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It didn’t take long for the PokerStars 2021 Spring Championship of Online Poker to find its first two-time series winner. It happened just four days into play and while many would have wagered that there would certainly be a player (or players) who would take down multiple SCOOP titles this year, almost no one saw it happening like this. On Monday, Dejan ‘dejanlc357’ Kaladurdevic made SCOOP history after he captured the first-ever SCOOP title for a player from Montenegro when he won the SCOOP Kickoff Event ($530 NLHE Progressive Knockout) for $78,406.21. Well, he doubled up on that effort and became the first player in 2021 to take down two events. On Wednesday, Kaladurdevic topped the 988 player field of Event 11-H ($530 NLHE, 8-Max, Progressive Knockout) to claim the $34,582.28 first-place prize and added another $29,755.02 in bounties for a total score of $64,337.30. Long-time online grinder from Latvia ‘RovoDice’ was forced to settle for second place, taking home $34,581.70 plus another $14,415.26 in bounties. Brazil’s ‘IgorHKR’ finished in third, walking away with $20,518.14 and another $3,148.44 in bounties. Nosebleed online cash game specialist (and occasional heads-up challenge taker) Wiktor ‘limitless’ Malinowski put his skills on display by topping the stacked 105-entry field of Event 13-H ($10,300 NLHE, 8-Max, High Roller). As with many online $10K’s, the field was a who’s who of top-tier online grinders and, in the end, Malinowski finished with all the chips and banked the $241,956.69 first-place prize. Former #1 Simon ‘C Darwin2’ Mattsson finished in second place, good for $185,765.68, the fifth-largest online score of his career. Christoph ‘26071985’ Vogelsang claimed the bronze, earning $142,624.33. Adrian ‘Amadi_017’ Mateos picked up his third career SCOOP title by outlasting the 873-player field in Event 13-M ($1,050 NLHE, 8-Max, Freezeout, Super Tuesday). Mateos defeated the Netherlands’ ‘BRzRoll’ to take home the win and the $146,714.34 first-place prize. For his part, ‘BRzRoll’ also picked up a six-figure score, banking $107,614.36 as the runner-up. Aleksejs ‘APonakov’ Ponakovs had the last step on the podium and earned $78,934.91 for third place. Sweden’s ‘BomPang’ took down the final big buy-in event of the evening when they won Event 14-H ($1,050 PLO, 6-Max) for $68,835.91. ‘Fabahaba’, who just two days ago took down Event 07-M), fell just one spot short of joining Kaladurdevic in the SCOOP 2021 two-timer club finishing as the runner-up for $50,066.70. Pot Limit Omaha specialist Joni ‘bustoville’ Jouhkimainen picked up $36,415.23 for his third-place finish. Other winners on Wednesday included ‘MrGlauber’ (Event 11-L), ‘verdao134’ (Event 11-M), ‘19THEMACHINE83’ (Event 13-L), ‘Fagner CR7’ (Event 14-L), ‘devyatki’ (Event 14-M). Event #11-H ($530 NLHE, 8-Max, PKO) Entries: 988 Prize pool: $494,000 1. dejanic357 - $64,337.30 2. RovoDice - $48,996.96 3. IgorHKR - $23,666.98 Event #13-H ($10,300 NLHE, 8-Max) Entries: 105 Prize pool: 1,050,000 1. limitless - $241,256.69 2. C Darwin2 - $185,765.68 3. 26071985 - $142,624.33 Event #14-H ($1,050 PLO, 6-Max) Entries: 375 Prize pool: $375,000 1. BomPang - $68,835.91 2. Fabahaba - $50,066.70 3. bustoville - $36,415.23
It was a super-sized week for the GGPoker Super MILLION$ in which Russian superstar and current #7-ranked online player in the world, Arsenii 'hellohellohello' Malinov took home the Super MILLION$ Week Super High Roller title and this week's massive $661,743 first-place prize. With it being the 2021 Super MILLION$ Week on GGPoker, what was normally a $10,000 buy-in for the regularly scheduled weekly high roller was bumped up to $25,500 creating a prize pool of more than $2.8 million. By Tuesday, the field of 114 runners was paired down to the final nine and, as can be counted on for this event, included many of today’s top tier online players. Joining Malinov at the final table were Americans Jason Koon, David Coleman, and Seth Davies, who entered the final table as the chip leader. Matthias Eibinger started the final table second in chips and not too far down the leaderboard was online poker savants Aleksejs ‘DamageAP’ Ponakovs from Latvia and Joao ‘Naza114’ Vieira. Daniel Dvoress also made the final day, but as the short stack with fewer than 10 big