San Diego January Poker 2.0 recap

January's Poker 2.0 attendees

January’s Poker 2.0 attendees

With a pot size approaching $1,000 and the biggest attendance so far, January’s Poker 2.0 in San Diego was a blast. We also welcomed nine newcomers! 

As always, we welcomed our sponsors, Damon Melda of Jones Lang LaSalle, and Dan Koeppen of Wilson Sonsini law firm, by putting bounties on their heads. This time, it took more than five rounds to felt them.

Several players have brushed the dust off their poker skills since Poker 2.0 started in San Diego in July 2013. The night’s play was pretty aggressive, amassing dozens of re-buys. A couple people re-bought more than eight times!

The winners

The winners

Here’s how it turned out for the winners:

1st Place: Dave Churchville of Embarke

2nd Place: Daniel Marashlian of RapidEngage

3rd Place: Tanya Maslach of GOTRIbal

4th Place: Chris Zwickilton of HouseCall

5th Place: Arie Trouw of Webble and Tech Coast Angels member

Usually 5th place is the “bubble”–the last person to not win any money. But this time, Arie took home $2 in quarters, thanks to someone’s buy-in that apparently came from their couch cushions!

Thanks again to our sponsors Damon Melda of Jones Lang LaSalle and Wilson Sonsini. Please share the love with a tweet!

Tanya wins all of Jeff's chips

Tanya wins all of Jeff’s chips

The final table

The final table


Seattle, January 2014 Recap

FullBlackBrandedOur host this month was the Columbia Tower Club, perched atop the tallest building in Seattle.  Wow.  What a place.   The ambiance, the food, the service… all outstanding.  The Club underwent a $3.5M makeover about a year ago and shed it’s stuffy old ‘gentlemen’s club’ attitude and transformed itself into a sophisticated and swanky meeting place for business and pleasure.  We were doing both last night and the venue struck the perfect chord.


I had some experience with Club membership a number of years ago, long before the transformation.  Honestly, I would never have thought of the old Club membership as a serious option for early stage companies.  But I’ve learned that the new Club can be a great opportunity.  Their co-working, parking and facility benefits are a great a value and the quality is mind blowing.

Long-time Poker 2.0 devote and CEO of Affinity.IS, Dan Todd, is a member of the Club and used the space for his and his team’s virtual office.  Dan gave a pretty compelling testimony to the crowd.  A special thanks to our Club partners in crime Tommy, Darrell and Brie for their extraordinary hospitality.  If you’re interested in learning more, reach out to Darrell at the Club and he’ll hook you up with all the deets.


We were stacked just a tad over capacity with 48 players.  That means more money in the pot, more trash talk and more bad beat stories at the rebuy table… and as usual there were plenty!  I wish I had a buck for every pair of cracked aces and busted straights I’ve seen over the past eight years.

This was Jimmy Kwan’s final Seattle event as a sponsor.  We’re grateful for all the support that Turnstone Furniture has provide to the Seattle community this past year or so.  Jimmy, thanks… it’s been a pleasure to have you at the tables.  You can still catch Jimmy at the tables at the Portland Poker 2.0 events for a while, as Turnstone continues to participate as a sponsor down there.


Thanks to James Gannon for representing, Wilson Sonsini, one of our longest-term and most devoted sponsors.  It was James’ first time at a Poker 2.0 and he made it to the final table.  Nice job James… let’s see if you can make it into the money circle next time!

Not sure if it was the hosted bar or the intoxicating truffle tater tots, but there was a LOT of action last night and a commensurately big pot.  1st and 2nd place also took home copies of the movie Rounders and Phil Gordon’s instructional DVD.  Here are the money winners.

Small-dog Pot:

1st) Felix Livni, Founder/CEO, Schedulista
2nd) Eric Fogel, Founder (former), Emergent Detection
3rd) Jacqueline Puzas, Founder/CEO, Pawlyte
4th) Georges Khoury, Founder, Attendible
5th) Herman Calabria, Founder, UserNest
6th) Daniel Todd, CEO, Affinity.IS

Big-dog Pot

1st) Eric Fogel, Founder (former), Emergent Detection
2nd) Jacqueline Puzas, Founder, Pawlyte
3rd) Herman Calabria, Founder, UserNest
T4th) Brewster Stanislau, Co-founder/CEO, InsideSocial
T4th) Andrew Rogers, CTO, SpaceCurve

Seattle Holiday 2013 Event Recap

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The holidays are usually a bit of crap shoot when it comes to Poker 2.0.  Over the years, we’ve had December events with 80 attendees and we’ve had events with 15 attendees.  But it’s unusual to have the typical four-table showing like we did this month.  I’m not complaining… four full tables is a great number!  We even had a couple of newbies that made this their very first event.

In the spirit of the holiday, we had eggnog and a bottle of Hennessy cognac on hand.  We had lots of eggnog left over at the end of the night but the Hennessy was all but gone.  Clearly we had more Hennessy fans that eggnog fans.

As you know, we start every event with an opportunity for players to make an announcement to the crowd.  For those that take us up on the offer and make an announcement, they get an extra chip bonus.   The announcement run the gamut from “we just closed our round” to “we’re looking for an iOS developer” to “we just broke through to revenue” to “I’ve decided to shut down my startup and look for another opportunity”.

This month we had a number of great announcements but I have a favorite… maybe a favorite of all time.  Steve H announced that he recently made is first ever angel investment in a company that he met and got to know through Poker 2.0.  That in itself is terrific.  But what makes it even more terrific is that Steve was on the receiving end of an angel invest himself a couple of years ago… from and angel that he met at a Poker 2.0 event.

