Event #1 of the June Power Weekend, the $200 + $20 Playground 200, more than lived up to its reputation as a player-friendly tournament that provides great value by drawing a huge field of 745 entries from five starting flights. As is often the case with this event, the starting flights drew progressively larger fields, and the result was a prize pool that easily surpassed the $100,000 guarantee.
Saturday’s Day 2 began with the 155 players who survived starting flights and continued for ten levels of hard-fought action. That field was reduced to the 26 players who returned today to compete for the championship.
The action started quickly this afternoon, with a flurry of eliminations in the early going. And the frantic pace continued all the way until the final table, however, the dynamics changed from there. The five-figure prizes at the top of the money list loomed large over the players and that led to a dramatic change in the pace of play. The players waited patiently for either good spots or good cards to play, but they were few and far between. Eventually, the cards brought out some premium hands, and each elimination was the result of a pre-flop all in.
When six players remained, there was an attempt at negotiating a deal to chop the remaining prize pool, but it did not come to fruition. It took one more elimination and the chips to level out before another round of negotiations got underway and were successfully completed. The result was a deal that saw the five finalists secure five-figure payouts and left $3,000 for the eventual winner.
The mood lightened significantly from that point on, and the chips started going in the middle a lot more easily. Steve Pouliot and Marcello Simonetti were eliminated in short order before the three-way battle between Shawn S, François Gagné and Shunn Jacques began.
Shawn had the lion’s share of the chips, but François doubled through him after a few orbits of play and did not look back from there. François used his new chip lead effectively to apply pressure to his opponents at every opportunity and went on to eliminate both Shawn and Shunn to take down the Playground 200. Congratulations!
Event #1 Champion: François Gagné, $19,820
Runner up: Shunn Jacques, $12,335
Last hand of play: