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The Poker Boom: In Pictures

Posted at 08:00 2012-06-21 by Barry Gallagher

The BOOM documentary project recently started a thread on the Two Plus Two forums looking for pictures from the poker boom years that highlight the extravagances that went on in the poker community during that time.

Many believe that the boom has ended and that the days of players pulling in incomprehensible sums of cash in a very short period are over. However, with the full legalisation of poker in many new places, the United States and Australia, hopefully soon to become a reality many believe a second boom could happen. Anyway, let us enjoy the below pictures and the crazy disrespect for money during the boom years.

The first picture is an obvious addition. When amateur Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event in 2003 defeating seasoned poker pro Sam Farha heads up and claiming $2.5 million he is credited with starting the poker boom. Moneymaker spun up a small online satellite entrance fee to becoming world champion and the watching poker world believed anything was possible. WSOP numbers multiplied every year as fellow dreamers headed to Las Vegas in search of the big one.

This picture has been getting the most love on the Two Plus Two thread. Phil Ivey is the regarded by many as the greatest poker player in the world, in this picture he is seated no doubt playing high stakes poker. But the most interesting part is the stack of cash sitting on the ground beside his feet. Ivey walks around with piles of money so large he can’t even sit down with them in his pocket. Contributors to the thread of speculated Ivey could have as much as $30,000 sitting on the floor below him.

One of the most successful online poker players of all time is Di “Urindanger” Dang. Above he is pictured counting out a mountain of dollars. Dang played primarily at the highest stakes on Full Tilt Poker and was up around $4.5 million on the site with many players refusing to play him at No Limit Hold’em. With the likes of billionaire businessman Guy Laliberte alleged to have lost well over $20 million on the high stakes games at the end of the last decade the money train appeared to have no end in sight.

What did a young poker boom pheonems house look like? Pictured above is the house shared by a young Tom Dwan and David Benefield. Bluff Magazine profiled the pair and watched them win thousands of dollars online in just a few hours. The first picture shows the poker setup the two pro’s used to grind online and also Dwan celebrating after winning a $38,000 pot by binking a lucky river card. The second picture shows the two rather flash motors the pair used to get around when they weren’t grinding online, all paid for by the endless stream of money they extracted from the high stakes online games.

This picture features a mind boggling stack of casino plaques which are traditionally used for the highest value amounts. The owner of the mountain is alleged to be Tom Dwan whilest playing at the latest poker boom destination – Macau. The games in Macau are shrouded in secrecy but are built around super rich Chinese businessmen. The stakes played are so big that a win or loss here can have massive bankroll implication for any poker player. Dwan is alleged to have won millions of dollars playing these games recently.

The final picture is another one for the car lovers. The owner of this Lamborghini is a young Norwegian poker player Kristian Kjondal. He crushed the high stakes games online back during the boom years in later part of the last decade and earned enough to splash out on this ridiculous car.

It is always nice to view some of the excesses of the past and the beautiful thing is that this could all happen again if millions of new players get involved in the game. So keep grinding, keep improving and who knows what could happen in the future. Follow the progress of the thread over on Two Plus Two

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