The World Poker Tour landed back in Canada on Friday. On a gray and wet fall day, players sought sanctuary inside Playground Poker Club for the 2015 edition of partypoker.net WPT Montreal to try their luck on Friday the 13th.
Located in Kahnawake, Quebec, just across the St. Lawrence River from beautiful and historic Montreal, Playground Poker Club is a world-class facility suited to host a world-class tour.
With the buy-in set at $3,850, 127 players bought a starting stack of 30,000 in chips to try to build a stack worthy of Day 2. Only 45 players managed to do so, and they counted and bagged their chips after 10 one-hour levels of play.
Coasting up top was Brian Altman, bagging 221,600 in chips as the only player to cross the 200,000 mark. The next-best stack was that of Jacques Frenette with 190,400.
Top 10 Day 1a Chip Counts
Altman joined the WPT Champions Club earlier this year when he claimed the title at WPT Lucky Hearts. That win back in February earned him $723,008, and he's well on his way to make another deep run in Montreal.
There were several other notable players among the late-day survivors. To name a few, Mike Leah (107,700), Jeff Madsen (86,900), Will Failla (79,800), Anthony Zinno (77,000), Yann Dion (64,700), Mike Watson (38,900), Antonio Esfandiari (29,600), and Dylan Wilkerson (28,300) will all return on Monday.
Two of poker’s best found themselves seated next to each other all day. Mike McDonald had position on his countryman, Jonathan Duhamel. With Duhamel sitting with a short stack midway through the day, he four-bet shoved his chips in the middle from the cutoff seat and McDonald made the call on the button.
Duhamel revealed the to McDonald's , but picked up a flash draw on the flop of . The turn of would’'e been a blank, except that the river of paired it, causing the players to chop the pot. Duhamel remarked that he'd rather just win or lose that hand, as he was looking for a double-up or a fresh start in Day 1b. He got his wish soon after and was eliminated.
McDonald got it in a few levels later in a similar situation, four-bet jamming with Ryan Rivers on his left making the call. Despite being behind his opponent's , the flop was good for McDonald's when he found two pair on the board of . But the on the turn gave Rivers a straight, and the on the river ended McDonald's day.
In addition to McDonald and Duhamel, there was a lot of great talent that came and went throughout the day, both local and international. Some of the players to buy in but fail to hold onto chips included Eric Afriat, Freddy Deeb, Jeff Gross, Kevin MacPhee, Sam Chartier, and Darren Elias.
Another field of players will fill the tables on Saturday to try to qualify for Day 2. Day 1b will kick off at 11 a.m. and those who don't make it will still have one more chance in Sunday's Day 1c. The PokerNews Live Reporting team will be back for live updates of all the action from the first card to the last.