blinds was under pressure right away. Under the gun, Dvoress pushed his remaining chips in the middle holding [poker card="5h"][poker card="5s"] and was quickly called by Malinov who had [poker card="as"][poker card="ks"]. The flop came out [poker card="qc"][poker card="9s"][poker card="6d"], keeping Dvoress out in front. The [poker card="4s"] hit the turn, giving Malinov flush outs to go with his overcards. The [poker card="2s"] completed the flush for the Russian and Dvoress hit the rail in ninth place for $74,821. It wasn’t long before David Coleman also found himself at risk. The New Jersey native moved all-in from late position with the [poker card="ad"][poker card="4s"]. Joao Vieira re-shoved on the button with a dominating [poker card="ac"][poker card="tc"] and after both blinds folded the pair watched the board run out [poker card="qs"][poker card="td"][poker card="4c"][poker card="7d"][poker card="8h"]. Vieira’s paired kicker gave him the pot and Coleman exited in eighth place for $98,256. Less than twenty minutes later another American was making his last stand. After an open from Eibinger in the cutoff, Malinov three-bet his [poker card="jh"][poker card="5h"] in the small blind. Jason Koon moved all-in for less with the [poker card="ac"][poker card="qd"]. Eibinger got out of the way and the flop fell [poker card="ts"][poker card="9c"][poker card="5c"] giving Malinov bottom pair. The pair of fives held through the [poker card="3d"] turn and the [poker card="8h"] river sending Koon home in seventh place for $129,030. A big hand took place with six left when Germany’s ‘REPTAR’ put in a raise on the button with [poker card="js"][poker card="jc"]. From the small blind Eibinger shipped his nearly 25 big blind stack with [poker card="kh"][poker card="th"] and was quickly called by ‘REPTAR’ who had Eibinger covered. The flop came [poker card="9h"][poker card="8c"][poker card="4h"] giving Eibinger additional flush outs. However, the [poker card="3d"] was of no help and neither was the [poker card="7c"] river. Eibinger, who started the day second in chips, settled for a sixth-place finish for $169,444. Minutes later, Vieira was all-in after jamming his [poker card="ad"][poker card="6d"] on the button. In the big blind ‘REPTAR’ made the quick call with the [poker card="as"][poker card="qd"]. Both players paired their ace on the [poker card="ac"][poker card="8c"][poker card="2c"] flop. But kickers played after the [poker card="kd"] turn and [poker card="9h"] river and awarded a second knockout to ‘REPTAR’ and eliminated Vieira in fifth place for $222,514. Nearly 45 minutes passed as the final four players took turns shipping chips back and forth. Eventually, Ponakovs opened with the [poker card="ad"][poker card="3s"] and was called by both Davis in the small blind and Malinov in the big blind. The [poker card="8c"][poker card="5c"][poker card="4h"] flop was checked through to Ponakovs who put out a small bet. Davies called but then Malinov moved all-in holding [poker card="8s"][poker card="6h"] for top pair and a gutshot straight draw. Ponakovs decided to put the rest of his chips in the middle and Davis folded. The turn was the [poker card="3d"] giving Ponakovs a pair and some additional outs. While the [poker card="2h"] river gave Ponakovs a straight, it gave Malinov a higher one and sent Ponakovs out in fourth place for $292,207. With three left, a pair of big hands clashed when ‘REPTAR’ open-shoved his final ten big blinds from the small blind with [poker card="as"][poker card="qc"] into Seth Davies who held [poker card="kd"][poker card="kc"] in the big blind. Davies, with the larger stack, made the quick call and watched as his pocket kings held through the [poker card="qh"][poker card="8c"][poker card="7c"][poker card="5s"][poker card="js"] runout. ‘REPTAR’, who stared the day in eighth place, laddered to third and collected $383,728, by far their largest score on GGPoker. Malinov started heads-up play with a slight chip lead over Davies, but over the course of a few hands, he extended that to a nearly four-to-one advantage. On the final hand, Davies limped the button with [poker card="as"][poker card="9h"]. Malinov put in a raise with the [poker card="ad"][poker card="kd"]. Davies three-bet jammed his remaining chips and Malinov quickly clicked call. The [poker card="ks"][poker card="9d"][poker card="ts"] flop gave both players a pair but Davies was unable to catch up through the [poker card="2c"] turn and [poker card="2s"] river. Davies finished this week as the runner-up, earning $503,914, more than double his total previous Super MILLION$ earnings. Malinov picked up the victory and $661,743 in this fourth final table appearance. His new total earnings in the GGPoker Super MILLION$ tops $1.3 million, sending him into the Top 10 on the tournament’s All-Time Money List leaderboard. Super MILLION$ Final Table Results (3/2) 1. Arsenii Malinov - $661,743 2. Seth Davies - $503,914 3. 