After 262 hands of the final table, 7,319 participants and months of grueling poker, Jonathan Duhamel was finally crowned the 2010 World Series of Poker Champion. The first Canadian national to win WSOP had entered the November Nine final table as the chip leader and favorite to win the tournament.
Looking back, it looks as if it was never in doubt but this was one of the most exciting WSOP Main Events ever. In what seemed like a pretty inevitable match up between Jonathan Duhamel and John Racener, a brave battle by the runner up made sure that the heads up wasn’t just a case of going through the formalities. In hand 229, Jonathan Duhamel looked to deliver a killer blow to his rival’s title aspirations. Having exchanged early victories, the 23 years old Canadian maintained a clear lead but when he hit a two pair on the river of Jacks over 4s. He raised to 6.9 million in an effort to apply a fatal knock to Racener’s hopes but Racener mucked. This still meant Racener was now clinging on with just 18,450,000 chips compared to Duhamel’s 201,150,000 chips. Was it almost time to close the deal? Effectively, Racener could be finished next hand. He needed to make a move soon.
The next hand saw Racener come out fighting. He knew it was all or nothing. He moved all in pre-flop. Duhamel called. Racener had nailed a pair of Queens. His rival had a King and 4 unsuited. Nothing falls for Duhamel as Racener doubles up to 36.9 million chips taking his rival down to well below 200 million chips and back into the mix. This game was back on!
Over the following 30 hands, Duhamel displayed what can only be described as the quintessential heads up strategy. Racener won the odd hand but it was more or less all about Duhamel bullying and pushing Racener all over the table. Down to 16.15 million chips come the 259th hand, Racener’s time was almost near. Three hands later, the climax arrived.
Racener called a pre-flop all in which, if Duhamel won, would see the Canadian crowned the WSOP Champion for 2010. Racener turned over a King and 8 of diamonds. Duhamel flipped over an Ace of spades and a Jack of hearts. The flop draws a 4 of clubs, 4 of diamonds and a 9 of spades. Duhamel was in pole position. Only a limited number of outs could save Racener’s tournament. The turn came and 6 of clubs meant neither player had gained anything. Racener now required an 8 or an Ace to stay in the tournament, or else Duhamel would be crowned champion. The river drew a 5 of clubs! Jonathan Duhamel was the new WSOP Champion for 2010!
It had been a superb effort which had seen the Canadian battle past some of poker’s greatest names such as Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey and Chris Moneymaker. He had entered the final table ahead of some quality players and maintained his lead until the last hand. He had held off a gritty come back by ‘The Grinder’ Michael Mizrachi and even destroyed the luck of Joseph Cheong to battle back from what was nearly a disastrous final table performance. He reached the heads up against John Racener and played what eventually proved to be the perfect heads up game. He is a deserved champion and is a player whose success is far from finished. Jonathan Duhamel is the new World Series of Poker Champion earning a huge $8,944,310. John Racener takes home $5,545,955 but misses out on the prize that cannot be valued which is the label of being seen as the greatest poker player on earth until this time next year.
Congratulations to Jonathan Duhamel for winning this year’s tournament but also applause must go to the other eight finalists who made this November Nine arguably one of the greatest final tables.