W-Day Minus 3: Leaving Money On the Table

Yesterday got off to a slow start, as I hung around the house for a while working on the computer. I followed up a response to the WSOP’s soon-to-be-official Twitter boss Kevin Mathers about the sizes of the Daily Deepstacks with a link to my article from last year with a chart of the prize pools through the whole season. You might find it useful. Cliff’s Notes: Mondays are usually the largest prize pools, probably as everyone takes one last shot before they head home from a long weekend.

Played a little microstakes NLHE 6-Max on WSOP.com and lost the last $5 I had on there. kcas called after the two-diamond flop by 8d6d and I lose 45BB. Onward!

Headed over in the afternoon to the Orleans. There was a long list for the 4/8 O8 game, but 4/8 Omaha had a seat open and I popped in there. Before I get my chips, I’m in BB with a couple of tens in my hand, but fold after the flop. There’s a crazy guy in seat 1, raising every hand. As it happens, I should have played with my tens, because by the river I would have made a set in a huge pot, and it would be the only hand in the session that I would have won. Crazy guy was literally shoveling chips into other players’ stacks and it felt as if vultures were swarming to get at the carcass because every time a seat or two opened, it would be instantly filled. He was blowing through buyins so quickly that he’d put a hundred on the table after getting felted, and half the chips would be “in the pot” before the runner arrived with a rack. Frustrating not to be able to get a piece of that. After a hand where I made three pair on the tx7x4x flop, I lost a good portion of my chips when an ace made a better two pair and it was downhill from there.

LV Khrung SiamI had a few hours to kill before either of the tournaments I wanted to play, so I went to the restaurant Tomer and I went to almost every night when I visited him during trips to the Series. Krung Siam’s just a couple minutes drive up Valley View Road from the Rio—though it’s a long, hot walk in the Vegas summer. Then again, what isn’t? Got Drunken Noodles at a 7 on a scale of 10. Either I’m getting older or my memory of their heat scale is faulty. After the first bite, I was wondering if this was a good idea before I needed to sit for several hours in a tournament. And yes, I am trying to smile there (this was pre-dinner). That’s just the way it comes out.

My choices for the evening were the 7pm HORSE tournament at the Orleans or the $15K guaranteed NLHE Survivor at the Venetian. I love playing HORSE, and the buyin was a third of the Survivor—which was an advantage on my poker blogger bankroll—but the median ROI advantage of the Survivor’s flat payout structure overcame my aversion to putting more than I’d just lost in the Omaha session in play, so I drove over and parked at the Venetian, registered for the tournament, then went looking for something like some ice cream to counteract the Drunken Noodles. Walked down to the Ben & Jerry’s at Casino Royale, but they didn’t have anywhere to sit; checked in at the new White Castle there but the line was incredible. There were any number of places in the Venetian itself to get gelato, but I wanted real ice cream, and finally found it after I went back up to the second level of the Venetian and found a Johnny Rockets, where I could get a chocolate shake.

The game did not start off well for me. I quickly lost half my chips by somewhere in Level 2. Not doing anything bad, just having hands go wrong. There was a fair amount of aggression in the early stages, so the pots got large fast, and that meant some punishment when I had to fold. After a while, things turned around and I beat my way back up to starting stack and above.

A couple of tables away, the final table of the first event in the Deepstack Extravaganza III was playing out. It was rather odd to think that both Carlos Mortensen and Joseph Cheong—each of whom has more than $11M in live tournament earnings—were playing in a $400 buyin tournament with a top prize of a little over $50K, but there they were, sitting next to each other without all the hubbub of the WSOP or WPT surrounding them. (Mortensen ended up 5th, Cheong took 4th.) Then again, I got knocked out of a $300 tournament by a billionaire a couple of years ago.


Somewhere in the middle of the tournament, I picked up qxqx and shoved from the BB over a bunch of callers and a short-stack raise. One of the big stacks called, and the short stack went all in to show axax. The big stack had txtx. The aces held up, and the player tripled her stack, but I had her covered by enough that I came out with a gain. From there, for a while, I had a run of very good hand and the position to take advantage of them. People folded when I raised with not-so-good hands, and they called when I had monsters. And the monsters held up. I took out several players as the tournament played IMG_2794down to three—and then two—tables. We’d started with 73, so the Survivor format (please, someone in Portland start a series of these!) paid out $2.5K for seven players as a straight chop, with an eighth getting $750. Starting stack is 12K, average stack at chop time is 120K (a little more than that in the nice, clean, new Venetian tournament chips in the photo—I forgot my card protector at the house), so if you could get up to 100K or more, unless you did stupid stuff like try to knock more players out, you were golden. Some people can’t help themselves. One young guy who’d looked me over and given me the “I’m letting you get away with it this time” speech before laying down his SB to my UTG raise with ah6h blew away a stack comparable to mine, and ended up with eighth place.

We survivors congratulated ourselves—I had a good time talking to my table neighbor Jason T who just swapped sides after the final table redraw and squeaked into the big money after falling victim to several of my three-bets—and picked up the payout chips from the desk. This almost proved to be my undoing. I stopped on the way to the payout cage to take a picture, then picked the chips up and got in line behind a guy with a couple racks of considerably more cash game chips. He asked if I’d been in the tournament (he may have thought I was in the $150K or the SuperStack that was still running), then asked about the payout, saying “Everyone get $2K”? I looked at the chips in my hand and there were indeed just the two $1K chips. I didn’t see how I could have dropped the $500 chip—I had a death grip on the yellows—so I walked back over the short path I’d taken and sure enough, there on the table where I’d taken the picture below was the $500. If you look close, you’ll see it’s a little smaller than the $1K chips; I’d stacked it on the bottom when I was picking them up, and didn’t notice it got left behind. Vanity may not kill you but it could cost you a pretty $500.


W-Day Minus 4: Let There Be Light

I stopped overnight on my way south to Las Vegas at a Motel 6 in South Sacramento. My wife’s rule of thumb is that if there’s a directional modifier attached to the name of the town or city, there’s probably something wrong. Bend v. North Bend (it may work even if the cities aren’t near each other), St. Louis v. East St. Louis, Sacramento v. South Sacramento. That’s not to say that the non-direction place names are necessarily good, just that the directional makes the city less savory.

