R-Day Minus 32

The Poker Mutant will be retiring (mostly) from poker on 1 January. This is the latest installment in his thrilling countdown to the End of Times.

Just a month to go and it was the last live game of November, the $10K GTD NLHE at Final Table. It didn’t go well, which is why I’m writing this instead of still at the club.

In the first level, I raised [ax jx], got a call, and was re-raised by the button. I played it conservatively when there were a couple calls of the re-raise, then the hand played out and I was a little irked with myself when the button won the hand with [ax qx[ after the board paired my jack. Which played into my decision to go all in on over a turn raise from the same player on a hand with [ax qx] and a flop of [ax tx tx], only to get myself stacked by [kx tx].

Managed to lose half of my rebuy stack before the start of the final level before the add-on break, then got it all in with [ah 5h] over two limps, Another player raised all in for a lot more with [tx tx] and the short stack on my right got in with [kx qx] and just 75 more chips than me. The flop came down [ax kx qx] and the guy on my left was elated until a jack on the river made Broadway for the tens.

R-Day Minus 33

The Poker Mutant will be retiring (mostly) from poker on 1 January. This is the latest installment in his thrilling countdown to the End of Times.

November is almost over and after an evening hanging out at the new Portland office of a virtual reality game development company, then out to my father’s for some computer support (and no poker), it was back to the virtual felt for the Ignition Casino $7K NLHE tonight.

Things were going pretty well, I doubled up early, then got all-in with [kx jx] against [qx jx]. We both paired up, but he ran out backdoor quad queens.

I doubled up with a pair of jacks and was sitting with about ten big blinds when I shoved jacks, got called by [ax jx], and he hit the ace on the river!

Just did a little $2 NLHE Jackpot Sit-N-Go after that. $10 payout but I ended up in 3rd.

R-Day Minus 35

The Poker Mutant will be retiring (mostly) from poker on 1 January. This is the latest installment in his thrilling countdown to the End of Times.

Started off the evening with an Ignition Casino $1K GTD NLHE Turbo.

Busted that then jumped into the $500 GTD PLO8 Turbo. Made it up to the top of the leaderboard for a while, but hit a snag and augured into oblivion.

#PNWPokerCal Planner for 27 November 2018


After the rush of names from Chinook Winds and Wildhorse, we’ve just got a few entries in this week’s report.

Lawrence Hommedieu of Washougal was down at the WPT Seminole Rock N Roll Poker Open and made the final table of Event #2 $250K GTD NLHE for a best-ever cash (he also picked up a smaller cash in a bounty tournament).

Lee Watkinson added a small percentage to his lnearly $4.3M lifetime earnings with 5th place in the Venetian Deepstack Extravaganza IV $400K GTD NLHE Main Event.

Finally, Geran Sanders (Ellensburg) chopped a RUNGOOD Poker Series $25K NLHE at Hard Rock Tulsa heads up for a very decent return on a $180 buyin in a field of more than 400.

One Month One Hundred 98 Kay

New Year’s Day is in exactly five weeks, and I’ve committed to my wife to playing only the home game after that point—unless I win more than $100K before the end of the year. $2K down, $98K to go.

This was, perhaps, a poorly-chosen date, as the Tulalip Poker Pow Wow runs through January, and Chinook Winds PACWest Poker Classic runs 16—24 February. But you have to draw your lines in the felt somewhere.


December is always a tough poker month. Schedules are thrown off by the Christmas holiday. This month is our 30th anniversary, there’s holiday parties, other family obligations, and getting flights is more expensive because of all the holiday travel.

I’m supposed to be in town for something on Sunday the 9th, I’ve got something I could probably skip on on the 15th if I absolutely had to, then after that the only series on the West Coast is the Venetian Deepstack Extravaganza V.

Trying to make the goal of another $98K means I have to be  I’ll be playing the $10K at Final Table this Friday. If things go well, I’ll get a Saturday morning flight to either Las Vegas, for the Wynn Signature Series $250K GTD NLHE. Sunday, the Wynn has a $5K NLHE Survivor with a $550 buyin. The WPT Five Diamond series is running over at Bellagio.

The next Friday there should be a $20K GTD at Final Table, and since I have something for Sunday, my weekend option would be to go to Vegas for the WPT Five Diamond Main Event Super Satellite. The Main Event runs the next week.

The following weekend is a $30K GTD at Portland Meadows, but out of town is one of the few opportunities to get to anything approaching $98K in a single shot: the Venetian;/CardPlayer $500K GTD NLHE Main Event. A couple of downsides: its last entry day is on a Friday, so I’d need to take the day off; and its buyin is $3,500, so I’d probably want to take off Thursday to play the last satellite. Alternatively, that weekend is also the last event of WSOPC LA, and the Bicycle Casino has a $350 buyin with $250K GTD. The Main Event of the Colorado Poker Championship runs that weekend, as well.

