The global Coronavirus pandemic meant poker looked very different in 2020 than it has in any other year. That didn’t stop some of the most talented players in the world from putting on a show every time they took to the felt in 2020.
It Was Connor Drinan’s World, We Were All Just Living In It
Connor Drinan had a year any poker player would dream of – and he did it while playing a somewhat limited schedule. In May, Drinan, who calls Las Vegas home, traveled outside of the United States to play the PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker more than a week after it began. He quickly made up for lost time and put on a show for the ages.
Drinan started things off by winning Event #34 High ($530 PLO) for $34,421 on his first day back in action. Two days later he outlasted 149 other entries to ship Event #40 High ($5,200 PLO Six Max) for $152,011. He didn’t even wait another 24 hours before completing the hat trick. Drinan won Event #45 ($215 NLO8 Six Max PKO) for a $105,200 payday. Three days after that, Drinan won Event #56 High ($1,050 HORSE) and added $30,223 to his ever-growing bankroll.
That win tied him with former #1-ranked Shaun Deeb for most SCOOP titles in a single year with four, but Drinan, wasn’t quite finished yet.
Just three days later, Drinan beat 158 other runners to win Event #75 High ($10,300 PLO) for what was then a career-best $322,264 score and a record-setting fifth SCOOP title of the year. That final table included the likes of Ben Tollerene, Linus Linus Loeliger, Talal Shakerchi, Gavin Cochrane, Joao Vieira, and eventual runner-up Jens Kyllonen.
Not one for tweeting about poker tournament wins but feels somewhat mandatory after shipping scoop #5 of the series in the plo 10k main. Sorry @shaundeeb
— Connor Drinan (@ConnorDrinan) May 20, 2020
Drinan set the record over a nine day span (May 9 – 17) and won a total of $553,504 for those five wins. He had 25 other SCOOP cashes, including one other final table.
That was Drinan’s spring adventure. When the summer came, Drinan turned his attention the online World Series of Poker events, first in Las Vegas for the WSOP.com schedule, and then back to Mexico to get it on the GGPoker events.
In Las Vegas, Drinan cashed six times, highlighted by a sixth place finish in Event #13 ($1,500 High Roller Freezeout) before heading down to Mexico with former PocketFives #1 Chris Moorman to battle the worldwide market in a quest for a bracelet against much larger fields. He started off hot with a seventh place finish in Event #50 ($2,100 NLHE Bounty Championship) and then rattled off 13 more cashes before taking his seat in the biggest buy-in event on the schedule, Event #83 ($10,000 WSOP Super MILLION$).
Drinan worked his way through 890 other entries to make the final table alongside former #1 PocketFiver Chris Oliver, Christopher Kruk, and 2013 November Niner Sylvain Loosli. Despite starting the final table sixth in chips, Drinan worked his way through that group and found himself with a better than 4-1 lead heads-up against Daniyar Aubakirov. Drinan didn’t need long to put Aubakirov to rest to claim his first career WSOP bracelet and the $1,423,049 first place prize. Drinan also picked up a few extra dollars thanks to a bracelet bet with Daniel Negreanu.
Another Conor Crushed 2020, Too
Midway through 2020, Conor Beresford did what seemed nearly impossible at one point: he unseeded Sweden’s ‘lena900’ from the #1 spot on PocketFives and then held onto it for more than seven months.
Beresford officially took over the highly coveted #1 spot on May 16 after winning SCOOP Event #18 Medium ($215 NLHE Sunday Cooldown SE) on May 3 and Event #32 High on 7. Those wins gave Beresford a combined $124,538 in winnings and 645.25 PLB points, but he had set himself up to move into the #1 spot wish a series of career-defining scores beginning at the end of January.
On January 30, Beresford finished runner-up in the GGPoker Phased: 2020 Series Championship event for $611,134 and 399.91 points. The Brit then picked up $617,857 and 1,236.19 points for winning a pair of PokerStars High Rollers events just four days apart in March.
In September, Beresford crossed a career accolade off of his to-do list by winning PokerStars WCOOP Event #33 High ($5,200 NLHE High Roller) for $162,674.33. Despite his heavy list of accomplishments, this was the first time in his career that Beresford topped a WCOOP event.
Attesting to his dominance this year, the four biggest scores in Beresford’s online career, five of his top six, and six of his top ten, all came in 2020.
The Arena Seemed Not to Matter To Timothy Adams
When live poker basically shut down around the world in March, there might not have been a hotter player than Timothy Adams. The Canadian cashed both the $100K and $50K Challenge at the 2020 Aussie Millions in January and then won an Australian Poker Open $25,000 event before winning Super High Roller Bowl Australia. All told, Adams added $2.1 million to his bankroll before Valentine’s Day.
In March, he found himself in Russia. He posted a fifth place finish in a $25,000 event at the partypoker MILLIONS Sochi Super High Roller Series before beating 39 other entries to win Super High Roller Bowl Russia. Those two scores put another $3,716,000 into his bank account.
Adams didn’t slow down once the action was forced online. Adams won one Poker Masters Online event and cashed in another ten PMO events to finish fourth in the race for the Purple Jacket in April. He closed out the year by finishing runner-up in the European Poker Tour Online event for $728,632.82, finished eighth in the EPT Online $10,000 High Roller, and then won a GGPoker Super MILLION$ for $315,158.
Success at Nearly Every Turn: Yuri Dzivielevski
While Bruno Botteon rose the #1 spot on the PocketFives Rankings this year, fellow Brazilian Yuri Dzivielevski went about his work. Dzivielevski, who was #1 in 2014 and 2015, won partypoker POWERFEST titles on March 19 and April 3, before earning his second career WSOP bracelet after coming out on top of the 4,356-entry field in Event #42 ($400 PLOssus) for $221,557 in August. He cashed in 14 other WSOP events to wrap up the summer.
That was just an appetizer for what Dzivielevski pulled off in the fall. Against the toughest competitors that the PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker has to offer, Dzivielevski emerged victorious not once, not twice, but three times in the first two weeks of the 25-day festival. He won Event #9 High ($1,050 NL 2-7), Event #20 ($1,050 HORSE), and Event #48 ($5,200 NLHE PKO) for more than $180,000 in winnings.
Viktor Blom Had Himself a Work Week To Remember
While the other players mentioned here all put together a string of results spread out over the course of the entire year, Swedish superstar Viktor Blom condensed all of his crushing into a single week – and still had time for a weekend of rest at the end.
In May, Blom won three Super High Roller Bowl Online events in a span of just five days. He won Event #9 ($10,300 High Roller) for $213,750 on May 26, Event #14 ($25,500 Super High Roller) for $407,500 on May 28, and then capped it off by taking down Event #21 ($10,300 High Roller) to earn $195,250 on May 30. He also picked up a runner-up finish in Event #8 ($25,500 Super High Roller) for $365,500 to bring his SHRB Online earnings to $1,182,000.