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I’m in Montreal at the Playground Poker Club for the PartyPoker WPT Canadian Spring Poker Championship (guaranteed $1M prize pool).  If you’ve never been there, put it on your poker bucket list to go because it’s as player-friendly a poker room (and it’s just poker) as you’ll ever find.  And all the players are friendly too!

It’s not often that you go broke half way through Day 1a of a tournament but really enjoyed yourself, but that’s what happened to me at the Playground Poker Club.  (In fairness, it’s only a $1.1k buy-in which PartyPoker kindly sprang for – plus you can re-buy each of the three starting days – so that helped take the sting out of going broke on Day 1.)


I did the customary welcome and ‘Shuffle Up & Deal’ and then found my way to Table 57, Seat 1.  Everyone at the table was Canadian (mostly from Montreal) except me, so already I know it’s going to be a fun table.  It was.  Now, the guy in Seat 4 – a very nice guy – seemed to be playing about every hand and once he started, he never stopped betting.  Well, the first time he bet all the way, his opponent paid him off on the river.

He was bluffing and lost the pot. Next hand, he bluffs all the way again, including a check-raise on the turn, and gets paid off again.  Next hand he plays, same thing.  Finally, in about the middle of the first level back after the first break, he bluffs off the remainder of his money, gets paid off, and goes broke.  Honestly, the guy didn’t win one pot and he bluffed his money off on every hand. Naturally, everyone was sorry to see him go.  (Needless to say, I didn’t get any of his money.)

Then They Booed Me!?

After the second break, with only about half my starting stack left, I pick up two fives in the BB and call a raise.  The flop comes [7x] [5x] [2x] with two spades.  I check, he bets $1200 and I raise to $2500 which he called.  The hits on the turn and I move all-in for about $11k.  He calls and turns up pocket sevens (for set over set).  The river is not the case five and I’m out.  Just then, a HUGE roar goes up from the other room (and when I say HUGE, I mean louder than the fans of the winning World Cup team at the end of the game).  How could they have all known I just got broke and cheered that loud?  Well, they didn’t know about me and couldn’t have cared less.  The table had just hit the Bad Beat Jackpot for $400,000!

Not For Me After-all!

The whole joint was excited as everyone in the house (playing in a cash game) made money.  Their Bad Beat Jackpots pay 40% to the player who took the bad beat, 20% to the winner of the pot, 20% to the players at that table, and the rest of the room divides up the other 20% – a great way to do bad beat jackpots as everyone is happy when it hits.  I can tell you, low limit players love bad beat jackpots.  It’s like hitting the lottery in a poker room! The atmosphere all over the Playground Poker Club was electric and even I was happy for everyone as I headed to the Rail – the name of the coffee shop.  (I love that name).

Here He Comes Again…

After I sat down and ordered a sandwich, the guy who was at my table in Seat 4 (Richard Figiel from Montreal) – who bluffed off all his money and busted out before me – comes over and says, “I just hit the bad beat jackpot.”  I said, “Wow!  That’s terrific.  Did you actually hit it or were you at the table when it hit?”  And he said, “No, I hit it and got $158k!  After I busted out at your table, I went over to the cage and signed up to play the tourney again tomorrow.  I thought I’d play a little more poker, so I sat down, and ‘voila’!  Lucky, huh?”  I said, “That’s ‘magnifique’. Congratulations, Richard!”

Moral of the story“sometimes it pays to bluff your money off.”

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