Canada has long been the home of poker greats. Players such as Daniel Negreanu and Jonathan Duhamel have dominated a World Series Main Event or been top of the All-Time Money List. But there is more to Canada’s greatest players than Negreanu and Duhamel. With the CAD$500,000 guaranteed Canadian Grand Prix on the horizon, we take a look at the best five Canadian poker players according to the Global Poker Index right now who hail from the land of maple syrup, freezing cold weather and more lakes than any other country on Earth.
Mike ‘Timex’ McDonald
Known For: The ultimate poker stare-down. One of poker’s most famous players, ‘Timex’ is hailed as a modern great by online fanboys and live regs alike. More than thousands of other professionals, he traverses the line between online and live poker prowess. One of his biggest live advantages is his infamous stare-down, which he uses to intimidate men and disarm women. Let’s face it, we could all get lost in those cobalt-blue eyes. Fold, you say? No problem.
Career Highlights: Timex has won over $13m on the live circuit, making him the third most successful Canadian of all-time behind Negreanu and Duhamel. His biggest cash so far was the $1.7m he took for triumphing in the $250,000 Challenge at the 2014 Aussie Millions, but he has won countless cash game sessions online and is one of the most feared players in the world.
Fascinating Fact: Timex won the recent EPT Player of the Year award by a single point, edging out fellow high roller, Steve O’Dwyer.
Known For: Being a ‘poker enthusiast’ rather than a poker player. Regarding himself as an entrepreneur, Greenwood is no stranger to ‘greenbacks’ made from playing poker, with a total of $3.2million in career tournament winnings.
Career Highlights: Greenwood’s $632,000 win in a High Roller tournament is no fluke – he is renowned for being a tough cookie at any table, with no fear. His WSOP bracelet win in the $1,000 entry Event #22 from the 2015 World Series may be what he treasures most.
Fascinating Fact: Greenwood is a movie buff, with a love for all things cinematic stemming from his formative years. In an age where many movie enthusiasts have moved to boxsets, he’s a traditionalist and loves nothing more than a good film. We may be yet to see the climactic finale in the story of Greenwood stellar poker career. Lights, lipstick camera, action!
Alan ‘Ari’ Engel
Known For: Winning the Aussie Millions Main Event, and being the ultimate travelling grinder. Engel has been around the world more than Lisa Stansfield and East 17 put together.
Career Highlights: Finishing top of the pile in a $10k Main Event at the Crown Millions with 732 entrants is his signature, but until that seven-figure score, Engels highlight was probably getting to become the number one online player in the world via the official rankings. He’s been steadily grinding since you can remember and is the walking, talking embodiment of how bankroll management can make you a poker superstar. He’s also currently winning the Global Poker Index Player of the Year ranking in Canada, and is 15th worldwide. If anyone can get there, it’s Ari Engel.
Fascinating Fact: Engel has lived in more countries than we’ve had hot dinners. Having been born in Toronto, he was there but a year before beginning his traversal of the globe. He’s lived in Australia, Israel, England and South Africa, as well as New York and Las Vegas in the United States. That’s a longer lifetime queue at passport control than the Great Wall of China (possibly).
Known For: Recent consistency. With over 70 live cashes and 11 of those in 2016, Chartier is a man in form. He hasn’t topped his WSOP Circuit win in 2009 for prize money in tournament terms, but his rise has been a steep one and he is not a name you want to see on your table draw!
Career Highlights: Winning $322,944 for the title in the $5,000 entry WSOP Circuit event at Caesar’s Palace seven years ago may have been Chartier’s biggest cash, but he has over $2.6m in live earnings. As recently as 2014, he won the Canada Cup for another six-figure score.
Fascinating Fact: Chartier is a super-fan of many sports, including Ice Hockey. He also once helped produce and sell a maple-syrup flavored brand of vodka called Nabazo! If it guarantees the kind of results Chartier is now well-known for, we’ll have what he’s having.
Known For: Winning two WSOP circuit rings within 24 hours. He’s a three-time FTOPS winner too, and specializes in…well, everything. He’s cashed in Seven-Card Stud, Mixed PLO 8 or Better & Big O and H.O.R.S.E. events …and those cashes are only at the 2016 WSOP!
Career Highlights: Leah has cashed a ridiculous 20 times in 2016 alone, including taking down the WPT Fallsview Poker Classic as recently as February. He also came 2nd for over $700,000 in the WPT L.A. Classic at the beginning of 2015, but his biggest career score is the $1 million prize he took for finishing as runner-up in the 2014 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open. The guy who beat him heads-up in that enjoyed a decent year too – it was Daniel Colman.
Fascinating Fact: Leah worked for a sales company for over 16 years prior to switching to poker…being able to sell you that bluff on the river is no problem. Leah has previously declared his intention to one day outstrip Phil Ivey and Phil Helmuth’s WSOP bracelet haul. What a deal that would be.