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Found 741 results

  1. Thursday was another big day for the 2021 PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker as eight more events played down to a winner and awarded titles to 24 players. The day’s highlights included one of tournament poker’s most talented players adding to his legacy plus a little unexpected extra value for those who were on the mid-week grind. Adrian ‘Amadi_017’ Mateos took down his fourth career SCOOP title, second of the series, after besting the 477-entry field of Event #50-H ($1,050 NLHE, PKO). Mateos took home the $36,993.73 first-place prize and added another $47,117.14 in bounties for a total haul of $84,110.87. Mateos grabbed a SCOOP victory earlier in the series when he topped the 873 runners in Event 13-M ($1,050 NLHE). Even though that tournament was considered a “Medium”, it came with a massive $146,714.34 payday. Just like his earlier victory, he was forced to face down against plenty of top talent in Event #50-H including Belgian grinder ‘karimmae’ who finished in second place, earning a total of $47,743.35, bounties included. Not to mention, Niklas ‘Lena900’ Astedt, who is running white-hot this spring. Astedt ended up in third place, adding just $26,113.55 to his over $22 million in recorded career earnings. There was a little extra value to be had on Thursday as three different tournaments missed their advertised guarantees and provided players some (always welcome) overlay. Sweden’s ‘Grus/Snus’ navigated through the rebuy-heavy field in Event #47-H ($530 + R PLO, 6-Max) to take home their first SCOOP title. After 157 entries fired off 309 rebuys with 83 add-ons, the prize pool came up $25,500 short of the $300,000 guarantee. ‘Grus/Snus’ took full advantage and took home $60,683.52 for first place while ‘MB TREMENDO’ locked up $45,601.02 as the runner-up. ‘Samustti’ finished in third place which was good for $34,267.17. The overlay in Event #48-H ($5,200 NLHE, 8-Max, Midweek Freeze) was nearly double that of the tournament that came before it. The Midweek Freeze drew 140 runners which left it $50,000 short of the $750K guarantee. Lithuania’s ‘necgaidziai’ was the biggest beneficiary of the overlay, earning the title and the handsome $157,426.77 first-place prize. ‘DingeBrinker’ also booked a six-figure score, banking $121,869.52 as the runner-up. Dominykas ‘Mikensonas’ Mikolaitis earned $94,343.47 for finishing in third place. The end of the overlays took place in Event #52-H ($1,050 Limit Hold’em 6-Max) and it wasn’t much of a miss. The Limit event drew 62 runners, which technically missed the guarantee by just $3,000. It took just over eight hours for ‘coman567’ to min-raise his way to the $22,850.02 first-place prize and their first SCOOP victory. German grinder Julian ‘jutrack’ Track barely missed out on his second SCOOP win, falling in second place which was good for $15,134.41. ‘2bb100hands’ was the last of the five-figure winners, earning $10,024.09 for third place. In Event #51-H ($530 NLHE, Freezeout) ‘PatrickRass’ topped the 687-player field to win $58,501 for first. ‘qieng’ from Austria was the runner-up and walked away with $42,157.48 while ‘Jesper8’ captured the bronze and booked a $30,380.17 score. It was another deep run for Russia’s ‘FONBET_RULIT’ in Event #54-H ($530 PLO8, 6-Max) however the two-time SCOOP champion fell just short of acquiring a third title, falling in third place for $16,127.09. ‘onmybicycle’ did one better to finish as runner-up which paid $22,379.58. It was ‘texasilainen’, from Finland, who collected all the chips and claimed their first SCOOP title and the $31,056.39 up top. Ukraine’s ‘Andre_Hansen’ nabbed his second career SCOOP title and $98,159.82 for taking down Event #55-H ($2,100 NLHE, 6-Max). ’FreeLancerZZ’ took second place for $72,978.36 and Alex ‘Pwndidi’ Theologis ended up in third place, padding his bankroll with a $54,256.94 score. The final event of Thursday’s schedule was Event #56-H ($530 NLHE, Turbo, PKO) which took under five hours to play to a champion. In the end, it was Russian crusher Rinat ‘Zapahzamazki’ Lyapin who walked away the winner and earned his third career SCOOP title and $69,958.97 (bounties included) for first place. Finland’s ‘mnstrkll’ was the last elimination of the night, falling in second place and banking $40,142.13 for their efforts. Julian ‘jutrack’ Track notched his second top-three finish of the evening, ending up in third place for a total payday of $22,827.75. Other winners on Thursday included ‘RUS_FISH’ (Event #47-L), ‘exstrike1’ (Event #47-M), ‘davideriksso’ (Event #48-L), ‘mrAndreeew’ (Event #48-M), ‘Castanella’ (Event #50-L), ‘Mr.Pedr0’ (Event #50-M), ‘Alcoholix20’ (Event #51-L), ‘$aymon9’ (Event #51-M), ‘paulera292’ (Event #52-L), ‘pokerqmaster’ (Event #52-M), ‘bamboking’ (Event #54-L), ‘Kashmir_uzi’ (Event #54-M), ‘fafinharj’ (Event #55-L), ‘onmybicycle’ (Event #55-M), ‘Archigram66’ (Event #56-L), and ‘LeoMattosAK’ (Event #56-M). Event #47-H ($530 + R PLO, 6-Max) Entries: 157 + 309 rebuys + 83 add-ons Prize pool: $300,000 ($25,500 overlay) 1. Grus/Snus - $60,683.52 2. MB TREMENDO - $45,601.02 3. Samustti - $34,267.17 Event #48-H ($5,200 NLHE, 8-Max, Midweek Freeze) Entries: 140 Prize pool: $750,000 ($50,000 overlay) 1. necgaidziai - $157,426.77 2. DingeBrinker - $121,869.52 3. Mikensonas - $94,343.47 Event #50-H ($1,050 NLHE, PKO) Entries: 477 Prize pool: $477,000 1. Amadi_017 - $84,110.87 2. karimmae - $47,743.35 3. Lena900 - $26,113.55 Event #51-H ($530 NLHE, Freezeout) Entries: 687 Prize pool: $343,500 1. PatrickRass - $58,501 2. qieng - $42,157.48 3. Jesper8 - $30,380.17 Event #52-H ($1,050 Limit Hold’em 6-Max) Entries: 62 Prize pool: $65,000 ($3,000 overlay) 1. coman567 - $22,850.02 2. jutrack - $15,134.41 3. 2bb100hands - $10,024.09 Event #54-H ($530 PLO8, 6-Max) Entries: 331 Prize pool: $165,500 1. texasilainen - $31,056.39 2. onmybicycle - $22,379.58 3. FONBET_RULIT - $16,127.09 Event #55-H ($2,100 NLHE, 6-Max) Entries: 254 Prize pool: $508,000 1. Andre_Hansen - $98,159.82 2. FreeLancerZZ - $72,978.36 3. Pwndidi - $54,256.94 Event #56-H ($530 NLHE, Turbo, PKO) Entries: 885 Prize pool: $442,500 1. Zapahzamazki - $69,958.97 2. mnstrkll - $40,142.13 3. jutrack - $22,827.75
  2. In an online series that is guaranteed to feature talented final tables, one of the toughest in recent memory took place on Wednesday during the 2021 PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker. Nine top-tier players, including two former #1-ranked pros and the current All-Time Online Money List leader, played down to a winner in the biggest buy-in event on the SCOOP 2021 schedule. Plus, one of the most accomplished online poker pros in history, finally added a SCOOP title to his resume. It’s safe to say that the final table of Event #43-H ($25,000 NLHE, 8-Max, Super High Roller) was one of the most stacked tournaments of 2021. Of course, when the buy-ins are as big as $25K, it tends to draw online poker’s elite players. Even so, it’s a rarity to be able to look at a final table full table of screen names and be able to identify each and every player based on their outstanding accomplishments. The two-day tournament featured 51 players (with 20 re-entries) to generate a prize pool of $1,741,275 and in the end, it was current All-Time Online Money List leader Joao ‘Naza114’ Vieira who took home the $469,987.05 first-place prize and his fifth career SCOOP title. The victory was a bit of a breakthrough for Vieira who has found himself at plenty of major final tables as of late but despite taking down big scores, hadn’t locked up the outright win since his PokerStars Turbo Series win on February 25. It’s also a career milestone for ‘Naza114’, as the score now serves as the largest recorded online score of his career. Mikita ‘fish2013’ Badziakouski took home the Super High Roller runner-up honors, which was good for $352,019.81, and Christian ‘WATnlos’ Rudolph captured the bronze and booked a $263,662.64. The star power didn’t stop there as former #1’s Niklas ‘Lena900’ Astedt (8th, $62,152.19) and Conor ‘1_conor_b_1’ Beresford (7th, $82,980.28) were early casualties, while Wiktor ‘limitless’ Malinowski (6th, $110,788.09) and Benjamin ‘bencb789’ Rolle ($147,914.86) both laddered into six-figure scores. Then, falling just outside the top three was Australia’s Michael ‘imluckbox’ Addamo, who fell in fourth place for $197,483.22. After all that he has accomplished in online (and live) poker, it may be surprising to discover that Chris ‘Moorman1’ Moorman hadn’t won a PokerStars SCOOP title until Wednesday night. The former #1-ranked pro finally added that accolade to his poker resume with a win in Event #45-H ($1,050 NLHE, 6-Max) for $78,539.14. Certainly, part of the reason may be that Moorman now calls Las Vegas home. However, this summer, he and his wife Katie Lindsay invested in a property in Mexico which has allowed Moorman to compete on the international stage on a more regular basis. The score ranks in Moorman’s top 20 career score and is his largest of the year. Anton ‘Bomber&Granater’ Wigg was denied his third SCOOP title as the current #24-ranked pro settled for second place and used the $56,390.92 score to leap over $5.5 million in career earnings. ‘BenArfaa10’ rounded out the top three and earned $40,488.58 for their efforts. Earlier in the day, ‘pucho2100’ picked up their first SCOOP victory with a win in Event #41-H ($1,050 NLHE, Deep Stacks). They battled through the 288-entry field to win the $54,837.07 first-place prize. Lucas ‘Bit2Easy’ Reeves came in second place, earning $41,521.49 and Aleksejs ’APonakov’ Ponakov grabbed third place and picked up $31,439.75. The final event of the night was Event #49-H ($1,050 Razz) where ‘Gigaloff’ wrapped up $25,887.50 for first place and their third career SCOOP title. ‘__akun333__’ picked up $17,575 as the runner-up while 'youre' finished in third place and received $13,300. Other winners on Wednesday included ‘Bxrn’ (Event #41-L), ‘missy_gazell’ (Event #41-M), ‘GZingano’ (Event #43-L), ‘Xungazz’ (Event #43-M), ‘Wizzyy10’ (Event #45-L), ‘lamapoopie’ (Event #45-M), ‘monopol’ (Event #49-L), and ‘maxsnel123’ (Event #49-M). Event #41-H ($1,050 NLHE, Deep Stacks) Entries: 288 Prize pool: $288,000 1. pucho2100 - $54,837.07 2. Bit2Easy - $41,521.49 3. APonakov - $31,439.75 Event #43-H ($25,000 NLHE, 8-Max, Super High Roller) Entries: 71 Prize pool: $1,741,275 1. Naza114 - $469,987.05 2. fish2013 - $352,019.81 3. WATnios - $263,662.64 Event #45-H ($1,050 NLHE, 6-Max) Entries: 440 Prize pool: $440,000 1. Moorman1 - $78,539.14 2. Bomber&Granater - $56,390.92 3. BenArfaa10 - $40,488.58 Event #49-H ($1,050 Razz) Entries: 95 Prize pool: $95,000 1. Gigaloff - $25,887.50 2. __akun333__ - $17,575 3. youre - $13,300
  3. It’s mid-December 2020 and a tennis court just north of San Jose, Costa Rica is home to one of the most hotly-contested tennis matches of the year. This isn’t a battle between a couple of former top-ranked tennis pros and the stakes aren’t all that high, but the combatants are going all out for a win. On one side of the court is a 17-year-old spending her Christmas break from school hanging out in the Central American vacation hot spot. Her opponent on this day is her 74-year-old grandfather, a man fortunate enough to be able to spend a few months in Costa Rica hiding from the harsh Canadian winters. He’s not anywhere near the height of his athletic prowess, but that’s not an excuse he’d use to take it easy. Each time he returns the fuzzy yellow ball across the net he does so with a hint of a life lesson in it. Work hard. Treat people with respect. Fight for what you believe in. Anybody who knows this man understands that there is no way he will simply let his granddaughter win a match, a set, or even a single point without earning it. Isai Scheinberg just isn’t built that way. A Private Man Steps Into the Spotlight Spending an afternoon in the Costa Rican sun is the closest that Scheinberg has ever come to thrusting himself into the spotlight. Ten years after poker’s most infamous day, Black Friday, threatened to destroy the company he and his son Mark built, Scheinberg is ready to let the poker world hear from him for the first time. “I valued privacy, but I was not secretive. That’s not the same thing,” Scheinberg says. “I was working hard. I was very busy and I’m not the type of guy to go out and do PR.” Scheinberg launched PYR Software in 2000 to build online poker tournament software in hopes of licensing it to online casinos and sportsbooks that were at the genesis of what would soon become the online gaming industry. Every company he and Mark pitched the product to either didn’t understand or wanted to pay far less than what they thought it was worth. “None of them understood software much, so they couldn’t appreciate we had a terrific game. But then, we had absolutely no experience in online gaming,” Scheinberg admits. Scheinberg was 54 years old at the time and had left a job at IBM to venture out on his own. There wasn’t a chance he was going to let somebody tell him he couldn’t do something. Rather than settling for a partner they didn’t want to work with, the Scheinbergs decided to take the product to market on their own. In 2001, PokerStars.com was born with Isai heading up the software company in Toronto and Mark moving to Costa Rica to run the gaming side of the business. From Day 1, the market responded to PokerStars’ software being so far ahead of any of its competitors. Scheinberg, who loved poker long before the idea of PokerStars ever struck him, had focused a lot of the development on multi-table tournaments. The marketing and tournament schedule followed that lead. The first PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker in 2002 was a nine-tournament series anchored by a $1,050 buy-in event. That might seem small compared to today’s standards, but back then nobody else was even thinking about online poker tournaments the way Scheinberg was. Most poker enthusiasts have a pretty good understanding of what happened over the next few years; the accountant from Tennessee, the 2003 World Series of Poker, and ESPN broadcasts helped launch the company into an entirely different stratosphere that would eventually make PokerStars the world’s largest online poker site. October 2006 shifted the online poker landscape, first in the United States, and then around the world. The U.S. government passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. PartyPoker and 888 abandoned the American market-leading some mainstream media outlets to claim that the law represented a complete prohibition of online gaming, including poker, in the United States. Scheinberg wasn’t convinced and PokerStars sought counsel from prominent U.S. lawyers and were told unequivocally that UIGEA did not prohibit games of skill such as poker. PokerStars, which only offered poker and not casino games like PartyPoker and 888 did, took these legal opinions and decided to continue to offer their product to American players. Other poker-only companies followed their lead. The company also initiated lobbying efforts for federal online poker legislation in the United States that would have provided clarity to players, companies, and investors. PokerStars worked with regulators around the world and earned licenses in multiple European jurisdictions and reaped the rewards as poker’s popularity soared around the world. First Trauma, Then Calm An early morning email on April 15, 2011, changed everything yet again. Scheinberg was being told by company lawyers that he was being indicted by the United States Department of Justice and that the company was named as a defendant in a civil suit. A non-native English speaker born in Lithuania, he had to ask what the word “indictment” meant. He quickly learned that the company he spent nearly 10 years building into a monster was in serious jeopardy. “That was very traumatic,” Scheinberg says. Sitting in the Toronto office of PYR Software, Scheinberg took a deep breath, and rather than panic about what his own future might hold, he told his lawyers that his immediate concern wasn’t the indictment. “I said, ‘Look, our priority number one is to pay the players’. We had the money and we wanted to pay. The lawyers told me, ‘You’re crazy. It will take a year or more. That doesn’t happen that way’. But it happened in less than a week,” Scheinberg says. Understanding that the players – his players – would be in a panic, the Scheinbergs wanted to make sure that they understood he was going to take care of them. “One of the first things we did was issue a press release reassuring players that their money is actually safe”, Scheinberg explains. In the ensuing conversations with the DOJ, PokerStars made it clear they wanted to get players paid as soon as possible. Recognizing that this served their interests as well, the DOJ agreed to allow PokerStars to process payments to American players and allowed the company to continue serving players outside of the country. Players weren’t the only ones who had reason to be scared about what Black Friday meant for them. Approximately 1,000 PokerStars employees were working in offices around the world and each had reasons to wonder if they may soon be out of a job. Just as they had reassured players, Isai and Mark did their best to put employees’ minds at ease. “The message to employees was that they are not losing their jobs,” Isai says. In the days and weeks that followed, PokerStars offered any employee whose job was focused on the United States an opportunity to re-train in another area or skill so that they could continue to work for the company if they chose. The trauma of seeing his name in the indictment wasn’t something Scheinberg was willing to let his employees see or feel. Black Friday exposed Full Tilt Poker’s financial malpractice and shined a searing light on the charlatans behind AbsolutePoker/UB. As mainstream media around the world covered the story, they spoke about all three companies as if they were the same. PokerStars soldiered on and Scheinberg is proud to point out that not a single regulator anywhere in the world pulled PokerStars’ license due to the U.S. charges. It soon became quite clear that Full Tilt wasn’t going to be able to pay its U.S. players the way PokerStars had. When Full Tilt’s European license was revoked, the company shut down completely. The millions of players who had money in their Full Tilt accounts were faced with a previously unimaginable scenario; their money was gone forever. That’s when Scheinberg lofted the idea of stepping in to bail out Full Tilt players. He was immediately met with resistance from his advisors who had been in settlement negotiations with the DOJ. “Why don’t you suggest that we buy Full Tilt from the government and pay the players?” Scheinberg asked. The response from the company lawyer: “That’s totally crazy…it’s never happened before.” Scheinberg was aware that the US government was in talks with third parties to sell Full Tilt’s assets. “These buyers didn’t want to fully cover the money to pay the players,” Scheinberg recalls. ”The government was under a lot of pressure from U.S. players and also international players because again, there were hundreds of millions of dollars on the line.” The government eventually accepted Scheinberg’s “crazy” proposal and PokerStars purchased the Full Tilt Poker assets from the U.S. government and made sure that American players with a balance on Full Tilt Poker on Black Friday were paid in full. PokerStars also reinstated Full Tilt’s international operations and paid those players who had lost nearly $200 million when the site closed. Meanwhile, Scheinberg continued to negotiate with U.S. prosecutors for the charges he was facing and was told he could continue to work for PokerStars while those negotiations were ongoing. “I was very upset when people called me a fugitive,” Scheinberg says. “I’ve never been an American citizen or resident and I wasn’t in the U.S. since 1999. I didn’t flee the jurisdiction and I was not hiding.” In 2015, he even held face-to-face meetings over two days in London with the U.S. prosecutors. The meeting resulted in an agreement to drop bank fraud charges from any future plea agreement, but not the gambling charge. [caption id="attachment_634521" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Isai Scheinberg has found a new game to devote this energy to. Chess. (Andrew Barton photo)[/caption] All of this is why what happened in June 2019 came as such a surprise. After traveling around the world, including multiple trips to Canada, the United Kingdom, Italy, Israel, and the Isle of Man – all countries with extradition agreements with the United States – Scheinberg, who says he always informed local authorities that he was coming, had never worried about running into an issue when abroad. While vacationing in Switzerland with his wife, Scheinberg was detained by Swiss authorities at the request of the DOJ. While he initially planned to oppose extradition, Scheinberg eventually decided to waive the proceedings and travel to the U.S. to resolve the case once and for all. On January 17, 2020, Scheinberg landed at Kennedy airport in New York City where