Clearing the Decks: Vegas Trip Report

I wrote this back in June and never put it up, Figured I’d better get it posted before…you know.

Something the Sat Dragged In

I made a quick trip down to Vegas over the weekend that may be my last for the summer, since it didn’t go so smoothly.

I headed down with one of my co-workers, Ben, who was seeing the WSOP for his first time.

We got a room at the Rio, since we just had a couple of days, getting into town at 7pm on Friday. We got a Lyft to the hotel, got checked into a room  in Masquerade with Trump’s hotel in the middle of our view, then headed down to the floor, where we immediately ran into Kevmath. After a brief chat I hustled over to the cage to buy into the evening’s $585 Mega Satellite, I made it all of 40 minutes until I bet my pocket tens that were good to the river when AK made a backdoor flush.

Ben and I headed over to the Strip, starting off at Planet Hollywood, where I introduced him to the Mutant Poker Original Friend of the Blog Brad Press who was enjoying some cash game action.

We walked up the Strip checking out the Friday night crowd, as Ben displayed for me his strategy for winning at video roulette, then headed back to the Rio.

Saturday morning we headed down for the 9am WSOP $185 Mega Satellite, where Ben made it about halfway through and I busted 17th, with 8 places paying $100 cash and three $500 tournament buyin lammers. The single-table satellites were going off all around for the Millionaire Maker, but they also ran a satellite for that afternoon’s Eight-Game Six Handed bracelet event, and eager to play some games I don’t get a chance at at home, I jumped in. Amazingly enough, I was (a distant) second in chips by the time we were down to three players, but I ended up going out third.

Ben headed out on his own adventures most of Saturday, ending up in a small tournament at Treasure Island where he chopped for what would be the only cash of our combined weekend. I headed to the Venetian Deepstack Poker Championship $40K GTD NLHE Survivor hoping to pick up one of the $3400 payouts. I wasn’t the only one, as my table had a couple of pros I recognized. Over at another table was Carlos Welch. When I came back from break, I had the scare of my life, as another famous name walked past my table, I thought he was looking for his seat, but he was on his way out.

Played a couple of games on, then did the Mega Satellite again on Sunday morning. Busted out of that, headed to the Orleans and jumped into a tournament there.

I guess I’m lucky that I busted, because even though our flight (on the wretched Spirit Air) was an hour late Sunday night, the game still hadn’t hit the money by the time we were originally scheduled to take off.

So that’s probably Vegas for me for this year. I think trying satellites was the best strat—any one of them would have made the whole trip even, and the big one on Friday would have been fantastic (with a $50 cash payout and $5K in lammers). On to the next attempt.

R-Day Minus 40

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 the turkey was consumed at my brother’s house for Thanksgiving, we came home and I got into the nightly Ignition Casino $4K GTD PLO8. As is usual for me in Pot-Limit Omaha tournaments (and I assume, for a lot of people), it was a rather down-and-up affair over the 200+ hands I played before getting to the final table.

I was under starting stack over the first 40 or so hands, crossing back over the line, then back under, then took a big hit that dropped me to half the starting stack (and about 20bb). I more than doubled up on hand 50, lost a third of my stack three hands later, then zoomed into the top 10 on the leaderboard just a few hands later. Volatile, a the kids say.

I dropped out of the top 10 a couple of times, but I was back up there by the time the bubble approached. I laid back, accidentally folding one hand I intended to play, and with blinds jumping up quickly, I was one of the short stacks by the time we reached the final table.

There was a bit of an overlay in the tournament—one of the few times I can remember getting in one like that. And I managed to outlast three of the other players to grab 6th place for a nice 500% ROI. Only another $97,816 in earnings before the end of December and I keep playing!

PNW Poker Leaderboard Special: Fall Coast Classic & Fall Poker Round Up

As I mentioned the other day in the Planner, it taken a while for the results of the Fall Coast Classic at Chinook Winds and the Fall Poker Round Up at Wildhorse to get reported to The Hendon Mob, but they’re finally incorporated into everyone’s standings and I can get on with this report.

