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  1. No matter how you look at it, Niklas ‘Lena900’ Astedt is one of the most dominant online poker players in the history of online poker. The Swedish superstar has hit the top of the Online Poker Rankings ten different times and spent a record 97 weeks in total at #1. On top of that, he was the first player to break through the $20 million career earnings barrier and is the current Online All-Time Money List leader with $21,758,331in earnings. It’s more than the numbers though, ‘Lena900’ has a reputation as the type of grinder who, despite his enormous success, would prefer to never take a day off. It’s his drive that has put him (and kept him) at the top for so many years. As the #1 seed in the Spades bracket, one might think that such eye-popping numbers would ensure that he would have a smooth path to the later stages. But there’s not only some phenomenal talent represented in the Spades bracket, but a healthy mix of current crushers and popular personalities from online poker eras gone by. Players like Alex ‘AJKHoosier1’ Kamberis, Sorel ‘Imper1um’ Mizzi, and Paul ‘paulgees81’ Volpe are included here. Not to mention Brazilians Brunno ‘bbotteon’ Botteon and Joao ‘jososimaobh’ Simao who have large fan bases. Then of course there’s Ari Engel, one of the most prolific MTT players of all-time. Enter the #1 Number One Contest Now! lena900 (#1) vs brianm15 (#16) As mentioned above, ‘Lena900’ holds the record for the number of weeks at the #1 spot with 97 and is the current leader on the Online All-Time Money List with nearly $22 million in earnings. While Brian ‘brianm15’ England may have only held down the #1 spot for one week back in 2014, he continues to grind and has amassed an impressive $6.85 million in career earnings. AJKHoosier1 (#2) vs theczar19 (#15) Back in August of 2008, Alex ‘AJKHoosier1’ Kamberis was in what seemed like a weekly battle for the top spot against Chris ‘moorman1’ Moorman. Finally, in September of that year, after two short stints at #1, he claimed it and kept it for 18 weeks straight. Kamberis has a tough first-round opponent in Bryan ‘theczar19’ Piccioli who spent two weeks at #1 in May of 2011 but also went on to garner acclaim for his appearance at the final table of the World Series of Poker Main Event in 2017. Sheater (#3) vs paulgees81 (#14) Sweden’s ‘Sheater’ first captured the #1 spot back in December 2013. He had two stints in the top spot for a total of eight weeks (one month each time) and picked up a total of five Triple Crowns. Paul ‘paulgees81’ Volpe took his turn at the top in March of 2011 and spent three weeks there. The longtime tournament grinder amassed more than $5.8 million in online earnings to go along with his more than $8.5 million in live results. LarsLuzak (#4) vs VnilaVader (#13) Well after establishing himself as a renowned nosebleed cash game grinder, Finland’s Sami ‘LarsLuzak’ Kelopuro hit the top of the rankings for the first time in 2019. He spent a total of nine weeks as #1 and he continues to be a presence in the upper echelons of the rankings having accumulated $16 million in tournament earnings. Anton ‘VnilaVader’ Herrman held on to the #1 spot for three weeks back in 2014 and has four Triple Crowns to go along with his more than $4.1 million in recorded career online earnings. BYE Ari (#12) Ari ‘Ari’ Engel is one of the most consistent tournament players in the world and just the third player in history to hold the #1 spot back in 2006, ending the reign of Cliff ‘JohnnyBax’ Josephy who held the top spot for well over a year. Engel received the PocketFives Legacy Award back in 2018, recognizing his achievements in both the online and live poker arenas. NigDawG (#6) vs bbotteon (#11) The UK’s Christopher ‘NigDawG’ Brammer took two turns as the top-ranked pro in 2012 spending a total of six weeks at the top. A prolific online poker player, Brammer earned six Triple Crowns, seventh-best among the #1s. Brunno ‘bbotteon’ Botteon took over the #1 spot in December of 2020 and held on to it for 11 weeks into 2021. Considered one of Brazil’s best, Botteon has more than $6.8 million in career earnings. probirs (#7) vs imper1um (#10) Andras ‘probirs’ Nemeth not only won the PokerStars Sunday Millon back in 2016 but the high-roller tournament pro also sat atop the rankings two different times in 2019 for a total of nine weeks. The sometimes controversial Sorel ‘Imper1um’ Mizzi was a staple on the rankings back in 2007 when he spent 15 weeks at #1 over the course of three reigns and more than $3.6 million in career earnings. joaosimaobh (#8) vs Jymaster0011 (#9) Poker pro and partypoker ambassador Joao ‘joaosimaobh’ Simao was one of the faces of Brazilian poker in 2016 when he spent four weeks at #1 over three different stints. He’s up against Jordan ‘Jymaster0011’ Young who also had three trips to the top for a total of 12 weeks. Young has accumulated more than $5.6 million in career online earnings. Make your picks in the PocketFives #1 Number One Contest - entries due by Midnight ET on April 2. Then make sure to follow @PocketFives on Twitter to get your votes in!"
