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 — 21 March 2020: Change at the Top!

Wow. I’m writing this a day or so after the near-total shutdown of the live poker economy. The big poker rooms in LA, major poker rooms in Vegas, associated hotels, cancellation of series around the world (with some moving online, including the World Series of Poker Circuit).

The WSOP itself hasn’t been cancelled—I just got notification that my application for media credentials for this year was approved yesterday and according to an interview with WSOP Director Gregory Chochon covered by PokerNews—but with potential weeks of quarantine and social distancing ahead during this period when players are usually working hard to build their bankrolls up before the summer, you’ve also got to feel for the folks who made a little bank this past month and are going to be stuck with no chance to get to the next stage.

My own stab at the summer roll is going to be a bit stunted. I played three tournaments this month so far and that’s likely to be the last live games I get in for a while. I dropped in to the opening night of Portland Meadows at their new location (they’re closed now, it’s been a tough re-opening).

Played the Final Table First Friday $20K GTD and busted well before the money after watching pocket queens (including my own) get sucked out on three times in the early levels. Then, the next Monday, I got together with my original home game players at Daryl’s house (yes, two people with names that sound the same at the same table can be confusing). Chopped that heads up for the second time in a row.

In addition to the players, there are going to be a lot of employees and dealers hurting for money in the quarantine weeks. Eugene’s Full House Poker has put together a fund to keep people afloat (not an endorsement, just information).

There’s also a Portland-oriented fund organized by Bella Tomaltsky.

So with most live poker on hiatus for an indefinite period, let’s look at what might be some of the last tournament cashes for a while.

In lighter news, there’s a great interview with Grant Denison and Jonathan Levy done by one of my favorite broadcast teams at The Chip Race.

There hasn’t been a change at the top of the Pacific Northwest Poker Leaderboard since I started it almost two years ago. Until now. Oregon’s Seth Davies was in a close 2nd behind Washington’s Scott Clements, but a trip to partypoker MILLIONS Sochi netted him two cashes to pull him ahead. First off was a 7th-place finish in the Super High Roller NLHE Short Deck (50 entries), which was followed up a couple days later with 4th in another (55-entry) Super High Roller NLHE Short Deck (won by Phil Ivey). Davies is ahead of Clements by only $13K, about 0.15% of their lifetime earnings.

This is where I’d congratulate Kevin Buck—whose Twitter handle is a literal Oregon reference—for his win at the Wynn Spring Classic $1M GTD NLHE, but his Hendon Mob profile lists him as a Las Vegas resident. James Pennella of Kirkland finished 9th in the field of 687, moving him from #288 to #262.

Mercer Island’s Calvin Lee was runner-up at the Wynn Spring Classic $100K GTD NLHE, climbing nine spots to #161, while Dien Le (Bellevue) took 4th, moving him right behind Lee, at #162.

Tyler Patterson moves up two places to #16 with his part of a 10-way ICM deal in the Bay 101 Shooting Star NLHE, which had 290 entries (he presumably got to keep his Shooting Star bounty). That came just a few days after his 10th-place finish in the 250-entry WPT Rolling Thunder NLHE Main Event.

A number of the newly-included Canadian contingent found some money at WPT Fallsview, on the north side of Niagra Falls, where there were 594 entries in the C$5K Main Event, for a prize pool just over US$2M. Coming in 21st—and moving up the Leaderboard four places to #119—was Umang Dattani of Calgary (finishing just ahead of Vanessa Selbst). Maple, BC’s Arash Tafakori came in 11th, winning his biggest score (of three) and leaping 4,500 places on the Leaderboard to #1629. The top PNW finisher in the tournament was Jaspal Brar of Edmonton in 7th. He climbs 10 places to #67 (and went on to cash in the WPT LAPC Main Event a week later).

In the WPT Fallsview C$2,500 NLHE side event, Ron Lauzon of Edmonton picked up his largest-ever cash in a long string (72) of cashes for 13th (moving 20 places to #252). 6th place went to Richmond, BC’s Stephen Wong, now #1003 from #4212.

