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West Is Best At WPT Canada’s First Stop
by Karl Yu

When it comes to the two coasts in North America, it doesn’t take much to fuel rivalry.

The Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics rivalry is amongst one of the more famous ones in professional sports, especially in the 1980s with Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.

The Edmonton Oilers and New York Islanders had some classic Stanley Cup series in the mid-eighties.

East against the West was a theme at WPT Canada’s (WPTC) first stop, The Coast to Coast Poker Championships at the River Rock Casino Resort in Richmond, British Columbia—a little south of Vancouver, B.C.—but poker is mainly about individual competition and although some of the WPT pros did want to see a player from their respective coast taking it all, how the respective professionals did was more important.

Even though his nickname is “Yukon”, Brad Booth hails from the West Coast and although very proud to be from the surrounding area, he wasn’t going to do anything different.

“It’s going to be business as usual but at the same time I am representing the West but I’m also representing Canada and we just kind of throw in the rivalry thing just because it’s Vancouver vs. Toronto hockey type thing,” explained Booth.

East Coast poker pro Gavin Smith had a different view of things.

“I don’t consider [East vs. West format] when I’m playing, I’m just trying to win the tournament,” Smith said.

But even though the native of Guelph, Ontario had his eyes on the prize, didn’t mean he wanted the Leftcoast to win it all at the Main Event.

“I definitely want the East to win though,” Smith went on to say.

All in all there were seven events, including a $3000 No Limit Hold’em Main Event, and there must’ve been some hometown mojo going on as a local walked away with the Main Event’s top prize.

Keith Wintermans of Vancouver, B.C. came out on top of a field of 301 taking home $224,100.

It wasn’t the first time the software consultant made the final table at a River Rock event but it was definitely one of his favorite moments.

“Taking down first place this year feels even better because I was on the short stack for a lot of the tournament,” Wintermans said.

“I had more than a few lucky spots along the way, but I was a lot more patient this year and it paid off.”

The WPT Canada will air the Coast to Coast Main Event later in the summer.

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