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Old 12-22-2010, 04:42 AM   #1
Frank the Tank
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Playground Poker Club (Kahnawake, QC)

Seeing as how my TR and several posts discussing Playground Poker in the Casino de Montreal thread was deleted, I figured we may as well start a new thread for Playground. For those who don't know, Playground is a new poker club that opened in Montreal. It's located on the Kahnawake reserve, meaning it is not limited by Quebec's gaming laws which in practice means they can serve food and alcoholic beverages on the tables and spread PLO.

Side note: For non-Canadians and Canadians who may need some refreshing of high school social studies, aboriginal reserves are self governing; they do not fall into the Canadian provincial or federal system. Which means if the governing body on the reserve allows PLO to be spread and alcohol to be drunk on the tables, any club on the reserve can spread PLO and serve alcohol on the tables without any legal repercussions from the provincial or federal government.

Now, off to the TR.

I was at Playground on their second day. Some dealers and servers told me missing opening day was a blessing in disguise as it was much more packed and much more hectic. I made the trip over to play in their freebuy ($0 to enter, $50 to rebuy) tournament and their $100 NLHE freeze out. We will come to my performances at the tournaments shortly.

Playground is very comfortable and enjoyable room to play in. They have huge adjustable swivel chairs for the players. The decor is modern and simple with almost a nightclub-ish vibe. It appeals to a younger crowd but at the same time, doesn't keep old school card players away. The dealers and floor men were all friendly, welcoming and accommodating. Before the tournament started, the dealers didn't mind - and rather enjoyed - chatting with players about the club, the house rules, the weather, etc. The cocktail waitresses are HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT. To avoid being a misogynist pig, let me just leave it at this: they are all 8.5 or above. Food wise, I hadn't eaten much from their menu but what I had, I really liked. They make a mean burger. A lot of fellow players agreed that the food is very good.

If you really wanted me to be nit picky, I suppose I could say some of the dealers could use a bit more experience and training. However, all the dealers that dealt with me (pun fully intended) were friendly and professional and they all tried their hardest. Hiring new and younger dealers is expected from a new club and they could only get better with time. Also, the wait time for food and drink was a bit long but then again, the club was packed.

The club also arranged for Mike McDonald (Timex), Eric Cajelias, and some other pros to make appearances during the opening weekend; they sat at 1/2 tables. They made an announcement over the PA system that anyone who bluffs out a pro on the river gets $500 prize. It's a shame I didn't have a chance to play with them as I was busy grinding away at the tourneys. For those who care to see how I performed, read on. For those who do not, feel free to post your own questions, comments, etc.

So, registered for the free buy tournament. Started off running pretty meh. Getting dealt a lot of unplayable or marginal hands. Atleast I wasn't getting dealt strong hands that turn into second best on the river. I managed to make it almost to the second break. By that point, my stack was around 10bb so I decided to bluff shove suited connectors/1 gappers in position. 34ss got called by AQ and AQ held so I'm out. Went and got some food, chilled out, watched some sports on TV, and rebooted for the second tournament, the $100 NLHE freeze out.

Again, started off running pretty meh. I did set over set somebody and hit a flush draw vs a short stacker but I did not see a single flop voluntarily until level 4. During the middle stages, I was perpetually short stacked. I would repeatedly bluff shove or double up then find myself back down to 10-15bb as the blinds doubled the next hand. However, my tight image paid off as I got away with a couple quick ones. I shipped KQ on the button, short stacked and BB tank folds AQ, shows it to me, and says he's convinced I had AA, KK, or AK. Phew, that was close. After continuous short stacking play, I find myself at the final table. Whoohoo! First hand of the FT and last hand before a break, I'm UTG and look down at 2 beautiful aces. With 10 BBs left, there can be nothing more beautiful, not even that really cute chick I was about to knock out. I decided to stop 'n go as there's a LAG and a couple short stackers to my left. I limped the AA, LAG raises, cute chick/short stacker shoves, I shove on top and the LAG folds AJ face up. The other short stacker flips over 88 and I hold. However, it turns out she covers me by 2K chips which was less than a small blind at the time. When it became 7 or 8 handed, there were discussions of a chop. I would consistently refuse to chop and it really pissed off the guy on my left. He kept pestering me to chop until I yelled at him.

