#PNWPokerCalendar Planner for October 28

Brian Thorp, winner of the Final Table $100K Guarantee, October 24, 2015 (photo via Final Table Facebook page)

Brian Thorp, winner of the Final Table $100K Guarantee, October 24, 2015 (photo via Final Table Facebook page)

Final Table $100K Guarantee

The $100K Guarantee at Final Table is over, and we have a winner! According to the post on Facebook, there was no chop. Total prize pool was $113K—a bit smaller than the spring event—with a combined 299 entries and rebuys. I was up from 12K to 28K by the first break (after level 4), then busted out at the end of level 10, jamming a short stack with [kc qc] into a raise from Tam Nguyen, who had [jx jx].

Encore Poker Series


With that out of the way, it means this week is the Encore Poker Series VII, with its own $100K. I’m out of the running for the two bigger games of the series: the $50K on Saturday and the $100K on Sunday; gotta blow ethylene glycol fog on the trick-or-treaters on Halloween (seriously, scheduling on Halloween?), and Poker Mutant Papa has a significant birthday on All Saints Day, but I’m planning to play both Thursday and Friday ($20K and $30K guarantees, respectively).

Here’s a quick rundown:

Starting Time8pm8pm1pm12pm
Buyin/Rebuy/Re-Entry Cost$100$150$250$500
Buyin/Rebuy/Re-Entry Chips15K15K25K30K
Rebuy/Re-Entry1 Rebuy through level 31 Rebuy through level 3Unlimited Re-Entry through level 6Unlimited Re-Entry through level 6
Addon Cost$50 between level 3 and 4$60 between level 3 and 4$100 between level 3 and 4, entries and re-entries in levels 4-6 can buy addon at that time$100 between level 3 and 4, entries and re-entries in levels 4-6 can buy addon at that time
Addon Chips10K10K15K20K
Blind Level Length25 minutes25 minutes35 minutes40 minutes

It always amuses me a little when poker rooms like the Venetian return to their regular schedules after a series (see below). They send me announcements about the guarantees: $124.5K in guarantees every week at the Venetian. But if you add up the guaranteed events at Encore over a week, it’s over $50K. Yes, there are some differences: the base buyin at the Venetian is larger, there are only two events each day (as opposed to five), but the steady drizzle of Portland poker versus the flash flood of Vegas poker stacks up pretty well, considering.

Red Zone II


It’s down to the finals in the Poker Update “Most Memorable Televised Poker Hand of All Time” contest. Dozens of Northwest voters helped push Justin “Red” Phillips’s from slightly behind a hand featuring Mikael Mizrachi to a massive win with 80% of the vote. The final is Phillips vs. Phil Hellmuth getting squashed in a hand from “The Big Game.”

WSOP November Nine

The big news in the poker world, of course, is the World Series of Poker Main Event November Nine, who meet back at the table on Sunday, November 8th. According to Kevin Mathers, the all-seeing eye of the poker world, this is the schedule, in Las Vegas (i.e. Pacific) time. No live streaming, which bites.


Checked in on the Last Sunday of the Month tournament at Tulalip Resort Casino, which was a $500 buyin.


The poker room calendar for next month says there’s another $500K at the end of November, this time with $5K added.

And a little further north in Vancouver, PokerNews Canada covered the PlayNow Poker Championship at the Hard Rock. The final three players in the C$1,650 Main Event chopped up C$150K, with another C$8,760 for the winner, awarding Scott McMorran more than US$44.6K.

World Poker Tour Five Diamond Poker Classic: Deal of the Day

Looking for that perfect Christmas/birthday gift for the Poker Mutant? Nothing says you love the weekly #PNWPokerCalendar Planner than a $10.4K ticket to the Five Diamond World Poker Classic at Bellagio in mid-December. A little too much? How about $1.6K for the Seniors event? Or $1,090 for the other codgers tournament on December 7th?

The Five Diamond runs from December 4th to the 19th and includes a $560 buyin event on Sunday, December 6th, numerous events at $1,090 and $1.6K, a couple of $5.2K and $10.4K tournaments (including the Main Event), and a $100K High Roller. If you’ve been itching to play a big-buyin Pot Limit Omaha event, there’s one on the schedule for $1,090. Oh, and another for $10.4K.

