#PNWPokerCal Planner for 12 October 2016


Five years ago, I was on a mission to get to EPT Prague for my 50th birthday in December. Poker, a big birthday, and snow in St. Wenceslas Square for Christmastime! What could be cooler?

Needless to say, after Phil Laak crushed my dreams at the Venetian, I didn’t make it, and now—with PokerStars rebranding their various tournament series around the world—this year will be the last EPT Prague. SO I’ve only got a couple of months to get things together.

Then again, if any devoted readers want to spring for a great birthday gift, just drop me a message @pokermutant on Twitter.


A week and a half since the Ignition Casino deposit, and no problem with the check bouncing yet. I wrote up the first of the two Thousandaire Maker tournaments I cashed in the other day as Three Hundred Dollars an Hour.

I had one of those aggravating-even-when-positive results the other day in a $55 buyin, $50K guarantee turbo. There was an $8.6K overlay with 828 entries, with a little more than that  set for first. We were down to 19 players when this happened.

Neither a Borrower Nor a Lender Be, Particularly That Lender Part

Is it time to start naming name? Asking for a friend.

Beach Poker Club

The Beach Poker Club opened last week in west Eugene with a big party and a 7-day schedule of at least two tournaments a day (including PLO on Tuesdays at 6pm). According to a post on Tuesday morning, they’re planning a 5-day series 19–23 October, with the schedule to be announced.


Except for a home game, I haven’t had a chance to play live since mid-September. Didn’t make the $20K at Final Table because of work, but I’ve been playing online a lot. Got a concert to go to this Friday (no Final Table for me!) and something that’s going to keep me from playing the big game at Portland Meadows yet again. Is there still live poker in Portland?

Deal of the Week: HPT Championship at Thunder Valley

If you’ve got $3,000 burning a hole in your pocket, you’re in luck, because I have a way you can use it (assuming you’re not donating it to me EPT Prague fund).

The Heartland Poker Tour hits Sacramento’s Thunder Valley Casino this weekend, but the big event is next weekend: a $500K Guarantee, $2,500 buyin Championship event with three starting flights. It’s a three-day tournament, with a televised final table (played on Monday, 25 October).

Last year’s Thunder Valley Championship had just a $1,650 entry fee but still put up a prize pool of $672K, with more than $150K for first.

You can still find round-trip flights to Sacramento for less than 400 thjat get you there before noon when the tournament starts (though there aren’t many direct flights left). ALternatively, if you’ve got the time or a couple of people to travel with, the drive is about ten hours. Alternatively, if you don’t want to drive., you can catch an overnight Greyhound bus at 6:25pm in Portland and get to Sacramento at 6:45am ($107 each way) and take a nap.

Still need to get out to the casino and find somewhere to stay.

This Week in Portland Poker

Thought I was going to get to Final Table’s Wednesday $1K Bounty game but if you follow the blog, you know that it’s waaay past its usual post time, so that’s not happening. Rialto still has cash games every night, there are the afore-mentioned $10K games (Final Table 7pm on Friday and noon at Portland Meadows on Saturday). No big series announced to take the place of the fall EPS—and I haven’t heard a peep about the $200K guarantee Final Table planned before this summer’s unpleasantness—but maybe I’m just out of the loop.

Only a Day Away

  • It’s ig Poker Oktober at LA’s Bicycle Casino through next week. Saturday, Sunday, and Monday are starting days for the CardPlayer Poker Tour Main Event, a $400K guarantee with $1,100 buyin.
  • The HPT kicks off its Thunder Valley Championship stop starting tomorrow with the $425 buyin, $250K guarantee Monolith. As mentioned above, the Main Event next weekend has a $500K guarantee.
  • Kennewick, Washington hosts the Tri-Cities Poker Championship Friday through Sunday at Lucky Bridge Poker.
  • Eugene’s Full House Heads Up Championship runs Saturday and Sunday.
  • WPTDeepstacks San Diego opens at the Oceans 11 Casino on Saturday; they have a $200K guarantee Main Event with starting days next Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
  • The SoCal Poker Classic hits the Hustler Casino next Friday as part of the Liz Flynt Fall Classic. The Main Event is a $240 buyin $200K guarantee with eight starting flights beginning the day before Halloween.
  • The next Venetian Deepstack Extravaganza starts Monday, 24 October and runs through Thanksgiving. It opens with a $150K guarantee $250 buyin and has a total of 56 events.
  • The World Series of Poker Circuit holes up at Harvey’s Lake Tahoe on Thursday, 27 October. It’s one of the smaller-turnout venues for the WSOPC.
  • By contrast, St. Louis is a big destination for the HPT, and its first event is the same day, a $100K guarantee with a $350 buyin.

