The World Poker Tour (WPT) swooped into frigid Montreal, Quebec yesterday, November 20, and kicked off partypoker WPT Montreal at Playground Poker Club for the first of three Day 1s in the $3,850 tournament.
With a sure-to-be huge prize pool to play for, a WPT Champion's title, and that signature trophy belt that Playground is known for, the room was full of big names and big talent. With 133 entries pouring through registration, only 45 players had chips remaining to take to Day 2 on Sunday, November 23.
The name at the top of the chipcount list at the end of the day was a very familiar one. Scott Clements bagged 266,500 — a healthy lead over second-largest stack Samuel Chartier with 200,300. Clements has already won two WPT titles in Canada. In 2006 and 2007, he found wins in back-to-back years at the WPT North American Poker Championships at Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort in Ontario. There have only ever been 10 WPT events on Canadian soil before this one, and Scott Clements won two of those.
The day saw players like Antonio Esfandiari, Byron Kaverman, Pascal Lefrancois, Jeff Madsen, Jonathan Roy, and Kara Scott lose all of their chips, but they still have two more chances to qualify for Day 2. Besides Clements and Chartier at the top of the leaderboard, Elliot Smith, Will Molson, Connor Drinan, Sam Greenwood, Mukul Pahuja, Shannon Shorr, Yann Dion, Ami Alibay, Jeff Gross, Tony Dunst, Darren Elias, Kevin MacPhee, Brian Rast, Eugene Katchalov, Mike Watson, Kitty Kuo, and Keven Stammen all bagged chips at the end of play.
Throughout all of partypoker WPT Montreal, PokerNews will be on the floor to bring you video updates. Our host, Caitlyn Howe, got it started with a welcome to Playground Poker Club, Canada's premier poker destination.
We also caught up with Darren Elias from New Jersey, who has just won back-to-back WPT titles. He won the WPT Borgata Championship Reentry in September, and just won WPT St. Maarten a couple of weeks ago as well. He also participated in WPT Montreal last year, and had a deep finish in 22nd place.
We also wanted to see how Eugene Katchalov was doing, since he skipped out on the World Series of Poker this summer. But he had a good reason; he was busy with the filming of his television debut on "The Mole". Unfortunately, the show is in Russian, so it might be hard for us to follow.
Then, Caitlyn Howe talked to Tony Dunst shortly after he busted Antonio Esfandiari from Day 1a of this event. Dunst managed to draw out an ill-fated hero-call from "The Magician", and Dunst will do his best to take good care of those chips as he takes them to Day 2.
With Kane Kalas spotted at the table, we had to talk to him about his runner-up finish at WPT Borgata in September, and also about his journey as an opera singer. He even gave us a sample, with his voice echoing off the walls of the Playground tournament hall.
Day 1b begins November 21 at 11:00 a.m. ET with another eager group of hopeful players looking to join the Champions Club. Check back with us tomorrow for another recap and more videos, or watch our Twitter feed for video posts throughout the day.
* Results and photo courtesy of the WPT Live Update Blog