No guarantees, but last year’s Main made a $5.7M prize pool with 586 entries. The series is sure to draw in a crowd of poker players, along with folks making a trip to Vegas to blow the money they’ve saved all year to buy Christmas presents, and over at the Venetian, they’ve scheduled the five-day Winter Weekend Extravaganza starting the 9th to cater to folks with smaller bankrolls. It includes a $100K guarantee with just a $250 buyin.

I’ve never played at Bellagio—their riff-raff scanners keep me out—but I hear it’s very nice inside and the Five Diamond is sort of the jewel in the WPT crown, so I’m giving the pick this week. Say “Hi” to Mike and Vince for me.

This Week in Portland Poker

I expect things are going to be mostly focused at Encore for the weekend, but there are a few things to note:

  • Tonight at Portland Players Club is a $1K guarantee Big O tournament (7:15pm, $20/8K buyin, live rebuys at ≤12K, $30/20K addon). Halloween brings a $2K guarantee Big O game (5pm, $100/30K buyin/live rebuys, $40/20K addon, 30 minute rounds). If you’re a fan of the strange and bizarre, try out their Monday Mix 19 (or so) game shootout (double-barreled 6-card Omaha, anyone?), but beware of the $5-25 spread bets in the limit games! BEWARE! And if you’re looking for a poker club to buy….
  •  The Game has announced a $10K guaranteed winner-takes-all event for 4pm November 21st. 80 player cap, $100 buyin/rebuy/addon. Please, guys, lose the zooming red text.

Only a Day Away

  • The Wildhorse Fall Poker Round Up is set to start on November 5th. Eleven days of poker in Pendleton. I just got out of town the last time I went as it was starting to snow.  This has been billed as the biggest poker series in the Northwest for years, and I haven’t seen a lot of competition for that title. Some, but not a lot. See my Deal from last month for more.
  • At LA’s Hustler Casino Liz Flynt Fall Poker Classic, a $500K, $350 buyin tournament starts Thursday, with two starting flights (12:30pm and 5pm) every day through Monday (had the week wrong on that one in last week’s post).
  • The Venetian Deepstacks Extravaganza IV started Monday and runs until Thanksgiving, with 61 events. Coming up this weekend is the second big guarantee, a $600 buyin $200K event with starting days Thursday through Saturday and Day 2 on Sunday. Next week is a $175K ($400 buyin) and a $200K guarantee for $1.1K.
  • Tomorrow (the 29th) is the start of the closest WSOP Circuit event of the year, at Harveys Lake Tahoe. None of the 12 events have guarantees, and there’s no HORSE bracelet this year, but even the non-ring Seniors event last year got 254 entries (and was won by Camas’s Debra Pulley), so there should be plenty of tournament and cash action to justify the trip.
  • In addition to Wildhorse (see above), Thursday the 5th is the beginning of the Mid-States Poker Tour stop at Golden Gates, west of Denver. Opening weekend is a $100K, $360 buyin tournament. The Main Event has a $1.1K buyin and $200K guarantee.
  • Aria in Las Vegas has a couple more of those $25K High Rollers on November 6th and 7th to take advantage of the folks in town railing the WSOP Main Event.
  • Friday the 6th is the opening of the World Tavern Poker Open at Planet Hollywood (which I wrote about last month); it ends just before the World Series of Poker Circuit hits the same venue.

Check out the Pacific Northwest Tournament Calendar for more poker.

The Red Zone


See anyone there you know? Not know in the “I’ve seen them on TV” sense like Hellmuth, Dwan, or Mizrachi, but someone from your very own Portland poker room? Yes, the third image is Justin “Red” Phillips, an integral part of the Final Table shootout operation, and one of the featured players in the semi-finals of Poker Update’s “Most Memorable Televised Poker Hand of All Time” contest.

This stage of the contest ends Tuesday. Phillips’s royal flush over quad aces (“Quad Aces No Good”) is up agains Mizrachi’s suck-resuck-resuck hand over Matt Jarvis with [ad qd] against [9h 9c] on a runout of [qs 8d qc 9s as]; both hands come from WSOP Main Events (2008 and 2011, if I remember correctly). Red’s hand was behind 48%/52% when I first saw this today and posted in the NW Poker Facebook group; since then we’ve managed to pump it up to 63%/37%. Only 73 votes (20 of those in the last couple of hours, mostly for Red).

