If John Duhamel doesn't win the poker world championship come November, it won't be because his self-confidence is lacking. The Canadian pro is extremely confident of winning. "I’m going to win, 100 percent. I’m the best. I’m going to play the best poker game I’ve ever played and win that thing," he says to CardPlayer.
Duhamel (4th from left in the picture) has the chips to back up his claim to the title. He has almost 66 million, nearly half as much as his nearest rival John Dolan and almost three times as much as Joe Cheong who is in 3rd place. Duhamel dreams of beating Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi heads up, but the Grinder has only 14 million and a lot of obstacles to beat before getting there.
Duhamel is not the only player who wants to see Mizrachi make it to heads up stage. In this thread on the 2+2 forum more than half of users say they hope Grinder will win. Only 3 percent are crossing their fingers for Duhamel.
While Duhamel has the chips and Mizrachi enjoys most popularity, the other big difference between these two is in their experience. Duhamel has very little to show for himself in live tournaments whereas Grinder has cashed almost 9 million dollars and will jump to first place in the all-time money list if he wins in November.
Duhamel is a pro who considers himself first and foremost a cash game player. Like Mizrachi, he dropped out of college to focus on poker. The 22-year old from Montreal was studying finance.
"People's choice" Mizrachi has already made poker history by winning the $50k Players' Championship and making it to the November Nine in the same World Series. If he wins the World Championship, it's a feat that will probably never be topped.
Mizrachi's top year was 2006 when he cashed a total of 23 times, made three WPT final tables winning one of them, and cashed twice at the WSOP. Unsurprisingly, he was the CardPlayer Player of the Year 2006. Then he went into a dry spell, culminating in news that Mizrachi was forced to sell two houses to cover his tax debts.
"People are like, 'What happened to The Grinder?' but I haven't played that many events the last couple years. You get burned out. Poker is very streaky. You never know when it's your time and you do great when you least expect it," Mizrachi explains to Pokerlistings.
If Mizrachi wins, he will share the honors with Frank Kassela at the WSOP Player of the Year race. However, Mizrachi says he is ready to give up the title to Kassela even if he wins, citing Kassela's two bracelets, one 3rd place and a Main Event cash as good enough to be named the sole WSOP POY.
You can also watch these video interviews on Poker News Daily: