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Canadian Amateurs Winning Big at World Series of Poker
So far this summer two Canadian amateur poker players have won WSOP gold bracelets and cashed in for a combined total of almost $1.5 million.
The most recent Canadian recreational player to win a bracelet is Michael Malm, a newspaper salesman originally from BC who now lives about an hour from Niagara Falls, Ontario.
Malm joins PEI native Benny Chen in the winner's circle. Chen, who manages a Chinese takeout restaurant in Charlottetown, came out on top in one of the biggest tournaments in poker history.
Chen won the first ever “Millionaire Maker” event, defeating 6,342 other poker players and turning a $1,500 investment into almost $1.2 million.
“I would like to be a pro poker player but my job doesn't give me a ton of time to try,” Malm told PokerListings.com after receiving his bracelet.
“But I play as much as I can and my results give me some hope that I could make it one day.”
Malm has never played online poker and has limited access to live games near his home in Southern Ontario.
To get his poker fix Malm travels to places like the Bahamas and here to Las Vegas. Malm roughly doubled his lifetime live poker earnings with his $225,104 bracelet-win Wednesday.
And as it turns out Malm didn't even plan to play this event.
He had just come second in a daily deepstack tournament at the Rio for almost $20k and missed registration on another deepstack the next day.
Registration was still open for the $2,500 Eight-Game mix bracelet event, however, and Malm jumped in despite never having played some of the games.
“I had never actually played Razz or 2-7 Lowball before this tournament but I watched a few videos so I knew the basics,” he explained.
“My strategy was to stick to the games I know best and just fold a lot in the other games and that's basically how I got through the tournament.”
PEI's Benny Chen Becomes Instant Poker Millionaire
Just a few days ago Prince Edward Island local Benny Chen survived one of the biggest tournament fields ever assembled.
The restaurant manager from Charlottetown smashed his way through over 6,000 players to win $1,199,104.
And just like Malm, Chen only plays poker tournaments when he can get enough time off from his day job.
Malm and Chen talk as though they could see themselves turning pro one day, but they both seem content to keep a guaranteed pay check and play poker on the side.
“It still hasn't sunk in but it's an amazing feeling to win,” Chen told PokerListings.com in Las Vegas.
“I'm going to have to reevaluate after this series and figure out exactly what I'm going to do in poker,” he added.
Malm's victory Wednesday was the third bracelet of 2013 for Canada. Montreal poker pro Charles Sylvestre took down almost $500k when he won the summer's first $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em event.
Canada is second in all-time WSOP bracelet wins with 36, trailing the United States' 849.