A Game That Will Live In Infamy: Hands 1–20

Bovada $2K NLHE 6-Max

A couple of months ago on the 74th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor (hence the title), I played a 6-Max tournament with 154 entries on Bovada and had the good fortune to place 2nd.

Due to the unique anonymous nature of the Bovada hand history files, the game gave me a record of every card dealt at my table—even those folded pre-flop by the other player—all the way to the last hand of the tournament. In previous hand history discussions, I’ve focused on significant hands, but this time I thought: “Why not do every single hand?” We can see what people are playing (and what they’re not playing). We can see all of the bluffs, the good folds, the missteps, all the way from the early stages of the game to the bitter end.

Because the game is 6-Max, there’s more action than at a nine-handed or ten-handed table. Personally, I love the format (the opening event for the PacWest Poker Classic at Chinook Winds today is 6-Max and I’ll be there tomorrow), and I’ve done reasonably well in them, even making the top 25% of the only WSOP Circuit 6-Max I played a couple of years ago.

The 6-Max format forces players into fast action. You can spend much of the tournament at tables with fewer than six players. The blinds come around quickly, and for players unused to the fast pace, they can be caught unawares as their stack dwindles while they wait for the hands they look for nine or ten-handed. You really need to open up your game in order to stay ahead.

Something special was needed for this examination, so I’ve devised something a little different. The chart accompanying each hand details basic player information (the ID number for that tournament, I’m #50), position, cards, and stack size, as well as equity at specific points: START being cards as they’re dealt; PRE-FLOP shows just the players making it to the flop; POST-FLOP is the effect the flop cards have on equity; etc.

Suits for the cards are indicated by blue for diamonds, red for hearts, black for spades, and green for clubs, the standard four-color designations if you use that setting online.

Equity was calculated using the Poker Query Language Runner available at ProPokerTools.com.

Because this is a time-consuming process (and there are more than 320 hands from start to finish), I’m going to break these posts up into somewhat more digestible bites, starting with the first 20 hands. There’ll be a new set of hands every day until I’m done. All hail Adobe Director, my go-to tool for text file processing!


HAND 130/607Q6

I entered the game a couple levels in, as player number 50, with just under 100BB at 5K. A new table opened up, and there were only three of us seated when the first cards were dealt. The other two players had already been involved in some action; player 48 in BB was down 330, player 45 on the button was up more than 1.6K. D called with K8 and I raised my QA to 240. BB folded 36 and D called my raise. The flop made top pair for me: 7Q6. I bet 300 and D folds.

HAND 230/60

Another player is added to the table as balancing goes on from other tables. Player 47 is seated between 45 and myself, he has picked up a few chips in a previous hand.

I raise this hand preflop  after UTG folds and win. By the time action is on BB, I have 66% equity in the hand.

HAND 330/60448AQ

Player 44 is moved onto my left. Whatever he’s been doing, he’s nearly doubled up.

I fold, along with the newcomer, who has only a 1 in 20 chance of winning the hand. D raises with the best hand by far preflop and gets called by BB. After the folds, D has picked up a greater percentage of the equity, relative to BB’s hand.

After a 448 flop, things are relatively unchanged, even with the addition of a straight to BB’s win possibilities. D’s kicker is a blocker for the straight. What’s important to BB is that the equity of his hand isn’t decreasing significantly There’s no action at this point.

The A turn flattens things out even more. BB’s flush is hardly ideal, but he’s close to a flip. BB rightly checks, D bets another 360, making the pot 1,110. BB’s getting better than 3:1 on his call, and hits the Q on the river. BB shoves with the hand that started off with second-best equity pre-flop and gets a fold.

HAND 430/60

By the time SB raises my BB after three folds, I still have only 27% equity HU. I know if everyone folds to my suited ace-king I’m usually sad.

HAND 530/6034A9

You can spend a lot of of a 6-Max game playing 5-handed, due to table balancing, particularly in a smaller tournament like this one, where there might be only ten or twelve tables total, and half of them might be short at any one time.

Sort of entertaining to see here that CO’s seven-deuce is the third-best hand, better than either of the ragged queens. Lots of diamonds. UTG raises to 180 and I’m the only caller.

The flop is 34A and I check-call a c-bet.

9 on the turn gives me two pair. Always possible he could have a set, but I’m pretty sure I’m good here and let him bluff 360 more into the pot. I’m beating anything but a wheel or a set, and I raise to 1.5K, then he folds.

HAND 630/6026A6T

My first big pot. Because three of the nines are dealt, I’m actually behind SB’s KQ. I raise to 180 and get called by both the blinds. Kind of questionable on the part of BB, but it’s the early stages of the tournament, the call is cheap, and he’s correctly surmised that his cards are live. Even with the ace, I have less equity than SB. I’m extremely unlikely to win with just a paired nine in this situation.

The 26A flop changes things as one of my pairs comes through, but the superior diamond draw in the hand of SB reduces my equity from 85% (if SB doesn’t have the diamond) to 47%. My trendline is up, though.

SB bets 270 on his diamond draw, forcing out BB, and I call. The fold actually benefits me.

6 on the turn further reduces the chance SB can catch a winning card, which is down to just diamonds, with the possibility of backdoor trips or two pairs gone.

We both have two pair (and the best of the five starting hands) on the T river but check it down.

