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“Poker still gives me a thrill from time to time. All deep runs, even if it’s a small tournament, like $3,000 for first, the competition of getting to the final table gives me a thrill even though it’s something I do every day.” For professional online poker pro Jonatan ‘Pot4teUS’ Hellman, his life and the grind are intertwined. Despite everything that he’s gone through in the past two years - a marriage, a divorce, a move from the country to the city - Hellman has continued to maintain his focus and keep the grind alive. Hellman has been a PocketFiver for over five years and a poker pro for even longer. He has amassed over $3.5 million since 2016, more than doubling his lifetime earnings to a massive $6.6 million. He did this with the confidence and support of one of the toughest, tight-knit online poker communities - the Swedes. It’s no secret that many of the top-tier online pros hail from Sweden, with 12 of the top 100 ranked player in the world coming from the Kingdom, including the #1-ranked player in the world ‘lena900.’ “Yea, I know all of them,” Hellman said. “A lot of us are really tight and hang out a lot, talk on Skype and talk hands. A big group stays in Gothenburg which is the second biggest city in Sweden. It’s me, Mr. Andrew (‘r4ndomr4gs’) and Lena (‘lena900’), ‘Sheater’, ‘eisenhower1’, ‘inhoo’…there’s a lot of guys staying in the same city so we go out a lot.” As prolific as Hellman and #TeamSWE are, it’s a marvel that the crew has any time to spare for a night out at all. “We usually go to nice dinners, go out partying and stuff. That’s basically it. But not that often anymore. Everyone wants to stay home and grind, especially ‘Lena’ - he’s the most boring one by far,” Hellman laughs. “That’s why he’s number one. Like on a Friday, when we usually have a day off we go out to a nice restaurant, have some beers and a nice dinner. He gets there, has one Coke then he gets home to grind. That’s why he’s the best.” The reputation of the Swedish contingency precedes itself. Legendary tales of wildly aggressive play and maniacal moves. “We used to be crazy,” Hellman laughs. “I think people play pretty much the same now, except the South American players, especially the guys from Uruguay. ‘SixthSenSe19’ (Fabrizio Gonzalez) and his crew, they have their own style.” “(The reputation) was more of a thing a few years ago. But like the Brazilians, there are so many of them, there are going to be a lot of different styles. It’s the same with the Swedes. It’s not like everyone plays like ‘Isildur1’ in 2008. Obviously, if we talk poker with each other some tendencies are going to be the same but there’s still going to be different styles.” It’s clear that there is a camaraderie and healthy competition among Hellman and his countrymen. Hellman, who is currently the #4-ranked player in the country, more than holds his own. A former top-5 ranked player in the world, Hellman has been rising back up the rankings, currently sitting at #21 thanks in part to his first PokerStars WCOOP title this fall. “I had a terrible WCOOP, I just lost every day,” Hellman recalls. “Then the last day was a $1K Turbo Bounty and I shipped that. It was cool.” To hear Hellman talk about it, he’s happy with it but not overly so. He keeps an even keel about notching his new career-high cash of over $84,000 first place plus another $78,000 in bounties. That’s all in a day’s work for a man who has just recently surpassed 7,000 total recorded online cashes. His work ethic had awarded him with what would be roughly four cashes a day, every day, for the past five years. He's simply played so many tournaments, so many sessions he couldn’t even tell you how many tournaments he plays in a session. “I have no idea,” he said. “I play around twelve tables at a time. I’m guessing I’m playing maybe forty or fifty tournaments in a session. On a Sunday maybe more. “I basically play everything between $50 and, on a normal day, the biggest ones are $1K. During a series, I’ll usually play (up to) the $5K Main. But I’ll play most of the $2K’s and below. So really a grind for me can be varied buy-ins. Sometimes I’ll get $20 buy-ins in as well.” The pursuit of online perfection has taken Hellman away from playing live poker as much as he used to. Approaching $500,000 in live earnings, Hellman will make the occasional appearance at a European Poker Tour event but prefers the