#PNWPokerCal Planner for 28 December 2016: HAPPY NEW YEAR?


Following up on last week’s news,so far the only closure due to the actions by the city (that I’m aware of) has been at The Game. I’m updating the #PDXPokerTroubles page and posting on Twitter as I get info.

Tulalip Poker Pow Wow

The schedule for the Pow Wow is available now and it’s longer than ever, with over two weeks of tournaments starting 14 January. The first week features Limit Omaha 8, PLO, and HORSE, with PLO8 in the second week. There’s a $50K Guarantee NLHE event in the middle of the series, and it wraps up with a $100K Guarantee NLHE Main Event with entry days 26-28 January and Day 2 on 30 January. Buyins range from $120 to $520 (including dealer appreciation) for the main. No structures available online so far as I can tell; you can view the rest of their January calendar here.

pm_survivorThis Week In Portland Poker

I’ve been advocating for someone in Portland to run Survivor tournaments for a long, long time, and Brian Sarchi at Portland Meadows is finally doing it this Saturday at noon.

In short, a Survivor tournament is like a satellite.Players play to a pre-determined point, at which the prize pool is divided up equally.

There are some variations, but in many cases 10% of the field gets paid a pre-determined amount, and any leftover goes to the 10% + 1 player. So if you have a tournament with 83 players and everyone’s paid $100 (and a prize pool of $8,300), the 10% (8 players) get $1,000 and a ninth player gets $300. Since casinos take out fees from the entry money, the payout is less than 10 times the entry; a $300 Survivor tournament at the Venetian pays $2,500. The advantage to this, of course, is that if you make the money, you’re usually getting somewhere between 2nd and 3rd place money,

There’s a little bit of a twist to the Meadows tournament, in that there’s an addon and there’s no specified payout amount. Because Portland rooms don’t take anything out of the prize pool, everyone who gets into the money is going to make at least $1,000, but that amount is going to vary based on the number of addons, And it’s not specified what’s going to happen if “exactly 10%” falls somewhere between, say, 9 and 10 players.

This wouldn’t be an issue with a pre-determined payout, because then the number of payouts would simply increase as the prize pool increases, and the remainder payout for the +1 player is never less than a single buyin. With the the addons, and no pre-determined payout, the remainder is never going to be greater than $9. It’ll be interesting to see how this works out.

Casinos have been experimenting with the format. I’ve seen Super Survivor tournaments with two tiers of payouts, with the players making the top 10% getting a smaller payout and those getting to the top 5% getting a bump. At the LAPC (see below) the Commerce is running a version where the chip leader at 25%, 20%, and 15% gets paid immediately and their chips are removed from play.

If you have an ITM (in the money) of better than 10% in tournaments, you can make a killing in Survivors. No, you don’t make the huge score of a first-place finish, but you never min-cash when you make the money.

Only a Day Away

  • The Venetian New Year’s Extravaganza runs through 8 January. The big event this weekend starts Sunday, 1 January. It’s a $400 buyin $100K Guarantee NLHE tournament. Last year, the $400 tournament over New Year’s weekend had a $150K Guarantee and 663 entries with a final prize pool of $225K. You can get updates on current tournaments at their blog.
  • Eugene’s Full House Poker has a Heads Up-Championship coming up, on 7 & 8 January. It’s a bracket-style elimination competition where you can buy 1 or more spots on the bottom bracket, at reduced rates. Seating is limited, so contact them for details and availability.
  • The Heartland Poker Tour East Chicago series starts 12 January with a $300 buyin $100K Guaranteed tournament. There are three entry days, with Day 2 on 15 January. The first of three Main Event flights in on 19 January. It’s still possible to get flight/room packages at the hosting casino for either tournament for less than $600 total. Last year’s opening $100K had a prize pool of $298K, and the $1,650 Main Event prize pool was over $900K, with a top prize of $211K.
  • Commerce Casino‘s LA Poker Classic  begins a seven-week run on 13 January.  There are a total of 60 events, with eleven of them having guarantees of $100K or more, plus the $10K buyin WPT Championship that caps the series. Structures have been posted for about half of the events so far. Of particular note for Portland players is the $570 entry Big O tournament on Groundhog Day (2 February).

