The Online Railbird Report: Phil Galfond, Ilari Sahamies Win Nearly $500K

Phil Galfond

While a bevy of high-stakes regulars have been in Spain the past week for the 2012 European Poker Tour Barcelona Main Event, the high-stakes action on PokerStars hasn’t slowed a bit. In fact, there were numerous half-million dollar swings this week, and Phil “MrSweets28” Galfond was among the big-name pros enjoying a monstrous week on the virtual felts.

After winning $471K last week, Galfond kept the ball rolling this week as he banked another $463,163 in 10,171 hands spread across 141 sessions. That made him the week’s biggest winner, though it wasn’t too far ahead of Ilari “Ilari FIN” Sahamies, who found time to play 2,274 hands over 38 sessions for $439,934 while going deep in the EPT Barcelona Main Event. Other $300K-plus winners this week included Ben “Sauce123” Sulsky ($351,792 in 13,411 hands) and “madmags4” ($315,075 in 4,806 hands).

On the other side of the spectrum, Viktor “Isildur1” Blom had a disastrous week, finishing as the biggest loser after dropping $563,796 in 30,423 hands over 306 sessions. That was a far cry from his $456K win just a week prior. Likewise, it was a bad week for Gus “broksi” Hansen (-$407,057 in 3,921 hands), “Gozoboro” (-$341,195 in 4,687 hands) and Alex “Kanu7” Millar (-$233,964 in 6,635 hands).

Here’s a look at some more hands and story lines from the past week of high-stakes online action:

EireAbu Wins $382K; Galfond vs. Sulsky in Friday Foray

There was plenty of action to be had on Friday, Aug. 16 as the $1,000/$2,000 Limit and $100/$200 pot-limit Omaha games were going strong. The latter produced the most fireworks, with many pots eclipsing $100K. The game included many of online poker’s best, but when it ended, the biggest 2012 money winner, “EireAbu,” was the biggest winner having profited $382,900.

In his biggest pot, action was four-handed when Gus “broksi” Hansen ($66,922.30) opened for $400 under the gun only to have “EireAbu” ($80,964.50) three-bet to $1,200 from the button. Both blinds got out of the way, and Hansen made it $4,460 to go. “EireAbu” called and the flop fell 10K2.

“EireAbu” called a bet of $6,600 from Hansen, and then the latter checked the 8 turn. “EireAbu” took the opportunity to bet $14,600, and then called when Hansen check-raised all in for $55,222.30, creating a pot worth $134,220.

Hansen: AKJ3
“EireAbu”: AK86

“EireAbu” had turned kings and eights, becoming the winner as the 7 blanked on the river. After taking an unsuccessful shot at the $200/$400 PLO games over a week ago, “EireAbu” dropped a level and immediately returned to his winning ways, profiting $382K in just two and a half hours.

Eventually, both “EireAbu” and Hansen called it quits, but the action didn’t stop. Phil “MrSweets28” Galfond and Ben “Sauce123” Sulsky continued to play heads-up for another seven hours. Galfond pulled out to a nearly $400K lead, but by the end, Sulsky had won back around 75 percent of it, leaving Galfond with a $95K win on the day.

In their biggest pot, which also happened to be the largest of the day, Galfond ($123,110.13) raised to $574 on the button and then called when Sulsky ($105,990.47) three-bet to $1,802. The 5J4 flop saw Sulsky bet $2,777, Galfond raise to $8,400, Sulsky call, and the 6 peel off on the turn. This time Sulsky checked, Galfond bet $16,400, Sulsky check-raised to $54,444, Galfond moved all in, and Sulsky called off his remaining $41,344.47.

Sulsky: 9687
Galfond: JJ82

Galfond flopped top set, but Sulsky managed to turn the nut straight. The 2 failed to pair the board on the river, and Sulsky was pushed the $211,979 pot.

