Canadians Dominating the 2013 World Series of Poker
Today, June 21, marks the official half-way point of the 2013 World Series of Poker. After more than 3 weeks of non-stop, multi-tournament action, half of the total 62 tournaments have come to an end, distributing compounded prize pools across massive bubbles, as well as bracelets to the outright winners of each event. With so much going on, one of the most notable factors thus far is the indubitable prowess of Canadians partaking in this year’s WSOP.
Of all 31 bracelets awarded thus far, 22.5% of them have gone to Canadian natives. Only halfway through the 44th Annual World Series of Poker, and those numbers are high enough to break the record for most bracelets awarded to any one region outside of the United States throughout any complete range of annual WSOP Events. The record of six was previously set in 2010, but now belongs to O’ Canada with 7 gold bracelets under its belt and many more events to go before the dealing – of both cards and bracelets – is done.
If Canadians made up a larger portion of the fields, it would make more sense that they are doing so well in the final tables. However, Canadian poker players only make up 5.1% of all the tournament fields played thus far. Maybe it’s something in the water up there – maple syrup, perhaps? – but it’s obvious the WSOP’s neighbors to the north mean business this year at the Rio Las Vegas.
Canada’s lucky streak started off early when Charles Sylvestre, a real estate broker from Saint Bruno, Quebec, took down re-entry Event #3, $1,000 NL Holdem, outlasting a field of 3,164 to claim the gold and a $491,360 payday. A few days later, Benny Chen, a restaurant owner from Prince Edward Island, Canada, made an even more impressive run in Event #6, the $1,500 Millionaire Maker. With a total of 6,343 entries, it became the largest live poker tournament outside of a WSOP Main Event. Chen eventually defeated Michael Bennington in heads-up to claim the massive $1,199,104 prize and the second WSOP bracelet for a Canadian player this year.
Next up was Michael Malm, a marketing specialist hailing from Coquitlam, British Columbia. Malm outlasted a much smaller field of 388 in Event #8, $2,500 8-Game Mix to earn his first gold bracelet in the WSOP, along with $225,104. Canadian poker pro Levi Berger took home the fourth bracelet for the nation in Event #11, $2,500 NL Holdem 6-Max, outpacing a field of 924 on his road to golden glory, along with a $473,019 paycheck in the bank.
Mark Radoja, a professional poker player from Guelph, Ontario, became the fifth Canadian to win a bracelet at the 2013 WSOP when he took down the high roller Event #16, $10,000 Heads-Up NL Holdem. Surviving a small but immensely skilled field of 162, Radoja finished off his final opponent, Don Nguyen, to snatch up the second WSOP bracelet of his career, and the event’s top prize of $331,190. Event #20, Omaha Hi-Low Split 8-or-Better, went to Calen ‘Big Wheel’ McNeil, a long-time poker pro from Victoria, British Columbia. McNeil has cashed in more than 2-dozen live poker tournaments, but none so lucrative as this one, adding $277,274 to his new total of $414,260 in career winnings; and, of course, the coveted bracelet to go along with it.
Last but not least, Jason Duval captured the lucky number seven WSOP bracelet for Canada with an outright victory over a field of 2,115 in Event #28, $2,500 NL Holdem. A 23-year old student and part-time poker player from Quebec, Jason Duval has had a whirlwind year on the felt. Duval cashed in his first major live poker tournament in March of 2012 and has since racked up $898,911 over 11 ITM finishes, including his bracelet win of $521,202 last week.
As usual, the Americans are still leading in the overall bracelet count, but if this pace continues for Canadian entrants to the 2013 World Series of Poker, a lot more bracelets could be heading north before all is said and done.