WSOP Circuit Calgary Blows Past Expectations
Expectations were high for the rerun of the World Series of Poker Circuit (WSOP-C) Calgary this year, but even those high expectations turned out low.
After a record Main Event prize pool last January in the inaugural running of WSOP-C Calgary, expectations were high for this year’s rerun. Even those high expectations turned out to be too low however as Deerfoot Inn & Casino has been flooded with players during the first week of the series.
The $1,700 Main Event is still yet to run, with Day 1a kicking off at 11am on Jan 19, but the events so far have blown past even the most optimistic pre-series estimates. When the series came to Calgary for the first time last January, the 4-Flight event shocked organizers when it went above 1,100 entries – this year, it nearly hit that number in the third flight, then blew passed it in the final Day 1.
The huge numbers didn’t stop there either. Every open event so far has exceeded the expected numbers with the first seven events of the 15-event series amassing more than $1.25 million in prizes already.
Huge Interest From the Start
The opening event of the series, the Big 30 Stack drew more than 500 entries, a preview of what was to come. That $400 one-day game ended up with $165,675 in prizes and Joon Park of Surrey BC took down almost $32,000 Cdn for his investment. Local Twitch poker GOAT and Big Brother Canada (BBC) winner Kevin Martin started ring-hunting early, and came within a single spot of winning one in his first event this series, finishing second to Park.
That was just a preview. The second event of the series was the 4-Flight, which is traditionally a big event, but it still blew past the expectations. When the dust settled on the fourth flight, the field was a truly stunning 1,539 for a total prize pool of nearly $600k.
Local player Nicholas Lee broke through for the first win of his career, and he got a Circuit Ring to go with the win. He pocketed just over $76k for the win in a $400 game that saw seven five-figure payouts.
Two more open events drew big numbers in the early part of the series, with the Mystery bounty getting 544 entries and the PLO Bounty getting 395. Even the Seniors Event drew huge numbers with 384 entries and more than $126k in prizes.
Big Names to Start Second Half
The second half of the series kicked off with Event #8, the Two-Day $1k event that drew a few more big names. Martin was still hanging around firing whatever events he could find, and a few other BBC alumni joined him for the game. ACR streamer Jon Pardy and PokerStars streamer Arlie Shaban, both also former housemates on the Canadian reality show, came for the event and cashed on Day 2.
Adel Elseri, another former contestant on BBC, joined the three poker streamers for a bit of a reunion. Elseri is a bit less experienced at poker than his BBC buddies, but while they were playing the $1k event he was busy cashing in the smaller Bounty event across the casino. (Pictured from left: Arlie Shaban, Jon Pardy, Kevin Martin, and Adel Elsari)
The big three streamers then jumped into the $1k Turbo on the following day with Martin and Pardy booking cashes. Martin got into the money on just 3 big blinds, then spun that up onto the final two tables.
When the numbers get this big, it draws even bigger names. Martin is a regular around these parts, having grown up a few hours south of Calgary in Lethbridge, so it wasn’t a huge surprise to see him grinding it out for a ring. Pardy and Shaban were obviously here for the poker, but also to catch up with their reality show buddies.
Typically in a series like this, those may well have been the biggest names on the list, but the massive numbers early in the series also piqued the interest of Canada’s 10th highest poker earner, Mike “GoLeafsGoEh” Leah. He came in from Ontario for the $1k Turbo looking for his seventh Circuit ring, and he’ll no doubt figure highly in the upcoming high roller and Main Event.
High Roller and Main Event Still to Come
There is still lots of action upcoming in the WSOP-C Calgary. The $1,700 Main Event kicks off on Jan 19 with the first of three starting flights and there are live Mega Satellites to that event running Jan 19 and 20. Sunday Jan 22 features the $2,200 High Roller that finishes out on Monday and there are side events and satellites filling the rest of the schedule.
The 2022 running of this series ended up with a record prize pool for the Main Event, but this year’s version is already blowing the early numbers from last year out of the water. It remains to be seen how big the Main Event will get, but another record prize pool seems almost certain at this point.