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

#PNWPokerCal Planner for 5 October 2016


There’s a continuing debate in the poker world over the advisability of playing online poker on unregulated sites in the US. Of course, there’s not much of a debate in Oregon—or most of the rest of the country—since the only regulated online markets in the States are limited to Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware. Every dollar you put somewhere outside the reach of US law, you might be kissing goodbye (then again, Wells Fargo).

That said, of the two larger sites available here in Portland since Black Friday—America’s Cardroom and Bovada—I’ve mostly played on the latter, and haven’t had any trouble with cashouts in the past. So, after moving a small amount of money over to Ignition Casino in the middle of August after getting the notice that they were going to be taking over Bovada’s poker operations, I was interested in finding out how smooth the cashout process would be, after cashing a couple of Thousandaire Maker tournaments early last week.Here’s the timeline so far.

I ordered a $500 cashout by check just after midnight on Sunday night, a few minutes after the tournament ended (technically, early Monday). I got an email immediately, saying the request had been received. No surprise there, it’s auto-generated.

Early Wednesday morning, after I’d written last week’s Planner (but before it was posted), I received an email saying the payment had been approved. That took approximately 50 hours.

Just after 2:30 that same afternoon and just over 62 hours from the time Ignition first acknowledged my request, I got a text with a package tracking number.

According to the delivery track, the truck made it to my house at 9:30 Thursday morning with the check.I was at work, and it required a signature, but I went by the house at lunch and grabbed the delivery slip off the door, then picked the package up out on Swan Island about 6:30 Thursday evening.

Popped the check into my bank Friday at lunch, and the full amount was in my account on Saturday, less than a week after the request. The ATM check reader at my bank won’t process checks from outside the US, but I haven’t had a cashier even mention it (unlike when I tried to just deposit my paycheck for working at the WSOP).

All in all, a pretty smooth first experience. I did experience some angst on Saturday night when after logging into the client, I saw that almost no tournaments were running, and cash tables were shutting down, but that was during the shutdown of the Bovada system at the end of September. Since then, things seem to be running as normal.

That’s not to say that something couldn’t happen yet. The check could come back as unpaid. They could be paying out early withdrawals extra fast in order to make it look like they’re solvent when they’re not. I certainly hope that’s not the case, because I’ve got some money on there I’d like to run up.

Neither a Borrower Nor a Lender Be, Particularly That Lender Part

What do you do when you go out of your way to help someone out with a $400 poker loan after you’ve hit a decent score, they pay you back half, then after they don’t pay you the other $200 for ten months, they score way bigger than you did and are still kind of relaxed about paying you back for several weeks?

Asking for a friend. At least my “friend” didn’t get dunned by the Global Poker League’s Alex Dreyfus; then again Dreyfus not only paid it back faster, he paid interest.

VIP Poker Club

If you’re on the west side of the Portland Metro area, the VIP Poker Club is operating at several venues five days a week, including—as of last Wednesday—The Game on SW Barbur. Other venues are Pyzano’s in Beaverton, Dublin Pub in Portland, Hanko’s in Lake Oswego, The Jungle Room in Cornelius, and The Hubbard in in Hubbard.

Deal of the Week: Heads Up at Full House

Notice is a little late, but Full House Poker in Eugene is running another Heads Up tournament 15–16 October. You can not only enter into the tournament multiple times, but you can potentially cash multiple times with multiple entries (no fair playing with yourself!)

No idea what the payout structure is, but presumably the folks at Full House can clue you in on that. Prices are $200 per seat, $350 of you buy two entries, and $500 if you buy 3.

This Week in Portland Poker

It’s the first weekend of the month, which means I finally have something out of the ordinary schedule, even if it is on the monthly schedule. It’s time for the Final Table First Friday $20K Guarantee. I know I’m eager, especially after missing Friday’s weekly $10K there and the weekly $10K at Portland Meadows at noon on Saturday.

