News And Updates

After 16 days of non-stop poker action, the Playground Poker Spring Classic has come to a close. From April 25th through May 10th, poker players from around the world gathered at Playground Poker Club in Kahnawake, just outside of Montreal, to play the game they love and compete for huge prizes!

The first event in this year’s Spring Classic was the first of three partypoker LIVE events - the $200 + $20 Grand Prix Canada. With a total of 28 starting Day 1s that began on February 12th on partypoker, this $500,000 Guaranteed event managed to attract a massive 2,570 entries! The Grand Prix Canada Champion was Cassidy Battikha, who took home $84,050.00 for his efforts in the tournament.

With the Grand Prix Canada complete the other side events in the Spring Classic got underway, including 5 events with $220 to $330 buy-ins in several formats: PLO, Bounty, Survivor, and 5-Card PLO. These events were as popular as always, and even with the relatively small buy-ins, they paid out a total of almost half a million dollars in total prizes.

A last-minute addition to the Spring Classic schedule this year was the partypoker LIVE High Roller event, a $10,000 + $300 NL Hold’em re-entry tourney. The event saw 53 entries for a $514,000 prize pool and was won by Mike McDonald, who took home a cool $200,000 for his win.

The cornerstone event of the Spring Classic was the $5,000 + $300 partypoker Million North America, with its massive $5,000,000 guaranteed prize pool. There were those who thought that it would be impossible to meet such an ambitious guarantee, but with a total of 932 buy-ins and 236 Phase 1 entries, the tournament ended up generating a Canadian record prize pool of over $5.7M! At the end there was just one player left with over 1 Billion tournament chips - Jean-Pascal Savard, who earned a prize of $956,000.00.

Visit the Spring Classic Live Event Blog to see all of the results and reporting from all of the events.

All in all, with over $7,000,000 in prizes distributed across 10 events, the 2017 edition of the Playground Poker Spring Classic has set the new high water mark in Canadian poker history. Next on the agenda is the 2nd World Cup of Cards, coming to Playground Poker Club in August-September 2017.

Spring Classic 2017 - a success in a MILLION ways!Spring Classic 2017 - a success in a MILLION ways!Spring Classic 2017 - a success in a MILLION ways!
The Playground Poker Spring Classic is back for 2017 and it’s bigger and better than ever with two new major events presented under the partypoker LIVE banner including the partypoker Million North America - which boasts the largest prize pool guarantee in Canadian poker history!

The first partypoker LIVE event in North America is the Spring Classic kickoff tournament: the $200 + $20 Grand Prix Canada. With a $500,000 guaranteed prize pool, it’s by far the largest Event #1 in Playground Poker festival history, and with a $220 total buy-in, it offers players an incredible value.

The best part? Players didn’t have to wait for the Spring Classic to play - the Grand Prix Canada has already begun! Online Day 1s have been running since February and there are already a bunch of players that have qualified for Day 2. There’s still plenty of time to join the event, though - there are several scheduled Day 1s on partypoker plus 11 scheduled Live Day 1s beginning on April 25th!

The second partypoker LIVE event in this year’s Spring Classic is the $5,000 + $300 partypoker Million North America. With a massive $5,000,000 prize pool guarantee including a $1,000,000 guaranteed first place payout!

Players may join the Million North America in one of three ways: Direct buy-in, winning a “traditional” satellite ticket, or winning a seat via a Phase 1 tournament. The Phase 1 system is an important poker tournament innovation. Players who win a Phase 1 tournament not only qualify to play in Day 1 of the Million North America, they carry their finishing stack with them. Most players will tend towards the chip average at the end of a Phase 1 - 1M tournament chips - but players may end up with less - or a lot more!

Phase 1s are running now at Playground Poker Club. As well, there are "traditional" satellites into Day 1 on partypoker. Direct buy-in is available now on partypoker and at the cashier at Playground Poker Club.

In addition to the partypoker LIVE events, the Playground Poker Spring Classic consists of 7 other side events, including a $2,300 + $200 2-Day Second Chance event and the return of the massive $500 + $100 + $500 50/50 Bounty tournament. Every event in the Spring Classic has a prize pool guarantee.

