These pots are worth more than your car. They're worth more than your house. And in many parts of the United States, they're worth more than an entire block of houses. Even among the few dozen rarefied high-stakes online players who exchange six-figure sums on a daily basis, losing one of these monsterpottens can be a soul-crushing affair… and several of them have done it one more than one occasion (hello Ziigmund!). You'll notice a lot of familiar faces in the lineups that produced these record-setting pots including Phil Ivey, John Juanda, Di "Urindanger" Dang, Phil "OMGClayAiken" Galfond, and Tom "durrrr" Dwan, who laid claim to four out of the ten largest online pots ever played (though he also lost two of the top three). Some are classic aces vs. kings confrontations, others see straights flushed away and one was won by nothing more than a pair of deuces. Behold, online poker's ten largest pots, all played on Full Tilt Poker.
10. $585,009 – Jay "pr1nnyraid" Rosenkrantz vs. TonyBliar, $500/1,000 NLHE
June 25, 2008. Until that day, the record for the largest online pot was over two years old-- belonging to a $465,451 hand played between Fast_Freddie and Johnny "bad_ip" Lodden on the Ladbrokes network back in June 2006. Jay "pr1nnyraid" Rosenkrantz and "TonyBliar" ended up shattering the record that night while playing on the newly created $500/1,000 "Rail Heaven" table on Full Tilt Poker, but the strange manner in which the hand played out, not to mention the fact that "TonyBliar" had never played such high-stakes before, led to forum discussions as to whether the hand was staged for publicity's sake. Check out the action and decide for yourself.
Playing heads-up, TonyBliar opened for $3,000 from the button/small blind, Rosenkrantz reraised to $11,000 from the big blind and TonyBliar called. The flop came down . Rosenkrantz led out for $19,000 and TonyBliar called. The turn brought the and Krantz fired another $53,000, which TonyBliar flat-called. The river fell the and Rosenkrantz bet $61,000. TonyBliar put in a raise to $122,000, only to be met with a three-bet all in from Rosenkrantz for his remaining $209,504. TonyBliar called off his last $87,504 and showed for a full house. Rosenkrantz had him beat with the for a bigger boat and raked in the pot.
9. $593,935 - Tom "durrrr" Dwan vs. Ilari "Ziigmund" Sahamies, $500/$1,000 PLO
March 4, 2009. Tom "durrrr" Dwan and Ilari "Ziigmund" Sahamies were playing heads-up on Dwan's own deep-stacked $500/1,000 PLO table.
Dwan raised to 3,000 from the button, Ziigmund reraised to 9,000 from the big blind and Dwan called. Sahamies led out for 18,000 on the flop, Dwan raised to 51,600, and Sahamies called. The came on the turn, Sahamies leading again for 121,200. Dwan flat-called. Sahamies moved all in for $244,897 when the fell on the river , and Dwan snap-called for his remaining $115,167, showing for aces full of jacks. The nut straight Sahamies had flopped with was toast and Dwan dragged the massive pot.
8. $609,730 – Guy "patatino" Laliberte vs. Hac "trex313" Dang and Phil "OMGClayAiken" Galfond, $500/1,000 NLHE
September 12, 2008. Guy "patatino" Laliberte, "regista8," Hac "trex313" Dang, Phil "OMGClayAiken" Galfond, and Tom "durrrr" Dwan were playing five-handed $500/1,000 no-limit hold'em.
Laliberte limped in for $1,000 from UTG+1, Dang completed the small blind, and not content to just check his option from the big, Galfond put in a raise to $5,000. Both of his opponents called. The flop came down . Dang checked and Galfond made a continuation bet of $9,200, which kicked off a raising war. Laliberte made it $35,000 to go, and Dang came back over the top for $88,000. It was enough to chase Galfond away, but Laliberte responded with an all-in bet of $337,080. Dang called for the $292,767 he had behind and the cards went on their backs.
