Poker In the Time of COVID

“Poker Game on the Moon“ by Jim Algar

It was five months ago today that I played my last hand of live poker, the longest gap in my live play since I started playing home games with a group of guys my cousin’s husband introduced me to back in 2007. And that last live session was with what remains of the same group, which has been whittled down considerably from the days when we regularly needed two tables. Maybe I drove them away…

It’s not that live poker hasn’t come back to Portland, albeit in a somewhat reduced fashion. Both of the largest poker rooms in the city and state—Final Table and Portland Meadows—are open, and a number of the smaller rooms have games running. I haven’t partaken myself, as I’ve been on the deck for helping out some folks with medical issues and can’t really afford an accidental exposure because of my love for poker.

Without any live tournaments, the Pacific Northwest Poker Leaderboard has been dead. I’d been hoping to have something to report after the WSOP.com online replacement for the World Series of Poker’s 50th anniversary (yes, you read that right, last year was the 50th WSOP but this would have been the 50th anniversary), but the last event was over a week ago and they’re apparently not adding them to the database.

So, all I have left is me.

I’ve  played a wider variety of online the past five months than I had in a long time. I started off on my tried and true Ignition Casino. I didn’t have a lot of cash left there but the first NLHE Jackpot Sit-n-Go I played after lockdown went well, and I got another one that day, but meanwhile dropped five times my winnings in a $25K GTD, a PLO Turbo, and a 6-Max Turbo. I finished out march with a few small Jackpots.

Portland Meadows—which had just reopened before Oregon locked down—had a deal with the Bitcoin-only Nitrogen Sports (home of The Poker Guys). I bought some Bitcoin and transferred it to Nitrogen to play a few of the Meadows-branded events, busting out mid-field in the first couple. Then I started playing their micro stakes PLO cash games and did fantastic, with one of them putting me up 850bb in about 20 minutes. Of course, I promptly booked a session with a loss of 700bb. Then another for nearly 1500bb. Thankfully, those were both smaller stakes than the win, but still.

Meanwhile, Kheang Tang convinced me to play part of the America’s Cardroom High Five series. I played a $30K GTD PLO8, $40K GTD NLHE, and a $1K GTD Stud8 without even getting into the top half of the field.

The cash games for me on Nitrogen were still going well, but the tournaments were a complete bust. Back on ACR. I min-cashed a $20K PLO8 after being in the top 5 for a good section of the tournament. April ended with me still cashless in tournaments at Nitrogen and a couple of losing PLO sessions in a row depleted my balance there. I made the final table of a 45-player PLO tournament at ACR, but a rebuy made me just break-even.

I got back over to Ignition on May Day, intending to focus on 6-Max and satellites. It didn’t go so well. Booked a couple of profits at 2¢ PLO cash, but it was just losses in satellites, PLO Turbo tournaments, and 6-Max for over a week before I cashed in even a $2 Jackpot SnG. Three weeks and more than 20 tournaments in, I finally picked up an MTT cash with 60/851 in a $30K GTD. Not much, but something.

Meanwhile, I was also plugging away on ACR. Apart from a satellite ticket and a negligible profit in a $500 GTD 6-Max, that was going nowhere.

Near the end of the month, I psigned up with Big Dog Poker through Jeremy Harkin, so I could try my hand at Big O during a weekend series they were running. Tried my hand at four tournaments and a few cash games and let’s just say I’m not as good at the game as I used to be back in the Portland Players Club days. And that was never that good.

My ACR play petered off in early June along with the rest of the money in my account. I did get to play one last Stud cash session, which is something Ignition doesn’t have.

Over on Ignition, I had a run of 0.1/0.25 PLO cash sessions that gave me hope, with profits in 10 out of 15, but other than that: nada. I played almost nothing the last third of the month, between my last session on Big Dog and my last on ACR. After July 1, it was Ignition and only Ignition.

Not that that was going all that well.

I had a couple min-cashes (142/1095 in a $10K GTD and 23/155 in a 6-Max Turbo) but many more bustos, mostly sticking to 6-Max, and PLO/PLO8. Then things started to turn around after the middle of the month. 11/175 in the nightly $44 buyin 6-Max. A satellite ticket to their summer series $10K GTD O8 (where I got 14/145). Another min in a $3K GTD Turbo, and 2/176 in the 6Max, with only two busts in-between (and one of those was a $250K GTD I’d satellited into).

I busted a couple of tournaments, cashed 6/215 in a $5K PLO8, busted a couple more and won a satellite into a $35K GTD 6-Max (busted), had a couple more bust days, then played two tournaments simultaneously (which I rarely do because I am old and slow), making the final tables of both.

