If you missed our first two entries of Best Moments in Poker, you can check out Part 1 here and Part 2 here.
Or you can embrace your dark side by viewing Part 1 and Part 2 of our Worst Moments in Poker 2012.
15. Shaun Deeb Wins Four SCOOP Titles in One Year
Five-time SCOOP winner Shaun Deeb
Online achievements tend to take second fiddle to live tournaments but even the most hardened live pro took note of Shaun Deeb’s performance at the 2012 PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker.
Deeb went on the mother of all heaters that included winning four individual SCOOP titles this year alone (he had one previous title) to set a new record.
This is a list of tournaments Deeb won in the 2012 SCOOP:
- SCOOP-38-H $2,100 HORSE for $46k
- SCOOP-26-H $2,100 Stud-8 for $40k
- SCOOP-19-H $2,100 Triple Stud for $44k
- SCOOP-10-H $2,100 Stud for $41k
In total Deeb won over $236,951 in the 2012 SCOOP and easily grabbed the Player of the Series crown.
Deeb had such a compelling year we even filmed a mini-documentary with him in Mexico to see what his day-to-day life is like.
We’re thinking next year PokerStars is just going to call it the ShaunDeeb Championship of Online Poker.
14. Jeans89 Buys into ONE DROP, Plans Space Trip
Future cosmonaut Jens Kyllonen
Things we learned in 2012: Jens “Jeans89” Kyllonen is awesome.
Kyllonen has always been one of the best high-stakes online players in the world but he really grabbed headlines in 2012.
First off, Kyllonen was one of the only poker pros who was crazy enough to take a gamble and buy into the $1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop for 100%.
It didn’t work out, as Kyllonen fell well short of the money, but he could have set himself up for a lifetime if he’d won the $18 million first-place prize.
Second, according to a Finnish newspaper, Kyllonen bought a trip into space from Virgin Galactic for $200k.
The package included a two-hour flight into space as well as 3-4 days of training.
Lots of poker players have money, it’s how Kyllonen spends his that we find compelling.
Third, this picture never gets old.
13. Brandon Schaefer Trades Poker for Flying, Wins Bracelet
Brandon Schaefer flying high
In one of the best stories at the WSOP this summer, ex-poker pro Brandon Schaefer played one tournament in 2012 and ended up winning it outright for $311,174.
Schaefer was a well-respected pro on the tournament circuit with big scores at EPT Deauville and the EPT Grand Final.
He became jaded with the poker life, however, and wanted something beyond clicking a mouse and trying to extract money from opponents.
In 2011 Schaefer decided to pursue his dream of flying helicopters and entered basic training.
Despite being one of the oldest recruits, Schaefer flourished in the army and is well on his way to realizing his dream.
Schaefer took a short vacation this summer where he had the opportunity to play one tournament. Which he won. For over $300k.
“It’s just crazy,” Schaefer told PokerListings after winning. “I wasn’t even planning on playing.”
Click here for more on Schaefer’s improbable victory.
12. Isildur1 Wins PCA Super High Roller for $1.2 Million
To the Viktor go the spoils.
Viktor “Isildur1” Blom’s exploits in high stakes online cash games are legendary but until 2012 he was lacking a live tournament title.
That all changed at the PokerStars PCA this year, when Blom beat a tough-as-nails field to win the $100k Super High Roller tournament.
The final table included Daniel Negreanu, Jonathan Duhamel and Galen Hall but no one could stop Blom from having his way.
Blom eventually beat businessman Dan Shak heads-up to win the $1.2 million first-place prize. It was enough to even get an awkward smile out of the young professional before he exited the tournament room.
It was a good year in tournaments all around for Blom as he went on to win two SCOOP titles later in the year.
Something tells us this kid has a future in this game.
11. Dan "KingDan" Smith Goes into Full Beast Mode
Dan Smith winning. Again.
Dan Smith certainly lived up to his online name of “KingDan” in 2012.
The unassuming online pro went on one of the all-time biggest heaters in the history of poker.
His massive list of notable achievements included:
- $1 million win in the Aussie Millions $100k Challenge
- Three victories in EPT Grand Final prelims
- Five cashes at the WSOP including a third place finish in the lucrative $5k NLHE event
- $1.1 million victory in the EPT Barcelona Super High Roller
- Seventh-place finish at the Partouche Poker Tour Main Event
In total Smith won over $3.6 million. Not quite Erik Seidel numbers in 2010, but not that far off either.
Oh yeah he also won the PokerStars Sunday Million in October for more than first place money, thanks to some amazing negotiation skills.
If that’s not a good reason for nubs all around, we don’t know what is.
More of the 25 Best Moments in Poker in 2012: