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  1. [caption width="640"] Tomas 'dartazzzz' Jozonis is the top-ranked Lithuanian online poker player and budding beach volleyball star[/caption] Do you remember the beach volleyball scene in Top Gun? That completely needless scene to the tune of Kenny Loggins' "Hanging with the Boys"? For a few athletes, volleyball is more than just a beach day diversion. Tomas 'dartazzzz' Jozonis is a 25-year-old pro poker player from Lithuania. He has a Bachelor's degree in International Business and Communication and after getting a job out of school didn't pan out, Jozonis found poker. When he's not playing poker, he's on the sand bumping, setting, and spiking in beach volleyball. Like Tom Cruise from that 1980s movie. Or Goose. "There are few indoor beach volleyball courts in Lithuania where I practice and compete during the bad weather season, but the main action for beach volleyball players is, of course, during the summer, which is when all national competitions take place," said Jozonis. "I am not yet at the level to compete among professionals in beach volleyball, but my plan is to reach that level in two years' time." He's not yet Misty May-Treanor, but Jozonis has a lot of friends in the beach volleyball community who are professionals as well as good coaches. "My plan is to work hard with them on improving my technical skills and mental game," he said. "Also, I have a knee injury that I am fixing now, which means I have to get in good physical shape as fast as possible." Beach volleyball is played to 21 points – the first team to get that magic number wins the set, and you must win by two. It's played with two people on a side, so there's a lot of movement on a very soft surface. Endurance, agility, and reaction time are at a premium. "You have to be good at all of the basics like serving, spiking, and setting the ball," he said. "Improving these skills means making faster spikes so that the blocker will have a hard time blocking your spike, making a more precise set so it would be easier to attack the ball, and so on. That takes a lot of time to become skilled at, especially when you start practicing at the age of 20, which is what I did." Rather than be exposed to beach volleyball his entire life, Jozonis is certainly new to the game. And regardless of whether he played traditional volleyball before that, beach volleyball is a whole different animal. "Beach volleyball differs a lot from regular volleyball," the Lithuanian said. "In regular volleyball, you have unique tasks. For example, the attacker only spikes and blocks; he does not have to set the ball. Beach volleyball players have to be skilled at every aspect of the game. I could probably win some games of beach volleyball against very good volleyball players, but I would have a zero chance of beating them if I played inside." His brother is to blame for his love of beach volleyball. "I loved the game from the start," he said. "My brother and I were a team at first, but now he does not play much. I usually practice or play two or three times a week and maybe more during the summer." Because he plays at an amateur level, he has a different partner every time. While his partner on the court might not be consistent, his rise in poker has been steady. Over the years, Jozonis has piled up $1.2 million in career online tournament winnings from over 3,000 in the money finishes. He's the top-ranked Lithuanian online poker player and stands at #46 in the world. And if there's a tournament with the name "Big" in the title, he's probably won it. [caption width="640"] Jozonis has .2 million in career winnings[/caption] On May 21 and 22, just a month ago, Jozonis recorded the two largest scores of his poker career in a France Poker Series High Roller event and a SCOOP $2,100 No Limit Hold'em Min-Max tournament. They were worth almost $50,000 total and have helped him shoot into the top 50 in the world in the PocketFives Rankings. "If I could reach the same level in beach volleyball as in poker, I would definitely consider moving on from poker," he said. "But, I will never be skilled enough to compete in world-class competitions like I can in poker." "I really like the competition aspect of poker like in sports, as well as the mathematical and analytical side of it," he said. "Moreover, I like the financial freedom and the ability to be your own boss that poker brings." His typical grind session is 8:00 PM to 4:00 AM and he tends to skip Fridays, Saturdays, and Wednesdays. He's racked up 144 top-three finishes during the eight-hour grind over the last two years and has begun moving up in stakes fairly quickly. In fact, the Lithuanian online poker player is about to pass $1 million in career winnings on PokerStars alone with only one $20,000+ cash, and he's less than 1,000 PLB Points away from cracking the top 10 worldwide on PocketFives.
