Online poker’s popularity seems to be in a state of constant flux, but there’s no question that it has been at its most popular when people feel like they can win an impressive pot or two. There have been a more than a few pots played for in online poker games that have been enough to rival their live game cousins, too.
Patrik Antonius is a player with experience of both. He once hit a straight to win more than $700,000 in a high-stakes game, for example. As well as winning $1.3 million in an online game of Omaha. Online poker lacks the excitement and intrigue of watching live players thinking through their moves, but it definitely doesn’t lack the money.
Patrik Antonius v Viktor Blom – $1,356,946 (Omaha)
When it comes to discussing big paying online poker pots there’s nowhere else to start but with the match between Patrik Antonius and Viktor Blom. Before we explain to you exactly what happened, it’s important to make clear that they were playing Omaha. This is because fans of Texas Hold’em might not understand why Blom didn’t win.
The key difference between the two types of poker is that Texas Hold’em asks players to create a five-card hand from any of the two hole cards they’ve been dealt and the five community cards. In Omaha, however, players are dealt four hole cards and must make a five-card hand from exactly two of those hole cards and exactly three of the five community cards.
So, it was that Patrik Antonius looked at a selection of hole cards that contained AH, KH, KS and 3S compared to Blom’s 9S, 8H, 7D and 6D. The flop presented Antonius with a straight thanks to the 5C, 4S and 2H that came out and matched up with his AH and 3S. It also handed Blom a straight-draw, which probably explains why both players went in so big.
The result was that $1,356,946 sat in the pot at the end of the betting, with the 5H and the 9C on the turn and the river respectively doing nothing to change the situation, handing Antonius the biggest pot in online poker history at the time. That was in 2009 and as of April 2020 it has yet to be beaten in terms of pot size, which is pretty impressive.
Viktor Blom v Phil Ivey – $1,127,955 (Omaha)
Blom was back in the high stakes action just a few days after that 2009 battle with Patrik Antonius, only this time it was Phil Ivey who he found himself up again. The stakes were $500 / $1.000 in another Omaha game, with Ivey opening the betting with a $3,000 stake. Blom raised it to $9,000 before Ivey went in big with a $27,000 bet.
It felt like the action might cool off a touch when the flop brought out JS, KS and JD, resulting in the pair of them checking. When the turn produced a 10D, however, Ivey went in big again with a $41,000 stake, but Blom raised it to $177,000 and Ivey called. The river produced a 5D that Ivey checked, but he received no such generosity from Blom this time.
Instead Blom bet $408,000 and Ivey called with his last $359,977 to take the overall pot total to $1,127,955. When Blom revealed that he’d had a full house since the flop, thanks to his hand of KD, KC, 5H and 4D, Ivey mucked his hand and his opponent ended up winning back most of them money he’d lost just a few days before against Antonius.
Patrik Antonius vs. Viktor Blom (Again) – $878,959 (Omaha)
You don’t have to look too far to see a big pot between Patrick Antonius and Viktor Blom, with the pair being involved in their second one of this piece. Again it was Pot Limit Omaha that the pair were playing, with Blom raising the action to $3,000 as he was wont to do. Antonius called it resulting in the flop being dealt and revealing a 5H, 7H, QS.
Blom went in again, this time raising things to $5,000 before Antonius lifted it to $21,000 and Blom called. The turn produced an AD, so Antonius took the initiative and bet $48,000, which was lifted to $192,000 by Blom. Atonious went all-in with $416,479, only to be called by Blom before both players turned over their cards.
Antonius revealed that he had AH, QC, 9S and 6H. Blom. On the other hand, showed his AS, KS, QD and 10H. The statisticians watching the game knew that a split pot was the most likely scenario, standing at about a 62.5 percent chance. Poker rarely turns out as we expect it to, though, and there’s a reason people talk about being drowned in the river.
It threw up an eight of diamonds, meaning that Antonius was able to hit his straight and take half of the pot away from Blom. The $878,959 pot might not be the biggest that Antonius has won in his poker career, but the manner in which it played out might well make it one of the most satisfying. Only he’ll know the answer to that!
Tom Dwan v ‘Patatino’ – $512,455 (Texas Hold’em)
There are two ways of doing this piece. The first is by looking entirely at the biggest ever pots and nothing else, whilst the other is to look at hands that were massive at the time. The problem with the first of these approaches is that you just end up talking about online games of Omaha and games involving at least one of Viktor Blom, Phil Ivey and Patrik Antonius.