A min-cash with rebuy meant a small loss in my first-ever NLHE Ante Up tournament (do not late-reg one of these things when you get just 12bb to start).

I noticed the last couple of Thursdays there are multiple 6-Max tournaments to lay during the series. I was considering playing all three the other day, but two of them start before I’m off of work. I wanted to sit in the living room so I could chat with my wife, so I ended up just playing the $215 buy-in because of the size of my laptop screen (if I’d been in the office, I would have used the big computer). This led to a major screw-up.

I got into a confrontation early in the game and lost a third of my chips, then drifted down further to 1/3 of the starting stack. It seems like I was down there for a long time, but looking at the hand history, it seems like I managed to recover back to a starting stack by the end of the first hour.

Nearing the end of the re-entry period, the player came in on my right with 75bb and proceeded to shove over nearly every raise made by another player. He shoved the second hand he was dealt at the table. He shoved the third hand with AJ and went down to 60bb when he doubled up a pair of tens. He 6x 3-bet the next hand. Hand 4, he doubled up another player shoving 98 and getting called by AQ. Down to 30bb, he shoved hands 5, 6, and 7.

On hand 8, he open-shoved from the button and I called with TK, exposing his Q8. He doubled me up that time, and I was up to 40bb. He was down to 12.

This did not stop the insanity, however. The next hand there was an UTG min-raise from a 35bb, and the maniac shoved with 75. The original raiser called with TQ and the maniac doubled back to 40bb.

He took a hand off, but did it again, then just limped into my BB (and won a small pot), shoved over a 4bb raise, stayed out of a hand where I doubled up to 66bb, and at least slowed down a bit.

Which may have been why I took my eye off the ball at the wrong time. Blinds were up to 600/1200/120. There were only four players at the table at the moment, with a little over 100 left and about half of us getting paid. I was well-situated with almost 75bb which put me in the top 10 at the time. The maniac was at 40bb. I had 4Q in the BB, which I might call a small raise with but I had no real intention of playing. The button (22bb) min-raised, and the maniac in SB shoved and—not seeing the all-in—I called. Button folded and I was up against 98 Racing, but a nine and a club on the flop turned into a club couch by the river and nw the maniac had almost 100K and I was well out of the top 10.

My last hand against the maniac was just 5 hands later when he open-shoved SB with 9K against my JK and again hit a nine on the flop.

I did a re-entry but lost a race on my first hand and was down to 1.5bb. Quadrupled up on my second hand. My last hand, I had A7 and 4bb in the BB, a big stack shoved 24, and I called. He got a full house.

PNW Poker Leaderboard — 18 April 2020: The Life Quarantine with Poker Mutant

I had already written part of this post when I got the news about the passing of Calvin Nithikhun Sr., known by a lot of us in the Portland poker community as Twitch. If you can, head over to read the GoFundMe post from Krystle Cline. (photo from Calvin’s Facebook page.)


It’s been nearly a month since I wrote the last Poker Leaderboard. Tournaments were already shutting down then (Bay 101 Shooting Star had just ended in a multi-way chop so they could shut things down) and all that was left to come in were some straggler results of which there is exactly one big enough for me to report on and that’s from the Pacific Northwest’s new #1, Seth Davies. Davies extended his lead over Scott Clements (which was only $13K on lifetime earnings for each of over $8.2M) by taking 2nd in the partyPoker MILLIONS $50K NLHE Sochi Super High Roller, an event with 31 entries.


Like a lot of other people, the COVID-19 quarantine put a real hitch in my poker giddyup. I only had a little money left on Ignition, and ran it down with a bad streak of $2 Jackpot Sit-n-Gos.

https://twitter.com/2PokerGuys/status/1246160684938858501

Jonathan Levy and Grant Denison put together a deal with Nitrogen Sports (who’s been a sponsor of their podcasts) to recreate the currently-shuttered Portland Meadows Poker schedule. I missed the first Saturday noon game but did play Saturday night and Sunday noon, seeing a lot of the regulars like Jackie Burkhardt, Liz Tedder, and, of course, Meadows club owner Brian Sarchi.

Did last night’s freezeout and made it to 5th place as 2nd largest stack but got into a pissing match with the 3rd largest stack in a blind v blind battle and he rivered a flush after we were all in, so I still haven’t cashed one of those. I’ve had a bit more luck playing 0.0.1/0.02mB to 0.05/0.1mB PLO there (roughly $0.07/0.14 to $0.35/0.70 blinds).

