Alberta has had many of it’s players come very close to bracelet worthy spotlight in the past, in 2011 the last Canadian standing in the $10,000 No Limit Hold’em Championship was from Calgary and narrowly missed the “November Nine” with an 11th place finish. Go back further of the last decade of events at the World Series of Poker and you will find a long list of final table finishes, including many gut wrenching 2nd and third place finishes. So far, with only a week to go before the Main Event is upon us again at the time of writing, that streaks continues…
Several players from the province have already posted some very notable results however and we feel they are entitled to a closer look to get their “just deserts”…
Calgary’s Bill (William) Thomson gained some extra spotlight this summer after making the placing 7th in the 2012 WSOP $1,000 “Seniors No Limit Championship”. This was the largest single starting day entry field of any live poker tournament in history, with 4,128 entrants “aged 50 years” or higher. To put that into perspective, that’s roughly half the size of the bigger $10,000 No Limit Championships that have been held, which take 4 starting days to get underway and start players with 10 times as many chips.
After being crippled to only 575 tournament chips remaining early into Day 1, Thomson managed to run that up into an $83,322 payday and WSOP Day 3 final table finish.
“Like every poker player does at some point or another, I caught a few lucky breaks to get back in it. Soon after that, I was chip leader at my table and that trend continued right into Day 3”, Thomson told Canada Poker.com, adding, “I kept some histories of key hands along the way and would love to share them with those interested when I finish writing them up and return from a business trip.”
Along with Bill, 3 other players from Alberta and the last remaining Canadians made the final 23 (top .5%) of the field; Carolyn Tulloch of Innisfail (10th), Eckville’s Cliffton Green (14th) and Calgary’s Frank Longinotti (23rd).
“It was pretty cool that the 4 of us went that far”, recounted Bill, “We’ve all played together at some point or another at tournaments in Calgary or Red Deer, so was it was even more exciting when were all deep in this one.”
Impressive results for all 4 Albertans, especially Bill, who has been playing poker since about 2005.
Locally, he is probably one of the most well recognized daily and series tournament players, particularly at Cash Casino where he puts in a fair amount of time. He’s the guy you’ll see organizing the “last longer bets” between the regulars and climbing the room’s leader boards with consistent results.
To highlight some of his past results, it is interesting to know that Bill won both the 2010 and 2011 Cash Casino “Tournament Of Champions”, has cashed in nearly half of their major events held over the past few years and has also made several final tables at past Canadian Open Poker Championships.
In 2010, Thomson was also one of 6 players who earned a $25,000 Canadian Poker Tour sponsorship in their Invitational Event; only the top players in the country who had earned points by cashing in qualified events across the country were invited to participate and it was far from a “soft” field or easy feat to make the sponsorship spots.
Considering that many WSOP bracelets are awarded in fields half or even a quarter this size, we figured Bill’s recreational poker career deserved all the attention of a major win and with that thought, we bring you our next featured player…
Edmonton’s Paul (Jaspal) Brar also had a very deep 2012 WSOP run, finishing a notable 13th place out of a field of 2949 players in a $1,000 buy-in No Limit Hold’em Event. While the pay-out of $20,941 is not necessarily “headline” material by itself, when you look at Paul’s entire summer at the WSOP, his performance certainly become more impressive as a whole.
Besides the oh-so-close $1,000 finish, Brar cashed in the top 50 of two other events so far; finishing 45th of 730 in a $1,500 Limit Hold’em and 29th out of 589 in a $3,000 Pot Limit Omaha, proving a consistency as well as diversity in game selection that few can make claim to. His 2012 performance is also showing a positive ROI, again something not easily achieved for players “bracelet hunting” at the WSOP and make no mistake, that is exactly what Brar has been up to.
Around home, Paul is known for several things; always smiling while keeping calm, cool and collected no matter how the cards fall and for crushing the bigger cash games. He’s not really a tournament grinder by definition and many of these buy-ins are far lower than what you would expect to sit down for a session with.
Like any player with a love for the game, Paul wouldn’t mind a WSOP bracelet on his resume and even after busting just a few eliminations away from an ESPN live stream final table, Brar just kept smiling and said;
“Tell everyone back home I’m going to ’ironman’ this out and I don’t plan to leave without a bracelet.” Giving a friends a “fist pound” on the way back to the tournament are he laughed and said, “Guess it’s time to learn how to play Pot Limit Omaha Hi/Low Split, I’m going to jump in that one.”
Around the smaller fields of the tournament circuit in Canada and various places in the USA, Paul’s various profile pages show at least a dozen “official” cashes and the majority of them are final table finishes and
if your still aren’t sold on Mr. Brar being one of Canada’s best, just throw in a few of his more impressive online finishes…
Playing as “DOCTORB911” online, Brar has also had some great results over 2012; late in May he finished 8th out of 6,977 players in the Sunday Million, getting Aces in good all in pre-flop against his opponents Jacks only to have the villain flop a boat. Over the Spring Championships of Online Poker, he finished 14th out of 7387 in the $215, 10th out of 939 in the $215 Pot Limit Omaha Heads Up and 21st out of 1146 in the $109+R Pot Limit Omaha “Medium”. The bottom line of all these results is at the time of writing (July 1, 2012), Paul is ranked in the top 99.82 percentile of online players in the world by Official Poker Rankings (.com).
While WSOP bracelets definitely come with a certain degree of “validation”, these two players are undoubtedly leading the pack and leaving their mark.