It’s even easier to forget that the luck runs both ways, and while the best players can and do go on huge losing streaks, they sometimes benefit from variance and go on a pretty sick heater that makes everyone jealous.
5. Gus Hansen dominates the World Poker Tour
Back in the earliest of early days of poker, before the 2003 online poker boom when Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker Main Event, the World Poker Tour was beginning to make waves on television in the US.
While these days Gus Hansen, aka “The Great Dane,” is best known for being the biggest losing player in the history of online poker, when the World Poker Tour kicked off he was one of TV poker’s most successful players.
In May 2002, Hansen won the inaugural Five Diamond World Poker Classic, taking home $556,460 and the first ever WPT title. Less than a year later, he had won another half a million with a victory at the 2003 LA Poker Classic in February, winning $532,490.
He featured at yet another final table later that year, coming third in the Five Diamond Classic at the Bellagio for $276,426. Finally, he won the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure back when it was a $7,500 WPT event, taking home another $455,780 to round off a truly memorable first few seasons of the WPT.
4. Dan Smith wins everything in 2012’s EPT Grand Final
The European Poker Tour is one of the most prestigious series in poker, largely because the fields are full of solid players. Even outside of the main event, you often see the cream rising to the top.
That’s what makes Dan Smith’s run in 2012 so impressive. The EPT Grand Final takes place in Monte Carlo, which further separates the wheat from the chaff – not a lot of casual players are willing to spend a week in one of the world’s most expensive cities just to play a few poker tournaments!
Dan Smith totally dominated the 2012 EPT Grand Final with the following additions to his poker tournament résumé:
- On April 26, he won a 101-player €5,000 6-max turbo event for €152,980
- On April 27, he won a 175-player €5,000 Hold’em event for €250,500
- On April 30, he won a 98-player €5,000 6-max event for €118,000
Four days, €500,000 – not a bad week in Monte Carlo for the young American.
3. Erik Seidel’s $6.5 million 2011
Erik Seidel is one of the old school pros, having cut his teeth at New York’s Mayfair Club alongside a host of other now-famous poker players. Many of these kinds of players have gone broke or faded into obscurity as the new generation of online wizards have taken over.
Not Erik Seidel. His 2011 run proved that he could still hang, and it’s still one of the most memorable years any poker player has had. He kick-started 2011 with a $46,560 third place finish in a $5,250 PCA 6-max event, which would be his smallest cash of the month.
He then went on to come fourth in the $25,500 PCA High Roller event, pocketing $295,960 before heading Down Under to come third in the $100,500 Challenge at the Aussie Millions for $625,000. It was just five days later that he won the $250,000 Super High Roller event there for $2.5 million, giving him a $3.5m month.
He didn’t stop there – in February he won the $25,100 LA Poker Classic High Roller for $144,570; in March he won the NBC Heads-up Championship for $750,000; in April, he came second in the $10,000 WPT Hollywood Poker Open for $155,103; in May, he won the $100,000 Super High Roller at the World Poker Classic for $1 million.
He racked up five World Series of Poker cashes in June and July before winning another $800,000 in the short-lived Epic Poker League in August and September before picking up another couple of cashes at the WSOP Europe. All in all, he cashed to the tune of $6,530,153 in 2012.
2. Dan Colman wins $21 million in 12 months
Dan Colman had been crushing high-stakes heads-up Sit & Go Tournaments online for years as “mrgr33n13”, but in 2013 no one but the most hardcore poker fans had really any idea who he was. That all changed with an amazing 12 months that began with his first six-figure live cash in November 2013.
Colman came third in the PartyPoker Premier League VII for $194,000 before taking down the EPT Grand Final €100,000 Super High Roller event in April 2014 to add another €1.5 million to his tally. He came close to his first bracelet at that year’s WSOP, coming third in the $10,000 Heads-up event for $111,942, but then he made up for it.
Colman defeated Daniel Negreanu heads-up in the $1m buy-in Big One For One Drop, winning a platinum WSOP bracelet and $15.3 million. That would be enough for most players to have an amazing year, but he wasn’t done: less than two weeks later, he’d pocketed another $796,821 for a third-place finish at the Aria Super High Roller.
August saw him take second in the EPT Barcelona Super High Roller for €843,066 and take down the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open for $1.4 million. Finally, he squeezed in one last big win by shipping the £60,000 WPT Alpha8 in London for £600,000, completing a $21 million year.
1. Fedor Holz wins $10 million in six weeks
Fedor Holz, a 22-year-old German poker prodigy, had already racked up around $10 million in live tournament cashes before the summer of 2016. However, he managed to double that in just six weeks with an insane run that it’s likely will never be matched.
He kicked things off at the end of May, taking seventh in a $50,000 Super High Roller for $122,400. Two days after that, he was runner-up in the $300,000 Super High Roller Bowl and had added another $3.5 million to his bank account.
Four days after that, he was back at the same $50,000 Super High Roller which he managed to win this time for another $637,392. One week later, he went to the Aria and won their $25,000 High Roller for $393,000; he repeated this feat two weeks later for another $276,012 before coming third in their $50,000 Super High Roller three weeks after that, taking home another $407,310.
He then capped off this amazing run, in which he’d already won $5 million in less than two months, by winning the WSOP $111,111 High Roller for One Drop tournament, adding $4.9 million to his already extremely impressive résumé.
After this, Holz announced he would no longer continue as a professional poker player and would be focusing on other endeavours in his life. Considering he won a €50,000 Super High Roller at EPT Barcelona for €1.3 million just six weeks later, though, we’re not sure we believe him!