2017 in Review: Five Breakout Stars from the Online Poker World

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These are the five new players that shined brightest in 2017.

#5 – Dennys ‘dennysramos2’ Ramos

Brazil’s Dennis ‘dennysramos2’ Ramos quickly rose through the ranks in 2017 and broke into the Worldwide Top 100, peaking at #83. Starting the year as a mostly low-to-mid stakes grinder, Ramos found his grind gaining traction when he binked a first-place score in the PokerStars $22 Mini Sunday Million in early July. The $24,423 payday was his second five-figure one of the year allowing him to increase his shot taking ability. That shot paid off in a career-high cash, when Ramos won partypoker’s Powerfest Event #110 for $75,000. Ramos then backed that up with his fourth five-figure cash earlier in December with a victory in the PokerStars $215 Sunday Supersonic, banking another $30,263 in a year that also saw him soar past the $500,000 lifetime earnings mark.

#4 – Ramiro ‘rayastar’ Petrone

Argentina’s current #1-ranked player, Ramiro ‘rayastar’ Petrone had a fast start to 2017 when he final tabled PokerStars’ Turbo Championship Of Online Poker (TCOOP) Event #16 ($700 No Limit Hold’em Zoom), finishing in fourth for nearly $35,000 and backed that up with a third-place finish in TCOOP Event #65 ($700 No Limit Hold’em 6-Max Hyper-Turbo) for another $65,979. After a string of four and five-figure scores throughout the year, Petrone outdid his previous largest cash by winning partypoker’s Powerfest Event #322 for a career-best $75,156.00 helping him skyrocket not just into the Worldwide Top 100, but peaking inside the Top 20 at #18. Having just surpassed $2.5 million in lifetime earnings, Petrone enters 2018 after a December heater that includes three outright victories and roughly $50,000 in cashes.

#3 – ‘kofi89’

Another crusher from Argentina graces the Top 5 list as ‘kofi89’ tore thru the Worldwide Top 100 in a matter of weeks, peaking at #25. After taking fourth in the PokerStars Sunday Warm-up back in February, for over $21,000, ‘kofi89’ banked six-figures a month later with a runner-up performance in the PokerStars Sunday Million for $106,984. His nearly 150 four-figure (or greater) cashes in 2017 helped push him past the $2 million lifetime earnings plateau. In the last half of 2017 the Argentinan ramped up his volume, moving from his early year mid-stakes grind to playing the largest tournaments the internet has to offer complete with making the final table of a WCOOP and outright winning a $530 Bounty Builder High Roller for another $23,354.

#2 – ‘DamageAP’

After updating his screen names, the #1-ranked player out of the Philippines, ‘DamageAP’ made one of the largest leaps of the year into the Worldwide Top 100 when he jumped from #102 to #20. Since that time, he’s been grinding away, inching upwards where he currently sits as the #17 ranked player in the world. A regular in the largest online tournaments, ‘DamageAP’ recorded the first of his 10 five-figure cashes of the year with a fourth-place finish in the partypoker Powerfest Event #220 Main Event for over $72,000. His standout victory of 2017, however, was when he defeated a field of 5,897 players to take down the October 29 PokerStars Sunday Million for a career-high score of $159,240. The score helped him topple $2.5 million in lifetime earnings and will like see him exceed $3 million in 2018.

#1 – ‘josef_shvejk’

It’s no easy feat to be ranked in the PocketFives.com Worldwide Top 100, let alone the Top 10. Russia’s ‘josef_shvejk’put in the time and volume, producing the results, to not only find himself among the elite players in 2017, but overtaking Russian powerhouse ‘veeea’ as the #1-ranked Russian and completely distrupt the landscape of the Worldwide Top 10.

The high-volume grinder started the year playing mostly mid-stakes but by year’s end was seemingly routinely taking down high profile tournaments for five-figure scores and heaps of PLB points. While he had been racking up four-figure cashes, the first of his major hauls can be traced back to a runner-up finish in one of PokerStars’ Super Tuesday tournaments back in July for over $40,000. He backed that up with a victory in the Big $109 in the same month for another $21,889. In September he went on a heater, the highlights of which include a runner-up finish in the PokerStars $215 Sunday Supersonic for over $25,000 as well as a pair of partypoker Powerfest victories, one in Event #253 the High Roller for $49,862. By the end of the year, he racked up an additional eight five-figure scores for over $213,000 and finished as the #4-ranked player in the world with over $1.5 million in lifetime earnings.