And I’ve had the chance to play three tournaments on America’s Cardroom, inclufding one PLO and a 7-Card Stud Hi-Lo tournament. Who knew it would take the end of the world to finally get me into a Stud/8 game? Almost played one of those “organized on PokerStars Home games with play money but ‘this guy’ is collecting real money though Venmo and will pay the cashers” games because it was HORSE, but something came up, I didn’t make the money transfer, and the whole PokerStars system apparently went down that night while they were 90 minutes in. So, a win for me, I guess.

Stay safe and wash your hands!

PNW Poker Leaderboard — 2 March 2020

No results yet from the PacWest Poker Classic at Chinook Winds. I’m just going to reiterate here that there’s no reason it should take a week for results to be posted.

Poker Mutant & Toma Barber

I went down to Lincoln City the first weekend to no avail, splitting a room with Toma Barber—who I had first met before he moved to Portland, when we were seated next to each other for much of Day 2 in the first $1,000+ buy-in tournament I cashed, back in 2013. I had to head back to town without playing the HORSE tournament that I’d been looking forward to because of a family emergency, which also prevented me from making the Main Event the next weekend. On the plus side, I did finally have my first tournament profit/win of the year in my old home game a week after bubbling the Final Table $10K NLHE. (Also, a minor profit playing $1/3 NLHE cash at PacWest.)

I am pretty sure there is not a “Coronavirus Casino”

But enough of my paltry performances. Let’s talk about the WSOP potentially getting called off in three months because of COVID-19! Or the fact that we’re only a month away from the Wildhorse Spring Poker Round Up and they closed it down today because a worker came down with the coronavirus!

James Romero wins partypoker MILLIONS South America (photo Camila Ocampo for partypoker blob)

It’s #5 on the Leaderboard, James Romero on top of the money tree again with a win in the 30-entry partypoker Millions South America #6 $25K NLHE Super High Roller, just a month afer a big cash in a partypoker $10K in the UK. No change in standings.

Seth Davies maintains at #2 with 2nd place in the first Aria $10K NLHE High Roller of the year.

Adam Hendrix (photo: Poker News via WSOP.com)

Out of Anchorage, Adam Hendrix took 5th place in the WSOPC Rio Las Vegas #12 $1M GTD NLHE Main Event (747 entries). Hendrix is new to the Leaderboard (added with the expansion to include Alaska, BC , and Alberta), but he’s the #1 Alaskan on the Hendon Mob’s state-by-state rankings. Derek Duclos from Caldwell, ID (#1932) placed in 17th.

There were a couple of results out of the Winter Super Stack #8 NLHE in Calgary (138 entries) and I’d probably be reporting more names except for the fact that a lot of players aren’t identified as anything but “Canada” for their residence. The top dog was #146-ranked (moving up 20 spots) Sinan Tawfik of Calgary, who came in 1st. Don Montgomery (also Calgary) took 4th place, moving up more than 300 places on the Leaderboard to #1079.

Anthony An from Juneau picked up his best-ever cash with a win in the LAPC #52 $100K GTD NLHE Bounty Championship, beating the 100-entry field. An goes from #901 to #640.

Anthony An (photo: lapcnews.com)

Another Remington sculpture was brought back to the PNWby Bellevue, WA’s Adam Tyburski, who cleared the field in the 42-entry LAPC #44 LHE. Tyburski climbs more than 500 places to #1326.

Adam Tyburski (photo: lapcnews.com)

On the other side of the country at the WSOPC Tampa #6 $200K GTD NLHE Monster Stack, Vancouver, BC-based bracelet-winner Robert Cheung grabbed 5th. He’s far enough up the Leaderboard (#28) that even the final table of a 1,371-entry tournament doesn’t move him.

There’s nowhere up to go for #1 Scott Clements. He was runner-up in the 148-entry WSOPC Rio Las Vegas #9 HORSE.

Russell Serion (photo: wsop.com)

Russell Serion from Richmond, BC picked up his biggest cash and a Ring with a win in the WSOPC Rio Las Vegas #8 NLHE Black Chip Bounty. There were a total of 168 entries. Serion’s another player with a 500+ climb this week, hitting #1185.

And the last item for the Leaderboard and for the Rio is Boise’s Maria McAlpin, coming in 3rd at WSOPC Rio Las Vegas #10 NLHE Double Stack. McAlpin breaks through the 1,000 barrier, going from #1003 to #816.

Maybe Chinook results will be in in a couple of weeks. Until then, wash your hands! Those cards and chips are filthy!

PNW Poker Leaderboard — 31 January 2020: Pendleton Edition

The dam broke this week and results from both the Summer and Fall Wildhorse Poker Round Ups have made it to Hendon Mob, where they’ve been absorbed into the state (and now province) leaderboards, and made their way to this, the Pacific Northwest Poker Leaderboard. On top of that, the holiday lull is over and NW players have fanned out actoss the world to win more money.

