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Found 9 results

  1. The poker world might not like the idea, but Damian Salas will have no problem calling himself the 2020 World Series of Poker Main Event champion. The 45-year-old Argentinian beat Joseph Hebert in the heads up finale of the 2020 WSOP Main Event on Sunday night at the Rio Hotel & Casino to take home $1 million, the bracelet and the title of WSOP Main Event champ. The $1 million is in addition to the $1,550,969 Salas earned for winning the international leg at King's Casino in mid-December. Hebert, who earned $1,553,256 for winning the U.S. leg of the event, earned no additional prize money for finishing as the runner-up. “Joseph was a very hard opponent, and he played really well. In a few instances, he was about to win, it was a real fight and he never slowed down,” Salas said. “Going into the championship, I felt all the energy and support from my family and friends in Argentina tonight, and that helped me.” Both players started the heads up match with 500,000 chips and levels were 20 minutes long. Over the course of nearly six hours and 173 hands of play, both players took turns holding the chip lead with Salas being down 9-1 in chips before clawing his way back to win. After the third chip lead change, Hebert seemed to have Salas cornered. Down 9-1 in chips after hand #82, Salas doubled with [poker card="ad"][poker card="2c"] against Hebert's [poker card="kd"][poker card="5h"]. He doubled again on hand #101 and then took the lead on hand #136. Hebert was down 3-1 in chips before taking a slight lead after doubling through Salas on hand #153. Hebert increased that lead to as much as 3-1 before running [poker card="as"][poker card="8d"] into Salas' [poker card="ah"][poker card="td"] with only 20 big blinds in play on hand #170. Salas won that hand to hold his own 3-1 chip lead and just three hands later, finished Hebert off. With blinds of 25,000/50,000, Hebert jammed for 390,000 with [poker card="ad"][poker card="qs"] and Salas called with [poker card="kd"][poker card="js"]. The [poker card="ks"][poker card="8s"][poker card="5c"] flop moved Salas in front and Hebert could only watch as the [poker card="5d"] turn and [poker card="kc"] river completed the board to give Salas the title. Salas is no stranger to WSOP Main Event success. In 2017, he finished in seventh place and won $1,425,000. The heads up match was the culmination of the WSOP decision to host a hybrid online-live Main Event on GGPoker and WSOP.com after hosting a "Main Event" on GGPoker as part of the 2020 WSOP Online. In December, each site hosted a $10,000 buy-in online event which played down to a final table of nine. The final tablists from each site met in a live setting to play down to just one player. Each of the two winners then met in Las Vegas to play for the right to be called Main Event champion. The heads-up finale was originally scheduled to take place December 30, but had to be delayed until Sunday after Salas was denied entry to the United States due to his recent travel activity and COVID-19 protocols.
  2. There’s not a single year-end list that won’t be heavily influenced by the pandemic, and this one is no different. Nearly every industry faced overwhelming challenges in the face of COVID-19, the same was true for poker. As live poker events took a backseat to an online poker surge, some of this year’s brightest rising stars had career-making moments take place while playing online in the strangest of times. While there were plenty of poker players (and personalities) who succeeded in continuing their poker pursuits in 2020, these are our five Rising Stars who took what this year gave them and used it to step into the spotlight. Brunno 'bbotteon' Botteon Some in South America knew what Brazilian poker powerhouse Brunno Botteon had to offer, but after a year where Botteon seemingly never cooled off, now the whole poker world knows how great he really is. In 2020, no matter the online series, no matter the stakes, Botteon found a way to thrive. At the end of 2019, Botteon could regularly be seen playing mid-stakes, with the occasional high roller mixed in. That all began to change at the very start of 2020. In early January, on the same day at the same time, he finished as the runner-up in the PokerStars Winter Series $530 Main Event for $196,908 and third place in the Winter Series $5,200 Main Event for another $265,463. The hot start to his year set him up to make deep runs in many of the marquee series that made the move online when forced to postpone their live events. During the World Series of Poker Online events on GGPoker, Botteon found himself in the mix for a bracelet in some of the most prestigious events of the series. After he finished as the runner-up in Event #67 ($500 NLHE) for $41,855, Botteon made another final table in the $25,000 NLHE Poker Players Championship. He ended up finishing in sixth for $388,837 for what was, at the time, a career-high cash. He bested that just days later when he made it to the finals of the WSOP $25,000 Heads Up Championship. He finished in second place, just behind German superstar Fedor Holz, for a new career-high score of $622,300. Botteon then turned his attention to the PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker where he picked up his second career title in Event #36-H ($2,100 NLHE Midweek Freeze) for $80,642. He also finished as the runner-up in Event #48-H ($5,200 8-Max PKO) for another $95,458. By this time, Botteon had soared in the rankings and was sitting as the #3-ranked player in the world and was regularly competing and cashing in the biggest buy-in tournaments online. However, as much as Botteon had already achieved in 2020, he decided to save the best for