Twenty Kay

Final Table $20K Guarantee NLHE (T10,000)

I’ve had some success in Final Table’s $10K tournaments over the past year, but in fourteen outings, I’d never been able to crack one of their bigger events until last night. They run a $20K the first Friday of the month. In months like May, with a fifth Friday, they run another, so you get the nice benefit of big tournaments for low buy-ins in consecutive weeks, this year just in time for the summer Vegas poker blowout.

The game didn’t get off to an auspicious start, with the tournament software crashing just after the start of the second 25-minute level. The staff apparently hadn’t saved the game file, so even though things started off on time at 6pm, the tedious task of going through and figuring out who was where took over 20 minutes; we were just lucky that the crash didn’t happen further into the tournament after a bunch of rebuys, or after the break when add-ons were in play.

My game started off decently but then I took a big hit and was down to 60% of the starting stack. The turning point for me was a lucky river [qx] when I was all-in pre-flop with queens against kings. Lost most of my add-on after the break, but then floated pocket nines on a flop with two kings and made a full house on the turn, which got me all-in against trip kings.

I kept on hitting sets through the night. Four hours in, just after the second break, a player who’d shown two pocket pairs of aces and a pair of kings ended up all-in against me with [qx jx] against my flopped set of tens, a hand that pushed me up to 110,000. Five minutes later, I didn’t make much money but won a hand with flopped quad nines.

I yo-yoed down to 70,000, up to 90,000, and back down to 60,000. Then luck struck again and I was all-in pre-flop with [9x 9x] against [kx jx]. The flop was [ax qx jx] and I was shoving my chips forward until I saw the dealer pushing the pot and the other player’s chips toward me, because I’d hit a flush. That put me back over 100,000.

A button raise while we were six-handed at four tables was a gift. I raised from HJ with [ax kx] and got a call from BB. The flop was [as 8s 6s] and I shoved, despite not having a spade. BB dialoged and tried to get me to answer questions, before finally calling after several minutes with [ax qx], also without a spade. For most of his stack. I couldn’t complain.

An hour later, seven-and-a-half hours into the game, action folds to short-stacked SB, who shoves with [ax 6x]. I have [ax kx] and call and knock him out, putting me up to 240,000. We hit the money bubble about ten minutes later.

The tournament chip leader was on my immediate right at two tables, and he was raising liberally. Eventually, I shoved on him with [qx qx] and he called with [ax kx]. First card in the window was an ace, but the queen followed right behind and the rest of the board was low, doubling me up to the point where I had about a fifth of the 3.1M chips in play when we got to the 10-handed final table.

A couple deals were floated, but there were holdouts for each one. Typically, because of IRS reporting rules, the prize pool gets chopped up so the players make less than $5K each, under the reporting trigger point, but not tonight.

I was up to 900K at six-handed. The last point where an even chop of the money was less than $5K was at 4-handed, but the fourth player went out without a deal.

I shoved [kx qx] from SB and got called by the short stack in BB with [ax kx], then had to play the shortie myself, though to be true, nobody was particularly deep-stacked at 25,000/50,000/5,000 and only 60BB between the three of us. I still had about 10BB.

My last hand was [tx 4x] in BB. The big stack limped in from the SB and I should have shoved, knowing that I couldn’t do any worse than third place and that he was likely pretty light, but I neglected to do it and thought I might be good with a ten-high un-coordinated flop. He checked and I shoved, but got Brunsoned when his [tx 2x] had flopped two pair. Like I said, I couldn’t do any worse than third at that point.

Only about half the payout I would have liked. With other events putting a brake on my earnings the past month, my summer Vegas bankroll isn’t where it needs to be, but I’m still hoping to catch the end of the WSOP.

Ten hours and thirty minutes. 3rd of 156 entries. 1563% ROI.

Folding for Fun and Profit

Long-time Mutant Poker reader BP and I had this IM exchange after Day 7 of 2013 WSOP Main Event:

BP: How about Anton Morgenstern? He could have blinded off yesterday and had an average stack in November.

Mutant Poker: Could he? There were a lot of hands between the time he was leader and the final. Maybe I’ll sit down and figure it out unless you saw the numbers crunched somewhere.

BP: I just made that up. Gut feeling that he would not be busted out by having his 20M+ stack blinded off.

Anton Morgenstern entered the day with a sizable chip lead over his opponents. With 27 players remaining, the German had just under 22 million chips, and his nearest competitor, Sylvain Loosli, had less than two-thirds that amount. Morgenstern had over one-ninth the chips in play.

For the purposes of this exercise, we’ll track multiple versions of Morgenstern’s stack:

  • Morgenstern actual is what really happened, we won’t be tracking this long;
  • Morgenstern rock assumes he does not play a hand from the beginning of Day 7 until the final table (assuming he gets there);
  • Morgenstern maximum assumes he halts play at the point he knocks out Steven Gee and nears 30 million chips (over 16% of the chips in play).
  • Morgenstern brakes assumes Anton shuts down at the end of Level 30 after he’s lost chips from his peak.

