Off the Track of Being Beaten

Before Black Friday, I’d set foot in a casino exactly twice. The first time was Harrah’s New Orleans in 2004, when my wife and I got into town just as a couple of friends who were about to leave for the airport, and we met up with them while they played blackjack for what I felt was an obscene amount. Actually, since I’ve never played blackjack and even though I’ve spent that much on a tournament buyin, I still think it was an obscene amount.

The other time was the next year when I was a speaker at a National Association of Broadcasters-affiliated conference in Las Vegas. They brought me in to talk about  Adobe Director, a multimedia development tool that was already past its death throes, so I came up with this nifty presentation involving this new thing called podcasting. Something like five people showed up to an enormous hall in the Las Vegas Convention Center. It was my first time ever in Las Vegas, it was April, and the map didn’t make it look all that far from my room at the Rio All-Suite to the convention center, so I set out on foot. In a suit and tie.

That was all before I started playing poker in 2007. And it wasn’t until a trip to Ocean Shores,  Washington four years after that that I ever played poker outside of a home game or Portland card room (see “Casino Virgin”). It only took a month before I headed down to Spirit Mountain for the first time (“Freeroll to Nowhere”) for a cash session and a tournament satellite.

Then, just a couple of weeks later, I went from a little oceanside casino to one of the biggest poker rooms on the east Coast. After a business trip to Boston, I headed to Foxwoods on an overnight trip, playing cash NLHE PLO8 and Stud, along with a couple of tournaments before skedaddling home before the airports closed (“Foxwoods Before the Storm”).

The dam had broken, bigly. It took a few months, but my (still unfulfilled) ambition to go to EPT Prague and my first win in a $10K guarantee tournament became the spark for the biggest buyin tournament I’ve ever played, at the Venetian Deepstack Extravaganza Main Event that fall.

My old pal and virtual dopplegänger Charlie Levenson taking on a promotional job with the short-lived Oak Tree Casino north of La Center saw me make a few trips up there that winter..

2012 was the year I really stepped it up (or stepped in it). In mid-February I made another trip to Las Vegas, where I played four tournaments (including a triple-barrel PLO) and made a bad laydown (“Pulling the Trigger”). At the end of March, I went north to play the Tulalip Poker Pro Challenge, and met (briefly) Tyler Patterson and Jay Zemen, who were on either side of me.

Drove out to Pendleton for the first time that April and racked up loss after loss in my longest-to-that-point series run (four days). Five tournaments, five satellites, and six cash sessions, with about $1,200 in losses (“Comebacks and Failures”).

My friend Tomer Berda was still playing poker a couple years after his WSOP bracelet win, and I went down to play in Las Vegas for two weeks that summer, for one of the most crushing periods of my poker career. I was incredibly lucky to have gotten the offer of a condo room for one week from Mark Humphreys, and Tomer picked up most of our meals. I played tournaments at the WSOPVenetian, and Golden Nugget; Played a bunch of Daily Deepstacks, that year’s WSOP Doubles shitshow with Tomer, and the $1K buyin bracelet event, where I started at the same table with Keven Stammen and Ivan Demidov, so I don’t even need to mention that things did not go well (“No Bracelet for You!”). The only profitable session I had was a single NLHE cash game. And I hit a deer driving home.

I finally made a couple of excursions to the Last Frontier in La Center in August and September, but it just didn’t take.

I finished the year out by abusing myself with another trip to Wildhorse, which didn’t go any better than the first, though it was shorter, so less costly (“Levelling Out Back East“).

And that is the progression of a nice boy who had never set foot in a casino until he was in his 40s into a poker degenerate.

PNW Poker Leaderboard for mid-March 2019

The end-of-year poker lull is over and the Pacific Northwest schedule moved into high gear with February’s PACWEST Poker Classic. Coming on its heels is the Muckleshoot Spring Classic starting the last week of March. And that overlaps the Wildhorse Spring Poker Round Up on the first weekend of April.

Results from PACWEST have just been posted to Hendon Mob, so it’s time for another edition of the Leaderboard!

The big numbers aren’t from PACWEST, but the US Poker Open high roller series. And top place would have gone to Vancouver, Washington-based Ali Imsirovic with a win in the $25K buyin Event #5, a win in the WSOPC Las Vegas #14 NLHE High Roller, and 4th in the LAPC #66 NLHE High Roller , but he’s changed his listing on Hendon Mob to his homeland of Bosnia & Herzevogina, where he is now the #1 player by a factor of about 4:1 over WPT Champion Ema Zajmovic. It was great having you on the Leaderboard, Ali!

Top spot goes instead to Bend’s Seth Davies, with three cashes at the USPO (10th in Event #3 $10K NLHE, 3rd in Event #4 $10K Short Deck, and 6th in Event #9 $50K NLHE). Davies holds steady at 9th on the Leaderboard.

More cashes outside of the state kept Coeur D’Alene-based Dylan Linde ahead of Davies in 8th. Linde took 2nd in a deal with Lance ‘Cord’ Garcia at the Los Angeles Poker Classic #59 NLHE in a field of 98, then came in 4th in last week’s WPT Thunder Valley NLHE Main Event.

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Max Young came in 18th in that same event just two weeks after taking first at the PACWEST Poker Classic #22 $250K GTD NLHE Main Event in a deal with Sam Nguyen. Max moves up to 20th from 22nd on the Leaderboard; Sam jumps nearly 500 spots to 360th! It was a Portland-heavy final table, with Craig Gray (now 60th on the Leaderboard) taking 3rd.

Meanwhile, back south in Las Vegas at the Wynn Classic $200K GTD NLHEMatt Affleck took first (there may have been a deal involved). He holds at 12th.

