Duhamel: Over 40 Will Play WSOP $1 Million Big One

Jonathan Duhamel
Jonathan Duhamel is playing the Big One, and he's also a spokesperson for One Drop.

According to former world champion Jonathan Duhamel, over 40 players will enter the Big One at the 2012 WSOP, meaning it will boast the biggest first-place prize in poker history.

The WSOP has posted the payout structure and if 30 players register the first place prize will be $12,266,668.20, besting the current $12 million record set in 2006 by Jamie Gold.

But if you trust what Duhamel says, it’s going to be even bigger.

“It’s going to be over 40 for sure,” Duhamel told PokerListings.com at the LA Poker Classic.

“I think between 40 and 48 players will play, so it’s going to be a lot of money for the winner,” he said.

The WSOP has actually put a cap on this event at 48, a move that has puzzled the poker world since it was announced.

But if the event hits that cap, and judging by Duhamel’s comments that’s a real possibility, the winner would walk away with over $18.2 million.

If that happened today, the champion would instantly become poker’s all-time live tournament money winner.

The all-time money list leader right now is Erik Seidel. Both he and Phil Ivey have over $16 million in earnings, but Seidel is currently up a few hundred thousand.

Statistics aside, poker fans have something unprecedented to look forward to this summer.

jonathan duhamel
Jon Duhamel finished second in the LAPC $5k and he's got a stack in the main event.

“There’s a lot of businessmen that are going to play that event so the dynamic’s going to be pretty amazing, the biggest poker players in the world and a bunch of these rich businessmen,” said Duhamel.

“It’s going to be interesting to see how useful bluffing your stack is since it’s really going to mean something to everyone,” he said.

And the fact that over $111,000 of every buy-in is going to charity makes it something truly special in the world of poker.

“And because it’s for One Drop, which I’m the spokesperson for, is just amazing,” said Duhamel.

“I’m so happy to be a part of it and it’s just going to be huge.”

One Drop, an organization based in Montreal, Canada fights to improve living conditions in poverty-stricken areas world-wide by supporting access to water.

Former Champ Putting His Stamp on 2012

Jonathan Duhamel has been on an absolute heater so far in 2012, and if he can keep that momentum going he’s going to be in a great spot heading into the Big One.

So far this year he’s made over $1.2 million, including big scores in events with buy-ins as high as $100,000.

In fact, he was one of only two players to cough up a $100k rebuy for the Super High Roller at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure.

He ended up finishing fourth and profiting to the tune of $113,000. Just one week later he took second in the $25k PCA High Roller for $634,500.

In short, Duhamel has been proving that he’s anything but a one-hit wonder.

“I’ve always said that I play for myself, and it’s true,” explained Duhamel.

“First I want to prove to myself that I belong here, so playing those High Roller events is about proving to myself that I can play with those guys.

Jonathan Duhamel
Duhamel playing in the 2012 LA Poker Classic.

“If my results show that I’m a good player then that’s a great thing, but my main goal is to know myself that I can play with all the big guys and compete with them,” he said.

This summer he’ll have another chance to test his mettle against the best in the world, this time for the highest tournament stakes ever played.

Learning and Growing from December Home Invasion

In December of 2011 Jon Duhamel was the victim of a disturbing home invasion. He was assaulted and robbed in his home in Montreal.

“It’s pretty heavy shit and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, but you learn from it and you become a better person,” said Duhamel.

“I think it helped me put some things in perspective, about what’s really important in my life,” he added.

And according to Duhamel, the experience galvanized him for poker in the New Year.

“After what happened in December I had about two weeks at home with nothing to do but be in my own head, so coming into the PCA I was really focused,” he said.

“I haven’t been that focused since the final table of the WSOP Main Event.”

Click through here to read the full interview transcript of the conversation we had with Jon Duhamel at the LA Poker Classsic.

Click here to check out our running bio list of everyone who has committed to playing the WSOP $1 million Big One.

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