A Look at Canada's Top Poker Players by Province
Before the 2017 World Series of Poker (WSOP) begins in just a few weeks, we wanted to take a look at the current rankings of the all-time top poker players in Canada.
While it’s an imperfect measure, we took a look at the top lifetime winnings in each province as well as all bracelet winners. As this data is all from Hendon Mob, the winnings are in US$.
As a whole, Canadians have won 54 WSOP bracelets, which is the most earned by any country outside of the obviously dominating United States. Almost half of those bracelets were won by players from Ontario (25) which stands out as Canada’s poker powerhouse, despite the province’s lack of live poker tournaments on its own soil.
Nationally, Daniel Negreanu is obviously the top player. He has won six WSOP bracelets and has more tournament winnings than any player in the world. Here’s how the top five in the country stack up:
Starting from the west coast, B.C. has 11 bracelets in their tally. Surprisingly, neither of the top two money earners have a bracelet. Shawn Buchanan has just under $6 million in winnings and Ami Barer has more than $3.3 million.
The province’s bracelet winners are Dan Idema who has three, Greg Mueller with two, and one each for Duncan Bell, Bob Chalmers, Robert Cheung, Zachary Fellows, Matt Jarvis, Rich Korbin, Calen McNeil, Ashkan Razavi, and Jason Warner.
These days, outside of the equally busy Playground Poker Club in Quebec, Alberta is Canada’s poker tournament capital. There are series running just about every month, and often more than one in a month. However, there is just one player who has had WSOP success. Randy Holland is an oldschool player who won two bracelets years ago. He was born in Alberta but resides in the States.
Holland also tops the lifetime earnings rankings, followed by the infamous Doug Lee to put just two players over the million-dollar mark. So far, local results have not translated into larger international success for Alberta players.
One province to the east, we find Saskatchewan to be a province of poker-playing brothers. Tyler Bonkowski holds the province’s one bracelet and he tops the all-time winnings, but below him are the Smith brothers, followed by the Bergren brothers.
A WSOP bracelet has not yet made its way to Manitoba. Famous sports bettor Haralabos Voulgaris tops the earnings but is unlikely to add much to that tally. He hasn’t cashed a tournament in half a decade. The second-best player in the province, Patrick Serda, is someone who may very well add big numbers to his earnings, and maybe the province’s first bracelet. He has been breaking out this past year on the live circuit after establishing himself online.
There is no argument that Ontario is where the bulk of Canada’s talent comes from. Aside from the 25 bracelets awarded to players in the province, there are also 24 players who have more than $1 million in earnings.
The WSOP winners include Daniel Negreanu’s six bracelets, Kristen Bicknell’s and Mark Radoja’s two apiece, and one each for Timothy Adams, Levi Berger, Kirk Caldwell, Simon Charette, Aadam Daya, Lukasz Dumanski, Max Greenwood, Sam Greenwood, Mike Leah, Michael Malm, Nenad Medic, Scott Montgomery, Justin Oliver, Gavin Smith, and Amanda Thompson.
Ontario is also home to the only female bracelet winners in the country. Kristen Bicknell and Amanda Thompson have both won WSOP’s female-only event and Bicknell further established her credibility with a second bracelet last year which was in an open event.
The French-Canadian contingent are the other poker powerhouse in Canada. There have been 11 bracelets won by players from Quebec: three for Jonathan Duhamel, two for Andre Boyer, and one each for Philippe Boucher, Erik Cajelais, Jason Duval, Pascal Lefrancois, Miguel Proulx, and Charles Sylvestre.
Quebec is also home to Canada’s only WSOP Main Event winner. Jonathan Duhamel easily leads the winnings with his 2010 victory.
Moving into the maritime provinces, there are far fewer millionaires and bracelets, which isn’t surprising considering the smaller population of these provinces. Nobody in New Brunswick has surpassed a quarter million in winnings.
Despite being the province with the smallest population (under 150,000 by the last census), Benny Chen brought a bracelet home to the island when he won the first-ever Millionaire Maker event at the WSOP. He’s the only player with seven figures of earnings, and only one other player has six figures.
|4||Jessie Anne Wheatley||$58,976|
Nova Scotia has a disproportionate number of millionaires considering their small population. More players from this province have earned more than a million dollars than players from Alberta, despite the latter having more than four times the population.
They don’t have a bracelet yet, but money-leading Owen Crowe is a strong contender to be the first. Eric Place came very close in 2015, finishing runner-up in the Monster Stack event.
Newfoundland and Labrador
The money leader, Mike Watson, is a clear standout from Newfoundland. He sits in the fifth spot in the country and is miles ahead of anyone else from his home province. No bracelet has been earned by a Newfoundlander yet, but Watson is a predictable favourite to get it done. He cashed an incredible eight events last year, finishing runner-up in one.
Moving into Canada’s territories, the Yukon is most established in poker, though it pales in comparison to all the provinces. The famous (infamous?) Brad “Yukon Brad” Booth is from the Yukon and he tops the list for tournament winnings, though his career was far more involved in cash games.
If you’d like to be able to call yourself the best poker player around, the Northwest Territories might be a good place to set up residence. A tournament cash of $5,000 would put you in second place in the territory. You could top the rankings with a still-small score of $22,000.
While players have only had since 1999 when Nunavut was established to collect winnings, nobody from the largest and most northern territory seems to be travelling for poker. Money-leading Harry Kuksuk has a trio of cashes from Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and Stephen Kingarauvak has one from Saskatchewan. These are the only two people from Nunavut to cash a recorded tournament.
That’s a look at the best poker players in Canada by province. The 2017 WSOP begins on May 31 and we’re likely to see some changes to these rankings by the end of the summer if Canadian players find significant results in Las Vegas. Follow PokerNews Canada as we follow the Canadian contingent through the World Series of Poker.