R-Day Minus 2

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.

After I got to the hotel last night, I spent some time figuring out what my plans for Sunday were going to be.  Aside from the 1pm and 7pm tournaments at the Venetian, I didn’t know of anything else more than just something to play in town my last day.

First off, I fired up WSOP.com to see  what was on their schedule. Right off the bat I noticed there was a $100K GTD at 3pm for a $320 buyin, and a $50K NLHE 6-Max at 6pm. Both of them had satellites, an important point for the $50K, because the buyin was $1K. So my initial plan was to maybe play some cash, come back to the hotel  early in the afternoon for the online tournaments, and get up at 4am for my flight.

Before I went to sleep, I payed a small tournament and some low stakes cash.

Best laid plans.

The first part went fine. Breakfast, unexpected morning drinking, a handy cab for a ride to the Orleans, and relatively short waiting to get onto a 1/3 table, then an opening 15 minutes later in 4/8 Omaha Hi-Lo. I came out after a couple of hours with about enough to cover my cab ride over, though not the Lyft back. Got set up for the WSOP.com 10-Seat GTD NLHE Satellite for the $100K. Got in for two buyins but didn’t want to do a third, so I relaxed until the actual $100K GTD started.

This one was a little painful, I laid down what would have been the winning hand in an early all-in when I would have tripled up, then busted out on a hand where we got all in on a run turn after I’d made a flush against a set, only to have him get a full house on the river. I don’t know if these things have  seemed more painful because I’d rather be going out on an up note but they are really pissing me off in a way they usually don’t.

I decided to leave the room and headed back to the Venetian for Event #17 $30K NLHE. Kao Saechao  was still in Day 2 of the $260K GTD. I got into the tournament late (precisely at 4:20, I noted to the table, most of whom were older than me and nobody admitted to understanding) with the hope that I could repeat the early success of my late buyin from yesterday, but it was not happening. I was out by 6pm.

So it was to the 1/2/5 PLO cash game for me. For about an hour. And that’s how my poker time in Las Vegasis is going to come to and end. Bang and whimper.

R-Day Minus 3

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.

It’s official, I will not be winning a total of $100K between mid-September and the end of the year, so the poker retirement is final.

My last chance, after a couple of great weeks at home, was to shoot for the Venetian Deepstack Extravaganza Event #14 $260K GTD NLHE, literally the last major tournament of the year in my league. $400 buyin, 30K in chips, 30-minute levels…I could manage that.

I caught the 6am Spirit Airlines flight to Las Vegas this morning, having paid extra for their Big Front Seat. What they don’t tell you at Spirit—and I get the feeling that there are a lot of things they don’t tell you at Spirit—is that the chairs are so flimsy that when the person who didn’t pay for extra legroom moves their legs and their knees hit the back of your seat, that it’s like having a donkey kick you in the lower back. Anyway, it was a great $3 can of Diet Coke.

Rode the city bus from the airport to the South Strip Transit Center. Even though the public areas of Vegas are pretty white, I was the only non-African-American on the city bus leaving the airport at 8:15am on a chilly Saturday., and there were a dozen passengers and a driver.

Caught the Deuce up the Boulevard to the Venetian and bought my ticket for the tournament, which was set to start just after noon, then headed over to the Fashion Show to see if I could scare up a cheaper breakfast than I could get at The Venetian. I could not. In fact, after I decided against a heavy plate of pancakes or a burger, I picked an Asian Chicken Salad that was not the worst I’ve ever had. The one I had at an Irish bar in Spokane was worse.

Picked up some Diet Coke at CVS, then trudged back across three skybridges and through the Palazzo to get back to the poker room.

 

Along the way, I spotted this rad slot machine! The first board game I really remember having was based on Thunderball, and while I’m really not a slot fan, I had to sit down and plug a couple dollars in this baby. Two spins at the max credits and I was up to $8.50. I probably should have declared myself a winner in Vegas at that point, because it was the last money I won today.

By the end of the first level of play, I was already up 8500 chips, after hitting a gutshot to the nut straight with [8c9c]. Another attempt to get clever really cost me when 68 flopped me the nuts, but someone with a similar idea had that and a flush draw to back it up, which he turned. That cost me all but 8K.

I managed to double up before the first break, then lost my chance to double again when I called a raise wth 9x9x, had the short stack in my left shove and the original raiser shove in for more. He had AxQx, the short stack had 8s, and the board ran out 2x3x4x8x9x. Then I let my aces get cracked by nines and lost more than I needed to (like half my small stack). And on my next button, I shoved Qx9x from the button and a new player in the big blind had AxKx and it was over.

i really didn’t want to reenter, but back to the cage I went with another $400. I was 178 on the alternate list, and they were calling 110 or so.

Sixty-five minutes later and I was in again, with another 30K in chips and blinds just about to go up to 500/1000 with a 1000 big blind ante. Won the last hand just before break 2, so I was up by about 4K.

Bullet 2 only lasted about 90 minutes. Eventually, I jammed KxQx into a short-stack raise, he had aces, I was short ago a Andy went out.

