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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. The time has come for Croatia's top-ranked online poker pro Ivan ‘zufo16’ Zufic to take his shot at the top spot. After a hot start to the year, Zufic’s results surged this summer and brought him career-defining scores and resume-topping titles. This week, he finally ascended all the way up to take over the worldwide #2 spot from Brazilian powerhouse Brunno ‘bbotteon’ Botteon with only Conor ‘1_conor_b_1’ Beresford left in his path. Early Returns At the start of the year, Zufic was spending most of his time playing mid-to-high stakes, looking to eclipse a $16,000 career-high score that he had set back in 2019. In April, he was ranked 83rd in the world when he picked up a title in the PokerStars EU Spring Championship of Online Poker for a little over $28,000. The win was not only a mile marker for Zufic but the start of a heater that lasted all summer long. He backed up his new SCOOP title by taking home another trophy in late March in the PokerStars.com SCOOP series. He bested the 630-entry field in Event #81-H ($530 NLHE, 6-Max) for a massive $61,202 score. Then four days later he grabbed a win in the World Series of Poker Circuit Series $250 Daily Special on GGPoker for another $10,965 bringing his weekly PLB point total to more than 631 and putting him as the #1-ranked player in Croatia. Red Hot Summer The hits kept coming for Zufic, who again put himself in a position to hit new career highs. Just one week after taking down the $250 WSOPC side event he did it again, this time in the June 1 edition of the $500 Sunday Main on GGPoker. He outlasted the tough 1,249-entry field to take home $93,755 first-place prize and a new spot inside the worldwide top-50. Zufic continued to rise in the rankings in the following weeks by taking down tough tournaments like the PokerStars $109 Sunday Kickoff and nabbing a podium finish in a WSOP Side Event. However, as good as it was going for him, the best for him was right around the corner. Gold Bracelet Glory Zufic’s poker career would never be the same after August 17 when he took down the 2,055-player field in the 2020 World Series of Poker Online $500 Mini Main Event for a life-changing score of $843,460, far-and-away a new career-high cash. Additionally, Zufic earned himself a place in WSOP history by becoming the first-ever player from Croatia to win a WSOP gold bracelet. Prior to the win, Zufic was ranked 29th in the world, but a win of such magnitude added 2,685.21 PLB points to his total, jettisoning him into the top 10 for the very first time. Even after all that success, Zufic kept on his grind and found success once again on GGPoker. In the September 14 edition of the High Roller MILLION$, Zufic struck gold again and added another $355,375 to his incredible year plus another 1,457.30 PLB. These two scores combined pushed him into the top 10, putting his name among the elite grinders. Throughout his success in some of the biggest tournaments of the summer, Zufic was still grinding a daily schedule. His work ethic can scene in the results which brought him three PocketFives Triple Crown awards this year. He booked his first three victories (on three different networks in the same week) on April 1. He did it again on June 1 as well as September 22, accomplishing a feat three times in the same year that many players will labor to do even once. Despite all his success this year, Zufic is going to need to keep his head down and put in the hours if he hopes to catch Beresford. The current #1-ranked UK grinder is known for putting in plenty of volume and, like Zufic, he is also in the midst of a career year. Currently, just under 2000 PLB points shy of Beresford, it will take some big-time results from Zufic in order to close the gap and for Zufic to make history. But with nine of Zufic’s top-10 career cashes coming this year, he currently has the momentum to possibly make it happen.
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