Whirlwind of flying cards and chips later, we find ourselves 4 handed. It was a bloody grueling game. There were a couple levels where we just exchanged blinds and antes. Then one guy was knocked out and the 3 of us exchanged blinds and antes. Then I knocked out the third guy and find myself heads up with the guy who kept pestering me to chop. I think he was still pissed I wouldn't chop so he said he'd shove every hand and call all my shoves. I totally didn't mind as I shipped 88 against his K6 and hold (actually, door card was an 8). Boom $2250 (yeah that doesn't seem like much but I'm a student/micro stakes grinder. It meant a bit to me) and a bag of free schwag with Playground Poker logos on them like caps and pens and stuff.

I'd like to give a shout out to Brent. He's a cool guy in general and a competent and friendly floor man in particular.

Yep, that's about what I have to say about Playground. I'd urge any Montrealer who hasn't yet to make a trip over and any card playing tourists should give it a spin as well.
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Old 12-22-2010, 04:49 AM   #2
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Re: Playground Poker Thread

This is what Timex had to say about Playground.

Quote:
Cliffs: really good club, check it out, they treat their players well

First of all I'll say I'm probably the worst person for someone to sponsor to attend an event since I have pretty absurd values in a lot of ways. I always feel kind of torn when I am sponsored for anything since I feel like when I am being compensated for attending I should do my best to compliment the person who has been kind enough to sponsor me, but on the other hand I feel like when representing the experience to the public I should give them the most honest picture, and most importantly since I am self-concerned I feel that the main thing that I care about is maintaining my own integrity in situations like this and since my values are so absurd, lots of things that certain people may find perfectly normal I find compromising.

Anyways, that opening paragraph probably makes you guys think it was a negative experience, but all-in-all I've had a blast and there is just one little thing that irked me more than it should have.

I'll write this report in 2 sections, 1) what the club is like, 2) what my individual experience was like

The club:

The club itself seems really nice on the inside. On the way there 2 girls in our limo bus had to go to the washroom really badly and since it was rush hour going over the Mercier Bridge it took like 45 minutes for a ride that should take 10-15 minutes. When we got off the bridge Roy Winston joked that we should just pull over to this corner store type thing so they could go to the washroom but apparently that was the club. Inside its VERY nice and spacious and we were definitely judging the book by its cover. The chairs are the most comfortable I've seen in a poker room, and the room is so spacious that I feel like most poker clubs would have tried to fit ~20% more tables into the room. The restaurant had very good food and it may have just been since we had a big group and it was their opening night but it took probably ~2 hours to get our food. Everything is free when you are playing poker and I didn't hear any complaints about the food itself. If attractive waitresses are what bring you out to a poker club, then playground poker is 2,000,000% the place for you. I talked to someone who worked for the owner's other company and she mentioned that when they were holding interviews for the waitressing jobs people who worked in that building and saw the girls coming in and out of their office thought they were shooting porn. The one tournament I played seemed quite well run despite being the first one they've run at the club. The dealers were very good overall and the only real complaint I had about the tournament was that with 5k starting stacks, they gave people who rebought 1 5k chip which really was a nuisance for making change when average stack was maybe 6k.

Rake in the games seemed quite high to me(5% capped at $14 in 5/10, $25 in 10/25, and $100 in 25/50 PLO which is considered a private game) but at the same time I haven't played any live cash in Quebec so I have no idea what the norm is. Overall I think the club is definitely worthwhile to check out and the other pros who were there(Marc Karam, Erik Cajelais, Roy Winston and Nenad Medic) who have actually been to a wide variety of poker rooms in Canada feel that this is by far the nicest.

My individual experience:

My friend Justin Kelly contacted me about a month ago asking if I wanted to come up to Montreal the 17th-19th and just show face, play some poker and just have a good time while having all my expenses paid for. I hadn't played live poker in 4 months and had my last exam on the 16th and most of my friends are in school until the 21st or so and thought this was pretty much perfect timing. Before leaving I sent him a text asking where the hotel is relative to the airport and wondering whether I should cab or train or whatnot. He said there will be a limo bus driver waiting to pick me up and I realized this was going to be a sweet trip.

I had no idea what a limo bus is but knew it sounded cool. In the end it was just a nice shuttle van but I'll take it. They do a fantastic job of giving us all the red carpet treatment and events like this make me realize how prone I am to being wine and dined. I'm at the point where I really don't care that much about earning money but at the same time I still care enough about money that I don't unnecessarily spend it. That means at an event like this even if they gave me twice as much money to show up but didn't pay for rides, meals, bottles etc I could have easily just paid for all of the perks and left the trip in a better position financially but enjoyed the trip much less. I realize that doesn't make a ton of rational sense but I am just very much a huge fan of getting free stuff. Anyways, both nights I went there they had a 25/50 PLO game running, the first night I played 10/25NL after losing the tournament and the game was EXTREMELY good. I eventually got a seat at 25/50PLO and it wasn't a great lineup(Erik, Marc, Nenad and Sam Chartier were all in the game) but there were a few spots.

Part way through the night they called me over to do one an interview for the site. If I were to guess I'd say I've probably done 1-200 interviews but I've never had one anything like this. Before every interview with an interviewer I haven't worked with before they always tell me to reiterate the question in my answer.

In this one he elaborated to tell me how I should elaborate on my success and tie that into my answer about being at the poker club for people who don't know me. I did that and then he stopped the interview and mentioned I need to be more upfront, say numbers of how much money I won in my various EPT finishes etc. I did this and then he stopped the interview again and told me I need to put more emphasis on how much I'm enjoying the club and why my opinion should matter a lot to the viewers.

This went on probably 6 or 7 times until I correctly mentioned playground poker enough times in my sentence, did enough bragging about myself and did enough incorporating my success into why I'm entitled to make the judgement on what is/isn't a good poker room. All-in-all this left a VERY sour taste in my mouth and this was the one experience of the trip that I was referencing during the first paragraph. I want to be as honest and upfront with everybody as possible and although I was enjoying the club/experience and wanted to be able to tell people about it , I don't want to be some puppet who is just used for them to encourage their brand.

The next day I got lunch with Roy, checked out the gym and then met up with Marc to head to the club. Once we got there we had the option of playing the $100 tournament or just playing cash. We all played $1/$2 and they made a rule that anyone who bluffs one of the pros out on the river gets $500. I thought this was a super cool promotion and got everyone at the tables talking, got more games started and gave people the opportunity to win some money. Trying to think about strategy adjustments was pretty interesting but at the same time way less interesting in practice since most people are pretty scared of losing their money and expect me to read their soul so there was still very limited bluffing going on. Eventually I moved to a 5/10 table and they removed that $500 promo but one player followed me to the game and then bluffraised the river against me. When he went to collect his $500 they informed him and he was kinda disappointed and then told me that he'd never have bluffed me if it weren't for that rule and he apologized for disrespecting me.

After a while I met up with Justin Kelly and his friend Brian and decided to go out to this club called Globe and see what Montreal is like. Playground gave us a ride there in the limo bus, arranged for us to walk past any lineup and bought bottles of grey goose for our party. Originally I assumed this was probably going to be one of the few things playground wasn't paying for but at the end of the night playground's hostess took the bill and said playground was covering it. After that everyone decided to head back to my place and despite everything being closed at 4am she managed to get a bottle of alcohol and mixers delivered to my room(there was no mini-bar or alcohol through room service at the Westin for whatever reason).

