R-Day Minus 10

The Poker Mutant will be retiring (mostly) from poker on 1 January. This is the latest installment in his thrilling countdown to the End of Times.

That was an…interesting…night.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

#PNWPokerCal Planner for 20 December 2018

#PNWPokerLeaderboard

It’s another WPT Bellagio Five Diamond title for the Pacific Northwest as Coeur D’Alene-based Dylan Linde took the title with a cash that nearly doubled his already-impressive earnings.

Bend’s Seth Davies struck big at Bellagio, too, with a 3rd place in the 47-entry Event #2 $25K NLHEand a win four days later in Event #28 $25K NLHE (50 entries).

Over at the VenetianScott Clements won Event #15 $150K GTD NLHE, with 576 entries.

And last, but not least, Lake Oswego’s Max Brown got 4th in the Run It Up Stones $100K GTD NLHE Main Event, at Stones Gambling Hall outside Sacramento.

One Month Three Weeks One Hundred 98 Kay The Twelve Days of $95K

I did manage to get a win at Final Table last Friday, so my target is a wee bit closer, but the opportunities are pretty slim at this point. Picked up another little cash online at Ignition Casino Sunday night; missed in PLO8 Monday at Claudia’s and busted not even close to the money at the huge $4K at Portland Meadows on Wednesday.

I’m heading down to Las Vegas on the 29th for the Venetian $260K GTD NLHE, last bit game of the year.

Only a Day Away

  • The last event (ever) on my calendar is the Venetian Deepstacks Extravaganza V. Which starts today. There’s a $100K GTD the first weekend, and a $260K GTD Monster Stack just before the New Year’s ($400 buyin).
  • This Sunday is the Muckleshoot Casino NLHE Deepstack ($300 buyin), with the $3K Added NLHE 5th Sunday ($400) coming up on the 30th. Both start at 10:15am.
  • The Tulalip Casino $10K Added NLHE is $220 for entry (with $10 dealer add-on) on Sunday, 30 December, at 11am. They still don’t have the schedule for next month’s Pow Wow on their poker room page. I hate casino web sites.

R-Day Minus 13

The Poker Mutant will be retiring (mostly) from poker on 1 January. This is the latest installment in his thrilling countdown to the End of Times.

Headed out to the Portland Meadows $4K GTD. Turnout was, uh, good,with more than $11K in the prize pool after all the entries and addons had been tallied. Kind of sparse down there at the bottom if you were in for several buyins (see Why Not Rebuy?) Oh, yeah, I rebought, but just once—I’m more or less out of this poker thing in two weeks! Lost on a nut flush draw on the first buyin, then got lucky on the second and beat queens with jacks when I his a set on the turn and knocked out a newplayer who’d been all in twice on his first orbit at the table with 50bb and squeezed (with the queens) to my button 3-bet. I went out after the break by shoving into top pair’s large c-bet on a KT8 board with the open-ended Broadway draw. A shorter stack behind me shoved with the nut flush and got there, taking most of my stack, the rest went to top pair.

Played about 40 minutes of tournament-subsidized $1/$2 Big O and busted two buyins. I’m going to have to talk to Jeremy Harkin about my last hand.

R-Day Minus 15

The Poker Mutant will be retiring (mostly) from poker on 1 January. This is the latest installment in his thrilling countdown to the End of Times.

I got to the final table of the Ignition Casino $5K GTD NLHE with the chip lead but wasn’t able to maintain it. Still, 5th-place in a 525-entry tournament isn’t such a bad way to end the weekend.

Monday night, I headed over to Claudia’s PLO8, made it through the break with a rebuy but busted out early. Did get a chance to talk briefly with Joe Brandenburg!

Played the 0.5/0.5 NLHE for about an hour, won—I think—one hand, then managed to shove my last chips in against a hand that dominated me. Some people play cash games to subsidize their tournaments; apparently I play tournaments to subsidize my cash game.

Got back home, jumped into the Ignition Casino $1K GTD NLHE 6-Max Turbo with 20bb and busted in less than 10 minutes.

Played 2 NLHE Jackpot Sit-n-Gos, handily won the first but missed out on the second, which had a 4x payout.

R-Day Minus 17

The Poker Mutant will be retiring (mostly) from poker on 1 January. This is the latest installment in his thrilling countdown to the End of Times.

Well, that went better than I expected.