  2. Online poker is a global game with players logging on and grinding from every part of the world. Every country has a #1-ranked player and here we take a look at some of those that lead the way in their home countries. ‘dartazzzz’ - Lithuania Lithuania may not one of online poker’s powerhouse countries, but its #1-ranked player ‘dartazzzz’ certainly has proven himself to be elite. He is the #23 ranked player in the world and has accumulated over $3.7 million in lifetime earnings. This fall was a big one for ’dartazzzz’ as he set a new career-high cash during PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker. The Lithuanian bested the 1577 player field in Event-61-H ($1,050 NLHE Eight Max Progressive KO) for $120,281 and 887.98 PLB points. He accumulated 10 qualifying PLB cashes since the beginning of September and appeared at the final table in seven out of the ten. He also has 25 scores of four-figures or better in that same period of time. Jonas ‘Palsgaard1’ Palsgard Christensen - Denmark Currently occupying the top spot in the country of Denmark is Jonas ‘Palsgaard1’ Palsgard Christensen, the number-35 ranked player in the world. Christensen is a true grinder. In September he was seemingly playing every tournament he could and posting multiple results just about every day. In total, for the month, he registered 16 PLB qualifying cashes including a third place finish in partypoker’s POWERFEST-96-HR for $47,218.95. Christensen cashed in over 150 tournaments in September for a total earnings of just over $196,000. He currently has roughly $1.9 million in online tournament earnings and is just off his career-high ranking of #27 which he achieved this year. Fabrizio ‘SixthSenSe19’ Gonzalez - Uruguay Uruguay’s #1 player, Fabrizio ‘SixthSenSe19’ Gonzalez, is also regarded as one of online poker’s best players. The former #1-ranked player in the world, not only crushes online but has been showing up more often in live high roller events. He recently was seen at the final table of the partypoker MILLIONS UK 25,500 High Roller where he finished as the runner up to Steve O’ Dwyer for a career-high live cash of $377,521. Gonzalez' online prowess is well known. He has earned over $7.5 million in online tournament earnings, won a PLB leaderboard award and is a three-time #1 ranked player. Gonzalez may sliding on the online rankings due to his pursuit of playing in live events, but that hasn’t stopped him from from logging on and posting resulted whenever possible. While no longer of PLB consideration, Gonzalez career-high cash was a monster. Just two years ago he finished as the runner up in the massive WCOOP-70: $21,000 PLO Six Max High Roller for $355,730. ‘GreenNaugahyde’ - Poland The #1-ranked player in Poland is a relatively new PocketFiver having joined up in July of 2018. Primarily a partypoker player, ‘GreenNaugahyde’ spent much of the month of September grinding POWERFEST and posting some impressive results. He made it to the podium in two major POWERFEST events including Event-77-H Mix Max where he took third place for $20,141. He followed that result up the very next day with another bronze finish in Event-89-H for another $8,169. In September ‘GreenNaughahyde’ earned over $111,000 over the course of 84 cashes. Of his 84 cashes, twenty went for four-figures or higher. With over $813,000 in total lifetime earnings, he’s looking to earn his $1 million badge right around the end of 2018. ‘jounas14’ - Spain When a player is playing on a network that does not get to co-exist with the rest of the world, it can be hard to scale the rankings. Spain’s current #1-ranked player ‘jounas14’ has been grinding for years on PokerStars.es, but that hasn’t stopped him from registering on the rankings. Currently ranked #300 in the world (having reached as high as #200), ‘jounas14’ is a low-mid stakes grinder who puts in a healthy amount in of volume. He recently took down the September 20 edition of PokerStars.es The Hot €100 Turbo for $2,436 and 108.05 PLB points. He followed that up with four more four figure-score to date. His successful September has him earning a total of over $21,000.
