#PNWPokerCal Planner for 26 April 2017

A Message from Brian Sarchi
of Portland Meadows Poker Room
(via the Save Oregon Poker Facebook group)

UPDATE: HB2190 was not heard on the floor today – Looks like it will go tomorrow [Wednesday].
For everyone that wants to help get the word out about Social Gaming in Oregon CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVES NOW – here is the link.
Type in your address and CALL your HOUSE Rep. TODAY!

Let them know you oppose HB2190 and be genuine on how you feel about Social Gaming. Also that is bill is being driving from OUT OF STATE BUSINESS. REMEMBER: Keep is short and sweet and remember we need to educate and get these Representatives on our side.

Thank you everyone for being involved. I know how busy everyone is and appreciated everyone for taking the time to make theses calls and Emails.

Please Note that you made a call in the comments- Let’s double or triple yesterdays production……


I’m trying out something new here at Mutant Poker. Utilizing the skills granted to me by computers, I’m collating information from the Hendon Mob tournament tracking site to create the Pacific Northwest Poker Leaderboard, combining players from Oregon, Washington, and Idaho (I’d include BC, but Canadian players aren’t broken out by province.

It’s not going to be so much an actual leaderboard. I won’t be dwelling on the players at the top so much (Annie Duke is still at the top of the Oregon list even though she hasn’t lived here for years, to my knowledge). But when a player makes a big score, or has an exciting move up the leaderboard, I should be able to identify them and give them props.

Caveats: It goes without saying that cash winnings are untracked. Reports of tournament winners to Hendon Mob are entirely voluntary (none of the Portland cards rooms do it, nor do a number of casinos in the Northwest and elsewhere). If you’ve ever listened to Limon (or me) you know buyins aren’t tracked, so high numbers in tournament winnings doesn’t necessarily indicate profitability (see Chino Rheem). While Hendon Mob tracks them for some venues, daily tournament cashes don’t count as part of a player’s ranking. Not all results are reported immediately; during the summer, Hendon Mob picks up WSOP results almost as soon as they’re on the web site, but it can take several days for venues like the Venetian to post results, and it can be longer for regional casinos. And, inaccurate results can make things difficult, whether there’s an error on the side of the reporting body or on the part of Hendon Mob.

Serveral of those ingredients contribute to why the Big Mover on this first list is making an unknown jump. Bill “The General” Patten, as I mentioned last week took second and first places in a couple of events at Pendleton last week. Bill wasn’t in the first set of records I pulled from the database: Prior to last week, Bill (as William Patten in Hendon Mob’s database) had just two cashes listed: $1,150 from an event at last spring’s Round up, and $1,900 from a Wynn daily tournament several years ago. My baseline didn’t include him, because I only looked at players in the Oregon, Washington, and Idaho leaderboards down to $3,000 in earnings. His scores added up to $3,050, but one of them was a daily, so he was far down the Washington leaderboard and somewhere well below 3,000 on the combined PNW leaderboard. Then he won $35K in two events, but the first place score was posted at Hendon Mob under the name Bill Patton. Now, I know they’re the same guy, but if the numbers hadn’t been so big, or it had been someone I didn’t know personally, I might have missed that. Anyway, Bill shoots up to 277 on the Hendon Mob Washington list from down around 2,200. And he makes his debut on the PNW Poker Leaderboard at 607. (FYI, I’m 1,883, thank you very much.)

Other new names with big cashes last week were Angel Iniquez from Richland, who won one of the $200 NLHE events in Pendleton; Lacey Cole from Walla Walla with a 2nd; Richland’s Joseph Martin who final tabled the Main Event, Thanh Nguyen of Seattle with a runner-up in Omaha Hi-Lo, and Michael Curtis  of Rainier for 3rd in the High Roller. I’ll mention that there is a Jose Iniquez with a first place at a Chinook Winds Deepstacks Poker Tour event from a few years back; Iniquez isn’t that uncommon a name good poker players with similar names do tend to raise red flags for me.

Another big mover doe the week was Duane Miller, who moved up over 900 spots on the Washington leaderboard with four cashes—including 3nd in the Shootout and 5th in the Seniors. Tacoma’s Jon WIlliams jumped nearly 700 spots after winning the HORSE tournament at Wildhorse. Mike Turchin of Tacoma Way is still 1,212 on the Washington board, but that’s 460 places higher than he was last week.

Big Money for the week goes to Ryan Dahl, the winner of both the High Roller and the Main Event, for a total of $52,872. The Main Event runner-up was Anthony Simpson, he had the third-largest score of the week (coming after Bill Patten, and including cashing in the Seniors event).

Pacific Northwest Poker Tournament Leaderboard
(including Oregon, Washington, and Idaho)

7. Andy Su


Despite not working the WSOP this year, due to time constraints, I’m not going to be able to do day-by-day updates like I did a couple of years ago, but as results geg posted to Hendon Mob, I should be able to keep up on things nonetheless.


Pronounced ee-la-NAY, according to the video on their About page, Ilani opened up Monday about 30 miles north of Portland, with a miles-long backup of cars on I5 heading to Ridgefield, Washington from Vancouver and points south. No poker room, so it’s of no real interest to me until they host some big tournament series (crossing fingers) but they do have some pretty card designs. Cards but no poker!

From the Archive

I’ve been presenting archive pieces in more-or-less chronological order, but I’m going to deviate for a week because of a topic I’ve talked with people about more than once over the past week, particularly as people prepare to play the big tournaments of the summer.

Everyone’s excited about the Monster Stack, the Colossus, the Goliath, the Giant, etc. Tournaments that have thousands (or even tens of thousands) of players. The gambler’s instinct is to go for those enormous prize pools. But as I laid out in “Sweet Spot” four years ago (one of my most popular posts), you’re probably better off playing tournaments with 30–60 players, because you stand to do much better if you make the money without winning the tournament, i.e if you beat just 95% of the field.

This Week In Portland Poker

Nothing announced as of press time.

Only a Day Away

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

#PNWPokerCal Planner for 19 April 2017

Gearing Up

There are just 40 shopping days before the beginning of the World Series of Poker, but some of the other Las Vegas series start even earlier than Memorial Day.

PokerNews has a day-by-day calendar of events at several venues starting with 25 May, showing start timeguarantee (if any), buy-in, and fees. It’s nicely laid-out but doesn’t really hold a match to Kenny Hallaert’s summer poker tournament spreadsheet which is the comprehensive source for info on Vegas offerings (and starts on 15 May, with the opening of the Venetian Deepstack Extravaganza III).

Another consideration you might have is how good a structure is the tournament you’re thinking about playing? Two Plus Two poster plog has a site that evaluates tournament structures through a mathematical formula to derive something they call S-Points, and there’s a list of 2017 tournaments that have been calculated out for you. At the top end of the S-Points in the WSOP Main Event (339), at the bottom is the WSOP’s $1K Turbo Bounty (34). It shouldn’t be the end all of how you decide which events to play, but it can be another tool in the box.

The Young & the General

Results from the Wildhorse Spring Poker Round Up are available on their site, and local player (and a former owner of Aces Full) Bill “General” Patten had a decent weekend, taking 1st place in the Friday tournament after finishing 2nd in Thursday’s (non-High Roller) event.

And I’d be remiss if I missed mentioning Max Young rocketing to the upper section of the WSOP CIrcuit Leaderboard. As of today, he’s in 4th place on the national ranking, with an even 200 points. With only three more stops on this year’s circuit (Cherokee’s already under way, Baltimore starts next week, and New Orleans is in three weeks), he appears to have a lock on a seat to the Global Casino Championship. He picked up four more cashes at the Council Bluffs stop, with three final tables and a brush with another Circuit ring, losing heads-up to the guy who’s at the top of the leaderboard.

High Roller

Poking at the Hendon Mob Oregon All Time Money List, for the first time in a while, I saw a name that didn’t look familiar high up. With nearly $900K in earningsVitaly Rizhkov sits in 8th place among the Tam Nguyens, Joe Brandenburgs, and Jordan Riches. Looking at Rizhkov’s cashes, you can see that they’re all from last spring and summer, and all from just six High Roller events at Aria. Four $25K buyins and two $50K buyins (for a minimum of $200K in buyins in the events he cashed in). He also played in the $300K buyin Super High Roller Bowl (without a cash).

I have to admit, I was caught flatfooted on this one. I’ve been following poker—specifically poker players in Oregon and Washington—for a couple of years now, and I thought I had relative familiarity with the big names (if not always the faces for the names). Rizhkov is an Azerbaijan-born entrepreneur who’s once wrote an article titled “What I learned from sacking 100 employees and losing $1.5 million.”

Vitaly Rizhkov, via Poker Telegraph

From the Archive

Coming from a mostly non-gambling family, I never set foot in a casino until a trip to New Orleans when I was 42, when my brother asked my wife and I to meet with him at Harrah’s. Since I didn’t start playing poker (again) until a few years later, my first experience playing in an actual casino was after I started the blog. Thanks, Quinault Beach! Not long after that, I won a noon game at Encore, which got me into the (then) monthly Champions Freeroll (taking second to David Moshe), and I became some sort of casino whore after my first taste of the forbidden, with unfruitful trips to Spirit Mountain and Foxwoods.

This Week In Portland Poker

Nothing announced as of press time.

Only a Day Away

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

#PNWPokerCal Planner for 12 April 2017


I’m a sucker for innovation, and I heard about something the other day that—even if Montreal wasn’t already one of my travel goals—would put the Canadian capitol on my radar.

partypoker was one of the first online poker sites, but they saw the writing on the wall and pulled out of the US long before Black Friday, after the 2006 passage of the UIGEA. They have moved tentatively into the regulated US market in recent years, with a toehold in New Jersey. partypoker never left Europe or Canada however, and as PokerStars seems to have faltered since its acquisition by Amaya Gaming, partypoker has stepped up to challenge them on the live poker front.

The partypoker Million North America is coming to what has become the premiere tournament venue in Canada: Playground Poker Club outside Montreal. The partypoker Million has a C$5M guarantee ($3.75M in US currency, with C$1M guaranteed for first place). The buyin is C$5,300 (US$3,980) for 1M in chips (with starting days on 5 & 6 May), but the innovative thing about the tournament is how you can buy in for lesser amounts.

Yes, there are the usual mega satellites, but there are also several days of Phase I entries. From 2–4 May, you can enter a Phase I tournament for C$550. You receive 100K in chips (starting at 200bb deep) then play down to 10% of the field. Instead of survivors winning a seat and starting Day 1 with 1M chips, they start with whatever chips they’ve won in Phase 1. The average stack from the Phase I games will be 1M, but given the usual distributions for satellite tournaments, the median stack will be lower than that; more than half of the players will have less than the average and probably between 30–40% will actually have more than the starting stack, some with perhaps as much as 5M. It’s an exciting prospect when you buy in for 10% of the regular price. There’s even an option on 30April and 1 June to get into a Phase I for C$275 (50K in chips, with 5% of the field getting to Day 1).

Wild Horses Couldn’t Drag Me Away

Nothing to do with the Wildhorse Spring Poker Round Up (which it looks like I’m going to miss this year). No, everyone from TMZ  to the Daily Mail is reporting that the 79 69-year-old doctor from Lexington, Kentucky who was bloodily dragged from a United flight in Chicago the other day is named David Dao, calling him a “poker champ” (the Mail) who “killed it as a pro poker player” at the WSOP as the TMZ headline would have it.

A little perspective might be needed, since most of these headlines were written by non-poker players.

Dao is certainly accomplished, with his biggest cash over $117K for a second place finish in a 2009 WSOP Circuit Championship event with a $5,150 buyin at Tunica. But “poker champ” or “poker pro”? He took 30th place in last year’s 6,761-entry Crazy 8s WSOP event, but the $20K he got for that,—and his lifetime reported tournament winnings of $266K over 11 years—isn’t exactly doctor money, and it comes out to $24K/year before expenses. That’s getting-by money. He’ll hopefully make more from the lawsuit.

The Poker Mutant at the Final Table

“Fat Dude Asleep At the Poker Table,” photo by Sean Gentry, June 2011

From the Archive

Back in the early days post-Black Friday, five-figure guarantees at Portland poker clubs were more or less unheard of, but with PokerStars and Full Tilt shut down, the clubs started catering to the newly-orphaned online crowd. May 2011 saw Ace of Spades and Aces Players Club both put on what I believe were the first above-ground $10K guarantees in town. I didn’t get close to the cash of either one; but I’d cash one at Encore Club the next month, and outright win one in November, which was for a brief time the biggest individual cash in a $10K in Portland.

This Week In Portland Poker

If you aren’t able to make it out to Pendleton for the Main Event this weekend—say, you’ve got family coming over for Easter dinner or some such—Portland Meadows is putting on a $20K Freezeout on Saturday at noon. $165 buyin. No rebuy, no addon and a 25K stack.

Deal of the Week: The Social Experiment

Ever gotten tired of everyone at the table slowing things down because they’re squeezing in the last work on a call between hands, watching a movie on their tablet, or eyes
closed grooving to the tunes over their headphones? Coming up at Los Angeles’s Commerce Casino at the end of the month is the 2017 Cal State Poker Championship. One of the first events on the schedule is a one-day $100K GTD tournament with a $350 buyin (29 April). No phones, hoodies, sunglasses, or headphones allowed; it’s been dubbed The Social Experiment by   the Commerce Tournament Director Matt Savage and Tournament Coordinator Justin Hammer. Increasing punishments for infractions are promised, starting with 3 hands according to the structure sheet.

Half-hour blind levels starting 300bb deep, with levels moving to 40 miinutes after the bubble bursts (12.5% payout). It’s not worth the trip to LA just for this event, but that night there’s also a mega satellite to the $1M Main Event a couple of weeks later, as well as a $75K GTD Bounty tournament and $15K GTD (for Facebook friends of the casino) the next day, an Omaha HI-Lo tournament on Monday (1 May), HORSE on Tuesday, plus Omaha Hi-Lo/Stud Hi-Lo and NLHE Survivor  on Wednesday. Not to mention a couple of other events and more mega satellites. I’m freaking out trying to figure out how to get time off of work with each day of the schedule I read,

Follow the @LAPC, @SavagePoker, and @TheJustinHammer for more.

Only a Day Away

  • The Venetian Deepstack Extravaganza II is coming into its final weekend. Friday is the last of four entry days for a $150K GTD ($250 entry). There is a $40K GTD on Saturday ($400, 1 day) and a $30K GTD on Sunday ($300 with $100 rebuy).
  • Little Creek Casino is running WSOP package satellites Tuesdays in April at 7pm. $255 buyin plus a dealer addon, every 10 players in the tournament gets an entry to the $1,500 Millionaire Maker and $750 in travel expenses. In May, there will be four Monster Stack packages available.
  • The Liz Flynt Spring Poker Classic at Hustler Casino continues through the end of April. Tomorrow through Saturday are entries for the $150K GTD ($175 buyin). Earlier flights on each day get smaller stacks and qualify fewer players for Day 2, and Thursday’s flights qualify more players than Friday’s or Saturday’s. Not sure what the ratioonale is for that. The series’ big event starts 21 April, a $500K GTD with five entry days.
  • The Wildhorse Spring Poker Round-Up has been running since last weekend. Tomorrow is the High Roller and a regular NLHE even, Friday is the $340 entry, and Saturday is the Main Event start day ($550 entry).
  • WPTDeepstacks Thunder Valley starts its $300K GTD Main Event on Friday and Saturday, for a $1,100 buyin, Day 2 on Sunday, and the final table on Monday.
  • Calgary’s Deerfoot Casino Spring Super Stack starts in a week, with the C$1,100 Main Event (C$100K GTD) up front. Entry days next Thursday through Saturday, with finals on Sunday.
  • The Wynn Signature Weekend $250K GTD runs 20–23 April. Three days of entry ($600) and Day 2 on Sunday.
  • The CardPlayer Poker Tour has a stop at San Diego’s Ocean’s Eleven Casino from 20–23 April. It’s a $150K GTD tournament with $250 entry.
  • Talking Stick Resort’s Getaway Classic happens 21–23 April, with three tournaments ($200, $300, and $300, respectively).
  • The Cal State Poker Championship starts 28 April at Commerce Casino in LA (see above).
  • Battle of the Bay at Lucky Chances Casino in Colma starts with a super satellite on 22 April to multiple events in the series, which guarantees between $10K and $100K to the first-place finisher. See last week’s Planner.

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

#PNWPokerCal Planner for 5 April 2017

Nice Casino You’ve Got There…

Been feeling a little beleaguered by legal attacks on Portland’s card room scene instigated by, y’know, people who want to muscle out the competition? Don’t think that you’re alone, although there may be someone with more muscle pushing back.

The Ilani Casino in Ridgefield, Washington is just about to open—the Cowlitz Indian Tribe performed a dedication ceremony for the new Interstate 5 overpass yesterday—the same day that the US Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of the case where the owners of the La Center card rooms challenged the legal status of the tribe itself in an attempt to stave off its construction.

It’s hard to know whether they thought they really had a chance at this point or if it was some sort of last gasp of an effort that kept the case going. Ilani has been under construction at the cost of half a billion dollars since well before the case was up for consideration at the highest court of the land. The state of Washington doesn’t lightly undertake freeway overpass construction. And New Phoenix Casino just closed in La Center a couple weeks ago.

Indications are that Ilani won’t have a poker room to start, but as the largest gaming facility within an hour of Portland (assuming you can get across the Interstate Bridge in less than an hour), its large conference area could conceivably host a regional or national poker tour stop.

Not Ready for Live at the Bike

Everyone’s got problems this week.

The Bicycle Casino was shut down yesterday after a raid in a criminal fraud investigation involving nine state and federal agencies (“Everybody wants to get into the action…at The Bike!”) According to CBSLocal, agencies involved included “the Los Angeles High Intensity Financial Crime Area Task Force, the IRS, the California Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” as well as US Immigration & Customs Enforcement. News late Tuesday says they’ll be opened back up by Wednesday afternoon, which may be good news for Christopher Sigman, who mentioned that he is supposed to be playing Thursday on Live at the Bike on the NW Poker group (it’s $5/$10 NLHE, according to the calendar, 7–10PM Pacific on Twitch and YouTube).

From the Archive

The sixth anniversary of Black Friday is coming up in a week-and-a-half (thanks, Obama!). It happened just a few months after I started the blog, which art the time consisted mostly of obsessively noting the results of every single game I played, no matter how small. Encore Club had a $500 GTD Freeroll that day.

A couple of weeks later, I had my first-ever win in a live tournament of more than two tables, at a promotional event for Portland Players Club‘s new ownership.

This Week In Portland Poker

I haven’t seen an announcement yet, but this is the First Friday of the month and there should be a $20K GTD at Final Table at 7pm, $80 buy-in with live rebuy and $40 addon. It’ll be my return to live poker after a couple of weeks off; I’ll be there with the Portland Poker Championship Series trophy!

Deal of the Week: Lucky Changes at the Battle of the Bay

It’s the time of the year for the Battle of the Bay series at Lucky Chances Casino just south of San Francisco. BoB is a week’s worth of tournaments featuring first-place guarantees (rather than guarantees of the entire prize pool).The series gets started with a Super Satellite 22 April and runs through 1 May. There are five events in the series, with first-place guarantees of $40K (13 April, $625 entry including dealer addon), $20K (24 April and 26 April, $375), $10K (27 April, $225), and $100K (entry days on 29 and 30 April, $1,105). All events begin at 9:30am, and they’re all one-day tournaments, except for the $100K, which ends on 1 May.