Only a Day Away

  • The Wynn Fall Classic‘s $400K Main Event is this weekend. It’s a $1,600 buyin three-day tournament, with starting flights on Friday and Saturday.
  • Heartland Poker Tour has an $1,100 Main Event with entry days on Friday and Saturday at the Peppermill Casino in Reno.
  • Deepstacks Poker Tour Casino Yellowhead finishes off with a Main Event (C$1,100 buyin) that has a C$300K guarantee and starting days on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
  • Thursday, Friday, and Saturday are three more entry flights at the Bicycle Casino for the SoCal Poker Championship $3M guarantee. You can also buy into Day 2 directly on Sunday for $4,500. Monday is the first of four entry days to a $150K guarantee with a $180 buyin.
  • The Venetian‘s October Weekend Extravaganza starts Thursday with a $250 buyin $80,000 guarantee and other events.
  • Next Thursday, the HPT  moves to Thunder Valley.
  • Kennewick, Washington is the host of the Tri-Cities Poker Championship next Friday through Sunday at Lucky Bridge Poker. It’s a $250 buyin, two-day event, with $2,500 added to the prize pool.
  • That weekend is also the Full House Heads Up Championship (see above).
  • WPTDeepstacks San Diego opens at the Oceans 11 Casino on Saturday, 15 October.

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

#PNWPokerCal Planner for 28 September 2016


Like a lot of people who were playing poker on Bovada, I moved my account over to Ignition Casino earlier this month, since Bovada is shutting down poker operations at the end of September. The software with anonymous tables is the same, the tournament and cash offerings are identical, so far as I’ve been able to tell, and if you were willing to risk the unregulated Bovada environment, it didn’t seem as if there was any more of a reason not to trust the new site. I was willing to give them a try. I hadn’t had an issue with checks out of Bovada, so Sunday night, after I cashed in the nightly Thousandaire Maker Survivor-style tournament, I put in a request for $500 to see what would happen (just for comparison, my most recent withdrawal request on Bovada took three days for approval, and I had a check three days after that).

I was feeling a little pleased with myself, after having to miss the $20K guarantee at Portland Meadows Sunday afternoon, and lasting all of five hands in the only live game I’d gotten a chance to play, when my kings got cracked by a flush at Final Table’s $10K guarantee.

The, Tuesday morning, this showed up in my Twitter feed.

Yikes. People are passing around a counter-argument from USAFriendlyPokerSites.com, but I’d give more weight to that argument if it was from someone with contact information on their web site, and if the last line in the article wasn’t a plug for Ignition’s sign-up bonuses…I’m going to console myself with having cashed another Thousandaire maker while I was writing this up Tuesday night.


Honey, I Shrunk the Portland Poker World!

It was a tough week of news for Portland poker venues.

Thursday, Chadd Baker announced he was closing up Portland Players Club for good, after running it in A&L Sports Pub for the past nine months. He hadn’t been running a full schedule since moving across the street, and with the start of football season, the room was going to be otherwise occupied on Sundays, one of his days of operation. In his note, he mentions that Portland Meadows intends to pick up some of the slack in Portland Big O, with tournaments on Fridays (6:30pm) and Sundays (4:00pm).

A story in last week’s Willamette Week marked the upcoming closure of the Rialto Pool Hall and the Jack London Bar, the location of the Monday Mix and the last downtown poker venue. Rialto’s not closing until Christmas, but that is less than three months off. The Mix has already survived two venue changes. Maybe the third time will be the charm.

In fact, the first site for the Mix was in BC’s Bar, underneath Aces Full Players Club on Powell. Ricky Lee posted on Tuesday that Aces will be moving downstairs on 10 October, just a couple of weeks from now. Aces was always a spacious club, with plenty of room between the tables, but they haven’t held large events for some time.

Deal of the Week: Wildhorse Fall Poker Round Up

It may be hard to believe but it’s almost October, so it’s just five weeks to the start of the Fall Poker Round Up in Pendleton. The Round Up schedule doesn’t vary much, and this edition is no exception, though prices do seem to have risen a little, with the opening event coming in at a $175 buyin ($3,000 added, last year it was $125 buyin), and the first Saturday tournament at $230 buyin ($3,000 added). NLHE Shootout on Sunday, Omaha Hi-Low on Monday, HORSE and Turbo NLHE Tuesday, Seniors NLHE on Wednesday, a $1,100 NLHE High Roller (and another NLHE tournament) Thursday, NLHE on Friday, and the Main Event on Saturday and Sunday, 12–13 November, with another Turbo Saturday night.

Strap on your cold-weather gear and get ready for the great migration east.

This Week in Portland Poker

Last Sunday’s $20,000 guarantee at Portland Meadows took me by surprise. I didn’t hear anything about it until Friday, though it seems some of my supposed friends knew about it. I’m looking at you, Brad and Steve. That said, I don’t have any big event news by post day for the third week in a row. I will broadcast late-breaking events in the @pokermutant Twitter feed, with the #PNWPokerCal hashtag.

