Top 25 Online High Stakes Poker Winners of 2011

2011 was an eventful year for online poker but there were still plenty of million dollar winners and plenty of action to enjoy. We have compiled a list of the top 25 winners of the year across Full Tilt and PokerStars high stakes tables. Please note we have listed the top 25 performing screen names rather than focusing on the individuals behind the names. Where possible however we have shown the individuals combined results across both sites where both the accounts and total winnings are known.

 1. Gus Hansen (Full Tilt Poker) $3,941,703

The Great Dane had a fantastic year at the virtual felt, netting a handsome $3.941.703 profit for 2011. This figure is doubly impressive as, due to the demise of his sponsor Full Tilt Poker, Gus Hansen only played between January 1st and May 28th.

In fact Hansens good run started towards the back end of 2010 as he won $2 million between October and December of that year putting him on a $6 million upswing prior to Full Tilt closing down. Hansen finally seemed to get his head around heads up PLO in 2011 to the extent that some players (according to Hansen, Daniel "jungleman12" Cates being one of them) refused to play him - a far cry from a couple of years previous when lists of up to 20 players waited in line to take a bite of the PLO "fish". Certainly the introduction of CAP PLO suited Hansen's game, as he never really felt comfortable playing PLO deep and he is always a strong competitor in any "limit" game. Hansen took $5.2 million from the PLO games in 2011, playing a lot of $500/$1000.

He also racked up over $800k in another of his favourite games, Limit Omaha H/L (a game in fact in which Hansen has posted $4.36 million in winnings since HSDB started tracking them in mid 2008) although perhaps surprisingly he was let down by his draw games, in which he lost over $1.4 million in 2011.

Hansen has recently blogged about playing live in Vegas and his trip to Hong Kong, he is currently unsure whether he'll take part in the big game in Macua (where he is heading tomorrow) - read his frequent blog entries here

Gus's Biggest Hand

Gus can consider himself extremely lucky to bust Scott "URnotINdanger2" Palmer's Aces and nut flush draw twice in the same hand - $287k pot

2. Ilari FIN (PokerStars) $2,183,832*

Ilari FIN, the PokerStars nickname for Finish PLO specialist Ilari Sahamies performed a Lazarus like resurrection in the second half of 2011 after languishing at the very bottom of the heap after losing $900,000 in his first few months at PokerStars. He was being written off in some circles as past it - the likes of Rui "pepperoniF" Cao openly mocking him in the chat box telling him "it's not 2006 anymore" - insinuating that his best years were behind him.

Ilari FIN silenced his critics in the latter part of the year placing in the top three winners in consecutive months from August-November winning approximately $3 million in the process (incidentally getting the better of pepperoniF on most occasions they played after his disparaging remark!). In fact Ilari FIN looked set to complete the year on a high, as once again he sat within the top three winners for the month (at +$541,000) in December up until 29th of the month when he ran into Isildur1 who ran like God to put a $500k beat on the Finn. He still ended the month a six figure winner however, thus completing the most impressive turnaround of the year.

Ilari FIN's biggest hand

Also the biggest hand ever at PokerStars - Ilari wraps up this $422k pot rivering an ace high flush

* It is worth noting that due to a $623k loss on his ziigmund account in 2011, Sahamies personally only ended up $1.56 million in profit, this list however is based on the biggest winning accounts rather than individuals.

3. refaelamit (PokerStars) $2,105,597*

Israeli pro Rafi "refaelamit" Amit is renowned as a tremendous PLO player, both live and online - winning a WSOP Bracelet in the $10k PLO event in 2005, reportedly a big winner in the larger live games in Vegas and winning over $3.5 million on his Full Tilt account "howisitfeellike" since HSDB started tracking. He has also had a stellar year online at PokerStars bagging over $2.1 million in winnings at the high stakes PLO tables. Amit won over 90% of his winnings in three months - winning $262k in January, $562 in March and a whopping $1.07 million in September.

refaelamit's biggest hand

Rafi's Aces beat Isildur1's busted wrap draw river bluff - $170k pot

*Including Rafi's losses of $41,218 on Full Tilt his overall 2011 results were +$2,064,379

4. jungleman12 (Full Tilt) $1,952,994*

Daniel "jungleman12" Cates continued his awesome run at Full Tilt poker in 2011, having crushed the games for $5.5 million in 2010. Again his progress in 2011 was severely impacted by the implosion of Full Tilt as he approached $2 million in winnings before Black Friday in March (as a US based player he didn't get to play for as long as Hansen). Having established himself as THE NLHE player to beat he set about dismantling Tom "durrr" Dwan in the "durrrr" challenge and was faring rather well being up over $1.2 million in the match before Black Friday struck. He can also attributed the vast majority of his 2011 winnings to heads up NLHE.

