PokerNews' own Remko Rinkema is part of our regular team of contributors, and this summer he's out at the World Series of Poker writing feature stories and hosting the PokerNews Podcast and Remko Report. Today, Rinkema is diving into the fourth WSOP gold bracelet event of his life, and you'll be able to follow along with his progress right here.
Rinkema is an avid mixed-game player, and he scored a nice result in the PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker 35-M: $215 8-Game event. There he took second for $18,195.21 after a heads-up deal. At the final table, Rinkema had to contend with top players Jason Mercier (3rd) and Dzmitry Urbanovich (4th).
Day 2 — 1:45 p.m.: "I Wouldn't Believe You"
"If you would've told me five years ago that this was going to happen, I wouldn't believe you, with Scotty Nguyen on my right and Phil Hellmuth on my left," Rinkema said before the start of Day 2.
Day 2 will start at 2 p.m. local time in Las Vegas, and Rinkema remains in the event as one of the final 89 players from a field of 380. The top 42 will pay, so a little over half of the remaining field must go before players cash. Rinkema hopes to be one of them, and we'll be continuing to post updates right here for you to follow along.
Rinkema will enter Day 2 with 21,775 in chips, which is just about two-thirds of the average stack. He still has a fair amount of play left, so his maneuverability isn't totally disabled just yet.
Day 2 — 3:05 p.m.: A Good Start; Up Over 40,000
Rinkema's day has gotten off to a quality start, as he's increased his stack to over 40,000 in chips. Most of his positive movement has come in the 2-7 draw games, with one nice pot coming in no-limit 2-7 single draw and another two coming in limit 2-7 triple draw.
In a hand of no-limit 2-7 single draw, Rinkema opened from under the gun to 1,700, and Jamie Heitner reraised to 4,100 on the button. Play folded back to Rinkema, and he called. Rinkema then drew one card, and Heitner stood pat. Both players checked after the drawing round, and Rinkema's scooped the pot. Heitner mucked.
After the hand, Rinkema informed us that he started with and drew to a nine with one blocker to pairing up his own hand on the draw. He received the .
About 20 minutes later, Rinkema played a hand of 2-7 triple draw against Fu Wong. From the hijack seat, Rinkema raised. Wong reraised on the button, and played folded back to Rinkema. He called, then both players drew one card. After the draw, Rinkema checked, Wong bet, Rinkema raised, Wong reraised, and Rinkema called.
On the second draw, Rinkema stood pat, and Wong drew one card. Rinkema then bet, and Wong called. On the third draw, Rinkema stood pat again, and Wong drew one again. Then, both players checked.
Rinkema tabled , and Wong mucked his hand.
In the same round of 2-7 triple draw, Rinkema later raised from the cutoff seat, and Heitner called from the big blind. Heitner took three cards, and Rinkema took two. Heitner then check-called a bet from Rinkema.
On the second draw, Heitner took two, and Rinkema stood pat. Heitner check-called once again, then drew one for the final draw. Rinkema stood pat one final time, and then both players checked after the draw. Rinkema announced a ninety-six and showed the . Heitner mucked.
Day 2 — 4:15 p.m.: Average Stack On First Break
We caught up with Rinkema on the first break, where his stack sat at 42,700 in chips. That's just about average with 66 players remaining and the field 24 spots off the money. Rinkema let us know he lost a big pot in seven-card stud hi-low, but it didn't hurt him too much. It was a multiway pot where he had a big draw and missed, so he could've had a lot more chips.
One hand against Bruno Fitoussi was won by Rinkema in a hand of no-limit hold'em. Fitoussi raised to 2,000 from the cutoff seat, and Rinkema called from the button to see the flop. Fitoussi checked, and Rinkema bet 2,200. Fitoussi folded, and Rinkema won the pot.
Day 2 — 5:45 p.m.: Nearing the Money
The field has been cut down 48 players, and with 42 spots paying the action has tightened up a bit. Rinkema's stack is still hovering around the 40,000-chip mark. Notables like Hellmuth, Daniel Negreanu, Todd Brunson, and Jeff Lisandro are all still alive with healthy stacks, and there are players like Matt Glantz who are short and fighting hard to avoid a bubble elimination.
On one recent hand of Omaha hi-low, Fitoussi raised from early position, and Rinkema reraised with the from the button. Play folded back to Fitoussi, and he called to see the flop come down . Fitoussi check-called a bet from Rinkema, and then the landed on the river. Fitoussi checked, Rinkema bet, and Fitoussi folded.