At this time last night, we were down to three tables at the Final Table $10K GTD NLHE, one of the last weekend events I’m going to get to play before my self-imposed retirement from poker goes into effect in 1 January.

Just for some perspective, I’ve played 28 $10K GTD or larger events at Final Table alone this year, more than 2-1/2 workweeks of my spare time. Overall, including live and online, more than 15 40-hour weeks of my time playing poker. Hardly a full-time job, but quarter-time, anyway.

Anyway, I was in for just a single buyin and an addon last night, but I was a little short on chips as we maneuvered through the last ten or so players to the bubble. I had to make a couple of risky shoves  (one with Q8 UTG) to stay alive long enough to make the 10 scheduled payouts.

I had a pleasant chat with Paul, one of the local dealers-turned-pros about his ability to go up to British Columbia to play on PokerStars (which I envy). A Seattle player in Seahawks gear (natch) with a big stack sat on my left keeping things real by playing most of the hands down to the bubble.

It took about an hour to go from 15 players to the final table. Three bubbles were proposed and then two bubbles, and almost immediately a couple of players went out and the first was paid (only $100 each, though).

I was one of the three shortest stacks at the 10-handed final. I got the prime position in seat 1 (where the button started) so with the big blind ante I wasn’t paying anything for nearly 20 minutes.

We were an hour into the final when things started to shift. Paul was now on my immediate left. The big stack was on the other side of the dealer in seat 10. Two players had busted out, I’d picked up a few chips and was just over 200K, but that was still 10bb, and with the big blind ante, you’re losing a fifth of that in one whack. Anyway, seat 8 was UTG and he raised from one of the other short stacks to 55K. Seahawks guy had over 600K and called—he’d been making good use of suited connectors all night. I had AxQx and I shoved, hoping that I had enough to get the big stack to fold when it came back around. paul shoved behind me with a bit more. After a long moment considering, the original raiser called all in, then the big stack bowed out and it was tens for the original raiser against kings for Paul and an ace hit the flop, essentially tripling me up to the chip lead or very near.

Between us, the big stack and I had two-thirds of the chips in play, and I cruised along for a while with a couple more eliminations until I raised Seahawks’s big blind and he shoved into my AxKx with K2. Which I called. It was over pretty soon after that, the other two players (including Ron S., who’d been my only railer when I took 3rd this February at Chinook) had a total of 25% of the chips and I had the other 75%. It was 4:30am and we were all amicable so I kicked back $290, the other guys split that along with 2nd and 3rd money for about $2Keach, and I got $3K straight up. Better than the ICM.

I had been thinking that if I got down to this point I was going to play it out no matter the consequences, and after all the 3-person Sit-n-Gos I’ve been playing on Ignition, I’m pretty sure I could have maintained by first-place, but I wanted to get home and see if I could come up with some other options for my quest for $100K.

One was the Bay 101 Shooting Star Satellite this morning. While the tournament itself isn’t until March (and it isn’t a WPT event this time around), I figured if I won the seat before the end of the year it wouldn’t violate my self-conditions. It was at 9am in San ose.

The Bicycle Casino had two flights to a Quantum $250K GTD NLHE tournament at 11:30am and 4pm.

And, of course, there was the Venetian/CPPT $500K GTD NLHE with a $3500 buyin if I wanted to emulate the path I took after my first $10K 1st place at Encore Club back in 2011.

The flights, though, were killer. This far into the holiday season, with short notice, everything is hideously expensive. I didn’t want to blow it all (and more) on a one-shot at the Venetian, getting to San Jose in time was just not happening by the time I got home, and trying to make the first flight at LA was pretty awful, too. Unfortunately, even the flights to Vegas in two weeks—just before New Year’s Eve—aren’t great, either, So I’m open to suggestions.

Waiting to go to a holiday party, I played an Ignition Casino NLHE Jackpot Sit-n-Go, got a 5x payout, and won it on a hand where both the shorter stacks shoved when I had kings.

#PNWPokerCal Planner for 08 December 2018

#PNWPokerLeaderboard

No new additions to the leaderboard database, but the top cash is for someone who’s never been mentioned here: Roderick Chavez from Bellevue took 1st place at the WPT Five Damond NLHE Seniors tournament Wednesday at Bellagio, beating out at least three others at the final table with more than $500K each in lifetime winnings. Roderick has about $44K after winning more than $30K in the tournament. A veery nice way to close out the year.

