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  1. It was a banner year for PocketFivers over on 888poker as many of the top-tier pros took to the site to take down six-figure scores and pad their bankrolls. With the help of major tournament schedules, like the popular XL Series, PocketFivers picked up millions out of the prize pools in 2018. No one had a better year on 888poker than Ukranian pro Roman ‘Romeopro’ Romanovsky. Romanovsky earned over $405,000 on the site, thanks in large part to his takedown of September’s XL Eclipse $1,000,000 Main Event. He bested fellow pro ‘C Darwin2’ heads-up and picked up $187,500 for the win. Of course, this was not his only major score on 888poker in 2018 as early in the year he finished as the runner-up in the XL Blizzard $200,000 Mini Main Event for just over $30,000. He also took down the February 4 edition of the $125,000 Whale for $34,375. Romanovsky continually put up big results in 888poker largest weekly tournament, the Sunday Whale. On April 29 he finished as the runner-up for $20,000. Then again on September 30, Romanovsky took the tournament down once again adding over $25,000 to his 888poker totals. What may be the most impressive part of his 2018 topping results is that he took three months off from online poker during the summer. He never showed any rust, continually crushing on the site. His 2018 results helped him soar to over $10 million in career lifetime scores and touch the worldwide #2-ranking this year. Not that far behind Romanovsky is Finland’s Tomi ‘emeriaa’ Brouk. Brouk amassed $349,763 on 888poker in 2018 with his biggest bink coming from May’s XL Inferno Main Event. Brouk finished as the runner-up in the $1,000,000 Main Event for $150,670. The score remains a career-high cash for the grinder and came only days after he booked a fourth-place finish in XL Inferno Event #16 ($200,000 High Roller) for an additional $31K. XL Inferno wasn’t the only XL series that Brouk did well in as he nearly hit another six-figure score back in January. He finished in third place in the XL Blizzard $1M Main Event for $99,198. All of those scores plus regular four-figure score in the weekly Whale made Brouk the #2 highest casher on 888poker in 2018. He currently sits inside the top 100, ranked at #92 in the world. It was an equally massive year for one of the UK’s top online poker talent, Jonathan ‘proudflop’ Proudfoot. Proudfoot enjoyed a breakout year in 2018 and was the third highest casher on 888poker, racking up $238,121 in online tournament scores. For Proudfoot, there is one major score that defined his year on 888poker. On May 20, he went the distance in the XL Inferno Main Event taking home a career-high cash of $209,779, defeating the man above him on this list heads-up for the win. The victory helped push the rising star of Proudfoot further into the spotlight as it propelled him to a career-high worldwide ranking of #4 in the world and #1 in the UK. Coming in at #4 in 2018 is ‘machiavelli3’. The Swedish grinder spends a good amount of time on 888poker and picked up four five-figure cashes on the site this year. His spotlight victory was when he took down the Event #31 of XL Eclipse ($100,000 Mega Deep) for $27,930. That nice score came only days after he won XL Eclipse Event #10 ($100,000 Tune Up) for another $22,170. In the month of July, ‘machiavelli3’ finished as the runner-up in the weekly Whale on two occasions. The first on July 22 for $16,750 and then again the very next week for an additional $20,445. This after finishing in third place earlier in the month. His prowess on helped push him to a career-high ranking of #19 in 2018 and a money milestone of over $3 million lifetime. He currently sits at #56 in the world. Wrapping up the top 5 in 2018 is legendary Swedish online player ‘C Darwin2’. Currently the #2-ranked player in the world, ‘C Darwin2’ seemingly crushes every tournament he enters and this year he lifted $212,599 off of 888poker. His biggest 888poker score of the year was when he finished right behind Romanovsky in the XL Eclipse $1,000,000 Main Event. His runner-up finish added $135,000 to his coffers and helped push him to over $11.4M in lifetime earnings. 888poker Top 10 Earners of 2018 Name Earnings Roman 'Romeopro' Romanovsky $405,285.50 Tomi 'emeriaa' Brouk $349,763.92 Jonathan 'proudflop' Proudfoot $238,121.70 'machiavelli3' $219,218.72 'C Darwin2' $212,599.18 'Crib09' $179,030.08 Arsenii 'josef_shvejk' Karmatskiy $169,107.76 'lena900' $161,278.63 Bryan 'pbaris' Paris $156,778.42 Sebastian 'p0cket00' Sikorski $152,703.41
