Oh hey!

Yes I know I deserted my legion of readers at the worst time. A time of need. Right in the middle of the series. For that I truly apologize. Truth is I was having a hard time trying to think up fresh content during the series and didn’t want to bore you to death with just result updates.

However! Over the last few months I’ve come up with a few ideas and will be jumping back into this full fledge during the end of October on my way down to Tahoe for their WSOP circuit stop. I’m buying a drone to help me. I’m not quite sure how yet but it’ll be something.

In recent news – the Portland Meadows poker room teamed up with “The Poker Guys” to create a new webcast/TV series and I was fortune enough to get a spot on their few episodes. You get to see every hand, all of our hole cards and commentary analysis from the ‘Guys’ themselves. Check ’em out here:

Anywho, I just got back from Chinook Winds in Lincoln City (Oregon coast) today after 6 days of playing their series. No big tourney cashes but did pretty well in the cash games. Had an absolute BLAST hanging out with everyone during the week. Lincoln city is probably my favorite two stops of the year. Always a party when so many people from the Oregon poker community are crammed into a tiny town only 3 miles wide.

That’s it for now! Will be back in a month. Ciao.

Results update

Haven’t been doing much but putting in sessions since my last post! Had a nice round of golf with my buddy Kyle, and a night out with the boys on Friday, but other than that I’ve just been grinding for a minimum of 8 hours a day.

It’s been awhile since I updated results so I figured I’d take the chance to do that.

I’ve played five tournaments since my last results post:

First, we had the $565 Pot-Limit-Omaha rebuy bracelet event at the Rio. This is my FAVORITE event every summer. People come to gamble and you enter the “in-the-money” phase of the tournament very quickly. The day 1 was pretty short – as the cards didn’t fall my way in a pivotal spot – but we still managed to cash the event with a +$415 profit.

Next, we had two events on the 11th, one $400 Omaha event and Planet Hollywood (that I played twice and didn’t cash either time) and a $600 Omaha8 event at the Venetian which I ALSO didn’t cash ($1400).

The next day we played the daily 7pm hold ’em tournament at Rio with my roommate-of-the-week, Max Young.. we bricked that ($365), but then min-cashed the $1000 Omaha event the next day +$529.

I also put 14 hours of cash game sessions in over the past five days, including taking a shot at the $75/$150 (far higher stakes that I usually play) Omaha8 game. Took some serious swings and ended up stuck ($1789).

Been a tough start to the summer thus far! Feel like I’m playing good though, so when the cards turn around I still feel like I have a good shot at hitting something good by the end of the summer. I’ll be back to update in a few days.

Jake

A short interview with author/poker player: Chris Leslie-Hynan

Chris: What’s up, Jake! By the time you get around to reading and responding to this you’ll be in Vegas. Every year since I first went in 2012, I feel a jolt of excitement when the WSOP tips off, but most years it turns out this jolt is actually a warning signal piercing my body that I am about to get rekt for five figures in Vegas yet again. Let me start off this interview by asking: what is the one thing you most enjoy about transitioning from playing poker at home in Portland to the bright lights of the WSOP? When that feeling burns off, what do you miss most about the poker life in Portland you’ve left behind?

Jake: The big score. That’s what we’re all looking for out here. You got the biggest, juiciest tournaments in the world during the summer in Vegas and that’s what brings us out every year. With that said, burnout is a very real thing. It’s hard to avoid – especially when you’re on a downswing. At least once a week I’ll get the feeling that I need a day off.. and finding stuff to do in Vegas (that doesn’t involve money or drinking) isn’t really that easy. Especially by yourself. Exercise is key – so getting to the gym and playing basketball or something is one of my go-tos. I guess what I miss about playing in Portland the most is just being able to take a day off and completely leave poker out of my brain. There’s plenty to do to take my mind off the game.

