Michael Tremblay traveled over 500 miles from Ontario to the Playground Poker Club in Montreal for one reason.
“I left my house and told my wife that I’m headed to a tournament where I want to become the satellite guy,” Tremblay said. “I wanted to be that guy, and here I am.”
The ultimate “satellite guy” is of course Chris Moneymaker, who took $40 on PokerStars and turned it into $2.5 million and a World Series of Poker Main Event bracelet, helping to ignite the poker boom.
The satellite Tremblay won was a C$10+1 freeze out on PokerStars that landed him a C$1,000+100 seat in the Full Tilt Poker Montreal Main Event. Going into the qualifier, he was confident that he was going to win it.
“I hadn’t played in a while and I put $60 into the account,” Tremblay told PokerNews. “I planned to be home for that evening’s tournament because I wanted to win it, and I did.”
After traveling to Quebec, the Main Event didn’t go as planned for Tremblay. He was unable to get anything going during the first few days, and found himself with a short stack entering the bubble. Tremblay survived, earning him a minimum of C$1,733 on his C$11 investment, but as the blinds rose higher and higher, accumulating chips became tougher and tougher.
“It’s a different game,” Tremblay explained. “I really wanted to play poker, but with my chip count I wasn’t given the ability to challenge or play the game.”
Still, Tremblay found a way to climb the pay ladder, earning an extra hundred dollars here and there. With the blinds at 12,000/24,000/4,000 on Day 3, Tremblay climbed above 200,000 chips for the first and only time in the tournament. He three-bet shoved for 110,000 with , and Eric Despres was priced into calling with . The aces held up, and Tremblay pushed above 10 big blinds for the first time in a long while.
Never impatient, he continued to wait. And wait. And suddenly the pay jumps were increasing from hundreds of dollars into thousands of dollars. With Vinny Pahuja’s double knockout and Victor Ramdin’s elimination bringing the field to 25 players at the end of Day 3, Tremblay was guaranteed C$6,620.
One elimination separated Tremblay from a C$1,734 pay jump on Day 4, but he was second-to-last in chips with 128,000 (4.27 big blinds). Fortunately for him, Francesco Buffone had under two big blinds, and was eliminated in 25th on one of the first hands of the day.
Tremblay remained tight, folding four aces and pocket sixes before finally getting his last 45,000 in the middle with . Guillaume Rivet isolated him from the small blind with , and made a full house as the board came .
Despite falling just short of the final table, Tremblay is still very happy with his C$8,354 payday.
“I am overwhelmed with the result,” he said. “I had a vision of possibly hitting a couple of hands early, you always have that dream, but the reality is here.”
When asked if he would return to Playground in the future, the “satellite guy” nodded fervently.
“My God, I wish this was all over the place,” Tremblay said. “The hospitality – the people are just amazing – the comfort in here is far better than any other sports tournament I’ve ever been involved it. It was amazing. I will be back here for the next tournament.”