The World Poker Tour returns to Playground Poker Club from November 20-26 for partypoker WPT Montreal, and WPT Blog sat down with Season XI WPT Montreal third-place finisher and Playground Players Club member Jeff Gross to talk about his success at Playground, what separates the club from other venues, and more.
You can qualify for the CAD $3,850 buy-in event in one of many live satellites at Playground Poker club this week. On Wednesday, November 19, there is a special $350 + $35 buy-in reentry satellite at 7:30 p.m. with 10 seats guaranteed.
WPT Blog: When was your first trip to Playground Poker Club and how did you end up becoming an ambassador?
Jeff Gross: My first trip to Montreal was in March of 2012. I tagged along with Phil Laak and Antonio Esfandiari, as they had already built a relationship with the people at Playground. I remember getting 10th place in the event we came for — I believe it was a $500 tournament — bubbling the final table, but I had a great experience at the venue. At the time, I also won my biggest prop bet, which was 25 to 1 on $1,000 against Phil Laak. We were playing a game at a dinner where it was only $10 a question, and on the side he ended up offering the 25 to 1. I took it and won, so Montreal has held a special place in my heart from the start and this was a sign for things to come.
My second trip was when I had some real success, and that’s when I became an ambassador for Playground. The guys there had been unbelievable in regards to hospitality and service, and when I took third in the inaugural WPT Montreal, which had 1173 entries, they spoke to me after and asked if would be part of the team. I am honored to represent such a strong poker room.
What do you enjoy most about Playground?
What I love about Playground is that it is purely poker, and it really is “for players, by players.” There are no slots, craps, roulette, or blackjack, so it doesn’t have the feel of a casino, separating Playground from other venues. They know what the customer wants and they go above and beyond to deliver. Even the tables are unique, featuring lights that stick up from the dealer chair with different colors that illuminate for food service, a floor person, or maintenance. The service is fast and friendly and they provide free food for the players.
You’ve made two deep runs at Playground, finishing second in partypoker Premier League VII and third in WPT Montreal. Do you get an extra boost of confidence now when you play at Playground?
Yes, having several deep runs, including a second, third, and other cashes in major events, gives me a lot of confidence when playing there. Everyone has a particular place where they feel they run better than others, or just enjoy to play at, and for me it is Playground and it’s not even close! I feel that every time I come to Montreal something great is sure to happen, and I have no doubt that my first major win will be right here in Montreal at Playground Poker Club – it feels like November will be the time!
What would winning a WPT title mean to you?
Winning a WPT Title would mean everything to me. I have a third in WPT Alpha8 Florida and a third in WPT Montreal, along with other deep runs, but the actual title has been elusive and it weighs on me. There are many great players known and unknown without titles, but I have worked hard on my game and been so close and I want it desperately.
What are your poker plans for the rest of the year?
I will be playing cash until partypoker WPT Montreal, and then it’s off to the Caribbean for WPT Alpha8 St. Kitts from December 5-6. After that, I’m headed to Las Vegas on December 15 for the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic.