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  1. 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.   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.
  2. This year was the worst. The stress, worry, and isolation that was a big part of the global pandemic seemed to affect every part of everyday life. And while online poker received a renaissance of sorts, all of the biggest and best live poker tours were put on pause. The World Series of Poker, the World Poker Tour, and the European Poker Tour have all gone dark and the one "poker tour" that got away with a live stop, the Midway Poker Tour, tried to pay its players with gold bullions or some shit. So, yeah, all around this year sucked. But before anyone gets to break through to the other side and see what 2021 has in store, the 2020 end boss still has to be defeated - the holidays. Looking to gain weight? The holidays. Uncomfortable political talks? The holidays. People attempting to defend the stance that Die Hard is NOT a Christmas movie? You get it. But one thing that will surely not let you down is all of those presents that will be given and received. They couldn’t possibly disappoint, right? Normally right now you’d be reading the standard yearly 'poker players gift guide' which might include some elite headphones, a pair of expensive sunglasses, an autographed photo of Phil Ivey, and maybe even a fold-up poker table with LED lights incorporated around the rail…that’d all be cool right? Sorry. This is 2020. And as such, this isn’t the poker gift guide you want, it’s a poker gift guide befitting the year it was written in. The kind of poker gifts that when received that poker player in your life will not only feel like they’ve taken a bad beat, but they’ll vow to quit the game entirely. So enjoy, here’s the official poker gift guide of 2020 - the worst year ever. A Garbage Gift [caption id="attachment_633222" align="alignnone" width="640"] Favorite hand: 72o.[/caption] These little guys don’t wait for pocket aces, they’ll play any garbage hand. In fact, the trashier the hand the better for these FOUR STUFFED RACOONS playing poker. Whether trying to furnish a young grinder’s bachelor pad or stage the perfect setting for a nosebleed Las Vegas private game, these four - once alive raccoons who are now immortalized in death with cards in their hands - might elicit a polite chuckle and a headshake from all who see it. The best part is it will run you just ninety-nine cents…over $3,300. Produced by a professional taxidermist, every creepy setup is unique, which means if you want to surprise your loved one with poker’s musteloid massacre for the holiday season you’d better order soon as it takes 2-3 weeks to arrive. Not The Hamilton They Were Hoping For [caption id="attachment_633223" align="aligncenter" width="640"] The ultimate gift.[/caption] What could be better than a piece of memorabilia, a piece of history, from a World Series of Poker Main Event Champion? Well, when that champion is poker pariah Russ Hamilton, the answer is just about anything. This Binion’s "Authentic Collectable Casino Chip" with 1994 WSOP Main Event winner Russ Hamilton is the perfect lump of coal for the toxic online poker player in your life. This is especially true for those old enough to have played on UltimateBet where Hamilton allegedly was the mastermind behind online poker’s biggest superuser scandal which stole roughly $22 million from the community and gave online poker a black eye that, for some, it still sports today. The sales pitch for this poker chip insists that this poker chip "will bring you good luck". Good luck or the ability to see your opponent's hole cards in real-time? You’ll have to spend $19.99 for this $2.50 chip to find out. Bagged and Tagged [caption id="attachment_633224" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Feel that Eastgate rush![/caption] Many poker players will never have the opportunity to play in the WSOP Main Event, much less make a deep run. For those that do, they celebrate the opportunity to "find a bag" at the end of a long day of play and place their chips in and write their name on a plastic bag, which they will tear open the next day when play resumes. For those who want the rush of adrenaline that comes with looking at that bag once it’s done its job, place this gift under the tree. It’s the official discarded chip bags of Peter Eastgate and Ivan Demidov from the 2008 WSOP Main Event final table. "Bags were opened after being sealed to place chips on the heads up table of the 2008 World Series of Poker Main Event" and was then sold in a charity auction soon after. But now, these bad boys are back on the free market for a scant $9,995. (That’s a comma in that number, not a decimal point.) Just a cup of coffee under $10K will get you the very bags that held the chips that were handled by Eastgate and Demidov. Honestly, it’s the next best thing to playing the Main Event yourself. Ticket To Ride [caption id="attachment_633225" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Honk if you love Dennis.[/caption] Speaking of playing in the Main Event, could there be anything more exciting than boarding the flight that takes you to Las Vegas to play in the best tournament of the year? Just because the traditional Main Event is canceled this year doesn’t mean that the poker player in your life can’t feel that same thrill when they open this used, authentic American Airlines first-class boarding pass autographed by 2009 third-place finisher Dennis Philips. No, it’s not good for actual travel and certainly not for a seat at the final table but when paired with St. Louis Cardinals cap and a GTFOutta here 'truck horn', you’ll get PRIORITY ACCESS to hours of cosplay of one of poker’s most lovable everyman. Dress For Poker Success When playing poker live, one needs to focus on two things: comfort and style. Look good, feel good - right? Of course, you could hit a holiday home run by picking up some RunGood Gear. Or…if you want to go full 2020, here’s the very latest in poker accessories to turn the poker player in your life into the very pros they watch on TV. [caption id="attachment_633226" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Bloch wears it well, no cap.[/caption] If it’s good enough for Andy Bloch, it’s good enough for you. Forget about everything that happened after you "knocked out a pro" and remember when the good times were never going to end with this official NEW Full Tilt Poker "One size fits MOST" Cowboy Hat. So, if you have a normalish sized head then just $200 will give you the old-school cred you need to definitely not be labeled the fish at the table. [caption id="attachment_633227" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Canseco hates pocket aces.[/caption] Intimidate your foes with this authentic USED hand cast that former Oakland A’s slugger Jose Canseco wore at the poker table after he literally shot his finger off while cleaning his own gun. This is the very cast that he used to protect his hole cards and also the finger that Sports Illustrated described as "hanging against the back of his hand from an unsevered blood vessel." Plus a signature from Canseco himself - the ultimate shot taker. That’ll be $10K, mate. [caption id="attachment_633228" align="aligncenter" width="640"] It's only $500,000.[/caption] If you want to get into those juicy private games, it’s all about who you know. And there will be no doubt that you know absolutely everyone when you stroll into Blitz’s pad wearing this collared shirt from the Bicycle Casino absolutely covered with famous poker player's autographs. All of the greats are represented: Chip Reese, Phil Ivey, Joe Sebok...you name it! Honestly, there may be no one in the world of poker not plastered on this wearable canvas - Erik Seidel, Matt Damon, and the great-granddaughter of Bob Hope, Amanda Hope! Don’t miss the chance to wear the authentic signatures of Johnny Chan, David Sklansky, and CEO of French-based shoe line Eden Shoes, Frederique Banjout! Sure, it’s going for half a million U.S. dollars, but just think of all the +EV situations Bill Perkins is going to give you while you're wearing it. Looking for more great gift ideas? You’re out of luck and we’re out of space. This is 2020 and you get what you get. You may want a trip to the Main Event, a custom poker table, or a private lesson from Phil Galfond but all of those will have to wait until 2021. The good news is 2021 is right around the corner. And isn’t that a gift all by itself?
  3. Starting on February 6, 888poker’s value-packed online poker series XL Blizzard returns for 2020. XL Blizzard features a 34-event schedule spread over 11 days and promises over $1.4 million in total guarantees. [ptable zone=“Global Poker Article Ad”][ptable zone=“888poker”][ptable zone=“888poker NJ”] It’s the perfect opportunity for grinders at every level to battle for an XL title and potentially earn a dramatic boost to their bankroll. The schedule offers buy-ins that range from just $5.50 all the way up to $320 for the High Roller. With so many events on the schedule, you simply can’t go wrong by taking a shot in any of the 2020 XL Blizzard tournaments. However, on every schedule, there are some tournaments that a dedicated grinder needs to carve out time for. Here are five MUST-PLAY events from the upcoming 2020 XL Blizzard schedule. Event #1 - $50,000 Opening Event Buy-in: $109 Date: Thursday, February 6 There’s always a little bit of extra excitement at the onset of a new online poker tournament series. Historically, 888poker’s XL Blizzard Opening Event has been a showcase of enthusiasm. During past Opening Events, players have helped the tournament crush it’s $50K guarantee and created one of the largest prize pools of an XL series. With 30K in starting chips and 15-minute levels, players who want plenty of room to play will enjoy the structure. Plus, there are a number of direct $109 satellites that can be entered starting at just $5. This means that the field will be full of players who won their way into the contest on the cheap. Event #11 - $50,000 Mini Tune Up Buy-in: $16.50 Date: Sunday, February 9 Every online grinder knows that the biggest tournaments are held on Sunday and 888poker has packed the XL Blizzard Sunday schedule with some high-value events. While many will have their eye on the $160 buy-in $100K GTD Tune Up, don’t skip out on the $16.50 Mini Turn Up. The value is evident - it’s half the guarantee at one-tenth the buy-in of the largest version. That means there will be plenty of money to play for in the Mini Tune Up at a fraction of cost. In fact, on the same day, the Late Tune Up comes with a $55 buy-in and only a $20K guarantee, showcasing why you shouldn’t miss out on the Mini Tune Up. Event #23 - $50,000 PKO 8-Max Buy-in: $160 Date: Thursday, February 13 It feels good to knock an opponent out of a tournament. It feels great to get paid on the spot for doing so. 888poker knows how popular Progressive Knockout tournaments have become and the 2020 XL Blizzard schedule is jam-packed full of PKOs. None are bigger than the $50K PKO 8-Max. It comes with one of the higher price tags of the entire series but that only means that every bounty is more valuable. As the tournament progresses, the stakes will get even higher and whoever comes out on top of Event #23 will take home of one of the largest paydays of the week. Event #29 - $30,000 6-Max Buy-in: $109 Date: Saturday, February 15 If you like to play a lot of hands in tournaments then short-handed is for you. There are a number of 8-Max tournaments on the schedule but there is only one day where 6-Max is featured. The $109 buy-in, $30,000 guaranteed event is the biggest and richest of the three. The tournament structure is player-friendly with 50,000 in starting chips, 12-minute levels and a maximum of three re-entries. Like all of the $109 buy-in tournaments, direct satellites into this tournament start at just $5. Event #32 - $500,000 XL Blizzard Main Event Buy-in: $250 Date: Sunday, February 16 It should be no surprise that the XL Blizzard Main Event is an absolute must-play tournament. As we’ve said before, the XL series Main Events are some of the biggest tournaments that 888poker will run all year and it’s a shot-takers best chance at a bankroll-transforming score. Players can find their way into the Main Event in a number of ways. 888poker is routinely running $33 satellites that guarantee three seats into the Main Event. There is also a ‘new depositor’ qualifier that runs daily that also is awarding seats to the top 15 players. Running around the clock are step satellites where players can work their way up into larger satellites and events, all starting at literally $0.01. There’s no doubt that the XL Blizzard Main Event will be massive with the winner likely to walk away with close to a six-figure score.
