Portland Poker Championship Series II
As of Saturday, just after midnight (so technically Sunday morning) the Poker Mutant is the reigning champion of tournament poker in Portland.
One thing I want to clarify: what I won was the trophy for series champion. And I did it without winning very much money.
This site’s slogan has always been Poker That Just Ain’t Right
I consider myself a decent player (like, who doesn’t?), and I have shared in some big-for-Portland prize pools, with cashes in the several-thousand-dollar range. But I’m under no delusion that I’m the best player in town: I don’t make a living playing poker, I’ve never had the bankroll to even try, and apart from last summer when I was working for the World Series, I haven’t even made significant money as a poker writer, much less as a player (a couple of those PokerNews articles came out to something like $1/hour) and this gig pays zero.
I wasn’t on a miracle heater. Variance being what it is, it would certainly be possible for someone to hit a hot streak during a four-game series. But that was not what happened. Instead, I got the trophy for in-the-money finishes of 24th and 11th. I didn’t even make a final table.
The funniest thing about this to me is that after seeing the numbers from the first weekend’s results, I approached Brian Sarchi at Portland Meadows early Saturday about possibly using something like the WSOP Circuit point model, little knowing I would be named Champion by the system I was arguing against (Max Young later mentioned he’d suggested the same change after the last series).
Points were awarded to players who cashed, by the order in which they busted. So if a tournament had 36 players making the money, the winner got 36 points, the runner-up got 35, and so on down to 36th place getting 1 point (the formula for this is numberOfCashingPlayers – cashingPosition + 1). The problem with that kind of a point system is when you have unequal numbers of players getting points. If all four events had awarded points only to the top 20 finishers or the final 9, it’s not an issue. But if the number of payouts is based on the number of entries and some of the tournaments are re-entry and others are rebuys, the re-entry tournaments are going to have more payouts, producing more points for the leaders and for middle-of-the-pack finishers.
I cashed in both of the re-entry tournaments. My first cash was in 24th place out of 45 cashing players. For that, I got 22 points (45 – 24 + 1 = 22). The folks who made the final table of the rebuy tournament the night before—with 27 players cashing—got between 19 (for 9th place and 27 (for first). So for a 24th-place finish, I ended up with as many points as the Friday night player who made 6th.
Early in the last tournament, after results from Event #3 had been tallied, Brian announced that the series leader had 65 points. The final event had over 400 entries, with 54 places paid, and by about 9pm, I was the only player remaining in the field with enough points from previous events who could overtake the point leader. Brian told me that if I managed to get to 11th place or better, I’d pick up the needed 44 points.
So that became my goal. Max, who was moved to couple spots to my left with a pile of chips after we’d hit the money (which happened about 8:30pm), seemed intent on making it his mission to make sure I didn’t get there. About 11pm, with 20 or so players remaining, I picked up aces for the fifth time in the game and raised to 50K (2.5bb) and Max 3-bet to 125K (which I was counting on). Another player went all-in for 79K and I shoved about 400K. Max considered it (he had me covered by several hundred thousand) then folded, only to spent the next few minutes debating whether he should have just flatted preflop, since he would have hit a set of nines on the flop. I did lay down a raise with [ah qh] to him not long after (he showed jacks) in my attempt to get the trophy, where I normally would have flatted his 3-bet, which was about a quarter of my remaining chips.
Just before midnight we hit a break and the 12th player was eliminated, cementing my grip on the championship. I was pretty short by that point, with less than 10bb, and I shoved [kh 9h] only to have Max wake up with [ah th]. So 11th I needed to make and 11th is what I got.
I’d like to say thanks to everyone who was egging me on the last couple of hours. It was a fun goal, and while I wouldn’t exactly say that I’m not worthy of this type of award, I’m definitely a bit embarrassed to win it the way I did, getting less than 1% of the combined prize pool. A lot of people did better than me during this series.
Just for comparison, under the WSOP Circuit model, the winners of the events would have received 50 points each, and everyone in the final nine would get a graduated amount down to 15 points for 9th place. My 24th place the first Saturday would have been worth 5 points and the 11th place that clinched me the championship would have been 10 points, equal to the points someone who cashed once in 9th place.
