It has been said that tournaments are where the spotlight is, and cash games are where the money is. Unfortunately it’s hard to unearth all the details of these games. Despite that fact, we have managed to gather some details about these monumental cash games.
5. Molly’s Game
It has been said that having 2 million on the table would not be unusual, with buy-ins ranging from 50,000 to 750,000 dollars. The game was organised by Molly Bloom, who went from being a waitress to running this huge game. The participants included global film stars, along with athletes and wealthy businessmen. This may have sounded like a very juicy lineup for a world champion convinced of his own greatness…but unfortunately Phil Hellmuth wasn’t in town, so Jamie Gold showed up instead, and apparently lost most of his $12 million bankroll. The game was eventually raided by the FBI and all of Molly‘s assets were seized. But she quickly saw the sales potential for a book which allowed readers a closer look at how celebrities behave when they’re relaxing and socialising. She offers potential readers an alluring teaser for the book by suggesting that Toby Maguire wanted to pay her $1,000 to “bark like a seal”. Plans for a film have since followed.
4. Larry’s Flint’s Seven Card Stud Game
With stakes of $4,000/$8,000 some serious talent showed up to play in this game, with Phil Ivey, Phil Hellmuth, Barry Greenstein and Ted Forrest all being regulars. Old school pro David Oppenheim once lost $1.8 million in the game. In what was probably one of the more unusual poker games ever hosted, players were forced to play in icy cold conditions due to to the gunshot injuries sustained by their host during an assassination attempt in 1978. Flynt drank a concoction throughout the game which was 60% morphine, 30% alcohol and 10% cocaine, just in order to keep his pain at bay. In earlier years he joked that he supported the families of all the big pros who came to his game but later, he became a much stronger Stud player and learned how to hold his own. Something which an elderly porn king surrounded by beautiful women rarely has to do. Larry Flynt is best known for being the owner of ‘Hustler’ magazine, along with being the ruler of a pornography empire, and although he has probably seen plenty of studs finish in his time, his particular Stud game has continued for many years – although the location has shifted at certain times.
3. Bobby’s Room
Named after Bobby Baldwin, the 1978 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Champion, this is where pros like Jen Harman, Daniel Negreanu and Doyle Brunson can be found, and high rollers from around the globe come to test the limits of their play. Its probably one of the few casino card rooms in the world to have seen a player win $5 million in one night. While many occurrences within such hallowed walls are kept secret, reliable reports surfaced in January 2015, of Todd Brunson winning precisely that amount from Andy Beal playing heads-up limit hold’em with 50,000/100,000 blinds. Despite the opening of Ivey’s room in 2010, Bobby’s room remained the home of the biggest games. August 2016 saw some intense action between Ivey, Negreanu & Hansen & Doyle in $2000/$4000 Mix games with insane prop bet action on the side. It remains a top location when it comes to lineup quality and the amount of money on the table. For this reason, Bobby’s Room is highly deserving of being included in our list.
2. Dan Bilzerian’s game?
What he does factually have, is the money to set up a big game which attracts big players. Of course, a multitude of young women are always hanging around Bilzerian, keeping smiles on the faces of everyone in his home game. They no doubt find his wit and charm overwhelming, and are thrilled by the prospect of sharing romantic moments with him-such as being hurled off his roof into his swimming pool. We cannot give you much at all in the way of details for this game, but it does seem very likely that some highly wealthy people attend. This makes it likely that millions are on the table, but we cannot confirm that all of it ends up in Bilzerian‘s pockets. He has also made his fair share of big, and also unsubstantiated claims, possibly including “My beard and biceps have a 50 metre diameter” but definitely including “I’ve made 50 million dollars from poker.” The 50 million dollar claim was caught on camera, but sadly no footage of him actually winning this money exists. Which is extremely unlucky, given how much time Dan Bilzerian likes to spend around cameras promoting himself.
1. Macau & Manila Games
Macau was the first big game to be shrouded in mystery for years, but Manila has since taken over as the favoured location. Despite these games revolving around some Chinese VIPs such as Paul Phua and Richard Yong and being notoriously secretive; every now and then some information leaks out. In April 2016, Daniel Cates offered up an eye-opening glimpse into the amount of money changing hands when he reported losing 5 million dollars. He then went further, recounting a set over set hand that Tom Dwan had played, which ended up with Dwan losing the 20 million pot. The best insight into those games can be found in the information collected by our team in January 2016. In an exclusive Interview he explained that some Chinese Businessman were requesting games with a minimum buy-in of up to US$3.5M!
The secrecy of these high stakes games may leave railbirds with just their imagination to rely on, but we must always accept that some of the biggest poker games in the world are played, and will always be played away from the spotlight.