As the only Canadian province without at least one casino, Newfoundland and Labrador poker enthusiasts have two options to get their betting fix: take part in small cash games hosted by local watering holes or play online.
“The problem in Newfoundland is we have no casino, no poker room to host big tournaments,” says Danny Noseworthy, a professional player and instructor from Mount Pearl.
“Dooly’s or The Bella Vista, they’re decent games, but across the island there’s just not a big tournament. You can’t go and host a $500 tournament somewhere.”
Last year, Noseworthy was recruited to join PPIPoker.com as one of its ambassadors. It wasn’t long before he approached co-owner and friend Casey Jarzabek about the possibility of hosting an online poker series strictly for Newfoundlanders.
“I wanted to give back in a sense because we just have nowhere to play together,” he says. “Online, everyone can sit at home and it gives them an opportunity to challenge the other players from the island.”
The idea got the green light and the first-ever Newfoundland Online Poker Series will kick off a two-day schedule of events this weekend exclusively at ppipoker.com/newfoundland.
The weekend features six events — three on each day — with a guaranteed total of $5,500 in prize money. (All buy-ins and winnings are in U.S. dollars.)
Action gets underway on Saturday at 1 p.m. with a no-limit hold ’em tournament, continues with a freeroll event at 3 p.m., and concludes with a 5 p.m. pot-limit Omaha game.
Noseworthy, who has collected over $2.5 million in online winnings since 2009, will compete in all three, and anyone able to knock him out will win a $50 bounty.
“They definitely want to knock me out,” he responds when asked if having a pro with a history of online success at the table might scare away some competitors. “Once they see me in person down at the Bella Vista someday, they can brag about knocking me out.”
Championship Sunday, as PPI and Noseworthy have dubbed it, starts with a bounty hunter no-limit tourney at 11 a.m. where players will have the opportunity to earn bounties on each player they knock out on the way to making the cash.
At 1 p.m., players have two no-limit hold ’em options: the Newfoundland high roller event and the series main event, which will come with a custom trophy or bracelet for the winner.
“It’s a bit of fun for everybody,” says Noseworthy. “All the buy-ins are reasonable, from beginners to high rollers, so everybody has the opportunity to play everyone.”
If the turnout is significant, Noseworthy hopes to do another event in the future.
“If we crown a champion and there’s 100 players in there and word gets out and we get more players to sign up for the site, I’m sure we can do something else down the road.”
To get in on the games, start by downloading the PPIPoker.com client or app — available for PC, Mac, Android and iOS devices — and signing up for an account. From there, and because PPI and Noseworthy are doing their best to limit players to those from Newfoundland, you’ll need to get the passwords for the series. They can be obtained directly from Noseworthy via Twitter at @DannyN13 or on the Facebrook group Newfoundland Poker Tour.
Noseworthy is offering an entry into the main event in a prize draw for anyone who registers for one of the series’ real money events before 1 p.m. on Friday.