There is a new poker series in Alberta. The thriving tournament market grew a little more with the addition of the Western Canada Poker Open that kicked off last week. With the first six of nine events already in the books, the $1,100 Main Event got underway on Thursday and Sinan Tawfik concluded the day with towers of chips.
Tawfik is one of the local regulars who plays nearly every one of the numerous tournament series in Alberta with an astounding track record. He has racked up more than a quarter of a million dollars in cashes in the last four years and every single one came from Alberta.
He has 33 tracked tournament cashes on The Hendon Mob. Incredibly, that includes seven wins and a further four runner-up finishes. With 11 top-two results out of 33 cashes, Tawfik goes on to finish either first or second in one third of the tournaments he cashes. Watch for Tawfik on Saturday’s final table.
Day 1a of the $1,100 Western Canada Poker Open Main Event began at noon at Grey Eagle Resort & Casino in Calgary. The new event centre was transformed into a large tournament hall for the nine-day series.
A total of 75 entries passed through registration with eyes on the $150,000-guaranteed prize pool. After 15 40-minute levels, just 17 players remained and Sinan Tawfik had grown his starting stack of 25,000 to 319,500 chips — nearly 20 percent of total chips in play. The second-best stack of 221,500 belonged to Alberta’s sole World Poker Tour Champion, Sheraz Nasir.
The rest of the survivors reads like a who’s who in Alberta poker. From out of town, Erik Cajelais was also among the final 17, bagging 97,500 for Day 2. Cajelais needs no introduction, being one of Canada’s 40 World Series of Poker bracelet winners and with more than $3 million in career winnings, he is the most accomplished player in the tournament.
Western Canada Poker Open Day 1a Top 10 Chip Counts
There were many other notable players who entered Day 1a but didn’t survive. To name a few: Chris Symesko, Davinder Jhutty, Richard Mullen, Bo Fric, Ron Lauzon, Bash Ramahi, Jeff Harrison, Kyle Menne, and Russ Meilunas.
One of the largest hands of the day was when Sheraz Nasir crippled Bo Fric. There were about 60,000 chips already in the middle and the board was reading and Nasir pushed all in. Fric went in the tank for several minutes agonizing over his decision.
The two bantered back and forth a bit and Fric said that he had aces. He asked if Nasir had flopped the nuts with king-jack and watched for a reaction. Eventually, Fric, standing and visibly pained by the decision, reached forward and pushed over one of his stacks of chips to signal the call, showing rather than the aces he had claimed to have. Nasir had, indeed, flopped the nuts with . “Why can’t I just listen to myself?” Fric moaned. He was crippled to little more than a single big blind and was eliminated in the next hand.
Action will resume with Day 1b on Friday at noon and players will have their final chance to qualify for Saturday’s Day 2. PokerNews Canada will be back on the tournament floor for live updates of all the action. Follow along on our live blog for the biggest hands, tallest stacks, notable players, and photos of the day.