authorities were waiting for him. He was processed at the airport and immediately brought to the court. Scheinberg pled not guilty to all charges and was released on a $1 million bond on the same day and promised not to leave New York City. More than two months later, Scheinberg arrived at a NY courthouse to plead guilty to a single count of operating an illegal gambling business. That plea, which made him the final of the 11 Black Friday defendants to plead guilty, came with a maximum five-year sentence. However, Scheinberg’s lawyers successfully argued that he should not be further punished since the company was operating in the United States on legal advice that said offering poker was not illegal, he had been in contact with the DOJ since 2011, was active with numerous charities around the world, and that the company had paid more $300 million of Full Tilt’s debts. In his ruling, the judge called Scheinberg’s conduct “a mistake” and sentenced him to time served and was immediately released. For more than nine years, Scheinberg felt the weight of the Black Friday charges hanging over his head. He knew they would be resolved one day – one way or the other. Now, he can’t help but see some practicality in the outcome. “For example, when the indictment was pending some banks were reluctant to open an account for me. Because in their mind when it’s not settled, who knows? But when it’s settled, it’s settled,” Scheinberg says. The Gamesman As his granddaughter will undoubtedly attest, Scheinberg has a competitive side that hasn’t slowed down at all. The one-time poker nerd who dreamed of winning a WSOP bracelet long before Chris Moneymaker won the WSOP Main Event, has turned his attention to a game that has recently captured the imagination of an entirely new generation of players the way poker did back in 2003. “Today, I play a lot of chess,” Scheinberg says. “That makes me happy.” While Scheinberg has put in time and energy to become a better player, he also comes by it naturally. His father, Matafia, represented his native Lithuania in the Chess Olympiad in the early 1930s. Scheinberg owns a copy of a book that details the games his father played in those events, including analysis from top grandmasters, and proudly shares it with anybody who shows an interest in the game. Just like poker, Scheinberg isn’t interested just in playing. Scheinberg, along with his son Mark, is one of the key investors in Chess.com and his years of experience running PokerStars makes him an invaluable asset as that company grows. When it came to deciding to put money there, Scheinberg didn’t necessarily look just at the technology or the software, he looked at who was running the company and if they shared his values and ideals for running a business. “The reason we invested and we joined them is because they are very good guys, and they bring the business principles of being transparent, and honest, and they treat customers well,” Scheinberg says. Crediting the much-heralded Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit for sparking an interest in chess in the general public, Scheinberg can’t help but draw parallels between that and what Moneymaker did when his WSOP Main Event win aired on ESPN. Much like he did in the early years of PokerStars, Scheinberg relies on his experiences as a player to influence his ideas for ways to help the company grow. Scheinberg chuckles at the idea of getting back into the world of poker but doesn’t shut down the possibility altogether. The family sold the company to Amaya in June 2014 for $4.9 billion in a transaction that was largely driven by the inability of the company, under their ownership, to gain a gaming license in New Jersey. The company originally had plans to purchase The Atlantic Club Casino Hotel and offer PokerStars to New Jersey residents through that gaming license. Scheinberg says Black Friday was not what created the greatest challenge to PokerStars gaining a license in America. In early conversations with New Jersey regulators, company lawyers asked whether there would be a legal objection to giving PokerStars a license. “The regulators went to the DOJ and they asked, ‘Are you going to have a problem with PokerStars getting the license in New Jersey?’ And the DOJ said no, they would not have a problem. So the regulators came back and told our lawyers, ‘Fine. Of course, we cannot guarantee it, because we will check the company as we did all the other companies,’” Scheinberg says. “That was not a problem as we knew the company had no issues with its operations. However, our competitors raised hell and complained in every direction and they delayed the process. People from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement already had plane tickets to come to the Isle of Man to interview (PokerStars management). And they canceled at the last moment.” Scheinberg says that pressure from those competitors, directed towards both the DGE and Atlantic Club Casino ownership, led to that deal falling apart. Despite having private assurances that there would be no licensing issues for PokerStars, the company found itself facing the same hurdles after striking a deal with a second property, Resorts Casino. “So, this time we didn’t buy (the casino), but we made a deal to offer our poker product with them,” Scheinberg says. “The DGE came at the last moment and they said no. It was unexpected and the announcement from the (DGE) was very unclear. They said they had some conditions.” Scheinberg was told he either had to settle his case or there needed to be “major changes in the company”. It was then that the company’s fortunes shifted again. “And that was the moment when we said, ‘what the hell. we’ll get out of that.’ For the sake of the company, for U.S. players to be able to play on PokerStars, we need to change the ownership. So, it was a combination of feelings, but that was the trigger, that they didn’t let us get a license there,” Scheinberg says. The Scheinbergs had already shooed away Amaya and their ambitious CEO David Baazov once, telling them PokerStars had every intention of launching in New Jersey. With that no longer an option, the two companies entered into negotiations that ultimately led to the family selling the company. The $4.9 billion proceeds didn’t all go to the family, and neither did their share. Long-time PokerStars employees who didn’t have equity in the company say Isai and Mark were both quite generous with them after the sale. For them, it was about taking care of the people who had helped them build PokerStars. “We ran the company all the time that way. Of course, class and grace were the most important thing. We didn’t fire anyone after Black Friday and employees were a big part of the success,” Scheinberg says. “Employees were part of the business. A big part obviously in every company, but in our company, we felt that the employees were an extremely important part.” [caption id="attachment_634527" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Ten years after Black Friday, Isai Scheinberg still carries with him a twinge of regret when it comes to the events of that day. (Andrew Barton photo)[/caption] Seven years after the company was sold, Scheinberg looks back on his time in the poker industry and believes his legacy will be defined by the principles with which he ran the company through good times and bad. “We created a lot of things that helped poker grow and be more respected and more enjoyable and I’m pleased that is the legacy,” Scheinberg says. “And the fact that we paid players and players did not lose their money (on Black Friday) was also very important. I think that commitment to players and doing the right thing by them is the legacy.” Being the owner of another one of poker’s most enduring and endearing brands almost became another pillar in Scheinberg’s story. “Actually, at one time we were offered to buy the Rio Casino, but there was a reaction of ‘We don’t need this. Why would we buy?’ In hindsight, I think it was a mistake. I thought that if we bought Rio, we would own the World Series and make it better,” Scheinberg says. “We probably would do a lot of things to make it very friendly to players. We planned to increase the prize pool. We would make a guaranteed prize pool of $100 million in the Main Event and a lot of things around that. When I was talking to Steve Wynn, and we had a deal with him (in March 2011), we were discussing that and he was very excited and we probably would move WSOP to a better facility.” The relationship between PokerStars and the World Series of Poker since Harrah’s acquired it in 2004, could best be described as a competitive rivalry. Last November, Scheinberg was named one of ten finalists for the Poker Hall of Fame. It was the first time that the WSOP, who control the PHOF, listed Scheinberg as a finalist despite years of lobbying from poker heavyweights, including former Team PokerStars Pro and current Hall of Famer Daniel Negreanu. “There were a number of people who were trying to put me (into the Hall of Fame). I never tried to lobby or anything. Harrah’s or Caesar’s were not big friends of ours. We were their competitors, so they were blocking that, but yes, (the nomination) was surprising, but look, the case has settled (and) that’s one thing that probably helped that,” Scheinberg says. He hasn’t been to the WSOP since 1997 and still has a love for poker that he believes could see him sitting at a table inside the Amazon Room at the Rio very soon. Now, with PokerStars and Black Friday clearly in his rear-view mirror, Scheinberg looks back at what he created, his impact on both the game and the industry, and says he has no regrets, with one important exception – the months leading up to Black Friday. “I do wonder if we should have been proactive with discussions with the DOJ, especially in early 2011 after the federal online poker bill didn’t materialize,” Scheinberg says “We could have entered into a direct dialogue with them. That might have prevented Black Friday.” That one lingering thought about what might have been doesn’t consume his thoughts though. Almost seven years after Scheinberg sold the company, PokerStars continues to be the world’s largest online poker operator and that, he says, will also be part of how his time in poker is remembered. Today, Scheinberg is happy to be able to spend time with all three generations of his family, even as one of the youngest is staring him down while serving for match point. “The best part of my life, I have a happy family life. I am happily married for 53 years, I am proud of my sons’ achievements, I have three grandkids, and I love what I do.”   Photos via Andrew Barton