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



The Game was set to open Friday, 6 January, but it did so to the start of a winter storm that closed both Portland Meadows and Final Table on Saturday and Sunday. To top it off, the Alder Hotel on the floors above Rialto,  had an extensive fire on Wednesday that displaced 80 residents. The next day an announcement was posted on NW Poker by Sean Dalton that Rialto will be closed for several weeks for remodeling. It had been scheduled to close on Christmas Day, but new owners took it over and kept it running; they’ve said there was extensive water damage but the plan is to reopen.


RialtoFinal Table, and Portland Meadows were all on regular schedules today and should be operating as usual until further notice. The Game is closed through 5 January.



Rialto was open over the weekend and will presumably be back at the deal today.

Ricky Lee at Aces Ful(now downstairs in BC’s Bar & Grill a block from Cleveland High School on SE Powell posted that there will be a $20 buyin tournament today.

Final Table and  Portland Meadows should both be back on their regular schedules today.


Merry Christmas Eve!

Here’s the update on Portland poker as we know it:

Both Portland Meadows and Final Table were open for regular business on Thursday and Friday (with Final Table’s $10K running as usual Friday night). They are both closed for Saturday and Sunday.

The Game is closed until January 5th.

Rialto is open Christmas Eve and Christmas Day after 6pm.

Aces Full ran their regular Friday and Saturday noon tournaments.

#PNWPokerCal Planner for 21 December 2016: KRAMPUS EDITION!


So This Is Christmas

After two weekends featuring forced closures due to icy conditions, both Portland Meadows and Final Table will both be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Then Monday, this showed up in the 2+2 thread for Portland:


followed by a NW Poker Facebook thread on Wednesday where Chadd Baker posted a link to this brief piece in Willamette Week today.


Other sources (dealer Charlie Levenson, included) say “hold your horses,” there’s still  some wrangling going on. I haven’t seen anything official from the clubs yet myself, but it seems likely that something is going to happen fairly soon. If I hear anything before the weekend, I’ll make sure it goes out on Twitter (@pokermutant) and post it here.

So the rest of my day, I discovered mold in the car that I’ve had under a tarp for a month waiting for an estimate on getting the convertible roof repaired and I broke my iPad screen just after dinner. How are you?

3-2-1 PLO

Just in case you missed it, here’s a photo that one of the PokerNews writers, Frank Op de Woerd posted of an official game that ran at EPT Prague. Are Portland’s Omaha players (I know there have been similar games played at the mixed tables here) be licking their chops at the chance to play this for big stakes?

Also from EPT Prague (and another sign of the impending apocalypse) WSOP motormouth gadfly William Kassouf talked his way into the winner’s trophy and photo by taking only 75% of the money Patrick Serda got for 2nd place in the last EPT High Roller. Not to worry, Kassouf still got €532,500 (about $556,000) on top of the $338K he won for 17th place at the Main Event).


WSOP Schedule

With all the money you’ll be saving not playing poker if the clubs close, you can take it all away to Las Vegas for this year’s WSOP, running 30 May to 17 July.

The full schedule won’t be out for a couple of months, most likely, but the starting days for the Main Event are 8—10 July, the Senior Event starts 16 June, and Colossus III has starts on 2—4 June.

Only a Day Away

  • The Venetian New Year’s Extravaganza starts Thursday and runs through 8 January. The first five days feature one-day events with guarantees between $5K and $25K, then there are three entry days to a $125K tournament with a $250 buyin. A $400 buyin $100K event starts New Year’s Day, followed by a $250 buyin $150K guarantee that concludes on 8 January.
  • Eugene’s Full House Poker has another Heads Up-Championship coming up, on 7 & 8 January. It’s a bracket-style elimination competition where you can buy 1 or more spots on the bottom bracket, at reduced rates. Seating is limited, so contact them for details and availability.

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

#PNWPokerCal Planner for 14 December 2016

Portlander Wins World Poker Tour Five Diamond Main Event

I thought my little interview would be the most Portland thing in poker last week, then Sunday, Devin Sweet posted in NW Poker about James Romero’s first-place finish in one of the WPT’s premiere events at the Bellagio, for $1.938 million, a record prize for a WPT $10,400 buyin event.


The second paragraph of the story leads off: “The Portland, OR resident was active early and often at the final table, opening the betting action more than any other player on the final day of this six-day $10,400 buy-in tournament.”

