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Found 3 results

  1. The truth is, there really is no such thing as an overnight success in the world of poker. Sure, some people are hit with the deck and take home a tournament win for big money, or go on a heater in a cash game - it happens. But sustained success in poker, the kind that gets a player recognized by their peers, takes dedication to the game and plenty of time. For some in the poker community, the recent rise of Alex ‘Veruz’ Butcher to the top of the U.S. Online Poker Rankings may have looked sudden, even out of nowhere. But for Butcher, the 26-year old poker pro, it was hard work in every aspect of his life that allowed him to get where he is today. Originally from Michigan, Butcher first discovered the game of poker simply through hanging out and doing "family stuff" on weekend nights. Stuff like playing cards with his father. It wasn’t until many years later, when he was attending community college, that he discovered a deeper enjoyment of the game. “In Michigan, they have what they call charity halls. They’re mostly just little $1/$2 card rooms within the state where some portion [of the proceeds] goes to charity or whatnot,” Butcher said. “I met a couple of friends and just started playing with them in a little bit there. It’s where I really got my inauguration into poker.” His studies turned from academics to poker and soon after he decided to take a break from college to see where poker would take him. At first, it brought him to Las Vegas to play. But with more online poker options available in New Jersey, Butcher was motivated to move to the Garden State with an eye on grinding. And he did just that. One look at his career online results paint a picture of a player who rarely takes a break, registering for every tournament he can every day of the week. By May of 2020, his resolve was beginning to pay off. A win in a WSOP.com Weekly Tuesday brought him his first five-figure score of the year. Once that barrier was broken, the flood gates opened. Butcher’s graph took a sharp turn upwards as he accumulated 17 five-figure scores in the last nine months, 12 of which were outright victories in some of the biggest tournaments offered in New Jersey. “As far as my results skyrocketing a little bit in the past year or so, for me, a lot of that was some mental health stuff that was holding me back. Just some struggles with anxiety and depression that I really hadn’t properly addressed at any point,” Butcher said. “So I’d go through these ebbs and flows or up and down, up and down. It was really tough for me to be consistent. So I would play and I would have good results, but the consistency wasn’t really there to really put everything together. “So now I’ve gone from maybe one week out of the month where it’s a good month, or a good time for me mentally, to maybe one or two days out of the month where I struggle. Pretty huge difference. That’s been the biggest change for me. I think most of my friends around me have always thought the potential was there, but it’s tough to see your potential if you’re only locked in mentally to what you’re doing ‘some’ amount of the time versus always.” The change for Butcher has been undeniable with a steady stream of deep runs that any poker player would envy. This includes when, at the end of January, Butcher hit a career milestone when he outlasted the 285-entry field in Event #16 of the WSOP.com Circuit Super Series to earn his first WSOP gold ring, something that had been eluding him for some time. It’s a victory that Butcher talks about with a healthy dose of humility and perspective. “Normally that would be a really great moment, and it was, but I have had so many opportunities recently in those that it got to be almost like a joke for me. The first one that they ran this year, I think I was at the final two tables maybe 13 times and I didn’t final table a single one of them,” he said. “So it got almost meme-ish to a point…and it was a turbo. So I have a hard time assigning too much meaning to stuff like that. Turbos are so fickle, you got to run good…and I know I definitely did. So there could have been a more prestigious or more fulfilling first title, but it just feels good to get the monkey off the back, so to speak.” But with enviable results sometimes come actual envy and perhaps undue speculation as to how a player is able to achieve what some others can’t or don’t. While in Florida at a live event, preparing to get some sleep before a $5K the next day, he noticed some talk on social media questioning his results. The kind of talk that would keep a player awake at night. Another player was throwing out accusations that Butcher’s recent results were due to the use of real-time assistance (or some other method) as opposed to Butcher taking the time to take care of his own health. All of a sudden, Butcher, who comes off as thoughtful and somewhat quiet, was forced to defend his talent and reputation. “It’s just a scary feeling that maybe you’re not going to have a voice. I know that these rumors had spread amongst the community…It was something that a lot of people were hearing about and taking to be true so I was concerned from that standpoint. I’m pretty unknown, I keep to myself and now I’ve got these accusations flooding out that paint me in a negative light when I’ve done nothing to bring that upon myself. I think people get jealous pretty easily in this game and to look at some results that are pretty outlandish and think ‘Well, WTF, there’s got to be something going on.” “So the big thing for me was just trying to take that and steer it in a direction where the conversation was more about how people spread misinformation and will take things that are not factual and basically put their stamp on it on social media as if it’s factual.