Nobody to Blame But Myself

PacWest Poker Classic Event #1 $40K NLHE Day 2

My table draw was more or less ideal for a short stack, with six players in essentially the same shove or fold situation I was, a couple of the bigger stacks in the room, and one guy in the middle.

We’d finished Day 1A with about six minutes to go in Level 12, with a scheduled break and race-off of the 100 chips before starting Level 13 at 2K/4K with 500 antes. The button started in seat 8, and I was in seat 3, so I was grateful that the first four hands zipped through before the end of the level, because I was able to get through the blinds before they increased. I shoved my SB against seat 4, who had barely more than I did, so I was actually up a few chips by the color-up. Since we’d just started, we moved into the next level after the chips were raced off.

Dan, a regular at Encore, chunked out a bunch of chips from seat 8, and I performed the coup-de-grâce about halfway through the first full level, to take out the first person from our table. Meanwhile, other short stacks in the room had been falling, and we’d lost enough to break a table, so we were within 12 places of the money. Our table was filled by Harshit, another Encore reg.

Seat 7 had chipped up a bit, but aside from him, most of the other players were going all in with less than 10BB, prompting some complaints from the big stack in seat 5, who was dwindling rapidly. With each orbit costing 10.5K, even 182K can go fast if you’re making raises you lay down to a shove.

I shoved a number of hands, including axax uncontested, but the crucial double-up came with kxkx against Harshit. I shoved about 50K, he called with jxjx, I caught a king on the flop, but a turned jack gave me a sweat until the river blanked out. That put me up over 100K for a bit. Not long after that, I took out seat 4, who had blinded down to just 5K behind his BB. I raised from SB with kdqd, he had axjx and the board gave him two pair and a ten so I knocked him out with Broadway.

The big stack in seat 2 was moved for table balance, and on a subsequent hand, Trish in seat 1 shoved an unopened pot from SB. I had her covered, looked down at 8x8x, and figured I was ahead. I was, but she had a decent hand with adkd. A king hit the flop, along with two diamonds. I got an eight on the river, but it was 8d and I was cut down to 24K. On the next hand, I shoved ac9d from SB into seat 5’s BB and he had axkx this time but the board ran out a king with two nines and I doubled back up.

This was the mis-step. I’d moved back into decent territory, over 100K. Blinds were 4K/8K with 1K ante. I was on the button. SB was David in seat 5, with a stack roughly equal to mine after coming to the table as the biggest stack. James in seat 6 had been a short stack all day, and was still short. My cards were as6s. My inclination here was to shove. With an orbit costing ~20K (tables weren’t full) I had an M-ratio of around 5, and a shove (or fold) was the proper move. Instead, I raised to 17K, just over a min-raise, figuring I didn’t need to shove any more as I was no longer one of the shortest stacks at the table. SB folded immediately. James called. The flop was ace-high with two hearts. I shoved. James dithered for a couple of minutes, then called with qh2h. If I’d made the proper move, he never would have called an all-in with that, I don’t think. And another heart comes on the river so I lose half my stack.

We redraw at that point to go to three tables. 27 players, three spots from the money. I’m in seat 4, button’s in seat 8. Action folds to me, I shove ~6BB with as9c and Dan, who’s now in seat 6 goes over the top with acqc and takes the last of my chips. Disappointing to make the drive back down to play the short stack and manage to get it so far without any payoff because I screwed up.

Two-and-a-half hours later, the players at the final table made a deal to chop up the remaining $40K. Congrats to everyone involved.


Eleven hours (Day 1A: nine hours, Day 2: two hours). 27th of 199 entries. 

PacWest Poker Classic Event 1 Day 2 Table Draw

45 players coming back for Day 2. 24 places paying. Have to get to the final to make a payout more than $1,000.

Lots of small stacks in the room. A quarter of the field is smaller than me.



SEAT 2 / JAMES KNIGHT / 154900


SEAT 4 / DEAN MUFFET / 56500

SEAT 5 / DAVID LANTTO / 182700


SEAT 7 / DAVID NEPOM / 59900


SEAT 9 / DAN SILVER / 61200

Riding Out the Surf

PacWest Poker Classic Event #1 $40K NLHE Day 1A

Made the drive down to Lincoln City again for what’s becoming a semi-annual series (long-time readers may remember I took 16th for a min-cash in the Main Event in fall 2013). Two years ago, Chinook Winds Casino partnered with Deepstacks Poker Tour to build out the first week-long poker series in Oregon outside of the long-running thrice-yearly series at Wildhorse in Pendleton. Deepstacks and Chinook appear to have come to a parting of the ways last year, but the casino ran a series on their own last fall, with some changes, a significant one being the Main Event buy-in being halved to $550 (with a $200 add-on after six levels) while dropping the guarantee from $150K to $100K. Deepstacks hadn’t made the guarantee in their last Main, even after putting sponsored pro Mike Matusow in for four buy-ins.

I missed the first of the series after Deepstacks pulled out, but made it down to the beach Saturday for the first flight in the opening event, a $40K guarantee with a second flight on Sunday and Day 2 on Monday. Lots of Portland players (and dealers) in a field that grew to  103 entries and re-entries.

CornholeI got off to a decent beginning, after initially not getting the 2K dealer appreciation chips I’d paid for on top of my 10K starting stack. By the first break two hours in, I had been up to 18K, then was down to 13K.  Ebb and flow. The mood was fairly convivial, I knew most of the dealers—even one who’d never been to Oregon before that I’d met at a WSOP Circuit event at Rincon—and several of the players at the table, including F in the 8 seat on my right, who I’ve played with a lot. Lots of joking about the Cornhole National Championship going on in the ballroom next door. They seemed to be having a good time, too.

I managed to knock out a desperate short stack in the second segment of the tournament, getting up as high as 30K before I had to lay down a couple of hands (including qxqx on the button after my pre-flop 3-bet was called by the original raiser and there were two aces on the board by the turn, c’est la vie). Back down to 15K by the second break, when we got the add-on, which was an unusually large 20K. Double up plus!

A pre-flop raise with axkx and post-flop all-in bet with top two got an “aw, fuck it” call from qxqx that put me up to 80K. Then I raised with 9hth got five callers, flopped td[9dx]4x, bet 10K and another “aw, fuck it” from F on my left and I called his 30K all-in. qx on the turn kept the odds 2:1 even, but a river kx chopped half my stack out from under me.

With a quarter of the field left and about 12BB I started shoving anything I had. Did a couple shoves with drawing hands over some pre-flop limps, then shoved with axax and showed it. Got into non-shoving territory and failed to call with ah9h that would have been a winner with trips on the board. Finally got a caller with qxqx from a guy who was obviously annoyed by my shoves and thought he’d finally caught me with his 9x9x He was just about right, as a nine showed up on the turn, but I rivered a queen to pull back ahead and double up.

The original word from the staff was that they were going to play to level 15 or 10% of the field, but we got word after the dinner break that they were going to pull the plug at 20, since there was still a second day. We had just under 6 of the 40 minutes in level 12 left when we were stopped.

2015 PacWest Poker Classic #1 Day 1A


Ended the day as one of the two short stacks at the table with 51K. Guy on my right (no longer F) was table leader with 187K.  The tournament director dropped down a bunch of bags at the table for our chips, then when he saw my stack he took the full-size bag (see one at right) away and replaced it with a half-size bag (see lower left). Why must everybody laugh at my mighty sword?

poker bag

Had a family thing back in the valley Sunday, so it was home to Portland after the day was over. I’m going to have to make the five-hour round trip drive again, at least to play my 17BB stack (well, 17BB for two or three hands, then only 12BB). May be a short Day 2 for me. I expect they’ll probably get a slightly larger turn-out for Day 1B, we should have about 50 players coming back to Day 2, with a third to half of us out of the money. If I bust early, I’ll late-reg the noon bounty tournament. There’s a 6-Max on Tuesday!