We’re not joking about that. Here’s the list of the biggest ever pots of any sort of poker played online as of April 2020:
- Patrick Antonius vs. Viktor Blom: $1,356,947
- Phil Ivey vs. Viktor Blom: $1,127,955
- Patrick Antonius vs. Viktor Blom: $878,959
- Phil Ivey vs. Viktor Blom: $832,940
- Phil Ivey vs Viktor Blom: $827,960
Rather than just tell you about loads of Omaha games involving Viktor Blom, therefore, it makes more sense to mix things up a little bit and also look at some high stakes Texas Hold’em online games, starting with the one that saw Tom Dwan earn himself more than half a million dollars in a No Limit game against a user called Patatino.
Believed to be a French-Canadian entrepreneur named Guy Laliberte, Patatino and Dwan were playing a No Limit Texas Hold’em game with blinds of $500 / $1,000 when Dwan was on the big blind and Patatino was on the gun. He raised the action to $3,500 and Dwan re-raised him to $11,500, all before the flop.
All other players folded out before the flop presented the players with 4S, AS and 3C. Dwan bet first and put $15,600 on the table, with Patatino raising it to $70,300. Dwan called and the turn presented both players with 4H. Dwan went all in, seeing $233,000 hitting the pot and Patatino called with his remaining $115,000. Both players flipped their cards.
Patatino had top pair thanks to hole cards of AC 9C, with Dwan having 5S and 6D. The river drowned Patatino with a 7D, handing Dwan a straight. It meant that he got to take home $512,455 from the pot and one of the most impressive Texas Hold’em pots that the online game has seen. It wasn’t the last huge pot that Dwan would be involved in, however.
October 26th 2008: A Day of Giant Hold’em Pots
We’re going to look at a specific date now, for the simple reason that it might well be the biggest single date for online poker that the game has seen. There were not one, not two but three massive pots to be played for on the same date, which we’ll have a look at in more detail here.
John Juanda v Tom Dwan – $678,072 (Texas Hold’em)
The first match worth telling you about from that date involved John Juanda and Tom Dwan, with Di Dang and Guy Laliberte also involved. Indeed it was Dang who made the first move pre-flop, raising the action to $3,000 before Juanda lifted it to $14,500. Dwan must have been feeling confident given that he then went over-the-top to $43,800.
That move was enough to see off Dang and Laliberte, meaning that it was heads up action between Dwan and Juanda when the latter raised it up again to $137,400. Dwan went all-in to $382,304 and Juanda called him. It was KC and KS versus AH and AC for Juanda and Dwan respectively. It was hole aces against hole kings with the flop producing QC, 6D and 4S, helping neither player.
The turn saw the initiative shift to Dwan when the jack of clubs came out, meaning that he was leading with his pair of aces. Poker is a cruel game, though, and he was drowned on the river when king of hearts landed on the table, handing Juanda trip-kings and the right to take home a pot of $678,072, which was a record pot for an online game of Texas Hold’em at the time.
Phil Ivey Vs. John Juanda – $687,024 (Texas Hold’em)
John Juanda was involved again in high-stakes action on the same date, this time going up against Phil Ivey. To make matters even more interesting, it was literally the next hand dealt that produced an even higher pot. Dang and Laliberte folded before the action got too hot, with Juanda raising it to $4,500. Dwan only had $2,468 left, so he went all-in.
Ivey raised it to $16,958 before Juanda went over the top and lifted it to $54,370. Ivey called and the flop produced AC, 5S and 10S. Juanda went big once more, betting $112,208, but this time it was Ivey’s turn to go all-in and he played $287,409. The turn and river produced 3C and 9H respectively, meaning Ivey’s 10H and 10D beat Juanda’s KS and 8S, handing him a new record pot of $687,024.
Di Dang v Tom Dwan – $723,941 (Texas Hold’em)
When Di Dang and Tom Dwan, playing as their online alter-egos of Urindanger and durrrr, go head-to-head in an online battle it’s rarely a boring occasions. Take this Texas Hold’em battle between them, for example. It was played with blinds of $500 / $1,000 and Urindanger thinks he’s onto a winner when he looked at his hole cards and saw AC and AD.
What he didn’t know was the Dwan also felt like he was pretty well placed, staring at KC and KD in his hole. Dang opened with $3,000, which was called by another player in the game, elmariachimacho. Dwan then raises it to $16,300 and Dang goes in higher to $45,000. That’s enough to see off elmariachimacho, so it’s heads up play.
The flop comes out with 9H, 5C and 4H, which isn’t much help to either player. Dwan checks it and Dang responds by betting $52,700. Dwan goes over the top, sending it to $139,500. Dang lifts it again, this time going all-in with $314,971 and Dwan calls. The turn produces a 3D, which is still no help for anyone, then the turn gives a 6H. Dwan wins the biggest pot in No Limit Texas Hold’em’s online history and walks away with $723,941.