'REPTAR' - $383,728 4. Aleks Ponakovs - $292,207 5. Joao Vieira - $222,514 6. Matthias Eibinger - $169,443 7. Jason Koon - $129,030 8. David Coleman - $98,256 9. Daniel Dvoress - $74,821
When the complete schedule for the online iteration of the 2020 World Series of Poker was announced, the high-stakes tournament pros from around the world cleared their calendar to be available for the $25K NLHE Poker Players Championship. Sure, this year’s PPC wouldn’t have the traditional variety of mixed games as the live version in Las Vegas has in year’s past, but this tournament had the biggest buy-in of the entire 2020 WSOP and gave players a shot at the largest first-place payday outside of the Main Event. Now, only nine players from the star-studded field of 407 remains. It's a mix of some of poker's brightest superstars, online poker savants, and even a shot-taker or two. They will return on Saturday, August 29 to play down to a winner and award the $1.8 million first-place prize and World Series of Poker gold bracelet. Jason Koon Country: United States Chip Count: 7,863,055 Final table chip leader Jason Koon is one of the most well-known high-stakes tournament players in the world. The Las Vegas, by-way-of Weston, West Virginia, poker pro has climbed into ninth place on the Hendon Mob’s All-Time Money List with over $31 million in lifetime live earnings. Koon boasts eight seven-figure scores including a career-high $3,579,836 cash at the 2018 Triton Super High Roller Series Montenegro series. In addition to his success in Triton events, for which he’s an ambassador, Koon has high roller victories on both the European Poker Tour and the World Poker Tour. Should he take this chip lead all the way to victory, it will be his first WSOP title. [caption id="attachment_632398" align="aligncenter" width="700"] Shankar Pillai (photo courtesy of The Borgata)[/caption] Shankar Pillai Country: United States Chip Count: 6,875,234 New York’s Shankar Pillai first garnered the attention of the poker world back in 2007 when he won his first WSOP gold bracelet by winning a $3,000 NLHE event for over $527,000. Twelve years later Pillai earned his second bracelet by battling through the field of the 50th Annual Bracelet Winners event for a $71,580 score. In addition to his nearly $2 million in live earnings, Pillai recently earned two WSOP Online Circuit rings in 2020 as well as a victory in the 2020 WSOP.com Winter Online Championships for more than $69,000. [caption id="attachment_632397" align="aligncenter" width="700"] Christian Rudolph (photo courtesy of Poker Central)[/caption] Christian Rudolph Country: Germany Chip Count: 5,544,188 German superstar Christian Rudolph enters the final table third in chips and in a good position to add to his more than $2.2 million in live career earnings. Although Rudolph looks to have opted out of Hendon Mob tracking, some high-profile scores one simply can’t hide including his recent runner-up finish in the partypoker 2020 MILLIONS UK Main Event for $620,00. Online, Rudolph is well-known for playing under his PokerStars screen name ‘WATnlos’ where he regularly competes in the highest stakes tournaments online and has a victory in the marquee Sunday Million from back in 2018. [caption id="attachment_632396" align="aligncenter" width="700"] Aram Zobian (photo courtesy of Poker Central)[/caption] Aram Zobian Country: United States Chip Count: 4,405,440 Many will recognize Aram Zobian from his final table finish at the 2018 World Series of Poker Main Event where he finished in sixth place for a $1.8 million score. Zobian’s first live result dates back to 2016 and since that time he’s put together more than $2.1 million in total live earnings. In addition, the Las