I got to the motel about 8pm on a Friday night, and half the driveway was coned off. There were two guys in uniform at the entrance to the motel driveway, and on closer examination, they both had handguns strapped to their waists. The good news was, they weren’t police responding to some sort of horrible crime. The not-so-good news is, they were armed security hired by the motel, presumably because they feel there’s some sort of need for armed security. I checked in, went to my room, hauled all the computer equipment into the room (which was the plan, anyway) and hit the air conditioning. All I know is, when I go to Lincoln City, there’s no armed guards at the Motel 6.

Sacramento’s about halfway to Vegas on my route through Bakersfield. In the morning I hauled my stuff back out to the car, chatted up the morning duty guard (I did actually work a stint as a guard myself a couple of years ago), and got back on the road.

On the way south I listened to a mix I put together a few years back, specifically targeted to keep me awake while I was driving, then switched over to the PokerNews Podcast, where I caught Chris Sigman of Vancouver calling in to Donnie Peters and Rich Ryan with an idea for generating some more heat at the November (or whatever it is this year) Nine.

Once I rounded Bakersfield and got to Interstate 15 toward Las Vegas, my trusty Ford Escort was overtaken by a steady stream of Porches, BMWs, Mercedes, and other luxury and semi-luxury sedans, most of which seemed to have been just driven off the lot that day without any type of license plate. I was doing anywhere between over the speed limit and way over the speed limit myself. Had to laugh at the absurdity of a distance sign with LAS VEGAS and SALT LAKE CITY stacked above each other. Then, after rounding a bend coming down out of the mountains, I found myself drawn to the collector of the Ivanpah solar farm, which I assumed at first was simply reflecting heat at the position from which I’d first seen it. As I drove down the incline and around the plant, however, it felt as if the bright light was following me, and I realized that it reflected sunlight in all directions. It was hot, and I started to wonder how long it would be before I burst into flame like an ant under a microscope.

I’m renting a room from an incredibly gracious host in Las Vegas, whose new house in town just closed last week. He and his folks just got into town in the morning with furniture and spent the whole day setting up beds, and even though it wasn’t really ready for room tenantry, he allowed me to come on in. Which is a good thing, because there are literally no rooms left in town for Memorial Day weekend.

Got my big computer set up (I’m travelling with a large contingent: my iPhone, four tablets of various types, two laptops (Windows and MacOS), and my main workstation, though I left one of the big screens at home. Wifi was already set up in the house. First things first. Played a tournament on WSOP.com for the first time in a year while my host and his folks went out to buy a few items and get some dinner and busted 30/82 after refusing to rebuy or add on. Then headed over to the Orleans for a little 4/8 Omaha Hi-Lo and made enough in fifty minutes to buy a nice little late-night steak dinner. Best hand included as2s to make the nut-nut kill pot.

#PNWPokerCalendar Planner for 25 May 2016

Third-Level Thinking

The title of my last article at PokerNews before the start of the WSOP makes it sound like it ’s only applicable to the Colossus II tournament the first weekend of series, but it applies to all of the NLHE events with buyins of $1K or less. Bringing antes up from Level 5 to Level 3 and shortening the length of levels in tournaments under $1K, makes it imperative to build up your stack in the first hour of play.


Part Time Poker

The poker news (as opposed to PokerNews) web site Part Time Poker started a weekly podcast a couple of months ago, hosted by Andrew (@abarber1) Barber—the winner of last year’s $10K HORSE WSOP bracelet—and game designer Alex (@benefactumgames) Weldon, who’s written a number of data-driven articles similar to mine (but better). Alex just did an article based on a poll Daniel Negreanu posted the other day asking people to guess the age of the Main Event winner.

When I tweeted out a link to his article and mentioned that I’d done a piece on the age of November Niners last year, he invited me to be on the podcast tonight, where we’ll be talking about that subject, as well as apparently the Hearthstone v. Poker challenge played yesterday on Poker Central’s Twitch channel.

So look for that to be up sometime Thursday.

Deal Of the Month: Kenny Hallaert’s WSOP Schedule Spreadsheet

Belgian pro Kenny Hallaert’s the only player who gets regular billing here at Mutant Poker, because he is, in part, an inspiration for the Planner. His name graces the #PNWPokerCalendar page every day, due to the immense amount of work he’s done for the past several years putting together a spreadsheet of events from all of the series running in Las Vegas.

The Schedule tab of the spreadsheet has the series in columns, with dates on the rows. Each event’s start time is shown, with event number, late registration cutoff (if available), description, and buyin. WSOP events are linked to the structure sheets, as are some others.


A second tab has Daily Tournaments at the series venues listed by time of day.

Of interest to non-Holdem players is the Non std. NLH MTT tab, which breaks out NLHE events that aren’t full ring (like 6-Max and Shootout) events, Omaha games, MixedDraw, Limit NLHEStudLadies, and Seniors in one location, organized by type of game and date.

There’s a General Info tab with links to schedules and structures. A tab breaking out Rake by buyin and venue. And a final List tab with all of the events organized by date and price. If you’re in town on 1 June and you’ve got $250, you can look there and find out that (apart from the many, many cash games or regular daily tournaments in town) you could play one of three NLHE tournaments at Planet Hollywood (11am for a $25K, 4pm for a $5K turbo, or 7pm—$160, $130, and $100, respectively). Or you could try the $240 HORSE game at 11am at Golden Nugget.


This Week in Portland Poker

  • The Portland Meadows Poker Room Championship Poker Series, continues through the weekend. Today is the first non-NLHE event, a $1.5K PLO tournament at noon (my last Portland poker for almost two months), with a $5K NLHE Monster Stack at 7pm. Tomorrow is the $1.5K NLHE Senior (50+) that includes an entry to the WSOP Seniors event and $500 travel money for 1st place (noon), then at 7pm is the $3K Big O tournament. Friday at noon is a satellite to Saturday’s series Main Event; at 7pm there’s a $30K NLHE game. The last call is Saturday at noon for the $100K NLHE  tournament, the last big thing in Portland before the start of the WSOP.
  • PDX Poker Club is running a special for players in their weekday noon $2K NLHE tournaments: Show up before the game starts and you get a $10 free door fee card, $10 off a joint (you’ve got to love the Portland poker scene), and free coffee. Offer good until they pull it. But the notice for the goodies only appears on the old Encore Club site.
  • Wednesdays and Sundays are New Player Days at The Game, with house-sponsired high hands in their shootouts. Wednesdays at 2pm is a $1.5K NLHE tournament; at 2pm on Sunday is an $800 NLHE freeroll.
  • Big O for those of you for whom two cards are not enough, at The Players Club on Friday night at 6pm. Also Sunday at 3pm.

