Posts Tagged ‘Montreal’

Maxime Heroux Rides Big Stack to Victory at WPT Montreal

 Maxime Heroux Rides Big Stack to Victory at WPT Montreal

Bringing the second largest stack to the final tabl3e on Thursday, Maxime Heroux earned his first major tournament poker championship in winning the World Poker Tour Montreal at the Playground Poker Club last night.

Heroux came to the final table with a 5.345 million stack, good for second place on the leaderboard to start the day. The only player he was looking up at was restauranteur Pat Quinn, who had amassed a 6.145 million stack for battle. These two players held the overwhelming majority of chips on the table; poker professional David Peters (3.345 million), fellow pro Derek Wolters (1.095 million), 2014 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown champion Eric Afriat (1.04 million) and Brendan Baksh (940K) all added together didn’t have as many chips as Quinn alone and were at a disadvantage to the two top stacks. If they were going to make a move, it would have to be done early.

Peters attempted to cut into the lead of Quinn, but he only received misery for his efforts. He doubled up both Afriat and Wolters within the first 20 hands to sink to the bottom of the standings. As the chips continued to slip through Peters’ fingers, Heroux began to make some moves and, on Hand 36, took over the chip lead when his flopped two pair faded a flush draw from Afriat and put him over the seven million chip mark.

The first elimination would occur on the 40th hand of the day. Peters had survived one all in situation previous to this but, when he moved in from under the gun on this hand, Quinn decided to look him up. Quinn’s A-J off suit held a decent edge (60/40) over Peters’ K Q and, once the flop showed an Ace in the window, the task got more difficult for Peters. Peters would be teased by a second heart on the turn, but the 10♣ ended the dream as Peters headed for the cage in sixth place.

Over the next hour, the leaders seemed happy to shuffle the chips about, but the short stacks felt the need to get into the game. On Hand 58, Afriat opened the betting from the button and Wolters used a Time Chip before deciding to make his stand. Afriat paused for a moment before making the call and, once the cards were up, he realized he made the right decision. Afriat’s A-8 off suit was way out in front of Wolters’ J♠ 9♠, but the “poker gods” would have other ideas.

A Jack came up first for Wolters and the fates weren’t done with him yet. As Afriat’s rail called for an Ace to put him back into the lead, another Jack instead fell to leave Afriat drawing dead to Wolters’ trips. To add further insult, the river was the case Jack, giving Wolters “just” quads to defeat Afriat’s Ace-high and knock him out in fifth place.

Five hands later, arguably the grittiest player at the final table departed. Baksh never got a stack built up but he was able to stay around for a good deal of the action of the day. After Wolters used his newfound chips in a “blind versus blind” battle by going all in, Baksh decided to call and was in good shape for the double. Baksh’s A-4 caught Wolters’ Q-2 in a blatant steal attempt, but the board wouldn’t cooperate. The 10-10-7 flop stuck with Baksh, but the Queen on the turn wasn’t what he wanted to see. Left looking for one of the three remaining Aces, Baksh instead saw a nine on the river to depart the table in fourth place.

Although Wolters had knocked off two players, he still was looking up to Quinn and Heroux. Undaunted, Wolters took on his opponents and, within ten hands, he had pulled in front of both of his opponents. Another ten hands, however, saw Heroux pull back into the lead…it would be the last time he wasn’t the leader of the pack.

On Hand 96, perhaps the penultimate moment of the tournament took place. Quinn opened the action and, after Heroux made the call from the small blind, Wolters three bet the action. Quinn decided to muck but Heroux, after a moment to ponder, moved all in. Wolters would eventually call of his remaining stack and the duo were off to the races:  Wolters’ A-K was running against Heroux’s pocket sevens and the Q-J-9 flop brought a bit more drama. A deuce on the turn left Wolters drawing to 10 outs (any Ace, King or ten), but the river wouldn’t have any of it. Another deuce ended the tournament for Wolters in third place as Heroux went to heads up with Quinn holding a massive lead.

