Oh Lord! When? How? — June 2024

Las Vegas 2024


This trip had been on the books for a couple of months. My long-time poker travel partner David had been making a lot of trips to Vegas for cash games and offered me part of a comped room at the Flamingo. Booked the flight on Alaska for a Sunday morning to Friday night with points; how could I not go?

David and I booked the same flights by sheer chance, so we met up at PDX early Sunday morning, split a ride to the Flamingo, and checked into the room early because of someone’s Diamond Plus status (not mine).

The view was pretty good, once you overlook the roof. I mean, we really overlooked the roof. My wife says the towers at Caesar’s Palace remind her of grain elevators.

We got settled in, then headed over to the Paris/Horseshoe complex. I’d pre-registered through Bravo Poker Live for WSOP Event #27 $1,500 Big O but needed to go through FasTrac verification. No line at the desk, got my tickets there, then wandered off to see where my table was.

Micah Bell stopped by my table before play started, telling me I should play better than I did when I knocked him out of a Big O tournament last December. Apparently, I didn’t take his words to heart, because I only lasted about three-and-a-half hours while Micah made it to Day 2. That was it for me for the day, though I did go get set up with a new WSOP.com account. I did have the honor of holding up the bottom of the chip counts because I was updating with the MyStack app from PokerNews

I was at the bottom of the listing even before I busted the Big O.

So that was an inauspicious beginning. Down $1,500 to start the week. Went back to the room and headed over to Ellis Island, where Dave picked up the bill for the $10 prime rib dinner at their restaurant.


The next event on my schedule wasn’t until the afternoon; Brad Press convinced me to head over to the Orleans Casino for a $30K GTD with a $300 buy-in that started at 11. Didn’t go great, managed to get tens in against queens and I was out before the end of re-entry.

The new-ish Milestone Satellite format they’re running for the mega satellites at the WSOP was something I hadn’t played, and I wasn’t sure how my style of play would work; I’m not usually a big stack until the end (if ever). As it happens, my first experience with it in the 3pm $250 buy-in (paying out $2K chunks) did not go well, with me buying out of Level 1 with 20 seconds to go. Tens again.

There were only 23 players in the satellite by then (it got up to 85 by the end) but I elected to jump into the Monday HORSE Deepstack, in preparation for Wednesday’s bracelet event. I lasted longer there (after waiting about thirty minutes for tables to open up), but nowhere near long enough.

Got back to the room too late to catch David for the prime rib dinner, and feeling a little burned by four straight whiffs, decided to fire up some low-stakes online action. Played a $500 GTD PLO 6-Max PKO through about half the field, then caught some wind in a $1K GTD NLHE 6-Max Super Turbo and came in fourth out of 82. Busted out of a $150 GTD PLO 6-Max Turbo and another NLHE 6-Max Super Turbo (with a $400 guarantee), so by the end of the day I was only down $2,264.


Tuesday was the second bracelet event I had on my list, the $1,500 Seven Card Stud. It’s the smallest-field bracelet event in my budget—only 406 entries this year—but I decided to pass it by for some smaller games. Struck out in a quick $1K GTD NLHE Turbo before I headed out to South Point Casino to meet up again with Brad before he headed home. I was hoping to pick up some of his turnaround energy—he’d had a bad few days on his trip before final tabling at South Point three times and once in a Milestone Satellite at Orleans.

I battled through about three-and-a-half hours of a $10K GTD NLHE tournament, making it past the end of registration and about 60% of the field before the end came (Brad went on to another final table; he also won a seat to their $50K Tournament of Champions Freeroll).

Late-registered the $4K GTD Omaha Hi-Lo that was about to begin and managed to bust in Level 4.

Back to the Horseshoe for the 7pm $580 NLHE Landmark Satellite. That only lasted 4 levels, too. Tens were once again my bane. Ended the day $3,064 in the hole.


Event #35 $1,500 HORSE didn’t start until 2pm, so I started the day started playing 0.10/0.20 PLO on WSOP.com. Clawed back $5. Jumped into a $1K GTD NLHE Turbo and made the final table out of 172 entries ($49). Just missed the money in the $1K NLHE Fast Mini Mystery Bounty but I picked up $6 in bounties. Busted the $750 GTD NLHE Deepstack Super Turbo, then took a bit of a flier on the $55 buy-in (all my buy-ins so far we’re $11 or less) $5K NLHE Fast Mystery Bounty, but only made it half-way through the field.

