#PNWPokerCal Planner for 28 June 2017

live video from @DarylVogel

More Than Halfway There

The World Series of Poker is coming into the final couple of weeks—technically, there are several weeks of before the end of the Main Event on 22 July, but the last bracelet event starts on 11 July—today is the start of Event #54 $10K PLO8 and Event #55 $1,500 Seven Card Stud; the last event is number #74.


The big winner of the week is Beaverton’s Ryan Himes (at least that’s how he’s still listed at Hendon Mob), a mixed-game specialist who took 5th place in Event #44 $3K HORSE (in 4th place was Tom Koral, not from the Pacific Northwest, but the former champion of the Oregon State Poker Championship  at Chinook Winds Casino a few years back.)

Vi Do of Bellingham took a respectable 7th in a $200K GTD at the Venetian Deepstack Extravaganza in what looks to have been a deal between the final eight players with a total prize pool of more than $360K.

New on the board are Washington players Brian McGill—with a win in a $185 Daily Deepstack—and Harold Signett, who took a very close 2nd in a $400 Aria tournament with 267 entries.

Remember the days back before anyone in the USA had ever heard of William Kassouf? If you took a poll of poker watchers and asked them to vote on who provided the most abrasive TV encounter at the WSOP, the 2014 dustup between Kyle Keranen and Portland’s Curtis Rystadt would likely be high on the list. Rystadt wasn’t one of the big winners this week, but he did well enough to catch my eye, with a 33rd-place cash in Event #49 $3K PLO 6-Max, his first WSOP bink since taking 100th in the Main Event that year.


This Week In Portland Poker

Regular schedules.

Only a Day Away

It’s actually starting to get to be time to start planning for what comes after the WSOP. I’d hoped to get back down before the end of the series (still might happen, but…) but if you’re booking flights in time to get a deal, you should already be looking at mid-July plans.

Speaking of which, I usually only run the Planner two weeks out, but the Wildhorse Summer Poker Round Up starts three weeks from today, and if you haven’t already gotten a room in town, you may be out of luck. Everything reasonable is already booked, and there’s not much of anything at all available, possibly because of Pendleton Bike Week (no, it’s not bicycles) and a concert by Grand Funk Railroad on the Saturday of the series. Hit up your better-prepared buddies or snag one of the last (pricy) rooms left. I know I’ve still got to figure out what I’m going to be able to do.

  • The Bicycle Casino Summer Poker Series ends Friday. The last event is a $550 Mega Satellite for the WSOP Main Event with 10 seats GTD. The CardPlayer Poker Tour starts there the next day, with a $150 $100K GTD tournament as the first big event.
  • On the Fourth of July at Oceans 11 Casino there’s a little $50K GTD outside San Diego, if you happen to be in the area.
  • The Heartland Poker Tour returns to Golden Gates Casino in Colorado a week from tomorrow. The Main Event begins 12 July.
  • Larry Flynt’s Grand Slam of Poker starts 13 July at LA’s Hustler Casino. It features a $200K GTD kickoff event ($250 buyin). The Main Event is $375 and has a GTD of $777,777.

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

#PNWPokerCal Planner for 21 June 2017

Grant Denison (left) and Nacho Barbero


The week’s big win goes to Portland’s Grant Denison, co-host of The Breakdown poker podcast. Grant took fifth place in Event #33 $1,500 NLHE at the World Series of Poker, in a field of nearly 1,700. The final table included big names like Ankush MandaviaGarrett Greer, Griffin BengerBrandon Cantu, and Alan Cunningham (and those were just among the players who cashed), while the final table also had Max Pescatori and Pratyush Buddiga. Grant briefly held the chip lead while the players were still at two tables and was still in the top half when the unofficial final table was set, but was into shoving territory after the dinner break on Day 3, then lost his last hand to an ace on the river.

Adam Brown of Washington scored his own final table in Event #25 $1,000 Pot-Limit Omaha, taking sixth place in a field of more than 1,000. Five old guys at the Wynn Summer Classic $600 Seniors tournament came to a deal, and Washington’s Craig Griffiths was one of the four getting an even amount.

Esther Taylor-Brady (she and Annie Duke are the only women higher than Kim Pok on Hendon Mob’s Oregon tournament earnings list but Kim actually lives here) now has four WSOP cashes for the summer, following up the HORSE final table with cashes in LImit Hold’em and the $10,000 HORSE Championship.

