Winnipeg, Manitoba’s McPhillips Station Casino was a busy place for a Tuesday night with poker players pouring in to take advantage of a freeroll and satellites to the PlayNow Poker Championship.
The four-event tournament series begins on Wednesday with the Winnipeg Free Press No Limit Texas Hold’em Tournament. The buy-in is set at $600 for a stack of 10,000 chips to start and 30-minute blind levels. The action will kick off at noon, but reentry will remain open for an hour and a half, and the event could see the prize pool exceed $180,000.
Wednesday’s tournament is one of two that players could win their entry to in Tuesday’s evening of satellites. For $70, single-table sit-and-go satellites gave 10 players the chance to earn one ticket to the tournament. There were also $120 satellites awarding a $1,100 ticket for Friday’s tournament.
But it was the freeroll that had the beautiful train station-themed casino the destination for all of the local regulars. For a few months, players of the poker room’s daily tournaments have been earning points. The top 100 point-earners were granted a seat in the invitational satellite freeroll, awarding 36 of them a $1,100 ticket to Friday’s tournament.
All but four of the qualified players showed up. Those 96 players were reduced to a little more than 40 after a couple hours of play, and then the eliminations started coming much slower as players held a death-grip on their chips to try to make it through to the top 36.
With the blinds escalating quickly and players growing impatient for the freeroll to end, there was finally a player who was forced all in with his tiny stack of chips when the big blind came around to him and he didn’t have enough to pay the blind. Several players limped in to see the flop, and the short stack was unable to survive the board multi-way against several opponents.
The room exploded in cheers and players jumped up from their tables as they learned of the 37th-place elimination. A player at another table proudly held up only a couple of chips and yelled “400 chips!” which also amounted to less than a single big blind. He had barely squeaked through to earn his ticket.
All 36 players received a seat to Friday’s $1,100 tournament which is the marquee event of this series. The 37th-place player collected a small consolation prize of $104.
There will be plenty of great poker action throughout the rest of this week at McPhillips Station Casino in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The full PlayNow Poker Championship schedule can be found right here, and PokerNews Canada will be on the tournament floor reporting and photographing the biggest hands, the notable players, the deepest prize-winning runs, and following each event from the first card off the deck until the last. Follow along on our live reporting page.