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  1. It was a banner year for PocketFivers over on 888poker as many of the top-tier pros took to the site to take down six-figure scores and pad their bankrolls. With the help of major tournament schedules, like the popular XL Series, PocketFivers picked up millions out of the prize pools in 2018. No one had a better year on 888poker than Ukranian pro Roman ‘Romeopro’ Romanovsky. Romanovsky earned over $405,000 on the site, thanks in large part to his takedown of September’s XL Eclipse $1,000,000 Main Event. He bested fellow pro ‘C Darwin2’ heads-up and picked up $187,500 for the win. Of course, this was not his only major score on 888poker in 2018 as early in the year he finished as the runner-up in the XL Blizzard $200,000 Mini Main Event for just over $30,000. He also took down the February 4 edition of the $125,000 Whale for $34,375. Romanovsky continually put up big results in 888poker largest weekly tournament, the Sunday Whale. On April 29 he finished as the runner-up for $20,000. Then again on September 30, Romanovsky took the tournament down once again adding over $25,000 to his 888poker totals. What may be the most impressive part of his 2018 topping results is that he took three months off from online poker during the summer. He never showed any rust, continually crushing on the site. His 2018 results helped him soar to over $10 million in career lifetime scores and touch the worldwide #2-ranking this year. Not that far behind Romanovsky is Finland’s Tomi ‘emeriaa’ Brouk. Brouk amassed $349,763 on 888poker in 2018 with his biggest bink coming from May’s XL Inferno Main Event. Brouk finished as the runner-up in the $1,000,000 Main Event for $150,670. The score remains a career-high cash for the grinder and came only days after he booked a fourth-place finish in XL Inferno Event #16 ($200,000 High Roller) for an additional $31K. XL Inferno wasn’t the only XL series that Brouk did well in as he nearly hit another six-figure score back in January. He finished in third place in the XL Blizzard $1M Main Event for $99,198. All of those scores plus regular four-figure score in the weekly Whale made Brouk the #2 highest casher on 888poker in 2018. He currently sits inside the top 100, ranked at #92 in the world. It was an equally massive year for one of the UK’s top online poker talent, Jonathan ‘proudflop’ Proudfoot. Proudfoot enjoyed a breakout year in 2018 and was the third highest casher on 888poker, racking up $238,121 in online tournament scores. For Proudfoot, there is one major score that defined his year on 888poker. On May 20, he went the distance in the XL Inferno Main Event taking home a career-high cash of $209,779, defeating the man above him on this list heads-up for the win. The victory helped push the rising star of Proudfoot further into the spotlight as it propelled him to a career-high worldwide ranking of #4 in the world and #1 in the UK. Coming in at #4 in 2018 is ‘machiavelli3’. The Swedish grinder spends a good amount of time on 888poker and picked up four five-figure cashes on the site this year. His spotlight victory was when he took down the Event #31 of XL Eclipse ($100,000 Mega Deep) for $27,930. That nice score came only days after he won XL Eclipse Event #10 ($100,000 Tune Up) for another $22,170. In the month of July, ‘machiavelli3’ finished as the runner-up in the weekly Whale on two occasions. The first on July 22 for $16,750 and then again the very next week for an additional $20,445. This after finishing in third place earlier in the month. His prowess on helped push him to a career-high ranking of #19 in 2018 and a money milestone of over $3 million lifetime. He currently sits at #56 in the world. Wrapping up the top 5 in 2018 is legendary Swedish online player ‘C Darwin2’. Currently the #2-ranked player in the world, ‘C Darwin2’ seemingly crushes every tournament he enters and this year he lifted $212,599 off of 888poker. His biggest 888poker score of the year was when he finished right behind Romanovsky in the XL Eclipse $1,000,000 Main Event. His runner-up finish added $135,000 to his coffers and helped push him to over $11.4M in lifetime earnings. 888poker Top 10 Earners of 2018 Name Earnings Roman 'Romeopro' Romanovsky $405,285.50 Tomi 'emeriaa' Brouk $349,763.92 Jonathan 'proudflop' Proudfoot $238,121.70 'machiavelli3' $219,218.72 'C Darwin2' $212,599.18 'Crib09' $179,030.08 Arsenii 'josef_shvejk' Karmatskiy $169,107.76 'lena900' $161,278.63 Bryan 'pbaris' Paris $156,778.42 Sebastian 'p0cket00' Sikorski $152,703.41
