Ode to Ogai
If you’re reading this, you’re probably already aware of reports that Zhenya “John” Ogai, the man behind the Encore Club until it closed in July, has passed away.
Dan Beecher posted an announcement in the NW Poker Facebook forum just before noon on Tuesday, and details about when John died weren’t forthcoming, but Dan wrote that “services commenced this [Tuesday] morning.”
I briefly mentioned what Encore meant to me in the first weekly round-up I did after I got back from Las Vegas this summer, but as the most-trafficked club in the city—and one of the biggest poker operations in the Northwest—it meant a lot to most Portland players, even if they didn’t play there themselves. And John was the guy running the show.
It can’t have been an easy task, running a business while treading the narrow ledge of city and state regulations that have governed the Portland poker scene for nearly six years.
I’m not sure when I became aware of Encore. I started manually logging every poker session I played not long after Black Friday, and the first entry I have for Encore is in June of 2011. My third tournament there was (if I remember correctly) the first $10K guarantee they ran (I made the final table for 7th place), and my 20th was a couple of months after that, when I got second in a $3K Champions Freeroll (my first cash for more than $1K). I had my three biggest-ever cashes at Encore. But even though I have nearly 450 poker sessions logged there (almost all of them tournaments), I never got to know John well myself, though we talked nearly every time I ran into him.
Paradoxically, the largest block of time I spent with John was just this spring, as Encore was undergoing its enforced transformation into PDX Poker Club. He was looking for some advice on transitioning the web site, and I was in need of some work. As it happened, between the timing of the changeover and my schedule to leave for Las Vegas, things didn’t work out for me doing anything significant, but we had a nice chat and I moved some computer files to the new web site for him. It’s exceedingly strange to think that I won’t run into him again.
Sharks Circling the Sinking Poker Ship?
Nah. Just a couple of Huck Seed sightings. The WSOP Main Event winner was reportedly in town for a wedding and dropped by Final Table on Friday, then swung by Rialto for some hot 50¢/$1 NLHE action on Monday night.
Nobody ever takes a picture from his right side. Some sort of Fring thing?
Start Your DVRs
ESPN’s 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event coverage starts Sunday, 11 September at 5:30 Pacific. But you can get in the mood next Tuesday (6 September) with two episodes of the Global Casino Championship at 7pm on ESPN2.
The State of Portland Poker
Yes, gentle reader, I cast caution to the wind and put some money on Ignition Casino. I intended to play the Thousandaire Maker on Thursday night, but it was cancelled because there were only about eight players registered at start time. Played a Hyper Turbo Sit-and-Go, just three hands of a 6-Max where I saw the guy who took out my get aces twice (online poker is rigged!), halfway through the Sunday Thousandaire, then pulled off fifth place in a 62-player PLO tournament. Didn’t manage to repeat in the Final Table $10K (the guy who took me out the previous week won that one), but I was under 10bb and shoved , got called by and a ten hit the flop to take me out 72nd of 101.
This Week in Portland Poker
- Friday night is the First Friday $20K at Final Table. The new format is $80 buyin/rebuy and $40 addon. Only one live rebuy this month.
- There hasn’t been an announcement of the times yet, but I understand that Rialto is hoping to run single-table satellites over the next couple of days for the Main Event and Big O tournaments at next week’s Chinook Winds Fall Poker Classic.
Only a Day Away
- Tonight at 7pm is another satellite for the Muckleshoot Summer Classic series.
- The Bicycle Casino/WPT Legends of Poker wraps up with its final $240 event today, but you can buy in to Day 2 of the $100K guarantee for $1,400 (12% advance from Day 1) and get 125,000 in chips. No late reg, be there by 1:20.
- Sunday, Chinook Winds is hosting a 1-seat guaranteed satellite tournaments for their Fall Coast Poker Classic Main Event ($550 buyin, $200 addon). The Classic itself starts Tuesday with a 55+ Seniors tournament.
- HPT Indiana at Ameristar Casino Hotel, East Chicago wraps up this weekend with three flights to the $1,650 Main Event, with the first flight tomorrow.
- WSOP Circuit Las Vegas, at Planet Hollywood is ending on Labor Day. The $750,000 guarantee Main Event has flights on Friday and Saturday, with a $1,675 buyin.
- Friday and Saturday at the Pure Poker Summer Showdown at Casino Yellowhead in Edmonton, the Main Event (C$1,100 buyin) gets going. Day 2 is on Sunday.
- Tomorrow, the Venetian Deepstack Extravaganza 3.5 starts small with a $200 buyin $10K. Friday through Sunday at noon are starting flights for a $340 buyin $150K, with a $10K Omaha 8/B Friday afternoon and other events at 7pm every day.
- The Commerce Poker Series in Los Angeles is also under way tomorrow, with a $100 buyin $50K at 5pm. Friday has another tournament with the same structure at 1pm, and a $175 $25K 8-hour Time’s Up tournament at 5pm, where the money is chopped by “chip stack equity” at the end of Level 20.
- Monday is the start of the South Sound Poker Championship at Little Creek Casino west of Olympia. There’s a satellite (presumably to the Main Event) Monday, with a Seniors (50+) tournament Tuesday, Bounty on Wednesday, and a $340 Main Event on Saturday.
- A week from Friday is the Todd Brunson Montana Poker Challenge. In it’s tenth year, it’s held at Marina Cay Lodge on Flathead Lake, about 10 hours by car from Portland, through Spokane. The info on the tournament is sparse, but it appears to be a $333 buyin with four live rebuys during Day 1 (9 September). So if Chinook Winds is too…beachy…for you, you can hang out with Todd and the gang. The web page for the event has photos (no names) of Doyle and Pam Brunson, Hoyt Corkins, Michael Mizrachi, and Gavin Smith, though it doesn’t promise that any of those people will actually be there….
- HPT Colorado opens up next Thursday, as well, at Golden Gates Casino in Black Hawk.
- The Muckleshoot Poker Summer Classic is just two weeks away.