WPT Montreal an Overwhelming Success


It’s been a very exciting week for poker in Montreal with the second coming of the much awaited World Poker Tour to Canada after a very long absence.

The first ever World Poker Tour event in Montreal has already assured itself a spot in the history books. With a record setting field of 1,173 players, it has culminated a Main Event prize pool of epic proportions by Canadian and global tournament standards amounting to $3,387,930.

The field was massive and the challenge great, but only one player would emerge as the victor and walk away with the WPT Championship Title and a treasure chest of spoils that accompany it including the massive $754,162 first prize, an extravagantly designed Championship Belt and diamond studded bracelet as well as a hefty $25,000 entry to play alongside another elite field next spring for the World Poker Tour Season XI Grand Finale, the WPT World Championships taking place at the famed Bellagio in Las Vegas.

After three very long days, the final six players took position in the arena that was specially designed to host the celebrity hockey shootout on Day 1 that featured hockey and poker players who were introduced by famous ring announcer Bruce Buffer. The players to enter this time were Jonathan Roy, Pascal Lefrancois, Jeff Gross, Gavin Smith (holding a hockey stick), Peter Kaemmerlen and Sylvain Siebert.

Lefrancois and Roy had the home court advantage and deafening cheers of the crowd on their side, Gavin Smith had the experience and Jeff Gross some golden support in the rail. Surely enough, those same players dominated the top four spots. Gavin, who was short stacked at the start of the final table made his way to a respectable fourth place finish. There were several significant chip exchanges after that, but Roy eliminated Jeff Gross in third and the match went into heads up featuring two fellow French Canadians. The stacks and smell of new money hit the table for the final battle that would decide the war.

Eight hours into the day, the hand that would seal the deal unfolded, but it was not the final hand that threw the knockout punch. With their stacks nearly even, Lefrancois ran :6h :6s into Roy’s :Ks :Qs. Pascal raised 1 million from the button and Roy re-raised to 2.4 million. Pascal shoved all-in and Roy called. The board came :Kd :7h :7c :Qd :Jh which gave Roy 2 high pairs and virtually all the chips. The final hand forced Lefrancois all-in for less than one big blind but nothing could save him now.

Jonathan Roy becomes the first WPT Montreal Champion and would have his name engraved in the Champions Trophy.

A lot of organizers were responsible for the World Poker Tour’s comeback to Canada. Specifically, the Country’s favourite online poker room and Title Sponsor, Party Poker, the prestigious World Poker Tour itself, and Canada’s undisputed heavyweight champion of poker rooms and WPT host, Playground Poker Club. While the organizers paved the way to what would be a successful event, it was thanks to the passion shared by the thousands of poker players in attendance during WPT Montreal week that completed this incredible World Poker Tour experience.

The WPT Montreal has brought a wide mix of players. Many of the elite of the poker world played, which included 14 former WPT Champions like Daniel Negreanu, finalist Gavin Smith, as well as Antonio Esfandiari and Phil Laak. Tons of amateur poker players were able to follow their dream of playing in a World Class poker tournament thanks to the Montreal stop of the WPT. Fifty online qualifiers won their  WPT Montreal packages on Party Poker, some even finished in the money including Canadian poker pro Mike McDonald who finished in 27th and later went on to co-commentate the hand by hand plays during the live broadcast of the final feature table.

Making the event even more magical was having the most decorated Olympian of all-time, swimmer Michael Phelps, in the house cheering for his best friend on the final table, American poker player Jeff Gross, who finished in third place.

All in all, judging by the overwhelming success of WPT Montreal, we believe the poker community can likely expect to see a return of the WPT to Montreal in 2013. With the bar already set high, knowing Playground and Party Poker, they will manage to outperform this year’s success year after year.

Special thanks goes out to the staff and management of Playground Poker Club firstly for taking the bold initiative to undertake such a huge event among other things by expanding their club by 75% to be able to host a world class tournament like the WPT, and for doing an impeccable job in making sure things went as smooth as possible including the generous hospitality to our staff and to all the players.

Here are your WPT Montreal Winners:







Jonathan Roy

$754,162 + $25,000 WPT World Championship Seat + Championship Belt and Bracelet.


Pascal Lefrancois



Jeff Gross



Gavin Smith



Sylvain Siebert



Peter Kaemmerlen


Congratulations to all the winners!




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