WSOP 2021: Day-No-Mont!

Is it just me? Every time I walk past this in the hall on the way to the WSOP, I don’t see a patio chair turned into wall art as much as I see an old man’s walker, crushed under an SUV on Valley View trying to get across to one of the Subways in the Gold Coast, covered in colored crepe paper and stuck up to hide the evidence in plain sight.

I took another shot at the 9am mega-satellite on Friday, ending up firing two bullets because the field got to 38 (three full $1500 payouts and one $1200), but didn’t manage to ever get anything going (hence the second bullet).

I debated playing some single-table-satellites, but since I hadn’t been able to connect up with the person I probably would have sold the lammers to (I cannot imagine myself trying to hustle lammers to people in line, even in a full WSOP; I just don’t have the ‘strike-up-a-conversation-with-strangers’ gene) I decided to wait until the $250 Deepstack at 1pm, which has been getting a couple hundred entries the past week.

I made some call in the late morning, then headed down to the All-American Bar & Grill for a salad before I headed in to Pavilion. It was a little after the 1pm start time by then, but I wasn’t too worried, since the levels were 30 minutes. But even though the line didn’t even extend from the satellite cages all the way to the central aisle, it wasn’t moving at all, at first. There were maybe 20 people in front of me and three windows open, but I stood in the same place for a long time. It was nearly. Half hour before I was seated at the table. And I only lasted about 25 minutes, loving a couple chunky hands, then raising KJ in middle position, getting a couple calls, then seeing a 9x8x7x flop and Qx turn and getting my stack all in and called by 9x9x. Then, of course, Qx on the river.

That was the last tournament poker for me for this trip. I figured that I would go pick up my media credentials, mostly to add them to the collection, and went back to the room to rest up from the excitement of my HORSE min-cash. I saw that I now had a WSOP.com player page and my Hendon Mob profile has the update already, Sadly, it’s not enough to get my on the next installment of the PNW Poker Leaderboard.

I wandered back down to the Amazon room and ran into Kevmath (again, because he’d been one of just five people—including myself—in the drastically-reduced media room earlier) and we firmed up our connections for getting together later. The final two tables of the HORSE tournament were running, and I very much wanted to rail PNW player Kao “Flexx” Saechao, who was second in chips at the time to eventual champ Anthony Zinno (who I’d won a pot from earlier in the tournament, I will remind everyone from now on), but I contented myself with harassing PokerNews because they had Oregon’s Kao Saechao linked in their player profile.

No thanks for that, but they did fix it not long afterward. They might just have noticed that the guy in the player profile looked nothing like the guy at the table. Flexx made 4th place, so great congratulations to him, and he will appear in the Leaderboard. Now wee just need Portland Meadows—named after a horse-racing track—to put on some HORSE tournaments to make Portland the home of Big O and HORSE!

Picked up some beer for Kevmath, went back to the room for a while, then he DMed me to let me know it would be a bit later than he’d expected because of a big news thing, which turned out to be he last-minute announcement of two more day 1s for the Main Event and a reshuffling of the rest of the schedule, to accommodate the relaxation of COVID travel restrictions to the US. He made it about two hours later than he’d originally expected (and I left him waiting outside he door for five minutes because I didn’t see his first couple of DMs, my apologies, Kevin), and we watched some of the endgame of the $5K NLHE 6-Max, from 3-handed until just about the time it ended in real life (though not on the 60-minute PokerGO delay feed) while I got to hear some details of how he came to play next week’s Turbo Bounty bracelet event, and other insights into the weird niche he’s carved out for himself as poker’s social media ganglion.

Time to finish packing up and head out in a few hours. Have a great WSOP, everyone!

WSOP 2021: My Time Is Coming

So people of the world
You take a bow
Cause I used to be out
But I’m flaming now
So hold on tight
With your knuckles white, cause
My time is coming

OMG, I’ve had “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” stuck in my head as an earworm this whole trip. It’s keeping me up at night; right now it’s 4:30am and I’ve been awake for an hour.

That could be because I’ve got some latent adrenaline after yesterday, or it could be because my memory for lyrics is bad, so the chorus of the song is on an endless repeat like the Sergio Leone-style anthem music the WSOP plays over and over before events start.

