The World Poker Tour landed back in Canada on Friday for the third event of the year in our nation. On a grey and wet fall day, players sought sanctuary inside Playground Poker Club for the 2015 edition of partypoker.net WPT Montreal to try their luck on the ever-superstitious Friday the 13th.
Located in Kahnawake, Quebec just across the St. Lawrence River from beautiful and historic Montreal, Playground is a world-class facility suited to host this world-class tour.
With the buy-in set at $3,850, 127 players bought a starting stack of 30,000 chips to try to build a stack worthy of Day 2. Only 45 players managed to do so, and they counted and bagged their chips after 10 one-hour levels of play.
Coasting up top was Brian Altman, bagging 221,600 chips as the only player to cross the 200,000 mark. The next-best stack was that of Jacques Frenette with 190,400.
Altman joined the WPT Champions Club earlier this year when he claimed the title at WPT Lucky Hearts. That win back in February earned him $723,008, and he's well on his way to make another deep run in Montreal.
There were several other notable players among the late-day survivors. To name a few, Mike Leah (107,700), Pascal Lefrancois (91,300), Jeff Madsen (86,900), Will Failla (79,800), Anthony Zinno (77,000), Yann Dion (64,700), Carter Swidler (42,000), Mike Watson (38,900), Antonio Esfandiari (29,600), Dylan Wilkerson (28,300), and Benoit Jean (24,500) will all return on Monday.
Top 10 Day 1a Chip Counts
The top two Canadian poker players, according to the Global Poker Index, found themselves seated next to each other all day. Mike McDonald had position on Jonathan Duhamel. With Duhamel sitting with a short stack mid-way through the day, he four-bet shoved his chips in the middle from the cutoff seat and McDonald made the call on the button.
Duhamel revealed to McDonald’s , but picked up a flash draw on the flop of . The turn of would’ve been a blank, except that the river of paired it, causing the players to chop the pot.
Duhamel remarked that he’d rather just win or lose that hand, as he was looking for a double-up or a fresh start in Day 1b. He got his wish soon after and was eliminated.
McDonald got it in a few levels later in a similar situation, four-bet jamming with Ryan Rivers on his left making the call. Despite being behind his opponent’s , the flop was good for McDonald’s when he found two pairs on the board of . But the on the turn gave Rivers a straight, and the on the river ended McDonald’s day.
In addition to McDonald and Duhamel, there was a lot of great talent that came and went throughout the day, both local and international. Some of the Canadians to buy in but fail to hold onto chips include Eric Afriat, Sam Chartier, Marco Caza, Thi Nguyen, Ami Alibay, Chris Swaminathan, Jean-Pascal Savard, Charles-Alexandre Sylvestre, Kayvan Payman, and Guy Carbonneau. Some of the notable Americans unable to finish the day include Freddy Deeb, Jeff Gross, Kevin MacPhee, and Darren Elias.
Another field of players will fill the tables on Saturday to try to qualify for Day 2. Day 1b will kick off at 11 a.m. and those who don't make it will still have one more chance in Sunday's Day 1c. The PokerNews Live Reporting Team will be back for live updates of all the action from the first card to the last. Follow along right here on our live blog.