Romero also wins a seat in the $15,000 WPT Tournament of Champions, a big-ass Hublot watch, and some Monster headphones.

I have to say that I was completely flabbergasted when I saw Devin’s post. I can’t say that I’ve ever met James, and I’m not even sure if he plays here in town. He certainly isn’t playing large tournaments outside of Portland, his two previous Hendon Mob cashes came to less less than half my total, if that can be believed. In a WPT article published before the beginning of the final table:

Coming out of nowhere to reach the prestigious WPT Five Diamond Main Event final table, Romero told the WPT he has plays a little bit of online poker and that he doesn’t play much live poker.

“Mostly just a little bit of online play and running really well in a 10K,” Romero added.


boardrider68According to his coaching profile at Drag The Bar from early in the decade, Romero (aka boardrider68) was raised in Orange County, CA, played lots of games as a kid, and was at the time studying finance and economics at the University of Oregon.He mentions he played Sit-n-Gos on PokerStars (and had a 46% ROI), and over a couple of years he produced several dozen videos at stakes between $4.40 and $20.

The boardrider68 handle is only tracked on PokerStars for three years at Official Poker Rankings, but racked up a decent $75K in winnings at stakes smaller than $20 for the most part (and rankings in the top 1.2% all three years), with nearly 1,900 PokerStars tournaments in 2010, then just 701 in 2011 before things were cut short by Black Friday.

Romero’s Facebook page lists him as living in Costa Rica (and there’s a brief endorsement from him at Poker Refugees—a company that sprang up to help players re-locate outside the US after Black Friday—but presumably he moved at least part-time to Portland after graduating from UofO.

I’m hoping that 10K he did well in was here in town; it’d be nice to think the seed money for the big win came from some locals. Congrats to the champ! The rest of Portland gets a whack at a WPT $10K buyin in February at the Commerce Casino’s LAPC!

Rialto Saved By Bell

According to a report in Willamette Week, the Rialto pool room is transitioning to new management who are rescuing it from a planned Christmas closure and say their plans are to keep it “the same but better,” which would be good news for poker players who like some downtown action.

High Roller Radio

Just in case you missed it. Last week’s interview with High Roller Radio. Seems a little mundane now….

Snow Days

Last weekend was kind of icy and Final Table announced there would be no guarantee on the Friday night game because of weather. Snow’s due to move in again this afternoon, so it might be another slow week for special events. Oh, and Christmas is coming. The Deal of the Week and This Week In Portland Poker sections will be back after Christmas, unless I get something special across the transom before then.

Only a Day Away

  • The World Series of Poker Circuit at The Bicycle Casino runs through Tuesday. This week is nothing but entry days to the $500K that has its Day 2 (and final day) on Tuesday. Two flights each day, at noon and 5:30pm with $240 buyins.
  • The Venetian New Year’s Extravaganza begins next Thursday and runs through 8 January. The first five days feature one-day events with guarantees between $5K and $25K, then there are three entry days to a $125K tournament with a $250 buyin. A $400 buyin $100K event starts New Year’s Day, followed by a $250 buyin $150K guarantee that concludes on 8 January.

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

High Roller Radio Interview

All I did was say I’d take the shirt Limon didn’t want.

Lots more great interviews and other stuff at High Roller Radio and HighRollerTV on YouTube!

#PNWPokerCal Planner for 7 December 2016


Today is the 75th anniversary of the “date which will live in infamy,” according to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, when the Japanese Imperial Navy attacked Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. When I was a kid, it seemed like it was something that happened a long time before I was born, but in reality, I was born just one day before the 20th anniversary (you can do the math, presumably), and now 20 years doesn’t seem like such a long time.

Next Sunday is the sixth anniversary of the first post here at Mutant Poker, so if the amount of time between now and Pearl Harbor was a year, the blog would have been running for almost a month of that year, and that’s truly a weird thing for me to contemplate.

The early days of the blog were mostly self-analysis of online tournaments, on Cake and Full Tilt. Black Friday hit just four months after I started the blog, after which I started playing more live, at Aces Players Club and Portland Players Club (where I won my first live tournament of any size in May of 2011). The next month, I final-tabled the first $10K guarantee I played at Encore Club and I was kind of hooked, in addition to being at loose ends without any steady work. I won a noon game at Encore in July, which got me into the next month’s Champions Freeroll, where I took 2nd place for my first $1K payday. That was eclipsed in the fall when I won a $10K outright, flew to Vegas three hours after I won, and played in a $2,500 buyin Venetian Main Event to try to get to EPT Prague for a major birthday. (Didn’t happen and never will now, as you know if you’ve been reading the blog).

