This Friday is the anniversary of Black Friday: April 15, 2011, which put a kink in the lives of a lot of US poker players who played on PokerStars, Full Tilt, and other sites (though most of them had other issues that would have brought them down, eventually). I’d mostly been playing in a home game since coming back to poker, and hadn’t really gotten deep into the online world before it got shut down. Coincidentally—or not—the boom in Portland poker came not long after Black Friday, with Aces Players Club, Ace of Spades, Final Table Poker Club, and Encore Club opening to join the already-existing Portland Players Club. Four years later we’ve got two $100K guarantee live events in the city in the space of a week.
If you want a primer on what went down, read Martin Harris’s article on PokerNews this week.
Big Stack Closes, Portland Meadows Coming
I’ll let Brian Sarchi say it.
Zach Elwood, author of Reading Poker Tells (among other things), posted this on Twitter Tuesday, which got some laughs:
— Reading Poker Tells (@apokerplayer) April 13, 2016
The site doesn’t seem to have much going for it (I can see a bunch of PHP errors on the landing page behind the sign-in dialog) but it’s not a joke, it definitely is in Portland and the Google Maps image from just two months ago even shows the same SUV parked in a slightly different position.
Stay Safe Out There
Heard a disturbing story on Tuesday from a player who’d been at Encore Club the night before. After winning some money at the shootout tables, he left and walked to his car, which was parked around the corner from the Mission Theater, just a couple blocks from the club. I wasn’t particularly late, about 10:30pm as he recalled. Then a guy stuck a gun in his face and told him to hand over his wallet.
For whatever reason, at the time the player told his story, he said he hadn’t contacted either police or the club—for whatever reason, some people don’t like dealing with the police—which everyone at the table we were at encouraged him to do, so I’m leaving out a number of details.
As poker players, some of us are wandering the streets with wads of cash in our pockets (others not). But just being in the vicinity of a place where it’s known that there’s a lot of cash can make you a target, because somebody’s going to assume that a percentage of the people in the neighborhood will have a chunk of money on them, and if they see you coming out of a club’s door, that just increases the probability.
So make sure you’re not an easy target. A robber would have to have someone inside a club (not inconceivable) to know who might be walking out with a lot of money, but you could easily lose what you brought to the club and still get a gun shoved in your face just by being there. You don’t want to have to have the “I just lost everything” conversation with a twitchy felon. Keep an eye out even if you lost and be ready to circle back to the front door if anything seems sketchy.
If you’re playing late and parked a ways away from a club, spots closer in usually open up as the night goes on. Pop out and move your car closer so your exposure isn’t as great when you leave with money.
If there’s a security guard and you’ve got a bunch of cash on you, ask the guard to walk you to your car. They’ve got a gun. Both Encore and Final Table hire armed security for most of their big events, and they’re usually more than willing to accompany you for a block or two.
If you are walking or you’ve got several blocks between you and your car, call a cab. Sure, you might be only going a few blocks, but that can be an expensive few blocks if you get robbed. Way more expensive than a cab that can pick you up at the club door and take you right to your car. Or home.
Deal of the Day: Encore Poker Series VIII
Starting a week from tomorrow, the Encore Poker Series returns with four increasingly large guarantees: $20K, $30K, $50K, and $100K. Results from last fall’s series were posted on Encore’s Facebook page (and reposted here). The short version is that the prize pools for the four events (with the same guarantees as the series next week) were $40.5K, $52.5K, $66.4K, and $140.9K, with the top 2 players in the $100K each getting nearly $30K apiece. This will be the first Portland event that I’m aware of reported to the Hendon Mob poker database. Pretty soon, you won’t need old Poker Mutant to find out past prize pool info (sniff).
Do I really need to say much more about this? The smaller events usually take the room to capacity and beyond. Last fall, even the $100K got a total of 215 entries (including 50 re-entries). I’d love if they could run a satellite to the series like Muckleshoot does, with one satellite giving you entry to all four events, but apparently the gaming club ordinances don’t allow for those types of things. I’m just hoping for some more run-good.
This Week in Portland Poker
- The Game has a winner-takes-most tournament Friday night at 7pm. $50 buy-in, $50 re-buy, $25 add-on. Up for grabs is a 2016 WSOP Millionaire Maker package that includes the $1.5K Milly Maker entry and a 2-day Vegas travel package. This year, $1M is guaranteed to both the 1st- and 2nd-place finishers. They have a similar WSOP Ladies event package scheduled for 29 April.
- Encore Club‘s monthly $35K is the lead-in to next week’s EPS. $200 entry and re-entry, $80 add-on. 35 minute blinds. Saturday and 1pm. A number of the guarantees this week have been reduced, likely due to players being out of town for the Wildhorse Spring Poker Round-Up. Check the site for specifics, but you know you’re going to play anyway.
- The Final Table doesn’t have anything special announced yet this week, but their $100K guarantee is coming up on 30 April.
Only a Day Away
- At the Liz Flynt Spring Poker Classic, Thursday through Monday are $400 flights for a $500K guarantee. Two flights per day at 12:30pm and 5pm, with Day 2 on Tuesday. Next weekend is a $200K guarantee with $50K guarantee for 1st place.
- The Wildhorse Spring Poker Round-Up continues through the weekend. Thursday is the $1.1K High Roller (there’s a $225 satellite for that tonight at 7pm), as well as a $225 NLHE with $3K added. Friday is the $325 NLHE ($5K added) and Saturday is Day 1 of the $530 Main Event.
- Mid-States Poker Tour’s Golden Gates Main Event ($200K guarantee, $1.1K entry) concludes the series this weekend.
- The WPTDeepstacks Thunder Valley series Main Event is a $250K guarantee, $1.1K entry event starting Friday.
- Calgary’s Deerfoot Inn Spring Super Stack series runs through 17 April; the Main Event is a C$150K guarantee, C$1.1K event.
- Talking Stick outside Phoenix has another Getaway Poker Classic, where you get two night’s free room if you register for all three of their tournaments (one $200 and two $300) this weekend.
- High Mountain Poker Palace in Eugene has a quarterly $230 buy-in scheduled for Saturday at noon.
- Sunday is the beginning of the Colorado State Poker Championship at Midnight Rose Poker Room near Colorado Springs. It runs through the end of the month, with a plethora of $110 tournaments, ending with a $500 Main Event.
- If you’re in Las Vegas instead of Portland next weekend, the Wynn Signature Weekend is a $250K guarantee tournament with a $600 buy-in. Entry flights Thursday through Saturday at noon. Or you can try out Planet Hollywood‘s Phamous Weekend, with Friday and Saturday flights at noon and 4pm ($350), a $100K guarantee. Day 2 for both events are on Sunday.
- Next Thursday is also the first of three days of flights for a $100K at San Diego’s Oceans 11. $240 buy-in and flights each day at 10am and 6pm, with Day 2 on 24 April.
- The Lucky Chances Battle of the Bay is coming up a week from Saturday, and it might be a nice next stop after you’ve cashed big at the EPS (see the Deal from last month). Multiple events with guaranteed prizes up to $100K for 1st.
- The Last Sunday tournaments at Tulalip and Muckleshoot are, respectively, a $30K ($345 entry, 11am) and a noon $150 entry with $100 add-on. Last Sunday this month is 24 April, which is the $100K at Encore, so I expect more southbound traffic than anything going north.
Check out the #PNWPokerCalendar for more poker.