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Jonathan Duhamel Leaves PokerStars

2010 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event Champion Jonathan Duhamel is reportedly no longer a PokerStars sponsored player. The quiet, affable poker pro had been a member of Team PokerStars since January 2011.

Originally reported by PokerNews.com, it had been rumored that something was up when Duhamel was seen in preliminary events at the World Poker Tour (WPT) Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown this month sans PokerStars patch on his attire. That did not necessarily mean anything, but it is unusual for sponsored pros to not wear any logo of their associated poker room. One day without a patch or cap or what-not may just be an oversight, but multiple days in a row is probably a sign.

Duhamel has not made any sort of public statement about the decision, but did tell PokerNews that Duhamel and the poker room simply “won’t be working together in the future.”

Jonathan Duhamel Image source: @JonathanDuhamel Twitter account

Jonathan Duhamel
Image source: @JonathanDuhamel Twitter account

Jonathan Duhamel leapt into the consciousness of poker fans when he won the 2010 WSOP Main Event in 2010 at the age of 23, becoming the first Canadian to do so, winning nearly $9 million in the process. He was no luckbox, one-hit wonder, either. Unlike many WSOP champions since the poker boom, Duhamel has kept his success going through the years. The following January, he won the European Poker Tour (EPT) Deauville High Roller event and then finished fourth in the 2011 NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship two months later.

January 2012 was quite special for Duhamel, as he went on a string of exceptional cashes in live tournaments. He finished fourth in the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) Super High Roller event, earning $313,600, then won the PCA $5,000 8-Max No-Limit Hold’em event for $239,830. Right after that, he was runner-up in the High Roller version of that same event, good for $634,550.

All told, Duhamel has won about $12.8 million in his live tournament career, which means he has won around $4 million in tournaments other than the 2010 WSOP Main Event. Not too shabby.

His rise to poker stardom has not come without its problems, though. Becoming a wealthy public figure can make one a target, and it did so in Duhamel’s case. On the morning of December 21st, 2011, two men – later identified as John-Stephen Clark-Lemay and Anthony Bourque – entered Duhamel’s home and proceeded to tie up, beat, and threaten to kill the poker champ. The men stole his WSOP bracelet, a Rolex watch gifted to him by PokerStars to commemorate his win, CAD $40,000, and €74,000.

Duhamel was banged up, but overall ended up okay, considering the circumstances. In the days following the attack, Duhamel posted on his blog that he was less concerned about the money, hoping the bracelet and watch would be found:

The thieves stole some money, but mainly my WSOP champion’s bracelet and the Rolex watch that my sponsor, PokerStars, gave me to commemorate the event. I won’t hide the fact that these two items have a much larger value for me than their commercial value, and I really hope we will be able to retrieve them in (the) near future.

The two items have since been recovered, as has much of the money. The WSOP bracelet was actually found by a Montreal street cleaner, who noticed it while emptying his refuse bin. It assumed that the culprits decided they couldn’t risk having such an identifiable piece of evidence on them, so they tossed it out the car window when fleeing the scene. The bracelet was obviously quite damaged, but one of the more amusing things is that the robbers scratched Duhamel’s name off the reverse. Considering it is still a fancy WSOP Main Event champion bracelet engraved with the name and date of the tournament, as well as the name “Jonathan,” scratching off the last name would not conceal the identity of the bracelet’s owner and therefore proof of the crime. Perhaps Clark-Lemay and Bourque realized this as they were scratching Duhamel’s name off the bracelet, prompting them to jettison the piece.

It turned out that Duhamel’s ex-girlfriend, Bianca Rojas-Latraverse, was the mastermind behind the crime. He had suspected her because his assailants knew the layout of his home and exactly where his safe was. She was caught because of carelessness. Two witnesses testified that she had talked about her plan three weeks before the incident. Then, early in the morning of December 21st, she actually texted about it. Brilliant.

Rojas-Latraverse named Clark-Lemay and Bourque as her accomplices after her arrest two days after the break-in.

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