The Winners (and Losers) of HCL’s 2024 Million Dollar Game

In its second outting, Hustler Casino Live’s 2024 Million Dollar Game produced some of the biggest pots in poker history.

Jeff Walsh
Jun 3, 2024
“Peter” (center) became Hustler Casino Live’s all-time money list leader after winning nearly $5 million in 2024’s Million Dollar Game. (photo courtesy: Hustler Casino Live/John Villarama)

After four days of nosebleed cash game action, the dust has finally settled for Hustler Casino Live’s 2024 Million Dollar Game. Some of the biggest hands in livestreamed poker history took place as established poker stars battled new and nearly unknown faces for sums that reached well into seven figures.

It was roughly 35 hours of action and now that it’s in the books, let’s take a look at just a few of the winners (and a couple of the losers) both on-and-off the felt from the second running of the MDG.

Winner: ‘Peter’

No one really knew much about Peter prior to his appearance on the Million Dollar Game but after his performance on the livestream, he’s not someone poker fans are going to forget anytime soon. This nosebleed cash game player from China went from being an unknown quantity to Hustler Casino Live’s All-Time Money List leader in a mere three days by going on a high roller sun run, unlike anything we’ve ever witnessed on HCL. In the end, there wasn’t anyone who wasn’t a victim to Peter as he was far and away the week’s biggest winner, walking away with more than $4.9 million in earnings.

It’s hard to emphasize just how good things got for Peter who never really looked like he was in danger of booking a losing session during the week. He picked up hand after hand and even when it looked like his back was against the wall in a hand, the board bailed him out to help him deliver maximum amounts of damage to the chip stacks of his opponent. Take for instance this hand where, with just two outs, he finds the perfect river card to pick up a nearly million-dollar pot.

Winner: Alan Keating

It’s no secret that in past appearances on Hustler Casino Live, Alan Keating had routinely taken the worst of it. He was down roughly $3.5 million over the past two years over numerous HCL appearances, but his incredible heart at the table (and incredible VPIP to match) had turned him into a high-stakes superstar and one of the most beloved players to watch on this, or any livestream. This year though, Keating finally had his day (or days rather) and booked a win of nearly $2 million in his two-day stint on the Million Dollar Game.

For Keating, while he was actually the most profitable on Day 3 – wrapping the day with more than $1.5 million in earnings – it was this mammoth hand on Day 4 that really cemented his win. Down more than $1 million in the session, Keating was in the middle of a back-and-forth with newcomer Rahul. The pair had been dueling for hours when Keating decided he was done jabbing and went looking for a hand to land a haymaker knockout blow. He did just that. The captivating $2.4 million pot not only got Keating unstuck for the session but landed him a spot in poker history as the winner of HCL’s second-largest hand of all time.

Loser: Doug Polk

Polk had plans to play quite a bit on this year’s MDG and he did what he thought was necessary to make that happen. He hyped it up beforehand, got his money to L.A., and had his fans excited about seeing him try to make back the million he lost last year. He had his debut on Day 2, but, as turned out, that day ended up being a bit of a mess with Peter leaving early after a million-dollar upswing which left the enthusiasm for the game on a downturn. Ultimately that day wrapped earlier than originally intended. Sure, Polk took a “small” loss, walking away down $126K, but that’s not where the real bad beat comes from.

It was no secret that Polk was eager to get back into the game on the final two days but the politics of private games at the highest level can be difficult. A pro like Polk, who admittedly brings a ton of attention and fans with him, could easily get low-key blackballed if a player (or collection of players) of a different degree of importance decided to pull some strings. And it looks like that’s exactly what happened in this case. Polk got the deep freeze and was iced out of the game. Despite being as big a draw as he is, the co-owner of The Lodge Card Club was sidelined and was never given another seat in the game. He spoke about it on X where he said he would have loved to have played in any of the other days and while he doesn’t hold a grudge against showrunner Ryan Feldman, he likely will not be back for future MDGs.

Winner: Christian Soto

With nearly 35 hours of nosebleed action presented over four days, HCL called in a regular rotation of their commentary team to bring a regular audience of 30,000 viewers into the room. All of the commentary was top-notch, but in the days afterward, former Only Friends podcaster turned Hustler Casino Live family member Christian Soto has been getting an extra amount of praise – and it’s well deserved.

Soto didn’t do anything different than he normally does by bringing viewers the vibes from inside the room and low-key strategy that doesn’t talk down to the audience. He’s easygoing on the mic, gets inside the heads of the players, and sympathizes with the bad beats but not so much that he can’t have a laugh by calling for the “Doom Zoom.” Soto has a knack for letting the players and the action breathe when needed and if he’s not careful might just draw enough attention to get on a shortlist for a poker award the next time they are handed out.

Loser: ‘Thomas’

Much like Peter before him, no one had any idea who Thomas was when he showed up. Hustler Casino Live touted a “special guest” who would be joining on Day 3. Instead, of Jungleman or Ivey or Rampage it turned out to be his hoodied, masked-up, “European businessman” who ended up having as much desire to preserve his anonymity as he did to completely blast off.

For two days, the graph of “Anonymous Thomas” goes straight into the ground. On Day 3 he lost $1.1 million and on Day 4 he dropped another $1.6 million for a total 16-hour loss of $2.73 million. That’s not to say that Thomas didn’t have his moments – he was good viewing and proved to be incredibly capable of making big moves. But one of the ones he’s going to want back was this errant fold on the river with the winning hand after a bet and a call.

Winner/Loser: “Texas Mike” Moncek

There’s no getting around the fact that “Texas Mike” lost a good chunk of change. After a profitable Day 1, in which he left more than $500K up, he returned for Day 3 and dropped $2.7 million – the single biggest downswing by any of the players over the week.

But money is relative, maybe that means a lot to him…maybe it doesn’t. What isn’t in debate is how popular “Texas Mike” has made himself with the viewing audience. Always in the mix, Moncek is a VPIP machine, topping the leaderboard on both days he played with 69% and 73% respectively. He battled tough in every hand and trusted himself in some of the biggest spots – even when he was wrong. Moncek, who has cardiomyopathy, was forced to take Day 2 off to focus on his health and not push too hard, but to the delight of the fans he battled back on Day 3 and put on a show.

It’s tough to face a big-time loss, but Moncek is already back at it, currently in Las Vegas looking to add to his collection of two World Series of Poker bracelets. Only this year, he’s got thousands more cheering him on.

Winner: Ryan Feldman

When looking back at the 2024 Million Dollar Game, it’s unlikely that any of the rough patches of the week will be remembered. Instead, Hustler Casino Live co-owner and showrunner Ryan Feldman will get to claim another victory in bringing together an epic week of some of the biggest televised cash game hands of all time.

So much goes into crafting and maintaining a lineup with so much money at stake and Feldman has proved, once again, that he’s one of – if not the very best – at actually making it happen. Undoubtedly, there are things that he would like to have seen gone differently but those are just lessons for next year and when it comes time again for the MDG to resurface, the poker public will know that something special is on the way.

Stats, wins, and losses courtesy of