  2. Years ago, Randi Hilsercop gave her husband, Jeremy, an official deck of cards from the World Series of Poker and an autographed 8X10 of his favorite poker player, Daniel Negreanu, as a Christmas gift. Since then, the couple has moved five or six times around the country for Jeremy's job. Throughout all of that, the couple has played poker four or five nights a week using that same deck of cards. The Negreanu picture was lost in one of the moves. So as Randi and Jeremy were opening their Christmas gifts with the rest of their family this year, Jeremy had a feeling that his wife had somehow replaced the autographed photo with a new one. He'd seen the box under the tree and picked it up and felt it. When it came time for Jeremy to unwrap the gift from his wife, he was unaware that one of his life's dreams was about to come true and that his world was about to get turned upside down in the best way possible. In a video likely now seen by the entire poker community, Jeremy unwrapped his present to find out that he was half-right. There were some autographed photos from some of his favorite poker players, but those were really just decoys. Randi had purchased airfare and hotel and put aside enough money for Jeremy to travel to Las Vegas and play in the opening event of the 2019 World Series of Poker, the Big 50. "After I got all the kids’ presents and still had some extra money, I had bought him some autographed photos on eBay. It was Daniel (Negreanu) and Phil Hellmuth, Gus Hansen, and Antonio Esfandiari, and then we still had money left over," Randi said. "I follow the WSOP on Twitter, and they had just released their tournament schedule, and then I saw at the end of May, first week of June, they had this Big 50 tournament, and I thought, 'Okay, we could do that. That's affordable'. It was $500. I was like, 'Okay, we have $500. We don't have much, but we have $500.'" She started searching for the cheapest flights possible from Nashville to Las Vegas and found a few within her budget. Then she saw that the Rio Hotel had some good rates for the dates she needed and she knew Jeremy would want to stay there because he'd seen it on TV so many times while watching the WSOP. Before she booked everything though, she called Jeremy's dad to see if he would be able to take care of their two kids, Michael, 9, and Madison, 10. "I got a sitter, and then I was able to buy everything and still have enough money without overdrafting - but just barely," said Randi, a stay-at-home mom. She wrapped up the new autographs together with a poker chip from the Rio and a note that read, "We're going to Vegas WSOP". [caption id="attachment_621932" align="aligncenter" width="720"] The Negreanu autograph and the travel information for Jeremy’s Las Vegas trip.[/caption] The video first made its way to Facebook, where friends and family were commenting on how great of a moment it was. Wanting to share it with even more people, Randi first took it to the poker subreddit on Reddit before posting it on her Twitter account. In the video, Jeremy showed emotion that even Randi was surprised by. "He doesn't really cry. I mean, when it comes to our kids and stuff, but he doesn't really cry. I knew he'd be really excited, but I didn't know he'd be so emotional, but it's been his dream since he was so young," Randi said. "It was just a really real moment, which was amazing." The video went viral in a heartbeat as some of the world's most famous poker players started sharing the video. Joey Ingram shared the video and wanted to find a way to do something more for Jeremy. PokerStars didn't