Nothing can stop Canadian pro and WSOP crusher Jonathan Duhamel.
We’ve all heard stories of strong people who’ve overcome ridiculous odds. It happens in the poker world all the time. Every WSOP Championship bracelet ever awarded took guts, skill, and a survivalist instinct. But I don’t think any Main Event winner overcame so much as Canadian poker pro Jonathan Duhamel.
Anyone who’s followed live poker for any length of time should recognize the name. Even if you weren’t up to date when Duhamel achieved his most memorable accomplishment, winning $8.9 million in the WSOP ME in 2010—the first Canadian poker player ever to do so—his imminent skill continues to make headlines each and every year.
At just 30 years of age, he’s the second highest career earner on the Canadian all-time money list (#22 in the world) with $17.98 million banked. He’s now up to three WSOP bracelets, having won the 2015 WSOP One Drop High Roller for nearly $4 million, and a WSOP Europe High Roller the same year for over $600k.
These are all monumental feats worthy of our admiration. But the one I’m most impressed with didn’t earn him a title. It wasn’t a 1st place routing. It didn’t take place on the biggest stage. I’m referring to his 4th place finish in the 2012 PokerStars’ Caribbean Adventure (PCA) $100k NLHE Super High Roller Event.
What makes this event so special? He didn’t win, place, or show. The $313,600 payout would be coveted by most of us, but it wasn’t anywhere near the young Canadian’s highest single-event cash. Why would this be such an incomparable moment in his career? Because this was the day he proved nothing could stop him from his passion for playing the game.
You see, it was just two weeks prior to this PCA event that Duhamel faced the toughest challenge of his life. On December 21, 2011, Jonathan was the victim of a brutal home invasion. Two men broke into his house that night, tied him up, ransacked his home, stole his WSOP Championship bracelet, a priceless, personalized Rolex watch given to him by his WSOP sponsor, PokerStars, and a large amount of cash. They then beat him relentlessly, blow after blow to the face and head, before leaving him, bloody and battered, to die.
But Jonathan didn’t die. He was miraculously fortunate enough to have sustained no life-threatening injuries during the assault. And he was as shocked as anyone to find out, following a lengthy investigation into the attack, that his own ex-girlfriend was the mastermind behind it all.
Not only was Jonathan Duhamel able to overcome that catastrophic night, he did so in record time. He returned to the felt, landing in four consecutive final tables at PCA in January 2012, and two more the following month at Deauville EPT and LA Poker Classic. Absolutely nothing was going to stop him from pursuing his passion. In fact, it seemed to reinvigorate him, giving young Jonathan—just 25 years old at the time—more energy to compete than ever before.
He cashed 13 times that year, and 20 more in 2013. His presence on the global live circuit has been strong ever since. It’s beyond evident that nothing can stop Canada’s pro and WSOP crusher Jonathan Duhamel; in my opinion, the toughest poker player ever to grind the felt.