The restart time for Event #27 $1500 HORSE Day 2 wasn’t until 2pm, so after writing up my post on Day 1, I thought about heading down to satellite land to play the 9am mega but I decided that since Wednesday’s hadn’t had that many entries, I’d be better served keeping it fresh for the HORSE. It felt a little weird to be not playing poker for half a day, considering I’m only here for four days, but I braved the crossing to the Walgreens to pick up some goodies (by which I mean a lot of Diet Coke), rested on the couch, and talked to my wife and father on the phone.

I consulted my wife on the question of which card cap to use for Day 2, and she said to go with the gold.

So, even with only about 4 hours of sleep, I felt up to the task of trying to somehow make a stack about one-third the average last for the day.

The day started off with good news for me, because I picked up a great hand in the first game of the day—Omaha/8—and managed to more than double up, which put me in median stack territory and room to wait for hands. One of the players at the table came back with just 6500, doubled on the first hand with an AAKx hand but was still so short that he was knocked out shortly after that.

We were early in the break order, so by the next time I did an update on the PokerNews MyStack app, I’d been moved to another table. I got another double-up there that took me to 95k. Warning #1 for anyone using MyStack, if you take a photo (at least on the iPhone) through the app, MyStack does not save the photo to your Photos library! So take the pic with your Camera and add it to the MyStack post from Photos, or you’re never going to have access to that sweet, sweet chip porn, because there’s no way to export the image.

It was a bit of a roller coaster, I have to say. I haven’t played much HORSE live or online in recent years, and I can’t say I remember my game being this swingy before. Maybe I just don’t remember it. Anyway, two hours in, I was n worse shape than when I started, with just three big bets and 45 players to go before the money.

Did You Miss Me, Baby? Here I Am.

That was right about the time I went to do an update on MyStack and noticed that I’d been reported busted by PokerNews somehow.

I mean, geez, I didn’t think I was significant enough to get even a cursory bust report. We’re they reading my Twitter reports and just extrapolating? I mean, I’m a former WSOP live reporter and a former contributor to PokerNews.com. Where’s the love? I went over to the media table to check things out and the guy was unhelpful. I suspect this is some sort of software bug, because at my last table of the day, I heard James Woods, who reports on the app, mentioning to someone on the rail that it had happened to him, and I’m pretty sure nobody’s erroneously marking him out.

Just a note to the MyStack devs who aren’t reading this post: the Feed needs times, not just the date.

Another table change and I had a couple great hands in Stud/8 that put me back over 100K. Briefly.

That was the peak for me. We had 20 places to the money still, and I got my third(?) table change, finally over to the far side of the Orange section, about three hours into the day. Half an hour later were were told we were going hand-for-hand, then after about five minutes where I could see Norman Chad and some other folks standing at a table in the middle of the section, a rumor started going around we were already in the money.. Finally the announcement came through and I’d cashed at the WSOP for the first time. It was almost a little anti-climatic.

I was back to critically short by this point. Not so much from trying to eke into the min-cash but because I’d gotten Stud hands in the Razz rounds and Razz hands in the Stud rounds. Limits were up to 8k/16k; even the 2K antes in the Stud games were eating though my shot stack pretty fast. I had to commit to a Stud/8 hand that looked pretty good with three low cars a nut flush possibility, but the best I ended up with was a pair of threes. And that was it! I was a WSOP casher on my fourth bracelet event.

Got my cash from Payout, went back to Amazon to take a pic of the tournament clock—I forgot when I busted, I’m out of practice—then headed to my room to try to catch up various people. Apologies to the little poker group I belong to, PokerTeam 1: Brad, Steve, and Daryl, who I’d been updating through the day but neglected to ell I’d cashed among all the other people I was informing.

So, is a Smashburger a thing? Because it seems to me every short-order cook already used their spatula to smush the patty onto the grill.

Not sure what I’m gong to do with the next day and a half. I’m hoping the satellite scene picks up a bit on the weekend, plus going to try to arch up with Jeremy Harkin who’s been greatly encouraging—not to mention renting me a room wen I was down here as a reporter—and maybe grab a beer or two with Kevmath if we can squeeze it in.

WSOP 2021: Choose Your Own H.O.R.S.E. Adventure

This isn’t (hopefully) going to be a long post; it’s a little before 8:30am as I’m typing this, hoping I’ll get sleepy by staring at the screen, but I’ve been up for over an hour and I didn’t get to sleep until 4.

Yesterday started off with me popping over to Denny’s catty-corner from the Rio. It seems like, despite the wide-open rep of Las Vegas—many of the restaurants in the casino complex are shuttered—at least during the weekdays—which has led to scenes like this.

