Amazing Poker Players From Yesteryear

A couple of days ago, while soaking in the bath, I was thinking back to when I first started playing online poker and the stars I used to look up to.

While I was sat losing money at $0.05/$0.10, I used to regularly watch the high stakes games, which at the time hardly ever went past $10/$20, and look on in wonder at the massive pots going down. With that in mind, I ask you the question: "Do you remember these players from times gone by?"

Iain "TillerMan" Girdwood


This gentleman used to play at the Old Betfair (pictured) site and had to be one of the biggest winners. Each time I logged on to watch the $2/$5 and $10/$20 games he was crushing. I also used to follow his blog, but it seemed to end abruptly and Girdwood seemingly left the poker world. 

I wonder what he is up to these days?

Prahlad "Spirit Rock" Freidman

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Prahlad Freidman completely destroyed the Ultimate Bet cash games and had some epic battles with Taylor "Green Plastic" Caby among others. Freidman is a colourful character, having released a rap song, won a World Poker Tour title and had a high-profile divorce.

Fredrik "h@llingol" Halling

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Think of mid year 2000's $10/$20 games and you think of h@llingol. You also think of the "rebuy glitch" that allowed PokerStars players to rebuy with a full stack whenever they were all in, regardless of them winning the hand or not. Often, h@llingol would be sat with $20,000 at a $10/$20 table.

The hyper-aggressive Swede disappeared from the poker world for a while, but is found playing up to $25/$50 on occasions.

Taylor "Green Plastic" Caby

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Taylor Caby used to smash up the highest stakes 6-max and heads-up cash games -- he was an absolute beast. He is also one of the founders of Cardrunners, a popular poker training site that must have netted Caby a small fortune.

Erik "erik123" Sagstrom


Sagstrom is the original online balla and rumoured to be the first online poker player to win $1 million from the game. The Swede appears from time to time in the big festivals, but rumour has it he is more interested in sports betting these days that hoovering up poker chips like they are going out of fashion.

Jason "Strassa2" Strasser


Jason Strasser was a tournament boss who left the world of poker for a career in financial training. Although I can't find the story for the love of me, I think I remember that a year or so after Strasser said goodbye to the poker world, he returned and won a WCOOP event for over $400,000!

Brian "aba20" Townsend


Before Viktor Blom we had Brian Townsend, a player who seemed to fly through the ranks of online poker's cash games to become a real zero-to-hero story. Townsend went from grinding NL50 to be playing NL6000 against the best in the world.

Townsend lost a lot of people's respect when he admitted to multi-accounting in an attempt to get a game anonymously, and left poker in 2010 to pursue other opportunities.

Jonas "Nebuchad" Danielsson


If you ever played on the old Prima network then you will have heard about Jonas "Nebuchad" Danielsson who was one of the biggest winners at Ladbrokes. Danielsson was meant to have had a Ladbrokes tattoo on his backside and is another player who decided to leave the game having made a fortune.

Jeff "ActionJeff" Garza


Many players believe that the vocal Jeff Garza was one of the best poker brains to have ever played the game. Seemingly equally as adept at high stakes cash games as he was in tournaments.

Garza's last live tournament cash was in 2009 and one wonders if he continues to grind online.

Eric "Rizen" Lynch

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Eric Lynch came from nowhere to being kind of a people's hero. The man who by day was a father and husband and by night crushed online tournaments, quickly became a fan favourite.

Black Friday put an end to most of Lynch's online exploits and his reputation irreparably tarnished by his role with Lock Poker and his refusal to distance himself from the problems the site faced.

Who are the stars you remember from the early days of online poker. Let us know in the comments box below!

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