Tyler Bonkowski Proves to Be Best at DeepStacks Poker Tour Calgary

Tyler Bonkowski

DeepStacks Poker Tour (DSPT) returned to Alberta for their first event of 2015, with the tail end of it wrapping up this past Sunday, April 5. DSPT Calgary offered seven events over 10 days at Grey Eagle Resort & Casino, and Saskatchewan's World Series of Poker bracelet-winning Tyler Bonkowski proved to be the best player in attendance, winning the title of Player of the Series.

Throughout the entirety of the series, attendance and prize pools shot well past expectations. There are few poker markets growing with the strength shown in Alberta over the past couple of years.

Proving that DSPT has their finger on the pulse of the poker community, they broke into the Canadian market in 2014 by hosting two Albertan events. For 2015, DSPT has put four Canadian events on the calendar — all in Alberta — including the season-ending WPTDeepStacks Championship which will be hosted at Grey Eagle Resort & Casino in Calgary.

The series began with a $330 tournament with a ton of value. Two starting days pooled together a field of 411 entries to create a prize pool of $117,135, well over double the $50,000 guarantee. When the final pot was won, Anthony El-Araj was sweeping every last tournament chip his way, earning $23,590. Here are the top 10 finishers:

1Anthony El-Araj$23,590
2Kyle Ho$16,505
3Hank Oosterhuis$10,615
4Bill Fric$7,850
5Carter Mcrae$5,890
6Glenn Lepage$4,720
7James Lewis$3,940
8John Foley$3,185
9Bill Ghanem$2,355
10Duskin Matzner$1,770

With the popularity of Omaha in Calgary's local poker scene, the next event on the schedule was a $440 pot-limit Omaha tournament. Running on Sunday while the Day 2 survivors of the first event played down to a winner, the Omaha tournament attracted 78 entries and offered a prize pool of just under $30,000. Barry Middlebrook won the largest portion of the prize money when he outplayed Steve Zhang heads up. Here are all of the players who earned a prize in the tournament:

1Barry Middlebrook$8,890
2Steve Zhang$6,225
3Jeff Babante$4,000
4Mark Wilson$2,965
5Dana Lewis$2,221
6Tony Luong$1,780
7Adam Popalferai$1,480
8Ryan Smith$1,185
9John Bayrak$894

When Monday came around, DSPT was set up to spread a $220 turbo tournament. Impressively, for a low-priced weekday event, 170 entries added up to a purse of $32,300 to play for. A few familiar names dotted the final table, with Tyler Bonkowski earning his first result of the series when he finished third for $3,640. Mike Smith ultimately won it all for $8,050. These were the top 10 finishers:

1Mike Smith$8,050
2Chad Winnic$5,645
3Tyler Bonkowski$3,640
4Aiden Dunne$2,700
5Shane Brotherwood$2,030
6Mark Coels$1,625
7Peter Chow$1,355
8Allan Drapkin$1,088
9Jared Klimosko$842
10Glenn Lepage$600

Tyler Bonkowski secured his second significant result in the next event — a $550 tournament with two starting flights on Tuesday and Wednesday. Once again, the guarantee ($75,000) was destroyed by more than two-fold when the prize pool eclipsed $160,000. When the survivors from the 344 initial entries returned on Thursday, none could outlast Bonkowski, and he took down the win for $34,400. DSPT's own Michael 'The Grinder' Mizrachi also found a spot on the final table, finishing ninth. The 10 best results are as follows:

1Tyler Bonkowski$34,400
2Chris Reville$24,105
3Ali Seyed$15,530
4Kevin Kemnay$11,525
5Mike Braat$8,670
6Alison Senycz$6,955
7Khoa Nguyen$5,805
8Bash Ramahi$4,665
9Michael Mizrachi$3,520
10Matt Shaw$2,595

Up next, players had a chance to play DSPT's Michael 'The Grinder' Mizrachi — winner of three World Series of Poker bracelets with over $14 million in career tournament earnings — and the price of admission for the Grinder's Classic was only $100. However, Mizrachi never ended up playing the event as advertised, apologizing to disappointed players that he had other obligations.

There were 315 entries to the lowest-priced tournament on the schedule, creating a prize pool that topped $25,000. Nick Kalashnikoff won the most, earning $5,540 on his meager $100 buy-in. These were the final 10 results:

1Nick Kalashnikoff$5,540
2Robyn Carson$3,890
3Christian Girouard$2,501
4Doug Mark$1,850
5Dawn Nobles$1,389
6Liana Barile$1,111
7Garrett Williams$920
8Sam Kudri$740
9Matt Pinel$555
10Lien Co$405

The Main Event began on Friday, but the final event — a $330 bounty tournament — actually finished first as it began on Sunday and wrapped up well before the Main Event came to a conclusion. The bounty tournament saw 149 entries and John Anga was the only player to hold on to his own bounty chip. This is how the top of the payouts stacked up:

1John Anga$6,625
2Patrick Parsons$4,640
3Maximilian Droege$2,983
4Amir Derakhshan$2,209
5Cindy Kerslake$1,655
6Dawit Tsegai$1,326
7Norman Overdijk$1,100
8Mike Braat$882
9Justin Beltrano$665
10Dan White$480

The Main Event set the ticket price at $1,100 with a guaranteed prize pool of $200,000. Yet again, as on the two previous guarantees, there was more than twice the promised amount to play for. Once the last of the 431 entries was accounted for, there was $406,450 to play for.

The first of the two Day 1s ended with Michael Mizrachi holding a dominating chip lead. He bagged up a total of 567,000 chips when play paused, a mountain more than second-best stack Jimmy Lee with 335,500. The 78 players that returned on Day 2 also included Shak Kazemiput (315,500) and Sheldon Viney (308,500) at the top of the list as the only players with over 300K in chips.

Mizrachi proved to be too much for the locals. He carried his fortress of chips to the final table and steamrolled his opponents to a win worth $82,000. Karim Chatur was his heads-up opponent, taking $57,200 for second, and a few of the other in-the-money finishers included some of Edmonton's best like Valerie Ross (10th — $5,975), Jimmy Lee (13th — $4,875), and Ryan Comely (16th — $4,190). Here are the top 10 finishers in the DSPT Calgary Main Event:

1Michael 'The Grinder' Mizrachi$82,000
2Karim Chatur$57,200
3Ryan Southworth$36,800
4Brett Elder$27,230
5Devin Verstraelen$20,445
6Steven Dahrouge$16,380
7Matt Rupoli$13,517
8Michael Page$10,788
9Mark Wilson$8,200
10Valerie Ross$5,975

While both Tyler Bonkowski and Michael Mizrachi managed a win plus another final-table result, it was Bonkowski who earned the most points, becoming the Player of the Series. He received a trophy for the achievement, plus behind-the-scenes access at any DSPT televised final table, one free entry to Grey Eagle Resort & Casino's Monthly Challenge tournament, and two nights' stay at the beautiful, new Grey Eagle hotel.

The next stop on the DSPT schedule takes the tour just a few hours north to Casino Yellowhead in Edmonton. This series will feature eight events and begins on April 16. Check back with PokerNews Canada at the series' conclusion to get our in-depth recap of all the action.

* Results courtesy of The Hendon Mob.
** Photo courtesy of the DSPTLive blog.

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