What a month of March!

teampro-thumb.JPGThe last month has been hectic for me with a long trip planned on the United States west coast. To refresh your memory, I finished my last blog by talking about the bet I lost against Matt Jarvis. He finished in a better position than I in our last tournament and therefore, when the next World Series of Poker starts, I will wear the Vancouver Canucks jersey with Jarvis' name on it for the first three tournaments. I console myself saying that at least it's not the Boston or Toronto jersey!

I spent a few days in Montreal before leaving for the west coast. The first stop was at the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles for an invitation-only tournament: the WPT Celebrity Invitational. This tournament features several celebrities and raises money for various charities. I was sitting next to a former football player who had arms bigger than my head. Ultimately, an actress and now poker player Jennifer Tilly knocked me out of the tournament.

I flew the next day to Las Vegas to shoot an episode of the popular series PokerStars: The Big Game. The show is a cash game where each player must sit with a minimum of $100 000 in front of him--$100.000 in real money, my own money. There was plenty of action throughout the day! Great players were at the table and wild hands were on the menu. I love the concept of this show where PokerStars is paying $100 000 for an amateur to play with us. If he wins, he keeps the profits. If he loses, he actually loses nothing and PokerStars pays. It's a format that brings a lot of action, which shows how an amateur can comepete against the best in the world. Unfortunately, I can't tell you the results, but I can already share that the game involves crazy action. You can see this yourself on your TV this summer.


I then played one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world, the NBC Heads Up event. Only 64 players had the chance to play and pay the $ 25,000 entry buy-in. Among them, the world's best players were present. I won my first three duels and then had to face the biggest winner in heads-up online poker, Olivier Busquet. This was by far the most difficult match, but I finally won that heads-up too, letting me advance to the semifinal match against Chris Moneymaker, the 2003 World Champion. Several strange hands took place, and I finally lost the match. I'm still very happy with a 4th place finish against 64 of the best players in the world, and another invitation for the same tournament next year!

I then left for the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles and arrived just in time to play the Bounty Shootout tournament--$ 10,000 buy-in, nine tables of nine players. It is important to finish first on the table to move to the next. Indeed, the 2nd place finisher doesn't win anything. Moreover, whenever a player is eliminated, a certain amount of money is allocated to the one who eliminated him. Again, everything went very smoothly. Chris Moneymaker was at my table and as Lady Luck sometimes do the things for the best, we got to the heads-up. This time, however, it was I who took the top spot so I could move to the final table. I was eliminated in 6th position. Again, no victory, but I finished in 6th position out of 81 players.

After this tournament and a long journey, I finally returned to Montreal.

I made a few appearances here and there, such as spoke person for the foundation ''United in perseverance for excellence", a project that Olympic medalist Nancy Drolet created. It is a program to raise funds for various elementary and high schools.

I then went to the "Casino de Montreal" to play in Vincent Damphousse's charity poker tournament to raise funds in the fight against the ALS disease, which affects more and more people in the world. It was a very emotional day for me because my uncle who is himself afflicted with this disease was present.

I was then present for the Quebec Poker University Championship sponsored by PokerStars.net, a 100% free competition which allowed 90 students from the 15 universities of Quebec to have a free poker weekend in Montreal. The winner, Pascal Turcotte, will fly next January to go compete in the prestigious PCA main event tournament, a package valued at $20,000.

My next few weeks bring me in Asia, specifically in Macau, and in Mohegan Sun to play in the PokerStars North American Poker Tour. Europe will follow next, but one thing at a time please!

For more news, you can follow my twitter @jonathanduhamel or my facebook page: //www.facebook.com/DuhamelJohn

Thank you very much for reading!

Jonathan Duhamel
@PokerStars in PokerStars news