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2010 WSOP November Nine Part 2
09 November 2010

Heads-Up For the Win

The Joseph Cheong vs. Jonathan Duhamel "Battle of the Hoodies" may very well have happened in some alternate Romulan-distorted timeline. But in our universe the title was contested by the hooded Jonathan Duhamel and the gum-chewing John Racener.

It looked to be a one-sided fight. Duhamel lorded over Racener with a 6-to-1 chip lead and the blinds were due to ramp up just a few minutes after the start of play. Even Duhamel's cheering fans, many of whom wore red Montréal Canadiens hockey jerseys, seemed more confident that their man would win. They chanted "Olé olé olé!," "Du-ha-mel! Du-ha-mel!," and even cockily taunted Racener.

Duhamel and Racener square off for the last time

View from the Mezzanine of the Penn & Teller Theater at the Rio

A New Hope

Racener continued his tight style, seemingly determined to avoid a Cheong-like meltdown. He would check-fold flops to a Duhamel feeler bet, limp-fold in the small blind when Duhamel raised from the big, and passively check his big blind. We wouldn't pretend to know better than Racener, and maybe he was just completely card-dead, but in our opinion Racener should have attacked more and taken more chances. He would need luck, either by out-carding Duhamel or by getting it in bad and catching up.

After trading many small pots, Racener's stack shrunk to roughly half of what it was when he started. He finally found a hand worthy of calling all-in with after Duhamel shoved. Racener showed QQ, Duhamel showed K4, and the queens held. The first form of luck, getting good cards, had kept his hopes alive.

Racener sweats his first all-in

Racener doubled up to stay alive, but he was still down 6-to-1 in chips

The Empire Strikes Back

The second form of luck, getting it in bad and catching up, just didn't happen for Racener. Duhamel had been using his stack to hammer his opponent and steadily took chips from him. He moved in with AJ, Racener had gotten so short that he needed to gamble, and called all-in with K8. The board bricked out, ace high was good, and Duhamel began his reign as the 2010 WSOP Main Event Champion.

The final card of the 2010 World Series of Poker is dealt

The new WSOP World Champion becomes a human ragdoll

Racener congratulates Duhamel

The joy of victory (plus 8.9 million US dollars.)

The agony of defeat (softened by 5.5 million US dollars.)

Jonathan Duhamel receives his WSOP Main Event bracelet from 2009 champ Joe Cada

Duhamel Makes History

Canada has a new poker hero, and he will be noted in poker history for several facts. Duhamel is the first Canadian and also the first native French speaker to win the WSOP Main Event, he and Racener were the youngest heads-up players in WSOP Main Event history, and he won the largest pot of any event in WSOP history. Congratulations to Jonathan Duhamel, John Racener, and each of the 72,000+ entrants who played in all of the 2010 WSOP events.

Racener made a gallant attempt at victory, but Duhamel's overwhelming chip advantage and Racener's perilously small stack were too much to overcome. And, frankly, Racener was lucky to make it to heads-up play at all. Joseph Cheong's inexplicable self-destruction simultaneously handed Racener his ticket to the heads-up match and handed Duhamel a nearly insurmountable chip lead in heads-up play.

This was our first WSOP Main Event final table experience, and we will definitely try to make it out to Vegas for many more. The energy, drama, and atmosphere are unlike anything else in poker, and we have no doubt that the WSOP will get even bigger and better over time.

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