It is not among the most well-known poker tournaments in the world, and there is no coverage there by any of the major poker media outlets. But poker players have known about the British Columbia Poker Championship for years, as it attracted a substantial crowd of pros in 2007 and an even bigger field in 2008. And one of those pro players, Daniel Negreanu, went to his home country of Canada for the main event and won the whole thing.
The BCPC, as it’s commonly called, is held at the River Rock Casino in Richmond, British Columbia, just across the river from Vancouver. From November 16th through the 23rd this year, there were a series of no-limit hold’em tournaments ranging from a $550 buy-in to the $2700 main event. This year, numerous pros made the trek across the Canadian border to play in the main event, including Brad Booth, Gavin Smith, Dennis Phillips , Gabe Kaplan, Isabelle Mercier, Liz Lieu, Maria Ho, Steve Paul-Ambrose, Lacey Jones, and Tiffany Michelle.
On November 20th, a total of 690 players sat down for some NLHE action, and over the course of four days, only 63 of them cashed and one emerged as the ultimate victor - famous Canadian poker player Daniel Negreanu. He defeated Adam Croffut heads-up to take the title and the $371,910 first-place prize.
Negreanu said in a press release, “Being Canadian myself, playing and winning the BC Poker Championships is extra special to me. The tournament was extremely well organized and my opponents were very good. It may have been a smaller tournament but I would say this has been the best $2500 buy-in event structure I’ve ever played.”
But the seasoned pro went into greater detail about the tournament and his victory in a November 24th post on his Full Contact Poker blog. The post was entitled, “I Won!” and went into some detail about the final table, especially to recall the heads-up match with Croffut. “The heads up match started dead even with 5 million a piece and blinds of 50k-100k,” Negreanu wrote. “I planned on using my standard approach heads up and would make any adjustments necessary. Based on the way he was playing me heads up, I quickly felt like I had the right strategy and should be able to grind him down with better fundamentals.”
Negreanu made some challenging laydowns during the match and found out later from Croffut that his instinct had been correct. Though the Canadian got ahead in chips and had his opponent very short-stacked, he did worry a bit when Croffut doubled through with K-Q of diamonds against the A-10 of Negreanu when the board came 9-6-5-7-J. The final card brought a third diamond to give his opponent the backdoor flush and the double-up.
But it all came down to the final hand. Negreanu described it as follows:
“I min-raised to 200k with and he called. The flop came . He checked and I bet 200k - he called. The turn was a and he checked again. I felt like he was drawing so I bet 400k. He went all in for 1.6 million more. I didn’t think he would play Q-3 based on the heads up action thus far so I ruled that out. If he had a queen high flush draw, I think he would have gambled with his hand on the flop. If he had the 8, a check-raise had to be his move. I finally felt like it was a move with a hand like J-9 or something like that. I called and he showed: 9-7! I had him out kicked and it held up for the win. It’s the first tournament I’ve ever actually won with my favorite hand. That was pretty cool so I decided to keep the two cards and will put them somewhere.”
Through chatting with his opponent after the match, Negreanu found out that Croffut had never played heads-up in a tournament prior to the BCPC main event. Negreanu described him as a “really nice kid,” but the pro seemed to have the drive to win the tournament on his home turf, and coming off a WSOP bracelet win this summer, he sincerely wanted to add another victory to his resume. Negreanu did just that and took down the British Columbia Poker Championship main event.