Record pots, million-dollar swings and fast-paced action have characterized the high-stakes online games over the past few weeks. For all intents and purposes, it seems that the big games had successfully transitioned from Full Tilt Poker to PokerStars, complementing the latter’s impeccable reputation for tournaments. While the past week didn’t see the monster pots and massive swings railbirds have come to enjoy, there was still plenty of action to go around
Surprisingly, the big winner this week was neither Ilari “Ilari FIN” Sahamies nor Viktor “Isildur1” Blom. In fact, Blom was nowhere to be seen. Instead, it was high-stakes regular Rafi “refaelamit” Amit who booked a $592,210 win after playing 126 sessions comprising 10,803 hands. That was more than twice as much as his two nearest opponents, “Axelf82” ($247,546 in 48 sessions of 3,918 hands) and “socutiesf” ($210,248 in 95 sessions of 6,506 hands). Coming in fourth on the winner’s list was Sahamies, who profited $202,377 in 5,943 hands spread over 79 sessions.
On the flip side, Phil “MrSweets28” Galfond ended up as the week’s biggest loser, after dropping $273,634 in 4,613 hands over 58 sessions. Likewise, Rui “PepperoniF” Cao was close behind, dropping $216,673 in 37 sessions of 4,174 hands. The only other players to lose more than $200,000 were Ben “milkybarkid” Grundy (dropped $208,086 in 25 sessions of 1,438 hands) and "Zypherin" (dropped $207,284 in 15 sessions of 5,085).
Welcome Back, LrsLzk!
Sami “LrsLzk” Kelopuro had some face time on this year on ESPN’s broadcast of the World Series of Poker, ultimately finishing 111th in the Main Event for $54,851. He also came in second in the $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Championship to current WSOP Player of the Year leader, Ben Lamb. That score was worth a healthy $503,173. It was a nice summer of live poker for the man known for his online exploits.
Speaking of online poker, Kelopuro has had a relatively quiet year — until this week. Kelopuro was absent from PokerStars for the first three months, and over the next five months he dug himself a hole of $177,000. In the early morning hours of Thursday, the Finn was able to recoup most of his losses by winning $149,000, mainly off fellow countryman Ilari “Ilari FIN” Sahamies.
In one of the duo’s notable hands, they were playing a six-handed $100/$200 pot-limit Omaha game when Sahamies ($46,340) raised to $940 from the cutoff. Kelopuro ($83.504), who was in the small blind, was the only player to make the call, and the two were heads-up to the flop. Kelopuro checked, Sahamies bet $2,200, Kelopuro check-raised to $7,400, and Sahamies made the call. When the hit the turn, Kelopuro bet $17,115, Sahamie moved all-in for $37,960, and Kelopuro made the call.
It was a brutal set-over-set flop, with Kelopuro holding the superior set. The river was of no consequence, and Kelopuro took down the $92,880 pot.
In another hand between the two, which happened to be Kelopuro’s biggest of the week, the game was the same and Sahamies ($47,020) opened for $940 from middle position. Kelopuro ($136,319) responded with a three-bet to $2,400 from the button, Sahamies four-bet to $8,680, Kelopuro called, and the flop fell . Sahamies wasted little time in leading out for $16,015, Kelopuro raised to $64,060, and Sahamies called off his remaining $22,325.
Sahamies had flopped a pair of nines with numerous straight draws, while Kelopuro flopped two pair and a straight draw of his own. As fate would have it, the turn gave Kelopuro the straight, which held up when the fell harmlessly on the river. Ship the $95,240 pot to LrsLzk!
Good Week for Rafi “refaelamit” Amit
As we mentioned before, this week belonged to Rafi “refaelamit” Amit, who booked an impressive $592,210 win. In one of his more notable hands, Amit ($46,608.75) was playing $50/$100 heads-up PLO again Rui “PepperoniF” Cao ($30,133.25) and opened for $300 on the button. Cao responded by three-betting to $940, Amit called, and the flop came down . Cao was first to act and bet $1,300, Amit called yet again, and the hit the turn.
At this point, Cao checked, Amit bet $3,600, Cao check-raised to $15,319.50, Amit called, and then peeled off on the river. Cao ended up check-calling off his stack of $12,573.75 and showed for a queen-high straight; however, Amit revealed for jacks full and the $60,266 pot.
In another notable hand, Amit was playing six-handed $50/$100 PLO on Tuesday when Brian “Stinger 88” Hastings ($29,960) opened for $350 under the gun. Ilari “Ilari FIN” Sahamies ($21,315) called from the button, while Amit ($29,963) exercised his option in the small blind with a raise to $1,620. Hastings responded with a four-bet to $5,780, Sahames folded and Amit five-bet to $16,860. Hastings made the call, leaving himself just $13,100, and then called off on the flop.
Amit had flopped a set of aces and Hastings was chasing a plethora of straight outs. Unfortunately for the latter, neither the turn nor river filled the straight, and Amit took down the $60,447 pot.
On Thursday, Amit kept his good fortune rolling. In a four-handed game of $200/$400 PLO, Sami “LrsLzk” Kelopuro ($37,956) opened for $1,200 under the gun, only to have Amit ($29,460) three-bet to $4,000 from the small blind. The big blind got out of the way, Kelopuro four-bet to $13,600, Amit made the call, and the were run out on the flop. Amit immediately moved all-in for $15,860, Kelopuro called and the cards were turned up:
Kelopuro had flopped a set of aces but had to sweat Amit's flush draw. He couldn’t quite do it since the turn completed the flush, although a paired board on the river could give the lead back to Kelopuro. Luckily for Amit, the blanked on the river and he raked in the $59,320 pot.
Who's Up? Who's Down?
Week’s biggest winners (9/9-9/15): Rafi “refaelamit” Amit (+$592,210), Axelf82 (+$247,546), socutiesf (+$210,248), Ilari “Ilari FIN” Sahamies (+$202,377), Niki “RealAndyBeal” Jedlicka (+$199,343)
Week’s biggest losers: Phil “MrSweets28” Galfond (-$273,634), Rui “PepperoniF” Cao (-$216,673), Ben “milkybarkid” Grundy (-$208,086), Zypherin (-$207,284)
Year-to-date winners: *Gus Hansen (+$3,941,000), *Daniel “jungleman12” Cates (+$1,952,000), *Alexey “NoPasaran” Makarov (+$1,875,000), Andreas “Skjervøy” Torbergsen ($1,492,000), *Matt Hawrilenko (+$1,440,000), *bixiu (+$1,406,000), *Phil Ivey (+$1,336,000)
Year-to-date losers: *Tom “durrrr” Dwan (-$2,474,000), *Eugene “fishosaurusREX” Yanayt (-$1,399,000), *kagome kagome (-$1,377,000), *cadillac1944 (-$1,336,000), *Esvedra (-$1,182,000), *UarePileous (-$837,000)
Biggest weekly winners/losers all on PokerStars
*Reflects Full Tilt Poker profit/loss
Data obtained from HighStakesDB.com