HAND 730/604TTKK

UTG raises a strong hand to 150 and gets called by the blinds. Note that BB’s Q7 actually has more equity from the start than SB’s 66, which is true even if the pair of tens isn’t in the mix.

UTG flops the world with 4TT, and somehow gets another 180 out of the sixes, which he just calls with his quads (BB gets out of the way). Then, on a K turn, after a SB check, UTG bets 400 and gets another call. When K lands on the river, SB must think he’s got a good spot to bluff, and puts in another 600, committing almost half his stack to this hand. UTG shoves and SB finally folds. He’s counterfeited, he has no showdown value against any card over a six. And certainly not against quads.

HAND 840/808QQ

I opened my pair to 240 and got called by the BB, who folded to a bet on the flop when I had a full house. No bluffing into me, darn it!

HAND 940/80Q9A92

Action folded to the Mutant Jack on the button, and he opened for 240. I was the only caller, and seriously behind. It gets marginally worse for me, but I called 230 with the paired ace on a flop of Q9A. The 9 turn was incredibly lucky for me, and I called another 500, then 1K more on the river 2. e chop up the small blind.

HAND 1040/80

Player 48 may be getting a little frustrated. He’s the short stack, he’s had 7x4x two hands in a row, but the hand we get a new player on the table may not be the best time to open up with a crappy hand. He raises to 160 and gets 3-bet by the new guy in CO to 600, then folds.

HAND 1140/806427J

UTG limps in his suited connector, then calls a raise to 240 from SB and they go to the flop HU. Presumably, he knows he’s behind.

Both players check the [6h]42 flop, then again on the 7 turn. SB checks a J river, hoping to see the showdown with his ace, but UTG makes a play and bets 280, which is enough to get SB to release.

HAND 1240/80

When I saw the hands that were folded here, I was a bit surprised. 6-Max is the place to open up and Qx9x is certainly an opening hand. Kx7x from the button should be a possibility, as well. All I can venture is that with the short stack capable of shoving 17BB from the SB as a squeeze, neither player through it was worth playing the hand. BB gets a walk.

HAND 1340/80Q4TK2

UTG min-raises and gets called by CO and BB with The Portland Nuts and a suited one-gapper, respectively. The ace-high on the Q4T flop bets 260 into the two pair, who calls, and BB folds his 7% equity, which goes largely to CO, who’s already massively ahead.

Still drawing after the K turn, UTG does pick up some equity, and bets another 680, which is called. The 2 river shuts UTG down, he doesn’t try for a bluff, and folds to a 1.2K bet from CO.

HAND 1440/808277J

UTG and HJ fold, then the short stack with the ace in CO min-raises. The pair of tens on the button 3-bets to 480, the blinds fold, CO shoves, and D makes the call. The board runs out 8277J and the tens win the hand, knocking out player 48.

HAND 1540/802K7

The two strongest hands go to battle after a raise from UTG to 240 gets a call from D. UTG bets 380 on a [2c]K7 flop and D folds, realizing his equity has plummeted.

HAND 1640/80894K2

UTG and HJ ditch their hand, then CO raises to 280, calling my 3-bet to 800 and we see the flop HU. An ace is still his best hope after 894 hits the board, though he does have the backdoor flush draw. I bet 1K and he shoves for 4K. I call, the turn and river are K2, and he’s out.

HAND 1740/80

No believer in ragged aces I, I fold to a CO bet of 185. When it gets to BB, he shoves his Portland Nuts and CO releases his dominated hand.

HAND 1840/80

I make a raise to 240 from CO and everyone folds.

HAND 1940/80

Action folds to SB, who probably feels like I did on the previous hand with kings. In this grouping, his hand is almost as strong, though he’s helped by the fact that three of the five over cards are all of the same rank. If there were five distinct over cards in other players’ hands, his equity would be halved. He raises to 240 and wins.

HAND 2040/80

A raise to 240 from the pair on the button is all it takes for the blinds to fold.


  • There were 12 hands played with 5 at the table, six with 6 players, and 1 each with 3 and 2 players.
  • 12 of 20 hands were won by the player with the most pre-flop equity, six were won by the player with the second-most.
  • One hand was walked, one hand was chopped.
  • 5 hands were won with a single raise.
  • I’m the most active player who’s still in, voluntarily putting money in the pot (VPIP) in 40% of the hands I’ve played. Twenty hands is a small sample size, and it should be remembered that most of the game so far has been even shorter than six-handed; playing two hands per orbit five-handed produces a 40% VPIP. My pre-flop raise (PFR) is 30%, but again, I have had kings, queens, and ace-queen already. I’ve won all three of my showdowns.
  • Of the remaining players, player 45 has a 35% overall VPIP with 15% PFR; player 47 is 26% VPIP with 26% PFR.

My Time Is Coming: Report 4 or Six-Max

Encore Club $13K NLHE

Won several hands in the first round then settled back and played the game. Picked up kings in early position and 3-bet, getting a few callers, flopped QxJx7x, made a c-bet and got a call, turned 9x. I might be facing two pair or an unlikely straight, or a set. I checked-raised a bet from the last player still in, and I think he thought about folding before shoving. I had too much committed and hand to call at that point. He had bottom set, and caught another seven on the river for quads. I was losing there even if I’d had the nuts on the turn. Did a rebuy to add to my few remaining chips and went out pretty early.

