R-Day Minus 31

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

Played a little Ignition Casino $100 NLHE Super KO while watching the broadcast recaps of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event from last year. Last hand I played 56 flopped Tx5x6x and managed to get it all in against jacks, then the board paired the turn eight on the river and I was out without so much as a bounty after 35 minutes.

The end of the day was the Final Table $2K GTD NLHE. I got to the club just before the first break and got sat in between the blinds, so I didn’t play either of the last two hands before break, late-regging despite my better judgment.

I got aces on my seventh hand (there were only 7 players at the table) in the small blind. Aces in the small blind again at the beginning of my second level of play. I was below average but considering that nobody had busted completely after six levels (half the players had rebought before the break), I was doing fine. I got queens in the small blind and took hand with an all in.

A pair of jacks was where things started to go wrong. A couple of the stacks were getting short, one went all in for about 8bb in early position, I shoved with the jacks to isolate, but the small blind woke up with kings. The short stack made two pair with Ax9x, and I was down to about 6bb.

I managed to survive through a couple of punishing big blinds (shoving 24 and showing, at one point) then Dave—one of the aggressive players at the table—min-raised at the 1200 big blind level. I only had 3300 but I had a Mutant Jack hand: AJ and shoved. The player whod had the kings shoved over the top from the small blind (again) and Dave called with deuces. The small blind had 98. The flop was jack-high with two spades, putting me in the lead, but the board ran out a backdoor straight for the small blind.

Congrats to Ryan Stoker for taking sixth at one of the opening events of the WPT Five Diamond at Bellagio this weekend! And condolences to Darin Stout who had a good Day 1 in the Wynn $250K GTD NLHE but ran into some trouble on Day 2.

R-Day Minus 32

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

Just a month to go and it was the last live game of November, the $10K GTD NLHE at Final Table. It didn’t go well, which is why I’m writing this instead of still at the club.

In the first level, I raised AxJx, got a call, and was re-raised by the button. I played it conservatively when there were a couple calls of the re-raise, then the hand played out and I was a little irked with myself when the button won the hand with Ax[qx[][after][the][board][paired][my][jack.][Which][played][into][my][decision][to][go][all][in][on][over][a][turn][raise][from][the][same][player][on][a][hand][with][AxQx and a flop of AxTxTx, only to get myself stacked by KxTx.

Managed to lose half of my rebuy stack before the start of the final level before the add-on break, then got it all in with A5 over two limps, Another player raised all in for a lot more with TxTx and the short stack on my right got in with KxQx and just 75 more chips than me. The flop came down AxKxQx and the guy on my left was elated until a jack on the river made Broadway for the tens.

#PNWPokerCal Planner for 27 November 2018


After the rush of names from Chinook Winds and Wildhorse, we’ve just got a few entries in this week’s report.

Lawrence Hommedieu of Washougal was down at the WPT Seminole Rock N Roll Poker Open and made the final table of Event #2 $250K GTD NLHE for a best-ever cash (he also picked up a smaller cash in a bounty tournament).

Lee Watkinson added a small percentage to his lnearly $4.3M lifetime earnings with 5th place in the Venetian Deepstack Extravaganza IV $400K GTD NLHE Main Event.

Finally, Geran Sanders (Ellensburg) chopped a RUNGOOD Poker Series $25K NLHE at Hard Rock Tulsa heads up for a very decent return on a $180 buyin in a field of more than 400.

One Month One Hundred 98 Kay

New Year’s Day is in exactly five weeks, and I’ve committed to my wife to playing only the home game after that point—unless I win more than $100K before the end of the year. $2K down, $98K to go.

This was, perhaps, a poorly-chosen date, as the Tulalip Poker Pow Wow runs through January, and Chinook Winds PACWest Poker Classic runs 16–24 February. But you have to draw your lines in the felt somewhere.

December is always a tough poker month. Schedules are thrown off by the Christmas holiday. This month is our 30th anniversary, there’s holiday parties, other family obligations, and getting flights is more expensive because of all the holiday travel.

I’m supposed to be in town for something on Sunday the 9th, I’ve got something I could probably skip on on the 15th if I absolutely had to, then after that the only series on the West Coast is the Venetian Deepstack Extravaganza V.

Trying to make the goal of another $98K means I have to be  I’ll be playing the $10K at Final Table this Friday. If things go well, I’ll get a Saturday morning flight to either Las Vegas, for the Wynn Signature Series $250K GTD NLHE. Sunday, the Wynn has a $5K NLHE Survivor with a $550 buyin. The WPT Five Diamond series is running over at Bellagio.

The next Friday there should be a $20K GTD at Final Table, and since I have something for Sunday, my weekend option would be to go to Vegas for the WPT Five Diamond Main Event Super Satellite. The Main Event runs the next week.

The following weekend is a $30K GTD at Portland Meadows, but out of town is one of the few opportunities to get to anything approaching $98K in a single shot: the Venetian;/CardPlayer $500K GTD NLHE Main Event. A couple of downsides: its last entry day is on a Friday, so I’d need to take the day off; and its buyin is $3,500, so I’d probably want to take off Thursday to play the last satellite. Alternatively, that weekend is also the last event of WSOPC LA, and the Bicycle Casino has a $350 buyin with $250K GTD. The Main Event of the Colorado Poker Championship runs that weekend, as well.

As Christmas approaches on the next weekend, the Venetian Deepstack Showdown has ended and the Venetian Deepstack Extravaganza V has begun, opening with a $100K GTD, and it’s pretty much the only game in any town so far as tournament series in these parts (loosely speaking) goes.

My last chance, Hail Mary opportunity is going to be the Venetian’s $400 buyin $260K GTD tournament running the week before New Year’s. So maybe I should just book those tickets now.

Only a Day Away

  • The Deepstacks Poker Tour Championship is in Calgary at Grey Eagle. The Canadian dollar is about 76¢ US. The opening event is a C$100K GTD for C$550 buyin. The Main Event has starting days Friday and Saturday, with a C$2,500 buyin and C$1M GTD.
  • The Wynn Signature Series starts tomorrow. Opening weekend has a $250K GTD $600 buyin and a $50K GTD $550 buyin $5K payout Survivor. Next weekend has a $150K GTD ($600 buyin) and $30K GTD $3K payout $300 buyin Survivor, with a number of other events between.
  • The WPT Five Diamond  at Bellagio starts Thursday. There’s a $1,620 NLHE 6-Max on 3 December, $1,620 PLO the next day, and lots of satellites to the $10,400 Main Event starting 11 December.
  • The Colorado Poker Championship Winter Series runs from Thursday to 19 December at Golden Gates Casino, It features 25 events including a $2K buyin High Roller. The $1,100 buyin Main Event has three starting flights on 13–15 December.
  • The Bicycle Casino hosts the final West Coast WSOP event of the year: WSOPC Los Angeles from 1–16 December. The first week is the $250K GTD NLHE Monster Stack, with starting flights inconveniently placed two-per-day on Monday and Tuesday. Ditto for the Main Event starting days of Sunday and Monday (11 & 12 December). FU, too, WSOP.
  • The Venetian/CardPlayer Poker Tour Deepstack Showdown runs 5–16 December with a tantalizing $3,500 buyin $500K GTD starting 14 December.
  • Closer to home, in the Sacramento area, is the Stones Gambling Hall December Chill Poker Series/Run It Up Stones. Run It Up has an abbreviated version of its Reno schedule with a $600 buyin Main Event and smaller PLO/NLH Mix, NLHE Win the Button, and PLO 6-Max ($500 buyin for the last one). That’s followed by a $100K GTD Quantum event with three buyin levels ($120, $240, and $900) and a total of 10 entry points (including the high buyin direct to day 2).
  • Outside of Minneapolis, the Mid-States Poker Tour Season 9 Finale is technically already running, with satellites all through November already for the $1,100 buyin $500K GTD Main Event with entry days 6–8 December. Non-stop flights are running $230 RT, and with direct flights and a 3pm start time, you wouldn’t even need to leave Portland until 7am Saturday. You’d get to Minneapolis with two-and-a-half hours to cover 22 miles from the airport to Canterbury Park.
  • The last event (ever) on my calendar is the Venetian Deepstacks Extravaganza V. Which starts a whole four days after the Deepstack Showdown. There’s a $100K GTD the first weekend, and a $260K GTD Monster Stack just before the New Year’s ($400 buyin).

