Jonathan Duhamel is the first Canadian poker player to win the World Series of Poker Main Event, in 2010, is also one of the most active ambassadors for the game. Recently, he wrote an informative post on PokerStarsBlog, in which he tackles sensitive issues and debates whether the game is heading in the right direction or if it will soon come to a screeching halt. The poker professional makes a couple of references to articles posted by some of his peers and agrees with many opinions stated by Daniel Negreanu and Phil Galfond.
The two poker pros emphasise the importance of fellow professionals to be friendly at the tables, especially when they compete against recreational players. These are the people that actually keep the game alive, even though those who compete frequently at high-stakes games don’t think much of them. If players who regard poker as a hobby dislike the atmosphere, they won’t return to the tables and the game has no future if only professionals play it.
Duhamel argues that the impact of the WSOP Main Event is not to be underestimated and thinks that if players such as Daniel Negreanu were to win, the game would benefit. The Canadian is widely regarded as one of the friendliest and most amusing poker professionals and one of the few who still have fun at the tables, while playing their a-game. By contrast, former WSOP winners such as Jamie Gold or Jerry Yang, enjoyed a meteoric career but are no longer in the spotlight.
Winning a major event such as the World Series of Poker is an honourable performance, but luck plays a significant part. While the main event champion becomes a prominent figure worldwide, virtually anyone can secure the bracelet if he gets lucky on those few occasions when it matters the most. Younger players, especially those who spend most of the time playing online poker, tend to focus exclusively at the task at hand and forget to be sociable at the table.
Duhamel emphasising the importance of playing the long game, instead of simply trying to maximise your profits in each session. Obviously, all players try to win as much as possible when they sit down at the poker table, but they should also pay attention to recreational players. If they don’t enjoy the time spent at the tables, the odds of them returning are slim to none, especially with their chances to finish above the profitability line being insignificant.
Poker professionals who are outgoing and try to maintain a friendly atmosphere at the tables will reap the benefits of popularity, while making a major contribution to the game itself. Jonathan strongly believes that Main Event champions have a huge responsibility and they should represent themselves as well as possible.