With the unusual spring-like temperatures so early in the year in Calgary, Alberta the past few weeks, the only thing freezing in town was the annual Great Canadian Freeze Out at Cash Casino.
In a city of more than a handful of poker rooms, Cash Casino is the smaller and lesser known venue that seems to have found a niche by offering tournament series with smaller buy-ins than those running at their competitors. The 2016 Great Canadian Freeze Out was a series of seven tournaments of buy-ins ranging from $110 to the $550 Main Event.
The first cards were dealt on February 26 for Event #1. The $330 buy-in gave players 20,000 chips, though a further 5,000 could be had for an extra $10. Two starting flights found more than 270 entries and those who survived combined for Day 2 on Sunday. By the end of the day, James Paul defeated Robert Caterino heads-up to collect the $20,000 top prize.
On the same day, Event #2 offered a $160 tournament and 119 starting stacks were purchased. All of those chips eventually made their way to the hands of Tyler Foran who earned $5,430 for the win while Max Hanson was consoled with $3,410 for second place.
The following day, Monday, saw the lowest priced event of the schedule. There were, coincidentally, 110 players who paid the $110 buy-in. Merlin Ausenhus walked away with the win worth $3,100 while Mike Rodenbush picked up $2,000 for the runner-up result.
Action continued on Tuesday with a $225 bounty tournament that awarded $100 bounties for each elimination. When the 104 entries were reduced to one, it was Todd Oakley headed to the cage for $4,200 while Ryan Hodge pocketed $2,650 for second place.
Event #5 mixed things up with a pot-limit Omaha tournament at a price of $330. A total of 56 entries were tallied and the names of the top two finishers are unknown, though we know Francois Lincourt finished third for $2,600.
While the Main Event played the final table, the final event on the schedule was a $160 tournament on Sunday, March 6. The 55 entries was topped by Dale Zawada who earned $3,225 for the win while Gord Morozoff picked up $1,995 for second.
The Main Event carried a price tag of $550 for 25,000 chips, but an extra $10 gave players an additional 5,000 chips. Three starting flights across three days saw entries come to a total of 296. Those who still had chips after 16 50-minute levels returned for Day 2 on Sunday.
When play passed the money bubble, the seating of the final table, and down to the heads-up match for the victory, it was two players we know well. Kelowna, B.C.-based cash-game hero Vanessa Kade was facing 2015 Winter Super Stack Main Event final-tablist Malcolm Bolger. Eventually, Bolger emerged with all the chips and earned $38,000 for the win while Kade found herself $23,400 richer.
2016 Great Canadian Freeze Out Main Event Top 10 Results