last. Botteon weaved his way through the international leg of the 2020 World Series of Poker hybrid Main Event, taking the chip lead into the live final table. The Brazilian made his way to Rozvadov where, in the end, he finished in second place to Damian Salas, but locked up his first career seven-figure score of $1,062,723. It was the third time in 2020 that Botteon set himself a new career-high cash and, in total, in his first WSOP experience, Botteon earned more than $2.16 million. Sitting with more than $5.2 million in lifetime online earnings (excluding his WSOP Main Event haul) Botteon’s tenacity at the tables has helped him into online poker history as one of the elite few who has reached the top of the worldwide rankings. On December 12, Botteon finally became the #1-ranked player in the world, capping off an incredible year for one of 2020’s biggest breakout stars. Artur ‘marathur1’ Martirosyan Also known by his screen name ‘marathur1’, Russia’s Artur Martirosyan took his career to the next level in 2020 after capturing multiple titles and big-time cashes. During the Poker Masters Online series in April, Martirosyan narrowly missed out on winning the Purple Jacket after cashing in nine of the 30 high roller event events for a total profit of $551,674. Just weeks later Martirosyan’s heater extended into the PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker where he took down Event #17 ($10,300 NLHE 8-Max High Roller) for over $271,000. Days later he grabbed his second title of the series in Event #19 ($5,200 NLHE Midweek Freeze) to add another $157,426 to his ever-expanding bankroll. In June, he was back dominating another Poker Central series when Martirosyan took a series victory in the Super High Roller Bowl Online Series. He made six final tables, eight cashes overall, over the series' 27 events and he earned just under $1.8 million for his efforts. He wasn't done. After a deep run in the World Poker Tour World Online Championships Main Event, he took down the WPT Mini Super High Roller for $239,500 which led to the Russian being named player of the series and winning an additional $50,000 for topping the leaderboard. Landon Tice When you make the leap from online micro-stakes to playing in some of the biggest live games Las Vegas has to offer in a matter of just a couple of years, people are going to take notice. That is exactly what 21-year old Landon Tice has done and his story, and talent, brought youthful energy and excitement to poker 2020. For those that follow poker closely it was hard not to encounter Tice in some form or another, from his on-stream appearances with Joey Ingram to guest co-hosting the Solve For Why podcast with Matt Berkey and Christian Soto, Tice took little time letting his personality shine in the poker media. At the same time, Tice's poker game has reportedly been taken under the wing of the likes of Nick Schulman, Andrew Lichtenberger, and Berkey among others. Tice's Las Vegas cash game exploits at the higher limits were recounted and analyzed on podcasts and social media. At the same time, he quickly proved that his talent translated to the tournament scene as well. Tice took down one of the few major live tournaments to take place this year, besting a field of 1,123 entries in the 2020 MSPT Venetian Main Event for a $201,529 first-place payday. And if the World Series of Poker is able to be run in its traditional form in 2021, one should expect to see a lot more of Landon Tice in the chip counts. Ryan Depaulo When it comes to seizing the spotlight in 2020, perhaps no one did it better than Ryan Depaulo. With his star already on the rise from his popular YouTube channel Ryan Depaulo: Degenerate Gambler, the New York pro successfully pulled off one of the most improbable WSOP gold bracelet victories of the year. In order to play WSOP Online Event #13 ($500 No Limit Hold’em, The Big 500), Depaulo drove his car to a Whole Foods parking lot in New Jersey in order to “borrow” a little internet. From the front seat of his car, Depaulo played all night and reached the final table. When he got there, he dominated. Depaulo eliminated six of his final eight opponents and grabbed the gold bracelet and a $159,563 score as the sun rose over the hood of his car. https://twitter.com/depaulo_ryan/status/1282600527839334400?s=20 After he locked up the win, Depaulo, stunned, jumped out of his car and as the Whole Foods employees were coming in to start their morning shift he screamed out loud “I’m a Legend!” He may not yet be a full-blown poker legend yet but if he continues to pull off insane feats like this one he might just be on his way to becoming one. Jeff Platt It would be fair to say that poker commentator Jeff Platt could have, and rightfully should have, been named a rising star a year ago. Maybe he was and if so, it would have been true. But in 2020, Platt found the opportunity to level up in poker once again by becoming one of the premier faces and voices of some of this year’s most-watched poker streams on Twitch. If Nick Schulman is the current GOAT when it comes to poker commentary, then Platt is the People’s Champion. Platt seemed to be everywhere he was needed in 2020. From grabbing a glass of wine and anchoring the WSOP pre-final table broadcast throughout the summer, to holding down the GGPoker Twitch stream during the Polk-Negreanu challenge, you could count on Platt to be a consummate pro juggling talking thru the action with indulging the chat. With so many events taking place online this year, plenty of content creators have taken a stab in the commentary booth, with varying degrees of success. But it’s Platt’s professionalism that will likely put him in line for more and more work in the poker industry for years and years to come.