How massive? Heroux at 14.6 million had more than four times the chips of Quinn (3.575 million) and he would make quick work of the situation. Over 16 hands, Quinn’s chip stack never got any larger and, on Hand 112, it would all end. Quinn limped in and Heroux checked his option to see a 6-5-4 flop, which brought another check from Heroux. Quinn responded with an all-in move and Heroux immediately called. Heroux’s 4-2 wasn’t very mighty pre-flop, but catching bottom pair was good enough against Quinn’s 9-7 for the open ended straight draw. A deuce on the turn and another on the river only improved Heroux to a full house and scored him his first major tournament championship.

1. Maxime Heroux, $ 403,570
2. Pat Quinn, $ 271,030
3. Derek Wolters, $ 173,220
4. Brendan Baksh, $ 124,310
5. Eric Afriat, $ 95,370
6. David Peters, $ 78,050

(* – Canadian dollars)

The victory puts Heroux into this spring’s WPT Tournament of Champions but also may give him momentum to the final WPT event of this calendar year. The WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic begins on December 5 and is the final event for 2017 on the WPT Main Tour schedule. As usual, that $ 10,000 buy in event at the Bellagio will be one of the highlights of the tournament poker year and will be well attended by the crème of the tournament poker world.

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2017 WPT Montreal Main Event Day 2: Senthuran Vijayaratnam Knows How to Bluff

 2017 WPT Montreal Main Event Day 2: Senthuran Vijayaratnam Knows How to Bluff

Day 2 of the World Poker Tour (WPT) Montreal Main Event wrapped up Monday as nearly 200 players were eliminated, whittling the field of 234 survivors from the three Day 1 flights to just 43. David Peters is the chip leader going into Day 3 with 1.614 million chips, but Feizal Satchu is close behind with 1.521 million. Nobody else has more than 900,000 chips.

Looking through the live reporting, there was clearly one hand that was the most entertaining of the day. Hand-for-hand on the money bubble, Senthuran Vijayaratnam, an amateur player who said he had been raising quite a lot with any two cards, raised to 11,500 (5,000 chip big blind) under the gun and called when Jamie Sequeira re-raised to 35,000.

On the flop of K-T-2, both men checked. With a 5 on the turn, Vijayaratnam bet 40,000 and Sequeira called. On the river 7, which also put three spades on the board, Vijayaratnam moved all-in, putting Sequeira to a decision for his tournament life. Knowing he could be eliminated on the verge of the money, Sequeira got defensive, talking about how “blessed” Vijayaratnam was and how “fucking crazy” he was to bet that much on the bubble.

It got even better when Sequeira asked Vijayaratnam what he thought he had, a question that doesn’t often get answered during the hand. Vijayaratnam, though, told Sequeira he thought he had Aces. This, naturally, got Sequeira even more tense, as he said, “Aces? And you play me like that? You play me like that preflop?”

If Vijayaratnam’s goal as to put his opponent on tilt it was working.

Sequeira used two of his 30-second time chips (the Action Clock was in effect) while still thinking out loud about what his foe might have. After finally folding, Vijayaratnam shows his Q-7 bluff.

Of course, this hurt Sequeira’s feelings and he says, “Remember, what goes around comes around. It comes around.”

Yeah, maybe. Sometimes people bluff in poker.

Sequeira did make the money, but didn’t make it far after the bubble burst. Vijayaratnam ended the day in seventh place with 680,000 chips.

Vijayaratnam sounds like my kind of guy. He realizes that poker is fun. Sure, they are all trying to win money out there, but why not enjoy yourself while doing so? He told afterward:

The thing is, I don’t play poker for a living. That’s why nobody knows me. I literally only come to Montreal. Really nowhere else. I have family and I have work. I have fun playing poker, so that’s why I was showing my bluffs. I have fun with this, and I show it. This cameras are there, this might make for good coverage, so I show it, and then he went on for the next few minutes, going after me, blah, blah, blah.

You go on with your bad self.