  2. The World Poker Tour Rolling Thunder stop in Lincoln, California wrapped up on Tuesday with former Sacramento resident Erkut Yilmaz pulling off the incredible feat of winning his second WPT Main Tour stop in the same season. Now a Philadelphia resident, Yilmaz took down the WPT Borgata Poker Open in September, taking home a career-high cash of $575,112 in the process. Now, after navigating through the field of 280 runners at Thunder Valley Casino Resort, and eventually defeating Jim Collopy in a grueling heads-up battle, he's become a two-time WPT champion and takes home $303,920 for the victory. Before he could celebrate his Sacramento homecoming, Yilmaz would have to face an incredibly stacked final table that included Season 13 WPT Player of the Year Anthony Zinno and WPT Champions Club member Dylan Linde. North Carolina business owner Jerry Robinson was at his first World Poker Tour final table when he looked down at [poker card="ah"][poker card="ad"] and put in a raise from the hijack. Ajay Chabra defended his big blind with the dominated [poker card="ac"][poker card="3c"]. The flop came [poker card="ks"][poker card="5c"][poker card="4c"] and Chabra checked it over to Robinson who bet. Chabra put in a healthy check-raise and Robinson moved all in with his tournament on the line. With the nut flush draw, Chabra made the call. The turn was the [poker card="6s"] giving Chabra an open-ended straight draw to go along with his flush draw. The river fell the [poker card="7h"], bringing in the runner-runner straight for Chabra and sending Robinson to the rail having his aces cracked. Robinson picked up $50,720 for a new career-high cash. Anthony Zinno started the day as the short stack and was able to find a double up which helped him ladder the payouts. However, he wasn’t long for the final table after a clash with Collopy. Zinno raised from the cutoff with [poker card="kh"][poker card="kc"] and both Collopy and Chabra made the call from the button and big blind respectively. The flop fell [poker card="5d"][poker card="3c"][poker card="2d"] and when checked to him, Zinno put out a bet. Collopy made the call and Chabra folded. The turn was the [poker card="jd"] and Zinno open-shoved the rest of his stack. Collopy made the call and flipped over the [poker card="9d"][poker card="7d"] for the flush and Zinno was drawing dead to the [poker card="2h"] river. Zinno fell in fifth place and the three-time WPT champ earned $68,860 in the process. Dylan Linde was the next to move when he shipped his roughly 15 big blind stack from the small blind holding the [poker card="qc"][poker card="9c"]. He was quickly called by Collopy in the big blind holding [poker card="ah"][poker card="3h"]. The [poker card="ks"][poker card="9h"][poker card="4c"] flop was good for Linde who improved to a pair, leaving Collopy with the three aces as outs as well as running straight or flush cards. The turn was the [poker card="8h"] bringing in some backdoor possibilities for Collopy. The [poker card="as"] spiked on the river for Collopy which sent Linde out the door in fourth place for $95,530. The remaining players battled three-handed for the better part of three hours until an all in preflop clash sent the next player to the rail. Chabra limped the button holding [poker card="5h"][poker card="5c"]. From the small blind, Collopy put in a raise with the [poker card="ad"][poker card="td"] and Yilmaz folded the big blind. Chabra then three-bet jammed his remaining stack only to get snap called by Collopy. With the cards on their backs, the players saw a flop of [poker card="ac"][poker card="qd"][poker card="7c"], giving Collopy top pair and leaving Chabra looking for some serious help. The turn was the [poker card="3d"], leaving Chabra looking for a five to survive. The river was the [poker card="9s"], marking the end of the tournament for Chabra, who, settled for third place and a six-figure payday of $130,345. Collopy held a commanding lead for most of the first part of the heads up match and had multiple shots at closing it out, only to lose back-to-back crucial flips to Yilmaz. The duo trades blows for well over two hours, with both players having their opponent on the verge of elimination only for the other to spike the card they needed to stay alive. Finally, with the chip lead, Collopy raised from the button with [poker card="jd"][poker card="js"] and Yilmaz shipped his [poker card="ah"][poker card="7h"] on the button. The [poker card="as"][poker card="qs"][poker card="th"] flop put Yilmaz in the lead but left Collopy with outs. The turn was the [poker card="9d"] adding an open ender for Collopy, but the river was the [poker card="qd"] giving the hand to Yilmaz. After the chips were placed in Yilmaz' stack, he held 95% of the chips in play. On the very next hand, the pair put the chips in the middle again with Yilmaz spiking an ace on the river to complete the feat of winning two titles in a single season. Collopy was eliminated in second place, receiving $200,780 as a consolation. The score sends his lifetime recorded earnings north of $2 million. Yilmaz earned the $303,920 first-place prize, a new Hublot watch, and an extra $15,000 in lieu of a ticket to the Baccarat Crystal WPT Tournament of Champions, as he has already won a seat to that tournament earlier in the season. With the victory, Yilmaz takes the lead in the Hublot WPT Player of the Year race. WPT Rolling Thunder Final Table Payouts 1. Erkut Yilmaz - $303,920 2. Jim Collopy - $200,780 3. Ajay Chabra - $130,345 4. Dylan Linde - $95,350 5. Anthony Zinno - $68,860 6. Jerry Robinson - $50,720