Shortly after the tournament began, one of the floor people pulled the chair out of seat 3 and maneuvered a fancier chair into place. Then Mike Matusow showed up and pointed a stick at the table and said “What’s your name?”

View from Table 53, Seat 1.

“Uh, me?” I managed to get out, not recognizing the box on the end of the stick as a camera.


“Uh, Darrel,” I said, using all the wit assigned to me at birth. Matusow then went around the table getting peoples’ names and said it would be online (still don’t have any idea where or if, so you can’t see me making a doofus of myself).

A repeat cash in HORSE was not to be. I don’t believe I ever managed to get above the starting stack, and a guy on my immediate right had me pipped on every hand where I thought I might be a winner, including one hard-contested Razz hand where he rivered a wheel on my A2346. Just could not beat him.

I got the full dose of the Mouth, more than four hours of complaints about how he’d only won 24 hands in the series up to that point, and some reactionary politics when Jeff Lisandro joined the table at the other end.

Back to the Flamingo after five-and-half hours, where David and I had a late dinner at Virgil’s on the LINQ Promenade. It was still warm outside according to the thermostat on the wall next to us.


Back to the smaller stakes. Orleans had another $30K guarantee at 11am and I headed that way even though it was just Hold’em. It had a very late end to registration—about seven hours—and I only lasted about 4, but I did see one of those crazy hands that crop up all over Las Vegas during the summer: a four-way all-in pre flop that pitted jacks against queens against kings against aces. The aces somehow held to scoop.

I texted Brad to verify my decision on whether to play the Razz tournament that had just started or get back in the $30K with just 20bb. Razz it was. I figured it was time to start drinking.

Razz was another strike for me. Four more hours, made it through about half the field of 199. But overall a pretty pleasant experience. One of the players from my HORSE table who’d been sitting on the other side of Matusow was there, and I met the gregarious Carlos, who introduced me to an online group of mixed-game players. So, not an entirely fruitless day at the Orleans.

David had some free drink coupons as a valued Caesars Diamond member and had already picked up a Bailey’s slushy at O’Shea’s on the promenade, so we headed over to get three more. When we got back to the room, I jumped into a $55 $3K GTD NLHE PKO 6-Max Turbo, got a couple bounties then knocked out and re-entered to place 6th of 84. Not a huge profit, but something. Played a $150 GTD PLO 6-Max Turbo and a $500 GTD PLO PKO 6-Max, then min-cashed (17/158) a $1K GTD NLHE before I went to bed.


My flight (and David’s) didn’t leave until after 8pm. I’d noted that when Brad made the final tables of his South Point events, it was six-ish, so I figured that if I made it to the money in their morning event I should have just enough time to get to the airport.

Reasonably certain I got angled on my second hand when a player tossed in 5100 (still at 100/200) with a “Did I do that?” speech. I shoved my A9s and he had AQ. It was back to registration.

Four and a half hours in with 18bb, I squeezed from the SB with A7s over there lines. One of the limps was 99, he called, I hit the ace on the turn. When I texted back to Brad about the hand, his response was “Stop it!!! You’re killing me”.

By the time we got to the bubble at 36 players, my stack was down to 18bb, but that was still 150% of the average. It wasn’t exactly a leisurely structure.

I mostly folded for the next 40 minutes, drifting down to 11bb—though that was still above the chip average. Then just before the break, I picked up TT on the button, two short stacks before me shove, and I swoop in to the pot against a lower pair and a ragged ace. I hit a set on the flop to seal the deal.

Next orbit after the break, QQ on the button and I double up to 700K after making a full house against T9s.

The inflection point for me was another 20 minutes on, about six hours into the game, when I 3-bet QT of clubs and the table chip leader shoved. It folded back to me and I thought about it for longer than usual, then put my trust in the Portland Nuts and called against AK. Two clubs on the flop and another on the turn, and I was over a million chips.

We were still at 14 players and it was creeping closer to the time I was going to have to start thinking about making it to the airport. Action went fast, though, and in just ten minutes we were down to the final table. Half an hour later, we were at 5. We had a break and an ICM chop was proposed. There was a little tussling about who’d win the seat into South Point’s Tournament of Champions, but the rules said it had to go to the person with the most chips at the time of any deal and that they’d penalize people if they thought there was any dumping going on.

Anyway, it took a few minutes to run the numbers. I came out on top by just 0.3%. Plus, I got the ToC seat that I can’t play because I’ve got a thing in Portland that day. The list of eligible players was just posted, with 158 names on it. There’s $50K guaranteed with $10K up top and 60 places paid, so the EV’s pretty high to start with and with people like myself not able to make it, even better.

