Poker players in and around Westman are getting more and more excited as the United Commercial Travelers’ Ultimate Freezeout Poker Tournament, an annual event, will be held soon at the Crystal Hotel.

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This is the sixth edition of the tournament, which was founded by Randy Glowach, a local DJ, in 2009. Participants played Texas Hold’em out of doors during the first edition, which turned out to be a roaring success. Crystal Hotel Manager Michael Danyluk said: “It was a total sell-out. The type of weather we (had last week), that’s how cold it was. People who were drinking any kind of beverage had them freezing immediately.”

One of the players who took part in the inaugural edition of the Freezeout was Gavin Smith, a Canadian professional poker player, who had bagged the World Poker Tour Player of the Year title. Just before the tournament began, Smith said: “I always knew this extra layer of fat would come in handy someday.” Kelly Kellner, then president of the Canadian Poker Tour (CPT), also participated in the event.

The second edition of the Freezeout was held out of doors too, but people began losing interest in it as celebrities such as Kellner and Smith did not take part in it. Therefore, the tournament was shifted indoors, and ever since, it had been an indoors event. It was also nicknamed “The Meltdown” to boost its popularity.

Although anybody can take part in the tournament, Danyluk says that new players might find it difficult to participate. He said: “I’ve never seen anybody’s who’s willing to spend $100 to be a non-poker player.” However, new players are encouraged to take part in freeroll Texas Hold’em tournaments that are held at Crystal Hotel every Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday.

Danyluk says that he enjoys watching the venue filling up with enthusiastic poker players, especially as part of the profits are diverted to charity. He said: “We’re raising money that stays in the community … the best part about UCT is that the money they get, they try to keep it in the city of Brandon.”

This year, the event will be held on January 26, Sunday. The buy-in is $100. Those who fold early can buy into satellite tables for $20. The UCT will get a donation of 30 percent of the profits. The game will begin sharp at noon.

Interested players can telephone (204-727-1232) the Crystal Hotel for more information.

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