Bullet 3 (no wait this late in the game!) seemed like it was going to be the one. Early on, I raised with queens and got a couple of calls, then the board ran out three treys. An early positio caller jammed a little more than the starting stack and I called with my full house. He had fours, and I doubled up.

That same player doubled up against an aggressive player on the dealer’s left. I was on the button the next hand and the aggro guy was on the big blind. We had roughly similar stacks, like 40bb. I raised QJ and he shoved after thinking a bit. I thought he might be steaming about the double up from the previous hand, but no, he had AxKx, which I found out when I called him. He had something to really steam about when a jack hit the river and I also doubled up through him.

Our table broke not long after and I did extremely well at the new table. By the last break of the day, I had more than 250K, which Would have been better than a median stack at the end of the day. Unfortunately…

A short stack new to the table raised all in and I called wth A8. He had QT, so naturally, he won the hand. #PortlandNuts

That and blinds took me down below 200K. Then, in one of those hand that seem like setups, just as the tournament clock was stopped at18 minutes to Gomez before bagging, with nine hand left to go, I was in the button.

The player who had doubled up through me raised. I had jacks. Some poker common sense would say to just fold my way to Day 2, with a decent if not stellar stack, and get into the money. The bad poker brain says: “JACKS!”

I shoved. None of the players left to act had as many chips a shot I did. Apart from a huge stack who had more than a million chips afternoon one of the most bizarre hands I’ve seen, and a player on my right, I had been the chip leader before the double up. But nontheless, I shoved.

then the small blind shoved for more chips than the original raised. Not as many as me, but enough. The original raiser said something about not wanting to lose wit I had his hand, but he called. Small blind had queens. Original raiser had kings. Yuck.

At least, that was what I thought until the flop, which was all spades but with a jack. None of the pairs had a spade. Then a queen hit the turn. And another queen on the river. The guy with kings was eliminated. I was chopped down to 70K, less than 10bb.

Next hand, action folds to me, I shove KQ and the small blind has aces. So that’s how my quest for poker glory comes to its end, eight hands short of Day 2.

Good luck to Portland’s Kao Saechao, who’s still in the hunt.

R-Day Minus 4: My Time Is Coming

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.

No poker played today, but by the time the five or six people who see this read it, I’ll probably be in Las Vegas for the last big tournament of the year in the western United States: the Venetian Deepstacks Extravaganza V Event #14 $260K GTD NLHE.

Saturday is the third entry day for the $400 buyin event, there have been more than 600 entries so far, so it should go well over the guarantee.

That said, with just over $92K to go before my goal of $100K before the end of the year, I’d need to win a tournament with close to a $500K prize pool this weekend, which would mean another 800 or so entries on Saturday. It could happen.

Either way, my time is coming.

Hoping to see Kao Saechao and Steve Roselius down in Las Vegas! Happy birthday to Molly Anne Mossey and good luck to Jackie BurkhartKevin Mathers, and all the lucky folks heading to the Bahamas for the world’s largest $25K buyin at the PokerStars Players Championship! Safe driving to Carlos Welch.

R-Day Minus 5

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.

We were at the final table of the Final Table $1K GTD NLHE Bounty last night at midnight, and at the time I didn’t know if I was going to be coming out a slight loser (after taking a couple of bounties) or if I was going to make it into the money.

I’d gotten to the club early in the fourth level and done well enough to be above average when we got to the break and the add-on. I was one of the top three stacks at the table when a big hand developed that included one of the other big stacks—who’d doubled up another player with a rather loose call in an effort to pick up a bounty—a short stack went all in, I was planning to call with my AxTx, but the other player shoved his not-insignificant pile of chips and I folded. An ace on the flop would have given me the win and at least two bounties, as well as crippling or eliminating the big stack. Sign.

Got to the final table as one of the short stacks (as usual) and waited things out, shoved a few times without getting called, eventually getting through the bubble and down to four players, losing an ace-king v. queens race to get knocked out in fourth. Three bounties.

Played a brief—I mean 2-minute—Zone cash session.

$92,052 to go before 1 January.

R-Day Minus 7

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.

Three Ignition Casino Jackpot Sit-and-Gos. The first two were 5x payouts. Lost all three.

Last game for Christmas was the $500 PLO8 Turbo. Did not make the money, after a promising start.

R-Day Minus 8

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.

Afternoon downtime on Christmas Eve and I played the Ignition Casino $1K NLHE 6-Max. For half an hour. I lost all but one hand, sliding down from the 5K starting stack to just 1,700 chips, Then I managed to pull out a straight on the river with my pocket sizes holding the bottom end of a four-card straight on the turn and a 5 river. On the very next hand I raised from the small blind with pocket nines, the big stack that had doubled me up re-raised, and I shoved. He called with sixes and four hearts on the board made him a flush.

Played three Ignition Casino NLHE Jackpot Sit-and-Gos after that—all of them just 2x multipliers—and lost the first two, then won the third.