First, the New

There were a lot of players who got their fiirst large (or first ever) recorded cashes at the Chinook Winds series, and at the top of that group was Portland’s Eshan Porgaharibshahi who picked up his first three flags with final tables in the three biggest events:  $150K GTD NLHE (3rd, as part of a multi-player deal at the final table), $100K GTD NLHE 6-Max (5th), and the $200K GTD NLHE Main Event (3rd).

It’s kind of surprising that Kristi Means (also Portland) got her first recorded cash at the $200K GTD NLHE Main Event—she’s been around the poker scene for quite a while—but her first place finish was it.

Seattle’s Chris Wang picked up his first two recorded cashes with a 9th place finish in the second of the $75K GTD NLHE tournaments and a win in the $100K GTD NLHE 6-Max.

Out at the Pendleton NLHE Main EventReynaldo Iturbide of Wapato got his first flag for third place.

Bend’s Zach McKirahan bested the other 458 entries in the Chinook Winds $150K GTD NLHE to seal a first place finish for his first recorded cash.

Second place in the 516-entry opening Friday tournament in Pendleton wasn’t Monte Thissel‘s (Burns) first cash, but it was bigger than his other two by a lot.

Leigh Zaphiropoulos only had to come from Newport to Lincoln City to make another final table there in the $200K GTD NLHE Main Event (6th) for his third and largest recorded cash.

Gresham’s Tom Garry got his first recorded cash with a 2nd place in the $75K GTD NLHE Re-Entry. There were 316 entries.

Tim Mooney from Beaverton was also a first-time casher, geting 4th place in the Chinook $150K GTD NLHE. Chester Dooley of Albany got 6th for cash number 2, and Bend’s Richard Scocum got his first cash with 5th place.

Kirkland’s Brendan Rajah picked up his first cash at Wildhorse, with a 5th in the NLHE Main Event.

The Usual Suspects

The winner of the Pendleton NLHE Main Event was Spokane’s Michael Jutte. It was his largest cash, and so far all of his recorded cashes but one (going back to 2010) are at events at Pendleton.

The more successful of Portand’s The Poker GuysGrant Denison, took 2nd place in the $200K GTD NLHE Main Event at Chinook Winds as part of a heads-up deal. The tournament had 375 entries and a prize pool of nearly $243K.

Rick Larson of Port Orchard was the winner of the 31-entry NLHE High Roller at Pendleton, then he turned around and won the 388-entry tournament the night before the Main Event.

Portland’s Stuart Young had just two recorded cashes before the Chinook Winds tournament and he’s a double-dipper He picked up three cashes at Chinook and another at Pendleton. He just escaped being the bubble boy in the Chinook Main Event, but he made three final tables: 7th in the $150K GTD NLHE, 2nd place in the $100K GTD NLHE 6-Max, and 2nd again the the NLHE Main Event at Pendleton. He had no cashes before the beginning of this year.

Gregory Lindberg of Corvallis is the other double-dipper. He won the $75K GTD NLHE at Lincoln City, then picked up 4th at the Thursday night tournament in Pendleton and another 4th in the Wildhorse NLHE Main Event.

Tareq Amhaz from Longview won the $75K GTD NLHE Re-Entry at Chinook.

Yakima’s Brian Lawrence picked up his best-ever cash with a win in the opening Saturday tournament at PendletonZack Baille of Pasco won the opening Friday event, Rich Hampton (from Pendleton!) won his biggest-ever cash in the Thursday tournament (with Eric Kline of Seattle coming in 2nd), and Spokane’s Bob Schulhauser took first place in the Pendleton NLHE Seniors.

And that’s all for now.



R-Day Minus 43

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.

Results from the Chinook Winds Fall Coast Classic and the Wildhorse Casino Fall Poker Round Up have finally been reported to The Hendon Mob, and state rankings have been updated. New PNW Poker Leaderboard out soon!

R-Day Minus 45

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.