  3. The crazy week for the World Poker Tour continued on Friday afternoon as the $10,000 buy-in ARIA Summer Championship played down to a winner. Matthew Wantman eliminated four of the final six players to win $443,475 and his first WPT title. Wantman also earned automatic entry into the WPT Tournament of Champions that gets underway Saturday at ARIA. It took just four hands to get the first elimination. Action folded to Ryan Laplante and he moved all in from the hijack and Wantman called from the big blind. Laplante turned over [poker card="ad"][poker card="kh"] which had him racing against Wantman's [poker card="jh"][poker card="js"]. The [poker card="9h"][poker card="7h"][poker card="4c"][poker card="8c"][poker card="jc"] runout missed Laplante and gave Wantman an unneeded set of jacks to bust Laplante in sixth place. Laplante wasted no time in getting back on the horse though. The next elimination came just six hands later. Jim Collopy limped for 15,000 before Wantman raised to 65,000 from the small blind. Collopy moved all in for 540,000 and Wantman called. Collopy tabled [poker card="ac"][poker card="8d"] and Wantman was well ahead with [poker card="qc"][poker card="qs"]. The [poker card="9c"][poker card="9d"][poker card="3c"] flop failed to connect for Collopy and all he could do was watch the [poker card="td"] turn and [poker card="4d"] river miss him again to officially eliminate him in fifth place. The fast pace of eliminations continued and only five more hands passed before Wantman found another victim. From the button, Wantman raised to 40,000 and Art Papazyan called from the small blind before Kevin Eyster shipped his last 375,000 from the big blind. Wantman called and Papazyan folded. Wantman again turned over a monster, this time [poker card="qc"][poker card="qd"] while Eyster needed some help with [poker card="kd"][poker card="jc"]. The [poker card="7h"][poker card="5c"][poker card="3c"][poker card="6c"][poker card="tc"] runout gave Wantman a queen-high flush and eliminated Eyster in third. It took four hours and 140 hands to go from three players to heads up. Papazyan, who was looking for his third career WPT win, button-raised to 85,000 and then moved all in for 1,545,000 after Igor Kurganov made it 300,000 from the small blind. Kurganov called and showed [poker card="ah"][poker card="qd"] and Papazyan was in rough shape with [poker card="qs"][poker card="jh"]. The [poker card="as"][poker card="kh"][poker card="js"] flop gave Kurganov top pair and Kurganov bottom pair with players drawing to a chop with Broadway. The turn was the [poker card="7c"] and the river the [poker card="5c"] to give Kurganov the pot and send him to heads up against Wantman while Papazyan was out in third position. The players were nearly even in chips when heads up began; Wantman held 53% of the chips. Over the next two hours, Kurganov and Wantman played 53 hands and traded the chip lead a few times before Wantman finally put Kurganov away for good. Down to 18 big blinds, Kurganov shipped all in with [poker card="ad"][poker card="6c"] and Wantman called with [poker card="ac"][poker card="js"]. The [poker card="jh"][poker card="th"][poker card="ts"] flop gave Wantman a commanding lead in the hand and neither the [poker card="6d"] turn or [poker card="4s"] river changed anything to send Kurganov out in second and award Wantman his first WPT title. The event drew 192 entrants for a total prize pool $1,824,000. In 2018, the Bobby Baldwin Poker Classic, which held the same spot on the calendar at ARIA, attracted 162 players. Final Table Payouts Matthew Wantman - $443,475 Igor Kurganov - $285,650 Art Papazyan - $209,980 Kevin Eyster - $156,220 Jim Collopy - $117,640 Ryan Laplante - $89,685