Denny’s, on the other hand, was busy and considerably less expensive than anything I’d seen on the menus at the Rio. All you have to do is take your life into your hands by walking across both Flamingo and Valley View each direction during morning rush hour to get there.

First order of the day was to get registered for Event #196 $180 NLHE Turbo Mega Satellite. I had my three $500 lammers from the evening before, but I was hoping to pick up another $1500 in lammers from this satellite. I’m starting to think my decision to grind satellites in the COVID era was -EV. By the end of registration, only 18 players had joined in, which meat just one full payout and one of two lamps and $200 cash. I had one AxQx hand get all in against AxJx and lose, which mostly wiped me out an I ended up fifth. The other players were discussing how to potentially chop it up as I picked up my bag, while the TD pretended something on the far wall of the Pavilion room was interesting.

That took a couple hours. It was time to make a decision about the path of my next three days in Vegas. I was (discounting expenses and treating my lammers as actual dollars) slightly ahead on the trip after the first day. Do I a) buy into the HORSE tournament? or b) use the lammers for the bulk of three more $580 mega satellites? With the number of players the mega were getting, I wasn’t sure how many of those were going to be profitable for me—I really prefer the larger satellite fields—and they could mean forgoing the two other bracelet events I was interested in.

As it happened, my passions took the lead and I dropped my lammers at the cage to register for HORSE.

My first table in the HORSE tournament couldn’t have had a better location. Though it also had Ian Johns in the seat next to me. It seemed like several other players there were from Washington state, as well. The next table wasn’t so good, in the ass-end of the Tan section of Amazon with bad lighting that made it difficult for the older players—not me, of course—to see the stud variant up cards at the other end of the table. Ran into some serious hardships and was down to 7k from 25k at one point before a phenomenal O8 segment took me up over starting stack and nearly 40k.

Got moved after a couple hours to a table with better lighting but also Alan Kessler. I lost the first hand I played there (to him) and then a (for me) massive hand where I had seven hearts in stud and I had to call off on the river when he raised me with his rivered boat. That stung. I did manage to pull off a flush that held up against Anthony Zinno to recover a bit.

Got moved to a table with Barry Greenstein and was dealt 234 in Razz, which got me excited. Then I got 2 black kings, which took some of the edge off. At this point, we were nearing the final three levels of play, which is still two hours before bagging, but I’d made it past the ed of registration, and if I could hang on with my <10 big bet stack, I might be able to make Day 2.

Attendance was down a bit for this event. There were 751 entries in 2019 and just 594 yesterday, which is a full 20% drop. I’m guessing that’s probably worse for someone like myself, because most of the people who aren’t showing up are the more casual HORSE players (like me).

Ran into Joe Brandenberg in the halls, and Jeff Mitseff at the next table at the end of the night. We got the “five hands” notice from the floor just as we headed into the Razz round. I think I managed to stay out of most of those hands.

Anyway, my table draw is interesting. Felipe Ramos is #3 in live tournament earnings in Brazil. Ron Ware runs the Mixed Game Poker in Las Vegas group on Facebook.

After we bagged up, I needed to find some food. If there was anything open at the Rio during the day, it wasn’t open at 2:15am. I headed across to Ping Pang Pong (crossing Valley View in the dark, yeek!) and managed to wolf down my first food since breakfast. This hibernation fat is good for something!

Going to try to make the day last as long as I can! Usually I change out the card cover each time I cash, I’ve got to decide whether making Day 2 of my first WSOP bracelet event is significant enough to swap out.

WSOP 2021: Back to the Rio

As anyone who reads this blog knows, I am not a professional poker player. The last bracelet event I played at the World Series of Poker was in 2013. I’ve only ever played two (well, now three) bracelet events, and they were back when the WSOP first introduced $1,000 events. This year, I sunk even lower and entered a $600 bracelet event.

It’s been a long haul, folks, Years ago, I’d heard about folks grinding satellites, and even though I felt I was decent at playing them, I’d never had the discipline to sit down and just do it. So many tournaments in the summer (or anytime I was likely to be going to Vegas), so many variations. Never mind that I’d done reasonably well in the Ignition Casino Thousandaire Makers (only to blow the money I made on MTTs). Never mind that I had Dara O’Kearney’s Poker Satellite Strategy on my Kindle mostly unread.

did put my plan into action when I came down in 2018, but bricked out. In 2019, when I ‘retired’ from poker, I had to cancel the trip at the last minute because of work, and you know what happened to 2020. So I really wanted to take advantage of this revival year—and experience a WSOP that didn’t melt me when I walked outdoors.

