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The Railbird Report: Doug Polk and Ben Tollerene's Big Online Brawl

Ben Tollerene and Doug Polk


  • .@dougpolkpoker: '@bttech86 is my enemy, make no mistake.'

  • Online forum controversy escalates issues between two poker elites, @dougpolkpoker and @bttech86.

  • This Railbird Report captures a week of mudslinging between @dougpolkpoker and @bttech86.

Last week Hendrik "ValueH" Latz and Fedor "CrownUpGuy" Holz released a joint statement of an issue they had with Alexander Dreyfus, describing events where the Global Poker Index-owner paid money back weeks later in what should have been a simple swap. The forum topic on twoplustwo saw Dreyfus react early on, followed by a ton of people venting their indignance.

One of the twoplustwo forum members to comment was Ben "Ben86" Tollerene. The well-known online high-stakes player shared the general feeling that Dreyfus was largely at fault.

What started out as a simple thread that did not look good for Dreyfus soon escalated as Doug "WCGRider" Polk reacted to Tollerene's remarks. Polk said the following:

What about agreeing on NL for PLO coaching, getting some NL coaching, then backing out on the PLO coaching because it's not convenient for you.

That's way more legitimate.

As was instantly clear to everyone following along, there were some issues between the two high rollers. After some more back and forths, it became clear the issue revolved around Polk giving Tollerene coaching in no-limit hold 'em. Tollerene backed out on returning the favor.

The thread derailment was soon moved to its own thread in the same popular News, Views & Gossip sub-forum. The situation soon escalated.

Tollerene elaborated on the subject, writing that the dispute had its origin four years ago. According to Tollerene, Polk moved to Vancouver that year, making the two just about neighbors. The two agreed on sharing coaching. Polk started teaching Tollerene a thing or two on hold 'em over the course of four sessions. By the time it was time for Tollerene to explain some of his pot-limit Omaha insights to Polk, though, a partner Tollerene had developed strategies with didn't approve of sharing the information they had formulated.

The two talked about the issue and, according to Tollerene, Polk seemed to understand the situation. A year later, as the two were out one night with some other high-stakes players, Polk blew up about the issue anyway:

Then we go out drinking one night, it's late and we're wasted. Doug starts giving his No. 1 in the World speech and I tell him I don't agree. His sample is too small, etc. We argue for a while and he eventually breaks down and gets really upset. We talk it out until about 5 a.m. in his room, hug each other and we're cool. I wake up the next morning to an essay on Skype about why we cannot be friends anymore.

Another year later, Tollerene decided to sit in on Polk on a $500/$1,000 CAP no-limit, hold 'em table and the issue was resurrected. Polk said the following:

But Ben Tollerene is my enemy, make no mistake. The way that I was treated, was beyond unacceptable. The story of what happened that night is the most absurd thing that ever happened to me, and if Ben wants to deny his guilt here, I will have no choice but to tell it.

Not much later, Polk released a video explaining Tollerene had backed out, the reason being that his partner did not want the software they developed shared. In the half-hour video, Polk recounted how Ben confessed all sorts of stories about other high-stakes players when they first met. At the 22-minute mark in the video below, Polk tells the story of how Tollerene screamed he "hated people looking like Doug." Doug, with a sense of drama not seen often in poker, just about chewed up the entire good reputation of Tollerene.

Joey Ingram released an "emergency broadcast" on the matter. Meanwhile, Tollerene didn't share many more words on the issue and continued to crush the high stakes online, winning $46,203 this week.

This Week's Biggest Pots Online

Fedor "CrownUpGuy" Holz has had an almost unprecedented streak of results in live events. Just in 2016, the young German player accumulated $16,184,274 in cashes, bringing his total to $20,021,304. Holz won his latest event, after "retiring" just last week at the EPT Barcelona, coming out on top in the €50,000 Super High Roller for €1,300,300.

Not everything that Holz touches turns to gold, though. This week he crossed swords with some of the biggest high-stakes cash game players and didn't come out on top. He dropped $114,658 and was on the losing end of this week's biggest pot.

1) Timofey "Trueteller" Kuznetsov Wins a $212,188 Pot (530 big blinds) versus Fedor "CrownUpGuy" Holz
($200/$400 NLHM 3-Handed)

The Railbird Report: Doug Polk and Ben Tollerene's Big Online Brawl 101
click for replay

Kuznetsov raised his button to $1,400 and Andres "Educa-p0ker" Artinano folded his small blind. Holz, seated in the big blind, three-bet to $6,000 and Kuznetsov made the call.

Holz checked the flop of {4-Clubs}{10-Diamonds}{2-Diamonds} and saw Kuznetsov bet $9,146.25 into the $12,200 pot. Holz check-raised to $30,877.75 and Kuznetsov made the call, growing the pot to $73,955.50.

The {8-Hearts} fell on the turn and Holz pushed all in. He had Kuznetsov covered, who called for $69,119.10 to create a pot of $212,193.70!

(user)namehandequity on {4-Clubs}{10-Diamonds}{2-Diamonds}{8-Hearts}
Fedor "CrownUpGuy" Holz{K-Hearts}{K-Clubs}4.55%
Timofey "Trueteller" Kuznetsov{4-Diamonds}{4-Hearts}95.45%

Holz was in trouble with his overpair when Kuznetsov turned over a set of fours. Holz needed a king but wouldn't get it, despite running the river twice. The first time the {Q-Diamonds} completed the board; the second time the {3-Hearts} hit.

