The High Stakes Report: Week of Oct. 28 – Nov. 3


Sahamies Scores Big

While Ilari Sahamies is known for his wild month-to-month swings at the high-stakes tables, the Finnish poker professional was able to tone things down a bit and keep himself far in the green for the month of October. With action heating up in anticipation of PokerStars’ re-launch of Full Tilt Poker, several of the well-known high stakes players have been busy getting back to form.

Sahamies was one of the most active participants, and he witnessed his monthly profit soar in correlation with an astonishing $1.6 million last month. It’s not as if the player formerly known as “Ziigmund” on FTP accomplished this win through a few monstrous sessions either. Instead, Sahamies spent most of his time grinding the $200/$400 stakes games on PokerStars, dismantling the competition. A slight mix of Hold’em and Omaha (mostly dominate in the latter), Sahamies was able to cash in on his expertise to the tune of seven-figures.

Some of the other players involved, such as Barcode, Ben “Ben86” Tollerene, and LewisFriend were also particularly grateful in October, and instead of being frightened during the month of Halloween these individuals were striking fear into their opponents. Barcode managed to claim $1.1 million in poker winnings, LewisFriend finished with $763,000, and Tollerene left the tables content with a modest $616,000 in profit for October. (We’re kidding.)

It’s also intriguing that the screen name of RaiseOnce on PokerStars has yet to be confirmed. Rumored to be the poker phenom Phil Ivey, the anonymous handle has swindled over $430,000 from its competitors over the course of the past month. Not bad for staying remotely under the radar.

Despite the winner’s circle including some well-known names in the high-stakes online poker community, there were just as many notable pros that weren’t as successful. Patpatman wishes he could forget this past month as soon as possible, as losing a dreadful -$1.1 million over the course of 32,000 hands would be depressing to all. Kanu7 also donated -$560,000 to the big bet games over on ‘Stars, and Phil “MrSweets28” Galfond was also a significant loser in the games as he gave away -$397,000.

It’s likely that many of these pros won’t stay in the losing column for long, and Galfond is already working on recovering much of his lost income by making the semi-finals of the $100,000 All-Star Challenge taking place over on PokerStars.

There was a field of 8 players, with first-place taking home over $500,000. Well recognized faces such as Alex “Kanu7” Millar, and Tobias ‘KTPOKP’ Kuder were also in the event, but couldn’t get to the big prize money. Currently, Issac Haxton, Daniel “w00ki3z” Cates, and Ben Sulsky have also made the semi-finals. Galfond will look to square off against Cates in his heads-up semi-final, and on the other side will be Sulsky and Haxton.

We should see all four finalists quickly return to the high-stakes online action full-time once the tournament concludes.

Full Tilt Set to Re-launch November 6th

It’s been months since players heard the news about Full Tilt Poker being bought and re-opened by the owners and employees of PokerStars, but finally in three days players who don’t reside in the United States will have the opportunity to cash out or once again participate on the highly-controversial poker site.

While most players and followers are aware of the happenings in regards to player accounts, those who aren’t in the loop should refer back to previous publications about Full Tilt’s status, or check their email.

Full Tilt and its staff took the time to inform players via email of the status of their player accounts, including those who reside in the U.S. While real-money play isn’t available to all, those who do live in other areas can now at least view their account balances after downloading the software. Americans aren’t incapable of playing on Full Tilt Poker, they will just be restricted to casual play-money tables and have no access to the funds in their player accounts.

The Department of Justice, who negotiated a deal between themselves and PokerStars website in regards to the return of stagnant U.S. player account balances, has yet to take action on their behalf when it comes to the bargain. The DOJ agreed to handle the return of money to American players, while PokerStars has begun and nearly finished the process of settling international accounts.

While PokerStars will allow players not residing in the U.S. to use their funds, U.S. players will still have to be patient while the DOJ works on getting their money back to them.

Throughout the intense hype and anticipation, Full Tilt Poker released popular ad campaigns featuring the “Great Dane” Gus Hansen, which aired in Canada and other select markets. Staying humble and quiet during most of the post-Black Friday proceedings, Hansen has now stepped back into the limelight and also to the poker tables where he was once one of the most popular faces.

Despite Hansen’s undeniable charisma and poker skills, Full Tilt Poker didn’t want to limit themselves in terms of professionals before its launch. The popular poker giant went ahead and re-hired one of the most outspoken and magnetic personalities when it came to post-Black Friday news; Tom Dwan, along with the highly-touted free agent Viktor “Isildur1” Blom. Both Dwan and Blom, who have thrilled railbirds and poker fans in the online high-stakes games for years, play a cagey and fearless style that should once again reignite the spark that Full Tilt Poker previously possessed.

You may even want to take the time to view Blom’s new Full Tilt Poker photo, in which Blom is sporting a trendy haircut and looks more determined (and snazzy) than ever.

It will be a delight for most to have Full Tilt Poker back in the online poker market.

We have more to come as Full Tilt Poker opens its doors on November 6th, and we’ll let you know as soon as more information develops, right here on High Stakes Report.

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