The World Poker Tour is back to it, as the WPT Montreal Main Event got going on Monday with the first of three starting flights. This is the first official stop that is co-branded with the WPT and partypoker LIVE (though the two entities have worked together plenty in the past), which actually made for an interesting twist to the Main Event. On Sunday, a small 14-player flight was held online from which eight players advanced to Day 2. On the “live” Day 1A, 80 players entered – bringing the field to 94 total – and 41 players made it to Day 2. Marius Kikinezhdi is the chip leader with 283,500 chips.

The guaranteed prize pool for CAD $5,000 + $300 tournament is CAD $5 million, so there is a heck of a long way to go for the Playground Poker Club and the World Poker Tour to avoid an overlay, but as we know, the later the starting flight, the largest the flight’s field.

With three percent of the prize pool set aside for dealer gratuities, that leaves CAD $4,850 of each buy-in for the prize pool. Thus, 1,031 entries will be needed to meet the CAD $5 million guarantee. That is a long way from the 94 entries of Day 1A (plus the online flight), but believe it or not, it could be doable, emphasis on the “could.”

The only time WPT Montreal has had more than 1,000 entries was its first year, 2012, when the number reached 1,173. Since then, it hasn’t come close. This, though, is the first year with a buy-in of CAD $5,000 (other years were CAD $3,000+) and a guaranteed prize pool of CAD $5 million. While the higher price tag would logically keep some people away, it is possible that the higher guarantee could attract players and better yet, higher bankrolled, more serious players who are more concerned with larger prize money. The Main Event is a re-entry tournament, with everyone permitted one initial entry and one re-entry on each of the three starting flights plus Day 2. Thus, there are as many as eight buy-in opportunities for players.

Expect more players on Tuesday and many more on Wednesday. Wednesday will be the key day, since the third of three starting flights typically dwarfs the other two. The reason for this is simply convenience: players who survive the day would rather move on immediately to Day 2, rather than waiting and possibly needing an extra day off of work and pay for another night in a hotel.

It’s going to be tough to hit that guarantee, but it could happen.

Day 1B is up and running at the Playground Poker Club as I write this with the action currently on break. We’ll check back in late tonight or tomorrow to see how the field is shaping up.

2018 World Poker Tour Montreal Main Event – Day 1A Chip Leaders

1. Marius Kikinezhdi – 283,500
2. Ljubomir Josipovic – 187,200
3. Srinivas Gottiparthi – 185,600
4. Shankar Pillai – 165,900
5. Garrett Dansereau – 155,000
6. Michael Wang – 151,200
7. Alexandre Nadeau-Levesque – 134,700
8. Brian Altman – 132,400
9. Ryan Pignatelli – 104,000
10. Shawn Busse – 101,100

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