The Online Railbird Report: What's Happened to the High-Stakes Online Action?

The Online Railbird Report

For the past month, the online high-stakes action has been slow on both Full Tilt and PokerStars. When once there were weekly high-six-figure swings, now the bigger winners and losers are barely breaking the six-figure mark at all.

Are players becoming disconcerted with online poker? There are certainly those who are beyond upset by the recent changes by Amaya over at PokerStars, which includes the introduction of a new currency exchange rate and rake increases coming Nov. 4.

“My initial reaction to the rake increase is that Pokerstars has completely gone from treating their regular daily clients to the best of their ability in order to maximize take through that avenue and is now trying to increase rake and push a percentage of pros out the door,” Mike “Pipedream17” Dietrich told PokerNews. “The increased rake effects every poker player directly, in my opinion, as they are directly pulling players’ dollars out of the community as a whole. As a tournament player and cash-game player it doesn't affect me as much as the hyper turbo and heads-up guys. I do think it diminishes the brand as a whole and to what degree I don't know yet. It's a very tricky situation as PokerStars has, to some degree, a monopoly of the online poker market.”

Whatever the case, things have certainly slowed at the nosebleeds.

In last week’s Online Railbird Report, we reported that Viktor “Isildur1” Blom had been driving the action — which he’d been doing for weeks — but that wasn’t the case this week; in fact, this week's biggest winner was “bbvisbadforme”, who erased last week’s $51,903 loss by winning $123,718 in 1,390 hands over eight sessions on Full Tilt. He was the only six-figure winner of the week.

Others who won, albeit on PokerStars, were Vladimir “GVOZDIKA55” Shchemelev (+$98,576 in 31 sessions/4,603 hands) and Ben “Sauce123” Sulsky ($37,629 in eight sessions/685 hands). On the flip side, Elior “Crazy Elior” Sion was the week’s biggest loser after dropping $68,648 in 621 hands over four sessions, while German pro “Sanlker,” who has been the biggest losers the three previous weeks with losses of $576,753, $429,774, and $400,854, lost again, though it was a much more modest $54,580 in 125 hands over three sessions.

“bbvisbadforme” Gets It Done at 2-7 Triple Draw

On Saturday, Oct. 25, German pro “bbvisbadforme” and Alexander “PostflopAction” Kostritsyn sat down at the $500/$1,000 2-7 triple draw tables. After 20 minutes where “bbvisbadforme” won $36,700, they upped the stakes to $1,000/$2,000 and played for another 80 minutes. During that time the Russian pulled out to a $37,000 lead of his own, but then “bbvisbadforme” hit his heater. Eventually the two ended the match with “bbvisbadforme” up $101,700.

The Online Railbird Report: What's Happened to the High-Stakes Online Action? 101
Alex Kostritsyn

Here’s a look at three hands from that match:

Hand #1: At the $500/$1,000 stakes, Kostritsyn ($39,493.50) raised to $2,000 from the button only to have “bbvisbadforme” ($60,483.50) three-bet to $3,000 from the big blind. Kostritsyn responded with a four-bet to $4,000, “bbvisbadforme” called, and then the former drew one and the latter two.

“bbvisbadforme” check-called a bet of $1,000, and then drew two while Kostritsyn took one. “bbvisbadforme” checked, Kostritsyn bet $2,000, and “bbvisbadforme” woke up with a check-raise to $4,000. Kostritsyn called and then called a bet of $2,000 after both players stood pat on the third draw. “bbvisbadforme” tabled a {7-Diamonds}{6-Clubs}{5-Hearts}{4-Clubs}{2-Spades} low, and it was good enough to win the $22,000 pot at Kostritsyn mucked.

Hand #2: Kostritsyn ($124,949.50) raised to $2,000 from the button, “bbvisbadforme” ($34,993.50) called, and then both players drew three. “bbvisbadforme” check-called a bet of $1,000 before drawing three more, and Kostritsyn drew one. “bbvisbadforme” checked, Kostritsyn bet $2,000, and “bbvisbadforme” check-raised to $4,000. Kostritsyn three-bet to $6,000, “bbvisbadforme” called, and then both players drew one.

“bbvisbadforme” bet $2,000 and Kostritsyn called only to muck when his opponent rolled over a {10-Hearts}{9-Hearts}{5-Clubs}{4-Clubs}{3-Diamonds} low. Ship the $22,000 pot to “bbvisbadforme.”

