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He’s the Netherlands #1-ranked player, but now, five years into his online career ‘etxnl01’ is looking for more. With over $1.6 million in lifetime earnings, the 24-year old player who also goes by 'etx' has been a regular fixture in the PocketFives top-100 for months. A daily grinder of the mid-stakes, ‘etx’ finds himself regularly firing in the largest tournaments online, which is a long way from where he was just a few years ago. “I started playing poker in middle school, but it was just like with friends. The good old cash game for a couple of bucks," said ‘etx’. “We just used to play like two days a week, just after school. We’d go to someone’s house an play poker for a few hours. That’s basically how I learned. It wasn’t really strategies back then. It was just like playing for fun and trying to, you know, win some money off your friends. It wasn’t really an attempt to get good that the game yet at this point.” His regular home game turned into splashing around online, at the time it was purely for fun. “I mean I started it out just for fun, at the low stakes. I just played MTTs for a dollar or something, then over the years I got more and more interested and managed to climb stakes and grow my bankroll.” As his bankroll grew so did his desire to get better and learn more, a consistant theme in 'etx's career. He would watch Jason Somerville streams, catch The Big Game and High Stakes Poker on TV, go over the replays of the PokerStars Sunday Million. His found himself absorbing as much as he could. “I just looked for as much poker content as I could. Basically, if I saw something interesting, I would try to figure it out on my own why someone would do that or what the reasoning would be. That’s basically how I got my wits, I guess.” His story is a familiar one to a generation of young online players. Slightly obsessed, he played in high school, then took his love of the game to university. He completed his first few years and then “decided to try poker full-time at some point.” “It was an interesting choice to make, obviously. Dropping out of college was a thing in its own, but I just decided I wanted to try it. If I didn’t try it, I would always regret it,” he said. So he decided to make a run at being a pro. The decision, of course, was an unconventional one, especially in the Netherlands. According to ‘etx’, in his home country poker still doesn’t have the best reputation. “[Poker’s reputation] is not that great, honestly. Well, it’s not unpopular or anything but the general view, especially the older generations is that poker is gambling. People are always scared. Everyone knows a gambling addict…There’s not a lot of positivity around it. “So, it’s a bit weird when you talk to random people and they ask ‘What do you do?’ It’s not always the best answer to say ‘I play poker.’ You get the same conversation about people who know people who are gambling addicts. The younger generation is a lot more open about it I think, but definitely, when you talk to older people, it’s very negatively viewed.” ‘etx’ has been an online professional for the better part of five years now. Like some of those players he looks up to, including Raise Your Edge mastermind ‘bencb789’, the player who goes by the nickname ‘etx’ doesn’t see many purposes in exposing his real name. It’s his play that he’d like to draw attention to. “I really still like the game itself. I usually play things like Super Tuesday to the Thursday Thrill, that kind of stuff. I also still really playing the mid-stakes, just because I enjoy the game. I think there’s a lot of value playing the medium stakes. I don’t think stakes is the thing I look for when I look at the tournament schedule. I just look for formats that I like. Obviously, the high stakes are exciting but I don’t think it’s just about playing the high stakes personally, for me.” It may not be all about the high stakes for ‘etx’ however his largest online cash did come from a big-time tournament. In 2016, he earned a PokerStars SCOOP title in Event #2 ($2,100 NLHE PKO) for a huge score of over $155,000 + another six figures in bounties. “That was a big help for my bankroll, obviously, a nice boost. I’m very proud of that achievement, but I think I’m personally even happier that I managed to [perform in] more big tournaments later on in my career for over $100K. This made it not like a one-time thing for me but showed me that I could do it more consistently.” Consistency is something he keeps working on. He studies on a daily basis whether it’s watching a stream, reviewing hands, or discussing spots with other players. “I’m happy with my current game, but I think there’s still a lot of room for my improvement. I’m theoretically planning on keeping to improve