2010 was a memorable year for high stakes online poker.
Whether it was the durrrr Challenge II on Full Tilt or the new Isildur1 SuperStar Showdown on PokerStars there always seemed to be intriguing action of one kind or another on the go.
From the emergence of relative newcomer Dan “jungleman12” Cates to the continued success of established pros like Tom “durrrr” Dwan, Phil Ivey and Patrik Antonius there were numerous plotlines to the high stakes games this year.
We’ll start by celebrating the five biggest online poker success stories of 2010 before taking a hard look at the five biggest disappointments of the year.
Top 5 Biggest Winners of 2010
5. Di “Urindanger” Dang: $2.2 million
Although Di “Urindanger” Dang tends to fly under the radar when compared to some of his more illustrious colleagues he’s remarkably consistent.
Since he started playing the high stakes games on Full Tilt in 2007, Dang has never recorded a losing year. 2010 was no exception.
Dang did suffer through a few losing months in late spring but he came around in August and by December was up to $2.2 million.
Yet another good Christmas for the Dang household.
4. Phil Ivey: $3 million
Phil Ivey usually plays far less hands than his online opponents but he always manages to rank as one of the top five winners.
This year Ivey wasn’t particularly active until mid-April, when he went on a $2 million heater. After logging notable victories against Ashton “ASHMAN103” Griffin and Patrik Antonius, Ivey vacated the online tables from May to late August.
In August Ivey got right back to business and quickly peaked at $3.8 million in profit.
Although Ivey coasted for the rest of the year and didn’t play any huge sessions, he still finished with a very respectable $3 million.
3. Tom “durrrr” Dwan: $3.6 million
It was yet another strong year for the poker prodigy originally from Edison, New Jersey.
Once again Tom Dwan was king when it came to volume, playing a total of 296,725 hands in 2010.
The year got off to a rocking start for Dwan and by mid-spring he peaked at an astounding $6.6 million. Unfortunately for Dwan he would come back down to earth over the rest of the year.
Dwan’s biggest obstacle was Dan “jungleman12” Cates. Dwan simply couldn’t solve Cates and lost more than $600k so far in the durrrr Challenge II.
At any rate, Dwan fared far better this year compared to 2009 when he ran into a hot Isildur1 and lost millions.
2. Andreas “Skjervoy” Torbergsen: $3.7 million
Perhaps the biggest surprise of this list is a Norwegian by the name of Andreas Torbergsen.
Torbergsen, who plays with his hometown of Skjervoy as his handle, signed with CardRunners this summer and went on to become one of the biggest winners in the high stakes online games this year.
Torbergsen was essentially at $0 in August but by the end of December was up $3.7 million. It helped he won $1 million in a 24-hour period in September and recorded several $500k sessions.
It remains to be seen whether Torbergsen will remain a fixture of the high stakes online poker scene.
1. Dan “jungleman12” Cates: $5.5 million
What more can be said about Dan “jungleman12” Cate’s dominance this year?
Three years ago Cates was flipping burgers but in 2010 he was playing the biggest online games in the world and hardly ever losing.
Cates dominated Tom Dwan in the durrrr Challenge II but also found time to take on anyone else who wanted a piece. His graph reads looks like an escalator (going up, of course). He won hundreds of thousands playing PLO (which he’s still learning).
Although some members of the online community cried variance, Cates was a consistent winner for the entire year.
At any rate, Cates now finds himself in an elite group of year-end winners that includes Patrik Antonius ($8.9 million in 2009), Phil Ivey ($7.3 million in 2008) and Niki Jedlicka ($3.1 million in 2007).
To put it simply: 2010 belonged to Cates.
Top 5 Biggest Losers of 2010
5. Brian “sbrugby” Townsend: – $1.5 million
Brian Townsend had a fantastic 2009 winning $2.4 million to become one of the biggest winners of the year.
2010 wasn’t quite as kind to the former CardRunners instructor.
Although Townsend didn’t use the sbrugby account until summer (more on that later), he didn’t waste any time donating stacks of cash online.
From June to October, Townsend lost $1.6 million and never really recovered, opting to sit out the last couple months of 2010.
Check below for even more on Townsend’s disastrous 2010.
4. Gus Hansen: -$1.6 million
You’d think losing $1.6 million would make for a pretty bad year but it could have been a lot worse for Gus Hansen.
The Great Dane actually got off to a hot start in 2010 and was up $2.3 million after the first couple of months.
Like many high stakes pros, Hansen took a break from the tables during the WSOP but was still up nearly $1 million.
It was during late summer that problems started to arise for the Team Full Tilt member. From July to October, Hansen lost $4 million, the biggest downswing of the year.
Hansen would hit rock bottom in mid-October going down to -$3.6 million.
Fortunately for Hansen he was able to put a steady string of wins together to finish the year at only -$1.6 million. Not the worst year for the recent WSOP bracelet winner.
3. cadillac1944: -$1.8 million
cadillac1944 is the only player on our list who has yet to be identified.
The online account first appeared in late August and that’s about when the losing began.
cadillac1944 quickly dropped down to -$677k by September with big losses against Urindanger and DrugsOrMe.
By November cadillac1944 was down -$1.53 million and finally hit -$1.8 million in early December.
The cadillac1944 account became inactive in mid-December and it’s anyone’s guess as to whether we’ll ever see it in use again.
2. Ilari “Ziigmund” Sahamies: -$2 milliion
Ilari “Ziigmund” Sahamies, one of the original kings of swing, was up to his old tricks in 2010 with a “win a million, lose a million” mentality.
Sahamies started the year by winning $2 million in spring but then lost $2.6 million over the summer.
The fall looked promising for Ziigmund as he quickly swung his way up to $1.48 million in profit.
Unfortunately for Ziigmund October was a turning point and the Finnish pro went on what he has called the greatest downswing of his career.
Over the next few months Sahamies dropped down to -$2 million with victories few and far between.
2010 was easily Ziigmund’s worst year playing high stakes online poker.
1. Brian Townsend: -$2.5 million
Brian Townsend’s 2010 was so terrible that he made this list twice.
As bad as the game went for Townsend on his “sbrugby” account, it was far, far worse on his red pro “Brian Townsend” account.
Townsend was in bad shape from the very beginning as he quickly lost $300k in early January.
The losses just continued to escalate for Townsend and by May he was down $2.5 million.
It was then Townsend made the decision to leave CardRunners, ditch his red pro account and go back to being sbrugby on Full Tilt.
It didn’t seem to make a difference as Townsend lost another $1.5 million.
If you take both accounts into consideration, Townsend lost a grand total of $4 million this year.
No one suffered more than Townsend in 2010.