Série Royale de Poker – We Have a Winner!


The Séries Royale de Poker resumed Day 2 on Saturday afternoon at the Casino de Montréal. Day 1 played down to 20 players at the end of 15 rounds which ended at 1AM Friday night. The tournament was very well structured according to many of the players and we had an interesting final table that included two previous Série Royale winners looking to make history with a repeat victory and to have their name engraved for a second time on the coveted Séries Royale trophy. The top 10 players shared in the $211,965 prize pool but the Grand Prize winner, Mr. Robert Cohen from Ville Mont-Royal outlasted 94 other competitors to capture more than $95,000 in cash and prizes.

Here is a summary of how some of the action unfolded including the elimination hands.

After nearly three hours of play on Saturday, the 20 players whittled down to the bubble hand involving Kevin Biljian and Philippe Chapdelaine who went heads-up. Philippe, the short stack pushed all-in to call Kevin’s 30,000 bet and as both players showed cards, Kevin flopped a pair which was good enough to eliminate Philippe who became the bubble boy of the tournament.

After 18 hours of play, the final table is set.

Seat Player Name Chips
1 Greg Baksic (Montréal, QC) 220,000
2 Kevin Bijian (Laval, QC) 230,000
3 Robert Cohen (T.M.R., QC) 135,000
4 Gabriel Morin (Montréal, QC) 310,000
5 Pierre Gauthier (Montréal, QC) 214,000
6 Normand Gauthier (Repentigny, QC) 276,000
7 Luc Lafontaine (Saint-Hippolyte, QC) 142,000
8 Anh Van Nguyen (Toronto, ON) 250,000
9 Jean-Louis Arseneau (Bathurst, NB) 470,000
10 Shayne Khanna (Montreal, QC) 96,000


The game is in Level 17 with 7:28 minutes left in the level, the blinds are $5,000/$10,000 with $1,000 antes and an average chip stack of $237,500.

Khanna finishes in 10th

After just two hands in the final table, we have our first elimination. Shayne Khanna in seat 10 pushed all in pre-flop and was called by Biljian. The players show cards.

Khanna:  :Ac :Qh

Biljian:  pair of 7’s

The board came :4c :Kc :Jh :4s :5s and Biljian’s 7’s held up. Khanna, the short stack at the final table was eliminated in 10th place to win $4,240.

Cracked Aces

Morin is on the button. Nguyen raises and is called by both Morin and Pierre Gauthier. The flop comes :2d :7c :3d. Nguyen checks, Morin bets 30K and Gauthier folds. Nguyen raises to 70K and Morin calls. The turn card is :7d and both men check. The river comes :5c. Nguyen raises to 120K and Morin calls with all his remaining chips. On the showdown Morin turns over a pair of aces to make two pairs with the board but Nguyen turns over deuces to crack Morin’s aces with a full house. Morin leaves the tournament in 9th place and $5,300 in prize money.

Normand Gauthier vs. Arseneau

The next man to fall was Normand Gauthier at the hands of Jean-Louis Arseneau. Both men went all-in. Arseneau was holding pocket 5’s and Gauthier A-Q. The board showed 5 and Q which was included a good card for both men and another Q fell on the river.

Whilst the river gave Gauthier trip queens, it also gave Arseneau a full-house.

Gauthier takes 8th place and $6,360.

Biljian takes out Lafontaine

Lafontaine has the button, Biljian leads out with a 32K bet. Lafontaine responds with a pre-flop raise all-in. The small and big blinds Nguyen and Arseneau both fold. Biljian makes the call and the players turn over their cards.

Biljian: :Ah :Td

Lafontaine: :Qd :Th

The board comes :Ad :9s :9d :Ks :Qh giving both men two pairs but Biljian’s aces are good enough to eliminate Lafontaine in 7th place who will walk away with $7,420 for his efforts.

Baksic next to go

Robert Cohen calls from seat 3. Nguyen bets 35K and Arseneau calls. Baksic,in the small blind, goes all in with his 53K in chips. Biljian calls and Cohen folds. Nguyen raises and Biljian decides not to go any further so it’s between Baksic and Nguyen now.

Baksic: :Ts :Jc

Nguyen: :Ks :Kd

The board reveals :2c :4c :2s :Kc :8h which gives Nguyen trip kings to send Baksic packing. Baksic, who recently came back from the PCA in Bahamas with a 13th place $115,000 win, finished the Royal Series in 6th place good for $8,480.

No Go for Gauthier

The blind levels have reached $10K/$20K with $3K antes. At this time Pierre Gauthier, who won the $2,500 event last year, is the current short stack. Seat 8 has the button. Gauthier waits his turn to act and calls an all-in. Bijian is the only one to call him and the players show their cards.

Gauthier:  :Ac :5s

Bijian: :Qc :Tc

The board :6d :7c :2c :9c :Th gave Bijian a flush to eliminate seat 5 in 5th place and Gauthier wins $10,600 for his hard work.