Stephen Johnson

Robert Misener of Bend took third in a $235 Daily DeepstackTam Nguyen won one of the $365 Turbo Deepstacks. Eugene’s Stephen Johnson has been on a bit of a tear this month, with a cash in a $30 tournament in Colombus Ohio  a day or two before he got to Las Vegas, then at the Golden Nugget Grand Poker Series, in WSOP Event #18 $565 Pot-Limit Omaha, a final table at the Venetian Deepstack Extravaganza $75K GTD $600 Big O, and 14th place in Event #32 PLO8/O8/Big O. Tai Nguyen and Eric Pratt of Washington were also on the last two tables of that event.

Ben May, the man behind Final Table is back at the felt himself, with two cashes in Event #36 $5,000 NLHE Six-Max and Event #39 $1,000 NLHE Super Turbo Bounty.

A couple of new names on the leaderboard radar are Idaho’s Terry Grunzke, who scored his first and second recorded cashes this week in $235 Daily Deepstacks, taking third place on Sunday. Brian McGill‘s only recorded score is a first place in the $185 Daily Deepstack; he’s from Washington.

I apologize for the many, many people I’m not mentioning here. There is just so much going on right now that I’m picking and choosing somewhat haphazardly. If you want a mention, drop me a line on Twitter!


Jeff Mitseff is 2nd in chips at the end of Day 1 of Event #40 $1,500 Seven-Card Stud Hi-Lo

This Week In Portland Poker

Regular schedules.

Only a Day Away

Still too much going on in Vegas, looking at the schedules while I’m here in Portland just gives me FOMO. Please, someone, buy a thousand of my ”Fring Lives!” hoodies! (Yeah, the joke’s only funny if you’re a old, and a fan of both Breaking Bad and Lord of the Rings, and maybe not even then.)

  • The Bicycle Casino Summer Poker Series runs through the end of the month. Flights continue through Monday for the $500K GTD Quantum Reload Main Event. There are two daily $85 flights (11:30am and 4pm). There’s an optional $60 addon. 10% of players make it into the money and 7% go on to Day 2 (26 June). On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, there is a a 2pm flight with a $240 buyin (10% advance). For all flights, if you make Day 2, you get $400; if you make Day 2 more than once, you play the larger stack and receive $650 and a $550 voucher for a WSOP Main Event satellite (30 June). The very next day is the start of the CardPlayer Poker Tour stop, which runs through 14 July. There are two major events, a $100K GTD, immediately followed by a $400K GTD, both of which have multiple entry days.
  • There are direct flights from Portland to Baltimore, and Maryland Live! has a $100K GTD tournament 2-day tournament for $450 , with flights Thursday, Friday, and Saturday morning, and Thursday and Friday evening.
  • Tulalip Casino’s Last Sunday of the Month $65K is at 11am. $670 entry.
  • The Muckleshoot Casino $300 Deepstack is at noon on Sunday.
  • On the Fourth of July at Oceans 11 Casino little $50K GTD outside San Diego, there’s a, if you happen to be in the area.

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

The Rake Isn’t What Will Kill You in Tournaments

A refrain you hear from tournament players as the summer schedules and structures are announced is that the rake is going up once again. That and that they’re paying too many players.

Tournament (and cash) rake amounts have gone up over time—everyone who gets into the casino business gets into it to make money (Donald Trump excluded)—and tournament series operators and casinos are likely to continue pushing the boundaries of what people are willing to pay, in the name of profit, in years to come. But rake is the least of your worries.

It’s not the number of payouts, either. There was an outcry last year when PokerStars announced plans to pay 20% of the field a few months after the same type of hue over the WSOP extending payouts to 15% of the field. It meant a reduction in payouts of about 6—7% for players in the top 10%, meaning a player who would have gotten $10,000  in a $1,500 tournament might only get $9,300 or $9,400. An ROI of 567% reduced to something like 525%. The horror! There were even people complaining that they didn’t want to play poker for two days only to get a min-cash. Instead of nothing? Seriously, guys, I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn for sale.

What is really working against you in most tournaments is the payout structure. As I’ve written about in the past, there’s a “sweet spot” in most tournament payouts where the size of the field usually dictates that if you cash, you’ll likely be cashing for more than in other field sizes. The money up top increases exponentially, but can come at the expense of practically everyone else in the tournament, particularly if the payout curve is tinkered with to accommodate some artificial goal (see Satisfaction Guarantee).

The Seniors tournament is playing out at the World Series of Poker right now, and the last report I see has a couple players in 26th and 27th getting payouts of $21,000. It’s the largest Seniors tournament ever at the WSOP, and last year’s field was largest one-day field ever for a live tournament (made larger this year because of re-entry).

Think about it. These guys have made it to the final three tables of a tournament which—if everyone had been seated simultaneously nine-handed—would have had 599 tables. Everyone down to two tables is going to get the same $21,000. so if you take 19th, after having outlasted 5,370 others—99.65% of the total field of 5,389—you’re going to have an ROI of 2,000%.

