#PNWPokerCal Planner for 28 September 2016


Like a lot of people who were playing poker on Bovada, I moved my account over to Ignition Casino earlier this month, since Bovada is shutting down poker operations at the end of September. The software with anonymous tables is the same, the tournament and cash offerings are identical, so far as I’ve been able to tell, and if you were willing to risk the unregulated Bovada environment, it didn’t seem as if there was any more of a reason not to trust the new site. I was willing to give them a try. I hadn’t had an issue with checks out of Bovada, so Sunday night, after I cashed in the nightly Thousandaire Maker Survivor-style tournament, I put in a request for $500 to see what would happen (just for comparison, my most recent withdrawal request on Bovada took three days for approval, and I had a check three days after that).

I was feeling a little pleased with myself, after having to miss the $20K guarantee at Portland Meadows Sunday afternoon, and lasting all of five hands in the only live game I’d gotten a chance to play, when my kings got cracked by a flush at Final Table’s $10K guarantee.

The, Tuesday morning, this showed up in my Twitter feed.

Yikes. People are passing around a counter-argument from USAFriendlyPokerSites.com, but I’d give more weight to that argument if it was from someone with contact information on their web site, and if the last line in the article wasn’t a plug for Ignition’s sign-up bonuses…I’m going to console myself with having cashed another Thousandaire maker while I was writing this up Tuesday night.


Honey, I Shrunk the Portland Poker World!

It was a tough week of news for Portland poker venues.

Thursday, Chadd Baker announced he was closing up Portland Players Club for good, after running it in A&L Sports Pub for the past nine months. He hadn’t been running a full schedule since moving across the street, and with the start of football season, the room was going to be otherwise occupied on Sundays, one of his days of operation. In his note, he mentions that Portland Meadows intends to pick up some of the slack in Portland Big O, with tournaments on Fridays (6:30pm) and Sundays (4:00pm).

A story in last week’s Willamette Week marked the upcoming closure of the Rialto Pool Hall and the Jack London Bar, the location of the Monday Mix and the last downtown poker venue. Rialto’s not closing until Christmas, but that is less than three months off. The Mix has already survived two venue changes. Maybe the third time will be the charm.

In fact, the first site for the Mix was in BC’s Bar, underneath Aces Full Players Club on Powell. Ricky Lee posted on Tuesday that Aces will be moving downstairs on 10 October, just a couple of weeks from now. Aces was always a spacious club, with plenty of room between the tables, but they haven’t held large events for some time.

Deal of the Week: Wildhorse Fall Poker Round Up

It may be hard to believe but it’s almost October, so it’s just five weeks to the start of the Fall Poker Round Up in Pendleton. The Round Up schedule doesn’t vary much, and this edition is no exception, though prices do seem to have risen a little, with the opening event coming in at a $175 buyin ($3,000 added, last year it was $125 buyin), and the first Saturday tournament at $230 buyin ($3,000 added). NLHE Shootout on Sunday, Omaha Hi-Low on Monday, HORSE and Turbo NLHE Tuesday, Seniors NLHE on Wednesday, a $1,100 NLHE High Roller (and another NLHE tournament) Thursday, NLHE on Friday, and the Main Event on Saturday and Sunday, 12—13 November, with another Turbo Saturday night.

Strap on your cold-weather gear and get ready for the great migration east.

This Week in Portland Poker

Last Sunday’s $20,000 guarantee at Portland Meadows took me by surprise. I didn’t hear anything about it until Friday, though it seems some of my supposed friends knew about it. I’m looking at you, Brad and Steve. That said, I don’t have any big event news by post day for the third week in a row. I will broadcast late-breaking events in the @pokermutant Twitter feed, with the #PNWPokerCal hashtag.

Only a Day Away

Remember to keep an eye on the #PNWPokerCal Twitter hashtag and the PNW Poker Calendar for upcoming events!

