In the final part (Part 3) of our review of the million dollar winners from 2012 at PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker we take a look back at the five biggest winners from 2012.
5. Alex "Kanu7" Millar - $1.643,747*
Once again Alex "Kanu7" Millar takes the honour of being the years biggest highstakes online NLHE winner although in 2012 he almost exactly doubled the $821k he won in 2011, taking Millar to 4th on our list of PokerStars winners since we started tracking in late 2010.
Winning in 9 of the 12 months in 2012 Millar really established himself as the in form NLHE specialist in the world, twice topping the monthly NLHE leader board with scores in excess of $600k.
Millar's biggest run of form came between June and September where he won approximately $1.5 million. In fact September marked Millar's high point as he topped out at $1.77m profit. Kanu7 also enjoyed his biggest winning day in September as he took $377k from patpatman which you can read about here
Despite a $560k downswing in October Millar finished the year strongly, winning $430k across November and December. December also saw Millar take down his biggest pot of the year - also against patpatman.
patpatman makes a big play as a flush hits the river - however, Kanu7 is holding the second nut flush and quickly makes the call to take this $258.8k pot
See our exclusive interview with Kanu7.
*Alex Millar lost $129.8k at Full Tilt in 2012 playing as IReadYrSoul
4. Ben "Ben86" Tollerene - $2,135,109
Our final +$2 million winner for 2012 was US pro Ben "Ben86" Tollerene. Tollerene spent the first half of the year battling to stay even - despite winning a massive $1.3 million in April.
The first three months were all about staying afloat for Ben86 and although he topped the days leader board on numerous occasions it always seemed to be followed or preceded by an equally, or slightly bigger, loss. Come April however and it seemed that Ben was flying as he won an astonishing $1.3 million, the second biggest winning month of anyone for the entire year - only Ilari FIN's crazy $1.6m October win at the $200/$400 PLO tables.
Just as it finally looked as if Ben86 was rightfully going to take his place among the biggest winners of 2012 he went on a terrible downswing, losing close to $600k in both May and July (he didn't play in June) to take him pretty much down to breakeven for the year as we approached the home straight of 2012. The best way to cope with a downswing is to come back with an even bigger upswing, and that's exactly what Ben86 did - once again having a fantastic $1.3 million month in August - giving Tollerene two of the three biggest months played out in the year. This time there was to be now equal downswing as Ben continued to win, and by the end of October was second on the leader board with over $2.46m in winnings - October also saw Ben86 take down his biggest pot of the year;
The lead changes hands on every street as Ben86 eventually rivers an unlikely straight to take this $303.9k pot
Over the last couple of months Ben86 did lose a a little over $300k at the NLHE tables (including $100k lost in the All Star Showdown) but it is still a remarkable comeback from one of the online games greatest talents to end up over $2.1m in profit for 2012.
*Ben Tollerene lost $151k at Full Tilt as Bttech86 in 2012.
See our exclusive interview with Ben Tollerene
3. EireAbu - $2,176,527
Coming out of nowhere the rumoured "Ireland based Dutch pro" EireAbu had a fantastic 2012, and for much of it seemed the dominant player of 2012 as month after month he topped the high stakes leader boards - and all while playing no higher than $50/$100 PLO. Later in the year EireAbu suffered a reasonable downswing and also tried his hand at the higher stakes - but for almost half the year EireAbu was untouchable.
Despite being an overall loser by the end of February (-$17.5k) EireAbu followed this inauspicious start with five months in which he placed in the top three finishers winning between $400k and $800k each and every month. EireAbu took over at the top of the years leader board towards the end of April and by the end of July EireAbu was by far and away the biggest winner of the year with over $3.41 million in winnings. After July however EireAbu started to slip and lost over $1m before the end of September as he started to lose at his regular games and also his attempts at the nosebleeds lost him money. He also lost out in a couple of long heads up encounters with Isildur1.
EireAbu's biggest winning day however did happen at the higher tables in August as he won $382k at the $100/$200 PLO tables on August 18th - you can read about his big day out here . He also enjoyed his biggest winning hand towards the end of the year at the higher stakes;
Jeans89 bluffs the river but EireAbu is going nowhere with his top set - $185.5k pot
Despite his somewhat lacklustre end of the year we must still congratulate EireAbu on a fantastic 2012.