As Christmas approaches on the next weekend, the Venetian Deepstack Showdown has ended and the Venetian Deepstack Extravaganza V has begun, opening with a $100K GTD, and it’s pretty much the only game in any town so far as tournament series in these parts (loosely speaking) goes.

My last chance, Hail Mary opportunity is going to be the Venetian’s $400 buyin $260K GTD tournament running the week before New Year’s. So maybe I should just book those tickets now.

Only a Day Away

  • The Deepstacks Poker Tour Championship is in Calgary at Grey Eagle. The Canadian dollar is about 76¢ US. The opening event is a C$100K GTD for C$550 buyin. The Main Event has starting days Friday and Saturday, with a C$2,500 buyin and C$1M GTD.
  • The Wynn Signature Series starts tomorrow. Opening weekend has a $250K GTD $600 buyin and a $50K GTD $550 buyin $5K payout Survivor. Next weekend has a $150K GTD ($600 buyin) and $30K GTD $3K payout $300 buyin Survivor, with a number of other events between.
  • The WPT Five Diamond  at Bellagio starts Thursday. There’s a $1,620 NLHE 6-Max on 3 December, $1,620 PLO the next day, and lots of satellites to the $10,400 Main Event starting 11 December.
  • The Colorado Poker Championship Winter Series runs from Thursday to 19 December at Golden Gates Casino, It features 25 events including a $2K buyin High Roller. The $1,100 buyin Main Event has three starting flights on 13—15 December.
  • The Bicycle Casino hosts the final West Coast WSOP event of the year: WSOPC Los Angeles from 1—16 December. The first week is the $250K GTD NLHE Monster Stack, with starting flights inconveniently placed two-per-day on Monday and Tuesday. Ditto for the Main Event starting days of Sunday and Monday (11 & 12 December). FU, too, WSOP.
  • The Venetian/CardPlayer Poker Tour Deepstack Showdown runs 5—16 December with a tantalizing $3,500 buyin $500K GTD starting 14 December.
  • Closer to home, in the Sacramento area, is the Stones Gambling Hall December Chill Poker Series/Run It Up Stones. Run It Up has an abbreviated version of its Reno schedule with a $600 buyin Main Event and smaller PLO/NLH Mix, NLHE Win the Button, and PLO 6-Max ($500 buyin for the last one). That’s followed by a $100K GTD Quantum event with three buyin levels ($120, $240, and $900) and a total of 10 entry points (including the high buyin direct to day 2).
  • Outside of Minneapolis, the Mid-States Poker Tour Season 9 Finale is technically already running, with satellites all through November already for the $1,100 buyin $500K GTD Main Event with entry days 6—8 December. Non-stop flights are running $230 RT, and with direct flights and a 3pm start time, you wouldn’t even need to leave Portland until 7am Saturday. You’d get to Minneapolis with two-and-a-half hours to cover 22 miles from the airport to Canterbury Park.
  • The last event (ever) on my calendar is the Venetian Deepstacks Extravaganza V. Which starts a whole four days after the Deepstack Showdown. There’s a $100K GTD the first weekend, and a $260K GTD Monster Stack just before the New Year’s ($400 buyin).

R-Day Minus 36

The Poker Mutant will be retiring (mostly) from poker on 1 January. This is the latest installment in his thrilling countdown to the End of Times.

My co-worker Ben (see Vegas Trip Report) came over for a go at the Chocolate Bourbon Milkshake and some online poker. I put on the NBC Sports replay of the Poker Masters, and we watched Brandon Adams win a match, then some PLO, while we played the Ignition Casino $2K GTD NLHE Turbo.

Ben was doing better than I was at first, then he got in with the second-best full house before getting knocked out. I managed to double up with aces, then eventually got knocked out with second-best two pair.

We each played a NLHE Jackpot Sit-n-Go. Ben got a 5x payout table. Neither of us cashed.

After he left, the Short Deck tournament came on TV and I played the $1K GTD PLO Turbo. I hit a gutshot straight for the nuts on the turn against a short stack a few minutes in, but the jack I needed gave him a set and a river ten paired the board to make a full house. I managed to get it in good at the end but you’re never good until the river in PLO.

R-Day Minus 37

The Poker Mutant will be retiring (mostly) from poker on 1 January. This is the latest installment in his thrilling countdown to the End of Times.

