Bringing the second largest stack to the final tabl3e on Thursday, Maxime Heroux earned his first major tournament poker championship in winning the World Poker Tour Montreal at the Playground Poker Club last night.
Heroux came to the final table with a 5.345 million stack, good for second place on the leaderboard to start the day. The only player he was looking up at was restauranteur Pat Quinn, who had amassed a 6.145 million stack for battle. These two players held the overwhelming majority of chips on the table; poker professional David Peters (3.345 million), fellow pro Derek Wolters (1.095 million), 2014 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown champion Eric Afriat (1.04 million) and Brendan Baksh (940K) all added together didn’t have as many chips as Quinn alone and were at a disadvantage to the two top stacks. If they were going to make a move, it would have to be done early.
Peters attempted to cut into the lead of Quinn, but he only received misery for his efforts. He doubled up both Afriat and Wolters within the first 20 hands to sink to the bottom of the standings. As the chips continued to slip through Peters’ fingers, Heroux began to make some moves and, on Hand 36, took over the chip lead when his flopped two pair faded a flush draw from Afriat and put him over the seven million chip mark.
The first elimination would occur on the 40th hand of the day. Peters had survived one all in situation previous to this but, when he moved in from under the gun on this hand, Quinn decided to look him up. Quinn’s A-J off suit held a decent edge (60/40) over Peters’ K♥ Q♥ and, once the flop showed an Ace in the window, the task got more difficult for Peters. Peters would be teased by a second heart on the turn, but the 10♣ ended the dream as Peters headed for the cage in sixth place.
Over the next hour, the leaders seemed happy to shuffle the chips about, but the short stacks felt the need to get into the game. On Hand 58, Afriat opened the betting from the button and Wolters used a Time Chip before deciding to make his stand. Afriat paused for a moment before making the call and, once the cards were up, he realized he made the right decision. Afriat’s A-8 off suit was way out in front of Wolters’ J♠ 9♠, but the “poker gods” would have other ideas.
A Jack came up first for Wolters and the fates weren’t done with him yet. As Afriat’s rail called for an Ace to put him back into the lead, another Jack instead fell to leave Afriat drawing dead to Wolters’ trips. To add further insult, the river was the case Jack, giving Wolters “just” quads to defeat Afriat’s Ace-high and knock him out in fifth place.
Five hands later, arguably the grittiest player at the final table departed. Baksh never got a stack built up but he was able to stay around for a good deal of the action of the day. After Wolters used his newfound chips in a “blind versus blind” battle by going all in, Baksh decided to call and was in good shape for the double. Baksh’s A-4 caught Wolters’ Q-2 in a blatant steal attempt, but the board wouldn’t cooperate. The 10-10-7 flop stuck with Baksh, but the Queen on the turn wasn’t what he wanted to see. Left looking for one of the three remaining Aces, Baksh instead saw a nine on the river to depart the table in fourth place.
Although Wolters had knocked off two players, he still was looking up to Quinn and Heroux. Undaunted, Wolters took on his opponents and, within ten hands, he had pulled in front of both of his opponents. Another ten hands, however, saw Heroux pull back into the lead…it would be the last time he wasn’t the leader of the pack.
On Hand 96, perhaps the penultimate moment of the tournament took place. Quinn opened the action and, after Heroux made the call from the small blind, Wolters three bet the action. Quinn decided to muck but Heroux, after a moment to ponder, moved all in. Wolters would eventually call of his remaining stack and the duo were off to the races: Wolters’ A-K was running against Heroux’s pocket sevens and the Q-J-9 flop brought a bit more drama. A deuce on the turn left Wolters drawing to 10 outs (any Ace, King or ten), but the river wouldn’t have any of it. Another deuce ended the tournament for Wolters in third place as Heroux went to heads up with Quinn holding a massive lead.
How massive? Heroux at 14.6 million had more than four times the chips of Quinn (3.575 million) and he would make quick work of the situation. Over 16 hands, Quinn’s chip stack never got any larger and, on Hand 112, it would all end. Quinn limped in and Heroux checked his option to see a 6-5-4 flop, which brought another check from Heroux. Quinn responded with an all-in move and Heroux immediately called. Heroux’s 4-2 wasn’t very mighty pre-flop, but catching bottom pair was good enough against Quinn’s 9-7 for the open ended straight draw. A deuce on the turn and another on the river only improved Heroux to a full house and scored him his first major tournament championship.
1. Maxime Heroux, $403,570
2. Pat Quinn, $271,030
3. Derek Wolters, $173,220
4. Brendan Baksh, $124,310
5. Eric Afriat, $95,370
6. David Peters, $78,050
(* – Canadian dollars)
The victory puts Heroux into this spring’s WPT Tournament of Champions but also may give him momentum to the final WPT event of this calendar year. The WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic begins on December 5 and is the final event for 2017 on the WPT Main Tour schedule. As usual, that $10,000 buy in event at the Bellagio will be one of the highlights of the tournament poker year and will be well attended by the crème of the tournament poker world.