  4. Another six events on the 2021 PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker schedule reached a conclusion on Tuesday with one of online poker’s all-time greats taking down two titles in one day and another former #1-ranked pro adding a win to his extensive poker resume. Simon ‘C Darwin2’ Mattsson, the all-world former #1-ranked pro from Sweden, was showed off his incredible skills yet again by taking down two SCOOP titles in a single day on Tuesday. For his first, Mattsson made a heads-up money deal with Russia's ‘|Explay|’ in Event #38-H ($530 NLO8, 8-Max). However, the pair were forced to play it out for the final $1,000 in the prize pool and it was Mattsson who came out on top. He closed out the tournament and earned what would be his fourth career SCOOP title while adding $21,166.09 to his more than $17.3 million in lifetime online earnings. Although settling for second place, |Explay| negotiated a good deal that allowed him to walk away with $22,149.68 - a sum better than Mattsson’s first-place prize. Brazil’s Bernardo ‘bedias’ Dias climbed into third place, earning $13,424.38. Later in the evening, Mattsson was back to his winning ways. He topped the 461 player field of Event #46-H (8-Max, Turbo, PKO), only this time there was no deal. It took just four-and-a-half hours for the Swede to win the event outright and earn his fifth SCOOP title. Mattsson banked another $36,012.39 for first plus $38,453.10 in bounties for a total score of $74,465.49. His two titles netted him just over $95,00 - not bad for a day’s work. Earlier in the day another former #1, and current partypoker ambassador, Joao ‘IneedMassari’ Simao earned up his fourth career SCOOP title with a six-figure win in Event #37-H ($2,100 NLHE, 6-Max, PKO). The Brazilian bested the 403-entry field and helped himself to the $62,574.92 first-place prize. He added another $78,078.12 in bounties, for a grand total of $140,653.04. Canada’s Jonah ‘RaiseUpBlind’ Silverstein, who yesterday grabbed a title of his own, finished in second place. It was his second runner-up finish of the series and this time it was good for $62,574.73. Also of note, in a bit of an oddity, Silverstein made it all the way through the entire PKO without picking up a bounty along the way. Poker Twitch streamer Jargo ‘bunkakat’ Alavali treated his viewers to a third-place finish and added $54,818.90, bounties included, to his bankroll. Russia’s ‘Lidikkkkk’ scored the victory in Event #39-H ($1,050 NLHE, Freezeout) and earned $64,881.65 with the win. Current #122-ranked Kelvin ‘Kelvin_FP:AR’ Kerber finished as the runner-up for $49,140.96, pushing his career online earnings to more than $5.7 million. Brandon ‘Tyrion2205’ Sheils from the UK ended up in third place and booked a $37,219.14 score, the fourth largest of his online career. There was more than just NLHE on tap for Tuesday as well as Poland’s ‘tmk999’ emerged as the winner in Event #42-H ($530 5-Card PLO, 6-Max, PKO) for a total of $37,223.03, bounties included. And Norway’s ‘_sennj_’ topped the 54 entries in SCOOP #44-H ($2,100 FL 27 Triple Draw) to earn $37,966.19, the second-largest online cash of his career, and his first SCOOP title. Also of note, after three days of play with massive $530 Sunday Million Special Edition (Event #33-M) played down to a winner. Poland's 'seboraptor' made a heads-up deal with Brazil's 'brunoporto12' for the bulk of the event's $2.109 million prize pool. As the official winner, 'seboraptor' took home the title as well as $265,896.39 while 'brunoporto12' locked up $249,245.46* for his part in the deal. It was also a nice payday for third-place finisher 'GamadGADOL' as well who turned the $530 buy-in into a bankroll building $150,587.66 score. Other winners on Tuesday included ‘gimley14’ (Event #37-L), ‘bauruzito’ (Event #37-M), ‘1bloodflood’ (Event #38-L), ‘dubfitz’ (Event #38-M), ‘alpinko’ (Event #39-L), ‘n1ksis’ (Event #39-M), ‘muggsyboges’ (Event #42-L), ‘_WaPetry_’ (Event #42-M), ‘PokerFreaky9’ (Event #44-L), ‘Arttyomka’ (Event #44-M), ‘Solo-warrior’ (Event #46-L), and ‘pl@ta0plomo’ (Event #46-M). Event #33-M ($530 Sunday Million SE) Entries: 4,218 Prize pool: $2,109,000 1. seboraptor - $265,896.39* 2. brunoporto12 - $248,245.46* 3. GamadGADOL - $150,587.66 Event #37-H ($2,100 NLHE, 6-Max, PKO) Entries: 403 Prize pool: $806,000 1. IneedMassari - $140,653.04 2. RaiseUpBlind - $62,574.73 3. bungakat - $54,818.90 Event #38-H ($530 NLO8, 8-Max) Entries: 262 Prize pool: $131,000 1. C Darwin2 - $21,166.09* 2. |Explay| - $22,149.68* 3. bedias - $13,424.38 Event #39-H ($1,050 NLHE, Freezeout) Entries: 352 Prize pool: $352,000 1. Lidikkkkk - $64,881.65 2. Kelvin_FP:AR - $49,140.96 3. Tyrion2205 - $37,219.14 Event #42-H ($530 5-Card PLO, 6-Max, PKO) Entries: 519 Prize pool: $259,500 1. tmk999 - $37,223.03 2. Tiltkorv - $28,488.13 3. Dainiux - $19,458.52 SCOOP #44-H ($2,100 FL 27 Triple Draw) Entries: 54 Prize pool: $108,000 1. _sennj_ - $37,966.19 2. XD89lol<3 - $25,146.41 3. inevity - $16,655.42 SCOOP #46-H ($1,050 NLHE, 8-Max, Turbo, PKO) Entries: 461 Prize pool: $461,000 1. C Darwin2 - $74,465.49 2. kylix42 - $37,137.19 3. Fresh_oO_D - $47,871.79
  5. The 2021 PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker is officially a third of the way complete as another six events came to a conclusion on Monday. The highlights of the day included the fast-paced 6+ Hold’em tournament, a pro-heavy high-roller final table, and a title takedown by one of the most accomplished online poker players in history. It’s been a busy spring for the former #1-ranked Niklas ‘Lena900’ Astedt who can’t seem to stop padding his legendary online poker resume. In addition to the three GGPoker Spring Festival titles he earned last week, on Monday, the superstar Swede bested the 481-entry field of Event #31-H ($1,050 NLHE, 8-Max) to pick up his fifth career SCOOP title. Astedt earned $85,430.33 for first, pushing him ever-so-close to eclipsing the $22 million mark in recorded online career earnings. Vicent ‘gordon0410’ Bosca fell just one spot short of earning his second SCOOP title, having to settle for second place and the $63,229.42 that went with it. After finishing as the runner-up himself in Event #22-H, Canada’s Jonah ‘RaiseUpBlind’ Silverstein made it all the way to the end and closed out Event #32-H ($2,100 NLHE, PKO) for $71,043.99 plus an additional $65,609.35 in bounties for a total haul of $136,653.34. Joshua ‘slayerv1fan’ Hoesel added to his $3.5 million in online career earnings with his second-place finish which was good for a total score of $97,067.05, bounties included. Brazil’s Rodrigo ‘seijistar’ Seiji picked up the bronze and collected $45,621.75 plus an additional $28,835.94 in bounties. The largest score of the day belonged to #27-ranked Tuen ’tinnoemulder’ Mulder who outlasted the tough final table of Event 33-H ($5,200 NLHE, 8-Max, High Roller Club SE) to collect the $247,088.95 first-place prize, the largest score of the series thus far. The stacked final table included Jonathan ‘luckyfish89’ Clark (7th, $48,598.31), former #1 Simon ‘C Darwin2’ Mattsson (6th, $63,727.51), Joni ‘bustoville’ Jouhkimainen (5th, $83,566.50), and Christoph ’26071985’ Vogelsang (4th, $109,581.58). ‘a_new_hope13’ fell in third place, collecting $143,695.38 and Brazilan MTT pro Pablo ‘pabritz’ Brito, current ranked #23 in the world, ended up as the runner-up and added $188,429.05 to his more than $8 million in career earnings. Event #34-H ($1,050 PLO, 6-Max) saw 222 entries crush the $150K guarantee with a $222,000 prize pool. ‘gangstachl9’ picked up their first-ever SCOOP title and took home the first-place prize of $42,896.64. Right behind them was ‘AngryJuice’ who scored $31,892.12 as the runner-up. Three-time SCOOP champion Tobias ’Senkel92’ Leknes fell in third place, earning $23,710.71. Croatia’s ‘mandza17’ earned their second career SCOOP title and a healthy six-figure sum with a victory in Event #35-H ($1,050 NLHE, 6-Max) for $131,550.26. ‘thelpoker’ ended up in second place, taking home $92,624.43 while ‘Killer_ooooo’ finished in third place and added $65,217.02 to their bankroll. The final event to conclude on Monday was Event #40-H ($1,050 6+ Hold’em, 8-Max, PKO), a curious tournament where, with roughly just minutes left in late registration, only 21 players remained in a field from which 11 got paid. The 6+ Hold’em (aka Short Deck) tournament took just five hours to complete and in the end, Japan’s Shota ‘shorta222’ Nakanishi took home their first SCOOP title and total score of $27,720.89. Julian ‘jutrack’ Track finished in second place, earning $12,767.73 and Poland’s ‘tmk999’ rounded out the top three and collected $7,972.49. Other winners on Monday included ‘Jupitle’ (Event #31-L), ‘Grekzorba’ (Event #31-M), ‘komarcus’ (Event #32-L), ‘Bola_Violin’ (Event #32-M), ‘Mr. Havener’ (Event #33-L), ‘pei_billy’ (Event #34-L), ‘ManOfTheFewWord’ (Event #34-M), ‘jitule53’ (Event #35-L), ‘zerodata’ (Event #35-M), ‘Wang26’ (Event #40-L), and ‘Lovetodo’ (Event #40-M). Event #31-H ($1,050 NLHE, 8-Max) Entries: 481 Prize pool: $481,000 1. Lena900 - $85,430.33 2. gordon0410 - $63,229.42 3. anonymous123789 - $46,979.98 Event #32-H ($2,100 NLHE, PKO) Entries: 455 Prize pool: $910,000 1. RaiseUpBlind - $136,653.34 2. slayerv1fan - $97,067.05 3. seijistar - $48,505.69 Event #33-H ($5,200 NLHE, 8-Max, High Roller Club, SE) Entries: 232 Prize pool: $1,160,000 1. tinnoemulder - $247,088.95 2. pabritz - $188,429.05 3. a_new_hope12 - $143,695.38 Event #34-H ($1,050 PLO8, 6-Max) Entries: 222 Prize pool: $222,000 1. gangstachl9 - $42,896.64 2. AngryJuice - $31,892.12 3. Sengel92 - $23,710.71 Event #35-H ($1,050 NLHE, 6-Max) Entries: 775 Prize pool: $775,000 1. mandza17 - $131,550.26 2. thelpoker - $92,624.43 3. Killer_ooooo - $65,217.02 Event #40-H ($1,050 6+ Hold’em, 8-Max, PKO) Entries: 99 Prize pool: $99,000 1. shorta222 - $27,720.89 2. jutrack - $12,767.73 3. tmk999 - $7,972.49