Still in the game. 103 entries, 52 add-ons. $25,800 contributed to the prize pool. Nine hours.

Filling In the Gaps

The revised payout structure for the WSOP Main Event (ensuring at least $1M for every member of the November Nine and paying $15,000 to 300+ places beyond last year’s bubble) left a few holes in the 30 tiers of payouts from the 2014 event. Everything’s subject to change—depending on the number of entrants, of course—but by graphing the payouts provided by the WSOP and extrapolating from previous years’ payout levels, this is our educated guess as to what the rest of the structure would look like (based, as theirs were, on the number of entries in the 2015 Main Event and a $62,825,752 prize pool).

Payouts for 2015 in the chart below in bold are numbers from the  WSOP’s news release about the payout modifications. Total payout comes to $6 off of last year’s prize pool (that’s just 0.000009% off target and about the price of a cup of coffee at the Rio)!

Payout TierPlaces# of Payouts in Tier2015 Estimated Payout 2014 Actual Payout
441$2,750,000 $2,849,763
551$2,000,000 $2,143,794
661$1,500,000 $1,622,471
771$1,250,000 $1,236,084
881$1,100,000 $947,172
991$1,000,000 $730,725
1010-123$550,000 $565,193
1319-279$275,875 $286,900
1428-369$222,053 $230,487
1537-459$167,999 $186,388
1646-549$142,500 $152,025
1755-639$116,950 $124,447
1864-729$96,605 $103,025
1973-819$80,318 $85,812
2082-909$67,211 $72,369
2191-999$56,608 $61,313
22100-16263$50,000 $52,141
23163-22563$42,661 $44,728
24226-28863$36,636 $38,634
25289-35163$31,666 $33,732
26352-41463$27,548 $29,400
27415-47763$24,122 $25,756
28478-54972$20,850 $22,678
29550-62172$18,495 $20,228
30623-69372$16,750 $18,406
31694-1000307$15,000 $0

Aside from the obvious advantage for about 5% of the field getting half their buy-in back instead of nothing, the big changes are for the last couple of November Niners, who could see more than a third-again as much money than they would  have in 2014. Those bonuses comes at the obvious expense of the player on the top (hopefully, you didn’t go and spend your $10M guarantee payday anywhere yet) and the players at the bottom of the structure (payouts 37-693), who are losing less in absolute dollar value but a larger percentage of their cash, than players higher in the structure, for the most part. Once again, here is the projected 2015 payout curve, compared to 2014 and 2009. It is less funky than 2009.


Another Two Minutes of Fame

The Poker Mutant made it into the 2+2 Pokercast again this week. Last time, it was for silly stuff, but after hosts Terence Chan and Adam Schwartz talked about the Main Event structure in Episode 350,  I had to point them to my comparison of a decade of payouts here, as well as the piece I’d written for PokerNews after the WSOP rescinded the $10M guarantee.

You should, of course, listen to the entirety of the latest Pokercast to hear Terence’s opinion of my article, but you can catch it here and go back to listen to the whole thing later if you’re in a hurry.

This previously unpublished graph shows an extrapolated 2015 payout structure compared to 2014, for the  693 positions that were paid last year. It compares both to 2009, which had a similar—though far more pronounced—bulge in the payout curve with a drop-off for a couple payouts after ninth place.



I really wanted to get down for the opening event of this year’s Venetian Deepstacks Extravaganza I, a $500K guarantee NLHE game with a $600 entry fee, but it didn’t happen.

Then, yesterday morning when I opened my Twitter stream, there was the announcement of the winner, with a picture of someone I know fairly week from across the Portland felt: Himmaphoum “Nu” Bounthinh. So at least someone from Portland took it down.


Nu is a bit of a joker, with a deadpan delivery that is probably one of his assets as a player. I still get a chuckle thinking about a game a couple years ago when he tried to convince the table that I was related to Howard Lederer and Annie Duke. So sincere congrats to Nu on a score that propels him into the top 50 Oregon tournament players tracked on Hendon Mob. A list headed by Annie Duke, who I don’t believe lives here any more.