Meet the Pro | Jonathan Duhamel

IMG_2249Backdoor Quads got the opportunity to talk with Jonathan Duhamel away from his busy schedule at the Global Poker Masters and the EPT Malta.

Considering it is the hot topic in the poker world right now, we asked Jonathan how he thought the GPM was going. “It’s really innovative because we’ve never seen this before. To have new ideas in the poker world, I think its really nice and it’s fun thanks to the different format. You play with your team! You never see teams in poker so I like it very much”.

As for Team Canada it’s interesting to see how the relationship between the players affects their game. “We had a breakfast meeting just to make sure everyone’s on the same page and we all do what we need to do for the team’s benefit. We are all good friends and we want to represent the country well”.

There were of course a few small problems with the inaugural GPM event and Jonathan voiced his opinion on what could be improved for next time. “Maybe just a few small changes to the structure, how fast it should be, how many teams get knocked out on the first day and also how many points you get. But people will adjust no matter what and for the first year of this competition, it was very very good”.

Jonathan Duhamel in the Global Poker Masters Playoffs
Jonathan Duhamel in the Global Poker Masters Playoffs

Moving away from the GPM we asked Jonathan about his poker origins, how he started out and built his way up to the top flight of poker. “I just started playing for fun with my buddies back home. We would play on Friday nights after school, we were about 15 or 16 years old. But after that I realised you could get better at the game, so I started studying strategy and played some small tournaments in Montreal. I kept on doing that and now I’m at the ‘World Cup’ of poker!”.

He also gave advice on how new players could try and improve their game. “First step is just play, that’s the easy one. You need experience and the more you play the more you’re going to get. Play live and play online as this makes you consider different aspects of the game. It’s also important to read about strategy. There are books available, videos online and the more you study, the more you play, the better poker player you will become”. 

Jonathan and myself have a selfie in front of the EPT Malta Main Event
Jonathan and myself have a selfie in front of the EPT Malta Main Event

With online streaming sites, such as Twitch, now hosting poker channels, we asked Jonathan if he thought this would benefit the poker world. “I definitely think it makes the game tougher because people are getting better, but that’s nice as it’s more challenging. Poker on Twitch is nice and it’s new! Personalities like Jason Somerville have been doing an amazing job and now the GPM is being streamed on there and it gives people, who have perhaps never seen poker before, a chance to watch it”. 

Jonathan has been playing a lot of poker over the last few days and he gave his advice on the best way to wind down after a long day at the tables. “Just go outside and get some fresh air. Go with your buddies, get something to eat or drink and talk about anything other than poker!”.

With the GPM concluding tonight but the European Poker Tour in Malta just kicking off, we asked what Jonathan’s plan was for the rest of his stay. “The plan is very simple. Canada is going to win the Global Masters and then tomorrow I’m going to play the main event and eventually win it. We’ll see if it works, I don’t know yet, but there are plenty of side events that also look pretty good if it doesn’t”.

Finally Jonathan told us his plan for the rest of the year and which events he has set his sights on. “I am going to be in Vegas for the World Series of Poker that’s for sure, and I’m going to try and win another bracelet. Recently I’ve been travelling a bit less than I used to, I’m trying to be home more often but I still want to be there for the big tournaments. I’ll also absolutely be at the EPT Barcelona. That’s my favourite EPT stop but after that I’m not sure”.

We wish Jonathan good luck in the conclusion of the GPM and all the best for the EPT in Malta and indeed future events.


Interview and article by Alec Pearce