Two-and-a-half hours. 87th of 122 entries.

Encore Club $1K NLHE

Jumped into the 10pm game and ended up going all in on the turn with K6 on a 8K46 board. The player who called had A8 and another heart showed on the river. With a first prize just over 10x the buy-in, I wasn’t interested in getting the rebuy.


Bovada 2/4 O8

Three sessions over the Valentine’s Day weekend.

Seventy-five. -3 big bets.

Bovada 0.5/1 O8

No open 2/4 games.

Twenty minutes. -12 big bets.

Bovada 0.1/0.25 PLO8

Fifteen minutes before bed. +8BB.

Bovada 0.25/0.5 & 0.5/1 NLHE Zone 6-Max

Zone is Bovada’s version of the Full Tilt Rush and PokerStars Zoom cash tables. When you join a Zone game, you go into a player pool of players at the same stake, a table is assembled out of the pool. You can fold immediately upon seeing your cards or at any other point in the hand, at which time you are placed back in the pool to wait for another table. If you play the hand to the end, you see the results, then go back into the pool. Action is significantly faster than at regular tables; in the longest of these three sessions, I played 148 hands in 33 minutes, an average of more than 4 hands per minute. In another 11-minute session, I played 40 hands. I made a profit in all three,

Three sessions. Forty-eight minutes, 202 hands. +233BB.

Bovada $2K NLHE 6-Max

I took second place in one of these in December, and I made the final table as the chip leader in another one this week (preparing for the $50K 6-Max this weekend at the PacWest Poker Classic). Then the only one I started playing from the beginning, I busted out only 45 minutes in.

1: Three hours and forty-five minutes, 294 hands. 4th of 135 entries. +945% ROI.
2: Forty-five minutes, 53 hands. 41st of 64 entries.

Bovada 0.25/0.5 O8

Got in about twenty minutes of this for +6 big bets.

Final Table $2K NLHE

Final Table was running double guarantees on Thursday for both the 11am and 7pm tournaments, and I played the early game. Got felted early on with A9 when the flop came down AQ8 and I ran into AA, but then I built things back up and got to the final table with about a sixth of the chips in play. A couple people went out before I shoved with KxQx on the button over a raise by one of the other large stacks at the table (even though I had—I think—the most chips at seven players, even I was pretty shallow, with about 15BB). The player in SB came in, he had KxTx and the other player in CO called all-in with AxKx, so the kings were pretty much out of it. It looked at first like I might take it down with a queen on the flop, but the turn showed an ace and I was down to 20.5K at 5K/10K/1.5K. I shoved the next hand with 57 and lost.


Five hours and forty-five minutes. 7th of 54 entries. +35% ROI.

Bovada 0.5/1 NLHE Zone 6-Max

Practicing up for the PacWest 6-Max tournament.

Fifteen minutes. +78BB.

#PNWPokerCalendar Planner for 17 February 2016

Everyone seems to be taking a week off from winning (except for me). Maybe they’re resting up for Chinook Winds! Just a little bit of news before the good stuff, then….

Return of Portland Players Club

I have nothing to add to this, except for good job, Chadd!

ppcDeal of the Day: Muckleshoot Spring Poker Classic

Running from 16–21 March, the Classic has five tournaments this year. The events in the series (all starts at noon) are:

  • 16 March (Wednesday): $4K Added NLHE, $250 buy-in.
  • 17 March (Thursday): $4K Added NLHE, $200 buy-in.
  • 18 March (Friday): $5K Added NLHE, $300 buy-in.
  • 19 March (Saturday): $10K Added NLHE, $500 buy-in.
  • 20 March (Sunday): $20K Added NLHE, $750 buy-in. Final Table Monday at 5pm.

There will, of course be plenty of cash game action—while there aren’t any Omaha tournaments, the cash room regularly spreads O8, PLO, and PLO8. If you haven’t been thre, Muckleshoot’s about a three-hour drive from Portland—you don’t have to go through Seattle, but you do have to get through the Olympia-Tacoma corridor on I5, so plan accordingly.

There are a number of satellites running for events at the casino. Call them or check out their web page for more info. The first satellite runs tonight at 7pm.

This Week in Portland Poker

  • Final Table has announced double guarantees on Thursday for their 11am and 7pm tournaments. That’s a $2K guarantee (after the double) for $20 buy-in/re-buy/add-on and $3K ($40 buy-in/re-entry, $20 add-on).
  • Friday and Saturday is the 10th Annual Northwest Deaf Poker Tournament at Portland Players Club’s new location in the A&L Sports Pub, on the opposite corner of the intersection of NE 60th & Glisan from the old location.
  • Encore Club hosts this month’s $35K at 1pm on Saturday. $200 buy-in and re-entry; $80 add-on. 35-minute blind levels.
  • This week at The Game, the road to the WSOP starts to roll out. They’re planning to send a number of players to Vegas this summer, and if you’d like to go along, you can play a freeroll Sunday at noon. Sunday’s winner gets airfare, two nights lodging in Vegas, and a Lake Mead boat ride. Next Wednesday at 2pm, there’s a $40 buy-in, $20 add-on tournament. The winner there gets the travel package and an entry into this year’s Colossus tournament. Next Saturday is another of the $10K Big Shot tournaments ($10K guaranteed to first place). A 70-player cap is in place for that event.

