Seven Years A Poker Blogger
It was almost exactly seven years ago that I started up Mutant Poker. I was talking to Brad Smith—owner of Hot Pepper Studios, a local website and mobile application development shop; a long-time colleague; and currently my boss—about my own struggling freelance software development business and my interest in poker, and he was the person who suggested I start a poker blog, knowing that I had run a personal blog on multimedia programming and politics for several years.
Brad didn’t give me any direction on what to write. He didn’t write a blog, read poker blogs, or play poker, he was too busy with work and with running the WebVisions series of conferences in Portland, Chicago, New York, Berlin, and Barcelona. But I took the advice and ran with it, at first obsessively breaking down every tournament I played on Full Tilt, PokerStars, and Cake Poker.
Then, about four months after I started, Black Friday happened, and I started playing live tournaments more often, including the first live game bigger than a couple of tables that I ever won. In the first days, I kept extensive notes which enabled me to do more complete write ups and reviews than I’ve done for live games in a while. I was already using the original version of my Professor Frink card cap by that point. Production took a dive, though, both from having to take notes and being away from the computer: I wrote an average of nearly 20 posts a month between January and April, but was down to six a month for most of the year.
Winning a $10K at Encore Club in November kicked me back into production as I briefly held the title of the largest single prize in a regularly-scheduled Portland poker tournament at the end of 2011 and was doing my best to get to EPT Prague for my 50th birthday (Surprise! It wasn’t good enough).
This was about the time I started to do my own crude statistical analyses, including Why Not Rebuy?, one of the more popular pieces on my site over the years.
Only one article per week average in 2012, and that was mostly front-loaded by a prolific February. I headed down to Las Vegas in June for my first extended poker trip, shortly after publishing another long analysis piece: How Good Is Good Enough? The data there was derived from the long-dormant but still informative wsopdb.com, which lets you do a search by name to find all of a player’s buyins at the WSOP for 2011 and 2012. That was the year I (briefly) played my first bracelet event, starting at a table with Kevin Stammen and Ivan Demidov. Wheeee! Apart from spending a lot of time (and playing a partner tournament with) WSOP bracelet-winner and programming colleague Tomer Berda, it wasn’t a great trip (shoutout to fellow Reed alum Mark Humphrey for putting me up for half of that run!) I didn’t write anything for a month-and-a-half.
Played out at Wildhorse Casino for the first time that fall, after winning a Main Event seat at Portland Players Clubround-up of Oregon players at the WSOP the night before my wife had a heart attack (not a joke). I also did a by combing through the entry data, which was sort of the initial start on the path that led to the blog becoming a sort of clearinghouse for news about Pacific Northwest poker tournaments. A follow-up to that post, showing the progression of Oregon players through the various days of the 2012 Main Event is the first time Angela Jordison’s name appears on the blog, several years before I’d heard of her.
2013 was the year I coined the term potmonkey, which has yet to catch on. Nothing to do with cannabis, everything to do with Omaha. Not much else was going on, though, and I barely eked out a post per month. I did, however, publish Sweet Spot, an examination of tournament payout structures. It was the year I had my first outside-of-Oregon cashes, at a Caesars Palace Seniors tournament and in a Bounty tournament at the Venetian
(that was after Grand Sierra Resort cancelled the remainder of a series after missing a couple of large guarantees, without sending out notices to, say, registered guests who’d already checked in for a flight the morning they cancelled). A week later I cashed in the Deepstacks Poker Tour/Chinook WInds Oregon State Poker Championship Main Event, where I first met Toma Barber.
I stepped up a little bit in 2014, but what really kicked things off was In the Money, a sort of culmination of the analytical articles I’d been working on and the analysis I’d been running of my own experiences, not to mention a quote from Bryan Devonshire. A shorter version appeared at PokerNews—which led to me writing pieces for them for a couple of years—and then Deadspin published the piece in its entirety (for which they still have not paid me). That actually led to a 2+2 News, Views, and Gossip thread, then some podcast interviews with Limon. I got busted by a gazillionaire at the Wynn. That November, I did my first round-up of upcoming tournament series in the West and started up the Pacific NW Tournament Calendar.
2015 saw a return to volume. I wrote an expansion of a PokerNews article on WSOP Main Event Payout structures. That led to a couple of mentions on the 2+2 Pokercast. I also did a piece on the profitability of the top players in the World Poker Tour. It was my first year as a media observer at the WSOP, then I did a day-by-day collation of Pacific Northwest players in Las Vegas series for June and much of July (more work than I can even imagine doing at this point). The Planner started up shortly thereafter. That’s been the bulk of posts for the past two-and-a-half years, aside from the summer of 2016, when it was on hiatus while I was working as a live reporter at the WSOP.
