In fact, however, it's Canadian Thanksgiving up north and it would appear that many area Canucks are spending their long weekend hunting fish instead of carving turkey, with Jonathan Little, the latter of whom is enjoying great success in the preliminary events at Bellagio and the former of whom is, we assume, destroying stands of old-growth Douglas fir with his stare somewhere in Washington state.
In Clements' and Little's stead, however, came a pretty impressive crop of poker pros from both north and south of the border. Representing the hometown squad were the likes of Nick Schulman, Steve Sung, Danny Wong and his overseas adventure and, after EPT hero Jason Mercier's premature departure on Day 1b, entered the action on Sunday riding the hottest streak in poker.
Niagara, however, would not bear witness to a third Juandan triumph, as the former Bible salesman met his maker early in Sunday's fourth level, losing most of his chips when his kings were cracked by an opponent's runner-runner straight with A-T and then gambling with A-2 against a rival's pocket queens.
For all of Juanda's cachet, however, the man of the moment was Daniel Negreanu. Kid Poker is an icon in his home country, attracting throngs of spectators, mobs of autograph-seekers and hordes of hangers-on, including one poor sap who last year drove the two-plus hours from Toronto simply to badger the assembled media into listening ad nauseum to the story of how he spread the PokerStars' pro's first-ever poker tournament. Someone should write a story about that.
Negreanu was in rare form on Sunday, playing chatterbox poker and entertaining tablemates, dealers and security personnel alike as he talked his way into - and out of - a succession of small pots. And then, midway through the day, the Kid showed everyone just why he's worth the price of admission.
Negreanu and the big blind had seen a flop come K♥ 7♣ 6♠ and a turn the 5♥, at which point the blind bet $600 and saw his contribution raised to $1,800 by the Kid. Undaunted, the big blind re-upped to $5,900, sending Negreanu into dreamland.
"I'm going to need a minute here," Negreanu said. "I have a very good hand."
The table nodded its assent and Negreanu turned back to his opponent.
"Do you have eight-nine?"
"Close," his rival mumbled.
"I'm really sure you have eight-nine."
At this point, Mark Seif piped up from his corner of the table. "I'll take over from here as your lawyer," he told the big blind. "You have no further comment."
The big blind listened to his new lawyer. He shut up.
"I haven't done this since I was a little kid," Negreanu said. Then he mucked 4♣ 3♣ for the bottom end of the straight. His rival then proved the Kid's point, turning up 9♥ 8♣ for the nut straight as he raked the pot and the crowd went wild (or they would have, if they'd seen the hand; Negreanu found himself seated at a table in the middle of nowheresville, far from the viewing gallery and as such his accomplishment was appreciated only by his tablemates and the assembled media).
For all of Negreanu's swagger, however, the day would belong to another Torontonian. Darus Suharto, the mild-mannered accountant who Moneymakered his way into the 2008 World Series of Poker Main Event and then translated that into a seat amongst the November Nine, found himself seated beside such poker luminaries as Chorny, Terrence Chan, Giang and Phan and still emerged the highlight of the night on Sunday.
Suharto would finish at the top of the chip leaderboard when play concluded, having amassed the majority of his chips in a massive pot with John Phan that saw the Razor check-call to the river in a $90,000 pot, only to muck when confronted with his rival's flopped set-turned-rivered-full house (pocket jacks on an A-J-9-4-9 board).
The PokerStars-sponsored player would wind up proceedings with $180,000, at the head of a pack of about 100 who'd survived the battle. Also near the top of the chip leaderboard are fellow Canadians Steve Paul-Ambrose and Erik Cajelais, although compared to Day1b - and overall - chip leader Jamie Rosen ($196,300), their accomplishments look somewhat puny in comparison.
Those Day 1c survivors will have a chance to test their mettle against the very best of their predecessor days when action resumes on Monday, with the field consolidating into one uberfield for the duration of the tournament.
We'll play seven levels or down to the final 99 players, whichever comes first, meaning it could be a long one. Either way, PokerListings.com will be on the scene and at full attention, standing on guard for thee until the dawn's early light. We ridin!