Only a Day Away

  • Tomorrow is Day 1I for the Rivercard $150K at Pala Casino north of San Diego. There are daily entry flights (except for Mondays and Tuesdays) through Saturday. Day 2 on Sunday.
  • Friday at the Gardens Poker Festival  is a $50K NLHE no addon/rebuy tournament. The $75K NLHE Main Event is Monday (also no rebuy/addon).
  • Day 2 of the $100K guarantee Hydra at Sacramento’s Stones Gambling Hall is Saturday, but if you made it to Day 2 over the last weekend you probably already knew that.
  • Jason Somerville’s Run It Up Reno got going yesterday at the Peppermill Casino. There are 3 starting flights on Friday and Saturday for the 3-day $150K NLHE Main Event.
  • The Deepstack Extravaganza at The Venetian starts tomorrow. The kickoff is a $100K NLHE tournament with starting days Thursday through Saturday for $400 buyin.
  • The May Showdown at Vancouver’s River Rock Casino starts today with a C$220 buyin event. C$330 Turbo on Thursday, and two entry days on Friday and Saturday to the C$550 Main Event, with Day 2 on Sunday.
  • There’s a $150K NLHE Quantum Reload tournament at Planet Hollywood tomorrow with two starting flights Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, to start the Goliath 2016 series. Buyins increase each day ($130, $240, and $350, respectively) with 10%, 12%, and 15% of the field getting through to Day 2. Or you can buy in direct to Day 2 for $1.1K. They’re also running a number of satellites to the WSOP Employee over the weekend, and Tuesday is the first of two Exposed NLHE Hosted by Dutch Boyd tournaments, where you have to show both cards face up when you fold, which should be kind of interesting.
  • If you’re still in the PNW, Tulalip and Muckleshoot have their big last-Sunday-of-the-month games at 11am and noon, respectively.
  • Got $300K? Then you can enter to play Sunday’s Super High Roller Bowl (I’m sure legal pot sellers are just itching to sponsor this one; super high!) at Aria.
  • The Grand Poker Series at Golden Nugget runs three or more events most days starting next Tuesday.
  • Tuesday is the start of cash game action at the Rio for the WSOP. Daily Deepstacks start Tuesday as well. The first bracelet event is the Casino Employees event next Wednesday; the first open bracelet event is Colossus II next Thursday.
  • Over in LA, the Bicycle Casino Summer Poker Series starts next Wednesday with a $15K NLHE tournament. It runs all through June.
  • The Wynn Summer Classic starts on a week from tomorrow.
  • Binions joins the fray a week from Friday.
  • Coming up 5 June is Bay 101 Summer Madness, with a series of mostly $350 buyin tournaments through 12 June.
  • The new Medford Poker Club has a Grand Opening 10 June. If you’re down south, drop in for a look.

Check out the #PNWPokerCalendar for more poker.

#PNWPokerCalendar Planner for 18 May 2016

Wild Kingdom

I published the last hands of my Wild Kingdom series on Monday. It’s an all-cards exposed examination of a Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo Bounty tournament. There’s an index to all of the posts in the series (each covering about 20 hands). Shorter reading than the 300+ hands in the NLHE 6-Max series I did back in February and March, but more cards!

Portland Meadows Poker Room Is Open

The first tournament at the latest entry into the Portland poker market was played on Monday at noon in North Portland. New tables, new chairs, new space, though you might want to wear a jacket on cooler days as Portland Meadows is a big building with some draft coming in through the doors.

photo by Alex Ratchkov via Facebook

The first event drew 62 entries. It was a semi-freezeout with addons but no rebuys; the first prize pool was $3,440. The Poker Mutant was the second player out with jacks running into kings, but…

photo by Portland Meadows Poker via Facebook

Poker Keyboard Pro

If you use an iPad or iPhone to take notes on hands, you might be interested in an app that adds a keyboard with buttons for the suits, as well as terms like check, bet, straddle, flop, and river. Not sure if I’ll get a chance (or want) to use it in a couple of weeks at the WSOP—it may not be fast enough for some of the freeform notes I’ll need to take—but for a couple of bucks it’s worth checking out.


World Series of Poker

The WSOP kicks off in two weeks, with the first bracelet event, the Casino Employees NLHE getting under way on 1 June at 11am. There’s actually action going on the day before, with registration opening 31 May, along with live action and satellites.

If you’re not already aware of it, the WSOP is trying to ease the pain of waiting in lines this year with a couple of changes to the registration and payout processes.

If you’re not playing the Colossus (which starts just two weeks from tomorrow), you may still have time to take advantage of the new online registration process. The WSOP is using a system provided by Bravo—the company that makes the software used for live and tournament poker rooms in Vegas—to handle registration and payment (you can now use credit cards for events of $1.5K and smaller). Once you’ve signed up for the Bravo card and submitted a payment, you go to the Rotunda outside the poker area and do an in-person verification, and you’ll get your registrations for every tournament you’ve pre-registered for. After you’ve done the verification, if you register online for another tournament, you’ll be able to pick up your seat assignments and receipts at kiosks in the Rotunda. You can read more about the process at PokerNews.

As Chad Holloway reported last summer during the Colossus, meant “An hour and a half passed and the line didn’t seem to be making much progress” beginning about 10pm on the night the event hit the money. This year, the WSOP will be paying 15% of the entries, meaning half again as many people from every tournament will be getting into the money. To alleviate the payout problem, the WSOP is installing eQueue kiosks to be used “If excessive lines begin to form.” eQueue sets up a time for when you can go to the payout station and pick up your cash without standing in line.

If you’ve got people back home following you but you’re not likely to be picked up for the chip counts at WSOP.com by the stupid live reporters, you can use the new ChipIn mobile app to update reports on your chip stack that will get published on the site. The app goes live on 1 June and requires you to log in with your Ceasar’s Total Rewards card (which you should have since you need it to get seated at the tournament table).

More about eQueue and ChipIn in the official WSOP announcement.

