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On Top of the World

by Brendan Murray |  Published: Jan 01, 2011


It took just 43 hands for French-Canadian Jonathan Duhamel to make his huge chip advantage pay against John Racener, his heads-up opponent at the final table of this year’s World Series of Poker main event.
With a six-to-one chip advantage Duhamel just needed to be patient. And he was. Racener only saw one decent hand, Q-Q, and doubled up with it. Nevertheless the $5.5 million dollars should ease his pain a little.
Congratulations to Duhamel, the first Canadian to win the WSOP world title, as well as the first native French speaker.
In his post-game interview he appeared humble and pledged to be the best ambassador for the game that he could — a sentiment we echo and wish him all the very best with in what will be tumultuous months ahead.
A New Kind of Bluff
The Irish Winter Festival proved the most fun I’ve had at a poker tournament in a long time.
Not withstanding the usual carry on in the bar I was arm-jacked by Paddy Power’s Jonny Natas to take part in the Blind Man’s Bluff World Championship.
Despite protesting that I only had €55 on me — enough for a few more drinks and a cab home — he had me half way to the tournament area before my protest was finished.
He assured me he would find the other €55 for the buy in from somewhere and that it was the only opportunity I would ever have to play a genuine world championship event.
It was hard to disagree with such flawless rationale.
Two minutes later I was sat in the tournament being patiently shown how to deposit my cards into my headband, so they could be seen by others (but not by me), under the erroneous impression I was being part-staked by legendary bankroller Neil Channing.
Needless to say, having had a few drinks and arriving late, I was the fish at the table but not before I’d outlasted a few aggressive bluffers and made it to the first break.
The 30-minute stoppage seemed unnecessary as I was having so much fun and it irreparably damaged my momentum. I was out soon afterwards playing suited connectors (good move Brendan) all in under the gun (bad timing Brendan).
My vanquisher went on to win the tournament I think (and €1,985) but the biggest laugh of all was reserved for the next day when I apologised to Channing for doing his dough in such a weak fashion. He took it well though and I told him I would mention his kind gesture in my next editorial.
I told the story to Natas from Paddy Power who went slightly apoplectic in his rush to insist it was his money, which he’d merely borrowed from Channing in the haste to help me win my first ‘bracelet’ event.
Sorry for the confusion gents. But really, the more confusion surrounding this event, the greater the craic. I’m looking forward to next year already and have been working on a more robust strategy. Bluffers be warned. ♠