#PNWPokerCal Planner for 21 September 2016


I’m Ready for My Close-Up, Mr Effel

So far as I can tell, this is my only appearance in the WSOP Main Event coverage, some B-roll from Day 4 that was used near the end of the first segment of Day 5, caught in the background at the media desk for about a second as the camera pans to follow some guys wheeling tables out of the room. That said, despite not even ever really being interested in sports, I think I’m the first person in my family to make it onto ESPN.

screen-shot-2016-09-20-at-9-32-19-pmThe Death Star of Oregon Poker

Chris Vetter uses the phrase to refer to the late Encore Club in both a video he posted to Facebook of the empty space on NW 16th & Glisan, and in an interview he gave to Brian Pempus on CardPlayer.com about the current situation for poker in Portland.

The State of Portland Poker

Not a lot of time for poker on my end this week after bricking the Main Event at Chinook Winds last week. A non-poker trip to Astoria; had to skip the home game because of work; cashed in a couple of online Omaha tournaments and broke even in micro-stakes cash games. Looking forward to playing some live again soon.

Jake Dahl Knows a Guy

Speaking of online, pro Jake Dahl says he has a connection that can get 13% rakeback for players switching from Bovada to Ignition, as Bovada closes up shop to poker at the end of the month. So if you haven’t made the switch (too late for some of us), contact him via Facebook.

Weekend Getaway: Rouge Valley Raymer


The Rogue Valley Poker Classic runs mostly on Sunday afternoons through the fall in the Medford Social Club Poker Room. It culminates in a $10,000 guarantee Main Event in early December, but on 9 October, one of the preliminary events (a $115 buyin NLHE tournament) will have 2004 WSOP Champion Greg Raymer as a guest. Raymer made a deep run in the Main Event this summer, and last year he won two HPT titles, so the competition in this small tournament may make the trip down south worth it just to whet your own skills.

This Week in Portland Poker

Wish I had more to report here. Nothing special announced as of press time.

Only a Day Away

Remember to keep an eye on the #PNWPokerCal Twitter hashtag and the PNW Poker Calendar for upcoming events!

#PNWPokerCal Planner for 14 September 2016

2016 WSOP

ESPN‘s coverage of this year’s World Series of Poker Main Event started this week on Sunday, with Day 4 of the tournament. It was my last day on the job as a live reporter, and I was watching in the background to see if I managed to walk in front of a camera. No luck, but Oregon got a little airtime, with dealer Devin Sweet sharing some screen with Maria Ho, and in the last big hand of the day’s coverage, with Portland-born Cole Jackson‘s alma mater Linfield College and Wilsonville getting the classic Norman Chad reference to the Blue Hens as the school mascot.


The Trouble With Dealers

Elijah Post put out a short film about his experiences at the WSOP in 2013 and 2014. Not a lot of poker action, but if you want to see the unvarnished secret lives of dealers…

The State of Portland Poker

There’s no feeling like screwing up when you know you’re screwing up, and the ecent I’d been looking forward to for months—the $100,000 guarantee Main Event at Chinook WInds’ Fall Coast Classic was a monumental screw-up on my part.


I wasn’t able to make the rest of the series because of work. Back after the spring PacWest Poker Classic, I’d talked to Tournament Director Rebecca May about setting up some sort of live reporting system (well before I got a whiff of the WSOP gig), put together a proposal, and kept in touch. Timing and other issues didn’t work out, but Rebecca and Devin did manage to wangle a room for me for a couple of days for the weekend, so I was stoked about the event.

It started off well enough. Everyone got 30,000 in chips to begin, and I’m reasonably sure the extra 10,000 chips for $25 ended up in all of the stacks. I went down a few thousand, and up a few thousand. My plan for the tournament was to record every hand with the patented scrawl grid I’d used at the WSOP, and I bought four small notepads at the Safeway Friday night before the tournament. Each pad only had 60 pages, though, which would only last about two hours at a page per hand, so I was a bit concerned about running out of pages if I made it even deep into Day 1. As it turned out, I needn’t have worried.