World Poker Tour Season XV Schedule Announced

Late-breaking news from yesterday afternoon: the WPT’s new schedule is out and one of the first events in the season comes right after the WSOP, at Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles from 28 July to 1 September. Other usual West Coast stops are December’s move into Bellagio in Las Vegas, the January to March Los Angeles Poker Classic at Commerce Casino, and the rest of the California Swing in March at Bay 101 in San Jose and Sacramento’s Thunder Valley.

This Week in Portland Poker

  • Coming up 21 May at 2pm at The Game is a WSOP Main Event satellite event. $100 entry/rebuy and $50 addon and the winner receives a package including a seat and travel to Las Vegas. It’s been on the #PNWPokerCalendar for a couple of weeks; but it’s up against the three-seat tournament just announced at Portland Meadows. Which satellite will reign supreme?
  • Saturday is the beginning of the weeklong Portland Meadows Poker Room Championship Poker Series, covered in the Deal last week. 15 events, kicking off with a noon game with $33K in WSOP Main Event seats guaranteed (each with $1K in travel expenses).
  • Big O for those of you for whom two cards are not enough, at The Players Club on Friday night at 6pm.

Only a Day Away

  • Tomorrow is Day 1D for the Rivercard $150K at Pala Casino north of San Diego. There are daily entry flights (except for Mondays and Tuesdays) through 28 May. Day 2 on 29 May.
  • There are two more flights tomorrow for the Gardens Poker Festival  $500K guarantee tournament.
  • The Deepstack Extravaganza Warm-Up at The Venetian drew 196 players for Day 1A of the $100K guarantee kickoff event. Day 1C is today with Day 2 tomorrow. Tomorrow are two bounty events (noon and 7pm), with Omaha Hi-Lo Friday morning, and two two-day events starting on Friday and Saturday at noon. The Warm-Up ends next Wednesday, with the full Extravaganza starting Thursday.
  • Sacramento’s Stones Gambling Hall hosts the $100K guarantee Hydra tournament with two flights each day Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and Day 2 on 28 May.
  • Jason Somerville’s Run It Up Reno starts 24 May at the Peppermill Casino. The first couple of days include a $235 entry with added Main Event seats, an All-In-Or-Fold, a Survivor tournament, and PLO 6-Max.
  • The May Showdown at Vancouver’s River Rock Casino runs 25 to 29 May. Three events: #220 on Wednesday, $330 Turbo on Thursday, and two entry days on Friday and Saturday to the $550 Main Event, with Day 2 on Sunday.

Check out the #PNWPokerCalendar for more poker.

My Time is Coming: Week 16 or My Time Is On Hiatus

Another unimpressive week of (mostly) tournament poker. This is my last regular update for a while. It’s not that I’m going to take a break from writing, I’m just going to be doing so much writing, I’m not sure how much I’ll be writing here, and my poker playing is going to be limited a bit over the next couple of months as I prepare and then head down to Las Vegas to cover the World Series of Poker as a live reporter for the WSOP. I wasn’t expecting that to happen when I started these collations (which I think are mostly read by me, anyway); hopefully anyone who misses them will find solace in the stuff I report from Vegas. If you’re going to be in the Rio between Memorial Day and mid-July, drop me an email at pokermutant at mutantpoker.com or @pokermutant on Twitter.

Bovada $5K NLHE Turbo

Hate-regged a tournament after busting out of the Final Table $20K. Deep stacks with 50BB when I got into it. Raised to 600 from 200 UTG with jh8h and got 3 calls. 8c4c3s on the flop, I checked, UTG1 bet 2.7K and got called by HJ and D. I shove to 9.7K, UTG1 goes all in for 6.7K, HJ is all in and D calls. I make two pair by the river, but UTG1 has a set of queens on the turn. I get a small side pot and go out in the next hand.

Fifteen minutes. 10 hands. 324th of 398 entries.

Bovada $500  PLO8 Turbo

When I play turbo, I play turbo! First hand I’m CO and pick up kh9h5ckc. I limp after UTG, D goes all in for 610. BB pots to 2.3K. UTG is all in for 2K. I don’t really think I should fold here, so I’m in for 3K. BB puts a last 170 in. I’m the only one of the four players with below-average equity. Yay! The board runs our 6h2ctdqs4d. I pick up a little equity by the turn, but end up with just the kings. UTG’s queens and fours take the high main and secondary pots, BB makes the best low on all pots with 7642A. I get a <2BB high second side pot and go out on the next hand. I’m not always this bad at Omaha (see below).

Two minutes. 2 hands. 33rd of 44 entries.

Bovada $1K NLHE 6-Max Turbo

Got up to four times the starting stack in the first forty hands, then this. The table was five-handed, I was on the button with 17K (34BB) and tcad. I raised to 1.5K, SB called with 8c9c and BB shoves 12K. I read it as a squeeze and re-raise all in (SB has more than twice my stack). BB turns over 8s6h, the flop is kd5h7d. You can probably guess the rest. kh on the turn to make it seem like maybe I’d escaped getting sucked on, then 9s for the coup de grace. I’m down to less than 10BB and out four hands later.

Thirty-eight minutes. 60 hands. 36th of 75 entries.

Bovada 0.02/0.05 NLHE Zone 6-Max

Two big hands. The first is jcqd in BB. D raises to 2BB after three folds. SB re-raises to 6BB, and I 4-bet to 13BB. D folds, SB makes the call. The flop is 5h7h6c and SB check calls my 41BB all-in with kdah. jh on the turn puts it away for me.

Second was in SB with 8s9h. Three folds, D calls, I make an out-of-position raise to 3BB and get called by BB and D. The flop hits me hard with 8htcjs. I check-call a 3BB bet from D, BB folds kc8d. The qc on the turn makes my straight. D has about 50BB left and bets 4BB. The pot has 20BB in it and I raise to 25BB. D makes the call. ts on the river and I put 50BB in, more than D has left. He calls with jd5h.

Thirteen minutes. 34 hands. +120BB.

Final Table $1K NLHE

I’m up a little bit and open to 500 with as6s. Jack, one of the regs, re-raises to 1.5K and I make the call. 6h6c4s on the flop. I bet, jack looks at me and shoves all in, and I call. He has qxqx and binks the queen on the turn.

Thirty minutes. 14th of 14 entries.

Bovada $500 PLO8 Hundredaire

I double up on hand 4 with kc9cthah as UTG1. I limp, then go to the flop three-ways after a raise to 160 from D. I’m wrapped around the qdjs6c flop, and check-call a bet of 280. The ts on the turn makes my straight, D bets 550 and I raise to 2K. D is all in for another 225 and I make the call. He has the flush draw but not much else, and the river 3c knocks him out.

By hand 21, I’ve been up to 7.5K then slipped down to 5K. With khjc5sks as UTG2, I follow another limper, then get into a four-way pot for 2K total after a raise from SB. I end up in pretty much the same situation as D in the hand before, with a nut flush draw against a straight. I’m out not long after.

Fifty minutes. 31 hands. 32nd of 42 entries.

PDX Poker Club $2K NLHE

Took an irregular shot at a noon tournament (they tend to run too late for my schedule). Got as high as 130K at a point when that was more than two times the chip average, then lost 40K on a hand with tens against aces. In a SB v BB battle, I raised qx9x and make top pair on the turn, didn’t bet it, and let kxtx get there on the river and take me for another 25K. Then I shoved qxtx into axax when I had less than 10BB while we were still at two tables.

Four hours and five minutes. 13th of 34 entries.

PDX Poker Club $8K NLHE

Got in late because I was called into work unexpectedly. Took a couple hits, then shoved 11BB over a mid-position raise with qxqx in the BB. Got called by ax8x and he hit the ace on the turn.

One hour and fifteen minutes. 79th of 124 entries.

Bovada 0.02/0.05 PLO8 6-Max

The first bonanza came on hand 8. I bought in for the 100BB max and was already up 16BB. In SB with 8c4dkdkc I limped in with UTG and HJ. I hit middle set with the nut flush draw on the jcackh flop and potted to 5BB. UTG and HJ called. js on the turn and the only things I’m worrying about are jdjh and a pair of aces. Not even a chance for a split pot. I pop to 20BB and UTG goes to 40BB. HJ is all in to call for 38BB. I have both players covered and pot to 110BB, HJ calls for his remaining 42BB. The river is qs. UTG has jdas2h9d for a full house but not one as good as mine. HJ has the straight with qh8std7c.

Bonanza 2 took a little longer. Hand 23 we’re five-handed and I get ts7cqhtd on the button. UTG and I limp. SB has been a regular pre-flop raiser and puts in 5BB, which UTG and I both call. Once again, I make middle set on a 4ctcqd flop, this time with top pair, as well. SB pots to 16BB, UTG folds, I re-pot to 64BB, SB is all-in for a total of 122BB, and I call. He has bottom set with ac4h2c4s, as well as the club flush draw and a backdoor low. The turn crushes him, though, as I get th for quads. There’s an irrelevant 7d on the river.

Bonanza 3 on hand 30. In CO six-handed with 7dacad7h. HJ raises to 3BB and I pot to 10BB. D calls, SB calls, HJ calls. 55BB in the pot pre-flop. I have everyone covered by 200BB, so even if everything goes wrong with this hand, I’m in good shape. The flop isn’t auspicious: tc3c5d. The best that can be said for it is that I have ac. SB and HJ check, I go with my over pair and bet 40BB. D is all-in for 38BB. SB goes all in for 125BB. I make the call. SB turns over 6s8c2s4c for the club draw and tons of straight draws. D has 2htd4d2d for one of the straight draws. Pre-flop against the other two hands, I have 50% equity. Post-flop, I’m down to 27%. The turn is kh and the river is js, and somehow my pair of aces holds, to scoop a pot of more than 175BB.

Forty-six minutes. 43 hands. +425BB.


#PNWPokerCalendar Planner for 11 May 2016

Wild Kingdom

There have been six installments in Wild Kingdom, my all-cards exposed look at a Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo Bounty tournament. Yesterday’s post—covering hands 101-120—got the 65-entry game down to 12 players. More on that tomorrow.

Portland Meadows Opening

The Portland Meadows Poker Room had an open house on Kentucky Derby Day, last Saturday. The newly-renovated room opens for business with a noon tournament on Monday, 16 May, with hope of a shootout starting at 1pm. 22 tables will include USB charging stations, the chairs are heavily padded, similar to those at some of the more posh Vegas poker room. There will be food and drink available. Lots of parking (though it was pretty full on Derby Day). Straight in through the main entrance, up a flight of stairs, and up behind the bleachers. They’re closing out the month with a big series (see the Deal for this week).


Deal of the Day: Portland Meadows Championship Poker Series


Portland Meadows Poker Room is getting off to an ambitious beginning, with a 15-event series from 21–28 May, with a total of $200K in guarantees. It culminates in a $100K guarantee ($300 buyin, $100 addon) on 28 May. The opener on 21 May is guaranteeing three $10K+$1K WSOP Main Event packages, including an entry and travel expenses, for $100 entry and $100 addon. Also featured are a $3K 6-Max (24 May), $1.5K PLO (25 May), and a $1.5K Seniors and $3K Big O, both on 26 May.

Kind of kicking myself, because it would be pointless for me to try for the Main Event seats since I’m going to be covering the Main Event as a reporter, and I’m going to miss the last two events in the series because I’ll be on the road to Vegas Memorial Day weekend.

This Week in Portland Poker

  • It hadn’t been announced at press time, but the PDX Poker Club (formerly Encore) schedule has a $20K guarantee Saturday using their $80 buyin/live rebuy, $40 addon structure.
  • Coming up 21 May at 2pm at The Game is a WSOP Main Event satellite event. $100 entry/rebuy and $50 addon and the winner receives a package including a seat and travel to Las Vegas. It’s been on the #PNWPokerCalendar for a couple of weeks; but it’s up against the three-seat tournament just announced at Portland Meadows. Which satellite will reign supreme?

Only a Day Away

  • The Cal State Poker Championship at Commerce Casino culminates this weekend with a $500K guarantee Main Event, with entry days ($1,650 buyin) on Friday and Saturday, and final day Sunday.
  • Saturday is Day 1A for the Rivercard $150K at Pala Casino north of San Diego. There are daily entry flights (except for Mondays and Tuesdays) through 28 May. With Day 2 on 29 May. An entry to the WSOP Main Event is taken out of the prize pool and awarded to the first place finisher.
  • The Gardens Poker Festival starts Sunday with a $350 buyin $500K guarantee tournament.
  • The Deepstack Extravaganza Warm-Up at The Venetian gets going Monday with a $250, 3-day $100K guarantee.
  • Sacramento’s Stones Gambling Hall hosts the $100K guarantee Hydra tournament with two flights each day 20–22 May and Day 2 on 28 May.
  • Jason Somerville’s Run It Up Reno starts 24 May at the Peppermill Casino. The first couple of days include a $235 entry with added Main Event seats, an All-In-Or-Fold, a Survivor tournament, and PLO 6-Max.

Check out the #PNWPokerCalendar for more poker.

My Time is Coming: Week 15 or Beatdown

Not exactly a stellar week on the felt. Maybe I should pack the whole poker-playing thing in and just write about poker instead. Oh, wait….

Final Table Portland Poker Classic $100K NLHE

I had some hopes for making some money in this to take down to Las Vegas at the end of the month, and for nine hours or so, things went pretty well.

Action got started at our table with just two players, with a third sitting down relatively soon and the rest of the seats taken as people wandered in. My friend BP was on my left, and was having issues with the player on his left.

I hit a little snag after flopping a set of fives and trying to trap, then losing to a flush. BP was struggling, and eventually I knocked him out. Got a table change off the fold-up to a real table, and things ran good. Six hours in, I was well over chip average with 100K. Then on a BB hand, I called a raise with 6s4s and went heads up to a flop where I had a gutshot straight flush draw. The raising player tried to shake me off on the flop, then went all in on the turn. I called for most of my chips, he had qxqx and I made the flush on the river, knocking him out and putting me at about twice chip average, with more than 160K.

20160430 Final Table $100K max chip stack Took a couple hits, clawed my way back up to 140K, then at the 3K/6K level, I made an UTG raise to 17K, had a stack go all in for 93K in middle position, and called witih adkd against aces. That table broke almost immediately.

I had some hope. Even with less than 8BB, I’d just watched RB—the guy who eventually won the tournament, though I didn’t know that at the time, obviously—go from 40K to 200K in the course of an orbit. I missed my big chance, though, by laying down kx9x (offsuit) in early position and watching the flop run out two kings, with a slightly larger stack in late position nearly tripling up with kx8x. My nine would have played. I was out the next hand with: kx8x. Lightning did not strike twice. Made it to within about 20 places of the money.

Eight hours and forty-five minutes. 42nd of 240 entries.

20160430 Final Table $100K

Bovada $500 PLO8 Turbo

Increased my stack by 50% buying in late, flopping the nut flush and winning the low on a side pot on the second hand I was dealt (4d2hkd2c with a flop of 2dad7d) then out two hands later with 2c7hacts when a river ace counterfeits my turned low.

Five minutes. 4 hands. 34th of 49 entries.

Bovada $300 O8

Got in with 15 big bets, called a raise in a multi-way pot with 7cac2d6h and got in too deep to extricate myself.

Fourteen minutes. 6 hands. 37th of 41 entries.

Bovada O8 Bounty

Just a steady downward drift from starting stack, but at least I lasted longer than the other two tournaments.

Forty minutes. 20 hands. 18th of 18 entries.

Bovada 0.1/0.25 & 0.05/0.1 NLHE Zone 6-Max

Do you want to hear about how a river queen gave the guy with trips four of a kind against my flopped full house? Well, I don’t want to talk about it, either.

Six sessions. One hour and forty minutes. 277 hands. -360BB.

Bovada 0.1/0.25 PLO8 6-Max

Big hand in the first session was ad5c2hqd, made the flush and the low against a guy who went all-in on a turn where the board was 6h5d7d6d with 3d3casjc. In the second, I lost most of my buyin when SB raised 3-bet me preflop and I put him all in. I had jd2daskc, he called off with 5d4h3h6c. That’s about as even as it gets.

Two sessions. Sixty-eight minutes. 69 hands. -7BB.

The Game 1/2 NLHE

The first hour went well then got in a multi-way straddled pot with 3h4h and flopped a gut-shot straight flush draw on a 5h7h8x board. A player in early position check-raised to $75 and three of us ended up all in. The player who’d pushed to $75 turned over 9xtx, thinking somehow that she had a made straight. One of the players who folded had a six, and the other guy who didn’t fold had 6d and made the straight on the turn.. Obviously, no heart came or I wouldn’t be whining about people who can’t read the board.

Ninety minutes. -100BB

Puffmammy NLHE

The now-infrequent home game where I first started playing NLHE. Got into it early with BW, the eventual winner. He took a bunch of chips off me in the second round and I got them back on the next hand, then he took me again not long after. I did get the high hand, but overall a poor showing.

Two and a half hours. 5th of 7 players. -69% ROI.

20160503 Puffmammy

Encore Club $1.5K NLHE

Managed to get to Encore by the break after the home game bustout. Just about made the final table.

One hour and forty minutes. 11th of 29 entries.

20160503 Encore $1.5K

Encore Club $500 NLHE

Third tournament of the night was not a charm.

Fifty minutes. 9th of 11 entries.

20160503 Encore $500

Final Table $1K NLHE

Just did my basic buyin with no addon. These are still suffering from the early cash table starts; today’s was right on the guarantee. The player in seat 6 was playing just about every hand and winning. I took off one chunk when I raised kxqx and he called with ax6x but I didn’t make it even half-way through the small field.

Two hours and forty-five minutes. 12th of 22 entries.

20160505 Final Table $1K

Final Table First Friday $20K

PDX Poker Encore Club announced a $20K opposite Final Table’s monthly event, with $80 buyin/live rebuy and $40 addon versus Final Table’s $100 buyin/rebuy and $50 addon. So I get to Final Table and sit down at the table and don’t notice that they’ve changed it to a live rebuy. Frankly, if I had noticed that before I handed over my money, I would have turned around and gone to Encore PDXPC (even though this will be my last Final Table $20K until at least August), since the max buyin there is $200 instead of $250. And I suspect the prize pool there might top Final Table’s as well.

