Dorval resident Marty Maroun will compete in the final round of a poker tournament this weekend in Las Vegas. The winner gets a seat at the World Series of Poker.
BY MIKE WYMAN
He learned the game at his grandfather’s knee and now, more than three decades later, Dorval resident Marty Maroun is putting the lessons of his childhood to good use. Friday he and 20 other card players leave for Las Vegas to take part in the final round of the Miriam Foundation Full Tilt Poker Texas Hold'em Poker Tournament, also known as the Montreal Open.
Maroun anted up the $300 registration fee and went up against almost 600 others in the first preliminary round held March 26, finishing the night among the top 100, building his original 2,000-chip stake into more than 15,000 and earning an invitation to return for the next round. “It was my first tournament but I knew I had a decent chance because a charity tournament like that, half the field, or a good portion of it anyway, are beginners or are just there to support the charity,” he said.
With only the top 100 from each of the first three nights moving on, the second-round crowd came to play some serious poker. Going into second-round competition with only 15,500 of the eight million chips in the game, Maroun needed some cards early if he was going to do well.
He got them. “I went in and got a pair of aces and tripled up my first hand,” he recalled. “Third hand, I got kings; fourth hand I got ace-king. I doubled up and doubled up again so in the first ten minutes I went from 15,000 chips to 180,000.”
Play started at 7 p.m. and finally came to a close around sunrise the next morning. Among the final 20 left at the table when things wound down, a bleary-eyed Maroun drove home with the news that he was Vegas-bound.
He will fly to Vegas on Friday for the final round of competition. “There’s a dinner Friday night and then Saturday at noon they’re taking us all out to the Welcome to Las Vegas sign for a photo shoot. There are one on one interviews (all afternoon Saturday) that day. We play on Sunday at 11a.m. until it’s over. With 20 people it shouldn’t take more than five or six hours,” Maround said.
The final-round victor in Vegas, gets their seat at the World Series of Poker paid for (a $10,000 value), $12,000US in prize money and all their expenses paid for the duration of the event, which featured $12 million US in prize money last year.
While his preschool-aged son might not be too thrilled about Dad jetting off to Vegas, Maroun’s wife, Melanie, has a much clearer perspective on her husband’s hobby. “She loves poker now,” he said, smiling.