Calgary’s Stampede Poker Classic Tournament has been one of Alberta’s most consistent, evolving and always growing poker event over at least the past five years; for 2012 it will once again return to the Deerfoot Inn and Casino to determine this year’s champion.
Originally a televised event that was held in the old casino right in the Stampede grounds, the tournament featured a much heftier direct buy-in than the current $1,100 Main Event entry cost, or a player could qualify by beating the “go rounds”, where players would carry forward ending chips stacks to the finals. You were guaranteed a set amount for advancing, but had to fight for the big money with whatever chips you had accumulated.
That model has since been tweaked, the event moved to the popular Deerfoot Inn and Casino and seems to have given the event more appeal to players of varying bankrolls and skill levels as well as having the added connivence of being to grab a hotel room attached to the hosting venue.
The “go rounds” now cost a much more modest $185 entry fee, with slightly larger starting stacks of 6,000 chips and 20 minute blind levels. It’s also run as a super satellite, as opposed to single table formats of the past, with typically 1 in every 7 players receiving an $1,100 Main Event entry and any extra monies remaining in these individual qualifier prize-pools going to the unfortunate player on the “bubble”. It’a not always chump change however that is left over and finishing just shy of a ticket can still net players hundreds in profits.
Many locals like those odds and continue to play these “go rounds” to collect extra tickets and the bubble cash. 2010 seen “go-round” attendance double from the prior year, (averaging 28-34 players); these satellites will taking place twice daily at 12:00 and 7:00pm from July 5th-14th for 2012. It also doesn’t hurt prize-pools and cash game action any to have millions of tourists in town over the same period to take in the “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth” and it goes without saying those numbers include a good percentage of poker players looking for a seat. As a result, 70-80 seats are usually already filled before the last minute registrants buy directly in on Main Event day.
Over the past 2 years the Main Event, held this year at high noon on July 15th, has averaged around 154 players and the first place prize has been between $40,000-$50,000 for at least 3 years running:
In 2011 Steve Parkin took home $40,000 from the 148 entry field, in 2010 seen 159 entries generate a top prize slated at $40,000, but a deal was struck between Sean Finney and 2012 PCA Canada Cup winner David “Dick_Fosbury” Labchuck for $34,500 each. They did however, play it out for the “Champions Belt Buckle” that has traditionally been awarded for the event, with Finney taking down the title. Quang Lam won the event in 2009, taking home $50,000 for being the last standing of 56 entries, but in those days the Main Event carried a $2,500 buy-in.
Initial advertisements indicate 10,000 starting chips for the $1,1000 with 40 minute blind levels and while we don’t have structures as of yet, we do know past final tables haven’t wrapped up until 2:00 or 3:00am, indicating plenty play when it counts and players have reached the big money.
Be sure to check it out if Calgary is on your list of vacation or poker stops this summer and Good Luck to those all planning on attending!