2018 Review – December: Haxton & Linde Win Big, Dan Smith Gives Back

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December was jam packed full of huge headlines and record-breaking tournaments.

One might think that with the holidays on the horizon December would be a quiet month of people spending time with their family. Not for the world of poker. December 2018 was full of record-breaking tournaments and huge headlines. Here are some of the names that made the news in December.

Dan Smith Makes A Difference

For the past five years, regular high-roller Dan Smith has been collecting donations for various charities at Christmas time. This year, Smith and his collaborators amassed $1.29M for the Double Up Drive and that they would use to match donations to spread to 10 carefully cultivated charities.

They nearly got that amount in a single day when DFS champion Tom Crowley promised to give 50% of any winnings he might make from the DraftKings World Championship Final. Crowley, known as ‘ChipotleAddict’, went on to win the event for $2 million and over the weekend hauled in a total of $2.254 – half of which was donated to the Double Up Drive.

The donation was ‘surreal’ but Smith wants to make sure people knew that donations of any size are welcome.

“I want to clarify that any amount makes a difference,” Smith told PocketFives. “People in Uganda are living off 65 cents a day, an amount we don’t even consider at all.”

READ: Dan Smith Charity Drive Gets “Surreal” $1.1M Donation via DFS Champ

Isaac Haxton Wins Super High Roller Bowl V

The fifth edition of the $300,000 buy-in Super High Roller Bowl saw Isaac Haxton best the field of 36 elite players to earn a career-high cash of $3.672 million dollars.

“This is easily the best tournament result I’ve ever had and it’s an event I love. It feels great to win here at ARIA. This is the highlight of my tournament career, no doubt,” said Haxton after the win.

The final table was replete with talent including Poker Masters champion Ali Imsirovic, Igor Kurganov, Adrian Mateos, Talal Shakerchi, Stephen Chidwick, and eventual runner-up Alex Foxen.

Foxen took home a career-best $2.1 million for his second-place finish. This capped off an amazing year that saw him earn 12 cashes of six-figures or better as well as rise to become the #1-ranked player on the GPI.

READ: Isaac Haxton Wins Super High Roller Bowl for $3.672 Million
READ: Alex Foxen’s Drive Takes Him to the Super High Roller Bowl

The World Series of Poker Releases 2019 Dates

Just before Christmas the World Series of Poker delivered players an early present by announcing a partial schedule of the 2019 WSOP. This summer will be the 50th anniversary for the longest-running tournament series and to help commemorate the occasion the WSOP is planning a number of special events for the players.

The schedule included the announcement of the ‘Big  50’, a $500 buy-in tournament with a $5 million guaranteed prize pool and a $1 million guarantee for first place. Additionally, in an extra effort to “make the 2019 WSOP a better value all-around” many of the marquee events of the summer have an increased starting stack. This includes the WSOP Main Event which is increasing their starting stack to 60,000.

READ: WSOP Releases 2019 Dates, New ‘Big 50’ Event – $500 Buy-in, $5M GTD

Dylan Linde Wins WPT Five Diamond for $1.6 Million

The crypto crash of 2018 has some in the industry fearing that the numbers for the World Poker Tour’s highlight event, the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic, might see a dip in registration.

However, just the opposite happened as players flocked to the Bellagio in record-setting numbers. The event attracted 1001 runners and generated a prize pool of $9.7 million.

In the end, longtime poker pro Dylan ‘ImaLucSac’ Linde (who re-entered five times in the event) dominated a stacked final table that included Andrew Lichtenberger, Ping Liu, Lisa Hamilton, Barry Hutter and runner-up Milos Skrbic. Linde won a career-high $1.6 million and earned the title of WPT Champion.

READ: Dylan Line Wins Record-Shattering WPT Five Diamond Title for $1.6 Million

Manuel ‘Sheparentao’ Ruvio, Pim ‘ForMatherRussia’ De Goede Chop 2018 partypoker MILLIONS Online.

partypoker’s 2018 $20M GTD MILLIONS Online did not disappoint. The incredible online tournament surpassed its posted guarantee and set the record for the largest single online tournament in history with players vying for a first place prize of over $2.6M.

In the end, after one hand of heads-up play, Manuel ‘Sheparentao’ Ruvio and PocketFiver Pim ‘ForMatherRussia’ De Goede settled on a lightning-fast chop that awarded both players over $2.3M. Rubio, technically, earned the victory, taking home $20K more than De Goede and now owns the record for the single largest online payday in history.

READ: Manuel ‘Sheparentao’ Ruvio and Pim ‘ForMatherRussia’ De Goede Chop partypoker MILLIONS Online

A December To Remember

December was just one of those month’s where huge news seemed to break every day. Here are some of the other must-read major headlines in December.

Michigan opens its doors to online poker.
READ: Michigan Becomes Fifth State to Regulate Online Poker

The poker world loses a legend in the passing of Thor Hansen.
READ: Thor Hansen Passes Away at 71

The pitch black bathroom bet comes to an abrupt end.
READ: The $100K Bathroom Prop Ends Early; Alati, Young Agree on $62K Buyout

Bay 101’s Shooting Star returns without the WPT behind it.
READ: After a Year Away, Bay 101 Shooting Star Returns With New Look