Last October, we told you about the race to become 2012’s biggest online winner between Ben “Sauce123” Sulsky and Ben “Ben86” Tollerene. At the time, Sulsky, up $2.74 million, was just $173,135 ahead of his opponent. Not only was Sulsky able to hold onto that lead, but he also extended it and finished as the year’s biggest online winner with $3,595,666 in profit. Meanwhile, Tollerene dropped to $2,136,109 in profit, putting him in fourth place behind “EireAbu” (third with $2,176,527 in profit) and Jens “Jeans89” Kyllönen (second with $2,494,278).
Here is a look at the Top 10 Winners of the year, all of whom were on PokerStars:
Top 10 2012 Online Poker Winners
|Ben “Sauce123” Sulsky||2,133||194,473||$3,595,666|
|Jens “Jeans89” Kyllönen||5,749||362,686||$2,492,278|
|Ben “Ben86” Tollerene||3,947||230,205||$2,136,109|
|Alex “Kanu7” Millar||1,287||175,244||$1,643,747|
|Niklas “ragen70” Heinecker||1,242||107,555||$1,640,967|
|Phil “MrSweets28” Galfond||1,726||177,674||$1,417,998|
If you recall, last year saw Ilari "Ilari FIN" Sahamies and Rafi "refaelamit" Amit locked in a race to become the year’s biggest winner. Viktor “Isildur1” Blom even made a push for the title in late December of that year, but in the end, Sahamies won $2.18 million to become online poker’s biggest winner of 2011. Interestingly, Sulsky won almost $1.5 million more in 2012 than Sahamies did in 2011, an indication that online poker is headed in the right direction.
What’s more, Full Tilt Poker returned to the market in November. While the high-stakes games quickly began to revert to their old stomping grounds, it was too late to catch up with all the action that had taken place on their sister site. As such, it ensured that the year’s biggest winner would come from PokerStars for the second year in a row.
As mentioned, that man was Sulsky, who began the year off with a bang in January by winning $671,150 on PokerStars. According to HighStakesDB, he went on to book small wins in February and March and then banked six-figure wins each month from April to June. He had his only losing month in July, down $220,000, but backed that up with $1.1 million in profit from August to September. October wasn’t great as he lost a quarter of a million dollars, but he recouped that and then some when he banked $590,000 in November.
That is when Sulsky’s biggest hand of the year took place—November 19, 2012 to be exact—in a game of $200/$400 pot-limit Omaha. It happened at a six-handed table when Ronny “1-ronnyr3” Kaiser ($37,160) opened for $900 under the gun and picked up calls from Sahamies ($174,600.20) and Sulsky ($247,005) on the button and big blind respectively. When the flop fell , Sulsky led out for $2,400, Kaiser raised to $6,000, and Sahamies called. Sulsky put in the additional $3,600 and then checked the turn, opening the door for Kaiser to bet $21,375. Once again Sahamies called, but this time Sulsky check-raised to $106,875. Kaiser called off his remaining $8,805, Sahamies called, and the completed the board on the river. Sulsky proceeded to shove his last $133,230, and Sahamies opted to get out of the way. Sulsky then tabled for three queens, and it was good enough to win he $265,305 pot as Kaiser could only muster a pair of aces with .
While Sulsky had the lead in the race the latter half of the year, there were always people nipping at his heels. First it was by Tollerene, but then it came from Kyllönen. The Finn got off to a great start in 2012 and was up nearly $2 million in the first two months. He stumbled a bit in March and then held steady for the next few months before getting back to business in July with a $460,000 win. Kyllönen proceeded to book winning months until the end of the year, all playing PLO, but it was not enough to catch Sulsky.
Even though he didn’t overtake Sulsky, he did lay claim to a bigger pot in 2012. It happened back on April 2, 2012 in a five-handed game of $100/$200 PLO when Blom ($116,506.69) opened for $900 under the gun and Kyllönen ($119,038.65) three-bet to $3,200 from the button. Sahamies ($47,200) called from the small blind, and then Kaiser ($17,222.50) four-bet to $13,900 from the big. Blom called, Kyllönen five-bet $62,200, and Sahamies called off his remaining $44,000. Kaiser committed his last $3,322.50, Blom called, and the flop fell . Blom checked, Kyllönen moved all in for $56,838.66, and the Swede called off to create a pot of $297,471.
Blom got it in good with a flush, and stayed in the lead on the turn. Unfortunately for him, the spiked on the river to give Kyllönen a full house and the juicy pot.
Here is a month-by-month look for both Sulsky, who you may recall finished as runner-up to Daniel “w00ki3z” Cates in November’s All-Star Showdown for $250,000, and Kyllönen, who made a late surge to take over the No. 2 spot:
Ben "Sauce123" Sulsky Jens “Jeans89” Kyllönen
|Month||Winnings||Running Total||Month||Winnings||Running Total|
Meanwhile, the two biggest winners on Full Tilt Poker were Sebastien “Seb86” Sabic and Davin “davin77” Georgi, who were the only two players to win over $1 million on the once reviled site. The former finished as the biggest winner with $1,118,348 in profit from 24,452 hands across 216 sessions, while the latter was close behind with $1,092,887 in 68,155 hands across 520 sessions. On the flip side, Gus Hansen was far and away FTP’s biggest loser, dropping a staggering $3,204,539 in 414 sessions/63,686. Combined with the $1,093,446 he lost on PokerStars, and Hansen finished as the biggest overall loser in 2012, down $4,297,985 total.
Even so, the biggest loser on a single site was “Zypherin”, rumored to be Guy Laliberté. In 2011, he was the year’s biggest loser after dropping $1,054,638 in 250 sessions/62,564 hands, and he followed that up by losing more than three times that much by playing the same volume on PokerStars (-$3,552,742 in 259 sessions/60,697 hands).
Here is a look at the Top 10 Losers of the year between PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker:
Top 10 2012 Online Poker Losers (Single Site)
|Viktor “Isildur1” Blom||4,409||298,090||$2,673,899|
|Rui “PepperoniF” Cao||718||79,766||$1,377,402|
|Gus “broksi” Hansen||467||56,004||$1,093,446|
|Benny “toweliestar” Spindler||4,269||266,669||$1,004,506|
|Tom “durrrr” Dwan*||137||17,826||$987,189|
*On Full Tilt Poker.
Data and hands obtained from HighStakesDB.com
Lead picture courtesy of nl.pokernews.com.