Marko Pantelic (photo from wsop.com)

On top of the movers this week is Bellevue’s Marko Pantelic, taking third out of 487 entries in the WSOPC Thunder Valley #12 $500K GTD NLHE Main Event. His fifth recorded cash is his best by far (three of his other cashes were also from Northern California events). marko moves up nearly 2,100 places, to #564.

George Wolff continues to bang away at the high roller circuit, with a 3rd place in the Australian Poker Open #4 $25K PLO. It’s his third cash in Australia since the start of the year, and he moves up another place on the Leaderboard, to #16.

Andrew Brunette from Woodland, WA picked up his first and only (so far) recorded cash by winning the Wildhorse Fall Poker Round Up #12 +$10K NLHE Main Event. There were 434 entries, and Brunette makes it onto the Leaderboard for the first time at #1288. Coming in right behind Brunette was Auburn, WA’s Jeffrey Lindsey, who rose from #3316 ro #1259 with his fifth (and largest) cash. David Templeton from Anchorage took third—far from his first or fifth cash, but still his best. He goes from #395 to #333. Boise’s Gregg Wilkinson was 4th for his biggest cash (jumping 4,010 places to #2303). And Monty Ford of Wellpinit, WA is the last of the players from that event to make this edition of the Leaderboard, with his 5th place finish taking him to #1011.

Boise’s Jessica King took down the Wildhorse Fall Poker Round Up #3 +$5K NLHE, her largest score to date, beating a field of 470 and moving her up nearly 5,000 places to #1642. Gregory Lindberg from Corvallis came in 2nd for his best cash, climbing about a hundred places to #462. Chad Wassmuth from Lewiston moved up two spots to #71 with a 3rd place in this event and a win in Wildhorse Fall Poker Round Up #1 +$3K NLHE. The runner-up in the latter event was a different Chad from Idaho, Chad Heft (Boise), who picked up his first cash and a position at #3486. back in Event #2, Kennewick, WA’s Jimmy Stringer came in 4th, but he gets an extra boost because he won Wildhorse Summer Poker Round Up #2 +3K NLHE back in August. Stringer is now #794.

Back on the other side of the globe, Portland’s Landen Lucas came in 5th out of 299 in Aussie Millions #19 NLHE, a A$2,500 buy-in. He climbs to #568.

Tzu Huang of Surrey, BC was at the WPT/Seminole Hard Rock Lucky Hearts Poker Open $2M GTD NLHE Championship and came in 16th out of 843 entries. Huang rises fifty places to #309. Matt Affleck came in 23rd, and remains at #15.

Beaverton’s Binh Nguyen was one of the few players to have any results reported from the lone Summer series event in Pendleton that had been submitted, but he also won the Wildhorse Summer Poker Round Up #4 NLHE and climbs to #128. Justin Monk (Spokane Valley) was his runner-up, and he goes to #186. Ghulam Mirza of Kennewick was third. Coincidentally, Ghulam Mirza Mohammed of Kennewick was 2nd in the Wildhorse Fall Poker Round Up #10 +3K NLHE. Do you think they could be related? The former only has four cashes (#2929) and the latter has five (#2049). Jeff Ball (from Pendleton!) took 4th in Summer Event #4) and is now #1811.

William Smith of Tualatin, OR won Wildhorse Fall Poker Round Up #11 +$3K NLHE. He bumps up to #797. Boise’s Brent Becker took 2nd (#715) and Jared Dairy of Bend got 3rd (#1829).

Shoreline, WA’s Cynthia Orr makes her debut on the Leaderboard at #2546 by winning Wildhorse Fall Poker Round Up #9 +3K NLHE Seniors. Her runner-up was another newcomer, Kennewick’s James Peck, whose first cash puts him at #3440.

Dylan Wilkerson was another PNW player Down Under, getting 3rd in the Aussie Millions #18 PLO8. There were 133 entries, and Wilkerson remains at #14.

Zack Powers of Arlington, WA took 2nd iin the 341-entry Wildhorse Summer Poker Round Up #3 NLHE. He enters at #3089.

Spokane’s Paul Thone (#3792) got his second cash in Wildhorse Fall Poker Round Up #5 +$3K O8. That’s the last of the entries for Pendleton; may they never be this late again!

Lastly but not leastly, Seattle’s Dean Bui won a Wynn Signature Series $400 NLHE mid-month to go from #188 too #177, then James Canitz of Eagle River, AK got second in the same event the next day, popping up to #895.

