I didn’t play much poker to start off the fourth year of my poker retirement, but it was reasonably successful, probably because of that.
Last Frontier Casino $10K Guarantee Limit Hold’em
I was both intrigued and a little worried when I saw poker room manager Chris Canter post the notice for this one last month. Washington State’s poker room regulations only allowed limit for a number of years, and it was Last Frontier’s bread-and-butter, so I was expecting some serious LHE crushers to show up for this, but I went anyway.
Never played much of it myself, except in HORSE and other mixed game rotations, and it’s definitely not my strongest game in HORSE (like every other HORSE player, my strongest game is Razz).
I got off to a fast start, despite the presence at the table of some long-time players who were re-bonding after not seeing each other at the tables for a while. They included Kevin Erickson, who was the runner-up for an LHE bracelet at the 2021 WSOP. Fortunately, he was balanced to another table after a short while. I was leading the table for a time.
Three hours in and I was still above the pack—sometimes considerably so. In the fourth hour, my stack hit more than double the tournament average, though I’d dropped down to about one-and-a-half average after that. Ran into a former co-worker of my late brother-in-law, who I’d met at the tables in the past.
The stack managed to stay healthy as we approached the money with just three tables. As I noted on Twitter, the 12th-place prize was less than the buyin+entry.
When we consolidated to two tables, I ended up next to Korey Payne, who said hello, but I knocked him out dirty A7 > AK not long after the money bubble broke.
Also got to catch up a bit with a different Kory, one of the regulars from my Portland Players Club days, who’d won the $25K GTD NLHE at Last Frontier a couple of weeks before. He took over the chip lead at the final table as the guy who came to the final with a bu=ig stack managed to blast it away, first to me, then to Kory. We started whittling away at the shorter stacks. I picked off 6th with the Robbie Jade Lew hand (J4o) when I had over 300K on the 15K big blind and just had to call 10K for his all-in.
When we hit three players, Kory had the lead by a good bit, and the other player and I were swapping 2nd and 3rd. Then I pulled in a chunk of chips, and non-Kory proposed an even chop, which I was rather surprised Kory—with more than twice his stack and half again mine—agreed to. I agreed, naturally, and #3 and I went to the payout desk. Kory went into the field of cash players and did some consulting with a friend, coming back to tell me his friend had suggested he should have held out for an ICM deal. Personally, I think that would have been a better option, rather than readily agreeing to the even chop immediately, but I just ran the numbers through Icmizer, to show him the difference.
Beaverton Quarantine NLHE Bounty
For some reason, my long-time home game never went online during the worst of the pandemic (I first got the inkling it was going to be bad when one of the guys in the group who works in virology at OHSU backed out of a game we had scheduled in March 2020). But Kate, one of the folks I met through that group, invited me last year to a far-flung Friday night game that had gotten together via PokerStars Lite Home Games and Zoom. They typically play two or three $20-$25 games—usually NLHE or PLO8—get enough players for one or two tables, and Matt handles the money. All very friendly. I don’t usually get into the Zoom conference because of where I’m playing from, and I usually miss the first game, but this night I caught the Bounty tournament, busted just short of the money, and didn’t pick up a single bounty.
The Game $10K Guarantee Big O and 1/2 NLHE
I misremembered the start time of this tournament. I was running a little late, I thought, until I turned into the parking lot of The Game and it was almost empty. I should have turned around and skipped it. When I went in, there was a single cash table running and I learned I was two hours early. I thought I’d read for a couple hours, but the urge to play got the best of me and I grabbed one of the empty cash game seats. I hovered around my buy-in for an hour or so, then got it in bad with AK < KT on a KTx flop and the two pair held. Players on the button could call some games, as well, so there were some of the inevitable bomb pots, and 5-2-2, which is a double-board Big O game that’s popular with degenerates.
Speaking of which, the Big O tournament lasted less time than I waited for it to start (at least for me), because I kept insisting on risking things with just low draws. I could have just lit that money on fire (see below).
Beaverton Quarantine Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo Bounty
The second game in the last BQ poker night for the month was somewhat successful, I took 2nd place (out of 6, plus a rebuy) and two half-bounties (split-pot knockouts).
For years, a piece of They Might Be Giants 20th anniversary swag was my go-to hoodie for playing poker. It featured a piece of art from their first EP: a cartoon snowman warming their mitts over a fire of burning money. It just somehow seemed appropriate.
I was wearing it the night I won a seat to the Pendleton Poker Round-Up Main Event at Players Club (and my wife had an unrelated heart attack the next morning). I was wearing it when I had my largest-ever cash, at Chinook Winds, placing 3rd out of a 462-entry field (how is that five years ago?).
But given tat TMBG has been around forever now, the 20th-anniversary hoodie is itself two decades long in the tooth, with the black faded and the screen printing cracked and the seam on the hood torn several inches. They hadn’t ever revived the design for a hoodie.
Until this winter, when they announced a red version. Which I promptly ordered two of. I didn’t need a daily-use poker hoodie any longer, but I do walk a couple miles to work and back, and I can always use a couple extras during the winter (I did get a very nice PokerStars hoodie when I was on the Poker In the Ears podcast a couple years ago).
The package arrived quickly and when I got home I opened it immediately, only to have that familiar sausage-squeezed-into-casing feeling when I slid the first of the new hoodies on. Had I put on (more) weight? Was XL the new XXL? No, the invoices and packaging said XXL, but the tag on the hoodie itself said XL.
So that seems like a big screw-up, probably on the part of the clothing/silkscreen contractor, and probably something that wasn’t particular to my order, which was confirmed when I contacted the seller to swap them out.
So, if you play against me anytime this month, it’s the old, ratty hoodie you’ll be seeing.
As for where February takes me, I’m planning to hit Portland Meadows for The Biggest of Os tournament the first weekend. Then, I noticed that Ignition Casino is running satellites to the Irish Poker Open, which hearkens back to a goal from a dozen years ago, when I started this blog. So, I hope to be doing a few of those. And at the end of the month, it’s back to Lincoln City for the PacWest Poker Classic at Chinook Winds. Probably not a lot of other live poker. I’m retired!