A Bountiful Harvest at Casino Regina
The Harvest Poker Classic (HPC) is one of Canada's most venerable tournament series. First run in 1997, the 2018 edition of the HPC marks the 22nd time players have gathered to compete for poker supremacy under the Harvest banner. Hosted by Casino Regina in the historic central railway station, the HPC is one of most anticipated series of the year on the prairies.
The five-day format features one satellite night on the first night of the series, followed by four nights of full tournaments. For the event, Casino Regina converts its Show Lounge, normally a Vegas-style theatre space, into three levels of poker that mixes tournaments with cash game action.
Kicking off the action on Tuesday night, players competed in a unique satellite format that combined cash prizes with tickets to events later in the week. A total of 189 entries were recorded for the $200 buy -n and that put $37,800 into the prize pool. Since the format of this satellite pays cash prizes, it was played out till the final chips were won by local Saskatoon player Triant Steuart for a prize of $10,800. Steuart beat Drinkwater's Phil Riley ($6,415) heads-up.
Next up, players convened for the $500 event on Wednesday. With 264 entries, the total prize pool grew to $118,800. When the dust settled, a familiar face sat behind the only remaining chip stack, Justin "Ski" Skamanis. Skamanis regularly runs deep in Casino Regina events, and the $31,218 win over Kelsey Tompkins ($19,689) from Fort Saskatchewan marked his third Casino Regina ring after winning the $700 event here last year, as well as the $800 event at 2016's Diamond Poker Classic.
The stakes went up to $700 for the Thursday event at the HPC. That event drew 246 entries for a treasure chest of $154,980. Jeff Bryde came from two provinces away in Maple Ridge, B.C. to capture the $40,839 top prize against Winnipeg's Brian Friesen ($25,802).
Friday's event kicked up the buy-in again to $900 and also added a bounty flair. With 240 players sitting down to try their hand, the prize pool grew to $172,800 with $24,000 in the bounty pool. When the last hand was played, local Brad Coulthard was the one with all the chips. He pocketed $45,612 and the ring for the win, denying Jeff Bryde his second ring of the series and forcing him to settle for the runner-up prize of $28,842.
The final event of the series was Saturday's $1,100 Main Event. With 262 entries, the prize pool ended up at $262,000, and it was Bernardo Elevado from Swift Current who took down the top prize of $68,852. The win heads-up over Lethbridge, Alberta's Julius Roque marked Elevado's first live win, while Roque's $43,421 second-place finish was enough to push him over US$100,000 in lifetime earnings.
When the dust settled, the 2018 Harvest Poker Classic ended up handing out over $700,000 in prizes over the course of the event. With numbers up over last year in two of the four events this year, the 22nd running of the HPC was as big as ever.
* Photo courtesy of Casino Regina.