The Big Game Returns to Make Montreal Memories

5 months ago - written by Rob Godmon
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“This was the greatest thing I've watched poker-wise on Youtube yet."

"After that, I am never going to be able to watch a live stream again. Oh my god."

"Wow, that partypoker LIVE The Big Game was the most entertaining stream since the good old days of High Stakes Poker."


It’s safe to say that the poker world enjoyed The Big Game. It’s no exaggeration to say that it made for monumental entertainment. Dozens of monstrous pots, millions of dollars on the line, and a number of players who seemingly had no regard whatsoever for the state of their finances; it was a recipe for an unbelievable spectacle. At its best, the game saw six titanic figures with gargantuan bankrolls and even bigger egos clashing at the table. It was box office. It was brilliant.


It was The Big Game.


            Leon and the Wolf share a joke before play kicked off in The Big Game 


Offering an exciting mix of PLO and NLH at eye-watering stakes, there was a smorgasbord of action to enjoy as the star-studded line-up butted heads at the Playground Poker Club in Montreal. Running alongside the MILLIONS North America Main Event, The Big Game was up in lights on the majestic main stage feature table in the tournament room at Playground, and the jaw-dropping action duly lit up the tournament room, the live stream and social media. 


The game started with No Limit Hold’em with stakes of $100/$200, with the likes of Canadian superstars Jonathan Duhamel and Team partypoker’s Kristen Bicknell and Joao Simao taking to the felt. It was John Savidis who would draw first blood, though, doubling through Ouri Ohayon after rivering a flush and getting all the money in against Ohayon’s straight. 


Next up, it was the turn of rising star Kristen Bicknell to win big, this time from experienced cash game grinder and successful businesswoman Lauren Roberts, when she snap-called a $15,000 bluff on the river with trip eights. Soon after, Ohayon was the first to crash out of the game, a full quarter of a million dollars in the red. At the time, it seemed like a horrible loss, but it was to pale in comparison with the amount some people would be stuck by the end of the game. 



Lauren Roberts (above) was also having a tough time in her The Big Game debut, and was forced to rebuy after John Savidis extracted maximum value from her in a 3-bet pot, despite some decidedly dodgy holywooding from Savidis, who made perhaps the fastest call in the history of televised poker live streams with his set on the river when Roberts bet $25,000.


Soon after, the game switched to $200/$400 Pot Limit Omaha with Leon Tsoukernik, The Wolf, Matt Kirk and Sam Trickett all joining the action. Lauren Roberts went broke before the end of the night against Leon Tsoukernik, before Leon secured a full double up in a six-way pot before close of play.


Here are the closing highlights from Day 1 of The Big Game: 



It was Day 2 when things really cranked up a notch, with eye-watering blinds of $200/$400/$800 in PLO. Leon, The Wolf, Trickett, Savidis, Rob Yong and Aussie Matt Kirk all sat down at the table, which made the game a ridiculously swingy but ferociously competitive affair.


The first big pot occurred less than half an hour in, with Rob Yong raising to $4,000 with and Leon Tsoukernik re-raising to $14,800 with before Yong called.  An action flop on pretty much guaranteed all the chips going into the middle, and it didn't take long as Yong moved all-in for $67,400 over Leon's $15,000 c-bet.


Yong made the nut flush on the turn, and just needed to fade a board pair to scoop the pot. Unfortunately for him, the river brought not only the but a smug smile from Leon as he stared over at Yong, who was forced to rebuy. 


Minutes later, Yong went runner-runner full house against Matt Kirk (below) after misreading his hand on the flop and calling the Australian’s shove. Kirk needled him a little bit, but ended up losing when Yong made a straight. “Puts it all in with nothing and goes runner-runner full, unbelievable!”, complained the Aussie. It wouldn’t be the last time he was left loudly bemoaning his luck.


            'Aussie Matt' Kirk had a memorable session in The Big Game on Day 2 


The players decided to raise the blinds to $500/$500/$1,000, before Yong got fortunate again in a hand where he pushed all-in on the flop and was called by Matt Kirk, who had aces. Yong had just a pair of sevens, but a miracle seven on the river meant Yong scooped the $300,000 pot.


There was another huge $275,000 pot soon after. The Wolf had been having a torrid time in the game, and went broke once again in a hand where Matt Kirk got some back with a set of sevens where he had Leon at a 1% chance of winning the hand on the flop. 


Despite that loss, Leon continued to crush on Day 2, spinning up his $100,000 starting stack to over $1,000,000. Unsurprisingly, he cleared the million mark in another monster pot against Matt Kirk. A series of potted and repotted bets saw Kirk and Leon get it all in pre-flop with and respectively.   A board was spread, to give Leon the nut flush to scoop and a $530,000 pot. Kirk then lost another $285,000 pot against his nemesis Rob Yong after Yong flopped a set. Kirk was enduring a nightmare at the felt: 



Late on Day 2, Leon and Trickett got $200,000 in pre-flop, with Leon holding a lovely looking , while Trickett found .  The flop was and Leon led out for pot, and with Trickett only having $277,000 behind he instantly moved all-in over the top. Kirk got out of the way and the players went to showdown heads up with $763,000 in the middle.