Cates also became a fearsome PLO player and would surely have posted better results (in 2011 he booked a $152k profit in PLO) in the discipline had he not lost a considerable sum to Gus Hansen playing some epic heads up sessions. As of 2012 Cates has been living in London, UK and has been playing anonymously on various European sites and, unsurprisingly, rather well by all accounts. We hope to see him back on the big sites soon.

jungleman12's biggest hand

Cates top two holds off Antonius lower 2 pair for this $326k pot

*When Cates PokerStars (w00ki3z) account for 2011 is figured into the equation his total profits for 2011 were $1,805,428

5. NoPasaran (Full Tilt) $1,875,348*

Prior to 2011 Russian player Alexey "NoPasaran" Makarov had a quite unspectacular high stakes cash game graph at Full Tilt (although he had performed well in tournaments, winning an FTOPS event and placing highly in several others) and had in fact slowly and steadily lost over $200k from January 2007 to January 2011. That was all to change in the first five months of 2011 as he consistently put in big performances winning all his money at the PLO tables - including taking around half a million dollars from Canadian youngster XWINK during his crazy week in March. Marakov won in every month from Jan-May bagging nearly $1.9 million in total winnings.

NoPasaran's biggest hand was a $343,548 PLO hand played at $300/$600 stakes against XWINK (hand unavailable)

*Marakov plays on PokerStars as "LuckyGump" and with his $109,646 profits added he made $1,984,996 in 2011

6. Isildur1 (PokerStars) $1,472,695

What can I say about Viktor "Isildur1" Blom that hasn't already been said? Blom signed as a PokerStars team pro at the end of 2010 and spent the first 2/3 of 2011 logging a remarkable number of hours at the tables, making Supernova Elite at breakneck speed, playing marathon multi-tabling cash games and over 3300 high stakes sit and gos. By the end of 2011 Blom had logged 384654 high stakes cash hands - 65% more hands than anybody else in the top 25 list.

As you'd expect for a player with a playing style as fast and loose as Isildur1 his year was never going to be plain sailing as he hit several peaks and troughs throughout the year, including several million dollar weekends. Blom also made a decent showing of his 2011 "Superstar Showdowns" played over 5,000 hands of NLHE or PLO/NLHE mix vs pre-selected players where Blom won all 9 of his match ups in 2011 (Daniel Negreanu technically "won" part two of their extended match although Blom was a massive winner overall, beating Negreanu for over $120,000 across the matches). Capable of winning or losing hundreds of buy ins over an extended session it appeared Blom may have had enough of PLO variance when he went from $1.6 million profit in late August to just over $400k profit in early September whereupon Isildur1 disappeared from PokerStars for precisely three months, only reappearing as if nothing had happened on 9th December. He came back with a bang, winning $1.5 million in just two days (before promptly relinquishing over half of it in a similar timeframe). Blom ended the year on a high, taking Ilari FIN for $500k in the run up to the new year in a riotous $50/$100 PLO heads up session ending the year nearly $1.5 million to the good.

Isildur1's biggest hand of 2011

Isildur1 makes a brave call on the river to take this $240k pot vs Ilari FIN

7. Matt Hawrilenko (Full Tilt) $1,440,095

Coming into 2011 Matt Hawrilenko had taken a year sabbatical from Full Tilt poker having had a rotten ride pretty much from when he was made a Full Tilt Red Pro in the summer of 2008 including an exceptionally bad end to 2009 which saw his "lifetime" Red Pro graph dip to over $1 million in losses. A limit specialist (although Matt a million dollars and a WSOP bracelet in a $5,000 NLHE event in 2009) Matt made a reappearance in 2011, perhaps due to the introduction of draw games to Full Tilts roster - a limit game in which Hawrilenko excelled, responsible in fact for the entirety of his 2011 profits. Hawrilenko was most comfortable at the heads up tables where he earned a fearsome reputation in the draw games, namely the 2-7 Triple Draw discipline - where in particular he took a lot of money from Eugene "fishosaurusREX" Yanayt.

Hawrilenko had a fantastic February in particular, making over $1.7 million profit - he lost a little in March but was set for an awesome year when unfortunately Black Friday struck and his winnings were held to $1.44 million.

8. bixiu (Full Tilt) $1,406,194

Another WSOP bracelet winner, Yan "bixiu" Chen is another 2-7 specialist, having won the $1500 NL 2-7 Draw event at 2010's World Series who benefited greatly from Full Tilt's inclusion of these games in later 2010. Before the draw games emerged bixiu was a million dollar loser at Full Tilt's high stakes tables but won a tidy $1.4 million in the first three months of 2011 putting him at number 8 on our list.