Peeled a bunch of potatoes for Thanksgiving II this afternoon and then played a quick Ignition Casino $7 NLHE Jackpot Sit-n-Go with just the standard payout. The first player went out almost immediately flopping top two pair against a straight draw that got there on the turn, so I had 500 chips when we went HU against my opponent’s 1,000. I lost a little ground over a few hands, then jammed with less than 10bb and [ax 2x]. He called with [kx tx] and flopped Broadway.

I have to say, things are looking grim for the next month in my attempt to win $100K (or $98K as of today). Weekends are my only potential travel windows for big events, and family holiday (and other) obligations are playing havoc with what little flexibility there is in there. I’m not so sure how popular I’d be at home if I scheduled a trip to play poker on the weekend of my 30th wedding anniversary…and I’d have been playing the $250K GTD tournament on Ignition this afternoon if we weren’t hosting a turkey dinner.

After dinner, jumped into the Ignition Casino $30K NLHE Turbo half an hour in with 40bb. There was already a lot of jamming going on and by the time I got a chance to play my second hand [kd td], I was down to 12bb. A shorter stack behind me called with [ax kx] and a big stack was in. King on the flop, ten on the turn, but an ace on the river counterfeited my to pair and I was pretty short. I managed to triple up once, but was forced to go all in with [6h 7h] with 2bb after half an hour. Hit my pair on the flop but [ax qx] got a queen on the turn.

Took another shot at the Ignition Casino $4K GTD PLO8 but only made it half an hour, getting quartered on one big hand and then getting it in with first and third pair against top two.

I’m thinking about making a one-day trip to for one of the WPT Five Diamond satellites. Might as well go out with a bang!

R-Day Minus 38

The Poker Mutant will be retiring (mostly) from poker on 1 January. This is the latest installment in his thrilling countdown to the End of Times.

After midnight, I played an Ignition $400 GTD PLO8 tournament for about six hands, doubled up on hand five, then lost everything in a high-only hand when the card that made my straight boated the other guy up.

I late-regged the evening Ignition $25K GTD NLHE 90 minutes into the game with about 20bb. I managed to get a double up with [js 9s] by hitting a nine-high flop and shoving over a raise from the big stack who had sevens. Got another one with a pair of tens. Then I folded this hand preflop, my client seized up after showing the flop (apparently it couldn’t believe it, either).

The 607-entry tournament had a prize pool of more than $30K, and we were les than 30 spots away from the min cash (at 126) when I got tens again. My stack had dwindled to 10bb and I shoved from UTG+2. UTG+4 re-shoved with 15bb and a 9bb stack called all-in.

I was flipping against the two of them to start, and things looked great through the turn. The AK couldn’t win with a diamond so he was down to four outs; the nines could only win with two cards. And of course one of them came on the river. So out 153rd after ninety minutes of play

Entered the Ignition $5K NLHE Turbo just after the first break, managed to stay in for about an hour with a couple of double-ups, then lost a race and went out 155th of almost 600 entries.

Clearing the Decks: Discipline

Another unpublished piece from earlier this year that I thought was a lot less finished than it was. This is the kind of thing that happens when you work full-time, play a lot of poker, and spend hours each week writing and researching. Stuff falls through the cracks.

Last Friday night’s Final Table First Friday $20K GTD NLHE went pretty well for me, a nice continuation cash for the year and a good kickoff to the month before this year’s World Series of Poker season, which starts in just over three weeks. I played with no intention of rebuying.

I almost put my intention to the test when I played [9c 2c] from the BB (short story: let my aces get cracked by [9x 2x] in a $600 tournament at the Venetian six or seven years ago) and called a 3x raise with one other caller. The flop’s [9x 6x 2x] all red. The original raiser bet 1,200 and the caller goes all in for 2,900, I shove 10K or so, the original raiser folds, I’m up against [ax 6x] and the ace hits on the river.

Made it up to 60K after I busted a new player’s kings with [4h 6h] just after the first break, then there was a long, slide down to 40K by second break.

Five and a half hours in I got into a three-way hand with tens holding against nines and [kx jx]. I had over three-and-a-half times the average stack with 36 left and 18 paying.

I was moved three times before the final table, with my last couple of tables featuring a very nice, slightly tipsy woman from Texas who claimed she didn’t have much experience playing poker, since it’s not legal there. She was very gregarious and doing extremely well despite her claims of inexperience. She made a couple of big calls that put her in flips (which she won), before losing a big chunk of her stack in a hand where she was ahead 70/30. She did have a tendency to risk more of her lead than might have been prudent.