That’s it for the end of the month. I know there are a couple of results that hadn’t posted by the time the charts ran on Wednesday (looking at you Ryan Stoker!) but you’ll just need to wait for the next edition.

PNW Poker Leaderboard — 20 January 2020

Well, this decade’s been a bust for me so far. With Portland Meadows closed down until they get their new location (8102 NE Killingsworth) set up, Final Table has been running $20K guarantees every Friday night. The first of those this year (on the regularly-scheduled First Friday) got 190 entries. That had dropped down to 137, but that was still enough for nearly $7K scheduled for the top prize.

I also dropped in to see the new Trio room at 9th & E Burnside (photo at the top from Kat Mullins on the NW Poker Facebook page). They had a couple of Big O tables running the first day and when I sat down, Kerry Moynahan (who was dealing), mentioned that he didn’t usually see me at the shootout tables, as opposed to the multi-table tournaments. Five minutes later, after winning my first hand and then losing my entire buy-in on the second—after flopping a straight and calling off against a better straight on the turn—he knew why.

That’s my 2020 so far…how’s everyone else’s?

If you’re a real stats-watcher, you may notice some variation in this edition of the Pacific Northwest Poker Leaderboard, because it now includes players from Alaska, Alberta, and British Columbia. It’s a move I’ve been wanting to make for a while but was too lazy to implement until recently. I meant to get it going before the start of the year, but here it is in the second edition!

Why not start with George Wolff, who’s been walloping the high roller scene since last fall’s British Poker Open. He’s cashed in 10 events with buy-ins of $10K or more with nearly $1.9M in earnings, with the latest coming in the Aussie Millions A$25,000 NLHE Challenge, where he made a deal for 2nd place. George moves up a rarified 5 spots on the Leaderboard, from #22 to #17.

James Romero  (photo: Mickey May/partypoker)

James Romero came in 3rd after starting the final day as chip leader at the partypoker MILLIONS UK $5M GTD NLHE Main Event, a $10K buy-in with 530 entries. Romero also rises five spots, to #5 on the Leaderboard, with his largest score since winning the 2016 WPT Five Diamond (which was only his third recorded live cash, if you really want to beat yourself up over your poker career like I do).

John Skrovan (photo: PokerNews/wsop.com)

The first player from Canada to make an appearance on the Leaderboard is John Skrovan of Burnaby, BC, who took 2nd place in the WSOPC Choctaw NLHE Main Event. As usual, the venue drew a large field of 1,065 entries. It’s Skrovan’s largest cash ever (even though he made the final table of a $600 bracelet event with 6,000+ entries at last year’s WSOP), He moves up 400 spots to #211 on the Leaderboard.

Tom Mahon from Dairy, OR got a little of the Lucky Changes Gold Rush #3 NLHE, which brought in 632 entries for a prize pool of $632K. Mahon cashed in 6th place, doubled his lifetime reported earnings, and moves nearly 850 spots on the Leadderboard, to #1115.

Portland’s Ming Zhu was the runner-up at the Venetian Deepstack Extravaganze NYE #36 NLHE MonsterStack, as part of a six-way deal. He’s currently #250.

The lone newcomer to the Leaderboard (breaking the $3K earnings threshold, as opposed to a couple thousand folks added from BC, AB, and AK) is Vancouver (WA)’s Isaiah Avery, whose second recorded cash was 3rd place in the $200 buy-in, 839-entry MOOSE Poker Tournament Series #10 $30K GTD NLHE. It got—and you can do the calculations yourself) more than five times the guarantee. and had an incredible flat payout structure (none of this 9th makes 10% of 1st; it was one-third). The 5-day series at the las Vegas Golden Nugget had 17 events, which must have kept the place pretty jammed. Avery starts at #3518.

The last name on the list this edition is Ronald Anderson from Yakima. He’s #710 after taking 3rd in a three-way deal at the Venetian Deepstack Extravaganze NYE #33 NLHE MonsterStack.

Keep on winning!

Pacific Northwest Poker Leaderboard Top 20 (01.20.2020)

01 Scott Clements

02 Seth Davies

03 Shawn Buchanan

04 Kevin MacPhee

05 James Romero

06 Brandon Cantu

07 Annie Duke*

08 Lee Watkinson

09 Lee Markholt

10 Dylan Linde

11Ralph “Rep” Porter

12 Amichai Barer

13 Greg Mueller

14Dylan Wilkerson

15Matt Affleck

16 Matthew Jarvis

17 George Wolff

18Tyler Patterson

19Quinn Do

20 Elliot Smith

*seriously, she hasn’t lived here for a long time, but she’s still on the Hendon Mob list for Oregon

PNW Poker Leaderboard — 04 January 2020

The new year starts out a lot like the old year, with a lot of familiar names making a lot of money. Not me, I literally just busted out of my first tournament of the year (Final Table First Friday $20K GTD) just short of the money, after having a decent-sized stack at 4 tables (with 3 tables cashing).