Thanks to everyone who’s provided encouragement and feedback since I started up. I hope some of you find some of this info useful or at least mildly amusing! If nothing else, it keeps me off the felt Tuesday nights.
My Time Is Coming
Considering my usual schedule, I hardly played over the past week, but I did reasonably well. Saturday, I was at Final Table for the $50K GTD tournament, along with the three other guys who make up Poker Team 1 (our grandiose name for an instant messaging group). Two players fell short of the money, but I got down to 20th (almost felted on a race between K♥T♥ and 9x9x with 11bb) and Daryl Vogel—one of my buddies from the home game that got me into the age of modern poker—made the final 7-player deal for his biggest-ever cash. Then on Monday night I crushed the home game and made almost as much profit as I had at Final Table (i.e. not a lot, but still a profit),
Pacific Northwest Poker Leaderboard
There was some serious Portland player action going on down at the WPTDeepstacks Championship at Thunder Valley the other day. Angela Jordison managed to come in third in the Player of the Series standings, despite playing only three of the none qualifiers, then she made a deep run in the Main Event, in spite of a Day 2 starting table with Bryan Devonshire, Upeshka DeSilva, and Cord Garcia (in addition to Angela herself). She missed the money, but Jeff MItseff took 17th, working a diminished stach for hours after losing some big hands. Those results won’t be up on Hendon Mob‘s leader boards until next week.
Upeshka DeSilva,, Angela Jordison, Cord Garcia at Table 9 of the WPTDeepstacks Championship (via WPT.com)
Dirk D’Hooge of Walla Walla was at the Belgian Poker Challenge NLHE 8-Max Championship for a second place finish as the only US player to cash. It’s only his third recorded cash (all have been since this summer) and the largest by far. Closer to home, Vancouver’s Ali Imsirovic jumped across Las Vegas Blvd. from Planet Hollywood’s WSOP Circuit event to the Bellagio to play the first event of the WPT Five Diamond series, a ($10K High Roller), after his run at the WSOPC Main Event final table the week before; he came in 4th once again, though in a much smaller field of 28. Also at the Five Diamond, Scott Clements took first place in a field of 56 in Event #5, the $1,100 PLO.
Poker Time Session 3 Episode 5
Portraits In Poker
Kendra “Gypsy” Hurteau has done a series of paintings that include her visions of three area poker faces (including Jake Dahl). She and I were neighbors for much of the summer I was working in Las Vegas. You can see her work at her web site.
This Week In Portland Poker
No special events announced so far this week except for a double guarantee ($2,400) this morning at Final Table’s 11am game. Probably because it’s my birthday.
HOLD YOUR HORSES! Double guarantees Thursday night and Friday night at Final Table!
There is an announced $25K guarantee freezeout tournament for Saturday, 16 December, at Portland Meadows.
Only a Day Away
- The Main Event of the WPT Five Diamond at Bellagio started yesterday (the last-minute Day 2 Turbo satellite is probably over by the time you see this). There are still a couple of events remaining, including a $5,200 buyin tomorrow, a $25K buyin High Roller on Friday with another on Saturday, and a Turbo $1,100 tournament on Sunday.
- HPT St. Charles’ $2,500 entry HPT Championship Open starts Friday, with flights through Sunday and three total days of play.
- The WSOP Circuit Bicycle Casino has a $240 buyin Big O (pot limit) tournament today iof you can get there by 2pm. The Main Event ($1,675 entry) has flights Saturday and Sunday. There are also two Survivor tournaments this weekend: Sunday’s $390 game pays $3,250 to the top 10% and Monday’s is $565 for a $5,000 payout. $3,250 is—oddly enough—the buyin for Monday’s High Roller, a Circuit Ring event.
- Monday was the beginning of the Venetian December Extravaganza. The $3,500 Card Player Poker Tour $500K GTD starts Friday.
- There are satellites every Wednesday through December at 1pm for the Tulalip Poker Pow Wow coming up just after the first of the year. No info yet on the price or the package you win. Tulalip also has a $10K Added $230 entry tournament coming up on Sunday, 17 December at 11am.
- The Medford Poker Room Holiday Tournament is Saturday at noon.
- The Muckleshoot Tournament of Champions is 17 December at noon. It’s a $400 buyin if you haven’t already qualified (and if there are seats left in the 250-player limit).
After that, there’s not much through the holidays except the Venetian New Year’s Extravaganza on 21 December.
Remember to keep an eye on the #PNWPokerCal Twitter hashtag and the PNW Poker Calendar for upcoming events!