Dylan Wilkerson continued his streak to the end of 2018, winning WSOP Circuit Planet Hollywood #4 NLHE, a $400 buyin with 176 entries.

Steve Chanthabouasy says he’s out of the mix games and focusing on NLHE tournaments for the big money, which he’s certainly got a point about after winning the 174-entry $560 buyin WPT Five Diamond #4 NLHE. There was a deal heads-up, and the other player got a little more money, but Steve got the win. Angela Jordison may be laying odds as to which lasts longer: my poker retirement or Steve sticking to NLHE.

Rafael Lebron from Puyallup made the final table of the WSOPC Planet Hollywood $500K GTD Main Event, taking 9th place. If you aren’t familiar with Lebron, his fourth-ever recorded cash was winning a bracelet in the $3K buyin Limit Hold’em 6-Max in 2016. That was four days after he was runner-up foor a bracelet in the PLO 6-Max.

Usually, a 26th-place finish isn’t enough to get you on the leaderboard even if it’s a big buyin, I try to limit it to significant ROI or I’d be overwhelmed, but Auburn’s Thomas Kornechuk took that spot in the $3500 buyin WPT Seminole Hard Rock Main Event, which had nearly 900 entries, so yeah. It’s good enough.

One Month Three Weeks One Hundred 98 Kay

The chances of beating my self-imposed deadline/goal of $100K in earnings by the end of the year is getting increasingly more unlikely. Last night’s liquidity error at the Final Table $20K really reduce any possibility of putting together the seed money for a trip to somewhere I could run it up. The shot at the WPT Five Diamond is gone.

Pretty much down to Venetian events at this point, unless something happens where I can look further afield.

This Week In Portland Poker

Next weekend will be all about the Portland Meadows $30K GTD NLHE.

Only a Day Away

  • The last event (ever) on my calendar is the Venetian Deepstacks Extravaganza V. Which starts 20 December. There’s a $100K GTD the first weekend, and a $260K GTD Monster Stack just before the New Year’s ($400 buyin).

The cards in the header were up by the cash registers at the Mall 205 Dollar Tree this afternoon, in case you’re looking for stocking stuffers.

R-Day Minus 25

The Poker Mutant will be retiring (mostly) from poker on 1 January. This is the latest installment in his thrilling countdown to the End of Times.

Tonight was possibly my last big poker event anywhere and I have to say I’m a bit disappointed in how it went. My table at the Final Table $20K GTD NLHE First Friday was pretty active.

On one of my first hands in seat 8, I raised with AT and got several callers. The flop was JT9 and there was an early-position bet. I folded, then a player in seat 1 re-raised to 2,200. The original bettor shoved and the raiser called fairly quickly, showing Jx7x. The original bettor had the straight with Qx8x. Then the board ran out AxAx, and I would have had the second nuts. Not that I was going all-in on that draw.

Seat 1 rebought but managed to get stacked and forced out of the game in ten minutes. In all, by the end of the first hour or so, there were 15 rebuys, and a third of them were from our table. But they weren’t coming my way.

The end for me came with a whimper. I limped in with JxTx and less than half my starting stack, but still about 30bb. Nearly the whole table was in the hand and the flop was KxJx5x. A guy who’d been making a big fuss about winning the previous week’s $10K (at a table with the likes of Kim Pok and Casey Ring) opened the betting and I called. We were heads-up. The turn was a ten, I was first to act, and I went all-in. He took a while to think about it, then finally called with a pair of aces that he’d slow-played. Two aces, three kings, four queens, three fives. It was a king.

As you may know, I am not a fan of rebuys, but I figured there wouldn’t be too many more options to do so. I hadn’t stopped by the bank to get any cash out for a rebuy, so I told Bourbon Bill that I needed to hit the ATM. When I got there, though, the screen said it was Out of Order. I walked back to the table as Bill was dealing a new hand and told him I wasn’t going to be able to do it, and he started to gather up the cards for a misdeal (since he’d dealt in my position), A couple of people offered to loan me the money, but by then I figured I’d caused enough trouble and slunk into the night of Southeaast Portland.

Played a couple of Ignition Casino $2 NLHE Jackpot Sit-n-Go tournaments. Won one, lost one.

Here’s how I spent Pearl Harbor Day six years ago:

“A Day of Poker That Will Live In Infamy”

R-Day Minus 31

The Poker Mutant will be retiring (mostly) from poker on 1 January. This is the latest installment in his thrilling countdown to the End of Times.