  2. The World Poker Tour Rolling Thunder stop in Lincoln, California wrapped up on Tuesday with former Sacramento resident Erkut Yilmaz pulling off the incredible feat of winning his second WPT Main Tour stop in the same season. Now a Philadelphia resident, Yilmaz took down the WPT Borgata Poker Open in September, taking home a career-high cash of $575,112 in the process. Now, after navigating through the field of 280 runners at Thunder Valley Casino Resort, and eventually defeating Jim Collopy in a grueling heads-up battle, he's become a two-time WPT champion and takes home $303,920 for the victory. Before he could celebrate his Sacramento homecoming, Yilmaz would have to face an incredibly stacked final table that included Season 13 WPT Player of the Year Anthony Zinno and WPT Champions Club member Dylan Linde. North Carolina business owner Jerry Robinson was at his first World Poker Tour final table when he looked down at [poker card="ah"][poker card="ad"] and put in a raise from the hijack. Ajay Chabra defended his big blind with the dominated [poker card="ac"][poker card="3c"]. The flop came [poker card="ks"][poker card="5c"][poker card="4c"] and Chabra checked it over to Robinson who bet. Chabra put in a healthy check-raise and Robinson moved all in with his tournament on the line. With the nut flush draw, Chabra made the call. The turn was the [poker card="6s"] giving Chabra an open-ended straight draw to go along with his flush draw. The river fell the [poker card="7h"], bringing in the runner-runner straight for Chabra and sending Robinson to the rail having his aces cracked. Robinson picked up $50,720 for a new career-high cash. Anthony Zinno started the day as the short stack and was able to find a double up which helped him ladder the payouts. However, he wasn’t long for the final table after a clash with Collopy. Zinno raised from the cutoff with [poker card="kh"][poker card="kc"] and both Collopy and Chabra made the call from the button and big blind respectively. The flop fell [poker card="5d"][poker card="3c"][poker card="2d"] and when checked to him, Zinno put out a bet. Collopy made the call and Chabra folded. The turn was the [poker card="jd"] and Zinno open-shoved the rest of his stack. Collopy made the call and flipped over the [poker card="9d"][poker card="7d"] for the flush and Zinno was drawing dead to the [poker card="2h"] river. Zinno fell in fifth place and the three-time WPT champ earned $68,860 in the process. Dylan Linde was the next to move when he shipped his roughly 15 big blind stack from the small blind holding the [poker card="qc"][poker card="9c"]. He was quickly called by Collopy in the big blind holding [poker card="ah"][poker card="3h"]. The [poker card="ks"][poker card="9h"][poker card="4c"] flop was good for Linde who improved to a pair, leaving Collopy with the three aces as outs as well as running straight or flush cards. The turn was the [poker card="8h"] bringing in some backdoor possibilities for Collopy. The [poker card="as"] spiked on the river for Collopy which sent Linde out the door in fourth place for $95,530. The remaining players battled three-handed for the better part of three hours until an all in preflop clash sent the next player to the rail. Chabra limped the button holding [poker card="5h"][poker card="5c"]. From the small blind, Collopy put in a raise with the [poker card="ad"][poker card="td"] and Yilmaz folded the big blind. Chabra then three-bet jammed his remaining stack only to get snap called by Collopy. With the cards on their backs, the players saw a flop of [poker card="ac"][poker card="qd"][poker card="7c"], giving Collopy top pair and leaving Chabra looking for some serious help. The turn was the [poker card="3d"], leaving Chabra looking for a five to survive. The river was the [poker card="9s"], marking the end of the tournament for Chabra, who, settled for third place and a six-figure payday of $130,345. Collopy held a commanding lead for most of the first part of the heads