The short stack mentioned above lost a big hand to me when my dominated (but suited) king hit the flush against his ace-king. He was down to a quarter of a big blind but chipped up and was still in when I went from 30bb (about twice the average stack) to zero.

Let’s start off the new year with news of the #2 player on the leaderboard, Seth Davies, who won the WPT Five Diamond NLHE High Roller (53 entries at $25K a pop), then turned right around and cashed in third place in the WPT Five Diamond NLHE Main Event (606 entries, $10.4K buyin). That comes on the heels of his biggest-ever cash last month. Remaining in the #3 spot, Kevin MacPhee took 18th.

George Wolff continues his climb, moving up two spots to #16 with a string of cashes last month. Notable among them was a runner-up finish at EPT Prague #5 PLO High Roller (PRAGUE!), which got a total of 40 entries, which was his largest single payout so far. A week later is a sixth-place in EPT Prague #33 NLHE High Roller (66 entries, $25K entry). A huge amount of money but sort of a smaller multiple cash that wouldn’t normally make the list, except that the next day he takes 9th in the 255-entry EPT Prague #39 NLHE High Roller ($10K buy-in), then hops over to the Bellagio for 3rd place in WPT Five Diamond #27 NLHE High Roller ($25K, 37 entries), and wraps up just before Christmas at the Venetian in the CPPT/DSE NYE #19 NLHE Main Event with 160 entries and a $3.5K buy-in, where he gets third again. A fairly productive three weeks.

Max Young continues to crush what I guess are called the large-field “mid-majors” these days, with 2nd in the Wynn Winter Classic $500K GTD NLHE; more than 1,200 entries doubled the guarantee. Max moves up a spot to #20.

Holding at #8, Dylan Linde came in 7th at the WPT Five Diamond #15 NLHE, a $5.2K buy-in tournament that saw 127 entries. Buy his book!

The only new name on the Leaderboard in this first edition of 2020 is Michael Kiselman of Edmonds. His singular recorded cash is for first place in what looks like a 2-way deal in the Wynn Winter Classic $40K NLHE over 270 other players (the prize pool was nearly $100K). His first spot on the Leaderboard is #1383.

Up the block at Harrah’s, at the WSOPC Las Vegas #11 $500K GTD NLHE Main Event, it was Matt Affleck taking 12th place. He is still #12.

Alex Dickson of Keizer knocked off 3rd at at the WSOPC Las Vegas #3 $100K NLHE, which apparently missed the guarantee with 188 entries at $600 a pop. He’s up nearly 50 places to #351.

I could swae I saw our old friend Wayne Keller at the Portland Meadows Grand Finale the other day, but he was also at the WSOPC Las Vegas #6 NLHE Seniors tournament, where he won a Circuit Ring! Wayne climbs 14 spots to #193.

And that’s a great way to end the first edition of the Leaderboard for the year. I’d have more, but Wildhorse still hasn’t reported results from November’s Round Up to either Hendon Mob or Cardplayer. If you like to keep track of this stuff yourself, harangue your tournament director to send in the results.

Otherwise it’s like you’ve never existed.

Look Back In Poker

Everybody’s always asking
Why do what I do
I don’t gamble ’cuz I want to win, boys
I gamble ’cuz I need to lose

This was the year I didn’t go to Vegas.

I announced last fall that I was retiring from poker at the end of 2018, then got a lot of funny looks from people when I started showing up at tournaments three weejs after I retired. It wasn’t ever supposed to be an absolute thing, but I did scale back my poker playing to spend more time with the family, specifically, my wife, who retired on January 1st. And I did.

I played 95 live tournaments in 2018, and only 53 in 2019. There was a starker comparison in the first half of each year, because in 2019 I played only 14 live tournaments between January and June, where I’d played 37 in 2018. Online, I was still fairly active, with 388 tournaments in 2018 only going down to 306 in 2019, but half of the 2019 tournaments were Jackpot Sit-and-Gos, hyper-turbo, 3-player tournaments that tend to last less than 10 minutes, so they weren’t exactly eating up the time an MTT would. 3% ROI playing mostly $7 entries but also some $2, $15, and $20 games. Never saw a jackpot higher than 5x the buy-in.

After playing 85 of the nightly Thousandaire Maker tournaments on Ignition Poker last year, I entered 16 Thousandaire Makers in 2019 (cashed 2, for a -14% ROI).

