Big Winners of the Week (Aug. 23-29): Legends Return as Ivey, Tony G, and Others Claim Victory

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When it comes to Big Winners of the Week, there are some weeks that are just simply bigger than others. Not because the winners are more or less deserving, but because the whims of the poker calendar schedule a large number of significant events at the same time. This, in turn, creates huge fields, massive prize pools, and attracts the biggest names, like Phil Ivey, Tony G, and Patrick Leonard to the felt.

This was one of those weeks where schedules aligned and the stars — both past and present — shined brightly. To see what we’re talking about, let’s take a look at the Big Winners for the week ending Sunday, Aug. 29.

phil ivey
(Image: Twitter/Merit Poker)

Phil Ivey

$25,000 Short Deck
Super High Roller Bowl Europe
Merit Royal Hotel & Casino


Every once in a while, people wonder “What happened to Phil Ivey?” The often enigmatic pro hasn’t been a staple on the tournament poker scene for years, preferring to play high-stakes cash games with big-money players in Macau and other locations away from the bright lights of Las Vegas. And then, every once in a while, he pops up again to remind everyone why he’s still one of the best to ever play the game. He did just that last week in Cyprus and where he joined 47 other players for the opening event of the SHRB Europe. Stephen Chidwick led going into the seven-player final table, followed closely by recent WSOP Online bracelet winner Erik Seidel, but Ivey soon took the lead when play became five-handed. He didn’t relinquish his advantage, and held a better than 3:1 chip lead over Chidwick at the start of heads-up play. When Ivey hit two pair with K-10 on the final hand to better Chidwick’s A-Q, he once again burnished both his reputation and his bankroll.

Tony G
(Image: Twitter/Tony G)

Antanas “Tony G” Guoga

$25,000 Short Deck
Super High Roller Bowl Europe
Merit Royal Hotel & Casino


Someone get the bike because Tony G is back. He might have dabbled in politics for a few years and have his fingers in more businesses than a mafia don, but he can still play poker, as Thursday’s performance showed. Playing in SHRB Event #3 — another $25K short-deck affair — the loudmouth Lithuanian beat a tough field of 45 entrants, including Paul Phua and Robert Flink. Guoga is on a new diet protocol, but fasting certainly didn’t affect his appetite for chips. Although it took a while, he consumed the last of Christopher Brewer chips after his K♠ J♠ stayed in front of J♥ T♥ in the event’s final hand. The win was Guoga’s first in two years.

patrick leonard
(Image: Partypoker)

Patrick Leonard

Progressive KO High Roller +
2-7 Single Draw (High)


($68,427 + $20,475)

We know Leonard is one of the best online MTT players in the world, but he made damn sure no one forgets that by winning not one, but two World Championship of Online Poker titles this week. The Englishman is currently grinding every online major, including the WPT WOC and WSOP Online. In between fighting for bracelets and trophies, he managed to win the WCOOP’s $5,200 Progressive KO High Roller on Monday. Topping the 147-entrant field was worth almost $70,000, but Leonard wasn’t done. The following day, he outlasted 69 entrants in the $1,050 2-7 Single Draw event. With another $20K and a second WCOOP title added to his list of accolades, Leonard reconfirmed his position among the world’s top-20 online MTT pros.

bengt sonnert
(Image: Twitter/Bengt Sonnert)

Bengt Sonnert

Omaha Championship
WPT World Online Championships


Sonnert is one of Scandinavia’s original online poker superstars. His light might not burn as bright as it once did but, as they say, form is temporary while class is permanent. The Swede sat down alongside 160 of the world’s best Omaha players this week for a shot at World Poker Tour glory. As Sonnert made his way through the $2,100 WPT WOC event, he had to negotiate the likes of Niklas Astedt, Ola Amundsgaard, and Joao Paulo. When the final chips had fallen, the victory and the WPT WOC title were his.


ryan depaulo
(Image: Twitter/Ryan Depaulo)

Ryan Depaulo

PLO Big 500
Online Circuit


He might be a self-styled “degenerate gambler” and he might say he doesn’t know how to play Pot-Limit Omaha, but Depaulo did a great job of looking like a pro on Monday. The Americas Cardroom ambassador showed his skills in the $500 PLO event by topping a field of 147 entrants. This is Depaulo’s second WSOP title, but it’s his first Circuit ring. We’re not entirely sure how you separate a degenerate from a world-class poker player, but with two WSOP accolades and another $16K added to his bankroll, Depaulo is edging more toward the latter.

Jack McClelland
(Image: Twitter/Wynn Poker)

Jack McClelland

The Wynn $10K GTD
Las Vegas


McClelland might not be running live poker events anymore, but he can still take control of a tournament when he wants to. The former WSOP tournament director and retired manager of the Bellagio poker room beat a field of 82 players on Wednesday to win the Wynn $10K. The $200 tournament’s payout might not change the WSOP Hall of Famer’s life, but it did take his earnings from poker above the $300,000 mark.

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