Spread the word and check in after Tuesday to vote in the final!

#PNWPokerCalendar Planner for October 21

There really isn’t anything else to talk about this week. 11am. The Final Table. $100K guarantee. $300 buyin and $100 addon.

But please, FT, fix the web site. The week of the big event is no time for it to be broken on tablet and phone browsers. Put the schedule up front, don’t keep burying it as a PDF link. Make sure it’s accurate.


I’m pretty sure there’s supposed to be a number attached there to the 11am guarantees. And while I think having the structures is great, maybe put the antes on instead of limits.


Am I giving away the fact that I used to be a freelance proofreader?

Seriously, though, this is going to be a great game and I’d recommend picking up your ticket by Friday unless you want to wait in a long line or risk being an alternate.

Encore Poker Series: Deal of the Day

Once again, we stick to Portland for the Deal, with four events next week making up a total of $200K in guarantees at Encore Club. No bounty tournament this time around. All of the events are rebuy or re-entry. The Main Event of the series is the second $100K guarantee event in Portland in two weekends, on Sunday, November 1st at noon. Buyin at Encore is $500—the room capacity is smaller than at Final Table, so there’s a corresponding shift upward in cost—but the starting stack is 30K (vs. 12K) so you’re starting a bit deeper, with 300BB (at 100/100). 40 minute blinds!

The $50K of the series is on Halloween. It starts at 1pm Saturday, but unless you plan to just flush your money into the system, you’re not going to get home in time for trick-or-treaters.

Opening events for the series are a $20K on Thursday and $30K on Friday, both at 8pm.

Again, get your tickets early.

This Week in Portland Poker

  • Tomorrow evening (Thursday), Final Table ramps up to the $100K with a double guarantee for their 7pm game. $3K guarantee for a $40 buyin, 1 re-entry, and a $20 addon.
  • If you don’t want to plunk down $400+ with a better than 80% chance of not seeing that money again (for most of us),or if you’ve busted from the $100K, Portland Players Club is putting on a 5:15pm $500 guarantee bounty tournament for $20. Today at noon is a $400 special Big O freeroll ($5 door fee gets you 2K in chips). Friday is a $750 NLHE freeroll. Halloween is a 5pm $2K Big O tournament; $100 for 30K in chips.

Only a Day Away

Check out the Pacific Northwest Tournament Calendar for more poker.

#PNWPokerCalendar Planner for October 14

What is it about art directors and poker? Are they living in some sort of time vortex? Last summer, Newsweek ran a cover article on the dangers of online gaming, featuring a kid holding an iPad displaying the five cards of a spade royal flush.

About the same time, GEICO started running a pretty funny ad featuring Kenny Rogers playing poker, driving his tablemates to the point of desperation by singing the chorus to “The Gambler.” All the players are holding five cards. Nolan Dalla, the Senior Writer for WSOP.com, wrote a personal blog titled “Will Kenny Rogers Please Learn How to Play Hold’Em?” Admittedly, we don’t see the faces of the cards in this game, so they could be playing Big O or a 2-7 game, and the song does date from 1978, when Five Card Draw was more well-known than Texas Hold’Em, but the younger guys Kenny’s playing with are about as unlikely to be playing Draw as they are a Seven Card Stud game. Never mind, as Dalla points out, that they don’t have any chips or money on the table. Dalla mocks Rogers for the gaffe, but he’s just hired talent in the piece, not the person making decisions about the game they’re playing.

The same goes for the latest in the bizarre Matthew McConaughey Lincoln car commercial series. Previously, he the ad agency had him do some drawling metaphysical rambles seemingly-inspired by his turn as a burned-out cynic/murder investigator in True Decective (though not appropriating the look of the chain-smoking, pony-tailed, Russ Cohle, a guy whose only fix for years to the broken tail light on his beat-up truck was red duct tape). In one of the most recent, he’s silent, simply smirking at the camera when he gets back in the car following his (presumed) win after drawing to and tabling a six-high straight flush. And once again, in the only shot where you see the four players seated at the table, there isn’t any sort of betting unit in sight.