2. Jens "Jeans89" Kyllönen - $2,492,278*
Second on the list of winners comes PokerStars biggest winner since HSDB started tracking their high stakes matches back in late 2010, Jeans89. The young Finn made a spectacular start to 2012 and by the end of February had already amassed over $1.7m in winnings - placing second on January's leader board with a $699k score and topping February's leader list with over $1m in winnings for the month. During these opening couple of months of the year Jens enjoyed numerous six figure scores over $300-$400k, none bigger than this $429k win on Feb 23. It was also during February in which Jeans89 picked up his biggest pot of the year;
Sick cooler for Isidlur1 as Jeans89 rivers a full house to take down this $297.5k pot
The next few months however did not prove to be quite so lucky for Jens who went on a $900k downswing over the next three months, ducking below $1m profit and fell quite a way off the top of the yearly leader board. However, Jeans89 is not regarded as one of the toughest PLO players on the planet for nothing and from June onwards he didn't have another losing month as he set about regaining lost ground, eventually eclipsing his February high point during September after winning over $1 million between July and September to go up to +$2.13m for the year. An uneventful but profitable last quarter of the year added a further $363k to Jens total as he ended at $2,492,278 - every penny at the PLO tables.
*At Full Tilt Jens lost $94k playing an Ingenious89
See our exclusive interview with Jeans89
1. Ben "Sauce123" Sulsky - $3,595,666 ($3,963,647 including winnings as Sauce1234 on Full Tilt Poker)
2012 was really the year when Ben "Sauce123" Sulsky well and truly put himself on the poker map. Already a highly regarded high stakes NLHE and PLO specialist, Sulsky really came to the fore last year taking $570k in winnings at the PokerStars NLHE tables and a very impressive $3.2 million at the PLO tables. Sulsky made an immediate impact in 2012, winning $671k. In fact, Sulsky won in excess of $500k in six separate months through the course of 2012 - consistently among the biggest winners. Sauce crossed the $1m mark in early March after winning around $350k playing Isildur1 heads up at PokerStars PLO tables. This was one of many battles between the two throughout the year - swingy affairs which tended to end up in Sulsky's favour. You can read about this match here
It took until May however until Sauce123 first took the top spot for 2012, overtaking EireAbu on 2nd May with $1.34m in winnings. May turned out to be a good month all round for Sauce123 as not only did he finish as the month's biggest winner, adding $900k to his roll but he also took down a SCOOP title for $258k (the $21k, $150k GTD NLHE HU).
The next couple of months didn't go quite as well for Sulsky and although he didn't lose a great deal he fell way behind on the years leader board as EireAbu stormed to close to a $1.5m lead by the end of July. However, Sauce123 is nothing if not consistent and as has opponents hot streak cooled off he maintained a good win rate and by the end of August was back on top with a total of $2.68m. He was helped long the way winning $600k from Isildur1 in an epic 15 hour PLO heads up match which you can read about here.
Sauce continued to make waves in September as he became the only player over $3 million at PokerStars (EireAbu had previously been over $3m but by this time was well under his high mark) and in total added $617k to his roll for the month. After a slight tumble in October Sauce once again piled on the pressure in November and took $900k in just two days (18th-19th) - you can read about this here and here . The month also saw Sauce take $250k for his second place finish in the All Star Showdown $100k buy in event - only losing out to winner Daniel "w00ki3z." Cates. November also produced Sauce's biggest hand of the year which took place at the $200/$400 PLO tables;
Sauce123 flops top set to take down this $265.3k pot
At this point Sauce123 was over the $4m barrier for the year - something he couldn't quite maintain to the end of the year, slipping to just over $3.61m at the end of November and pretty much remaining break even at PokerStars in December.
However, although not winning in December at PokerStars, Sulsky did win over $400k at Full Tilt Poker in December - taking over a quarter of a million dollars on December 2nd playing durrrr at $200/$400 NL. He ended the year at Full Tilt +$368k - helping him to almost make the $4m mark for 2012 and to end the year as online poker's biggest winner.
See our exclusive interview with Ben Sulsky
So ends the list of million dollar winners for 2012. With Full Tilt now fully restored as a hive of high stakes activity and PokerStars still offering all the games they were last year we can perhaps look forward to another great year of high stakes action. Already Isildur1 has taken the bull by the horns to establish a massive win for 2013 - hopefully others will follow and set us up for a great year of high octane, high stakes action! If you missed the first two parts of the 2012 Million Dollar Online Poker Winners, follow the links for Part 1 and Part 2.