Seeing as how PokerStars is clear and away the world’s largest online poker site, it’s no surprise that many of the best grinders come here to play. But which of these players is the best? Is it Dan Cates….Phil Galfond….maybe Isaac Haxton? PokerStars would like to answer this question for us by holding the first ever All-Star Showdown.
This fantastic event is a railbird’s dream since you’ll get the opportunity to watch some of the world’s best poker players battle in a heads-up tournament. Each grinder is putting $100k on the line and the champion will receive $500,000 from the prize pool. We’re going to discus the All-Star Showdown further, but don’t forget that in addition to watching this challenge, you can also find a wide array of Badugi tables at PokerStars. Sure other sites have Badugi too, but nowhere near the amount of full tables and stakes as Stars!
All-Star Challenge Details
If you’ve ever seen or followed the old SuperStar Showdown matches at PokerStars, you’ll find that the All-Star Challenge is very similar. Players put out a $100k stake, they start with 1,000 big blinds, and they multi-table four tables of $50/$100 NL Hold’em.
But the main difference between this event and the SuperStar Showdown is that there is no 2,500-hand limit; instead, participants play until somebody has gone broke. If this doesn’t happen by the end of 3,000 hands, the blinds will be doubled to $100/$200. Once a grinder takes all of their opponent’s money, they’ll move on to the next round. In all, eight players have entered the All-Star Challenge and you can see the schedule below (all matches begin at 18:00 CET):
October 27th, 2012: Tobias “KTPOKP” Kuder vs. Ben “Sauce123” Sulsky
October 28th: Alex “Kanu7” Millar vs. Isaac “IkeHaxton” Haxton
October 30th: Alex “Sussie Smith” Roumeliotis vs. Dan “w00ki3z.” Cates
October 31st: Phil “mrsweets28” Galfond vs. Ben “ben86” Tollerene
November 2nd: Semi-final 1 (Oct. 27th vs. 28th)
November 3rd: Semi-final 2 (Oct. 30th vs. 31st)
November 4th: All Star Showdown Final
Tobias “KTPOKP” Kuder – This Austrian high stakes pro isn’t one of the bigger names in the All-Star Challenge because he mainly sticks to online cash games. But that’s not to say Kuder is without skills because he has won almost $770k in NL Hold’em.
Ben “Sauce123” Sulsky – While working at a supermarket, Sulsky managed to win $3,000 in a freeroll and get his poker career off to a nice start. Since that time, he’s gone on to become one of the biggest winners in online poker history after accumulating almost $3.5 million in profits through PLO and NL Hold’em.
Alex “Kanu7” Millar – This Brit first gained widespread recognition last year after taking on Viktor “Isildur1” Blom in the SuperStar Showdown. Millar lost by $37,687, which isn’t bad at all considering that 2,500 hands and $50/$100 blinds were involved. He’s proved his skills in NL Hold’em time and time again after racking up $2.1 million in PokerStars profits.
Isaac “IkeHaxton” Haxton – Having experienced considerable success in live poker tournaments, Haxton is easily one of the most famous players in this competition. Some of his more notable accomplishments include the following: 2nd at 2007 PCA Main Event ($862k), 2nd at 2009 WSOP 40th Anniversary event ($1.16m), 3rd at the 2011 Five Diamond High Roller ($582k) and 3rd at the 2012 PCA $25k High Roller ($381k). Haxton has made $4,084,066 overall in live tournaments and he’s also a very good online cash player.
Alex “Sussie Smith” Roumeliotis – This Swede first landed on the map after winning the 2007 Christmas Poker Week (Sweden), which earned him a $151,770 payout. Since then he’s gone on to win a 2011 EPT Deauville side event ($72k) and take runner-up in a 2012 EPT San Remo High Roller ($107k). Roumeliotis has managed to make $492,358 in live tourneys over his career.
Dan “w00ki3z.” Cates – Similar to Sulsky, Cates has a fascinating backstory that includes working at McDonalds before grinding his way to a poker millionaire. He truly became a legend after topping the online poker world with $5 million in 2010 cash game profits. Since that time, he’s added a couple million more in profits and remains one of the world’s most feared heads-up NLHE players.
Phil “mrsweets28” Galfond – With almost $10 million in online poker earnings, Phil Galfond is easily one of the game’s most respected players. Besides his massive success on the felt, Galfond also gained admiration for his effective and useful poker training videos. While he puts most of his time into PLO, mrsweets28 will no doubt be a tough competitor in this NLHE challenge.
Ben “ben86” Tollerene – This Texas Tech graduate has experienced a good deal of success in both live tournaments ($308k) and online cash games. The latter is definitely Tollerene’s bread and butter since he has managed to collect over $2.8 million in high stakes PLO games.
Remember that if you’re interested in picking up tips from watching some of the best poker players in the world, sign up at PokerStars and railbird these matches.