Since entering the major poker tournament series scene in early 2010, the Manitoba Lotteries Poker Open has quickly drawn some of the country’s best numbers for its buy-in range. With several of its under $500 events breaking 400 entries and higher than average turn-out at the $500 and up levels, available prize-pools are definitely catching the eye of grinders looking for those bankroll swelling five figure scores. Sticking with what works, the 2012 Manitoba Lotteries Poker Open Schedule from April 11th-15th will feature the same events players are already growing to love; if October’s 2011 Manitoba Poker Challenge results are any indication.
With Manitoba also looking to enter the provincially regulated online poker scene in 2013, it appears that the game is poised to grow in the region and we can expect this to be a future staple stop for Canadian poker players.
Winnipeg is the backyard of more than a few highly respected Canadian live and online players; Clayton “slammedfire” Mozdzen, Zennawi “Zenni11” Petros as well as Travis “GroovyT” Brown are all on their home turf in Manitoba and have already shown some good results in this hometown series. Mozdzen recently made a very deep run at EPT Madrid, finishing 14th out of 477 in the 5000 euro event. Aside from these guys, perhaps one of our countries best ”unknowns” hails from the Winnipeg poker scene; Haralabos Voulgaris already has nearly $1,900,000 in live tournament cashes, putting him in the top 25 of the Hendon Mobs ”Canadian All Time Money List”.
The Poker Scene In Winnipeg
There are two main card rooms in the area, the host venue, McPhillips Station Casino and Club Regent Casino. Both have regular smaller buy in freeze out and re-buy events that are very well attended. In preparation of making the upcoming series a successful venture for players and casino operators alike, poker room regulars were consulted during the planning process. As a result, both venues started running $110 multi-table tournament satellites several times a week, beginning in January as well as $70 single table “sit and go’s” to get the attendance numbers rolling and ensure the pot would be attractive to those making the trip to the prairie city. These will continue through the series up to the start of each “Manitoba Lotteries Poker Open” event.
The Prairie Provinces have traditionally had some of the best varieties of poker disciplines and stakes spread at the lower to medium limits. As far as the “big nose bleed” games go, demographically the population of whales just doesn’t compare to some of Canada’s other cities, but the rooms are more than willing to spread as high as there is reasonable interest to go, form a minimum $1 small blinds right up to a $100 big blind maximum.
Omaha and Texas Hold’em are played as Pot Limit, Fixed Limit and No Limit currently, giving options for all levels of players. Omaha high/low, $5/$10 fixed limit is one popular option that is hard to find in other card rooms and quite fun to mix it up in with good earning potential for those that want to play something different, for a modest investment.
Limit games are also played with kill and half kill options, building some nice pots when the table is flowing. Of course for the No Limit enthusiasts, $1/$2 and $2/$5 a plenty are a given, with an abundance of players that wouldn’t be opposed to taking higher shots when the money rolls into town. As far as how this will go, being the first series of this caliber for locals, only time will tell. Traditionally, tournament history around the country shows that “if you build it, they will come”, or quite simply put, players welcome the opportunity to raise the stakes when there are takers. With Manitoba’s maximum buy ins for Pot Limit and No Limit games being set at 200 big blinds, the tables have plenty of opportunity for some very deep stacked cash play.
$1/$2 Pot Limit Omaha is also a local favorite and ideal for both recreational and full-time players. Plenty of action is synonymies with any PLO game and even at these comparably lower stakes can pad a player’s pockets quite nicely, without requiring an enormous bankroll to get involved. James Werry, a friend of many in the area and a solid player known by now to most on our countries circuit, also tells us that “Dealers Choice” and the $10/$20 Limit games can be very profitable and a pleasant change. Should players want to check out different scenery, or find the host venues tables booming at capacity, Club Regent Casino is also an option. The airport, hotels and casinos are all about fifteen to fifty dollar cab rides apart, so groups of friends will easily get around for cheap with everybody pitching in.
Travel and Accommodations
McPhillips Station Casino is about a short, fifteen minute cab ride from the airport, with several large hotels located nearby it. Reduced room rates and shuttle services to and from the venue for guests have previously been arranged with several local hotels at past series; those making the trip will want to first try calling the Radison Hotel Winnipeg Downtown, 1-204-975-6221, using the reference “Manitoba Poker Open” block of rooms for player rates, or the Canada Inns Destination Centre, Garden City by calling 1-888-332-2623 and mentioning discount code “Manitoba Poker Open”.