Mike Smith Picks Up DeepStacks Poker Tour Main Event Title to Match His Brother's
Edmonton, Alberta's fall tournament series was a 12-day schedule hosted by the DeepStacks Poker Tour at Casino Yellowhead, packed with seven tournaments. The headliner was the $1,500 Main Event with two starting days and unlimited reentries, which brought a total of 292 buy-ins and built a prize pool of $374,190. After only one year, this partnership with DeepStacks has proven to be a huge success for poker in Alberta, and Canada in general, and there are no signs of slowing down.
Mike Smith of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan took down the Main Event for $82,060 along with the $3,000 Championship Package exactly one year after his older brother, Ryan Smith, won it in the exact same series. This came after defeating runner-up Wes Hickey with a better than four-to-one chip lead after knocking out third-place finisher Sal Haji, who was second in chips throughout the final table.
The DeepStacks Poker Tour Edmonton series kicked off with Event 1 on October 1 with a $550 no-limit hold’em tournament with two starting days. Players started the tournament with 20,000 in chips, 40-minute blind levels, and more than seven hours of late registration. A total of 240 entries created a massive $114,000 prize pool, with the eventual winner taking home $26,820. Justin Bondy earned the top prize and the trophy after making a deal with Gerry 'Cash' Carter during heads-up play. Other familiar faces included 2014 Canadian Poker Tour Player of the Year Ryan Cairns, Ryan Comely, Ron Lauzon, Jeremy Lee, and Jonathan Sanborn.
The next event was the $220 no-limit hold’em tournament, which attracted a whopping 231 entries and created a prize pool of $43,890 and a first-place prize of $10,350. John Letts took this one down after a heads-up chop with Dale Chalifoux, who also went on to chop Event 4 three ways. Players started with 15,000 in chips and 30-minute blinds with almost five hours of late registration. Cashes from Ron Lauzon, Francis Fan, Vanessa Kade, and Gary Terris proved there would be no shortage of competition during the rest of this series.
Fresh off his final-table appearance at the Edmonton Poker Classic, Brandon Lang was able to pull out the win in Event 4 $440 pot-limit Omaha for $11,980. Players steadily dropped until they reached four-handed play and Joshua Wallace, Jay Dragland, Darcy Van Wachem, and Lang went on to battle for at least an hour before the next knockout. With 15,000 in chips, 30-minute levels, and almost five hours of late registration, the final count was 112 entries with a total prize pool of $42,560. Van Wachem was our runner up and is no stranger to these pot-limit Omaha tournaments, with several wins under his belt from past tournament series. We also saw Jean-Kristophe Guillette making a run in sixth place here and a second-place finish after chopping Event 6 later in the series.
The $330 no-limit hold’em event was on deck next with 167 entries, a $47,595 prize pool, and an impressive $11,800 for first place. A three-way deal was made with DeepStacks Edmonton Player of the Series Jeremy Lee taking bragging rights. Ben Nguyen and Dale Chalifoux took second and third place, respectively. Players started with a 15,000-chip stack and played 30-minute rounds with another long stretch of late registration of almost five hours.
The ever-popular 'Big Bounty' no-limit hold’em tournament was up next with a $550 buy-in and $100 per knockout. A total of 147 entries made up a total prize pool of $69,825 with $14,700 going towards bounties and $55,125 towards actual prize money. Players began the tournament with 20,000 in chips, 30-minute blinds, and late registration for five hours. First place went to Nicole Cervenka who was, impressively, our second-ever female winner in Edmonton overall. Melanie Leigh was our first female winner and only took this title last month in the Edmonton Poker Classic at Casino Edmonton. Cervenka is mostly an online player but has had much success in the live arena with an impressive win at the Pokerstars Carribbean Adventure (PCA) earlier this year for $22,000 followed by a 10th-place finish in another bounty tournament in the same series. Francis Fan finished as our runner up with Jeremy Lee making another final table, coming in seventh place.
The final preliminary event was the $220 no-limit hold’em turbo event with 99 entries and a prize pool of $18,810. Greg Sieben pulled out the win for $5,280, coming off a stellar series at the Edmonton Poker Classic, with Jean-Kristophe Guillette coming in second place after an impressive run this series himself. With only 15-minute blinds and a 15,000 stack, players had three hours to register and quickly build a stack as the field thinned quite rapidly. Notable players to cash this event included 2014 DeepStacks Poker Tour Player of the Year Ryan Smith, April 2015 DeepStacks Player of the Series Ron Kisslinger, and Edmonton’s own Garrett 'I Don’t Play Tournaments' Bok with a fourth-place finish.
The Main Event brought in a total of 292 entries across two starting days for a total prize pool of $374,190, boasting a first-place prize of $82,060 plus a $3,000 Championship Package. Tyson Stevenson led the way with 345,500 in chips with Eddie Greenland close behind with 330,000, Sal Haji with 258,000, and Kris Steinbach with 238,000. All of our chip leaders cashed in this event, however Haji managed to steamroll his way into third place as he had approximately a quarter of the chips in play with two tables left. Kimberly McClymont also made an impressive run from just 35,000 in chips and quickly became our last woman standing, finishing in 17th place after a similar run in the 2015 Deerfoot Summer Super Stack series.
The final table was an impressive one with another deep run from Jeremy Lee in eighth place as well as Edmonton’s own Andy Truong, who has consistently made final tables for over a year now. Truong finished in fourth place and collected $27,400 for his efforts. Sal Haji remained top three in chips for the entire final table and eventually fell at the hands of Mike Smith. Haji took home $37,040 after an impressive run, while simultaneously updating his long list of fans through social media right from the start of Day 2. Going into heads-up play, Smith held a four-to-one chip lead and eventually defeated Wes Hickey, who cashed for $57,550 from just a $250 buy-in after winning the satellite last week. Smith would take home first-place bragging rights, along with the Championship Package and, most importantly, the trophy to match his brother, Ryan Smith, who won last year’s event in the exact same series.
Our 2015 October Player of the Series was quite obviously Edmonton’s own Jeremy Lee. Lee cashed in four of the seven events, with an outright win in Event 4 $330 no-limit hold’em, two seventh-place finishes, and finally an eighth-place finish in the Main Event. The prizes for this title included a trophy, a behind-the-scenes look into a DeepStacks Poker Tour televised final table, and Pure Canadian Gaming merchandise plus a gift certificate.
The next series to look forward to in Alberta is the DeepStacks Poker Tour Championship event in Calgary at the Grey Eagle Resort & Casino from November 27 through December 7. This series will consist of a plethora of satellites, 10 preliminary events, and a $2,500 Main Event with two starting days and an impressive $500,000 guarantee.
Photo courtesy of the DSPT Live blog.