I made my plans as soon as the schedule was announced, centering the trip around three bracelet events: #24 $600 PLO 8-Max#27 $1500 HORSE, and #28 $1000 PLO 8-Max. Plus the usual $180 mega satellites and the daily $580 mega satellite. I figured either this WSOP would be one of the easiest (with so many players choosing not to or unable to travel to the US) or really hard (with the people who were dedicated to making it to the WSOP being concentrated with pros).

Up at 4am to catch the first flight to Vegas today. Disregard the enticing $250 offers from the airline to give up my seat for a later flight—we’re on a schedule, man!

Plane lands around 8:30. Now, spite months of mental preparation for this trip, I made  a very essential error: fucking Columbus Day (I’m using that instead of Indigenous Peoples’ Day because this is a comment about how the day screwed me over). I wasn’t planning to travel with a huge wad of money, just enough to get me through the first day or so, but Friday was a bitch and Saturday I had stuff to do around the house, I old just pick up my cash from the bank on Monday, right? Did I remember that banks were going o be closed on Monday? No. And even the cheap-ass PLO game was more than an ATM puts out.

So, when I get to Las Vegas, I need to get to a branch of my bank, of which there are a number in town, one just a couple miles from the airport. It even opens at 9. I get there a quarter hour before it opens and it’s a cubbyhole inside the student union at UNLV. I just hope it has money.

Branch opens up, the very nice branch assistant tells me my specific ask is no problem, until they get to the part where they give me the money and they tell me that there’s some weird thing about the way the business account I have had for my sole proprietorship for more than a quarter of a century is set up in their system and I’m somehow not the “owner” of the account. Fie on you, Christopher Columbus! Anyway, it’s resolved by me transferring the amount I need to my linked personal account and taking it out of there. I was reminded that when I had some a paycheck—from Caesar’s Entertainment, one of the largest employers here—to my account a few years ago, one of the branches in a grocery store couldn’t take my deposit without the branch manager being there, which they were not. It was not, dear reader, a large sum of money.

So that’s all before 10am.

The Rio at 9:30 this morning was quiet. Hardly any line for the registration cage. Mid-week mornings are good. I was bought in an hour before the event and kicked around. It was surprising to see what’s operating next what’s not. There were a fe people sitting at the tables inside Starbucks, but the lights were off and I didn’t see anyone behind the counter. That’s fine, I don’t drink coffee except socially.

So, how’d my first bracelet event in eight years go? Not so great. I was in a steady drift down for most of my time in the tournament, with a couple of players—one at the far end of the table and one just to my left—picking off chips. I looked at their stacks a couple of times before anyone had been knocked off the table and was a bit puzzled at where they’d all come from, I’d lost a lot but not that many, and it seemed like other people had more than me, too. I shrank down to less than a fifth of the 30k starting stack over the first four levels, then suddenly caught some fire in Level 5.

Our little corner of the Brasilia room didn’t see any water service for a couple hours. I was damned if I was paying for some other drink. I wanted my 10oz/$1 water. Maybe the lack of hydration was messing with my game.

My stack got up to almost where it had started three-and-a-half hours before before I potted with a rainbow AA44, got called by two players, then shoved on a KQx flop where I ought to have known I was beat. Both players shoved, one with an open-ended draw and the other with a set of kings and the wrap made a king-high straight.

So naturally, instead of looking for something t eat or drink (all I’d had since the night before was airplane biscotti, which was pretty good), I went back to the reg cage to get into the $580 mega. Now the lines were a bit longer, it took about 40 minutes to get my ticket, even though the line—full of anxious PLO re-entries—didn’t reach the main hall. It’s almost enough to make me go sign up with Fastrac, which I was discussing with a couple of the folks in line behind me, only to have someone who’d just signed up have some serious frustrations with the machine outside registration.

So I got to the mega almost 90 minutes in, with 10k of chips and 400/800/800 blinds. Just the way I like to burn $580. This went a to better, even though there were a couple of large stacks. I was one of the later entries but there were only 24 by the end of registration, which was going to yield two payouts of $5k in lammer chips and one of $2k.

I was playing tight (12bb!) then less than half an hour in I had to call with AK and the guy who’d been opening a bit too much a little sheepishly turned over Q2 after raising 10x. The the big stack on my right raised a hand and I caught trip 9s on a flop with T9 which knocked him out. So I had a quarter of the chips as we went into a break and consolidated to a table of 9.

But then work interrupted. Something back home att the job was messed up. It was probably my fault, and I’m getting calls from the client who I don’t usually talk to, what with me being a worker grunt and not the face of the enterprise. I faltered and raised QJ, then called an all-in from a player at the other end of the table, who had enough to halve my stack, which was more than everyone else, but not especially deep.

The highlight of the evening was probably when I called with KxQx against an all-in from a two-time bracelet winner (someone I should have recognized, but it’s been a few years since it was my job to know these guys) and cracked his Ax hand. That wasn’t long before he shoved a small stack with tens TT, got called by T9 and the board ran out 48444 for a chopped pot, which must just have been crushing, even to a pro.

We got down to 4 players, on the bubble and K, the player on my left and I were tied at about 37k, less than 10bb. I was getting the best of it, because the other old man at the table, P, gave me a couple walks and K wasn’t getting that, so he got a little shorter than me. T, the player with the most chips, proposed a chop, with him taking the full $5K, and P and myself passing a lammer chip each to K. Who am I to turn down a deal that pus me in the red for the day (not counting other expenses.

Everyone agreed to the deal, we went through the process to get out lammers, and that’s how I got my first-ever payout at the WSOP, though it’s not technically money. All for of us waved to the payout room together, T got his chips first, went up to the window, but even though I had to wait in line for a little to get my paperwork and payout, was still at the window. Both and I hung around to make sure got his other chip (I’d flipped him one right after I got them), and paid off his part in casino chips for some reason. Everyone satisfied (except for the part where I blew $3500 in equity) we headed our separate ways. I got checked in, got some fluids, and had a nice pork-fried rice.

PNW Poker Leaderboard — 02 October 2021: Before the Deluge

It’s only three days in to the 2021 World Series of Poker so there weren’t a lot of results yet from Las Vegas when I ran the numbers this morning. The only WSOP tournaments that had completed were Event #1 NLHE Casino Employees and Event #3 NLHE Covid-19 Relief, both two-day events that wrapped up on Friday. Several others have concluded by the time I’m writing this, though, including the one I had my hopes on: Event #2 $25K HORSE, so I’m already behind and I haven’t even gotten to Vegas yet.

A pretty short list of results this time around, with what seems to have been a lulll in events before the WSOP started up.

First off is Toppenish, Washington’s Rafael Haro, GPI: 4,889, with a 3rd place finish in Los Angeles, at the Commerce Hold’em Series NLHE Main Event. The tournament drew 399 entries for a prize pool of $399K. Haro placed one spot higher than Barry Greenstein. Haro moves nearly 1,000 places up the Leaderboard, to#923 from #1920.

Seth Davies GPI:64 continues to do well in the high stakes games with a runner-up finish out of 38 entries at Poker Masters #10 NLHE. Davies maintains his #1 position on the Leaderboard.

And believe it or not, we’re already at the final result for this Leaderboard: Yesit’s Christopher Brewer, winner out of 57 entries in the Poker Masters #8 NLHE. Brewer isGPI:65 (just one spot behind Davies) and moves up on this Leaderboard five spots, to #16, jumping over the likes of Darren Rabinowitz, Quinn Do, Matthew Jarvis, George Wolff, and Tyler Patterson.

Also, want to mention that Hendon Mob is great people!

Kevmath Quarterly Top 20

I’m actually a little late with this one, I should have done it a couple weeks ago, but life intervened. These are the top tournament earners from the PNW for the past three months (some movements are the result of late reporting from 2020 tournaments). Player whose names are followed by an asterisk were on the list last quarter.

June 2020 RankJune 2021 rankstateplayer
11Seth Davies *
3216Christopher Brewer *
76Dylan Linde *
4071186Jaime Cervantes Alvarez
1515Matt Affleck
2624Adam Hendrix *
2221Darren Rabinowitz
417204Aaron Thivyanathan *
4283591Matthew Jewett
8779Homan Mohammadi
2325Maxwell Young *
551353Landen Lucas
55James Romero
88Lee Markholt
642431Rambo Halpern
2122923Rafael Haro
390233Kris Steinbach
316260Cuong Lieu
1283761Kevin Theodore
123114Scott Eskenazi