Lucky Chances is another casino that tends not to report tournament results to Hendon MobThe last Battle of the Bay results they provided only included the winner’s name and payouts for 27 players, but it did show $371K for the total prize pool (so 371 entries) and what looked like the results of a deal that gave about $80K to first and $50K each to the next three players. Last November’s Gold Rush event with the same buyin had a prize pool of $461K, 461 entries (45 payouts), and a more than $15K going to 10th place with $70K at the top.

It’s entirely possible to catch a morning flight to San Francisco and make the start of the tournament with time to spare; the casino (in Colma) is less than 10 miles from the airport; maybe 15 minutes in weekend morning traffic.

Only a Day Away

  • The Venetian Deepstack Extravaganza III has two days of entry to theur $400K GTD, $1,600 entry tournament tomorrow and Friday.
  • Little Creek Casino is running WSOP package satellites Tuesdays in April at 7pm. $255 buyin plus a dealer addon, every 10 players in the tournament gets an entry to the $1,500 Millionaire Maker and $750 in travel expenses.
  • The Heartland Poker Tour n St. Charles, Missouri starts three flights of their $1,650 Main Event on Friday (with two on Saturday). Last year’s St. Charles Main Event (in May) had nearly $500K in the prize pool; the fall stop got over $575K.
  • Friday is the start of the Main Event at the Council Bluffs World Series of Poker Circuit. Last year had 321 entries ($1,650 buyin) for a prize pool of $481K,
  • This weekend at the Liz Flynt Spring Poker Classic at Hustler Casino is a $250 buyin $250K GTD tournament with four entry days (Thursday through Sunday) and a final day on Tuesday (11 April).
  • Peppermill Casino’s Run It Up Reno is in full swing, with the $100K GTD Main Event (600 entry) starting on Friday.
  • The Wildhorse Spring Poker Round-Up starts tomorrow. The first real event is Friday at noon ($175 buyin), with noon events on Saturday (NLHE) and Sunday (NLHE Shootout), with Big O on Sunday night at 7pm.
  • Elk Valley Casino in Crescent City, California has a WSOP Main Event Satellite on Friday and Saturday. There are two qualifying sessions (6pm on the 7th, 10am on the 8th), with the final session at 4pm on the 8th. Entry is $250, with 1st place receiving the Main Event seat and $2K in expenses. Maximum of 160 players.
  • The first event of the WPTDeepstacks Thunder Valley is Friday, with a $260 buyin $100K GTD 8-Max. Entry flights on Friday and Saturday (two) with Day 2 on Sunday.
  • Calgary’s Deerfoot Casino Spring Super Stack is back in two weeks, with a C$100K GTD C$1,100 buyin and three entry days.

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

#PNWPokerCal Planner for 29 March 2017

The Round Up

Yeah, this happened here in Oregon, but it was Albany, not Pendleton.

But you can still take your chances at the Spring Poker Round Up starting next week at WIldhorse Casino in Eastern Oregon. Thirteen events over eleven days, with buyins ranging from $125 to $550 for the Main Event and a High Roller at $1,100, plus some satellites.

Last spring, Lisa Meredith won the first event, with 529 entries, then she went on to take third place at the WSOP Millionaire Maker (7,190) for a prize nearly ten times the prize pool of the Pendleton event. Two years ago, Angela Jordison swept the first three events, so if you’re a female player and you want the good poker juju, this may be the series for you. That, and it’s well-situated to build up a bankroll for anyone just a couple months before the WSOP starts.

Events of note are:

  • #4 – Sunday, 9 April, 7pm – Big O, $230 with $1K added to the prize pool. This is a new event at Pendleton, though there’s plenty of cash game Big O action.
  • #5 – Monday, 10 April, noon – Limit Omaha Hi/Lo, $230 with $3K added. $38K prize pool last year.
  • #6 – Tuesday, 11 April, noon – HORSE, $230 with $3K added. $23K last year.
  • #9 – Thursday, 13 April, noon – NLHE High Roller, $1,100 (satellites at 7pm 10 April and 12 April). $72K last year.
  • #12 – Saturday & Sunday, 15 & 16 April, noon – NLHE Main Event, $550 with $10K added (satellites at 7pm 6 April and 14 April). $172K last year.

From the Archive

I’ve been writing this blog for more than six years, so there’s a lot of stuff from the early days even I don’t remember.

This Week In Portland Poker

The big event in Portland poker is happening in Salem today and it may be over by the time you read this. 1pm is the hearing on House Bill 2190, which would draw the definitions of the state’s social gaming rules in a manner that would choke out poker as we’ve come to know it in the city.

And, of course, there was last week’s article in Willamette Week by Nigel Jacquiss.

It wasn’t one of the best efforts by Jacquiss (who has a Pulitzer Prize under his belt) with his description of Final Table as “a room that smells like a mixture of air freshener, fear and fryer grease.” (Unless it was his own fear, perhaps.) He padded the account with a portrayal of the late John Ogai and quotes from the more-recently-passed Chris Vetter without including material from several sources I know were interviewed extensively in the main body of the article. He didn’t reconcile the claim that the clubs were operating illegally with the fact that the city has allowed their operation for most of a decade. It’s only in a sidebar that he mentions “Portland’s poker rooms are licensed and operating openly. Yet several of their practices appear to violate the law.” There’s certainly a gray area—much as recreational marijuana sales are legal in Oregon but not legal under federal statutes—but it’s not as clear-cut as he portrays it in the article.

The Bureau of Labor and Industries issues, though…

Only a Day Away

  • The last event of this year’s Bicycle Casino Winnin’ o’ the Green, a $200K GTD Monster Stack tournament with $245 buyin has entries today and Thursday.
  • The Mid-States Poker Tour at Golden Gates Poker Room in Black Hawk, Colorado has three entry days for its $200K GTD Main Event ($1,100 entry) Thursday through Saturday.
  • Tomorrow is the first of three entry days to the $529,850 GTD Main Event of the   Planet Hollywood Goliath Warm Up.
  • The Venetian Deepstack Extravaganza III has a $600 entry $200K GTD Bounty tournament with three entry days starting Sunday. Sunday evening is a $7K GTD $250 PLO/PLO8 mix.
  • Little Creek Casino is running WSOP package satellites on the next four Tuesdays at 7pm. $255 buyin plus a dealer addon, every 10 players in the tournament gets an entry to the $1,500 Millionaire Maker and $750 in travel expenses.
  • The Heartland Poker Tour opens today in St. Charles, Missouri with a $350 buyin, $100K GTD.
  • The Council Bluffs World Series of Poker Circuit begins tomorrow. It’s one of the smaller stops on the Circuit, with 321 players for last year’s Main Event.
  • The Liz Flynt Spring Poker Classic at Hustler Casino in Gardena, California starts Friday with satellites for the $150K GTD event over the weekend. Saturday and Sunday both have 2 flights each ($250 entry). The 12:30pm flight gets 20K in chips and 12% make it to Day 2. The 5pm flight gets 24K, and 4% advance. If you qualify more than once, you get $1K for any stack not played.
  • Peppermill Casino hosts another Run It Up Reno beginning on Monday. The first day has a $20K GTD (with seats to the Main Event added) and a 6-Max PLO tournament.
  • The Wildhorse Spring Poker Round-Up starts next Thursday (see above).
  • Elk Valley Casino in Crescent City, California has a WSOP Main Event Satellite on 7 & 8 April. There are two qualifying sessions (6pm on the 7th, 10am on the 8th), with the final session at 4pm on the 8th. Entry is $250, with 1st place receiving the Main Event seat and $2K in expenses. Maximum of 160 players.
  • The first event of the WPTDeepstacks Thunder Valley is 7 April, with a $260 buyin $100K GTD 8-Max. Entry flights on Friday and Saturday (two) with Day 2 on Sunday.

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

#PNWPokerCal Planner for 22 March 2017

A Little Touch of Limon In the Night

I made an appearance on the High Roller Radio podcast a few months back, but I’m not nearly as entertaining or experienced as Abe Limon, late of Live at the Bike and other ventures. PokerSesh is no more, but HRR interviewed him this week, shortly after the Mike Dentale/Cate Hall heads-up match (Do I care about that enough to link? I do not.) He has a few words to say on the “poker/industrial complex” (actually, he says those particular words quite a few times), staking, and poker player rating systems.

Get Your O Face On

Former Portland-area player James “SplitSuit” Sweeney, co-founder of the Red Chip Poker training site, has a primer for playing “Big-O,” if you’ve been looking enviously over from your NLHE table at the people having fun next door. All those cards!

Tuesday Mix

My Las Vegas host for last summer, Jeremy “Worm” Harkin, has been doing his best to build a regular Tuesday night mix game—and give some advice on mixed game play—at Portland Meadows with 2 levels of blinds ($1/$2 on the main tables and $0.25/$0.50 on the others). Before last night’s game he announced on the NW Poker Facebook group an offer that I wish I couldn’t have refused:

Here is what I’m contemplating now. I am going to play the smaller game tonight only and if I lose, everything is as normal except for I still will be showing all of my hands and non-showdown pots to let the others know what I was betting with. If I win I’m going to DONATE all of my winnings back to the table for everyone who was there when I quit (I do plan on playing until 230am). My profits will be divided based on the number of hours the players played in the smaller game. (The more hours you played the smaller game with me the higher % of profits you will receive) This offer is only good towards the NEWEW, smaller game players, none of the regulars from our regular $1/2 game can get this offer. I expect to win anywhere from $300 to $1000 in this game. If I lose, it’s all on me obviously. Game is on for 7pm tonight.