Steve Chanthabouasy cashed twice at the PACWEST series, in both of the big buyin events, taking 3rd in Event #16 $100K GTD NLHE 6-Max, and 2nd in Event #19 $200K GTD NLHE High Roller. He moves up 4 places to 54th.

It’s surprising that someone who’s been an integral part of the Portland poker scene like Rambo Halpern is just now getting a cash on Hendon Mob, but his debut—with the win in the PACWEST High Roller—puts him in 556th place on the Leaderboard. Carter Gill grabbed third in the same event, which maintains him at 21st.

Over in Korea, James Romero (steady at #11 on the Leaderboard) took 3rd place in the Paradise Poker KRW1.1M NLHE Main Event, then 2nd in both the KRW5M NLHE High Roller and KRW10M NLHE Super High Roller. Just for a little perspective, the last two events had 13 and 9 entries, respectively, and KRW10M is about $8,850.

Portland’s Guy Dunlap took first place in the PACWEST 6-Max event, then 6th in the High Roller, and capped off the series with 8th in the Main Event. e was already at a respectable 418th on the Leaderboard, but those three cashes pop him up to 258th.

Out of Seattle, Chad Campbell snagged a Remington trophy for LAPC #46 Limit Omaha Hi-Lo. He now sits at 384th.

Daniel Park from Federal Way only made it to 10th place in his event, but that was in a field of 952 at the Rio in the WSOPC Las Vegas $1M NLHE Main Event. That brings him up to 177th.

Friend of the blog Steven Roselius blasts up 80 spots to 254th with his 4th-place finish in the PACWEST High Roller, Beaverton’s Auddie Reynolds (#533) scores his best-ever cash with 2nd in a deal at the 6-Max along with Christopher Brost, whose 5th-place cash was just his second-ever. Brost moves over 1500 spots on the Leaderboard, to 1216.

George Wolff is back in action with his 5th in the PACWEST High Roller, enough to budge him out of 72nd place on the Leaderboard to 68th.

Our old adversary Steve Harper snagged the top spot in Event #1 $125K GTD NLHE, the first weekend of the PACWEST Classic. Where’s the book, Steve?

Angela Jordison made an appearance in the PACWEST Main Event, with her 6th place finish there taking her up to 130th on the Leaderboard. Gary Hale from Cloverdale, Oregon got 5th, moving over 100 spots to 475th.

At the Venetian Deepstack Extravaganza I #42 $1M GTD NLHE Main Event, Vancouver, Washington’s Christopher Hull took 14th out of nearly 800 entries (the event won by November Niner Jesse Sylvia the same week his fianceé won a tournament) and he is now at 1326rh.

Two newcomers to the Leaderboard made it through excellent finishes in the first event at PACWEST: Julie Mischkot of Salem picks up her first Hendon Mob cash for her 2nd-place finish (putting her in at #1643), and Nicky Komphouvong‘s 4th place finish (and 2 other recorded cashes) put him at #1621.

The Ante Up Poker Tour is still a thing, apparently, and Kent, Washington’s Landon Brown grabbed 3rd at Tampa’s Silks Poker Room as part of a deal in their $60K GTD NLHE Main Event. He moves from 469th to 393rd.

Kao Saechao stopped through town this past week after winning the 70-entry WPT Thunder Valley #3 NLHE ‘The Knockout’. You can read about that here. He holds on the Leaderboard at #26.

Chris Wang of Seattle has just three recorded tournament cashes, but two of them are wins: he took down last fall’s 6-Max at Chinook and he won Event #20 $50K GTD NLHE  at PACWEST. Interesting payouts; it looks as if there was some sort of six-way deal with Wang getting first place money and five other players making a deal to keep payouts under $5K each. Wang slides up to #553.

Darren Rabinowitz‘s 5th-place finish in a Wynn Classic $200K GTD NLHE doesn’t make move him at all on the Leaderboard, but that’s because he’s already #15,

Finally, Nick ‘Wonka’ Getzen is a more familiar face playing on Poker Time or cash games, but he was down at PACWEST for Event #13 $50K GTD NLHE Big Bounty, and he is listed in 2nd place in what looks like a 3-way deal.

The Retirement

Since last I wrote, I’ve played a single-table home game tournament with my original crew (took 2nd) and a cash session after that (came out ahead).

I went down to PACWEST for the first day and shot four bullets into Event #1. I made my first rebuy just over an hour in. After losing AxQx v AxKx forty minutes later, the third bullet was loaded. That lasted a bit over an hour until I got it all in with Ax8x on an 8x5x3x flop and was called by 4x4x, who hit a set on the turn. The fourth bullet lasted me through dinner and I was able to run things up a bit to more than triple the starting stack, but after about eight-and-a-half hours I was down to 15bb, shoved A8 and ran into AxKx.

Before I headed home, I blew through two buyins in the evening Main Event satellite in 20 minutes (it had started 90 minutes before I busted from the big tournament, so they were short to start).

A couple of weeks later, I played another home game (dropped two buyins) then left to late-reg the Final Table $20K NLHE First Friday. That went reasonably well, and I ended up at the final table with Kristi G, who’d asked me about getting extra chips with the rebuy at the break and I said sure. Anyway, I busted in a race in 8th, but she went on to the final chop of four or five players. Then I knocked her out of last week’s Portland Meadows $40K NLHE after we’d had a good chat about some of the characters we’d played with the previous tournament.

Now, that may sound like a lot of poker for someone who’s retired from the game, but last year between 1 January and 20 March, I played 13 live tournaments as opposed to 7 this year. So it has slowed a bit. Online’s dropped from 60 to 35. So maybe I was bluffing myself.