Only a Day Away

  • Tonight at 7pm is the first satellite for the Muckleshoot Spring Poker Classic. Tonight’s satellite is $125. The info page and schedule aren’t clear about what the satellite is to, but for past series, winning one got you into multiple events during the series. There are satellites on the next three Wednesdays. Their Big Bounty game ($165 buy-in including $50 bounty) is Sunday at noon.
  • The LA Poker Classic at Commerce Casino continues through 3 March. News on the schedule, play updates, and prizes are reported on their blog. Tomorrow starts the $500K guarantee Playboy NLHE event ($1,650 entry), with starting days through Saturday. A $225 $100K guarantee starts Saturday, and there’s $350 No Limit HORSE on Sunday. Tuesday is another $100K guaranteem with a $1.1K entry, and a $1,650 PLO8 tournament.
  • The Venetian Deepstack Extravaganza runs through 2 March. Their blog is here. Thursday through Saturday are starting days for the $750K guarantee ($1.6K entry). Next Tuesday through Saturday are starts for a $250K guarantee with just a $250 entry.
  • Today is the first of four starting days for the $1,650 Main Event at HPT Golden Gates, west of Denver.
  • The Thunder Valley $100K Catapult starts Thursday. Five starting flights with $155 buy-in for a $100K guarantee, wrapping up on Sunday, 21 February. 8% of each flight returns for Day 2, players in the top 12% make at least $250. And if you’re free by 4pm Sunday, you can play a $340 Open Face Chinese Pineapple tournament!
  • The Talking Stick Winter Poker Classic is a 3-day $400 buy-in event (I think). Maybe give them a call before you fly to Phoenix.
  • The PacWest Poker Classic at Chinook Winds starts Saturday. It’s bookended by a $330 buy-in $50K guarantee NLHE 6-Max, and a $550 buy-in/$200 add-on Main Event with a $100K guarantee, Action starts 20 February.
  • Next Wednesday is the start of the Card Player Poker Tour/Wynn Classic. just across the street from the Venetian Deepstack. Three signature events with $100K, $200K, and $500K guarantees, plus 10 more mostly $25K guarantees.
  • The World Series of Poker Circuit at Bally’s begins next Thursday, with a $365 buy-in $250K guarantee. 29 February is what I believe is the first $580 Big O WSOPC ring event (other stops have featured $365 Big O tournaments).
  • Friday, 26 February is the Great Canadian Freeze Out in Calgary. Seven events from C$110 to C$550 over a week-and-a-half.

Check out the Pacific Northwest Tournament Calendar for more poker.

My Time Is Coming: Report 3 or Suckouts

Final Table $20K NLHE

I wasn’t feeling in tip-top condition during the day, but I really hate to miss this monthly event, because it’s one of the best values in town. I got off to a good start building up a stack of nearly 40K by the first break. After the break, things started to go sour, as I called off a bunch of chips with KJ on a jack-high flop against a KT flush draw that got there on the turn. Picked up a few chips shoving 8x8x against 8x8x on a 4x4x2x7x board. A couple other raises went nowhere and, I was down to under 15BBn when I 4-bet with KQ then called an all-in for more against JJ. The board ran out AT986 and I was out.

Three hours and twenty-five minutes. 92nd of 166 entries.

IMG_2630Bovada $100K NLHE

Sunday evening is family dinner at Poker Mutant Central, so I don’t usually play any of the big tournaments but since we were missing a key family member due to the Super Bowl, I decided to take a shot at the weekly $100K tournament, especially since I thought there might be an overlay due to people watching the game. I’m about 50-50 for cashing the big events, although they’ve just been min-cashes so far. This was my deepest run so far, getting into the top 5%. No overlay, but the number of entries was about 500 short of the other times I’ve played it. There was still over $21K up top and $110K in the prize pool. I won’t say that I didn’t get lucky a couple of times.

Only 20 hands in, I was almost eliminated with TT getting it in against a smaller stack after I raised and then called his all-in. He had KJ and the board ran out all hearts (with a king on the turn, to boot). I got knocked down to 7BB. I doubled up with JJ against AJ three hands later against the guy I lost to, then moved back over starting stack beating TQ with QK by hand 30. I got lucky at least once, sucking out on AxKx with KT, and making a king-high straight.

Five hours. 31st of 739 entries. +194% ROI.

Bovada $500 O8

Decided to play some Omaha Hi-Lo with my ill-gotten winnings. Ran it up good so that I was in the chip lead at the first break, but played a few too many of the wrong hands too aggressively, missed a couple of great draws, and ended up just out of the money by three spots.

Ninety minutes. 12th of 55 entries.

IMG_2624Puffmammy NLHE

It all began for me with this group of guys in a home game tournament about eight years ago. My cousin’s husband invited me to the game after I hadn’t played any poker for more than twenty years. The game’s suffered the same sorts of setbacks since the recession that have afflicted poker in general: we used to get two and sometimes three tables but it’s down to most of a single table these days, though we did start with two a couple weeks back. I blasted through a buy-in early against T, a pretty canny player who used to play a lot online, but after I rebought, he and I were the chip leaders most of the night. We got down to the three paying spots and he was just winning every hand. I shoved Kx7x with 5K over his raise of 900 at 150/300/25 and he called with Ax9x, hitting the ace on the flop. I got a seven on the turn but nothing on the river and took home a small loss.

