Oh Canada!

Jonathan Duhamel Claims Poker’s Most Coveted Prize

Photo courtesy of Caesars Entertainment Corp.

After a grueling mental and physical marathon, Jonathan Duhamel reached the finish line of the 2010 World Series of Poker Main Event to become the first Canadian citizen to take poker’s most prestigious honor. The 23-year-old outlasted a field of 7,319 entrants to win the top prize of $8.9 million, along with the coveted diamond-encrusted gold championship bracelet.

The legendary $10,000 No Limit Hold’em tournament wrapped up in November following a 110-day recess that came after the field had been whittled down to the final nine finalists—known in the poker world as the November Nine.

Duhamel entered final table play with a commanding chip lead. While he possessed about one-third of the total chips in play at the start, victory was by no means assured as three different players held the chip lead at various points. After the field of nine had been narrowed down to two, Duhamel and John Racener faced off in a heads-up showdown. This poker duel was witnessed by nearly 1,500 spectators inside the Penn & Teller Theater, and millions more followed the action on the Internet or watched on ESPN.

After 42 hands of intense heads-up play, Racener was massively out-chipped. Duhamel, who had played aggressively throughout, shoved all-in. Racener called, and Duhamel’s ace-high won the final pot and gave him the win. The sting of Racener’s loss was somewhat soothed by a whopper of  a consolation prize; second place earned him $5,545,955.

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