I watched a fair among of the Pokerstars.tv live stream of the EPT 11 Barcelona main event over the past few days, and if the fact that a guy old enough to play (and win) the inaugural EPT Seniors side event made it to 3rd place in the main event less than a week later wasn’t enough to make Hossein Ensan my current poker bro-crush, his aplomb and the self-possessed way he played the last stages of the table—not to mention his seemingly absolute comfort during the two negotiating sessions where the top three players worked out a deal on the money—would do it.

Prior to his â‚¬652,667 win ($860,091) in the main event and the other $7K he won in two side events at Barcelona, Ensan (or Hossein, as I call him) had less than $22,000 in recorded tournament earnings on Hendon Mob, all in the past 18 months. That’s very cool. I hope to meet him in Prague.

Speaking of cool, in addition to all the big events I mentioned were coming up at Final Table over the next few weeks, I just found out they’re planning a $500 buy-in tournament for October 18 that will have a $10,000 guaranteed first prize! More money for Prague!

Six Weeks, $110K in Guarantees

Between May 2011 and May 2012, I played 48 tournaments at the Final Table Poker Club in east Portland. I cashed in exactly one of them, as the first player busted from the final table of their 2011 $5K Christmas tournament, winning a small prize and a bounty for knocking out one of the staff. I was winning tournaments elsewhere, so I tried not to let the bad run get to me. (My next cash there, I breezed late into a PLO8 game while I was waiting for a Bluetooth stereo system to be installed in my car just before I drove down to Las Vegas, took first place, and won enough to pay for the stereo.) Since then I have about an 18% ITM there.

It’s not a fancy place, but it’s settled into position as one of the two big card rooms in Portland, and they have a monthly $20K guarantee that’s the largest regular event in the area. At $100 for the buy-in, with a rebuy available and a $50 add-on, they’ve gotten an average of about 170 entrants this year with pots over $28K. It runs on the first Friday of the month, and if there’s a fifth Friday, they run another, so three or four times a year there are two $20Ks running here consecutive weeks.

Well, this week is the fifth Friday of August, which means there’s going to be two $20Ks in a row. But that’s not all! On Saturday, September 20th, FT’s having a $50K guarantee ($150 buy-in, 1 rebuy, $75 add-on). The last one of those pulled in over 300 entries, with a prize pool of more than $75K. So, over the next six weekends, there’s:

  • August 29th: Fifth Friday $20K guarantee
  • September 5th: First Friday $20K guarantee
  • September 20th: $50K guarantee
  • October 3rd: First Friday $20K guarantee

More than $100K in guarantees at one location in P-town in (more or less, September).

Also coming up in the next few weeks, Chinook Winds is running a Fall Coast Classic, eight events (including Big O and O8), culminating in a $100K guarantee with only a $550 entry/re-entry fee. Bewilderingly, even without the influence of the Deepstacks Poker Tour folks, they have managed to schedule it at the same time as established events in the Northwest once again. The entire schedule coincides with the Muckleshoot Summer Poker Classic. And the Chinook main event is on the kickoff weekend of the Tulalip Poker Pow Wow. Washington players in Vancouver have only a half-hour extra in travel time to get to Seattle vs. Lincoln City; pros to the south might be drawn to the HPT events at Thunder Valley outside of Sacramento (where the main event runs opposite Chinook Winds’) or further south in Fresno at Club One. 200 $550 entries and re-entries to make the $100K guarantee. I’ll be there if I can make it.

I’m trying to log tournament series and special events of interest to Portland-area players. Anything within a cheap flight or a day’s drive.

Punta Cana

I’m not playing it today, but I am looking in on the first of five bi-weekly satellites on Bovada to the Punta Cana Poker Classic in November.

Each of the satellites is doling out a guaranteed three $5,500 packages (including main event entry; acommodations, food, and ground transport for two to the venue; and $1,670 for travel expenses). Only three packages are awarded, the rest of the prize money is packaged in  $2,000 increments. The first game’s approaching the end of the third hour of play as I write, and it’s down to about 50 of the original 207 entrants, with the Punta Cana packages, seventeen $2,000 cash prizes, and am eighteenth cash prize of $1,250 in the prize pool. Median stack at this point is about 15BB, with the max at 76BB.

