As the final table of the World Poker Tour stop at the Kings Casino in Prague, the Czech Republic, plays out today, several Canadian pros – including one at the official WPT final table – had outstanding finishes for their trip to Europe.
571 players stepped to the felt in Prague on Thursday, breaking the record for a WPT event in Europe that was set last year at the WPT Vienna. With a €3500 buy in, a prize pool of slightly more than €1.75 million was built, which was divvied up by the final 63 players. Among those who took home some of the bounty were several top names from the Canadian poker scene.
Saturday’s action saw two of those Canadians gang up to take down Steve O’Dwyer, who had assumed the chip lead at that time. O’Dwyer decided to square off against both Canadian Mikes – Watson and McDonald – in what would prove to be the demise of the American. After an initial raise by “SirWatts,” O’Dwyer flatted and saw “Timex” put the squeeze play on. After a four bet by Watson, O’Dwyer dropped his remaining chips to the center and McDonald folded.
Considering O’Dwyer’s move, Watson commented, “I guess you have Aces, but I call.” He was astounded to see that he had made the right decision; O’Dwyer could only turn up Big Slick, and Watson was ahead with his pocket Kings. Once no Acer appeared on the board, Watson took a huge amount of chips from O’Dwyer. Watson would eliminate O’Dwyer a few hands later.
Sunday’s action, with the final 63 survivors, proved to be the end day for several of the Canadians competing in Prague. McDonald was the first casualty of the day’s play, finishing in 63rd place, while Jonathan Roy would drop from the tournament in 48th place. Three other players – Christopher McClung, Russell Carson and Watson – would drive deeper into the night, however.
Using his ever hyperactive style, Christopher rode a rollercoaster once again throughout Sunday’s play. At one point, he had built his chip stack up to nearly 700K, but he would be the first of the Canadian triumvirate to drop from the tournament. He would make it to the final three tables before being eliminated.
With the board showing J-8-8, Christopher battled against Stanislaw Kretz, with McClung making a 140K chip bet and Kretz simply calling. A five on the turn and another five on the river brought the fireworks, as Christopher moved all in and was immediately called by Kretz. Kretz turned up his pocket Jacks very quickly for the boat and McClung never exposed his cards, instead slipping them to the muck and heading to the cash out window for his 27th place money.
At the dinner break, Russell and Mike were still battling for the right to move on to play on Monday. Battling with a short stack, Russell (who qualified for the tournament through a PartyPoker satellite) began to make some moves up the leaderboard. Mike, for his part, saw his chips slowly disappear, but the final two Canadians would make it to the unofficial final table of nine players early this morning (Prague time).
Down to those nine players, Mike Watson’s run at a second WPT championship would come to an end. After Adria Balaguer made a raise and Andrey Pateychuk put in the three bet, Mike put his final 90K in chips in the center of the table without looking at his cards. After a 4-3-2-2 flop and turn, Pateychuk was able to push Balaguer from the hand and turned up an A-Q against Mike’s 10-7. The river Queen was unnecessary, giving Pateychuk the hand and eliminating Mike Watson in ninth place (€25,000).
Carson’s fortunes were a bit different, however, as he hung on to his chips at the unofficial final table and never took many risks. When Jan Bendik was eliminated in seventh place, Russell had made the official WPT final table around 5AM Prague time, albeit as the extremely short stack (725K) on a table dominated by seven figure chip stacks.
Play has restarted today and Russell has fallen from the contenders for the WPT Prague crown. After moving all in once (and not getting called), Russell would take on the chip leader Kretz and meet the end of his tournament. Russell’s pocket fives were ahead of the measly suited Q-9 of Kretz, but the board would not cooperate. A nine on the flop moved the advantage to Kretz and, although he picked up an open ended straight draw on the turn, once the river blanked Russell was out of the tournament in sixth place (€63,000).
The WPT Prague final table is currently in action on the WPT website, but Canada’s sons are out of the event. Still, the men who made the money in the event – Mike McDonald, Jonathan Roy, Chris McClung, Mike Watson and Russell Carson – have provided a great deal of excitement for Canadian poker fans and CanadaPoker congratulates them on their finishes!