  3. Making the trip from Argentina to the 2020 World Series of Poker Main Event international live final table at King's Casino in the Czech Republic was well worth it for Damian Salas. The 45-year-old, who also made the final table of the 2017 WSOP Main Event, defeated Brunno Botteon, the #1-ranked online poker player in the world, heads-up to win $1.5 million and will now travel to Las Vegas to play the winner of the American final table live for another $1 million. The final table began eight-handed after China's Peiyuan 'fish3098' Sun not to travel to Rozvadov due to the coronavirus pandemic. It took just 45 minutes for the Salas to turn his aggression into an increased chip stack with the elimination of Hannes Speiser. Salas was the initial aggressor, raising to 425,000 from early position before Speiser, who started the final table with the fifth best stack, responded by moving all in for 1,925,000. Salas called and showed [poker card="th"][poker card="ts"] while Speiser was in trouble with [poker card="qc"][poker card="tc"]. The board ran out [poker card="ac"][poker card="ad"][poker card="jh"][poker card="9d"][poker card="6s"] to eliminate Speiser in eighth place. Salas continued to accumulate and 30 minutes later, sent another player home. Stoyan Obreshkov raised to 900,000 from the cutoff and Salas re-raised to 1,750,000 and Obreshkov called all in. Salas showed [poker card="as"][poker card="tc"] which was the worst case scenario for Obreshkov who tabled [poker card="ks"][poker card="th"]. The [poker card="td"][poker card="9d"][poker card="7d"] flop changed nothing for Obreshkov and all he could do was sweat the [poker card="7s"] turn and [poker card="as"] river to seal his fate with a seventh place result. That pot moved Salas into striking distance of Brunno Botteon for the first time since the final table began. A battle of the blinds just 15 minutes later between Dominykas Mikolaitis and Manuel Ruivo ended things for one of them. From the small blind, Ruivo moved all in and Mikolaitis called and showed [poker card="ad"][poker card="jc"] while Ruivo was ahead with [poker card="3c"][poker card="3h"]. Ruivo improved to bottom set on the [poker card="9c"][poker card="5c"][poker card="3d"] flop. The [poker card="7s"] turn ended Mikolaitis' running clubs dream. The [poker card="4c"] completed the board to officially eliminate Mikolaitis in sixth. Ruivo found another victim but it wasn't until nearly two hours later. The Portugal native raised from the button to 600,000 and Marco Streda shoved from the small blind for somewhere north of 2,500,000. Ruivo called and showed [poker card="ac"][poker card="ad"] while Streda was in bad shape with [poker card="ah"][poker card="kd"]. The board ran out [poker card="jc"][poker card="8c"][poker card="2c"][poker card="7s"][poker card="4s"] to eliminate Streda. Thanks to a 30-minute dinner break and a regularly scheduled 15-minute break, the next elimination didn't happen until nearly one hour and 45 minutes after Streda hit the rail. Ramon Miquel Munoz was down to approximately 800,000 and moved all in from UTG. Botteon followed that by moving all in, forcing the rest of the table to fold. Munoz had life with [poker card="as"][poker card="6d"] while Botteon showed [poker card="3d"][poker card="3s"]. Munoz' tournament life was all but snuffed out on the [poker card="kc"][poker card="th"][poker card="3h"] flop. The [poker card="ks"] turn made a comeback impossible and the [poker card="ad"] river made Munoz' fourth place finish official. Three-handed play last just about an hour before Salas sent the tournament to the heads-up portion. Botteon folded his button, Salas completed from the small blind and then called when Ruivo raised to 1,500,000 in the big blind. After the [poker card="9c"][poker card="4c"][poker card="2d"] flop, Salas check-raised to 5,000,000. Ruivo moved all in for not much more and Salas called. Ruivo showed [poker card="9d"][poker card="4h"] for top two pair while Salas tabled [poker card="tc"][poker card="7c"] for a flush draw. Salas added a straight draw on the [poker card="8s"] turn and then completed his flush draw on the [poker card="5c"] river to bust Ruivo in second. Heads-up play began with Salas holding nearly two-thirds of the chips in play. Over a full hour of play between Botteon and Salas, the Brazilian only managed to briefly take over the chip lead before Salas regained it and eliminated Botteon. On the final hand, Botteon completed from the small blind and Salas checked to see a flop of [poker card="kc"][poker card="4c"][poker card="2h"]. Both players checked to see the [poker card="6h"] turn card. Botteon check-raised to 2,800,000 and Salas called. The [poker card="8c"] completed the board and Botteon moved all in and Salas tank-called. Botteon showed [poker card="7h"][poker card="3h"] for a missed flush draw while Salas tabled [poker card="kd"][poker card="8h"] for top two pair to eliminate Botteon in second place. The win means Salas will be flying to Las Vegas right after Christmas to play the eventual winner of the U.S. leg of the 2020 WSOP Main Event for the $1 million prize. Final Table Payouts Damian Salas - $1,550,969 Bruno Botteon - $1,062,723 Manuel Ruivo - $728,177 Ramon Miquel Munoz - $498,947 Marco Streda - $341,879 Dominykas Mikolaitis - $234,255 Stoyan Obreshkov - $160,512 Hannes Speiser - $109,982 Peiyuan Sun - $75,360