I’ve been itching to play this game myself.Gonna have to wait a couple of weeks, though. Jeremy’s game was still going with a couple of tables as of 11:30pm Tuesday.

BTW, just because I haven’t been playing live since I won the Portland Poker Championship Series trophy, I haven’t been completely slacking off. I picked up a satellite ticket to the Ignition Black Spade Poker Open Main Event, a $300K GTD NLHE tournament taking place on the opening weekend of the Pendleton Spring Poker Round Up.

LATE ADDITION: Published this morning after I went to bed is the Willamette Week article I mentioned was due to come out.

This Week In Portland Poker

Nothing special that I’m aware of this week, but I’m eager to see the new RFID table at Portland Meadows setup; Brian Sarchi told me last week that the computer’s up and running and that the cameras were going to be installed. Here’s some info from Gorilla Gaming about the tables (similar to those used by the WSOP, HPT, Bicycle Casino, and others). If you’re interested in the technology behind reading the cards and putting live hands on a screen (I downloaded the software a couple of years ago, you can use it in a limited way without a hole-cam or RFID table) read about PokerGFX here.

Only a Day Away

  • At The Bike, the Winnin’ o’ the Green moves into the final week with Mega Millions XVI, a $1M GTD tournament with a $160 minimum buyin. There are two flights (with optional $100 addon) through Monday. Day 2 is on Tuesday. The last event begins Tuesday, a $200K GTD Monster Stack tournament with $245 buyin and entries through Thursday.
  • The $200K GTD Main Event ($1,100 buyin) of the WPTDeepstacks Reno at the Atlantis starts Friday and runs until Monday.
  • The first event of the Mid-States Poker Tour at Golden Gates Poker Room  in Black Hawk, Colorado is Thursday, a $100K GTD, $360 buyin.
  • Friday is the start of the Planet Hollywood Goliath Warm Up, with $1M in combined guarantees, including the $529,850 HTD Main Event with a $1,650 buyin, three entry days (30 March–1 April).
  • Vancouver, BC’s Edgewater Casino has a Super Saturday tournament at 10:15am with w C$500 buyin.
  • Tulalip’s Last Sunday of the Month tournament is Sunday for a $290 buyin (with dealer addon) $25K GTD tournament with 30-minute levels. They’re also offering a weekly $60 No Chop NLHE tournament on Sundays.
  • The Venetian Deepstack Extravaganza III starts Monday, with a $150K GTD (three entry days, $400 buyin, 11am start time). The series runs through mid-April.
  • Little Creek Casino in Shelton, Washington has another satellite for a WSOP Colossus buyin and $750 in travel expenses next Tuesday night at 7pm. Tickets are available online. There are three Millionaire Maker packages up for grabs on Tuesdays in April.
  • The Heartland Poker Tour hits St. Charles, Missouri, outside of St. Louis a week from tomorrow with an opening $350 buyin, $100K GTD. Their $1,650 buyin Main Event (live streamed, no longer televised) starts 7 April. Alaska and Southwest both have direct flights to St. Louis from PDX, you can get RT tickets on Alaska for about $425. (St. Charles is about 8 miles from the airport).
  • Another direct destination you may not be aware of is Omaha, just across the Mississippi River from Council Bluffs where the World Series of Poker Circuit lands 30 March. Direct roundtrip flights on Alaska are about $450. For a town near Omaha, you’d think there might be more than a single Omaha tournament on the schedule, but Council Bluffs it is Iowa, not Nebraska.
  • LA’s Hustler Casino has its annual Liz Flynt Spring Poker Classic starting 31 March. The series has over $1M in guarantees, with a $500K GTD Quantum tournament near the end and a two-entry-day $250K near the start ($250 buyin).
  • Peppermill Casino hosts another Run It Up Reno from 3–10 April. It includes a number of small buyin events, including 6-Max Triple Stud and PLO, a 6-Max 8-Game championship, a NLHE Partner tournament, Win the Button, NL Omaha Bounty, Big O, and 3-Card NLHE. The topper is a 2-day $100K GTD NLHE Main Event with a $600 entry. Most of the buyins are $125 to $225.

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

A Virtual Chip and a Chair

Ignition Black Spade Poker Open Main Event Satellite

The Black Spade Poker Open 6 is running on Ignition Casino, and I popped into one of the  $33 satellites for the $450 $300K GTD Main Event next month. One seat was guaranteed, the game got 15 entries (with $30 of the entry going to the prize pool), so it just made the nut with no overlay and no extra money.

I was a few minutes late, I started off with 1500 chips at 30/60 but let’s just say that anything that happened in the first 35 hands didn’t matter.

Hand 36 8s8h CO 2,515 75/150
HJ opens with 9s9h and I call. SB has khks and squeezes for 2,515. BB and HJ fold, I stupidly call for almost all of my chips, and the board runs out ah4c4h6hts, leaving me holding a bit more than a couple hundred chips. Whoops!

Hand 40 kstc BB 150 100/200/20
I’ve had three abysmal hands in a row, and here I’m all in for three-quarters of a big blind. Action folds to the button (Player 6 in this anonymous tournament), who raises to 600 with 4s4c. SB folds and the board runs out 6h5s7h7dah just missing a straight and giving my tens a win.

Hand 41 tcth SB 500 100/200/20
CO (Player 6, again) opens to 600, I’m already in for a third of my chips and put the rest in. He shows tsjs, the board is 9hah6c2d9s and he doubles me up again.

Hand 48 9sks SB 915 125/250/25
We’re short-handed with only thee players out of the blinds. They fold and I shove. BB has nearly five times my chips and defends with 7d4h. We both pair on the flop and I avoid another loss: 9d7s3sac5h.

Hand 51 acjh UTG 1855 125/250/25
We’re five-handed. I shove and take the pot.

Hand 53 kcjs SB 2055 125/250/25
UTG raises to 500 with 9cas off a stack of 9000. Nobody calls. I shove and he folds.

Hand 55 tdts CO 2880 125/250/25
I open with a shove and the button re-shoves for 3250. He has qdac and we’re heads up going to the flop. I hit a set but have to dodge a gutshot draw in the river.: 9ctc4dkd7d.

Hand 60 7s7c UTG 5645 150/300/30
Middle pairs. I sort of hate them, but we start the hand with only four players, so I raise to 900. SB has jsac and calls, BB has 4d4h and comes along as well. The flop is tdah8h, it’s checked to me and I bet 1000. SB calls with his ace and the BB folds. I shut down on the kc turn when it’s checked to me; the river is jd, SB checks, I check, and he (Player 6) takes the pot.

Hand 64 7sad BB 3175 150/300/30
We’re on the second hand with just three players (having lost a short stack between this and the previous hand I entered). The button min-raises kdjd, SB calls with ac6s and nearly 100bb. I shove and they both fold.

Hand 66 ah2h BTN 4255 150/300/30
I shove and the blinds fold 6h3c and js9c.

Hand 69 kd7h BTN 4255 150/300/30
I shove a crummy king, SB reshoves for another 1100 chips, and he has jdjh.The board runs out 3c3d7sac7c and I boat up to beat the jacks.

Hand 70 kh5d BB 8840 150/300/30
We’re still 3-handed. BTN shoves for 1066, SB folds, and I call for 766 on top of the big blind. This time the chips go the other way after a ks5c6d6h2h. My flopped two pair gets busted by trip sixes on a runout of [ks5c]6d6hjh.

Hand 74 kskc SB 7204 200/400/40
One of those annoying times when action folds to your big hand, you raise, and the short stack just has 3sth so he doesn’t call.

Hand 78 ac8c BTN 7524 200/400/40
I raise to 1200, SB folds, BB shoves 13K and I know I’m behind but cross my fingers. It works, as I’m right about being behind qsqc, but the cards give me the literal nuts: 7d4h6c2ckc. We’re still at three players.

Hand 79 qs7s BB 15288 200/400/40
The short stack has only 1852 chips and puts 1600 into the pot preflop with 9h8h. Both of us in the blinds come along, though Player 6 in the SB is down to 5360. The flop is 6hks7c and I figure my middle pair is good enough to call the last 200 or so chips the button puts in after the blinds are both checked. The turn is 4d and the river is 2c, he misses his straight and my pair of sevens holds (SB folded qh9s).

Hand 80 3ckc BTN 18780 200/400/40
It’s the first hand of heads-up and Player 6 is the big blind. I have a 4.5:1 chip advantage. Just over 40 hands ago, I was all in for less than the big blind and I doubled up twice through the player I’m now facing. I have a good shot at the $450 ticket to the $300K guarantee. There is no second prize. I raise to 1200 and he folds 9c8h.

Hand 81 7s6s BB 19220 200/400/40
Player 6 raises to 1280, with just 2000 behind. He has kh9h and I start off behind roughly 40%/60%. The flop is 5s2has, which actually gives me the lead by about 10%. Even if he has top two pair, my odds haven’t gotten any worse. We both check. The turn 7h gives me a pair. He has a flush draw, but he’s still behind 70%/30% and even if he wins I’ll still have a substantial lead. I check, he shoves, and I call. The river is the 8c, my pair wins the hand and I’m playing the $300K next month.

#PNWPokerCal Planner for 15 March 2017: The Ides of Poker

Portland Poker Championship Series II

As of Saturday, just after midnight (so technically Sunday morning) the Poker Mutant is the reigning champion of tournament poker in Portland.

One thing I want to clarify: what I won was the trophy for series champion. And I did it without winning very much money.

This site’s slogan has always been Poker That Just Ain’t Right

I consider myself a decent player (like, who doesn’t?), and I have shared in some big-for-Portland prize pools, with cashes in the several-thousand-dollar range. But I’m under no delusion that I’m the best player in town: I don’t make a living playing poker, I’ve never had the bankroll to even try, and apart from last summer when I was working for the World Series, I haven’t even made significant money as a poker writer, much less as a player (a couple of those PokerNews articles came out to something like $1/hour) and this gig pays zero.

