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Jeff Walsh

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‘Giraf’ Returns To Online Poker’s Top Five, Leads Rankings Risers

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There are a variety of ways to reach the top of the online poker rankings. For some, their ascension is based around a signature score, perhaps outlasting an overwhelming field in a massive marquee event. For others, it’s about the online grind. It’s a day-in, day-out battle against competition (and variance) where players register every tournament in sight and rack up results and PLB points in the process.

Julian Menhardt Grabs 2020 WSOP Main Event Day 1A Chip Lead

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The 2020 World Series of Poker Main Event has arrived. The unique live-online hybrid solution to finding a successor to current reigning World Champion Hossein Ensan gives players, both in the United States and internationally, one final shot at winning a gold bracelet in 2020.

The tournament, which comes with a traditional $10,000 buy-in and is a true freezeout, will hold all of its starting flights online. Players in the United States can travel to Nevada or New Jersey to play in a single opening flight on WSOP.com while international players have three starting flights to choose from on GGPoker.

These two separate online tournaments will spawn two different final tables which will be played out live. The final nine from the WSOP.com player pool will determine a winner in Las Vegas as GGPoker’s final table will battle it out at King’s Casino in Rozvadov. Ultimately, the winner of each final table will face off in a winner-take-all heads-up battle in front of the ESPN camera on December 30 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The winner of that match will take home an additional $1 million and the title of WSOP World Champion.

WSOP Main Event Schedule (GGPoker)

DateEventSite
11-29Day 1AGGPoker
12-05Day 1BGGPoker
12-06Day 1CGGPoker
12-07Day 2GGPoker
12-16Final TableKing's Casino, Rozvadov

WSOP Main Event Schedule (WSOP.com)

DateEventSite
12-13Day 1WSOP.com
12-14Day 2WSOP.com
12-28Final TableRio, Las Vegas

Julian Menhardt Leads GGPoker Day 1A Survivors

The first flight of the 2020 World Series of Poker Main Event had 246 entries take their one-and-only shot in the $10,000 buy-in tournament. At the end of 16 30-minute levels, just 62 players advanced to day two with Germany’s Julian ‘VWgunther’ Menhardt bagging the chip lead with 534,490 chips (107 big blinds). Germany’s Paul ‘AsiaStylez’ Esau finished the day with 472,075 (94 bbs) for second in chips while the Netherlands Dirk Gerritse rounded out the top three with a 472,075 stack (91 bbs).

Plenty of star power entered and survived through Day 1A. This includes former WSOP Main Event standout Preben Stokkan, a pair of Brazil’s best in Brunno Botteon and former #1-ranked player Yuri Dzivielevski, Anatoly Filatov, Daniel Dvoress, and Russia’s Artur Martirosian among others.

For others though, the dream of becoming the WSOP Main Event champ will have to wait another year. Fedor Holz, Kristen Bicknell, Christian Rudolph, Julien Martini, and former #1-ranked players Steven van Zadelhoff and Andreas Nemeth were among those notable players who busted before the day was done.

Joining them on the rail are the likes of Pablo Brito Silva, Jans Arends, Ole Schemion, Rainer Kempe, Christian Jeppsson, Sebastian Sikorski, and Patrik Antonius.

The players that made it through to Day 2 of the WSOP 2020 Main Event will return to the online tables on December 7 and merge with the remaining fields of Day 1B and Day 1C to play down to a final table of nine.

Day 1A Top 10 Chip Counts (GGPoker)

RankNameChips
1Julian Menhardt534,490
2Paul Esau472,075
3Dirk Gerritse457,197
4Preben Stokkan446,677
5sunnyzyang1982'441,981
6Ilya Anatsky407,356
7Michal 'ml22322' Lubas397,579
8Sosia Jiang390,312
9Laurynas Levinskas389,628
10'WhatIfPIOswrong'386,050

The FIVES Poker Podcast: The “Real” 2020 WSOP Main Event

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Hosted by Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters, The Fives Poker Podcast runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and debate the hottest topics in poker.

All-In EV Just A Small Piece Of The Polk-Negreanu Challenge Puzzle

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For the thousands that have tuned in to the Polk-Negreanu high-stakes, heads-up challenge the early going has delivered when it comes to providing action. SIx-figure swings, in both directions, have allowed both Negreanu and Polk to hold the lead at one point or another with some of the biggest pots thus far taking place when both players clash by shoving all-in.

Long-Running Success Lets Dominik Nitsche Clinch #1 Spot in Germany

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In a career that has spanned more than 12 years, 888poker ambassador Dominik Nitsche has evolved from a small stakes online grinder to one of the most prolific high rollers in the poker world today. The results of his hard work speak for themselves as Nitsche has amassed more than $6.5 million in online earnings and an amazing $18.65 million in live earnings, a total which places him 32nd on the Hendon Mob’s All-Time Money List.

Even after so much success, Nitsche continues to grind. A successful week at the online tables helped Nitsche surge 27 spots in the online poker worldwide rankings to #68, one of the biggest moves inside the top-100 for the week. The rise in rankings helped him take over the #1-ranking in Germany and close in on a career-high spot of #60, which he last hit back in 2009.

As Nitsche continues to climb the rankings, it makes for a good time to look back at some of the biggest scores in the DTO private poker coach’s history, including his most recent victory which added a major title to his long list of accomplishments.

