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Online High-Stakes Poker: Russia Dominates January
The Russians are coming.
The first month of 2015 is complete and two Russian players - Trueteller and Alexander Kostritsyn - are the players beat after 30 days of action-packed online play.
Ilari Sahamies was one of the few non-Russians who crushed while Viktor Blom and Cort Kibler-Melby hit the wall hard.
The New High Stakes Language is Russian
It took only 10 days into the new year for Russians to take complete control over the high-stakes online scene.
Even last year Alexander Kostritsyn seemed immune to downswings. Particularly in Mixed Games where he was essentially unbeatable.
It appears last year was no coincidence.
He recorded $850k in profits for January, most of it coming from 2-7 TD and made one thing very clear: The winner of the 2008 Aussie Millions Main Event has become a consistent winner.
But there is someone else hunting for the crown in the Russian empire: Trueteller.
It began last summer, when the unidentified player somehow switched to god mode and kept on winning until he reached the top spot of our yearly player rankings.
Then, Daniel Cates came, saw, and crushed. Temporarily, that is.
In January, Trueteller went on another tear and is on his way to nosebleed stardom again with $1.2 million in profit this year.
The main victim of the $1.2m man was none other than Cort thecortster Kibler-Melby.
Once the best player at 2-7 Triple Draw, Kibler-Melby was dominated by Trueteller in the game.
He lost nearly $800k last month and it went almost entirely into the bankroll of Trueteller.
We’re going to watch closely to see if Kibler-Melby will try to avoid his nemesis in February or go for revenge.
Sahamies Brings Back PLO
It was the comeback story of the month: Ilari Sahamies returned to online high stakes.
Now 31 years old, the Finnish player vanished for about two years but returned last month with a bang.
Sahamies recorded $600,000 in profits in January, which put him in third behind Kostritsyn and Trueteller.
Sahamies' return to online poker also meant a resurgence of Pot-Limit Omaha, which had become almost a dead game at the highest stakes online.
Sahamies was involved in nearly every big pot that was recorded at $100/$200 or $200/$400 PLO.
The big question is whether the PLO train will keep chugging in February
Blom Goes From Superstar to Cannon Fodder
It was a brutal start of the year for Viktor Blom. It’s a far cry from 2012 and 2013 where Blom was able to quickly accumulate millions before slowing down as the year went on.
Now Blom can only hope to right the ship before he bleeds too much money in 2015 and has to step down in stakes like former Full Tilt teammate Gus Hansen.
When you combine Blom’s accounts on Full Tilt and PokerStars he’s lost over $1.2 million this year.
There were half a dozen players who profited from Blom’s recent downswing including David RugDoctor Williams, who’s not usually seen in the nosebleed games.
Biggest Pot of the Month
The six largest hands of the month were all played out on the same day: January 21.
The main players in the $200/$400 PLO game were EireAbu, AckmaJin, Ravenswood13, and Ilari Sahamies but it was EireAbu and Ravenswood13 who recorded the biggest hand of the month.
EireAbu and Ravenswood13 were playing heads-up. After a raise and a re-raise, the pot was already up to $7,200 when the first community cards were dealt.
EireAbu bet small, only $1,800, and his opponent did nothing to blow up the pot. Just a call.
Now EireAbu sped things up with a bet of $10k. Ravenwood13 called again.
EireAbu kept the pressure on and bet $33k, Ravenswood13 responded with a shove of $103k, and EireAbu wasted no time calling.
The showdown made it clear why he insta-called.
The nuts for both players on the river. A massive $240k pot was redistributed to both players.
Who said there’s no justice in poker?
Leaderboard and Loserboard
(Note that for this month, they are identical with the yearly rankings.)
Winners of the Month/Year
- Trueteller (FT): $+1,240,828
- Alexander joiso Kostritsyn (PS): $+856,953
- Ilari Ilari_FIN Sahamies (PS): $+598,118
- Ben Sauce123 Sulsky (PS): $+362,529
- Faith#1Virtu (PS): $+319,693
Losers of the Month/Year
- Cort thecortster Kibler-Melby(FT): $-799,404
- Viktor Isildur1 Blom (FT): $-773,821
- AckmaJin (PS): $-488,147
- Viktor Isildur1 Blom (PS): $-472,258
- Mikael ChaoRen160 Thuritz (PS): $-334,504