The time has come for Croatia’s top-ranked online poker pro Ivan ‘zufo16’ Zufic to take his shot at the top spot.
After a hot start to the year, Zufic’s results surged this summer and brought him career-defining scores and resume-topping titles. This week, he finally ascended all the way up to take over the worldwide #2 spot from Brazilian powerhouse Brunno ‘bbotteon’ Botteon with only Conor ‘1_conor_b_1’ Beresford left in his path.
At the start of the year, Zufic was spending most of his time playing mid-to-high stakes, looking to eclipse a $16,000 career-high score that he had set back in 2019.
In April, he was ranked 83rd in the world when he picked up a title in the PokerStars EU Spring Championship of Online Poker for a little over $28,000. The win was not only a mile marker for Zufic but the start of a heater that lasted all summer long.
He backed up his new SCOOP title by taking home another trophy in late March in the PokerStars.com SCOOP series. He bested the 630-entry field in Event #81-H ($530 NLHE, 6-Max) for a massive $61,202 score. Then four days later he grabbed a win in the World Series of Poker Circuit Series $250 Daily Special on GGPoker for another $10,965 bringing his weekly PLB point total to more than 631 and putting him as the #1-ranked player in Croatia.
Red Hot Summer
The hits kept coming for Zufic, who again put himself in a position to hit new career highs. Just one week after taking down the $250 WSOPC side event he did it again, this time in the June 1 edition of the $500 Sunday Main on GGPoker. He outlasted the tough 1,249-entry field to take home $93,755 first-place prize and a new spot inside the worldwide top-50.
Zufic continued to rise in the rankings in the following weeks by taking down tough tournaments like the PokerStars $109 Sunday Kickoff and nabbing a podium finish in a WSOP Side Event. However, as good as it was going for him, the best for him was right around the corner.
Gold Bracelet Glory
Zufic’s poker career would never be the same after August 17 when he took down the 2,055-player field in the 2020 World Series of Poker Online $500 Mini Main Event for a life-changing score of $843,460, far-and-away a new career-high cash. Additionally, Zufic earned himself a place in WSOP history by becoming the first-ever player from Croatia to win a WSOP gold bracelet.
Prior to the win, Zufic was ranked 29th in the world, but a win of such magnitude added 2,685.21 PLB points to his total, jettisoning him into the top 10 for the very first time.
Even after all that success, Zufic kept on his grind and found success once again on GGPoker. In the September 14 edition of the High Roller MILLION$, Zufic struck gold again and added another $355,375 to his incredible year plus another 1,457.30 PLB.
These two scores combined pushed him into the top 10, putting his name among the elite grinders.
Throughout his success in some of the biggest tournaments of the summer, Zufic was still grinding a daily schedule. His work ethic can scene in the results which brought him three PocketFives Triple Crown awards this year. He booked his first three victories (on three different networks in the same week) on April 1. He did it again on June 1 as well as September 22, accomplishing a feat three times in the same year that many players will labor to do even once.
Despite all his success this year, Zufic is going to need to keep his head down and put in the hours if he hopes to catch Beresford. The current #1-ranked UK grinder is known for putting in plenty of volume and, like Zufic, he is also in the midst of a career year.
Currently, just under 2000 PLB points shy of Beresford, it will take some big-time results from Zufic in order to close the gap and for Zufic to make history. But with nine of Zufic’s top-10 career cashes coming this year, he currently has the momentum to possibly make it happen.