We sat down with 2010 world champion of poker Jonathan Duhamel to talk WSOP Big One attendance, the ridiculous heater he's on in 2012 and what he learned from his unfortunate home invasion in December.
Keep reading for the full interview transcript, and click here to read our feature story.
PokerListings.com: Your results this year have been phenomenal, even before finishing second in the $5k here a few days ago, and now you’ve got a big stack in the main. How much does that momentum and confidence help?
Jonathan Duhamel: I’m feeling really good right now for sure. The start of the year is so good for me and I feel like I’m running really good which is huge for my confidence.
When I got that second in the $5k I came into the tournament really confident and really knowing I can do well and it really is a big help, when you feel like you can make all the right decisions.
And I felt like that when I came into the main event yesterday. Just not really playing too many big pots, but chipping up with lots of small pots and just building a stack.
And that’s more or less what I’m trying to do today. I don’t want to get involved in too many big pots, having a big stack.
What are the biggest differences you see in the way you’re playing, or the way people are playing against you, when you’ve got this momentum and confidence?
I think it’s about timing mostly. I don’t think I’m really playing looser or tighter, it just seems like every single time you make a move it’s the right one. When you’re bluffing you get folds and when you’ve got it the other guy is calling you down.
And when the other players at the table see that your timing is really on, they’re more likely not to play hard against you. So they might start playing a bit tighter against you which is always good.
With everything that happened to you in December, and now all the success that you’re having, do you feel like the two things are connected?
I don’t know, it’s tough to say. After what happened in December I had about two weeks at home with nothing to do but be in my own head, coming into the PCA I was really focused.
I haven’t been that focused since the final table of the WSOP Main Event. Obviously I ran pretty good there, but I had a lot of confidence.
I lost my stack so fast in the $100k but I decided to rebuy because I felt like I was really prepared for the trip and really focused.
I don’t want to say it’s connected but maybe it’s karma, who knows.
What are you taking away from the experience you had in December?
I’m definitely always trying to learn from the things that happen to me, and this is a good example. Instead of just crying about what happened you have to learn from it and grow.
It’s pretty heavy shit and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, but you learn from it and you become a better person.
I think it helped me put some things in perspective, about what’s really important in my life.
But I feel really relaxed now. I’m not the champ anymore and with everything that’s happened, it’s actually kind of taken the pressure off.
Do you feel like you’re proving yourself to the poker world with the success you’ve had this year? Sometimes there’s like a “one hit wonder” kind of label put on world champions.
I’ve always said that I play for myself, and it’s true. 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.
I don’t feel the need to prove myself to other people. 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.
That’s the biggest reason I play those big events, but it’s also a really good learning experience because the fields are so tough.
I’m a way better player now than I was a year and a half ago and that’s a big reason why.
You’re playing in the $1 million buy-in Big One at the 2012 WSOP and you’ve been involved in promoting it and everything, so what can we expect from the most expensive poker event ever held?
I’m really excited for sure. This has never happened before and it’s going to be the biggest buy-in event ever.
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.
It’s going to be interesting to see how useful bluffing your stack is in that event since it’s really going to mean something to everyone.
And the fact that it’s for One Drop, which I’m the spokesperson for, is just amazing. I’m so happy to be a part of it and it’s just going to be huge. A lot of fun and for a good cause.
How many people are going to play?
It’s going to be over 40 for sure. I think between 40 and 48 players will play, so it’s going to be a lot of money for the winner.