This is turning out to be the Canadian Series of Poker.

In yet another remarkable night for the neighbors to the north, not one but two Canadian players won gold bracelets.  A few hours after Justin Oliver, from Toronto fought his way to victory on an adjacent stage, Daniel Idema achieved his second career gold bracelet win.

Idema won the $1,500 buy-in Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split tournament, collecting $184,590 in the process.  His win comes two years after his first victory, which came in the $10,000 buy-in Limit Hold'em championship, held in 2011.

Idema's name is normally not among those in discussion of the most successful WSOP players in recent years, but he should be.  Idema has now cashed 19 times – all since 2010.  He's made five final tables, including two wins and a second.  Those numbers belong up there with just about anyone.

Cheered on by several fellow Canadians, Idema enjoyed his time at the table to the max.  He and his competitors occasionally drank shots, giving the finale a more festive atmosphere than one customarily sees at WSOP final tables.  

Idema is highly competitive, largely stemming from his earlier years as an athlete.  Now age 28, he has been playing poker professionally for about five years.  He started taking the game seriously when he was playing professional ice hockey in Holland.  Given that the pay of European hockey wasn't as lucrative as playing poker, combined with his limited prospects for eventually playing for an NHL team, Idema returned to his native Vancouver and started focusing seriously on his game as a full-time pro.

Idema's prospects for victory in this tournament didn't appear good.  He was short-stacked during significant parts of the final table.  He also faced a formidable lineup of foes, including some of the game's best – most notably Seven-Card Stud legend Artie Cobb.

However, Joseph Hertzog proved to be Idema's greatest challenge.  The Californian ended up finishing second after a long but fun heads-up battle that had plenty of talking and toasting.

Idema's victory gives him in excess of $1 million in career earnings at the WSOP.

As for Canada, their overall results are unprecedented at the WSOP.  The nine wins to date means that about 23 percent of the gold bracelets will be transported to the north following the series.  Considering that only around five percent of most WSOP tournaments fields are Canadians, they are currently outperforming expectations by a wide margin.

What might be most scary of all for future competitors – neither Dan Idema of the Canadians are finished.


MEET GOLD BRACELET WINNER – DANIEL IDEMA

Name:  Daniel Idema
 
Current Residence:  Vancouver, BC (Canada)
 
Birthplace:  Vancouver, BC (Canada)
 
Age:  28
 
Marital Status:  Single
 
Children:  None
 
Occupation:  Professional Poker Player
 
WSOP Cashes (including this event):  19
 
First WSOP Cash (year):  2010
 
WSOP Final Table Appearances:  5
 
WSOP Wins (with this victory):  2
 
WSOP Career Earnings:  $1,016,526


INTERVIEW WITH THE CHAMPION

WSOP:  How does it feel to win your second WSOP gold bracelet?
 
Idema:  I feel terrific.  It's a lot of money, and a second bracelet.  It's quite an honor.

WSOP:  How do you explain Canadian players performing so well at the WSOP this year?
 
Idema:  I can't event tell you.  Everything is just going our way.  It's pretty fortunate.  I'm happy that all my friends are dominating here.

WSOP:  You were short-stacked a good part of this finale, including being down to the felt a few times.  Can you discuss?
 
Idema:  It was tough.  I was getting run over.  I made some big folds and then caught a bit of a rush.  I started catching card after card after card.  It was amazing.  When the cards start to fall in your lap, it's a lot easier than having to face tough decisions.

WSOP:  Can you talked about playing Joseph Hertzog heads-up at the end?
 
Idema:  It was tough, but I think I got heads-up with the best player at the table.  Things went my way.  I had some adversity, but things turned around.  What a relief.

WSOP:  What are your plans the rest of the series?
 
Idema:  I'm going to take a little bit of a break.  I think I've earned it.  But I'm certainly going to be playing some more events.  The Main Event is coming up, too.  So you will see more of me.

WSOP:  Anyone you want to say thanks to?
 
Idema:  I just want to thank all my friends who are here and everywhere.  This win is for them.


ODDS AND ENDS

Poker Hall of Fame member Linda Johnson cashed in ninth place.  

Poker legend Artie Cobb cashed in eighth place.  He's arguably the most accomplished Seven-Card Stud tournament player of all time, with four gold bracelets in that form of poker.  Cobb won this event back in 1983.

Poker Hall of Fame member Phil Hellmuth cashed for the 99th time in his career.  This ranks first on the all-time WSOP cashes list.