Final Table $100K: Deal of the Day

The Deal is usually a pick for out-of-town travel opportunities where you can maximize your tournament profit. For some players from the west side of Portland, SE 122nd and Division may seem like out-of-town, but Final Table continues to be one of the mainstays of poker in the city, and it’s first up this fall with a $100K guarantee tournament on Saturday, October 24th, at 11am. It’s less than 20 minutes from my house, the buyin is $300 (with a $100 addon, one rebuy, and a $10 door fee). How much more of a bargain can you find?


Final Table $100K Guarantee from March 2015

When Final Table ran a $100K earlier this year, the prize pool made it to $133.5K, with nearly $34K scheduled for first place. You can see from my bustout photo above that all I did was contribute money in that game. Advance tickets are on sale now, you can be fairly certain that it’s going to be full—even the spacious Final Table can only accommodate so many tables—and parking’s going to be tight, as usual, though once you find a space, you won’t have to move your car every couple hours. Late registrants are likely to get stuck at the folding tables and chairs, rather than any of the newly re-felted main tables or comfy chairs used for the daily tournaments. I can walk down to Chavez & Division in 20 minutes, so I’m probably just going to catch a bus.

Final Table will be breaking tables down as fast as they can after the break and any alternates have been seated in order to get shootouts up and running. They’ve been running 1/2 and 2/5 every day; there should be plenty of action for players busting out of the $100K.

This Week in Portland Poker

  • I’m going to stray outside of Portland to mention the Friday night tournament in my old (and I mean really old) stomping grounds of Eugene, at Full House Poker. It’s a $150 buyin with a $30 addon. $5 daily membership fee for non-members. $5 dealer bonus. I think it’s 20K for the buyin and 20K for the bonus, but the web site has a typo: “200,00 starting/double dealer bonus/add-on” and it says “$5 Double Dealer Bonus receives 200,000 chips.” Not sure if they’re all supposed to be 200K or 20K. 7pm, usually gets a dozen or more players.
  • The Game on SW Barbur has a new Power Hour with a $5 door fee until noon (open at 11am). Gets a mention because today they’re featuring a catered lunch from the official restaurant of the Mutant Poker blog, Hunan Pearl in Lake Oswego.
  • Don’t like carrying wads of cash into poker clubs? Big Stack Players Club lets you buy into tournaments with credit or debit cards. You still have to figure out what to do when you have to carry the cash out. Tournaments start at 7pm Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday; 5pm on Sunday.
  • Portland Players Club has a $2K Big O tournament at 7:15 Friday night. 20K chips for $40, live rebuys, and another 20K for $30 addon at break. Saturday is a $3K guarantee for $30 at 6:15pm, with 3 freeroll flights at 11am, 1pm, and 3:30pm.
  • In the calm before the $100K storm, Final Table has their regular schedule, with the new $10K ($75 buyin, $30 addon) at 7pm Friday, a $4K at 1pm on Saturday ($40 with live rebuys and $40 addon).
  • Encore Club’s 4-event EPS series comes up at the end of the month, they ran a $9K at noon on Monday that got a $13K prize pool (took 5th after riding a short stack at the final table) and I wouldn’t be too surprised if there was another special this week or next. Friday is a $13K guarantee ($60 buyin), with first place getting a seat to their$100K (on November 1st), there are $3.5K games Saturday and Sunday at noon ($40 buyin for both), and an $8K Saturday night at 8pm ($60 buyin) which is giving out a seat to the $50K (Halloween).
  • And how could I forget Aces Full on SE Powell? Their weekday noon game is now a $1K guarantee Monday to Thursday, with a $2K guarantee on Friday, all on a $20 buyin and $10 door fee.

