Jonathan Duhamel made poker history last November, as the first Canadian ever to win the World Series of Poker $10,000 No Limit Hold’em Championship. During his reign, we had several opportunities to interview Jonathan, as well as follow his progress as he stepped into the role of being one the most famous players of all time, doing his best to both continue dominate on the felts and give back a little good fortune in return; both through his donations of time or money.
While winning millions of dollars is life changing in many ways, after meeting Duhamel and the rest of the 2010 November Nine, our eyes where really opened to everything else that comes with it. For one, while only the last man standing will walk away with the title, all nine of the 2011 WSOP Main Event final table will find their paths changing significantly going forward; there will be scrutiny and constant media attention ahead, both in proving themselves on the felts as world caliber players and ambassadors to the game. Whether they are playing for the fame or the fortune, both lie around the corner for all nine and answering to many request for charitable appearance, promotional endeavors and any sponsorship obligations lie ahead. For the winner, financial freedom will come at the sacrifice of some personal privacy. Most players won’t have a problem with that considering the upside; almost anything the heart desires will be in reach along with having the opportunity to travel the world and enjoy it in a way few people are ever privileged to do so.
While the next few days will certainly see some heart aches and these players will be bitter enemies on that table, if 2010 was any indicator, regardless of the outcome and how the cards fall, these nine players will become the best of friends over the next year.
With the crowning of the World Champion just around the corner, we decided to catch up with Jonathan and get his take on a few questions:
CP: What advice do you have for the final nine? Was there anything you would do differently now, regardless of the epic result?
Jonathan Duhamel: “My best advice would be to keep it simple. Stay focused on the game. Having so many supporters can be a distraction and get you out of your usual routine, but at the same time you can feed off their energy! Of course I would not change a thing.”
CP: “Besides the money, what did you enjoy most about being the World Champion? Was there anything or experience that stands out above all others?”
Jonathan Duhamel: “Just the thrill of winning it! This is a life changing experience of course and everything goes so fast afterwards! Every day is special; the treatment everywhere is something special!”
CP: “Do you have a pick or favorite for this year?”
Jonathan Duhamel: “Not really. Hopefully the winner will realize this is more than just winning, it’s also about being an ambassador for the game.”
CP: “After one year, though you will always be the 2010 WSOP Main Event Champ, does it feel like anything will be missing next year?”
Jonathan Duhamel: “I don’t think so. I still plan on traveling and playing in the biggest tournaments in the world.”
CP: “Will you miss the constant media or embrace a little quiet? Anything you would recommend to the next winner regarding the press and fans?”
Jonathan Duhamel: “Obviously there will be a little less media attention, but I’ll still be available at every opportunity. The only thing I can recommend is to be at ease, speak your mind, and have fun. 99% of the interviews are done by people who care and who want to present you in a nice way, so just be there for them.”
CP: “Poker often analyzes past players and their role as ambassadors; what’s next for Duhamel?”
Jonathan Duhamel: “Poker, poker and poker. Besides, I will still be an ambassador for poker, for One Drop, for the Stardust poker room and of course, first and foremost for PokerStars!”
CP: “So you don’t foresee things slowing down for you much?”
Jonathan Duhamel: “Not at all! My book has just come out in French and will also be available in English in a few months. My travels allow me to talk about the One Drop Foundation, I have just started representing the Stardust Poker Mansion, THE poker room in Montreal, and I will continue to represent PokerStars all over the world in the biggest tournaments everywhere. Lots of work but I love what I do and wouldn’t change anything.”
CP: “Someone has to come second and you have gotten to know all the guys from your life changing final table. We are sure you have heard them all out. Any advice for the runners up?”
Jonathan Duhamel: “All these guys will see their life changed, whether they finish 9th, 2nd or first! Enjoy the ride!”