Sunday, March 30, 2014

Travel Report: Season XII WPT National: Canadian Spring Championship, Day 1c -- The Bridge, Baseball, and Bieber

The third and final Day 1 flight was much like the first two, natch, at the World Poker Tour National: Canadian Spring Championship. A big boost in the number of players coming out on Saturday meant they made the $1 million guarantee and then some, with 1,079 total entries for the $1,000+$100 buy-in event (Canadian dollars). (That above of the Stanley Cup card protector was snapped by B.J. Nemeth here during play on Day 1c.)

Our commute in from Montreal was a little circuitous this morning as the Mercier Bridge -- our normal route over to Kahnawake -- has been closed to southbound traffic for the weekend. Such will be the case again today, but going northbound the bridge is open and so getting back to the hotel is easier.

In other news from the largest city in Quebec, was noticing yesterday both on the large screen TVs all around the Playground Poker Room and in some of the headlines I’ve been reading that the Toronto Blue Jays actually played a couple of exhibition games against the New York Mets over in Olympic Stadium here in Montreal, the first time they’ve had any major league baseball here since September 2004 when the Expos left.

Kind of funny to think about teams coming here right now -- amid these temps and conditions -- to play spring training games, but the first one on Friday was attended by over 46,000 I am reading, with the fans chanting “Let’s Go Expos” for much of the day.

Yesterday was able to have dinner with Anthony Charter and Lane Anderson who are part of the team behind the PokerNews Canada site. The site only got up and running very recently, and they are here covering the event while also planning to do some more tourney reporting soon.

I enjoyed getting to know them a little better and comparing notes between the Canada site and Learn.PokerNews. (I also made clear to them my envy of their continuing to enjoy life with online poker unlike most of us poor Yanks.) Check out their site if you’re interested what’s happening poker-wise north of the border (and there’s a lot happening).

By the way, speaking of the Learn site, have been running some cool strategy items lately, as well as a multi-part history of Late Night Poker penned by one of the show’s creators, Nic Szeremeta. I’ve always been kind of fascinated by this pre-“boom” U.K. show that introduced a lot of ideas soon adopted by the WPT, WSOP, and others a couple of years later. If you are interested, click here for the first part and read on through. The series will conclude on Monday.

A party for the players (and media) punctuated the evening last night, although after two straight weeks’ worth of uninterrupted work and travel your humble scribbler wasn’t really up to it and so instead rode out the night watching the end of that Arizona-Wisconsin NCAA game in a quieter corner of the Playground. Those with whom I was watching the game instantly agreed with me the refs screwed up that last out-of-bounds call (after five minutes’ worth of leveling themselves looking at replays) The charge called before that was highly sketchy, too.

Finally returned to the hotel around midnight, discovering that Justin Bieber is apparently in Montreal and staying at the hotel just around the corner (where some of our colleagues are staying). I guess Miley Cyrus played at the Bell Centre here last night, too, which may or may not have had something to do with the Biebs turning up here.

When we came back there were a number of cars and a crowd outside Bieber’s hotel, presumably teenaged girls yearning for a glimpse. Thankfully -- unlike with the bridge closing -- our route wasn’t affected.

The tourney continues today at noon local time, giving us an extra hour this morning. Looks like 311 made it through to today’s Day 2, with three more days’ worth of play to go to find a winner. Check the WPT live updates to see how it goes.

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