partypoker and Playground Poker Club have created a record-breaking success with the $5,000,000 guaranteed Million North America. Attracting a massive field of 1,168 entries, the guarantee was crushed, breaking a 10-year old record for the richest prize pool in Canadian poker history. After five long days of poker, Playground’s latest champion is Quebec’s own, Jean-Pascal Savard.
Jean-Pascal, also known as ‘HopezAce’, took home the trophy and a first place prize of $956,000, after a heads-up deal made with fellow Quebec native, Jonathan Bussieres. Besting a final table that included fellow Canadians Ari Engel, Philippe D’Auteuil, and Louis Boutin, Jean-Pascal also topped tournament legends Niall Farrell from the UK and American, Matthew Waxman.
This is by far the largest score of Jean-Pascal’s poker career, trumping a previous best of USD$508,000 which he received for a fourth place effort at the 2015 PCA $25,000 High Roller. Adding almost a million to any total is going to give a significant bump, with the win jean-Pascal now sits at almost $1,570,000 in total live-recorded tournament earnings.
Action was slow in the early stages of the final table. Big hands were picked up everywhere but the ingredients for big pots weren’t there. The start-of-day short stack, Louis, scored an early double with ace-jack against Matthew’s pocket queens. Louis flopped two-pair and held, leaping up the leaderboard.
Five hours of play went by before the first elimination and it took a cooler to do so. Rayan opened with pocket jacks, Jean-Pascal three-bet with aces, Rayan four-bet jammed, and Jean-Pascal snap-called. The aces held and Chamas departed in eighth.
Jonathan had one foot out the door, getting his stack in the middle with ace-jack, finding a great spot to squeeze. Unfortunately, Louis woke up with ace-king and jammed over top. Luckily for Jonathan, he caught a jack on the turn and doubled.
Matthew came to the final table as a favorite but after doubling Louis, his stack continued to slide until his last four big blinds were slid into the middle, getting a call From Niall in the big blind. Matthew had ace-queen and was ahead of Niall’s six-seven, but a seven on the turn was enough for Farrell to win the pot and send the American packing.
Six-handed play went on for quite a while before a monster pot shook the entire dynamic. In a previous pot Niall limped preflop and trapped Jean-Pascal for a sizeable pot. Once again, blind versus blind, Niall limped in from the small blind with pocket kings.. Only this time, Jean-Pascal woke up with ace-jack suited and jammed his whole, chip-leading stack into the middle. Niall, having the second largest stack, called instantly. An ace on the flop was the only dagger Jean-Pascal needed and Niall’s promising run ended, giving Jean-Pascal a massive chip lead.
Five Canadians were left, guaranteeing the title would remain on home soil. A short while passed before Philippe crippled Ari after shoving preflop with jack-eight suited. Ari called with ace-jack but running clubs gave Philippe a flush and the double. Not long passed before Philippe got the rest of Ari’s chips. This time, Ari shoved preflop from the button and Philippe made the call in the big blind. It was six-five for Ari and pocket tens for Philippe. The board bricked out for Ari and the start-of-day chip leader fell in fifth.
Impressively, the remaining four players were all from Quebec. Louis was the first to be at risk. Jonathan open-shoved from the button with queen-ten and Louis called with less, but holding pocket nines. A ten on the flop was all Jonathan needed and Louis, who started the day as the shortest stack, managed to ladder all the way up to fourth place.
Jonathan had found himself short but a double up through Jean-Pascal put him back in second. Not long after Jonathan shoved king-six into Philippe’s big blind and Philippe called, putting his tourney life on the line with ace-queen. A six on the flop gave Jonathan the lead and he faded the turn and river to set up a heads-up battle with Jean-Pascal.
Jean-Pascal began heads-up play with about a two-to-one chip advantage, but before they got underway, the two negotiated a deal leaving $165,000 to play for with Jean-Pascal locking up $791,000 and $693,950 for Jonathan.
Once play got underway, Jonathan quickly closed the gap but an ill-timed jam from the bib blind would cost him the title. After Jean-Pascal opened, Jonathan moved all-in, and Jean-Pascal made the call. Jonathan was dominated, holding queen-jack to ace-jack and after the board ran out clean, Jean-Pascal was pushed all the chips and was crowned the partypoker Million North America Champion.
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