2017 World Poker Tour Montreal Main Event – Day 2 Chip Leaders

1. David Peters – 1,614,000
2. Feizal Satchu – 1,521,000
3. Justin Liberto – 875,000
4. Duff Charette – 798,000
5. Yu Gao – 714,000
6. Brady Hinnegan – 690,000
7. Senthuran Vijayaratnam – 680,000
8. Bradley Ellis – 592,000
9. Debra Ann Holman – 572,000
10. Alex Keating – 561,000

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2017 WPT Montreal Main Event Day 3: Eric Afriat Aims for Second Playground Final Table This Year

 2017 WPT Montreal Main Event Day 3: Eric Afriat Aims for Second Playground Final Table This Year

There are only sixteen players remaining of the 606 original entries in the World Poker Tour (WPT) Montreal Main Event as action moves into Day 4 on Wednesday. Eric Afriat is the chip leader with 2.4 million chips, the only play over the 2 million mark.

Afriat has some unfinished business at the Playground Poker Club in Montreal. In February, finished third in the WPT Playground Main Event, winning CAD $ 108,690 (USD $ 82,716). That tournament holds a special spot in poker history, as it was won by Ema Zajmovic, who became the first women ever to win an open WPT Main Event.

Afriat does have one World Poker Tour title under his belt, as he won the 2014 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Showdown Championship Event. That victory was worth a bit over $ 1 million; that and his WPT Playground finish make up the bulk of his $ 1.83 million in career live earnings.

I will admit, I have always been a skeptic about the extra prizes awarded at major tournaments. The trophy is cool, the money is fantastic, the prestige is even wonderful, but really, who cares about a pair of overpriced headphones or a gaudy watch? Well, it’s time for me to eat crow, as apparently that watch is something Afriat has been targeting.

Speaking with after Day 3, Afriat said he was actually a little peeved that he didn’t grab the timepiece in February:

What I want the most is the Hublot watch, because when I won their contract was signed for the following week. It was the last tournament that didn’t award the watch. They awarded it the following week, and I missed out on the watch. So the watch will be very important to me. Because a watch you can carry it around, you feel like you won something, but I can’t carry the big trophy

You know what? That makes a lot of sense. It’s like being able to wear a World Series of Poker bracelet, except I wouldn’t be surprised if players were more willing to don the Hublot watch over the bracelet, as the watch is both cool and practical, as opposed to just being a large piece of jewelry. Personally (and not that I will ever even come remotely close to this), if I won a WSOP bracelet, I don’t think I’d wear it on a regular basis (or even an irregular basis), as I’m not a jewelry guy. A nice watch, though, I could do, plus it has a neat story behind it.

Normally, the chip leader has a significant hand or two that helped get him to the top, but Afriat said his Day 3 was mostly just a gradual build. His biggest hand was actually a loss when his opponent hit a set of Jacks against his pocket Queens.

Though only sixteen players remain, Day 4 will play down to just the six-handed final table before adjourning.

2017 World Poker Tour Montreal Main Event – Day 3 Chip Counts

1. Eric Afriat – 2,400,000
2. Curt Kohlberg – 1,804,000
3. Ryan Rivers – 1,655,000
4. Maxime Heroux – 1,623,000
5. Duff Charette – 1,583,000
6. Bradley Ellis – 1,563,000
7. Derek Wolters – 1,257,000
8. David Peters – 1,216,000
9. Alex Keating – 1,051,000
10. Brendan Ziyad Baksh – 56,000
11. Feizal Satchu – 633,000
12. Mohammad Abu-Hadbah – 627,000
13. Brady Hinnegan – 579,000
14. Patrick Quinn – 453,000
15. Justin Liberto – 451,000
16. Adam Shannon – 340,000

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2017 WPT Montreal Main Event: Robert Rose Leads After Starting Flights

 2017 WPT Montreal Main Event: Robert Rose Leads After Starting Flights

The weekend saw the start of the World Poker Tour (WPT) Montreal Main Event at the Playground Poker Club, a CAD $ 3,850 tourney with a guaranteed prize pool of CAD $ 2 million. Tournament organizers are hoping to match the excitement of last year’s WPT Montreal, which saw Poker Hall of Famer and legendary WPT announcer Mike Sexton finally win his first World Poker Tour title. Sexton is back this year – no longer behind the mic – and made it through Day 1C after busting at the tail end of Day 1B. The chip leader of Day 1C and the overall leader of the event going into Monday’s action is Robert Rose with 300,600 chips.