and getting better and climbing the ranks, as you will.” Climbing the ranks is not lost on him. He’s the #1 player in the Netherlands, currently sitting above well-known tournament grinder Bryan ‘bparis’ Paris. He has flown as high at #48 in the world and is currently situated at #77. “I’ve been looking at rankings and such a little bit. I think in poker, it’s really hard to truly measure someone’s skill set, even with rankings and point leaderboards,” he said. “But I really do enjoy them. I’m a very competitive person. I really like to win, so I put in a lot of time and effort in whatever I do, just to make sure I of as good as I can. So, yeah, I’m definitely happy with being ranked number one in The Netherlands right now on PocketFives. But I also still look at the other rankings, like the general rankings, hoping to climb them and become a better player as well. Not just get a high score or something because you are lucky. I want to consistently have good scores. That, for me, is more important than just winning one tournament.” Nowadays, ‘etx’ finds himself playing in some of the largest online tournaments in the world, battling the very players he looks up to - not just in the rankings but as players. Even though he’s been registering for the upper echelon tournaments for some time, he still considers himself the new guy in the higher stakes. “In the beginning, you really get starstruck, but at this point, I’ve played with enough of them [‘lena900’, ‘C Darwin2’] to know what I can expect. Obviously, they are still amazing players and probably have a notch over me. But, you know, the goal for me is to get closer and closer to the top guys and learn from them if they play a hand a certain way. I’m definitely going to look into the line they took and why they would take it and then, hopefully, I can respond to them better next time.” Another reoccurring theme with ‘etx’ is his passion for poker. A PocketFiver for over two years, an online reg for longer, his grind is one that rarely takes breaks. He continues to work online and off to get better. “Obviously, there’s tough periods. Downswinging is never fun. It’s never fun when you run bad for periods. But in the end, I really, really still love being able to play as much poker as I do. For me, poker is always changing. If I compare how I play now to like a few years ago, I have definitely made leaps and bounds…It’s a fun battle for me, trying to stay ahead of the curve, or at least on top of the curve. I don’t think that I will not love poker anytime soon. Obviously, everyone can get burnt out and after SCOOP I really love taking a few week off and doing other stuff. But I always get the itch to play within a few weeks. I don’t think that’s going away anytime soon.” His #1-ranking in his home country, the rewards of playing in the high stakes and consistently getting better at the game are all rewards that ‘etx’ has been enjoying. However, if he has it his way, there’s more on the horizon for this still up-and-comer. “I think, for me, a great goal would be to work my way up and if there’s new players that start playing poker, to be one of the names they aspire to play with as some point. If you call all the best players…’lena900’, ‘C Darwin2’, 'girafganger7’ and so on. Being able to, at some point, get into that list would be awesome for me. That would be a nice personal goal.”
Movers & Shakers takes a look into those PocketFives members that have made big moves in the top 100 of the online poker rankings. Anatoly ‘nl_profit’ Filatov (#11) partypoker ambassador Anatoly ‘nl_profit’ Filatov has been knocking on the doorstep of the worldwide top 10 for all of 2019. This week, he’s gone as far as he can go without breaking through, working his way to his career-high ranking of #11 in the world. The Russian pro is well-known for his over $3 million in career life earnings, including his victory in the partypoker MILLIONS Russia Main Event for $944K, but his online grind is as good as anyone in the game right now. He finished as the runner-up in the February 3 edition of the PokerStars High Roller Club $2,100 Sunday High Roller for $41,499 and 327.23 PLB points. That same day he posted a third-place result in the partypoker Sunday High Roller for another $23,200. Filatov sits less than 100 points behind the #10-ranked Ramiro ‘Ramiro’ Petrone. He needs just needs one or two more PLB qualifying scores to push him into yet another new career-high ranking and into the steep climb to the top spot. Filatov currently sits with over $4.3 million in career online earnings. Sami ‘LarsLuzak’ Kelopuro (#12) Legendary online nosebleed cash game grinder Sami ‘LarsLuzak’ Kelopuro has been finding plenty of success in online tournaments as of late and his results have helped him to climb one spot this week to a career-high ranking of #12 in the world. Finland’s #1-ranked player got a big PLB boost from his victory in Event #24 of PokerStars Turbo Series ($1,050 No Limit Hold’em Eight Max Progressive KO). He took home $56,225 and 570.96 PLB points for the score. It was a tidy week for Kelopuro who put in light volume but saw hefty results. He only racked up 10 total cashes, however, he managed to earn over $86,000. This was with the help of his bronze medal finish in the February 8 edition of the PokerStars High Roller Club $530 Daily Supersonic for an additional $11,551. For Kelopuro, if he can bring in one more big-time score he may find himself in the same scenario as Filatov, breaking through to the top 10 for the first time. He sits only 97 PLB points behind #10-ranked Petrone, and less than that behind Filatov himself. Bruno ‘brunovolks’ Volkmann (#20) This is not Bruno ‘brunovolks’ Volkmann’s first time gracing the Movers And Shakers column as the Brazilian has been surging up (and down) the upper echelon of the rankings for months. This week he shot up eight positions, which was enough to overtake Joao ‘joaosimaobh’ Simao as the #1-ranked player in all of Brazil. Volkmann’s PLB surge coincided with two victories last week. The first took place during the PokerStars.es Carnaval Series, Event #9 (€50 No Limit Hold’em Big Stack, Turbo, Six Max) for $14,887 and 323.62 PLB points. He followed that up with a win in the PokerStars High Roller Club $1,050 Daily Warm-up for another $33,467/407.43 PLB points. In total, Volkmann picked up five PLB qualifying cashes to jump back into the worldwide top 25, landing at #20 this week. Volkmann has an outside chance to get back to his career high ranking of #16 if he finds his way back to the online tables by the end of the week. He sits only 5 PLB points behind Steve ‘MrTimCaum’ O’Dwyer at #19 and fewer than 200 points away from Chris ‘Getting Daize’ Oliver who holds down the #16 spot this week. ‘dartazzzz’ (#36) Lithuania’s #1-ranked ‘dartazzzz’ made a major leap back into the top 50 this week. His performance last week vaulted him 24 spots to land at #36 in the world. He picked up three PLB qualifying cashes, including a victory in the Event #6 of the PokerStars.es Carnaval Series (€250 Sunday Special Progressive KO Eight Max) for over $27,000 and 417.97 PLB points. He also bubbled the final table of the February 3 partypoker Sunday High Roller Grind for $3,560/112.33 PLB points. In total, ‘dartazzzz’ picked up over 30 cashes last week for a sum of just over $53,000. He just recently achieved the $4 million lifetime total milestone so his 2019 will be focused on climbing to the $5 million mark and fending off any of the other four Lithuanian’s that are battling it out in the top 100. This includes ’necgaidziai’ who just this week broke through into the top 100, landing at a career-high ranking of his own at #86. ‘nilsef’ (#40) Former top 20 German grinder ‘nilsef’ finds himself, once again, as the nation’s #1-ranked player. February 3 was a spectacular Sunday for 'nilsef' as he picked up three PLB qualifying scores, two of which were outright victories. It started with an 11th place finish in the PokerStars High Roller Club $1,050 Sunday Warm-up for $5,455 and 129.28 PLB points. He followed that up with the first of his victories in the PokerStars $44 Bounty Builder besting a field of 5,851 for $14,502/342.08 PLB points. 'nilsef' then wrapped that day up with another takedown of the PokerStars $82 No Limit Hold’em Hyper-Turbo for over $4,000/150.76 PLB points. He leapfrogs Arturs ‘Artschgamble’ Scerbaks, who climbed three spots this week himself, landing at #47. ‘nilsef’ has over $7.8 million in lifetime earnings, which places him at #34 on the All-Time Online Money List. Every week, PocketFives updates the complete Online Poker Rankings.
Movers & Shakers takes a look into those PocketFives members that have made big moves in the top 100 of the online poker rankings. There is a lot on the line in this week’s Movers & Shakers. For the first time in a long time, Sweden’s ‘lena900’ is faced with a serious threat to his worldwide #1 ranking. Along with a pair of tournament crushers cruising up the ranks of the top 10, some notable names have made double-digit jumps up the rankings, plus a Bulgarian pro broke into the top 100 for the first time. Roman ‘Romeopro’ Romanovsky (#2) and ‘Girafganger7’ (#3) The column is called Movers & Shakers for a reason, it’s not simply the players who have made the biggest moves inside the top 100, it’s also about those are looking to shake up the rankings. Regular readers of PocketFives will know the names of Ukranian crusher Roman ‘Romeopro’ Romanovsky and UK, by way of Belgium, superstar ‘Girafganger7’. But if you haven’t been paying close attention