The first time I met Jonathan Duhamel I’m not sure who was the more nervous? It was 2010 and we were in the bar at the Hilton Metropole in London. It was only my fifth interview and Duhamel was locked in a whirlwind of attention the likes of which he could never have dreamt about. He was the man who called in that hand against Matt Affleck. He was the man who made Affleck cry like a baby. He was the man with 65,975,000 chips, making him the favorite to win the WSOP Main Event and $8,944,310 in life changing prize money.
As we all know, Duhamel went on to win the top prize in poker and his whirlwind picked up more speed. Prior to his win, Duhamel was primarily an online cash game player. Last year, he deposited $1 million, to take his seat in the biggest tournament the world had ever seen: The Big One for One Drop.
“It’s a pretty big buy-in when you think about it. You need to be sensible about your bankroll and if needed have the necessary backing. I have that, so why not play in it…it’s for a great cause.” Said Duhamel.
Duhamel is a good friend with the Cirque du Soleil owner, Guy Laliberte, but that being said Duhamel is a good friend with everyone. Step into the party at any global poker event and you will see Duhamel swinging his skinny little ass whilst chewing on someone’s thong. The man loves to enjoy himself. He has gratitude in buckets and carries with him a great humility for a man who has won so much.
Most WSOP Main Event winners vanish into the night, but not Duhamel. Since that career-starting WSOP victory, the French-Canadian has added a further $2.5 million to his bottom line whilst playing against some of the best players that the modern game has produced. When you talk about the best live tournament pros…his name has to be in the mix.
Lest we not forget that he is also partially responsible for the Quebec poker boom. His breakout year also saw Pascal LeFrancois take a bracelet, and come close to joining his fellow countryman at the WSOP Main Event final table finally finishing in 11th place; and the country has gone on to great things especially this year as they have taken the series by storm.
“If we keep winning all of the time it’s not luck…is it? There again…there’s not that much to do except play hockey and play poker in Canada,” Duhamel joked before continuing, “There is a big group of us that talks strategy all of the time. Probably all the countries are like that, but especially in Quebec where we have a very special bond.”
Duhamel has cashed in three events at this years series and was on his way to play in the 10-Game Mix when he gratefully stopped to talk to us.