The first level of Day 7 went well for Morgenstern. He was seated at the feature table, which played 46 hands at Level 30 (60K/120K/15K). By the end of the level, he’d increased his stack to 26.455 million, and at one point just four hands before the end of the level, he’d reached a peak of 29.325 million after eliminating Steven Gee.The first elimination at the feature table came on the fifth hand, Morgenstern’s BB. Cost so far: 195K. Gee was the next elimination, on hand 44. Forty hands of antes: 585K. Five SB: 300K. Five BB: 600K. Total cost so far: 1.68 million. This is the starting point for Morgenstern maximum.
Over the last four hands of the level, Morgenstern paid a SB and four antes, for a total of 120K. He also lost another 2.75 million, most in the last hand of the level against JC Tran. The 26.455 million he ended the level with is the starting point for Morgentern brakes.The cost of blinds and antes for the entire level was 1.8 million. Morgenstern rock would not have played a hand during the level and would have ended with 20.155 million. Morgenstern actual and Morgenstern brakes would be at 26.455 million. Morgenstern maximum, sitting out the hands after Gee’s KO, would have 29.205 million.

End of Level 30 (23 players remaining)

  • Morgenstern actual: 26.455 million
  • Morgenstern rock: 20.155 million
  • Morgenstern brakes26.455 million
  • Morgenstern maximum: 29.205 million

The feature table was seven-handed throughout Level 31 (80K/160K/20K). 46 hands were played during the level. Because of the placement of the button at the beginning of the level, Morgenstern paid seven pairs of blinds. Cost for the level was 2.6 million. But this is where it all went wrong for Anton Morgenstern, as he twice doubled up Mark Newhouse.

End of Level 31 (21 players remaining)

  • Morgenstern actual: 5 million
  • Morgenstern rock: 17.555 million
  • Morgenstern brakes: 23.866 million
  • Morgenstern maximum: 26.605 million

The next level (32) saw Morgenstern’s elimination as well as the redraw to two tables. Blinds were 100K/200K/30K. 58 hands were played at the feature table before the redraw. Even with his short stack, Morgenstern stayed in the game through most of the level, so action wasn’t moving particularly faster because he wasn’t there. The object in this type of calculation is to plan for the worst, anyway, so the more hands and the higher cost, the more accurate an estimate you’re likely to get: eight rounds of blinds and 56 antes (4.08M total).

End of Level 32 (18 players remaining)

  • Morgenstern actual: 0 (out in 20th place)
  • Morgenstern rock: 13.475 million
  • Morgenstern brakes: 19.786 million
  • Morgenstern maximum: 22.525 million

About 50 hands at 120K/240K/40K for Level 33, about 30 of which were nine-handed. About 4.1 million is the cost.

End of Level 33 (15 players remaining)

  • Morgenstern actual: 0 (out in 20th place)
  • Morgenstern rock: 9.375 million
  • Morgenstern brakes: 15.686 million
  • Morgenstern maximum: 18.425 million

Level 34 was 150K/300K/50K. 53 hands played, with almost all of them 6-handed because of two early eliminations at the feature table. A cost of around 6.625 million.

End of Level 34 (11 players remaining)

  • Morgenstern actual: 0 (out in 20th place)
  • Morgenstern rock: 2.75 million
  • Morgenstern brakes: 9.061 million
  • Morgenstern maximum: 11.8 million

The last level played was Level 35 (200K/400K/50K). Just seven hands were played at the feature table before an elimination set the unofficial final table, which would have cost 850K. One round of 10-handed play led to the final elimination, at a cost of 1.1 million, a total of about 2 million chips.

End of Day 7 (9 players remaining)

  • Morgenstern actual: 0 (out in 20th place)
  • Morgenstern rock: 0.75 million
  • Morgenstern brakes: 7.061 million
  • Morgenstern maximum: 9.8 million

BP wasn’t entirely correct. Blinding off for the entire day (Morgenstern rock) would have left Anton with barely enough for his next round of blinds, much less antes. Putting the brakes on after the first level of the day (Morgenstern brake) would most likely have left him as one of a couple of short stacks: the actual November Nine short stacks are David Benefield with 6.375M and Mark Newhouse (7.35M), the man who damaged Morgenstern to climb to the chip lead, only to end up within striking distance of where he began the day (5.785M), but with 18BB instead of 50BB.

Still, the difference between 20th place and 9th place in monetary terms  is $285,408 vs. $733,224, or over $450,000. Not a bad payday for doing exactly nothing and still with a chance to win the top prize of $8.36 million. It might have been an incredible story.

Something to keep in mind the next time you have 30 million chips at the final three tables of the WSOP Main Event.

Ghosts In the Cash Machine

It’s been a busy few weeks since my last post. I’ve made two trips to Las Vegas, played in a number of events at the Venetian Deepstacks (where my big blind [ax ax] fell into a trap set by a player raising with [9x 2x] preflop), made a stupid mistake in the Turbo event at the WSOP that put me out before the first break, and where I had my first (small) cash outside of Oregon, at Caesars Palace. Between that and work, you’d think it would be enough, but actually, I’ve had another project that ties into a number of my other posts.

Some of my statistical work was based on the databases at (an unofficial database of WSOP entries from 2011 and 2012) and the QuadJacks WSOP Database, which correlated entries and wins, this showing which players had a profitable series (and which did not). For various reasons, the QuadJacks database is gone, replaced by their somewhat less-informative Tracker this year, but more importantly, the WSOP is no longer releasing entry lists for events, which makes any type of ongoing ROI or profitability analysis impossible.

I talked to the folks at QuadJacks last year in an attempt to get access to the raw database for my own analysis purposes, and had a nice conversation with Marco Valerio just before the WSOP began this year, but so far nothing’s come of it. My backup plan, however, was to build my own database, and in-between everything else going on, I’ve completed the first phase of it, integrating the entries and awards from the 2011 season. I have the data processed from 2012, but there’s some more work to be done there.