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 21 September 2016


I’m Ready for My Close-Up, Mr Effel

So far as I can tell, this is my only appearance in the WSOP Main Event coverage, some B-roll from Day 4 that was used near the end of the first segment of Day 5, caught in the background at the media desk for about a second as the camera pans to follow some guys wheeling tables out of the room. That said, despite not even ever really being interested in sports, I think I’m the first person in my family to make it onto ESPN.

screen-shot-2016-09-20-at-9-32-19-pmThe Death Star of Oregon Poker

Chris Vetter uses the phrase to refer to the late Encore Club in both a video he posted to Facebook of the empty space on NW 16th & Glisan, and in an interview he gave to Brian Pempus on CardPlayer.com about the current situation for poker in Portland.

The State of Portland Poker

Not a lot of time for poker on my end this week after bricking the Main Event at Chinook Winds last week. A non-poker trip to Astoria; had to skip the home game because of work; cashed in a couple of online Omaha tournaments and broke even in micro-stakes cash games. Looking forward to playing some live again soon.

Jake Dahl Knows a Guy

Speaking of online, pro Jake Dahl says he has a connection that can get 13% rakeback for players switching from Bovada to Ignition, as Bovada closes up shop to poker at the end of the month. So if you haven’t made the switch (too late for some of us), contact him via Facebook.

Weekend Getaway: Rouge Valley Raymer


The Rogue Valley Poker Classic runs mostly on Sunday afternoons through the fall in the Medford Social Club Poker Room. It culminates in a $10,000 guarantee Main Event in early December, but on 9 October, one of the preliminary events (a $115 buyin NLHE tournament) will have 2004 WSOP Champion Greg Raymer as a guest. Raymer made a deep run in the Main Event this summer, and last year he won two HPT titles, so the competition in this small tournament may make the trip down south worth it just to whet your own skills.

This Week in Portland Poker

Wish I had more to report here. Nothing special 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 14 September 2016

2016 WSOP

ESPN‘s coverage of this year’s World Series of Poker Main Event started this week on Sunday, with Day 4 of the tournament. It was my last day on the job as a live reporter, and I was watching in the background to see if I managed to walk in front of a camera. No luck, but Oregon got a little airtime, with dealer Devin Sweet sharing some screen with Maria Ho, and in the last big hand of the day’s coverage, with Portland-born Cole Jackson‘s alma mater Linfield College and Wilsonville getting the classic Norman Chad reference to the Blue Hens as the school mascot.


The Trouble With Dealers

Elijah Post put out a short film about his experiences at the WSOP in 2013 and 2014. Not a lot of poker action, but if you want to see the unvarnished secret lives of dealers…

The State of Portland Poker

There’s no feeling like screwing up when you know you’re screwing up, and the ecent I’d been looking forward to for months—the $100,000 guarantee Main Event at Chinook WInds’ Fall Coast Classic was a monumental screw-up on my part.


I wasn’t able to make the rest of the series because of work. Back after the spring PacWest Poker Classic, I’d talked to Tournament Director Rebecca May about setting up some sort of live reporting system (well before I got a whiff of the WSOP gig), put together a proposal, and kept in touch. Timing and other issues didn’t work out, but Rebecca and Devin did manage to wangle a room for me for a couple of days for the weekend, so I was stoked about the event.

It started off well enough. Everyone got 30,000 in chips to begin, and I’m reasonably sure the extra 10,000 chips for $25 ended up in all of the stacks. I went down a few thousand, and up a few thousand. My plan for the tournament was to record every hand with the patented scrawl grid I’d used at the WSOP, and I bought four small notepads at the Safeway Friday night before the tournament. Each pad only had 60 pages, though, which would only last about two hours at a page per hand, so I was a bit concerned about running out of pages if I made it even deep into Day 1. As it turned out, I needn’t have worried.

For one thing, while I can record hands pretty well as an observer, keeping track of more than just cards I’m dealt proved harder than I expected, particularly when the table was short-handed at the opening of the game. That did mean that I could squeeze several rows of dealt cards onto a single page. The problem is, recording significant hands is where the real meat resides. Anyway, I was down about 1,000 chips and 26 hands in when I failed to record even the cards I’d been dealt for the first time.

It was hand 39 that got me. I was in the big blind in level 2, with right around 40,000 and 9stc. An early position player raised to three or four times the big blind, SN in the small blind called, and I came along. The flop looked dreamy: 9c8c7c, giving me the open-ended straight flush draw and top pair. I don’t remember the action (and I didn’t write it down afterward) but the turn was a low non-club card. The turn was the js, the wrong black jack for me, but one that still gave me a straight. I opened to 4,000 (there had been some action on the turn that justified the bet, then the original raiser overbet the pot to 20,000. Now, the smart thing to do there would be to fold, leaving me with 31,000 and change. The calculus for me was that unless he hit the flush on the flop, or had qxtx, I’ve got him dead to rights. Aces, kings, queens, even a set of jacks are beat by my straight. I have 100 big blinds left if I lose, and 350 if I win. So I call and he has acqc. I got Malec-ed.


