Exactly a week after Buchanan's triumph, Vancouver home-supply store manager Jason Warner defeated David Zeitlin heads-up to earn his first WSOP bracelet and $481,698 for a victory in the $1,500 NLHE Six-Handed event. Warner, who eschews online play in favor of local cardrooms at Vancouver casinos River Rock and Edgewater, had taken first in a Canadian Poker Tour at River Rock at the end of May and told PokerListings.com poker has "always been a passion. I taught myself how to play and it's gotten me pretty far now."
Just under two weeks later, Terrence Chan (who, as Joy Taylor reminded the world , "is not Johnny Chan"), finished second to Hoyt Corkins, coincidentally in another NLHE Six-Handed affair (this time a $2,500 buy-in event). Chan, who took home $287,345 for his finish, is one of the top Internet pros you've probably never heard of, having worked in Costa Rica for PokerStars.com as head of customer support from 2000-2004 before bringing it on back to Vancity to make his living as an online pro.
A proud Vancouverite and die-hard Canucks fan, Chan is someone you want to avoid at the tables both online and in person if you can (which may be getting easier as his immense poker talent becomes better known).
But the trend of Vancouver domination was not over, as five days after Chan's second-place finish, Vancouver businessman Robert Cheung took first place in Event 38, a $1,500 No Limit Hold'em tournament. Cheung bested a final table that included former blackjack professional Erica Schoenberg to register a $673,628 dent in the Rio Casino's coffers.
Cheung told PokerListings.com he began playing poker as a hobby at the River Rock, and that his strong business acumen translated into an aptitude for poker. Besides his first WSOP bracelet, Cheung has logged strong finishes in a WSOP Circuit event in Lake Tahoe and a couple of daily tournaments at Bellagio.
Since Cheung's victory, the WSOP winner's circle has been absent of British Columbian pros, but with seven bracelets yet to be crowned the chances are still good that another Vancouverite will log a high finish, especially with pros Brad Booth and Kyle Wilson yet to make any waves.
Whether or not the West Coast contingent shows up at any more final tables this year, however, it has been a wildly successful few months for poker players from Canada's third-largest city, and a WSOP that serves notice to the rest of the poker world that another high-stakes hot spot has emerged.
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