It was a rainy Saturday for Day 1 of the 2015 Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority (SIGA) Poker Championship, but that didn't dampen the spirits of the 394 players who showed up at Dakota Dunes Casino to try their hand at the big prizes. Located on the Whitecap Dakota First Nation, Dakota Dunes is a recent addition to the SIGA group of casinos that showcases their commitment to the industry.
The tournament structure, with only 30-minute levels, made for a smooth-flowing tournament. However, in addition to the 30-minute levels, the blind amounts increased somewhat slower than more traditional structures, ending up with a pace that players were very happy with. Day 1 ended after just 10 hours of play, giving players plenty of time to rest before the start of Day 2 with the big money prizes.
With 394 entries, the prize pool swelled to near $200,000, coming in at $197,000. Tournament Director Scott Enockson said that the casino tried to make the minimum cash numbers more attractive than the 2014 tournament where a minimum cash was only $600. This year, the minimum cashers will receive $1,309 while the winner takes home $37,026 plus the World Series of Poker Main Event ticket as well as the SIGA Poker Championship Bracelet.
Reigning champion Chris Bowers, who took home over $60,000 in prizes from the 2014 edition of this tournament, was in attendance to defend his title. Unfortunately, Bowers won't be repeating as champion this year, as he was unable to survive Day 1 play.
Some local players who did make it through included Jordan Cossette. Cossette finished second to Bowers last year, and has been going deep in local tournaments in western Canada regularly for the past year. Also surviving Day 1 was Kim McClymot who made a deep run in the Summer Super Stack earlier this year at Deerfoot Inn & Casino.
A total of 84 players managed to survive Day 1 with chips. Blinds on Day 2 start at 2,500/5,000 with an ante of 500, meaning the remaining players will start Day 2 with an average stack of under 20 big blinds.
Follow the action in our live reporting section as PokerNews Canada will be on the floor providing updates for all of our readers until the last river is dealt.