I’m going to be writing up some in-depth articles in the near future, but as a teaser, here’s a follow-up to something I noticed when I was working on my piece about Oregon players at the 2012 WSOP and differences in hometowns stated on entry forms and award forms.

There were at least five players in the 2011 season who either registered under a completely different name from which they claimed their win or who were missed from the entry forms. With just five players out of more than 5,500 unique award-winners, you might think it was the latter, but one of those names is Collin Moshman, who cashed three times (under that name, anyway) during the 2011 series but who appears on exactly 0 entry lists for the year. There were about 30 players with the first name of Colin or Collin or a last name beginning with Mosh- who played in 2011, but only one of them had more than 3 entries, so my money is on a pseudonymous entry.

Then there’s Phillip Gruissem. Gruissem placed 28th in the 2011 Main Event for a cash of nearly $250K, but he’s not on any of the entry lists. German player Alexander Gruibem, on the other hand, cashed once in 2010, entered 10 events in 2011, then dropped off the face of the earth in 2012, although an Alexander Gruissem is on the entry list for last year’s $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop. Coincidentally, the German double-s (ß) looks a lot like a B.

The group is rounded out by Millard Hale, Albert Hoffman, and George Secara, who all cashed under names that aren’t on the registration list. Not that it matters to my analysis of aggregate data; I just like my databases to be clean.

Back In the Frying Pan

I’ve been kind of busy lately and haven’t been playing quite as frequently over the past couple of months, but it’s the beginning of the WSOP again and while I don’t have a two-week trip of shame planned this year, I will be in Las Vegas on Wednesday this week, for a quick overnight trip to play (hopefully) an event at the Venetian (as opposed to an event at the Venetian and then three or four other bust-outs before I head home Thursday night).

I’ve played 90 tournaments this year with four or more tables, and my ITM in those games is 18%. I hadn’t had a big win for a while, but back in mid-March, I cashed well in the Aces Players Club $25K, then I was in a multi-way chop for the one of the Spirit Mountain Top of the Mountain Events in May. Despite the fact that they were exactly two months apart, I only played two other $100+ buy-in events between them because of schedule issues (like I said, I’ve been busy). The field sizes were 92 at Aces and 83 at Spirit Mountain; I feel like making the final table for two of four in that period wasn’t bad (although I’ve played three since Spirit Mountain without a cash).


Vegas is already over 100 degrees, it’s not supposed to get below 80 Wednesday night. I’ll be staying at The Quad for the first time since the renovation as will my poker guru.

I’m flying in at 9am and I’ll hustle over to The Venetian, most likely to play in a Limit Omaha Hi tournament. Opinions on that from fellow players here in Portland are decidedly mixed, with a few people shuddering at the thought of limits and no lows and others expressing some interest to hear how it goes. I went on the Pokerstars mobile app this evening and ran 500 play betting units up to over 2,500 in short order by continually getting the nuts. I think that will be my strategy for the tournament.

That’s a two-day tournament, so hopefully it will be the only one I’m playing on this trip. There should be around 120 players, if the other similarly-priced Limit Omaha8 and Stud8 events can be counted on as a guide. Depending on if and when I bust out of that game, I’ve got a list of other games at venues around town to choose from, though the big ones are the WSOP Deepstack $235 at 3pm (today’s game had 1,235 players with $45,800 up top; according to a shot of the tournament clock, by level 7 the average stack is 30BB with 60% of the field left). The Venetian has a Survivor tournament at 4pm with a great ROI if you make the money because the entire top 10% of the field chops for a profit of more than 700%. After 6 are choices of the smaller WSOP Deepstacks at 6pm and 10pm and the last Venetian game at 7pm.

If I’m not playing the second day of the Venetian tournament on Thursday, most likely my only option will be the $70 daily event at Caesars at 9am. I don’t think anything else can be counted to be over in time to get to my 10pm flight.

Gonna touch the live wire again and see if I have a better experience than last time. See you inside where it’s air conditioned.


A little follow-up to last month’s post about Oregon players at the WSOP…this is how the 41 Oregon players in the Main Event did at the end of each day. 6,598 players entered on three starting days. 666 places paid.

Day 1A (657 players remaining, median stack: 40,975)
#100  Nick Davies, Bend, 79,975
#135  Dmitrii Valouev, Wilsonville, 71,050
#300  Roger Jensen, Keizer, 44,525
#381  Frank Goulard, Lake Oswego, 37,575
#385  Scott Mayfield, Grants Pass, 37,075
#437  Larry Goodman, Prineville, 31,725
#624  Brent Sheirbon, The Dalles, 11,025

Day 1B (1,387 players remaining, median stack: 39,250)
#275  Jamie Robbins, Portland, 66,550
#486  Gary Weems, Monroe, 50,775
#1150  Tyler Jackson, Portland, 20,975
#1,190  Daniel Lamb, Hillsboro, 18,950
#1,317 Angela Jordinson, Terrebonne, 10,825
#1,318  Eric Ford, Tigard, 10,725