Played a little Ignition Casino $100 NLHE Super KO while watching the broadcast recaps of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event from last year. Last hand I played 56 flopped Tx5x6x and managed to get it all in against jacks, then the board paired the turn eight on the river and I was out without so much as a bounty after 35 minutes.

The end of the day was the Final Table $2K GTD NLHE. I got to the club just before the first break and got sat in between the blinds, so I didn’t play either of the last two hands before break, late-regging despite my better judgment.

I got aces on my seventh hand (there were only 7 players at the table) in the small blind. Aces in the small blind again at the beginning of my second level of play. I was below average but considering that nobody had busted completely after six levels (half the players had rebought before the break), I was doing fine. I got queens in the small blind and took hand with an all in.

A pair of jacks was where things started to go wrong. A couple of the stacks were getting short, one went all in for about 8bb in early position, I shoved with the jacks to isolate, but the small blind woke up with kings. The short stack made two pair with Ax9x, and I was down to about 6bb.

I managed to survive through a couple of punishing big blinds (shoving 24 and showing, at one point) then Dave—one of the aggressive players at the table—min-raised at the 1200 big blind level. I only had 3300 but I had a Mutant Jack hand: AJ and shoved. The player whod had the kings shoved over the top from the small blind (again) and Dave called with deuces. The small blind had 98. The flop was jack-high with two spades, putting me in the lead, but the board ran out a backdoor straight for the small blind.

Congrats to Ryan Stoker for taking sixth at one of the opening events of the WPT Five Diamond at Bellagio this weekend! And condolences to Darin Stout who had a good Day 1 in the Wynn $250K GTD NLHE but ran into some trouble on Day 2.

R-Day Minus 32

The Poker Mutant will be retiring (mostly) from poker on 1 January. This is the latest installment in his thrilling countdown to the End of Times.

Just a month to go and it was the last live game of November, the $10K GTD NLHE at Final Table. It didn’t go well, which is why I’m writing this instead of still at the club.

In the first level, I raised AxJx, got a call, and was re-raised by the button. I played it conservatively when there were a couple calls of the re-raise, then the hand played out and I was a little irked with myself when the button won the hand with Ax[qx[][after][the][board][paired][my][jack.][Which][played][into][my][decision][to][go][all][in][on][over][a][turn][raise][from][the][same][player][on][a][hand][with][AxQx and a flop of AxTxTx, only to get myself stacked by KxTx.

Managed to lose half of my rebuy stack before the start of the final level before the add-on break, then got it all in with A5 over two limps, Another player raised all in for a lot more with TxTx and the short stack on my right got in with KxQx and just 75 more chips than me. The flop came down AxKxQx and the guy on my left was elated until a jack on the river made Broadway for the tens.

#PNWPokerCal Planner for 27 November 2018

#PNWPokerLeaderboard

After the rush of names from Chinook Winds and Wildhorse, we’ve just got a few entries in this week’s report.

Lawrence Hommedieu of Washougal was down at the WPT Seminole Rock N Roll Poker Open and made the final table of Event #2 $250K GTD NLHE for a best-ever cash (he also picked up a smaller cash in a bounty tournament).

Lee Watkinson added a small percentage to his lnearly $4.3M lifetime earnings with 5th place in the Venetian Deepstack Extravaganza IV $400K GTD NLHE Main Event.

Finally, Geran Sanders (Ellensburg) chopped a RUNGOOD Poker Series $25K NLHE at Hard Rock Tulsa heads up for a very decent return on a $180 buyin in a field of more than 400.

One Month One Hundred 98 Kay

New Year’s Day is in exactly five weeks, and I’ve committed to my wife to playing only the home game after that point—unless I win more than $100K before the end of the year. $2K down, $98K to go.

This was, perhaps, a poorly-chosen date, as the Tulalip Poker Pow Wow runs through January, and Chinook Winds PACWest Poker Classic runs 16–24 February. But you have to draw your lines in the felt somewhere.

December is always a tough poker month. Schedules are thrown off by the Christmas holiday. This month is our 30th anniversary, there’s holiday parties, other family obligations, and getting flights is more expensive because of all the holiday travel.

I’m supposed to be in town for something on Sunday the 9th, I’ve got something I could probably skip on on the 15th if I absolutely had to, then after that the only series on the West Coast is the Venetian Deepstack Extravaganza V.