waste much time in agreeing to Ingram's terms and conditions and suddenly Jeremy was not only going to be playing in the 2019 WSOP, but he was going to be on his way to the Bahamas to play in a $25,000 buy-in tournament against some of the best players in the world. Jeremy couldn’t believe it. "It wasn't real at first. I mean, my wife had shown me the post and I kept reading it and kept reading it, and it's like you just sit there and think, 'Well, this can't happen. That's not real,’ and then suddenly it just sank in, like, 'Oh, my God. This is real ... and it's crazy,’ and it was just a whole bunch of emotions," Jeremy said. "At first, it was definitely nerves, and then when everything started settling in, it definitely became excitement. I'm still very, very excited, but now I'm starting to try to focus on playing cards, trying to get myself ready for the events to take place, and get myself prepared and in a spot where I need to be." While Jeremy is a huge fan of poker and studies as much as possible, he doesn't have a great wealth of live poker experience to rely on when he sits down to play on January 6. The biggest buy-in tournament he's ever played was a $170 buy-in event back in Ohio. He didn't make the final table that day, but he did cash and instead of adding to his bankroll or playing another tournament, Jeremy put the extra money where he knew it would have the biggest impact - his family. "We took that money and used it for things we needed," said Jeremy. While playing on some of poker's biggest stages is a dream come true for Jeremy, the couple is also well aware of what even a min-cash would mean for their family of four. "I can't even imagine. I don't even wanna put it out there 'cause that'll jinx it, but that would be great," Randi said. "That would change our lives so much because to put money down on actually owning a home and maybe towards Jeremy and my kids, my kids could do so much with that. Put money away for them to go to school, and there are so many things that would open doors for my children alone would be amazing." Growing up in Ohio, Jeremy was introduced to poker at a very young age. Hanging out at his Grandpa Earl's house, poker - played for pennies - was what brought the family together. Six-year-old Jeremy watched in awe as his parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles all battled throughout the night. It was in those moments that Jeremy came to love the game. "(Poker) just brought our family together and it was a wonderful experience that I'll never forget. It made me just want to pursue poker and try to obtain that happiness," Jeremy said. "Since I was a child, this has been a dream of mine, to play poker in a bigger environment and I was never able to do that. Me and my wife met when we were very young. We've been together for 13 years, have two beautiful, amazing kids, and I've always put them first in anything, and I just never really had the time or the money to do anything like this." Jeremy and Randi have been together for over 18 years and during that time, Randi has come to love poker as well. Three or four nights a week, once the kids are in bed, Jeremy and Randi play against each other, usually with some poker playing on the TV. Sometimes it's a WSOP broadcast or an episode of two of Poker After Dark or even some High Stakes Poker. The legends who played on those shows are some of the players Jeremy idolizes now. His favorite, by far, is Negreanu. "I've studied his play and just how he acts at the table, how he treats people - amazing guy," said Jeremy. "He's always positive, always