Canadian National Poker League: launches today

Published: Mon Apr 04 2005

Owner of one of Canada's biggest existing poker sites is introducing a league of his own.

It's rather common for players in the poker world to sell shares of themselves in order to acquire the resources to partake in a large poker event. The Canadian National Poker League ( starts with that premise and goes from there.

"The goal is to partake in as many online and offline tournaments as possible. The community members within the CNPL help share the burden of the huge entry fees into large tournaments and we also share our windfalls members all own a stake in eachother so to speak"

Says Neil McVicar who is one of the founders of

"But there is much more to the Canadian National Poker League than that, we have big plans for branding our league with hosting some very large online tournaments which will be open to all Canadians, not just members of the CNPL."

Although it doesn't hurt to know how to play. The CNPL for the most part involves members owning shares of each other while participating in large online poker tournaments with entry fees sometimes of $500-$1000 US dollars or more.

"If you don't know how to play, this really isn't the place to learn. We're not necessarily looking for people who are brand new to the game so to speak"

To deter from unskilled players joining simply to have a small stake in larger tournaments, and also to avoid registrants signing up with no purpose other than to advertise their services (a large part of their organizing takes place on a message board) the CNPL does charge a one time membership fee.

"We didn't want to, but it's going a long way to keeping the wrong people out, providing resources to market the new league and seeding what will become part of a prize pool anyway."

McVicar continues with a grin on his face:

"Besides, it's only forty five bucks Canadian and you get yourself a CNPL hat or shirt sent to anywhere in Canada, as well, taking part stake in these tournaments you're going to have your money back and more in no time flat I mean think of it, as a member of the CNPL you will be a part of the big time tournaments like the world poker tour and upcoming World Series of Poker. It's not really a matter of if"

When asked about the swag which Neil modeled with pride:

"We really want to establish an image in the poker world as best as possible. If CNPL members are wearing our hats and shirts in the casinos, it will raise a buzz. I just got these in. Haven't even had time to add them to the website yet" he smiles as he pulls ballcaps, Tshirts and jackets out of a box. "I've already ordered some trophies too, just waiting to have names engraved on them"

Referring to a comment of Neil's from earlier, when asked about the future of the CNPL and hosting large Canadian player only tournaments:

"Well, I don't care to go into too much detail right now. Obviously there is a degree of assumption that a great many Canadian players will want to be part of the league. If the numbers aren't there, they aren't there, but we'll still be organizing tournaments not to worry. We'll be here. Just because the NHL is gone, doesn't mean you can't be part of a team"

Sitting across from Neil in his home, it's clear he is no novice to the poker world. Even as we speak he shuffles a stack of poker chips single handedly with ease.

"It's a habit. I can't sit at this table without doing it" (I met with Neil in his home, fittingly, we sat at his poker table.)

Behind him are posters of movies such as Rounders and the newly released High Roller. To his left, there is a coffee table with Neil's collection of Canadian Poker Player magazine back issues. Flip through the pile a ways and you will come to the March 2004 issue with his face on the cover. Neil has not only been playing the game since before its explosion in popoularity (his resume includes a 4th place finish in a tournament with over 250 players in 2003) he is also currently the owner of the first online site ever in Canada from which to purchase poker chips and supplies.

"It was a fun 3 year ride, but I'm closing it down. I'm in the process of closing it now"

Once referred to as the poker chip king of Canada. He looks up from his coffee. "I want to be putting all my time into playing poker, the CNPL and of course the poker forum"

What he means by "the poker forum" is another of Neil's creations. Canada's Poker Forum: It's only just recently past its 1 year birthday and has climbed to over 1,100 members.

"It's a great free place to hang out, talk and learn about the game. There are some very skilled players who frequent the site and are moderators too"

Neil sips his coffee again and laughs. "I'll drop some names, but unless you're really into the Canadian poker scene you may not know of them....yet. Well let's see, there is Dave Scharf who hails from Saskatchewan. He's had 3 money place finishes in the world series of poker. Then there is Devin Armstrong from the Toronto area, he's an up and comer I guess you could call him. He's finished a DVD on how to play poker, he's going places. One day very much to my suprise, Daniel Negreanu stopped by and said hi. It was fantastic."

Neil is quick to distance himself from the poker know-how of David, Devin and Daniel.

"No no no. I'm a huge fan of the game. I'll always play it. At the same time, I know I'm not as good as them."

Will Neil be leaving his post at the helm of to jump into the Canadian National Poker League?

"Never. It won't happen. The forum is my baby. Besides they kind of go hand in hand. I figure I'll proably be giving away a lot of memberships to through The members there have been very loyal and very active in helping eachother and forming friendships. They should work nicely together while remaining seperate entities"
Contact Name: Lee
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