you have missed the major strides the pair have been making, almost in tandem, up the ranks of the top 10. Romanovsky is spending his second week in a row in the #2 position, and now he’s closer than ever to achieving his primary goal of taking over the #1 spot in the world. He trails ‘lena900’ by 357 points, putting him closer to the top spot than any player has been for months. Romanovsky put together some serious PLB points including a runner-up finish in the partypoker Sunday High Roller Bounty Hunter for $28,616 and 314.65 PLB points, followed by a victory in the PokerStars Big $215 for another $5,700 and 166.73 PLB points. This week he had already recorded a third-place finish in the 888poker $50,000 Whale for $8,850 and he’s been grinding nearly every day to hit that new career high. Right behind Romanovsky is ‘Girafganger7’ who displaced ‘C Darwin2’ for the worldwide #3 spot. ‘Giraf’ has been the #1 player in the world once, back in 2017, but in a recent interview with PocketFives, he acknowledged that returning to the top of the PocketFives Rankings was, once again, on his mind. He made major strides in getting back to the top by winning the March 3 edition of the partypoker Sunday High Roller Bounty Hunter for $42,351 and 447.21 PLB points. The very next day he had another top-three finish when he picked up the silver in the partypoker High Roller Bounty Hunter for another $10,446 and 166.99 PLB points. ‘Giraf’ still trails ‘lena900’ by roughly 1000 PLB points, which is a sizable margin, but with the amount of volume ‘Giraf’ has been putting in lately, a couple more large Sunday scores could really close the distance. DeathbyQuads (#30) 'DeathbyQuads' is Sweden's #5-ranked player and this week he’s jumped up 11 spots to break back into the worldwide top 30. It has been a good few months for ’DeathbyQuads’ as has he recently surpassed more than $5 million in lifetime earnings and he continues to add to that by picking up four four-figure cashes just last week. He saw a spike in the rankings thanks to three solid PLB scores including a final table finish in the March 3 edition of the PokerStars $215 Sunday Warm-Up for $4,774 and 138.93 PLB points. He followed that up the very next day with an outright victory in the PokerStars Hot $82 for another $3,958 and 148.74. ‘DeathbyQuads’ is a perennial presence in the top 100 and a consistent grinder that has the ability to go on a heater and soar back into top 10 contention. Diego ‘MrBittar’ Valadares Bittar (#35) Another well-known name jumping up double-digits in the rankings is Brazilian grinder Diego ‘MrBittar’ Bittar who broke back into the top 50 by moving up 17 spots. It was a momentous week for Bittar as he, also, just surpassed the $5 million lifetime earnings. On March 10 when he finished in the money in the partypoker Sunday Bounty Hunter where he picked up $1,171 for a 33rd place finish. That was the cash that put him over the top of the major milestone. In the meantime, he’s been moving in the right direction on the rankings mostly due to a major victory in the March 7 edition of the PokerStars $530 High Roller Club Bounty Builder where he picked up $19,224 and 326.73 PLB points. Bittar is nearly halfway to his career high ranking of #16 in the world and he sits less than 300 PLB points behind the next nearest Brazilian, that being one of online poker’s all-time greats Joao ‘joaosimaobh’ Simao, who currently sits at #29. Boris ‘olelemaiko’ Koley (#72) The largest leap in the rankings this week belongs to Bulgaria’s Boris ‘olelemaiko’ Koley who shot up the rankings 107 spots. The move puts him into the top 100 for the first time and landing him at a career-high ranking of #72. That kind of shift is usually indicative of a massive score and this is no different for Koley who took down the ACR OSS $1M GTD for a career-high score of $196,741 and 1,098.64 PLB points. It didn't hurt that on the same day, on the same site, he booked a runner-up finish in the $250,000 Sunday Special adding $36,000 and 354.06 PLB points to his one day total. The rise in the rankings puts his as the #2-ranked player in his home country and has sent his lifetime total scores north of $1.5 million.
