The All-Star Showdown starts tomorrow. Eight players are confirmed, each putting $100,000 into the pot ready to prove themselves at the highest level (and, of course, the first prize of more than $500,000). All eight have outstanding high stakes credentials but only one can win the All-Star Showdown.
The matches will function much like the SuperStar Showdowns of old across four heads-up tables, but there'll be no 2,500 limit this time. Now, the matches will continue until one of the players goes broke. Each player starts their match with 1,000 big blinds. If the match isn't finished by the 3,000th hand, the blinds will double from $50-$100 to $100-$200. The first match takes place tomorrow, 27 October. Follow the action on the high stakes cash game tables or click through the All-Star Showdown banner in the PokerStars lobby.
27 October: Tobias 'KTPOKP' Kuder vs Benjamin 'Sauce123' Sulsky
28 October: Alex 'Kanu7' Millar vs Isaac 'IkeHaxton' Haxton
30 October: Alexander 'Sussie Smith' Roumeliotis vs Dan 'w00ki3z.' Cates
31 October: Phil 'mrsweets28' Galfond vs Ben 'ben86' Tollerene
2 November: Semi-final 1 (Saturday v Sunday)
3 November: Semi-final 2 (Tuesday v Wednesday)
4 November: The All Star Showdown final
All matches start at 18:00 CET.
SATURDAY, 27 OCTOBER
Tobias 'KTPOKP' Kuder
SuperNova Tobias Kuder is one of the least well known players entering the All-Star Showdown. The Austrian's 'KTPOKP' screen name will certainly get some nods of recognition among online railbirds thanks to his high stakes clashes with the glitterati of the online poker community at PokerStars. Kuder is yet to notch up any live tournament results but isn't an alien to that world having played some events at the 2011 PCA, including the $25,000 High Roller which was won somewhat dramatically by Will Molson.
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Ben 'Sauce123' Sulsky
Ben Sulsky is an online cash game player who is willing to mix it up playing Texas Hold 'em or Pot-Limit Omaha, both of which he's six-figure green for at the high stakes tables on PokerStars. He also pocketed $258,300 this May winning SCOOP #37-H, a $21,000 heads-up tournament proving that he's going to be a real contender in the All-Star Showdown. Sulsky has had big sessions against a lot of the most fearsome players sharking the nosebleed action, including Ilari 'Ilari FIN' Sahamies and Phil 'mrsweets28' Galfond. Sulsky's bankroll has been built up from a freeroll win!
SUNDAY, 28 OCTOBER
Isaac 'Ike Haxton' Haxton
Isaac Haxton has been at the top of the game for years and while he may be yet to win a title he has come close several times. Haxton came second in the 2007 PCA to Ryan Daut for $861,789 and scored another runner-up spot in the $40,000 40th Anniversary event at the WSOP for $1,168,565. These two results account for just two of his seven six-figure plus cashes in live events. Haxton was recently unveiled as the newest signing to Team PokerStars Online (he formerly played as 'philivey2694'), joining the likes of APPT Macau champ Randy 'nanonoko' Lew and EPT Copenhagen champion Mickey Petersen. Haxton is always willing to put his money where his mouth is and has played in high profile $1,000,000 winner-takes-all heads-up match against Viktor 'Isildur1' Blom.
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Alex 'Kanu7' Millar
Heads-up specialist Alex Millar is the high stakes slugger who stepped up to Viktor 'Isuldur1' Blom during the Swede's SuperStar Showdown. Millar ended up in the red to the tune of $37,687, which is practically a draw in that game and is a testament to Millar's heads-up talents. The young Brit has recorded around $2m in online cash winnings and although he's made the money in a few big tournaments he's yet to make his mark on the live poker scene. Beating Haxton and moving into the semi-finals would cement Millar's reputation as one of the world's best.
TUESDAY, 30 OCTOBER
Alexander 'Sussie Smith' Roumeliotis
Alexander Roumeliotis is a player on form. He's been enjoying an upswing in the high stakes cash games online and almost made the headlines at EPT Sanremo where he finished runner-up to Marc-Andre Ladouceur for €83,200 (perhaps to freeroll into the All-Star Showdown?). Roumeliotis has $492,358 in live tournament cashes and noticeably has scored a first and third in €3,000 and €5,000 heads-up tournaments.
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Dan 'w00ki3z.' Cates
Dan Cates is well known in the world of online poker for his expansive and aggressive brand of poker. It's one particularly well suited for heads-up play and has made for explosive viewing in his high stakes tangles at the No-Limit Hold 'em and Pot-Limit Omaha tables (including his Superstar Showdown with Viktor 'Isildur1' Blom). Cates is recognised as one of the biggest winners online and will be a tough test for Roumeliotis.
WEDNESDAY, 31 OCTOBER
Phil 'mrsweets28' Galfond
Phil Galfond is one of the most well known poker players on or off the felt. A long time challenger at the highest stakes, Galfond has a play anyone, any time mentality which has seen him bank some $2.3m in cash games at PokerStars alone. Although he is primarily a cash game player, to the extent that when he got three-handed with Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier and Julian Gardner in a SCOOP high event this year he had no idea where the deal button could be found, the American has won one World Series of Poker bracelet for $817,781.
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Ben 'ben86' Tollerene
Ben 'ben86' Tollerene is another online whizz kid who has created a huge bankroll playing online. Although the 25-year old has scored modest live tournament cashes of $308,332, it's online cash games where Tollerene has cleared up and is thought to be up around $2,000,000 in high stakes cash games this year. Tollerene graduated from Texas Tech University with a finance degree and seems to have put some of those skills to good use.
Check the PokerStars Blog for reports on the All-Star Showdown this weekend (and follow the @PokerStarsBlog Twitter account to be kept bang up to date).
Rick Dacey is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.