At the break not long after, I overhear the guy telling another player the overbet was intentional, so I’m pretty sure if I’d had jctc or either end of the straight flush had come in and I’d 3-bet him on the river, I would have gotten all of his chips. My only note on the hand after I wrote down my position and the cards was “BOOM.”

I stopped recording for a while after that, then pulled the pad out after the break. I was starting with 15,625. I only recorded 13 nothingburger hands, and I think hand 14 was where I had raised axqx in early position and called a re-raise from middle position to see a flop of axaxtx. The turn and river were 6x7x. Don’t remember the action on the flop and turn; I think they may been checked, but when I checked the river my opponent got impatient and bet 5,000, which I had to call even though I was again feeling like I might be beat. Naturally he had txtx for a flopped full house. He did say something about not understanding how I didn’t go broke on that hand.

That did leave me with less than 10,000. which got whittled away. Picked up txtx and shoved over a couple of limpers, including a short stack who happened to have axax, and I was out in a blistering two hours and twenty-five minutes.

Played a little 1/3 NLHE that night in the cash game while I was checking up on a couple of people, and made a few dollars, then switched over to the 1/2 Big O when it started up and lost my buyin and profit when I shoved with top set on a qx9s7s board, lost the main pot to a shorter stack who pulled out a flush and low for a scoop and just chopped the $76 side pot with a third player


Photo via Devin Sweet’s post to the Facebook NW Poker group.

I should have some more info on the events there by next week.

Weekend Getaway: Grey Eagle Calgary

The Deepstacks Poker Tour doesn’t come to Oregon any more, but since pulling out they’ve partnered with the WPT to become sort of a feeder series like what the WSOP Circuit is for the WSOP. Their Canadian stops aren’t WPT-branded, but the upcoming Calgary stop at the end of October is a big event, even as the oil industry behind Alberta’s book years has had a hard time recently.

This week, the DSPT announced that the Calgary Main Event (C$2,500/US$1,900 buyin) will have an increased guarantee of C$1,000,000 (US$760,000), twice the previous amount. Other announcements at the DSPT in recent weeks have included a partnership with Jason Somerville, who will  be livestreaming events throughout the week and hosting the broadcast of the final table on Twitch.tv.

The full schedule for the series hasn’t been released yet, but the Championship Main Event runs from 2–5 December. Rooms at the Grey Eagle Resort & Casino (the event venue) are about US$125/night. This far out, round-trip flights to Calgary are cheap, with direct service from PDX to YYC for about US$285 on Air Canada.

This Week in Portland Poker

Another quiet week—i.e. no announced specials as of Tuesday evening that I’m aware of. The big games are going to be at 7pm at Final Table on Friday and noon Saturday at Portland Meadows. Last week was the final run of the Sunday Big O tournament at A&L Sports Bar/Portland Players Club, as as the room reverts back to football use for the season.

Only a Day Away

  • It’s opening day for the Muckleshoot Summer Classic. This week’s events include today’s $250 NLHE shootout, with standard $200, $300, $500, and $750 tournaments starting through Sunday.
  • The Venetian Deepstack Extravaganza 3.5 has a couple of smaller events this weekend, with a one-day $25K guarantee on Friday for a $340 buyin, a two entry day $125K on Friday and Saturday for $600, with PLO/PLO8 and NLHE bounty tournament in the evening. Coming up next week is a $250K guarantee with a $250 buyin and five starting days.
  • The Commerce Poker Series in Los Angeles draws to a close with a $1,650 buyin $500K guarantee Main Event with starting flights Friday and Saturday.
  • The HPT Colorado Main Event has four starting days from today until Saturday. $1,650 buyin.
  • Friday is the start of the Gardens Poker Classic in Los Angeles.
  • CardPlayer Cruises leaves from Seattle on Friday.
  • The WPTDeepstacks tour rolls into Casino del Sol in Tucson on Saturday.
  • Next Friday is the start of the Stones Gambling Hall $250,000 Fall Classic
  • Two weeks from now is the Wynn Fall Classic, followed a day later by another HPT at the Peppermill Casino, then the Deepstacks Poker Tour pulls into Edmonton Alberta for ten days.