Day 1C (2,300 players remaining, median stack: 39,325)
#49 Alexander Beck, Happy Valley, 116,500
#256 Daniel Bartel, Portland, 79,800
#327 Michael Sprando, Portland, 73,425
#774 Dan Martin, Klamath Falls, 50,675
#1,262 Ryan Friedley, Bend, 36,650
#1,566  Seth Davies, Bend, 28,550
#1,700  Nicholas Stowell, Portland, 24,550
#1,882  John Hice, Salem, 19,250
#1,911  Jacque Lavadour, Gresham, 18,350
#2,135  Stephen Bokor, Astoria, 11,500

Day 2A/B (842 players remaining, median stack: 93,550)
#69 Roger Jensen, Keizer, 230,440
#199 Jamie Robbins, Portland, 150,900
#333 Paul Isom, Astoria, 111,800
#431 Gary Weems, Monroe, 91,400

Day 2C (911 players remaining, median stack: 95,600)
#170 Dan Martin, Klamath Falls, 169,400
#553 Alexander Beck, Happy Valley, 78,600
#694 Daniel Bartel, Portland, 52,700
#846 Michael Sprando, Portland, 29,200

Day 3 (720 players remaining, median stack: 235,000)
#146 Alexander Beck, Happy Valley, 404,000
#201 Jamie Robbins, Portland, 346,500
#214 Dan Martin, Klamath Falls, 337,000
#281 Paul Isom, Astoria, 283,000

Day 4 (282 players remaining, median stack: 597,000)
#20 Jamie Robbins, Portland, 1,503,800

Day 5 (97 players remaining, median stack: 1,700,000)
#51 Jamie Robbins, Portland, 1,649,000

Day 6 (27 players remaining, median stack: 7,330,000)
#7 Jamie Robbins, Portland, 8,750,000

Dan Martin fell short of the money on Day 4. Paul Isom made $24,808 for 518th place. Alexander Beck finished in 372nd for $32,871. Jamie Robbins, as mentioned in the other post, went all the way to 19th on Day 7 for $294,601.

What was interesting to me was the varying number of players for each of the entry days. Only 1,066 on Day 1A, then 2,114 on 1B, and 3,418 on 1C. Yet despite a 1:3.5 disparity in the number of players, the median stack only shows a 4% variation at the end of the first day of play.

Oregon @WSOP 2012

Jake Balsiger (left), at the 2012 WSOP Main Event with Greg Merson (center) and Jesse Sylvia. Photo via Hockgepokert.

The final table of the 2012 Main Event is over and despite coming close, Jake Balsiger didn’t manage to get out of last place three-handed long enough to shrink that ever-narrowing gap between eligibility to play in Las Vegas casinos and Joe Cada’s current standing as the youngest winner of the big title. One of the talking points about Balsiger was that—although he graduated from high school and attends college in Phoenix, Arizona—he’s a native of Portland.

Naturally, that got me wondering about how the rest of the state’s contingent of poker players did during this year’s WSOP. I turned once again to the dueling WSOP databases of and the QuadJacks WSOP database (and, of course, the official WSOP site) for some unpaid, self-entertaining research. (An aside, this would be a lot faster if I could get access to the databases themselves instead of having to collate and cross-check incomplete data from multiple front-end sources, but my efforts seem to get lost in the noise.) Bear in mind that all of the results I’m working with are my best effort, not absolute reality; the databases have omissions and errors, but I’ve done my best to correct invalid information I’ve run across. Due to the limitations of the data collected by the WSOP itself, I’ve focused only on Oregon and haven’t included the Clark County portion of the Portland metro area. Sorry, Vancouverites, if you want stats from across the Columbia, you’re going to have to crank them yourself (or pay me).

What Did We Play?

By my count, there were 303 individuals from Oregon who entered WSOP ring events this year. We entered every bracelet event except for:

  • #7 ($1,500 Seven-Card Stud)
  • #10 ($5,000 Seven-Card Stud)
  • #17 (Pot-Limit Hold’em)
  • #22 (2-7 Triple Draw Lowball)
  • #32 ($10,000 H.O.R.S.E.)
  • #34 ($5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha / Six-Handed)
  • #37 ($2,500 Eight-Game Mix)
  • #39 ($10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha)
  • #42 ($2,500 Omaha/Seven-Card Stud Hi-Low 8 or Better)
  • #45 ($50,000 The Poker Players Championship)
  • #55 ($1,000,000 The Big One for One Drop — No-Limit Hold’em)
  • #60 ($10,000 2-7 Draw Lowball)

That’s 49 of the 61 bracelet events, which includes #1 ($560 Casino Employees No-Limit Hold’em) getting 3 Oregon entries. Apparently, Oregon players don’t much care for 2-7 Lowball games (though I played a brief game of Triple Draw at Encore one evening with JB and SG and had a good time although I bubbled) or million-dollar buy-ins.

The event that drew the largest number of Oregonians was #29 ($1,000 Seniors No-Limit Hold’em Championship), with 53 entries in a field of 4,128 (1.28%). Yet that wasn’t the highest participation rate. The seniors event this year was enormous—the largest single starting day for a tournament in poker history—and even half-century worth of aging Oregonians didn’t quite match the percentages who came for #43 ($1,500 No-Limit Hold’em) which got 37 entries and #44 ($1,000 No-Limit Hold’em) which got 40, for 1.34% and 1.36% of the field, respectively.

