Millions changed hands in one poker session
In August, Finnish poker pro Sami “LarsLuzak” Kelopuro won more than $1.3 million in a single cash game session on partypoker.
He blogged about the experience on the Finnish-language site, Pokerisivut, explaining how incredible it was to see his unknown opponent constantly reload for $20,000 at the $100/$200 Pot-Limit Omaha table.
partypoker froze the $1.404 million total he ended the session with for two and a half weeks while it investigated, but eventually gave Kelopuro the all-clear.
just so happened to have previously won that same amount at the partypoker casino
On Friday, there was a new development in one of the biggest online poker stories of the year. Rob Yong, partypoker partner and owner of the Dusk Till Dawn casino, was a guest on Joe Ingram’s Poker Life podcast.
During the two-hour interview, he mentioned that the player who lost $1.3 million to Kelopuro just so happened to have previously won that same amount at the partypoker casino.
Yong illustrates high stakes problem
The revelation came as part of a discussion about high stakes online poker players. Ingram had asked Yong about the decision to soon require high stakes players to use their real names at the partypoker tables.
Yong explained that the idea actually came from high stakes players and that there are so few high stakes players on partypoker that there was little risk for harm to the site, anyway.
Yong then explained that high stakes players are not priority customers for partypoker. They contribute very little to the rake compared to low stakes players as a proportion of their average pot. The money that high stakes players lose, he said, is just withdrawn by the winners, rather than getting recirculated through the site.
He used Kelopuro’s session as a prime example. Yong said:
The guy didn’t lose $1.3 million…the guy won $1.3 million on the casino on partypoker and lost $1.3 million to LarsLuzak.”
Prior to his brief illustration, Yong stated that partypoker could shut all the high stakes games down and become more profitable.
“Most of the people who are actually big losers on high stakes are either a) playing too high or b) would have been playing on the casino products or playing on the spins,” Yong explained.
“So high stakes is a loser for the site and if high stakes players really want to moan and stamp their feet, I’d happily say [I have] no interest in high stakes business, even though I’m a high stakes player myself.”
High stakes more aspirational, entertainment
The core business of partypoker, Yong said, is the “grassroots” or low stakes player. He expressed some disgust with high stakes players, emphasizing again that he and his friends fall into that category.
Yong said that high stakes players think they should dictate poker room policy when, in his opinion, most of them are “bumhunters.”
low stakes players see high stakes games as something to aspire to and are wowed by the massive pots
Yong, however, has no plans on getting rid of high stakes games altogether. He considers the high stakes games part of partypoker’s marketing.
When a nosebleed stakes game is streamed with commentary, that’s for the rest of the site, not the high rollers themselves. Those games are entertainment for everyone else. Low stakes players see high stakes games as something to aspire to and are wowed by the massive pots.
When someone drops $1.3 million in a poker game, that might be entertaining to watch, but it is costly for partypoker.