action right where he is. “I used to play more live a few years ago but I tired of it basically. The traveling, the long hours and only being able to one table live, it’s not really for me. I mean, live deep runs is the most fun you can ever have in a poker tournament but the two or three days before that is so boring. “One of my first live tournaments was the WSOP Main Event in 2012 and I finished 28th in that, so that was really huge for me. It’s really funny because I was a terrible MTT player back then, I played only cash games. I think about it all the time because nowadays I’m super serious about pay jumps. Like in the (PokerStars) Hot $55, if I have five big blinds I’m going to stall because I want to make the extra $20. But back then, the pay jump between 28th and 27th was $60K and that was basically my net worth when I went to Vegas that year and I had no idea there was a pay jump.” The more times change for Hellman, the more they stay the same. His life in Gothenburg is surrounded by friends all focused on the grind. Up next for Hellman, appears to be more of the same. Perhaps even there’s a return to the top 10 in his future. “I think (the PocketFives rankings) are a fun element but the problem now is they have added so many super buy-in tournaments, like $25Ks. They have so many tournaments which I don’t play so it makes it kind of hard to ever be able to compete with, for example, ‘lena’ and ‘Darwin’ who play everything," Hellman said. "It's still fun. Maybe to become the best Swede outside of 'lena' and 'Darwin', that's my goal." You can follow Jonatan Hellman's poker journey via Twitter: @Jonatan_Hellman
The biggest day of the week in the world of online poker came around quickly once again, with Patrick Leonard, Parker Talbot, Tomi Brouk, and world ranked #1 'Lena900' all picking up Sunday victories. The largest prizes up for grabs came as expected in the PokerStars $215 Sunday Million as 5,657 entrants created a $1,131,400 prize pool. Ireland's Aidan 'yaboybush' Hynes departed in fourth place for $52,808 and banked by far his biggest online cash to date. Hynes' departure paved the way for the final three to agree to a money-deal, which secured each player a six-figure score. Brazil's 'fred_volpe' was the first player to fall post-deal and took away $101,342 in third place, which left only Irishman James 'deyrzuited' Noonan and 'MrFure' in contention for the title. Noonan, who is a former Ireland #1 ranked player, was ultimately the one to miss out on the glory and departed as runner-up with his $100,227 share of the prize pool. 'MrFure' was crowned the Sunday Million winner and walked away with $133,713. Patrick 'pads1161' Leonard came through an 87 player field to take the win in the PokerStars $2,100 Sunday High Roller. 'Lena900', Ricardo 'riversouza' Souza, Timothy Adams, and 'sk2ll_m0dR' all came and went on the final table before Russia's 'Futti18' exited in third place for $24,580. Leonard then got the better of Bulgaria's 'cskar4e1' and claimed the $41,580 first-place prize, with the latter having to settle for $31,969 as runner-up. It was a good day for BITB staking, after Tomi 'elmerixx' Brouk followed in the footsteps of his business partner Leonard by taking down the PokerStars $530 Bounty Builder PKO High Roller. 'huiiiiiiiii' departed from the 1,018 player field with the bronze medal for $22,531.64 + $7,898.44 in bounty prizes which left a final battle between 'elmerixx' and 'C.Darwin2'. But the well-known Swedish player was unable to get the better of the Finn 'elmerixx' and 14 hours after the tournament began the latter picked up the win for $41,936.73 + $37,028.20, with 'C.Darwin2' banking $30,739.06 + $8,019.53 in second. 'viskuzi' claimed the PokerStars $215 Sunday Warm-Up title following a heads-up deal with 'JopperHarryN'. 1,048 entrants took part in the tournament and created a $209,600 prize pool. 'RaiseYourEdge' head coach 'bencb789' took third place for $17,581 before the final two agreed to a money-deal and played out for the win. 'JopperHarryN' fell at the final hurdle and banked $27,021, as 'viskuzi' took the win for $31,440. Sweden's current world ranked #1 'Drulitooo' aka 'Lena900' saw off 59 other entrants to win the partypoker $2,600 Super Sunday High Roller for $41,480. Eight places were paid from the 60 player field, and after 'nipa3p3' was sent to the virtual rail in third place for $21,750, the final two agreed to a deal. 