Clearing the Decks: Discipline

Another unpublished piece from earlier this year that I thought was a lot less finished than it was. This is the kind of thing that happens when you work full-time, play a lot of poker, and spend hours each week writing and researching. Stuff falls through the cracks.

Last Friday night’s Final Table First Friday $20K GTD NLHE went pretty well for me, a nice continuation cash for the year and a good kickoff to the month before this year’s World Series of Poker season, which starts in just over three weeks. I played with no intention of rebuying.

I almost put my intention to the test when I played 92 from the BB (short story: let my aces get cracked by 9x2x in a $600 tournament at the Venetian six or seven years ago) and called a 3x raise with one other caller. The flop’s 9x6x2x all red. The original raiser bet 1,200 and the caller goes all in for 2,900, I shove 10K or so, the original raiser folds, I’m up against Ax6x and the ace hits on the river.

Made it up to 60K after I busted a new player’s kings with 46 just after the first break, then there was a long, slide down to 40K by second break.

Five and a half hours in I got into a three-way hand with tens holding against nines and KxJx. I had over three-and-a-half times the average stack with 36 left and 18 paying.

I was moved three times before the final table, with my last couple of tables featuring a very nice, slightly tipsy woman from Texas who claimed she didn’t have much experience playing poker, since it’s not legal there. She was very gregarious and doing extremely well despite her claims of inexperience. She made a couple of big calls that put her in flips (which she won), before losing a big chunk of her stack in a hand where she was ahead 70/30. She did have a tendency to risk more of her lead than might have been prudent.

We took nearly an hour to go from 14 players to the final table, then another hour to lose two players. A player with about a quarter of the chips in play was in seat 1, talking non-stop, holding out for a bigger payout but also complaining about how tired he was. A couple of deals were proposed and I was the holdout until we were down to 8. The motormouth got $3K and everyone else got just over $2.5K.

The next day’s (technically, only about 7 hours after I got home) Portland Meadows Kentucky Derby $30K GTD NLHE Survivor tournament was one I was looking forward to, hoping to string two $2K cashes together in the weekend. Sadly, it was not to be. I lost chips, then took some from the always-aggressive Barron Nakama when I three-bet his raise with AxKx. I picked up AA the very next hand and three-bet his raise again, with the flop coming 9x7x7x. We ended up all-in and he, of course, had called my 3-bet with Ax7x. Chalk it up (again) to “old man with a big pair” syndrome.

I was down to 5,500, then managed to drive my way back up over 10K before I jammed over a 3-bet with QxQx from the cutoff, right into the button’s KxKx. I didn’t even make it to the end of buyins (no reentry).

Looking forward to the Final Table $50K GTD NLHE next weekend. Take time to appreciate your social club poker rooms and volunteer player/dealers, because it looks as if there may be another move from various governmental organizations to shut the whole thing down.

But enough of that. Let’s talk about survivor tournaments in general and the Ignition Casino $5K GTD Thousandaire Maker in specific.

Simply  put, a Survivor tournament is similar to a satellite, where the prize pool is divided into equal-sized pieces. Most Survivor tournaments have a pre-defined payout, and everyone who makes it to the money gets the same amount of money (a ticket, in the case of a satellite). There is usually one exception: when the prize pool isn’t an even multiple of the payout amount, anything left over goes to the player who busts before the others are in the money.