  4. The 2020 World Series of Poker Main Event continued on Monday as the 179 players who survived the three $10,000 buy-in starting flights on GGPoker reconvened on Day 2 to determine which nine players would lock up a seat at King’s Casino in Rozvadov for a shot at the $1,550,969 first-place prize. When all was said and done on Day 2 it was worldwide #5-ranked Brunno Botteon out of Brazil who rose to the top of the final table chip counts, finishing the day with more than 10 million in chips. More than 4 million behind Botteon on the leaderboard sits Manuel Ruvio. Ruvio scored the final knockout of the day which helped elevate him to second in chips. The top-three is rounded out by 2017 World Series of Poker final table member Damian Salas. Salas, currently third in chips, would need to win the international portion of the Main Event to best his previous final table cash of $1.425 million which he earned for a seventh-place finish. Joining the chip leaders in Rozvadov will be ‘fullbabyfull’, Hannes Speiser, Dominykas Mikolaitis, Ramon Miquel Munoz, Peiyuan Sun, and short-stack Stoyan Obreshkov, who will start the final table with roughly 10 big blinds. Final Table Chip Counts [table id=136 /] Long before the final table was set, over half the field needed to go broke before the payouts began. Some of poker’s most notable names managed to make Day 2 but still ended up going home empty-handed. Former #1-ranked online pros Simon Mattsson and Yuri Dzivielevski were ousted before the money, as were the notable names of Ludovic Geilich, Anatoly Filatov, Anton Wigg, and Daniel Dvoress. WSOP gold bracelet winners Georgios Sotiropoulos, Simon Lofberg, Barak Wisbrod, Jonas Lauck, and Sung Joo Hyun all fell short of the money as well, leaving just Toby Joyce as the lone bracelet winner to sneak into the cash where he finished up in 32nd place for $26,507. Joining Joyce on the right side of the money bubble included Julien Menhardt (24th, $30,404) and Blaz Zerjav (25th, $30,404), the respective Day 1A and Day 1B overnight chip leaders. Alex Difelice (39th, $22,876), Sergio Aido (41st, $22,876), Antonine Saout (53rd, $18,421), Gary Hasson (54th, $18,421), and Gediminas Uselis (74th, $15,277), were also among those who managed to turn a profit. Roughly seven hours into Day 2, the final two tables battled to see who would survive to see the live portion of the tournament. Diego ‘Ushuaua1’ Zeiter got his [poker card="kc"][poker card="jc"] it all-in preflop against Stoyan ‘UncleToni’ Obreshkov’s [poker card="td"][poker card="ts"] but failed to improve, falling in 18th for $34,115. He was quickly followed out the door by China’s ‘sunnyzyang1982’ who got in a raising war with Salas after the pair saw a [poker card="ts"][poker card="8c"][poker card="6d"] flop. The pair got it all in the middle, ‘sunnyzyang1982’ was holding the [poker card="jd"][poker card="td"] but was out-kicked by Salas’ [poker card="ah"][poker card="tc"]. The [poker card="kh"] turn and [poker card="7h"] river didn’t help ‘sunnyzyang1982’ and they fell in 17th for $39,356. Roughly 30 minutes later it was Fazel ‘waterproo’ Dawood’s turn to go broke. The South African open-shoved holding [poker card="jc"][poker card="tc"] and was called by Salas and his [poker card="8s"][poker card="8d"]. The board ran out pah][poker card="qs"][poker card="7c"][poker card="7d"][poker card="4c"] giving Salas more chips and Dawood a 16th place finish for $39,356. Another 30 minutes passed before Evaldas ‘Man14c’ Aniulis made his move with his short stack holding [poker card="qc"][poker card="jc"]. He was called by Dominykas ‘MickeyMouse’ Mikolaitis in the big blind with [poker card="tc"][poker card="6h"]. The [poker card="9c"][poker card="2d"][poker card="6d"] flop paired Mikolaitis, which held through the [poker card="4h"] turn and [poker card="8c"] river. Aniulis was ousted in fifteenth place a $39,356 payday. ‘BorisLeBlade’ found himself all-in and at risk holding [poker card="ks"][poker card="kd"] against Christopher Puetz’s [poker card="ac"][poker card="2c"]. The board ran out clean for ‘BorisLeBlade’ right up until the [poker card="as"] on the river flipped the script awarding the hand to Puetz and sending ‘BorisLeBlade’ home in fourteenth place with $39,356. Despite securing that knockout, Puetz wasn’t long for the tournament either. He shipped his roughly 10 big blind stack from late position holding [poker card="ah"][poker card="7c"] and was re-shipped on by Hannes ‘BlackFortuna’ Speiser and his [poker card="ac"][poker card="jc"]. Both players paired their ace on the [poker card="ad"][poker card="4d"][poker card="3s"] flop, but the [poker card="5s"] turn and [poker card="5h"] river put Speiser’s kicker into play and