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  1. [caption width="640"] A closer look at the current crop of Germany's online elite players[/caption] Over the better part of the last decade, Germany has emerged as a literal breeding ground for poker players of the highest caliber. From their dominance in all things High Roller, including, most recently Steffen Sontheimer’s Poker Masters victory, to producing some of the most recognized names in the game like Fedor Holz, Rainer Kepme, and 2017 Super High Roller Bowl winner Christoph Vogelsang. This excellence is not limited to the live arena as German players can be found crushing in every area of the online landscape. With that in mind, here is a closer look at the current Top 10 of the German Online Poker Rankings. Sitting atop the German leaderboard is current Top 20-ranked Worldwide online professional 'nilsef'. 'nilsef', the child chess player turned online phenom, is a two-time World Championship of Online Poker winner with over $5.7 million in lifetime earnings. His recent results were bolstered by multiple deep runs during PokerStars' 2017 WCOOP including his largest score of over $80,000 for his fourth place finish in Event #26 High ($1,050 Sunday Warm-Up). In fact, during the September series, 'nilsef' cashed 38 times between the High and Low events and found himself at five final tables while he also bubbled a sixth. When it comes to the German Top 10, there's a wide gap between first and second place - nearly 3,000 PLB points – but the emerging talent of 'SmilleThHero' is looking to close the distance. 'SmilleThHero' had a monster few days in September during the partypoker Powerfest with a victory in Event #210 ($75,000 Freezeout) for over $16,000, a career-high score for the grinder, and two additional four-figure scores in the next 24 hours. Germany's current #3-ranked player is currently enjoying the peak of his online career. Sitting as a top-300 Worldwide ranked player, 'gopu' is rapidly approaching $1.5 million in lifetime earnings. His recent steady stream of recent cashes have been highlighted by a pair of $15,000 scores. The first was an outright victory in the PokerStars Hot $215 and the follow-up was in the 2017 WCOOP Main Event ($5,200 $10M GTD NLHE). Well-known tournament crusher Phillipp 'philbort' Gruissem is currently ranked #4 in his homeland. Gruissem, who also sits in the Top 50 on the Hendon Mob's All-Time Money List, overpowered the competition as he took the title in WCOOP Event #45 High ($215+R Six Max NLHE) for over $75,000, pushing his lifetime online earnings up over $3.5 million. That was just one of three paydays of over $25,000 over the past three weeks, one of which came on the first day of October with his runner-up finish in the PokerStars $700 Super-Sized Sunday Progressive KO for $29,137.80. Munster's 'T0X16' finds himself in Germany's top-five after capturing a monster career-high score of $71,584 when he finished in second place during partypoker's Powerfest Event #223 ($500K Guaranteed Two-Day Event). The cash, along with a pair of low five-figure scores in the month prior, has elevated 'T0X16' into the top 300 in the Worldwide rankings, where he currently sits at #288. Right behind 'T0X16' is one of the most popular German players on the planet, 888poker ambassador and regular high-roller, Dominik 'bounatirouIMO' Nitsche. At #7, 'Grozzorg' eclipsed $500,000 in lifetime earnings.'Polecatrider' (#8), former #11-ranked Worldwide grinder Jonas 'Jownz' Lauck (#9) and 'staanemer' complete the current crop of top online German players. Germany's Current Top 10 RANKPLAYERPOINTS 1nilsef6,724.40 2SmilleThHero3,768.69 3gopu3,657.34 4Philipp 'philbort' Gruissem3,604.46 5T0X163,578.11 6Dominik 'bounatirouIMO' Nitsche3,290.19 7Grozzorg2,866.80 8Polecatrider2,799.37 9Jonas 'Jownz' Lauck2,608.63 10staanemer2,56601