I like the Survivor-tournament payout structure. Most of the players not winning the package are going to get +640% ROI on their buy-in. Even with the field paying only 10% of the players (the $100K that started a half-hour earlier pays 15%), the expected ROI for those cashing is much higher. By comparison, you’d need to win about $1,200 in today’s $162 entry $100K to make the same ROI, and that means making it to the final two tables in a 1,260-entry tournament; beating 98.5% of the field, as opposed to 90%.

If I made it to the money in the satellite, I might intentionally go out just to get the sure cash, even with tickets from Portland to Punta Cana going for less than $500 RT.

UPDATE: The Punta Cana satellite hit the money after about four hours, with the $100K busting the bubble at four-and-a-half, practically at the same time, since the $100K started half-an-hour earlier. Minimum ROI for the satty was +360%, with most of the rest of those cashing making the aforementioned +640% ROI. Minimum ROI in the $100K was +51%. At the time the bubbles broke, the median chip stack for the satellite was 42K; it was 29K in the $100K (with both tournaments starting at 5K). The satellite completed in a little more than five-and-a-half hours. At six hours of play, the $100K is down to the last four tables, with players from here on out making at least +310% ROI (and the potential for as much as +19,400%, $31,666).

UPDATE 2: The $100K made it to two tables after six hours and forty-five minutes.

CORRECTION: The reference to the frequency of the satellites was corrected from “weekly” to “bi-weekly”.

Five Kay II

Bovada $5,000 NLHE Superstack (T5,000)

I’m not going to annoy anyone by recounting the full run of this game, but it was another deep run for me that was made particularly pleasing after a bluff gone wrong and a semi-miraculous recovery, so here are a few key hands.

Hand 92 [9s ts] HJ T15,109 200/400/40
I open to 1,200 and SB 3bets to 3,200. BB drops out and I call. The flop is [ks 6d qd] which should be the end of it for me, but I call a small bet of 1,600. The turn is [ac] and I really should be screaming off to the horizon, but I raise 4,000 after a check fromn SB and he re-raises to 8,400, which I call. The river is [8d]. SB bets 1,800. My nut no-pair has 1,869 behind it. I fold. What a maroon.

Hand 93 [9h 7d] UTG2 T1,869 200/400/40
Less than 5BB. M about 2. I fold.

Hand 94 [qs jh] UTG1 T1,829 200/400/40
I go all-in and BTN calls with [5s 5d]. I hit a jack on the flop and stay good.

Hand 95 [8h 7c] UTG T4,498 200/400/40

Hand 96 [2s 8s] BB T4,458 200/400/40
Fold. A player is eliminated with [as qs] against [ts th].

Hand 97 [qh ts] SB T4,018 200/400/40
The Portland Nuts. Action folds to me, I shove my 10BB and the player in BB who I had some back-and-forth with earlier calls with [as ac]. He has me covered by more than 30k. The flop is [7d kc qc th 5c] and I double up again, above chip average.

Hand 98 [th as] BTN T8,236 200/400/40
I don’t know if people are just sitting back because they think there are going to be some fireworks or if they just had bad cards two hands in a row, but they’re not going to be disappointed if it’s the former. I 3x open and the guy whose aces I broke is all-in immediately for more than 4x my stack. I call with my ace, and he has [jc 7c]. He gets a seven on the flop, but I get an ace, and I double a third time in five hands, now sitting on more than I had in the hand before I made the bad play.

Hand 99 [as qh] CO T17,072 200/400/40
HJ opens to 900 and I call. BTN comes along with SB. The flop is [5s 7d 6s] and checked around. I bet the [ah] on the turn and everyone folds, and we go on break.

I bust a guy on the hand after break. The guy whose aces I busted goes off on a wild gamble and busts before we hit the money at 45 players. There’s an enormously long bubble. I get up over 60k, but end up busting shoving 10BB over an opening raise from a stack of 45K and [jh 9c] makes a nine-high straight against me.

Three hours and forty-five minutes, 208 hands. 20th of 403 entries. +169% ROI.