Oregon poker players stepped up to 1.5% of the field in #51 ($1,000 Ladies No-Limit Hold-em Championship). 14 of 936 entries was outmatched only by the seven players who jumped into #35 (Mixed Hold’em, Limit/No-Limit) to pump the O up to 1.78% of the field. Sadly, only 12 of the entrants were actually women, with a couple of serious WSOP players adding the Ladies event to their list of 10+ entries. I was there during the tournament and when the subject of guys playing the event came up—as it did a number of times—not a single person elicited any sympathy for the idea of men playing in the women’s tournament. I’m not naming names, but you know who you are, Cody and Steve. So the number of actual Oregon women in the Ladies event was only 12.8%.

The lowest rate of participation (that wasn’t 0%) was 0.21% for the single Oregon player who entered #57 (No-Limit Hold’em / Six Handed). Median participation rate in events with Oregon entries (where half the events are higher and half are lower) was 0.78%. Main Event participation was 41 of 6,598 entries: 0.62%.

217 of the Oregon players played just a single WSOP bracelet event. Ten played only the Main Event. Most of the single-entries were in regular $1,000 buy-in events or the similarly-priced Seniors and Ladies events (the 3 entrants to the Casino Employees event only needed to pay $560) but a number of singletons (60) chose to punch a little higher into the $1,500 bracket (including H.O.R.S.E. and NLHE 6-Max games), and a handful of others went up to $2,500 or $3,000 for their big shots.

69 players entered between 2 and 5 bracelet events. Only 8 held the middle ground between 6 and 10 events. Ten Oregonians played between 11 and 19 WSOP bracelet events in 2012.

How Did We Do?

Sad to say, the facts of poker are such that only a small number of players make the money and even fewer make a profit. The good news is, 59 of the 303 Oregon players I found in the databases cashed at least once during the WSOP this year. That’s 19.5%. Those players accounted for 81 cashes out of a total 627 entries, meaning that the ITM rate of the group was 12.9%. That’s relatively in line with the 13.2% average ITM I calculated for 2011 WSOP final tableists back before this year’s events began (and it’s better than a random distribution of 10% payout structures).

24 of the single-entry players cashed. At 11.1% that’s lower than the state contingent as a whole, but the good thing is that each of those players has a positive ROI—even if it’s small in some cases—for their ride on the WSOP wheel. Because the grim truth is—as I pointed out in the June analysis—many of the pros who buy in to multiple events have a negative return on their WSOP investment even when they cash. The 2011 final table sample group had a 41% negative cash flow rate among players who entered 10 or more tournaments and cashed at least once. For Oregon players in 2012, 39 of the 59 cashing players had a profit at the end of the series (33% had negative ROI), but if you remove the two dozen single-entry players, the numbers are 15 profitable players among 35 players who cashed. 57% of that group showed a loss for the series. Looking at just the players with 10 or more entries: 4 profits in 11 cashing players (64% losing).

Is There An Upside?

One Oregon player got a real bang for his thousand bucks this year. A player from Bonanza—near Klamath Falls—entered #59 ($1,000 No-Limit Hold’em) just before the beginning of the Main Event and made it to 6th place in a field of 4,620 for a payday of $120,748. Five other single-entry players made profits between $5,000 and $16,000. The others were all profits of $3,500 or less.

Only one of the 22 cashing players with 2 to 8 entries made more than $10,000 in profit. Alexander Beck of Happy Valley cashed twice in six events—including nearly $33,000 for a 372nd-place finish in the Main Event—ending the series with more than $21,500 in profit. 49 of the players with 2 to 8 entries didn’t cash. 12 of the 22 cashing players lost between $76 and $20,000.

Two Oregonians with 9 or more entries were the bright lights of the hard-core poker players this year.

Greg Hobson took first in #49 (Ante-Only No-Limit Hold’em), winning the bracelet and $256,691 (and, combined with former Portlander Jeffrey Dobrin’s WSOP Circuit ring win back in January, making the city a powerhouse of ante-only, for whatever that’s worth). It was Hobson’s only cash in ten entries. Hobson’s entry illustrates one of the issues with tracking information on poker players, the official WSOP entry list for the event says he’s from Portland, which is also what’s on all of his other entry forms for both 2011 and 2012, but the official final report says Alaska.

Jamie Robbins, also from Oregon?, was the most visible player from the state, making it to the last three tables of the Main Event, and busting in 19th place for $294,601. Robbins’s entry sheets say Portland, a 2009 interview with Card Player says San Diego, and ESPN’s coverage of Robbins’s madman bluff of Stephen Gee has him living in Lake Tahoe. Ironically (from an Oregon connection standpoint), Jake Balsiger was the player who knocked him out. He’s a power player who finished 11th at the Main Event in 2009. A $6,142 cash in #36 ($3,000 Pot-Limit Omaha) is logged to Portland, the Main Event cash is logged to Lake Tahoe, California.

Robbins and Hobson are the only Oregon players who played more than one event with six-figure profits. 15 players entered 9 or more events. All but one of them (a player with 13 entries) cashed at least once. Only four other players from the group were profitable, however, by amounts of $497, $3,851, $26,294, and $26,552. The other players with nine or more entries who cashed (and the one who didn’t) ended the series with losses between around $1,500 and $38,500.

What’s It All Mean?

Beats me. Even with 19.5% of the players cashing, the average profit for Oregon players at the WSOP this year was a meagre $3,177. Most players who entered more than one event and cashed still lost money. Poker is a harsh mistress, maybe?

I’m headed to Pendleton for the Wildhorse Fall Poker Round-Up this weekend and next, after winning a seat to the Main Event there at the wonderful Portland Players Club. Let the cards fall where they may….