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

#PNWPokerCal Planner for 7 September 2016


I wrote an article a few weeks back for PokerNews on the current situation for poker in Portland that includes quotes from Chadd Baker of Portland Players Club, player David Long, and author Zach Elwood. Updated it a little a week or so ago, and it’s finally made it to the site.


Long, Beautiful Hair

With all the angst and turmoil in the Portland poker scene the past few weeks,how about something on the lighter side? This was the response from Donnie Peters—former Editor-in-Chief at PokerNews and now in the marketing department at the World Poker Tour—to a photo (on left) I tweeted of Huck Seed playing last Friday’s $20K at Final Table, and focused on something entirely different: dealer Wayne’s impressive beard.

And in some Seed trivia, it’s apparently not the first time he’s been in Portland for part of a summer.

Memorial for John Ogai

Last Sunday, family, friends, and acquaintances of Encore Club owner John Ogai got together in Portland’s Washington Park.

IMG_3031 IMG_3032

The State of Portland Poker

I min-cashed in two of the seven tournaments I played on Ignition Casino this week, getting 85th in a 740-entry tournament and 4th in a small Omaha Hi-Lo Bounty (along with two bounties that were half of the buyin each). Played a couple cash sessions and made a few bucks, including one PLO session where I quadrupled my small buyin.

The big game of the week for me was the $20K guarantee at Final Table. I had to rebuy not long before break at an active table after getting to the club at the half-hour mark, with my friend BP on my left and AR and DH in the 1 and 2 seats, respectively. I raised axkx in early position, got called by DH on the button, if I remember correctly, and he called with bottom pair—the bottom pair, as he was playing 6x2x—when I shoved from a short stack. DH was short as well, but I got a new stack, then did the addon.

Most of the rest of the night went reasonably well. AR and DH were both gone before our temporary table broke. BP moved to a seat on Huck Seed’s left and was there for a couple of hours at least, while I bounced through three table breaks.

I got up over the chip average, then took a bit of a bath on a hand when I 3-bet/shoved adjd (Mutant Jack!) over an active raiser, then the big blind didn’t notice my bet and shoved for less with 9d6d. The original raiser folded, and by the turn, the big blind had a gutshot straight, with a ten and seven on the board. He caught a six on the river and I lost more than half my stack. Two hands later he lost all of his chips with axkx to a DT with a huge stack and axqx.

I built my way back up to average, though, as usual in Portland tournaments at this stage, the average was somewhere between 10 and 15 big blinds. By the time we were down to four tables, both BP and Seed were gone. We were closing in on three tables and only a table away from the money when a guy two seats ahead of me in the cutoff made his third or fourth all-in shove in less than two orbits. The player on the button tanked long enough that someone called for the clock. I was fairly interested in what he was about to do because I had txtx and I was going to be all in to call, but I wasn’t going to do that if the button called. I kind of wish he had. He eventually folded, I called, the big blind folded, and I was up against 3x3x (the button said he’d had axjx). The flop came out ax2x4x, there was something like a seven on the turn, and naturally the river was 5x, knocking me out eight spots short of the money instead of putting me up to about 25bb. I’d have lost there with aces, too.


Weekend Getaway: Have You Got the Stones?

If you’re looking for a quick weekend of poker after Chinook and Muckleshoot, look to the Stones Gambling Hall in Citrus Heights, a suburb northeast of Sacramento.

Their $250,000 Fall Classic starts Friday, 23 September, and the roster of commentators on the live stream final tables includes Bart Hanson, Lon McEachernDavid Tuchman, and Chris Moneymaker. Opening weekend, there’s a $500 entry Monster Stack with 30-minute levels and 30K in chips, with a $75,000 guarantee on Saturday, then a $40,000 guarantee$350 entry 40-minute level, 15K starting stack on Sunday. Both events are just one day and start at 10am.

Flights to Sacramento are less than $100 each way right now; Stones is about 20 miles from the airport, on the opposite side of town. As prices go up, you might be able to get an overnight bus to Sacramento from Portland for $75 (one-way); leave in the evening and get into downtown Sacto with plenty of time to make kickoff and free wifi all the way. Beats driving all night then having to play poker all day.

Once you get there, you’ll probably need to rent a car, is for no other reason than you won’t be able to get a hotel room anywhere near Stones for a price that makes sense.

This Week in Portland Poker

Things may be a little quiet with the Fall Coast Classic going on at Chinook Winds, then again, there were late announcements over the weekend for an $8K at Portland Meadows that got 260+ entries, and a Labor Day special on Monday night, so who knows what the weekend holds in store?

