23-year-old French-Canadian Jonathan Duhamel won the 2010 World Series of Poker Main Event title in Las Vegas Monday night.
A finance-dropout turned online poker pro from Boucherville, Quebec, just outside of Montreal, Duhamel beat American John Racener heads-up to become the first Canadian to win poker's World Championship.
"It is surreal," he told PokerListings. "I could never dream of that. It's so huge, so big. It's a dream come true for me. It's just amazing."
Duhamel's ascent to glory actually began in July's playdown to the final table when he cracked Matt Affleck's aces in a crucial hand. Duhamel ended up making a straight on the river to win a massive pot that thrust him into the chip lead.
Some four months later he entered the final table with that lead, and although it slipped out of his hands at one point, he managed to get it back when Joseph Cheong six-bet shoved ace-seven offsuit into his queens three-handed.
The queens held, Duhamel collected what was the largest single pot in WSOP history and suddenly he seemed assured of victory.
Cheong's Main Event ended soon after and Duhamel entered Monday's heads-up match for the title with a 6:1 chip lead over Racener.
"I know I was lucky at some points, but I think I can play well and I just want to prove to everyone, and prove to myself, I can still play good," Duhamel said.
Racener made it interesting, doubling once and staying patient through some 40 hands of heads-up play in front the ESPN cameras and a raucous crowd at the Rio's Penn & Teller Theater Monday.
But facing a huge deficit, he eventually got short and called all-in with K8.
Duhamel had AJ, ace-high was good enough and while Racener collected $5,545,855 for second, the Main Event title, the glory and $8,944,310 was Duhamel's.
"I don't even know what to think right now," Duhamel said. "I don't know what I feel.
"We're all Quebecers so we're going to party very hard. You're all welcome to come grab a drink with us."
This year's Main Event drew 7,319 players creating a $68,798,600 prize pool.
ESPN is planning to air its final table footage Tuesday night.
Here's how the 2010 November Nine finished up:
Final Result WSOP Main Event 2010
1 Jonathan Duhamel $8,944,310
2 John Racener $5,545,955
3 Joseph Cheong $4,130,049
4 Filippo Candio $3,092,545
5 Michael Mizrachi $2,332,992
6 John Dolan $1,772,959
7 Jason Senti $1,356,720
8 Matthew Jarvis $1,045,743
9 Soi Nguyen $811,823