From behind computer screens the world around, jaws dropped as the hands were revealed. Laliberte showed for a naked flush draw while Dang turned up for a lower flush draw and an open-ended straight draw. As the percentages fall, Laliberte was actually a 62.6% favorite in the hand with his queen-high. The on the turn gave Laliberte bottom pair, but Dang could still survive with a non-diamond jack, nine, seven, or queen. However, the river blanked out with the , Laliberte winning $609,730 with a lowly pair of deuces. At the time, this shattered the record for the largest online pot ever played.
7. $617,968 – Tom "durrrr" Dwan vs. Sami "LarsLuzak" Kelopuro, $500/1,000 NLHE
October 28, 2008. Tom "durrrr" Dwan and Sami "LarsLuzak" Kelopuro were settled in, playing a little $500/1,000 no-limit hold'em. Ilari "Ziigmund" Sahamies had just joined the action, buying in for $100,000 but was not dealt into this hand.
Kelopuro kicked off the action with a raise to $3,000 from the small blind, and Dwan called. Dwan checked the flop, opening the door for Kelopuro to put out a $4,000 continuation bet. Dwan came in with a check-raise to $12,700 and Kelopuro called. The landed on the turn and Dwan took the lead, betting $24,700. Kelopuro came along again with a call. The on the river didn't slow Dwan down at all, firing another $68,700. Kelopuro moved all in for his entire $270 832 stack and Dwan called.
Kelopuro turned up , his massive river bluff having failed in the worst way possible. Dwan showed and raked in the pot with top two pair.
6. $637,353 – Sami "LarsLuzak" Kelopuro vs. Ilari "Ziigmund" Sahamies, $500/1,000 PLO
December 21, 2008. Sami "LarsLuzak" Kelopuro, Gus Hansen, Phil Ivey, Tom "durrrr" Dwan and Ilari "Ziigmund" Sahamies were playing five-handed $500/ 1,000 pot-limit Omaha.
Gus Hansen opened the action with a min-raise to $2,000 from under-the-gun. Ivey and Dwan folded, and Sahamies came in with a reraise to $7,000 from the small blind only to have Kelopuro, sitting in the big blind, four-bet it to $23,000. Hansen gave up his hand but Sahamies called. Sahamies checked the flop, Kelopuro bet $32,000 and Sahamies called. The on the turn put two flush draws out there and Sahamies responded with a pot-sized bet of $112,000. Kelopuro called. When the fell on the river Sahamies moved all in for $205,327 and Kelopuro called off the $150,677 he had behind.
Though Sahamies had turned the nut straight with , Kelopuro rivered the ace-high flush with , snatching away the $637,353 pot.
5. $643,986 – Tom "durrrr" Dwan vs. Ilari "Ziigmund" Sahamies and LokoIsBack, $500/1,000 PLO
December 31, 2008. As the clock ticked down toward 2009 over Western Europe, David "MR B 2 U SON" Benyamine, Tom "durrrr" Dwan, Patirik Antonius, "LokoIsBack", and Ilari "Ziigmund" Sahamies were engaged in a New Year's Eve session of $500/1,000 pot-limit Omaha.
Benyamine open-limped from UTG, Dwan raised to $4,500, Antonius folded, LokoIsBack flat-called from the small blind and Sahamies came in with a pot-sized raise to $19,000 from the big blind, setting LokoIsBack all in. Benyamine folded, Dwan called, and LokoIsBack called. Sahamies and Dwan went to war on the flop, Sahamies betting $58,000 Dwan potting to $232,000, Sahamies moving all in for $350 993, and Dwan making the call.
With all three players all in, the cards were turned up, Sahamies with for a wrap draw and a flush draw, Dwan with for top set and a higher flush draw, and LokoIsBack for a pair of sixes and a gutshot straight draw. It was all over on the turn, however, the falling to make Dwan quads. The inconsequential hit the river and Dwan took down $643,986.
