Playground Poker Club players and staff are very excited about its first annual NLH Faceoff


Playground Poker No-Limit Hold'EmPlayground Poker Club players and staff are very excited about the first annual NLH Faceoff, a three-day competition beginning on September 10, 2011 and continuing until September 12th. All 10 of the NLH “Face-off” teams have now been announced; pairing up some of the brightest NHL stars of past and present with some of the poker world’s biggest names that will take to the felts with teams of players looking to play in a very unique event. The charity portion of the event will be in support of the Jodi Taiger Lazarus Fund for Hereditary Breast Cancer Research at McGill University, while at the same time, players are also competing as individuals for an estimated player prize pool of $105,000.

“Charity poker events have a reputation for alienating players with disproportionate prize pools when compared to the cost for players to buy in,” continued Montour. “We feel that this event offers the perfect balance between a reasonable cost to buy in and a significant player prize pool, all the while offering a significant contribution to a charity with a very noble mission. With our incredible corporate sponsors on board, we hope to have a charitable donation of upwards of $50,000, a completely separate sum from our player pool,” Montour added.

The NLH Faceoff Tournament doubles as a team event and an individual event. Players will play on a team for points, and the winning team will be invited back to Playground Poker Club at a future date, to participate in a winner-take-all $5,000 Freeroll. At the same time, players are also competing as individuals for an estimated player prize pool of $105,000.

Poker players are invited to buy-in directly for a chance to win the tournament. Buy-in for the NLH Faceoff is $250, while re-buys and add-ons are each $125.

Team drafts will take place at 12 p.m. over two days, September 10th and 11th, prior to the start of the day 1A and 1B events. Each team’s captain and assistant captain will be responsible for the drafting. The final table will be held on Monday, September 12th.

The event is made up of ten teams, each captained by one current or former NHL player along with one professional poker player. On the hockey side, the star-studded lineup includes NHL Hall of Famers and current league all-stars while the poker side is comprised of some of biggest names ever to sit down at a table and shuffle their chips; for interested fans and players of both games, here is just a little bit about the members of confirmed all-star team captain and assistant captain combinations:

Team One

Mike Bossy– this Canadian born, Hockey Hall of Fame and former New York Islander was the only player in history to score back to back winning Stanley Cup goals, as well as being a part of the Islander team throughout a 4 year streak of being the NHL Champions.

Erik Cajelais– This World Series of Poker Europe Pot Limit Hold’em/Omaha bracelet champion can also claim several more WSOP and WPT final table finishes on his poker resume; all told adding up to over $2.2 million in live tournament winnings.


Team Two

Carey Price – This Montreal Canadian Goal Tender has also played and lead Team Canada to gold in the World Junior Championships and has been twice named to the NHL All-Stars Game.

Pascal Lefrançois – A 2010 WSOP bracelet winner, Pascal hauled in over a million dollars over last years World Series of Poker, after winning a $1,500 event and then following it up with an 11th place finish in the $10,000 No Limit Hold’em Main Event Championship. Already this year, LeFrancois won the inaugural $3,000 buy-in at Playground Poker Club, claiming a bracelet for the other wrist.



Team Three

Bobby Dollas– Having played for 5 Canadian NHL Hockey teams over the course of his career, Dollas is definitely left his mark on Canadian hockey and the sport itself. During his time in the NHL, he played for the Winnipeg Jets, Quebec Nordiques, Detroit Red Wings, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Edmonton Oilers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Calgary Flames, Ottawa Senators and San Jose Sharks! Bobby was also a member of the Gold Medal winning Team Canada at the 1985 World Junior Championships.

Gavin Smith – “Ole GSmith” has amassed almost 6 million in live tournament cashes, putting him 3rd on the Canadian All Time Money list. Gavin has both a WSOP Bracelet & WPT Championship Title; along with the distinction of being the World Poker Tour Player of The Year for Season IV.

Team Four

Guy Lafleur-This hockey icon is honored in both the “Hockey Hall of Fame and “Canadian Sports Hall of Fame” and is often said to be one of the most popular and talented players to ever play the game. Over his career, played for the Montreal Canadians, New York Rangers and Quebec Nordiques; with Lafleur a key player of 5 Stanley Cup Championship winning teams.

Will Molson – This one has made a name for himself by proving he isn’t afraid of putting his money where his mouth is, winning the 2011 PCA $25,000 “High Roller”, returning to claim his just deserts after 2nd place finishes in the same event in both 2010 and 2009. Molson has also had top ten finishes in the “high roller” events of both the EPT London and LAPCs.

Team Five

Peter Mahovlich – Top hockey player, coach and NHL scout, Peter knows all angles of the game; living and loving his sport for over the last half century. Mahovlich played for the Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadians and Pittsburg Penguins.

