The curtain has been drawn on Full Tilt Poker’s inaugural Montreal Festival from the Playground Poker Club. The event ran from September 21st to October 3rd and offered 17 events with buy-ins ranging from $50 to $200 and $1000 for a seat in the Main Event. The affordable buy-ins attracted a wide range of participants. Both recreational and local players were able to find themselves seated at the same tables as Full Tilt Pros. In attendance were Gus Hansen and PokerStars Pros Jonathan Duhamel, Chris Moneymaker, Victor Ramdin, Vanessa Rousso, and David Williams.
From the very first event, a $135 No-Limit Hold’em Re-Entry tournament with three starting days, the attendance exceeded expectations at the Playground Poker Club. 1,605 players registered for Event 1, creating a prize pool that more than doubled the initial $100,000 guarantee. Alim Perales was the last player remaining and earned a little under $29,000 after the final three players negotiated a deal to split the prize money, leaving the trophy and $5000 to contend for.
The Main Event also soared past its guarantee of $1M, part way through the second of three start days. 1,625 entries grew the prize pool to $1,576,250.
Just as in Event 1, the Main Event was a multi-entry tournament where players could buy-in on multiple starting days and move forward to day 2 with their largest stack. On the fifth day of play, the final three was composed of Henri Balcazar, Mike Linster, and Eris Despres in a battle of tight play. They struck a deal to secure the chip-leading Linster $200,000 and the other two players $150,000 each. Yet it was Linster, the final American in the game, who exited first and left the two Canadians to face off for the top spot. Balcazar began the heads-up play with a dominating stack more than triple the size of his opponent’s. After only three hands, Balcazar swept all of the chips to his side of the table and won a payout totaling $194,044 and the title of FTP Montreal Festival Main Event Champion.
Throughout the festival, Full Tilt Poker also offered some great bonuses to every player that held an FTP account and wore a Full Tilt patch during the event. Most notably, anyone who busted out from one of six eligible events, including the Main Event, without cashing earned a ticket for the Second Barrel Freeroll to take place on October 13th. The $25,000 freeroll is a multi-entry tournament and the last chance for players to take home some prize money.
Attendance indicates that Full Tilt Poker Montreal Festival was a huge success and a great addition to Canada’s poker scene. FTP should be encouraged and will hopefully make the festival a permanent addition to their schedule.