I wasn’t on a miracle heater. Variance being what it is, it would certainly be possible for someone to hit a hot streak during a four-game series. But that was not what happened. Instead, I got the trophy for in-the-money finishes of 24th and 11th. I didn’t even make a final table.

I’m laughing on the inside. That is my smile.

The funniest thing about this to me is that after seeing the numbers from the first weekend’s results, I approached Brian Sarchi at Portland Meadows early Saturday about possibly using something like the WSOP Circuit point model, little knowing I would be named Champion by the system I was arguing against (Max Young later mentioned he’d suggested the same change after the last series).

Points were awarded to players who cashed, by the order in which they busted. So if a tournament had 36 players making the money, the winner got 36 points, the runner-up got 35, and so on down to 36th place getting 1 point (the formula for this is numberOfCashingPlayers – cashingPosition + 1)The problem with that kind of a point system is when you have unequal numbers of players getting points. If all four events had awarded points only to the top 20 finishers or the final 9, it’s not an issue. But if the number of payouts is based on the number of entries and some of the tournaments are re-entry and others are rebuys, the re-entry tournaments are going to have more payouts, producing more points for the leaders and for middle-of-the-pack finishers.

I cashed in both of the re-entry tournaments. My first cash was in 24th place out of 45 cashing players. For that, I got 22 points (45 – 24 + 1 = 22). The folks who made the final table of the rebuy tournament the night before—with 27 players cashing—got between 19 (for 9th place and 27 (for first). So for a 24th-place finish, I ended up with as many points as the Friday night player who made 6th.

Early in the last tournament, after results from Event #3 had been tallied, Brian announced that the series leader had 65 points. The final event had over 400 entries, with 54 places paid, and by about 9pm, I was the only player remaining in the field with enough points from previous events who could overtake the point leader. Brian told me that if I managed to get to 11th place or better, I’d pick up the needed 44 points.

So that became my goal. Max, who was moved to couple spots to my left with a pile of chips after we’d hit the money (which happened about 8:30pm), seemed intent on making it his mission to make sure I didn’t get there. About 11pm, with 20 or so players remaining, I picked up aces for the fifth time in the game and raised to 50K (2.5bb) and Max 3-bet to 125K (which I was counting on). Another player went all-in for 79K and I shoved about 400K. Max considered it (he had me covered by several hundred thousand) then folded, only to spent the next few minutes debating whether he should have just flatted preflop, since he would have hit a set of nines on the flop. I did lay down a raise with ahqh to him not long after (he showed jacks) in my attempt to get the trophy, where I normally would have flatted his 3-bet, which was about a quarter of my remaining chips.

Just before midnight we hit a break and the 12th player was eliminated, cementing my grip on the championship. I was pretty short by that point, with less than 10bb, and I shoved kh9h only to have Max wake up with ahth. So 11th I needed to make and 11th is what I got.

I’d like to say thanks to everyone who was egging me on the last couple of hours. It was a fun goal, and while I wouldn’t exactly say that I’m not worthy of this type of award, I’m definitely a bit embarrassed to win it the way I did, getting less than 1% of the combined prize pool. A lot of people did better than me during this series.

Just for comparison, under the WSOP Circuit model, the winners of the events would have received 50 points each, and everyone in the final nine would get a graduated amount down to 15 points for 9th place. My 24th place the first Saturday would have been worth 5 points and the 11th place that clinched me the championship would have been 10 points, equal to the points someone who cashed once in 9th place.

I may not be a serious champion, but I plan to take the championship seriously! I’ll be out of circulation for a couple of weeks attending to some family business, but I will be dragging my trophy to every tournament I play after that for a month or so.

More In the Week Of Unearned Accolades

A while back on Twitter, I passed along a link to Zach Elwood’s review of Trumped, a book by a former executive in the President’s former Atlantic City casino operations. A number of people mentioned to me they’d picked up on Zach’s recommendation, including an player going by the Twitter handle @itchybollix (who’s a great follow if you want to keep up on Irish political scandals and be lullabied every afternoon with a tweet of “GOODNIGHT CORRUPT FUCKIN’ SHITHOLE”). I haven’t read the book yet, Zach was the guy who recommended it, but somehow this happens:

This Week In Portland Poker

After two weeks and $160K of combined prizes in the PPCS (plus the WSOP Main Event seat from The Game), things are a little laid back, with no specials that I’m aware of. Just a reminder that Portland Meadows and Final Table are now charging $15/day for their door fees. and there’s a new schedule for Meadows, with some Freezeouts on the schedule.

And Final Table is getting your weekends going early with 11am start times for their first Saturday and Sunday tournaments (super-early if you were there the morning of Daylight Savings Time).

Finally, a number of people have mentioned to me they’ve been interviewed by Pulitzer Prize-winning Nigel Jacquiss of Willamette Week for an article he’s doing on the Portland poker scene. A WW photographer was at Final Table’s $30K on Friday night photographing player’s hands…

Only a Day Away

  • The World Series of Poker Circuit at The Bike is over but the Winnin’ o’ the Green series continues this weekend with Mega Millions XVI, a $1M GTD tournament with eleven starting days and multiple flights each day, inclluding the option to enter for $160 or $550, with different Day 2 advancement criteria.
  • Deepstacks Poker Tour Calgary is at the Grey Eagle Casino.The C$250K GTD Main Event (C$1,100 buyin) has entry flights on Friday and Saturday, with Day 2 on Sunday.
  • The Venetian March Weekend Extravaganza runs through Sunday. The big event is a $600 buyin $200K GTD with three entry days. The Venetian Deepstack Extravaganza III kicks off a week after it’s over. How time flies.
  • The Muckleshoot Spring Poker Classic runs today through Monday. The Shootour is today at noon, with events building to Sunday’s $20K added $750 buyin Main Event (noon).
  • WPTDeepstacks Reno at the Atlantis starts tomorrow and runs until 27 March. They have an opening $50K GTD event ($400 buyin) and a $200K GTD Main Event ($1,100 buyin, starting 24 March).
  • Little Creek Casino in Shelton, Washington is running satellites for a package including a WSOP Colossus buyin and $750 in travel expenses next Tuesday night at 7pm, with another on the following Tuesday. Tickets are available online.
  • The Mid-States Poker Tour returns to Golden Gates Poker Room  in Black Hawk, Colorado for two weeks on Monday with satellites, with the first event, a $100K GTD, $360 buyin starting Thursday.
  • Next Friday is the start of the Planet Hollywood Goliath Warm Up, with $1M in combined guarantees, including the $529,850 HTD Main Event with a $1,650 buyin, three entry days (30 March–1 April).
  • Tulalip’s Last Sunday of the Month tournament is 26 March for a $290 (with dealer addon) $25K GTD tournament with 30-minute levels. They’re also offering a weekly $60 No Chop NLHE tournament on Sundays.
  • The Heartland Poker Tour has done well in St. Charles, Missouri, outside of St. Louis. They’re back there on 29 March with an opening $350 buyin, $100K GTD. Their $1,650 buyin Main Event (live streamed, no longer televised) starts 7 April. Alaska and Southwest both have direct flights to St. Louis from PDX, you can get RT tickets on Alaska for about $425. (St. Charles is about 8 miles from the airport).

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

#PNWPokerCal Planner for 8 March 2017

Limon Tweet of the Week

ΠOKEP In the Black (Sea)

Russia’s in the news a lot lately. I’ve long been interested in Russia, from an historical perspective, as a fan of Constructivist poster art, because of a fascination with non-Roman letterforms, and because part of my wife’s family is of Russian origin. In fact, there are so many Russian emigres in the Portland area that Russian is the 3rd most-spoken language in Oregon—behind English and Spanish—and I know some of them are playing poker. I know that I’ve always wanted to go see Russia someday myself.

Well, here’s your chance to make the trip for the first time—or to go back home to make some money. PartyPoker—one of the earliest and biggest online poker operators—is in the process of building out their live poker tour, and this month’s stop is in Sochi, the site of the most-recent Winter Olympics. The big events are the $250K GTD Russian Poker Championship ($550, 3/18–22), a $100K GTD High Roller ($3,300, 3/18–20), and the $1M GTD Main Event ($1,100, 3/23–27). You can pick up tickets to Sochi for as low as $1,100 RT (although some of those have ungodly delays that make the trip nearly 60 hours; take the day-long layover in Moscow to check it out!)

So if the thought of carrying a wad of cash into Russia (or trying to get your winnings out of Russia) doesn’t scare you, hop on the computer right now. There are Russian women—who have to warm their own hands by blowing on them—waiting by the phone.

The stop after Sochi (in early May) is in Montreal, with a $5M GTD at Playground Poker Club. The flight’s shorter but they speak French, so for some of you it may be a wash.

And, from Christian Zetzsche, one of my WSOP reporting compatriots last summer, this:

Portland Poker Championship Series II

The first two events of the PPCS2 are complete, and the race is on for the championship. Plus lots of money. There’s a trophy for the series point leader (at right) and the two biggest events are yet to come with two $30K GTDs at Final Table Friday night at 7pm and Portland Meadows at noon Saturday.

The prize pool in last Friday’s $20K GTD at Final Table was over $35K. The Saturday game at Portland Meadows had 368 entries and a total of more than $45K in money awarded to 45 players.


I went on a heater just after the first break at Final Table, wiping out the stach of the table chip leader in consecutive hands that took me from 17K to 43K early on. The, near the second (addon) break, I lost everything I’d gained and more, got the addon, and was out on the third hand after break. Went home and got into a 70-player onliine 6-Max tournament, took third place, and made back my buyins, at least.