I’ve kept meticulous records all along the way (every buyin, every cash, every expense for nearly six years in an online database) and my attempts to analyze tournament poker profitability led to a post that turned into articles for PokerNews and Deadspin, as well as an NVG thread at 2+2. That led to interviews with Limon on his PokerSesh show, work as a live reporter at the WSOP this year, and this morning I’m going to be recording another interview with High Roller Radio, just a mont after WSOP final tablist and New York Times best-selling author James McManus was on the show.

So thanks everyone for reading and encouragement. I particularly want to thank Brad Smith at Hot Pepper Studios, who—in addition to being my employer for the past few months—was the person who suggested six years ago that if I wanted to get serious about poker, I should start a blog.

Jammin’ Jay

Jay Zeman was a fixture in the NW poker scene for years, both as a player and as a dealer, before moving to the East Coast last year. If you’d played poker in the Seattle area, particularly, you’re sure to have run into him. He still writes about the Pacific Northwest poker scene for Ante Up magazine. Tuesday, he got the biggest cash of his tournament life, over $33,000, for an eighth-place finish at the WSOPC Cherokee Main Event.

Portland Poker Holiday Championship Series

I played the first event in the series before heading to Pacific City for a weekend, got lucky in one spot, made it into the money, and then made a bad move with [ax 9x] and about 11bb. A shorter stack on my left had just doubled up, thought about it for a second, then went all in to call with [ax kx], he flopped a king, I turned a nine, and he stayed ahead on the river, then I was out a few hands later. Min cash! I already posted the results from the series here.

Deal of the Week: LAPC

Time to look ahead to the new year. The LA Poker Classic at the Commerce Casino is always one of the first major events of the calendar year in the West, running from mid-January to early March. The dates (13 January—2 March) have been set for a while, but the schedule was just released last week.

Unless you’ve got the time and money to spend a months-and-a-half in Los Angeles, the LAPC is something you need to pick and choose from. Here are a few of the highlights I see for myself and other Portland tournament players.

Opening weekend there are three events with a total of $350K in guarantees. 13 January (Friday the 13th), is a 2-day $175 buyin with a $100K guarantee, only one entry flight at 5pm. On 14 January, there’s a $150K with a buyin of $570, also a 2-day event. Sunday, 15 January is a 1-day $100K tournament with a $350 buyin that includes a $100 bounty.

There are a number of non-NLHE tournaments throughout the series (mostly on weekdays) but of special note to Portlanders is the 2 February $570 buyin Big O tournament. No guarantee, but it’s two days (ending on a Friday). There’s a NL HORSE tournament on 19 February if you ever want to know what lighting $340 on fire feels like.

The series culminates with a 5-day WPT Championship event with a $10K buyin. Only one starting day (25 February) but there are lots of opportunities for satelliting in on Saturday nights throughtout the series and in the week leading up to the start.

Only a Day Away

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


Portland Holiday Poker Championship Results #PNWHolidayPoker


All images via NW Poker Facebook group

maxMax Young takes it down in the first series coordinated between Portland Meadows Poker Room and Final Table Poker Club. Max picked up 36 points with a win at Final Table’s $30K guarantee on Friday night, and another 22 points in Saturday’s Portland Meadows $30K, for a total of 58, edging him ahead of the 54 points James Porter and Tony Strayer won during the series.

The four events had nearly 1,100 entries total, with a combined prize pool of over $125,000, well above the $80,000 in guarantees. Thanks to all of the dealers and staff at both rooms for making a great series! (I even cashed in the first event before taking off for the coast to celebrate an anniversary.)


Portland Meadows $10K Freezeout


Final Table $30K


Portland Meadows $30K


Final Table $10K

See the NW Poker Facebook group for final point totals.

I’m planning to plug Portland poker in an interview I’m recording Wednesday on High Roller Radio, you can listen to some of the past interviews they’ve done on YouTube, including the ever-entertaining Limon, and big-shot poker author James McManus.