SHUFFLE UP AND DEAL! Texas Holdem Poker Very Popular on the North Oregon Coast.

Texas Holdem Poker Draws locals at a variety of locations.

Shuffle Up and Deal

By Gail Hand

6 years ago I moved to Clatsop County from Portland to help and spend quality time with my fun-loving, upbeat aging parents. One Tuesday evening, after using the Seaside community pool I glanced over at the American Legion across the street from my car and saw a scrolling electronic billboard sign that read;

Texas Hold’em Monday night….7pm  Pizza by Marc.

That next Monday I showed up to play at the Seaside Legion on Broadway.

 I met players as diverse as could be.  There were roofers, chefs, contractors, real estate professionals, bankers, artisans, professional fisherman, organic farmers, a woman running a big clothing empire, the Seaside jerky king, volunteer firefighters, professional snowboarders and retired folks from every industry from teaching and mechanical engineering to running a furniture division for a large department store.  Nowadays there are visitors from other states from Florida to Montana who pop in for a weeknight.

A few of the players are in their late 20s and 30s, but most from 40-70 yrs. old. . Some are married, some are hopelessly single, some are widowers and there are a variance of playboys looking forward to their next hook up or meeting that special big halibut about 40 miles off the North Jetty.   Some just got off the ship in Astoria and read about us in the Legion newsletter.

Eventually I started dealing at several poker games a week.

There are many sources to teach a person how to play Texas Hold’em

This gave me something to occupy my racing brain, as I got bored if the game ran too slow.  I got to observe the players with from a different perspective and made some tips to cover the cost of my buy-in, just in case I did not win.  Getting paid to play poker was a hobby I thought I would enjoy.

Dealing to a wide group of characters has its challenges.  Some play faster than others, some get very upset when they lose and some talk constantly.

My job is to keep the game moving and doing my best to make sure everyone gets along and is respectful to each other. There are nights where the poker tables are calm, there is laughing and mostly appropriate humor.  Once in a while there are nights when I am convinced there is a full moon without looking up in the sky because everyone is a little agitated and it’s a bit shall we say – louder.  That said, most of the time there is laughing and genuine camaraderie.  After years of playing together most people help me keep the peace if necessary.

One of the bigger characters in our midst is a former professional gambler, author and poker player who graces us part of the year with his poker savvy.  He is always available to share stories about Vegas in the 70s and what it was like to play with Doyle Brunson and other legends of poker in Texas and Vegas. Back then they used to hold the World Series at Binion’s and the prizes were $5,000 and not 5 million.  He’s written a few books and has a blog on poker as well.  He was one of the early poker players who helped me polish my dealing skills through his own brand of New Jersey “tough love”

Large cash prize pools attract people from far and wide at these tournaments.

It was because of that tough love, and his eventual approval of my dealing, that I had the added courage to apply to deal at the Pac West Classic at Chinook Winds in Lincoln City.  Each year the prize money increases to this past week being guaranteed $1 million dollars in prize money awarded, that is spread throughout the 9 days tournament line-up.  This means even if there are not enough players that enter a tournament to cover the guarantee, the casino makes up the difference.

As the tournament wrapped up last week, we had a nice group of shining stars from our very own Clatsop County.

Not one, not two but 6 of our counties best poker players made day two of the final Main Event where the prize pool totaled $250,000.

I’ve had the good fortune to deal to and play with all of these players for the past several year and I was not surprised the long runs they had this year.

It was fun to root them on in between dealing.

The first weekend Jim Hissner took 4th place from over 300 entries in the  Texas Hold’em 125k Guarantee.

Carl Hadermann Jr. cashed in 8th place out of 129 entries in the Omaha 30k Guarantee Tourney, Howard Fuller cashed in the top 5% of players in the 30k Guarantee, and I had a good run myself.

When it came to the Main Event for a guaranteed prize pool of $250,000

10 of our players entered, 6 made day 2, and one nearly made the final table!

 These are pretty amazing stats for some little towns on the coast.

(pictured: Zach Soller, Larry Marshall, last years winner Max Young and Aubrey Fausett (Jessica Harris, Carl Hadermann, Troy Stinnett not pictured)

Our shining star, Aubrey Fausett was not only the last woman standing, she placed 11th just missing the final table by one player to cash for $3800 from a $775 buy in.  Good value if you ask me!  Aubrey outlasted 385 players at the Main Event last week, but it was not her first rodeo in poker success.  She has been playing poker for over 25 years and was once sponsored by a wealthy businessman in Georgia who knew how talented she was.  They travelled across the country and made almost a million dollars splitting the profits from her poker talents.  Now Aubrey is married and has several kids so her time on the felt is limited.

