Separating poker greats should not be too difficult you might think, especially in online cash games – just show me the money and I will balance the books and give you a list.

That, of course, is never the whole truth, as we are about to discover in the Jens Kyllönen vs Phil Galfond heads-up challenge.

By: Andrew Burnett

First up, you have to track down the nicknames used, but for the highest stakes that usually isn’t a problem – Finland’s 30-year old jeans89 and 34-year old OMGClayAiken from the USA two of the best-known and longest-serving online nosebleed players in the game.

They do have a couple of other names, which we’ll get to shortly, but let’s look at the bare bones of the big profits both pulled in…

Both have absolutely crushed the highstakes cash games, Galfond’s $6,599,838 on Full Tilt as OMGClayAiken and his $1,450,287 as MrSweets28, against Kyllönen’s $5,444,281 as jeans89 on PokerStars and $222,240 on Full Tilt as Ingenious89, and for many that would be the end of the story – money talks when there are no titles to sway the balance.

But let’s take a closer look at the graphs those numbers represent – showing us the ‘when’ these huge profits came about…

Full Tilt

It’s clear that Galfond got a clean 4-year run at the Full Tilt nosebleed games, a time when durrrr, Phil Ivey, Isildur1 and a host of other names were turning up nightly with monster bankrolls.

Check out this $¼million river card against Justin 'BoostedJ' Smith复古传奇sf for example…

By comparison, poor old Jens had only a year to pick apart the FTP crew before Black Friday struck – digging himself out of an early hole and landing a $1.3million upswing复古传奇sf just before the online game in the USA came crashing down for a good (actually, horrendous) few years.

Here’s Kyllönen taking a huge chunk of PLO change from Andreas 'skjervoy' Torbergsen just as the Black Friday doors closed…

复古传奇sf It would have been worth seeing what Kyllönen might have down with his Ingenious89 tag if he’d started a bit earlier – although that’s perhaps a rabbit hunt too far!

Post-Black Friday, Kyllönen did the same – back again on Full Tilt in late 2012 for a couple of swingy years, finally ending at a $220k or so profit.

Galfond, by comparison, did things in reverse, grabbing a quick couple of $million and topping out at $10 million or so, before crashing back to earth with a horrific $3.4million downswing复古传奇sf – one of the worst seen by a top flight winning player.


Over on PokerStars, the post-Black Friday nosebleed cash games continued almost as though nothing had happened. Stars didn’t suffer the same fate as those players at Full Tilt Poker who found out their money had been robbed by CEO Ray Bitar, with others also in the frame for tens of $millions.

Galfond and Kyllönen didn’t seem too phased, as the following graphs show…

If Galfond has been impressive – only two major troughs in a $1.45million复古传奇sf run across the years - then Kyllönen’s PokerStars beasting of the highstakes game has been extraordinary.

A $5.44million profit in a climbing graph that barely pauses for breath along the way, and hands like this one that he probably still remembers – $100k+复古传奇sf pre-flop, a threeway all-in and winning both runouts…

Taking absolutely nothing away from Galfond, a star of the modern game who has very few peers in poker, I’m going to take the risk of calling Kyllönen the winner on points.

The Finnish sensation has produced the goods consistently against the best in the game and shows no signs of letting up.


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