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I’ve played three $20K guarantees in the past nine days and cashed two, though they were sadly both just min-cashes. Having three $20K events in Portland in that short a time is unusual, but with the demise (at least temporarily) of the tournament scene at Aces Players Club, the rivalry between Final Table and Encore Club seems to be heating up, plus there all all those NW tournament series coming up in the next couple months (everything mentioned before, plus the recently announced West Coast Poker Championship at the Edgewater in Vancouver, BC) locals are looking to build their bankrolls.

Encore text-messaged their list about bumping their $6K guarantees on both of the past Fridays to $15K with no increase in price, when the regularly-scheduled Final Table $20K was running. It didn’t seem to affect either club; from what I hear, Encore was full both nights and the guarantee at Final Table was met both weeks. Then Encore sent out a notice last night upping their Saturday night $8K to $20K, again with no price increase. I’d been planning to lay low for the rest of the weekend, but I had to go.

I have to say, I still far prefer the structure at Final Table (and that’s not just because I cashed there and didn’t at Encore). Encore allows a live rebuy, the levels are 20 minutes long, and the antes kick in after the 25 chips have been colored up. Final Table requires players to be busted before allowing a rebuy, levels are 25 minutes, and antes start at 25. Encore’s much more of a turbo structure. Event the 11am Final Table tournament has 25-minute levels. You might not think an extra 5 minutes would make much of a difference, but it’s a 25% increase in time between blinds. There’s a difference.

Still, I was doing well at the first break of the Encore game, made a bad move at one point, lost more than half my stack, recovered, then got out-drawn with AJ vs. KT by the big stake at the table and never made it back. I did get a king-high straight flush.

The other thing that’s annoying me lately about Encore is the tendency to send out text messages sometime in the afternoon of their special events. If I sign up for a “VIP” list, why am I hearing about events by word-of-mouth before I get the messages? Word’s getting out via players who hear about events from dealers and staff, but if you can’t be there every day, what’s special about the list? I kind of like to plan ahead a little, and getting a text three or four hours before a game just drives me crazy. I have a poker calendar, for heck’s sake. Again, I know it’s not hurting their attendance since they sell out, but geez.

Anyway, because I was kvetching here about the length of the tournament structure last night at Encore, I did check their web site and see that there’s a notice for a $40K anniversary event next Saturday. Thirty-minute blind levels. No rebuy. Might have been a good opportunity to mention it last night at the $20K, but no matter. It hasn’t been announced on the “VIP” list, either.