Clements' victory will not come as a surprise to anyone who followed the Canadian Open through its first few days or play, or even to anyone who checked out the chip counts before the final table began. The native of Mount Vernon, Wash., came into the fourth day of play with a substantial chip lead and a professional poker player's pedigree, and the combination of the two led him to victory.
Clements, who earlier in the year won a World Series of Poker bracelet in the Omaha Hi-Lo Split event, and who won a World Series of Poker Circuit title at Lake Tahoe in 2005, ran roughshod through the table of relatively inexperienced competition, using his big stack to his advantage and making short work of anyone who tried to play games with him.
It was a final table that took only about five hours to complete, and the victor will probably tell you it wasn't his most difficult to win. He eliminated Gia Trinh in sixth place, trapping Trinh after making a full house on the turn and getting a call after moving all-in on the river.
A few hands later, he showed off his poker instincts by calling a weak Tony O'Hagan bet on the river with king-high and exposing his opponent's attempt to steal with an eight-high hand. It was a play that would exemplify the disparity between Clements and his opponents; while the five players who joined the American at the table were certainly not without poker skills, Clements was and is a professional, and his play exudes that quality.
Eventually he held most of the chips, and by the time the table had been narrowed to three he had a 3-to-1 advantage on the other two players' combined stacks. From there it was only a matter of time before he took the title, winning the tournament on a masterful hand that saw him flop the nut flush but have the presence of mind to lure Tony O'Hagan into moving all-in with middle pair and a lower flush draw. When O'Hagan finally pushed, Clements quickly called and one card later the inevitable finally happened.
Throughout the tournament, Clements has been a worthy ambassador of the game of poker, and is a fitting winner of the first ever Canadian Open. He's not Canadian, but he is personable and friendly, and throughout the tournament exhibited the grace and sportsmanship that befits a champion. Clements paid $3,700 USD to enter the event after finding out the entries had been capped at 300 (the normal buy-in was $2,500 CAD). He seemed happy to be in Niagara Falls and upon winning the tournament expressed his intent to return to defend his title and to play in the North American Poker Championship as well.
So congratulations to Scott Clements, winner of the Canadian Open, and congratulations also to Tournament Director Jason Marsh and the entire staff of the Fallsview Casino, who really pulled out all the stops in making these two tournaments tremendous successes. The World Poker Tour couldn't ask for a better result from its first Canadian tournaments, and it goes without saying that next year's Open and NAPC will be even bigger and even better.
And with that we say goodbye to Niagara Falls, and goodbye to Canada. WPT Season 5 will resume at the World Poker Finals from Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut Nov. 12, and as usual PokerListings.com will be on hand to bring you comprehensive coverage from Day 1 to the final hand. In the meantime, check out our coverage of the WSOP Circuit event at Caesars Indiana, starting Nov. 1.