All in all I feel like the extent that Playground went to in terms of trying to please the players was very impressive. The weekend was a lot of fun and although I had one pretty poor experience with that one interview I thought it was a great place. I obviously haven't observed the poker room from the eyes of their average player which is obviously the most important thing to anyone reading this, but it seems as if they are very customer oriented in my dealings with them. All in all I had a fantastic weekend and I definitely recommend everyone try out the place.
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Old 12-22-2010, 10:18 AM   #3
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Re: Playground Poker Thread

Too bad they rake you up the a55!
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Old 12-22-2010, 11:58 AM   #4
Frank the Tank
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Re: Playground Poker Thread

I play 1-2 so it's only a dollar on top compared to the casino. For small stakes players like me, it would be worth it for the free food and drinks. But yeah, I've heard it's kind of ridiculous at the higher stakes.
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Old 12-24-2010, 10:58 AM   #5
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Re: Playground Poker Thread

Lots of photos and some video of the room popping up on the web now.

The lower stakes rake is a just little higher than casino for sure, but "Club" is the operative word here.

Free food and booze while you play, and the menu has some high end items. They are also guarnteeing prize pools for a ton of tourneys, so some dollars will definetly be returned there.

The PLO/high stakes rake is what seems most under fire, but it is essentially a private game, private room, own security, own waitress, all sorts of comps, massage girl on hand. I talked to 25/50 players on this, and none so far from Calgary think it's unreasonable as this atmosphere is good for the game. One compared it to the Commerce saying, free food didn't do anything, but anytime the booze is comped, the game gets juicy, like in Vegas or Playground in this case. Even their max rake on a 30-100k pot is a non issue, if the table is loose enough to get there.

They also have valet and arrange shuttle service for groups of a few players or more.

Timex has a review on his Cardrunners blog, was worth checking out (although is pasted in thread), Roy Winston also reviewed the room on his Cardplayer Social blog.

On one last note, in my opinion, online rooms also seem to have an easier time taking on sats for clubs, with provinicial gaming ad regs some what more relaxed or indifferent.

Can't wait to check it our myself, March looks good in Montreal.
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Old 01-08-2011, 08:18 PM   #6
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Re: Playground Poker Thread

Was checking out their tournament schedule. Came.

Reason: They are hosting 6 max tournaments and it looks like it'll be a regular event.
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Old 01-09-2011, 06:08 PM   #7
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Re: Playground Poker Thread

Anyone been here recently for cash games? I was up yesterday but decided to go to Casino since I know it'll be many tables. What are they spreading Fri/Sat nights recently?
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Old 01-11-2011, 10:28 PM   #8
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Re: Playground Poker Thread

Here is Playground Poker Clubs new YouTube video shot at the Montreal venue, for anyone that wants to see the room and girls. Timex, Myst and Erick Cajelais all speak in the short clip.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cIGm...e_gdata_player
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Old 01-14-2011, 03:33 PM   #9
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Re: Playground Poker Thread

Can anyone list the cash games they spread? I can't seem to find anything on this on their website.
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Old 01-14-2011, 04:15 PM   #10
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Re: Playground Poker Thread

Obv it varies, but when I've been there I've seen NLHE at 1-2, 2-5, 5-5 and once 10-25. I suppose they also spread a 5-10 but I haven't paid attention to that lol. Also there seems to usually be a PLO table or two - I think I've seen 1-2 and 2-5.