Day 2 — 6:45 p.m.: Eliminated On the Bubble
After losing with pocket eights versus pocket queens in a hand of limit hold'em, and then losing a big badugi hand against Fitoussi, Rinkema found himself down to 6,100 in chips. He was still alive, but not by much as the field was now just five spots from a cash. But then, it all turned around for the time being.
Again in a hand of badugi against Fitoussi, Rinkema went to battle. This time, Fitoussi raised from the button, Rinkema reraised from the small blind, and then Fitoussi reraised to put Rinkema all in. With just 100 behind after he had three-bet to 6,000, Rinkema called all in.
Fitoussi drew one card on all three draws. Rinkema started drawing two and then drew one on the final two draws. Rinkema showed a and Fitoussi had the . With his final card, Rinkema hit the to make a seven badugi. Fitoussi pulled the , and Rinkema doubled up to 14,200.
"C'mon! C'mon!" shouted an accented voice from the rail to Rinkema. Rinkema turned and saw none other than George Danzer watching.
"Are you in the money?" asked Danzer.
"No, five away," responded Rinkema.
"C'mon!" finished Danzer, as he patted Rinkema on the back and walked back over to the $10,000 Seven-Card Stud Hi-Low Championship on the other side of the room.
But then, it all went the other way.
Not too long after Rinkema's double up, the game switched to seven-card stud. Again, he tangled with Fitoussi, but this time the Frenchman landed the final blow.
Fitoussi: () /
Rinkema: () /
Fitoussi brought in with the up, and then Rinkema completed. Play folded back to Fitoussi, and he called. Rinkema then led with the betting on fourth, fifth, and sixth street, with the last of his money going in on sixth. Fitoussi called and the two players revealed their hands. Each hand a flush draw, but at the time Rinkema's ace high was best. Fitoussi also had a gunshot straight draw.
Fitoussi pulled first, and he showed the to complete his eight-high straight. Rinkema needed to hit a spade, but pulled the black card he didn't want with the , and he was eliminated in 47th place — just five spots short of the money.
Day 1 — 4:05 p.m.: Kicking Things Off
After the WSOP announced changes to the event's structure, Rinkema took his seat a couple minutes past the original start time. Sporting his black Run It Up! hoodie, Rinkema was very excited to play this event, as he's been studying mixed games more and more.
"This event is made for me, and it suits the style of poker I like to play these days," he said before the event started. "The mix is H.O.R.S.E. plus no-limit hold'em, pot-limit Omaha, no-limit 2-7, badugi, and 2-7 triple draw, and those are all of the games I play these days. I feel like this mix was made for me, and I'm super excited to play."
Everyone in the event began play with 7,500 in tournament chips, and last year's field attracted 445 entries. We'll be catching up with Rinkema at every break throughout the day, and at various other points in the tournament to see how he is doing, so stay tuned for more.
Day 1 — 5:10 p.m.: A Positive Start
Rinkema's day has gotten off to a positive start, and he's already worked his starting stack of 7,500 up into five figures. Early on, Rinkema made a six-five in razz to scoop a nice pot while his table was still playing three-handed, and then he followed up that victory with a couple of other nice wins.
One of his tablemates began a conversation with Rinkema about the Netherlands and the Master Classics of Poker (MCOP), which sparked Rinkema's interest and began some chatter. The player informed Rinkema that he attended the MCOP in 1995 and 1996.
Despite the early positive movement in his chip stack, Rinkema did lose a pot to kick him back to around 10,800 in a hand of no-limit 2-7 single draw. From the hijack seat, Rinkema raised to 300. The player on the button three-bet to 800, the player in the small blind called, and then Rinkema called.
On the draw, the player from the small blind drew one, Rinkema drew two, and the player on the button stood pat. After the draw, the first two players checked to the third player on the button, and he bet 900. After the player in the small blind folded, Rinkema tanked for a bit, but eventually gave it up.
"I folded a pretty good one," Rinkema commented.
Day 1 — 6:10 p.m.: The Bluff That Failed
We spoke with Rinkema on the first break in the event. He had worked his way up to what he told us was 11,875 in chips, but our resident chip counting guru Mickey Doft informed us that Rinkema had 10,875 instead. After double checking his stack, Rinkema confirmed Doft was correct.