The outlier for this edition is Rogers, AK’s Adam Todd, taking 4th in the RUNGOOD Poker Series Joplin $100K GTD NLHE Main Event (that’s Joplin MO), 383 entries paid $575 and the prize pool was over $180K. It was Todd’s biggest cash, and he climbs almost 1,500 spots on the Leaderboard, to #2242.

Dylan Linde took 14th at the WPT LAPC NLHE Main Event, which drew 490 entries and $4.7M prize pool. He remains #10. Ian Johns finished 3rd of 48 in the $2,140 buy-in WPT LAPC #66 HORSE and holds at #30.

North of the border in Calgary, Donald McCall from Airdrie, AB was the winner (263 entries) of Great Canadian Freeze Out #4 NLHE. It’s his biggest cash and he moves exactly 700 places to #1158. Two Calgary players took 2nd and 3rd in the Great Canadian Freeze Out #10 NLHE Main Event, (C$660 buy-in). Karim Chatur was 3rd and moves up one spot to #57; Tak Chu is the big gainer for the week, moving from #6638 to #2096 for his second-place finish.

In other news out of Calgary, the C$440 buy-in Grey Eagle Winter XScape NLHE Main Event saw local Doug Lee win the field of 251. He remains #23 on the Leaderboard. Matt Kwong (also Calgary) moves up to #571 for second, and the afore-mentioned Donald McCall took third.

The opening event of the PacWest Poker Classic was a $310 entry, $125K GTD NLHE tournament with a four-way deal made. Gavin Smith of Portland took 1st for his biggest-ever cash, and climbs 600+ places to #1286. In 2nd was Bruce Zhen (Salem, also largest cash) rises to #1023. Crescent City, OR resident Gurit Marwah debuts at #2880 on the Leaderboard for 3rd. And Portland’s Baptiste Chavaillaz came in 4th. bumping him 10 places, to #155. The event drew 498 entries.

Nick Getzen (Portland) won the PacWest Poker Classic $100K GTD NLHE 6-Max, for what is surprisingly, his largest tournament cash (though you may have watched him pull down large chunks of cash on PokerTime. Getzen is up almost 1,000 places on the Leaderboard, to #1681.

Finally, there’s the PacWest Poker Classic $225K GTD NLHE Main Event, which ended in a 6-way deal. Lee Ferris (Washougal, WA, #1844 on the Leaderboard) got 6th. Trevor Kahlberg of Bend claimed 5th (now #1696). Sheridan, OR’s Mark Hurst gains 650+ spots to #1126 for 4th and Ridgefield, WA’s Carl Oman makes another hit at Chinook in 3rd, going from #716 to #538. Second place went to Leaderboard newcomer Ty LaCroix (Portland), who debuts at #1852. Finally, Longview’s Tareq Amhaz got 1st, jumping to #803 from #1474. It was the largest cash for all six players.

And that’s probably it for the Leaderboard for the foreseeable future. Without any live games anywhere in the world, I’m not going to have anything to post here and while I got some money onto Ignition since I stared writing this a couple of days ago, my first tournament ended juat as I was making a recovery after losing a big flip when denial of service attacks took the site down, so there’s not even going to be my own online crap to blog about.

Maybe it’s time to turn my attention to marble racing.

PNW Poker Leaderboard — 15 February 2020: Stoker Edition

I meant to get this edition of the Pacific Northwest Poker Leaderboard out yesterday to coincide with Valentine’s Day and the 161st birthday of the State of Oregon—not to mention that I was hoping to be busy playing poker for the next four days at the PacWest Poker Classic—but life had its own little funny plans, so instead of whipping out a post after a couple of drinks with my sweetheart last night, here I am in the Lincoln City Motel 6 after busting Event #1 $100K NLHE (twice) and Event #2 10-Seat NLHE Main Event Satellite (just once) with just a Diet Coke in hand.

