Hohoho and all that jazz loyal readers. Welcome to the Christmas/Holiday/Kwanza/Festivus version of This Week in High Stakes Online Poker (or as we like to call it, TWIHSOP.) This holiday week did not slow down last week's biggest winners and losers from putting in some long work weeks. At the same time that Phil "OMGClayAiken" Galfond was recovering from last weeks $600k+ shellacking, "samrostan" was busy giving back a chunk from his $900k+ landslide win. Gus Hansen, "ragen70" and "Sanlker" all made enough time to put in the hands to make the top 25 but all of them hung up their stockings a bit too soon to make the Elite Eight like these grinders did:
1 -- "guinor" -- It's nice to debut at #1. That is just what PokerStars grinder "guinor" did. It will leave a lot of us wondering how to pronounce his screen name. It will also leave us wondering if the $170,873 win (bringing his lifetime high stake win total to $151,154) earned over an "elf at crunch time" work week of 84 sessions and 6081 hands, is the start of something big or a blip on the radar.
2 -- "UhhMee" Nearing the new year, a new (confused) screen named slammed into this week's top high stakes online earners. The FTP account for "UhhMee" went bonzer in 3 sessions and 1079 hands, earning $141,822 (taking its lifetime total to $133,564). Technically, "UhhMee" should top the list if we include the PokerStars account of the same name that earned the 11th spot on the list by knocking out a $53,879 win in 4 sessions and a mere 351 hands, but it was the FTP account -- on Holiday hours -- that brought in the Do-Do-Dough big enough to make the list.
3 -- Phil "OMGClayAiken" Galfond -- Nothing drives a top competitor like a crushing loss. Last week when Galfond was ransacked by one of online poker's biggest "donators" in "samrostan" I'm 100% sure it messed with his head in ways low stakes grinders can't even fully comprehend. Phil got back to work putting in 23 sessions and 3773 hands -- most profitably at the highest stakes 2-7TD tables -- and racked up $132,195 by the end of the week to take the edge off last week's losses.
4 -- "james_hu007" -- James...we're going to assume that's his name...and that he's not a British Secret agent...grabbed his first spot on the Elite Eight this week coming in at #4. And boy did he need it. He now has a lifetime total of only negative $356,696 thanks to 2 amazingly profitable sessions that netted the Stars grinder $85,162 in 384 hands. Was it a hit-and-run? Was it a Christmas miracle? Who knows...but it makes the big list.
5 -- "terryhsu" -- Rocking into the Holiday Elite Eight at #5 this week is Taiwanese gambler "terryhsu." After coming out of nowhere to sit deep in the biggest games last year, he popped up at the end of the year this year to put in 21 sessions over 1445 hands to rack up $76,387. Mainly earned mashing away at heads up and short handed high stakes PLO. The account has a steady upward trend, and while this is a standout week, I think we have a good chance of seeing it again soon.
6 -- Eugene "fishosaurusREX" Yanat -- While I love the screen name, the former chess prodigy turned poker pro probably loves the $70,844 win (42 sessions, 8359 hands) that pushes him a back up towards break even a bit more. Still a long way to go, but with his results on the EPT and rumors of live game prowess, hopefully the recovery becomes and upward trend as the "big bet" railbirds would really love a new regular to root for (or boo.)
7 -- "Johan5390" -- After all of that food, isn't it time for a nice cup of Johan? Well, $64,178 hits the spot no matter what you prefer to call your after-dinner coffee. Earned in a quick 5 sessions over 314 hands, it was as easy to unwrap as a stocking and much better than a lump of coal. The win brings the player's total to $108,406 lifetime and is easily the biggest winning week in its recorded history.
8 -- Bryn "BrynKenney" Kenney -- Bryn has been hovering close to the Elite Eight over the last couple months, so it's good to see him finally break through. A consummate live grinder who made the move to online-friendly shores to continue his digital grind, it is paying off in a slow and steady upward ROI curve similar to the grinder's live earning history. Lifetime just over $272k, the $63,019 win is a nice addition to the bankroll and was done in a tidy 8 sessions over 1390 hands.
1. "samrostan" -- if "guinor" was a good little grinder and got a gift from Santa Claus, then "samrostan" must have been a naughty little gambler visited by Krampus. He was put in a sack, beaten with reeds and came out $327,640 poorer as last weeks luck in nearly the same games (with many of the same opponents) would not hold. 28 sessions and a monsterous 7945 hands chasing profit did not pay off and the man who is likely to formerly be "patpatpanda" fell back to almost $4 million in lifetime loses.
2. "thecortster" -- Well, sometimes you get the bear, sometimes the bear gets you. That might describe the peaks and valleys of "thecortster"'s forays into high stakes online poker. This week, the bear got him. The 11 sessions and 1382 hands played over the week resulted in a $131,534 hit to the bankroll and brings the account's lifetime loses to -$153,961. Safe to say, it was not a Merry Christmas.
3. Dan "jungleman12" Cates -- Even the mighty stumble once in a while. The 4th biggest winner in High Stakes Online Poker history hit a bump going into the new year as the 12 sessions and 1253 hands played over the week netted a $94,273 loss. Not that big a deal compared to $7,644,004 in lifetime winnings, but it could put a damper on Boxing Day for the servants. (Go look that one up if you don't get it.)