Only a Day Away

  • The Wynn Fall Classic in Las Vegas begins today with a $50K guarantee Seniors event (50+) with a $600 buyin. It features three multi-day events with guarantees from $100K to $300K. Weren’t the Democratic Party presidential candidates there last night? I wonder if Bernie Sanders plays poker?
  • Tomorrow is the start of LA’s Hustler Casino Liz Flynt Fall Poker Classic. Three of the first four events are survivor tournaments (even chop at 10% of the field). There’s a $250K guarantee event with a $250 buyin, a $500K guarantee event with a $350 buyin, and a $250K guarantee with $150 buyin and $100 addon. It runs through November 5th.
  • The PlayNow Poker Championship runs from tomorrow until October 25th. at the Hard Rock Casino in Vancouver. The first event is a C$330 Women’s event (about US$250). They’re estimating a prize pool of more than US$110K for the second, two-day event (US610 entry, freezeout format) and event 3, a US$1265 main event. Seating for all events is limited.
  • Friday is the start of the Card Player Poker Tour/Hollywood Park Casino National Championship of Poker in Los Angeles. It kicks off with a $25K guarantee event that includes four seats to the $500 $150K guarantee Main Event the next weekend.
  • Saturday is opening day at Oceans 11 Casino for another WPTDeepstacks event, starting off with a $50K guarantee and ending with a $200K Main Event.
  • Jason Somerville brings his Run It Up juggernaut to the Peppermill Reno next Tuesday for six days, with a $565 Main Event, plus Big O, Survivor, Ante Up, and All In Or Fold tournaments.
  • And if you’re in Reno next week instead of at Final Table for the $100K, the Eldorado Resort Casino Poker Challenge is running, with a $1K Tournament of Champions ($40K guarantee) that might be interesting if you want the feel of a small-field high roller tournament.  There are two preliminary $240 events with 5 seats to the TOC awarded to the top five finishers.

Check out the Pacific Northwest Tournament Calendar for more poker.

#PNWPokerCalendar Planner for October 7

No particular news this week. Forrest Auel mentioned the other day that he was shown on one of the World Series of Poker Main Event telecasts last week. I tried to spot him so I could capture a screen shot but ESPN and/or Comcast conspired to screw up the scheduling and I got a recording of people discussing baseball instead of one of the episodes. Somewhere in the fifth or sixth hours of the ME broadcast. Look for him.

Other than that, I already recapped my bubble of the Final Table $20K and an odd find in the America’s Cardroom $1M guarantee last Sunday, so read those if you’re interested.

Vegas, Baby!: Deal of the Day

So much coming up in November. I mentioned the tournaments in Northern California in Redding and Sacramento last week, but more or less at the same time—and a lot closer together—are the Venetian Deepstack Extravaganza IV (running from late October to the day before Thanksgiving) and the World Series of Poker Circuit event at Planet Hollywood, which has a 12-day run starting November 12th. The casinos are less than a mile apart, probably a 25-30 minute walk when you factor in the intersection at Flamingo and Las Vegas Blvd. and the Paris Las Vegas driveways (plus having to dodge the escort service flyers and hobos dressed up as cartoon characters).

I recommended the WSOPC Planet Hollywood stop for the week of November 15th already because of the selection of mixed games running as side events. Having the Venetian series running concurrently sweetens the pot. There’s a $500K guarantee NLHE tournament ($1600 buyin) opposite the mix events, with the $1650 buyin, $1.5M guarantee WSOPC Main Event at the end of the week. It should be a pretty intense week for poker players who can get away to Vegas for the week after Wildhorse.

This Week in Portland Poker

  • Saturday at 1pm is the $35K guarantee at Encore Club. $200 entry/re-entry and an $80 addon. It’s the next step to a great month of Portland tournament poker.
  • Tickets for the Final Table $100K guarantee might start selling in the next week. It’s scheduled for October 24th at 11am with a $300 buyin/rebuy and a $100 addon. Monday was the scheduled start of the return of the 1pm $500 guarantee Big O tournament ($20 buyin/rebuy/addon).
  • Saturday at 5pm is Portland Players Club’s $2K guarantee Big O tournament ($100 buyin/rebuy, $40 addon). It’s a deepstack format with 30K in the starting stack, though you can never be deepstacked enough in Big O. Chadd just added a 12:05pm $1K NLHE freeroll before the Big O game.

