It took two years to pull off, but the first World Series of Poker Circuit (WSOP-C) event ever held at Deerfoot Inn & Casino in Calgary is now complete, with a record prize pool and massive attendance. When the dust settled on the series, the Main Event from the Calgary series set a record for the largest prize pool in Alberta history at almost $1.8 million.
In planning since early 2020, the Calgary, Alberta, Canada stop for the WSOP-C took an extra year to finally run. Originally scheduled for January of 2021, WSOP-C Calgary had to be “postponed as a result of pandemic restrictions”:, but it finally ran in January of 2022.
By the time registration closed on the very first event, it was clear that the series would be huge for the Canadian poker market. The game had almost 400 entries with a prize pool of nearly $125k for a $400 buy-in, which was a tremendous number for a starting event in the market.
Overall, the series ran 12 Circuit Ring events across the nearly two-week-long series, building a total prize pool of more than $3.4 million Canadian. That included a record Main Event that built the largest prize pool in Alberta history after nearly 1,200 entries were recorded.
Biggest Game in Alberta
More than $3.4 million in total series prizes would be a noteworthy story enough, but that is not all — the Main Event also hit record levels. With 1,179 total entries, the Main Event of this series built a total prize pool of $1,786,362 CDN. That was a record for the province of Alberta, bumping up the previous record by more than $200k.
Until this past week, the biggest event ever run in Alberta ended with more than $1.5 million in prizes. Run at Grey Eagle Casino in Calgary in 2016, the WPTDeepstacks Main Event generated a total prize pool of $1,555,720 CDN. Two other WPT Deepstacks events at the same facility — in 2015 and 2018 — generated more than $1 million CDN in prizes, but nothing in the Alberta poker market has come close to the record WSOP-C prize pool.
Not only did the WSOP-C Main Event crush the previous record for the prize pool, but it also did it with a smaller buy-in. The $1.555 million Deepstacks prize pool from 2016 was on the back of a $2,500 Main Event price tag, whereas the WSOP-C game came in at just $1,700 ($1,500 + $200).
As a whole, the series was of incredible value for the local market. When the WPT Deepstacks Main Event set the previous record in 2016, the series that surrounded it built a total prize pool of $2,329,036 CDN. More than that, it built that pool with total buy-ins of $8,530.
The most recent Circuit series at Deerfoot Inn & Casino crushed those numbers. The more than $3.4 million in prizes only cost runners a total of $5,900 to buy into all the events, meaning there were almost three times the prizes per dollar spent for players at Deerfoot in January.
Big Side Events
It was more than just the Main Event that was bursting at the seams. The very first event drew 376 entries for the $400 buy-in, putting nearly $125k into the prize pool right off the bat. There were also 461 players for the Seniors Event and more than $90k in prizes for the $250 event, an astonishing turnout for the market.
The biggest side event by far was Event #2: $400 NLH 4 Flights. That event paid out some of the prizes on each Day 1, as well as the big prizes on Day 2, and more than 1,100 entries were recorded for it putting $366,947 in the kitty. The other huge game was The Monster Stack, with 943 entries and more than $300k in prizes.
It is likely worth noting that the massive numbers were at least partly generated by external factors. Of course, one large factor that looms all over the world where live poker is happening is that players who have been grinding online for two years are starved for the live poker experience. That universal sentiment went even deeper for players at WSOP-C Calgary — Alberta is the only province in Canada running live poker at the moment.
That fed a huge response from Canadian poker players and payouts were awarded to participants from nearly every province and territory in the country. There were players from Vancouver, on Canada’s West Coast; Tuktoyaktuk, deep in the Canadian North; and a few players even made the 6,134km trek from St. John’s, Newfoundland to Calgary for the series, making it truly a Canadian series, from coast-to-coast-to-coast.
It may have taken two years to finally get underway, the success of WSOP-C Calgary is hard to overstate. While the numbers were far more than even the casino and WSOP itself expected, the series ended as a huge success for live poker in Calgary.
|2a||CA$400||NLH 4 Flights||152||CA$10,850*|
|2b||CA$400||NLH 4 Flights||196||CA$15,267*|
|2c||CA$400||NLH 4 Flights||346||CA$24,174*|
|2d||CA$400||NLH 4 Flights||414||CA$29,158*|
|2 – Day 2||CA$400||NLH 4 Flights||1108||CA$287,498*|
|3||CA$400||NLH – Black Chip Bounty||540||CA$178,220|
|6||CA$250||NLH DOUBLE STACK||542||CA$108,332|
|7||CA$400||NLH 6 MAX||337||CA$111,223|
|8||CA$400||NLH MONSTER STACK||943||CA$311,225|
|9||CA$1,700||NLH MAIN EVENT||1179||CA$1,786,362|
|11||CA$400||NLH/PLO 8 MAX||281||CA$92,741|
|13||CA$300||1/2 BLACK CHIP BOUNTY||289||CA$57,825|
* Total prizes awarded on each day