I had Nu on my immediate left, and he went to work, as usual pulling in some big pots. I was quietly building my stack, then limped into a hand and made a pair of sizes on a straighty board. Nu and another player had called, at showdown I had the sixes with a king kicker, Nu had a pair on the flop with 4x5x and rivered two pair. The end for me came with qxqx. I raised to 600 from UTG1 after UTG limped at 75/150. Nu called along with several others. The flop was tx4x2x rainbow. I opened to 2K, Nu called, and a short stack in BB shoved for a little over 4K. I had another 7.5K and shoved over. Nu contemplated a bit, speculated that I had an over pair (correct, sir!), called off about half his stack and showed 9xtx. The short stack had axtx. The turn was a blank. The river was a nine and Nu took the whole pot. I went home.

Kind of wishing I’d gone to Portland Players Club to catch some Friday night Big O. It’s been a long time. I busted just a little too late to call Chad to let him know I was coming.

One hour. 72nd of 74 entries, but out waaaay before break.

20160506 Final Table $20K

Live rebuys will be the death of Portland poker. Mark my words.

#PNWPokerCalendar Planner for 4 May 2016

Encore Poker Series VIII

Still no results posted for the four EPS events from a couple weeks back, either to Facebook or Hendon Mob.

Encore, by the way, is going through some rebranding this week.

Final Table $100K Guarantee

I was sitting next to Rich when we were still around seven tables. I had an above-average stack with 20+ big blinds and Rich was down to about 6. Then he went on a tear and shot up to a couple hundred thousand in the space of an orbit. Meanwhile, I lost most of my chips (not to Rich) and went out shortly after our table broke. Congratulations to everyone for another great event.

20160430 Final Table $100K payouts

Payouts for the Final Table $100K. There were 240 entrants, with 87 rebuys and 200 addons.

The Last Month

There’s just four weeksto the day!—before the first open event of the 2016 World Series of Poker, the $7M Guarantee Colossus II. So much to do, so much money to pull together.

As I mentioned in last week’s Planner, I’m going to be in Las Vegas as a live reporter for the WSOP from Memorial Day weekend until mid-July (as of today, I’m sort of still looking for a place to stay, as well, so if you have any leads, send me a message on Twitter). I will attempt to keep the Planner going, but I may cut the Deal until I return to Portland. In any case, things are probably going to be a little truncated for the next couple of months.

Seniors World Championship of Poker

Throwing back to the Deal a few weeks ago which rounded up seniors events during the WSOP:

Wild Kingdom

If you liked A Game That Will Live In Infamy—my equity examination of a 6-Max NLHE tournament—I posted the first 20 hands of a Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo hand-by-hand yesterday. All cards exposed, down to the last hand of the tournament. More tomorrow.

Deal of the Day: Vegas

Let’s just say the Deal for next month is being in Las Vegas. By my count, for most of June, there are six tournament series running: the WSOP, the Venetian Deepstack Extravaganza III, Golden Nugget’s Grand Poker Series, the Goliath (WSOP’s younger sibling at Planet Hollywood), Binion’s Poker Classic at the WSOP’s birthplace, and the Wynn Summer Classic.

I could link to all of the individual tournament venues, but those links are all in #PNWPokerCalendar. Instead, here I’ll direct you to Kenny Hallert’s Grand Unified Poker Schedule on Dropbox. It has all of the above, plus the shorter series at AriaM, and Bellagio, in an Excel spreadsheet. The spreadsheet has extra tabs with non-NLHE events, contact info, and rake for each buy-in level. It’s an incredibly detailed piece of work.

The other draw, of course is cash games. Frustrated tournament players need something to do to fill in the hours between games, and the ones with extra money go to the cash tables. Last year during the weekend of the Colossus, I saw morning 1-2 games at Planet Hollywood last year with $800 going into a pot. It was amazing. And PH is just a small poker room in a city of a lot of small poker rooms and some really big poker rooms.

So. Vegas.

This Week in Portland Poker

  • It’s time for another First Friday $20K guarantee at Final Table this week. $100 buyin/rebuy, $50 addon, 7pm.
  • Encore Club has its own $20K this Friday. $80 buyin/live rebuy, $40 addon. This starts at 8pm.
  • See The Game about their Cinco de Mayo complimentary nacho bar Thursday, with $2 Mexican beers and $3 margaritas. For Mother’s Day Weekend, (this Friday through Sunday) there’s a complimentary door fee and some free food and drink items. They’re also offering a drink to the first players seated in the morning game on Friday. Beginning Sunday and next Wednesday, The Game will be contributing $100+ twice a day to a Bad Beat Jackpot. And beginning next Wednesday, they start a weekly $1.5K guarantee tournament at 2pm. Coming up 21 May at 2pm is a WSOP Main Event satellite event. $100 entry/rebuy and $50 addon and the winner receives a package including a seat and travel to Las Vegas. Maybe you’ll meet me there!

Only a Day Away

  • The Cal State Poker Championship at Commerce Casino in LA is in the middle of its run. Tomorrow is the first of two starting days for a $240 buyin $250K guarantee NLHE tournament.
  • Saturday is the start of the WPTDeepstacks Central California, at Turlock Poker Room. Six events, with a $100K Main Event for $1.1K buy-in.
  • Saturday is also the 2nd Annual Central Valley Omaha Championships, an Omaha Hi-Lo tournament with a $160 buy-in. The one I won a seat for in a drawing but couldn’t get into my schedule (Fresno is a looooong drive for a $20K).
  • The 14th is Day 1A for the Rivercard $150K at Pala Casino north of San Diego. There are daily entry flights (except for Mondays and Tuesdays) through 28 May. With Day 2 on 29 May. An entry to the WSOP Main Event is taken out of the prize pool and awarded to the first place finisher.
  • Last week’s Deal, the Gardens Poker Festival starts 15 May with a $350 buyin $500K guarantee tournament.
  • The Deepstack Extravaganza Warm-Up at The Venetian gets going 16 May with a $250, 3-day $100K guarantee.

Check out the #PNWPokerCalendar for more poker.

My Time Is Coming: Report 14 or 2 Busy 2 Poker


In case you didn’t see my announcement in this week’s #PNWPokerCalendar, I’m going to be live reporting from the World Series of Poker this summer, and the application process, plus starting to make preparations for the long haul of the series after getting accepted, has sucked up a lot of time. On top of that, if you liked the hand-by-hand examination of a 6-Max tournament I did, I spent a large part of the last week working up a similar series of articles for a PLO8 game, showing the chance of making the best high/low hands for the players remaining on each street. That will start going live in the next couple of days. But it hasn’t left a lot of time for the poker.

