First Canadian Wins WSOP

The first Canadian to ever win the World Series of Poker, is a 23-year-old college dropout from Quebec, to take home 8.9 million dollars in prize money pokers top accolade. Jonathan Duhamel, a native from Montreal beat out John Racener from Florida on Monday after 90 minutes of play, Duhamel was ecstatic and threw copious amounts of cash around as he won poker’s richest and most impressive cap.

He continued playing on Monday with a resounding six-to-one chip advantage in the No-Limit Texas Hold ‘Em tournament; he stopped Racener from winning any big hands. “I’m literally the happiest person on earth,” said Duhamel, who was lifted in the air by members of his hometown along with friends and relatives. “I’m proud to be the first Canadian ever to have won this prestigious Poker Tournament and it’s an honour to me and for my country Canada,” he said.

The pair were the last two standing in an event that started in July totalling 7,319 entrants, who put up 10,000 dollars each or won entry in smaller tournaments. The last nine poker players played a 14-hour session that ended early on Sunday with Duhamel in a commanding position.

His folks and friends nearest to him sat on the stage at Penn & Teller Theatre at the Rio Las Vegas resort, a number of Canadian fans filled the audience clad in Montreal Canadians jerseys to show support.  Duhamel’s mother Johanne admitted she was rather concerned that he gave up a college degree to pursue poker, in the end I’m glad and it seems he made the right choice after all to pursue his dream.

The last couple of years have seen the World Series of Poker championships won increasingly by non-Americans.  Australian poker pro Joe Hachem won in 2005, followed in 2008 by Peter Eastgate of Denmark. Jerry Yang, who escaped Laos whilst he was still very young when Communists took over, won in 2007.

Duhamel and Racener started their respective poker careers by playing poker at online casinos. For coming in second Racener won a whopping 5.5 million dollars. The World Series of Poker’s Main Event is poker’s richest tournament- this year 747 of the contestants have won some cash, a total of 68.8 million dollars handed out in cash prizes.  “It’s a global game now,” Chris Cosenza said, who is the publisher of the monthly poker-focused “Ante Up” magazine.

“Not just for Texans or for Americans anymore.   Playing poker has changed the face of the game and made it far more competitive.  A large proportion of European and Canadian based poker players are starting to embrace Texas Hold ‘Em now,” he said.



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