  3. Movers & Shakers takes a look into those PocketFives members that have made big moves in the top 100 of the online poker rankings. Anatoly ‘nl_profit’ Filatov (#11) partypoker ambassador Anatoly ‘nl_profit’ Filatov has been knocking on the doorstep of the worldwide top 10 for all of 2019. This week, he’s gone as far as he can go without breaking through, working his way to his career-high ranking of #11 in the world. The Russian pro is well-known for his over $3 million in career life earnings, including his victory in the partypoker MILLIONS Russia Main Event for $944K, but his online grind is as good as anyone in the game right now. He finished as the runner-up in the February 3 edition of the PokerStars High Roller Club $2,100 Sunday High Roller for $41,499 and 327.23 PLB points. That same day he posted a third-place result in the partypoker Sunday High Roller for another $23,200. Filatov sits less than 100 points behind the #10-ranked Ramiro ‘Ramiro’ Petrone. He needs just needs one or two more PLB qualifying scores to push him into yet another new career-high ranking and into the steep climb to the top spot. Filatov currently sits with over $4.3 million in career online earnings. Sami ‘LarsLuzak’ Kelopuro (#12) Legendary online nosebleed cash game grinder Sami ‘LarsLuzak’ Kelopuro has been finding plenty of success in online tournaments as of late and his results have helped him to climb one spot this week to a career-high ranking of #12 in the world. Finland’s #1-ranked player got a big PLB boost from his victory in Event #24 of PokerStars Turbo Series ($1,050 No Limit Hold’em Eight Max Progressive KO). He took home $56,225 and 570.96 PLB points for the score. It was a tidy week for Kelopuro who put in light volume but saw hefty results. He only racked up 10 total cashes, however, he managed to earn over $86,000. This was with the help of his bronze medal finish in the February 8 edition of the PokerStars High Roller Club $530 Daily Supersonic for an additional $11,551. For Kelopuro, if he can bring in one more big-time score he may find himself in the same scenario as Filatov, breaking through to the top 10 for the first time. He sits only 97 PLB points behind #10-ranked Petrone, and less than that behind Filatov himself. Bruno ‘brunovolks’ Volkmann (#20) This is not Bruno ‘brunovolks’ Volkmann’s first time gracing the Movers And Shakers column as the Brazilian has been surging up (and down) the upper echelon of the rankings for months. This week he shot up eight positions, which was enough to overtake Joao ‘joaosimaobh’ Simao as the #1-ranked player in all of Brazil. Volkmann’s PLB surge coincided with two victories last week. The first took place during the PokerStars.es Carnaval Series, Event #9 (€50 No Limit Hold’em Big Stack, Turbo, Six Max) for $14,887 and 323.62 PLB points. He followed that up with a win in the PokerStars High Roller Club $1,050 Daily Warm-up for another $33,467/407.43 PLB points. In total, Volkmann picked up five PLB qualifying cashes to jump back into the worldwide top 25, landing at #20 this week. Volkmann has an outside chance to get back to his career high ranking of #16 if he finds his way back to the online tables by the end of the week. He sits only 5 PLB points behind Steve ‘MrTimCaum’ O’Dwyer at #19 and fewer than 200 points away from Chris ‘Getting Daize’ Oliver who holds down the #16 spot this week. ‘dartazzzz’ (#36) Lithuania’s #1-ranked ‘dartazzzz’ made a major leap back into the top 50 this week. His performance last week vaulted him 24 spots to land at #36 in the world. He picked up three PLB qualifying cashes, including a victory in the Event #6 of the PokerStars.es Carnaval Series (€250 Sunday Special Progressive KO Eight Max) for over $27,000 and 417.97 PLB points. He also bubbled the final table of the February 3 partypoker Sunday High Roller Grind for $3,560/112.33 PLB points. In total, ‘dartazzzz’ picked up over 30 cashes last week for a sum of just over $53,000. He just recently achieved the $4 million lifetime total milestone so his 2019 will be focused on climbing to the $5 million mark and fending off any of the other four Lithuanian’s that are battling it out in the top 100. This includes ’necgaidziai’ who just this week broke through into the top 100, landing at a career-high ranking of his own at #86. ‘nilsef’ (#40) Former top 20 German grinder ‘nilsef’ finds himself, once again, as the nation’s #1-ranked player. February 3 was a spectacular Sunday for 'nilsef' as he picked up three PLB qualifying scores, two of which were outright victories. It started with an 11th place finish in the PokerStars High Roller Club $1,050 Sunday Warm-up for $5,455 and 129.28 PLB points. He followed that up with the first of his victories in the PokerStars $44 Bounty Builder besting a field of 5,851 for $14,502/342.08 PLB points. 'nilsef' then wrapped that day up with another takedown of the PokerStars $82 No Limit Hold’em Hyper-Turbo for over $4,000/150.76 PLB points. He leapfrogs Arturs ‘Artschgamble’ Scerbaks, who climbed three spots this week himself, landing at #47. ‘nilsef’ has over $7.8 million in lifetime earnings, which places him at #34 on the All-Time Online Money List. Every week, PocketFives updates the complete Online Poker Rankings.
