Patrick Serda Captures First WPT Title in Montreal
The World Poker Tour (WPT), now in its 17th season, is one of the most celebrated live poker tours in the world, and since it's inception in 2012, the Montreal stop on the WPT has grown to become one of Canada's top tournament series. This time, the series also featured "retired" Canadian poker phenom Patrick Serda, who powered through the Main Event field to score his first WPT title.
Played at Playground Poker Club, Kahnawake just outside of Montreal, the WPT Main Event was part of a seven-event series known as the partypoker WPT Montreal 2018. As with most festivals at Playground, there was something on offer for every player at every buy-in level. Starting with the $220 Ladies event, buy-ins ranged all the way up to the $10,300 High Roller.
Action kicked off on October 26 with the $550 WPT500. An astonishing 2,536 entries were recorded over eight starting flights (including one online version) which created a prize pool of $1,229,960. Local Montreal player Miguel Goncalo held on for his biggest live score ever, winning $173,000 after taking out his final opponent, Said El-Yousfi from France ($136,030).
Also included in this series was a $1,650 WPTDeepStacks event. With five day 1 starting flights, including one turbo version at the end, 896 entries were recorded to generate another prize pool of more than $1 million, at $1,303,680. Guelph, Ontario's David Quang added $222,000 to his bankroll, bringing his lifetime earnings near US$900,000. The heads-up win over fellow Ontarian Daniel Dubeau marked Quang's third-biggest lifetime score, while Dubeau's $150,000 second place was his biggest live score ever.
The lowest priced tournament of the series was just for the ladies. The $220 Ladies event ran November 3 and drew 124 players to the felt. While the guarantee was set at $15,000, the prize pool swelled to $24,056, and it was Brigitte Thomas from Mirabel who won the $5,580 top prize.
For lovers of the four-card game, Event #6 on November 4 was the $1,100 Pot-Limit Omaha. With 104 entries recorded at the end of registration, the prize pool ended up at $100,880. Lynn Phan from Willowdale, Ontario managed to outlast the field and grab the first place prize of $28,300 after a heads-up battle with Ottawa's Michael Khan ($18,730).
The final event of the series was the $550 6-Max on November 4. With 240 entries recorded, the original guarantee of $50,000 was more than doubled to a prize pool of $116,400. It came down to a battle between two Quebecois, Jean-Luc Desormeaux and Sasan Mehrabian, with Mehrabian prevailing for his third-biggest live score at $20,860, while Desormeaux had to settle for the consolation prize of $11,105.
The big story, of course, was the $5,300 Main Event. After three starting flights, there was a total of 792 entries recorded, and it wasn't an easy start for the eventual champion Patrick Serda. "I actually fired a few bullets into this one," he said, expressing that he ran "pretty average" through his Day 1s. When he finally got a bullet to stick and bagged a stack into Day 2, however, he picked off a big bluff early on Day 2 to solidify his stack, and after a what Serda described as a "good table draw" for Day 3, he managed to move into the chip lead, and keep it through the end of Day 4.
When asked how he felt going into the final table, Serda commented on the power of chips. "Going in with chip lead is always nice. You can dictate a lot of situations and choose higher variance spots and apply more pressure." He also expressed a lot of respect for his opponents at the final table, which included players like US pro Upeshka De Silva as well as fellow Canadians Sorel Mizzi and his eventual heads up opponent, Ema Zajmovic.
He added that it was "interesting" to play heads-up against a friend, and someone he's talked poker with, like Zajmovic. "I feel like we both know each other's approach in certain spots and have talked about strategy in the past. We're friends and get along off the table and I had a lot of fun playing with her. Next time I would really prefer to have position, but she played well on Day 4 and at the FT and deserved to be there."
The top three spots in the Main Event went to Canadian players. The third place prize of $410,000 went to Canadian pro Sorel Mizzi, while Zajmovic's runner-up finish was worth $556,000 and represented her biggest live cash by a significant margin. Serda's win was worth $855,000 and marked his second biggest live score after his runner up finish in the €10,300 EPT High Roller in Prague in 2016. The WPT title represents Serda's first major live title, though he is the owner of a couple WCOOP titles from the online world.
At this point in his life, poker isn't really a priority for Serda. Most of his business work these days focuses on the crypto world, and he is typically cryptic about the details on that. "I'm involved in a bunch of things on the crypto side. I don't want to share too much quite yet but will definitely keep everyone in the loop."
Poker wasn't even a priority, really, on this trip. "I love coming to Montreal. I have a few friends that moved from Winnipeg that I enjoy coming to visit and a few close poker friends that live there too. The hospitality is great at Playground and I like downtown Montreal a lot," he said, and added he's recently had a fairly major life change as well. "I became a father at the start of October and was fortunate enough to bring Henrik and Mom along to Montreal. No sleep and lots of diapers is what's planned for the rest of the year."