Alexander Lakhov took the seat to Rinkema's direct right, and Rinkema classified him as a good, aggressive Russian player. Rinkema played one key hand involving Lakhov, and here's what went down during the badugi round.
Lakhov raised from under the gun, Rinkema reared from the cutoff seat, the players on the button and in the big blind called, and then Lakhov called. Rinkema said he three-bet with a badugi and planned to draw one.
On the first draw, the player in the big blind took one, Lakhov took three, Rinkema drew one, and the player on the button took two. After the draw, action checked to Rinkema, and he bet. Only the player in the big blind and Lakhov called.
On the second draw, the first player took one, Lakhov took two, and the last player took one. Then, action checked to Rinkema again and he bet. Both of his opponents called.
"At this point, I had a pair of sixes, and I decided to snow," Rinkema told us. "I spoke with Danzer on the break about the hand, and he told me it was close, but could go either way. He said if I had a draw to a five badugi, then I should draw, but a draw to a seven badugi, he suggested staying pat and snowing. A six, he said, was in the middle."
Both of Rinkema's opponents took one card, and Rinkema stood pat. Action checked to Rinkema, he bet, and the player in the big blind made the call. Lakhov snap-folded.
Rinkema announced he had a three-card badugi, and then his opponent showed him a badugi to scoop the pot.
Shortly thereafter, Andrey Zaichenko joined the table in Seat 1.
"How are you doing?" Rinkema asked him.
"Not so good," Zaichenko said.
"But now you get to play with me!" Rinkema responded with a smiled.
"Yeah, that's great!" Zaichenko laughed.
Day 1 — 7:10 p.m.: A Not-So-Positive Turn of Events
Rinkema dropped back to 4,625 after being forced to fold in a hand of seven-card stud.
Rinkema's board was showing () / / () on seventh street, and he was up against his opponent showing () / / (). Rinkema led with a bet on fifth street and was called. On sixth, his opponent bet with a pair of jacks showing, and Rinkema called. On seventh, his opponent bet again, and Rinkema folded.
A few minutes later, Zaichenko was eliminated in a hand of Omaha hi-low from the table, but his seat was filled by Nguyen.
Day 1 — 8:10 p.m.: Turning It Back Around
There was one player at Rinkema's table winning what seemed to be all of the pots, and it became an ongoing joke with everyone else that they should just keep giving way to this opponent. But then, Rinkema finally turned the tide, and got a round of praise from the others.
First, Rinkema scooped a nice pot in seven-card stud hi-low with a pair of queens. With a board of () / / () against his opponent's () / / (), Rinkema called bets on fourth and fifth before the two checked sixth and seventh street. Rinkema tabled the to rake in the pot.
After winning another pot in the same game not too long after following folds from two opponents on fifth street, Rinkema improved his position back to just about starting stack with 7,200 in chips.
Day 1 — 9:20 p.m.: Scooping Some Big Ones
Things are continuing to turn around for our Dutch friend, and he's now moved up to just under 15,000 in chips — almost two times the starting stack.
Before the last break, Rinkema scooped a nice pot in seven-card stud hi-low with a seven-high straight and a seven low against Nguyen, and that brought him up over 9,000. Then just recently, he won big badugi pot to really pick up the pace.
In the badugi hand, Rinkema capped the action before the first draw with rainbow and another . On the first draw, Lakhov and Rinkema drew one each, and the other player stood pat. After the draw, action checked to the unknown player, and he bet. Rinkema called after Lakhov folded.
On the second draw, Rinkema took one, and his opponent stood pat again. He then check-called a bet, and then drew one more card on the final draw. From that, Rinkema pulled an unsuited and made a six badugi. He checked, his opponent bet, and Rinkema check-raised. His opponent called all in with a nine badugi, and Rinkema scooped the pot.
Day 1 — 10:45 p.m.: Number One vs. Number Two
On the third break, Rinkema let us know he had built up to over 20,000 in chips — 20,650 to be exact. He said he peaked at around 22,000, but lost a little bit back.
On one big hand of 2-7 triple draw, Rinkema went up against Nguyen, who has been the talk of the table, complete with beer in hand. On this one, Nguyen raised from under the gun, Lakhov called from the next seat, Rinkema called on the button, and the player in the big blind called.
For the first draw, the first player took two, Nguyen and Lakhov took one each, and then Rinkema took two. Rinkema informed us he started with and pulled right away to make the nuts. After the draw, the first player checked, Nguyen bet, Lakhov called, Rinkema raised, the first player called, Nguyen reraised, Lakhov folded, Rinkema called, and the first player called.
