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  1. The PokerStars EPT Online series wrapped up on Thursday after Sweden’s ‘WhatIfGod’ was crowned the champion of the $5,200 NLHE Main Event and walked away with the $1,019,082 million first-place prize. The first-ever EPT Online looked to bring players similar offerings to that of one of their popular live stops which have been understandably postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And over the past two weeks, some of the world’s top online poker talent packed the PokerStars lobbies to battle for a piece of the $21.1 million in total prize money that was spread out over the series’ 20 events. The Main Event After four days of play, the final nine players reconvened to fight for the biggest prize of the series and the right to be called EPT Main Event Champion. The first three eliminations happened in short order as ‘vip25459’ fell was the first to fall, busting out ninth place for $78,797. Soon after busting ‘vip25459’, online poker legend Jon ‘apestyles’ Van Fleet hit the rail in eighth place ($97,344) when he lost a huge flip holding [poker card="as"][poker card="kd"] against ‘VbV1990’s [poker card="js"][poker card="jd"]. Then Andreas ‘daskalos20’ Christoforou busted in spectacular fashion when he got his [poker card="ad"][poker card="as"] all in preflop against David ‘MissOracle’ Yan’s [poker card="ac"][poker card="ks"]. The flop came [poker card="ks"][poker card="9c"][poker card="4c"] and when the [poker card="3c"] hit the river, Christoforou was drawing dead. He settled for seventh place and $136,147. Play slowed down at six-handed until Enio ‘Bozzano JNR’ Bozzano suffered a bad beat in sixth place ($190,419) as Yan again came from behind and cracked Bozzano’s [poker card="kd"][poker card="ks"] with his [poker card="qh"][poker card="qd"]. Russia’s Viacheslav ‘Vbv1990’ Buldygin was the next to exit when he moved all-in with [poker card="ac"][aj] and was called by ‘WhatIfGod’s [poker card="8h"][poker card="8d"]. The pocket eights held and Buldygin was eliminated in fifth place for $266,323. Not long after, ‘tikidiii’ busted in fourth place when he open-shoved his [poker card="js"][poker card="th"] into Timothy ‘Tim0thee’ Adams who showed down [poker card="8d"][poker card="8c"]. Adams’ pocket eights flopped a set and held through the river as ‘tikidiii’ fell in fourth place for $372,485. The experienced final three players battled for roughly thirty minutes before Yan became short-stacked after he was called on a bluffed missed flush draw. Unlike earlier in the tournament when he was able to chip up from the short stack, Yan was unable to recover. He shoved his remaining 16 big blinds in the middle holding [poker card="td"][poker card="th"] against Adams’ [poker card="ac"][poker card="4s"]. Although the tens held to the turn, the [poker card="as"] spiked on the river, shipping the pot to Adams and sending Yan home with a third-place $520,966 payday. Despite both being deep-stacked, Adams and ‘WhatIfGod’ had a brief heads-up battle of just seven hands. It came to a head when Adams raised the button with [poker card="as"][poker card="9d"] and ‘WhatIfGod’ three-bet with [poker card="ad"][poker card="tc"]. The flop came [poker card="ah"][poker card="6s"][poker card="4h"] which brought a bet from ‘WhatIfGod’ which Adams called. The turn came the [poker card="8s"] and ‘WhatIfGod’ checked it over to Adams who put in a bet of his own. ‘WhatIfGod’ called. The case ace, the [poker card="ac"], fell on the river and ‘WhatIfGod’ checked again. Adams then shoved his remaining stack and was called by ‘WhatIfGod’ who used his [poker card="tc"] to outkick Adams and clinch the championship. Adams earned $728,633 as the runner up and ‘WhatIfGod’ locked down