The turn was a safe for Trickett - "One more brick, wait, let me enjoy it a little bit!" he asked the dealer. But it wasn't to be for Trickett, who punched his hand in anguish as the rolled off on the river to send the pot Leon's way.


         A frustrating pot, but Trickett would be no stranger to winning big pots either


Just when it looked like things couldn't get any juicier, Leon Tsoukernik and Rob Yong played out a ridiculous pot that ended with $941,000 in the middle. 


After Rob led out on with , Leon potted to $170,000 with a flopped straight, holding . Yong mulled over his decision for quite a while before announcing all-in for the viewers to hear the excitement raise in commentator James Dempsey's voice:


"And Leon snap calls! $940,000 pot!" 


Rob had a jack-high flush draw plus an open-ended straight draw, while Leon had flopped the nut straight. A on the turn changed absolutely nothing, and there was a huge sigh of relief from Yong as the completed the board to make his flush. 


                      Leon Tsoukernik had a great few days at the Big Game felt


It was telling that after Leon had won the biggest pot in partypoker LIVE history, it only took a few minutes for the record to be smashed by Rob Yong. That’s what The Big Game is all about.


On Day 3, Sam Trickett tripled up early on through Matt Kirk and The Wolf, before Rob Yong felted Leon Tsoukernik with aces against kings in pre-flop in a $212,000 pot. 


The big hands kept coming, with a huge four-way all-in on a flop of . Rob held and was all-in for $138,250, Sam had  and was all-in for $189,500, Leon held and was all-in for $961,500, while Matt had and was all-in for $52,000.


Matt had bottom set and needed to fade three of the same flush draw to scoop the huge quadruple up. Unfortunately for the Aussie, his only reward was total anguish as the dropped on the turn to complete the club flush.


 “Oh man! They both have a flush how is this even possible?!”


The landed on the river and Yong scooped in the $450,000 pot. 


"I flop a set and come last! How is this possible? They all have flush draws, there's not even any clubs left!" ranted Kirk, in a tirade lasting more than a few minutes. It was a brutal pot for him to lose, but it did make for great TV.


Play continued three-handed for a while, with the misery continuing for Kirk on Day 3 as he lost a monstrous $811,000 pot to Leon with top two pair against a set of kings. Soon after, there was further frustration for Kirk as Leon called his $84,000 shove on the river before he’d even got his chips over the line. Leon offered to give him his $84,000 back, but a clearly frustrated Kirk refused.


Trickett was check-raise bluffed off the best hand by Yong soon after on the river before Kirk finally won some back in a pot worth $825,000 against Leon with a full house against a straight.


While exact figures for each player's end result aren't yet confirmed, Leon Tsoukernik ended the biggest winner at least a couple of million dollars up, while Matt Kirk, The Wolf and Ouri Ohayon all finished heavily in the red for the game.



Overall, 366,973 people watched the action unfold on YouTube by the conclusion of the Big Game, and that doesn't include replays. On Twitch, the fans were flying into to view the live stream at an even faster rate, with 589,209 tuning in. With just under a million views (956,937 if you want us to be precise) coming in over the three days, there can be no doubt that The Big Game is well and truly back. 


Here are the full final results: 


Player Starting Amount End of Day 1 End of Day 2 End of Day 3 Profit or Loss
Rob $302,800 $302,800 $610,800 $2,180,800 $2,078,800
Leon $365,000 -$85,000 $105,000 $2,565,000 $2,200,000
Sam $500,000 $595,000 $176,000 $0 -$700,000
Matt $100,000 $273,000 $279,000 -$3,600,000 -$3,600,000
Lauren Roberts $163,185 $179,185   $179,185 $16,000
John Savidis $20,000 $0   $0 -$20,000
The Wolf $100,000 -$15,000 $0 $0  $0


Regardless of the figures, what we know is that The Big Game was magnificent theatre and a rip-roaring spectacle for poker fans all over the world. If you want to watch all the action, why not head over to our YouTube page where you can line up The Big Game like one great big poker boxset. It's perfect for watching while you play online at partypoker. 


Roll on the next time The Big Game comes to's going to be spectacular!


Would you like to write for partypokerLIVE? Every article we publish will be rewarded with a ticket worth $109 on partypoker. Read all about how you can become a writer for partypokerLIVE here



18+. T&Cs apply. Play responsibly.

  • Игорь Алексеев
  • Giorgii Skhulukhiya
  • Rob Godmon

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