'j2805667' ultimately took away $40,269 for their share of the remaining prize pool as runner-up, and the Swede extended his lead at the top of the online rankings after another gold medal performance. 'PotatoLottery' won over $67,000 after coming out on top in the partypoker $1,050 KO Series #04-HR tournament. As part of the 'Knock-Out' series currently running on the site, this tournament saw 247 entrants compete for a share of the $300,000 prize pool. 'rafaelmoraesgm' exited in third place for $18,905.56 + $1,503.12 in bounties before 'PotatoLottery' was able to defeat 'Pider Ninni' heads-up, with the latter banking $26,591.80 + $8,600.31 and the silver medal. Over on 888poker, it was a great evening for popular twitch streamer Parker '888tonkaaaa' Talbot who won the $215 Sunday Mega Deep after a heads-up deal with 'sikosomatik'. The Canadian 888poker ambassador concluded the deal after 'bossamtisch1' had departed in third place for $10,879, and the final two played out for the all-important top spot. Talbot came out the other side victorious to bank $17,390, with 'sikosomatik' taking away $16,511.81. Talbot then tweeted his excitement to his almost 23,000 followers and stated he would be back streaming his online grind on Tuesday, after a well deserved day's rest on Monday. https://twitter.com/tonkaaaap/status/1064387821736206336 Below are this week’s Sunday final table results: PokerStars Sunday Million ($200 + $15 NLHE) $1M Guaranteed 5,657 entrants, $1,131,400 prize pool MrFure - $133,713.75* deyrzuited - $100,227.82* fred_volpe - $101,342.80* yaboybush - $52,808.54 edu22.sp - $37,059.45 EPNR - $26,007.15 aecrim93 - $18,251.06 Chapo16 - $12,808.12 mahairong - $8,988.40 PokerStars $2,100 Sunday High Roller, $150k Gtd 87 entrants, $174,000 prize pool pads1161 - $41,580.18 cskar4e1 - $31,969.64 Futti18 - $24,580.45 sk2ll_m0dR - $18,899.13 Tim0thee - $14,530.94 riversouza - $11,172.38 Anjeyyy - $8,590.08 Lena900 - $6,604.65 EstoyPiantao - $5,818.99 PokerStars $530 Bounty Builder PKO High Roller, $300k Gtd 1,018 entrants, $509,000 prize pool elmerixx - $41,936.73 + $37,028.20 C.Darwin2 - $30,739.06 + $8,019.53 huiiiiiiiii - $22,531.64 + $7,898.44 ezynow99 - $16,515.62 + $9,036.12 Proudflop - $12,105.90 + $1,234.38 DotComRicher - $8,873.60 + $3,617.19 pipazzio - $6,504.33 + $4,298.83 OMGuGotLeaks - $4,767.65 + $3,023.44 INormaJean - $3,494.66 + $2,390.62 PokerStars $215 Sunday Warm-Up $175k Gtd 1,048 entrants, $209,600 prize pool viskuzi - $31,440.73* JopperHarryN - $27,021.83* bencb789 - $17,581.60 BrightStripe - $12,641.33 bigfox86 - $9,089.22 hashov888 - $6,535.24 tateren - $4,698.89 que_te_crio - $3,378.56 Manni1822 - $2,429.22 partypoker $109 Sunday Main Event $150k Gtd 790 entrants, $158,000 prize pool Maddonaa - $28,203 Fulgencio1962 - $20,066 good player - $13,477.40 Zluka2010 - $9,132.40 broooooooooooo - $6,446.40 seotaiji86 - $4,645.20 Danger4sure - $3,318 sgentopimienta - $2,306.80 partypoker $1,050 KO Series #04-HR $300k 247 entrants, $300,000 prize pool PotatoLottery - $40,316.66 + $27,088.77 Pider Ninni - $26,591.80 + $8,600.31 rafaelmoraesgm - $18,905.56 + $1,503.12 FkTheseGuysBro - $13,810.58 + $1,820 skitzo793 - $10,293.60 + $3,753.75 MOTHERSMATTERS - $6,862.40 + $5,155.31 mwhldwn - $4,717.90 + $3,176.87 toadstoadstoads - $4,717.90 + $3,445 mcgag - $4,717.90 + $3,046.87 partypoker $2,600 Super Sunday High Roller $100k Gtd 60 entrants, $150,000 prize pool Drulitooo - $41,480.07* j2805667 - $40,269.94* nipa3p3 - $21,750 Phil_Zajmo - $13,500 lincownz - $10,500 MOTHERSMATTERS - $8,250 FMylife - $7,125 MisterN411 - $7,125 partypoker $1,050 Sunday Main Event HR $150k Gtd 163 entrants, $163,000 prize pool Valterego1 - $36,071.90 whresmymind - $25,917 GiGioDoNNa99 - $18,908 mwhldwn - $13,529 sk2ll_modR - $9,454 Dextered - $7,335 reallygamble - $5,705 Drulitooo - $4,482.50 888poker $215 Sunday Mega Deep 304 entrants – $100,000 prize pool 888tonkaaaa - $17,390.19* sikosomatik - $16,511.81* bossamtisch1 - $10,879 buitre180 - $7,853 888topPair - $5,313 checcmate - $3,795 CoinShipper - $2,783 IbetUFold - $2,277