Sure, that’s a nice payday. Whoever wins the tournament is going to get $617,303, nearly 30 times as much, but that is the nature of tournaments. The thing is, you could win more money by beating the same percentage of the field to take 2nd place in a 145-entry $1,000 tournament. Sure youy chance of winning more than a half million dollars is zip, but it’s almost zip in the large field. 40% of the total prize pool is tied up in the final table, and that’s a bigger problem than the rake.

I mean, unless you’re on the final table.

#PNWPokerCal Planner for 14 June 2017


It’s the second week of June and we’re more than two weeks into the World Series of Poker, but there’s old news still trickling in to Hendon Mob’s database for some Pacific Northwest players.

For instance, Mahesh Pritamani of Bellevue won the Main Event of the Muckleshoot Spring Poker Classic nearly three months ago, but the $57K result just posted (only the top 5 places were reported). It was his first recorded cash, but he just added to it with a min-cash in the WSOP Millionaire Maker last weekend.

Likewise, Thomas Chikamura of Renton won the $300 Muckleshoot series tournament for a first recorded cash, then bagged the top spot in a $185 Daily Deepstack at the WSOP on Sunday.

Also moving onto the screen this week is Arnesto Armas (Aloha, 2nd place in a $135 Daily Deepstack); Portland’s Sai Ram Sirandas—with a run into the top 0.4% of the Colossus field; and Donald McCormick of Eagle Point, cashing in Deepstack events on three consecutive days, winning a $185 Deepstack on that third day.

More-established players with Northwest creds are posting results, too.


Matt Affleck (don’t look for the post snapshotted above, it’s been long since corrected) made the final table of the Colossus, then turned around and went deep in the Millionaire Maker.


James Romero, winner of the WPT Five Diamond last December, has had a min-cash at the Colossus, a final table at the Planet Hollywood Goliath Milly, and was part of a chop in a $1,100 NLHE Turbo at the Venetian Deepstack Extravaganza that saw seven of the final eight players getting an even $10K.

Tavcoma’s Michael Coombs has had four cashes at the WSOP already, with the best result coming from the $1,500 HORSE last week where he placed 5th. Esther Taylor-Brady listed as an Oregon player(still , just like Annie Duke) also made the HORSE final table.

Ronald Lemco follows his near-win in an early Deepstack with a  very deep run (36th, the top 0.2%) in the Colossus. Ryan Himes made it to 6th place in the $1,500 Eight Game Mix. Charles Mast got to 5th in a field of 1,295 in a Daily Deepstack last Thursday, Brandon Cantu made the final table of the $1,500 Dealers Choice tournament.

Shoutouts to Binh ‘Jimmy’ Nguyen, Sam ‘Big Daddy’ Nguyen, and Jacque Lavadour for respectable showings in this summer’s events so far.

As of the time I’m writing this, Poker Guy Grant Denison is doing well in Day 2 of The Marathon as the players approach the money Tuesday night (a little over a dozen to go at midnight). The $1,500 Limit Hold’em tournament is down to three tables, and Ian Johns (winner of two bracelets in limit games last year) is in the middle of the pack. The $1,000 Pot-Limit Omaha is playing the last couple hands of Day 1, they should be bagging soo, and hopefully we’ll see some familiar names in the Results.

This Week In Portland Poker

Regular schedules.

Only a Day Away

I’m not going to enumerate all of the series in Las Vegas right now. What’s happening away from the WSOP?

  • The Bicycle Casino Summer Poker Series runs through the end of the month. Friday is the first day of flights for the $500K GTD Quantum Reload Main Event. Every day through 26 June there are two $85 flights (11:30am and 4pm). There’s an optional $60 addon. 10% of players make it into the money and 7% go on to Day 2 (26 June). On Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, there is a a 2pm flight with a $240 buyin (10% advance). For all flights, if you make Day 2, you get $400; if you make Day 2 more than once, you play the larger stack and receive $650 and a $550 voucher for a WSOP Main Event satellite (30 June).
  • At the Cash Casino Calgary Classic’s last weekend, there’s a C$560 Deep Stack with three entry days (Thursday through Saturday) and Day 2 on Sunday, with a final $175 event on Sunday.
  • Bay 101 Summer Madness has their big $1,100 event with starting days Saturday and Sunday at 9am.
  • The Muckleshoot Casino $200 Big Bounty is this Sunday at noon, and next Sunday is their $300 Deepstack.
  • If you can’t make it to Vegas and you’re itching for something a little larger than the weekly $10Ks before the end of the WSOP, look at Tulalip Casino’s Last Sunday of the Month $65K on 25 June at 11am. $670 entry.