As an example, if you have pre-defined payouts of $1,000 (as in the Thousandaire Maker) and a prize pool of $7,200, seven players would get $1,000 and the eighth would get $200. You can easily adjust payouts in any manner you like, and the payouts are simple to calculate. Have a $225 buyin and want to pay about 10% of the field? If 1 in 10 players is paid, the payout would be 10 times the buyin: $2,250. Got 176 players and a prize pool of $39,600? That’s 17 payouts of $2,250 and one of $1,350.

Want to extend to 15% of the field? Pay 6-2/3 (1/15×100) times the buyin: $1,500. Same number of entrants and prize pool is 26 full payouts (176×15%=26) with 27th getting $600. Better than a min-cash 7 out of 10 times even when you semi-bubble the Survivor.

The secret of the Survivor is that you need to be good and lucky to stay profitable playing poker tournaments. In Survivor tournaments you just need to be good. You don’t win the giant, sexy money, but if you can play them often enough, you can stay ahead of the rake. If you’re good enough.

I played my first Thousandaire Maker tournament on Bovada just over three years ago. In that time I’ve played a total of 149 Thousandaire Makers on Bovada and then Ignition. The payouts are $1,000. The buyin is $75+$7. I’ve cashed 16 events, with 16 full payouts and one semi-bubble. Cost to me: $12,218. Payout: $16,850 (nearly a full payout for the semi-bubble). Profit: $4,632+38% ROI.

Only 7.5% of players get paid in the Thousandaire Maker, less than 1 in 13 entries. Since Bovada originally “sold” their poker operation to Ignition, I’ve only seen  the number of entries get into triple digits once, so the number of $1K payouts has always been 5 (the guarantee), 6, or 7.

At least a couple of nights a week the Thousandaire Maker doesn’t run, not enough players have signed up by 8:15 Pacific (9 is the magic number) for the game to run.

R-Day Minus 39

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

Not going to go into the details of this one. I made a good call early on and doubled up, then got cut down to a quarter of the starting stack by the same player. Worked it back up, got the add on, then ran jacks from the small blind into UTG limped kings and busted in three hours.

Did a last-minute buyin to the nightly Ignition Casino $5K NLHE Turbo. It was down to 200 players from over 500, with 90 playing, and the big blind was up to 1,600 (on a 10K starting stack). Got it in on the second hand in a 4-way all-in pre-flop with JT and made the best hand on the turn with two pair, but a Broadway draw got there in the river.

Played a $7 buyin Ignition Casino NLHE Jackpot Sit-n-Go for the first time in a while and immediately got a 5x $35 payout table, then took it down by knocking out one player and having the other lose his connection (I went into heads-up with a 5:1 advantage anyway).

Clearing the Decks: Vegas Trip Report

I wrote this back in June and never put it up, Figured I’d better get it posted before…you know.

Something the Sat Dragged In

I made a quick trip down to Vegas over the weekend that may be my last for the summer, since it didn’t go so smoothly.

I headed down with one of my co-workers, Ben, who was seeing the WSOP for his first time.

We got a room at the Rio, since we just had a couple of days, getting into town at 7pm on Friday. We got a Lyft to the hotel, got checked into a room  in Masquerade with Trump’s hotel in the middle of our view, then headed down to the floor, where we immediately ran into Kevmath. After a brief chat I hustled over to the cage to buy into the evening’s $585 Mega Satellite, I made it all of 40 minutes until I bet my pocket tens that were good to the river when AK made a backdoor flush.

Ben and I headed over to the Strip, starting off at Planet Hollywood, where I introduced him to the Mutant Poker Original Friend of the Blog Brad Press who was enjoying some cash game action.

We walked up the Strip checking out the Friday night crowd, as Ben displayed for me his strategy for winning at video roulette, then headed back to the Rio.

Saturday morning we headed down for the 9am WSOP $185 Mega Satellite, where Ben made it about halfway through and I busted 17th, with 8 places paying $100 cash and three $500 tournament buyin lammers. The single-table satellites were going off all around for the Millionaire Maker, but they also ran a satellite for that afternoon’s Eight-Game Six Handed bracelet event, and eager to play some games I don’t get a chance at at home, I jumped in. Amazingly enough, I was (a distant) second in chips by the time we were down to three players, but I ended up going out third.