The prestigious Aussie Millions AU$100,000 Challenge wrapped up on Saturday with Cary Katz adding another high roller title to his resume. Katz, the founder of Poker Central, bested the 42-entrant field to take home the AU$1,481,760 ($1,074,658 USD) prize and ANTON Championship ring. Although Katz would eventually end up with all the chips, he was in need of some serious help earlier in the tournament after limp-shoving pocket kings against eventual runner-up Johannes Becker’s pocket aces. A king hit the board and Katz doubled through. He then used that bit of good fortune to stay alive and press on to win the fifth seven-figure score of his career. The final table of nine needed three eliminations before players found themselves in the money. Germany’s Manig Loeser fell in ninth place, followed by American Michael Soyza in eighth. Then Alex Foxen, who celebrated his birthday just one day prior, received the unkind gift of being the official bubble boy, busting in seventh place when his [poker card="as"][poker card="2h"] couldn’t spike against Becker’s [poker card="8c"][poker card="8h"]. With six players remaining, Kristen Bicknell shoved her 15 big blinds in from the button holding [poker card="ad"][poker card="2d"]. Rainer Kempe made the call from the small blind with the [poker card="ks"][poker card="qh"]. The flop came [poker card="js"][poker card="8h"][poker card="3s"] giving Kempe some backdoor outs plus two overs to bust Bicknell, who just needed to hold. The [poker card="kc"] turn left Bicknell in need of an ace however the [poker card="4h"] river was no help. Bicknell’s run ended in sixth place for AU$288,100. It wasn’t long before the next elimination. Katz opened from under the gun with [poker card="ac"][poker card="qs"] only to be shoved on by Jack Salter who held [poker card="8h"][poker card="8s"]. Katz went into the tank, but eventually made the call. The [poker card="as"][poker card="qc"][poker card="6c"] flop gave Katz a commanding lead and left Salter searching for one of the final eights in the deck. The turn was the [poker card="3h"] and the river [poker card="js"] sending the UK pro to the rail in fifth place for AU$329,280. Four-handed play took place for nearly an hour before Kempe and countryman Abraham Passet clashed in a big hand. Passet raised small from under the gun with [poker card="kd"][poker card="ks"] and was called by both Katz and Becker. Kempe, in the big blind, pushed all in with his [poker card="ad"][poker card="qd"]. Passet then reshoved, forcing both Katz and Becker out of the hand. The pair of Germans saw a board of [poker card="9c"][poker card="3d"][poker card="7c"][poker card="2s"][poker card="qh"] keeping it clean for Passet’s pocket kings. Kempe, the 2016 Super High Roller Bowl Champion, bowed out in fourth place for AU$452,760. The final three, eager to continue play, shortened their dinner break and pressed on with Passet in the chip lead and Katz sitting on the short stack. However, over the course of the next hour, Katz began chipping up and finally turned the tables. He found double through Passet holding pocket aces versus Passet’s pocket sixes, sending Katz into a chip lead he would not relinquish. Eventually, Passet’s tournament came to an end when Becker’s only called the small blind with [poker card="qh"][poker card="qs"] prompting a shove from Passet with [poker card="ad"][poker card="th"]. The flop fell [poker card="9s"][poker card="2c"][poker card="3c"] giving Passet some backdoor straight options along with his single overcard. The turn was the [poker card="9c"] and the river was the [poker card="ts"]. Passet took home AU$617.400 for his third-place finish. Once heads-up play began, Katz went on a run that had him eliminating Becker in just under an hour of play. After winning a series of hands, Becker was crippled and the final hand had the pair get all the chips in the middle with Katz holding [poker card="9h"][poker card="9d"] against Becker’s [poker card="kc"][poker card="2c"]. The [poker card="8d"][poker card="5s"][poker card="8s"] flop was clean for Katz. The [poker card="2h"] turn offered some extra outs for Becker but the [poker card="jc"] river sealed his fate and the German finished in second place for AU$946,680. Katz earned AU$1,481,760 for the victory, his first ever result at the Aussie Millions. It marks his second major $100K Super High Roller win having also taken down the 2018 PCA $100K for $1,492,340. Katz now sits at #25 on the All-Time Money List with over $18.3 million in earnings. Aussie Millions AU$100,000 Challenge Payouts Place Player Payout AUD Payout USD 1 Cary Katz $1,481,760 $1,066,867 2 Johannes Becker $946,680 $681,610 3 Abraham Passet $617,400 $444,528 4 Rainer Kempe $452,760 $325,987 5 Jack Salter $329,280 $237,082 6 Kristen Bicknell $288,120 $207,446