2019 PokerStars WCOOP

Just over a year ago, Nitsche booked the biggest win of his online poker career during the PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker when he made a deep run in Event #25-H ($25,000 NLHE, 8-Max, High Roller). The tournament drew 90 entries and generated a prize pool of over $2.2 million fueled by some of the toughest competition the poker world has to offer. Nitsche battled his way to the final table, outlasting the likes of Chris ‘Big Huni’ Hunichen, Tim ‘Tim0thee’ Adams, and Mustapha ‘lasagnaaammm’ Kanit, all of who made the money. In the end, Nitsche ended up falling in fifth place walking away with $188,139. Timofey ‘Trueteller’ Kuznetsov ended up winning the event for more than $527,000.

2017 PokerStars SCOOP

Two-and-a-half years prior to his big risk, big reward run in the 2019 WCOOP, Nitsche entered another high roller looking to take home a massive score. The field size in the 2017 Spring Championship of Online Poker Event #15-M ($2,100 NLHE, 8-Max, High Roller) was a good deal larger as 772 entries drove the prize pool to just over $1.5 million. Again, Nitsche made a deep run to the final table where he battled the impressive online poker talent of Ami ‘UhhMee’ Barer and former #1-ranked Calvin ‘Cal42688’ Anderson. Nitsche finished in fourth place that day but locked up a massive $115,800 score for his efforts.

$5K High Roller

One of the very first high roller tournaments in 2018 took place on January 3 that year and featured a who’s who of top online poker talent. The $5,000 No Limit Hold’em High Roller was littered with notable screen names that finished in the money that day. Ludovic ‘ludovi333’ Geilich, Mike ‘telks’ Telker, Chris ‘Apotheosis92’ Kruk, and Stephen ‘stevie444’ Chidwick all picked up huge scores that day. Nitsche surpassed all of them though and notched himself a podium finish with a third-place score of $82,445 which helped him get the year off to a good start. In the end, Damian ‘pampa27’ Salas bested ‘DEX888’ for the win and the $139K first-place prize.

2020 PokerStars SCOOP

It seems that Nitsche only gets better with age as two of his top 5 all-time scores were won in 2020. The first of which took place on May 22 in the 2020 PokerStars SCOOP when Nitsche fired in the $500,000 guaranteed Event #87-H ($530 NLHE). The field swelled to 956 entries but Nitsche outlasted every single one of them, booking the win and adding the $82,365 first-place prize to what was, at that time, $5.8 million in online earnings.

2020 EPT Online Cup

Nitsche’s latest major online score proves that while he may be known for crushing the small field, nosebleed buy-in tournaments he still has what it takes to work his way through a massive field MTT and get the win. On November 14, just over a week ago, Nitsche nabbed himself a title in PokerStars’ first-ever EPT Online series when he outlasted the massive field of 2,833 runners and took down EPT Online Event #14 ($215 NLHE, EPT Online Cup) for $82,093. Along with the major online title, Nitsche picked up 752.73 PLB points which sent him sailing past Germany’s ‘nilsef’ in the rankings and has positioned himself to reach ranking heights he hasn’t seen in over a decade.

Since taking home the gold in the EPT Online event, Nitsche continues to add to his PLB point total, grabbing another 169.49 points with his runner-up finish in the $215 Fast Friday just last week. If Nitsche continues to grind the kind of volume he’s been putting in as of late, he’s a favorite to hit a new career-high ranking by the end of the year.

Players can qualify for the online poker worldwide rankings by adding their screennames to their PocketFives profile.

PokerStars EPT Online Wraps Up As ‘WhatIfGod’ Wins Main Event

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The PokerStars EPT Online series wrapped up on Thursday after Sweden’s ‘WhatIfGod’ was crowned the champion of the $5,200 NLHE Main Event and walked away with the $1,019,082 million first-place prize.

Former #1s Continue to Fight for Online Poker’s Top Spot

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It takes a special player to reach the top of the online poker rankings. In addition to elite skills on the virtual felt resulting in extraordinary results, it requires a dedication to the online grind that provides the amount of volume needed to surpass the competition.

American Pros Battle Their Way Into Online Poker’s Top 100

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It’s not easy to crack into online poker’s worldwide top-100 rankings. But for Americans who play inside U.S. borders on regulated sites, it’s even tougher.

United States-based players don’t have access to the massive player pools and huge guarantees that some of the top players grind in order to rack up leaderboard points. For these pros, it takes a doubling-down of volume and effort in order to earn their spot and recognition among online poker’s best. And this week, four of America’s best have succeeded in doing just that.

Jennifer Shahade Sees Poker Side Of Chess in The Queen’s Gambit

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The obsession with competition, dedication to improvement, and doing what it takes to be the best. These are just some of the themes on display in Netflix’s new binge-worthy hit The Queen’s Gambit, the mini-series that depicts a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of the chess world – a world, it turns out, that is not so far from that of poker.

Summer Heat Helps Mike ‘SirWatts’ Watson To Career-High Ranking

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The poker resume of Mike ‘SirWatts’ Watson is overflowing with incredible achievements. From seven-figure scores to capturing major online titles, Canada’s current #1-ranked online crusher has added a new accolade by entering the elite air of the top five of the online poker rankings for the first time in his over 14 year career.

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