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

#PNWPokerCal Planner for 7 June 2017

‘Sicateen’ George. photo via Lonnie Carrol on Facebook.


It’s a term that’s going to live on for years in Portland poker (assuming that there is Portland poker) because of the work of one gregarious man named George, who dealt at Encore and elsewhere, cracking dry jokes, telling stories about his daughter at college and his grandkids, and playing a formidable game of poker himself. If you never got to hear the signature manner he uttered â€˜sixteen,’ you’ve missed your chance. RIP, George.


According to a Facebook post by Portland Meadows’ Brian Sarchi, the anti-poker House Bill 2190 is dead in committee. It’s good nes for Portland clubs, but not the end of the line. Another bill can always come down the line, there are aspects of how the clubs operate that skirt—if not cross—the intent of the state’s social gaming laws, the labor issues with dealer compensation haven’t disappeared, and I don’t believe the Lottery issue with Portland Meadows has been resolved yet.

Forrest Auel, Event #4 Omaha Hi-Lo


The big winner of the week was Forrest Auel, who was the 2nd Oregon player to make a final table at the 2017 WSOP, in Event #4 $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo. Auel and Jordan Rich both made to the last three tables on the last day of play (Rich went out in 22nd place). Auel got to the unofficial ten-handed final table in 8th place, managing

Chris Gellagher, Event #1 Casino Employees NLHE

to outlast four players to take sixth after starting Level 28 with just enough to pay the blinds when they came around. Auel had a big rail of PNW players and fellow dealers (he worked the WSOP until this year) that dissipated when he went to get his payout. Also making a deep run in the event was Kate Hoang (20th)

The first Oregon player to final table this year was Chris Gallagher, in the year’s first bracelet contest, Event #1, $565 Casino Employees NLHE. Gallagher was the chip leader going into Day 2’s with ten other players. Unfortunately for Chris, he ran into a couple of bad beats (think [ac kh] v [ac qs]) before busting in seventh place.

Via a message from Jeremy Harkin, we learned Joe Mitchell—winner of Event #8 $333 WSOP.com NLHE—the smallest-ever buy-in for a WSOP bracelet event—was a former resident of Eugene. His WSOP biography still lists it as his hometown, though his Hendon Mob profile reflects his move to Las Vegas some time ago. (Props to my Daryl Vogel, one of the guys I started playing poker again with a few years back, who cashed the Online, and was in the top 25 when they hit the money at 333  players.)

Ronald Lemco of Auburn took 2nd place in a Daily Deepstack for his largest-eveer recorded tournament cash; last year’s tw-time bracelet-winner Ian Johns got 12th in Event #7 $2,500 Limit Mixed Triple DrawDylan Wilkerson joined up with Mohsin Charania and Marvin Rettenmaier for 12th place in Event #2 $10K NLHE Tag Team Championship.

Outside the Rio, Jeffrey Yakubinis of Bellevue made it to heads-up in a Venetian $400 NLHE SuperStack and Dave Van Weerdhnizen cashed in a Survivor(!) tournament at the Wynn Summer Poker Classic.

The big new name on the leaderboard is Patrick Gannon of Vancouver (WA), with a 4th place in a $235 Daily Deepstack and 2nd in the $135 the previous day. That’s some run-good to start the week.

I made a quick trip to Las Vegas opening weekend, playing the WSOP Online bracelet event on Saturday, the $150K GTD Omaha Hi-Lo at the venetian after I busted that, and an Omaha Hi-Lo/Seven-Card Stud Hi-Lo Mix at the Golden Nugget Sunday morning. I was vacillating between the $30K GTD NLHE Bounty tournament at the Venetian and the $5K GTD HORSE (the prize pool hit $11.5K) at the Orleans until Toma Barber told me he was at Orleans, so I headed over there. Both of the Sunday tournaments went better than those on Saturday, but I could have just stayed home because the only poker money I made over the weekend was in online PLO.

Leaving Las Vegas. At 4 in the morning.

This Week In Portland Poker

Regular schedules.

Only a Day Away

I’m not going to enumerate all of the series in Las Vegas right now. What’s happening away from the WSOP?

  • The Bicycle Casino Summer Poker Series runs through the end of the month. This weekend is a $150K GTD event with $150 buyin; next week is the $500K GTD tournament with starting flights with $85 and $240 buyins.
  • Tomorrow is the start of the Cash Casino Calgary Classic. The Main Event is next week, with a C$560 buy-in (which includes a dinner buffet) on starting days Thursday through Saturday. Next Tuesday is a $235 PLO tournament.
  • Bay 101 Summer Madness runs from 12 June to 19 June with seven events, including an $1,100 Main Event with two starting days.

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