  6. After officially taking Friday off, the 2021 PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker resumed on Saturday bringing another four events to a conclusion including one of the most star-studded final tables of the series and the largest PKO to take place thus far. Over 10,000 people tuned in to watch popular Twitch streamer and PokerStars ambassador Lex Veldhuis as he battled at the stacked final table of Event 29-H ($2,100 NLHE, 8-Max). When the 211-entry field was down to just 8, Veldhuis found himself in a position to make a run at the title, however, just about every other seat at the final table was occupied by a top pro. This included five-time SCOOP title winner Talal ‘raidalot’ Shakershi (8th, $12,319.86), high-roller extraordinaire Dominik ‘Bounatirou’ Nitsche (8th, $16,161.20), and current #5-ranked Joao ‘Naza114’ Vieira (4th, $36,482.11). As his competition busted, Veldhuis continued to chip up. Eventually, Aliaksei ‘ale6ka’ Boika was eliminated in third place, taking home $47,857.37. That left Veldhuis to battle for the title against Brazilian online crusher Pedro ‘PaDiLhA SP’ Padilha who had done a masterful job of taking control of the final table and accumulating a massive chip lead. In the end, Veldhuis fell to the Brazilian and closed out his stream as the runner-up with a $62,779.37 payday. Padilha earned his fourth career SCOOP title and added the $82,354.31 first-place prize to his more than $7.8 million in online career earnings. The 24-hour delay was worth the wait for Brazil’s Pedro ‘LgwZ’, Grochocki who topped the 539-player field of Event 22-H ($2,100 NLHE, PKO, Thursday Thrill SE) to capture the $83,473.31 first-place prize plus an astounding $96,210.93 in bounties for an online career-high haul of $181,684.23. ‘RaiseUpBlind’ also grabbed a six-figure sum as the runner-up, taking home $83,472.88 plus $31,585.94 in bounties for a total of $115,058.82. ‘darogio’ picked up the bronze and locked up a total score of $72,231.02. Event 27-H ($1,050 8-Game) fell just 14 players short of reaching the $125,000 guarantee. That just fine by Russia’s Andrei ‘Premove’ Skvortsov who picked up a little extra value en route to taking down his third career SCOOP title and the $28,101.31 that came with it. This marks the third year in a row that Skvortsov was won a SCOOP with his first coming in a NL Omaha H/L event in 2019 and his follow up being a PLO8 title in 2020. ’nkeyno’ earned ‘$21,552.27 as the runner-up while Sweden former worldwide #2-ranked Robin ‘robinho’ Yitalo wrapped up in third place and added $16,529.51 to his $13.3 million in online career earnings. It took less than two hours for ‘Powergolf’ to pick up the win in Event 30-H ($1,050 NLHE, 7-Max, Hyper-Turbo, PKO). They blasted through the 305-entry field and walked away with the $28,320.93 first-place prize with an additional $31,574.20 in bounties for a total of $49,895.13. In second place was ‘wasylaa’ who, with bounties, earned $40,644.91 and on their third bullet, ‘Shipmopff’ climbed into third place which was good for a total of $30,434.48. Other winners on Saturday included ‘Hefeweizen19’ (Event 22-L), ‘Heia_Eirik’ (Event 22-M), ’56_Hjerter’ (Event 27-L), ‘DTFobos’ (Event 27-M), ‘cipi22’ (Event 29-L), ‘VladTheSlaye’ (Event 29-M), ‘zibrdie’ (Event 30-L), and ‘dolimp4789’ (Event 30-M). Event 22-H ($2,100 NLHE, PKO, Thursday Thrill SE) Entires: 539 Prize pool: $1,078,000 1. LgwZ - $181,684.24 2. RaiseUpBlind - $115,058.82 3. darogio - $72,231.02 Event 27-H ($1,050 8-Game) Entries: 109 Prize pool: $125,000 1. Premove - $28,101.31 2. nkeyno - $21,552.27 3. robinho - $16,529.51 Event 29-H ($2,100 NLHE, 8-Max) Entries: 211 Prize pool: $422,000 1. PaDiLhA SP - $82,354.31 2. L. Veldhuis - $62,779.37 3. ale6ka 0 $47,857.33 Event 30-H ($1,050 NLHE, 7-Max, Hyper-Turbo, PKO) Entries: 305 Prize pool: $309,837 1. Powergolf - $59,895.13 2. wasylaa - $40,644.91 3. Shipmopff - $30,434.48
  7. The 2021 PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker grind was in full effect on Sunday. A total of eight events were in action, three of which played down to a winner, including a Progressive Knockout that boasted one of the largest prizes of the series thus far. In Event 28-H ($1,050 NLHE, Progressive Knockout), 1,261 entries flooded the lobby to eclipse the $1 million guarantee with a prize pool of $1,261,000. In the end, Poland’s ‘MrTermo1021’ outlasted the entire field, captured the title, and walked away with the $84,966 first-place prize plus an additional $65,362.24 in bounties for a total score of $150,328.24. The decision to fire a second bullet paid off for Germany’s ‘nic81411’ who finished as the runner-up and banked $84,964.85 as well as $25,252.91 in bounties for the six-figure sum of $110,217.76. In third place was online pro Aleksejs ‘Aponakov’ Ponakovs, who added $51,888.57 plus $15,544.92 in bounties to his bankroll. Canada’s ’FeelsAbitMeh’ was likely feeling better than their screen name lets on after besting the 1,029 player field of Event 26-H ($530 NLHE, 8-Max, Deep Stacks) and earning the $84,019.44 first-place prize. It must have felt even better to outlast a final table that included a number of top-tier online pros including worldwide #34-ranked Daniel ‘SmilleThHero’ Smiljkovic from Austria who finished as the runner-up for $59,891.35. Joining them in the top three was two-time SCOOP winner Thiago ‘KKremate’ Crema who finished in third place for $42,692.59. The final event of the day to finish up was Event 36-H ($530, 8-Max, PKO, High Roller Club Special Edition). ‘Prof. Hitman’ survived through the large field of 1,188 runners and scored $40,001.19 for first place with another $32,004.74 in bounties added on for a total earn of $72,005.93. Finishing in second place was Brazil’s ‘€plov2’ who picked up $40,000.37 for their efforts and added another $20,301.75 in bounties for a total score of $60,302.12. ‘gettingpwned’ captured the bronze in this one for a total haul of $35,461.70, bounties included. Other winners on Sunday included ‘Kein Geloel’ (Event 26-L), ‘JonzStars’ (Event 26-M), ‘p0wer_player’ (Event 28-L), ‘DGR.POKEHER’ (Event 28-M), ‘SthlmHero93’ (Event 36-L), and ‘masaldanha94’ (Event 36-M). Event #26-H ($530 NLHE [8-Max, Deep Stacks]) Entries: 1,029 Prize pool: $514,500 FeelsAbitMeh - $84,019.44 SmilleThHero - $59,891.35 KKremate - $42,692.58 Event #28-H ($1,050 NLHE [Progressive KO]) Entries: 1,261 Prize pool: $1,261,000 Mr Termo1021 - $150,328.24 nic81411 - $110,217.76 Aponakov - $67,433.49 Event #36-H ($530 NLHE [8-Max, Turbo, Progressive KO, High Roller Club SE]) Entries: 1,188 Prize pool: $594,000 Prof. Hitman - $72,005.93 €plov2 - $60,302.12 gettingpwned - $35,461.70
  8. It was an eventful Thursday for the 2021 PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker as another 24 titles were handed out including two in the same event to the same player, one to a former worldwide #1-ranked crusher, and one to the first player of the series to capture three SCOOP victories. Winning a single SCOOP title is difficult enough as it is. This is why when Dejan ‘dejanic357’ Kaladurdevic became the first player representing the country of Montenegro to win a SCOOP event on Monday it was more than noteworthy it was history-making. The fact that Kaladurdevic, just two days later, became the first player of the series to capture two titles left some authentically amazed. Now, heads are shaking at the fact that, on Thursday, Kaladurdevic once again was the last player standing in a SCOOP High event and captured his third SCOOP title in four days. The heater for Kaladurdevic continued in Event 17-H ($1,050 NLHE, Deep Stacks) where he defeated a field of 277 runners to walk away with the $52,742.60 first-place prize. Over the course of his three wins, Kaladurdevic has earned a total of $195,486.11. On Thursday it was ‘BetForNympho’ who was forced to settle for second place behind Kaladurdevic, earning $39,935.89 as the runner-up. Dario ’Secret_M0d3’ Sammartino finished in third place, taking home $30,238.92. Event 18-H ($5,200 NLHE, 7-Max) was just the second event of the series, and the first NLHE tournament, to offer players an overlay. There were 139 total entrants, generating a prize pool just $55,000 short of the event’s $750,000 guarantee. In the end Elias ‘SinKarma’ Gutierrez was one of the big beneficiaries, earning the title and $174,365 for first place. Renan ‘Internett93o’ Bruschi finished as the runner-up, which was good for $120,000 and Daris ‘DEX888’ Pedes ended up in third place and earned $82.500 for his efforts. Russia’s ’RedPh0enix’ rose up to take down his second career SCOOP title in the 251-entry field of Event 19-H ($1,050 NLO8, 8-Max, PKO), earnings a combined total of $49,069.37 for first place. Although ’FONBET_RULIT’ ended up as the runner-up, winning $24,452.08, they actually took home roughly $1,000 less than Finland’s third-place finisher ‘kiiski’ who picked up more bounties and took home a total score of $25,458.72, The PKO tournaments continue to be favorites for SCOOP players as 611 entries piled into the lobby of Event 20-H ($1,050 NLHE, 8-Max, PKO) generating a prize pool of $611,000, more than $200K over the posted guarantee. Rinat ‘Zapahzamazki’ Lyapin from Russia took home the gold, and took banked a score of $84,004.67 including bounties. Javier ‘que_te_crio’ Fernandez ended up in second place and added $56,146.93 to his bankroll while ‘alimounda’ collected $37,636.32 for finishing in third. In Event 21 Finland’s Jussi ‘calvin7v’ Nevanlinna pulled off the rare double-SCOOP, winning two titles on the same day in the same event at different buy-in levels. First, he took down 21-H ($1,050 FLO8, 8-Max) for his sixth career SCOOP title and $23,734.84. He also collected all the chips in 21-L ($11 FLO8, 8-Max), topping the 3,211-entry field for an additional $4,533.98 and a seventh SCOOP victory. Nevanlinna has proven time and time again that he’s an excellent, well-rounded player having won SCOOP events in 8-Game, Stud Hi/Lo, NLHE, Pot Limit Omaha, and, now, Fixed Limit Omaha. Nevanlinna denied the Netherlands ‘bokkie87’ a third SCOOP title of his own, regulating him to runner-up in the High, which was good for $18,222.72. The UK’s ‘USoGotPwned’ finished up in third place in that event earning $13,990.76 to help him eclipse the $1 million career earnings mark. In the final event to play to a winner on Thursday, former #1-ranked Sami ‘Lrslzk’ Kelopuro took down his third career SCOOP title in Event 25-H ($1,050 NLHE, 8-Max, Turbo) and added $70,557.26 to his more than $16.8 million in career online earnings. Ukraine’s ‘Remi Lebo_10’ picked up $53,696.09 as the runner-up while ‘fkiw’ from Sweden took home the bronze and $40,864.27 for their efforts. Other winners on Thursday included ‘mate tdd’ (Event 17-L), ‘Cabeca Rush’ (Event 17-M), ‘zeisseli’ (Event 18-L), ‘Rosted’ (Event 18-M), ‘Linker500’ (Event 19-L), ‘MAMbl4’ (Event 19-M), ‘checkraiise’ (Event 20-L), ‘gusmaa’ (Event 20-M), ‘lazutina’ (Event 21-M), ‘MatzeB1995’ (Event 23-L), ‘zagorius’ (Event 23-M), jobrazeau (Event 24-L), ‘BisouPartout’ (Event 24-M), ‘retrytm’ (Event 25-L), ‘Mr.Pedr0’ (Event #25-M) Event 17-H ($1,050 NLHE, Deep Stacks) Entries: 277 Prize pool: $277,000 1. dejanic357 - $52,742.60 2. BetForNympho - $39,935.89 3. Secret_M0d3 - $30,238.92 Event 18-H ($5,200 NLHE, 7-Max) Entries: 139 Prize pool: $750,000 ($55,000 overlay) 1. SinKarma - $174,375 2. Internett93o - $120,000 3. DEX888 - $82,500 Event 19-H ($1,050 NLO8, 8-Max, PKO) Entries: 251 Prize pool: $251,000 1. RedPh0enix - $49,069.37 2. FONBET_RULIT - $24,452.08 3. kiiski - $25,458.72 Event 20-H ($1,050 NLHE, 8-Max, PKO) Entries: 611 Prize pool: $611,000 1. Zapahzamazki - $84,004.67 2. que_te_crio - $56,146.93 3. alimounda - $37,636.32 Event 21-H ($1,050 FLO8, 8-Max) Entries: 103 Prize pool: $103,000 1. calvin7v - $23,734.84 2. bokkie87 - $18,222.72 3. USoGotPwned - $13,990.76 Event 23-H ($1,050 Stud Hi Lo) Entries: 83 Prize pool: $85,000 1. Sexual Drag0n - $23,162.50 2. trollringen - $15,725 3. XD89lol<3 - $11,900 Event #24-H ($530+R NLHE [8-Max, Rebuy]) Entries: 290 Prize pool: $439,855 Anjeyyy - $83,389.27 DeuceofDuc0 - $61,313.89 kreiNt - $45,082.54 Event 25-H ($1,050 NLHE, 8-Max, Turbo) Entries: 390 Prize pool: $390,000 1. Lrslzk - $70,557.26 2. Remi Lebo_10 - $53,696.09 3. fkiw - $40,864.27