Mrs. Poker Mutant and I had out traditional Christmas Eve dinner of Dungeness crab (previously-frozen since the season’s been delayed yet again) while we watched Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol and the best version of the same tale, A Christmas Carol with George C. Scott as Scrooge. Kind of scary watching it to realize that I’m the age George C. was when that movie came out.

After that, I played a couple more Jackpot Sit-and-Gos. Both of them came up with 5x payouts; I lost the first after what seemed like the longest number of hands in one of those I’ve seen (and a couple of radical chip swaps), then won the second one after coming back from just 1.5bb three-handed.

Seven days to go: $92,286 to target!

Merry Christmas!

R-Day Minus 9

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.

Family obligations have tended to keep me from playing the Ignition Casino $100K GTD NLHE on Sundays. There’s stuff to do to get the house ready for our Sunday family dinner—even though I’m, thankfully, not doing the cooking—and I don’t like to buy into a tournament of that size late, or be playing it while we’ve got company, even if it’s company that’s here every week.

But my father’s out of town for the holidays this week and I’m down to the wire on my $100K-before-the-end-of-the-year-or-bust plan (only $93K to go!) so I decided to play it this week.

Despite the fact that I got aces twice in 90 minutes (about 5 times better than the normal distribution) I was under the starting stack, after having to lay down a 3-bet hand of AK and a few other attempts to get some chips. Still I was nearly 40bb deep when I got AK on the big blind, with a dead small blind. UTG min-raised, everyone folded to me, and I pushed it up to 2K, which he called. The all-spade flop was unpleasant, but I had top-top and overbet the pot by a thousand or so going all in. UTG called with both a gutshot straight and a spade draw, and booth of them got there in sequence. I was marginally ahead when the money went in, but I was getting a chop at best after the turn.

And that’s the way the make-a-fortune cookie crumbles.

I played the Ignition Casino $5K GTD NLHE  after the guests left. 642 entries. I doubled up and then some in the middle stage but went pretty card dead as small stacks were shoving toward the bubble, and lost a lot of ground. I was under 10bb when I picked up queens on the button and we were on the last couple spots before the bubble. A big stack in early position raised, I shoved, he had aces! And he hit an ace on the flop! I finished in 109th place. 108 places paid.

R-Day Minus 10

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.

That was an…interesting…night.

Friday night at publication time, I was still in the Final Table $10K GTD NLHE.

I left the house a few minutes behind schedule, and got further delayed because I live a couple of blocks from Peacock Lane, a four-block stretch of a SE Portland street that has a Christmas light display every year. So I was a few minutes late once I drove out Division to the clup.

Imagine my surprise when I saw a number of people smoking outside the doors shortly after the 7pm start time. Typically, anyone that’s there at the time is in or waiting in line. As I walked toward the door, Rick James was heading the other direction, and told me: “They’re shut down. Game’s cancelled.” I knew enough to not listen to his bullshit, though I did think that perhaps there was some sort of power outage that wasn’t immediately obvious to me—high winds had knocked out the power a few days earlier. A locksmith’s van pulled up at the curb, a guy jumped out and started pulling tools out of the back. I assumed he was there for the auto parts shop next door.

When I got in,  I could see that the tournament hadn’t started yet, and as I walked up to the counter, I saw  a Multnomah County Sheriff’s Deputy kneeling downbehind it at one end. Ron C. was there, and when I asked him what was up, he said the deputies were seizing  all of the cash, as a part of some sort of judgment against one of the club owners, but nothing to do with the operation of the club itself.

This, on the face of it, seems incredibly wrong, as money paid into the prize pool in Portland’s social clubs explicitly does not belong to the club. It can’t be distributed to the club, even in part, according to the ordinances. That’s why there’s no rake. That’s why there are no multi-day events.


There were at least three  more deputies in the office (and the locksmith) and they left carrying a small brown bag about ten miinutes to eight. TD Kat Mullins had repeated an announcement I’d missed about the pan to start at 8pm, and, for the most part, that’s what happened. Meanwhile, I caught up with Kao Saechao, who was back on his home territory after a very successful year, and said hello to Liz Brandenburg, who was also capturing some of the flavor of the evening.

I’m not going to bother recounting how the tournament went except to say it was my usual path to the final table. I got pretty short at one point, got lucky a couple of times, made it to the final table as one of the shortest stacks, and somehow ended up in the top three. This time a player named Lee was the big stack. It was already well after 5am, and when I proposed the same deal that had been offered to me last week—with the big stack taking just under 1st place money and the other two chopping the remainder—both lee and the other player were ready to go and I’m sure the remaining staff was glad to get out of there after a long and stressful night.

Played a NLHE Jackpot Sit-and-Go in the afternoon and bused in third. Tried my hand at a 1-Seat GTD NLHE Satellite for Sunday’s $100K and was chip leader through most of the game, got down to HU with a 2:1 advantage and had a hand with top pair on the flop against bottom pair on the flop and he rivered a second pair, flipping the stacks. I never recovered and busted second.