Let’s talk a bit more about the Portland scene. I moved to Brooklyn last fall, so I’m not as up on legislative issues as I would be if I were still an Oregonian, but I would theorize that the sun is quickly setting on the era of poker clubs and poker as a publicly spread social game in Portland. Where does that leave you? If your options were to a) follow the games as they go back underground, and absorb the shadiness and rake that goes with the private scene, b) play exclusively online when not travelling or c) be a casino player at a theoretical Ilani poker room — which I believe they have a license for even though it doesn’t exist yet — which would you choose?

Between those 3 options I would likely suck it up and play the raked home games. They aren’t incredibly shady (though you hear about over-raking and collusion from time to time).. however as of a few days ago it looks like the social clubs are in the clear! Pending some rule adjustments. That’s what I’m hearing at least. I think Meadows is still in deep water with Oregon lottery but most of the clubs should be fine.. and most importantly our precious strip club games.

Wait, what? [Does research.] Oh wow, the bill died in committee. How is there not more about this in the NW Poker thread? I have to say, I’m skeptical that this cloud hanging over you guys will just evaporate, but it seems like maybe Portland social gaming is in the clear for at least the rest of the summer. In that case, what’s your favorite club to play in? You don’t have to pick one that boasts the performing arts, but you do have to just pick one. Do you know that if I want to play 1-2 NL in Brooklyn the rake is 10% up to $12? Feel lucky.

Damn. I’ve never even been to NY, more less played poker there, but I definitely know how it goes ridiculous rake in non-Portland games. We really are spoiled. Believe me, if you still lived in Portland you would have heard all about it, hah. A big group of us went down to Salem to sweat the hearing a couple months before the ruling/decision was decided. Coincidentally, Portland Meadows is my favorite place to play in Portland, and it happens to have the most hurdles to jump through at the moment. Not only were they dealing with the infamous bill hanging over our heads, but the Oregon Lottery has been giving them shit on top of it. They’ve had to make serious adjustments to their “shootout” games. With that said, Brian Sarchi (Meadows’ owner), has been the leading voice in opposing the bill that was trying to bring the whole thing down. There were others, but I think we all owe Brian a lot of gratitude for battling so hard for all of us.

Who are some of the toughest competitors you’ve encountered in the Portland poker scene? Is there anyone you foresee making a name for themselves this summer in the bracelet events?

Max Young is a fantastic tournament player and has the resume to back it up. Jeff Mitseff is solid at any limit mix games and has a history of playing 10k events (smaller fields). Jeremy Harkin is always in there mixing it up. If I had to bet I’d put my money on those three (barring myself of course 😉 )

I forget where we met for the first time, but in my recollection our friendship solidified around playing private games and then going out to Pendleton, where we discovered we had a shared contempt for a few of our poker peers — who will remain nameless — over their lack of ethics and general scumminess. Sorry for the loaded question, but how do you go about choosing your poker friends and choosing who to keep at arm’s length? I’m not sure if you do any staking, loaning or swapping, but that can certainly compound the problem of maintaining friendly relations with your poker peers. Any advice there?

Yeah unfortunately you hear quite a bit about people owing money.. staking deals going awry.. but all in all I really do think that Portland, as a whole, has more integrity than most communities around the country. I could just be super biased, but the stories from around town are pretty tame compared to the horror stories I hear from other parts of the country/world. Honestly the best advice is just not to lend money at all. Only stake your very best friends that you know are winners. Basically just be a total nit when it comes to any of that stuff. Everyone knows who the shady characters are and they’re easy to avoid. It’s not worth calling anyone publicly but privately everyone knows.

Okay, let’s end on a happier subject. I have to admit I have a bit of envy for your tournament resume! As stated above, my lifetime results in Vegas aren’t great, mostly because I have a truly atrocious track record in tournaments. Maybe I’m just a cash game player used to plucking low-hanging fruit, but I feel like there’s some aspect of tournament play I’m not paying enough attention to. My latest guess is that it’s something to do with lifestyle. How do you drag yourself through the 110 degree desert week after week, surrounded by so many tough opponents and so much human misery, and still have the ability to access your A+ poker game when it matters most?

Let’s see.. well my broad advice, which is pretty obvious, is just to treat poker like a business. Develop a routine, eat right, get your exercise in, try to stay fresh.. put in your hours but be sure to take breaks when needed.. try not to drink and party too much (my personal vice). Just know that you’re here to grind and don’t rush it. You’re going to go through swings but as long as you can look back and know that you played well you’ll be okay. GAME SELECTION is huge. Don’t play that 2/5 Big O game just cause that’s what you do. The game is going to suck sometimes so move to something else – be it holdem or elsewhere. A lot of the time a $600 hold em tournament at Planet Hollywood will be softer than the 3k 6-max at the Rio. Make good decisions and the money will fall where it should.

Chris Leslie-Hynan is a friend of mine as well as a brilliant poker player and author. Check out his work at http://chrislesliehynan.com/ as well as Amazon.com.

Grind Grind Grind

I have literally done nothing but play poker since the last time I posted. I’ve played two hold ’em tournaments and three cash game sessions. Tomorrow I’m going to take my first day off since I’ve gotten here. Golf and watching basketball/drinking is on the agenda. Here’s a recap..

On Sunday I didn’t have a tournament schedule so I literally just played cash games at the Rio for nine hours straight. I played Pot-Limit-Omaha at $2/$5 stakes and pulled in a +$2095 win. That night was the end of day 2 of the “Colossus” tournament (which quite a few Portland players were still in) so after I got done – my buddy Alan and I went and railed (watched) our buddy Bryce play for a bit. Here’s a video of the hysteria that is a 13,000 player tournament.

So the next day buddy Mark and I both skipped the “Tag-Team” bracelet event at the Rio on Monday to play the $600 Hold ’em tournament at Planet Hollywood. I think I played a great tournament but unfortunately no dice this time ($600).  That night I went home and played online for a few hours and did better than average: profited +$1220

That brings us  to today. Today I played the $1500 Hold ’em bracelet event at the World Series. Unfortunately we didn’t place in this one EITHER ($1500) which brings our tournament record to 1/5 so far this year.  Not the way I wanted to start! Fortunately we have about 14 left to make something happen.

That’s it for now! I have a fun interview brewing with local Portland legend/author Chris Leslie so I should be posting that soon. Thanks for reading!

Jake

Rioooo Rio Rio… and too much Degen-ing.

Tournament went good. Min-cashed for a  $2253 (+$753) which makes it 1 for 2 so far this year. This happened:

Not much to report quite yet! Spent a couple nights hanging with the crew that made it down here. Our buddy Forrest made a deep run in the $1500 Omaha8 last night. Ended up taking 6th for $39,000! Everyone got together around the final table to cheer him on as he moved up. Lot of fun.

Anyway, so last night I played two separate sessions. First I bounced back and forth between two games – trying to find a good table – ended up finding one and made +$1087 in 6 hours. Then I heard about a $1100 satellite tournament that awarded $10,100 to the top finishers. Unfortunately that didn’t go well and we bricked that one ($1100). Here’s a random… Lamborghini(…? I suck at cars) in the lobby. 

Anywho, today I’ll just be playing Cash games at the Rio while watching the NBA finals. Tomorrow is my first hold ’em event – a $1100 $2.5 million guarantee at the Venetian. I’ll keep you posted.

Jake

Tucson, Phoenix, Vegas.. and OMG Oregon Poker is SAVED!

The summer has officially begun! Had a great last couple days driving through the SW and played (and  busted) my first tournament of the summer.

But before I talk about the boring stuff – let me give you some great news. The Bill that was going to take down Oregon Poker for good has OFFICIALLY been defeated! Don’t care? I don’t blame you. But to players and club owners in Oregon it’s a pretty big deal. Our game is saved and we can all play happily ever after. Probably. I’m hearing that there’s still some kinks to work out.

Anyway, what a fantastic drive from San Diego to Tucson and Phoenix to Vegas. It’s amazing how gorgeous rock piles can be. Seriously. Look at this shit.