  9. The momentum from Sunday’s start of PokerStars 2021 Spring Championship of Online Poker carried over into Monday as four new players added a SCOOP High title to their poker resumes and the action was highlighted by a high roller final table packed with some of online poker’s most prolific players. There were no soft spots at the final table of Event 06-H ($10,300 NLHE, 8-Max High Roller) as Laszlo ‘omaha4rollz’ Bujtas outlasted the 116-entry field to take home the $254,255.57 first-place prize and the third SCOOP title of his career. Among the final table participants were Samuel ‘€urop€an’ Vousden, Dominik Nitsche, Artur ‘marathur1’ Martirosyan, and Jon ‘apestyles’ Van Fleet. For the second night in a row, former #1-ranked Fedor ‘CrownUpGuy’ Holz was forced to settle for second place but walked away with a $196,994.91 payday. Michael ‘imluckbox’ Addamo finished in third, earning $152,629.90, and another former #1, Simon ‘C Darwin2’ Mattsson, fell in fourth place earning $118,256.31 which sends him over $17 million in career online earnings. The official SCOOP Kickoff tournament, Event 02-H ($530 NLHE, PKO) drew 1,321 runners to create a prize pool of $660,500. The winner was Montenegro’s Dejan 'dejanic357' Kaladurdevic who not only earned the $43,752.65 first-place prize and an additional $34,653.56 in bounties but also became the very first player from his country to win a SCOOP title. Kaladurdevic defeated Brazil’s ‘Alex Bez’ in heads-up play, who finished with $43,751.12 and an additional $21,872.42 in bounties for second place. The UK’s ‘dougiedan678’ captured the bronze for $25,958.60 plus $12,182/35 in bounties. Event 03-H ($1,050 NLHE, 8-Max, Sunday Warm-Up SE) bested the $500K guarantee as 669 runners pushed the prize pool to $669,000. In the end, it was Romania’s ‘kreiNt’ who took down the tournament and grabbed $113,891.16 for first. ‘KayhanMok’ finished as the runner-up for $83,403.49 while ‘L_Cesk’ from Greece rounded out the top three and took home $61,077.42 for third. Right behind them were a pair of high roller MTT specialists in Mikita ‘fish2013’ Badziakouski who finished in fourth place for $44,727.73, and Timothy ‘Tim0thee’ Adams who fell in fifth for $32,754.64. Event 05-H ($2,100 Pot Limit Omaha, 6-Max) was the only tournament of SCOOP 2021’s opening events to miss its guarantee. And it just barely missed, drawing 192 runners, just eight players shy of hitting the $400,000 guarantee. All the better for the players including the UK’s ‘Zero 1100101’ and ‘d.apollo777’. When it got to heads-up, the countrymen agreed on a deal that had ‘Zero 1100101’ walk away with $76,488.47 and the SCOOP title while ‘d.apollo777’ locked up $63,600.37. Just missing out on the deal was Sweden’s ‘sat1337en’ who finished in third place and took home $45,585.88. Also of note, on Sunday night, Event 07-H ($2,100 NLHE, 7-Max, Turbo PKO, Sunday Cooldown) wrapped up with current #18-ranked Maskim ‘MAMOHT_T’ Mamonov taking down the title and a total of $88,727.52 for first. Fedor Holz wrapped up as the runner-up and took home a total of $42,539.98 while Finland’s ‘Uivelo88’ finished in third for $24,179. Other winners on Monday included 'kilrogg94' (Event #2-M), 'emsbigbob25' (Event #2-L), 'Karl-King77' (Event #3-M), 'Westik1' (Event #3-L), 'Nethos' (Event #4-M), 'PIPQQUEER' (Event #4-L), 'Marcelinhobf' (Event #5-M), 'neto_gol' (Event #5-L), 'ludako123' (Event #6-M), 'neto_gol' (Event #5-L), 'Fabahaba' (Event #7-M), and 'Diegops_AKs' (Event #7-L). Event # 2 (High) - $530 NLHE [Progressive KO, Event # Kickoff] Entries: 1,321 Prize pool: $660,500 dejanlc357 $78,406.21 Alex Bez $65,623.54 dougiedan678 $38,140.95 Event #3 (High) - $1,050 NLHE [8-Max, Sunday Warm-Up SE] Entries: 669 Prize pool: $669,000 kreiNt $113,891.16 LayhanMok $83,403.49 L_Cesk $61,077.42 Event #5 (High) $2,100 PLO [6-Max] Entries: 192 Prize pool: $400,000 Zero 1100101 $76,488.47 dapollo777 $63,600.37 sat1337en $45,585.88 Event #6 (High) $10,300 NLHE [8-Max, High Roller] Entries: 116 Prize pool: $1,160,000 omaha4rollz $254,255.57 CrownUpGuy $196,994.91 imluckbox $152,629.90 Event # 07 (High) - $2,100 NLHE [7-Max, Turbo, Progressive KO, Sunday Cooldown SE] Entries: 183 Prize pool: $366,000 MAMOHT_T $88,727.52 CrownUpGuy $42,539.98 Uivelo88 $24,179.00
  10. It didn’t take long for the PokerStars 2021 Spring Championship of Online Poker to find its first two-time series winner. It happened just four days into play and while many would have wagered that there would certainly be a player (or players) who would take down multiple SCOOP titles this year, almost no one saw it happening like this. On Monday, Dejan ‘dejanlc357’ Kaladurdevic made SCOOP history after he captured the first-ever SCOOP title for a player from Montenegro when he won the SCOOP Kickoff Event ($530 NLHE Progressive Knockout) for $78,406.21. Well, he doubled up on that effort and became the first player in 2021 to take down two events. On Wednesday, Kaladurdevic topped the 988 player field of Event 11-H ($530 NLHE, 8-Max, Progressive Knockout) to claim the $34,582.28 first-place prize and added another $29,755.02 in bounties for a total score of $64,337.30. Long-time online grinder from Latvia ‘RovoDice’ was forced to settle for second place, taking home $34,581.70 plus another $14,415.26 in bounties. Brazil’s ‘IgorHKR’ finished in third, walking away with $20,518.14 and another $3,148.44 in bounties. Nosebleed online cash game specialist (and occasional heads-up challenge taker) Wiktor ‘limitless’ Malinowski put his skills on display by topping the stacked 105-entry field of Event 13-H ($10,300 NLHE, 8-Max, High Roller). As with many online $10K’s, the field was a who’s who of top-tier online grinders and, in the end, Malinowski finished with all the chips and banked the $241,956.69 first-place prize. Former #1 Simon ‘C Darwin2’ Mattsson finished in second place, good for $185,765.68, the fifth-largest online score of his career. Christoph ‘26071985’ Vogelsang claimed the bronze, earning $142,624.33. Adrian ‘Amadi_017’ Mateos picked up his third career SCOOP title by outlasting the 873-player field in Event 13-M ($1,050 NLHE, 8-Max, Freezeout, Super Tuesday). Mateos defeated the Netherlands’ ‘BRzRoll’ to take home the win and the $146,714.34 first-place prize. For his part, ‘BRzRoll’ also picked up a six-figure score, banking $107,614.36 as the runner-up. Aleksejs ‘APonakov’ Ponakovs had the last step on the podium and earned $78,934.91 for third place. Sweden’s ‘BomPang’ took down the final big buy-in event of the evening when they won Event 14-H ($1,050 PLO, 6-Max) for $68,835.91. ‘Fabahaba’, who just two days ago took down Event 07-M), fell just one spot short of joining Kaladurdevic in the SCOOP 2021 two-timer club finishing as the runner-up for $50,066.70. Pot Limit Omaha specialist Joni ‘bustoville’ Jouhkimainen picked up $36,415.23 for his third-place finish. Other winners on Wednesday included ‘MrGlauber’ (Event 11-L), ‘verdao134’ (Event 11-M), ‘19THEMACHINE83’ (Event 13-L), ‘Fagner CR7’ (Event 14-L), ‘devyatki’ (Event 14-M). Event #11-H ($530 NLHE, 8-Max, PKO) Entries: 988 Prize pool: $494,000 1. dejanic357 - $64,337.30 2. RovoDice - $48,996.96 3. IgorHKR - $23,666.98 Event #13-H ($10,300 NLHE, 8-Max) Entries: 105 Prize pool: 1,050,000 1. limitless - $241,256.69 2. C Darwin2 - $185,765.68 3. 26071985 - $142,624.33 Event #14-H ($1,050 PLO, 6-Max) Entries: 375 Prize pool: $375,000 1. BomPang - $68,835.91 2. Fabahaba - $50,066.70 3. bustoville - $36,415.23
  11. The stars of online poker were shining bright on Day Three of the 2021 PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker as the leaderboards were littered with top-ranked pros vying to take down one of the seven events that came to a conclusion on Tuesday. It took three days to wrap up Event #4-H ($2,100 NLHE Progressive Knockout) and in the end, it was the UK pro Andy 'BowieEffect' Wilson who outlasted the 445-player field and took home the first-place prize worth $151,779.41. Fellow UK grinder Ludovic ‘ludovi333’ Geilich finished in second place and added $83,950.76 to his over $4 million in career online earnings. Aliaksei ‘ale6ka’ Boika rounded out the top three, finishing in third place for $49,962.83. Samuel ‘€urop€an’ Vousden took home Tuesday’s largest payday when bested the 176-entry field of Event 08-H ($5,200 NLHE) for $177,176.74. Vousden had stiff competition in the home stretch of the final table including Matthias ‘iambest2’ Eibinger who finished as the runner-up for $135,035.20 and Sam ‘Str8$$$Homey’ Greenwood who ended up in third place for $102,917.14. Other notable players who made a deep run in this event included Mikita ‘fish2013’ Badziakouski (4th, $78,438.36), former #1-ranked Patrick ‘pads1161’ Leonard (7th, $34,725.76), and Sami ‘LarsLuzak’ Kelopuro (10th, 17,083.26). While it wasn’t the biggest tournament of the day, Event 09-H ($2,100 H.O.R.S.E.) was a big one for Talal ‘raidalot’ Shakerchi. Shakerchi topped the 65 player field to lock up the $35,425 first-place prize and, perhaps more importantly for the high-roller, his fifth career SCOOP title. Shakerchi has a long history of success in SCOOP with his victories dating back to 2012 as well as earning the Main Event title in 2016 that was worth more than $1.46 million. He bested ‘labrint93’ in heads-up play, who took home $24,050 as the runner-up and ‘Fabahaba’ ended up in third place for $18,200. Also of note for Event 09, in 09-M ($215 H.O.R.S.E.) current #1-ranked player in the world Yuri ‘theNERDguy’ Dzivielevski took down the 448 player field to earn $17,024 and his first career SCOOP title. Brazil’s