a positive poker player. I mean, everybody has their bad beats and everything. I was watching him play on The Big Game, and I mean, I've seen it over and over again where he would just flop the nuts and then turn, river, and lose, and even though that happened to him, he still maintained a positive attitude and kept going and just the way he approaches everything makes me love the guy." He also admires some of the biggest legends in the game: Gus Hansen, Tom Dwan, Phil Hellmuth, Antonio Esfandiari, and Phil Laak. Jeremy knows there's a good chance he might find himself sitting at the same table as one of the players he admires so much and he's prepared to make the most of the moment, first as a fan and then as a fellow combatant. "At first, I'm going to be in awe. I'm gonna shake their hand and tell them what a pleasure it is, and then when they sit down and they have chips in front of them and I have chips in front of me, it's definitely poker one hundred percent," said Jeremy said. There's also a few other people Jeremy and Randi are hoping to meet once they get to the Bahamas. Along with some other legends of the game, they both know they need to find one person in particular, Joey Ingram. "I'd never heard of Joey. Amazing guy. I can't thank Joey enough for what he's done for somebody that he doesn't even know, never even met. I'd never even heard of him, and I know he for sure hasn't ever heard of me, and it's just wild that somebody that you don't know would do something like that for you," said Jeremy. "Chris Moneymaker has been absolutely amazing. He's offered to pay for things, he's taking us out for dinner in the Bahamas when we get there, absolutely amazing guy. Phil Galfond has reached out to us. Just absolutely amazing." [caption id="attachment_621920" align="alignleft" width="1024"] The Hilsercop Family (L to R): Michael, Madison, Randi and Jeremy.[/caption]
  3. partypoker’s POWERFEST continued to bring in big numbers on Thursday as 18 new tournaments took place and over $3.4 million in total prize pools were up for grabs. It doesn’t seem to matter if it's live on online, Hungary’s #1-ranked player Andras ‘probirs’ Nemeth knows how to conquer Super High Roller tournaments. He bested the 127 entries in Event #21 ($1M GTD Championship Event, 8-Max) for $311,150, far-and-away the largest score of the day. The cash will push the #9 ranked player in the world up over $12.5M in lifetime career earnings, good for #5 on the All-Time Online Money List. The Championship Event was replete with some of the brightest stars in online poker. Former #1-ranked player ‘telks’, playing under his partypoker screen name ‘ilove2fish’ took home $222,250 as the runner-up. The UK’s Conor ‘ADRIEN_BRODY’ Beresford, currently the #8 ranked player in the world, finished in third, capturing $158.750 for the bronze. partypoker ambassadors fared well in Event #21 as well with Brazilian superstar Joao ‘joaosimaobh’ Simao taking fourth place for $111,125. Renato 'renaton' Nomura just missed out on the final table, finishing in ninth for $31,750 and Sam Trickett picking up $31,750 for 11th place. Speaking of partypoker ambassadors, Bertrand ‘ElKy_’ Grospellier picked up a POWERFEST title after making a heads up deal in Event #24 ($530 Deep, Turbo, 8-Max). The former PokerStars pro picked up $14,458 for the win, just one day after finishing third in Event #17-HR for over $18,000. Sweden's ‘haddoken’ picked up one of the largest scores of the day, outside of the Championship Event, by taking down Event #23-Super High Roller ($5,200 PLO, 8-Max) for $156,403. POWERFEST #20 (High Roller) $1,050 Deep, 8-Max 209 entries, $209,000 prize pool 1. jizonhisniz - $42,615.10 2. LoSientoGrace - $30,932 3. haddoken - $22,049.50 4. s1xKoMoDe - $16,302 5. NoisiaRadio - $11,495 6. BeforeSunrise - $8,778 7. MOTHERSMATTERS - $6,479 8. PhileasFogg - $4,807 POWERFEST #20 (High) $215 Deep, 8-Max 765 entries, $153,000 prize pool 1. HU_ACE - $27,310.50 2. XINBAMA - $19,431 3. Banicivan - $13,050.90 4. KPitts34 - $8,843.40 5. TaoTeBink - $6,242.40 6. IIIIIIIIIII - $4,498.20 7. ABCpoker911 - $3,213 8. petdet3ctive - $2,233.80 POWERFEST #21 (Super High Roller) $1M Championship Event 127 entries, $1,270,000 prize pool 1. probirs - $311,150 2. llove2fish - $222,250 3. ADRIEN_BRODY - $158,750 4. joaosimaobh - $111,125 5. PokerGirl69 - $82,550 6. shlongoperator - $63,500 7. iTILTuu - $50,800 8. TimeToPardy - $41,275 POWERFEST #22 (High Roller) $2,100 PKO, 8-Max 178 entrants, $364,900 prize pool 1. n1ceFTW - $30,200.31 + $68,184.39 in bounties 2. JWPRODIGY - $30,164.56 + $6,168.75 in bounties 3. Ike_Haxton - $22,019.83 + $7,415.62 in bounties 4. mantelis38 - $15,755.57 + $2,493.75 in bounties 5. rudiga1 - $11,009.91 + $6,890.62 in bounties 6. seijistar - $8,542.17 + $4,528.12 in bounties 7. JimyTransaction - $6,643.91 + $7,481.25 in bounties 8. HellmuthTheGr8 - $5,220.22 + $2,100 in bounties POWERFEST #22 (High) $320 PKO, 8-Max 670 entrants, $206,360 prize pool 1. meatbulmeantula - $14,380.43 + $17,554.76 in bounties 2. llijix133 - $14,360.29 + $5,116.49 in bounties 3. GiGioDoNNa99 - $9,698.32 + $3,563.64 in bounties 4. luffynated - $6,631.61 + $2,478.63 in bounties 5. ICMslut99 - $4,627.73 + $592.50 in bounties 6. kalfucil - $3,365.62 + $2,604.52 in bounties 7. kashmir_uzi - $2,435.65 + $1,239.31 in bounties 8. goiaba22 - $1,704.95 + $1,362.74 in bounties POWERFEST #23 (Super High Roller) $5,200 Pot Limit Omaha, 6-Max 100 entrants, $500,000 prize pool 1. haddoken - $156,403 2. p7p7p7p7 - $97,500 3. CHUFFTY - $60,000 4. Loewe80 - $43,750 5. Skrillexer - $31,250 6. U_goT_BanANa - $21,250 POWERFEST #24 (High Roller) $530 Deep, Turbo, 8-Max 137 entires, $70,212 prize pool 1. ElkY_ - $14,458.39* 2. mantelis38 - $13,268.60 3. backdrunk - $8,425.50 4. rdcrsnn - $5,968.06 5. Iveybluffallin - $4,212.75 6. madgenius87 - $3,335.09 7. JimyTransaction - $2,654.03 8. GreenNaugahyde - $2,106.37 POWERFEST #24 (High) $109 Deep, Turbo, 8-Max 414 entries, $43,056 prize pool 1. neckbre4k - $8,223.99 2. StoreNodder1231 - $5,898.67 3. KKurbel - $4,047.26 4. Hanifbali1 - $2,841.69 5. RuiBouquet - $2,032.24 6. clocolatabianca - $1,481.12 7. Gancas09 - $1,046.26 8. fishdelicious - $762.09 POWERFEST #25 (High Roller) $1,050 PKO, Fast, 8-Max 196 entries, $199,920 prize pool 1. do or die - $15,799.76 + $22,823.13 in bounties 2. AussieOsbourne - $15,780.12 + $3,120 in bounties 3. dotcotton1939 - $11,255.65 + $12,260.62 in bounties 4, Krissyb24 - $8,321.71 + $6,256.25 in bounties 5. seotaij86 - $5,867.87 + $3,087.50 in bounties 6. WhyAlwayzMe -$4,480.92 + $3,802.50 in bounties 7. SouhftfW - $3,307.34 + $3,607.50 in bounties 8. lqq1974 - $2,453.83 + $0.00 in bounties POWERFEST #25 (High) $109 PKO, Fast, 8-Max 705 entries, $73,320 prize pool 1. shortymo03 - $4,939.19 + $6,649.87 in bounties 2. Durdyyy - $4,931.67 + $634.50 in bounties 3. BenRichards1 - $3,314.74 + $1,842.12 in bounties 4. HATE007 - $2,246.09 + $1,031.49 in bounties 5. jaimestaples - $1,585.48 + $474.19 in bounties 6. hondacivic669 - $1,142.47 + $952.59 in bounties 7. ElCHapo14 - $816.05 + $276.75 in bounties 8. tatinho01 - $567.35 + $401.62 in bounties

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