  2. [caption id="attachment_617498" align="alignnone" width="640"] Germany's Ole Schemion wins the World Poker Tour Season XVI European Championship.[/caption] The World Poker Tour Season XVI European Championship Berlin came to a conclusion on Monday as the remaining six players from the 339 starting field, took their seat to battle for the €218,435 first-place prize and the title of WPT Champion. The €3,300 televised Main Event was held at Spelbank Berlin and it was the first time the WPT had held a Championship event on German soil. Therefore, it seems only fitting that one of the best players on the planet, Ole Schemion who hails from Germany, took over the tournament and rode a wave of momentum right into the winner’s circle. Schemion entered the final table with the chip lead, something he had held for the past two days. He used that leverage to eliminate four of the other five players, including Czech Republic’s red-hot Michal Mrakes, standing in his way to victory. It took nearly two hours into the six-handed final table for the first of the finalist to hit the rail. After 37-year old Amjad Nader was crippled down to 6 big blinds on the hand prior, he pushed with [poker card="ks"][poker card="qd"]. Schemion flatted with the [poker card="ah"][poker card="ts"] as did Mrakes with the [poker card="9d"][poker card="9s"]. The flop came [poker card="ac"][poker card="6d"][poker card="5h"] and Schemion put out a bet that drove Mrakes out of the pot. When the [poker card="8h"] hit the turn, Nader was drawing dead and as the inconsequential [poker card="7h"] completed the hand, Nader stood to collect a career-high cash of €39,010 ($47,323). Born in China, but living in Germany, Hanyong Kuo entered the final table third in chips. Kuo made a gutsy king-high bluff-catching call for the majority of his stack only to be shown ace-high, leaving him with only five big blinds. Four hands later, he’d make his final move of the tournament by shipping [poker card="kd"][poker card="9d"] into the surging Schemion who isolated with [poker card="as"][poker card="9h"]. There was no help to Kuo, a veteran Pot-Limit Omaha cash game specialist, when the board ran out all blanks for both players leaving Schemion's ace-high as the best hand. Schemion claimed another victim and Kuo claimed his fifth-place prize of €46,705 ($57,118). A mere two hands later another elimination took place as Germany’s Michael Behnert took his ten big blind stack and put it in the middle from the small blind holding [poker card="ac"][poker card="9c"].,Patrice Brandt made the call from the big blind with [poker card="kd"][poker card="3d"]. Behnert’s 3:2 advantage quickly diminished on the [poker card="8h"][poker card="5d"][poker card="3c"] flop. But when the turn came [poker card="5c"], Behnert picked up backdoor flush outs in addition to his two overs, essentially giving himself the same odds Brandt had at the beginning of the hand. But the [poker card="6s"] was of no help and Behnert, who entered the day fifth in chips, laddered to fourth place and took home €60,730 ($74,088). Brandt himself would be the third elimination in five hands as he took his made a stand with his roughly 30 big blind stack against the tournament boss, Schemion. Brandt raised the button with [poker card="jh"][poker card="9h"] only to be three-bet by Schemion from the small blind. Mrakes folded the big blind and Brandt called to see the flop. The flop dropped [poker card="5h"][poker card="2c"][poker card="2h"]. Schemion bet around one-third pot and then, with his two overs and a flush draw, Brandt committed the rest of his chips. Schemion made the call and tabled [poker card="ad"][poker card="4d"]. While Schemion’s gutshot straight draw and ace-high was the best hand, Brandt was a slight favorite when all the cards were exposed. But it was Schemion’s day and a pair of bricks in the form of the [poker card="kc"] and [poker card="7c"] sealed Brandt’s fate. Schemion had eliminated his second player with ace-high. Brandt finished in third despite entering the final table with just over 15 big blinds. He earned €93,105 ($115,077) for the result. After a 30-minute break heads-up play began with Ole Schemion holding roughly a 2:1 chip advantage over Michal Mrakes, who had entered the final table second in chips. An early full house for Schemion extended his chip lead and the Germany superstar never looked back. Twenty-one hands later the pair would mix it up on the final hand of the tournament. Schemion raised holding the [poker card="kc"][poker card="7c"], Mrakes three-bet with [poker card="7s"][poker card="5s"] and was called. When the action flop of [poker card="kh"][poker card="qs"][poker card="9s"] hit, Mrakes made his move and pushed. Schemion ultimately made the call. The pair watched as the [poker card="8h"] hit the turn opening Mrakes outs to include an inside straight. But the [poker card="4d"] shut the door on Mrakes comeback bid and awarded the hometown hero, Schemion, the victory. Mrakes finishes as the runner-up, winning €143,845 ($178,892) for his third career six-figure score. Ole Schemion added to the accolades of his remarkable career that includes over $13.5 million in tournament cashes. Now in addition to his victories in the Aria High Roller series, the Partouche Poker Tour Championship and EPT Monte Carlo Super High Roller, Schemion can now call himself a World Poker Tour Champion. The title includes an entry into the World Poker Tour Tournament of Champions at the Aria Resort & Casino in May, a Hublot Big Bang Steel timepiece and, of course, €218,435 ($255,352) for his first-place prize money. Final Table Payouts Ole Schemion - €218,435 Michal Mrakes - €143,845 Patrice Brandt - €93,105 Michael Behnert - €60,730 Hanyong Kuo - €46,705 Amjad Nader - €39,010
  3. The PocketFives Rankings are all about showcasing the best online poker players in the world, but if you look beyond the worldwide rankings and focus on the race for #1 in individual countries, the races are often times a lot closer. In the debut edition of The Number Ones, we take a look at the top-ranked players from Argentina, Belgium, Japan, Germany and Greece. Argentina - Ramiro 'Ramiro' Petrone Sitting atop the Argentina rankings, Ramiro Petrone has quietly become one of the most dominant players in the world. With 8,845.56 PLB points, Petrone has almost 3,500 more than his next closest countryman. On April 11, Petrone put together series of cashes to solidify his position inside the top 10 of the Worldwide Rankings. He won $20,000 Mega Deep on 888poker and then posted third place finishes in the Six Max Wednesday High Roller and the Bounty Hunter High Roller on partypoker for nearly $25,000 and nearly 470 points. He capped all of that off by taking down the partypoker Super Sunday Main Event (High) for $28,426 and 410.49 points on APril 16. Belgium - Gary 'quiditbear' Hasson Playing exclusively on PokerStars, Gary 'quiditbear' Hasson has managed to put together a 1,255 point lead over the next highest-ranked player in Belgium, 'oempaloempah'. Hasson has picked up only two qualifying cashes in April, but in March he picked up the biggest PLB score of his career thanks to a runner-up finish in the PokerStars High Rollers Event #12. He added 433.63 points to his total and $64,422 to his bankroll. In fact, his eight best PLB scores have all come inside the last six months. Currently ranked #32 in the world, Hasson has been as high as #22. Germany - 'nilsef' Of the 932 PocketFivers in Germany, the player at the top is 'nilsef'. With $6.46 million in career earnings and 533 MTT wins, the Schleswig-Holstein resident is head and shoulders above the rest of his homeland. 'Nilsef' puts in volume at all buy-in levels and has already cashed 218 times in April alone. That includes 24 wins, 41 podium finishes and 94 top 10 results. His best result of 2018 came on March 20 when he finished just off the podium in the PokerStars High Rollers Series Event #8 for $14,110 and 177.34 points. He's now 1,322.82 points ahead of #2-ranked 'Grozzorg' and almost 1,500 points ahead of #3-ranked 'SmilleThHero'. Greece - 'sinkedshrimp' If things continue on their current path for Greece's #1-ranked player, 'sinkedshrimp', some time in early 2019 he'll hit the $1 million earnings milestone. In the meantime though, he's going to be challenged to hold on to the #1 spot. With 4,849.03 PLB points, he's just 35.12 points ahead of #2-ranked 'apostolis20'. The end of March was a good time for 'sinkedshrimp'. He picked up three qualifying cashes on March 29. He finished third in a $215 Six Max NLHE event on PokerStars, then had finished second in the PokerStars Fat Thursday and in the partypoker Bounty Hunter High Roller. All told he pocketed over $22,000 and 468 points. Japan - 'Lestatdiego' There are just 36 Japanese PocketFivers with the #1 spot belonging to 'Lestatdiego'. He solidified his grasp on that spot on April 25, beating out 1,370 other players in the $22 Bounty Builder on PokerStars for $2,069 and 117.09 points. Four of his five best PLB scores have come in 2018.

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