the seven-figure $1,019,082 first-place prize. EPT Online Main Event Final Table Payouts [table id=123 /] Series Highlights The series got off to a fast start as EPT Online Event #1 ($1,050 NLHE, Arena Championship) racked up a total of 2,426 entries to shatter the $1.5 million event guarantee to the tune of a $2,426,000 prize pool. After four days of play, ‘DON JOHAN’ walked away with a $356,769 payday setting the stage for a series that promised players big-time payouts throughout. While not the first tournament numerically, EPT Online Event #3 ($5,200 NLHE, 8-Max, High Roller) was the first to reach the finish line and, in the end, it was David ‘MonkeyBausss’ Laka that became the answer to the trivia question “Who was the first EPT Online Champion?” Laka outlasted a talent-packed final table that included former #1-ranked pros Chris ‘ImDaNuts’ Oliver and Artem ‘veeea’ Vezhenkov as well as current #2-ranked player from Croatia Ivan ‘zufo16’ Zufic to lock up the $143,567 score. After a three-handed deal was made in EPT Online Event #4 ($530 NLHE), former PokerStars Team Online member Tatiana ‘Mysters_Y’ Barausova took home a trophy, surviving the field of 1139 runners and earning herself $74,951 in the process. The final table of EPT Online Event #6 ($10,300 NLHE, 8-Max, High Roller) was a who’s who of online poker. Belarusian crusher Mikita Badziakouski and Mathias Eibinger made a deal heads-up that saw both players take home just over $221,000 but it was Badziakouski who will receive the trophy. 2020 WSOP NLHE PPC Champ Christian Rudolph finished in third place on a final table that included October PLB winner Daniel ‘SmilleThHero’ Smiljkovic, Canada’s #1-ranked pro Mike ‘SirWatts’ Watson, Timothy ‘Tim0thee’ Adams, and current #1-ranked player in the world Conor ‘1_conor_b_1’ Beresford. Also at the final table of Event #6 was high-stakes pro Bert ‘girafganger7’ Stevens who finished in seventh place for $51,445. A good result to be sure, but it was the beginning of a few days that found him locking up not one, but two EPT Online titles. First, in EPT Online Event #8 ($2,100 NLHE, 8-Max) he struck a deal with Greece’s Alexandros ‘Pwndidi’ Theologis heads up which locked up a $87,984 payday and the trophy. Three days later he bested Michael ‘Imluckbox’ Addamo heads up in EPT Online Event #15 ($10,300 Turbo, 6-Max, High Roller) to take home another $186,238 score. EPT Online Event #10 ($25,000 Super High Roller) had 81 entries fighting over a piece of the $2,000,000 prize pool. Finnish pro Eelis ‘EEE27’ Parssinen denied the victory to likes of Christian Rudolph, Benjamin ‘bencb789’ Rolle, Joao Vieira, and Artur Martirosian and took home $539,819 for first, the largest prize outside of the Main Event. PokerStars popular 6+ Hold’em (aka Short Deck) was on display in EPT Online Event #13 ($10,300 6+ Hold’em, High Roller) when Canadian crusher Sam Greenwood topped the small field of 41 entries to add $177,599 to his more than $11.6 million in lifetime career online earnings. One of Brazil’s best and brightest online stars, Pedro ‘PaDiLhA SP’ Padilha blasted through the 818 entries of EPT Online Event #18 ($1,050 NLHE, Turbo) to capture the $138,358 first-place prize, a top-5 career score for the longtime grinder. In the final event of the series, former World Series of Poker final tablist Damian Salas used his last chance to pick up a six-figure score by winning EPT Online Event #20 ($1,050 NLHE Last Chance) for $117,475, the second-largest online win of his career. EPT Online Event Winners [table id=121 /] With the big buy-in tournaments of the EPT Online behind them, PokerStars next series caters to the other side of the poker pyramid. The MicroMillions series kicks off on November 19 and runs through November 29.