Ben headed out on his own adventures most of Saturday, ending up in a small tournament at Treasure Island where he chopped for what would be the only cash of our combined weekend. I headed to the Venetian Deepstack Poker Championship $40K GTD NLHE Survivor hoping to pick up one of the $3400 payouts. I wasn’t the only one, as my table had a couple of pros I recognized. Over at another table was Carlos Welch. When I came back from break, I had the scare of my life, as another famous name walked past my table, I thought he was looking for his seat, but he was on his way out.

Played a couple of games on WSOP.com, then did the Mega Satellite again on Sunday morning. Busted out of that, headed to the Orleans and jumped into a tournament there.

I guess I’m lucky that I busted, because even though our flight (on the wretched Spirit Air) was an hour late Sunday night, the game still hadn’t hit the money by the time we were originally scheduled to take off.

So that’s probably Vegas for me for this year. I think trying satellites was the best strat—any one of them would have made the whole trip even, and the big one on Friday would have been fantastic (with a $50 cash payout and $5K in lammers). On to the next attempt.

PNW Poker Leaderboard Special: Fall Coast Classic & Fall Poker Round Up

As I mentioned the other day in the Planner, it taken a while for the results of the Fall Coast Classic at Chinook Winds and the Fall Poker Round Up at Wildhorse to get reported to The Hendon Mob, but they’re finally incorporated into everyone’s standings and I can get on with this report.

First, the New

There were a lot of players who got their fiirst large (or first ever) recorded cashes at the Chinook Winds series, and at the top of that group was Portland’s Eshan Porgaharibshahi who picked up his first three flags with final tables in the three biggest events:  $150K GTD NLHE (3rd, as part of a multi-player deal at the final table), $100K GTD NLHE 6-Max (5th), and the $200K GTD NLHE Main Event (3rd).

It’s kind of surprising that Kristi Means (also Portland) got her first recorded cash at the $200K GTD NLHE Main Event—she’s been around the poker scene for quite a while—but her first place finish was it.

Seattle’s Chris Wang picked up his first two recorded cashes with a 9th place finish in the second of the $75K GTD NLHE tournaments and a win in the $100K GTD NLHE 6-Max.

Out at the Pendleton NLHE Main EventReynaldo Iturbide of Wapato got his first flag for third place.

Bend’s Zach McKirahan bested the other 458 entries in the Chinook Winds $150K GTD NLHE to seal a first place finish for his first recorded cash.

Second place in the 516-entry opening Friday tournament in Pendleton wasn’t Monte Thissel‘s (Burns) first cash, but it was bigger than his other two by a lot.

Leigh Zaphiropoulos only had to come from Newport to Lincoln City to make another final table there in the $200K GTD NLHE Main Event (6th) for his third and largest recorded cash.

Gresham’s Tom Garry got his first recorded cash with a 2nd place in the $75K GTD NLHE Re-Entry. There were 316 entries.

Tim Mooney from Beaverton was also a first-time casher, geting 4th place in the Chinook $150K GTD NLHE. Chester Dooley of Albany got 6th for cash number 2, and Bend’s Richard Scocum got his first cash with 5th place.

Kirkland’s Brendan Rajah picked up his first cash at Wildhorse, with a 5th in the NLHE Main Event.

The Usual Suspects

The winner of the Pendleton NLHE Main Event was Spokane’s Michael Jutte. It was his largest cash, and so far all of his recorded cashes but one (going back to 2010) are at events at Pendleton.

The more successful of Portand’s The Poker GuysGrant Denison, took 2nd place in the $200K GTD NLHE Main Event at Chinook Winds as part of a heads-up deal. The tournament had 375 entries and a prize pool of nearly $243K.

Rick Larson of Port Orchard was the winner of the 31-entry NLHE High Roller at Pendleton, then he turned around and won the 388-entry tournament the night before the Main Event.