Only a Day Away

  • Tonight at 7pm is the last satellite for the Muckleshoot Summer Classic series.
  • The Fall Coast Poker Classic at Chinook Winds Casino got going yesterday with the Seniors tournament, which had 179 entries. By the time you read this, if you’re not already at the beach, it’s probably too late to get there in time for the $330 Big O tournament at noon, But tomorrow is a $25K guarantee NLHE and $10K O8, Friday is the $20K NLHE 6-Max, and Saturday is the $100K NLHE Main Event ($550 entry and $200 addon).
  • This weekend at the Venetian Deepstack Extravaganza 3.5, there’s a $1M guarantee event with entry days ($3,500 buyin) on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. It’s a three-day event with Day 3 on Tuesday.
  • The Commerce Poker Series in Los Angeles has a $470 buyin $200K guarantee this week, with entry days on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and Day 2 on Sunday. There are two $50K guarantees on Saturday and Sunday, for $175 and $240, respectively, with the Sunday event awarding $50 bounties on top of the guarantee.
  • The South Sound Poker Championship at Little Creek Casino west of Olympia runs through Sunday, with the big event on Saturday: $340 buyin with $3K added to the prize pool. You can buy in online through their web site.
  • Friday is the Todd Brunson Montana Poker Challenge; see last week’s Planner for more info.
  • HPT Colorado opens up Friday, at Golden Gates Casino in Black Hawk.
  • The Muckleshoot Poker Summer Classic is just one week away.
  • A week from Friday is the start of the Gardens Poker Classic in Los Angeles, which starts with a $260 (including $100 addon) $50K event, and includes the first leg of the Socal Poker Championships (see the Deal a few weeks back for more info).
  • It’s probably too late to get aboard, but CardPlayer Cruises leaves from Seattle on Friday, 16 September.
  • The WPTDeepstacks tour rolls into Casino del Sol in Tucson on 17 September.

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

#PNWPokerCal Planner for 31 August 2016

John Ogai

Photo via Wayne Taylor’s Facebook page

Ode to Ogai

If you’re reading this, you’re probably already aware of reports that Zhenya “John” Ogai, the man behind the Encore Club until it closed in July, has passed away.

Dan Beecher posted an announcement in the NW Poker Facebook forum just before noon on Tuesday, and details about when John died weren’t forthcoming, but Dan wrote that “services commenced this [Tuesday] morning.


Opening night at Encore Club, October 2010

I briefly mentioned what Encore meant to me in the first weekly round-up I did after I got back from Las Vegas this summer, but as the most-trafficked club in the city—and one of the biggest poker operations in the Northwest—it meant a lot to most Portland players, even if they didn’t play there themselves. And John was the guy running the show.

It can’t have been an easy task, running a business while treading the narrow ledge of city and state regulations that have governed the Portland poker scene for nearly six years.

I’m not sure when I became aware of Encore. I started manually logging every poker session I played not long after Black Friday, and the first entry I have for Encore is in June of 2011. My third tournament there was (if I remember correctly) the first $10K guarantee they ran (I made the final table for 7th place), and my 20th was a couple of months after that, when I got second in a $3K Champions Freeroll (my first cash for more than $1K). I had my three biggest-ever cashes at Encore. But even though I have nearly 450 poker sessions logged there (almost all of them tournaments), I never got to know John well myself, though we talked nearly every time I ran into him.

Paradoxically, the largest block of time I spent with John was just this spring, as Encore was undergoing its enforced transformation into PDX Poker Club. He was looking for some advice on transitioning the web site, and I was in need of some work. As it happened, between the timing of the changeover and my schedule to leave for Las Vegas, things didn’t work out for me doing anything significant, but we had a nice chat and I moved some computer files to the new web site for him. It’s exceedingly strange to think that I won’t run into him again.

Sharks Circling the Sinking Poker Ship?

Nah. Just a couple of Huck Seed sightings. The WSOP Main Event winner was reportedly in town for a wedding and dropped by Final Table on Friday, then swung by Rialto for some hot 50¢/$1 NLHE action on Monday night.


Huck Seed at Rialto via Devin Sweet’s Facebook post


Huck Seed at Final Table via Daniel Ross’ Facebook post






Nobody ever takes a picture from his right side. Some sort of Fring thing?


Start Your DVRs

ESPN’s 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event coverage starts Sunday, 11 September at 5:30 Pacific. But you can get in the mood next Tuesday (6 September) with two episodes of the Global Casino Championship at 7pm on ESPN2.

