There must be something in the water in Guelph.

For those of you who have no idea what this refers to, Guelph is a small city in southern Ontario (Canada).  It’s part of what is called the tri-cities, which also includes Kitchener and Waterloo.  Guelph is known as “The Royal City.”

Guelph is also increasingly known as a place that produces great poker talent.  Consider that World Series of Poker gold bracelet winner Gavin Smith grew up in Guelph.  Steve Paul-Ambrose, with nearly $2 million in live tournament winnings, lives near Guelph.  Mike McDonald, one of the top online players in the world, is from Guelph.  Grant Pittman, one of the best online cash games player lives nearby.  Then, there’s Howard Goldfarb, who finished as runner up to Dan Harrington in the 1995 WSOP Main Event Championship, who lives about an hour way.  Pat Pezzin, another respected pro, lives roughly the same distance, too.  Then there’s poker superstar Daniel Negreanu, who is originally from Toronto, which is about 40 miles away.

On the night of July 16th, Mark Radoja added his name to the powerhouse list of poker pros that now live or have lived in the Guelph area.  The 25-year-old poker pro just won the most recent WSOP event held in Las Vegas.  Radoja won the $5,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Shootout, earning $436,568 in prize money.  Radoja was also presented with his first WSOP gold bracelet, which is the ultimate symbol of achievement in the game of poker.

Radoja won a successive series of tough matches, en route to fame and riches.  It took three days and an 11-hour final table to determine the winner, which came when he made three tens on the final hand of the tournament, raking in the biggest poker prize of his life.

Jeffrey Gross, a 24-year-old poker pro, finished as the runner up.  He lives in Ann Arbor, MI -- which is three-hour drive from, you guessed it -- Guelph.

"Are you kidding me?  You've never heard of Guelph?" whined Gavin Smith when queried about his hometown.  "Guelph is a mecca that has created a lot of poker talent.  And if you use my quote in the official report, I'll give you $100."
Bad beat, Gavin.  Time to pay up.

A full report from this event will be posted shortly.  For a comprehensive recap of Event #24, please visit