Movers & Shakers takes a look into those PocketFives members that have made big moves in the top 100 of the online poker rankings. With partypoker’s POWERFEST and 888poker’s XL Blizzard ongoing and PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker on the horizon, the worldwide rankings are in for a massive shakeup over the next 30 days or so. In fact, they’ve already blown up as Roman ‘Romeopro’ Romanovsky, who was a subject in our last MOVERS & SHAKERS report, finally took over the #1 spot for the first time in his career. This week, we have one of the most dangerous high rollers in the game setting himself up for his own shot at the top spot and a hard-charging Brazilian breaking through into the top 10 for the very first time. Andras ‘probirs’ Nemeth (#3) Worldwide top 10 mainstay Andras ‘probirs’ Nemeth has been on quite a heater as of late. This week he shook up the upper echelons of the rankings by leaping into the #3 spot thanks to a number of high profile scores that not only brought in fistfuls of cash but plenty of PLB points to go along with it. The Sunday tournaments on the GGPoker network has been giving some of the best in the online poker game major scores as of late. Nemeth has been taking advantage of these tournaments which are the online equivalent of an ARIA high roller series. On the March 31 edition of the Sunday $5K Blade, he picked up a second-place finish for just over $43,000. The very next day he picked up another $20,863 in the PokerStars $1,050 Monday High Roller Club. While those were nice additions to Nemeth’s bankroll, the real victory came on April 5 in the partypoker POWERFEST Event #21-Super High Roller $1M GTD Championship Event. Nemeth defeated the 127 player field taking home the $311,150 first place prize sending his online poker lifetime earnings skyrocketing over $12.6 million and putting him in 5th place on the All-Time Online Money List. He currently sits less than 1000 PLB points behind Romanovsky for the #1 spot and 596 points behind the #2-ranked ‘lena900’. If he were to return to the #2 ranking, it would match his career-high that he set back in 2018. Geraldo ‘geraldocesar’ Cesar Neto (#10) Brazil’s #1-ranked player Geraldo ‘geraldocesar’ Cesar Neto has been coming on strong in 2019. This week he finally broke through the top 10 for the first time in his career, touching the #10 spot thanks to his daily dedication to the online grind. The tournament that really helped him breakthrough was his victory in the April 1 partypoker POWERFEST Event #4-H $500K GTD PKO. He took home $64,826 for first place as well as 707.11 PLB points. He followed that up the very next day with a victory in the PokerStars Hot $215 for another $7,901 and 201.00 PLB points. He’s in a tight spot sitting at #10, just 129 PLB points behind Patrick ‘pleno1’ Leonard and 23 PLB points ahead of the UK’s Conor ‘1_conor_b_1’ Beresford. In order to continue climbing the ranks, he’ll need to be diligent about volume and find a way to make another major final table or two. Thomas ‘martom’ Boivin (#18) Belgium’s Thomas ‘martom’ Boivin is enjoying the huge boost that a big-time score in a spring series can give you. Boivin is now the #1-ranked player in Belgium and sits at a career-high ranking of #18 in the world after shooting up 8 spots in the rankings. His rise was in part due to a heater that brought him string of victories last week. Included in his run was a victory in the partypoker POWERFEST Event #12-HR for $42,819 and 458.26 PLB points. He combined that with his April 1 victory in the PokerStars High Roller Club $530 Daily 500 for $13,590 and 249 PLB points. He was not finished for the week when he tacked on another win on April 3 in the same event for another $13,854/256.90. In total, Boivin has just over $1.3M in lifetime earnings, however, if he keeps pace with his recent activity, he’ll soar past $1.5M in no time and just maybe climb into the top 15 in the world. Andreas ‘r4ndomr4gs’ Berggren Sweden’s Andreas ‘r4ndomr4gs’ Berggren had one of the biggest rankings swings of the week as his rocketed back well into the top 50, all the way to #28, after being ranked at #67 just one week ago. He first took down the partypoker High Roller Terminator on March 30 for $6,887 and 147.53 PLB points. Just days later, he took down the PokerStars High Roller Club $1,050 Daily Cooldown for $13,020 and another 237.70. Berggren is a former #1-ranked PocketFiver who has spent plenty of time has a top 100 ranked player and with over $12 million in career earnings. He is also in the top 10 on the All-Time Online Money List. ‘Wildace_hun’ (#63) Hungary’s ‘Wildace_hun’ took a step forward to returning to the top 50 this week after rising 27 spots in the rankings to #63. He can credit the rapid rise to his back-to-back cashes in partypoker’s POWERFEST series. He first had an in the money finish in Event #06-HR for $1,182 and 68.22 PLB points, which was...fine. However, it was his runner-up finishing the Event #03, the $500K GTD Super High Roller for $116,325 and 553.96 PLB point that really did the damage. For many, a $116K score would be a career-defining score but for the Hungarian, it’s nowhere close to his current career-high online score of over $783K. In order to continue his climb back to his all-time high rankings of #37, or beyond, he’ll need to keep collecting cashes in the large field tournaments of the season.