Joe Ingram, aka ChicagoJoey, had already set a record in May 2009 for most hands played online within a month while making a profit.
A total of 604,000 hands meant he had played a little over 20,000 hands every day. Even the toughest grinders online might take a week to play this amount of hands.
But Ingram had his eyes on even more and aspired to be a record holder in three different disciplines: most hands played in a day, most hands played in a month and becoming Supernova Elite within 80 days.
Record I: Most hands played in one month (604,000)
Date: May 2009
Record II: Most hands played in a day (50,000)
Date: December 2009
Record III: Reach Supernova Elite within 80 days
Date: Oct 11, 2010 till December 31, 2010
24 Hours, 50k Hands
Elated by his previous success, Ingram announced in late November that he would try to break another record.
On November 25, Mikhail innerspy Shalamov from Russia had played 40,000 within 24 hours and turned a profit. Ingram wanted to beat that -- and his roommate Dashornman would film him doing it.
What caught most people’s attention, however, was that Ingram had side bets with 26 players worth $30,000 to him if he won and a $12,000 loss if he failed.
Later, Ingram explained in an interview: “I managed to get all this action because I played a 25,000 hand session, I was down and people saw that on PokerTableRatings … I was just trying to get in hands to see if I could accomplish the goal of 50,000 while just playing a c-level game.”
It turned out that Ingram went down in the first 3,000 hands. But then he started winning and he won more and more the longer the challenge went on.
After 50,000 hands, he had turned a profit of $840. Ingram played 10c/25c NLHE cash games and he needed exactly 20 hours and 2 minutes to reach 50,000 hands.
After 24 hours, the counter stopped at 51,312 hands.
Lose More Than $90k, Quit Poker
One year later the itch got the better of Ingram again. Mid-October he bet his roommate BallCup that he could reach Supernova Elite status by the end of the year.
At that time he had 347,000 VPPs in his account so he needed another 653,000 points to reach the required million.
ChicagoJoey described the challenge:
“Just ended my life for the rest of the year … To win this bet I will need to play 12-16 hours a day for the rest of the year and end up playing more hands of PLO than anyone, 400k-600k per month.”
Ingram was in it with $15,000 of his own money. His roommate gave him 3-1 odds, so Ingram would make $45,000 if he succeeded. He would also pick up $90,000 in bonuses. But Ingram took a huge risk, as he wrote in his blog.
“If I lose more than $90,000 playing at the tables I have to quit poker and move back home and get a real job.”
On December 30 Ingram posted a video in which he said he still needed 35,000 VPPs and that he had 28 hours left.
He eventually managed to get there, but there was no profit.
Ingram lost $40,000 during the challenge but the money he won from his $15,000 bet and the bonuses more than made up for the loss.
Challenge: Rules and Goals
Challenge I: Play as many hands as possible online and turn a profit. No specific further rules.
Challenge II: Play more than 50,000 hands online at 10c/25c within 24 hours and turn a profit.
Challenge III: Earn 650,000 VPPs on PokerStars within 80 days playing PLO $2/$4 to $5/$10 to reach Supernova Elite.
Here's Ingram celebrating making it to Supernova Elite:
Bonus Round: The Play-Money Challenge
Just recently Ingram went on another 24-hour grinding rampage. His goal this time: turn 3,000 play-money chips into 20,000,000.
He got pretty close but when time ran out he decided to take bigger risks and lost several big pots.
He still calls the 450k PLO hands and Supernova Elite title his biggest achievement in poker.
If we had to guess, ChicagoJoey probably isn't done with online challenges just yet. Follow him on Twitter.