The clock was ticking last Friday as final touches were being made in preparation for the Grand Opening of Playground Poker Club, the newest addition to the thriving poker scene in Montreal. The doors were open to patrons at 6PM who were welcomed with a cocktail party as the club prepared to host its inaugural tournament, a $10,000 Freeroll with rebuys.
One would expect there to be some glitches on the opening night, but the evening appeared to go without a hitch. Several hundred guests walked through the doors on opening night to catch a glimpse of the new kid on the poker block for an opportunity to play some great poker. From the moment you saw the big glitzy sign as you drove up, you could tell this would be a great place. The valets and attendants directed traffic smoothly for hundreds of cars and inside and there was no shortage of gorgeous waitresses catering to your every need.
View of the Whole Playground Poker Club Poker Room:
The club has 25 poker tables set in an a spacious setting with high ceilings and at least 40 TV screens. On opening night, 22 of those tables were initially designated for the opening day $10,000 tournament which hosted 237 players, about 20 of them alternates who entered as others got busted out during the first few rounds.
Playground Poker Club also boasts a trendy in-house restaurant called “The Rail Coal Fire Bistro”. There was a very hip atmosphere at the bar adjacent to the restaurant. We got to experience the food first hand and our meal, which included some mouth watering appetizers, was absolutely to die for.
Some well known poker players were on hand including Erik Cajelais, Marc Karam, Roy Winston, Mike “Timex” McDonald, Benjamin LeBlond, Johnny Malibu and Anne-Marie Angélil, daughter of René Angélil who is a poker celeb and husband of Celine Dion.
As poker tables opened up from the tournament, the cash games became the focus and there were plenty of cash tables in action from 1/2 NL to 10/25 NL and PLO in the main poker room. About a dozen cash game tables were going on until 6AM.
The “piece de resistance”, however, had to be the carefully crafted High Stakes private poker lounge where a much bigger game was taking place throughout the evening. One could catch a glimpse through the big glass doors and windows to see serious money was in play – more than enough to merit its High Stakes name. During the night there was about $400,000 in play and most pots were in the 5-figure range with some reaching and impressive $100,000 during the night in both No Limit Hold’em and Pot Limit Omaha action. Quebec poker pro Erik Cajelais was playing much of the evening and later joined by pro Marc “Myst” Karam.
Playground Poker management anticipate their high stakes room to be a big hit with the high rollers looking for big games in a professional setting. Although he was not able to attend on opening weekend, Cirque du Soleil founder and Quebec billionaire and poker enthusiast Guy Laliberté, who has made appearances on TV’s High Stakes Poker, is expected to hit the felt at Playground in the near future. The high stakes player has taken part in the largest pot in the history of the popular TV show (over $800,000), and Guy’s many achievements include being the first poker player to travel to space. It will definitely be interesting to see him in action in the high stakes room at Playground.
All in all, Playground Poker Club has made a very positive impression on us and we foresee great things on the horizon. For the many Canadians reading this who are not from Montreal, Playground is yet another good reason for you to come to the beautiful city to experience some great poker action. The poker club is located minutes from the downtown Montreal and it is easy to get here by car or by a limo bus service offered by Playground Poker for players without a means of transportation.
Interview with Playground Poker COO Dave Montour: