They’ve won millions in such tournaments as WSOP, European Poker Tour and Epic Poker League. Many are younger than 40, while some even haven’t seen 30. More importantly, these famous casino playing magnates are from Canada, and they’re setting the world afire.
Many noteworthy professional poker, roulette, keno and blackjack players frequent worldwide casinos, both online and offline, pulling millions from house jackpots. People identify places like United States, Japan, European countries and even South Americans as birthing grounds for these globally dominant gamblers. What may surprise you, however, is many actually come from Canadian provinces and win more money than many will ever see; here are 7 to adore.
Don’t confuse this Ontarian with an American-born soft rock superstar. Born in 1989, McDonald became the youngest poker superstar to win both EPT and EPL jackpots, has come in sixth in WSOP play, and continues to squeeze Canadian, European and American casinos until they bleed chips. To date, McDonald’s total winnings amass $10M. Currently, the youngster calls Ontario his home, although he continues traveling to tournaments in hopes of pulling yet another European Poker Tour victory. His nickname? Timex.
Newfoundland born gambler Mike Watson gained notoriety for winning the World Poker Tour in 2008, raking in slightly over $1.63M in the Bellagio Cup IV. “SirWatts”, the nickname he’s earned throughout his brief poker career, has bagged an impressive $6.7M in lifetime table earnings, most of which was on worldwide tours. Many of his travails are recorded via blog, although it appears he’s been busy cleaning out cashiers as the last post is 18 months old.
“Birdguts” is no stranger to WSOP, having won there several times. Hailing from Guelph, Ontario, Smith gained Canadian notoriety by capturing 2010 WSOP’s Mixed Hold ‘Em tournament, a nice shiny bracelet and over $263,000. Poker has proven lucrative for Gavin, although his father broke him into the world of cards playing cribbage and rummy. All told, Smith’s career earnings exceed $5.3M, although with television shows and his personal ventures would raise his earnings well into the $10M range.
Canada’s 11th richest man and poker aficionado, Guy began his lucrative path towards poker stardom busking by playing accordions, and even eating fire. Soon thereafter, the Quebec City native founded Cirque du Soleil, the massive circus seen worldwide. With an estimated net worth exceeding $2.6B, poker equates to grandmother knitting – it’s a hobby. Most of his winnings have gone towards charitable organizations. When not flipping cards, Guy loves space travel (yes, he’s the first Canadian tourist to endure space travel) and philanthropy.
Playing poker both online, and live, has quickly sprung Sorel into Canadian notoriety. With winnings in excess of $2.6M in live poker table play and an undisclosed amount of online winnings, “Imper1um” concentrates more on his Titan Poker sponsorship than live matches, although he’s known for representing Titan at WSOP Euro events. Mizzi has found success amidst scandal, having been caught using the account of another individual during an online Full Tilt Poker match. He currently resides in Toronto, and owns three finals table honors.
Originally hailing from Hong Kong before migrating to Vancouver, Cheung made his mark by earning his only WSOP bracelet by slamming Richard Murnick in perhaps the shortest heads-up match ever. Currently, he works the online poker circuits with Poker Stars being his staple breadwinner; apart from live play, he’s managed only two money finishes in World Poker Tour play. Although his live winnings barely reach $1.5M, it’s speculated his online winnings push his lifetime poker earnings into the $4M range.
Having won the $8.9M WSOP prize in 2010, Duhamel vaulted ahead of nearly every poker star on this list combined in career winnings. Currently residing in Boucherville, Quebec, Duhamel is credited with $12M in table winnings alone, not accounting for online poker play. His 2010 victory marked Canada’s first WSOP outright main event winner, but his bracelet would eventually come with serious consequences. In 2011, Duhamel was not only badly beaten in an apparent home invasion, he lost his Rolex, 500Euro and his WSOP keepsake.
By no means should this list be considered exclusive, considering the many Canadian gamblers, talk show personalities and philanthropists that frequent online, WPT and WSOP events.