So let’s start out with the most important news of the past couple of weeks. Ryan Stoker came in third in the Wynn Signature Series $400K NLHE Main Event. Wynn doesn’t immediately report their results to Hendon Mob, so Ryan’s cash didn’t make it into the last edition. Congrats to him for his second-largest cash; he moves up from #217 to #184. Ryan bested over 500 other players.

The big winner this time in absolute terms is #2 on the list, Seth Davies who was Down Under at the Australian Poker Open #5 A$25K NLHE, which had 47 entries. Davies finished behind Stephen Chidwick and Eric Seidel.

Seth Davies from the Australian Poker Open, via PokerGO

Four years ago, Sam Cosby was abusing junior senior poker reporters at the World Series of Poker. A couple of years ago when I had my best-ever cash here at the PacWest, Sam was hanging around looking a little jealous. Last summer I think he might have figured out that if even I could make a five-figure cash, he ought to be a shoo-in, because since giving up reporting and going on the road as a full-time player, Sam’s been on a tear, garnering his second Circuit Ring in five months at WSOPC Potawatami #9 NLHE, a $1,125 buy-in with 151 entries, and notching his largest cash, and climbing more than 100 spots on the Leaderboard, to #329. The move to Portland did good!

Sam Cosby at WSOPC Potawatami, via WSOP.com

With 231 entries at C$880, the Pure Canadian Poker Championship NLHE Main Event at Casino Yellowhead in Edmonton put a few players into this week’s standings.

The winner was Edmonton’s Malcolm Bolger, who snagged another in an impressive run of five-figure cashes (9 out of 32, mostly in events with $1K or smaller buy-ins). He climbs about 20 spots to #145.

Deron Noksana (Edmonton) took second placing, moving him from #619 to #492; and Jimmy Lee (also Edmonton) was third. Lee is already #81 on the Leaderboard, and his cash does not movie him up from that position.

Another well-known poker journalist, Adam Lamers (Edmonton) beat out 228 other entries in the Pure Canadian Poker Championship NLHE Triple Stack. Lamers climbs to #829 on the PNW Leaderboard, He’s also breathing down the neck of the top three on the Poker Media Power Rankings, particularly as Sam Cosby’s eligibility is about to expire.

https://twitter.com/adam_lamers12/status/1216792304897286144?s=20

Lamers’s runner-up, Harvey Johnson (just listed as from Alberta), moved onto the Leaderboard with his second recorded cash. He debuts at #3362.

Yon Kim at the Venetian Deepstack Extravaganza, via Venetian Poker Room Blog

Bellingham’s Yon Kim enters the Leaderboard with his second cash, a win in the Venetian DSE #3 $25K GTD NLHE Monster Stack. Kim starts at #2830.

The Parx Big Stax XXXII NLHE 300 in Bensalem, Pennsylvania drew 2,257 entries at $340 each, and Seattle’s Pofuk Ying made it to 8th to zoom up 4,300 spots to #1694. Gonna put an asterisk on this one, because all six of Ying’s cashes going back to 2017 are from Parx Big Stax events, which may mean not Seattle after all.

Finally, a 16th-place finish that’s not in the WSOP doesn’t usually make it to the Leaderboard, but Federal Way’s David Froyalde did it at the MSPT/Venetian $1M GTD NLHE. There were nearly 1,100 entries at $1,100. It was Froyalde’s second-largest cash and moves him up to #1063.

Time for some sleep. Then some more poker, hopefully!

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.

PNW Poker Leaderboard — 27 October 2019

When last we checked in on our buddy Sam Cosby earlier this year—formerly a member of the respectable poker media and now a degenerate circuit grinder—it was to chide him for not getting his hometown updated on Hendon Mob. But it’s happened now and we at Mutant Poker are happy to welcome Cosby into the fold of the Pacific Northwest Poker Leaderboard with his 2nd place finish at the WSOPC Hammond #10 NLHE. During the summer he would have been down around #458, but he’s debuting this edition at #268.

Another PNW player at WSOPC Hammond was Wilsonville’s Eric Jarosh, who finished 14th in Event #12 $1M GTD NLHE Main Event for his biggest recorded cash. Jarosh jumps nearly 400 places on the Leaderboard, to #590.