Rinkema said his decision for calling instead of reraising here was because he wanted to keep at least one other player in the hand besides Nguyen, either the first player or Lakhov. He also wanted to disguise his hand for future streets when the bets get larger and he can extract more value.
On the second draw, the first player drew one, then Nguyen and Rinkema stood pat. Action checked to Nguyen, he bet, Rinkema called, and the other player called. Again, Rinkema cited not raising here to conceal his hand and not fold out the third player. On the final draw, the first player drew one again, and Nguyen and Rinkema were once again pat.
After the final draw, the first player checked, Nguyen bet, Rinkema raised, and the first player folded. Nguyen then called, but saw the bad news when Rinkema tabled number one. Nguyen showed for number two.
Day 1 — 12:05 a.m.: Running It Up
In a hand of limit hold’em around 11:15 p.m. with the blinds at 250/500 and limits of 500/1,000, Lakhov raised from under the gun. Rinkema was next to act and reraised with the . Play folded back to Lakhov, and he called to see the flop.
The dealer spread the , and Lakhov check-called a bet from Rinkema. The turn was the to pair the board, and Lakhov check-raised this time against Rinkema’s bet. Rinkema reraised, and Lakhov called.
The tripped up the board on the river, and Lakhov checked. Rinkema bet, and Lakhov called.
Lakhov showed the , but it was no good against Rinkema’s aces, and our Dutch colleague moved up to 27,000 in chips. Lakhov was left with about 3,000 in chips, and Rinkema eliminated the Russian player shortly after that.
About 40 minutes later, Rinkema scooped another nice pot, and again it was again the "Prince of Poker," Scotty Nguyen.
In another 2-7 triple draw battle, Rinkema raised from middle position, and Nguyen called from the big blind. Nguyen drew two, and Rinkema took one. After the draw, Nguyen checked, Rinkema bet, Nguyen raised, Rinkema reraised, and then Nguyen capped it with another raise. Rinkema called.
Both players stood pat on the next two draws, and each time Nguyen bet out with Rinkema making the call. Nguyen showed , but it was no good against Rinkema's . That moved Rinkema up to about 31,000 in chips.
As if that wasn't enough of a positive improvement, Rinkema let us know he then won a big seven-card stud hi-low hand not too long after the above hand that moved him up to 37,000 in chips.
Day 1 — 1:15 a.m.: Approval from Phil Hellmuth
A little after midnight, Rinkema and Nguyen were joined by 14-time gold bracelet winner Hellmuth at the table, and the energy really picked up. Rinkema began chatting with Hellmuth about several things, including the Golden State Warriors NBA championship victory, 25K Fantasy, and more.
We caught up with Rinkema on the final break of the night, and his stack sat just under 40,000 in chips. Rinkema let us know he picked off a nice bluff against Nguyen after again taking on the 1998 WSOP Main Event champion.
The hand was during a round of badugi, and Rinkema had a three-card five. After the first draw, Rinkema bet, and Nguyen check-raised. Rinkema called, and then both players drew one card each. Nguyen bet, and Rinkema called. Nguyen then stood pat, and Rinkema drew one more. Nguyen bet, and Rinkema took a moment before making the call. Nguyen tabled the for a three-card six, but Rinkema's proved to be the winner.
Rinkema saw Hellmuth in the hallway on the break and asked, "Did you like that call, Phil? With the three-card five?"
"That was a great call," Hellmuth responded with a smile. "I give you maximum credit. I wouldn't have made it."
Day 1 — 3:05 a.m.: Bag 'Em Up!
The last two levels of the night weren't exactly what Rinkema had hoped for, and he dwindled down to around 15,000. His slide was large in part due to a big hand that didn't go his way in seven-card stud hi-low.
Nevertheless, Rinkema finished the night on a positive note, winning a couple of pots as Day 1 came to a close. On the very last hand of the night, Rinkema made a wheel in Omaha hi-low, but didn't get paid off on the river against two opponents. He did pull in the pot, though, and that brought him up to 21,775 in chips where he ended the night.
With 89 players remaining from the starting field of 380 players, Rinkema will return for Day 2 on Friday with two-thirds of the average stack. With the new structures changes, he'll be able to play a double level to start Day 2 and that could surely help him early on. We'll continue with our coverage of Rinkema tomorrow, with play beginning at 2 p.m. local time.