up match and had multiple shots at closing it out, only to lose back-to-back crucial flips to Yilmaz. The duo trades blows for well over two hours, with both players having their opponent on the verge of elimination only for the other to spike the card they needed to stay alive. Finally, with the chip lead, Collopy raised from the button with [poker card="jd"][poker card="js"] and Yilmaz shipped his [poker card="ah"][poker card="7h"] on the button. The [poker card="as"][poker card="qs"][poker card="th"] flop put Yilmaz in the lead but left Collopy with outs. The turn was the [poker card="9d"] adding an open ender for Collopy, but the river was the [poker card="qd"] giving the hand to Yilmaz. After the chips were placed in Yilmaz' stack, he held 95% of the chips in play. On the very next hand, the pair put the chips in the middle again with Yilmaz spiking an ace on the river to complete the feat of winning two titles in a single season. Collopy was eliminated in second place, receiving $200,780 as a consolation. The score sends his lifetime recorded earnings north of $2 million. Yilmaz earned the $303,920 first-place prize, a new Hublot watch, and an extra $15,000 in lieu of a ticket to the Baccarat Crystal WPT Tournament of Champions, as he has already won a seat to that tournament earlier in the season. With the victory, Yilmaz takes the lead in the Hublot WPT Player of the Year race. WPT Rolling Thunder Final Table Payouts 1. Erkut Yilmaz - $303,920 2. Jim Collopy - $200,780 3. Ajay Chabra - $130,345 4. Dylan Linde - $95,350 5. Anthony Zinno - $68,860 6. Jerry Robinson - $50,720
  3. Two summers ago, Frank Crivello got oh so close to winning what would have been his first career World Series of Poker bracelet in an online event, finishing in fifth place in the $3,200 Online High Roller event. Presented with an opportunity to secure the jewelry on Saturday in a 2020 WSOP Online event, Crivello didn't disappoint. The San Diego resident outlasted 830 other players to win Event #53 ($800 Double Stack Pot Limit Omaha) for $106,252.72 and that highly coveted WSOP bracelet. It took roughly thirty minutes into the final table for the first player to fall. Crivello put in a min raise holding [poker card="as"][poker card="kd"][poker card="jd"][poker card="jc"] and Pulkit Goyal three-bet pot to 2.25 million with [poker card="kh"][poker card="kc"][poker card="6d"][poker card="4c"]. This prompted Crivello put in the four-bet and Goyal made the call, putting his tournament life at risk. The [th][5d][3d] flop gave Crivello a flush draw but it was the [jh] turn that gave him the lead in the hand. The [9d] river improved Crivello's hand to a flush and he sent Goyal to the rail in ninth place for $8,854. Ajay Chabra found himself following Goyal out the door of his second 2020 WSOP final table as he found himself all-in and at risk holding [poker card="kc"][poker card="jc"][poker card="td"][poker card="th"] against Julijan Rados’ [poker card="ad"][poker card="ah"][poker card="7c"][poker card="2d"]. The [poker card="qd"][poker card="6c"][poker card="7h"] flop was of little help to Chabra and the news didn’t improve on the [poker card="5h"] turn or the [poker card="kd"] river. Chabra was eliminated in eighth place for $12,080. Canada’s Markus Cara nearly put himself all-in when he raised pot with [poker card="ad"][poker card="6d"][poker card="5s"][poker card="5d"]. He was called by Crivello on the button holding [poker card="qd"][poker card="qs"][poker card="8h"][poker card="6s"]. The flop fell [poker card="8d"][poker card="3d"][poker card="3s"] and Cara put his few remaining chips in the middle and Crivello quickly made the call. All-in and behind Cara watched as the [poker card="2s"] turn and [poker card="9s"] river ended his tournament in seventh place, good for $16,480. The bustouts continued to come as Jin Li raised pot with the [poker card="ks"][poker card="qd"][poker card="qc"][poker card="7c"] only to be three-bet by Rados who had Li covered and held [poker card="ah"][poker card="ad"][poker card="kh"][poker card="4d"]. Li made the call, putting himself at risk and the table saw a board of [poker card="8s"][poker card="7d"][poker card="3d"][poker card="jd"][poker card="ts"] giving Rados the nut flush and taking out Li in sixth place for $22,483. Tszfai Tong was the next to be shown the door when he shipped his short stack in holding [poker card="kd"][poker card="kc"][poker card="8s"][poker card="2h"] and was called by Crivello who had [poker card="jd"][poker card="jh"][poker card="6c"][poker card="4c"]. The flop came ptc][poker card="3c"][poker card="2d"] once again giving Crivello a flush draw which he spiked on the turn as the [poker card="qc"] hit. The [poker card="3s"] river changed nothing and Tong logged off in fifth place earning $30,672. A major clash at four-handed play between the UK’s Craig Timmis and Yonathan Journo sent Journo out the door next. Journo and Timmis got both their stacks in the middle pre-flop with Journo at-risk and holding [poker card="kh"][poker card="kd"][poker card="6d"][poker card="4s"] while Timmis held [poker card="qc"][poker card="qh"][poker card="7d"][poker card="3s"]. The [poker card="qd"][poker card="ts"][poker card="4d"] flop gave Timmis a set which held through the [poker card="9h"] turn and [poker card="2h"] river. Journo exited in fourth place and picked up $41,485. No one seemed ready to go broke when the play got down to three-handed as the double-ups continued and the chips spread around the table. Eventually, Timmis and Rados faced off when Timmis raised pot on the button with [poker card="ah"][poker card="kd"][poker card="5c"][poker card="4s"] and Rados made the call holding [poker card="ah"][poker card="kd"][poker card="5c"][poker card="4s"]. The pair saw a flop of [poker card="qh"][poker card="4d"][poker card="3s"] and both stacks got in the middle with Rados at risk. The [poker card="tc"] turn gave Timmis a higher pair which held through the [poker card="8d"] river. Rados ended in third place earning $57,088. Although Crivello lost the chip lead for a moment during heads-up play, the momentum quickly swung back in his favor and he and Timmis got it all-in preflop with the title on the line. Timmis held [poker card="6h"][poker card="6c"][poker card="2c"][poker card="2s"] to Crivello’s pkd][poker card="kh"][poker card="6s"][poker card="3d"]. The [poker card="7s"][poker card="kc"][poker card="2h"] flop gave both players a set. When the [poker card="9d"] hit the turn, Timmis was looking for the final deuce in the deck. The river fell the [poker card="5c"] eliminating Timmis as the runner-up in his second final table of the series and adding $77,883 to his bankroll. Frank Crivello walked away with the $106,252.72 first-place prize and his first career gold bracelet. Final Table Payouts Frank Crivello - $106,252.72 Craig Timmis - $77,882.52 Julijan Rados - $57,087.59 Yonathan Journo - $41,845.08 Tszfai Tong - $30,672.34 Jin Li - $22,482.71 Marcus Cara - $16,479.80 Ajay Chabra - $12,079.62 Pulkit Goyal - $8,854.34
  4. Ajay Chabra entered the World Series of Poker Online $1,500 Limit Hold’em Championship on Tuesday with 11 cashes already in the Series with four of those coming via top-ten finishes. Chabra cracked the top ten again on Tuesday night, and this time he converted his deep run into a tournament win and his first career WSOP gold bracelet. Event #72 drew 337 players for a total prize pool of $480,225. Chabra, who entered the final table sixth in chips, spun his stack up to take down the tournament’s top prize of $77,475. After 15 minutes of nine-handed play at the final table, the action folded around to Shannon Shorr in the small blind who had less than three big blinds left in his stack. He made the raise and was called by Apti Dzhabrailov in the big blind. The flop came down [poker card="js"][poker card="7s"][poker card="5h"] which prompted a continuation bet from Shorr and a raise from Dzhabrailov. Shorr called off his remaining 31,334 chips with the [poker card="ad"][poker card="th"] and found himself up against Dzhabrailov’s [poker card="7c"][poker card="4c"]. The [poker card="ks"] on the turn and Jh on the river brought no help for Shorr who was eliminated in ninth place. Another 15 minutes later, Rich Dixon raised from under the gun with [poker card="jh"][poker card="ts"] to leave himself with less than one big blind behind. Dzhabrailov called from the cutoff with [poker card="ad"][poker card="9d"] and Dzmitry Yasiukevich made the call from the big blind with [poker card="5d"][poker card="3d"]. Yasiukevich