Puetz exited in thirteenth place for $44,914. The eliminations kept coming as Canada’s Carter Swidler clashed with Day 1C chipleader Senthuran Vijayaratnam in a pre-flop all-in contest. Swidler held [poker card="as"][poker card="7c"] while Vijayaratnam showed down [poker card="kc"][poker card="kd"]. The board ran out clean for the pocket kings and Swidler hit the rail in twelfth place, earning $44,914. Vijayaratnam entered Day 2 with an overwhelming chip lead but with just 11 left he found himself engaged in an all-in clash with Botteon. After Botteon raised from late position with [poker card="qh"][poker card="qd"], Vijayaratnam three-bet shipped his nearly 20 big blind stack with [poker card="ad"][poker card="7s"]. Botteon, who had Vijayaratnam covered, made the quick call with his premium pair. The board ran out [poker card="9s"][poker card="3c"][poker card="7d"][poker card="jd"][poker card="6c"] bringing Vijayaratnam’s day to an end in eleventh place for $50,131 and sending Botteon to the top of the chip counts. The bubble for the final table finally burst when Manuel ‘robocup’ Ruvio raised from under the gun and the UK’s Thomas ‘ggmbn’ Macdonald moved his short stack all-in from the small blind with [poker card="ah"][poker card="4h"]. Ruvio completed the call holding [poker card="kh"][poker card="3h"]. Ruvio took the lead on the [poker card="qc"][poker card="6d"][poker card="3d"] flop and held on through the [poker card="jd"] turn and [poker card="qs"] river to send Macdonald home in tenth place for $50,131, just one spot shy of a trip to Rozvadov. Now, with the final table of nine in place, the players will ditch their screen names and accept the challenge of making their way to King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Rebublic by December 15 to play the international portion of the WSOP Main Event out in person. Final Table Payouts [table id=138 /]
  5. 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.
  6. UK's Stephen 'stevie444' Chidwick Makes It $5 Million One of the most popular players in the UK, Stephen 'stevie444' Chidwick, returned from an online poker hiatus to launch himself past the $5 million lifetime earning mark. Chidwick, currently #2 on England's All-Time Money list, according to Hendon Mob, took sixth in a $5,000 PokerStars High Roller for over $48,000. Prior to that, Chidwick had not recorded an online cash since September. Nowadays, Chidwick only jumps online to play when the largest series and tournaments are taking place. Otherwise, the high-stakes regular spends his time crushing live events as he is currently ranked #3 on the Global Poker Index. This past December he surpassed $10,000,000 in total live earnings and Chidwick's 2017 included 10 six-figure live cashes. 'NukeTheFish' & 'bagoch' Top $3 Million Lifetime Two more online poker mainstays surpassed the $3 million lifetime marker this week. Ireland's 'NukeTheFish' and Lithuania #4-ranked grinder 'bagoch' both earned enough to reach the new milestone. 'NukeTheFish' got the job done when he finished in 65th place in a $1,000 PokerStars No Limit Hold'em tournament for $3,033 on January 2. Just one day prior, he put himself in position to hit the $3 million mark when he scored a victory in a $100 PokerStars tournament for $7,283. 'bagoch', one of Lithuania's top professionals, absolutely destroyed the milemarker when he earned $95,253 for a runner-up finish in a $1,000 PokerStars tournament on January 2. Other notable million dollar milestones include Sweden's 'Discoovery' who passed the $2 million mark and Germany's 'DaCus3' who has now earned a million dollars in his over 10-year career. Ben 'DoobieFish' Kett Earns First Triple Crown of 2018 The UK's Ben 'DoobieFish' Kett completed the first Triple Crown of 2018 on January 2 after besting 771 runners in a $25 PokerStars No Limit Hold'em tournament for $3,344. He combined that victory with his wins in the partypoker Counterpunch for $2,750 and the 888poker $20,000 Christmas Special for $6,192, to not only complete the trifecta but climb to over $800,000 in total lifetime career earnings. It's the first Triple Crown for the longtime grinder who, in the month leading up to his three victories, recorded roughly ninety-five cashes for a total of over $35,000. Kett currently sits ranked #872 Worldwide, and in the top 100 of players in the UK. Should he continue to rack up PLB points like he did when earning his Triple Crown, he could make a run at a career-high ranking in the new year. Damian 'pampa27' Salas jumps 50 spots and into the Top 100 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event seventh place finisher, Damian 'pampa27' Salas has himself a monster week at the online tables earning enough PLB points to not only breach the Worldwide top 100, but to debut at #52. The massive leap is all thanks to his first-place finish in the $5,000 PokerStars High Roller, the same one Steven Chidwick cashed in to surpass $5 million, for an online career-high $139,183 score. Pulling in nearly 800 PLB points also cemented Salas' position as the #1-ranked player in Columbia by roughly 2,500 points. Career High Rankings In The Top 100 oddsbaek - #98 to #94 fNx_R - #92 to #84 untaktik - #85 to #83 Javier 'Ofbravetight' Swett - #86 to #82 Tomas 'masuronike' Kubaliak - #90 to #58 Damian 'pampa27' Salas - #102 to #52 Gary 'quiditbear' Hasson - #45 to #31 drupalucker - #33 to #30 Jonathan 'proudflop' Proudfoot - #34 to #28 sitpro2011 - #21 to #19
  7. The improbable story of John Hesp, the eccentric Englishman that took the 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event by storm, is being given the Hollywood treatment. According to The Daily Mail, Hesp’s inspiring fourth place finish in the Main Event for $2.6 million dollars has been optioned by “two renowned movie producers.” This means that in the not-so-distant future Hesp’s trademark colorful coat will be able to be seen in actual technicolor. Fans who followed the Main Event in 2017 will be familiar with his story: a grandfather from East Yorkshire who had played poker about once a month for $10 went on the heater of a lifetime. Hesp battling some of the best young players the game has to offer and, in the process, he reminded a legion of poker players what it means to bring the fun back to the game of poker. “I feel blessed to have achieved this great success and truly hope my story will inspire others to have fun playing poker as that was my mood throughout my amazing run last year,” Hesp said. “Thought my run in Vegas last year I was playing in Party Mood and I often commented ‘let’s make poker fun!’” With his fastidious flare and colorful wardrobe which matched his personality, it didn’t take long for word of his incredible run made it into the mainstream. Film producer Marc Ambrose knew that this was just the kind of feel good story that could transcend poker itself. “Most poker movies are about the dark and seedy side to the game,” Ambrose told The Daily Mail. “This story flips that right on its head.” “Saying this movie is about poker is like saying The Full Monty is about stripping. This is really a story about living life to its fullest but realizing that the grass isn’t always greener.” For Hesp, he’s surprised at the interest. “I have been completely overwhelmed and humbled with the large number of people who have reached out to me from all parts of the world and told me how much they had enjoyed watching me on TV and how inspiring it was," Hesp said. As for who will play Hesp in the movie, nothing is concrete but Hesp has an idea or two. “George Clooney or Tom Hanks is acceptable.” While it’s unlikely that either of these actors have the chops to play the energetic Hesp, we would like to offer a few suggestions of fantasy casting for the upcoming movie. Here are some options for Ambrose as to who we think would make for a fantastic cast for the climatic WSOP Main Event Final Table scene. John Hesp as played by Michael Caine. Two-time Academy Award winner Michael Caine can likely capture Hesp's English essence. WSOP Champ Scott Blumstein as played by young Seth Rogan. Sure, we may have to go back in time a few years, but Rogan's jovial nature and charisma would suit the likable personality of the 2017 champ. Dan Ott as played by Keanu Reeves. The scruffy silent type, Keanu Reeves would jump at the chance to play the runner-up. Benjamin Pollak as played by Bobby Cannavale. Bobby Cannavale, the star of Martin Scorcese's HBO show Vinyl would be a perfect fit for third-place finisher Pollak. Antoine Saout as played by Bradley Cooper. Is there another actor in Hollywood that wears a backward hat as well as Bradley Cooper? Bryan Piccoli as played by Emile Hirsch. Emile Hirsch would use what he learned playing the lead in Into The Wild to navigate Piccoli's Main Event journey. Damian Salas as played by Jon Stewart. C'mon, check this out! It's perfect! Jack Sinclair as played by Daniel Radcliff. British wizard as played by a British wizard. Ben Lamb as played by Matt Damon. The return of Mike McDermott. Have a better casting option for the John Hesp film? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter: @pocketfives
  8. The four-day World Poker Tour $10,000 Main Event Championship on partypoker came to a conclusion on Wednesday as the UK’s Phillip Mighall outlasted the 1,011 player field to claim his first WPT title and a career-high cash of $1,550,298.47. Even though Mighall started the final table with a comfortable stack, sitting second in chips, his path to victory was certainly not an easy one. He faced serious competition in the final nine players including World Series of Poker final tablist and Day 3 chip leader Damian Salas, Team partypoker pro Dzimitry Urbanovich, and renowned high-stakes online poker grinder Bert ‘Girafganger7’ Stevens. But Mighall leaned on his years of online poker experience, which has brought him more than $3.1 million in lifetime online earnings, and grinded out the over six-hour long final table to capture that signature victory years in the making. Roughly twenty minutes into the final table the first major