For one thing, while I can record hands pretty well as an observer, keeping track of more than just cards I’m dealt proved harder than I expected, particularly when the table was short-handed at the opening of the game. That did mean that I could squeeze several rows of dealt cards onto a single page. The problem is, recording significant hands is where the real meat resides. Anyway, I was down about 1,000 chips and 26 hands in when I failed to record even the cards I’d been dealt for the first time.

It was hand 39 that got me. I was in the big blind in level 2, with right around 40,000 and [9s tc]. An early position player raised to three or four times the big blind, SN in the small blind called, and I came along. The flop looked dreamy: [9c 8c 7c], giving me the open-ended straight flush draw and top pair. I don’t remember the action (and I didn’t write it down afterward) but the turn was a low non-club card. The turn was the [js], the wrong black jack for me, but one that still gave me a straight. I opened to 4,000 (there had been some action on the turn that justified the bet, then the original raiser overbet the pot to 20,000. Now, the smart thing to do there would be to fold, leaving me with 31,000 and change. The calculus for me was that unless he hit the flush on the flop, or had [qx tx], I’ve got him dead to rights. Aces, kings, queens, even a set of jacks are beat by my straight. I have 100 big blinds left if I lose, and 350 if I win. So I call and he has [ac qc]. I got Malec-ed.


At the break not long after, I overhear the guy telling another player the overbet was intentional, so I’m pretty sure if I’d had [jc tc] or either end of the straight flush had come in and I’d 3-bet him on the river, I would have gotten all of his chips. My only note on the hand after I wrote down my position and the cards was “BOOM.”

I stopped recording for a while after that, then pulled the pad out after the break. I was starting with 15,625. I only recorded 13 nothingburger hands, and I think hand 14 was where I had raised [ax qx] in early position and called a re-raise from middle position to see a flop of [ax ax tx]. The turn and river were [6x 7x]. Don’t remember the action on the flop and turn; I think they may been checked, but when I checked the river my opponent got impatient and bet 5,000, which I had to call even though I was again feeling like I might be beat. Naturally he had [tx tx] for a flopped full house. He did say something about not understanding how I didn’t go broke on that hand.

That did leave me with less than 10,000. which got whittled away. Picked up [tx tx] and shoved over a couple of limpers, including a short stack who happened to have [ax ax], and I was out in a blistering two hours and twenty-five minutes.

Played a little 1/3 NLHE that night in the cash game while I was checking up on a couple of people, and made a few dollars, then switched over to the 1/2 Big O when it started up and lost my buyin and profit when I shoved with top set on a [qx 9s 7s] board, lost the main pot to a shorter stack who pulled out a flush and low for a scoop and just chopped the $76 side pot with a third player


Photo via Devin Sweet’s post to the Facebook NW Poker group.

I should have some more info on the events there by next week.

Weekend Getaway: Grey Eagle Calgary

The Deepstacks Poker Tour doesn’t come to Oregon any more, but since pulling out they’ve partnered with the WPT to become sort of a feeder series like what the WSOP Circuit is for the WSOP. Their Canadian stops aren’t WPT-branded, but the upcoming Calgary stop at the end of October is a big event, even as the oil industry behind Alberta’s book years has had a hard time recently.

This week, the DSPT announced that the Calgary Main Event (C$2,500/US$1,900 buyin) will have an increased guarantee of C$1,000,000 (US$760,000), twice the previous amount. Other announcements at the DSPT in recent weeks have included a partnership with Jason Somerville, who will  be livestreaming events throughout the week and hosting the broadcast of the final table on Twitch.tv.

The full schedule for the series hasn’t been released yet, but the Championship Main Event runs from 2—5 December. Rooms at the Grey Eagle Resort & Casino (the event venue) are about US$125/night. This far out, round-trip flights to Calgary are cheap, with direct service from PDX to YYC for about US$285 on Air Canada.

This Week in Portland Poker

Another quiet week—i.e. no announced specials as of Tuesday evening that I’m aware of. The big games are going to be at 7pm at Final Table on Friday and noon Saturday at Portland Meadows. Last week was the final run of the Sunday Big O tournament at A&L Sports Bar/Portland Players Club, as as the room reverts back to football use for the season.