  4. One of online poker's most popular players, 'girafganger7,' scooped the 2019 PocketFives February PLB title. Girafganger7's February included 124 cashes for $454,604 in prize money and a leaderboard-topping 4,867.51 points. Girafganger7's largest score of February came in the GGPoker Sunday Blade $5K on February 25. In that event, he took third place for $52,437 and 314.86 points. Girafganger7 also had scores of $45,267 and $45,030 in February, with both of those coming in tournaments on partypoker. With the month of February he had, girafganger7 surged past $8 million in online tournament earnings and now boasts more than $8.38 million in earnings total. All told, girafganger7's February was 569.66 points better than the competition, with January PLB winner Roman 'Romeopro' Romanovsky coming in second place. Although he didn't win the monthly PLB title for the second month of 2019, Romanovsky had another solid showing. His biggest score in February was a $105,500 third-place finish in the The Big Game: $1M Gtd. on partypoker. He also recorded scores of $32,030 and $31,771 on GGPoker. Conor '1_conor_b_1' Beresford placed third on the February PLB, tallying 4,041.66 points. His largest score was a sixth-place finish in the PokerStars Turbo Series 54: $5,200 NLHE [8-Max, High Roller] for $54,106 and 336.12 points. He also took second in the PokerStars Turbo Series 100: $530 NLHE for $36,954 and 357.73 points and third in the partypoker Turbo Series 100: $530 NLHE for $32,400 and 253.42 points. Girafganger7, Romanovsky, and Beresford were the only three players to tally more than 4,000 monthly PLB points. Rounding out the leaderboard's top five were 'dartazzzz' with 3,984.01 points and 'lena900' with 3,914.57 points. PocketFives February PLB Leaderboard RANK PLAYER PLB POINTS 1 'girafganger7' 4,867.51 2 Roman 'Romeopro' Romanovsky 4,297.85 3 Conor '1_conor_b_1' Beresford 4,041.66 4 'dartazzzz' 3,984.01 5 'lena900' 3,914.57 6 'inhoo' 3,859.73 7 Ramiro 'Ramiro' Petrone 3,651.31 8 'papan9_p$' 3,616.58 9 'DamageAP' 3,534.30 10 Sami 'LarsLuzak' Kelopuro 3,282.27  
  5. Just five days ago, 'CalmDownMan' stood tall after winning POWERFEST Event #35-SHR ($5,200 Six Max NLHE PKO) for $147K. On Monday, they added another partypoker POWERFEST title to their resume by winning Event #79-HR ($530 Eight Max NLHE Grind) for $26,865. 'CalmDownMan' outlasted the other 269 players to win the tournament. Finishing as the runner-up earned 'STAY_HUNGRY' $19,440 and 'SonOfPunt' earned $13,635. The biggest winner on the day was 'fromHOlland1945' who scored $49,066.02 after navigating their way through the 197-player field in Event #80-HR ($1,050 Mix Max NLHE) for $49,066.02. 'ChimneyBarrel', who also finished seventh in Event #79-HR, earned $31,520 for a runner-up performance, while 'JCardz11' finished in third place for $22,162.50. The other four of the seven High Roller events on Monday's schedule were of the PKO variety. 'PayAndPlay' topped the 81-player field in Event #81-HR ($530 Six Max Pot Limit Omaha 8-or-better PKO Battle Fast) to win $4,613.03 and another $6,976.85 worth of bounties. 