Ever wondered who the top 5 Canadian poker players are? Well we have broken them down, bringing you those that have earned the most money, conquered the biggest tournaments and generally climbed to the top of the poker hill.
Of course, you might feel inspired to join their ranks and try your own hand at online poker. If you do, then do make sure you play at safe, recommended and legal Canadian poker sites, just as PokerSites.ca shows you here.
1. Daniel Negreanu
Lifetime Tournament Earnings: $18 million
Major Titles: 2004 WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic – $1,770,218; 2004 WPT Borgata Poker Open $1,117,400
By far and away the leading Canadian pro of all time, and its leading ambassador, Daniel Negreanu is the consummate poker pro: star of poker TV shows, media-friendly, and pretty damn good at poker, as it turns out.
Since bagging his first major title in 1998 – a $2,000 Pot Limit Hold’em event at the World Series – he’s racked up a further four WSOP bracelets and countless final tables. Daniel’s breakthrough came in 2004 when he won two WPT titles: the Borgata Poker Open and then the Five Diamond World Poker Classic just three months later.
With two post-million dollar 1st prizes in the bank, his career was set. Despite only recently trying out the online game, Daniel has been busy racking up some serious cash game scores, but it’s in the live arena where he continues to thrive. In 2013, Daniel is one of the few ‘old-school’ pros who can hack it with the new up ‘n’ coming youngsters.
2. Michael “SirWatts” Watson
Lifetime Tournament Earnings: $6.7 million
Major Titles: 2008 WPT Bellagio Cup IV ($1,673,770)
Mike Watson is one of Canada’s top online tournament players, feared on the virtual tables under his online name, “SirWatts”. However, to the wider poker populace he is probably best known for his 2008 victory in the WPT Bellagio Cup IV Championship.
Watson took down the first prize of $1,673,770 that day, besting a final table that also included top French pro, David Benyamine, and it remains to this day his best ever live cash.
As consistent online as he is live, “SirWatts” has over $2 million in online cashes, but that pales in comparison with his live haul, standing in 2013 at just under $7 million. And if you thought Watson’s 2008 title was a flash in the pan, think again – he finished the 2013 WSOP with his best ever prize haul: seven cashes including two final tables.
3. Jonathan Duhamel
Lifetime Tournament Earnings: $11.8 million
Major Titles: 2010 WSOP Main Event ($8,944,310)
Quebec’s Jonathan Duhamel did what compatriot Daniel Negreanu could never do – win the WSOP Main Event. He did just that in 2010 when he became one of the youngest ever winners of the event, taking down a first prize of almost $9 million.
Duhamel had to get lucky along the way, of course, infamously sucking out on American Matt Affleck’s aces when holding jacks. (Watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgMPNbEQMeY). Duhamel was set for the final table where he made his skill tell to take down the major prize, becoming the first Canadian to win poker’s biggest tournament.
For the Montreal man he had gone from college dropout and chicken factory worker to multi-millionaire in the space of a couple of years, but it wasn’t all plain sailing for Duhamel: in 2011 he was robbed and beaten by two accomplices of his ex-girlfriend, who raided his house and left with his WSOP bracelet and CDN$40,000. The ex-girlfriend got 42 months in prison for her role in the attack. Duhamel, meanwhile, got back to doing what he does best: taking down big pots.
4. Sorel Mizzi
Lifetime Tournament Earnings: $7,823,106
Best Cash: 2013 GuangDong Millions – 3rd $2,073,868
A debatable entry in our list is the Canuck pro who invited controversy back in 2007 when, under the handle “Imper1um”, he was caught playing the account of a friend, Bluff Magazine journalist, Chris Vaughn. That it came in the late stages of a major online event was bad enough; that Mizzi went on to win the tournament was even worse. Caught out by Full Tilt, Mizzi was later disqualified and stripped of his winnings.
The cheating scandals aside, however, there’s no doubt that Mizzi is a great poker player. He stands at third place on the all-time Canadian money list, and recorded his best ever cash in 2013 when he came third at the Hong Kong Asia Millions.
5. Shawn Buchanan
Lifetime Tournament Earnings: $5.6 million
Major Titles: 2007 WPT Mandalay Bay Championship ($768,775)
He’s certainly one of the most talented and consistent Canadian pros of all time, yet Vancouver’s Shawn Buchanan has so many final tables and runner-up spots that he’s become known as the ‘Nearly Man’ of poker.
“Buck21″‘s only WPT title came in 2007 at the Mandalay Bay when he won almost $800,000, but since then he’s hit nine WSOP or WPT final tables, coming close on each occasion but failing to nail that all-elusive win.
Like so many of his Canadian peers Shawn is an accomplished online pro to boot, taking down titles like the PokerStars SCOOP in 2012.