  4. Pat Lyons topped the 1,382-player field in Event #17 ($777 No Limit Hold'em) of the 2020 World Series of Poker Online to win $173,551.56 and the first bracelet of his career. Lyons now has a WSOP bracelet and World Poker Tour title on his resume. Lyons, who won the WPT Legends of Poker in 2016, eliminated the final two players standing in between himself and victory early Saturday morning. Dave 'DunningKrugr' Alfa opened to 240,000 from middle position with [poker card="ac"][poker card="kd"] before Lyons re-raised to 637,500 from the hijack with [poker card="ad"][poker card="as"]. Alfa moved all in for 2,912,994 and Lyons called. The board ran out [poker card="ah"][poker card="kc"][poker card="qd"][poker card="th"][poker card="qh"] to give Lyons a full house against Alfa's flopped two pair to eliminate Alfa in ninth. Fresh off finishing runner-up in Event #16 just 24 hours earlier, Julian 'Julian' Parmann was back at the final table hoping to improve on that result. His tournament run ended sooner than he had hoped for. Parmann moved all in for 555,005 with [poker card="kd"][poker card="qs"] from middle position only to have Barry '_MLB_' Wenger call from the button with [poker card="ac"][poker card="kc"]. Both players completely missed on the [poker card="7d"][poker card="5c"][poker card="8d"][poker card="8s"][poker card="jd"] runout to send Parmann out in eighth place. The next elimination played out very similar with Wenger still in control. Scott 'BudLightLime' Hempel moved all in for 884,182 from middle position with [poker card="as"][poker card="js"] before Wenger called from the button with [poker card="ah"][poker card="qc"]. Wenger took a firm grasp on the pot with the [poker card="qs"][poker card="5c"][poker card="3h"] flop and Hempel was unable to get any help from the [poker card="9h"] turn or [poker card="5h"] river and was out in seventh. Ten minutes later, Wenger sent another player to th rail. From UTG, 'veepoh' moved all in for 437,104 and Wenger and Jim 'BOCARATONE' Collopy called from the small and big blind respectively. Wenger and Collopy checked through the [poker card="js"][poker card="8s"][poker card="4d"] flop and [poker card="2h"] turn before Wenger bet 730,656 after the [poker card="9d"] river. Collopy folded and Wenger showed [poker card="ts"][poker card="7c"] for a rivered straight while 'veepoh' showed [poker card="kd"][poker card="3d"] and was eliminated in sixth. Collopy's night lasted just another five minutes. From UTG, Collopy moved all in for 2,479,684 with [poker card="kh"][poker card="jh"] and Wenger called from the big blind with [poker card="ad"][poker card="ks"]. The board ran out [poker card="as"][poker card="qh"][poker card="jc"][poker card="7s"][poker card="2h"] to give Wenger another pot and end Collopy's run with a fifth place result. Wenger continued to maintain control over the table and sent yet another player to the rail just two minutes after busting Collopy. Action folded to Wenger in the small blind and he moved all in for 2,479,684 with [poker card="kc"][poker card="kh"] and Event #1 winner Jonathan 'Art.Vandelay' Dokler called from the small blind for 2,572,760 with [poker card="ks"][poker card="js"]. Dokler could do nothing but watch the [poker card="ad"][poker card="5c"][poker card="4h"][poker card="2c"][poker card="qc"] runout end his run at a second bracelet and eliminate him in fourth. Those string of eliminations gave Wenger 65% of the chips in play three-handed but the next 10 minutes were anything but kind to him. Down to just 11 big blinds, Wenger shoved from the button for 2,798,736 with [poker card="kc"]td] and Lyons called from the small blind with [poker card="as"][poker card="kd"]. Wenger got no help through the [poker card="9c"][poker card="6c"][poker card="4s"][[poker card="7c"][poker card="qh"] runout and was done in third place. Lyons had a better than 9-1 chip lead over 'NJ_Glive' when heads up play began. 'NJ_Glive' doubled twice in the first five hands between the two but ultimately was unable to get any closer. From the button, 'NJ_Glive' raised to 560,000 with [poker card="as"][poker card="kc"] and then called when Lyons moved all in from the big blind with [poker card="qd"][poker card="9d"]. The [poker card="ad"][poker card="qs"][poker card="2h"] flop gave both players a pair with 'NJ_Glive' in front with aces. The turn was the [poker card="jc"] but the [poker card="qh"] river gave Lyons trip queens and eliminated 'NJ_Glive' in second place giving Lyons the bracelet and $173,551.56. Final Table Payouts Pat 'Ichiikawawa' Lyons - $173,551.56 NJ_Glive - $107,478.14 Barry '_MLB_' Wenger - $76,327.86 Jonathan 'Art.Vandelay' Dokler - $54,948.32 Jim 'Bocaratone' Collopy - $40,147.10 veepoh - $29,602.44 Scott 'BudLightLime' Hempel - $22,250.20 Julian 'Julian' Parmann - $16,832.76 Dave 'DunningKrugr' Alfa - $12,963.16 Faces in the Crowd Daniel Negreanu finished 123rd for $1,354.36 to pick up his sixth cash of the Series. Other notables who managed to pick up a cash on Friday included Roland 'prngls12' Israelashvili (12th - $10,060.96), David 'dehhhhh' Coleman (32nd - $4,159.82), Chris Moorman (33rd - $4,159.82), Upeshka 'gomezhamburg' De Silva (50th - $2,902.20), Ryan 'protential' Laplante (69th - $2,128.28), and Dan 'PepperPrince' Zack (147th - $1,257.62).

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