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Thanks to SURF Incubator for hosting us in the newly-launched Dice Cabana space — it ‘s a great venue for Poker 2.0 events and if you need space for an event or board meeting of your own, you should definitely reach out to them.

Thanks Wilson Sonsini for their continued support.  I was pleased to announce (and get my bonus chip) that WSGR has also taken on sponsorship in both San Diego and Los Angeles!

Thanks to Turnstone Furniture for all their support (especially Jimmy Kwan) over the past year.  Turnstone’s Seattle sponsorship is wrapping up next month and we’ll miss Jimmy at the tables.  I’m pulling for him to make his way into the winners circle in January!


Portland Holiday Party Recap

Annalore representing CRESA paying up the bounty

Annalore representing CRESA paying up the bounty

As usual, we had a great group of entrepreneurs and investors for the official Poker 2.0 holiday party.  Thanks to our sponsor ISITE Design for hosting us at their offices.


In an interesting turn of events, two players won the same pot that happened to knock out Annalore Rodman who was there representing CRESA — that was a first!  

None of this would be possible without the support of our sponsors so this month we presented CRESA and Turnstone with trophies to show our appreciation.  Please say thanks when you see them!

Jimmy Kwan receiving the Turnstone sponsorship trophy

Annalore Rodman receiving CRESA Sponsorship Trophy

Here are the big winners for the night….

1st Place: Rami Kassab, Typethink

2nd Place – Milos Jovanovic, Spaceview

3rd Place – David Martschinske, Focus Designs

The money winners with their early presents.

San Diego, December 2013 Event Recap

December’s Poker 2.0 event was the first event StartUp San Diego hosted in our new collaborative office space. It was a great way to christen the place—and motivate us to finally bring the kegerator over from our old office. Thanks for rolling the beast across downtown, Bevato team!

We also had lots of first-timers. Hopefully they whet their whistle for poker action in future months!


Kelly Abbott spoke about “The 10% Pledge,” a social contract among startup founders and investors to invest 10% of any exit back into San Diego startups. If you’re committed to giving back to San Diego, please sign the pledge! Kelly will be the first founder to make good on his own pledge—congratulations on the acquisition of Realtidbits by Livefyre, Kelly!

As always, we welcomed our sponsor, Adam Shipley of Sheppard Mullin, by putting a bounty on his head. Adam held out longer than any other bounty target so far—we were in our fifth round before Mark Caldwell from Apmetrix felted him


Here’s how it turned out for the winners:  

 1st Place: Al Bsharah of Embarke

2nd Place: Mark Caldwell of Apmetrix

3rd Place: Daniel Marashlian of RapidEngage

4th Place: Summer Rogers of nPruv

5th Place: Rares Saftoiu of Shopventory

Our challenge to investors didn’t work—everyone who placed was an entrepreneur. Maybe they need time to warm up.  Startup investors, we are waiting to GIVE you our money. Please, take our money!


Thanks again to our sponsor Sheppard Mullin. Please share the love with an email to or a tweet to @SheppardMullin!

San Diego, October 2013 Event Recap

October’s Poker 2.0 event was the best in San Diego yet! We had a big crowd and even more first-timers. We expanded to four tables, and the pot size was very respectable.

Whole group-crop

Many people had good news to share with everyone before the tournament. We’re watching these startups and our community grow before our eyes, and it’s so exciting to be a part of it!


Especially of note was Kelly Abbott’s unveiling of “The 10% Pledge,” a social contract among startup founders and investors to invest 10% of any exit back into San Diego startups. If you’re committed to giving back to San Diego, please sign the pledge!

As always, we welcomed our sponsor, Damon Melda of Jones Lang LaSalle, by putting a bounty on his head. Darryl Rettig of DonationMatch felted Damon handily before we even rotated tables. Like a good sponsor, Damon bought back in and was able to ride his wave all the way to fourth place.

Final Table crop

Oct Poker winners crop

Here’s how it turned out for the winners:

1st Place: Shawn Elizabeth Bridgeman of Embarke

2nd Place: Blair Giesen of PopChatr and U-T San Diego’s Startup Scene Column

3rd Place: Adam Riggs-Zeigen of Rock My World

4th Place: Damon Melda of sponsor Jones Lang LaSalle

5th Place: Ray Bertrand of sponsor Paul Hastings

In the two events since we threw down the gauntlet, women have taken the first place prize twice! Let’s see if a new challenge will work—startup investors, this time we want to GIVE you our money. Please, take our money!

Mel Gordon

Thanks again to our sponsors Damon Melda of Jones Lang LaSalle and Paul Hastings. Please share the love with an email to  or a tweet to @Paul_Hastings!

Poker 2.0 at Techstars Demo Day After Party

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Startup Poker 2.0 partnered with Techstars Seattle again this year to produce an over-the-top casino night after party following Demo Day on October 24th.  We (Techstars and Poker 2.0) also partnered with GeekWire to support the inaugural StartupWeek initiative.  With more than 650 in attendance, it was a tremendous party.  We even set a record with the largest Startup Poker 2.0 pot ever!  Congrats the to money winners and the trophy winners.

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Of course, giant, massively awesome tech events don’t just happen by themselves and it takes a tremendous amount of resources to pull one off.  We certainly couldn’t have done it without a LOT of help from our logistics team, Proper Planning Team, and some very generous sponsors.  All of our sponsors step up above and beyond to support the Seattle startup community so please thank them when you see them.

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Gold Sponsors

Silver Sponsors
Atlas Networks

Bronze Sponsors
Bader Martin
Washington Partners

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Media Sponsors

JawFish Games


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