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For many poker players, January is a time to get a fresh start. It's a time to reset the stats, dedicate oneself to study, and hope that in the new year the work pays off and the results go to the moon. But for Brazil’s Brunno ‘bbotteon’ Botteon, a “fresh start” is not on the agenda. For the world’s #1-ranked online pro, the continuation of his heater that started one year ago is what he wanted. That's what happened and what brought him the title of Online Poker Player of the Month for January. One might think that after earning a career-high seven-figure score in the international leg of the 2020 World Series of Poker at the end of 2020, Botteon might take some time off. But within a week he was back to picking up PLB-qualified cashes en masse. He found success in the first week of January on GGPoker with deep runs in the WSOPC Series $525 Bounty Hunters for $22,304 plus 321.09 PLB points and weekly $10K Super MILLION$ for another $41,934 and 374.26 PLB points. His first outright win arrived on January 10 when he topped the 279-entry field of the PokerStars High Roller Club $1,050 Sunday HR for $57,263 and 547.72 PLB points. The middle of the month was highlighted by a fifth-place finish in the GGPoker High Rollers Marathon for $12,542. It was right around this time when Ivan ‘zufo16’ Zufic pushed to within just 5 PLB points of overtaking Botteon as the top-ranked player in the world. But when Croatia’s Zufic traveled to the United States to make a deep run in the World Poker Tour’s Lucky Hearts Poker Open, Botteon booked his first six-figure score of the new year with a win in the January 25 edition of the GGPoker High Rollers Sunday 500 for $126,544 and 738.24 PLB points. His spotlight score of the month brought more than enough PLB points to pull away from the pack and keep the #1-spot for the seventh week in a row. In total, Botteon racked up 3,893 PLB points on 59 total cashes for a total of $391,988. January also marked his third time as Player of the Month. Mike ‘SirWatts’ Watson finished out January just 150 points behind Botteon to end up in second place with 3,734 points. Watson, who is Canada’s #1-ranked pro and sitting at an all-time high ranking of #3 in the world, put in significantly less volume than Botteon but made up the difference with nine PLB-qualifying cashes and seven five-figure cashes for a total of $526,078. Watson kicked off the month with a string of victories including a PokerStars Blowout Series title in Event #25-H ($1,050 NLHE Sunday Warm-up) for $75,462 and 648.85 PLB points. The very next day, on January 4, he was in the winner’s circle again in the Natural8 WSOPC $1,500 Deepstack, winning $36,040 and another 404.81 PLB points. Watson picked up big-time scores on just about every online operator he played on including a runner-up finish in the partypoker High Roller Big Game for $54,958 and a win in the World Poker Tour Montreal Online Event #18 for $39,007. But his biggest result of the month came on Natural8 when he finished in fourth place in the January 26 edition of the Super MILLION$ for $187,255 and 618.64. His Super MILLION$ score was big enough to land in Watson’s all-time top 5. Estonia’s Markku ‘markovitsus’ Koplimaa rounded out the top three in January with 3,590 PLB points. Koplimaa has been rocketing up the worldwide rankings, reaching a new career-high rank of #12 in the world. While both Botteon and Watson put up impressive results, Koplimaa outdid them both when it came to volume by racking up 229 in-the-money finishes. He embraced the grind, playing every tournament he could enter from mid-stakes and higher. He was rewarded with over $390,000 in earnings including a runner-up finish in the January 18 edition of the GGPoker High Roller MILLION$ for $187,272. It was the second-largest online cash of his career and included a massive 908.09 PLB bump. In total, Koplimaa notched five results of five-figures or better with 11 PLB-qualified scores. Should he continue to have results even half of what he posted in January, he’ll eclipse the career $10 million mark before the end of the year. January 2021 Player of the Month Results [table id=167 /]
In the same month that Brazil’s Brunno ‘bbotteon’ Botteon captured the worldwide #1 ranking for the first time in his career, he leveraged his first seven-figure score to take home the title of PocketFives Player of the Month for December. Botteon’s outstanding performance in 2020 has been well documented. Continually reaching new career-high cashes throughout the year, Botteon made a name for himself with high-profile appearances in the WSOP Online $25K Poker Players Championship as well as earning a spot in the finals of the WSOP Online $25K Heads-Up Championship. However, in December he was able to, once again, find a way to reach new heights. Botteon’s runner-up finish in the international leg of the $10K WSOP Main Event earned him $1,062,723, his first million-dollar score. It was also the fifth time in 2020 that he earned himself a new career-high cash. But it wasn’t just his deep run in the WSOP Main Event that helped him lock up the Player of the Month. Early in the month, he took down the December 6 edition of the PokerStars High Roller Club ($1,050 Sunday Cooldown) for $10,478 and 232.78 PLB points. The very next day he won the GGPoker Sunday Forty Stack for another $35,985 and 451.43 PLB points. He picked up yet another win in the GGPoker $1,050 High Rollers Main Event for $25,645 and another 342.05 PLB points. In total for December, Botteon picked up nine five-figure scores from his 37 total results (outside of his WSOP cash). He also had nine PLB scores for a total of 5,308 points, just enough to help him outpace the competition to win the monthly award for the second time in his career. It was a perfect finish to an incredible year in which Botteon was named one of poker’s brightest rising stars. It seems like for the past month, whatever Botteon has done Croatia's Ivan ‘zufo16’ Zufic has been right behind him, chasing him down. The #2-ranked player in the world finished as the runner-up in December’s Player of the Month race with 5,237 PLB points, just 71 behind Botteon. Zufic may not have had an avalanche of PLB points like one gets for taking second in the WSOP Main Event, but he did have a massive score of his own. His runner-up finish in the December 13 GGPoker High Roller Million$ brought him $228,682 and 821.52 PLB points. He added to his PLB point total with a victory in the GGPoker WSOPC Series $400 Sunday Forty Stack for $41,934 and 547.42 PLB points. In December Zufic was on a non-stop grind. He logged 131 in-the-money results, 12-PLB qualifying scores, and ten cashes of five-figures or better. He’s off to a fast start in 2021 as well, already locking up multiple large scores and keeping himself in the race for the worldwide top spot. Anton ‘AnteSvante’ Wigg, Austria’s #1-ranked pro, finished in third place in December after accumulating 4,091 PLB points. He finished in fourth place in the GGPoker Super Million$ High Rollers on December 1 for a career-high online cash of $176,631 and 587.22 PLB points. Two weeks later, Wigg defeated the 321 runners in the PokerStars High Roller Club $1,050 Sunday High Roller for $60,389 and another 566.57 PLB points. Over the final two weeks of the year, Wigg went on a run on GGPoker picking up five-figure cashes and PLB points in bunches. A runner-up finish in the WSOPC Series $1,500 Sunday High Rollers brought him $44,369 on the same day he won the Sunday Special for $31,929. The next day he earned another $22,477 in the WSOPC Event #2 ($10, 300 Super MILLION$ High Roller) and another $32,729 in WSOPC Event #3 ($3,000 Deepstack) the very next day. His late-year results have pushed Wigg into the worldwide top-10 ranked, where he currently sits at #7. December 2020 Player of the Month Results [table id=153 /]