After the 45 minute dinner break at 8:30PM, play resumed with 4 players and blinds at $12K/$24K with $4K antes. Up until now, it’s been Arseneau who has held a commanding chip lead at the final table.

Seat Player Name Chips
2 Kevin Bijian (Laval, QC) 371,000
3 Robert Cohen (T.M.R., QC) 576,000
8 Anh Van Nguyen (Toronto, ON) 581,000
9 Jean-Louis Arseneau (Bathurst, NB) 878,000


Biljian rivered out

Seat 8 has the button. Arseneau and Bijian see a flop of :6d :4s :5c. Arseneau bets and Bijian calls.

The turn card is a :4c. Biljian bets 125K and Arseneau calls.

The river comes :Js and Arseneau goes all-in and Biljian follows.

On the showdown, Arseneau shows jack-seven, pairing jacks on the river and this was good enough to beat Biljian’s A-6 pair.

Biljian walks away in 4th place with $16,960 in prize money as Arseneau extends his chip lead.

Big Hand

Anh Van Nguyen has the button with three players remaining. He raises and Arseneau and Cohen both call.

The flop shows :7h :6d :8h and all three men check.

On the turn :3h Nguyen bets 95K and Arseneau raises to 240K. After some pause, Nguyen calls.

The river is :Jc and Arseneau bets 225K. Again after some pause, Nguyen calls for the showdown.

Arseneau shows two pairs 8-7 to win the largest pot of the tournament up to this point, over 700K in chips.

Nguyen vs. Cohen

Robert Cohen has the button. He raises to 130K and Nguyen goes all-in. Cohen follows and both men reveal their pocket cards.

Cohen: :Qd :Th

Nguyen: :Ad :Jh

The board reveals :3d :Qs :2s :2d :Jc which gives Cohen an overpair and just like that Anh Van Nguyen is eliminated in 3rd place and goes back to Toronto with $27,555.


The game has reached heads-up mode a little bit after 10:30 PM with 2 minutes left to get to round 23 where the blinds are $15K/$30K with $5K antes. Here is the chip count.

Seat Player Name Chips
9 Jean-Louis Arseneau (Bathurst, NB) 1,507,000
3 Robert Cohen (T.M.R., QC) 899,000


After a series of hands, Cohen manages to chop away at Jean-Louis’ chip lead until he is the new chip leader.

Final Hand

Arseneau has the button and both players make a series of plays as the board is revealed :2s :3c :Jh :Td :4c.

On the river Arseneau bets and Cohen responds by raising all-in. After significant investment to the hand, Arseneau has no choice but to call. Cohen was quick to flip his cards with confidence knowing he had the nuts on the river by making a straight.

Arseneau: :Js :7c

Cohen: :5d :6d

The game was over at 11:03PM with 11 minutes left in Level 23.

Robert Cohen was surrounded by friends and family who came to a packed poker room to cheer him on at the final table. In an interview, Mr. Cohen said he only started playing poker about five years ago and is an occassional player and this was his first major victory. In addition to the $80,540 in 1st prize money, Robert Cohen will get to represent Casino de Montréal at this year’s World Series of Poker Main Event to be held in Las Vegas thanks to the $15,000 package added to the prize pool. Mr. Cohen commented that he hopes he will be be a good representative at the WSOP for the Casino and for Quebec poker players.

It was a really long day for Jean-Louis Arseneau, the former Royal Series winner, who dominated for much of the final table and he demonstrated his endurance. On Friday night, after the other players went home at the end of Day 1 action around 1:00AM, Arseneau responded to a family emergency which required him to drive 5 hours away to lend assistance. He was back just in time to start Day 2 filled with adrenaline.

The tournament was a great success and the Casino de Montréal poker room management, staff and commentator did an excellent job. Bravo.

Congratulations to all the winners!

Next Série Royale

The next Série Royale tournament will be taking place on April 15 with an $1,100 buy-in and satellites will be announced soon.

Charity Event Announced

Announced this evening, the Casino de Montréal will be hosting the annual Vincent Damphousse Charity poker tournament on March 25 to benefit the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Society of Quebec, a not-for-profit community organization dedicated to improving the lives of people living with ALS (better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) and supporting their family members.

Half of the tournament proceeds will be donated to ALS and half will go into the prize pool which is estimated at $75,000. There will be many sports celebrities in attendance from hockey and CFL football including Vincent Damphousse, Guy Carbonneau, Michel Bergeron, Étienne Boulay and others will be confirmed soon. Also confirmed to attend is Jonathan Duhamel. It’s for a worthy cause and most celebrities are bad poker players so come out and win their money and show your support while you play for your share of $75,000.

Seats are on sale as of today at the Casino so try to reserve your seat before they sell out. It’s sure to be a fun evening full of surprises.



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