A number of Canadian poker players had great success in 2014. Mike McDonald had the most incredible start to a year in poker history, Daniel Negreanu became the all-time money leader, several Canadians shipped their first major live titles, the poker community is booming, and cash is ripe for the taking. Canada will dominate in 2015. Here are my top five predictions for the coming year:
Timex will win more than $5,000,000 in 2015
With the utterly unbelievable start that Mike ‘Timex’ McDonald had last year, we can only imagine how the young Canadian superstar will take the momentum into the new year. In a span of 35 days in 2014, McDonald won over $5.3 million.
The line-up of high roller and main events to kick off the year is a poker player's dream. There is a $100,000 Super High Roller and $25,000 High Roller at PokerStars Caribbean Adventure starting this week. McDonald final-tabled the Super High Roller in 2014 to start his heater. There is also the $10,000 Main Event, where McDonald almost made history by becoming the first two-time European Poker Tour (EPT) Champion.
Less than a month later, the Aussie Millions Poker Championship begins in Melbourne, featuring multiple $10,000-and-up events. In 2014, McDonald finished second and third in the two largest buy-in events — a $250,000 and $100,000 Challenge. We’ll be keeping an eye on Timex in the coming weeks. But, by the end of the year, I predict he will have cashed for at least $5,000,000.
Canada will sweep the World Poker Tour Canadian Trifecta
After the success in 2014, the World Poker Tour (WPT) should be back in Canada for at least three events (last year was the first year for three in Canada). In 2014, two of the three main events were captured by Canadians. First, Matthew Lapossie shipped WPT Fallsview, then Jason Comtois followed it up with a win at the WPT Canadian Spring Championship.
We fell just short of a sweep as Canadian online grinder Ratharam Sivignanam lost a tough heads-up battle with American Jonathan Jaffe at partypoker.net WPT Montreal.
I predict a three-event sweep by Canadian players in 2015 for all of the WPT Main Events held in Canada. I will even be as bold to say Mike Leah, Sam Chartier, or Sivignanam will battle heads-up for a title.
Daniel Negreanu will retain #1 money title
In the summer of 2014, at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) in Las Vegas, ‘Kid Poker’ placed second in the $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop for a prize of $8,288,001. The largest single tournament cash of Negreanu’s career boosted his lifetime earnings to $29,833,327 and lifted him into the top spot of the all-time money list, surpassing Antonio Esfandiari.
It will not be easy for anyone to catch Negreanu. There will be no $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop event at this year’s WSOP. Instead the buy-in is reduced to $100,000. Negreanu has a decent lead on his two closest competitors. Esfandiari is behind by just over $3,000,000, and the winner of the 2014 One Drop $1,000,000 event, Daniel Colman, now sits at just under $23,000,000.
The early 2015 High Roller line-up also suits Negreanu. Look for him to add to his bankroll right out of the gate. Negreanu will then set his sights on the World Series. Negreanu put himself in great spots to capture his seventh WSOP gold bracelet in 2014. He’ll be hunting for that elusive hardware this summer.
Benger will ship a major title
Griffin 'Flush_Entity' Benger captured his first live major tournament win at the EPT Berlin festival in April, 2013, where he won the $10,000 High Roller for $562,343. This summer, in Vegas at the WSOP, Benger made a deep run in the Main Event, busting 90th for $72,369.
Benger moved on to participate in the inaugural PokerStars Shark Cage. He won his heat and secured a seat in the winner-take-all final table of eight for a $1,000,000 prize. Up against the likes of Philipp Gruissem, Ole Schemion, and two-time EPT Champion Vicki Coren-Mitchell, Benger grabbed the chip lead early and cruised to victory.
I expect Benger to make appearances at a number of live major final tables this year. The former world #1-ranked online pro will earn his first main event title in 2015.
Canadian November Niner
Canadians did not have a great WSOP last summer. It was, in fact, the worst showing our country has had in Las Vegas since 2002. Compared to 2013 when Canada captured 10 gold bracelets, the most by any other country in one series other than America, 2014's series ended with zero wins for our countrymen.
Canada has not had a representative at the Main Event final table in back-to-back years since the conception of the November Nine. Scott Montgomery started the trend in 2008. Jonathan Duhamel became the World Champion in 2010. Matthew Jarvis was also at the 2010 final table. Two years passed before the next Canadian November Niner. Marc-Etienne McLaughlin finished sixth in 2013.
I predict we will have a Canadian player in the November Nine of the 2015 WSOP Main Event.