Only a Day Away

  • It’s opening day for the Muckleshoot Summer Classic. This week’s events include today’s $250 NLHE shootout, with standard $200, $300, $500, and $750 tournaments starting through Sunday.
  • The Venetian Deepstack Extravaganza 3.5 has a couple of smaller events this weekend, with a one-day $25K guarantee on Friday for a $340 buyin, a two entry day $125K on Friday and Saturday for $600, with PLO/PLO8 and NLHE bounty tournament in the evening. Coming up next week is a $250K guarantee with a $250 buyin and five starting days.
  • The Commerce Poker Series in Los Angeles draws to a close with a $1,650 buyin $500K guarantee Main Event with starting flights Friday and Saturday.
  • The HPT Colorado Main Event has four starting days from today until Saturday. $1,650 buyin.
  • Friday is the start of the Gardens Poker Classic in Los Angeles.
  • CardPlayer Cruises leaves from Seattle on Friday.
  • The WPTDeepstacks tour rolls into Casino del Sol in Tucson on Saturday.
  • Next Friday is the start of the Stones Gambling Hall $250,000 Fall Classic
  • Two weeks from now is the Wynn Fall Classic, followed a day later by another HPT at the Peppermill Casino, then the Deepstacks Poker Tour pulls into Edmonton Alberta for ten days.

Remember to keep an eye on the #PNWPokerCal Twitter hashtag and the PNW Poker Calendar for upcoming events!

#PNWPokerCal Planner for 7 September 2016


I wrote an article a few weeks back for PokerNews on the current situation for poker in Portland that includes quotes from Chadd Baker of Portland Players Club, player David Long, and author Zach Elwood. Updated it a little a week or so ago, and it’s finally made it to the site.


Long, Beautiful Hair

With all the angst and turmoil in the Portland poker scene the past few weeks,how about something on the lighter side? This was the response from Donnie Peters—former Editor-in-Chief at PokerNews and now in the marketing department at the World Poker Tour—to a photo (on left) I tweeted of Huck Seed playing last Friday’s $20K at Final Table, and focused on something entirely different: dealer Wayne’s impressive beard.


And in some Seed trivia, it’s apparently not the first time he’s been in Portland for part of a summer.

Memorial for John Ogai

Last Sunday, family, friends, and acquaintances of Encore Club owner John Ogai got together in Portland’s Washington Park.

IMG_3031 IMG_3032

The State of Portland Poker

I min-cashed in two of the seven tournaments I played on Ignition Casino this week, getting 85th in a 740-entry tournament and 4th in a small Omaha Hi-Lo Bounty (along with two bounties that were half of the buyin each). Played a couple cash sessions and made a few bucks, including one PLO session where I quadrupled my small buyin.

The big game of the week for me was the $20K guarantee at Final Table. I had to rebuy not long before break at an active table after getting to the club at the half-hour mark, with my friend BP on my left and AR and DH in the 1 and 2 seats, respectively. I raised [ax kx] in early position, got called by DH on the button, if I remember correctly, and he called with bottom pair—the bottom pair, as he was playing [6x 2x]—when I shoved from a short stack. DH was short as well, but I got a new stack, then did the addon.

Most of the rest of the night went reasonably well. AR and DH were both gone before our temporary table broke. BP moved to a seat on Huck Seed’s left and was there for a couple of hours at least, while I bounced through three table breaks.

I got up over the chip average, then took a bit of a bath on a hand when I 3-bet/shoved [ad jd] (Mutant Jack!) over an active raiser, then the big blind didn’t notice my bet and shoved for less with [9d 6d]. The original raiser folded, and by the turn, the big blind had a gutshot straight, with a ten and seven on the board. He caught a six on the river and I lost more than half my stack. Two hands later he lost all of his chips with [ax kx] to a DT with a huge stack and [ax qx].