I haven't seen other games but I haven't been there that often.
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Old 01-14-2011, 04:20 PM   #11
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Re: Playground Poker Thread

How much food do they comp for 1/2?
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Old 01-14-2011, 06:51 PM   #12
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Re: Playground Poker Thread

During opening weekend, everything on the menu is free for all cash games including steak or shrimp cocktail and stuff like that. I'm not completely sure about 1-2 but I think alot of food on the menu like pasta, burgers, or pizza is still free.
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Old 01-17-2011, 05:40 AM   #13
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Re: Playground Poker Thread

Went to playground this weekend. Place is AMAZING. The games are tougher than the casino games, but I think the same winrate is roughly attainable, just gotta get used to it. The players even at 1/2 seem very aggressive, lots of reraises postflop. Lots of young guys, and the older and/or gambling people are actually fun to be around, unlike lots at the casino.

The people saying the waitresses are hot are understating it..its honestly ridiculous. Also, the food is really good, and free. So are drinks, which makes the drunk tourists/gamblers more drunk faster. In addition to this, the atmosphere is just awesome. Slightly dimmed lights, everything new and shiny(and it seems like they wanna keep it that way), black and crimson color theme.

Also, the customer service is nothing short of amazing. You would think in a room with 250 poker players constantly waving the waitresses over that they would be slow, or bitchy, but they are all fast and very relaxed/nice. Also, the floor manager had no problems discussing various things about the club with me, and seemed completely interested, even though I'm just a 1/2 player and theoretically don't matter much at all to their bottom line.

Overall, I love this place. Being completely honest, without money, I would not play online poker. I do enjoy it, but I enjoy it because of the potential to win money. However, with this club, I can honestly say that even if money was removed from the equation, I would still come here a couple times a week.

The only things I would like them to change from what I've seen are stay open 24 hours instead of 18, update the website to say they are open 18 hours instead of 12, and possibly lower the amount of people required to shuttle(currently 5). It would also be good if they allowed you to top up whenever you want, but according to one of the dealers you are only allowed one top up of over the minimum buyin(20bb). So you have to wait until your stack drops to 160 in order to rebuy. I didn't remember to ask the floor manager if this was true, but I'll be bringing it up to him next time I go. I think if you have chips and just add them on, it should definitely be allowed, as it doesn't even take up the dealers time. The one other thing, although this is just based on my logic which may or may not be flawed, is they should have bigger tournaments on friday and saturday, or at least try to. I'm thinking having 300-1000$ buyin tournaments might attract more rich fish to come and lose there then sit in the higher stakes games? Doesn't affect me, but its just a thought.
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Old 01-17-2011, 12:54 PM   #14
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Re: Playground Poker Thread

The tournaments are primarily a way to feed players to the cash tables as they bust, I think, and a way to help people get more familiar with live poker in a controlled $$ format, so I think it's in their interest to keep them relatively accessible to people who may not be comfortable spending $$ on poker.

Playground: Fri $125 Bounty - Sat 1pm $50 1r and Sat 7:30pm $120 (freezeout)
Snakes: Fri $120 freezeout - Sat 1pm $60 1r and Sat 8pm freezeout
Four Aces: Fri 8:30pm $65 1r - Sat 8:30pm $75 1r

I've been to a few of these in the past few weeks and they're all going at 100+ players each week. At least 40%-50% (rough estimate) of these players play cash - and not only 1/2 - if/when they bust from the tourney.
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Old 01-19-2011, 12:44 PM   #15
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Re: Playground Poker Thread

Hey CxF, about the top up just do like me, I keep 25$ chips in my pocket and just top up all the ****ing time until my stack gets big....

Like when I join a 1-2 table, I have 200$ in 25$ chips in my pocket and 200 on the table. this way I top up if I bust my whole stack I just rebuy with cash.

also its not 24hours open cause its a law by the kanahwake gaming commission to close at 6am.
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Old 01-19-2011, 01:53 PM   #16
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Re: Playground Poker Thread

Yeah, that's what I do with top ups too. I keep some quarters in my pocket and when I need to, I announce I'm adding on chips and pull out the green birds.
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Old 01-19-2011, 03:35 PM   #17
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Re: Playground Poker Thread

Dealer told me that wasnt allowed...he said you can only add on an amount under 20bbs once.
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Old 01-19-2011, 05:24 PM   #18
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Re: Playground Poker Thread

really? I've been doing this at playground since I got there... I never mention when I add chips tho.

