Highlights of Poker Play in 2018: Pros Go Crazy as Million-Dollar Chips Fly

October 26th, 2018 | by Kaycee James

Poker players continued to astound, amaze and amuse this year thanks to some mind-blowing feats that average grinders can only dream of.

Tom Dwan poker

Tom Dwan was among the players making waves this year after playing a pot worth more than $2.3 million. (Image: YouTube/Triton Poker)

Kicking off 2018 in style was Jake Cody. After taking part in the $3,000 High Roller at Partypoker Live’s UK Championships in Nottingham, England, the Brit bested Ben Longstaff to take the title and $59,393.

Despite being more than most players make in their lifetime, it wasn’t enough for Cody. Taking his cash to a nearby roulette table, the former PokerStars pro went for double or nothing and put his chips on black.

As the rail watched, Dusk Till Dawn owner Rob Yong did the honors and watched as the steel ball landed on black 22 to take Cody’s payout to a more acceptable $118,786.

Bonomo Rides Cody’s Upswing

Riding the same wave of luck as Cody, Justin Bonomo enjoyed the run of a lifetime in 2018. Landing in Las Vegas on a high thanks to two wins at European Poker Tour (EPT) Monte Carlo, the American pro went on to win the $300,000 Super High Roller Bowl for $5 million.

Keeping the fires burning, Bonomo then headed to the Aria and picked up two more wins before clinching his first World Series of Poker (WSOP) title in the $10,000 Heads-Up Championship. After leaving a trail of pros in his wake, Bonomo finally secure the largest single payout of his career in the $1 million Big One for One Drop.

After doing a deal with Fedor Holz, the man known online as ZeeJustin bagged another bracelet and a $10 million payday. When the dust had settled and Bonomo had taken stock of his achievements, his efforts had netted him more than $25 million.

Six of the Best

From one high roller to another, 2018 saw the growth of Six Plus Hold’em. Becoming so popular that it’s now available on the Winning Poker Network, the stripped-deck game generated some insane action on the live circuit.

As high-profile pros Jason Koon and Tom Dwan tangled with Chinese billionaires on the Triton Poker Tour, records were always in jeopardy. By the time May rolled around, the former had won millions playing in Triton’s tournaments and cash games.

However, as the year drew to a close, it was Dwan who took the bar to new heights. Never one to backdown from a confrontation, the illusive American found himself in a mammoth pots against Triton co-founder and businessman Paul Phua.

After considering his options with A♠Q♥, Dwan moved all in for over $1 million and quickly saw he was in trouble. With the pot topping $2.3 million, Phua tabled pocket aces and watched with a smile as he raked in the biggest televised hand of all-time.

Moneymaker 2.0

High rollers may have dominated the action in 2018, but those with limited bankrolls were also given a glimmer of hope as the year came to a close. In August, poker pro and YouTuber Doug Polk announced that he’d finally completed his $10 to $10,000 challenge.

Starting back in 2016 and playing sporadically online for two years, Polk crossed the finishing line on August 22 after restarting in November 2017 with $1,364. If that wasn’t impressive enough, wann2play proved that Moneymaker-like feats are still possible.

Winning his way through to the $10,300 World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) Main Event for $530, the online grinder went on to scoop a jackpot worth $1.3 million. Following a deal with eze88888, a gutsy call with K♦6♣ sealed the deal for wann2play who closed the book on one of 2018’s most impressive rags-to-riches stories.


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