Jennifer Leigh – A member of “Team Deepstacks”, Jennifer is a poker instructor for “Deepstacks University”. Leigh has had some very deep runs and cashes in both WSOP and WPT. Away from the felts, Jennifer has written several published strategy based poker articles and has participated in photo shoots for several entertainment, men’s and poker publications; including Bluff Magazine, Card Player, Inside Edge, Top Pair, Skinnie Magazine, FHM Online and Playboy. Don’t let her beauty distract you too long at the tables however; in the poker world she is known as “Jennicide” and she will show opponents no mercy.

Team Six

PK-Subban-Antonio-EsfandiaryP.K. Subban – Two-time Gold Medal winner with Team Canada at the World Junior Championships, defenceman Parnell Karl currently plays with the Montreal Canadians.

Antonio Esfandiari – Often said to be one of the most recognized faces and personalities of poker, Antonio has 2 WPT Championship Titles under his belt and a WSOP bracelet for his wrist. With over $4.5 million in career tournament winnings, “The Magician” has more than a few tricks up his sleeves when it comes to stumping his opponents.

Team Seven

Petr Svoboda – This 1988 Winter Olympian scored the only goal and winning goal for his team to capture the gold medal game. He played more than 1000 games over 17 seasons in the NHL, playing for the Buffalo Sabers, Philadelphia Flyers, Montreal Canadians and Tampa Bay Lightning.

Marc Karam– With 5 past ~ $10,000 Main Event Final Tables to his name that include; 2 on the WPT, 2 on the EPT and 1 at the Aussie Millions, Karam currently sits 15th on the Canadian All Time Money List, more than proving him as of our best.

Team Eight

Guy Carbonneau– This retired hockey Captain hoisted the cup 3 times over his twenty year career in the NHL, playing for the Dallas Stars, Montreal Canadians and St. Louis Blues. He has also held numerous roles as Head Coach and GM of NHL teams, in addition to being a former analyst for CBC Sports’ “Hockey Night In Canada”.

Michael Mizrachi – Almost $11.5 Million in career major tournament winnings and highlights that include; the 2010 WSOP $50,000 Player Championship Bracelet & Titl, a member of the 2010 “November Nine” and owner of 2 WPT Main Event Titles. “The Grinder” is currently 6th on the All Time Tournament Money List.

Team Nine

Travis Moen – This current Montreal Canadian scored the Stanley Cup winning goal against Ottawa, while playing for the Mighty Ducks in 2007. He has also played for the Chicago Blackhawks and San Jose Sharks.

Trishelle Cannatella – Part Celebrity, part poker player, Trishelle knows how to play; she has previously won the $1,000 “Trash Talk Championship of The World” and had a 3rd place finish in the WPT Celebrity Invitational. According to, Cannatella has been featured in Playboy, Maxim, Details, Elle Girl, Spin, and Stuff. She also been in over 30 TV shows and films, including Criminal Minds, The Dukes of Hazard: The Beginning, The Surreal Life, Punk’d, Fear Factor, Ninja Cheerleaders, and Dr. Steve-O, certainly qualifying her for “star” status.

Team Ten

Josh Gorges – “The Boss” has previously been awarded the Memorial Cup-George Parsons Trophy for “Most Sportsman Like Player”; as well as winning a Silver Medal in the 2004 Junior World Championships. Josh currently plays for the Montreal Canadians and formerly played with the San Jose Sharks.

Jeff Madsen – 2 Time WSOP Bracelet winner and 2006 World Series of Poker Player of The Year. At the time of his scoring his first bracelet, imediatly after turning 21, then winning the second very shortly after, Jeff was the youngest player to ever win a WSOP event.
Hockey fans can take advantage of two special autograph signing sessions by the NHL players at 12 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, September 10th and 11th. Autograph priority will go to players registered in the NLH Faceoff Tournament.

Players can register for the NLH Faceoff at Playground Poker and are encouraged to do so soon, as spots are filling up quickly.

More details on the event can also be found by following the link or on our previous post here:

Pro Poker and Hockey Players Collide for Charity at Playground Poker Club in September


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Jon Harnish
35 year old recreational player, husband and father of three from Calgary, Alberta. Enjoy lower stakes cash games including PLO and limit Omaha 8. Any of the micro-stakes HORSE games will play online MTTS and SNGs. Live, Tournaments and Satellites up to $550. I love the game but am far to social to take it seriously and sometimes give up a little to much information at the table because I enjoy discussing the game, so decided it was safest for my bankroll to take up writing about the game. That way I still get to meet the cool people and opinions on the game, but with a little less risk. Writing wise, currently a regular contributor to Poker Pro Canada, like to write profiles, previews and recaps the most. formally wrote for Canadian Poker Player Canada. My Poker Blogs have been featured on CardPlayer Social and SpadeClub as "Recommended" or in newsletters on several occasions and Pokerweblogs as "Blog of the Month". Past projects included organizing and promoting major events with the Canadian Poker Tour, introducing Big Slick Poker Tour to Southern Alberta and directing events and finals.


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