Brunno Botteon, Brazilians Take Over Online Poker’s Top Ten

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Brunno Botteon leads a talented list of Brazil's top online grinders.

It wasn’t that long ago that a quick scan of the top ten online players in the world would be packed with some of Sweden’s most well-known online grinders. Names like ‘Lena900’, ‘C Darwin2’, Johannes ‘Greenstone25’ Korsar, and Robin ‘robinho’ Ylitalo routinely held down a number of the top spots in a constant battle to rule the online poker rankings.

But after a summer of intense action at every major online poker site, the top tier of the worldwide rankings have a new country in control. Brazil boasts 25 of the top 100 players, and four of the country’s elite talent have cracked the top 10.

Brazil’s most recent rankings surge is led by Brunno ‘bbotteon’ Botteon, who currently ranked as the #2 player in the world, right behind list leader Conor ‘1_conor_b_1’ Beresford. Botteon started off the year with an improbable day in early January where he finished as the runner-up in the PokerStars Winter Series $530 NLHE Main Event for $196,908 and at the same time came in third place in the Winter Series $5,200 NLHE Main Event for another $265,463. His one day total, which provided him his top two career cashes at the time, totaled more than $462,000.

It turns out that it was just the beginning for Botteon. This summer, he continually made headlines with impressive results in some of the most high profile tournaments on the schedule. During the World Series of Poker $25,000 NLH Poker Players Championship, Botteon fought through the 407-entry field to make the final table where he finished in sixth place for what was new career-high cash of $388,837. Days later, he found himself in the finals of the WSOP $25,000 Heads Up NLHE event where he eventually fell to former #1-ranked pro Fedor Holz, but again reached new career highs with a $622,300 score.

Although he just missed out on a WSOP gold bracelet, he quickly picked himself back up again and within the week, scored a PokerStars WCOOP title in Event #36-H ($2,100 NLHE Midweek Freeze) for another $80,642. Of Botteon’s six six-figure scores, five have come in 2020 and the accumulation of PLB points has put him as close to Beresford as anyone has been in months.

Someone who knows what it’s like to hit that number #1 spot is Botteon’s countryman, Yuri ‘Yuri Martins’ Dzivielevski who currently sits ranked #6 in the world. It’s been five years since Dzivielevski held the top spot but his impressive summer sun run has rocketed him back into ranks of the top 10.

Dzivielevski has a history of success during the PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker, having won its Main Event back in 2014 for $1.253 million. This year, he struck gold three times including a six-figure score on September 13 in Event #48-H ($5,200 NLHE 8-Max, PKO, Sunday Slam) for which he took home $127,410 plus an additional $118,124 in bounties to create his second-largest online score of all time.

Two days later, Dzivielevski found another major score to add to his resume when he took fifth place in the Super MILLION$ High Roller on Natural8 for another $185,350. Dzivielevski’s heater has seen him earn four of his top ten career score this year and has helped him push him past $7.75 million in career earnings.

Bruno ‘brunovolks’ Volkmann has been a force in the top 100 for years, hitting his career-high rank of #5 in the world earlier this year. Currently situated at #7, Volkmann has produced consistent results this spring and summer to keep himself in the upper echelon of the rankings.

In one incredible week this spring, Volkmann went on a run that produced three of the top 10 scores of his career. It started out with a runner-up finish in the PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker Event #64-H ($2,100 NLHE) for $79,295. Three days later he repeated the result, finishing in second place in SCOOP Event #73-M ($215 NLHE Sunday Warm-Up) for $82,739. Then, the very next day Volkmann took to Natural8 and had a final table finish in WSOPC Ring Event #8 High Roller Championship for $249,920, which currently remains his career-high cash.

In total, for Volkmann, who has been recording his scores since 2012, nine of his top 25 cashes have come in 2020 and which has helped him add more than $4 million in career earnings in the past three years.

The final Brazilian to claim a spot in the top 10 is Belarmino ‘Pagaovelhinho’ De Souza from Santa Catarina. De Souza’s 2020 campaign is easy to envy, replete with five and six-figure scores. His risk in the rankings can be traced back to the end of July when a pair of deep runs in the World Series of Poker Online provided him the PLB push he needed.

In WSOP Event #35 ($5,000 Pot Limit Omaha Championship), De Souza finished in third place and grabbed a $156,687 score for what was his first career six-figure score. One week later, he nearly grabbed a gold bracelet once again but ended up as the runner-up in Event #44 ($2,500 NLHE 6-Handed) for a new career-high score of $261,249.

De Souza’s summer earnings didn’t stop there as he took down the August 10 edition of the High Rollers Blade Mulligan on Natural8 for another $129,101. In just two short years, De Souza has gone from grinding stakes as small as $2.20 to winning SCOOP and Turbo Series titles and nearly taking home a gold bracelet.

While these four players are currently vying for their turn in the top spot, there are plenty of talented Brazilian eager to take their place. Some of which have spent time in the top 10 before, like Pedro ‘PaDiLhA SP’ Padilha, and some of which are looking for their big breakthrough, like WSOP bracelet winner Leonardo ‘LeoMattosAK’ Mattos.

Although Beresford continues his grip on the top spot, with the top talent continuing to pour out of Brazil, it may just be a matter of time before a Brazilian seizes the #1 ranking for the first time since Joao Mathias held it back in 2016.