Jiachen "Jack" Gong Wins TonyBet Winter Festival Main Event

Jiachen Gong TonyBet Winter Festival Playground Poker Club

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  • The TonyBet Winter Festival champion's belt goes to Jiachen Gong!

Jiachen (Jack) Gong is Canada’s latest poker champion after capturing the TonyBet Winter Festival Main Event at Playground Poker Club outside Montreal, Quebec. The premier poker room in Canada has been host to the inaugural series and, after four days of play, Gong emerged victorious to claim the championship belt and a top prize of $100,000.

Gong eliminated Will Molson, his biggest threat at the final table, heads-up to score the biggest cash of his career. Gong recently made a deep run in the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event, placing 110th for $9,720. His latest triumph boosts his total recorded live earnings to $293,500. Gong will have another shot at glory at next week’s Fallsview Poker Classic.

As reported by the Playground Poker Club blog, about five hours after play began, Gong had Molson all in and at risk holding {a-Spades}{8-Clubs} to his opponent’s {a-Clubs}{9-Spades}. Gong hit the {k-Clubs}{a-Diamonds}{8-Diamonds} flop hard and faded the {6-Clubs} on the turn and the {2-Diamonds} on the river to bust Molson in second place for $70,000.

Gong ran very well on his road to victory. Grant Pazarka was another casualty to meet the same fate. Pazarka had his tournament life on the line with {a-Hearts}{8-Clubs} to Gong’s {a-Diamonds}{j-Spades}. Some early hope on the flop was quickly swept away as the board ran out {8-Spades}{4-Clubs}{10-Diamonds}{q-Clubs}{k-Clubs}. Gong’s rivered straight sent Pazarka to the rail in third for $44,000.

Maxime Lejeune Hebert was knocked out by Molson in fourth for $32,000 when Hebert’s preflop shove with {8-Spades}{9-Spades} ran into Molson’s {10-Hearts}{10-Spades} and could not connect. Jessie Wheatley fell in fifth when her {k-Hearts}{q-Clubs} shove wasn’t enough to scare away Gong who paired his {j-Clubs}{3-Clubs} on the {6-Hearts}{j-Diamonds}{8-Clubs}{4-Spades}{10-Diamonds} board. Wheatley collected $24,500 for her efforts. Gong’s first casualty of the day was sixth-place finisher Danny Kalpakis. A classic race between Kalpakis’ {q-Diamonds}{q-Hearts} and Gong’s {a-Spades}{k-Spades} ended with Gong flopping a pair of kings and holding through the river. A nice consolation prize of $19,600 was awarded upon his exit.

Congratulations to Gong and everyone who earned a payday at the event. Keep it locked to PokerNews Canada as players now set their sights on World Poker Tour glory as Fallsview Casino plays host to the Fallsview Poker Classic.

Don’t forget to check out Episode #1 of our brand new monthly PokerNews Canada podcast.

Details and photo courtesy of the Playground Poker blog.

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