WSOP November Nine: Duhamel takes the rough with the smooth

wsop2010_thn.jpgIn some quarters, Jonathan Duhamel has been portrayed as the arch villain of the November Nine. With the black hoodie, the crooked smirk and the biggest stack of all, it's easy to cast him as the evil emperor blasting through those less powerful. There was also the now infamous hand against Matt Affleck on day eight of the summer section of the tournament, when Duhamel cracked aces with pocket jacks and sent the popular Affleck back to Seattle with one of the worst bad beat stories of them all.

But spend any amount of time with Duhamel and a very different picture emerges. The young Canadian is an effortlessly charming and humble individual, fully aware of the moments of good fortune he enjoyed in July, but also cognizant of the way poker tends to work. This is a volatile game of high variance and one day you run good, but another you might not. You have no choice but to take the rough with the smooth and never complain. Keep your head clear and get on with it, come what may.

jonathan_duhamel_level37.jpg

As if to confirm his mortality, the opening stages of this final table have not gone entirely in Duhamel's favor. In the past hour he lost more than 15 million of his stack, most of it in one huge hand against Filippo Candio.

The Italian player opened to 1.325 million and picked up a caller in Joseph Cheong on the button. Duhamel, in the big blind, raised to 3.95 million.

The pot was brewing nicely, and it then boiled over entirely. Candio shoved all in for close to 15 million and although Cheong had had enough, Duhamel called instantly. We had our second major all in pre-flop confrontation of the final, and cards were on their backs.

Candio was covered in chips but comfortably ahead with his A♣A♦. Duhamel had A♥K♦. "It's difficult to beat aces with ace king," observed a press-box commentator with a high degree of accuracy.

The flop of [10c]6♣3♦ made the cracking even less likely, and the 9♠ turn ended it as a contest. Candio's excitement had him bounding to his rail and hugging anyone he could find. But Duhamel, true to his form, silently slid the chips over to his opponent, and nursed his slightly depleted stack.

Duhamel ended that hand with around 50,000,000, which is still the chip lead, but not quite so dominant. You wouldn't know it at all from Duhamel's expression, however, which remains one of focus and calm. You win some, you lose some.

*****

Jason Senti's day got a little better in the past hour. Although he didn't manage to add anything to his own stack, he moved another spot up the pay ladder with the elimination of Matthew Jarvis in eighth place.

jason_senti_shades.jpg

Jason Senti in early stages of November Nine

Jarvis's elimination was the kind of hand that makes for exceptionally good television, but is not at all good for the health. He got his stack of slightly more than 14 million in the middle pre-flop and was called by Michael Mizrachi. Mizrachi had A♦Q♦ and was racing Jarvis's 9♥9♣.

But this wasn't exactly a straightforward flop, turn and river. The Q♠8♦Q♣ seemed emphatically to favor Mizrachi, but the dramatic 9♠ swung it back to Jarvis. It still wasn't done, though, and the A♠ on the river gave it to Mizrachi and sent Jarvis to the rail.

We're down to seven players now, with everyone guaranteed at least $1,772,959.

Here are the chip counts after Jarvis's elimination:

Jonathan Duhamel - 51,225,000
Joseph Cheong - 42,425,000
Michael Mizrachi - 42,150,000
Filippo Candio - 27, 575,000
John Dolan - 24,525,000
John Racener - 19,700,000
Jason Senti - 11,125,000

Howard Swains
@howardswains in World Series of Poker