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

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There are 12 former #1-ranked online poker players currently in the top 100 including Steven van Zadelhoff (left), Yuri Dzivielevski (middle left), Chris Moorman (middle right), and Sami Kelopuro (right).

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.

This is what makes it so amazing that the UK’s current top talent Conor ‘1_conor_b_1’ Beresford’s reign at the top of the rankings is closing in on historic highs. Beresford has held on to the #1 spot for more than half of 2020, currently sitting at 26 weeks straight. However, Beresford, who once held a PLB point lead that looked insurmountable, is within striking distance for his fellow online pros for the first time in months.

While there are a number of players who could catch Beresford in the upcoming weeks, including current #2 -ranked Ivan ‘zufo16’ Zufic, it might just take a former #1-ranked player to put an end to Beresford’s current hot streak. There are currently 12 former #1-ranked players in the top 100, some of whom it’s been years since they’ve reached the top spot. One thing is for sure, all of them know exactly what is required to get back to the top and take back the throne.

The Top 10

The three former #1-ranked players with the best shot at Beresford all are occupying a spot in the top 10.

World Series of Poker standout Yuri ‘Yuri Martins’ Dzivielevski has been turning up the heat all summer long and currently sits at #6 in the world. His rise was thanks in part to a pair of six-figure scores in September. The first was his PokerStars WCOOP win in Event #48-H ($5,200 NLHE, PKO, Sunday Slam) which brought him more than $245,000 and 817.01 PLB points. Days later he picked up another $185,350 with a fifth-place finish in the Natural8 Super MILLION$ High Rollers which brought him an additional 703.52. Dzivielevski held on to the #1 spot two different times back in 2014 and while he has some ground to cover, should he continue to put up big numbers he’s got a shot at closing the gap on Beresford.

Right behind him at #7 in the rankings is Chris ‘Gettin Daize’ Oliver. The American, who plays out of Costa Rica, last held the top spot in 2010 and now he’s once again in striking distance thanks to his non-stop grind. Oliver’s recent scores include a win in the October 18 PokerStars High Roller Club $1,050 Sunday HR for $48,072 and 500.00 PLB points. He tacked on another 251.80 PLB points on November 8 with a final table finish in the EPT Online Event #3 ($5,200 NLHE, 8-Max, High Roller) for $31,057 and 251.80 PLB points.

Sweden’s ‘Lena900’ knows what it’s like to spend extended time at #1, having held the spot for 33 weeks back in 2018-2019. Now, the Swedish superstar, who was the last player to hold #1 before Beresford, is still in the mix thanks to a pair of PokerStars WCOOP wins back in September. He scored a six-figure score by winning Event #39-H ($5,200 PKO High Roller) for more than $200,000 and 753.33 PLB points. He then went back-to-back and grabbed another WCOOP title in Event #44-H ($2,100 NLHE) for $80,642 and 632.46 PLB points. If ‘Lena900’ can rack up more wins like his October 25 score in the PokerStars High Roller Club $1,050 Sunday HR, where he added more than $48,000 to his All-Time Online Money List leading $21.2 million, sooner than later he may just rule the rankings once again.

Not Far Behind

partypoker ambassador Patrick ‘pleno1’ Leonard last held the top spot just last year and currently sits at #21. Leonard who is known to fire in the biggest buy-in tournaments online built a nice base this summer during WCOOP where he racked up 1,356.38 PLB points. He didn’t have any October scores that added to his rankings performance, but he looks to be back at it in November, which means a good chance he pushed back into the top 20 in upcoming weeks.

Sweden’s ’C Darwin2’ is one of online poker’s most prolific players having held the #1 spot eight different times for a total of 66 weeks. He retained a spot in the top 50 this week with a deep run in PokerStars EPT Online Event #5 ($1,050 NLHE, 8-Max, Win The Button) for $5,436 and 130.54 PLB points. He also earned a pair of five-figure scores in the recent PokerStars Bounty Builder Series when he booked the win in Event #37 ($1,050 NLHE Super Tuesday) for $21,522 and 356.37 PLB points. He then finished as the runner-up in Event #164 ($1,050 NLHE, Thursday Thrill) for another $28,844 and 279.91 PLB points.

It’s been over four years since Russia’s ‘veeea’ last touched #1, but he’s still one of the most feared online grinders playing today as he sits at #52 in the world. This week alone, ‘veeea’ racked up four PLB-qualifying scores including two wins in the PokerStars High Roller Club for a total of over $17,500. His spotlight score of the month so far came in EPT Online Event #3 where his third-place finish earned him $86,183 and 418.65 PLB points, his 11th largest career online cash.

Big Names In The Back Half

While they may be in the back half of the top 100, all of these former #1-ranked players have continued to put up impressive results.

Former PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker Main Event winner Steven ‘SvZff’ van Zadelhoff touched the top spot in 2017 and currently sits at #61. His victory in the October 18 PokerStars $125 Sunday Subsonic kept him in good shape with a $17,814 score and 316.11 PLB points.

It’s been an amazing week for #68-ranked ‘girafganger7’ who has been crushing the PokerStars EPT Online. One day after a final table finish in Event #6 ($10,300 NLHE) for $51,445, he won Event #8 ($2,100 NLHE) for another $96,144 and 707.11 PLB points. He topped that three days later with another win in Event #15 ($10,000 6-Max, High Roller) for $186,238, a top-5 career score.

It’s been a year since nosebleed cash game legend Sami ‘LarsLuzak’ Kelopuro first held the #1 ranking. Now, at #75, he continues to turn in impressive tournament results including his runner-up finish in EPT Online Event #5 ($1,050 NLHE, 8-Max, Win The Button) for $34,900 and 321.86 PLB points.

Mike ‘telks’ Telker is a true grinder. The American, playing out of Costa Rica like the aforementioned Chris Oliver, has more than $11.7 million in lifetime cashes and was the #1 player in the world back in 2011. Today, he’s ranked #78 and stays there by playing anything and everything on the tournament schedule and booking scores like his deep run in EPT Online Event #1 for $7,058 and 167.79 PLB points.

Sweden’s Andreas ‘r4ndomr4gs’ Berggren spent three weeks at #1 back in 2014 and continues to be a force in online poker today. With seven PocketFives Triple Crown awards and just under $14 million in lifetime earnings, Berggren could soar up the rankings at any point using results like his deep run in EPT Online Event #1 where he earned $8,541 and 215.59 PLB points.

Finally, Chris ‘moorman1’ Moorman who spent the better part of his summer in Mexico grinding the online events in the World Series of Poker, sits at #90 in the world. After purchasing a house in Mexico, Moorman has been splitting his time between his home in Las Vegas where he grinds on WSOP.com and being able to play against the international player pools as he did on November 10 when he won the $109 NLHE on PokerStars for $3,219 and 123.53 PLB points.

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