I had my second-largest career cash ($10K) in this first year of my retirement, which—at the end of November—had me as #28 on the Poker Media Power Rankings, right between two of the actual poker journalists I worked with at the World Series two years ago.

In 2018, I made two brief trips too Las Vegas—in the summer and just before New Year’s, but I didn’t leave the Northwest at all (for poker) in 2019. My first experience as a player at the World Series of Poker was in 2012, I was down for short periods at least once during the summer each year until 2018 (and for a pretty long period in 2016) even when I wasn’t playing a WSOP event); now that’s retired.

Just one third the number of tournaments at Final Table this year (13 vs. 41 in 2018), even though it was the final year of my free door fees there (part of the payment for doing their web site a couple of years back, and a real steal in no-rake Portland). I played a couple more tournaments this year at Portland Meadows (14 in 2019 vs. 11 in 2018) because of the Grand Finale series.

You might think that the second-best career cash would be my best ROI in a tournament this year, but at 1800%, that was just over half the ROI from an Ignition $4K GTD NLHE Turbo where I took 4th of 471, for ROI of 3100%. I had five other tournaments where I cashed for more than a 1000% ROI.

Wins this year included a 66-player Ignition $500 GTD PLO8 Turbo, first in a chop in a Final Table $10K GTD NLHE (83 entries), the Chinook Winds $50K GTD NLHE (technically second, but I got a skosh more money, 210 entries), and a bunch of Jackpot Sit-and-Gos.

As usual, I didn’t play much in the way of cash games, but a couple of decent sessions at Portland Meadows were enough to make that part profitable.

Goals in the new year: satellite into a $5K or $10K buyin. I’ve got my eye on the Bay 101 Shooting Star (which has satellites running this month and February) or the LAPC/WPT Main Event at the end of February, with two 50-Seat guaranteed mega satellites just before Day 1. Then, of course, there’s the WSOP Main Event.

Love to goto the Irish Poker Open in March, but there are some obstacles in the way that make it easier to try for Bay 101 or LAPC instead. PokerStars hasn’t announced that there’ll even be and EPT Prague next year, so that ship may have sailed.

Hapy New Year!

PNW Poker Leaderboard — 13 December 2019

It’s Friday the 13th and I’m coming off a 2nd-place finish last night in a tournament, so I’m feeling like writing about some poker, even though the little bit I made at the Portland Meadows Grand Finale #10 $2K GTD NLHE Seniors isn’t close to getting me a mention here except for the fact that I write the column.

Let’s get to some real prize-winners!

The new name on the Leaderboard is Scotty McDaniel from Brent(?), OR, whose 4th-ever cash is a 4th-place finish at WSOPC Planet Hollywood #9 $100K GTD NLHE Monster Stack. He debuts on the list at #1755.

Seth Davies makes a big jump to the #2 spot on the leaderboard, edging out Kevin McPhee with 5th place in the PokerMasters #10 NLHE Main Event, a $50K buyin with 34 entries, followed by another 5th in the partypoker MILLIONS World Bahamas NLHE  Super High Roller Bowl. And by “super”, they mean, of course, a $250,000 buyin. 37 entries.

The high roller tournaments continue to be good for George Wolff, as well, with a 2nd-place finish in PokerMasters #8 NLHE ($25K buyin). He moves six spots to #18.

It’s good to be Alex Ding (Dupont, WA) this fall. He won the Muckleshoot Main Event in October for his first recorded tournament cash. In the last installment of the Leaderboard, we reported he was runner-up in the WPT Montreal High Roller (recorded cash #2). And this time he took 2nd in the WPT Five Diamond NLHE 6-Max. He’s #203 on the Leaderboard.

It’s another runner-up for David Oppenheim (Mercer Island) who got his best-ever cash in the Venetian Deepstack Extravaganza IV $200K GTD NLHE EpicStack. Oppenheim climbs 144 spots to #323.

At #11, Dylan Wilkerson holds steady with his 4th-place finish in WSOPC LA #5 $250K GTD NLHE Monster Stack.There were 815 entries.

Michael Long of Henderson, WA won the 185-entry Wynn Winter Classic $25K NLHE Seniors, his second-best score, popping him up more than 250 places to #545. In the Wynn Winter $250K GTD Classic NLHEGerald Peltolta from Renton came in 5th for his biggest cash. He is now #383. Puyallup’s David Price took 2nd in a 3-way deal at the Wynn Winter Classic $40K GTD NLHE, doubling his lifetime earnings and moving to #1281.

