Despite the grumbling on Facebook about it, the Portland Tribune‘s Steve Law put together a relatively even-handed piece yesterday on the letter from the city that led to the closing of Encore Club last month. The article interviews several people on the Portland poker scene, including lawyer Mark Humphrey and Ricky Lee, general manager at Aces Full. It goes into a small amount of detail about the state Bureau of Labor and Insustries complaints that led to increased scrutiny of the the Portland poker clubs. It’s worth your time to take a look; whether you continue to play poker in Portland is dependent on the outcome of these events.
My own take is, this was a train wreck waiting to happen, and it was dumb luck that things got as big as they did before the crash happened. Labor law came into being because of some pretty egregious past practices, and whether you agree with them or not, they exist, so when someone feels they’re aggrieved by their quasi-employer—whether they have a case or not—the camel of government will stick its nose in the tent to see what’s up. And if they find something that looks like an unregulated, unreported, untaxed exchange of cash, it’s going to perk that nose up.
At the end, Encore’s weekly schedule had guarantees that were equal to nearly a third of the total in weekly guarantees at the Venetian in Las Vegas. It’s not something that can go unnoticed forever; all it can take is one disgruntled employee or customer to initiate the dismantling of the whole thing.
Here’s to hoping that doesn’t happen. Just when I was starting to get better at poker….
Anyone who’s followed the blog for any length of time knows I’ve played on Bovada and taken advantage of its unique all-cards-exposed anonymous play to mine the depths of hand histories. As you may have heard, they’re shutting down poker operations and transferring the platform over to the heretofore-unheard-of Ignition Casino.
Now, despite lots of heartache about their Mac client not working well until relatively recently, and complaints from other players, I can say that when I’ve cashed checks out from Bovada, they’ve gone through the deposit process with nary a hitch.I never had anything significant on the site (I don’t have anything significant) but I wasn’t about to move it over to Ignition.
I min-cashed a small NLHE Turbo Bounty tournament the night before the announcement, with a little bit I had on there after the summer, then played my money out in a couple of tournaments. Maybe I’ll look at America’s Cardroom, they’ve got a series going this month….
The State of Portland Poker
I skipped my usual shot at the big time on Friday night and went for the funk: Big O at Portland Players Club (now in A&L Sports Bar across the intersection of NE 60th & Glisan from the old location). I hadn’t been in for exactly three months, what with seven weeks in Vegas and their reduced schedule, so I was eager to say hello.
A $30 buyin doesn’t sound like much, but Big O with unlimited rebuys can be a volatile game. I got there late and spent some time catching up after the summer with Chadd Baker, then jumped into the game in the last level before break.
I ended up on the table where one of the players was catching lots of cards, where almost everyone else had rebought at least once. I ended up rebuying in an early hand where I had to call with a good draw only to see it turn to much, then picked up a few chips before the break and added on.
The average number of rebuys neared two per player ($100, with the door) plus the $20 addon. With only 15 players and three payouts, the mony up top wasn’t huge, but if you took 3rd place, you were making the same money as 9th in a $10K across town, and only having to go through 12 people instead of 100. Plus you get all those extra cards!
I lost a big hand, folded a winner, then started chipping up before running kings and a flush draw into aces where I didn’t improve. Slowly checking places off my visitation list.
Deal of the Week: Muckleshoot Poker Summer Classic
The week after the Chinook Winds Fall Poker Classic (last week’s Deal), the Muckleshoot Casino starts up its end-of-summer event. I don’t know if it’s chance or just excessive whining, but the two events aren’t scheduled against each other this year, so if you can’t make one or, just maybe, you’d like to play the only two major tournament series within 200 miles of Portland (sorry, Wildhorse), you’re not forced to choose.
Muckleshoot may be the largest casino poker room in Oregon and Washington, with 32 tables, though many of them remain cash tables during tournaments. Their events aren’t large in numbers and there are no guarantees, but the size of the buyins and money added to the pot make for some decent-sized prize pools.
There are five events on the calendar this year all start at noon:
- $250 NLHE Shootout, 14 September, Wednesday
- $200 NLHE, 15 September, Thursday
- $300 NLHE, 16 September, Friday
- $500 NLHE, 17 September, Saturday
- $750 NLHE, 18 September, Sunday
Structure sheets are available (almost laughably, they’re photos of printed structure sheets).
This month’s poker calendar from Muckleshoot shows the events and the buyins, mentioning $55K in added money, but neither the calendar or structure sheets mention how it’s distributed. According to Hendon Mob, last fall it was $4K, $4K, $5K, $10K, and $20K, but that doesn’t quite add up to the $55K. I’m guessing $5K for the first two events.