Trying to make the goal of another $98K means I have to be  I’ll be playing the $10K at Final Table this Friday. If things go well, I’ll get a Saturday morning flight to either Las Vegas, for the Wynn Signature Series $250K GTD NLHE. Sunday, the Wynn has a $5K NLHE Survivor with a $550 buyin. The WPT Five Diamond series is running over at Bellagio.

The next Friday there should be a $20K GTD at Final Table, and since I have something for Sunday, my weekend option would be to go to Vegas for the WPT Five Diamond Main Event Super Satellite. The Main Event runs the next week.

The following weekend is a $30K GTD at Portland Meadows, but out of town is one of the few opportunities to get to anything approaching $98K in a single shot: the Venetian;/CardPlayer $500K GTD NLHE Main Event. A couple of downsides: its last entry day is on a Friday, so I’d need to take the day off; and its buyin is $3,500, so I’d probably want to take off Thursday to play the last satellite. Alternatively, that weekend is also the last event of WSOPC LA, and the Bicycle Casino has a $350 buyin with $250K GTD. The Main Event of the Colorado Poker Championship runs that weekend, as well.

As Christmas approaches on the next weekend, the Venetian Deepstack Showdown has ended and the Venetian Deepstack Extravaganza V has begun, opening with a $100K GTD, and it’s pretty much the only game in any town so far as tournament series in these parts (loosely speaking) goes.

My last chance, Hail Mary opportunity is going to be the Venetian’s $400 buyin $260K GTD tournament running the week before New Year’s. So maybe I should just book those tickets now.

Only a Day Away

  • The Deepstacks Poker Tour Championship is in Calgary at Grey Eagle. The Canadian dollar is about 76¢ US. The opening event is a C$100K GTD for C$550 buyin. The Main Event has starting days Friday and Saturday, with a C$2,500 buyin and C$1M GTD.
  • The Wynn Signature Series starts tomorrow. Opening weekend has a $250K GTD $600 buyin and a $50K GTD $550 buyin $5K payout Survivor. Next weekend has a $150K GTD ($600 buyin) and $30K GTD $3K payout $300 buyin Survivor, with a number of other events between.
  • The WPT Five Diamond  at Bellagio starts Thursday. There’s a $1,620 NLHE 6-Max on 3 December, $1,620 PLO the next day, and lots of satellites to the $10,400 Main Event starting 11 December.
  • The Colorado Poker Championship Winter Series runs from Thursday to 19 December at Golden Gates Casino, It features 25 events including a $2K buyin High Roller. The $1,100 buyin Main Event has three starting flights on 13–15 December.
  • The Bicycle Casino hosts the final West Coast WSOP event of the year: WSOPC Los Angeles from 1–16 December. The first week is the $250K GTD NLHE Monster Stack, with starting flights inconveniently placed two-per-day on Monday and Tuesday. Ditto for the Main Event starting days of Sunday and Monday (11 & 12 December). FU, too, WSOP.
  • The Venetian/CardPlayer Poker Tour Deepstack Showdown runs 5–16 December with a tantalizing $3,500 buyin $500K GTD starting 14 December.
  • Closer to home, in the Sacramento area, is the Stones Gambling Hall December Chill Poker Series/Run It Up Stones. Run It Up has an abbreviated version of its Reno schedule with a $600 buyin Main Event and smaller PLO/NLH Mix, NLHE Win the Button, and PLO 6-Max ($500 buyin for the last one). That’s followed by a $100K GTD Quantum event with three buyin levels ($120, $240, and $900) and a total of 10 entry points (including the high buyin direct to day 2).
  • Outside of Minneapolis, the Mid-States Poker Tour Season 9 Finale is technically already running, with satellites all through November already for the $1,100 buyin $500K GTD Main Event with entry days 6–8 December. Non-stop flights are running $230 RT, and with direct flights and a 3pm start time, you wouldn’t even need to leave Portland until 7am Saturday. You’d get to Minneapolis with two-and-a-half hours to cover 22 miles from the airport to Canterbury Park.
  • The last event (ever) on my calendar is the Venetian Deepstacks Extravaganza V. Which starts a whole four days after the Deepstack Showdown. There’s a $100K GTD the first weekend, and a $260K GTD Monster Stack just before the New Year’s ($400 buyin).