Meet the Final Table of the WPT Montreal Championship

Dongwoo Ko hold the chip lead at the final table of the WPT Montreal Championship Event, with familiar faces Rayan Chamas and Dan Stavila also in the mix.

Tim Fiorvanti
May 20, 2024
Meet the final six players in contention for the WPT Montreal Championship title.

The field for the WPT Montreal Championship event at Playground Poker Club has reached its final six, and in looking at the contenders for the title who remain from the 882 entries into the field, the narratives run deep.

Dongwoo Ko bagged the chip lead on Day 1A of WPT Montreal, did it again on Day 2, and after Day 3 he enters the final table in the very same position – No. 1. He’s enjoyed a surge in his career over the last 12 months, and putting together a wire-to-wire performance would really put his name on the map.

Rayan Chamas is only a few months removed from a second-place finish at the WPT Seminole Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open and the biggest live cash of his career. Along with a runner-up finish in a WPT Main Tour online event, Chamas hopes his third shot at victory will be the one that sticks.

Then, of course, you have Dan Stavila, the star of the moment in Montreal. Over the last six days, he’s played the maximum amount of poker at Playground, running all the way to the televised final table of WPT Prime, and then immediately starting all over and ultimately doing the very same thing in the WPT Montreal Championship Event.

As far as keeping the WPT Montreal title on Canadian soil, Tommy Nguyen and Tamer Alkamli both hail from Toronto. Outside of Stavila, the hopes for bringing the title back south of the border to the United States also rests with Charles Kassin, who will have to fight back from the shortest stack.

Tuesday will be an off day for players (with the exception of Stavila, who will have the chip lead for WPT Prime Montreal to play), with action set to resume at 4 p.m. ET local time. The final table will be filmed for future broadcast, and will also be streamed on a variety of WPT platforms including YouTube.

Here’s what the final six players of WPT Montreal are playing for.

1st:  CAD $434,900*  (~US $319,217*)
2nd:  CAD $280,000  (~US $205,520)
3rd:  CAD $205,000  (~US $150,470)
4th:  CAD $155,000  (~US $113,770)
5th:  CAD $117,000  (~US $85,878)
6th:  CAD $89,000  (~US $65,326)

*The winner of WPT Montreal also wins a seat to the WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas in December.

Ahead of Wednesday’s finale, let’s learn a little bit more about each of these six players.

Dongwoo Ko – 15,100,000 (151 BB)

Age: 23
Country of Birth: Korea
Currently Resides: Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
Lifetime Live Tournament Earnings: $138,395
Biggest Lifetime Cash: $51,414, 1st, 2023 WSOP International Circuit London £450 No Limit Hold’em
Other Notable Scores: 1st, 2023 WSOP International Circuit Calgary (January) $400 CAD No Limit Hold’em for $22,146; 1st, 2024 WSOP International Circuit Calgary (May) $250 CAD Flip & Go for $11,309

It’s difficult to imagine a more coveted scenario in tournament poker than to jump out to the chip lead from the very start of a tournament and essentially hold onto it for three straight days. Dongwoo Ko bagged the biggest stack on Day 1A of WPT Montreal, and while he technically started Day 2 in fourth overall, he didn’t stay there long. He bagged the Day 2 chip lead, raced out to an even bigger advantage early on Day 3, and then used it to his advantage.

“Obviously, there’s some ICM applications today,” said Ko. “Lots of people want to make a final table, so there’s a little bit more pressure that I can put on with the bigger stack.”

He’s been on the road for weeks traveling throughout Canada to play poker. During the recent WSOP International Circuit event in Calgary, Ko made three final tables and won his third career WSOP Circuit ring in the process. In an effort to squeeze as much poker as humanly possible into both stops, Ko took his schedule to the limit.

“On the last day of the Calgary series I played the final table until 2 a.m., caught the plane at 6 a.m. and landed at 12,” said Ko. “Played WPT Prime right away, one bullet, made Day 2 and busted.  Ran over into the championship right away, one bullet and I’m right here so, you know, dedication.”

End of Day Chip Counts:
Day 1: 456,500 (4/303)
Day 2: 3,155,000 (1/44)

Tommy Nguyen – 11,725,000 (117 BB)

Age: 34
Hometown: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Currently Resides: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Lifetime Live Tournament Earnings: $2,101,543
Biggest Lifetime Cash: $1,037,451, 1st, 2018 WSOP $1,500 Monster Stack
Other Notable Scores: 8th, 2018 partypoker Millions $5,300 Main Event for $167,918; 2nd, 2018 WPT Montreal $10,300 High Roller for $139,205; 3rd, 2019 WSOP $1,500 No Limit Hold’em Shootout for $106,351

The other players garnering attention heading into the WPT Montreal final table are worthy of it, but overlooking Tommy Nguyen would be a mistake. He’s the only player among the final six with a major live victory under his belt, having with the WSOP Monster Stack event back in 2018 for over $1 million. Nguyen has north of $2.1 million in live tournament earnings in total.

Nguyen did a lot of the hard work in reducing the field once the tournament got down to two tables, recording three of the 10 eliminations to get down to six players. That includes the final hand of the night on Day 3, when his pocket kings held up to beat Nektarios Papadedes’ pocket jacks to eliminate Papadedes in seventh place. That pot helped pull Nguyen as close to Ko as anyone had been in the later stages of playdown day.