Poker Mutant goes to the 2012 Pendleton Poker Round-Up Main Event.

No Bracelet For You!

43rd World Series of Poker Event #44 (T3,000)

I picked up my ticket for Event #44 the night before the three-day game, getting assigned to seat 9 on table 56, in the Brasilia Room. Here’s my starting table, according to

John Falon – Lone Tree, CO, US – 56 / 1
Michael Lehner – ITHACA, MI, US – 56 / 2
Andrew Klivan – NEW YORK, NY, US – 56 / 3
Adam Geyer – AUSTIN, TX, US – 56 / 4
Corina Lupascu – BUCHAREST, , RO – 56 / 5
Ivan Demidov – MOSCOW, RU – 56 / 6
James Purdom – Horn Lake, MS, US – 56 / 7
Keven Stammen – CELINA, OH, US – 56 / 8
Poker Mutant – Portland, OR, US – 56 / 9
Cory Parent – RICHMOND, BC, CA – 56 / 10

Not everyone was there at the start of action. If I remember correctly, both seats on each side of me were open to begin with, while the far end of the table was more or less full. Notice any names that stand out? Let me just point out seat 6, the runner-up in the 2008 WSOP Main Event (to Peter Eastgate) with nearly seven million dollars in lifetime tournament earnings. Seat 4 was no slouch, himself, with more than $1.5 million and at least four WSOP final tables. The guy who’d sit down late on my right had a bracelet. So, some good company to begin with.

I began the match in my usual manner, losing ground with [ax 7x] and [ax qx] in the first ten minutes. Even T250 lost makes a difference with stacks of T3,000, but the blinds were only 25/25 in the first hour, so still 110 big blinds! Those 11am free rolls with T4,000 and the same blinds to start at Portland Players Club teach you something.

I won my first small pot with [ax jx] after hitting the top pair on the flop from UTG1, then as BB with [6c 7c] I folded a gutshot. On SB with [kx 7x] and middle pair on the flop, folded to a bet after [ax] on the turn. Twenty minutes in, on BTN and T2,575. Wheee!

My UTG  just before the half-hour was a crucial hand. [ax ax] and I min-raised to 50. Lupascu re-raised me to 150. I three-bet to 450 and she four-bet to 900. I shoved, she flipped [kx kx] and my aces held. She actually had fewer chips than I did, and I performed the first knockout from the table. Easy to win with aces.

On BTN six minutes later with [kd jd] and there were four to the flop after a raise to 50. I made top two, bet 125, and won.

UTG on the next round with [jd jx], I raised to 75. BB called. The flop was queen-high with two hearts. Another heart on the turn. I called a bet of 250 on the river and beat ace high. 45 minutes in to the tournament and I had T5,625, which doesn’t sound like much, but it’s closing in on twice starting stack.

SB [6s 7s] and I called 75 in a three-way hand. The flop had two spades, I bet 150 and took it down. T5,775 on CO.

Lost my first showdown with [ks 2s] as CO. I flopped straight and flush draws and raised to 175, then called 350. The turn was a blank and [tx] on the river made a full house for [jx tx]. I ended the first hour as HJ with T5,375.

UTG2 and [ax jx]. Blinds were 25/50. I raised to 125, BB re-raised to 400. short-stacked UTG called, I called, and the flop was [qs 8s 8x]. UTG bet 700 and BB and I folded.

UTG and I was down to T4650. Picking up [7c 2c] wasn’t going to do me any good.

[ah td] in CO and I called a raise to 100 in a 5-way hand. The flop was [th 9d 6h]. I bet 300, BB raised to 700. UTG went all-in and I folded. [kx tx] won with top pair v [8h 9h]. I was free-falling and hit HJ with T4,075.

Just before the end of the second hour, I screwed up playing [3x 4x] and dropped to T3,600. Then, just before the break on BTN, I called a SB raise to 425 with [ax jx] and whiffed the fold, leaving me with just T3,125.

Coming back, with [tx tx] in HJ, I called 450, then folded on a king-high flop and all-in.

Called 100 with [kx tx] to see the flop with two other players and bet 235 on a [ax tx 5x] flop. We both checked the [qx] turn. The river was [2x], BB bet 400 and I called; he had me beat from the get-go with [ax 2x].

Down to T1,925 UTG after two and three-quarters hours.

Put my last small-denomination chips into the pot as BTN playing [qd 5d] hoping to catch something, but was down to T1,500 as CO.

I shoved over a raise of 260 with [kx jx] from HJ and took a pot, finally, getting to T1,900 UTG4, but it was only a few minutes into the third hour when I got involved in a  3-way shovefest with [2x 2x] against [7x 7x] and [ax ax] and was knocked out.


Last Hand

My last hand of the 2012 WSOP (maybe my last hand of any WSOP) went pretty much the way of the rest of my time here in Las Vegas the past couple weeks.

I was in the third level of the 2pm Deepstack tournament. They’ve been huge, but today’s was particularly large; we’re near the Main Event, the final table of the One Million for One Drop benefit was playing out, and there weren’t any smaller buy-in bracelet events starting today, just a $10,000 6-Handed NLHE event and a $3,000 PLO8, both of which sound like a lot of fun but which are a little out of the range of most players. So the field in the Deepstack was 1,711 today, with a prize pool of $333,645, 198 places paid, and a top prizer on the schedule of $61,796 (I was on a table with a guy the other night who said he was in a 16-way chop at the end of one of them last weekend, with each player taking home over $10,000 on a $235 investment). Overflow from the Derepstack led to tables being set up in hallways a few hundred feet from the tournament area, practically up at the registration area of the Rio.