I may not be a serious champion, but I plan to take the championship seriously! I’ll be out of circulation for a couple of weeks attending to some family business, but I will be dragging my trophy to every tournament I play after that for a month or so.
More In the Week Of Unearned Accolades
A while back on Twitter, I passed along a link to Zach Elwood’s review of Trumped, a book by a former executive in the President’s former Atlantic City casino operations. A number of people mentioned to me they’d picked up on Zach’s recommendation, including an player going by the Twitter handle @itchybollix (who’s a great follow if you want to keep up on Irish political scandals and be lullabied every afternoon with a tweet of “GOODNIGHT CORRUPT FUCKIN’ SHITHOLE”). I haven’t read the book yet, Zach was the guy who recommended it, but somehow this happens:
@Trickstersworld this is de buk to get. Written in 1991 by one of his execs. Recommended by the best poker writer on de planet @pokermutant
— itchybollix (@itchybollix) March 12, 2017
This Week In Portland Poker
After two weeks and $160K of combined prizes in the PPCS (plus the WSOP Main Event seat from The Game), things are a little laid back, with no specials that I’m aware of. Just a reminder that Portland Meadows and Final Table are now charging $15/day for their door fees. and there’s a new schedule for Meadows, with some Freezeouts on the schedule.
And Final Table is getting your weekends going early with 11am start times for their first Saturday and Sunday tournaments (super-early if you were there the morning of Daylight Savings Time).
Finally, a number of people have mentioned to me they’ve been interviewed by Pulitzer Prize-winning Nigel Jacquiss of Willamette Week for an article he’s doing on the Portland poker scene. A WW photographer was at Final Table’s $30K on Friday night photographing player’s handsâ€¦
Only a Day Away
- The World Series of Poker Circuit at The Bike is over but the Winnin’ o’ the Green series continues this weekend with Mega Millions XVI, a $1M GTD tournament with eleven starting days and multiple flights each day, inclluding the option to enter for $160 or $550, with different Day 2 advancement criteria.
- Deepstacks Poker Tour Calgary is at the Grey Eagle Casino.The C$250K GTD Main Event (C$1,100 buyin) has entry flights on Friday and Saturday, with Day 2 on Sunday.
- The Venetian March Weekend Extravaganza runs through Sunday. The big event is a $600 buyin $200K GTD with three entry days. The Venetian Deepstack Extravaganza III kicks off a week after it’s over. How time flies.
- The Muckleshoot Spring Poker Classic runs today through Monday. The Shootour is today at noon, with events building to Sunday’s $20K added $750 buyin Main Event (noon).
- WPTDeepstacks Reno at the Atlantis starts tomorrow and runs until 27 March. They have an opening $50K GTD event ($400 buyin) and a $200K GTD Main Event ($1,100 buyin, starting 24 March).
- Little Creek Casino in Shelton, Washington is running satellites for a package including a WSOP Colossus buyin and $750 in travel expenses next Tuesday night at 7pm, with another on the following Tuesday. Tickets are available online.
- The Mid-States Poker Tour returns to Golden Gates Poker Room in Black Hawk, Colorado for two weeks on Monday with satellites, with the first event, a $100K GTD, $360 buyin starting Thursday.
- Next Friday is the start of the Planet Hollywood Goliath Warm Up, with $1M in combined guarantees, including the $529,850 HTD Main Event with a $1,650 buyin, three entry days (30 March—1 April).
- Tulalip’s Last Sunday of the Month tournament is 26 March for a $290 (with dealer addon) $25K GTD tournament with 30-minute levels. They’re also offering a weekly $60 No Chop NLHE tournament on Sundays.
- The Heartland Poker Tour has done well in St. Charles, Missouri, outside of St. Louis. They’re back there on 29 March with an opening $350 buyin, $100K GTD. Their $1,650 buyin Main Event (live streamed, no longer televised) starts 7 April. Alaska and Southwest both have direct flights to St. Louis from PDX, you can get RT tickets on Alaska for about $425. (St. Charles is about 8 miles from the airport).
Remember to keep an eye on the #PNWPokerCal Twitter hashtag and the PNW Poker Calendar for upcoming events!