I do make sure I stay at 100bb or less also so if a player sees me do it he cant really complain...

maybe the dealer thought you meant rebuy for under 20bb? I can see you asking the dealer 20$ in chips every few hands slowing down the game, but pulling a quarter out of your pocket how does that effect the game?...

something doesnt add up.
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Old 01-19-2011, 08:17 PM   #19
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Re: Playground Poker Thread

About my add on habits. I do it at the casino. I haven't had the chance to play cash at Playground yet and I haven't learned about their add on rules.
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Old 01-19-2011, 09:12 PM   #20
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Re: Playground Poker Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmrd27 View Post
really? I've been doing this at playground since I got there... I never mention when I add chips tho.

I do make sure I stay at 100bb or less also so if a player sees me do it he cant really complain...

maybe the dealer thought you meant rebuy for under 20bb? I can see you asking the dealer 20$ in chips every few hands slowing down the game, but pulling a quarter out of your pocket how does that effect the game?...

something doesnt add up.
I bought in for 200, then lost 35 and added on for that. About half hour later I lost another 20 and tried to add on that, he said he can't do that because I'm only allowed one rebuy under 40. I then asked if I could go buy chips at the cage, and he said yes I could, but I can't add them to my stack.
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Old 01-21-2011, 08:25 PM   #21
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Re: Playground Poker Thread

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Originally Posted by CxF View Post
I bought in for 200, then lost 35 and added on for that. About half hour later I lost another 20 and tried to add on that, he said he can't do that because I'm only allowed one rebuy under 40. I then asked if I could go buy chips at the cage, and he said yes I could, but I can't add them to my stack.
I would have to say that the dealer in question was misquoting/misinterpreting the rule, and if he or any other dealer does so again you should flag down a floor manager for clarification.

The "under 20bb" rule is that you are allowed one short buy for 10bb IF YOU BUST out - it has nothing to do with top-ups.

As has been said here already though, your best bet is to keep some extra chips on you so that you don't slow the game down while topping up.
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Old 01-26-2011, 11:57 PM   #22
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Re: Playground Poker Thread

BBJ 40K+
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Old 02-04-2011, 01:25 AM   #23
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Re: Playground Poker Thread

Far as I know, BBJ is still growing at over 40k. $500 Deep Stack coming up on Feb 19th, for any tourney players interested. 25k chips, 30 minute levels. They just had their first $200 Deep Stack, sold out over a week in advance, was set for two hundred players and ended up at 232 with alternates. $12k went to winner.

Heading there on 6th to check it out.
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Old 02-05-2011, 12:19 AM   #24
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Re: Playground Poker Thread

Hey I'm heading down to Montreal in a few weeks so I'll definitely check this out. What are the wait times like for 1/2 on Friday nights/weekends? Also when you are on the wait list, is there anything to do there to kill time? thanks.
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Old 02-05-2011, 09:19 PM   #25
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Re: Playground Poker Thread

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Originally Posted by JackofSpades89 View Post
Hey I'm heading down to Montreal in a few weeks so I'll definitely check this out. What are the wait times like for 1/2 on Friday nights/weekends? Also when you are on the wait list, is there anything to do there to kill time? thanks.
I was there yesterday (Friday) at 8pm...there were 4 tables of 1-2 going and not 10 mins after I got on the list, a 5th table opened...I've been there 4 or 5 times now and the only long wait I had was 30 mins on a Monday night with 1 table going, I was 4th on the list...Still by 7:30 the place was packed and another table opened.

If you smoke, there's a smoking lounge you can go kill time in while waiting. You could also of course sit at the bar, but you have to pay when you're not playing. There are like 30+ plasmas with various sports playing, so that's prolly your best bet for killing time.
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