Brian Hastings

If Brian Hastings will have his biography written anytime soon, there will inevitably be an entire chapter devoted only about the summer of 2015. Why? Because Brian Hastings absolutely crushed it in the 2015 World Series of Poker.

Who exactly is Brian Hastings? Formerly known as “LucLongley” on Full Tilt before becoming a Red Pro in 2008, Brian Hastings was born on June 24, 1988 at the Hanover Township of Pennsylvania. Being a smart kid that he is, Hastings graduated from Cornell University in 2010 with a degree in economics.
Hastings began his poker obsession back in 2006. Inspired by one of his teachers in high school, he started dabbling with playing poker online. Admittedly, he was still no good at the time and struggled real hard at the No Limit Hold’em micro stakes tables for the first six months; without profits and barely breaking even.

After that, Hastings realized that it was time to polish his poker skills which made him study more about strategies he could employ on his own brand of poker play. He spent countless hours browsing through a bunch of online forums learning and later on joined Cardrunners—a poker training site (where now he serves as one of the most popular instructors).

The results of his hard research came fast and Hastings started winning. But as opposed to cashing out, he kept growing his stash in his account and quickly made his way to participating in higher stakes tables.

Like many other professional poker players, Brian Hastings moved out of the United States and settled in Canada in order to be able to play the highest poker stakes on the internet. His main focus was on the Pot Limit Omaha online where he’s got an overly successful track and done extremely well in the No Limit Texas Hold’em (NLHE) too.

He’s also one who’s never been afraid of trying new and yet unfamiliar things such as playing high stakes fixed limit H.O.R.S.E. for example, a complicated game involving a lot of variance – a costly experience which made Hastings lose more than $2 million.

Brian Hastings is probably best known and remembered for his $4.2 million online victory over the then Swedish poker sensation Viktor “Isildur1” Blom.
That was in 2010 when they played for an epic 5-hour session on Full Tilt Poker. However, on an ESPN interview after the phenomenal game, Hastings said that he and fellow poker pros Cole South and Brian Townsend shared hand stories and compiled a database of Viktor Blom’s hands for them to analyze—a clear violation of Full Tilt Poker’s terms and conditions.

He was cleared of any wrongdoings, though Brian Townsend was slapped with a suspension by Full Tilt poker for utilizing a data mining software to collect hand histories on games he was not even a part of.

Brain Hastings already got a WSOP bracelet before from taking down the $10,000 Head’s Up No Limit Hold’em Event back in 2012. And fast-forwarding to the 2015 WSOP, his rally results have included two more WSOP bracelets with victories in the $1,500 Six-Handed 10-Game Mix as well as in the $10,000 Seven-Card Stud Championships not including a few high-profile side bets.

He was also included in the final table of the $3,000 Six-Handed Limit Hold’em, placed 11th at the $111,111 One Drop High Roller where he garnered six-figure cashes, and had a deep run in the 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event where he finished on the 49th spot.

Brians Hastings not only ended up collecting nearly a million dollars in cashes, he also landed a 6-figure bracelet win and joined the 2015 WSOP Europe held in Berlin, the capital of Germany wherein he trailed Mike Gorodinsky for the much coveted 2015 Global Poker Index WSOP Player of the Year award. He made over $300,000 as well on side bets including one against one poker pro in the name of Jason Mercier who bet that Hastings would not win a bracelet –and oh, was he totally wrong.

It was a great run, but not all of it was fun. Because just when he was caught busy trying to win his second bracelet of the year, accusations have started surfacing that he (Hastings) may have been involved in an online account sharing and playing over a VPN (virtual private network). In June 2015, poker pro David Baker accused Brian Hastings of using a VPN to play illegally at the PokerStars’ Spring Championship of Online Poker event by using the alias “NoelHayes”.

Playing anonymously using different accounts can give skilled poker players an unfair advantage over opponents and is considered a major of breach of etiquette especially when playing in high stakes.  Also, VPNs can disguise possible plays from the United States which violates the PokerStars’ current TOS (Terms of Service) which at the moment does not allow entry to US-based players (Brian Hastings now resides at Fort Lauderdale, Florida). The allegations were never denied by Hastings who just kept mum over the matter.

In light of these issues, it has become apparent that Brian Hastings’ innate abilities not only translate to playing some good poker but also to his often becoming a lightning rod for a host of controversies which takes some gloss off his most profitable WSOP series played to date.  As of this writing, Hastings is a proud owner of three WSOP bracelets and will surely contend for more in the years to come.