I’m trying to make the most of my last couple months of poker, so while I’ve reserved my Saturday afternoons for stuff at home since Portland Meadows initiated their noon $10K GTD NLHE tournaments (at least when I haven’t been on a poker trip), I’m trying to cram them in.

I got there not long after the start of Round 1, and promptly managed to lose 6K of my 25K starting stack to a very nice Russian lady on my right when she flopped the wheel and I turned a flush draw and made two pair on the river after raising 48 under the gun.

I managed to chip back up from that and a few other bad choices with K5, after I turned the nut flush. A low fifth spade on the river made me worry for a minute about a steel wheel, until I realized that my five blocked any straight flush.

That was about it for success, though, as far as my stack went, though I did crack the table up with a joke about Neil Diamond tickets. I clung on with a couple of shoves, pulling out a chop with AxJx v AxKx when the board double-paired. I went into the third break with half the starting stack. I ran it back up to 32K, but the blinds were eating big chunks out of my stack, there were several big stacks at my new table, and I went card dead, picking up absolutely nothing where I had two cards both above eight.

Eventually, on a button raise against my big blind, I shoved 4bb with 65, got called by AxTx and busted on the flop. Out 32nd place, 17 from the money.

R-Day Minus 46

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.

The plan for the weekend was to bink the Friday night Final Table $10K GTD NLHE,then  fly to LAX for the LA Poker Open $500K GTD NLHE Main Event at Commerce Casino in the morning.

We were playing short-handed for a little bit with Bourbon Bill dealing, me in seat 6, Ron in seat 2, and Tony S. in seat 8. We’re having a pleasant enough conversation and game. Then Darren sits down and starts Darrening it up.Eventually this blows up into a hand where I raise 9T, he reraises, and we go to the flop. 987. I check, he bets, I reraise, he goes all in, I call and he has 87 but I’m still 60% to win the hand with any heart, two nines, three tens, and three jacks and three sixes (discounting the hearts of each rank). Needless to say, the turn and river are black and a queen and king. So I’m down to 3K but still have 30+ big blinds.

I manage to chip back up, doubling once through Darren when he calls my top pair with his flush draw and misses, and picking up some other chips with a couple of shoves.

But Darren is still my downfall just 80 minutes into the game. He’s Darrened off most of what was two starting stacks and shoves from middle position on my big blind. I have jacks. The small blind calls his 3400 all in, I shove my jacks, Darren shows deuces, the small blind calls with aces, and while I get a gutshot draw on the flop (Qx9x8x) I’m just covered and don’t rebuy. Tomorrow’s the $10K at Portland Meadows.

Made myself a Chocolate Syrup Bourbon MIlkshake when I got home.

#PNWPokerCal Planner for 16 November 2018


I’d been hoping that results from either the Chinook Winds or Wildhorse series would be posted on Hendon Mob before I had to do another update of the Leaderboard, but I’m running out of time and as everyone knows by now, Max Young won more than a quarter of a million dollars (and a fifth ring) this week at the WSOPC Choctaw Main Event.

As anyone who’s been around Portland poker for a few years knows, Max was a regular here not that long ago before he headed out of town for the big money. At least I can say I got sucked out on by greatness once or twice.

By the way, that was Max’s second WSOPC Ring this month (so far), he got another one in WSOPC Lake Tahoe Event #11 NLHE (with a final table and another cash at Choctaw in-between). Before that, he hadn’t won a Main Event for almost a month!

Ryan Stoker took 5th in the WSOPC Lake Tahoe Main Event after a small cash in the preceding Event #9 NLHE Big Blind Ante.

I’ve known of Jerry Mouawad for many years, from back when my wife was a theater reviewer, because he’s one of the founders of Imago Theater here in Portland, so it was kind of funny to run into him the first time at Encore Club years ago. He’s also a pretty decent poker player, and he won the Venetian Deepstack Extravaganza #12 NLHE Rebuy early this month

PokerTime fixture Jake Dahl had a string of cashes at WSOPC Lake Tahoe, with three final tables, including 4th place in Event #9 NLHE Big Blind Ante.

