Over the years there have been certain poker hands that attained legendary status. Aces and eights became known as the “Dead Man’s Hand” after Old West gunfighter and lawman Wild Bill Hickok, who supposedly held that hand just before his death, was gunned down by Jack McCall. The ten-deuce is known as the “Doyle Brunson” after the man who used it to win two World Series of Poker championships.
Those are just a couple of the more famous holdings, but there is one that may have surpassed them in poker lore.
That’s because in this hand, the biggest in online poker history, there was an astounding $1,356,946 on the line.
The hand took place “way back” in 2009, in the era before the U.S. government’s April 2011 shutdown of online poker, which is just now starting to be legalized and regulated on the state level.
The game was pot-limit Omaha, often referred to as “PLO,” which is played exactly like no-limit Texas hold ’em except that players receive four down cards instead of two, and they then MUST use two cards from their hand, along with three from the community board, to make their best five-card hand.
The game was “heads up,” which means just two players – Finnish pro Patrik Antonius and aggressive Swede Viktor “Isildur1” Blom – were playing the game.
It was a $500/$1,000 game, and action began when Blom, who had a stack of more than $675,000, raised to $3,000. Antonius, who had a stack of more than $1.2 million, reraised to $9,000.
Blom responded with a four-bet to $27,000, Antonius five-bet to $81,000, and Blom called to see a flop of 4s 5c 2h.
Antonius was first to act and bet $91,000, which inspired Blom to raise to $435,000. Antonius then three-bet to $779,000, and Blom called off his remaining chips with the 6d 9s 7d 8h for a big straight draw. Antonius then revealed the Kh Ks Ah 3s for a flopped ace-to-five straight, called a “wheel.”
Neither the 5h turn nor the 9c river helped the Swede, and he watched a pot of more than $1.3 million slide over to Antonius.
Aside from the amount of money on the line, there was nothing out of the ordinary with how this hand played out.
Antonius flopped the second-best possible hand, while Blom held a “wrap,” which is the term used for multiple straight draws. It’s a powerful hand in PLO, but obviously, it only pays off when it hits.
Antonius and Blom continue to play online, and it’s not unusual to see them win or lose thousands of dollars a day.
However, no hand they’ve played since has topped this one – though it almost happened two days, later when Blom played a $1,127,955 pot against the renowned Phil Ivey.
It was the only other seven-figure hand in online poker history, and it was pushed Blom’s way.
Chad Holloway is a World Series of Poker bracelet winner and senior news editor for PokerNews.com and learn.pokernews.com. Follow him on Twitter: @ChadAHolloway.