In the second biggest pot of the day, Galfond ($77,236.60) opened for $574, Sulsky ($184,968.33) three-bet to $1,802, and Galfond put in a four-bet to $5,486. Sulsky made the call and then led out for $8,111 on the 6J4 flop, which Galfond called. When the J turned, Sulsky bet $18,888, Galfond moved all in for $63,639.59 and Sulsky made the call.

Sulsky: 7653
Galfond: AQQ4

The 8 completed the board on the river, which gave Sulsky an eight-high straight and the $154,471 pot.

Blom Wins Nearly a Million Over the Weekend

On Saturday, Viktor “Isildur1” Blom sat down at the $100/$200 no-limit hold’em tables to take on Alex “Kanu7” Millar, the leading NLHE winner of PokerStars for two years running. Blom ended up taking $238K from the Brit, and coupled with wins in other games, he finished the day as the biggest winner with $316,900 in profit.

In the biggest pot of the day, Millar ($86,116) raised to $600, Blom ($94,737) called, and the flop came down 376. Blom proceeded to check-raise Millar’s bet of $800 up to $2,600, Millar three-bet to $6,500, and Blom made it $16,400 to go. Millar not only called the four-bet, but he also called a bet of $23,600 on the 5 turn as well. When the 5 was put out on the river, Blom moved all in and Millar called off for $48,116. Blom showed 98 for a straight, but Millar rolled over 77 for a rivered full house and the $172,230 pot.

Blom returned to action on Sunday, but it wasn’t at the NLHE tables. Instead, Blom won $370K from the Omaha Hi/Lo table against the likes of Alexander “joiso” Kostritsyn and Rami “arbianight” Boukai, and then took $133K in 87 hands of 2-7 Triple Draw against Sebastian “Seb86” Sabic and Alex “BiatchPeople” Luneau.

As if that wasn’t enough, Blom opted to play $200/$400 PLO against Jens “Jeans89” Kyllönen. Unfortunately for the Swede, he dropped $200K to Kyllönen relatively quickly. Then it was to Blom’s good fortune to begin another game with Ben “Sauce123” Sulsky, whom he crushed to the tune of $400K in an hour and a half.

In the biggest pot of the day, action was three-handed when Blom ($363,863.75) raised to $1,640 from the button and Kyllönen ($70,445.71) folded his small blind. Sulsky ($100,000) was in the big blind and pushed back with a three-bet to $5,360, Blom called, and it was off to the 72J flop. Sulsky wasted little time in leading out for $7,808.50, Blom raised to $24,800, Sulsky three-bet $85,555, and Blom four-bet. Sulsky called off his remaining $9,085, creating a pot of $200,275 — and the cards were turned up:

Blom: AJ37
Galfond: 86109

Sulsky flopped a wrap, which he needed to hit to overcome the Blom's flopped two pair. Sulsky managed to do it on the 9 turn, but unfortunately for him, the J spiked on the river to give Blom a full house and the win. Blom’s big win put him up $970K on the weekend—but it wouldn’t last.

Sulky Gets It Back and Then Some in Marathon Match Against Blom

If you thought Sunday’s action was big, it paled in comparison to the 15-hour $200/$400 PLO heads-up match between Viktor “Isildur1” Blom and Ben “Sauce123” Sulsky on Monday. They played four tables and built 85 pots over $100K, making it one of the most memorable PLO games ever played at PokerStars.

As is often the case, Blom had a roller coaster of a day. He started off badly, but then hit an upswing to pull ahead by $450K. The pendulum of variance swung back the other way and soon Sulsky pulled ahead. Back and forth they went before Blom, claiming he hadn't slept for three straight days, quit as a $605K loser.

As we mentioned before, there were plenty of $100K-plus pots in the match, but the largest ended up being over $200K. It happened when Sulsky ($144,211.97) raised to $1,360 only to have Blom ($102,331.46) three-bet $4,240 from the big blind. Sulsky made the call and then raised Blom’s bet of $5,600 on the J84 flop up to $18,888. Blom made the call and then checked the 2 turn, opening the door for Sulsky to bet $46,414. Blom responded by check-raising all in for $79,203.46 and Sulsky made the call.