Two hours and forty-five minutes. -8% ROI.

Bovada 2/4 O8

Jumped into a 6-Max table with four players for five minutes and made $20. Toodles!

Five minutes. +5 big bets.

Aces Full $1K NLHE

I hadn’t been in to Aces Full for a long time but I dropped by because my friend D said he might go in for the weekday noon tournament. It’s a structure different from most of Portland’s tournaments in that there’s no add-on at the break. You can make two live rebuys ($20 per buy-in). Plus, the blind levels are 30 minutes at the beginning of the tournament, which is longer than anything but the larger special event games in town. I got a little reckless, lost some chips, then called a a 3-bet of my raise with 79 and hit a pair, getting it in against KxJx from an aggressive player with just over cards. He hit a king on the turn and I double-paired on the river. Lost the entire thing to the same guy shoving AxTx on a ten-high board against his KxTx and getting called. Blew another buy-in, then went out just before break with KxQx on a Qx768 board shoving top pair against the aggressive guy who had called my pre-flop raise with Kx5. He hit the flush on the river and I headed home.

Ninety minutes.


Bovada 2/4 O8

My old friend. Played on a nine-handed table for a while, nearly doubled my buy-in, then flopped third nut flush into second nut flush and called him down. Played for a little while longer and I was still up a dollar from my buy-in when the Xfinity guy on the street looking for some sort of feedback problem cut off my connection.

Forty minutes. +0.25 big bets.

Bovada 1/2 PLO8

Wow, did I step into a mess here. Half an hour and I’m down 60BB. Time to pull the plug

Bovada 2/4 O8

Was playing this on my iPad the problem? Limit games are the ideal thing on tablets because you only have three buttons for options, you don’t have to worry about a slider or trying to get your bet typed in before your time’s up. I recover part of my losses from PLO8, then stay too long and things start going south.

Eighty minutes. -10 big bets

The Game 1/2 NLHE

Maybe a little over-aggressive after losing in PLO8 and O8? I stopped in at The Game after work intending to just play for an hour, and was up a bit after getting kings, making a set on the river, and getting a couple calls out of a guy on the other side of the table. Nice. Then I overplay KQ when I get top pair on the flop and get it all in against his aces just a few minutes before I planned to leave.

Fifty-five minutes. -100BB.

Bovada $500 PLO8 Bounty

I got into this game a little late at the 60/120 level, but with 5K in chips I was fine. I chipped up fast, nearly tripling in the first 20 hands, then stagnated for a while until I nearly lost it and had to make a quick surge back into the ranks. Got down to the money and languished on the edge for a bit, then hit a hand and smashed up to the top. Did I mention this was a bounty tournament? Technically, I took 8 bounties in a 65-entry tournament, though in reality, one of them was a half-bounty and another was a whopping one-third bounty (one bounty being a third of the buy-in). Three bounties before we got to the money.  Made heads-up with a 2:1 chip lead but didn’t really care whether I got first or second since the other guy—who’d been chip leader at the final table before I took it away from him, and was playing incredibly slowly—just sort of pushed every hand to the end, which ended up with me in second.

Four hours. 176 hands. 2nd of 65 entries. +865% ROI,

Bovada $5K NLHE Thousandaire Maker

I skipped the special $9K at Encore Thursday since I was planning to play Friday night’s game and had to work Saturday. Got tired of writing for a while (big upcoming project for the site) and decided to try to get some more read of the Thomas Jefferson biography I’m supposed to discuss at a book group Tuesday while I played a little game.

As I mentioned in last week’s calendar planner, I have a thing for Survivor tournaments, and Bovada runs a few similar games, the biggest of which (that I know of) is the Thousandaire Maker, a $75+$7 tournament that pays out even $1K prizes, plus whatever’s left over.

I had just been writing (for the project) about how buying at 10BB in a $20 tournament wasn’t such a good idea, then I go and do it for $82. In my case, it worked out okay. I got lucky twice catching the bottom card with hands like KxQx against AxKx, and as we approached the money, I took out two players and swung into the position where I could conceivably have just folded to the money. Not my style. I lost some chips with 6x6x trying to take out a short stack who, it so happened, had KxKx but I was still in second or third position, with seven full payouts to be made. I clamped down and was never in any danger of not making the money; I let other folks do most of the work from there on out.

We got down to eight and the bubble took almost 40 hands, then I finally clinched it with AK against TT and we got paid. Nice way to end the reporting period.

One hour and fifty minutes. 131 hands. 95 entries. +1,120% ROI.

#PNWPokerCalendar Planner for 10 February 2016

Vegas Summer Schedule

According to reports from a conference call last week where the WSOP discussed plans for the year, the full schedule for the 2016 World Series of Poker should be out next week (last year it was released on 3 February). Once that’s out, the other Vegas summer series will begin to drop, as they all attempt to capitalize on the types of players who are in town for specific events (you’ll see the Seniors tournaments clustered around a single week, PLO and other specialty games at other venues to soak up WSOP bust-outs, etc.

