Amateur eviscerates Birdguts at NAPC

Glen Witmer
The look of a winner.

Not even legendary female poker pro Kathy Liebert could overcome the power of Johnny Canuck at the World Poker Tour's North American Poker Championship in Niagara this week.

After six days of play at one of the most beautiful casinos in North America, unknown Canadian amateur Glen Witmer took down decorated pro and fellow Canuck Gavin Smith to claim the first-place purse of more than $1 million.

"I am lost for words, I am just overwhelmed," said Witmer after the event. "This morning when I got up I thought that if I made it to the last two [Smith] was probably going to be there. He's a really good player. I actually got to like him quite a lot as a person. He jokes around a lot. He's a really nice person."

Smith is from Guelph, Ontario, Canada and vaulted to poker fame when he won the WPT's Mirage Poker Showdown Championship in 2005. He made two other final tables on the WPT that year and earned the distinction of WPT Player of the Year for his strong play. Since then he's had good showings at large tournaments across the world and has career tournament earnings of nearly $5 million.

Heading into the final day of play at the WPT NAPC, the chip counts and seat positions were as follows:

Seat 1: Kathy Liebert $1,620,000
Seat 2: Gavin Smith $2,815,000
Seat 3: Marc Karam $1,850,000
Seat 4: Glen Witmer $3,710,000
Seat 5: James Trenholm $1,365,000
Seat 6: Ryan Fisler $2,285,000

Liebert was looking to finally add a WPT title to her long list of poker accomplishments, but ran into Gavin Smith and his pair of aces in the final three before being finished off by Witmer several hands later. More than a little misty-eyed, she left to a standing ovation.

Don't feel too bad for her, however. Liebert walked with $277,684 for the effort.

Smith had a near-impossible task heading into the showdown with Witmer, being down more than 3-1 in chips. In the final hand, after Smith had managed to narrow the gap more than a little, all the chips went in the middle with Smith holding pocket fives and Witmer wielding big slick.

Although Smith held on to the lead all the way through the flop and turn, Witmer hit an ace on the river to take the championship.

"I was just getting cards," said Witmer.

As for what the amateur player and former real estate agent's future in the card world holds, he says he definitely won't be going pro. However, he will play in the $25k WPT Championship in Las Vegas on April 19. He will also travel to a few other WPT events to put his bulky new bankroll to the test.

"I'll be there," said Witmer of the WPT Championship. "I'd [also] like to go to two or three [other] tournaments a year."

Payouts among the final-table players looked like this:

PlaceNamePrize (CAD)
1stGlen Witmer$1,254,152
2ndGavin Smith$612,427
3rdKathy Liebert$319,337
4thRyan Fisler$262,469
5thMarc Karam$196,851
6thJames Trenholm$153,107

For all the WPT action, be sure to check back with PokerListings.

Best Poker Sites - Editor`s Pick

Latest Blogs »