NEWS

Among items stolen from poker champ Duhamel: winner's bracelet

12/22/2011 11:19 EST | Updated 02/21/2012 05:12 EST
MONTREAL - World poker champion Jonathan Duhamel says he was tied up, pummelled in the face and head and told he was going to be killed.

Adding insult to injury, two robbers this week also took the Canadian card whizz's prized championship bracelet from his 2010 World Series poker victory.

Duhamel released a statement on his website Thursday thanking family and friends for their support.

He said he felt lucky to be alive.

Duhamel issued the statement one day after being the victim of a brutal home invasion that required a brief trip to the hospital.

"Two men broke into my house and I was physically assaulted and robbed," Duhamel wrote on his website.

"After being threatened with death and having given them everything I had, I was bound and hit repeatedly in the face and body before my attackers left."

Duhamel said he's hurting all over but he didn't suffer any major injuries. "I am now exhausted both physically and psychologically, but I count myself fortunate to be alive," he said.

But he's not happy about what he lost: a distinctive championship bracelet of gold and diamonds that reads "2010 WSOP (World Series of Poker) CHAMPION."

Also stolen was a Rolex Submariner watch given to him by his sponsor PokerStars to mark his feat. Both items were engraved with his name and the date of his triumph.

"I won't deny that these two items have a value much larger than money to me, and I hope with all my heart that we will be able to recover them in the near future," Duhamel wrote.

Police detectives on Montreal's south shore were meeting with Duhamel, 24, on Thursday to get more information about the attack a day earlier.

What they know is that the men rang the doorbell, then burst into Duhamel's home in the borough of Boucherville, just south of Montreal. Duhamel called 9-1-1 himself after they left.

Police asked the public to keep an eye out for several stolen items.

Duhamel became internationally known in 2010 when he won US$8.9 million in a poker tournament in Las Vegas. The professional poker player became the first Canadian to capture the Main Event at the World Series of Poker.

Const. Patrick Barriere, a Longueuil police spokesman, said Thursday that one hypothesis investigators are considering is that Duhamel was targeted.

Of the stolen cash, some was in Canadian currency while some of it consisted of euros, in the form of 500 euro notes.

"Those (big euro notes) are particularly rare so we're asking anyone that comes into contact with them to call police," Barriere said.

The attack and robbery has made international headlines.

Last January, Duhamel won the high-roller event at the European Poker Tour, taking home more than $270,000 and later won more than $40,000 at the World Series of Poker, bringing his total winnings so far to more than $9.5 million.

Duhamel said he'll spend the holidays recovering from his ordeal.

"I will try now to step back from this misadventure during the holiday season with my family and my friends," Duhamel said, adding that he hopes to return to the table soon.

MORE:cpNews