Saturday at Portland Meadows went a bit better, despite being card-dead after getting aces under the gun and queens on my big blind in the second level. I did not know there were that many variations on 4x7x. I got lucky with axkx on the button when a player in early position shoved 16bb near the end of the 400/800 level, I reshoved for 33bb, and the player in the small blind tanked for a while before he shoved with a bigger stack. The original raiser had axqx and small blind had qxqx. I hit an ace on the turn, avoided a four-flush that would have sunk me, and started the 500/1K level with 70bb.

I took a couple of chances, open-raising a hand with 4s5s to 3bb and having a woman a couple of seats to my left re-raise me for a second time to 10bb off a relatively short stack. The flop was kcjc9s, not what you would consider a good flop for my hand. I checked and she checked behind. The turn was ks. I had her covered by about 30bb, and I shoved, then showed my bluff when I folded. I wouldn’t normally do that, but I was sort of setting myself up for something.

About 25 minutes later, I limped into a multi-way pot from late position with 5h6h and four players checked the ax8s5x flop, only to have 5s hit the turn. The big blind bet 2.5bb, and a player in middle position called, then I raised to 15bb. BB folds, MP tanks a long time, then finally calls. A low, non-spade on the river and I put another 25bb in with 10bb behind. MP tanked again for a long time, then called, only to ship most of his stack to my end of the table.

Then I got up over 115K until I was in the big blind with ks5s and action folded to a big stack in the small blind who fumbled a raise that ended up getting ruled a min-raise. I called and flopped two spades, called a half-pot flop bet, then hit the second nuts with a spade on the turn. The small blind put in 8K and I raised to 25K, only to have him call, and then a fourth spade hit the river and I had to fold to his all-in. He showed asax, naturally.

We got to the money (45 players) after about nine hours but I was below average for the rest of the night. By ten hours I had about half the average stack and we were at three tables (I could now afford to pay my friend Daryl back; I’d had to borrow $40 for the addon because I hadn’t grabbed enough bills off my desk when I left the house).

I was under 10bb at 100K when I shoved kxkx in late position and got a call from a much bigger stack on the button. He had axqx and flopped jxtx9x, but I was still ahead 65%/35%. But ax on the turn put a knife in my chances for a big payout.

See you all Friday night at Final Table!

This Week In Portland Poker

Last Sunday saw the late additon at Portland Meadows of a $2,800 Blaycation package that included an entry into the WSOP Colossus, travel expenses, coaching, and a week-long experience hosted by poker pro Bernard Lee. Brian Sarchi at PM said there may be more of these on the way.

Monday at Final Table was a special morning tournament/going-away party for Jack McGiffin, who I mentioned here last month; he’s off to Merrie Olde England for retirement. He’s taking a few dollars along with him, since he was in the final chop in the Friday night $20K.

This week, of course, are the final two events in the Portland Poker Championship Series II. A reminder that both venues have increased their door fees to $15/day.

Saturday at 4pm at The Game is the final WSOP Satellite Event of their spring season. It’s the big one, a $100 buyin with unlimited rebuys and a $50 addon for a chance to win a seat to the $10,000 Main Event. There’s an 80-player cap on the event, you can reserve a seat at the front desk, and they’re serving a Parmesan chicken dinner for $10 from 3pm to 8pm.

Chicken Dinner

Chinook Winds  is notoriously close-mouthed about posting winners of their series, but the top three finishers of the recent PacWest Poker Classic are now available, via Devin Sweet.

Limon-Related Tweet of the Week

Limon did once call me the most self-loathing poker player he’d ever met. About five minutes after the first time we’d ever talked. My advice: don’t get into a situation where he can possibly get a read on you. Then again, I’m not so self-loathing as to pass up a “god among men” shout-out.

More Satellites

The Little Creek Casino in Shelton, Washington is only a couple of hours to the north. I’ve never made it up there myself, but it seems to have some decent poker action. In addition to this week’s South Sound Poker Championship (see below), they’re running WSOP satellites for the Colossus (every Tuesday in March at 7pm, $155 entry for a package including a $565 seat and $750 in expenses), and to the Millionaire Maker (every Tuesday in April at 7pm, $255 buyin plus dealer addon for a $1,500 seat and $750 in expenses).

Deal of the Week: Fly Pendleton

Only have time to make one or two events at the Wildhorse Spring Poker Round-Up and wish there was some way to get there that didn’t eat up as much time as driving four hours out the Gorge into the high plateau (which can have some icy thrills even in the early spring)? There used to be air service through Seaport, a small carrier that flew from the private terminal at PDX. They went under a year or so ago, but along comes Boutique Air (“Fly Private for the Cost of Commercial”), which operates prop planes on three flights a day between PDX and Pendleton. Want to go out for the High Roller and come back after the Main Event? You can get a non-refundable economy seat for the 1-hour flight for $49 each way ($90 refundable). The trip’s just an hour, the first flight to Pendleton is at 8am, and you can be back before 8am Monday morning. It’s going to be more expensive than driving out, but if you can only make a day or two, it might just be worth it to keep yourself rested.

Yes, it’s kind of claustrophobic-looking but it’s still bigger than your car. Definitely bigger than my car.

Only a Day Away

  • Tonight is the last Wednesday satellite for the Muckleshoot Spring Poker Classic. The series begins next Wednesday.
  • The WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star has a 3pm Turbo ($2,100 buyin) today and a 4pm $25K buyin High Roller. There were more than 800 entries in the Main Event before closwe of registration yesterday.
  • The Wynn Spring Classic has a Survivor tournament at noon today, with a $250K GTD event starting Thursday–Saturday ($600 entry). Sunday is the final day of the $250K, and a $400 buyin $40K GTD.
  • The World Series of Poker Circuit event at The Bike has started, interspersed with their Winnin’ o’ the Green series. You might still have time to get down there for the 2pm PL Stud 8/Big O mix today ($240 buyin, $10K GTD) or the $355 Survivor (top 10% get $3K). The $265 NLHE 6-Max starts tomorrow, there’s a big bounty tournament, and the nightly WSOPC Main Event satellite. Friday is a bigger Survivor at 5pm, and Satueday is the first flight of the WSOPC Main Event ($1,675 entry). The new Bicycle Hotel is offering 20% off rooms during March with use of the WSOPC17 code.
  • The South Sound Poker Championship at Little Creek Casino has a $150 Bounty tournament ($1K added to prize pool) today, Thursday is $120 NLHE ($1K added). Friday is a regular $180 NLHE tournament. Saturday is the big $340 buyin tournament with $5K added to the prize pool. Then Sunday is a Last Chance Survivor ($127 buyin). The Thursday event starts at 7pm, all others begin at 11am. Little Creek’s WSOP Tuesday night satellites (see above) start up next week.
  • As the WPT nears the end of its run at Bay 101, it makes the second stop it the annual “California Swing” at Thunder Valley outside of Sacramento. The Rolling Thunder Main Event ($3,500) is half the buyin of the Shooting Star, and the field is typically smaller (400+ compared to Bay 101’s 700+). There are lots of multi-table satellites (beginning Sunday) and other events, including a $250K GTD (starting days Wednesday through Friday), a one-day $100K GTD ($1,100 buyin) Friday, and a $1,100 Bounty tournament where the payout for knocking out a player is $500.
  • Deepstacks Poker Tour (officially merged with rhe WPT last month after several years of working together, but still running separately in Canada) are in Calgary starting Friday at the Grey Eagle. It opens with a C$100K GTD on Friday (C$550 buyin), features HORSE, PLO, and Survivor tournaments, and wraps up with either a C$300K or C$250K GTD Main Event, depending on which part of the schedule you look at. The Canadian dollar is currently at about 76¢US.
  • Gardens Casino in LA has an ad in the latest issue of CardPlayer nothing on their websitefor a $50K GTD game ($175 buyin with $100 addon) at 5pm on Friday, but there’s that I can find.
  • The Venetian March Weekend Extravaganza starts 14 March (Tuesday) and runs through Sunday. The big event is a $600 buyin $200K GTD with three entry days. The Venetian Deepstack Extravaganza III kicks off a week after it’s over. How time flies.
  • WPTDeepstacks Reno is at the Atlantis starting 16 March and running until 27 March. They have an opening $50K GTD event ($400 buyin) and a $200K GTD Main Event ($1,100 buyin, starting 24 March).

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

A Few Qui Hands

The poker world’s computer-related attention has been on the “Brains vs. Bot” match between the No Limit Hold’em Heads Up artificial intelligence program Libratus and four hapless human challengers named Dong Kim, Jimmy Chou, Daniel McAulay and Jason Les, but over at Advanced Poker Training, they’ve unveiled a little something of their own.

APT associated themselves with last year’s WSOP Main Event Champion Qui Nguyen back before the final table started, running simulations for PokerNews that predicted him winning the bracelet more than any of the other players (26 of 100 simulations), and providing him with on-the-rail advice during the final table as well as simulator training in the weeks before.

They ran a sale on a subscription during Thanksgiving week, and I signed up (always eager to improve my game). I’ve been planning to do a review of their training program (which I still intend to do, but the short version is, I think it’s well worth the price to see if it works for you) but this week they unleashed the QuiNguyen bot in their Final Table Trainer, and I wanted to give a little sample.

The Final Table Trainer is just what it sounds like, a single, nine-person table where you can select the level of skill of the other opponents (Nguyen only shows up in the Hardest level), whick of the two dozen or so advisors you want to use (and whether you want them to always be looking over your shoulder or only when you ask), and relative stack size. I was using Daylian Cain, which is a real name of a Yale professor of management and marketing—I don’t know how many there can be—and the prof’s Twitter account uses the same image APT has in their list of named players, but he’s described in his advisor bio as a “Deep Thinking. Loose Aggressive” player who charges as much as $1,600/hr. for poker coaching. So I figure I’m doing good right off the bat. At least if I take his advice.

