This weekend, the World Poker Tour Montreal proved to be a rousing success. The first-ever $3,300 buy-in WPT Main Event at the Playground Poker Club created a total field of 1,173 entries — a record in Canada for a tournament with a buy-in of $1,000 or more — but only 360 made it to Day 2 on Sunday. It was there that 10 levels of play saw the money bubble burst, the field whittled down to the final 45 and Jeff Gross bag up the chip lead with 2.422 million.
WPT Montreal Day 2 Top 10 Chip Counts
Gross had a great day, steadily chipping up to over two million by the last level of the night. It was there that Josh Kimmel, who is producing a poker television show with Trishelle Cannatella and Amanda Kimmel called Living the Life, raised to 46,000 preflop only to have Gross three-bet to 105,000. It was Level 23 with the blinds at 10,000/20,000/3,000, and action folded back to Kimmel where he opted to move all in for 347,000 more with the . Unfortunately for him, Gross called with the to have him dominated. The flop failed to help Kimmel, and he exited in 54th place for $10,840 while Gross chipped up to over 2.4 million.
Long before that hand, action recommenced on Level 13 with the blinds at 1,000/2,000/300, and it didn’t take long for the eliminations to mount. Allen Kessler was the victim of a gruesome bad beat when he got his stack all in holding the and was far ahead of his opponent’s . However, the board ran out to give his opponent runner-runner quads, sending the grinder home uncharacteristically early.
According to the WPT Live Updates Team, Kessler was soon joined on the rail by the likes of Erik Cajelais, Matthew Burnitz, Tristan Wade, Tom Marchese, Tony Dunst, Isabel Mercier, Dominik Nitsche, Peter Jetten and WPT Season IX Player of the Year Andy Frankenberger.
By Level 15 with the blinds at 1,500/3,000/500, just 248 players remained. At that point, four players saw a flop of , and an early-position player bet 15,000. Garen Galanti then raised to 30,000 from middle position, and Antonio Esfandiari, who had jumped out to the early Day 2 chip lead, three-bet to 83,000 from the cutoff. David Williams then moved all in from the button for 114,000, the early-position bettor folded, Galanti moved all in for 165,000, and Esfandiari called.
When the cards were tabled, Esfandiari held the for two Broadway overcards and a king-high flush draw. Galanti had top set with the , and Williams held top pair with a ten-high flush draw holding the . Esfandiari had the better flush draw, while Galanti was well out in front with top set. Williams thought he had flopped a monster hand, but it turned out that he was drawing very slim. Neither the turn nor river changed a thing, and Galanti doubled through Esfandiari while Williams was eliminated from the tournament.
The eliminations continued on the way to the money including Mike Watson, Mohsin Charania, John Racener and Esfandiari. When Level 20 (5,000/10,000/1,000) began, just 118 players remained, which meant with 117 slated to receive a piece of the $3,387,930 prize pool, the money bubble was in full effect.
It didn’t take long for the bubble to burst, and it happened after a late-position player moved all in for 53,000, and Steve Berti tanked before calling from the big blind with the . His opponent held the far superior , but Berti got lucky and eliminated his unknown foe as the bubble boy after the board ran out . With that, the remaining field was guaranteed a payday, though everyone had their eyes firmly fixed on the $755,601 first-place prize.
Once the bubble burst, the in-the-money eliminations came in a flurry. Between then and the end of the night, more than 60 players would make their way to the payout desk including Ken Aldridge (99th - $6,100), Valerie Ross (90th - $6,775), Xuan Liu (86th -$6,775), Galanti (64th - $8,470), Max Greenwood (58th - $9,485), Marc-Andre Ladouceur (53rd - $10,840) and Tamer Alkami (46th - $10,840).
While many fell, a handful of notables still remain in contention including Dan Smith (306,000), Ashton Griffin (455,000), Bruce Buffer (538,000), Danny Nguyen (590,000), Pascal Lefrancois (616,000), Amanda Musumeci (999,000) and Timothy Adams (1,095,000).
Day 3 of the WPT Montreal Main Event will commence at 1200 EST (1700 BST) on Monday. As always, you can find a recap of all of the action right here on PokerNews.com.
Data and photos courtesy of WorldPokerTour.com.