Thiago ‘KKremate’ Crema rose to the top of Event 10-H ($1,050 NLHE, 8-Max, PKO) to capture his second career SCOOP title after outlasting Jon ‘apestyles’ Van Fleet in heads-up play. Crema booked a total score of $75,115.79 while the popular PocketFiver Van Fleet settled for a $59,959.20 payday as the runner-up. ‘Gogac sniper’ took home $30,478.84 in third place. One of the things that PokerStars does better than anyone else is providing championship online events in poker variants players simply can’t compete in anywhere else. And 57 players took advantage of that in Event 12-H ($1,050 5-Card Draw) where ‘Chillolini’ took home the title and $19,218.01 for first. They were joined on the podium by ‘aleksandra10’ who finished in second place for $13,627.97 and ‘krakukra’ in third for $5,926.43. Bruno ‘great dant’ Volkmann, currently the ranked #8 online player in the world, grabbed his first SCOOP title on Tuesday by taking down Event #15-H ($2,100 NLHE) for $74,191.09, the 14th best score of his prolific career. ‘EzPaTuLa’ wrapped up as the runner-up and added $57,121.76 to their bankroll while ‘mnstrkll’ finished in third place which was good for $43,979.668. Former #1-ranked ‘Legenden’ (who plays as ‘Leqenden’ on PokerStars) booked his fourth SCOOP title by besting the 267-entry field of Event 16-H ($1,050 6-Max, Turbo, Win The Button) for $50,964.22. ‘takechip’ earned $37,776.41 as the runner-up and the UK’s former top-5 ranked Jonathan ‘Proudflop’ Proudfoot added $28,001.27 to his more than $6.5 million in career earnings for finishing in third. Other winners on Tuesday included ‘julianpineda’ (Event #8-L), ‘bungakat’ (Event #8-M), ‘mogs_11’ (Event #9-L), ‘CrAzY_sTeFaN’ (Event #10-L), ‘Fenryr03’ (Event #10-M), ‘Bragbag’ (Event #12-L), ‘Kroko-dill’ (Event #12-M), ‘MarlonBT01’ (Event #15-L), ‘dottorsudUK’ (Event #15-M), ‘Jeka3200’ (Event #16-L), ‘taglagfack’ (Event #16-M). Event 04-H - $2,100 NLHE (Progressive KO, Sunday HR SE) Entries: 445 Prize pool: $890,000 1. BowieEffect - $151,779.41 2. ludovi333 - $83,950.76 3. ale6ka - $49,962.83 Event 08-H - $5,200 NLHE Entries: 176 Prize pool: $880,000 1. €urop€an - $177,176.74 2. iambest2 - $135,035.20 3. Str8$$$Homey - $102,917.14 Event 09-H - $2,100 H.O.R.S.E Entries: 65 Prize pool: $130,000 1. raidalot - $35,425 2. labrint93 - $24,050 3. Fabahaba - $18,200 Event 10-H - $1,050 NLHE (8-Max, PKO) Entries: 493 Prize pool: $493,000 1. KKremate - $75,115.79 2. apestyles - $59,959.20 3. Gogac sniper - $30,478.84 Event 12-H - $1,050 5-Card Draw Entries: 57 Prize pool: 57,000 1. Chillolini - $19,218.01 2. aleksandra10 - $13,627.97 3. krakukra - $5,926.43 Event 15-H - $2,100 NLHE Entires: 184 Prize pool: $368,000 1. great dant - $74,191.09 2. EzPaTuLa - $57,121.76 3. mnstrkll - $43,979.668 Event 16-H - $1,050 NLHE (6-Max, Turbo, Win The Button) Entries: 267 Prize pool: $267,000 1. Legenden - $50,964.22 2. takechip - $37,776.41 3. Proudflop - $28,001.27
  12. After three days of play, Canadian poker pro Vanessa Kade was crowned the winner of the PokerStars Sunday Million 15th Anniversary for $1.5 million. One of Pokerstars' most coveted and prestigious online poker tournaments, the event saw a total of 69,876 entries from 45,765 unique players making a total prize pool of $13,975,200. Despite this edition of the PokerStars Sunday Million Anniversary falling short of last year's $18,603,200 prize pool, two seven-figure payouts and all the bragging rights were still there for the taking. One of the big stories of heading into the final day centered around Vanessa 'Niffler' Kade, arguably the most well-known poker player to make the final day. The longtime poker pro, sailed through to the final table, to the delight of her fans. The 65 players that had survived the first two days of play had already locked up a payday of at least $10,757. Romania's 'Transylvanian' was in pole position to start Day 3, amassing a dominating chip stack of 66,800,871 (84 Big Blinds). It turned out that was enough to get the microstakes grinder to the final table, albeit as the short stack. The first final table casualty was 'Vvlankov'. With the blinds at 2.5/5m, they three-bet shoved their 41.6m stack with [poker card="As"][poker card="Kh"] which was called by pre-flop raiser 'malinga' who was holding [poker card="Qs"][poker card="Qc"]. The board ran out [poker card="Jd"][poker card="7h"][poker card="4s"][poker card="8d"][poker card="Jc"] to send 'Vvlankov' to rail in ninth place for a prize of $72,132. Next to hit the rail was 'kefirchik106' who jammed from the cut-off with [poker card="Kc"][poker card="Td"] for 47,433,379. Pawel 'Talibenes' Ladniak on the button, snapped called with [poker card="Ah"][poker card="Jd"]. The all-in player did not improve on [poker card="9s"][poker card="5s"][poker card="3c"] flop. The [poker card="Jh"] turn gave Ladniak a pair but the [poker card="7h"] river was the last card 'kefirchik106' would see. Thus ending their Sunday Million journey for a payday of $105,538. Ladniak, now with over 700 million in chips, continued to tear up the final table by taking the scalp of former chip leader 'ikkedus'. In a blind versus blind battle, 'ikkedus' ripped it in for 90,075,612 with [poker card="7s"][poker card="7c"] which again was snapped called by the chip leaders [poker card="Ah"][poker card="Qh"]. The seven's were outflopped on the [poker card="Qs"][poker card="Js"][poker card="2h"][poker card="9c"][poker card="6s"] run out. 'ikkedus' finished in 7th place for $154,416. Kade was the player who sent the next person packing. 'malinga' with [poker card="As"][poker card="7s"] jammed 76,304,487 in the hijack and was called by Kade from the big blind with [poker card="Ac"][poker card="Qd"]. Despite being dominated, 'malinga' had hope on the [poker card="Kd"][poker card="7d"][poker card="4s"] flop but that was quickly shattered with the [poker card="Qh"] turn. The brick [poker card="Kh"] was all she wrote for 'malinga' who picked up a sixth place finish and a cash prize of $225,930. The final six, soon became a final five when 'Transylvanian' jammed for 76,449,444 from the button and 'peu3ep' called off for their stack of 72,124,804. 'Transylvanian': [poker card="Ad"][poker card="5d"] 'peu3ep': [poker card="Qd"][poker card="Qc"] The queens were still the favorite on the [poker card="td"][poker card="3s"][poker card="2c"] flop. The [poker card="Kc"] turn avoided bringing in any backdoor flush draws but the [poker card="4c"] gave 'Transylvanian' the wheel straight. The heartbreaking river sent 'peu3ep' out fifth but the $330,564 prize should be enough to pay for a decent cardiologist. Kade then got her second final table elimination of the night. Calling off with [poker card="Kc"][poker card="Qc"] after the 83,224,248 open jam from the short-stacked 'Transylvanian'. The at-risk player, holding [poker card="Ks"][poker card="Jd"], was dominated. Despite pairing their [poker card="Jd"] on the [poker card="Jc"][poker card="9c"][poker card="7d"] flop, the [poker card="Ac"] gave Kade the nut-flush and subsequently, 'Transylvanian' was drawing dead. The inconsequential [poker card="6d"] river meant it was down to three with 'Transylvanian', whose previous biggest online cash on Pokerstars was $8,500, busting in fourth place for a cool $483,652. The final three payouts combined meant there was still over $3.2 million up for grabs, which would likely make all three players instant millionaires if they decided to come to some sort of arrangement. Shockingly no deals were made and the three remaining players continued to trade chips back and forth for a while. The tournament soon sparked into life again with Kade and 'PanchoVetin' getting into an old fashioned coin flip. Kade, the chip leader, three-bet jammed with [poker card="5c"][poker card="5d"] after 'PanchoVetin' opened with [poker card="Ah"][poker card="Kd"] in the small blind for 24 million. The snap call was made and it was off to the races with 'PanchoVetin' at risk. The pocket fives held on the [poker card="Ts"][poker card="4s"][poker card="2s"][poker card="9c"][poker card="7s"] run out to give Kade a massive 7:1 chip lead going into heads up play. Just two hands later, Kade made her fourth and final elimination to become the winner of the Sunday Million 15th Anniversary. Ladniak limped on the button with [poker card="Kh"][poker card="9d"], Kade with [poker card="8h"][poker card="8s"] put the short stack to the test by going all-in. Ladniak made the call but could not improve on the [poker card="Qc"][poker card="Jc"][poker card="3d"] flop. Still, with two over cards to hit and a gutshot straight draw, Ladniak still had plenty of cards to improve on. The [poker card="Ad"] wasn't one of them and the [poker card="5h"] river sealed the tournament win for Kade who took home the title and career-high score of $1,514,920. Ladniak also secured a seven-figure payday for his second place. This win may feel like vindication for Kade as it comes at a time when she has been at the forefront of the poker spotlight, leading a charge against mysogyny in poker in an effort to make the game more accessible to women. Final Table Payouts Vanessa 'Niffler' Kade $1,514,920 Pawel 'Talibenes' Ladniak - $1,035,358 'PanchoVetin' - $707,640 'Transylvanian' - $483,652 'peu3ep' - $330,564 'malinga' - $225,930 'ikkedus' - $154,416 'kefirchik106' - $105,538 'Vvlankov' - $72,132