I’ve been up and a little down in the tournament. Currently, I was down to between 10,000 and 11,000 chips, with blinds at just 100/200, so I have 50 big blinds. Our table has just four of its original players remaining (including myself). There are three New York/New Jersey guys in seats 1, 3, and 4. There’s a woman in seat 2. All are what I think of as “older” but they’re probably only ten or fifteen years older than me. All of them seem to be pretty competent and have won good-sized pots. The guy in seat 1 just won an enormous pot that took out three players a few minutes earlier. I’m in seat 6.

Seat 5 is a South American guy who sat down for his first hand, made a raise UTG, then folded it after four all-ins, which is what led to the three open seats. Seats 7 and 9 are occupied by a couple of younger European guys who showed up after the all-ins. Seat 7 has proven aggresive and already managed to lose some chips to Seat 1 after winning a pot or two.

Anyway, the button is on me, and I pick up [kc ks]. The blinds are on the Euroguys (I saw the funniest Euroguy at the Venetian the other day: he had sort of shaved-side head with a peroxide mop thing on top, and a white ski jacket with a neck that made him look like he was wearing a brace or some sort of medieval gorget). Seat 1 raises to 450 and gets 2 callers, I don’t remember who, exactly. I re-raise to 2,100 with my kings. The blinds are out. Seat 1 three-bets to 4,500 and the other callers go away.

I’m pretty certain at this point that I’m up against aces. It’s going to cost me just less than half my stack to see if I can hit a set on the flop and make life difficult for him. There’s 7,800 in the pot, I need to call 2,400. 3.25:1. I can recover from 6,500.

The flop puts out three spades, none of them the ace, none of them face cards. Seat 1 goes all-in and, having just taken out three players plus other winnings, he’s got me well-covered. There’s now 16,700 in the pot. 2.5:1 to call.

If he’s got aces—and I’m pretty sure he does—there’s a 50% chance that he doesn’t have [as]. If he doesn’t, I’m still behind, but have a lot of outs to make my flush; even [as] would be dead to him unless the board paired. If he does have [as], then I’m drawing incredibly thin, hoping for [kh] or [kd] and no more spades.

Is he bluffing me? Or is he sucking me in?

Sucking in, as it turned out. He had me beat before the fourth (and fifth) spade turned over on the board. No straight flush, unfortunately.

No Progress Is Bad Progress

Nothing to report here from las Vegas yet, unless you’d like a stream of stories of loss, and if you’re reading the Poker Mutant, hopefully you’re not reading me for that!

So far, my first WSOP Deepstack event was my best showing. I’ve played a couple of other of the 2pm Deepstacks and a 10pm Deepstack, one of the nightly 7pm games at the Palazzo, and Limit Omaha Hi-Lo and NLHE at the Golden Nugget. Oh, and WSOP Event #44. Then, last night while I was waiting for my Doubles partner to bust out of a tournament at the Palazzo, I got a little ahead in a NLHE game, got the call that my seat opened in an Omaha Hi-Lo table, and got to play all of two hands before he called and we headed out to dinner at Krung Siam.

NP wrote me Monday and mentioned that a friend of his made the money in the bracelet event I played, and while I was looking for his name, I ran across another Oregon player, so as a quick little stats project, I looked up other Oregon cashes and entries.

There were 40 entrants who listed Oregon for their home when they signed up. That represented 1.36% of the 2,949 players entered in the tournament. I found 9 players from Oregon who made the money in the results this morning (none of the 40 made it to Day 3). Nearly a quarter of the Oregon entrants—22.5%—made the money. That’s 3% of the cashing field of 297, which may not sound like much, but then Oregon’s population isn’t that big, just 1.2% of the US population, and this is the World Series of Poker.

By comparison, Nevada, where lots of poker pros hang out, had 205 entries (7% of entries) for just 0.9% of the population if the US. There were 24 cashes from Nevada; 8% of the cashing field. There were no players from Nevada in the final 16 going into Day 3.

My Kingdom For a Nine of Clubs

Encore Club $5,000 Guarantee (T9,000)

Had a very nice time talking poker with reader BP on Thursday, then he headed over to the Encore $1,800 game that night. I’m bearing down on the big games with 50+ players in preparation for the WSOP starting up this weekend, so I waited to head over until Friday’s $5,000 guarantee.

I was seated in seat 7 at the first red table, with JL—one of the recognizably better regulars at Encore—two seats to my right. I came in fresh off reading Gus Hansen’s Every Hand Revealed and most of Arnold Snyder’s The Poker Tournament Formula 2, so I was ready to work hard.

UTG2 with [Ks 2s], I raised over a UTG call to 125. UTG called and we saw a flop of [ax jx 9x]. I continued with a bet of 200, which UTG called. After that, we both checked through a [7x] on the turn and [8x] on the river. He must have been worried about a ten, because his [7c 8c] was good and he didn’t bet it.

I called with [qh 8c] as CO to see a  flop of [qx 6x 4x]. UTG2 bet 200 and I raised to 500, getting a call. We both checked to the river and my pair held up against his missed straight draw.

