Berlin, Germany (23 October 2015) – Jonathan Duhamel joined the elite ranks of three-time World Series of Poker bracelet winners on Saturday, and he did so in spectacular fashion. Duhamel won the €25,600 High Roller event at the WSOP Europe at Spielbank Casino in Berlin, earning €554,395 for besting what he later described as the one of the toughest tournament fields of his career.
Duhamel’s second bracelet came earlier this year when he won the $111,111 High Roller for One Drop tournament, and he has now swept the 2015 high roller events.
“It feels even better than the second one,” Duhamel said after the event, his third bracelet in his hand as he spoke. “I felt like this tournament was really tough. It’s one of the toughest I’ve played in my life. To be able to win it, it means everything.”
As he talked about his plans to celebrate and what he has ahead of him, Duhamel spoke like someone whose life-work balance is important to him. He said he’s simply going to fly home, have a good dinner, and tomorrow play hockey with his friends. “I’m just trying to enjoy life,” he said, explaining that he was trying to spend a little less time playing poker so he could enjoy other activities.
Even so, we can expect to see him at more tournaments soon, and trying to win more bracelets next year. “It never gets old. It’s just an amazing feeling,” he said of the win. “Let’s go for number four now.” He said he’ll be back in Las Vegas next summer trying to make that happen. “When I won the Main Event in 2010, I told myself ‘I’m gonna win one every five years.’ And so in 2015, I win one, and I think, ‘Alright, Good. Number three is gonna be in 2020. And then this happened. It’s never been a goal to win 10 bracelets, or anything. You try to win every tournament you enter. But when there’s a bracelet on the line, it means a lot more.”
Second-Place Finisher Davidi Kitai
It was not an easy road to bracelet number three for Duhamel, and perhaps the biggest obstacle was his final opponent. Davidi Kitai was the short stack entering the final day, but started heads-up play nearly even in chips with Duhamel. Kitai is already in the World Series of Poker history books, having become the first Belgian ever to win a bracelet. He achieved the feat in 2008, and now has three WSOP gold bracelets to his name. He also has a record of success here at Spielbank. In 2012, he won the EPT Berlin at this very casino, and he returned to the table today seeking his fourth career bracelet and another major victory at Spielbank.
The penultimate final table of the 2015 World Series of Poker Europe got underway just a little after noon on Friday. This final table – along with the conclusion of the Main Event, to be played on Saturday – represent the culmination of this year’s WSOP overseas festival. They’re also (with the exception of the November Nine early next month), the last bracelet events of 2015, and therefore ended the contest for the 2015 WSOP Player of the Year. Mike Gorodinsky secured the title, holding off challenges from Brian Hastings and Shaun Deeb. Gorodinsky earned eight WSOP cashes in 2015, including four final tables and a victory in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship. Now, he’ll have a banner honoring his achievement raised in the Rio next summer alongside previous player-of-the-year winners.
The final table of the High Roller was, not surprisingly, an international affair, with four countries represented among the final six players. There were two Germans, two Canadians, an Italian and a Belgian.
The final table was also a showcase for the powerhouses of the poker world. Duhamel and Kitai were the only previous bracelet winners, but they had four formidable opponents.
The chip leader heading into the final table was Mustapha Kanit. Kanit is still looking for his first bracelet, but seems like he’s accomplished nearly everything else in the poker world, He won two high roller events earlier this year and has made over 30 career final tables, including two at WSOP events en route to more than $4.6 million in live tournament earnings.
The player to Kanit’s left at the final table – Fedor Holz – is right there with him in terms of recent success. After establishing himself as one of the world’s best online players, Holz has quickly started conquering the live tournament world as well. He just turned 22 years old a couple months ago, but already has over $2 million in live tournament earnings. He made the final table of a few high roller events earlier this year, then finished third in the $10,000 six-max tournament at the WSOP in July. He follow that up with a deep run in the Main Event, and is now widely considered one of the best young up and coming players in poker.
Holz’s fellow German Christoph Vogelsang started the final table second in chips behind Kanit. Vogelsang has only a handful of live cashes, but he makes them count, as almost all of them are high roller events. His biggest WSOP success to date came last year in the $1 million buy in Big One for One Drop tournament. He finished third for nearly $4.5 million.
Canadian Sam Chartier round out the final six. Chartier came into this event still seeking his first WSOP bracelet, but the biggest live cash of his career came in a WSOP Circuit victory for more than $322,000. He’s enjoyed tremendous success here at WSOP Europe. This is his third cash and second final table. (He finished in fourth place in the €3,250 event.)
The high roller event began on Wednesday, with late registration available through the early levels on Thursday. A total of 64 players registered, creating a prize pool of €1,584,000. The top seven players made the money. As play continued late Thursday night and the field was whittled down, three-time bracelet winner Jason Mercier was eliminated on the bubble in eighth place. Soon after, Timothy Adams finished in seventh place (€81,420), just missing out on the TV table. The remaining six players bagged up their chips to determine a winner on Friday.
The local favorites were the first players eliminated from the final table. The wunderkind Fedor Holz was first to go on Friday. He started six-handed play fourth in chips, and got off to a good start, winning the first hand of the day. Soon, though, his stack started to get short, and about two hours after that first hand he was eliminated by Jonathan Duhamel. Holz earns €96,625 for his sixth-place finish.
Christoph Vogelsang, the other German to return for the final day, was the next to exit. Vogelsang started the day second in chips, but never really gained any momentum at the final table. Just under 90 minutes after Holz’s elimination, Vogelsang got the last of his chips in the middle on the flop with top pair. But Mustapha Kanit turned a straight, and Vogelsang finished in fifth place for €121,020.
Four-handed play lasted more than 90 minutes. By the time the next player busted out, there blinds were at 40,000/80,000, and with 4.8 million worth of chips in play, there were only 60 big blinds on the table divided among the four players. So it’s no surprise that action started to pick up that level, and Sam Chartier ended up as the next elimination. His stack had dropped to a mere four big blinds, and when he pushed all in he ran into Mustapha Kanit’s pocket tens. Kanit’s pair held up, and Chartier finished in fourth for €160,775.
Mustapha Kanit – the start-of-day chip leader – soon followed him to the payout desk. When Chartier was eliminated, Kanit had about 1/3 of the chips on the table. But then he lost a big pot to Davidi Kitai. Just a few minutes later, Jonathan Duhamel won the rest of Kanit’s chips, and the successful Italian player was out in third.
Duhamel just had a slight lead over Kitai when Kanit was eliminated, but he soon increased his lead in a crucial hand. On a wet, ace-high board with both straight and flush possibilities, Duhamel made a big all-in river bet. Kitai thought for a couple minutes, but eventually folded, leaving himself with just about one million in chips, when the big blind was about to increase to 100,000. Duhamel said after the event that he held a flush. Even so, Kitai was left short-stacked. Soon after, Duhamel’s came out ahead against Kitai’s . Duhamel held all the chips, and has now matched Kitai’s career bracelet total with three.
Here are the results of Event #10: €25,600 High Roller No-Limit Hold’em.
1 – Jonathan Duhamel – €554,395
2 – Davidi Kitai – €342,620
3 – Mustaph Kanit – €227,145
4 – Sam Chartier – €160,775
5 – Christoph Vogelsang – €121,020
6 – Fedor Holz – €96,625
7 – Timothy Adams – €81,420