Aubrey sitting at the table during the Main Event

It’s not rare that our poker players that live on the coast do well in poker tournaments, since I moved here 6 years ago, I run into several but we are all getting better so it happens with more frequency these days.

A few years ago, when I was first playing poker I had pocket 10s and a woman named Aubrey called my all-in with a 6-2. We both stood up and I was very excited about beating this very skilled poker player.

The flop came out, It was 9-6-3.  I was ahead, I felt great, I was going to take all the chips!   Then a Q came out on the turn.  I was ELATED!  The river brought another 6 and I was sent home with my tail between my legs. 

I stood there and said: What just happened???  You called me with a 6-2? 

She responded:  But it was suited! (a famous amateur response to why a player chooses to play any two cards, but as it turns out she was no amateur, she just had a feeling) 
We both still remember the hand and laugh about it 5 years later.  In fact when I see her from time to time, I will call her the 6-2 lady.

That’s the beauty of poker, you may get your heart crushed once in a while, but you learn to laugh about it later.

The players exchange savvy poker playing skills and banter for 4-5 hours on a weeknight.  Banter?  Yes there is a lot of it.

What I love about poker is that you have a chance to get to meet the other people where you live, find out what they are all about, exchange the local gossip, business ideas and more important for some- compete very close to your house and be able to be in your bed by 11pm or for some a bit later.

I’ve made wonderful friends; very good crab, tuna and honey connections and people that I know will have my back if I am in a jam. 

One early evening on the way to Nehalem poker game, I forgot to get gas.  Even though my father always taught me to never drive with less than ¼ of a tank, I ran out of gas on Neakhanie Mountain

There I was walking on the side of the road thinking that one of my poker players would be driving by and I could flag them down.  Sure enough the next car was my play director from Nehalem who I flagged down.  Just before this I called this papers publisher to let her know I was on my way down the mountain and needed to get my car.  From the time I called, met her at the gas station, drove up and filled up the tank and drove the car back I believe it was 22 min.   Faster than AAA in a large city!

We all get marriage and dating advice, the local gossip, the history of the area and a good lesson on the art of how to make a good home brew.

It’s like the TV show Cheers but at the poker table.  There is music at some games and enough action and banter at others to keep you entertained.

There are talented professionals here on the coast who can immaculately make your land into a beautiful garden, renovate your house, fix your leaky roof, help design new business cards and take pictures of the your family that would knock your socks off.  We also have great surfers, golfers and pickleball players you can meet up with to get some exercise with away from the tables.  Though you have to be an excellent surfer to hang ten with them.

There is one thing that my fellow poker players have in common, which is that they love my mother’s cooking.  Yes, my 90 year-old mom has been baking for our Seaside poker game on Monday nights for almost a year now.  She makes cookies, pastries and delectable goodies that never make it past the second break in the evening.

If you have never had my mother’s desserts you really should show up just for the dessert, it’s worth it.   In fact if you come to the Monday game by 6:20 I will give you an extra 1k chip for coming early AND a pastry.

See you on the tables.  Shuffle up and deal.

We now have poker in Clatsop County 5 days a week from Astoria down to Nehalem.

There are over 100 active poker players that may choose from the Astoria Moose Lodge, The Seaside and Cannon Beach American Legions, The Elks Lodge in Seaside and a little Cafe called Bayway in Nehalem.

Here are a list of places to play that are within 15-35 min of your doorstep:

Monday       Seaside Legion                   6pm  $50 buy in, $20 add on

Tuesday       Elks Lodge                         6pm   Cash Game  $60-$300 buy-in

Wednesday  Bayway Eatery                   7pm $40 buy-in

Thursday     Astoria Moose Lodge         7pm  $40 buy-in  ($75 annual membership fee)

Friday          Cannon Beach Legion     7pm  $40 buy-in

For more details on these games, please contact the writer:  or 541-351-8766

Gail Hand with her two sidekicks.

Gail is a Motivational Humorist, Author and Currently Teaches Laughter Yoga to nearly 250 Senior Communities in 4 states. She finds poker, photo ops and pickleball in her travels with her pups; Chihuahua’s, Zippy and Zoe who edit her 3 blogs and have their own Twitter Page.  They are all decent poker players too J

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