In online poker’s early days, it was a lot easier to crush online, win six to seven figures, and remain anonymous. Unless you publicly outed yourself or agreed to an interview with a magazine or an online site, there was no easy way for the true identity behind a screen name to become known.
(That being said, with so much money thrown around for sponsorship deals and endorsements back then, remaining anonymous wasn’t always in a successful poker player’s best interest.)
It’s a lot trickier these days, though.
Win big online and there’s a high chance you’ll eventually gravitate to high stakes live games and, from then on, it becomes a lot harder to keep your online identity a secret.
With tracking sites like Hendon Mob and PocketFives synced up to display live and online results, not to mention social media profiles and poker media exposure, a crusher’s identity tends to get found out one way or another (the Twoplustwo sleuths have a knack for piecing these things together).
But some players have managed to do it. A select few have crushed online poker for years without revealing their true identity. We may have our suspicions, but they remain enigmas, happy to continue crushing in the shadows of the limelight.
Here’s a look at some of online poker’s biggest enigmas.
If you don’t follow the online cash games, let us fill you in on the absolute beast who goes by the PokerStars screen name ‘BERRI SWEET’ (and as nobody knows the player’s true identity, we’ll call them Sweet).
Sweet is a Swedish pro who specialises in Pot Limit Omaha. In 2017, they were the year’s biggest winner across all recorded high stakes games, banking $1,769,395 in profit across 12 months.
While Sweet is a PLO crusher, they also play a bunch of poker variants very well. So much so that when Luke Schwartz challenged Phil Galfond to a heads-up challenge at the start of 2020, Schwartz specifically mentioned Sweet as someone Galfond couldn’t seek help from.
Hi Luke! Happy New Year 🙂
Thanks for your interest in the #GalfondChallenge! What a great idea!!
We can play some 1k/2k 8-game (no pigeon stakes plz) but I‘d feel bad accepting odds from you, so I’ll offer 1.1:1 on a sidebet of $250k for a 15k hand match.
🐦 Flap Flap! https://t.co/LvDvh8Crd2
— Phil Galfond (@PhilGalfond) January 5, 2020
Ok @PhilGalfond but no flying berry sweet and his solver over to help you . One vs One this isn’t like the guy liberatore days where it was a cheating free for all for the team pic.twitter.com/6GDtc3V2P8
— luke schwartz (@__fullflush1__) January 5, 2020
Sweet is also so good at No Limit Hold’em that over the past couple of years they have been battling some of the best end-boss NL players in the world.
One of those challengers was Finland’s ‘Makeboifin’ and the two played some wild hands.
Despite all of his success, Sweet has never given an interview and is happy to remain anonymous. The only time they have spoken publicly was on the Twoplustwo forum, commenting on the state of the nosebleed PLO games on PokerStars.
‘’Oftentimes, as a high stakes player, you have the choice between sacrificing a little money/EV or degenerating into narcissistically making whichever unethical choice makes you the most $ in the moment,” Sweet said. “Far too many regulars have chosen the latter path lately. “Everyone else is doing it” is one of the worst excuses of all time.’’
We would also include Makeboifin on this list were it not for an interview with Joe Ingram that he did back in 2018. However, his real name remains unknown.
While his true identity is known, ‘OtB_RedBaron’ remains something of a mystery in the poker world. He’s arguably one of the best NLHE players of all time, and yet…we know nothing about him.
Except for his name.
It has been widely reported that OtB_RedBaron is in fact Jonas Mols, a Belgian player with just $57K in live winnings on his Hendon Mob (although he has never confirmed this himself). But don’t let that humble number fool you.
Mols is an absolute beast and widely regarded as one of, if not the toughest 6-Max cash game player in history. His peers, such as Andres “Educa-p0ker” Artinano, have even admitted to studying his games intensely in order to improve.
Why? Because Mols’ style seemed so far ahead of the curve. Enormous overbets were the norm, as you can see in the hand below. It’s said to be the biggest pot Mols ever won and takes place three-handed versus Alex ‘Kanu7’ Millar and none other than Phil Ivey (‘RaiseOnce’).
Other than the name Jonas Mols, nothing is really known about OtB_RedBaron. All we have is a thread he created on Twoplustwo back in 2012, which he titled: “Destroying 500NL Zoom, minichallenge”.
His first post read:
“Ran and played pretty bad last 5-6 weeks, so gonna try to up my volume and motivation a bit by starting this minichallenge.
“I’m gonna grind 100k hands of 500NL Zoom in the next 20 days at minimum 6 EV bb/100 I will post some graphs every few k hands, post the most interesting/ridiculous hands and berate the sunrunners.
“sn Otb_RedBaron and starting the grind right now.”
He’d go on to become one of the all-time greats. Mols doesn’t play as much these days, and as expected, what’s he’s now up to remains a mystery.
From online cash games to online tournaments.
Russia’s ‘Hello_totti’ (their PokerStars screen name) is one of the winningest online MTT players of all time, with $15,468,578 in earnings according to PocketFives. That places them 12th on the all-time online money list.
They started at the micro stakes back in 2010 and have since created a decorated resume that anyone would be proud of.
Their biggest scores include a win in the GG Poker Super Millions for $661,744; a PartyPoker POWERFEST win for $643,125; and a fourth-place finish in the Super Millions worth $252,282. They also have 16 other six-figure scores.
But nothing is really known about Hello_totti at all. There are no recorded interviews and no forum threads to pick at.
We could take a guess at their name, though.
On their PocketFives profile, Hello_totti has a GG Poker account linked under the screen name ‘Arsenii Malinov’. On GG Poker it’s common for players to use real-name screen names, so we can safely assume that Arsenii Malinov is his real name.
Search that name on Hendon Mob, however, and you’ll find zero live results. Hello_totti is an online player through and through and will no doubt continue to crush without attracting attention.