Only a Day Away

  • The Card Player Poker Tour/Bicycle Casino Big Poker Oktober  in LA has entry days into their inaugural $300K event today through Friday. Sunday is a $50K guarantee, with mostly $150 buyin events over the next week.
  • Deepstacks Poker Tour in Edmonton, Alberta (airport code: YEG) drew 240 players for its C$550 Event #1, awarding C$26K for first place. The C$440 Event #3 (PLO) got 102. The C$200K guarantee Main Event (C$1.5K entry) has entry days Friday and Saturday.
  • The Wynn Fall Classic kicks off next Wednesday in Las Vegas with a $50K guarantee Seniors event (50+) with a $600 buyin. It features three multi-day events with guarantees from $100K to $300K.
  • Next Thursday is the start of LA’s Hustler Casino Liz Flynt Fall Poker Classic. Three of the first four events are survivor tournaments (even chop at 10% of the field). There’s a $250K guarantee event with a $250 buyin, a $500K guarantee event with a $350 buyin, and a $250K guarantee with $150 buyin and $100 addon. It runs through November 5th.
  • Friday the 16th is the start of the Card Player Poker Tour/Hollywood Park Casino National Championship of Poker in Los Angeles. It kicks off with a $25K guarantee event that includes four seats to the $500 $150K guarantee Main Event the next weekend.
  • Further south in San Diego, Saturday the 17th is opening day at Oceans 11 Casino for another WPTDeepstacks event, starting off with a $50K guarantee and ending with a $200K Main Event.
  • LATE ADDITION: PlayNow.com is the government-run online gaming /lottery site run by British Columbia. It runs online poker (you have to be a resident of BC to play, not just passing through) but also sponsors some live events. I got notice after I posted this week’s calendar that their PlayNow Poker Championship runs from next Thursday (the 15th) until October 25th. at the Hard Rock Casino in Vancouver. The first event is a C$330 Women’s event (about US$250). They’re estimating a prize pool of more than US$110K for the second, two-day event (US610 entry, freezeout format) and event 3, a US$1265 main event. Seating for all events is limited.

Check out the Pacific Northwest Tournament Calendar for more poker.

Checking In On the Internets

I don’t play much online these days. My entry into poker (after a twenty-year hiatus from nickel-ante five card draw games) was well after the poker boom was on its post-UIGEA downswing.

The first posts on this blog—in early 2011, pre-Black Friday—were mostly recounts of tournaments on Cake (in an attempt to get to the Irish Open), Full Tilt (still waiting for my $20 bucks back, DOJ), and—to a lesser extent—PokerStars. Obviously, the risks now are even greater than before Black Friday, with the possibility that unless you’re playing on the state-restricted sites like WSOP.com in Nevada or New Jersey (and presumably PokerStars in New Jersey in the near future), the US Department of Justice could shutter them just as quickly as it did Absolute, Full Tilt, and PokerStars.

But I’ve taken a flyer on Bovada from time to time because I’d heard their payouts were pretty regular from people I knew and via online forums. Carbon Poker (on the Merge network), not so much, though I like their software, and it runs on the Mac. I did like it when they had the daily HORSE freerolls, I think those gave me the experience to take second place in a live HORSE tournament last year.

America’s Cardroom, on the other hand, I’ve never put money on. I did play a freeroll there earlier this year. On the Winning Poker Network, it hasn’t been plagued with the same stories of lengthy delays for payouts like the Merge network; they’ve even implemented a debit card payout system to circumvent the kind of shenanigans with payment processors that underlaid the Black Friday lawsuits.

Still, I’ve been curious about ACR, particularly with its Million Dollar Sundays. They ran one in December that ran into problems with a dedicated denial of service (DDoS) attack, then the same thing happened last month, and apparently yesterday. Both of the tournaments in the past month had around a $200K overlay, which may have been the DDoS attack or not enough players willing to pony up the money, or a combination. There are three more scheduled each Sunday in October, ACR stands to lose more then $1.2M if things don’t improve for them.

I wasn’t curious enough to plunk down $540 for a seat (there are freeroll satellites daily at 4:15am, 6:30am, 8am, noon, and 8pm Pacific, according to their schedule), but I did check in on things yesterday, knowing about the overlay in September. At 8pm, I snapped the tournament lobby.


Registration was closed, players were in the money with nearly $200K in overlay (the amount guaranteed to the winner of the tournament, as a matter of fact).

I watched a couple tables with short stacks break, then clicked on Table 81 and noticed something odd.

For anyone who followed poker news even casually this summer, pro Brian Hastings was accused of (and admitted to) multi-accounting on PokerStars by fellow pro David “Bakes” Baker, in order to play on PokerStars from the US through the use of a virtual private network (VPN) which would allow him to appear as if he was logging in from outside the country, and in order to prevent PokerStars from linking use of his own Stinger88 account to reports of Hastings playing live in the US, he used an account named NoelHayes owned by an Irish player.