I built my way back up to average, though, as usual in Portland tournaments at this stage, the average was somewhere between 10 and 15 big blinds. By the time we were down to four tables, both BP and Seed were gone. We were closing in on three tables and only a table away from the money when a guy two seats ahead of me in the cutoff made his third or fourth all-in shove in less than two orbits. The player on the button tanked long enough that someone called for the clock. I was fairly interested in what he was about to do because I had [tx tx] and I was going to be all in to call, but I wasn’t going to do that if the button called. I kind of wish he had. He eventually folded, I called, the big blind folded, and I was up against [3x 3x] (the button said he’d had [ax jx]). The flop came out [ax 2x 4x], there was something like a seven on the turn, and naturally the river was [5x], knocking me out eight spots short of the money instead of putting me up to about 25bb. I’d have lost there with aces, too.


Weekend Getaway: Have You Got the Stones?

If you’re looking for a quick weekend of poker after Chinook and Muckleshoot, look to the Stones Gambling Hall in Citrus Heights, a suburb northeast of Sacramento.

Their $250,000 Fall Classic starts Friday, 23 September, and the roster of commentators on the live stream final tables includes Bart Hanson, Lon McEachernDavid Tuchman, and Chris Moneymaker. Opening weekend, there’s a $500 entry Monster Stack with 30-minute levels and 30K in chips, with a $75,000 guarantee on Saturday, then a $40,000 guarantee$350 entry 40-minute level, 15K starting stack on Sunday. Both events are just one day and start at 10am.

Flights to Sacramento are less than $100 each way right now; Stones is about 20 miles from the airport, on the opposite side of town. As prices go up, you might be able to get an overnight bus to Sacramento from Portland for $75 (one-way); leave in the evening and get into downtown Sacto with plenty of time to make kickoff and free wifi all the way. Beats driving all night then having to play poker all day.

Once you get there, you’ll probably need to rent a car, is for no other reason than you won’t be able to get a hotel room anywhere near Stones for a price that makes sense.

This Week in Portland Poker

Things may be a little quiet with the Fall Coast Classic going on at Chinook Winds, then again, there were late announcements over the weekend for an $8K at Portland Meadows that got 260+ entries, and a Labor Day special on Monday night, so who knows what the weekend holds in store?

Only a Day Away

  • Tonight at 7pm is the last satellite for the Muckleshoot Summer Classic series.
  • The Fall Coast Poker Classic at Chinook Winds Casino got going yesterday with the Seniors tournament, which had 179 entries. By the time you read this, if you’re not already at the beach, it’s probably too late to get there in time for the $330 Big O tournament at noon, But tomorrow is a $25K guarantee NLHE and $10K O8, Friday is the $20K NLHE 6-Max, and Saturday is the $100K NLHE Main Event ($550 entry and $200 addon).
  • This weekend at the Venetian Deepstack Extravaganza 3.5, there’s a $1M guarantee event with entry days ($3,500 buyin) on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. It’s a three-day event with Day 3 on Tuesday.
  • The Commerce Poker Series in Los Angeles has a $470 buyin $200K guarantee this week, with entry days on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and Day 2 on Sunday. There are two $50K guarantees on Saturday and Sunday, for $175 and $240, respectively, with the Sunday event awarding $50 bounties on top of the guarantee.
  • The South Sound Poker Championship at Little Creek Casino west of Olympia runs through Sunday, with the big event on Saturday: $340 buyin with $3K added to the prize pool. You can buy in online through their web site.
  • Friday is the Todd Brunson Montana Poker Challenge; see last week’s Planner for more info.
  • HPT Colorado opens up Friday, at Golden Gates Casino in Black Hawk.
  • The Muckleshoot Poker Summer Classic is just one week away.
  • A week from Friday is the start of the Gardens Poker Classic in Los Angeles, which starts with a $260 (including $100 addon) $50K event, and includes the first leg of the Socal Poker Championships (see the Deal a few weeks back for more info).
  • It’s probably too late to get aboard, but CardPlayer Cruises leaves from Seattle on Friday, 16 September.
  • The WPTDeepstacks tour rolls into Casino del Sol in Tucson on 17 September.

Remember to keep an eye on the #PNWPokerCal Twitter hashtag and the PNW Poker Calendar for upcoming events!