Canada has produced some elite poker players over the last few decades, but which names are ranked among the best? Below, we’ve profiled the best poker players in Canada based on earnings, achievements, and reputation. So, if you’re looking for some inspiration and a few examples of what’s possible, here are the top poker pros from Canada.
Canada All-Time Money List
|Canadian Poker Pro||Birthplace||Total Earnings (to-date)|
|Daniel Dvoress||Toronto (Via Russia)||$15,904,694|
1. Daniel Negreanu
$43.2 million (as of August 2021)
What is there to say about Daniel Negreanu that players and fans haven’t done a million times before? This guy is Canadian poker. He put Canadian poker players on the map when he burst onto the scene in 1997 and he’s still flying the flag today. He represented PokerStars for many years but is now the main ambassador for GGPoker. His record at the felt speaks for itself and, in many respects, there’s no better ambassador for poker than Negreanu.
As well as speaking up on behalf of players within the community, he’s raised the profile of poker by starring in mainstream TV shows such as Millionaire Matchmaker. Negreanu is also a highly skilled pro. We can point to his WPT, EPT, and WSOP wins, among a plethora of other titles to prove how good he is. We can point to his $43 million+ in live tourney earnings as the reason he’s the best. However, we think the main reason Negreanu is the top-earning Canadian poker player is his ability to adapt.
Negreanu started playing at a time when game theory and poker solvers weren’t a thing. Back then, he relied on his reading ability and understanding of strategy to win. However, as the game evolved and online poker became a thing, Negreanu has embraced learning. He’s not afraid to admit his weaknesses and work on them. That’s made him the biggest Canadian poker winner and, in turn, one of the top earners in the world.
2. Timothy Adams
$24 million (as of August 2021)
If there’s anyone that can challenge Negreanu for the top spot in Canada, it might be Timothy Adams. Otherwise known as Tim0thee, this Burlington, Ontario, native has won more than $2 million on PokerStars and over $500,000 on the now-defunct Full Tilt.
He started playing poker when he was 18 and, like another Canadian poker legend, Peter Jetten, he didn’t care about the money. In his mind, poker is all about the challenge. Yes, he’s won over $24 million in live tournaments but it’s a love of poker that keeps him interested.
This carefree attitude and will to win has propelled Adams very close to the top of Canada’s poker hierarchy. Today, his biggest single payday is $3.6 million and he has a string of titles to his name, including WSOP, Super High Roller, and partypoker Live trophies.
3. Sam Greenwood
$22.5 million (as of August 2021)
Sam Greenwood might cut an unassuming figure at the poker table but don’t be fooled by his humble exterior. This former stock trader has carved out a fearsome reputation in super high rollers in recent years. However, long before he was entertaining events costing $100,000+, Greenwood was using his understanding of percentages, EV, and variance to win over $6 million online.
At the same time he was taking down online events under the moniker IfHeDiesHeDies, he was finding his feet on the road. He broke onto the Canada live poker tournament scene in 2008 with an eighth-place finish in the $10,300 North American Poker Championship at Niagara Falls. That performance earned him $77,447 and enough confidence to tussle with the toughest pros the WSOP, WPT, and EPT could offer.
Those years of grinding live and online have turned Greenwood into a high-stakes specialist. Indeed, a significant amount of his $22 million in live earnings has come from events with buy-ins of $50,000 or more. This, combined with WSOP, EPT, WPT, and Super High Roller Bowl titles, confirms that Greenwood is one of the best poker players in Canada.
4. Jonathan Duhamel
$18 million (as of August 2021)
Jonathan Duhamel will always be regarded as a Canadian poker legend, even if he never cashes in a Canada tournament ever again. Why? Because he was the first Canadian to win the WSOP Main Event. Duhamel’s winning run in 2010 still stands as his biggest win to date - an achievement no Canadian had managed before him.
However, what’s impressive about Duhamel is that he hasn’t faded from the spotlight. A lot of WSOP Main Event winners are one-hit wonders but Duhamel was an accomplished online player before he won the Big Dance. This grounding in the fundamentals of poker allowed him to ride the crest of a wave and remain among the game’s best long after winning the 2010 Main Event.
Indeed, the year after winning his first WSOP bracelet, Duhamel won an EPT High Roller in Deauville as part of Team PokerStars. In 2015, he had what was arguably a better year than 2010. Duhamel won the WSOP High Roller for One Drop in the summer of 2015 before flying to Germany and winning the WSOPE High Roller. With three WSOP bracelets in his collection, Duhamel added a WPT title in 2017 and, today, he has over $18 million in live earnings.
5. Daniel Dvoress
$15.9 million (as of August 2021)
Dvoress might have been born in Russia but he’s been a Canadian ever since the age of eight. This mix of cultures has, in at least some way, made him a beast at the poker table. Indeed, his cold Russian blood seems to fuse well with the affable yet aggressive style Canadian poker players are known for. The result is a career that’s seen Dvoress win over $2.6 million online under the name Oxota and even more on the live circuit.
Despite being one of the top-earning Canadian poker players, Dvoress has described himself as Vegas-averse. He prefers to do his bidding behind closed doors. He’s been that way ever since he learned to play poker in high school. However, even with all the will in the world, it’s impossible to fly under the radar when you’re winning like Dvoress.
He has a WSOP Online bracelet to his name but Dvoress' biggest wins have come in super high roller events. Indeed, Dvoress has won over $7 million in Super High Roller Bowl, Triton, and Partypoker Live tournaments. Add that haul to his deep runs in other events and it’s easy to see why he’s banked over $15.9 million.
6. Mike McDonald
$13.3 million (as of August 2021)
Mike McDonald was winning so regularly at one point that you could set your watch by him. That’s why his online moniker, Timex, was so appropriate. The baby-faced pro is fairly unassuming at the poker table but he has a killer instinct backed by an acute understanding of mathematics and game theory.
This Canadian poker pro has won over $3 million in online MTTs, but he also likes to dabble in cash games every once in a while. However, tournaments are his thing. McDonald honed his skills online and became the youngest player to win an EPT main event back in 2014. That maiden victory at the age of 18 marked Timex as one of the best new players on the scene.
Since setting that record, he’s gone on to win more EPT events and have deep runs in WPT and WSOP tournaments. Overall, he’s won over $13.3 million on the live circuit. He now spends the majority of his time taking bets on poker events as part of Poker Shares and investing in cryptocurrencies.
7. Sorrel Mizzi
$12.7 million (as of August 2021)
Few players could touch Sorel Mizzi during the golden age of playing online. The Toronto native found success under the screen names Imper1um and Zangbezan24. Winning runs in major online events such as FTOPs not only helped Mizzi bank more than $3 million but secure a lucrative sponsorship deal with Titan Poker. That deal is significant because it marked the resurgence of Mizzi after a multi-accounting scandal.
Despite being one of the top online MTT players in the world, Mizzi admitted in December 2007 that he gained an unfair advantage by playing on a friend’s account. This was the second major multi-accounting scandal in poker after the Josh ‘JJ Prodigy’ Fields incident. Unsurprisingly, Mizzi incurred the wrath of the community.
However, after coming clean, he kept his head down and focused on winning fairly. That led to the deal with Titan in 2010 and a long run of high-profile cashes. Even with a blemish on his record, Mizzi is still regarded as a tournament expert thanks to wins at EPT and WPT events. Add to these titles, total earnings of more than $12.7 million and he’s undoubtedly one of Canada’s top poker players.
8. Michael Watson
$12.1 million (as of August 2021)
Otherwise known as SirWatts, Watson is another Canadian who cut his teeth online. Much of Watson’s early success was on Full Tilt and PokerStars where he won a plethora of major events, including SCOOP titles. Even though Watson has been successful offline in recent years, he remains Canada’s top online tournament player.
To date, he has six SCOOP titles as well as $5 million in prize money on PokerStars. Add to that another $3.9 million in earnings on GGPoker and over $430,000 on Partypoker, and there’s no doubt Watson remains a world-class online MTT pro.
When Watson isn’t clicking a mouse and trying to win a house, he’s out on the live circuit. His current earnings on the road total $12.1 million and he has multiple wins under his belt. Among the Toronto-native’s list of accolades are his WPT, WSOPE, EPT, and Aussie Millions titles.
9. Peter Jetten
$9.3 million (as of August 2021)
Having Tom ‘Durrrr’ Dawn as one of your best friends in poker is +EV. The Toronto native made his name online under the moniker Apathy. Climbing the limits alongside Durrrr, Jetten became one of the top high stakes online cash game players during the mid-noughties. This early success prompted him to drop out of college and pursue poker as a full-time profession.
Rather than a desire to win money, Jetten has said in interviews that his drive to win is based on a love of figuring out how things work. He’s certainly done that over the years. By finding ways to pick apart the inner workings of his opponent’s minds, Jetten has $9.3 million in live tournaments and probably just as much in cash games.
Top of his list of live accolades is a win in the 2013 PCA Open Face Chinese tournament. Although the victory was only worth $52,280, it remains his only outright win. Of course, when you’re finishing among the top three in Triton super high rollers for paydays topping $1 million, the small matter of having one live title probably isn’t a concern.
10. Mike Leah
$7.97 million to date
Mike Leah is the type of player to throw down at the poker table in Canada - or anywhere, and away from it. He was a wrestler before hitting the felt. He was part of the Canadian National Team and competed at the World Championship before taking a break from the sport and education. He got a sales job at the Canadian Community Reading Plan and eventually slipped into the grind of modern life. That was until a co-worker introduced him to poker.
With his job allowing him to work from home, Leah started playing online under the name GoLeafsGoEh. He missed the competitive element of wrestling and regretted not trying for a place in the Olympics. However, all was not lost. He used his competitive spirit to grind his way up from $5 SNGs to the Sunday Million where he managed to finish seventh for $32,000.
That was the boost he needed to hit the big time. More wins and a few satellites into major live events followed and the rest, as they say, is history. Leah now has a string of live wins under his belt, particularly from events held in Canada. His tournament earnings to date have surpassed the $7 million mark and he’s showing no signs of slowing down.
Why Canada is Great for Poker Players
Canada has long been a hotspot for poker, but why? We know that Americans are great players because poker is engrained in the culture. We know Scandinavians are hard to beat because they’ve got an innate aggressive streak. So what’s in the water in Canada?
Canada’s proximity to America can’t be ignored. It’s a short trip to Las Vegas and other poker hot spots for Canadians. And vice versa. US players can easily travel to Canadian poker rooms in Alberta, British Columbia, and Quebec. Therefore, there’s a definite cross-pollination of skills and ideas between players from Canada and the US.
Success also breeds success. Pros such as Daniel Negreanu and Gavin Smith proved that Canadians could compete with the best in the world long before the internet boom. Therefore, once online poker took hold, there were some successful Canadian players for amateurs to aspire to.
We can’t overlook the Canadian mentality either. Although the average Canadian has a polite, calm demeanor, they can be competitive when required. Indeed, you only have to look at how Canadians play hockey to see that.
Finally, playing poker online isn’t illegal in Canada. Companies based in Canada aren’t allowed to offer online games. However, Canadians can still play on international sites like PokerStars, GGPoker, and partypoker. That means players have been anteing up online and improving their skills unimpeded since the early noughties. That’s not the case in other countries which, again, gives Canadians an edge.
Top Sites for Canada Poker Players
Canadian Poker Players FAQs
Who is the best Canadian poker player?The best Canadian poker player based on results alone is Daniel Negreanu. He’s also been at the top for decades and acts as an ambassador for the game.
Who is the most popular Canadian poker player?Daniel Negreanu is one of the most popular Canadian poker players, but there are many more. Mike Watson and Sam Greenwood are well-respected by pros and fans alike, as is Mike McDonald for his achievements during the poker boom.
Do Canadian poker players pay tax?Yes, but it’s complicated. The Canada Revenue Agency announced in 2019 that anyone using poker as their main source of income is liable for tax at the standard Canadian rates.
Can you be a professional poker player in Canada?Yes, you can. There are plenty of live poker rooms in Canada. Moreover, Canadian laws are such that you can play on international sites from anywhere in the country. Therefore, you’ll have plenty of games to choose from.
Who is the best amateur poker player from Canada?Patrick Blye can be considered one of the best amateur poker players from Canada. He has over $260,000 in live tournament winnings and is ranked highly with the Amateur Poker Association & Tour (APAT), which is an organization that’s only open to people who don’t play poker for a living.