confrontation took place. After an early position raise from Salas, Laszlo Molnar three-bet half his short stack with [poker card="ad"][poker card="jc"]. From the button, Brazil’s Victor Simonato put in the four-bet holding [poker card="js"][poker card="jd"] which allowed Salas to fold when it came back around to him. Molnar then stuck the rest of his stack in the middle to put his tournament on the line and Simonato made the quick call. The board ran out [poker card="qd"][poker card="3d"][poker card="2h"][poker card="3c"][poker card="th"] sending Molnar home in ninth for $127,386. The next elimination took place just a few hands later as Tuen Mulder opened from under the gun with [poker card="ad"][poker card="qs"] and then from the small blind, Simonato put in a three-bet with [poker card="qd"][poker card="qh"]. Finland’s Akseli Paalanen then four-bet shoved over 40 big blinds with [poker card="as"][poker card="ks"] which brought a fold from Mulder. After some thought, Simionato made the call. The flop came [poker card="th"][poker card="8h"][poker card="2d"] keeping the pocket queens in the lead. The [poker card="9s"] turn and the [poker card="9d"] river didn’t help Paalanen’s ace-king and he was eliminated in eighth place for $153,672. After having climbed two spots on the payout ladder, Bert Stevens open-shoved his final fifteen big blinds from the small blind with [poker card="qc"][poker card="th"]. Russia’s Blaz Zerjav made the call in the big blind with [poker card="as"][poker card="5h"]. The [poker card="7s"][poker card="4h"][poker card="9s"] flop opened the door for Stevens to pick up some additional outs on the turn. The [poker card="9s"] was not one of them and when the [poker card="8d"] fell on the river, the online legend Stevens exited in seventh place and added $194,112 to his nearly $10 million in career online earnings. Play slowed down at six-handed over the next hour and it took a bit of a cooler to send the next player to the rail. Salas opened under the gun with [poker card="7d"][poker card="7s"] and it folded around to Mulder on the button who called with [aq][poker card="qd"]. From the big blind, Urbanovich three-bet off his fifteen big blind stack with [poker card="ah"][poker card="kc"]. Salas folded the pocket pair, but Mulder four-bet enough to put Urbanovich at risk. Urbanovich made the call with the dominating hand but was quickly an underdog on the [poker card="qh"][poker card="8d"][poker card="9h"] flop. The [poker card="5h"] brought flush outs for the partypoker pro but he missed with the [poker card="jc"] river. Urbanovich was out in sixth place for $277,014. Roughly fourth-five minutes later, Zerjav completed the small blind with [poker card="ac"][poker card="3s"] and the called Simonato who raised the big blind with [poker card="qc"][poker card="jc"]. The pair saw a flop of [poker card="9c"][poker card="2c"][poker card="5h"]. Zerjav check-called a bet from Simonato. The [poker card="kh"] turn elicited another check from Zerjav and Simonato continued his story with another larger bet, which Zerjav called. The [poker card="4h"] river brought Zerjav a straight, which he checked over to Simonato who continued his bluff by firing a third bullet. Zerjav made the easy call and crippled Simonato, leaving him with less than a big blind. Simonato, who won his way into the tournament on a $22 satellite, exited the very next hand in fifth place for $391,257. The final four players grinded for nearly three hours before Zerjav was forced to make his move. He open-shoved his final fourteen big blinds from the button holding [poker card="6h"][poker card="6s"] right into Mighall’s [poker card="ks"][poker card="kc"] in the big blind. The [poker card="kh"][poker card="js"][poker card="4s"] flop gave Mighall top set and left Zerjav looking for serious help. The [poker card="9s"] turn left Zerjav drawing dead to the [poker card="qh"] river and the Russian fell in fourth place earning $552,006. Salas raised his three-handed button with [poker card="ks"][poker card="qs"] only to be shoved on by chip leader Mighall with [poker card="3d"][poker card="3s"]. Salas made the call and found he was flipping for his tournament life. The [poker card="ah"][poker card="kh"][poker card="7s"] flop looked good for Salas and the [poker card="qc"] turn looked even better. However, Salas couldn’t fade Mighall’s two-outer as the [poker card="3c"] hit the river, giving Mighall a set and eliminating Salas in third place for $814,663.80. Mighall and Mulder negotiated a deal during heads-up play that locked up career-high cashes of $1,396,968 for Mulder and $1,450,298 for Mighall but still left $100,000 on the table to play for. The thirty minute heads up match saw Mulder strip the chip lead from Mighall for a short period of time but back to back hands swung the match back in favor to Mighall, including the final hand which was a wild one. On the button, Mulder raised with [poker card="ac"][poker card="as"] only to be three-bet by Mighall holding [poker card="ts"][poker card="7d"]. Mulder opted