Hanging out with Sean and his girlfriend Dominique was a blast. Sean has been one of my best friends since middle school and we’re rarely see each other anymore ever since he moved to Tucson for work. He was one of the founding members (and writer) of my very first band in high school: Left Foot Forward. Oh what could have been 😉

We drank, caught up, watched videos, saw Alien Covenant. Nice relaxing weekend. (Alien was amazing by the way. Highly recommended if you like that kinda movie.)

So Monday I drive up to Talking Stick Casino in Phoenix and wowee. Pretty impressed. I don’t know why – but I was under the impression that this place was like.. Chinook Winds or something. Nooot the case. Huge hotel, beautiful room, gigantic poker room, pools, Top Golf next door. Really nice. Actually ended up not being amazing poker action on Memorial day but I ended up booking a +$244 win.

I am officially in Vegas! Speaking of Top Golf.. has anyone reading this been there? I’ve been wanting to go for years and finally got to last night. It was truly.. truly everything that I ever dreamt and possibly.. quite possibly even more. I hear the one in Vegas is particularly big and man was it nice.

Bomb diggity. Anyway, did that Tuesday night and then played my first event yesterday at Planet Hollywood – $1100 Pot-Limit-Omaha. You can check my Twitter for the poker jargon if you’re inclined but the short of it is that I busted ($1100) by 3 o’clock or so. Ate, drove over to Rio to play cash games. Sat in a $1/$2/$5 Pot-Limit-Omaha cash game for an hour, lost ($100), switched over to a Big O cash game of the same limits and cash out +$288 in the green.

Today is my first World Series event of the summer – $1500 Omaha 8-or-Better. As always check Twitter for hour-to-hour updates if you’d like you follow along! Thanks for reading.

Jake

Day Four/Five: My first trip to ‘classy’ San Diego

I have literally played zero poker in the past 3 days! Not entirely a bad thing. I’ll be playing 60 hours a week for 5 straight weeks starting on Tuesday so spending some time away is probably a good idea anyway.

It took me 8 freakin’ hours to drive from San Mateo to San Diego on Thursday. Absolutely beautiful drive down from the bay back to I5. I wish I took more pictures but you know.. they say it’s “bad” to stare at your phone for 6 seconds at a time while going 80 mph so…

Was great seeing Alex and Dorothy! Alex was one of my first poker roommates and a heavy influence on the crafting of my poker brain. He moved to Costa Rica after Black Friday many years ago and just recently moved back to the States and picked up a software development gig in San Diego. For you that don’t know – Black Friday was when the DOJ shut down all the poker sites available to players in the US about six years ago. A lot of players moved out of the country to continue playing online, while others (me) stayed in the States to tough it out and either play live or find work elsewhere. Crazy to think it was that long ago. Was seriously like.. mass panic waking up that morning and seeing all of our money locked up and no way to play online.

Anyway, so we vegged out the first night.. and the next day, while Alex was at work, his wife took me out to explore a little bit. I had no idea how BIG San Diego is. First we went down to the beach, walked around the boardwalk, had lunch and drinks at the Baja Beach Cafe, then headed up to this lookout point where you can see like… basically the entire city.

Pretty cool. So we go home, pick up Alex, regroup and hit the bars downtown that night. Downtown SD is actually pretty crazy. Shit load of kids. One chick outside of McFadden’s was literally in the fetal position with her face down into the pavement with like 40 people around her. No idea. Another dude was completely asleep with his face down flat into his pizza. We eventually found Double Deuce which had a mechanical bull that I got to give a go. Should have video of that here in a day or two.

Woke up feeling.. not ready to play poker.. to say the least – so we just had a long breakfast and I headed 5 hours east to Tucson to see another couple close friends: Sean and his girlfriend Dominique. Here are some more photos of the couple days in SD.

Just got to Talking Stick Casino in Phoenix today which is much nicer than I anticipated! I’ll update within a day or so about Tucson and my last couple days before the poker grind starts. Thanks for reading!

Jake

Day Two/Three: Bouncing around the Bay

Alright alright so I already skipped a day updating this thing – but only because I did boring shit Tuesday morning (finally went to DEQ/DMV) and then drove for six hours and didn’t think anyone wanted to hear about it. However the last two days have been super fun! Aside from the shit poker session I just had. Here’s what I’ve been up to..

Tuesday morning I get up in my shitty hotel.. where the cleaning people woke me up TWO FREAKING TIMES BEFORE 9AM (still have to write a mean review) in the heat and bounced around Medford trying to get my car registered. That took an hour and then I drove six hours down to San Mateo to hang with Tabb City and his girlfriend Katie for two nights. The first night was amazing. They let me play on their softball team and I had a freakin’ blast. I’m totally joining/starting a team when I get back if anyone wants to join me. The team we played was pretty good but we came back from a 4-1 hole to WIN 5-4 in the predetermined last inning (6th)! I totally batted in the 2 winning runs too! Oh but wait, the ump then decides fuck it let’s keep playing and they crush the bottom of the 7th and we lose in devastating fashion. Brutal but it was still super fun.

Went home, watched sports, drank wine.. got up this morning and played 9 holes at this pretty sweet par-3 golf course right off the bay. If you look close you can see the Golden Gate bridge and downtown San Francisco way out in the distance. Somehow I knocked in 3 pars and a birdie which is way better than I usually play so I was pretty happy about that.

Oh yeah, this is supposed to be a poker blog. So tonight I went and checked out a popular casino in the bay area that I’ve never been to: Bay 101 in San Jose. As far as casinos go – Bay 101 is very small.. and surprisingly is mostly a poker room – at least by floor space. It had a good array of games offered. 1/2/3, 2/3/5, 5/5/10 NLHE. 8/16 and 20/40 Omaha8 and some higher Limit Hold ‘Em. My main complaints with this place is that the dealers were very slow and the rake was uncomfortably high for how few hands we were getting in. Rake was $6 a hand and no high hand jackpots. Action was good though and the action was great.

Unfortunately I had a rough session but I would likely go back because the action was good enough. Barely saw any professionals and people were very engaged in the games. I played for 5.5 hours and suffered a ($815) loss.

That’s it for tonight. Tomorrow I’m getting up, getting some oil in my car and then heading down to San Diego to see my old buddy Alex and his wife Dorothy for two nights. I’ve never been to SD so hopefully he can get enough time off of work to show me around the city.  Goodnight!

Jake

Day ONE: The strife of Oregon poker and my venture to Medford

So I was only 2 hours late leaving my condo – and only had to skip one visit to DEQ in order to make my trip down to Medford a success. Damn you Game of Thrones! I’m FINALLY caught up now though and wowee.. season six finale?? Amiright?

Anyway, I got to spend a night at Southern Oregon Poker Club and had a splendid time. The room is four tables deep and carries a nice casual, chummy atmosphere. Gave me the vibe that most of the people that play here are friends that likely play together at least a few times a week. The owner, Damien, has been in the poker scene for years and has recently taken up full ownership of the club. Super nice dude and very accommodating. Here are few glimpses from the night.

           Snapchat-891056927

So shortly after I got in and got the rundown about how things worked at this place – some things started soaking in that really surprised me. Clubs do things here, and basically everywhere outside of Portland, way differently than the Portland clubs do. This is very significant, especially right now, for a few reasons. In order to understand why I need to give a brief history about the state of public poker in Portland for people that don’t know. WARNING: If you don’t care about any of the Portland poker drama skip ahead to the results paragraph below 😉

As long as I’ve been playing cards in public rooms in the Portland area, they’ve been doing it basically the same way. The card rooms there are NOT casinos and have rules that force them to operate much differently. Casinos take a “rake” every single hand that the players play (of around $4) which is where they make the majority of their money. Portland “social (poker) clubs” can’t do that. It’s illegal to make money “from the game” itself so club owners are forced to charge a daily membership fee to enter the room and then make any and all other money from food/drink and merchandise. Then there’s the dealers. In casinos – dealers are paid an hourly wage and then receive tips on top of that. Again, that’s illegal for Portland social clubs to do. Dealers can’t be paid.. so they’re forced to volunteer to deal and pool money elsewhere.