HAND 93500/100092T

Encore Club Encore Poker Series VIII #2 $30K NLHE

I wasn’t able to get to the tournament until 9pm, so I bought the add-on, despite it still being No Re-buy/Add-on Week. I did well for the first three hours, then started slipping down after midnight. I made a raise with asqs for about 25% of my stack on the last hand, then called all-in against a slightly larger stack who shoved axkx from the blinds. I could have folded with 10BB behind, but I didn’t want to. Another shorter-stacked player went all-in on the same hand and was knocked out.

Four hours. 68th of 185 entries.IMG_2728

Final Table $1K NLHE

Lost a race after losing a bunch of chips in the first round of the button.

Forty-five minutes. 21st of 21 entries.


The Game 1-2 NLHE

Got off work (not the WSOP job yet) and dropped into The Game for a little shootout. I need to work on following my instinct to cash out while the cashing’s good. There was just one table with six players  after midnight Wednesday, and after the first hour I was up 100BB. One of the players left the table and I was inclined to go home myself after a long day, but since there was just 40 minutes to closing, I decided to stay.

Two hours. -5BB.

#PNWPokerCalendar Planner for 27 April 2016

Pendleton Results (Final)

All of the results have been posted for the Wildhorse Spring Poker Round-Up. This edition of the High Roller (now $1.1K instead of the $2K it started off with in the fall of 2013) garnered 76 entries, for a prize pool of $72.2K. Portland’s Charlie Prom and Jacob Dahl took the top two spots. 341 entered the Main Event, making the prize pool $172K. Andy Su and Jordan Rich or Portland got 2nd and 3rd spots, with La Center’s Brian Thorp  coming in 4th. Kerry Moynahan of Beaverton came in 4th in the all-around points for the series; Charlie Prom got the point winner’s jacket by closing out first place in the High Roller and Event #2, with 439 entries.

The Immediate Future of Mutant Poker

A lot of readers here came aboard last summer, when I started doing daily round-ups of news from Las Vegas under the PNW_WSOP_15 tag. I looked through every payout list, news report, end of day report, seating chart, and blog post I could find on players from Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and, yes, Idaho. Idaho! One blog to rule them all…. Most of my work was done here in Portland, though I was able to spend Colossus weekend in the WSOP Media room (yay!). The info was on the internet, it’s a lot cheaper for me to do the work from home than Vegas. It’s been my intention to do the same thing this upcoming WSOP.

But that’s not going to happen in 2016.

That doesn’t mean I’m not going to be giving out useful information on events in Vegas. It’s just not going to be targeted to players from the Pacific Northwest, because I’ll be working as part of the WSOP’s live reporting team. I’ll be working in the Rio for most—if not all—of the seven weeks beginning right after Memorial Day. It’s an exciting opportunity for someone who likes to write about poker, which I do, though you might ask me about that in a couple of months. The long days of a poker reporter are likely to adversely affect how much info I post here through mid-July, but I’ll be back after that. There isn’t a huge amount going on regionally outside Vegas in June, anyway.

Thanks to all my regular readers. I wouldn’t be getting this gig if it wasn’t for the audience. I’ve never kept a diary, because I hate to write for a small audience, and writing just for a readership of one seems a bit masturbatory to me. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I just prefer to share my love.) But without knowing that there were people who at least briefly looked at the articles and calendar, I wouldn’t have kept at it, and I wouldn’t be heading to Vegas for as long as I am this year. So pat yourselves on the back.

Meanwhile, I’m just about done with another tournament blow-by-blow, this time of a 65-player Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo Bounty tournament. Again, with all cards exposed, and down to the final heads-up hand. That should start later this week.

Just so you know not everything’s peaches and cream, now I’ve got so much stuff to get done in the next month I can’t take advantage of this:

Deal of the Day: Gardens

Sort of out of the blue the other day, I ran across an announcement from The Casino Formerly Known As Hawaiian Gardens Casino. Well it still is, sort of, but it looks like they’re re-branding it as just The Gardens Casino. No telling whether the city of Hawaiian Gardens is getting a name change, but I guess Hawaii just isn’t as exotic as it used to be. Anyway, the Inaugural 2016 Gardens Poker Festival is scheduled for 15 May to 1 June at “The gardens”, and it kicks off with a multi-entry-day $500K guarantee tournament with a $350 entry. Nine entry flights over the first five days of the festival, with the final day of the tournament on 20 May. There are Seniors, Limit Omaha Hi-Lo, “Raise or Fold”, Limit Big O, timed, ladies, heads up, and bounty tournaments. The biggest buy in is $440 for the $25K guarantee 64-player max HU tournament. Looks like some fun.

This Week in Portland Poker

  • Friday night is The Game‘s WSOP Ladies Event tournament, with the winner receiving a tournament entry worth $1K and a travel package to las Vegas. Sunday at noon is an $800 guarantee freeroll.
  • Early in the day on Friday at Portland Players Club/A&L Sports Pub, you can find a Dealers Choice Omaha $1/$1 shootout running at 11am. And I wouldn’t be surprised if there wasn’t a
  • The Final Table’s 3rd Semi-Annual Portland Poker Classic, a $100K guarantee, with a $300 buy in/rebuy and a $100 add on is upon us. 11am Saturday. At 7pm the night before, there’s a $5K guarantee with $20 buy in and $20 pre-add on.

Only a Day Away

  • The Colorado State Poker Championship at Midnight Rose Poker Room runs through Sunday, ending with a $500 Main Event.
  • The Lucky Chances Battle of the Bay still has events with big guarantees for first place. Thursday is a $325 event with a $15K guaranteed first prize. Saturday and Sunday are entry days for the $1,105 Main Event with a $100K first-place prize.
  • Friday is the start of the Cal State Poker Championship at Commerce Casino in LA. Twenty events, running through 15 May, including four $100K guarantees, a $250K guarantee, and a $500K Main Event.
  • 7 May is the start of the WPTDeepstacks Central California, at Turlock Poker Room. Six events, with a $100K Main Event for $1.1K buy-in. And next Saturday is the 2nd Annual Central Valley Omaha Championships, an Omaha Hi-Lo tournament with a $160 buy-in.

Check out the #PNWPokerCalendar for more poker.