End of Day Chip Counts:
Day 1: 325,500 (12/303)
Day 2: 770,000 (24/44)

Tamer Alkamli – 5,575,000 (56 BB)

Currently Resides: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Lifetime Live Tournament Earnings: $545,079
Biggest Lifetime Cash: $331,503, 3rd, 2022 WSOP $5,000 6-Max No Limit Hold’em
Other Notable Scores: 14th, 2020 WPT Fallsview for $25,549

Tamer Alkamli has had some big results and close calls in major events before, most notably a couple of years ago at the 2022 WSOP. He finished third in a $5,000 6-Max No Limit Hold’em to tournament standouts Jonathan Pastore and Stephen Song.

Alkamli has only cashed once before on the World Poker Tour, where he made a deep run at WPT Fallsview in 2020 before ultimately going out in 14th place. On his way down to the final six, Alkamli picked up a few eliminations of his own to build up his stack, before falling back a bit late in the evening when he lost a coinflip to Dan Stavila.

End of Day Chip Counts:
Day 1: 121,000 (154/303)
Day 2: 720,000 (27/44)

Rayan Chamas – 5,225,000 (52 BB)

Age: 32
Home Country:
Resides: Byblos, Quebec
Lifetime Live Tournament Earnings: $1,249,849
Biggest Lifetime Cash: $600,000, 2nd, 2023 WPT Seminole Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open
Other Prominent Scores: 5th, $3,300 CAD PokerStars Canada Cup for $84,070; 36th, 2023 $25,000 PokerStars Players Championship for $81,400, 8th 2017 partypoker LIVE MILLIONS for $58,253

Rayan Chamas lived through a bevy of emotions last November at the WPT Seminole Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open. He was determined to break through in a second shot at a WPT Main Tour title, before ultimately finishing second to Istvan Briski – a man he later determined was a long lost poker friend who he’d met online years before.

That second-place finish was a particular sting because Chamas had another second-place finish on his record, at the online version of WPT Montreal. After Monday night’s action, he’s made the in-real-life version of WPT Montreal, and Chamas hopes this time it’ll stick.

“I do still have a bit of pain from messing up the last one, I had a big chip lead,” said Chamas. “But I think like every table, it’s always difficult. There’s no easier [player] than any other, a lot of aggressive opponents here as well. I think it’s also going to come down to card distributions.”

Chamas barely made it into this tournament on time, as prior commitments kept him from playing one of the Day 1 sessions. His determination to play has certainly paid off.

“It feels really good because I was debating not coming on Sunday,” said Chamas.  “I had a wedding on Saturday night go really late. I only had like four hours of sleep, but I told my wife when I woke up, ‘It’s Montreal, it’s my home time, I’ve got to do it. I did the last-second entry and it’s all been going really well since, and it’s cool to represent my own city.”

End of Day Chip Counts:
Day 1: N/A
Day 2: 1,405,000 (12/44)

Dan Stavila –  3,775,000 (38 BB)

Age: 25
Hometown: Chisinau, Moldova
Currently Resides: Las Vegas, Nevada
Lifetime Live Tournament Earnings: $204,951
Biggest Lifetime Cash: 506th, 2022 WSOP Main Event for $28,400

It’s hard to put into words just how well things have gone for Dan Stavila over the last week at Playground. He made the final table of WPT Prime Montreal as the chip leader, and after some rocky moments on Day 3 Monday he completed a WPT Montreal TV double feature.

He’ll spend the next two days playing for a pair of WPT titles on an internationally televised stage, and Stavila will be playing for as much as $458,000 in those two events. It’s the kind of moment he’s been playing for his entire career.

“I’ve been loving Montreal and, you know, these times don’t come up too often,” said Stavila. “Just so blessed to be here.”

As he faces the challenge of playing back-to-back days for high stakes on the WPT stage, Stavila thinks the daily schedule he’s fallen into over the last week in Montreal will guide him well on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“Every day we’ve played, you know, long-ish hours til like midnight or 1 a.m.,  and I could just keep going,” said Stavila. “I could play the whole thing out. I’ve had five, six hours of rest maybe on average every day here. So I wouldn’t say [the other five have] an advantage with the extra rest. The routine has been good.”

End of Day Chip Counts:
Day 1: 115,000 (164/303)
Day 2: 1,720,000 (6/44)

Charles Kassin – 2,700,000 (27 BB)

Age: 36
Hometown: New York, New York
Currently Resides: Long Branch, New Jersey
Lifetime Live Tournament Earnings: $277,796
Biggest Lifetime Cash: $90,010, 9th, 2020 WPT L.A. Poker Classic
Other Notable Scores: 10th, 2020 partypoker Millions South America for $60,000; 8th, 2020 WPT Rolling Thunder for $34,210

Charles Kassin had been agonizingly close to a WPT Main Tour final table on two separate occasions. In back-to-back events in early 2020, Kassin combined down to a single table twice only to fall just shy of the “official” final six. In late February, Kassin took ninth at the WPT L.A. Poker Classic, and then immediately traveled north to WPT Rolling Thunder where he got even closer, finishing eighth.

There would be no more close calls at WPT Montreal. Despite teetering on the edge as the short stack during seven-handed play, Kassin pulled through this time around and he’ll take his place among the final six on Wednesday. Despite being the shortest stack among the final six, Kassin has considerably more room to maneuver than the typical short stack at the beginning of a major final table.

End of Day Chip Counts:
Day 1: 188,500 (73/303)
Day 2: 1,990,000 (4/44)

Player stats and earnings courtesy of The Hendon Mob/GPI.