“ While it was a hard time for Butcher, one that elicited “an emotional reaction” from him, it was his goal to try and turn it into a positive and bring about a conversation on how the poker community should be celebrating each other as opposed to taking to social media to tear each other down. In the end, the player who initially brought this allegation against Butcher fully recanted and posted a public apology on Twitter. Butcher has moved on. Literally. After years of grinding the online scene in New Jersey, he is in the midst of a move back to Las Vegas where he plans on continuing to play on WSOP.com but also expanding his poker network and diving into the live tournament scene as it begins to open back up. His first stop was the World Poker Tour Venetian Main Event where he hoped to build out his live poker resume, which as opposed to his online credentials, he admits could use a little expansion. “I don’t have many live results just because when you’re coming up, there’s more value in playing those $55’s and $109’s on a nightly basis. You just get more reps, more practice. I think there’s a lot of benefits to it,” he said. “Now when I go play live, just as far as the buy-ins I play, I’m not trying to brag by any means, but it needs to be worth it. Something like a $400 or $600 is not something that’s going to get me out of the house to go play at this point, just because the hourly doesn’t make sense for me.” [caption id="attachment_634059" align="aligncenter" width="750"] Alex Butcher returned to Las Vegas to play in the WPT Venetian $5K.[/caption] That being said, Butcher does have plenty of live poker aspirations including playing in some of the bigger cash games offered in Las Vegas as well as larger tournament series, like the World Series of Poker. And if an invite to one of Las Vegas’ famous private games comes his way, well, Butcher won’t turn it down. So while the recent returns for Butcher have been good to him, and a return move to Las Vegas is exciting for his poker future, he’s determined to stay level-headed about it all. For every big win that people see, there are losses that come with it. Even though he's on the upswing today, tomorrow may bring some on-the-felt hardships. “This game’s really hard. If you’re swinging on that emotional pendulum all the time and not processing things from a logical base, it’s really hard to do well. Just going through emotional swings on a day-to-day basis outside of poker is hard. Then, on top of that, when you’re playing these games, you have to be at your A-game highest level all the time. You just have to have a good head on your shoulders. It’s super vital, something I definitely take pride in, but not something I was always good at. I think this is part of the process to get to this level and be able to play these games consistently…you have to be able to take the losses, those minus $15K days, the same way you do the plus $20K.” It’s been five years of intense dedication to poker for Butcher, but he insists that this is just the beginning. “I would like to think that I’m in it for the long haul. I have a great passion for the game,” he said. “I watch myself play and I just know that there’s so much stuff I can do better in the game, I know how much room for improvement is available.”
  2. It’s been over six years since Brazil’s Yuri ‘Yuri Martins’ Dzivielevski was the #1-ranked online poker player in the world and this week he took another step closer to becoming it again. After weeks of hovering inside and out of the worldwide top five for the better part of two months, the tournament superstar unseated Croatia's Ivan ‘zufo16’ Zufic to assume the #2 spot and became the next player to make a run at fellow Brazilian Brunno ‘bbotteon’ Botteon, who has now held the #1 ranking for 11 weeks in a row. For many, Dzivieleski first stepped into the poker spotlight when he was featured on the ESPN broadcast during the 2019 Main Event. Ever since then, he has continued to pile up the accolades. He’s won two World Series of Poker gold bracelets, including one in 2020, as well as multiple partypoker POWERFEST events, and a total of four PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker titles. A regular in the online high roller scene, with over $10 million in total lifetime online earnings, Dzivielevski has become known as one of Brazil’s very best all-around players. But there are also plenty of poker players and fans who know that ‘Yuri Martins’ has been a must-respected tournament grinder years before his 2019 “breakout” year. In 2014, he soared to the top of the rankings and ended Nicolas ‘PokerKaiser’ Fierro’s first two-week run as #1. Dzivielevski held the top spot for three weeks, lost it, and then clawed his way back to the top three months later knocking Fedor ‘CrownUpGuy’ Holz out of the top spot. Now, he’s in a position to reach #1 again. He did this by maintaining a disciplined grind and continuing to rack up large scores. Of course, his runner-up finish in America's Cardroom Venom Main Event, which was covered last week, set the stage and pushed him back into the top five. But it was his work over the past week and a half that put him where he is now. A deep run in the February 15 edition of the Natural8 Sunday 500 High Roller brought him a $9,826 payday and 148.04 PLB points. Three days later he bested a field of 242 entries in the PokerStars High Roller Club $530 Bounty Builder for over $10,253 and another 245.97 PLB points. Finally, he tacked on another 310.92 PLB points with his sixth-place result in the PokerStars Turbo Series Event #3 ($5,200 NLHE, High Roller) for $47,858. All of that said