Online High Stakes Tables Hot Again

For most of this month the biggest names in poker – either live or online – were busy making headlines in Macau or traveling the world for the last of the year’s big live tournaments, but the balance was restored this week when a number of heavy hitters took to the virtual felt for some newsworthy high stakes action. Finally!

Gus Hansen started it off the previous weekend when he continued his dramatic turnaround at Full Tilt’s high stakes pot limit Omaha tables. His 3-day haul of almost $300,000 brought him within breathing distance of the $1 million mark; if he plays that way every weekend for the rest of the year, then he may actually finish 2010 in the black.

Early this week, the action was once again at Full Tilt, but this time it was the $2000/$4000 limit Hold’em tables that were attracting a crowd. Patrik Antonius gave the forum-goers plenty to talk about when he handed IHateJuice a half-million dollar loss. The mysterious IHateJuice must have money to burn, because thus far in 2010 alone he’s padded Antonius’ bankroll with almost $1 million in high stakes Hold’em pots.

This weekend, Full Tilt continued to generate high stakes headlines with two big match-ups just last night. Most savvy railbirds were anticipating the return of the Durrrr Challenge as Tom Dwan and Daniel Cates went at it again to bring their current number of hands played significantly closer to the 10,000 hand mark (with both pledging to play 50,000 heads-up hands altogether). The pair played two different sessions Friday, but the competition was tight and ultimately Tom “Durrrr” Dwan only managed to gain $13,000 back on Daniel “jungleman12” Cates’ massive lead, which now sits at a daunting $645,667.

Thus far the pair have given no hint as to when they’ll clash again, but Friday’s Full Tilt lurkers were doubly rewarded when another high stakes battle broke out at the $100/$200 No Limit Hold’em table. Online player IReadYrSoul went heads-up with young pro David Benefield but ultimately ended way down when Benefield broke off a nearly $100,000 win after calling his opponent’s semi-bluff.

Both players went into the hand with comparable stacks. Benefield was dealt K-Q suited and bet first then called IReadYrSoul’s ambitious three-bet on a 3-6 suited. IReadYrSoul came through the flop with outs toward a straight, whereas Benefield paired a King. The remainder of the draw failed to help either player, but Benefield called IReadYrSoul’s escalating bets, and in the end profited well for his persistence. IReadYrSoul rallied some toward the end of the session, but still ended the day a dismal $70,000 down.

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