Galfond Defeats Sulsky, Hastings and Kyllönen as He Is Crowned Best PLO Player

Phil Galfond has topped our recent public poll, surprisingly easily beating off the challenge of our handpicked rivals Ben Sulsky, Brian Hastings and Jens Kyllönen – but let’s look at the stats to see if they justify the voting!

By: Andrew Burnett

The illustrious quartet are among the most talented, hard-working and successful pros that have ever graced the game, between them accounting for a staggering $25million in online cash game profit.

However, with the money rather evenly spread as we shall see, and with the opposition shared out among the highstakes elite players on both PokerStars and Full Tilt, the voting numbers seem to be highly skewed!

Well, the GOAT for many will be based on money, or longevity at the top, or ability to play across formats and games, or most likely a combination of these and other attributes.

Here’s the straight up money comparison, not strictly accurate bas some No Limit Hold’em is included in certain spots, but certainly a decent indication of the ‘crusher’ status of all four…

Galfond: $8,050,000
Hastings: $6,300,000
Kyllönen: $5,660,000
Sulsky: $5,200,000

These ‘other attributes’ likely help to explain Phil Galfond’s massive 58.3% of the votes, and conversely, Brian Hastings’ miniscule 2.4%.

RunItOnce founder Galfond is a much-loved part of the poker community, seen by most as one of the nicest people in the game who has never been embroiled in controversy or scams, and who is actively trying to grow the game.

Hastings, however, had his name sullied by the Viktor Blom scandal that saw him take the Swede for $4.2million, after apparently discussing hand histories and strategies with Brian Townsend and Cole South.

Coupled with accusations of multi-accounting and VPN usage, though hardly exclusive to Hastings, his public image has suffered hugely, hence perhaps the tiny %.

OK, so, with that out of the way, let’s take a detailed look at the actual numbers and stats of poker’s greatest PLO players…

Phil Galfond: GOAT Vote 58.3%

Galfond’s Full Tilt persona, OMGClayAiken, can claim 6th spot on the all-time list – a list topped by Phil Ivey, with Patrik Antonius and Daniel 'Jungleman' Cates filling out the podium spots as the three 8-figure profiteers.

Full Tilt

Profit: $6,599,839
Hands: 645,553
Win/hand: $10.22
Most played game: PLO

Galfond also played close to half-a-million highstakes hands on PokerStars, and that pulled in another $1.5million in profit as MrSweets28, with his biggest single pots coming in PLO here rather than he NLHE of Full Tilt.


Profit: $1,450,287
Hands: 446,996
Win/hand: $3.24
Most played game: PLO

Of course Phil Galfond has been much in the news again this year with his own PLO Challenge, a set of seven matches which are ongoing and have been covered extensively on these pages.

Ben Sulsky: GOAT Vote 24.4%

Ben 'sauce123' Sulsky started out as many do, a student riding the freerolls to build a bankroll, and then rapidly climbing the stakes as the hard work and natural feel for the game kicked in.

His PokerStars graph is a thing of beauty, a steady rise playing the world’s biggest online cash games all the way to a spot in the top 10…


Profit: $5,591,275
Hands: 708,347
Win/hand: $7.89
Most played game: PLO

Sulsky’s Full Tilt career as Sauce1234, however, isn’t what you’d expect from such a crusher -  but a massive downswing in early 2013 saw him turn a $1million profit into a $2million hole.

Full Tilt

Profit: -$401,359
Hands: 189,492
Win/hand: $-2.11
Most played game: PLO

Of course, when you are playing $400/$800 against the likes of Isildur1, as in the following hand, it doesn’t take much to go wrong before your $millions are gone.

Jens Kyllönen: GOAT Vote 15%

Jens Kyllönen, known throughout the poker world for his Jeans89 PokerStars moniker, is another of the incredible conveyor belt of talented players to come out of Finland.


Profit: $5,444,282
Hands: 684,126
Win/hand: $7.95
Most played game: PLO

Over on Full Tilt, his Ingenious89 account was suffering a similar ‘tougher time’ to Sulsky, although he did manage to show a tidy profit.

With 10th spot on the all-time list, Kyllönen is still considered one of the very best in the game despite stepping away from the game at times.

Full Tilt Ingenious89

Profit: $222,240
Hands: 152,555
Win/hand: $1.45
Most played game: PLO

Brian Hastings: GOAT Vote 2.4%

That brings us to Brian Hastings, the least likely to be called GOAT according to our, admittedly limited, Twitter poll.
On Full Tilt he had two big incarnations, his original LucLongley nickname that had saw him pocket $1.5million, with NLHE his main game…

Full Tilt

Profit: $1,492,940
Hands: 171,939
Win/hand: $8.68
Most played game: NLHE

That was followed by his Full Tilt sponsorship years on his eponymous BrianHastings account and which proved incredibly profitable…

Full Tilt

Profit: $3,890,941
Hands: 180,304
Win/hand: $21.57
Most played game: PLO

Hastings also did very well over on PokerStars where he was known as $tinger88 and racked up close to $1million – and in fact Hastings per hand winnings are the best among our quartet.

PokerStars $tinger88

Profit: $976,484
Hands: 71,106
Win/hand: $13.73
Most played game: PLO

Well, there you have it – the numbers don’t lie do they? Let us know what you think and who you’d like to see matched up in our HighStakesDB Challenge.


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