though, Dzivielevski has a tough task ahead of him if he’s going to reach #1. Botteon has not slowed down. He picked up three PLB qualifying scores of his own including a win in the PokerStars High Roller Club $530 Bounty Builder. Botteon currently holds a healthy lead on the field with a total of 13,963 total PLB points, 1,672 points above Dzivielevski. However, should Dzivielevski continues to pile on the results, as he did this week in the GGPoker Super MILLION$ where he finished in fourth place for $207,649, he has a real shot at becoming #1 in 2021. Online Poker Rankings Notes This Week • There were several notable jumps inside the top 100 this week including Dalton ‘daltonhb’ Hobold who soared 125 places from #160 to a career-high #36 by stringing together 11-PLB qualifying cashes so far this month including a ninth-place finish in the GGPoker Global MILLION$ where his final table finish brought him an $11,271 score. • ‘Olorion’ is Poland’s #1-ranked player thanks to his victory in the GGPoker Sunday Special $88 that brought him $21,572 and 416.82 PLB points. That spotlight score helped him leap from #217 in the world all the way to #58. However, it’s not a career-high for the longtime grinder who, back in 2013, reached as high as 28 in the world. • Alex ‘Veruz’ Butcher remains the #1-ranked player in the USA, landing at #64 worldwide. It’s hard for players in the USA to maintain high placements on the worldwide stage due to the limited offering of tournaments in America, but Butcher managed a pair of nice PLB scores one week ago and added to it this week with his win in the partypoker NJ Daily $10K GTD for $3,338 and 125.30 PLB points. Worldwide Online Poker Rankings [table id=178 /]
  3. Over the past two weeks, some of the best online poker players in Nevada and New Jersey were grinding away in pursuit of WSOP Circuit rings on WSOP.com. The original schedule for the WSOP Circuit Super Series called for $1.6M in guarantees over 18 events, but another strong turnout in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic pushed the total money won to $3,080,707. Some of the winners included one of the top-ranked players in the country, a pair of players earning their second Circuit ring, another earning their third, and a husband and wife taking the top two podium spots. Here are the highlights from the series. Trophy Hunter Toby Lewis Bags Another One Toby Lewis, who already has a European Poker Tour title and an Aussie Millions Main Event title to his credit, kicked off the WSOP Circuit Super Series by adding a ring to his trophy collection. Lewis beat out 228 other players to take down Event #1 (Big $500 Kick-off Eight Max) for a $35,686 score. The final table also included Tony Dunst (seventh) and Frank Funaro (fifth). Daniel Lupo Shines Bright for Second Ring The #10-ranked player in New Jersey, Daniel Lupo flexed his muscle in Event #8 ($320 No Limit Hold'em) and overcame the 314-runner field to win $24,419. This is the second WSOP Circuit ring that Lupo has won online. In February 2019, he took down Event #3 ($320 Six Max NLHE) for $32,595 for his first ring. Those two rings pair nicely with the WSOP bracelet he won four months later during the 2019 WSOP when he beat 1,766 other players to win Event $46 ($400 NLHE Turbo Deepstack) for $145,274. Katie Stone Breaks Seven Figures with Second Ring Win Katie Stone also added a second career WSOP Circuit ring after she topped 378-entry field and 150 rebuys in Event #12 ($525 NLHE Deep Turbo). The victory added $18,058 to her bankroll and pushed her lifetime online earnings past the $1 million mark. Her first ring also came in an online event. In September 2018 she worked her way through 387 other players before beating Ryan Hohner heads-up for the W. Biggest Buy-in Doesn't Phase John Riordan The biggest buy-in event on the schedule, Event #13 ($2,000 NLHE Deep Turbo) went to Florida native John Riordan for $68,284 and his third career ring. Riordan topped the 111 other runners in the field, who were responsible for 54 rebuys, to take home $68,284, the single highest first place score in the 18 events. Riordan won his first Circuit ring in 2011 as a 19-year-old at the Palm Beach Kennel Club. He added another one in June 2020 when he won Event #11 of WSOP.com Online Finale Circuit Series for $51,083. Holy Matrimony! Chris Moorman Defeats Katie Lindsay For Ring #1 Former #1-ranked Chris Moorman may have had to spend the night sleeping on the couch after winning Event #14 ($215 NLHE) for $19,511. That's because his first WSOP Circuit ring win came after he defeated his wife, Katie Lindsay, heads-up for the title. Moorman's previous best Circuit finish came in March 2020 when he finished 10th in the Super Circuit Series Grand Finale High Roller Six Max. In that same event, Lindsay came in fourth place. Alex Butcher Wins Ring #1 on His Way to USA #1 The #2-ranked online poker player in the United States, Alex Butcher, shipped Event #16 ($250 NLHE Turbo) for $18,819. That victory has not yet been counted towards his ranking and may push him to the #1 spot in the country. The win is his fourth largest on WSOP.com after wins in the Sunday High Roller ($38,256) on December 14, Weekly Sunday ($24,223) on January 11, and the Tuesday Showdown ($19,637) on November 25. Main Event Makes Mince Meat of $250,000 Guarantee New Jersey grinder Aj Basselini-Truisi worked his way through the 583 entries and 310 rebuys to win the Event #18 ($525 NLHE Main Event Eight Max) for $67,377. PocketFiver Ian Kurzer finished as the runner-up for $49,918.70. The combined 893 entries pushed the total prize pool to $446,500, well past the $250,000 guarantee. Complete Results [table id=166 /]
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