UTG3 holding [6c 9c]. The flop was [ax tx 8x] and it was checked around with four players still in. With a [9x] on the turn, I bet 275, which was called around. I folded to a 550 bet on the river [8x].

Half an hour in, down to T8,875 and I’d already missed two opportunities to make two pair on the flop, with [qh 6d] and [4s 8s].

Called a 300 raise with [qd 8d] from BB to see a flop of [ah 7d tc] but folded to a 550 bet from BTN. Down to T8,325.

The first hand that turned things around at the table for me was [4d 6d] as CO. I limped to see the flop with several others and saw [2x 5x tx], calling a 250 bet with one other to get to the [3x] on the turn. HJ bet 500 and I reraised to 1,500, then UTG2 shipped it and I called with the nuts. HJ bailed and UTG2 turned over 2 pair. [ax] on the river didn’t help him, and I doubled up to T17,800.

Just a few minutes after that, disaster struck with [ad 7d]. I open-raised to 275, getting three calls to the [ax 7x 8x] flop. With a little over 1,000 in the pot, I bet 1,000, hoping to shake off some people but only one dropped out. [qx] on the turn and I bet 2,500, getting a call from the first player and an all-in from the other end of the table for 2,900 more. I called that, then the player who’d called me first shoved over the top for almost 8,000. By this time, there’s nearly 25,000 in the pot, and I call the extra 5,000. The original all-in has [ax kx], the second all-in has beaten my two pair with [ax qx], and a useless card on the river drops me down to somewhere over 6,000 chips.

I look down at [kc qs] on my next hand and try something, by open-shoving from early position while the blinds are still just 50/100. It seems like a steam bet, what with only 150 in the pot, and amazingly enough, two players call, including one who’s just sat down into the BTN and the short-stacked BB. Two of us are all-in and the flop has a king on it, along with a ten. Tens on the turn and river give me the full house and before I have a chance to count up after my loss, I’m dragging in a big pile of chips.

A couple minutes later on BB and I three-bet an UTG 800 raise to 2,200. He lays down [ax jx] and I show him my [ax ax]. Another [kx qx] on the BTN and I drag another pot with a raise.

In the same round with [8x 8x] in HJ, I raise to 800 over three limpets, when the guy in CO who just folded [ax jx] to me shoves for 5,275. I call and he has [7x 7x], which don’t get any better. He has to re-buy.

Seventy minutes into the game, the chip average is 11,739 and I’m sitting on T29,775.

UTG1 with KT I raise to 750. UTG2 calls and BTN shoves. I fold, but UTG2 (who was just busted with sevens ten minutes earlier) calls with [ax kx] and gets two pair on the turn.

In CO with [an enticing [kd qd], I raise to 1,100 and get a caller, but fold to an all-in bet on the [js 7s 8s] flop.

I’ve lost some ground halfway through the second hour, but with T27,325 I’m still more than twice the average stack when we get to the first break.

I get the T6,000 add-on. By the time break ends, there are 110 entries, 38 re-buys, and 96 add-ons, for a pot of $9,800 and a first prize of $2,820, with fourteen places paying.

UTG1 with [5s 6s], I raise to 800 and get one call. The flop is [6x 4x 3x] and UTG3 bets 1,600, but I raise to 3,200 and he folds. T25,725.

On BB with [3x 5x] I check through with several others to see the flop roll out [kx 3x 4x]. I bet 1,000 and get raised to 2,500, which I call. Another [kx] on the turn makes things look very unpromising and after I check my opponent bets and I fold.

Cautiously called a 1,025 raise from JL holding [ah 9d]. The flop was [tx 5x 5x] and U folded to the first bet.

In CO with [kx jx] I raised to 1,100 over a single limp. HJ called and we saw a flop of [qx jx 6x]. I bet 2,000 for the win.

At the two-hour mark, I was still down from my peak, but had T33,550. Average was still at T19,670 with 97 players left.

Ten minutes into the hour, I picked up [7c 7d] UTG1. UTG called the 400 blind and I raised to 1,800. SB, who was the second-largest stack at the table next to me, three-bet to 3,800 and BB and UTG got out of the way. I called, and the flop was [6c 8c tc]. SB checked to me. There was a better than 50% chance he didn’t have a club in his hand; I knew where at least four of them were already. Four of the remaining clubs were smaller than mine. So there were only five cards I was concerned about: [9c], [jc], [qc], [kc], and [ac]. Even if he had one of those cards in his hand, unless he was paired, he was still behind me. He was behind me even if he had a pair of aces and one of them wasn’t a club. So I shoved with my made pair, my straight, flush, and straight flush draws. He showed [ac qh]. I was a 54%/46% favorite. With [jc] on the turn, though, I was down to needing the [9c] to keep from losing, but the river was [kc]. The hit was for nearly 30,000 chips.

Down at T3,400 with blinds at 300/600/75. Ten minutes after my big loss, I went all-in from BB with [jd td], getting a call from the short-stacked BB who just had me covered. He turned over [ax ax]. I paired my ten on the flop and had two diamonds on the board by the turn, but the river was no help and I was out.

Two hours and fifteen minutes. 90th of 110 players.

Best wishes to my home league host DV, who’s playing in Monday’s World Series of Poker Event #2, a $1,500 No Limit Hold’em tournament, for his second shot at WSOP glory. According to a Tweet from poker stats nut Kevin Mathers, there’s going to be a system in place at this year’s WSOP that lets people track chip counts at the breaks from home, so you can follow your friends.