One inspiration for my calendar has been the Las Vegas summer compilation put together by Kenny ‘@SpaceyFCB‘ Hallaert (who was at the Colossus final table last year) for the past several years. Kenny puts every event at the Rio, Venetian, Planet Hollywood, Aria, Wynn, Golden Nugget and more on a single spreadsheet (now on Dropbox), laid out day-by-day, with times, buy-ins, a breakout list of non-NLHE events, daily tournament info, rake, and more. Because this year’s schedules haven’t been posted, the current sheet is a bit spare, but if you want to see what the beast will look like by May, dial in last year’s compilation.

BTW, if you are making plans for summer in Vegas (good for you!), there’s never a better time than now to review my notes from last year’s Colossus weekend!

LAPC $570 Big O

Event #27 at the LAPC was Big O (five-card Omaha Hi-Lo, if you haven’t played it), which has been a staple of a cadre of Oregon players for several years, particularly at Portland Players Club, where some of their biggest buy-ins and guarantees were for “The Devil’s Game” as I call it (a 2014 $300 buy-in event with a $5K guarantee ended up with a prize pool of nearly $16K).

Two Oregon players made the final table of the 101-entry event. The winner was Stephen Johnson of Eugene (he chopped with CA pro Chris De Maci but won the trophy and first place honors). Former PPC dealer Bryce Burt (who was dealing at Final Table before heading down to LA) took fourth.

There’s a $570 Big O event coming up at Bally’s at the end of the month, for a WSOP Circuit ring. I’d expect to see some more Oregon players there.

 Deal of the Day: WPT Northern California

First, get your hands on wads of cash, you’re playing in the WPT!

Actually, the swing of the WPT through Northern California (after finishing up the $10K at LAPC) has three events catering to gradually smaller bankrolls. The big events at each stop are:

The series overlap each other a bit, so if you drove to San Jose by 6 March when the Shooting Star has its first event, if you don’t make Day 2 of the Main Event, you can get to Thunder Valley in two-and-a-half hours for the $50K guarantee Rolling Thunder Opener, play through to the end of the series there on the 16th, then drive another two hours to Reno for the rest of the month.

This Week in Portland Poker

  • Final Table Big O is taking off with Monday-Friday 1pm $500 guarantee tournaments ($20 buy-in and re-buy/$20 add-on), and 3pm $1K games with $40 buy-in and $30 add-on.
  • The Game is starting up a 2pm Saturday Big O tournament with a $40 buy-in and $1K guarantee. Daily membership is waived for player in that game. Their February schedule includes three WSOP Colossus entry/flight/stay package tournaments and another of their $10K Big Shot winner-takes-most games, all during the week of the PacWest Poker Classic.
  • Encore Club has announced a $35K guarantee on 20 February, the opening weekend of the PacWest Poker Classic.
  • Next Friday and Saturday is the 10th Annual Northwest Deaf Poker Tournament.

Only a Day Away

  • The LA Poker Classic at Commerce Casino continues through 3 March. News on the schedule, play updates, and prizes are reported on their blog.
  • The Venetian Deepstack Extravaganza runs through 2 March. Their blog is here.
  • The Main Event at Calgary’s Deerfoot Casino Winter Super Stack begins Friday, the series wraps up next Tuesday.
  • Aria has two $25K High Roller events Friday and Saturday. See Poker Telegraph for info on past events.
  • Friday is opening day at HPT Golden Gates, west of Denver.
  • The Thunder Valley $100K Catapult starts a week from Thursday (18 February). Five starting flights with $155 buy-in for a $100K guarantee, wrapping up on Sunday, 21 February. 8% of each flight returns for Day 2, players in the top 12% make at least $250. And if you’re free by 4pm Sunday, you can play a $340 Open Face Chinese Pineapple tournament!
  • The Talking Stick Winter Poker Classic is a 3-day $400 buy-in event (I think). Maybe give them a call before you fly to Phoenix on the 20th.
  • The PacWest Poker Classic at Chinook Winds is less than two weeks away! It’s bookended by a $330 buy-in $50K guarantee NLHE 6-Max, and a $550 buy-in/$200 add-on Main Event with a $100K guarantee, Action starts 20 February.
  • Two weeks from today is the start of the Card Player Poker Tour/Wynn Classic. just across the street from the Venetian Deepstack. Three signature events with $100K, $200K, and $500K guarantees, plus 10 more mostly $25K guarantees.
  • The very next day (25 February) Bally’s hosts the World Series of Poker Circuit, starting with a $365 buy-in $250K guarantee. 29 February is what I believe is the first $580 Big O WSOPC ring event (other stops have featured $365 Big O tournaments).
  • Friday, 26 February is the Great Canadian Freeze Out in Calgary. Seven events from C$110 to C$550 over a week-and-a-half.

Check out the Pacific Northwest Tournament Calendar for more poker.

My Time Is Coming: Report 2 or Small Pairs

Encore Club $13K NLHE

This was the usual Friday night tournament at Encore, and it was busy, with 130 entries and a substantial prize pool. I got a little overaggressive in round six and called a 3K raise with KQx in late position. The flop was Q86, with top pair and backdoor send nut flush, I shoved over a c-bet from the original raiser, who gave it some pause before calling with AQ. Another spade came on the turn, but I didn’t get any love from the river. A couple hands later, I shoved 5.5K with 85 in middle position. SB dribbled in a chip without realizing I was all-in (see the last installment about undercalls), but in this case, the dealer ruled it was a call of the all-in, which was fine at first when SB turned over 84. I paired my five on the flop, but there was a 7x on the turn and 6x on the river to put me out of the tournament.

