Portugal’s Rui Ferreira, Joao Vieira Pressure ‘Giraf’ for #1 Spot

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Portugal's MTT superstars Rui Ferreira (left) and Joao Vieira (right) are making a push to the top of the Online Poker Rankings.

A quick glance at this week’s Online Poker Rankings gives off the impression that not much has changed. Bert ‘girafganger7’ Stevens, the United Kingdom-based online MTT crusher, retained the #1 spot for the second week in a row while nine of last week’s top 10 ranked players remained in the top 10.

But under the surface, it was a very active week. Steven’s closest challengers for the top spot have significantly closed the gap threatening to end his position atop the leaderboard after just two weeks. Plus, the addition of one of the game’s top online talents to the rankings has the possibility to shake everything up over the next few weeks.

Last week, Stevens took over the #1 ranking it for the fourth time in his career. However, his longest time spent atop the leaderboard top in each of his previous reigns was just two weeks – where he is right now. And if Portugal’s Rui ‘RuiNF’ Ferreira has anything to say about it, it may end at just two weeks once again.

The current #2-ranked Ferreira pulled within four points of Stevens, a razor-thin margin. In addition to Ferreira’s recent win in the GGPoker $10,300 High Roller for $268,974 and 1,174.73 points, he also piled on an additional 350.93 points with a deep run in the GGPoker $25,500 Super High Roller for $49,157. He’s been on a rapid rise up the rankings and has never been in a better position to take over the #1 spot than he is right now.

Ferreira’s not alone in being within striking distance of Stevens. Russia’s #3-ranked Arsenii ‘hellohellohello’ Malinov sits just 318 points back, an amount that can easily be earned on the high-stakes MTT scene. Malinov’s last significant score took place in the same $25,500 Super High Roller referenced above where he walked away with $180,167 and 608.11 points for a sixth-place finish.

However, it’s one thing to be close and it’s another entirely to actually become #1. Even with multiple players targeting him at the top, there’s a good chance that Stevens can keep his streak going for a third week in a row. In both Ferreira and Malinov’s cases, their volume throughout the week appears to be down while Stevens has been on the grind. He picked up five-figure cashes in the PokerStars High Roller Club on March 14 for $12,731 and in the GGPoker High Roller Deepstack for another $17,659.

Welcome Back ‘Naza’

While the coming weekend may determine who will emerge as the #1, there’s a new player in the top 10 to contend with as well. High-stakes crusher Joao ‘Naza114’ Vieira, who was actually unranked last week, updated his PocketFives profile which added new scores to his total. The result is Vieira came in at #6 this week, becoming Portugal’s second player in the top 10 and pushing out WSOP Main Event champ Damian ‘tritu’ Salas, who slipped to #11. Additionally, Vieira took over the early lead in the Online Player of the Year standings.

One of Vieira’s updates was adding his GGPoker real name, which included some of his biggest cashes in recent weeks. Early in March, he took sixth place in the Super MILLION$ Week $10,300 High Roller for $74,813 and 400.91 points. Then just this past week, he added a third-place finish in the GGPoker $5,250 Sunday 500 for $142,724 and 569.01 points. Finally, on the same day as his six-figure score, he locked up another $31,885 and 328.53 points with a final table finish in the GGPoker Sunday High Rollers.

Moving forward, Vieira and his high-roller output will be another major factor in the elite sections of the rankings. Additionally, it lends more evidence that Vieira continues to be in the discussion as one of the best players in the world.

Online Poker Rankings Notes This Week

• Brazil’s Dalton ‘daltonhb’ Hobold hit a new career-high ranking this week, leaping 20 spots from #36 to #16 this week after a weekend that brought him three five-figure scores including a fourth-place finish in the PokerStars Sunday Million for $43,869 and a runner-up finish in the GGPoker Global MILLION$ for $84,522 and 659.75 points.

• Back-to-back final tables in the PokerStars High Roller Club helped Jonathan ‘luckyfish89’ Clark climb 19 spots this week to #62. He grabbed a fifth-place finish in the $530 Bounty Builder on March 14 for 13,070 and 208.10 points and two days later took down another $530 Bounty Builder HR for $8,856 and another 226.94 points.

Worldwide Online Poker Rankings Top 10

RANKPLAYERCOUNTRYPOINTS
1stBert 'girafganger7' StevensUnited Kingdom13,405
2ndRui 'RuiNF' FerreiraPortugal13,401
3rdArsenii 'hellohellohello' MalinovRussia13,087
4thYuri 'Yuri Martins' DzivieleskiBrazil12,226
5thBrunno 'bbotteon' BotteonBrazil11,990
6thJoao 'Naza114' VieiraPortugal11,640
7thMike 'SirWatts' WatsonCanada11,195
8thSami 'LarsLuzak' KelopuroFinland10,647
9thruno 'brunovolks' VolkmannBrazil10,596
10thAnatoly 'nl_profit' FilatovRussia10,086