Blom: AQ4Q
Sulsky: 1089J

Sulsky was ahead with two pair and a straight draw, but didn’t end that way as the A river gave Blom a bigger two pair. A pot worth $402,661 was sent over to the Swede.

Galfond and Sahamies Brutalize Blom on Wednesday

Never one to stay away from the tables for long, Blom was back on Wednesday and played for six hours against the likes of Gus “broksi” Hansen, Ben “Sauce123” Sulsky, Ilari “Ilari FIN” Sahamies and Phil “MrSweets28” Galfond. Unfortunately for the Swede, his luck hadn’t changed from Monday as he dropped another $500K or so; meanwhile, Galfond and Sahamies won $442.6K and $416.6K, respectively.

There were some massive pots, but only three broke the $200K mark.

Hand #1: Action was three-handed when Sulsky ($164,919.10) raised to $1,400 from the button, Galfond folded the small blind, and Blom ($115,768.02) three-bet to $4,640 from the big. Sulsky made the call and then watched Blom fire out $6,800 on the 725 flop. Sulsky came in with a raise to $19,888, Blom three-bet $69,379, Sulsky moved all in, and Blom called off his remaining $41,749.01.

Blom: AJJ3
Sulsky: AK22

Sulsky was ahead with a set of deuces but was looking to dodge Blom’s flush draw and overpair. That’s exactly what he did as the 5 fell on the turn followed by the 10 on the river, sending a $231,811 pot to Sulsky.

Hand #2: Action was heads-up when Blom ($120,745.42) raised to $1,200 on the button and Sulsky ($115,481.16) three-bet to $3,760. Blom came back with a four-bet to $11,440 and Sulsky called before checking the 283 flop. Blom took the opportunity to bet $23,038 and then moved all in for $109,305.42 after Sulsky had raised to $92,152. Sulsky made the call and the board completed with the 7 turn and Q river. Blom rolled over AA46 for aces, but it was the QQ54 rivered set of Sulsky that won the $230,960 pot.

Hand #3: Sahamies ($112,591.50) opened for $1,640 on the button, Galfond ($89,297.89) called from the small blind, and Blom ($99,888) three-bet to $6,800 from the big. Sahamies called, Galfond four-bet to $28,880, both his opponents called and all three players took a flop of 498. Galfond was first to act and moved all in for $60,417.90, Blom moved all in over the top for $71,008, and Sahamies got out of the way.

Blom: A8K10
Galfond: AA5Q

Galfond was well out in front with his aces, but the 2 turn gave Blom a flush draw to go with his pair of eights. Fortunately for Galfond, the 6 blanked and he was awarded the $206,111 pot.

Biggest Weekly PokerStars Winners/Losers

Week’s biggest winners (8/16-8/22): Phil “MrSweets28” Galfond (+$463,163), Ilari “Ilari FIN” Sahamies (+$439,934), Ben “Sauce123” Sulsky (+$351,792), “madmags4” (+$315,075)

Week’s biggest losers: Viktor “Isildur1” Blom (-$563,796), Gus “broksi” Hansen (-$407,057), “Gozoboro” (-$341,195), Alex “Kanu7” Millar (-$233,964)

Year-to-date winners: “EireAbu” (+$2,822,096), Ben “Sauce123” Sulsky (+$2,540,390), Phil “MrSweets28” Galfond (+$1,963,404), Jens “Jeans89” Kyllönen (+$1,628,538), “bernard-bb” (+$1,473,029), ”longerpig” (+$1,127,290), Alex “Kanu7” Millar (+$1,117,521)

Year-to-date losers: “Zypherin” (-$2,840,746), Viktor “Isildur1” Blom (-$1,668,395), Benny “toweliestar” Spindler (-$1,142,696), “1Il|1Il|1il|” (-$759,718), Gavin “gavz101” Cochrane (-$643,202)

Data, hands and replayer obtained from

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