If you enjoy playing online poker in your free time, you’ve probably looked into various ways of improving your game. Like so many poker professionals have said, improving your poker game and strategy is about so much more than just sitting and practising at the table – it’s also about what you do when you’re away from the felt (or your computer.)
One of the best ways to boost your skills? Learning by watching the successes and failures of some of the world’s most respected pros. Luckily, Canada has always been home to its fair share of talented poker professionals, many of whom still dominate the Canadian gambling industry today. Here’s a look at some of the most famous Canadian poker players to both study and admire.
Toronto-born Negreanu boasts a whopping four World Poker Tour (WPT) titles, six World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets and two WPT championships. In many ways, he is the Lionel Messi of the Canadian poker world. Another reason he’s considered the ultimate Canadian poker pro? He is an inductee of the Poker Hall of Fame in Las Vegas – plus, he was ranked by the Global Poker Index as the best poker player of the decade in the 2010s. That’s extremely impressive, no matter where you’re from!
Despite not having the same number of accolades as Negreanu, Timothy Adams has won millions of dollars in prize money for competing in live poker tournaments, which is why he’s consistently ranked among Canada’s most famous poker players. The Burlington native began to play poker online at the age of 18 before turning pro shortly after, going on to win an esteemed WSOP bracelet in 2012.
While male-dominated, the Canadian poker industry has plenty of talented female pros, and not only is Evelyn Ng one of them, she’s arguably the best female poker player in Canada. She was born and raised in Toronto and has said that she ignited her competitive streak as a young teen when she started playing pool and soon developed an interest in the gambling world. Soon after, she stepped up as a blackjack and poker dealer at the very young age of 17. She dated fellow poker star Daniel Negreanu and credits him with teaching her how to go head-to-head with particularly aggressive players. Highlights of her career include participating in the King of Vegas television series and the WSOP main event.
Duhamel, born in Quebec, played poker with his high school friends for many years before turning pro. Today, he’s the proud owner of three WSOP bracelets and was the winner of the main event at the 2010 WSOP, making history as the first Canadian to walk away victorious at this esteemed event. To this day, he remains the only Canadian to have achieved this. His earnings have him ranked as the second most successful Canadian poker pro.
Another player from Toronto and originally a stock trader who played poker online in his free time, Sam Greenwood would eventually go on to win a WSOP bracelet in 2015. The Canadian poker pro has since won millions of dollars playing live poker events, recently winning the British Poker Open £10K Short Deck tournament. Based on his winnings, he’s considered the third most successful Canadian poker player, right behind Negreanu and Duhamel.
Mike McDonald, who was born in Waterloo and currently ranks in the top 10 of the Global Poker Index, has built up his reputation as a poker master from a very young age. In fact, he was the youngest person to win an event in both the European Poker Tour and the Epic Poker League. There are also rumours that he had managed to rake in approximately $300,000 by playing poker online before he even reached the legal gambling age!
If you’re a fan of online poker, you’ve probably heard of the online legend, Imper1um or Zangbezan24, both of which are aliases belonging to Canadian poker pro and Toronto native Sorel Mizzi. While focusing much of his attention on online poker tournaments at some of the best poker sites, Mizzi also often hedges his bets on live games and boasts millions in prize money as a result. He has made it to the final table at the WSOP three times and five times at the WPT.
Gavin Smith was a specialty poker player specializing in Texas Hold’em. He had a late start in the gambling industry, playing his first poker games with co-workers when he was in his mid-twenties, but quickly fell in love with the strategic nature of the game. Smith went on to win a WSOP bracelet and a WPT title before his untimely death in 2019. A memorial poker tournament dedicated to Smith, his life and his achievements was held at the 2019 WSOP as its opening event.
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