Fourth Running of Calgary Circuit Hands Out Nearly $3.5 Million

Fourth Running of Calgary Circuit Hands Out Nearly $3.5 Million

After the record first-running in Jan 2022, the World Series of Poker Circuit (WSOP-C) has returned to Calgary three more times, with the most recent edition generating almost $3.5 million in prizes from almost 6,900 entries.

It’s now official – Calgary is a spot to remember on the annual WSOP Circuit. With its fourth edition now in the books, the host venue of Deerfoot Inn & Casino has shown it belongs in the same league as the biggest stops on the Circuit.

With almost 6,900 entries across the 13-event series this time around, Calgary has quickly emerged as one of the biggest international stops on the Circuit, and it rivals some of the biggest US stops as well. Calgary has two dates every year on the colander, one in January and the other in May.

The most recent series ran from May 3 – May 15 and was the fourth Calgary edition of the local version of the WSOP tour. There were 13 events across the two-week series and 13 different players walked away with Gold Rings, all of whom were winning rings for the first time.

Winners this time around ranged from amateurs to professional poker players, with one newly minted Ring winner almost at the event by accident. The series also continued the trend of Main Event prize money staying local – for the fourth time on the trot, an Alberta player took the win in the Main Event.

Almost $3.5 Million in Prizes

By the time the dust settled on the two weeks of poker, there was just shy of $3.5 million ($CDN) in total prizes. The only prize pool that cracked $1 million during the series was the $1,700 Main Event, which finished with almost 950 entries for a total prize pool of $1,433,792.

Once again, it was a local player who pocketed the biggest share of that deep pool. Krystian Hady from Lethbridge, one of Alberta’s smaller cities about two hours south of Calgary, pocketed more than $241k after Monday’s Day 3 when he took down local legend Matt Kwong in a heads-up battle where Hady had to come back from a big deficit to win.

Hady’s win marked the fourth-timer running that an Alberta player took down the Main Event here in Calgary. While there has yet to be a winner from either of the province’s biggest cities, previous winners were Cody McKay from Daysland, AB, Rob Limpert from Grande Prairie, AB, and John French from Canmore, AB.

Two Weeks of Stories

Darcy Alemany
Darcy Alemany, Winner of the Mystery Bounty

One of the early series winners didn’t even know the series was running, but he still walked away with his first Circuit ring. Darcy Alemany wasn’t in Calgary for the WSOP-C – he was in town the week previous as a vendor at Calgary Expo, the annual science fiction and comic convention in Calgary.

While at the convention, he saw ads for the Circuit series coming up the following week and, given that he’d had a good convention, made the decision to extend his stay in Cowtown and compete for a Ring.

Pavlo Vertiiko
Pavlo Vertiiko, Winner of the High Roller

Decisions are what make or break a poker player, and this was clearly just the first of many good decisions for Alemany as he took down the Mystery Bounty event for his first Ring and a handful of bounty vouchers. In the end, he booked a win of better than $30k thanks to a spur-of-the-minute decision to stay in Calgary after a work trip.

Other stories from the week included two players new to Canada battling it out for the win in the closing High Roller Event. Pavlo Vertiiko eventually took it down over Qingwie Justin Meng, but neither player had been in Canada more than a year when they got the heads up. Vertiiko arrived in Canada last fall via Ukraine and Europe, while Meng has only been here since last summer, arriving from China via the US.

Both players were clearly experienced at poker, if not as Canadians. Vertiiko has a couple of final tables from Ukraine in 2019, as well as a second place from the 2022 EPT Monte Carlo, stop on his resume, so he’s clearly played the game before. Meng has a couple of wins on his live poker resume, including a recent win in another classic Canadian poker series, the Station Classic at Casino Regina.

Glen Craigen
Glen Craigen, Winner of the Big 30 Stack

Vertiiko’s win came after he entered the High Roller late. It wasn’t his fault though, as he was busy cashing in Day 2 of the Main Event when the HR started, but he jumped in as soon as he pocketed his ME cash. There were a couple of other similar players in previous events with Friday being a big day for a few players.

The feature game on Friday was the Go phase of the first-in-market Flip & Go game, with a PLO Bounty game running as the late side event. Two players, Justin Hotte-McKinnon and James (Zeyu) Du were both at their second final tables of the day after final-tabling the Go stage and jumping into the PLO late. Travis MacKinnon was on his second final table of the series, with Mazen Naous on his fourth in that late four-card game.

One other player had a pretty solid series – Glen “Frosty_Nug_Farm” Craigen, who has had a pretty decent 2023 so far. He started the year off by spinning $10 into a Platinum Pass and more than $40k at the PSPC this past January, and now he’s followed that up with his first circuit Ring – one of four cashes for him this series.

Results from May 2023 WSOP-C Calgary

NumEventEntriesPrize PoolWinner1st Place
1$400 Big 30 Stack414$82,950Glen Craigen$16,800
2$400 Black Chip Bounty233$76,890Michael Wo$12,389
3$400 4-Flight964$318,120Jake Hobday$53,197
4$600 Mystery Bounty289$148,835Darcy Alemany$19,769
5$400 Seniors321$105,946Brett Finch$22,953
6$400 Big 30 Stack273$90,101John Paquette$19,933
7$1000 1k NLH224$196,000Kyle Ho$45,635
8$400 Monster Stack842$277,860Graham Lupton$48,141
9$1000 1k One-Day120$105,000Mehmet Ali Sığınç$277,860
10$225 Flip & Go312$57,719Nick Andreas$13,787
11$1700 Main Event946$1,433,792Krystian Hady$241,665
12$400 PLO Bounty333$109,890Sage Brocklebank$16,615
13$2200 High Roller 224$448,000Pavlo Vertiiko$104,313

Calgary is Big for WSOP-C

2022 was the first year the WSOP-C came to Cowtown, and the first edition proved to be the biggest poker series ever run in the fast-growing live poker market of Alberta, Canada. After the first event, it was obvious to everyone involved that Calgary would be a great stop for the Circuit, and the stop is among the biggest on the international tour and has grown to rival some of the biggest US stops as well.

January 2023 saw more than 1,500 entries and almost $2.2 million in prizes for the Main Event, smashing the previous record set by the event in 2022. While the May edition of the series tends to be a bit smaller than January, between the four Main Events run in the southern Alberta city so far there has been almost $6.75 million in prizes handed out.

Both years so far have seen increases from the previous year, with this May’s Main Event about 5% bigger than last May and Jan-to-Jan about 22% bigger. Look for WSOP-C Calgary 2024 next January where players could easily be playing for more than $2.5 million in the ever-growing WSOP-C Calgary.

2023-05-19 18:15:54

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