Ontario Man Wins Record-Breaking Main Event At Montreal Festival

 Henri Balcazar

Henri Balcazar is the inaugural Full Tilt Poker Montreal Festival Main Event champion, taking home C$194,044 for being the last player standing in a record-breaking field.

After just three hands of heads-up play, the 32-year-old from Kitchener, Ontario hoisted the trophy, beating local player Eric Despres to the top spot.

Taking the Montreal Festival Main Event is the highpoint of Balcazar’s 10-year poker career to date, with the proud Peruvian-descendant wearing his nation’s colors throughout the event, in tribute to his family’s roots in Lima. “I’m going to buy my mom a car,” was the only expenditure that came to mind following his win. His mother was there to cheer him on throughout the final table.

Players from all over the world turned out to Playground Poker Club on Montreal’s south shore to try and earn a portion of the prize pool before Balcazar ultimately came out on top. The Full Tilt Poker Montreal Festival Main Event offered a $1 million guaranteed prize pool, which swelled to $1,576,250 after it attracted 1,625 entrants – setting a new Canadian record for the number of entrants in a poker tournament with a buy-in of more than $1,000.

“Full Tilt Poker was thrilled to bring a tournament of this calibre to Quebec. As the turn out for the event demonstrates, we have received amazing support from the poker community across the province and country. It was an honour to host a world class poker event for Canadian players to play close to home,” said Geoff Fardy, Full Tilt Poker Country Manager.

The Main Event was streamed live from day 2 onwards on the Full Tilt Poker blog with commentary from Jessie May and many special guests such as Gus Hansen of Full Tilt Poker’s The Professionals, who joined May for the entire final day.

When three-handed play was reached, the remaining players agreed to split the top prize, allotting $200,000 to the chip leader at the time; New Yorker Michael Linster. Despres and Balcazar were allotted $150,000 each, leaving $44,044 and the Full Tilt Poker Montreal Festival Main Event trophy title to compete for.

The final-table results and pay-outs post-deal were:

1. Henri Balcazar, Kitchener, Ontario – $194,044*

2. Eric Despres, St-Eustache, Quebec – $150,000*

3. Michael Linster, Park Island, New York – $200,000*

4. Guillaume Rivet, Montreal, Quebec – $96,151

5. Bill Kontaratos, Laval, Quebec – $74,714

6. Vineet Pahuja, New York City, New York – $58,006

7. Roger Lamia, Ottawa, Ontario – $44,923

8. Zheng-yi Xie, Montreal, Quebec – $35,150

9. Colin Piché, Repentigny, Quebec – $27,269

*based on deal

Check out the Full Tilt Poker blog for a full recap of the final table [www.fulltiltpoker.com/blog/full-tilt-poker-montreal-festival-main-event-meet-final-table/]. You can also find full updates, photographs and videos from the Main Event [www.fulltiltpoker.com/blog/tour/full-tilt-poker-net-montreal-festival/] on the blog, plus the latest event results [www.fulltiltpoker.com/blog/montreal-results/].