For the third time in four years, Mike Leah has won the 2017 Fallsview Poker Classic World Poker Tour $1,100 No-Limit Hold’em Event, which was held in Canada just across the border from Niagara Falls. The run, which includes a rare title defense, has netted the poker pro C$573,334 ($434,644 USD) and captured the attention of the poker world.
Beating Back the Field
Winning three tournaments in a short period of time isn’t unprecedented. Phil Ivey famously won the Aussie Millions $250K Challenge three times in four years, while last year Carl Carodenuto won three $1,100 Main Events on the MSPT, which included a title defense.
However, what separates Leah’s accomplishments from those two have been the sheer sizes of the fields. Ivey did it over combined fields of 87 entries, while the number for Carodenuto was 1,336. Leah had to overcome thousands of players to claim his titles.
The Canuck first won the event in 2014, when he topped a field of 649 entrants to win C$118,982 ($108,465 USD). Two years later, he did it again for C$210,108 ($151,938 USD), that time conquering a field of 1,305 entries. This year, he bested an even bigger group of 1,524 entrants for C$244,244 ($187,051 USD).
Mike Leah Elaborates on His Latest Win
CardsChat had the opportunity to speak to Leah the day after his latest win.
CC: Did you actually think you had a chance to win this event yet again?
Leah: It was the goal going in, but it’s definitely a little crazy to have it come through again. Probably more than any other tournament I’ve ever played, I really mentally prepared. I looked back at the last two times I’ve won it and kind of relived the tournament.
I looked at every update I made on Twitter and Facebook, just to try and really get in the mindset that I was going to do it again. I haven’t gone into many tournaments where I go in thinking I’m going to win the tournament, but with this tournament that was my only mindset, so that’s pretty cool.
CC: What did you do to celebrate afterwards?
Leah: I never drink, but a couple of friends persuaded me to have a few last night. It was fun, but it was a rough night and a rough morning. I just came back from the spa and I’m feeling much better now.
CC: What gives you such an ongoing edge in this tournament? How do you do it?
Leah: Just the fact that I’ve won it before, you always want to do well the next time you play it. You have that much more desire to try and do it again.
I’m big on history, accomplishments, and things like that. Bracelets and cashes are important to me, and so is trying to do something that’s never been done before. The extra motivation to try and win the same tournament I’d won twice before was the biggest thing, but it is a $1,000 tournament with over 1,500 people in a place where they only have one tournament a year.
It’s obviously softer than most $1Ks, so that gives you a better chance to do what I did. I think a lot of the players here give me too much respect and let me get away with quite a few things. It was a combination of all of that.
CC: What’s next for you as far as poker is concerned?
Leah: The $5,000 WPT Main Event this week. I’m really focused and motivated to make a run at that. I love playing tournaments in Canada, in my backyard. I’m always more motivated to do well in Canada. We don’t have many tournaments here. It’s a lot of fun. After, I’ll head to California for the three WPTs there before going to Florida.
Final Table Results
1 Mike Leah (Innisfil, Canada) C$244,244/USD$187,051
2 Matt Grocholsky (Welland, Canada) C$172,589/USD$130,839
3 Danny Kalpakis (Scarborough, Canada) C$112,201/USD$85,059
4 Masoud Tavangari (Richmond Hill, Canada) C$83,360/USD$63,195
5 Tim Deering (Whitby, Canada) C$62,620/USD$47,472
6 Erik Tzvetanov (Etobicoke, Canada) C$50,498/USD$38,282
7 Thomas Taylor (Medicine Hat, Canada) C$41,333/USD$31,334
8 Raymond Latinsky (Thornhill, Canada) C$32,552/USD$24,677
9 Jordan Grant (Mississauga, Canada) C$24,421/USD$18,513