The Four Greatest Spin-Ups In Online Poker History

Posted on August 16, 2016

[toc]Spin-up [n]

  1. The act of playing aggressively with a small bankroll and turning it into much larger sums

While poker, even online poker, is a game of skill, there is an obvious element of luck involved at the tables. The smartest professional poker players began with small sums and gradually worked their way up to dizzying heights; some of them weren’t so gradual, though.

Next time you’re playing at the Bet365 poker tables, think of these five players and maybe you’ll be able to run up a huge bankroll yourself.

4. Jesus resurrects a non-existent bankroll

While he’s now rather scorned by the poker community thanks to his role in the Full Tilt scandal, Chris “Jesus” Ferguson used to be a very famous and respected TV poker pro. One of his greatest online poker feats was turning a balance of $0.00 into $10,000 playing on Full Tilt.

His long grind using a strict bankroll management system that many still recommend today began with freeroll tournaments. Once he had won enough to play in real-money games, he adhered to the following system:

  • Only play cash games with a maximum of 5% of your bankroll.
  • Only play tournaments with a maximum of 2% of your bankroll.
  • If you have over 10% of your bankroll on the tables at any point, leave the games.

3. Boku87 runs $5 up to $100,000 in 10 months

German poker pro Thomas “boku87” Boekhoff was well-known in online poker circles as a sit & go tournament regular, largely for his insane ability to regularly play up to 50 games at once. Having noticed he had a great ROI (return on investment) playing low-stakes games, he decided it would be doable to turn $5 into $100,000 inside a year.

Boekhoff began the challenge having already undertaken a challenge to turn $100 into $10,000, which he had completed in two weeks. This one would take considerably longer, but after two weeks he had already profited to the tune of $10,000.

He was up to over $25,000 three months in before hitting a huge downswing and being forced to take a two-month break from the challenge due to health reasons.

After this, he came back and made over $30,000 in consecutive months. He had to race to the finish line in May as the 12-month deadline drew close, upping the ante to play 71 simultaneous games before making his goal.

2. Annette Obrestad goes from freeroll cash to WSOPE bracelet

Annette Obrestad is known as “Annette_15” online, because that’s how old she was when she started playing poker. Unable to deposit, the teenaged Norwegian began playing freeroll tournaments in order to build up her bankroll.

She has turned this into a lifetime total of $2.7 million in online poker tournament cashes, including several six-figure scores. She drew the attention of the wider poker community in 2007 when she won a 180-player tournament on PokerStars without looking at her hole cards (except once at the final table).

Two months after this, she really made her mark on poker. In September 2007, she became the youngest-ever World Series of Poker bracelet winner after defeating John Tabatabai heads-up at the inaugural World Series of Poker Europe, winning £1 million at London’s Empire Casino.

1. “Maratik” turns a few cents into $1,000,907

The story of Russian player Marat “maratik” Sharafutdinov is short and sweet and incredible.

He qualified to the $5,200 World Championship of Online Poker Main Event on PokerStars via a series of seven super-satellite tournaments, beginning with just 40 Frequent Player Points.

The value of these FPPs was just a few pennies, so to even turn that into a $5,200 tournament buy-in is amazing. However, maratik went on to win the whole tournament, becoming famous for his final table negotiations; when the players were dealing out millions of dollars, he boldly stated, “I wont [sic] million.”

Ask and ye shall receive – maratik locked up $922,907.26 in the deal, with $100,000 extra set aside for the eventual winner. The Russian went on to win, saying that “this victory is the greatest you can achieve online. Together with the money, the prestige and the bracelet, this is a special feeling.”

Image credit: Alberto Masnovo /

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Matt Perry

A veteran of the online gambling industry, Matt Perry has worn a number of hats since he first began working in online poker and iGaming in 2007. He currently writes for a variety of publications focused on legal online gambling, and in the past has served as an editor, copywriter, content manager and reporter.

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