Portland’s Stuart Young had just two recorded cashes before the Chinook Winds tournament and he’s a double-dipper He picked up three cashes at Chinook and another at Pendleton. He just escaped being the bubble boy in the Chinook Main Event, but he made three final tables: 7th in the $150K GTD NLHE, 2nd place in the $100K GTD NLHE 6-Max, and 2nd again the the NLHE Main Event at Pendleton. He had no cashes before the beginning of this year.

Gregory Lindberg of Corvallis is the other double-dipper. He won the $75K GTD NLHE at Lincoln City, then picked up 4th at the Thursday night tournament in Pendleton and another 4th in the Wildhorse NLHE Main Event.

Tareq Amhaz from Longview won the $75K GTD NLHE Re-Entry at Chinook.

Yakima’s Brian Lawrence picked up his best-ever cash with a win in the opening Saturday tournament at PendletonZack Baille of Pasco won the opening Friday event, Rich Hampton (from Pendleton!) won his biggest-ever cash in the Thursday tournament (with Eric Kline of Seattle coming in 2nd), and Spokane’s Bob Schulhauser took first place in the Pendleton NLHE Seniors.

And that’s all for now.



R-Day Minus 43

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

Results from the Chinook Winds Fall Coast Classic and the Wildhorse Casino Fall Poker Round Up have finally been reported to The Hendon Mob, and state rankings have been updated. New PNW Poker Leaderboard out soon!

R-Day Minus 45

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

I’m trying to make the most of my last couple months of poker, so while I’ve reserved my Saturday afternoons for stuff at home since Portland Meadows initiated their noon $10K GTD NLHE tournaments (at least when I haven’t been on a poker trip), I’m trying to cram them in.

I got there not long after the start of Round 1, and promptly managed to lose 6K of my 25K starting stack to a very nice Russian lady on my right when she flopped the wheel and I turned a flush draw and made two pair on the river after raising 48 under the gun.

I managed to chip back up from that and a few other bad choices with K5, after I turned the nut flush. A low fifth spade on the river made me worry for a minute about a steel wheel, until I realized that my five blocked any straight flush.

That was about it for success, though, as far as my stack went, though I did crack the table up with a joke about Neil Diamond tickets. I clung on with a couple of shoves, pulling out a chop with AxJx v AxKx when the board double-paired. I went into the third break with half the starting stack. I ran it back up to 32K, but the blinds were eating big chunks out of my stack, there were several big stacks at my new table, and I went card dead, picking up absolutely nothing where I had two cards both above eight.

Eventually, on a button raise against my big blind, I shoved 4bb with 65, got called by AxTx and busted on the flop. Out 32nd place, 17 from the money.

R-Day Minus 46

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

The plan for the weekend was to bink the Friday night Final Table $10K GTD NLHE,then  fly to LAX for the LA Poker Open $500K GTD NLHE Main Event at Commerce Casino in the morning.

We were playing short-handed for a little bit with Bourbon Bill dealing, me in seat 6, Ron in seat 2, and Tony S. in seat 8. We’re having a pleasant enough conversation and game. Then Darren sits down and starts Darrening it up.Eventually this blows up into a hand where I raise 9T, he reraises, and we go to the flop. 987. I check, he bets, I reraise, he goes all in, I call and he has 87 but I’m still 60% to win the hand with any heart, two nines, three tens, and three jacks and three sixes (discounting the hearts of each rank). Needless to say, the turn and river are black and a queen and king. So I’m down to 3K but still have 30+ big blinds.

I manage to chip back up, doubling once through Darren when he calls my top pair with his flush draw and misses, and picking up some other chips with a couple of shoves.

But Darren is still my downfall just 80 minutes into the game. He’s Darrened off most of what was two starting stacks and shoves from middle position on my big blind. I have jacks. The small blind calls his 3400 all in, I shove my jacks, Darren shows deuces, the small blind calls with aces, and while I get a gutshot draw on the flop (Qx9x8x) I’m just covered and don’t rebuy. Tomorrow’s the $10K at Portland Meadows.

Made myself a Chocolate Syrup Bourbon MIlkshake when I got home.