We took nearly an hour to go from 14 players to the final table, then another hour to lose two players. A player with about a quarter of the chips in play was in seat 1, talking non-stop, holding out for a bigger payout but also complaining about how tired he was. A couple of deals were proposed and I was the holdout until we were down to 8. The motormouth got $3K and everyone else got just over $2.5K.

The next day’s (technically, only about 7 hours after I got home) Portland Meadows Kentucky Derby $30K GTD NLHE Survivor tournament was one I was looking forward to, hoping to string two $2K cashes together in the weekend. Sadly, it was not to be. I lost chips, then took some from the always-aggressive Barron Nakama when I three-bet his raise with [ax kx]. I picked up [ac as] the very next hand and three-bet his raise again, with the flop coming [9x 7x 7x]. We ended up all-in and he, of course, had called my 3-bet with [ax 7x]. Chalk it up (again) to “old man with a big pair” syndrome.

I was down to 5,500, then managed to drive my way back up over 10K before I jammed over a 3-bet with [qx qx] from the cutoff, right into the button’s [kx kx]. I didn’t even make it to the end of buyins (no reentry).

Looking forward to the Final Table $50K GTD NLHE next weekend. Take time to appreciate your social club poker rooms and volunteer player/dealers, because it looks as if there may be another move from various governmental organizations to shut the whole thing down.

But enough of that. Let’s talk about survivor tournaments in general and the Ignition Casino $5K GTD Thousandaire Maker in specific.

Simply  put, a Survivor tournament is similar to a satellite, where the prize pool is divided into equal-sized pieces. Most Survivor tournaments have a pre-defined payout, and everyone who makes it to the money gets the same amount of money (a ticket, in the case of a satellite). There is usually one exception: when the prize pool isn’t an even multiple of the payout amount, anything left over goes to the player who busts before the others are in the money.

As an example, if you have pre-defined payouts of $1,000 (as in the Thousandaire Maker) and a prize pool of $7,200, seven players would get $1,000 and the eighth would get $200. You can easily adjust payouts in any manner you like, and the payouts are simple to calculate. Have a $225 buyin and want to pay about 10% of the field? If 1 in 10 players is paid, the payout would be 10 times the buyin: $2,250. Got 176 players and a prize pool of $39,600? That’s 17 payouts of $2,250 and one of $1,350.

Want to extend to 15% of the field? Pay 6-2/3 (1/15×100) times the buyin: $1,500. Same number of entrants and prize pool is 26 full payouts (176×15%=26) with 27th getting $600. Better than a min-cash 7 out of 10 times even when you semi-bubble the Survivor.

The secret of the Survivor is that you need to be good and lucky to stay profitable playing poker tournaments. In Survivor tournaments you just need to be good. You don’t win the giant, sexy money, but if you can play them often enough, you can stay ahead of the rake. If you’re good enough.

I played my first Thousandaire Maker tournament on Bovada just over three years ago. In that time I’ve played a total of 149 Thousandaire Makers on Bovada and then Ignition. The payouts are $1,000. The buyin is $75+$7. I’ve cashed 16 events, with 16 full payouts and one semi-bubble. Cost to me: $12,218. Payout: $16,850 (nearly a full payout for the semi-bubble). Profit: $4,632+38% ROI.

Only 7.5% of players get paid in the Thousandaire Maker, less than 1 in 13 entries. Since Bovada originally “sold” their poker operation to Ignition, I’ve only seen  the number of entries get into triple digits once, so the number of $1K payouts has always been 5 (the guarantee), 6, or 7.

At least a couple of nights a week the Thousandaire Maker doesn’t run, not enough players have signed up by 8:15 Pacific (9 is the magic number) for the game to run.

R-Day Minus 39

The Poker Mutant will be retiring (mostly) from poker on 1 January. This is the latest installment in his thrilling countdown to the End of Times.

Not going to go into the details of this one. I made a good call early on and doubled up, then got cut down to a quarter of the starting stack by the same player. Worked it back up, got the add on, then ran jacks from the small blind into UTG limped kings and busted in three hours.

Did a last-minute buyin to the nightly Ignition Casino $5K NLHE Turbo. It was down to 200 players from over 500, with 90 playing, and the big blind was up to 1,600 (on a 10K starting stack). Got it in on the second hand in a 4-way all-in pre-flop with [js ts] and made the best hand on the turn with two pair, but a Broadway draw got there in the river.

Played a $7 buyin Ignition Casino NLHE Jackpot Sit-n-Go for the first time in a while and immediately got a 5x $35 payout table, then took it down by knocking out one player and having the other lose his connection (I went into heads-up with a 5:1 advantage anyway).