Canada is a country that might not have the biggest of presence on the world stage – as well as feeling that it’s always in the shadow of its neighbor to the south. But there are plenty of fields in which the country excels.
One of the more surprising of these is in gambling. Canadians of all kinds have made major contributions to an industry that’s estimated to be worth around $19 billion a year, and rising. So, if the nation were ever to erect a museum to celebrate some of the biggest names, here are five definite candidates.
David Baazov may have been born in Israel, but at the age of one, he and his family moved to Montreal. Always very gifted at math, after leaving college, he started working for the city’s public library service on digitizing their collection. This sparked an interest in computing and he used his knowledge to invent a poker-playing program that removed the need for a dealer. From there he has gone on to head one of the world’s biggest online poker sites.
The Poker Star
“Daniel Negreanu” (CC BY-ND 2.0) by World Poker Tour
Mention the name Daniel Negreanu to anyone who knows anything about the game and they’ll point out that you’re talking about poker-playing royalty. Born in Toronto in 1974, Negreanu has won more WSOP bracelets – the game’s equivalent of Olympic gold medals – than any other Canadian, as well as netting estimated career winnings of over $42 million, for which he spent years at the very top of the all-time money list. Famous for his extrovert style of play, Negreanu is also well known as being one of the biggest characters on the pro poker circuit.
The Online Expert
As the youngest candidate in the list, it’s no wonder that Jaime Staples is also the online specialist. Having served his online apprenticeship playing online poker with great success, Staples has gone on to specialize in live streaming multi-table poker tournaments on https://www.twitch.tv/, where he has attracted well over 100,000 followers.
The Blackjack Ace
Of course, poker’s not the only game in town, as anyone who has enjoyed the many variations of blackjack available at https://games.paddypower.com/ will tell you. Variations such as this website’s Classic, Premium and Cash Out mean that players can enjoy the same basic gameplay with different added elements. A leading exponent of the offline version of the game is Ontario-born Monica Reeves. Following a very successful modeling career, Reeves took up the game in 2005 and proved to be an almost instant success. Taking part in a 10-week televised tournament on CBS, Ultimate Blackjack Tour, she was the clear winner in the fourth preliminary event, going on to finish second in the ladies’ event winning $40,000 in the process.
Last, but by no means least, there’s the larger than life and very well-known Calvin Ayre. The veteran of the online poker scene has had a very colorful career but now seems to have settled down to concentrate on charity work via https://calvinayrefoundation.org/. At the peak of his fame and success, in 2006, Ayre was featured on the Forbes Billionaire’s List – a mark of just how successful he was at the time.
Naturally, there are quite a number of other Canadians lining up for entry in the hall of fame. And with gambling growing ever more popular, it’s a list that’s sure to get longer in the future.