The inaugural Western Canada Poker Open was back in action on Friday with Day 1b of the $1,100 Main Event. The new series in Calgary, Alberta, had players hitting the felt at Grey Eagle Resort & Casino for a piece of the $150,000-guaranteed prize pool.
With both of the Day 1s wrapped up and registration closed, entries were tallied at a total of 208 after 133 were added to the event on Day 1b. That put the prize pool at $197,600, well past the guarantee, and first place promises $47,720.
At the end of the night, 31 players remained to bag and tag their chips. Added to the 17 from Day 1a, a total of 48 will return for the final day on Saturday. Exactly one half of those players will earn a payout.
Coming in at the top of the chip counts on Friday was Jeff Cormier who counted out 275,500. Cormier has a handful of tournament results under his belt totalling a little more than $60,000 and all of them from the eastern parts of the country.
Not far behind Cormier were three other players with more than 200,000. Kirk Nilson (258,500), Cindy Kerslake (247,500), and John Mackey (220,000) are all well-positioned to make a deep run into the money on Saturday. But no Day 1b player reached the target set by Sinan Tawfik on Day 1a with 319,500.
There were several well-known players who survived the day to play again, including Ryan Cairns, Russ Meilunas, Chris Symesko, Paul Sokoloff, Davinder Jhutty, and Richard Mullen. With what is likely the most impressive resume of the bunch, Sokoloff made an appearance for the Western Canada Poker open. Sokoloff had a great 2015 on the World Series of Poker Circuit and was a strong contender for Player of the Year. He has also finished in third place on two occasions in a World Series of Poker event.
Western Canada Poker Open Day 1b Top 10 Chip Counts
Some of the notable players who were unable to survive Day 1b included Steve Worr, Nav Shergill, Khoa Nguyen, Ron Lauzon, Bash Ramahi, Eric Davis, and Malcolm Bolger.
With a feature table live streamed on Twitch (15-minute delay), two of Alberta’s biggest characters in poker were keeping things lively on the broadcast. But the two of them tangled with Kirk Nilson and things escalated quickly to create a big pot.
Malcolm Bolger limped into the pot from middle position and Steve “Aussie Steve” Steves completed from the small blind. Nilson checked his big blind and the dealer swiped a flop of across the table.
It started out innocently enough. Steves checked. Nilson checked. But Bolger wasn’t ready for the turn yet. He bet 2,000. Action came back around to Steves who called, but Nilson had other ideas and raised to 6,000.
Bolger made the call and the decision was back on Steves again. This time, it was his turn to put in a raise. He pushed all in for almost 20,000. Then Nilson pushed all in over the top for about 60,000 and Bolger spent almost a minute thinking before finally calling, taking them to a three-way all-in with Nilson holding the largest stack.
Steves flipped over for two pairs. Nilson revealed for two pairs as well — a better two. Then Bolger tabled for a flush draw, hoping to find some diamonds. The board completed with and , eliminating both Steves and Bolger and giving Nilson the chip lead at the time.
The 48 remaining players will return on Saturday for a final day. Play resumes at noon and PokerNews Canada will be on hand for live updates of all the action. Follow along on our live blog and stay up to date as Grey Eagle Casino crowns the first-ever Western Canada Poker Open Champion.