Vegas-based pro also earned his first WSOP Circuit ring in 2020 after winning the WSOP.com Online $215 Turbo Deepstack for $20,910. Should Zobian work his way from fourth in chips to taking down the $25,000 NLHE Poker Players Championship he’ll eclipse his career-high score by $290 and have a new top-line result on his poker resume. [caption id="attachment_632395" align="aligncenter" width="700"] Chris Hunichen (photo courtesy of Poker Central)[/caption] Chris Hunichen Country: United States Chip Count: 4,175,274 Chris ‘BigHuni’ Hunichen is one of poker’s elite grinders. Hunichen is found in the biggest buy-in tournament field both live and online and boasts a career that has amassed more than $20 million in total earnings. According to Hendon Mob, Hunichen has earned over $8 million which includes a $927,000 victory in the 2019 EPT Barcelona High Roller and a $1.1 million score in a podium finish in the partypoker MILLION World Bahamas Main Event. While Hunichen’s live resume is impressive, his online career is even more elite. ‘BigHuni’ is a former worldwide #1-ranked online player with more than $12.6 million in total online earnings, which currently places him at #13 on the Online All-Time Money List. He holds titles in both POWERFEST and the PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker as well as a number of six-figure super high roller scores. [caption id="attachment_632394" align="aligncenter" width="700"] Aleksejs Ponakovs (photo courtesy of World Poker Tour)[/caption] Aleksejs Ponakovs Country: Latvia Chip Count: 3,883,951 Long-time Latvian online high-stakes grinder Aleksejs Ponakovs has put himself in position for a career-high payday coming into the final table of the $25K sixth in chips. Ponakovs is an online crusher, having reached #4 in the worldwide rankings and topped more than $7 million in online earnings. He won the PokerStars Sunday Million in 2017 for more than $159,000 and holds partypoker POWERFEST and PokerStars Turbo Series titles as well. With more than $400,000 in live earnings, Ponakov has nearly a decade of experience including a deep run in the 2013 WSOP Main Event where he finished in 33rd place for $229,281. [caption id="attachment_632392" align="aligncenter" width="700"] Aliaksei Boika (photo courtesy of PokerStars)[/caption] Aliaksei Boika Country: Belarus Chip Count: 3,297,276 For more than 10 years, Belarusian pro Aliaksei ‘ale6ka’ Boika has been grinding both live and online. He’s amassed more than $248,000 in World Series of Poker earnings alone, nearly capturing a bracelet with his fourth place finish in the tough 2018 $5,000 NLHE event for $142,458. While those in the high-stakes online community will know his screen name thanks to his multiple PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker titles, he may be best known for his 2016 EPT Malta Main Event victory for $386,962. [caption id="attachment_632391" align="aligncenter" width="700"] Paullis Plausinaitis (photo courtesy of The Hendon Mob)[/caption] Paulius Plausinaitis Country: Lithuania Chip Count: 2,905,555 Lithuania’s Pauliuis Plausinaitis nearly made his mark in another high-profile $25,000 event back in 2018. However, he just missed out on winning a Platinum Pass to the PSPC by falling in fifth place in the PokerStars Festival London High Roller for a career-high score of just over $30,000. But now, after winning his way into the WSOP $25K NLHE Poker Players Championship in a $1K satellite, Plausinaitis has already locked up a six-figure score with the potential for life-changing money should the cards fall his way. [caption id="attachment_632390" align="aligncenter" width="700"] Brunno Botteon (photo courtesy of SuperPoker.com.br)[/caption] Brunno Botteon Country: Brazil Chip Count: 1,750,027 The #1-ranked online Brazilian pro (current #4 in the world) has more than $3.2 million in online earnings and has been in the midst of a career-heater in 2020. In January, he took second in the PokerStars Winter Series Medium Main Event for $196,908 while at the same time finishing in third in the Winter Series High Main Event for $265,463. Picked as one of the Brazilian players poised to dominate the 2020 World Series of Poker, Brunno 'bbotteon' Botteon has already racked up eight cashes during the series including a runner-up finish in Event #67 for over $41,000.