to flat the three-bet and the pair saw a [poker card="ad"][poker card="jh"][poker card="9s"] flop. Mighall led the flop for half-pot and Mulder put in another call with his top set, leaving himself less than a pot bet behind. The action [poker card="8h"] hit the turn bringing in Mighall’s gutshot straight draw. Mighall shoved his straight, Mulder called and needed the board to pair. It didn’t as the [poker card="2s"] hit the river ending Mulder’s tournament in second place. Phillip Mighall ended the night with a score of more than $1.55 million, his first WPT title, a seat to the WPT Tournament of Champions, and his name to be enshrined on the WPT Mike Sexton Champions Cup. Final Table Payouts Phillip Mighall - $1,550,298.47* Tuen Mulder - $1,396,968.73* Damian Salas - $814,663.80 Blaz Zerjav - $552,006 Victor Simionato - $391,257 Dzmitry Urbanovich - $277,014 Bert Stevens - $194,112 Akseli Paalanen - $153,672 Laszlo Molnar - $127,386
  9. There's very little that Andras 'probirs' Nemeth has not accomplished in his online poker career. The former #1-ranked PocketFiver has amassed more than $17.5 million in online earnings and won nearly every title out there. Except one. Heading into the 2020 PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker, the Hungarian poker pro had never won a WCOOP title. That ended on Thursday night as Nemeth beat William 'hellzito' Arruda heads-up to win Event #15 High ($530 NLHE w/rebuys) for $79,655.48 and that first WCOOP title. Russian crusher Arsenii 'josef_shvejk' Karmatckii beat out 451 other entries in Event #13 High ($1,050 NLHE Midweek Freeze) to win his second career WCOOP title. Just 24 hours after winning his second WCOOP title, Ludovic Geilich finished two spots short of another one. Another Russian also earned a WCOOP title on Thursday. 'Bagrovui' took down Event #14 High ($1,050 PLO Six Max) for a $66,449.74 score and the first WCOOP title of their career. Jordi 'prot0' Urlings broke through and won his first career WCOOP title by beating 118 other entries in Event #17 High ($1,050 6+ Hold'em) to earn $26,752.48. Former #1 and current #9-ranked Patrick Leonard took home the bronze medal and $15,736.09. British grinder 'brandon0903' came out on top of the 194-entry field in Event #18 High ($2,100 NLHE) to win $80,642.40. Georgios 'Geokarak' Karakousis finished as the runner-up while the #14-ranked online poker player in the world Jerry 'Perrymejsen' Ödeen came in third place. Other Thursday winners included 'Tayguera' (Event #13 Medium), 'ZNOXYU' (Event #13 Low), 'The_Truht' (Event #14 Medium), 'RrrrStyle' (Event #14 Low), 'MathCamillo1' (Event #15 Medium), 'Janiz_x97' (Event #15 Low), 'nokeee' (Event #17 Medium), 'nikolakiev123' (Event #17 Low), 'MarcGregor89' (Event #18 Medium), and 'humpster76' (Event #18 Low). Event #13-H: $1,050 [Midweek Freeze] 452 entries $452,000 prize pool Arsenii 'josef_shvejk' Karmatckii - $72,758.88* StupidFr3nch - $68,391.76* Ludovic 'Ludovi333' Geilich - $45,320.95 Event #13-M: $109 [Midweek Freeze] 3,507 entries $350,700 prize pool Tayguera - $50,392.37 heilkuh - $35,920.16 Andre_Hansen - $25,605.09 Event #13-L: $11 [Midweek Freeze] 12,953 entries $126,939.40 prize pool ZNOXYU - $14,215.90* zsombesz82 - $10,558.68* BandaLover - $10,308.78* Event #14-H: $1,050 PLO [6-Max] 362 entries $362,000 prize pool Bagrovui - $66,449.74 PalomoBuchon - $48,331.05 beastishngry - $35,152.84 Event #14-M: $109 PLO [6-Max] 1,786 entries $178,600 prize pool The_Truht - $26,969.46 mounk666 - $18,790.54 silage89 - $13,092.71 Event #14-L: $11 PLO [6-Max] 5,587 entries $54,752.60 prize pool RrrrStyle - $6,755.75* Janneman1985 - $6,455.75* wale44_ - $3,778.95 Event #15-H: $530+R [8-Max] 294 entries $420,160 prize pool Andras ‘probirs’ Nemeth - $79,655.48 William 'hellzito' Arruda - $58,568.49 Damian 'pampa27' Salas - $43,063.92 Event #15-M: $55+R [8-Max] 2,499 entries $336,004.35 prize pool MathCamillo1 - $36,834.16* Karabin9 - $35,664.33* polonais123 - $35,167.15* Event #15-L: $5.50+R [8-Max] 8,873 entries $115,488.10 prize pool Janis_x97 - $10,336.26* TS17Aveiro - $7,884.40* DiowTrader - $8,120.76* Wildstulez08. - $11,253.23* Jcastro18 - $8,271.50* Event #17-H: $1,050 6+ Holdem [6-Max] 119 entries $119,000 prize pool prot0 - $26,752.48 b0caNer0 - $20,517.76 pads1161 - $15,736.09 Event #17-M: $109 6+ Holdem [6-Max] 557 entries $55,700 prize pool nokeee - $9,825.96 jesbergKings - $6,903.86 Jacob Schindler - $4,851.04 Event #17-L: $11 6+ Holdem [6-Max] 4,474 entries $43,845.20 prize pool nikolakiev123 - $4,635.14* Rostik2306 - $4,241.89* aelred - $4,765.76* Event #18-H: $2,100 NLHE 194 entries $400,000 prize pool ($12,000 overlay) brandon0903 - $80,642.40 Geokarak - $62,088.88 Perrymejsen - $47,804 Event #18-M: $215 NLHE [Freezeout] 1,605 entries $321,200 prize pool MarcGregor89 - $48,814.66 Partyliel - $34,795.75 mike21_4life - $24,803.61 Event #18-L: $22 NLHE [Freezeout] 77,39 entries $154,780 prize pool humpster76 - $18,822.07* Starskie1986 - $18,072.06* AS Leshiy - $10,441.93
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