As is evident by the opening paragraph, this is a re-entry event, though re-entries were not restricted to only those who lost all of their chips. Even those who finished a starting flight with chips could re-enter in a subsequent flight if they weren’t satisfied with their ending stack. Once registration closed for Day 1C, though, that was it; there was no re-entry prior to Day 2 (nor could multiple entries be made for a single starting flight).

A total of 606 entries were paid for the WPT Montreal Main Event, with Day 1C, as expected being the largest, accounting for just more than half the total buy-ins. The prize pool just beat the guarantee, coming in at CAD $ 2.057 million. 76 players will make the money, with the winner making CAD $ 403,570.

Rose solidified his hold on the top spot just as Day 1C was about to end when Chrishan Sivasundaram moved all-in over the top of his pre-flop raise for 25,500 chips. Rose called with two red Nines, up against the K-Q of Sivasundaram. Nothing above an Eight landed on the board and Sivasundaram was eliminated while Rose took his stack to nearly 300,000, adding a bit more in the final few hands.

2017 World Poker Tour Montreal Main Event – Day 1A Chip Leaders

1. Conray Watson – 229,000
2. Marc-Olivier Tanguay – 215,000
3. Darren Keyes – 208,300
4. Fabrice Pastor – 201,000
5. Andrew Dick – 161,400
6. Marc-Andre Ladouceur – 136,000
7. Joe Tehan – 126,100
8. Yannick Gauthier – 123,800
9. Joe Godbout – 111,700
10. Christian Harder – 110,000

2017 World Poker Tour Montreal Main Event – Day 1B Chip Leaders

1. Noeung Troeung – 280,900
2. Brian Altman – 239,700
3. Asher Conniff – 210,800
4. Yu Gao – 183,600
5. Tony Dunst – 155,600
6. Scott Plummer – 155,100
7. Shane Currey – 152,800
8. Mike Leah – 146,300
9. Danny Boyaci – 143,000
10. Duff Charette – 123,300

2017 World Poker Tour Montreal Main Event – Day 1C Chip Leaders

1. Robert Rose – 300,600
2. Michael Mizrachi – 246,900
3. Grigoriy Shvarts – 216,200
4. Ari Engel – 196,600
5. Brady Hinnegan – 178,200
6. Shaan Siddiqui – 174,900
7. Jonathan Marrie – 174,100
8. Matthew Sherman – 166,200
9. Maxime Heroux – 165,900
10. Graham Ivany – 160,000

2017 World Poker Tour Montreal Main Event – Overall Day 1 Chip Leaders

1. Robert Rose – 300,600
2. Noeung Troeung – 280,900
3. Michael Mizrachi – 246,900
4. Brian Altman – 239,700
5. Conray Watson – 229,000
6. Grigoriy Shvarts – 216,200
7. Marc-Olivier Tanguay – 215,000
8. Asher Conniff – 210,800
9. Darren Keyes – 208,300
10. Fabrice Pastor – 201,000


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Montreal Nationals Take Down Inaugural Global Poker League World Championship

 Montreal Nationals Take Down Inaugural Global Poker League World Championship

In a dramatic, winner-take-all final match that went the distance of its “best of 11” format, the Montreal Nationals’ Pascal Lefrancois defeated the Berlin Bears’ Brian Rast to take down  the inaugural Global Poker League World Championship.

The eight teams that showed up on Tuesday to determine the champion represented the top squads that survived from a long regular season grind. For the GPL Americas, the top seeded Nationals had to contend with the L. A. Sunset, the Sao Paulo Metropolitans and the San Francisco Rush (in their order of seed) if they were going to even have a chance at the GPL World Championship. On the other side of the bracket the Moscow Wolverines entered the tournament as the top seed, with the Hong Kong Stars, the Bears and the London Royals battling for the GPL Eurasia championship.

