PlayNow Poker — B.C. and Manitoba's only government-licensed and operated online poker site — has awarded 100 packages to the 2015 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Monster Stack. Throughout all of April and May, satellites ran on PlayNow Poker every single day, giving players a chance to win their seat in the Monster Stack as well as money for travel and an invitation to an exclusive VIP party.
On Friday, 12 of those qualifiers received their 15,000-chip starting stack for Event #28: Monster Stack $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em. They took their seats at various tables throughout the vast tournament halls at the Rio bearing their PlayNow patch and dreaming of the gold bracelet awaiting the eventual winner and the huge prize that will likely surpass $1 million.
Here are the 12 who began the day:
|Player||City, Province||Monster Stack Starting Day|
|Ravinder Bedi||Richmond, B.C.||1a|
|Philip Dobrikin||Burnaby, B.C.||1a|
|Alan Schmelzel||Port Moody, B.C.||1a|
|Roman Pereyaslavsky||Richmond, B.C.||1a|
|Colin Leishman||West Kelowna, B.C.||1a|
|Chris Marta||Vancouver, B.C.||1a|
|James Parry||Victoria, B.C.||1a|
|Graham Tuson||New Westminster, B.C.||1a|
|David Warner||Richmond, B.C.||1a|
|Anthony Mar||North Vancouver, B.C.||1a|
|John Skorvan||Burnaby, B.C.||1a|
|Jordan Hamilton||Vancouver, B.C.||1a|
Play began at 10 a.m. and continued through 11 one-hour levels. With breaks added in, the surviving Monster Stack players didn't count up their chips to seal for Day 2 until shortly after midnight, making it a gruelling 14-hour day.
Near the end of the day, just three PlayNow qualifiers remained: John Skorvan, Graham Tuson, and Ravinder Bedi. But then Skorvan pushed all in preflop over the top of two previous limpers and was called by two larger stacks. The two opponents checked down the board of all the way to showdown before one of them turned over announcing that he had a straight. The table groaned as they saw what he really had: a royal flush. That sent Skorvan to the exit, but at least he can say he lost to the only unbeatable hand in poker.
Bedi and Tuson continued to hang on through to the last level of the day, but then Tuson put everything at risk by getting his chips in preflop with a huge three-bet. The original raiser called and Tuson was looking like he'd be picking up a huge pot. He was holding to his opponent's , but the board ran out unfavourably, delivering a queen on the turn and ending Tuson's day.
Only Bedi remained, and he defended his chips carefully through to the end of the day. He returns for Day 2 on Sunday with barely more than a starting stack, having bagged 15,300, but he's the only PlayNow qualifier out of the Day 1a field to last the day. This is immensely significant because of some extra value PlayNow have generously added to the event. The last PlayNow qualifier still playing this event will receive a free WSOP Main Event seat — an incentive to hang on that's worth about $13,000.
Bedi hasn't won his ticket to the Main Event yet. There is a large field of PlayNow qualifiers taking their seat on Day 1b on Saturday, and he'll have to outlast those that survive when they meet on Day 2.
The WSOP is a familiar place for Bedi. he already has three cashes in the series over the years, the most recent of which was last year's Event #23: $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em Turbo. He finished 110th there for a little more than double the buy-in.
PokerNews Canada is on site bringing you updates of the PlayNow qualifiers as they take their run at the bracelet courtesy of their PlayNow Poker Monster Stack package, and we'll also be following any notable Canadians in the field. Follow along on our reporting page and join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtage #PlayNowWSOP.