'SnoutMySprout' just missed out on a POWERFEST title and earned $4,608.91 plus $1,058.21 in bounties. Third-place finisher 'AngryKitten' grabbed $2,837.49 and an additinoal $2,424.04 in bounties. Event #82-HR ($530 Six Max NLHE PKO Fast) drew 223 runners with 'dartazzzz' beating all of them to bank $9,797.78 and $11,080.46 in bounties. Second-place finisher 'PUCKBOUCHARD' had to settle for a $9,786.50 score and $5,448.94 in bounties while 'RiverShove' finished third for $6,961.72 and just $2,424.04 in bounties. The biggest buy-in PKO event on Monday, Event #83-HR ($1,050 Eight Max NLHE PKO) had 197 runners with 'just.a.baron' taking home the $15,880.26 from the prize pool and another $15,803.36 worth of bounties. The last bounty collected belonged to 'GebGeb' who walked away with $15,860.63 and another $12,128.33 in bounties. Coming in third earned 'kristian150' $11,313.08 + $6,242.57 in bounties. The final event of the day, Event #84 ($530 Six Max PLO PKO) had 110 entries with 'iHodl.' taking it down for $5,267.81 and another $8,203.18 in bounties. Runner-up 'theSDMsickness' pocketed $5,26.25 and $705.47 in bounties while 'SnoutMySprout' added another podium finish, earning $3,716.47 and $3,133.60 in bounties. POWERFEST #79-HR: Eight Max NLHE Grind $530 buy-in 270 entries $135,000 prize pool CalmDownMan - $26,865 STAY_HUNGRY - $19,440 SonOfPunt - $13,635 relentless - $9,922.50 MortenVM_ - $7,020 dartazzzz - $5,265 ChimneyBarrel - $3,712.50 sims_or_sin... - $2,700 POWERFEST #80-HR: Mix Max NLHE $1,050 buy-in 197 entries $197,000 prize pool fromHOlland1945 - $49,066.02 ChimneyBarrel - $31,520 JCardz11 - $22,162.50 Ben Molho - $16,055.50 Robbery9999 - $11,820 washington1234 - $7,880 POWERFEST #81-HR: Six Max Pot Limit Omaha 8-or-better PKO Battle Fast $530 buy-in 81 entries $41,512.50 prize pool PayAndPlay - $4,613.03 + $6,976.85 in bounties SnoutMySprout - $4,608.91 + $1,058.21 in bounties AngryKitten - $2,837.49 + $2,424.04 in bounties Razorblade Nick - $2,069.01 + $1,230.47 in bounties relentless - $1,477.86 + $262.50 in bounties astenia - $1,004.94 + $754.69 in bounties POWERFEST #82-HR: Six Max NLHE PKO Fast $530 buy-in 223 entries $114,287.50 prize pool dartazzzz - $9,797.78 + $11,080.46 in bounties PUCKBOUCHARD - $9,786.50 + $5,448.94 in bounties RiverShove - $6,961.72 + $2,424.04 in bounties veegar - $5,085.56 + $3,006.46 in bounties NOLIMITHOLDEM - $3,790.48 + $1,255.07 in bounties iRunStims - $2,526.98 + $1,476.56 in bounties POWERFEST #83-HR: Eight Max NLHE PKO $1,050 buy-in 197 entries $201,925 prize pool just.a.baron - $15,880.36 + $15,803.36 in bounties GebGeb - $15,860.63 + $12,128.33 in bounties kristian150 - $11,313.08 + $6,242.57 in bounties AndreyBolkonsky - $8,364.17 + $7,514.06 in bounties iRunStims - $5,897.81 + $4,790.62 in bounties ShipAndDate - $4,503.78 + $3,478.12 in bounties TheOptimist - $3,324.22 + $1,476.57 in bounties Kroat.. - $2,466.35 + $656.25 in bounties POWERFEST #84-HR: Six Max PLO PKO $530 buy-in 110 entries $56,375 prize pool iHodl. - $5,267.81 + $8,203.18 in bounties theSDMsickness - $5,26.25 + $705.47 in bounties SnoutMySprout - $3,716.47 + $3,133.60 in bounties Happy-AIA - $2,632.50 + $787.50 in bounties Dandelion32892 - $1,935.66 + $1,509.37 in bounties TheGladiator - $1,285.27 + $1,542.18 in bounties

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