It didn’t come anywhere close to wiping out the losses from the first five days, but it did stanch the bleeding a bit so the losses were basically down the cost of the two bracelet events.

Other Poker for June

The week before Vegas, I just played a couple of the Beaverton Quarantine home games, then three more in the weeks after I got back. They were a complete loss.

The only other live poker for the month was the Portland Meadows NLHE 50/50 Bounty, where half the buy-in goes into your bounty. I came in late and watched a guy who’d open-jammed twice with 40bb. I raised the queen-ten on my first playable hand and he jammed a third time. I snapped it off and doubled up versus nines. Didn’t quite make it to the money, but I did take a bounty.

My new poker venue is a private online club with nothing but mixed games, 1- or 2-table fields for the most part, running six or seven tournaments like Razz, Badugi, 5-Card PLO, Stud8, 8-Game, PLO8, 2-7 Triple Draw, and more. I love it, though I’m only 1 for 10 so far.

#PNWPokerLeaderboard: I’m Not Human, I’m a Mutant

For more than seven years now, I’ve been running the Pacific Northwest Poker Leaderboard in one form or another. First as a series of write-ups of manually-selected standout players from Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, and eventually as a list that included everyone who fit my criteria and including players from British Columbia, Alberta, and Alaska.

Throughout that time, the Leaderboard was made possible by a certain amount of automation. I wrote a routine that pulled in data from The Hendon Mob‘s state and province leaderboards, then stuffed the player and income data into a database which allowed me to compare earnings over time to see who’d made the most money since the last Leaderboard.

The Leaderboard suffered only one major snag (apart from the amount of time it still took to put things together after the routine had done its thing), a few years ago when THM slightly modified the code of the leaderboard pages and the routine choked. I had to make a decision then whether to spend the time to figure out how to fix it or not. I did it.

Then last year, I kind of ran out of steam myself as I was playing less and less often. I said it was the end, then lit it back up at the first of the year.

But I think we’ve reached the end of the journey for real this time. Not because I’ve given up on poker, I was just down in Las Vegas (as you can see above), not because I don’t want to talk about all the people cashing big-time in the first month of this year’s WSOP. Nope, it’s a CAPTCHA issue. Hendon Mob has implemented a tool to prevent robots from crawling their site scraping information, as is their right. It’s been a fun project, but there’s no way forward. My apologies to anyone who was hoping to see their 2024 WSOP cashes represented.

Theme From… — April 2024

Another month of nothing good to report! 14 shots at the Ignition Casino NLHE Jackpot Sit-and-Go, just 3 cashes and none of them any higher payout than 2x buy-in. I got a couple of tickets from America’s Cardroom for satellites and a ticket from Ignition for their $2500 GTD Freeroll and nothing came of those.

Just a min-cash in one of three Beaverton Quarantine home game bounty tournaments (and a bare bounty in another), plus three bricks in non-bounty tournaments. Thankfully, those aren’t expensive.

After a five-month hiatus, I went back to the Final Table $20K GTD NLHE First Friday tournament, where I only made it though half the field, but had a very nice interaction about the blog with Brian Barker, who won a quarter-million in a World Poker Tour tournament last fall (as well as a bunch of other stuff). It was a fun evening, but too short.

Capped off the month trying to catch the lightning in a bottle at the Portland Meadows Big Bet Mix 6-Max. I’d taken second somehow last fall but only made it to 25th this time, doing quite well sitting with the likes of Jeremy Harkin and Joe Brandenburg, then less well sitting with my nemesis Butcher.

Next week is the Portland Meadows Poker Classic, of which I’m planning to play the Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday events. (Wheel of Chaos, baby!) Not sure what the rest of May holds, but I’m just over a month out from my trip to the World Series of Poker.

