Pennsylvania Online Poker: A Look Back At The Keystone State Crushers

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Chris Klodnicki (left), Paul Volpe (center), and Zachary Gruneberg (right) are just some of the biggest names in online poker to emerge from Pennsylvania.

It’s not just online poker that is coming back to Pennsylvania, the online poker dream is returning with it.

The notion that a player can fire up online tournaments and cash games on demand, take a small bankroll and run it up, and even spend a Sunday taking down a big-time score.

It’s no secret that initially it won’t be as big as the pre-Black Friday era. It’s going to take some time to grow, but there’s little doubt that there is a new crop of PA-based online poker players out there, ready to make a name for themselves. But before the future king of PA emerges, we took a look back to pay homage to some of the best online poker players to crush in the Keystone State.

Paul ‘paulgees81’ Volpe

You can’t talk about the best poker players from Pennsylvania without mentioning Paul ‘paulgees81’ Volpe. Sure, Volpe earned the nickname ‘The Main Event’ for his sustained success at the World Series of Poker where he’s a three-time bracelet winner. And, yes, Volpe has over $8.2 million in lifetime live earnings but while the Philly crusher was racking up titles in the live arena, he was also ascending the PocketFives rankings where he eventually topped the online charts solidifying himself as one of the very best.

Volpe became the #1-ranked online player in March of 2011, arguably one of the toughest times to conquer the online world, just before Black Friday. He’s a PocketFives Triple Crown Award winner and he also has a Monthly PLB title on his resume.

A big part of what helped Volpe claim the rankings top spot was his victory in the PokerStars Sunday Million in January of 2011 that brought him an online career-high cash of $253,895. Throughout his career Volpe also took down WCOOP, SCOOP and MiniFTOPS titles as well.

While it will take some time for the Pennsylvania market to mature and joining a larger player pool will be necessary for growth, PA players looking to model their career after one of the greats in the state could not choose player better than Volpe.

Zachary ‘HustlerGrune’ Grunberg

Another former member of the PocketFives top 10 to come out of PA is Zachary ‘HustlerGrune’ Grunberg who, in 2011, reached as high as #4 in the world.

Gruneberg has over $2.8 million in career online earnings and another $1.8 million in live earnings. At the height of online poker, Gruneberg routinely found himself atop the payouts of some of the most prestigious online tournaments including taking down the PokerStars Sunday Warm-Up in 2009 for an online career-high cash of $118,692.

Gruneberg also took down the PokerStars $109 Rebuy, one of the most lucrative tournaments the 2010 era, for $86,085. In total, ‘HustlerGrune’ picked dup over 60 five-figure scores before the end of 2015. Nowadays, he can regularly be seen playing live, including picking up eight cashes at the 2019 World Series of Poker.

Mark ‘dipthrong’ Herm

One of Pennsylvania’s original online superstars is Mark ‘dipthrong’ Herm. A well-known online poker backer and coach, Herm used his knowledge to reach #5 in the world back in 2010, racking up impressive total online earnings of over $5.1 million.

A three-time Triple Crown Award winner, Herm took down one of the most prestigious of online tournaments when on 10/10/2010 he bested the 7,661 runner field of the PokerStars Sunday Million for a career-high online cash of $229,834. That Sunday Million victory was the second six-figure score of his online career having taken down the Full Tilt Poker $750,000 Guarantee for over $147,000.

Herm also has some impressive podium finishes that in his day as well, just missing out on FTOPS and SCOOP titles while finishing second in the popular Full Tilt Sunday Brawl twice and finished third another time, all for healthy five-figure scores.

In addition to his prolific online resume, Herm also boasts over $1.7M in live earnings.

Chris ‘SLOPPYKLOD’ Klodnicki

Chris ‘SLOPPYKLOD’ Klodnicki may reside on the West Coast now, but when he was coming up through the ranks of online poker his PocketFives profile had him racking up wins in Pennsylvania.

Before Klodnicki took second place in the 2013 WSOP $111,111 One Drop High Roller for nearly $3 million, he was grinding online in PA, putting together a resume that included $2.58 million in online earnings with 59 total five-figure scores. His online career-high score came in 2010 when he won $97,070 in the $530 Sunday 500 on PokerStars.

Klodnicki’s online success mirrored his live poker achievements as he has over $9.7 million in lifetime live earnings, a World Series of Poker bracelet and circuit ring, a 2nd place finish in the WSOP $50,000 Poker Players Championship, a victory in the ill-fated Epic Poker League for over $800,000, and 16 total live cashes of six-figures or better.

At the height of his online powers, Klodnicki reached #30 on the worldwide PocketFives rankings.

Jesse ‘JMaster130’ Cohen

With over $3.3 million in career online earnings, Jesse ‘JMaster130’ Cohen is another one of Pennsylvania’s elite with an impressive resume that spans over a decade.

‘JMaster’ was a runner-up in both Full Tilt Poker’s FTOPS series as well as PokerStars WCOOP, racking up over 40 five-figure scores including a career-best takedown of $85,206 by finishing in second place during the 2010 FTOPS.

While it’s been over a year since Cohen has recorded an online cash, at his height, he scaled as high as #66 in the PocketFives Rankings.

Although Cohen may have slowed down in the online arena he continues performing in live tournaments with over $1.7 million in career live earnings. In fact, Cohen just recorded a new career-best live score of over $203,000 on June 29 finishing as the runner-up in the DeepStack Championship Poker Series.