Canadian Open set to kick off in Calgary

Joseph Hachem
Not your average Joe.

Calgary welcomes the poker world today as it hosts the 2008 Canadian Poker Open at The Deerfoot Inn and Casino.

The Canadian Open's $5,000 main event, which is in a heads-up format and limited to 128 players, begins tomorrow at noon. The last time the event was held, in 2006, the field was limited to 64 players and James Lopushinsky was crowned champion.

The tournament comes right on the heels of a memorable NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship that saw Chris "Jesus" Ferguson emerge triumphant after falling just short twice before. While Ferguson is not expected in Calgary, NHUPC semifinalist - and 2006 Canadian Open semifinalist - Huck Seed is confirmed for the Canadian Open.

2005 WSOP Main Event champion Joe Hachem recently announced that he, too, would be playing the main event. Expected to join Hachem and Seed at the tables are Bill Edler, Mel "Silver Fox" Judah, Jennifer Tilly, Antonio Esfandiari and Phil Laak, and Canadians Brad "Yukon" Booth, Greg "FBT" Mueller and Gavin Smith.

Main event players will receive $10,000 in starting chips. The gradually escalating blind levels start at $25/$25 and will last 25 minutes, leaving enough room for plenty of exciting heads-up play.

In addition to the heads-up main event, the Canadian Open will feature three other No-Limit Hold'em tournaments with lower buy-ins between $500 and $1,500. The tournaments will run daily from March 7-9 while the main event works its way toward a conclusion. A schedule of the events is available at the Canadian Open Web site.

The heads-up event and other tournaments held at the Deerfoot Inn are run by HeadsUp Entertainment Inc. The company describes itself as "a global media and entertainment company engaged in the creation of branded entertainment through the development, production and marketing of televised programming based on poker and other entertainment themes."

HeadsUp's president and CEO, Kelly Kellner, says the 2008 Canadian Open is attracting "a world class field." His company expects the total prize pool for the main event to top $1.3 million.

HeadsUp will film the main event to produce six one-hour episodes for a television series that will air on The Score Network this June.

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