So here’s the situation at the very beginning of the trainer. I have 300K at 5K/10K/1K. 30bb. I start in middle position. Action folds to me. Daylian’s advice is covering a player to my left with 24bb and the Mike Caro bot with 34bb. The small blind has only 9bb and ends up picking up the pot.

I raise my ad8d to 3x (a little less than Daylian suggests, but then I think he’s more of a cash player). Jonathan Little calls from the small blind, then leads out for 18K—only 20% of the pot—on a flop of 2h9djc—and I fold.

Hand seven is a pair of sevens on the button. Doug Hull raises from under the gun and  I call, along with Caro in the big blind. Hull opens for 30K on the tdjs2c flop and I fold (which is also Daylian’s suggestion).

Hand 14 I get 8dtd in middle position with an unopened pot (the button is on Svetlana in Seat 9) and Daylian’s advice is to raise to 33K. I only have 22bb, though and though I’d typically play this deeper, I balk, and fold. Ditto for ac7c on the next hand.

Hand 17 is my first run-in with Nguyen, but I’m fine with that because I have aces. I start with just over 20bb in the cutoff, action folds to Nguyen, who raises to 21K. I make a bet of about 1.5 times the pot and everyone folds.

I have threes and fours on the next two hands with unopened pots. Daylian suggested a fold with the former and raise with the latter, but I fold them both. On hand 29, I get the treys again. Nguyen opens for 23K and Daylian suggests a three-bet, but I fold. Four hands later it’s deuces under the gun plus one. Daylian says to open, but I don’t, with just 21bb and blinds coming up.

I open up with jacks in hand 36, and the big blind reraises to 84K. I shove (against advice), and Svetlana folds, which puts me back where I started.

My next hand, both Daylian and I agree that jc9c can be raised to 30K, which gets through with no more action.

Daylian and I get along great until hand 60, folding pairs of fives and ragged aces, until I get The Butcher in the small blind. Calle Yang (“Tight, Aggressive Pro”) has gone all in for 11bb from late position and the only player after me (“Randy Malone”) has less than half my stack. A loss drops me down to 14bb, but I can’t lose more than that. I call against orders. Yang has qd9s and the board runs out qc8cjh8s4c giving us both queens and eights with a jack so we chop.

I pick up kh8h on the next hand (blinds are up to 7,500/15,000/1,500) and make what the program labels as a questionable fold to a 33K raise from Nguyen on the button. Daylian, at least, thinks I did the right thing.

Hand 66 I fold ad3d in early position instead of opening to 51K (~20% of my stack). We’re still nine-handed, I have 16bb and there are four stacks with 6–10bb still to act behind me. No thank you.

I make a 3x raise in middle position with ksjs. Everyone’s still in, two short stacks have managed to chip up, and if you look to my right, you can see that the Qui Nguyen bot has the lead by nearly 150K. I take the blinds and antes. I get fours the next hand and again elect to fold rather than raise (Daylian’s suggestion.

Hand 77, Malone on my left shoves 100K and Yang re-shoves from the button for 122K. Both Yang and I fold our blinds (I have 5d3h. I don’t get to see theiir cards in the replay, but Yang wins. Six hands later, Old Man Caro is wiped out by Svetlana.

I fold my way down to 10bb by Hand 96 when I pick up a pair of tens. I’m the short stack on the seven-handed table and I open-shove from the cutoff despite advice to bet a third of my stack. Nobody calls and I’m still below my starting stack.

I have tsah on the next hand when the Nguyen-bot raises to 38K (627K behind). I shove for 189K (which the program labels “Interesting Bet — Preflop,” and pick up the pot.

I get a “Questionable Fold — Preflop” with a pair of fives on the button facing a raise to 32K from Yang on Hand 152. My Daylian says “Call” but my finger says “Fold.”

I shove thkc as second-to-act a few hands later where Daylian says the only thing to do is fold. But it works.

Hand 107. I’m on the button with 255K and adks. Little’s bot raises to 32K from the cutoff. He has 470K, second only to Nguyen (with 682K), and I push back. The advice is to raise to 93K, but I push my whole stack in (only 15bb or so) and get a fold.

Four hands later and it’s a suited ace. Here I just call the raise from Yang to 36K (advice is to fold) and get a flop if 5c9d4c. Yang bets 44K and I fold.

On the big blind three hands on and Yang raises the button to 36K. I call with kh8h and we see the flop of qc7das. I check and fold to Yang’s c-bet.

Action folds to me in the cutoff with qd8d and I shove 13bb. The button and small blind have more than I do but I have the big blind covered by three or four blinds. Daylian only recommends a raise.

I shove with adks under-the-gun plus one on hand 119 and get folds all around. Nguyen is still in the lead (661K) but Yang’s taken 2nd (581K), with Little in third (442K).

Hand 123 is another “Interesting Bet — Preflop” (I do like how they don’t just say: “Bad.” Yang opens to 46K with the blinds at 10K/20K/2K, and I shove tsah. I only have half Yang’s chips but the 3-bet gets a fold.

But I fold 4had on the next hand even though the pot’s unopened and I’m in a later position than Yang. Why? Because I don’t plan on folding if I raise.

It’s hand 127 and I open to 60K under-the-gun with tsth and 250K behind. Everyone folds.

Hand 131 I open shove with 6d6s in the cutoff and pick up the pot.

Hand 133 and I open to 60K with 9sjs. Daylian says 70K but I try to keep it simple. Folds around and I’m at 400K.

Hand 142 and I get ad2d in the big blind. Everyone folds to Nguyen, and the bot raises to 48K. I call (agreeing with Daylian). The flop comes down 4cqhjh. Nguyen bets 46K and I fold with 304K left. Fourth of seven with all the smaller stacks in a line on my left (and the bigger stacks in a line on my right).

I ignore Daylian’s advice to raise tcjs from the cutoff and fold hand 145. I shove ah4h under-the-gun on Qui Nguyen’s big blind!. Ace-high like a boss!

I do not fold qhkc on hand 159 when Jonathan LIttle opens under-the-gun to 42K. No! I shove and everyone bows to my poker might!

Yang (still in second place to Nguyen with Little well behind) opens her button to 44K on my big blind with acjd. I have less than 14bb and shove to pick up the pot.

182 hands in and I’m down to 11bb at 12.5K/25K/2.5K. I fold a pair of fours against advice to raise. Five hands later, it’s jsqd and I open with a shove to 11bb for a win.

I fold jhkd from the small blind to a shove by one of the small stacks, then a pair of sixes on the button to another all in (and a call). I ignore advice to open for 3.5x (from a 9BB stack)with 7dac and shove instead. Yang calls with kdqd from the big blind, catching a qh on the turn but losing when I get as on the river. The double up puts me in a close third (with Nguyen still in the lead).

I fold jh8h under-the-gun on the next hand, then Doug Hull is all in with the shortest stack (less than 5bb) on my big blind. Yang calls.

My advisor says to fold here. I feel that Yang’s is sheerly a position call, and Yang-bot has 14bb behind if it folds. I’ve got one of the strongest hands in Hold’em. I shove instead. Yang folds, the board runs out 2s2cqhqs6s and I become chip leader with six players remaining.

ks7s in an unraised pot two hands later is advised as a raise, but I fold. Meanwhile, Nguyen has doubled up Little, who’s not in second place about 160K behind me.

Little moves up as I fold a series of hands, until hand 205, when he opens under-the-gun for a little over 2x and I push it from 58K to 140K with ahqh on the button. I have top pair/top kicker on the qs7h5h flop—as well as the nut flush draw—and over-shove for my remaining 531K. Little-bot folds.

qc7c on the next hand, I fold against advice. qctc on hand 207 and I open for 75K. Yang calls. The flop isn’t as quite as good as it was two hands ago, but 7c5c[6g] is reasonable. Yang checks from the big blind and I bet another 75K (less than the 120K recommended). Yang folds, and is now down under 12bb.

asac on the next hand and I open for 75K. Everyone folds. Hand 208 and I am the first player to one million chips with Little the closest at half my stack and just six players remaining (including me).

I raise ahts in the next round as second-to-act, then qd9d under-the-gun. I fold a big blind 3has to a raise and 3-bet, then 6c5c in the small blind to a 60K open. Fold khjc on the button. with a Little open and Nguyen 3-bet.

My next big blind, both the short(est) stacks shove and I have asjc with no other players left to act. The program labels this as a “Questionable Call”, but with 800K and the chip lead even if I lose, I have to disagree. Even Daylian said to fold. And maybe they were right. as Lebedeva under the gun makes a set of deuces on the flop. Villegas has queens, but an ace on the turn eliminates him, and I pick up a side pot of 52K, though Lebedeva snaps up into the tight competition between second, third, and fourth place (less than 1bb separating the three of them).

On the button, I have thah and 3-bet Yang to 250K (more than the 188K suggested), The flop is fantastic: 2h8hjh, and the nut flush.

Yang bets 220K, leaving only 24K behind and I just call. ad on the turn, Yang puts in the last chips, I call with the nuts, and the river brings the 8s making a full house for Yang’s 2d2s. I really don’t see any way of avoiding that result; I’ve got the nuts on the flop and Yang’s committed with the set. The loss knocks me back to 366K (14bb) and fourth place on the table. Yang takes over the lead.

My next hand is 7d4d and Kayllian suggests a raise to 83K. I fold. ON hand 230, I get an “Interesting Bet — Preflop” note. I’m in the big blind with tdjs. Under-the-gun opens to 55K. Nguyen calls from the small blind. I squeeze for 308K, less than either of the other two players, but for a significant portion of their stacks. I get two folds and move up close to third.