The State of Portland Poker

Yes, gentle reader, I cast caution to the wind and put some money on Ignition Casino. I intended to play the Thousandaire Maker on Thursday night, but it was cancelled because there were only about eight players registered at start time. Played a Hyper Turbo Sit-and-Go, just three hands of a 6-Max where I saw the guy who took out my jdjs get aces twice (online poker is rigged!), halfway through the Sunday Thousandaire, then pulled off fifth place in a 62-player PLO tournament. Didn’t manage to repeat in the Final Table $10K (the guy who took me out the previous week won that one), but I was under 10bb and shoved axqx, got called by axtx and a ten hit the flop to take me out 72nd of 101.


This Week in Portland Poker

  • Friday night is the First Friday $20K at Final Table. The new format is $80 buyin/rebuy and $40 addon. Only one live rebuy this month.
  • There hasn’t been an announcement of the times yet, but I understand that Rialto is hoping to run single-table satellites over the next couple of days for the Main Event and Big O tournaments at next week’s Chinook Winds Fall Poker Classic.

Only a Day Away

New events on the calendar are the Rouge Valley Poker Classic, the South Sound Poker Championship, and the Todd Brunson Montana Poker Challenge.

  • Tonight at 7pm is another satellite for the Muckleshoot Summer Classic series.
  • The Bicycle Casino/WPT Legends of Poker wraps up with its final $240 event today, but you can buy in to Day 2 of the $100K guarantee for $1,400 (12% advance from Day 1) and get 125,000 in chips. No late reg, be there by 1:20.
  • Sunday, Chinook Winds is hosting a 1-seat guaranteed satellite tournaments for their Fall Coast Poker Classic Main Event ($550 buyin, $200 addon). The Classic itself starts Tuesday with a 55+ Seniors tournament.
  • HPT Indiana at Ameristar Casino Hotel, East Chicago wraps up this weekend with three flights to the $1,650 Main Event, with the first flight tomorrow.
  • WSOP Circuit Las Vegas, at Planet Hollywood is ending on Labor Day. The $750,000 guarantee Main Event has flights on Friday and Saturday, with a $1,675 buyin.
  • Friday and Saturday at the Pure Poker Summer Showdown at Casino Yellowhead in Edmonton, the Main Event (C$1,100 buyin) gets going. Day 2 is on Sunday.
  • Tomorrow, the Venetian Deepstack Extravaganza 3.5 starts small with a $200 buyin $10K. Friday through Sunday at noon are starting flights for a $340 buyin $150K, with a $10K Omaha 8/B Friday afternoon and other events at 7pm every day.
  • The Commerce Poker Series in Los Angeles is also under way tomorrow, with a $100 buyin $50K at 5pm. Friday has another tournament with the same structure at 1pm, and a $175 $25K 8-hour Time’s Up tournament at 5pm, where the money is chopped by “chip stack equity” at the end of Level 20.
  • Monday is the start of the South Sound Poker Championship at Little Creek Casino west of Olympia. There’s a satellite (presumably to the Main Event) Monday, with a Seniors (50+) tournament Tuesday, Bounty on Wednesday, and a $340 Main Event on Saturday.
  • A week from Friday is the Todd Brunson Montana Poker Challenge. In it’s tenth year, it’s held at Marina Cay Lodge on Flathead Lake, about 10 hours by car from Portland, through Spokane. The info on the tournament is sparse, but it appears to be a $333 buyin with four live rebuys during Day 1 (9 September). So if Chinook Winds is too…beachy…for you, you can hang out with Todd and the gang. The web page for the event has photos (no names) of Doyle and Pam Brunson, Hoyt Corkins, Michael Mizrachi, and Gavin Smith, though it doesn’t promise that any of those people will actually be there….
  • HPT Colorado opens up next Thursday, as well, at Golden Gates Casino in Black Hawk.
  • The Muckleshoot Poker Summer Classic is just two weeks away.

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

#PNWPokerCal Planner for 23 August 2016

Hit Job

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

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

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

The State of Portland Poker

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

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

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


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

Deal of the Week: SoCal Poker Championships

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This Week In Portland Poker

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

Only a Day Away

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

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

#PNWPokerCal Planner for 17 August 2016

Tribune, Assemble!

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

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

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

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

Bovada Nada

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

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

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

The State of Portland Poker

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

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

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

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

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


Deal of the Week: Muckleshoot Poker Summer Classic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This Week in Portland Poker

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

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

Only a Day Away

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

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

#PNWPokerCal Planner for 10 August 2016

The State of Portland Poker 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image via Jason Brown

Image via Jason Brown

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


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

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

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


Deal of the Week: Chinook Winds Fall Poker Classic

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

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

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

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

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

This Week in Portland Poker

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

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

Only a Day Away

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

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