No idea whether the account names on ACR are Hastings or the owner of the PokerStars NoelHayes account, or simply inspired by them, but it was an odd coincidence that they both ended up at the same table in a 1,600+ entry tournament and both made the money.

The Brian Hastings account busted within a few minutes of my tweet.

Bubble Bubble

Personally, I like Final Table’s $20K tournaments. Heard some grumbling from a player at Friday night’s $20K about the structure being crappy, but I like it better than comparable games in town. Final Table has maintained the 25/50 level, so with a 10K stack it starts 200BB deep instead of just 150. After the first break, there are three rounds with antes of 25, 50, and 75 before those yellow chips come off the table. It does play rather short in the later stages, but that’s a problem with most tournaments of more than 100 entries that play down in a single day.

They’ve been pretty good for me, as well. Over the past three years, I’ve played 28 of them, cashed in 5 (just under 18% ITM). I’ve done five rebuys, which brings the actual ITM down to 15% (none of the cashes came after a rebuy) and I made three final tables in events with between 120 to 200 entries.

The week had gotten off to a decent start, with a chance to play HU with my friend David Long after playing down a single-table PLO8 tournament at Portland Players Club. Nothing else, but it was my first HU for a while—tournaments here tend to chop at two or three players minimum—and a long time for live PLO8.

The $20K also kicked off well. I was seated at Final Table’s final table (on a dais with a surrounding fence), on the other end from Steve Myers, a sort of poker colleague, for the first four hours. The guy on my right drew to a straight flush against a full house, then flopped quad kings (and got Steve to pay him off) in the first three levels, but was gone by the time the table broke with just under half the field (133 entries and 26 re-entries) remaining. I was cruising along with about half again the average stack.

Twenty minutes later, things had changed. I’d 3-bet [kd qd] and gotten a fold when I was on the button, then picked up exactly the same cards on the next hand and shoved over a min-raise from the button. Who had [kx kx]. I plummeted down to 11K. At least I got two pair.

A couple of lucky shoves got fold, even with my 5BB stack, and I got up to 33K before the cards started slipping away and I drifted back down to 15K over the next hour.

A three-way hand with me shoving [9x 9x] put me back near average at 65K when I flopped a set against a shorter stack with [8x 8x] and a big stack who called with [3x 3x] (and also made a set on the river). We were down to four tables five hours and twenty minutes in, and Steve got moved to my new table after his broke (though he was only there for about five minutes before a balance moved him again). Then we picked up Angela Jordison, who was riding a short stack.

Twenty places paid, with positions 18-20 paying $160, essentially a bubble payment, since that’s the cost of the door fee, a buyin, and an addon. I was up to 70K by the time we hit three tables six hours into the tournament, and we lost four more in the next twenty-five minutes, putting us within grasp of the money. I had 90K, which was about 11BB.

And here’s where things went horribly wrong. I was on the big blind at 4K/8K with a 1K ante in seat 9. It was the last hand of the level, with blinds going to 5K/10K/1K on my small blind. It was seven-handed, seats 1 and 2 had large stacks (actually, Angela Strode-Haugen—one of the honchos at Final Table—had an enormous stack), seat 3 was comfy. Angela Jordison had chipped up a bit from the short stack she’d had coming to the table with some aggressive plays—a few minutes earlier I’d cold-folded [ad qd] preflop to a 3-bet shove from her that would have cost me most of my stack if I’d lost. Seat 6 was on the button with a stack shorter than mine, and seat 8—the guy who had kings when I’d lost most of my stack—had drifted back down to my level, as well. Seat 6 had also been aggressive, which had made it a bit difficult for me as the last of the small stacks to act to find a good spot. I had just asked the TD about whether we’d be going hand-for-hand (something Final Table is just starting to implement on the bubble). We are down to the stone cold bubble. The first four players fold. Short-stacked seat 6 shoves. Seat 8 in the small vlind folds. I have [ad qd] again. I’m almost certainly ahead in this situation, a knockout puts us in the money and essentially doubles me up to 150% of average stack. So I call, he has [kx jx], a king flops (or maybe turns, the sequence doesn’t matter in this case), and I’m busted down to 18K.

I fold [jx 3x]—what would have been the winning hand—on my small blind, then with just over 1BB shove with whatever doesn’t win against the two big stacks in the blinds. Not a pleasant way to go.


Six hours and fifty minutes. 21st of 159 entries.