Canadian Poker Tour: The Best Kept Secret Tour in Poker?

Canadian Poker Tour

We hear about the European Poker Tour all the time. Same for the World Poker Tour. And the LAPT, APPT, Eureka, Estrellas, UKIPT, BSOP etc., etc., etc. Lately, it seems, every country in the world has its own poker tour. But perhaps the best kept secret in poker tours is our very own, the Canadian Poker Tour.

The CPT is a series of events running across Canada in any given calendar year. After taking a season off in 2013 to revamp their structure, the CPT is back in force in 2014 with nine major events planned for the current season.

Several events have already been held, including the CPT Kickoff Series held at Grey Eagle Casino in Calgary, the Casino NB Poker Bowl from Casino New Brunswick in Moncton, and the recent WPT Fallsview Poker Classic. The early season leader with 2,140 points is Matthew Lapossie from London, Ontario on the heels of his WPT Fallsview win, with Mike Leah from Innisfil, Ontario in second, tied on points, but behind by total winnings.

The CPT point structure is a fascinating system. It rewards players who score big in high buy-in events, but equally allows players who consistently cash in lower stakes tournaments to stay in the point hunt. Points are based on a “base level” depending on buy-in. For the lowest buy-in CPT events, in the sub-$100 range, the base level is 5 points. For the $1,500-$1,999 buy-in range the base level is 50 points. High-roller buy-ins of $10,000 or more have a base level of 100 points.

In the simplest calculation, your points for a minimum cash for any tournament will be the base level, and points for first place will be the base level multiplied by the number of players paid. So, in the case of a $75 buy-in tournament with top 10 payout, first place will get 50 points, second place would get 45 points, third would receive 40, down to 10th place getting the 5 base points. In a $200 event with 10 places, min-cash would score 10 points, while a first place scores 100. A $200 event with 15 cashes would give 150 points to the winner, and 10 points to the 15th-place finisher.

Buy-inBase Points

With the above structure, it’s easy to see that big buy-in events would quickly swamp low buy-in results if the basic formula was everything. To combat this, the CPT has also decided to cap the maximum points for winning any given event at 2000, no matter what the buy-in level or field size. That helps level the playing field, because good results in a large field, lower buy-in tournament would give you the same points as good results in a high buy-in event. In theory, a $50 tournament with 4,000 runners will net the winner the same number of points as if they’d won a $10,000 tournament of any field size. The format tends to favour consistent results regardless of buy-in level.

The current standings are a nice example of the parity of the system. The first- and second-place players both won a major event (Leah won Fallsview Event 1). However, third and fourth place are very close behind with 2,100 and 2,080 points for Sylvain Siebert and Kyle Chang respectively. Despite winning far less in total cash, Siebert and Chang are in close contention in the points race on the strength of deep runs that missed the big money. With more than a dozen tournaments eligible for points so far this year, the standings so far show the fairness of the system.

In the 2014 season, the CPT will be running nine major events, three of which have already run. The rest of the season includes major events in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. April will be a big month for CPT as both Calgary and Manitoba will host eligible events during the month. The season will also include CPT Monthly Challenges which are $330 one-day events in poker rooms across Canada to help players pad their points.

So what does a player do with the points they earn? In past seasons, the CPT has sent the top 50 finishers to Dominican Republic for a nationally-televised tournament crowning a national champion. This year, the tour is planning a special championship event at the end of the year for top finishers, though full details are yet to be announced. As well, the point leader at the end of the season gets their own feature and cover in Canadian Poker Player Magazine.

After a year off for re-tooling, the Canadian Poker Tour is back in force in 2014, with a full season of events across Canada. Check their website for information about upcoming events near you on the schedule. The secret is out; the CPT is back and raring to go for 2014.

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