The latest six-figure prize won in a live Canadian event is a mystery man. Daniel Gagnon — not to be confused with Daniel Gagné who finished seventh in the same event and third in World Poker Tour (WPT) Canadian Spring Championship earlier this year at the same location — picked up a $190,750 payday after coming out on top of a 1,063-entry field at Playground Poker Club Montreal Festival. This is his first tracked result on the Hendon Mob database.
You will recall that this marquee, 16-event, 13-day series was originally billed as PokerStars Montreal Festival. After curiously yanking its branding from the event unannounced, the venue — Playground Poker Club in Kahnawake, Quebec — kept the schedule and the $1 million guarantee intact with just a subtle rebranding as Playground Poker Club Montreal Festival.
As has become customary at Playground, the series kicked off with a cheap multi-day Event 1. The price of admission was set at $150 and there were four starting flights offered across two days. The $100,000-guaranteed kickoff event wrapped up on Day 3, August 25, and Eddie Bangash came out on top to claim the $32,100 first-place prize. He had to battle through 1,400 other entrants to claim his piece of Playground jewelry.
Between Event 1 and the $1,100 Main Event there were several low-priced tournaments in a variety of formats including shootout, deepstack turbo, six-max, and pot-limit Omaha.
The Main Event got started on Thursday, August 28 and ran three Days 1s. By the time action was set to advance to Day 2, 1,063 entries created a total prize pool of $1,031,110, sliding past the $1M guarantee. The payout schedule had prizes set out for the top 117 players with both first and second place promised six figures.
Like the winner, Daniel Gagnon, the names in the results are mostly unknown. We recognized Alexandre Lavigne who has earned over $150,000 at Playground Poker Club. He final-tabled last year's WPT Montreal Main Event, went deep in this spring's WPT Canadian National Championship, cashed PokerStars' Canada Cup this summer, won Event 2 of Antonio Esfandiari's Survivor Series in July and went on to beat Esfandiari heads up to earn his entry to this year's WPT Montreal, and now final-tabled this Montreal Festival. His eighth-place finish earned him $20,620.
Another player on the final table we have become familiar with lately is the current Canadian Poker Tour (CPT) National Ladies Champion — Thi Nguyen. She earned that title just a month earlier at CPT Summer Showdown in Calgary, Alberta where she also final-tabled the $3,300 High Roller event. From Toronto, Ontario, Nguyen is a lady to watch on the Canadian scene; her third-place result in the Montreal Festival Main Event for $89,700 reassures us of it.
Here are the top 10 finalists of the Main Event:
The Main Event was set in the schedule as Event 10, so there were still six more tournaments on offer before Playground put the cap on another series. With a deepstack turbo, a big ante, a pot-limit Omaha, and a bounty event to offer with buy-ins from $80 to $550, there was still something for every player if they weren't still holding on to a stack in the Main Event.
The next exciting series on the calendar from Canada's premier poker room is the Playground Poker Fall Classic in conjunction with WPT Montreal. Running from November 9 to 27, this 13-event series with the televised $3,850 WPT Montreal event will bring plenty of big names to Kahnawake.
*Photos and data courtesy of the Playground Poker Club blog.