The Little-bot shoves on hand 231 and I go against advice to shove a pair of sizes from the small blind. Little has 7cas and misses the 9s4h2h9h3h board. I almost get a straight flush. Down to four, but more importantly, I’m in second place.

qhqc on the next hand and Nguyen opens to 63K. I go a bit beyond the recommendation and put in almost half my stack for a 325K 3-bet. Everyone folds and I have over 800K again. I raise to 75K with ad5d on the next hand and take the blinds and antes.

Nguyen raises my big blind (4h3s) and I fold. Yang opens to 63K on my small and I fold 8cas: there’s going to be a lot of this coming up.

Nguyen-bot raises under-the-gun and I 3-bet him again to 265K, with acqs. This time he calls, the flop is ks6s7h, he checks to me and I bet 300K (with just 247K behind). He only has 259K and calls with ahjd, then gets lucky as the turn is 7s and river is 6d. We split the pot.

I fold tc9s (advice is to raise to 85K), then squeeze over a 63K raise from Lebdeva and call from Nguyen. I have both of them covered, and they both fold. The win puts me back in the lead by all of 20K.

I raise the small blind to 90K as the blind level goes up to 15K/30K/3K, Lebedeva folds the big blind and I’m back to a million.

Waylian recommends a fold of my ah7c under the gun, but I raise to 90K. Lebedeva—the current short stack—shoves 232K and everyone folds.

Yang opens to 66K next, and I 3-bet with acjs. Yang folds. I stay pretty quiet for a while, drifting down from 1 million to 850K as Yang chips up over a million. I open to 90K when Yang and Nguyen fold to me small blind, and take Lebedeva’s big.

Nguyen makes another under-the-gun open on hand 256. I 3-bet with 9dkd (advice is to call) and take it down pre-flop.

On our next blinds, Nguyen opens for 75K into my askd and I raise to 300K, more than half his stack. That wins.

9s9h on the button. I open to 90K (with Lebedeva and Yang in the small and big blind, respectively). Lebedeva shoves (196K), Yang folds, and I call). It’s a race against Lebedeva’s jskc but the cards go all around with 7s8dqdas2s. It’s me (1.29M), Yang (931K), and Nguyen (485K) after hand 260.

At this point, I’m mostly going to let these guys beat up on each other. I don’t care which one I get heads-up with so long as I get heads-up. But I do call a button raise to 63K from Yang on my big blind, with 9hqd (that’s also the advice). I check call 60K (against advice) on the flop of 3h3d4s, then check fold to a bet on the kd turn.

Yang’s up to 1.2M ten hands later, I’m at 1M, and Nguyen’s holding steadish at 444K. I raise to 90K from the small blind with jc8c. Yang calls and I bet another 90K when the flop is 2h8s3s. Yang folds.

90K as a raise from the button with ksah on hand 272 wins. On the next hand, Yang raises the button and Nguyen strikes with an all in from the small blind to win.

After Nguyen folds his button a couple hands later, Waylian advises a raise to 102K for my small blind hand of 9c4d. I’m just not doing that here against the other large chip stack. I fold. I do raise ac8d in the same position two orbits later. Yang calls. The flop is 5hjcqd. Waylian wants a c-bet of 117K, but I check, followed by Yang. 2s on the turn and I check again (this time with approval). Yang checks. We both check the 5c on the river, Yang shows 9c7s and I take it with an ace kicker for the pair on the board.

I get adkh and raise a small blind for a win. Meanwhile, the stacks have evened out somewhat. Nguyen is in third, but he’s pushed his way up to 765K. Yang has 837K, and I’m in the upper 900Ks.

On hand 285, Nguyen raises to 69K and I call from the big blind with ah7s. I call 60K on the 3h3dqc flop and 78K more on the 6c turn, but balk at the 150K river (jh) bet of 150K.

Nguyen calls from the small blind as the chip leader on hand 288. I check and the flop is 3c9h9c. 8c on the turn, 2c on the river and both checked. I win the hand with the deuces. Nguyen had [td5h].

Nguyen raises to 75K from the small blind on hand 291. I re-raise to 180K with ah5d in the big blind. He has just over 1M remaining (I have 727K behind)> The flop is kcjh8h and he continues with a bet of 150K. I fold.

The next hand I call his button raise of 66K from the small blind with tc8c. Yang folds. The flop is 8d9ckc and I bet 90K. Nguyen calls.]2h on the turn and I bet 150K. Nguyen folds. The win puts me back in second place.

I raise a small blind to 150K with black sizes and Yang folds.

Blinds are up to 20K/40K/4K when Yang raises from the button to 100K. Nguyen folds and I reraise to 320K with tstc in the big blind. Yang has 516K behind and folds. On a button, I open to 120K with qsac and get folds. There hasn’t been a hand go to a flop for anyone for a while. I get a walk the next hand. Yang’s far behind with 445K. At 1.06M, I’m close to Nguyen’s 1.2M.

I fold a button 5d7d despite advice. Similarly, Waylian suggests a raise to 136K in the small blind with 4skc and I ignore him. I do raise adjh to 120K on the button. Nguyen calls, the flop is 8c6h7d and I just let him have it when he bets 110K.

Yang shoves for 425K on hand 309. Nguyen folds, and I decide to take a shot at the knockout here with a call (Waylian says: Fold). It’s for slightly more than half my stack (less if you consider that I’m already in for the big blind. Yang has 3cah, I catch a ten on the flop, Yang has a gutshot wheel draw on the turn, and then catches the ace on the river. Back to the basement.

A couple of hands later, khac on the button and I shove for less than 10bb. Nobody calls.

I make the program mad by folding deuces in the small blind to a Nguyen button raise for a quarter of my stack, then shove ks7s on my own button. Yang calls from the small blind with 8d8h but I get the king on the river and get back into second place, leaving Yang with only 7bb.

Yang shoves the next hand with kd7s on the button. I have qhks in the big blind, the board runs out 3ckc6had8h and this time there’s no chop. I win the hand and go heads-up with the Qui Nguyen bot.

Nguyen-bot has almost 60% of the chips, but I have the advantage of being human. The first contest of the heads-up is hand 323 (from the start of the final table). Nguyen raises from the button to 84K. I call with 3ckh. I have an open-ended straight draw on the flop of jcqcth, I check, Nguyen bets and I shove. Nguyen folds, I fold a couple of ragged jacks, then raise 3sac from the small blind only to have Nguyen call. The flop is garbage for me 9s5d9h, but when Nguyen checks I shove and he folds.

I raise kc5s and Nguyen calls (by this point, I’ve pulled ahead of him by 150K). I have top pair on a board of 2c4c5d and shove. He folds.

Two hands later I call his opening raise to 92K with 7hjd. The flop is 6d6c2c and I check fold to his bet.

I limp from the button with jc8d. Nguyen checks. The flop is 5h9s9d and we both check. On the qd turn, Nguyen bets 40K. I call. 8c on the river makes my two pair, Nguyen checks and shows jd7d. I take the pot.

Nguyen raises the button to 88K, my advisor says call but I 3-bet to 256K and Nguyen-bot folds. I have 1.57M and our positions have reversed since the beginning of the heads-up match.

I open to 160K with 9skd (about half again what is recommended) and Nguyen calls. The flop is tdjs6s, he bets 136K and even with an over card and gut-shot straight draw, I fold to wait for a better spot.

Nguyen opens to 88K and I shove with 4h4d. Not recommended. After my pre-flop fold on the next hand, he folds to my acqh. I’ve got about a 300K (7bb) advantage in a 67bb world.

Hand 338 I’m on the button and open black tens to 100K. Nguyen calls, the flop is 2hjs3d and I shove. Nguyen folds.

I shove on him the next hand with jh7h when he opens for 100K, and he folds, then I open-shove with 6hah from the button. I’m up 1.7M to 1M.

Nguyen folds his button on the next hand, then I raise 3d3s the next hand and get another fold.

He raises a hand and I fold, then I bet 120K on the button with 6s6h. That’s also the advice Waylian gives, but the analyzer rates it as a “Questionable Bet — Preflop.” The Nguyen-bot 3-bets to 364K. Against advice, I shove, and Nguyen calls with qsqd. I double him up and he’s ahead 5:2.

I shove 7c9c (advice is to call) over Nguyen’s 88K raise on the next hand. He folds. I shove adts and he folds. He raises my big blind while I’m holding 2stc and I fold. 9sjh is an open-shove. He calls with ac6h, my nine pairs on the flop, and I retake the lead on hand 348.

I fold 3d6s to a raise, then shove kh4d. Nguyen-bot calls with 7had and it’s all over on the river.

Of course, this is not the same as actually playing against Qui Nguyen, and it doesn’t have the stress and environmental factors of a live game with $8.5M up top. I got lucky on my last two hands, winning my all-in with a 43% hand and knocking out Nguyen with only a 36% chance.

Still, I went into the heads-up with the Nguyen-bot with a plan to force the simulation of a high-variance player into high-variance situations.

I hope to do an in-depth review of APT at some point soon, but here’s a little bit about what I could learn from this particular matchup.

I’m particularly fond of this chart, which is produced for each APT session. I’m not necessarily a favorite going into a hand, but in more than half of the hands I played to the turn, I improved my equity (not the case for every one of my sessions on APT). On this particular tournament, I got an overall rating of 115 on APT’s Poker IQ,” with 160 as the max and 100 as the mean average. And I did better (adjusted for luck) than 83% of the other players on the site (though I will point out that falls 2% short of even the 15% payout field of a WSOP event). The chart produced for each session includes ratings for your performance on each street, as well as standard session stats like VPIP and CBET%, situations where you or an opponent raised (with playback links), hands where you won or lost the most, hands you’ve tagged, and hands the analyzer rates aas questionable or interesting. You can view a sample report here.