Hand #3:


Kibler-Melby vs. Luneau

Even though there were no huge winners and losers on the week, there was an interesting game early in the week between Cort “thecortster” Kibler-Melby and Alex “Alexonmoon” Luneau, who squared off at the $2,000/$4,000 2-7 triple draw tables.

According to HighStakesDB, it began Sunday morning when Kibler-Melby won $5,000 in just 36 minutes. Later that afternoon, the two went at it again, and Kibler-Melby won an additional $43,000. Then, on Monday, the two played a nearly three-hour session in the early morning that resulted in Kibler-Melby winning $22,000 more, which he followed up by winning $181,200 later in the day. All told he was up more than $230,000 on Luneau over the two-day period.

Unfortunately for Kibler-Melby, he didn’t hold onto the profit long as the duo returned to the tables on Tuesday, Oct. 28. They played 865 hands over three sessions, which took about six hours, and Luneau won back $102,900.

As if that wasn’t good enough, Luneau moved over to the $500/$1,000 2-7 triple draw tables to take on Alexander “PostflopAction” Kostritsyn. It took Luneau just 453 hands to win $61,400, which allowed him to finish as the day’s biggest winner with $149,100 in profit.

Cao Banks $77,700 in Tuesday Action

In other Tuesday action, Rui “PepperoniF” Cao was busy playing $50/$100 heads-up pot-limit Omaha on PokerStars. It was there he won $47,000 against “R_1_C_H_1” and then followed that up by winning $41,400 from “Maroonlime.” The day’s biggest pot came from the latter match, and you can see it below:


Biggest Winners/Losers from Oct. 23-30

WinnersProfit LosersLoss
The Online Railbird Report: What's Happened to the High-Stakes Online Action? 102

“bbvisbadforme”

$123,718 
The Online Railbird Report: What's Happened to the High-Stakes Online Action? 103

Elior “Crazy Elior” Sion

$68,649
The Online Railbird Report: What's Happened to the High-Stakes Online Action? 104

Vladimir “GVOZDIKA55” Shchemelev

$98,576 
The Online Railbird Report: What's Happened to the High-Stakes Online Action? 105

“Sanlker”

$54,580
The Online Railbird Report: What's Happened to the High-Stakes Online Action? 106

Ben “Sauce123” Sulsky

$37,629 
The Online Railbird Report: What's Happened to the High-Stakes Online Action? 107

“Kingsp00k”

$29,800

Year's Biggest Winners/Losers

WinnersProfit LosersLoss
The Online Railbird Report: What's Happened to the High-Stakes Online Action? 108

Dan “jungleman12” Cates

$2,827,606 
The Online Railbird Report: What's Happened to the High-Stakes Online Action? 109

Gus Hansen

$5,522,853
The Online Railbird Report: What's Happened to the High-Stakes Online Action? 110

Mikael “punting-peddler” Thuritz

$2,562,379 
The Online Railbird Report: What's Happened to the High-Stakes Online Action? 111

Phil “Polarizing” Ivey

$2,469,753
The Online Railbird Report: What's Happened to the High-Stakes Online Action? 112

Patrik “FinddaGrind” Antonius

$1,754,449 
The Online Railbird Report: What's Happened to the High-Stakes Online Action? 113

Viktor “Isildur1” Blom

$1,395,340
The Online Railbird Report: What's Happened to the High-Stakes Online Action? 114

Isaac “luvtheWNBA” Haxton

$1,299,576 
The Online Railbird Report: What's Happened to the High-Stakes Online Action? 115

Elior “Crazy Elior” Sion

$1,232,374
The Online Railbird Report: What's Happened to the High-Stakes Online Action? 116

Doug “WCGRider” Polk

$1,110,009 
The Online Railbird Report: What's Happened to the High-Stakes Online Action? 117

Phil “OMGClayAiken” Galfond

$1,232,374
The Online Railbird Report: What's Happened to the High-Stakes Online Action? 118

Alex “joiso” Kostritsyn

$801,988 
The Online Railbird Report: What's Happened to the High-Stakes Online Action? 119

“Sanlker”

$1,071,686
The Online Railbird Report: What's Happened to the High-Stakes Online Action? 120

Christoph “Tight-Man1” Vogelsang

 $663,177
The Online Railbird Report: What's Happened to the High-Stakes Online Action? 121

Paul “MalACEsia” Phua

$823,325

Data, hands, and replayer obtained from HighStakesDB.com

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