From the start on Tuesday, there was an intensity to the contests that arguably wasn’t there during the regular season. The Nationals and the Rush squared off inside “The Cube” and took the battle all the way to a climactic Game 7 in the “best of seven” series (four wins to take the match). With players such as the Nationals’ Mike McDonald, Marc-Andre Ladouceur and Lefrancois and Phil Galfond, Jonathan Jaffe and Faraz Jaka of the Rush inside the “Neon Box,” it would come down to a victory by McDonald over Jaffe to send the Nationals to the GPL Americas Finals and knock out the Rush.

The other semi-final didn’t let the crowd in the GPL Arena in Las Vegas down, either. Pushing their contest to a Game 7, the Sunset (with Olivier Busquet, Chance Kornuth and manager Maria Ho) and the Metropolitans (featuring Darren Elias, Joao Bauer and Thiago Nishijima) fought tooth and nail before Busquet eventually topped Nishijima to earn the other seat in the GPL Americas Finals.

As the top two seeds in the GPL Americas, it was expected to be another outstanding battle between the Nationals and the Sunset to see who would move on to the GPL World Championship Series. Instead, the Nationals seemed to have control of the event, moving out to a 3-1 lead before Ladouceur bested Ho and earned the Montreal Nationals a seat at the table for the GPL championship.

It was going to be tough to top the incredible action from the GPL Americas, but the GPL Eurasia decided to take a shot at it on Wednesday. The Wolverines (with manager Anatoly Filatov, Igor Yaroshevskyy and Andrey Pateychuk) made short work of the Royals (with a disappointed manager Liv Boeree, Igor Kurganov and Justin Bonomo) in winning 4-1, while the Bears (with Rast, Sorel Mizzi and Bill Perkins) won three consecutive games after falling behind 2-1 to the Stars (Guo Dong, Randy Lew and manager Celina Lin) to earn their seat in the GPL Eurasia Final.

The GPL Eurasia Final turned out to be the most entertaining match of the GPL Eurasia bracket. Neither team could move ahead by more than one game, forcing the action to a Game 7 and the “winner take all” moment that makes sports so special. Rast, who could arguably have been called the MVP of the GPL Eurasia bracket, finished off his fifth win in five efforts inside “The Cube” on Wednesday by defeating Filatov to win the series 4-3 (a big upset as far as seeding) and the GPL Eurasia Championship.

On Thursday, both the Nationals and the Bears were primed for action, ready to determine the champion and the recipient of the $ 100,000 bonus for the eventual World Champion. In a slight change to the schedule, the GPL World Championship became a “best of 11” series (six wins) instead of the “best of nine” schedule (five wins) that had previously been scheduled. However many games the two teams would play, it would turn out that the battle would go right to the end.

Montreal seemed to be wanting to make quick work of the series, using victories from Lefrancois, McDonald and Jason Lavallee (originally scheduled to be a part of the early action in the GPL Americas but delayed by flight issues) to go up 3-1. The Bears would fight back, with Rast, Mizzi and Perkins pulling even at 5-5 after an impressive 4-2 run. Down to the last match, Rast and Lefrancois squared off on the felt and, on the final hand, provided the last moment of drama for the 2016 GPL season.

Holding pocket Queens, Lefrancois was able to get Rast (with 10-8) to see a flop with him and flopped the world. The 8-4-Q squarely hit Lefrancois but he played it cool, allowing the turn card to fully trap Rast when it came as a ten. Instead of having a sneaky two pair, Rast was drawing dead as he committed his chips against Lefrancois’ set of Queens to end the series with the Nationals winning 6-5.

Congratulations to Lefrancois, McDonald, Lavallee, Ladouceur and Xuan Liu (the only member not in attendance in Las Vegas) for winning the inaugural Global Poker League championship. Whether this same team will return in 2017 to defend their title remains to be seen, but it should be entertaining to see what innovations come for the second season of the league.

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