Top 10 Canadian Poker Influencers

Top 10 Canadian Poker Influencers

While it’s fairly easy to compile a list of the top money winners in poker, the title of “Influencer” is a bit more elusive to pin down. While players who have won a lot of money at the felt are certainly in contention for the most influential people in poker, “influence” can extend well beyond the action at the tables. As a result, while this list will contain some of the greatest players Canada has produced, it will also take a few entries to look at influencers on the industry side of the equation since, without operators to organize the games, none of the players could have achieved their results.

The list will not be in any particular order as ranking influence is trickier than identifying it, but suffice to say that every entry on this list has made a significant contribution to modern poker in Canada in some form.

Playground Poker Club

Playground Poker Club in Canada.
Playground Poker Club
  • Opened in 2010
  • Hosted first WPT in 2012
  • 42 tables in main tournament area

While there was poker in Canada before the emergence of the Playground Poker Club in Kahnawake, QC, there is no question that Playground put Canada on the international poker map. After opening in 2010 and completing its first initial expansion in 2012, the club hosted its first WPT event and quickly became the go-to Canadian spot for big tournament series.

The club has worked with various industry partners over the years including the WPT, partypoker, PokerStars, and WSOP to bring some of the biggest names in tournament poker to Canada over the years. The club played host to one of the wildest ends to a live tournament ever broadcast when a four-way all-in ended the tournament in one hand giving Robert Notkin all the chips and the win. Check it out below.

In addition to regular WPT events, Playground has hosted massive games such as the partypoker MILLIONS, WSOP Circuit events, the Canada Cup and the World Cup of Cards, and a season of Premier League Poker. In just over a decade, Playground Poker Club has easily become Canada’s premier poker destination for the biggest games in the country.

Daniel Negreanu

Daniel Negreanu smiling while at a poker table.
Daniel Negreanu
  • $49,593,775 in Live Career Earnings
  • 6 WSOP Bracelets
  • Leads Canada’s Money List & Bracelet Count
  • Born July 26, 1974 in Toronto, ON
  • Nicknames: DNegs, KidPoker

When the average Canadian thinks about “poker” if any personality comes immediately to mind, it’s Daniel Negreanu. As Canada’s first bracelet winner in 1998 he has been a Canadian fixture on the global poker scene for more than two decades.

With nearly $50 million in wins over his career and 6 WSOP bracelets to his name, Negreanu is far and away Canada’s winningest player. At one time in his career he was the all-time money leader in the world and his high profile and outgoing personality at the tables give him Hendon Mob’s highest Popularity Ranking. Negreanu, who now calls Las Vegas home, was born in Toronto in 1974 as a first generation Romanian immigrant. He spent his early years in Toronto hustling pool and learning poker and then graduated to the local charity casino and homegame circuit.

It took him a couple of tries at the Vegas strip before he was able to build a bankroll in the big Sin City poker scene, as he went broke and had to return to Toronto to rebuild his roll. While Negreanu is an accomplished cash game player with a long history on televised cash games like High Stakes Poker, he is best known for his tournament play.

He excels in hold‘em, with five of his six bracelets coming in some form of Texas hold’em poker. However, his sixth bracelet in the mixed SHOE game in 2003 shows he has mastered a wide variety of poker formats along with the two-card variety. His vivacious personality at the tables and on social media over the years has earned him one of the highest profiles in the game today. He spent many years as the face of online poker giant PokerStars before famously jumping ship and moving to the upstart behemoth GGPoker in 2019 where he remains today lending his influence to the global GGPoker brand as well as the Ontario-specific WSOP ON in his home province. (Image from Captain Q Farf).

Timothy Adams

Timothy Adams winning a bracelet.
Timothy Adams
  • $28,651,613 in Live Career Earnings
  • Second on Canadian Money List
  • Nine Money Finishes on WPT & WSOP
  • Born June 4, 1986 in Burlington, ON
  • Online Name: Tim0thee

With 15 career wins and almost $30 million in total earnings, Timothy “Tim0thee” Adams has quickly become one of the most talked about players on the high-stakes tournament circuit. Many of his wins have come on the global high-roller circuit over the past few years with his two biggest lifetime scores coming since 2018.

In 2018 he booked the biggest score of his life at the partypoker MILLIONS Sochi Super High Roller Series, Sochi when he won the $250k Super High Roller for $3.6 million. Almost exactly a year later he nearly eclipsed that mark at the Triton Poker Super High Roller Series Jeju, Jeju with another win worth just over $3.5 million.

Adams also has three other scores of $1 million or more, all since 2019, and a whole host of scores bigger than half a million dollars. He is also an accomplished online player with around $4 million in winnings as “Tim0thee” on PokerStars and the now-defunct Full Tilt Poker.

His biggest online cash was $728k for second in the 2020 EPT Online 16: $5,200 NLHE and his average online cash is over $5,000. Whether online or live, Adams is a tournament specialist and lately, he has focused on the nosebleed level games.

Over his career Adams has played on the high roller circuit with nearly all operators including partypoker MILLIONS, the Triton Poker Super High Roller Series, Merit Poker’s Super High Roller Bowl, and PokerStars EPT among others and he’s done more than just compete. With tens of millions won over his relatively short career, most of it in the highest buy-in games on the planet, there is no doubt that Adams is Canada’s current high roller champion.

Sam Greenwood

Sam Greenwood staring while at a poker table.
Sam Greenwood
  • $26,464,466 in Live Career Earnings
  • Biggest Live Cash of $1,853,387
  • Third on Canadian Money List
  • Born October 11, 1988 in Toronto, ON

Sam Greenwood comes third on the all-time Canadian money list with nearly $26.5 million in live earnings, but this could easily be a family entry as twin brother Lucas and older brother Max are also serious poker crushers in their own right.

Sam Greenwood made his first mark in live poker in 2018 with an 8th place finish at a WPT event in Niagara Falls, ON. He bagged $77k for that first score but it wouldn’t be until 2015 that he booked his first six-figure score with 7th place in an EPT high roller event for $102k.

That began a run where he spent several years competing in the biggest games around. Often the first player to buy into high roller events in the early years, Greenwood was one of the early supporters of the nosebleed events.

In part, that was no doubt because of his dominance in the events. His Hendon Mob page is littered with wins, runner-ups, and final table finishes on the high roller and super high roller circuits with his most recent result being a win in a $50k event at the Triton Poker Super High Roller Series Cyprus, Kyrenia in Septmeber of 2022. That win came in the relatively new variant of short-deck poker, and he also booked a second place in another short-deck game at the same festival.

In total, Greenwood had four cashes at that Triton event in September, showing that he’s just as dangerous as he ever was. This year alone he has 13 cashes in live poker events according to Hendon Mob with the cheapest game on the list being the €10,200 No Limit Hold'em - €5,000 Mystery Bounty (Event 4) at April’s EPT Monte Carlo stop where he placed 6th for €23k.

Unlike some others on this list, Greenwood plays a low-key game both on and off the tables, generally preferring to let his game speak for itself. As is evidenced by his slew of results in some of the biggest live tournaments in the world, Greenwood’s game speaks loudly enough on its own. (Image from

Jonathan Duhamel

Jonathan Duhamel throwing away his hand at the poker table.
Jonathan Duhamel
  • $18,012,109 in Live Career Earnings
  • Only Canadian to Win WSOP Main Event
  • Best Live Cash of $8,944,310
  • Fifth on Canadian Money List
  • Born August 24, 1987 in Boucherville, Quebec

As the only Canadian to win the WSOP Main Event, Jonathan Duhamel instantly jumped into the Canadian poker elite in 2010. His win that year in the Main Event was worth nearly $9 million, his biggest live score to date.

In addition to the Main Event win, Duhamel has won two other bracelets on his way to 46 cashes in various WSOP events over the years, with 33 of those coming in the WSOP proper.

Duhamel initially planned to go into finance after a college degree but he found another career path after his Main Event win. After learning poker with friends, the win propelled him to a sponsorship with online poker giant PokerStars and more than 100 cashes on the live poker circuit.

The Main Event bracelet was also the first win of Duhamel’s career, but he went on to rack up eight more victories over the years including his two other bracelets. In 2015, he won the $ 111,111 No Limit Hold'em High Roller for One-Drop (Event #58) worth nearly $4 million and later the same year he also bagged a high roller event at the European WSOP in Berlin.

In 2017 he won two events on Canadian soil in his home province of Quebec at Playground Poker Club, which also gets a mention on this list. In May he won the Second Chance event at a partypoker Live event for about $41k and then in November he took down a high roller event at WPT Montreal.

While Duhamel hasn’t recorded a live cash since 2018, his status as Canada’s only Main Event winner always assured him of a place on this list.

Kristen Bicknell

Kristen Bicknell happy and smiling at a poker table.
Kristen Bicknell
  • $5,605,125 in Live Career Earnings
  • Third on All-Time Women’s Money List, Sixteenth on Canadian Money List
  • Three Years as Top Women’s Money Earner
  • Three WSOP Bracelets
  • Born December 29, 1986 in St. Catharines, Ontario
  • Nicknames: krissyb24, krissy24

Kristen Bicknell burst onto the international poker scene in 2013 after winning her first bracelet in that year’s WSOP Ladies’ Event. That win was worth almost $175k and was far and away her biggest score to date at that point.

It would be 2016 before she proved herself in an open WSOP field, winning her second bracelet that year in a $1,500 bounty event. She went on to win a PokerStars event in Panama the following year, starting a stellar run where she binked seven tournaments over the next four year including four $100k+ scores.

Her biggest ever win came in 2019 at the Poker Masters in Las Vegas. She took down a $25k event at that series for $408,000 and over the course of her career she’s had 19 six-figure cashes.

From 2017-2020 Bicknell was the unquestioned top woman player in the world. She took over the #1 spot on the Women’s Global Poker Index rankings in 2017 and held the position into 2020. Additionally, she was the top-earning woman in poker from 2018 through 2020.

Bicknell was born in St. Catherine’s, ON and raced go-karts when she was younger. She began playing poker in her freshman year of college, started online as “krissyb24” in 2006. By 2011 she was Supernova Elite, a status she held through 2013. From 2016 to 2021, she was an ambassador for partypoker and her most recent bracelet came online in the 2020 WSOP at GGPoker. (Image from

Mike McDonald

Mike McDonald staring at the board while in a poker hand.
Mike McDonald
  • $13,392,438 in Live Career Earnings
  • Seventh on Canada’s Money List
  • Youngest EPT champion ever
  • Born September 11, 1989 in Waterloo, ON
  • Nicknames: Timex

Mike “Timex” McDonald was an early starter in his poker career, becoming the youngest EPT winner in history at the age of 18 in 2008. He was no stranger to the felt when he won that title however, notching his first score in late 2007 at EPT Prague.

Between the Dec 10 score in Prague and his historic win at EPT Dortmund on Jan 29 he booked three other cashes including a win and a runner-up finish.

McDonald was clearly a force at the tables from the start and after his Dortmund win he racked up dozens of cashes over the next few years including four other $1 million plus scores. Though McDonald’s time at the tables has diminished in recent years, he is still an active player. His most recent cash came in April of 2022 at the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown, Hollywood with an 11th place finish for more than $75k.

Don Tinordi

Don Tinordi rocking his cool glasses at a poker table.
Don Tinordi
  • Nearly a decade of tournament development in Calgary
  • Helped develop the Super Stack format into seasonal series
  • Was instrumental in bringing WSOP-C to Calgary in 2022
  • Born in Lethbridge, AB

While many of the entries on this list are here because of their actions on the felt, Don Tinordi is one of the reasons players actually have a chance to play in Canada. Currently working with Ace Casino in Calgary, Tinordi has been a force on the local Calgary tournament scene for close to a decade.

In conjunction with Robert Bowers, Tinordi helped grow the Super stack series at Deerfoot Inn & Casino into a successful series that ran four times a year, themed to the seasons. The regularity of the Super Stack series brought familiarity and growth through the years, fuelling the evolution of Calgary as one of the premier poker stops in Canada today.

While Tinordi was by no means the only contributor to that growth, he has been a steady presence as a TD and organizer in the local poker scene. He currently works with Ace Casino where he continues to organize poker series that cater to player feedback and with a new Ace Casino facility opening near Calgary International Airport in late 2022, no doubt there are big things yet to come.

Joanne Jost

Poker player Joanne Jost.
Joanne Jost
  • 28 years with Pure Gaming in Alberta
  • Was Regional Poker Manager for two casinos in Edmonton, AB
  • Currently Poker Tournament Director and Consultant for Pure Gaming, AB
  • Partnered with Deepstacks Poker Tour from 2014 to 2019
  • Born in Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Joanne Jost is another entry on this list better known for her work off the felt. She has been a fixture in the Edmonton poker scene for almost three decades with Pure Gaming (originally called Casino ABS).

By the early 2000s, she was the Poker Manager at Casino Edmonton and soon the Regional Poker Manager for both Edmonton rooms. She credits running both rooms with helping her find the consistency that marks her leadership style. In 2014 she partnered with Deepstacks Poker Tour which started to put Edmonton on the poker map. While that partnership ended in 2019, Jost has continued to grow the Edmonton and Alberta tournament scene with the Pure Poker Tour including stops in Edmonton and Calgary. A recent PPT event in Sep of 2022 set a record for Main Event runners, eclipsing one set previously during the Deepstacks partnership and showing Jost is one of the driving forces of the burgeoning Alberta poker scene.

Vanessa Kade

A smiling Vanessa Kade.
Vanessa Kade
  • $1,096,620 in Live Career Earnings
  • Won the 15th Anniversary Sunday Million on PokerStars in 2021 for more than $1.5 million
  • 84th on Canadian Money List
  • Lives in Kellowna, BC
  • Nicknames: Niffler

While Vanessa Kade rocketed to prominence in 2021, first on the back of some controversy and then by winning the 15th Anniversary edition of the Sunday Million on PokerStars, she was no stranger to the Canadian poker scene prior to that win.

From 2015 through 2017 she went on a tear in the Alberta poker scene with 15 cashes in Calgary or Edmonton over that time including a couple of wins and several final tables. Kade is also a successful streamer on Twitch, representing several different poker brands throughout her career.

Before she got into poker Kade was a successful video game designer and she brings the analytical coder’s mind to the felt as well as to her stream. While her star is more newly risen than others on this list, it’s clear that Kade will represent Canada well on the global poker stage for years to come.

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