9. Jeans89 (PokerStars) $1,377,019*

2011 was a great year online for Jens "Jeans89" Kyllönen who is one of two players to appear twice on this list (along with Ronny Kaiser) as a million dollar winner on both Full Tilt and PokerStars. His PokerStars spoils came from consistent play from February onwards winning all his money from PLO from $25/$50 up to $200/$400. His standout day on PokerStars occurred on the 12th December when Isildur1 was in freefall after his dramatic +$1.5 million weekend when he donated nearly $800k at the $200/$400 PLO tables - Jeans89 was able to leave those sessions a $470k winner.

Jeans89's biggest pot of 2011

Jeans89 takes down this big three way pot with top two pair - $200k pot

*When factoring in Jens Full Tilt winnings (Ingenious89) his total online 2011 winnings were $2,522,376

10. Phil Ivey (Full Tilt) $1,336,313

The man, the myth, the legend. With only three months play at Full Tilt, Phil Ivey was still able to once again feature among the years biggest online winners. Ivey was also had the biggest $ won per hand out of anyone in the top 25 winning an average of $78 per hand for each of his 17,155 hands played in 2011. His true versatility was on display in the three months he was active online as, despite being the biggest ever online PLO winner and one of the biggest NLHE winners, he actually took nearly all of his 2011 spoils from the Draw and LHE games. In our tracked results Phil Ivey stands as the all time leading online money winner with nearly $20 million won since 2007.

Phil Ivey's biggest hand of 2011

Ivey is ahead from start to finish in this HU pot vs XWINK - $178k pot

11. gavz101 (PokerStars) $1,197,672*

Although by no means a shabby showing UK pro and PLO specialist Gavin "gavz101" Cochrane will probably have ended the year a little disappointed in his final result as he was flying high back in March having already won $1.9 million for the year on PokerStars. A poor showing after his return from the WSOP in the summer however lead to his winnings losing shape considerably before a slight comeback in the final months of the year pushed him back over the $1 million profit mark.

gavz101's biggest hand of 2011

gavz101's flopped straight beats urnotindangr's Aces and higher flush draw - $151k pot

*Incorporating gavz101's considerable losses on his account of the same name on Full Tilt his combined 2011 winnings were, in fact, only $593,000.

12. 1-ronnyr3 (PokerStars)*

Swiss Pro Ronny "1-ronnyr3" Kaiser had an outstanding year by anybodys standards as he was not only a million dollar winner on both PokerStars and Full Tilt but he also won his first EPT title in August in London. Although a winner throughout the year at PokerStars it was in the final two months where he really boosted his profile there winning around a million dollars in the bigger PLO games.

1-ronnyr3's biggest hand of 2011

1-ronnyr3 is VERY lucky to land this gutshot on the river in this $234k pot

*Ronny Kaiser's combined winnings between PokerStars and Full Tilt (ronnyr37617) total $2.2 million

13. 1Il|1Il|1il| (PokerStars) $1,160,769

This unknown player shot onto the scene late in 2011 and didn't start too well, losing $200k in his first couple of months. However, 1Il|1Il|1il| ended the year with a truly stunning December as he won $1.34 million to boost his profile and his place on our top 25 list.

1Il|1Il|1il|'s biggest hand

1Il|1Il|1il| rivers a flush for this $273k pot

14. Patrik Antonius (Full Tilt) $1,157,800*

Finlands leading poker export (sorry Ilari!) had another fine start to the year in 2011 as he racked up over a million dollars in profit between January and May. As usual it was at the PLO tables where Antonius made his mark.

PA's biggest hand

A rather hopeful call from URnotINDanger2 in this $467k hand

*Although there is strong speculation that PA also owns the Fake Love888 account on PokerStars as it remains unconfirmed at this time we will not combine the accounts totals

15. Seb86 (Full Tilt) $1,146,423

Sebastien “Seb86″ Sabic has (unusually for a young online pro) preferred the mixed games so when Full Tilt introduced the 2-7 Triple Draw games Seb86 jumped in with both feet. The net result was that for the few months he was able to ply his trade at FT he made a fantastic $1.1million profit in only 15,000 hands.

16. Ingenious89 (Full Tilt) - $1,145,357*

As previously mentioned Ingenious89 is the FT screen name of Jens Kyllönen. Jens made a huge impact at Full Tilt on April 21st when he won over $1,000,000 in one day playing $300/$600 PLO. In addition to his FT winnings Jens PokerStars winnings in fact really make him the 2nd biggest winner of the year.

