action folds to me, I shove KQ and the small blind has aces. So that’s how my quest for poker glory comes to its end, eight hands short of Day 2.

Good luck to Portland’s Kao Saechao, who’s still in the hunt.

R-Day Minus 4: My Time Is Coming

The Poker Mutant will be retiring (mostly) from poker on 1 January. This is the latest installment in his thrilling countdown to the End of Times.

No poker played today, but by the time the five or six people who see this read it, I’ll probably be in Las Vegas for the last big tournament of the year in the western United States: the Venetian Deepstacks Extravaganza V Event #14 $260K GTD NLHE.

Saturday is the third entry day for the $400 buyin event, there have been more than 600 entries so far, so it should go well over the guarantee.

That said, with just over $92K to go before my goal of $100K before the end of the year, I’d need to win a tournament with close to a $500K prize pool this weekend, which would mean another 800 or so entries on Saturday. It could happen.

Either way, my time is coming.

Hoping to see Kao Saechao and Steve Roselius down in Las Vegas! Happy birthday to Molly Anne Mossey and good luck to Jackie BurkhartKevin Mathers, and all the lucky folks heading to the Bahamas for the world’s largest $25K buyin at the PokerStars Players Championship! Safe driving to Carlos Welch.

R-Day Minus 5

The Poker Mutant will be retiring (mostly) from poker on 1 January. This is the latest installment in his thrilling countdown to the End of Times.

We were at the final table of the Final Table $1K GTD NLHE Bounty last night at midnight, and at the time I didn’t know if I was going to be coming out a slight loser (after taking a couple of bounties) or if I was going to make it into the money.

I’d gotten to the club early in the fourth level and done well enough to be above average when we got to the break and the add-on. I was one of the top three stacks at the table when a big hand developed that included one of the other big stacks—who’d doubled up another player with a rather loose call in an effort to pick up a bounty—a short stack went all in, I was planning to call with my AxTx, but the other player shoved his not-insignificant pile of chips and I folded. An ace on the flop would have given me the win and at least two bounties, as well as crippling or eliminating the big stack. Sign.

Got to the final table as one of the short stacks (as usual) and waited things out, shoved a few times without getting called, eventually getting through the bubble and down to four players, losing an ace-king v. queens race to get knocked out in fourth. Three bounties.

Played a brief—I mean 2-minute—Zone cash session.

$92,052 to go before 1 January.

R-Day Minus 7

The Poker Mutant will be retiring (mostly) from poker on 1 January. This is the latest installment in his thrilling countdown to the End of Times.

Three Ignition Casino Jackpot Sit-and-Gos. The first two were 5x payouts. Lost all three.

Last game for Christmas was the $500 PLO8 Turbo. Did not make the money, after a promising start.

R-Day Minus 8

The Poker Mutant will be retiring (mostly) from poker on 1 January. This is the latest installment in his thrilling countdown to the End of Times.

Afternoon downtime on Christmas Eve and I played the Ignition Casino $1K NLHE 6-Max. For half an hour. I lost all but one hand, sliding down from the 5K starting stack to just 1,700 chips, Then I managed to pull out a straight on the river with my pocket sizes holding the bottom end of a four-card straight on the turn and a 5 river. On the very next hand I raised from the small blind with pocket nines, the big stack that had doubled me up re-raised, and I shoved. He called with sixes and four hearts on the board made him a flush.

Played three Ignition Casino NLHE Jackpot Sit-and-Gos after that—all of them just 2x multipliers—and lost the first two, then won the third.

Mrs. Poker Mutant and I had out traditional Christmas Eve dinner of Dungeness crab (previously-frozen since the season’s been delayed yet again) while we watched Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol and the best version of the same tale, A Christmas Carol with George C. Scott as Scrooge. Kind of scary watching it to realize that I’m the age George C. was when that movie came out.

After that, I played a couple more Jackpot Sit-and-Gos. Both of them came up with 5x payouts; I lost the first after what seemed like the longest number of hands in one of those I’ve seen (and a couple of radical chip swaps), then won the second one after coming back from just 1.5bb three-handed.

Seven days to go: $92,286 to target!

Merry Christmas!