Went over to the 1/2 shootout, got AxAx and made a few chips, lost most of that when I raised AT, got a zillion callers, had the board run out 8x6xTx8x7x and laid down to a $75 river raise from a guiy who claimed he had just ace high. Then lost my buy-in with AxAx after Kx9x hit top two on the flop. On the plus side, I got aces twice in 25 minutes!


Final Table $500 Big O

This was my first chance to play the afternoon Big O game that got going after Portland Players Club closed down at the end of the year. As usual, my unorthodox hand selection (can anything be truly orthodox in Big O?) riled up Butcher, who bet me $5 that I couldn’t make the final table. As there were only two tables to begin with, I was confident that was going to happen. I should have made him pay more. I got to the final with a third of the chips in play, but ran into some bad draws that ended up with me going out in sixth place. Got my $5, at least.


One hour and 45 minutes. -93% ROI.

Final Table 1/2 NLHE Shootout

Played the shootout for an hour while I was waiting for the evening NLHE tournament. Ended down a little because an early hand where I’d 3-bet QxQx in the small blind got called by JxJx and a short stack with AxKx, the flop came out 7x7x7x, then the river was Ax. I got a side pot, but the river gave the main to the short stack (who’d had just a few dollars under my 3-bet. So that was annoying.

One hour. -9BB.

Final Table $1.5K NLHE

Mostly went fine through to the bubble. The short stack on my right had doubled up a couple of times. I was regretting folding 6x6x in a hand where I would have flopped a set against AxAx and a drawing hand (that doubled up the player with the aces and I was down to shove stack territory myself when I pushed 5x5x from SB in an unopened pot and the short stack woke up with AT, catching a ten on the flop. I shoved 68 on the next hand with just a few blinds left, know ing that Nu—in BB—would call me, but I also got a call from the player on my right with Ax5x. Nu flopped two pair with 8x3x4x, and I rivered a better two pair with 6x, but 2x on the turn gave CO most of Nu’s stack and knocked me out.

Four hours and twenty minutes. -100% ROI.


The Game 1/2 NLHE

The first Wednesday of the month at The Game is Player Appreciation Day, with no door fee before noon and buffet lunch and dinner, along with prizes. So I headed over with a friend and spent a few hours playing very few hands. The guy on my left when the table started up straddled every one of my big blinds, raising almost every one when action got back to him, but during the time he was there, I never had the opportunity to take advantage of it. The guy on my right had gotten felted for the max buyin several times with single pairs within the first hour—with none of that coming directly to me—calling off his entire stack with top pair at best. He moved to my left by the after the aggressive guy left, and started  winning back a little bit of what he’d lost. I mostly played smaller pots and picked off a few bucks here and there, making a little over 25BB/hr, my friend did considerably better.

The Game 1/1 and 1/2 NLHE

Went back the next day and played in the pre-noon 1/1 game, where, after losing a bit, I limped in with 6x6x UTG. UTG1 raised the pot, my friend re-raised from CO, and SB went all-in for more than I had left. There was so much in the pot already, and it seemed extremely likely that UTG1 and my friend were going to be all-in, so I put my 33BB in and watched my little pair flop a full house against JxJx (UTG1), TxTx (my friend in CO), and AxAx (in the SB). I ended up that session ahead by 85BB, after losing several hands to a player a couple seats to my left, who seemed to have the right amount for me to have to call him on the river dialed in pretty well.

When the game kicked up to 1/2 after noon, I put another 50BB in my pile. Nothing much really happened here, until a hand where the player who’d had aces before noon in the hand above raised my BB and I called with 37. The flop was Qx3x7x, I checked it and several other player’s who’d called checked, then the raiser put in a big bet and I shoved over the top, with something like 100BB. Everyone folded around to the original raiser and she called for less with QxJx. My two pair stayed good. I took a few other small pots, but that was the significant action of the hour. A little concerned that my big wins were from getting it in with 14% equity in the first case and with a hand where I just get lucky and flop bottom two, but I can live with it for now. Ended up +110BB or so and headed out to Hunan Pearl for lunch.

#PNWPokerCalendar Planner for 3 February 2016

Oregon poker players continued their assault on West Coast tournaments over the past week, more are on the way!

Los Angeles Poker Classic

Several Portland-area players were ITM in the $350 buy-in $300K guarantee Event 16 (the prize pool was nearly double the guarantee, with almost 2,000 entries). Angela Jordison took sixth place in $570 Limit Omaha Hi-Lo, she and David Prince of Eugene are in the eleven players returning for Day 2 of the $225 PLO8 today.

Planet Hollywood Phamous Poker Weekend

Corvallis’s Nicholas Reynolds made the money in the $600 $250K guarantee in Las Vegas last weekend.

Portland Players Club

PPC closed their doors at the end of last year, but they were scheduled to be the venue for the 10th Annual Deaf Poker Tournament coming up in a couple of weeks. PPC was always a welcoming venue to the deaf community, in addition to hosting the series for several years.  There hasn’t been any announcement of what’s going to happen to the series, and the Players Club site hasn’t been updated, but their Facebook page had a profile picture update this week, along with an address change to a location across the intersection from their old location, and a new address is showing up on the NW Deaf Poker Tournament page.

