VIP Poker Room, the newest poker destination in Kahnawake, Quebec celebrated its Grand Opening this past weekend. Players from across Canada and the United States joined in on the fun and action. The festivities kicked off on Thursday with a posh party that served as a prelude to two signature poker tournaments that ran through to Monday with simultaneous final tables that ended in a photo finish moments of one another.
The first tournament to get underway was the 100k Guaranteed Premiere Event that started on Friday. With a $550 buy-in, despite a snow storm brewing outside, an impressive 228 runners took part to help surpass the guaranteed prize pool and award $110,580 to the top 27 players.
The final table came around with VIP Poker Room Ambassador Will Failla as the incoming chipleader, a former WPT Champion with over $3.5 million in career live tournament earnings and clearly the most decorated player seated, so the pressure was on everyone. Failla’s opponents played a good game but “The Thrill” held up his chip lead to the very end.
On the last hand of the match, with 2♠ 9♦ Q♥ 6♣ on the board, heads up opponent Gene Castro moved all in for 700k and was called quickly by Failla. Castro had the straight draw with K♠ 10♥ and Failla had A♠ 2♥ to give him a pair of deuces. The 9♣ gave Failla the title, $26,540 cash and the “Jacob the Jeweler” Premiere Event bracelet.
“It really made it feel like home,” said the VIP Poker Room Ambassador, “I feel like I won at my own house it’s a good warm feeling. I feel everyone should get a chance to experience this.”
In true Failla style, the very talkative Failla entertained the table and the audience watching from the rail and from home via Live Stream on CanadaPoker.com.
The $5,000 buy-in with re-entries Players Championship Event took center stage on Sunday and was televised on Live Stream. World renowned poker pros in the event included WSOP & EPT bracelet winner Eugene Katchalov, WPT bracelet winner Will Failla, Canadian pro Mike Leah, all three of them VIP Poker Room Ambassadors, EPT bracelet winner and celebrity poker player Vanessa Rousso, and some of Canada’s rising stars in the game – Marc-Andre Ladouceur, Jonathan Driscoll, Chanracy Khun and George Caragiorgas.
It would be three of the rising stars who would return on Monday to play a 5-man final table that was made up of Jonathan Driscoll, Pierre-Paul Paulin, Kevin MacDonald, Marc-Andre Ladouceur and short stacked Chanracy Khun who was the first to go. Pierre-Paulin was the bubble boy after shipping an 88k double-up to Jonathan Driscoll. Paulin holding 10♦10♠ vs A♦10♣ appeared to be in good shape but Driscoll picked up an Ace on the river. Paulin was out a hand later after being dealt that crippling hand just prior.
No final tables deals were made by the players today and short stacked Ladouceur would be next to go in 3rd good for $20,970, leaving Driscoll and MacDonald to play heads up.
Driscoll was the chip leader 4-handed, but lost with AA and KK on back-to-back hands. He regrouped for a second place finish and $31,455. On the final hand, Driscoll calls MacDonald’s all-in and is beaten by trip 10s.
“I really wanted to win, but after what happened I’m definitely satisfied with the result,” he says.
On a flop of 10♣ 10♦ K♥, Jonathan Driscoll and Kevin MacDonald both check.
Driscoll bets 20k, MacDonald calls.
Driscoll checks, MacDonald moves all in and after a long pause says, “I guess I’m giving you the watch, I call.”
“I have a ten,” says MacDonald while turning over 10♠ 7♣ for trip 10s.
“That’s good,” says Driscoll as he mucks his card and MacDonald wins the title.
“It’s amazing, just to get to a final table is a big thing in this kind of a field,” says MacDonald who had this event circled on his calendar when it was first announced.
“But to be honest, I just ran good. I got a lot of luck on the cards and key hands and some good timing.”
MacDonald, who likes to play in bigger buy-in events wins $52,432 and the “Jacob the Jeweler” Players Championship watch. CanadaPoker.com member Kevin MacDonald from New Brunswick proved that anything can happen in poker. On the brink of elimination in Day 1 he managed to hold on and win it.
A 5k buy-in event is somewhat of a rarity in Canada, but nonetheless VIP’s boldness paid off with 23 entries creating a prize pool of $104,857 and two successful $100k plus tournaments at VIP Poker Room making the Grand Opening Weekend one to remember.
To make the weekend even more special, VIP Poker Room invited special guest veteran tournament director Dave Lamb from Nevada to preside over the weekend’s signature tournaments. Besides being one of the founding members of the Poker Tournament Directors Association along with celebrity tournament director Matt Savage, he has directed numerous events worldwide including the World Series of Poker and Heartland Poker Tour to name a few.
Spectators were able to tune into the feature tables from home via Live Stream and also read updates.
VIP Poker Room is a very ambient poker club offering a good mix of cash games and tournaments. The staff are very friendly and courteous and the servers very attractive. The walls are decorated with high definition screens tuned into sports and poker shows, things we poker players appreciate during a long grind.
To add flavor, their sports bar themed restaurant Draft Picks 99 is a really cool place – an ideal setting to watch the big games. They serve 99 brands of beer brewed from all over the world that you can sample without having to “hop” around the globe. They serve a variety of dishes to please all palates and the food is awesome.
The owners of VIP have really poured their soul into the club and have enlisted the expertise of poker veterans from Vegas and Atlantic City to help create a world class poker room.
Players can expect more good things to come at VIP Poker Room. With VIP on the block, Montreal continues to be a hub for poker enthusiasts. Vegas is Vegas but the Montreal poker scene continues to thrive with the VIP experience.
Congratulations to the winners of the Grand Opening signature tournaments and a big thank you to the VIP staff for your hospitality. Great job!
|VIP 100k Premiere Event Results||VIP Players Championship Results|
|1 Will “The Thrill” Failla (Smithtown, NY) $26,540||1st Kevin MacDonald $52,432|
|2 Gene Castro (Henderson, NV) $16,400||2nd Jonathan Driscoll $31,455|
|3 James Sansone (Fayetteville, NY) $11,000||3rd Marc-Andre Ladouceur $20,970|
|4 Sylvain Dufresne (Montreal) $7,850||4th Pierre-Paul Paulin|
|5 Long Pham (Brossard) $6,100||5th Chan Khun|
|6 Constantinos Psalidas (Montreal) $5,000||6th John Hanson|
|7 Yannick Kwan (Laval) $4,150||7th Vanessa Rousso|
|8 Dean Murphy (Montreal) $3,485||8th Eugene Katchalov|
|9 Vinokurov Gennady (New York, NY) $2,875||9th Dmitry Druzhinsky|
|10 Phil Diamantakos (Laval) $2,265|
|11 Yann Dumont $2,265|
|12 Robert Renaud $2,265|
|13 Bill Kontaratos $1,770|
|14 Alexander Zaveruka $1,770|
|15 Mel Rothman $1,770|
|16 Nicolas Aubin $1,380|
|17 Scott Worsely $1,380|
|18 Jean-Francois Boulais $1,380|
|19 Marc Andre Roy $1,215|
|20 Adam Cader $1,215|
|21 Sebastien Proulx $1,215|
|22 Gabriel Alarie $1,215|
|23 Edin Cekic $1,215|
|24 Daniel Marcotte $1,215|
|25 Mathieu Sauriol $1,215|
|26 Patrick St-Onge $1,215|
|27t Simon Quintal $607.50|
|27t Ruben Perceval$607.50|