Jonathan Duhamel survived one of the most challenging final tables of the 2015 World Series of Poker in order to win the 2015 High Roller for One Drop, earning the Montreal-based poker pro his second career bracelet and $3,989,985 in prize money.
The tournament, which carries a $111,111 buy-in, benefits the One Drop charity, an organization that helps promote clean water access for disadvantaged populations around the world.
The charity received $5,555 of each player’s buy-in, meaning that nearly $750,000 was raised for One Drop from the 135 players who took part in the tournament.
That still left plenty of money in play for the players themselves, as 16 players split a prize pool worth over $14.2 million.
With such a large buy-in, it was no surprise to see that a large percentage of the field was made up of the biggest names in poker. That trend largely held up to the final table, where a number of famous faces were in contention to win the bracelet.
Duhamel, the 2010 WSOP Main Event champion, was of course among that group. Also at the final table was the legendary Phil Hellmuth, who had already won 14 gold bracelets including one earlier this summer.
And then there was Daniel Colman, who won last year’s $1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop and was looking for an incredible repeat performance.
Throw in other top players like Ben Sulsky, Anthony Zinno and Andrew Lichtenberger, and this was destined to be a final table for the ages.
At one point, Hellmuth looked like he might be on track to win the event. With six players remaining, he even had the chip lead, though things quickly turned south for him at that point, as he would ultimately fall in sixth place.
After Dan Perper was eliminated in fifth place and Ben Sulsky took fourth, that left Duhamel, Colman and businessman Bill Klein, an amateur poker player who owns a construction company in California.
It appeared to be anyone’s game, with all three players had similar stacks for a time.
After a double-up from Duhamel, though, Colman was left as the clear short stack. He got his remaining money in while way behind as well, as his KJ suited was far behind Klein’s pocket aces.
At that moment, however, a more serious incident took place in the crowd watching the proceedings. A spectator suffered an apparent heart attack and medical personnel were rushed in to provide emergency attention before rushing the man away for more care.
At the time of this writing, the condition of the man is unknown.
“That moment really gave this all a sense of perspective,” Duhamel said afterwards. “Obviously, we are all hoping he will make it and be okay.”
The situation subdued what had been an enthusiastic atmosphere, but eventually, the tournament did go on.
About a half-hour after the flop had been dealt for Colman’s all in, the final cards hit the table, and he was eliminated in third place for a $1,544,121 payday.
That left Duhamel and Klein heads-up for the bracelet. The heads-up battle lasted just over 20 hands, with Duhamel eventually getting the last of Klein’s chips when his pocket kings held up against Klein’s KJ.
Klein still claimed a $2,465,522 prize for his second-place finish, and he proceeded to donate the entire amount to charity.
For Duhamel, the win was extra special because it came in a tournament that benefits a charity he is very passionate about.
“This tournament and this cause means a lot to me,” Duhamel told reporters after the tournament ended. “So to win this tournament is such an honor.
“This tournament and the money raised will help lots of people,” he continued. “So for me, this is like a double win.”