The return of the Spring Classic
History has been made once again at Playground Poker Club!

After 34 levels of play spread across 4 action packed days, Ema Zajmovic plowed through a field of 380 entries and joined an elite group of players by claiming the title of champion at the WPT Playground. Ema has also just become the first woman to have won a WPT title in an open-championship event, securing nearly a quarter-million in earnings along the way.

The World Poker Tour Main Tour returned to Playground Poker Club for the third time this season in its 20 stop program. This time the structure was a little different compared to previous visits to Kahnawake, as there were only 2 starting flights to the $3,200 + $300 NLHE event, however a single same-day re-entry was permitted on top of the usual next-day re-entry formula. A combined total of 380 entries took place, in turn generating a prize-pool of $1,179,520.

Through the two starting flights, 157 players managed to bag chips onto Day 2 of which 48 secured a cash prize of at least $5,670. A few notable players were eliminated shortly after the money-bubble burst, including the likes of Marc-Etienne McLaughlin (41st – $6,120), Christian Harder (40th – $6,120) and Marc-Andre Ladouceur (35th – $6,720).

Once the clock struck zero in Day 2, there were only 28 players remaining with Hendrik Latz leading the pack. His stack was closely rivalled by 3 other players, as Jean-Pascal Savard, Eric Afriat and Kelly Kellner bagged within a handful of big blinds of the chip-leader.

Nghi Van "Henry" Tran was the highlight at the start of Day 3, as he ran his average stack into a monster chip-lead in only a few orbits of play. His at-one-point chip-stack of 2.3 million towered over his opponents in early play, but began being chipped away at bit by bit as the day progressed. All-stars Jake Schwartz (27th – $8,100) and Anthony Zinno (24th – $9,600) were shown the door fairly early, and they were followed by Hendrik Latz (20th – $11,580), Patrick Blye (13th – $17,160) and Pascal Lefrancois (11th – $20,160) before the 10-handed final table was formed. The 10 finalists played for 17 minutes before Day 3 was declared over, and it was none other than Ema Zajmovic who was sitting atop the leaderboard, en route to her second consecutive WPT final table here at Playground Poker Club.

Early action saw Henry Tran (10th – $15,508) be the first eliminated in Day 4, followed by Ryan Tack Yu (9th – $18,554) and local hero Carter Swidler (8th – $24,000). Danny Li (7th – $29,446) was then sent to the rail by Tam Ho, and the official WPT Playground Final Table was formed.

Tam Ho started 6-handed play with the chip-lead as he watched Jean-Pascal Savard (6th – $45,690) get eliminated by Jean-Francois Bouchard. Ema eliminated Mekhail Mekhail (5th – $55,200) in 5th place to regain the lead, but it was quickly taken away by Eric Afriat during 4-way action. After Ema eliminated Tam (4th place – $71,670) to bring the field down to 3, the stacks started to even out – until a huge hand occurred between Jean-Francois and Eric, leading to Eric’s elimination (3rd place – $108,690).

Jean-Francois began heads-up play with 6,850,000 in chips, ahead of Ema’s 4,525,000, but after only 2 levels of play Ema tilted the balance in her favour and took a 2-to-1 chip lead over her opponent. Jean-Francois was on his way to evening the counts up until the final hand of play took place.

Ema was on the button / small blind, and therefore first-to-act, but before she had the chance, Jean-Francois announced all-in out-of-turn. Ema confirmed with the floor staff regarding the procedures in this case, and then made a passive-action to ensure her opponent’s out-of-turn play remained binding. The dealer then threw the “All-In” card in front of Jean-Francois, and Ema made the call – forming a pot of nearly 90% of the chips in play.

Ema tabled and was racing versus the of Jean-Francois. She took the lead on the flop by pairing her king, and faded the turn and river to secure the win on the board.

Her radiant smile described the immense joy she felt after the river dropped – she was now a WPT champion!
Ema Zajmovic makes history by winning WPT Playground!Ema Zajmovic makes history by winning WPT Playground!Ema Zajmovic makes history by winning WPT Playground!Ema Zajmovic makes history by winning WPT Playground!