PNW Poker Leaderboard — 17 March 2022: PNW Live Poker Is Back!

Chinook Winds PacWest Poker Classic

It was the first poker series in the US Pacific Northwest in two years (since I’m now including Alberta and British Columbia in the Leaderboard rankings, I have to acknowledge that they got the jump on us last fall), and players came out to Lincoln City, despite having to (more or less) wear masks, and suffer high fuel prices and sunny beaches.

David and I had to get our feet wet.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to play the whole week (job) so I took a couple days off early in the series so that I could play the 6-Max and HORSE tournaments. My sometime travel partner David Long — who I hadn’t really talked to for two years —sent me a message a couple weeks beforehand, and I switched up my reservation so we could split a room. Already saving money!

We got to Lincoln City about a half-hour after the start of Sunday afternoon’s tournament, a $25K GTD NLHE running while the opening $100K was in Day 2. David went off to register for the cash game waiting lists; I hit the tournament registration desk.

I only lasted a couple of hours in the $25K, by which it was check-in time at the motel, so I headed off to get our bags up to the room, then came back to wait for David to head up for dinner at the 60s Cafe and Diner for a burger and a Boozy Shake, the better to play the 3-Seat GTD NLHE Main Event Satellite (2 bullets and it didn’t help).

Monday morning was the $50K GTD NLHE 6-Max, which I had been looking forward to as much as the HORSE. I was a little late for the start, owing to a lot more folks than I was expecting at the Pig & Pancake, but we managed to get breakfast and over to the casino before it was too late. The buy-in on this one was $550, plus the dealer appreciation, so it’s one of the bigger outlays I’m willing to do these days.

Things got off to a pretty decent start, when I picked up a pair of sevens and his a set versus top pair on my first hand. Another set of events in round 4 pumped me up to about 50K from the 32K start. Lost some ground, then picked back up to make it to around 80K before I ran into sevens as my own nemesis, hitting trip tens with [ax tx] against a full house of sevens over tens. I called off 20K on the river alone and was down under the starting stack. That may have been the crucial point for me in this one.

I was under 20K at the beginning of the next level, four hours in, then I started to pick up some steam after a table change. We were under 30 players (with 12 places paying) six hours in. I was up to 30 big blinds, but the average was twice that. Another table move put me in with some guys who were even older than I am.

Another hour, and making a lucky river gunshot straight for Broadway put me up above average for the first time in a while. After a dinner break, we were seven places from the money, and I was back down to 20 big blinds. I did get to see three all-spade flops in a row, which was kind of bizarre.

The board was still reading 16 players remaining when the end came for me. I picked up [ax qx] for my big blind and I had about 15bb, which I was reasonably certain was the shortest stack left. We were five-handed at our table, and the UTG player raised to 18K (3x). One of the older players at the table (who’d been grumbling  to me about showing the aggressive ‘kids’ like UTG what’s what) pushed it to 40K, and I knew that I was taking a bit of a risk to race so close to the bubble, but I went all-in, nonetheless. With the extra 60K, I was sure I could get through the bubble, even with 4 players left. UTG folded right away. The guy who 3-bet thought it over for a bit, wondered aloud if I might have ace-king, and looked at his stack, which I think was probably well over 300K, before deciding to call with [9x 9x]. The flop was under eights, there was a king on the turn (would that I had the ace-king!) and he was safe on the river.

When I got up, Forrest Auel was taking a couple people off the board and I saw that it was just showing 13. I asked if I was the actual bubble boy and he told me that I was 14th, so I guess a couple went out just before me. I might have held my fire if I’d known we were at 14 instead of 16, but I think I played this game pretty well over all.

The HORSE tournament wasn’t starting until 4pm on Tuesday, so after walking down to the Pacific Ocean to get our feet wet (they turned to ice in about two minutes because it was still in the 40s at mid-day and the water at the Oregon coast is always cold) we headed up to the cash games, which were already under way by the time we got there. David put himself on all the lists, and I signed up for some NLHE, Limit Hold’em, and an unlikely Stud game, then we went off in search of some Game King slot machines. After a small win, we got called back to the live action games, David sat down in Big O, and I got a seat in the $1/$3 NLHE. Aside from a couple live cash sessions at the WSOP last fall, between not really being a cash player and COVID, I hadn’t played live cash NLHE since my last trip to Chinook Winds two years ago, but I managed to make a little profit over 90 minutes, then went off to sign up for the tournament. 

The $10K GTD HORSE started off in Stud Hi-Lo, and I somehow managed to scoop the first hand with the nut flush and a 76 low for a decent pot — since everyone was in on it at first — but I ran into some trouble in the Hold’em round, holding on to top pair twice in a row against players who picked up trips on the turn.

Two hours in, the big bet was already up to 1K, and I was down to 9500 chips from a 14K starting stack. But the next hour, in an Omaha Hi-Lo round, I somehow scooped a pot with a pair of threes and got back over starting stack. 

It wasn’t going to be back-to-back cashes for me in HORSE tournaments, however. Once again, it was Hold’em that stuck it to me. Not long before the end of round 12, I 3-bet with [ax kx] and the original raiser and I pumped it up to 7500, five bets at that level. I had him slightly outchipped. I whiffed the low flop, but called his bet. The turn was an ace, and he bet it, I put in another bit get, and he was all in for a bit more. He flipped over [qx qx]. All good. Until the queen came on the river, leaving me with less than two big bets.

Qe switched into Omaha and I took down a 3/4 pot by making a straight with middle cards and still having the low, then picked up [2x 4x 4x 5x] and it looked like I might pick up some more but no low came in, and though I had a set of fours, the queens guy had a set of jacks.

That was it for me! Back home to go to work the next morning, driving on the mountain road to Salem in the dark and the rain. Post-Poker Fun!  I wasn’t able to make it down to the Main Event the next weekend, but I think I played about as well as I ever have, despite being a wee bit rusty.

Pacific Northwest Poker Leaderboard

No results here yet from the PacWest Poker Classic, but there are definitely some interesting things from outside the region.

Coldfield, Washington’s Paul Wood was 5th in the Venetian DeepStack Extravaganza #29 $100K GTD NLHE MonsterStack, out of 177 entries ($171.7K prize pool). It’s their biggest cash to date, and it’s enough to take Woods from #4588 to #2815 on the PNW Poker Leaderboard.


Picking up results from early December, Prabakaran Sivabalasundaram from Calgary was 5th out of 233 entries in this event at Cash Casino in their home town. The prize pool reached C$221K. Sivabalasundaram gains more than a hundred spots on the Leaderboard, landing at #822. 4th place was claimes by Deron Noksana from the Northwest Territories, jumping seventy places to #434. Third place gave David Howat (Calgary) a two-hundred-place boost to #747. Lethbridge, Alberta’s Kevin Martin took 2nd, for a gain of twenty-three spots (#172). And on the top of the heap was Jimmy Lee from Edmonton, climbing from #77 to #69. 

Edmonton’s Allen Butkovic was runner-up in the Pure Poker Tour Edmonton #5 NLHE. The prize pool was over C$100K with 362 entries. Butkovic gains nine places, to #268.


This event (mid-February, not last year!) got 481 entries, generating a prize pool of C$438K. Krista Kay Teller (Leduc, Alberta) picked up their biggest-ever cash in 7th and gained twelve hundred places on the Leaderboard, landing at #2117. Just ahead of Tellier in 6th was Ali Razzaq of Edmonton, climbing from #1259 to #993. Also from Edmonton was 4th-place finisher Tyler St. Clair, rising thirty-six spots to #304. Ali Taghi Khani (Edmonton) placed 2nd in both this event and Pure Poker Tour Edmonton #3 NLHE Bounty (306 entries, C$144K prize pool), for their two biggest-ever cashes and nearly nine hundred places on the Leaderboard, now #634. Edmonton’s Andy Truong was the winner of the Main Event, gaining sixty-two places, to #166.

Jeffrey Myers from Federal Way got 4th in the 781-entry World Series of Poker Circuit Cherokee #4 $75K GTD NLHE Seniors tournament, where the prize pool busted the roof to more than $250K. Myers is up almost five hundred places to #1306.

Climbing almost thirteen hundred places to #1835 is Sherwood park, Alberta’s Edgar Zurawell, who won the Wild West Shootout #3 NLHE Mini Main Event, ahead of 244 other players and with a prize pool just short of C$63K.

Edmonton’s Pawan Braich took down Pure Poker Tour Edmonton #7 PLO Triple Stack, with a prize pool of nearly C$80K and 210 entries. Braich rises from #308 to #281.

James Schmidt (Spokane) got their biggest-ever cash and fifty-six spots on the Leaderboard (#423) with 2nd place at the Wynn Millions Poker Series $40K GTD NLHE Seniors. 348 entries made a prize pool just over $120K.

Coming in 13th at the Wynn Millions $1.5M GTD NLHE Mystery Bounty, Beaverton’s Anthony An took down their biggest-ever cash and rose over four hundred places to #983. And it was Rambo Halpern — former owner of one of the first poker clubs I played in — who took an astounding 2nd-place (plus some bounties) in the field of 2,103 that more than doubled the guarantee. It bumps him up by two hundred places, to #150 on the PNW Poker Leaderboard.Brian Cunningham (Portland) gained nearly two thousands spots on the Leaderboard by winning the Venetian Deepstack Extravaganza I #24 $100K NLHE MonsterStack. Cunningham beat a field of 195 (prize pool of $189K).

Dylan Linde ekes out a rare Top Twenty move: up one spot from #6 to #5 (edging out James Romero) with 7th place at the LA Poker Classic #28 NLHE Main Event, which got 119 entries and a prize pool of $1.12M. Which also brings us to the last name on this edition of the PNW Poker Leaderboard: Seattle’s Jayakrishnan Nair, who claimed 2nd place and a forty-four spot climb, to #86. 

Stay safe out there!