2) Timofey "Trueteller" Kuznetsov Wins a $137,255-Pot (343 big blinds) versus "Aron0621"
($200/$400 NLHM 6-Handed)

The Railbird Report: Doug Polk and Ben Tollerene's Big Online Brawl 102
click for replay

"Aron0621," second to act, raised to $1,100 and the action folded around to big blind Kuznetsov who three-bet to $4,400. "Aron0621" called in position to create a $9,000 pot going to the flop.

Kuznetsov checked on {6-Spades}{7-Spades}{10-Hearts} and "Aron0621" answered with a bet of $5,600. Kuznetsov called.

The {Q-Clubs} on the turn made Kuznetsov bet out $12,400 into the $20,200 pot, with about $46,000 behind. "Aron0621" pushed all in and Kuznetsov called for $58,530.25 total.

(user)namehandequity on {6-Spades}{7-Spades}{10-Hearts}{Q-Clubs}
Timofey "Trueteller" Kuznetsov{A-Spades}{Q-Spades}20.45%

Kuznetsov's turned pair of queens was useless to win the pot; he needed to hit a spade against the flopped straight of "Aron0621."

The two had the 'run it twice' checkbox unticked and so a single card would determine who received the $137,255-pot. The {J-Spades} hit and Kuznetsov came from behind to win it all.

3) "Aron0621" Wins a $132,708-Pot (331 big blinds) versus Timofey "Trueteller" Kuznetsov
($200/$400 NLHM 4-Handed)

The Railbird Report: Doug Polk and Ben Tollerene's Big Online Brawl 103
click for replay

"1nvoker" folded and Kuznetsov raised his button to $1,000. Small blind "Aron0621" three-bet to $3,600 and "bajskorven87" filded his big blind. Kuznetsov called in position to get involved in a pot already worth $7,600.

The flop came {9-Hearts}{4-Diamonds}{4-Clubs} and "Aron0621" continued for $2,278.50. Kuznetsov called and the {J-Hearts} hit the turn. "Aron0621" bet $8,101.33 into $12,157 and Kuznetsov soon raised to $21,200 with $39,078.14 behind. "Aron0621" pushed all in and Kuznetsov called it off for $60,278.

Despite losing this sizable pot, "Aron0621" ended up this week's biggest winner with a massive plus of $306,525. Take a look below to see who the other big winners and losers were this week.

(user)namehandequity on {9-Hearts}{4-Diamonds}{4-Clubs}{J-Hearts}
Timofey "Trueteller" Kuznetsov{7-Hearts}{8-Hearts}9.09%

Kuznetsov was in far worse shape than he had hoped for, as hearts were no good. Just a 10 could save him.

While he had come from way behind in the second biggest pot of the week, he wouldn't get so lucky on the third biggest hand. The {J-Spades} hit the river and "Aron0621" won with a full house.

Online High Stakes Action Last Week

"Aron0621," involved in both the second and third-biggest pots this week, came out the biggest winner after an action-heavy week online. Timofey "Trueteller" Kuznetsov, his opponent in both huge hands, ended up profiting as well.

"Katya_18" lost the most this week. Holz, on the losing end of the biggest pot this week, came in third with $114,658 in the red. Alexandros "mexican222" Kolonias, who battled with Holz in Barcelona at the €50,000 Super High Roller final table (4th, €467,700) just last week, was also one of the players down big for the week.

 (user)namehandsprofit/loss last weekprofit/loss 2016profit/loss all time
 Winning Players    
4BERRI SWEET581+$87,982--
5Timofey "Trueteller" Kuznetsov2,409+$76,477--
6Alexander "joiso" Kostritsyn1,634+$57,995--
7Jens "Jeans89" Kyllönen154+$56,639+$137,979+$5,050,715
8Tom "tjbentham" Bendham368+$50,433--
9Ben "Sauce123" Sulsky1,079+$48,263+$1,043,271+$5,080,474
10Ben "Ben86" Tollerene561+$46,203--
 Losing Players    
3Fedor "CrownUpGuy" Holz510-$114,658--
6Elior "Crazy Elior" Sion1,059-$57,987--
7Niki "RealAndyBeal" Jedlicka647-$46,315+$223,951-$478,001
9Alexandros "mexican222" Kolonias471-$38,175+$14,766+$189,459
10"Educa-p0ker" Artinano611-$35,779+$678,449+$1,099,437

The 2016 Leaderboard

Ben "Sauce123" Sulsky keeps the high stakes in a stranglehold, widening the gap with second-place Andres "Educa-p0ker" Artinano, who lost a bit this week.

Alex "Kanu7" Millar and "bodamos" changed places in the losing department. Millar, who we hadn't seen on the high stakes in some time, won a tiny bit while "bodamos" lost some.

 (user)namehands 2016profit/loss 2016profit/loss per hand 2016profit/loss all time↑/↓ this weekmost played game 2016
 Winning players      
1Ben "Sauce123" Sulsky64,200+$1,043,271+$15.95+$5,043,1678-game
2Andres "Educa-p0ker" Artinano28,488+$678,449+$25.62+$1,135,216NLHM
3Isaac "philivey2694" Haxton14,676+$654,691+$44.33+$845,170PLO
 Losing players      
1Viktor "Isildur1" Blom136,334-$702,353-$5.15+$1,298,6078-game
3Alex "Kanu7" Millar24,997-$606,536-$24.28+$2,654,055NLHM

The above top three biggest winners and losers in online poker for 2016 and the top 10 biggest winners and losers online for the last week only consist of PokerStars accounts that haven't opted out with

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