checked it over to Dixon who moved all in for his final 64,124. Both of his opponents called the flop and checked through on the [poker card="4d"] turn and [poker card="7s"] river. Dzhabrailov’s ace-high was good and Dixon was out in eighth place. Seven-handed action continued for 20 minutes before Kevin Liu raised his short stack from the cutoff with [poker card="3h"][poker card="3d"]. Mike Watson raised from the button with [poker card="jh"][poker card="jd"] and quickly called when the action folded back around to Liu, who went all-in with his last 349,970. Liu was eliminated in seventh place when the board ran out [poker card="8h"][poker card="8s"][poker card="5h"][poker card="8d"][poker card="tc"] to keep Watson’s pocket jacks in the lead. The final table remained six-handed for nearly 30 minutes before three eliminations came less than 10 minutes apart. The first came when the action folded around to Yasiukevich in the small blind who moved his 227,290 stack all-in with the [poker card="9h"][poker card="8h"]. He was quickly called by Chabra in the big blind who rolled over [poker card="ad"][poker card="ac"]. The board ran out [poker card="9d"][poker card="7d"][poker card="3d"][poker card="3c"][poker card="th"] to eliminate Yasiukevich in sixth place. Moments later, Watson raised for virtually the rest of his stack when the action folded to him on the button. Carter Swidler raised from the big blind to put Watson’s last 34,086 in the pot. Watson’s [poker card="qd"][poker card="9s"] was ahead of Swidler’s [poker card="jh"][poker card="7h"] and stayed ahead on a [poker card="ks"][poker card="td"][poker card="5s"] flop. But the [poker card="7c"] put Swidler in the lead and the [poker card="th"] ended Watson’s night in fifth place. Swidler’s good fortune continued a few hands later when he made a raise with the [poker card="ah"][poker card="5h"] in the small blind and was faced with a three-bet from Natural8 ambassador Kosei Ichinose in the big blind with [poker card="ad"][poker card="jh"]. Swidler put in the fourth bet and Ichinose moved all-in to 518,877, prompting a call from the small blind. The [poker card="7c"][poker card="6h"][poker card="2h"] flop gave Swidler a draw to the nut flush that he completed on the turn when the [poker card="th"] fell. The meaningless [poker card="2s"] on the river knocked Ichinose out in fourth place. Three-handed action lasted for about 20 minutes before Swidler raised from the button with [poker card="as"][poker card="kc"] and was three-bet by Dzhabrailov in the small blind with [poker card="5s"][poker card="5c"]. Swidler elected to smooth call instead of putting in a fourth bet and saw a favorable flop of [poker card="ad"][poker card="8c"][ts'. Dzhabrailov bet and Swidler continued his slow play with a call. When the [poker card="9c"] fell on the turn, Dzhabrailov bet again and Swidler finally sprung the trap to raise and put Dzhabrailov all-in for his last 107,382. The [poker card="8h"] on the river brought no help to Dzhabrailov and sent the final table into heads up play. Chabra opened heads up with a 2-to-1 chip lead over Swidler. Swidler won a big pot early to take over the chip lead with a 5,331,994 to 3,093,006 advantage. But after some back and forth action with roughly even stacks, Chabra took a nearly 3-to-1 chip lead after winning a big pot with a full house over Swidler’s top pair. Shortly after Chabra took back his lead, Swidler raised from the button with [poker card="2h"][poker card="2s"] and was three-bet by Chabra who was holding [poker card="ks"][poker card="qh"]. Swidler four-bet and Chabra called, sending the two players to a [poker card="th"][poker card="8c"][poker card="5s"] flop. Chabra check-raised Swidler’s bet and Swidler moved in for his last 531,994 which Chabra called. Swidler’s pocket deuces were ahead, but a [poker card="qd"] on the turn gave Chabra the lead and the [poker card="5c"] on the river sealed his $1,500 Limit Hold’em Championship victory. Final Table Payouts 1. Ajay Chabra - $77,475 2. Carter Swidler - $65,737 3. Apti Dzhabrailov - $48,296 4. Kosei Ichinose - $35,483 5. Mike Watson - $26,069 6. Dzmitry Yasiukevich - $19,153 7. Kevin Liu - $14,071 8. Rich Dixon - $10,338 9. Shannon Shorr - $7,595

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