In more senior poker news, Woodland’s Kelly Frisbie  grabbed 3rd in the WPT Five Diamond NLHE Seniors (132 entries, $1,100 buyin). That’s Kelly’s largest cash and enough to move from #822 to #574.

Matthew Simmons from Kirkland (winner of a Planet Holywood GOLIATH Stack event in 2018) came in 3rd of 426 entries in the WSOPC Planet Hollywood $75K GTD NLHE Double Stack. His 2nd-best cash moves him to #237.

Landon Brown from Kent decided to spend some of the winter in Florida winning money at the SHRPO #2 $250K GTD NLHE, where he came in 7th after a smaller cash at the WPT event there a couple weeks earlier. Landon in #336. In one of the more bizarre coincidences I’ve run across doing this, a Landon Moore (Billings?, OR) is reported as taking 2nd place in SHRPO #18 $50K GTD NLHE Deep Stack Black Chip Bounty.That’s good to move from #1861 to #1228.

Finally, congrats to Bryce Cox of Maple Valley, WA, whose biggest-ever cash in WSOPC Planet Hollywood #3 NLHE just missed the usual cutoff for the Leaderboard roundup by $33, but I feel like someone who just won a Circuit Ring ought to get a little bump!

Anyway, tonight is the Bounty tournament at Portland Meadows, then it’s the $80K GTD tomorrow and the final game on Sunday: Big O! See you on the felt!

PNW Poker Leaderboard — 26 November 2019

While we wait for the results of the Wildhorse Fall Poker Round Up to trickle up to Hendon Mob (cross your fingers, the Summer results still aren’t up there) let’s take a look at what’s been going on for Pacific Northwest poker players the past month.

George Wolff ripped it up at this year’s Poker Masters, giving a little hope to the idea that the purple jacket might be held for two years in a row by a (former) Portland-area player. Wolff took 3rd (out of 34) in Event #7 $25K PLO, then 2nd in the next day’s Event #8 $25K NLHE. He moves up 4 spots on the Leaderboard, to #24.

Another high-ranking player making a move this edition is Max Young, going from #20 to #19 with his 3rd-place finish at WSOPC Durant #11 $1M GTD NLHE Main Event. Durant is one of the larger stops on the World Series Circuit, and there were 983 entries in this Main Event.

Alex Ding, via Playground Poker

Right on the heels of his first Hendon Mob-reported cash (the Muckleshoot Fall Classic Main Event), Alex Ding (Dupont, WA) headed to Montreal for the WPT/partypoker LIVE series, where he got 2nd in the C$5,300 buy-in Event #4 C$500K GTD NLHE High Roller. The WPT’s Tony Dunst came in 3rd, with the winner claiming anonymity. Ding’s second cash bumps him up nearly 1,000 places, to #281 on the Leaderboard.

The WSOPC stop at Lake Tahoe is considerably smaller than Durant, but it stilll got 424 entries. Charles Coultas of Mill Creek, WA took 3rd in Event #10 NLHE Main Event, adding to an already substantial record. He moves from #52 to #46.

Sam Cosby via WSOP.com

Samuel Cosby continues to make the most of his hall pass from the poker reporting life, winning his first ring on Halloween in Event #8 NLHE Monster Stack (appropriately). That’s his 14th recorded cash since the summer began. He jumps 51 places to #217.

Ellensberg, WA’s Jesse Kertland cashed in four out of five successive events at WSOPC Lake Tahoe (I don’t know if he was even in the one he didn’t cash), with three final tables: Event #5 NLHE 6-Max where he took 5th,  4th place in Event #7 NLHE 8-Max, and another 4th in Event #8 NLHE Monster Stack. Not enough to get him the Casino Championship (Steve Foutty had six cashes with two wins), but he does gain more than 20 places on the Leaderboard: #180.

Lee Markholt started this period as #7 and he stays at #7, despite his 8th place finish in the WSOPC Lake Tahoe main Event. Ditto for James Romero, who took 24th in a field of 1,109 at WPT/partypoker Live C$3,300 NLHE Main Event. He stays at #9.

Shadd Baudoin went from Grants Pass to the Venetian Lucky Shot Poker Series $150K TOTAL NLHE (yes, that tournament) which didn’t quite make the guarantee at 645 entries. Shadd picked up 3rd place and climbs from #869 ti #633.

Finally, Matthew Schwangler of Seattle moves almost 500 places to #1095 with a 4th place finish at WPTDeepstacks Thunder Valley #1 $100K GTD NLHE.The tournament got 282 entries and with Schwangler on the final table is another former reporting colleague, Valerie Cross.

I’m now the Ante Up magazine Pacific Northwest Ambassador. The December issue of the magazine is available for free in poker rooms around the country, or online right here.