All of this has created a legal grey-area cluster-fuck over the past few years because the casinos over the Washington border are trying to get the clubs shut down. Incentively it makes sense, as the Portland clubs are their competitors, but naturally it rubs everyone the wrong way because we’re getting hassled by out of state casinos that are far more predatory to their clientele than the social clubs are. That and it’d be a total pain in the ass to drive out of state to play in a public setting. The wording of the laws were obviously made by legislators that weren’t very familiar with gambling or poker so the ways around the grey areas have basically been a matter of interpretation.

Long story short, shit has been hitting the fan the past few months and we’ve all been scared that we’re going to get our social clubs shut down. This is where my surprise came from today: They do things so differently here that I was wondering if these rule-gymnastics were quirky enough to get the clubs by in my home town. Instead of making money through a membership door fee – they make their money straight from the players through “donations”. They are not allowed to make money “from the game”.. but here’s where it gets tricky.. the definition of “game”, for whatever reason, is from when the hand is dealt, to when the pot is pushed. This leaves a huge gap open. To leverage this, the clubs simply switch out “cash/tournament” chips for “donation” chips (which you can technically keep for yourself if you wish). The players then donate the “donation” chips AFTER the pot has been pushed. The club then keeps all donations that were donated OUTSIDE the “game” itself. The “volunteer dealers” in Portland are forced to pay a membership fee to deal. This isn’t the case down here. They deal for free. Other than that it seems to be the same. However I was told that contracts were being received in order to prevent dealers from pursuing any legal employment status.

BLAH! Boring, right? This has been BIG deal in the Portland poker scene lately though – and I’m wondering if any of my local poker friends could shed some light and tell me if any of this would make sense for our local clubs. Talking about things down here made me feel a sense of ease that’s been lacking the last couple months.

Aaaanyway, enough of that. I played in a $1/$2 Hold ‘Em game for 3.5 hours tonight and hauled in a +$314 profit. Apparently the big game here I’ll have to miss though. I was hearing they have a juicy $5/$10 Hold ‘Em game on Fridays that involves some… how do I say.. farmers… from around the area.

Tomorrow I’m off to San-Fran-Sisco for a night (maybe 2) to golf, play softball, and hopefully get some poker in with my good friend Steven Tabb and his girlfriend Katie. I’m on my third glass of solo-wine-drinking so I should probably call it night. Goodnight Cleveland!

Oh I almost forgot! My buddy (and hilarious Kiwi) Mark is doing a poker VLOG this summer about his experience in the poker scene and the ups and downs of the journey. Click HERE to check it! He’s actually the one that gave me the idea to do this blog, so naturally I’ll probably be stealing more of his ideas throughout the summer. Maybe I’ll even do mini vlog inserts myself, eh? ehh???? Okay goodnight.

Jake

Day 0 and my last week in Portland until July

Bags packed. Oil changed. Rooms booked.  I think I’m set.

Had a fantastic week trying to stay away from the tables (still got in 25 hours or so) knowing that I’m going to be putting in 60+ hour weeks for the next month and a half. Got out for some disc golf, jogging, recording and a shit load of Game of Thrones.

All in all had a pretty good poker week. I actually played quite a bit online which I rarely do anymore. The ups and downs are a lot heavier online as opposed to playing at a live table. I had a session where I came out ahead $2400 and another the next day where I lost $1700. Ended up squeaking out a small win. Here’s a breakdown of the work week by venue:

Portland Meadows – 4.2 hours +$733
Boom Boom Room – 1 hour ($90)
Private Game – 4 hours +$75
Online – 16 hours +$600

Tomorrow is day 1! On top of keeping this blog updated every day – I’ll be posting even more videos, photos, tweets and updates on other social media. On the right side of the screen here you’ll find links to the other accounts. Twitter will be mostly for hourly updates during tournaments will lots of pokery jargon. Snapchat will serve up random videos throughout the day and IG for photos. Thanks for reading and check back tomorrow!

Jake