Top Stories of 2021, #2: Michael Addamo Crushing High Rollers

Michael Addamo Streak 2021 Top Stories PokerNews

Long-time readers of PokerNews will be familiar with player hot streaks making it into the Top 10 Stories of the Year.

Five years ago, a fresh-faced German called Fedor Holz bagged himself a bracelet and several notable High Roller titles and 6+ figure cashes and was also the #2 story of 2016.

Two years later, Justin Bonomo went one step further and was the #1 story of 2018 after becoming the record-breaking all-time money list leader after winning the Big One for One Drop along with two Super High Roller Bowl titles.

And this year saw yet another outstanding performance from an individual, with Australian Michael Addamo defeating players left and right, and topping some of the biggest buy-in tournaments of the year in the process.


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The Rise of Addamo

Heading into 2021, Addamo wasn’t exactly a complete unknown. After winning two bracelets in 2018, he was firmly pegged as a player on the rise. After winning Event #24: $2,620 Marathon at the WSOP in Las Vegas, he showed his big buy-in chops with victory in Event #8: €25,500 Super High Roller at the WSOPE.

Michael Addamo Wins Event #8: €25,500 No-Limit Hold'em Super High Roller
Michael Addamo won his second bracelet at the 2018 World Series of Poker Europe

“I came into the festival just wanting to play the big buy-ins and try and play well”

Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak Addamo was still picking up titles, including the $50K Challenge at the 2020 Aussie Millions.

“It feels great, you know, to get my first Aussie Millions ring,” Addamo told PokerNews. “I came into the festival just wanting to play the big buy-ins and try and play well. I’m pretty happy about it.”

And with the entire live poker scene heading online for the remainder of 2020, Addamo didn’t let up, and was denied a third career bracelet heads-up before winning the WPT World Online Championship Super High Roller the following month.

But nothing would have prepared poker fans for what 2021 would bring…

Michael Addamo wins 2020 Aussie Millions A$50,000 Challenge
Addamo won the $50K Challenge at the 2020 Aussie Millions

The Start of 2021

There really aren’t that many months without Addamo bagging himself another title — online or, as poker returned to casinos around the world, live.

He begun the year by winning a WSOP Circuit ring online at GGPoker with victory in WSOPC #15: $400 New Year Colossus before hopping across to partypoker and grabbing a seven-figure score in the MILLIONS Online.

He defeated Florian Loehnert to win $1.3 million in the $102,000 Mega High Roller, with heads-up between the two players lasting just a single hand.

Another two months would go bye before Addamo picked up two High Roller titles on partypoker, this time as part of the WPT Online Series.

After winning a WPT High Roller Turbo for $87,459, he added another $363,661 after winning Event #13: $25,500 Super High Roller.

Prior to 2021, Addamo had already won three GGPoker Super MILLION$ titles. Having been denied heads-up in March, he finally got his hands on a fourth Super MILLION$ title in August, and was even denied a fifth just one month later only to be thwarted by Gerard Carbo.

Live Poker Returns

Thankfully, live poker would return in time for a hectic Fall schedule of poker that begun with the Poker Masters. It took a late surge, but back-to-back wins for Addamo to close out the festival saw him clinch the overall title and win the coveted Poker Masters purple jacket.

Michael Addamo wins 2021 Poker Masters Purple Jacket
Michael Addamo wins 2021 Poker Masters Purple Jacket

Just ten days later, Addamo added another massive score to his poker resume with victory in the Super High Roller Bowl. His victory over Justin Bonomo heads-up saw him become Australia’s all-time winningest live tournament player, surpassing 2005 WSOP Main Event champion Joe Hachem.

And so, with three months left in 2021, it was finally time for the return of the World Series of Poker. Such was the streak Addamo was already putting together, he was hotly tipped for WSOP success, and the Australian duly delivered in two of the WSOP’s marquee events.


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Victory in Event #38: $50K High Roller couple with another win in Event #87: $100,000 High Roller saw him double his career bracelet tally and add over $3 million to his career earnings.

The two results capped off an incredible year of poker for Addamo, with five live High Roller titles to his name for over $8 million in live earnings.

Date Event Payout (USD)
Nov-21 WSOP Event #87: $100,000 Super High Roller $1,958,569
Oct-21 WSOP Event #38: $50,000 High Roller $1,132,968
Sep-21 $300,000 Super High Roller Bowl VI $3,402,000
Sep-21 Poker Masters #12: $100,000 No Limit Hold’em $1,160,000
Sep-21 Poker Masters #11: $50,000 No Limit Hold’em $680,000

Reaction to the Streak

The poker community’s reaction to the year Addamo had has been near-unanimous in adulation for what he has achieved.

But we thought we’d get some reaction from someone who knows almost exactly what Addamo’s gone through, none other than Fedor Holz.

Fedor Holz
Fedor Holz in action at the 2021 World Series of Poker

With fond memories of his streak in 2016, Holz said that the main thing he enjoyed was the rush of competing at the highest level every day.

“Winning the $111,111 One Drop High Roller was the pinnacle of that summer for me personally. That year I was constantly challenging myself and learning, and my success felt like a reward for the energy I invested in my growth and that felt really good.”


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We asked him what he made of Addamo’s 2021, and Holz had a simple answer — Addamo’s hard work has been rewarded.

“I think Addamo is clearly a world-class player that has spent a lot of time working on his game. When this happens and you run well, you will see exceptional results.”

“I think Addamo is clearly a world-class player that has spent a lot of time working on his game”

Having played against Addamo both online and in Vegas, Holz says Addamo is very tough to play against and was even someone he chose to study in order to improve his game.

In 2016, Holz also finished second in the Super High Roller Bowl
In 2016, Holz also finished second in the Super High Roller Bowl

“He’s applying a lot of concepts that mostly come up through solvers very well into his game. He’s one of my favorite players to watch play. I sometimes think he’s overdoing it, but as every player on the highest level, he will make mistakes.

Holz admits that streaks can affect how you play as an individual, and stressed the importance of “riding the wave” while also remaining grounded.

“I try not to make too much of streaks. Certainly, it will affect your confidence, so it’s important to ride the wave and not become too overconfident when you run well.”


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What Next for Addamo?

Holz concluded by saying that it’s important for players not to lose faith in their play when things aren’t going so well. There’s certainly no sign of that for Addamo currently, but as the live poker schedule for 2022 gets announced, it remains to be seen whether Addamo will continue to crush High Roller fields for months to come.

That being said, Addamo’s year is without a doubt one of the most dominant in recent memory, and no player will relish being seated next to him at a High Roller tournament any time soon.