4. $657,070 – Tom "durrrr" Dwan vs. Di "Urindanger" Dang, $500/1,000 NLHE
December 6, 2008. A five-handed $500/1,000 NLHE game came together around Guy "elmariachimacho" Laliberte, featuring Tom "durrrr" Dwan, Di "Urindanger" Dang, "LokoIsBack", and Phil "OMGClayAiken" Galfond.
Dwan was the initial raiser, making it $3,000 to go from UTG, and Dang reraised to $10,500. LokoIsBack, Laliberte and Galfond all folded and Dwan called. Dwan took a $17,600 stab at the pot on the flop, Dang raised to $44,200, and Dwan called. Dwan fired again when the came on the turn, betting $71,200 and Dang flat-called. The river fell the and Dwan moved all in for $201,887, getting a call from Dang. Dwan's bottom set with was good, Dang mucking his hand and Dwan dragging the $657,070 pot.
3. $678,069 - John Juanda vs. Tom "durrrr" Dwan, $500/1,000 NLHE
October 26, 2008. An epic five-handed session unfolded featuring Phil Ivey, Di "Urindanger" Dang, Guy "elmariachimacho" Laliberte, John Juanda and (of course) Tom "durrrr" Dwan, where the record for the largest online pot ever would be broken four times at this table over the course of the night.
Ivey folded UTG, Dang raised to $3,000, Laliberte called, and Juanda came in with a three-bet to $14,500 from the small blind only to have Dwan four-bet to $43,800 from the big. Dang and Laliberte both folded, but Juanda came back over the top for $137,400. Dwan moved all in for $382,304, and Juanda called, turning up to Dwan's . Though the flop was a safe and the turn the , the spiked on the river, Juanda hitting a two-outer to soul-crush Dwan, win the $678,069 pot, and break the record for the largest online pot ever played.
Juanda, however would hold this record for all of forty-five seconds. Read on…
2. $687,024 – Phil Ivey vs. John Juanda, $500/1,000 NLHE
October 26, 2008. The same crazy session.
On the very next deal, Dang folded, Laliberte limped in, and Juanda raised to $4,500 on the button. Left with only $2,468 after the last pot against Juanda, Dwan moved all in from the small blind, putting the action on Phil Ivey in the big blind. Ivey decided to three-bet to $16,958, successfully chasing out Laliberte, but Juanda responded with a four-bet to $54,370. Ivey flat-called and they saw an flop. Ivey checked, Juanda bet $112,208, Ivey moved all in for $287,409, and Juanda called.
Juanda turned up for a king-high flush draw while Ivey showed for middle set. Ivey's hand held up on the turn and the river, winning the $687,024 pot from Juanda and wresting away his record (not to mention his profit) in the process.
1. $723,938 – Di "Urindanger" Dang vs. Tom "durrrr" Dwan, $500/1,000 NLHE
October 26, 2008. It's about eight hours after the wild session that bore the last two record-setting pots. "La Key U", Di "Urindanger" Dang, Guy "elmariachimacho" Laliberte, Gus Hansen, Tom "durrrr" Dwan, and John Juanda are playing six-handed.
La Key U folded UTG, Dang opened for $3,000, Laliberte flat-called, and Dwan raised to $16,300 from the cutoff. Juanda and Hansen folded, but Dang came back over the top for $45,000. That got Laliberte to fold his hand but Dang made the call. Dwan and Dang got out all their artillery on the flop, Dwan check-raising Dang's $52,700 bet to $139,500, only to have Dang move all in for $367,671. Dwan called and turned up , but Dang had him crushed with . The turn was the , the river fell the , and Dang earned the largest pot in online poker history, a $723,938 monster which still holds the record today.
Nicole Gordon's "Poker Top 10" lists appear weekly here at PokerNews. Dreaming about joining the high-stakes online action? There's no better place to start than opening an account today at Full Tilt Poker.