If you’ve been following Canadian poker over the last year, it’s hard to imagine that any Canadian poker player had a better year than Jonathan Duhamel. He won two World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets, both in high-priced events ($111,111 High Roller for One Drop and €25,600 High Roller), and a side tournament at the Borgata Poker Open and another at PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA). Yet, as 2015 came to a close, Mike McDonald finished as the top Canadian in the Global Poker Index (GPI) Player of the Year points race.
Right up until mid-December, Duhamel was the top Canadian on the GPI, but McDonald made an 11th-hour surge to outpace his fellow Canadian and earn the title of 2015’s best Canadian poker player.
McDonald racked up 15 live tournament cashes throughout the year for total winnings of $2,427,533 USD. The best were his runner-up finish in the $250,000 event at Aussie Millions, his fifth-place result in the €25,500 High Roller at European Poker Tour (EPT) Barcelona, and his victory in the €25,750 High Roller at EPT Malta which was his sole win of the year.
Despite trailing Duhamel late in the year, a strong showing at EPT Prague in mid-December with five cashes gave McDonald enough points to jump ahead.
But McDonald wasn’t the only player to leapfrog the 2010 WSOP Main Event Champion. Sam Greenwood had the best year of his career with 16 cashes worth $2,040,022 USD. The highlights include his sixth-place finish in the PCA Super High Roller, a seventh-place result in the EPT Malta High Roller, a WSOP bracelet win in a $1,000 event, fifth place in a $5,000 WSOP event, sixth in another EPT Malta High Roller, sixth in the EPT Malta Main Event, and runner-up in the EPT Prague Super High Roller. His great success in Prague saw this standout Greenwood brother jump ahead of Duhamel in December as well.
When the calendar flipped on a new year, McDonald finished with a score of 3,689.68 points, a whisker ahead of Greenwood’s 3,678.50. Duhamel trailed with 3,483.83. In the global rankings, McDonald was No. 17 in the world for 2015 while Greenwood stood in No. 19 and Duhamel at No. 25.
The top female Canadian performance of the year was earned by Xuan Liu who managed nine cashes. Her best was a fourth-place finish at the Seminole Hard Poker Open series for $70,900. She finished the year as the No. 22 Canadian in the GPI Player of the Year.
With January barely started, McDonald has blasted out of the starting gate with a significant score already in the books for 2016. He finished eighth in the $200,000 Super High Roller at World Poker Tour National Philippines for $351,320, looking to keep his momentum rolling into the new year.