Matt Affleck maintains his #12 with a 7th-place finish in the Wynn Fall Classic $1M GTD NLHE Championship, which brought in 1,024 entries at $1,600 apiece.

Back at the Chinook Winds Fall Coast Poker Classic, my nemesis John Gribben (Olympia) chopped with me for only his second recorded cash. Then he headed down to Run It Up Reno IX to win even bigger (and no chop) in Event #1 $100K GTD NLHE Miini Main Event, over 408 others. Gribben jumps from #1879 on the Leaderboard to #661.

Baker City, OR’s Dennis Jones notched his biggest-ever score in the RunGood Bossier City $100K GTD NLHE Main Event. The tournament more than doubled the guarantee, and Dennis took 2nd. Jones moves from #2444 to #791.

All the way back in Pennsylvania, Po Ying (Seattle) debuts #1414 with a 6th-place finish at  Parx Big Stax XXXI #2 NLHE, with over 1,400 entries.

Nicky Komphouvong from Portland climbs 750 places to #827 with his 7th-place finish in Big Poker Oktober/CardPlayer Poker Tour $500K GTD NLHE Main Event at the Bicycle Casino in LA.  It was Komphouvong’s lrgest-recorded cash.

Regrettably, Muckleshoot Casino submitted only the top ten finishers to Hendon Mob for the recent Fall Poker Classic. It’s better than Wildhorse Casino having submitted the Summer Poker Round Up as another Spring Round Up and including the results from only the first event, but as a poker reporter, you kind of expect full reporting, like any other major series.

Anyway, hometown (Auburn) player Damon Kerkes  won Muckleshoot Fall Poker Classic #1 $80K GTD NLHE to jump onto the Leaderboard at #1865 with his first big cash.

Max Young sticks in the #20 spot with two runner-up cashes. He came in 2nd in Muckleshoot #2 NLHE, then headed quickly down to Reno where he just missed out on the PokerStars Platinum Pass to next year’s EPT Barcelona, in Run It Up Reno #10 IX NLHE Moneymaker’s Road to the PSPC.

Adam Croffut (seated), Dan Beecher (behind, left), and Kenneth Richardson, Jr. (behind, right), photo via Heather Beecher

Everett’s Adam Croffut moves up two spots to #57 with his win in Muckleshoot #3 $80K GTD NLHEDan “Goofy” Beecher (Portland), Kenneth Richardson, Jr. (University Place, WA), and Chong Lee (Tacoma) tied in second place. Richardson and Lee are making their first appearances on the Leaderboard, at #1734 and #1752. Beecher moves up to #216 from #234.

Dupont, WA’s Alex Ding only has one recorded cash, but since it’s for first place in the  Muckleshoot Fall Classic $140K GTD NLHE Main Event, it’s a nice one to have. There was a seven-way ICM deal in the 350-entry tournament (the prize pool went nearly $100K over the guarantee). Ding’s victory puts him in #1214 on the Leaderboard. Coming in 2nd was Lynden, WA’s Dave van Weerdhnizen, climbing more than 100 places to #350. Third place in the tournament went to Jennifer Hughes from Gig Harbor, gaining more than 400 places to land at #615. A couple of slots in the deal fell to players from out of the northwest, but 6th was Post Falls, ID’s Nathan Thrush, getting his first major cash and landing on the Leaderboard at #1463. Finally, Matthew Dvorsak, from Tacoma, took 7th, jumping up almost 200 places to #290.

That’s the last report before the Wildhorse Fall Poker Round Up (7–17 November, PDF link with schedule and structures) but I do want to give a shoutout to this site’s benefactor Jeremy Harkin for the dedication to Big O that took him to the middle of Texas to play the Permian Basis Poker Series High Roller Big O (and to win it.) And don’t forget to pick up a copy of Ante Up Magazine if you see one (or read it for free online) the November issue is my debut as their PNW Ambassador.