Ingenious89's biggest hand

Ingenious89 had good equity in this hand but can consider himself lucky to win both times with only the river to be run twice - $256k pot

*(see entry number 9)

17. Skjervøy (PokerStars) $1,132,635*

2011 was a mixed bag for Andreas "Skjervøy" Torbergsen as he raced off to a great start at PokerStars winning over $600k in the first six months before going into overdrive between June and August - amassing over $2 million in profits. However, a terrible September and a general malaise for the rest of the year saw the once rampant Norwegian slide to just over $1.1 million profit for 2011.

Skjervøy's biggest pot of 2011

The flop brings a monster draw for Skjervøy who completes on the turn and avoids Isildur1's flush draw in this $234k pot

*Skjervøy had a rough year on his similarly named Full Tilt account losing $628 making his actual online profit for 2011 just over $500k.

18. L0ve2playU (PokerStars) - $1,092,399*

Dutch pro Joeri "L0ve2playU" van der Sman has been the consummate grinder in 2011, plying the vast majority of his trade at the $25/$50 stakes (his biggest hand being just $66k at these stakes) although he does venture higher for good games, playing as high as $200/$400 PLO in short bursts. Joeri played almost 180,000 hands in 2011 and they certainly paid dividends making him a million dollar winner.

*As bemyguestbud on Full Tilt, Joeri lost $45k in 2011 making his 2011 profit $1.047 million

19. toweliestar (PokerStars) $1,070,907*

What a year Benny "toweliestar" Spindler has had, not only is he a million dollar winner at PokerStars but he also won two EPT titles within 6 weeks over the summer and earned himself $1.8 million dollars in the process. After a poor start to the year, losing $300k in the first three months, Spindler played consistently well, especially in the last quarter of the year to finish up a $1.07 million dollar winner playing in all the highstakes PLO games.

towelistar's biggest hand of 2011

Although !P0krparty¡ is just ahead when the money goes in towelistar hits one of his many outs on the river - $155k pot

*As psychobenny, Spindler lost $74,378 on Full Tilt in 2011 making his actual 2011 total online profit was $996,529

20. 0Human0 (PokerStars) $1,029,866

Romanian Pro Ignat "0Human0" Liviu is widely considered one of the strongest NLHE players currently playing online and he certainly proved his mettle in 2011 where he won over a million dollars split roughly 60/40 in favour of NLHE.

0Human0's biggest hand of 2011

0Human0 makes an unlikely hand to get paid off on as his AJ makes quads on the river - $127k pot

21. alexeimartov (PokerStars) $1,023,497*

Australian online pro Martin "alexeimartov" Bradstreet has been an online high stakes player for several years now and had one of his best years in 2011 winning over a million dollars at PokerStars playing mainly high stakes PLO, including large wins at the $100/$200 limits.

alexeimartov's biggest hand of 2011

alexeimartov's flopped two pair busts toweliestar's Aces - $105k pot

*Playing under his Full Tilt moniker "magicninja" Bradstreet lost $71,148 making his overall haul for 2011 $952,359

 22. ronnyr37617 (Full Tilt) $1,005,321*

Ronny Kaiser made just over a million dollars in the first five months of the year in 2011 splitting his winnings approximately 70/30 between PLO and Draw games. He played primarily in the nosebleed $200/$400 and $300/$600 PLO games against the toughest competition online.

ronnyr37617's biggest hand of 2011

Ronny is in great shape to pick up the entire pot here despite the "run it twice" option coming into play with two cards still to be dealt - $218k pot

23. EazyPeazy (Full Tilt) $998,635

Winning just short of a million dollars on Full Tilt in 2011 Abe "EazyPeazy" Mosseri is a Brooklyn born former professional backgammon player who also has over $1 million in live poker winnings including a WSOP bracelet in 2-7 Triple Draw. Perhaps it is not surprising therefore that Abe took all his winnings at the draw tables in the first three months of 2011.

*Abe lost a mere $8,991 as matchpoint20 in our tracked games on PokerStars making his total profit for 2011 $989,644

24. O Fortuna PLS (Full Tilt) $874.837

German limit pro O Fortuna PLS had a few months on Full Tilt Poker this year winning $874k in just under 50,000 hands, splitting his profits between the draw games and LHE.

25. Kanu7 (PokerStars) $821,660*

English Heads Up NLHE specialist Kanu7 made his entire profit for the year on PokerStars playing his favourite discipline. Kanu7 was the biggest high stakes NLHE winner on PokerStars in 2011.

Kanu7's biggest hand of 2011

takechip's flopped two pair is no match for Kanu7's flopped top set - $110k pot

*As IReadYrSoul this player also won $205k playing NLHE making his total profits for 2011 $1.079 million.


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