Playground Winter Festival: Buswell & Perceval Win Titles

Isaac Buswell

A very busy day at Playground Poker Club on Tuesday saw two more champions crowned and 17 players earn a Survivor title.

After three days of play, Isaac Buswell captured The $250 Frenzy title, taking the top share in a six-way chop. Ruben Perceval also lifted some hardware, winning the $550 Freeze after a three-way deal.

Just 24 players returned for the third and final day of play in Event #3: The $250 Frenzy. Jonathan G resumed play with the chip lead but quickly found himself falling behind. Less than three levels in, the field had been reduced to 10 and a final table was set. Buswell led the way with Michael Malm and Philippe Belley still in the mix.

Michael Malm
Michael Malm

A classic race kicked off the final table with Benoit Lord getting all in with pocket-jacks against Preston Cloutier’s ace-king. Lord faded the board until the river where an ace would fall, spelling his end in 10th.

Moments after cracking Malm’s aces to stay alive,Pierre Gauthier needed to crack another pair, facing the pocket jacks of Cloutier with queen-ten. It wasn’t meant to be this time and Gauthier bowed out in ninth.

The start-of-day chip leader Jonathan G had seen his stack dwindle since the beginning of play and got his remaining chips in the middle preflop holding ace-nine. Belley made the call with pocket nines and held to send Jonathan to the rail in eighth.

Gianfranco Giordano was on life support by the time his chips made it into the middle. All in from the big blind, Giordano had hope, tabling ten-seven, racing against Buswell’s pocket deuces. A ten on the flop gave Giordano the lead but a cruel river deuce eliminated him in seventh place.

The final six players paused the clock and negotiated an ICM chop that left $4,500 on the table for the eventual champion. Play opened up considerably and soon after, just Buswell and Santiago Plante remained.

Plante began heads-up play with a 3:1 chip advantage but a couple hands shifted the lead back to Buswell. On the final hand, both players flopped a pair of kings and all the chips went in the middle. Buswell had a better kicker, though, and sealed the win on the river with two pair.

Final Table Payouts:

1Isaac Buswell$28,974
2Santiago Plante$22,325
3Presten Cloutier$23,395
4Naghibollah Noori$16,300
5Philippe Belley$13,850
6Michael Malm$23,395
7Gianfranco Giordano$6,400
8Jonathan G$4,650
9Pierre Gauthier$3,450
10Benoit Lord$2,600

A rare find in most events these days is a tournament played without rebuys or re-entries. Playground offers up a few freezeouts during their festivals and Tuesday brought the players Event #5: $550 NL Hold’em Freeze. The event attracted a field of 166 runners, smashing the $50,000 guarantee by more than $30,000.

Adding to his stellar recent resume, Ruben Perceval picked up his second major win in just a couple of months. A win had eluded Perceval at Playground until early Wednesday morning.

Ruben Perceval
Ruben Perceval

His best result came last April when he finished runner-up at the World Poker Tour Canadian Spring Championship. After agreeing to a three-way deal, Perceval defeated Shaan Siddiqui heads up to capture the title and claim a top prize of $17,715.

Final Table Payouts:

1Ruben Perceval$17,715
2Shaan Siddiqui$14,380
3Siamak S$12,015
4Kevin MacDonald$8,000
5David Bonneau$6,000
6Behrouz Ghaedi$4,500
7William Blais$3,300
8Marton Szlavy$2,450
9George Kazarian$1,850
10Mathieu Boucher$1,500

Several notable players fell before the final table was formed including Patrick Braga, Laurence Grondin, Jason Comtois, Marco Caza, Marc-Olivier Carpentier-Perrault, Carter Swidler and Jean-Philippe Piquette.

Siddiqui held a sizeable chip lead when play at the final table begun, though Kevin MacDonald scored the first knockout. Racing with pocket queens against Mathieu Boucher’s ace-king, MacDonald hit a gutshot straight on the turn after Boucher had taken the lead on the flop.

The straight held and Boucher hit the rail. George Kazarian followed behind and was soon joined by Martin Szlavy after running into the pocket aces of Siamak S.

Final table regular William Blais saw his run end in seventh place and soon afterBehrouz Ghaedi and David Bonneau departed leaving the final four. After knocking out Ghaedi with ace-king, Perceval picked up pocket aces to cripple MacDonald who busted moments later in fourth.

The final three players began negotiations to strike a deal and came to an agreement, leaving $2,100 to play for. Siamak S bowed out on the very next hand and heads-up play began. A couple hands later, Siddiqui made a move putting himself at risk with pocket twos and Perceval made the call. A jack on the flop gave Perceval the lead and it held through the turn and river to earn him the win.

Shaan Siddiqui
Shaan Siddiqui

The final event of the day is a unique structure where there is no single winner. In this case, there were 17 winners. Event #6: $220 NL Hold’em Survivor kicked off at 7 p.m., gathering the attention of 146 players.

The payouts are simple in the Survivor events, outlast 90 percent of the field and the remaining 10 percent chop the prize pool. Originally, the top 15 spots were to be paid, but some deliberation and negotiations when the field reached the final 17 re-balanced the prize pool and the remaining field all got a share.

Survivor Winners
Survivor Winners

The Survivors:

1Marcello Simonetti$1,667
2Sylvain Lessard$1,667
3Denise Berkowitz$1,666
4Stephen Standen$1,666
5Denis Blais$1,666
6Troy Vandaalen$1,666
7Tomislav Pavkovic$1,666
8Joey Boczek$1,666
9Moshe Cohen$1,666
10Rishi Makkar$1,666
11Andre Pelletier$1,666
12Charles-Eric Benoit$1,666
13Carlos Mora$1,666
14Fadi Haddad$1,666
15Alberto Scuderi$1,666
16Shaun Lee$1,666
17Ksenia Shuali$1,666

The festival rolls on Wednesday with three more events on the schedule. Kicking off at 11 a.m. is Event # 7: $1,100 NL Hold’em 50/50 Bounty featuring a guaranteed prize pool of $60,000 and a $500 bounty for every elimination.

The second Survivor event of the festival gets underway at, this time with a $330 buy-in, and 30 minutes later, Day 1 of Event #9: $550 PL Omaha Re-entry begins.

The Playground Winter Festival runs through Feb. 15 and PokerNews will bring you daily updates of all the happenings throughout the festival. For full coverage and details check out the Playground event blog here.

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