The Survivors

Why isn’t anyone in town running Survivor tournaments? I first encountered the format in the Venetian schedules back in 2012, and they’ve cropped up in more and more places in the years since then.

A Survivor tournament is similar to a satellite, in that there’s an equal payout at when the number of players reaches a defined percentage of entries. In the case of most Survivors, 10% of the field is paid a set amount, with money falling short of a full payout going to the person on the bubble of the 10%. So, if you’ve got 83 players, 8 players get the defined payout and a ninth player gets the leftovers.

In tournaments like the Venetian’s, where a portion of the money paid by the players goes to the house, there’s $50 taken out of a $300 buy-in, so each entry contributes $250 to the prize pool. The payout to each of the players in the top 10% is $2.5K (10 times the  prizepool contribution). So in the example where 83 players enter, there would be 8 payouts of $2.5K, and 1 payout of $750 (3 times the $250 contributed by the extra three players). Since no money is taken out of the prize pools in Portland card rooms, a $50 tournament would pay $500 if 10% of the field was paid.

Here’s a fairly typical set of payouts for a non-Survivor 51-entry tournament in town: 34%, 22%, 15%, 10%, 7.5%, 6.5%, 5%. In a $50 tournament with a prize pool of $2,550, payouts would be

  1. $865
  2. $560
  3. $380
  4. $255
  5. $190
  6. $165
  7. $135

In a Survivor-stype tournament, the payouts would be:

  1. $500
  2. $500
  3. $500
  4. $500
  5. $500
  6. $50

There are obvious advantages for most of the players, though one player drops entirely off the pay scale and one just makes their money back. For a smaller tournament like this one, in order to make 10x the entry, you practically need to win the tournament, and in larger tournaments, you need to make it through more players to get the same +900% ROI.

In re-entry formats, even players who’ve had to do another buy-in make several times their expenses if they make the top 10%. An advantage for the clubs is that the tournaments should end a lot earlier, since they stop automatically at 10% (though the bubble may take some time still). For dealers, with most of the players making a significant amount more than their  buy-in, it might make them a bit more generous with tips.

Commerce Casino is doing something a little different with its Survivor tournament during LAPC. 10% of the field still gets the defined payout, but they’re giving players incentive to gamble it up a bit by stopping play when 25%, 20%, and 15% of the field is left and paying the chip leader immediately, then taking their stack out of play. In a tournament with 100 players, the chip leader with 25 left gets their money, then another payout is made to whoever is leading with 20 left, again at 15 players, and then it would play down to 7 (with three players already paid rounding out the 10 payouts). Then you don’t have to wait for the rest of the rabble.

And Venetian recently introduced what they’re calling a Super Survivor last fall, with two-tiered payouts. 10% of the field still gets paid, but the bottom half of the 10% gets 6x the player contribution ($1.5K on $300 minus $50 fee) and the top half gets 14x ($3.5K on $300).

 Deal of the Day: Three Vegas Series

If Lincoln City’s just too sedate and the PacWest Poker Classic schedule isn’t exciting enough for you, then maybe you should spend the end of the month in Las Vegas. If you love the variety and action of the summer at the World Series but hate the weather, the average high at the end of February is less then 70°F. And on the cusp of March, there are three tournament series at major venues, all within about a 20-minute walk.

The Venetian Deepstack is already running, and it ends on 2 March. Beginning on the 23rd, there are five entry days for a $250K guarantee $250 buy-in event (Day 2 on the 28th), with 7pm tournaments including several bounty events and a Super Survivor. All of the events in the last week are $300 and less.

The Card Player Poker Tour/Wynn Classic runs from 24 February to 14 March. It starts off with a $600 entry $50K guarantee Seniors game, with  $10K guarantee PLO tournament the next day, and several $25K guarantees on subsequent days ($300 buy-in), before a $400 entry $200K that begins 2 March.

The day after the Wynn begins is the start of the World Series of Poker Circuit series at Bally’s. The kickoff event is a $365 buy-in $250K with six entry flights over three days (Day 2 on 29 February). The first week includes a $250 buy-in HORSE tournament (no ring for that one) and a $580 Big O official Circuit event on 29 February. The Main Event starts 4 March ($1,675 buy-in and a $1M guarantee).

The problem here is going to be making a decision about which events to play.

This Week in Portland Poker

Things are cranking back up after the January lull.

  • It’s a new month, which means that Final Table should be running its $20K First Friday tournament at 7pm.
  • Encore Club has an $8K special tournament tonight at 8pm. No re-buy! No re-entry! Wish I was going to be there! They’ve also announced a $35K guarantee on 20 February, the opening weekend of the PacWest Poker Classic.
  • Haven’t mentioned them for a while, because I try to focus on special events, but if you play in North Portland, you might want to connect with Brekken’s or Big Stack Players Club.
  • Today is Player Day at The Game (every first Wednesday). If you get there by noon, there’s no door fee. There’s a complimentary buffet lunch from noon to 1:30 and drawings for goodies throughout the afternoon and evening.

Only a Day Away

Check out the Pacific Northwest Tournament Calendar for more poker.