Pacific Northwest Poker Leaderboard

Key to the Leaderboard

  • Name and home town (according to the player’s Hendon Mob profile).
  • The player’s most recent ranking in the PNW Poker Leaderboard in italics. If this is their first time on the Leaderboard, an em dash ()
  • Their new standing in bold, preceded by the pound sign (#).
  • Their change in status on the Leaderboard (with an arrow indicating up or down), or a black club (♣) if this is their first appearance.
  • For each of the tournaments that are being recognized in this Leaderboard:
    • The name and link to the Hendon Mob listing for that tournament.
    • The player’s finishing position in the tournament and the number of entries.
    • The tournament prize pool in US dollars.
Tyler Panas (Calgary, Alberta)
2nd of 257 entries, $179.9K prize pool
Erik Backlund (Calgary, Alberta)
1st of 257 entries, $179.9K prize pool
Rahul Karpy (Portland, Oregon)
6th of 3505 entries, $865.7K prize pool
Andrew Goosen (Port Coquitlam, British Columbia)
2nd of 1380 entries, $339.4K prize pool
Brian Monigold (Spokane Valley, Washington)
5th of 968 entries, $968K prize pool
Steven Williams (Hood River, Oregon)
2nd of 330 entries, $181.5K prize pool
Taran Parmar (Edmonton, Alberta)
6th of 682 entries, $2.5M prize pool
Ali Razzaq (Edmonton, Alberta)
3rd of 257 entries, $179.9K prize pool
Alejandro Madrigal (Umatilla, Oregon)
2nd of 409 entries, $368.1K prize pool
Landen Lucas (Portland, Oregon)
12th of 293 entries, $1.3M prize pool
Stuart Young (Portland, Oregon)
7th of 4489 entries, $2.3M prize pool
Landon Brown (Kent, Washington)
1st of 840 entries, $277.2K prize pool
2nd of 1180 entries, $607.7K prize pool
Yunkyu Song (Camas, Washington)
4th of 735 entries, $2.2M prize pool
Clemen Deng (Portland, Oregon)
6th of 104 entries, $1M prize pool
1st of 49 entries, $245K prize pool
Maxwell Young (Oregon)
4th of 3163 entries, $897.8K prize pool
Dylan Linde (Coeur D’Alene, Idaho)
1st of 81 entries, $781.5K prize pool
3rd of 116 entries, $580K prize pool
1st of 1869 entries, $5.9M prize pool

2024 Chinook Winds PacWest Poker Classic, Satellite Unlocked

Event #5 $35,000 Guaranteed NL Hold’em 6-Max

This event broke me. I had a very rough start, down two-thirds of my stack at the first break, then lost half of that before I managed to shove aces with about 12bb and got a call that doubled me up. Took a couple smaller pots then knocked out what was a smaller stack (by then) and was back to 50bb. Got myself up almost to starting stack after tens held on a KKQ9X board. But busted after less than three hours when ace-eight of spades were the turn nuts on a king-high board with three spades and shoved into the full house on the river when the board paired.

Rebought very reluctantly just before the end of entries and landed at a table with several big stacks, going up and down for another 90 minutes until I picked up red aces in middle position, raised 2.5bb, and got a call from one of the big stacks in the small blind. The flop came out KQJ, all hearts, giving me the royal flush draw, and I continued and was called. Turn is an offsuit 6. I shoved about 15bb, figuring I’ve got both the straight and flush draws even against two pair or a set, and the big tack called with Q6 offsuit, which held and I was gone again.

Event #7 3 Seats Guaranteed NL Hold’em Main Event Turbo Satellite

My father came down to stay for a couple nights, and we headed out for an early dinner at Pub’s Fish & Chips which was packed when we got there. Made it back to the poker room with just a couple minutes to spare for registration in Event #6 $10,000 Guaranteed NL Hold’em Boss Bounty, but elected for the Main Event satellite instead, which was only about 15 minutes in.

This game went considerably more to my liking, particularly after I shoved ace-eight suited in and got called by kings and another hand I forget, then hit the ace on the river and tripled up. Fifty minutes in, I’d quadrupled the starting stack and I was steamrollering, even knocking the same player out twice after he’d re-entered. By the time we were down to 19 players, I had 20% of the chips in play. Only four vouchers, though, with $452 cash going to fifth place.

I started praying to satellite saint Dara O’Kearney that I wouldn’t screw this up, but I was still more active than I needed to be, managing to put the brakes on just on time after I’d gotten into a fight with a player who had a not-insignificant stack in front of her.

When we were down to 5 players, in the money, there were four stacks large enough that any one of them could have hurt or eliminated the others, and one very small stack. That stack ended up all in for less than the ante in their big blind and survived a 3-way hand, but still only won their ante. Then, most of what they had left went to the small blind, which they surrendered, leaving just a third of a blind. That went all in a couple hands later and they got the $452 and the rest of us got vouchers.

So, not a great day, but one really good tournament and I’m three cashes for five entries so far, though those two losses were doozies.

Taking the daytime off because I don’t want to sit around with a bunch of seniors; I’ll wait until tonight’s HORSE tournament to see them.