  4. It’s time for another 888poker signature XL online poker series. Starting on February 6, XL Blizzard is back with 34-events over 11 days and more than $1.4 million in total guarantees. No doubt, battling for an XL title and a share of $1.4 million sounds great. But even after you carve out the time on your schedule to the online grind, you have to come up with the buy-ins. If a grinder was to play the entire XL Blizzard series that would mean dedicating more than $2,200 of their bankroll to the pursuit of greatness. [ptable zone=“888poker”][ptable zone=“888poker NJ”][ptable zone=“Global Poker Article Ad”] Luckily for all players, 888poker understands the benefit of giving everyone - from micro-stakes players to everyday grinders - the opportunity to win their way into some of XL Blizzard's biggest events. By using 888poker's satellite system and limited-time promotions, a player could dramatically reduce their buy-ins over the course of the series. Step Up To XL Blizzard One of the most tried and true ways to win your way into an XL Blizzard event is through 888poker’s round-the-clock Step Satellites. Starting for a little as $0.01 (yes, one cent!) players can work their way up a satellite tree that earns them tournament tickets into a number of larger events. Plus, depending on a player’s bankroll and comfort, they can start anywhere they wish on the satellite tree in an effort to turn a few pennies into a shot at a huge score. Here are the details of the Step Satellite Options: Step 1 – $0.01buy-in to win a Step 2 entry or tournament ticket Step 2 – $0.10 buy-in (or ticket) to win a Step 3 entry or tournament ticket Step 3 – $1 buy-in (or ticket) to win a Step 4 entry or tournament ticket Step 4 – $5 buy-in (or ticket) to win a Step 5 entry or tournament ticket Step 5 – $30 buy-in (or ticket) to win a Step 6 entry or tournament ticket Step 6 – $160 buy-in to win (or ticket) to win a $1,050 tournament ticket Massive Main Event The $500,000 XL Blizzard Main Event is a must-play event as it promises the winner a major boost to their bankroll. Even though last year 888poker reduced the buy-in to the Main Event from $1,050 down to $250, for some it may still be a stretch to take a shot in the Main Event without winning their way in. Direct satellites are routinely running for the Main Event. The buy-in is $33 and they promise that at least three tournament tickets will be given away. The $33 satellites have their own super-satellites, allowing players to win their way into the $33 for just $3.30. As the Main Event gets closer, look for more direct satellites to be put into the tournament lobby as 888poker will need 2,000 entries just to cover their guarantee. Depositor Freeroll In addition to the Steps Satellites for tournament tickets and direct satellites to specific events like the Main Event, 888poker is rewarding new depositors with a pair of Qualifiers. New depositors can pick up an entry into either the XL Blizzard Main Event Qualifier or the XL Blizzard Mini Tune Up Qualifier. The XL Blizzard Main Event Qualifier runs every day at 20:00 GMT through February 15 and the top 15 players are slated to win a $250 ticket into the XL Blizzard Main Event. It’s similar for the XL Blizzard Mini Tuen Up Event. Every day at 18:05 GMT through February 8 the tournament will run with the top 30 players picking up a $16.50 ticket to the Mini Tune Up. For more information on satellites and to take a shot at a particular event, launch the 888poker client and click on the Tournaments Tab. From there, select the Satellites tab to launch into Step Satellites. Or, select the XL Blizzard tab to see all of the upcoming events and direct satellites for the Main Event.

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