  2. Russia is an absolute powerhouse when it comes to online poker. From their high-profile top-tier tournament pros to their stables of small-stakes grinders, the results put up by Russia has the country as a perennial presence in the top-3 of the PocketFives Overall Country Rankings. When it comes to capturing World Series of Poker bracelets, Russia is down a little bit on the list - tied for sixth overall with France with 22 total gold bracelets. But if there was ever an ideal time for Russian players to break that tie it’s here in 2020 as Russians are cleared to play in all 54 bracelet events on GGPoker. So let’s take a look at some of the Russian crushers that may find themselves in the headlines during the 2020 WSOP. Artem Vezhenkov The name Artem Vezhenkov may not ring many bells for the recreational poker player, but for those who have followed online poker over the past five years or more will certainly recognize his screen name of ‘veeea’. A former #1-ranked online player in the world, Vezhenkov has amassed nearly $10 million in total online earnings throughout his impressive career. He has eight six-figure online scores, three of which were victories in the PokerStars Sunday Million for a total of over $491,000. His live resume isn’t much to speak of by professional poker player’s standards, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t know how to show up big when there are huge prize pools at stake. He’s earned titles in both the PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker and Spring Championship of Online Poker. And at the end of last year, Vezhenkov picked up a career-high score by taking down the PokerStars High Rollers Series Main Event for $457,344. Alexander Mordvinov Like Vezhenkov, Alexander Mordvinov may be hard to identify by his real name alone. However, his screen name of ‘NoPlanB’ is sure to register with online tournament grinders worldwide. The former #3-ranked online player in the world has made a habit in his career of racking up accolades including a pair of Triple Crown awards and topping the PocketFives Monthly PLB. He has scored six-figure cashes on three different online sites including a runner-up finish in the 888poker XL Eclipse $500,000 Super High Roller for $114,700 and a final table finish in the 2016 PokerStars SCOOP Main Event High for $104,000. Mordvinov may not be a player you’ll see in the highest buy-ins online but he thrives in large field events like what is expected on GGPoker. He’s a PokerStars Sunday Warm-up winner as well as a PokerStars WCOOP and partypoker POWERFEST champion and if the cards fall the right way he may add a WSOP bracelet to those titles. Artur Martirosyan While many people scoff at the notion that 2020 has been a ‘good year’, for Russian high roller Artur Martirosyan it actually has. In fact, it’s been great. Also known by his screen name ‘marathur1’, it was tough to escape the amazing results of Martirosyan during a number of the recent high-profile online series that have taken place including the PokerStars 2020 SCOOP, the Poker Masters Online series, and the Super High Roller Bowl Online series. Martirosyan picked up multiple SCOOP titles this year the first of which saw him besting Fedor Holz in heads-up play in Event #17-H ($10,300 NLHE 8-Max High Roller) to take home the title and a $271,790 payday. Then just days later he found the gold medal again in Event #29-H ($5,200 NLHE Midweek Freeze) for another $157,426 score. The heat from SCOOP carried over to the Super High Roller Bowl Online series as Martirosyan earned a total of $1.8 million over eight cashes, seven of which were good for podium finishes. His big takeaway during the series occurred when he scored an outright victory in Event #16 for $234,604. Maksim Vikrorovic Maksim Vikrorovic is another name that is unlikely to be well-known to most poker fans however, playing under his screen name ‘MAMOHT_T’, he has assumed the mantle as the #1-ranked player in all of Russia with more than $8.2 million in career online earnings. Vikrorovic is playing with a hot hand as of late having recently booked big wins including a victory in the PokerStars Turbo Series Event #1 ($215 NLHE PKO) for $81,421 and also a runner-up finish in the February 16 edition of the partypoker MILLION which brought him $112,000. He’s picked up a major title on just about every online poker site including a SCOOP title on PokerStars and a POWERFEST title on partypoker. He’s been grinding the tournaments on GGPoker as of late and a World Series of Poker title would fit nicely on his ever-expanding resume Vladimir Troyanovskiy Perhaps one of the most respected names in all of Russia when it comes to poker is that of Vladimir Troyanovskiy. The Saint Petersburg native has been a staple of the Russian poker scene for the better part of two decades and has traveled the world while accumulating nearly $8 million in live tournament earnings. His extensive list of results tells the tale of a gifted player who routinely makes deep runs in some of the biggest events of any given year. On the European Poker Tour alone he’s won side events in Berlin, Deauville, Monte Carlo, and at the PCA. In 2019, he added $1,325,000 to his bankroll which included a career-high cash in the partypoker LIVE MILLIONS Europe from Rozvadov where he earned $945,845 for his second-place finish. Online, Troyanovskiy is known to compete at the highest stakes under his screen name ‘vovtroy’.
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