Competition in the Seattle area is tough, as you might ecpect. Rep Porter won the Main last fall, and Portland’s Jake Dahl came in 4th. The smaller buyin NLHE events brought in about 280 entries, with the Main getting 230, and 160 for the Shootout. Porter took home $48K for his win.
One of the interesting things about the Muckleshoot series is their satellites. Starting tonight and running every other Wednesday through 7 September, there’s a $125 mega satellite at 7pm that gets you your choice of one of two packages:
- Entry into the $500 Saturday event and two of the other weekday events, or
- Entry into the $750 Sunday event and one of the weekday events.
There are $225 mega satellites Sunday 11 September and at 7pm the following two days that award seats into all of the events.
This Week in Portland Poker
The good news is, even though I’m short on time this week, I’m able to keep up. The bad news is, there isn’t much to keep up on. So far as I’m aware, there isn’t anything off the regular schedules happening this week. Keep an eye out here and on the NW Poker group on Facebook.
And, stealing from Chevy Chase on the first season of Saturday Night Live: Portland poker is still not dead.
Only a Day Away
- See the Deal above for for the Muckleshoot Summer Classic satellites.
- Today is Day F flights for Mega Millions XV at the Bicycle Casino/WPT Legends of Poker. There are flights through Monday, with Day 2 of the event on Tuesday. Mega Millions has a $1M guarantee, entry for most flights is $160 with a $100 addon. It is a best-stack forward tournament, with money paid for abandoned stacks. Tuesday has a satellite to the $550 HORSE tournament (with 10% of the field receiving a seat and $550 cash for their $150 buyin) and a $565 Survivor tournament that pays $5K to 10% of the field. Legends of Poker continues through the end of the month.
- The Summer Super Stack in Calgary continues through Monday, with a C$200K guarantee Main Event with flights Friday through Sunday. C$1.5K buyin.
- In Santa Ynez, California at the Chumash Summer Poker Series outside Santa Barbara, there’s a $100K guarantee with a $350 buyin on Saturday to wrap things up.
- Albany’s Black Diamond Hot August Classic starts tomorrow, with a $100 buyin freezeout. Friday is a Bounty tournament, and Saturday has two games with a morning $150 buyin Tag Team event and $150 Big O in the evening. Sunday’s event is a $250 buyin with one rebuy.
- The Atlantis Resort in Reno is host to the WPT Deepstacks tour for twelve days beginning tomorrow. It opens with a $5K guarantee Bounty tournament, then the first major event is a $400 buyin $50K guarantee on Friday. The series ends with a 3-day $250K $1,100 buyin Main Event next weekend. The Main Event had 330 entries and a $317K prize pool last year.
- Sundays at noon through 4 September, Chinook Winds is hosting 1-seat guaranteed satellite tournaments for their Fall Coast Poker Classic Main Event ($550 buyyin, $200 addon) on 10 September. The satellites are $40 to enter (including fee and dealer appreciation), with $20 rebuys and a $20 addon.
- San Jose’s Bay 101 Casino has the Bay 101 Open starting Monday. The Main Event next weekend is also a $1,100 buyin, but it’s likely to be more heavily stacked with pros from Northern California than the Reno event. There were 432 entries last year, making a $432K prize pool (less juice than the WPTDeepstack event, apparently)
- A week from Thursday is HPT Indiana. That sounds like it’s a long way, but the venue is the Ameristar Casino Hotel, East Chicago, which is technically Indiana, but it’s just fifty miles from O’Hare airport (ORD), and since O’Hare is a major hum, you can often get round-trip flights from PDX for less than $200. Direct flight time is four hours. The opening weekend has a $100K guarantee Monster Stack ($300 buyin), The Main Event over Labor Day weekend has no guarantee ($1,650 buyin) but last September’s stop in Chicago had 432 entries with a $619K prize pool.
- Closer to home is the WSOP Circuit event at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, also kicking off a week from Thursday. The first event ($365 buyin) has six entry flights from Thursday through Saturday and a $150K guarantee. The series wraps up on labor Day weekend, with the $1,675 buyin Main Event ($750K guarantee), a $250 Seniors Event on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend, a $580 Circuit ring tournament on Sunday, and that evening, the $5,300 High Roller tournament. Last year, the PH fall Circuit event was in November, and the Main Event had a $1.5M guarantee that went to nearly $2M with 1,304 entries. The spring event this year at Bally’s beat the $1M guarantee by $800K; there’s no telling why the WSOP is hedging their bets this fall, unless they expect people to be occupied for Labor Day.
- The Last Sunday of the Month, Tulalip Resort Casino is holding a $5K added tournament with a $230 buyin.