Making it onto the list for the first time in the last weeks before it disappears completely are Washington’s Dan Wood, with 7th in the Talking Stick Resort Seniors Open, and Kang Chua for a win in the Venetian Deepstack Extravaganza IV Event #22 NLHE Monster Stack.

The Narrowing Path

Back in the early days of this blog, I got it in my mind to get to EPT Prague for my 50th birthday. My thinking was that—aside from the series starting near my birthday every December—my wife is a Christmas fan, Prague is the home of Wenceslas Square and a famous holiday market, and it would be less galling to travel to a poker destination if it was someplace she actually would enjoy (Vegas is not on that list). So I spent the summer trying to get myself in the position where I could (as an umemployed freelance programmer without any work) manage to swing the kind of win I cold parlay into a European trip.

That didn’t happen until mid-November—kind of late to be making Prague travel plans—and even more difficult was that a lot of the series took a break around Thanksgiving, so the night I won $4K at Encore, I flew to Vegas to play waaaay above my weight in a $2,500 buyin at the Venetian. That’s actually what led to the calendar.

Now I’m in a sort of similar predicament. I haven’t had a four-figure profit since the summer, I hit a downswing in my Thousandaire Makers on Ignition, and the end of my poker life approaches. I gave myself an out my promise to my wife to quit poker is contingent on me not cashing for $100K before the end of the year. But I’m a working stiff, there are more holidays between now and then than I can shake a Yule log at, not to mention I gotta shake some money out for property taxes and I should probably do something special for our 30th anniversary.

So I’m looking at the events below very carefully.

This Week In Portland Poker

It’s back to normal schedules at Final Table with the $10K GTD tonight (after a couple of weeks with reduced guarantees because of events at Chinook Winds and Wildhorse). And the great $10K at Portland Meadows.

Only a Day Away

  •  The Venetian Deepstack Extravaganza IV  runs through 25 November. The big event of the series is the $1,600 buyin $400K GTD Main Event starting today with another entry day tomorrow. Tonight is a $300 buyin Survivor tournament at 7pm (pays $2,500, do not leave your money on the table). There are two $400 buyin $100K GTDs next week.
  • WSOPC Las Vegas started Wednesday at Planet Hollywood, with a $400 buyin $200K GTD tournament. The Main Event has starts next Saturday and Sunday.
  • The 20th Annual Lucky Chances Casino Gold Rush finishes this weekend ($1,080 buyin, starting Friday, Saturday, or Sunday) with $100K to the first-place finisher.
  • North of Sacramento, WPTDeepstacks Thunder Valley has the $460 buyin $250K GTD Monolith this weekend, with the $1,500 $500K GTD Main Event starting Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving.
  • The LA Poker Open at Commerce Casino is closing out this weekend with a $1,100 $500K GTD Main Event (Day 1 Friday and Saturday) and a $1,100 buyin Survivor paying $5,000 to 20% of the field.
  • The Muckleshoot Casino Big Bounty tournament ($200 buyin) is Sunday at 10:15am. Their monthly Deepstack ($300 buyin) is next Suunday at the same time.
  • The Deepstacks Poker Tour Championship is in Calgary next Thursday (it ain’t Thanksgiving in Canada) 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 30 November and 1 December, with a C$2,500 buyin and C$1M GTD. You can get direct flights on Air Canada from Portland for $240 (US) RT if you buy now. It’s closer than Vegas. Plus, you’re in Calgary as winter is coming.
  • The Wynn Signature Series starts 28 November. Opening weekend has a $250K GTD $600 buyin and a $50K GTD $550 buyin $5K payout Survivor. The 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 29 November. 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 29 November 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. Last year’s Winter Series Main Event had a prize pool of just under $300K (Max Young took 4th, natch).
  • The Bicycle Casino hosts the final West Coast WSOP event of the year: WSOPC Los Angeles from 1–12 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 ($400 buyin). There’s my fallback.