  13. A quick glance at this week’s Online Poker Rankings gives off the impression that not much has changed. Bert ‘girafganger7’ Stevens, the United Kingdom-based online MTT crusher, retained the #1 spot for the second week in a row while nine of last week’s top 10 ranked players remained in the top 10. But under the surface, it was a very active week. Steven’s closest challengers for the top spot have significantly closed the gap threatening to end his position atop the leaderboard after just two weeks. Plus, the addition of one of the game’s top online talents to the rankings has the possibility to shake everything up over the next few weeks. Last week, Stevens took over the #1 ranking it for the fourth time in his career. However, his longest time spent atop the leaderboard top in each of his previous reigns was just two weeks - where he is right now. And if Portugal’s Rui ‘RuiNF’ Ferreira has anything to say about it, it may end at just two weeks once again. The current #2-ranked Ferreira pulled within four points of Stevens, a razor-thin margin. In addition to Ferreira’s recent win in the GGPoker $10,300 High Roller for $268,974 and 1,174.73 points, he also piled on an additional 350.93 points with a deep run in the GGPoker $25,500 Super High Roller for $49,157. He’s been on a rapid rise up the rankings and has never been in a better position to take over the #1 spot than he is right now. Ferreira’s not alone in being within striking distance of Stevens. Russia’s #3-ranked Arsenii ‘hellohellohello’ Malinov sits just 318 points back, an amount that can easily be earned on the high-stakes MTT scene. Malinov’s last significant score took place in the same $25,500 Super High Roller referenced above where he walked away with $180,167 and 608.11 points for a sixth-place finish. However, it’s one thing to be close and it’s another entirely to actually become #1. Even with multiple players targeting him at the top, there’s a good chance that Stevens can keep his streak going for a third week in a row. In both Ferreira and Malinov’s cases, their volume throughout the week appears to be down while Stevens has been on the grind. He picked up five-figure cashes in the PokerStars High Roller Club on March 14 for $12,731 and in the GGPoker High Roller Deepstack for another $17,659. Welcome Back 'Naza' While the coming weekend may determine who will emerge as the #1, there’s a new player in the top 10 to contend with as well. High-stakes crusher Joao ‘Naza114’ Vieira, who was actually unranked last week, updated his PocketFives profile which added new scores to his total. The result is Vieira came in at #6 this week, becoming Portugal’s second player in the top 10 and pushing out WSOP Main Event champ Damian 'tritu' Salas, who slipped to #11. Additionally, Vieira took over the early lead in the Online Player of the Year standings. One of Vieira’s updates was adding his GGPoker real name, which included some of his biggest cashes in recent weeks. Early in March, he took sixth place in the Super MILLION$ Week $10,300 High Roller for $74,813 and 400.91 points. Then just this past week, he added a third-place finish in the GGPoker $5,250 Sunday 500 for $142,724 and 569.01 points. Finally, on the same day as his six-figure score, he locked up another $31,885 and 328.53 points with a final table finish in the GGPoker Sunday High Rollers. Moving forward, Vieira and his high-roller output will be another major factor in the elite sections of the rankings. Additionally, it lends more evidence that Vieira continues to be in the discussion as one of the best players in the world. Online Poker Rankings Notes This Week • Brazil’s Dalton ‘daltonhb’ Hobold hit a new career-high ranking this week, leaping 20 spots from #36 to #16 this week after a weekend that brought him three five-figure scores including a fourth-place finish in the PokerStars Sunday Million for $43,869 and a runner-up finish in the GGPoker Global MILLION$ for $84,522 and 659.75 points. • Back-to-back final tables in the PokerStars High Roller Club helped Jonathan ‘luckyfish89’ Clark climb 19 spots this week to #62. He grabbed a fifth-place finish in the $530 Bounty Builder on March 14 for 13,070 and 208.10 points and two days later took down another $530 Bounty Builder HR for $8,856 and another 226.94 points. Worldwide Online Poker Rankings Top 10 [table id=188 /]
  14. The 2021 Online Player of the Year race stands to be one of the most contested in recent history as every major operator continues the trend of last year by offering a wealth of major events backed by massive guarantees. With nearly a quarter of the year already played out, an early look at the OPOY race has some of the biggest names in online poker putting in the work to be in contention for the title down the road. The current leader of the pack is Portugal’s Joao ‘Naza114’ Vieira who has leveraged a number of high-profile six-figure scores to build an early OPOY lead but also enter the top 10 in the most recent Online Poker Rankings. His first major score of the year came on January 6 when he outlasted the likes of ‘Lena900’ and current #1-ranked Bert ‘girafganger7’ Stevens at the star-studded final table of the PokerStars Blowout Series 36-H ($5,200 NLHE, 6-Max, High Roller) for $123,068 and 717.64 points. A deep run in the GGPoker Super MILLION$ Week $25,500 Super High Roller on March 2 brought Viera another $222,514 payday plus 642.75 points. Less than a week later, he hit another major score when he finished in third place in the March 8 GGPoker Sunday 500 for $142,724 and 569.01 points. Vieira is currently sitting with 12,705.24 OPOY points which is a good start. For reference, Conor ‘1_conor_b_1’ Beresford ran away with the award last year with 29,804 points. This means that in order to keep ahead of the pack, Vieira will need to continue to pile up points in larger events so his average score rises. Vieira’s countryman and Portugal’s current #1-ranked pro Rui 'RuiNF' Ferreira sits in second place, just 17.88 points behind. And just like Vieira, Ferreira has racked up points while earning some of the biggest scores of his career. Two of Ferreira’s top three scores of the year came on the same day at the same time. Ferreira finished as the runner-up in the Winamax W Series High Roller KO for $131,199 and 921.92 points while he was also grinding the PokerStars Blowout Series 54-H ($10,300 NLHE, 8-Max, High Roller) where he, again, finished in second place for another $202,090 and 719.71 points. His Blowout Series score remained his largest score of the year until early in March when he took down the GGPoker $10,300 High Roller for $268,974, a new career-high score. To go along with that was a 1,174.73 boost, an amount that will for sure calculate into his final score by year’s end. Ukraine’s Martynenko ‘Feero’ Vladislav is the only other player currently with more than 12,000 qualifying points, currently sitting in third place with 12,284.00. Unlike those above him, Vladislav has been piling up point through sheer consistency. Most players who rack up so many points have a few large scores that elevate them, but Vladislav’s largest earn is an 11th place in the GGPoker $10,300 Super MILLION$ in February for $37,264 and 355.05 points. What Vladislav does well is he finds a way to go deep and make the money just about every day he’s online. A look at his largest scores of the year is a picture of a grinder who seemingly always put himself in a position to win - which he’s done more than 25 times in 2021 so far. While Vladislav is in a good spot now, in order to be in the running in the second half of the year he’ll very likely need to pad those core results with a few larger scores, something he’s very capable of doing especially with as much time as there is left in the year. Current Online Player of the Year Race Leaderboard [table id=187 /]
  15. A major shakeup in this week’s Online Poker Rankings saw UK online crusher Bert ‘girafganger7’ Stevens jumping up from the #2 spot to assume the #1 rank for the fourth time in his career and ending the three-month-long reign of Brunno ‘bbotteon’ Botteon. Just one week ago, Stevens eclipsed the 13,000 PLB mark, putting him closer to Botteon than anyone had been in the better part of a month. However, he needed a significant score to close the gap and that’s exactly what took place this week. Stevens picked up a runner-up finish in the GGPoker Super MILLION$ Week $25,500 Super High Roller for $655,289, the second-largest online score of his career. Additionally, that came with 1,175.58 PLB points, just enough to push the pro past 14,000 total PLB points and back into the role of the #1 online player in the world. Even though his SHR runner-up finish was perhaps the result that pushed him over the top, his week was littered with significant results that included a third-place finish in the GGPoker $840 High Rollers Marathon for $16,494 and 182.89 PLB points. Also, he made a deep run in the $5,250 Sunday 500 on GGPoker for another $12,146 and 236.06 points. On top of those results, there were plenty of scores that didn’t qualify for PLB points but made for an incredible week for ‘Giraf’. There were nine tournaments, none of which counted into the rankings due to field size, in which Stevens walked away with a five-figure score. In total, those nine tournaments added over $257,000 to his career earnings which soared past the $15 million mark this week. READ: The Poker Dream Is Still Very Much Alive For 'Girafganger7' After a dominant 12-week run, Botteon moved down to #4 this week due to a combination of low volume (he only recorded an uncharacteristic nine total cashes this week) and aging PLB results. Botteon’s current PLB total is 12,858, an amount that he could easily build upon to get back in contention for the top spot in the coming weeks. Steven’s wasn’t the only major move inside the Top 10 this week as Portugal’s Rui ‘RuiNF’ Ferreira continued to grind his way up the rankings and moved from #7 into the #2 spot, a new career-high ranking for him. It was one month ago that Ferreira first broke through into the Top 5 and in the subsequent weeks, he bounced around inside and out of the Top 10. But with four PLB-qualifying scores this week, including an online career-high victory in GGPoker Super MILLION$ Week $10,300 High Roller for $268,974 and 1,174.73, he was able to vault all the way up to second on the list. Russia’s Arsenii ‘hellohellohello’ Malinov’s heater continues as well. The recently featured pro jumped three spots this week from #6 in the world to #3 - the closest he’s been to the top spot since 2018. Less than a week after his career-high GGPoker $25,500 Super High Roller win for $661,744, Malinov made another deep run in an SHR. On March 8, Malinov finished in sixth place for $180,167 in another GGPoker $25K bringing him an additional 608.11 PLB points and leaving him just 249 points behind Ferriera and 782 behind Stevens. Online Poker Rankings Notes This Week • Following his jump in the rankings last week, Finland’s former #1-ranked pro Sami ‘LarsLuzak’ Kelopuro is back inside the Top 10, rising from #12 to #8 in the world. This is thanks, in part, to a sixth-place finish for over $135,000 in the same $25K Super High Roller that awarded massive points to ‘Giraf’ and Malinov this week. • Speaking of Super High Rollers, Sam ‘Pudge714’ Greenwood posted back-to-back deep runs on Natural8 that brought him over $79,000 and 650 PLB points. It also pushed him up 13 spots in the rankings from #36 back into the Top 25 to #23. • Sam ‘TheSquid’ Grafton returned to the Top 100 this week, rising from #141 in the world to #89 after making the final table of the PokerStars Turbo Series Event #126 ($5,200 8-Max, PKO, High Roller) where he took home more than $26,000 and 233.35 PLB points. Joining him in breaking back through, was Hungary’s Peter ‘Belabacsi’ Traply who took down a PokerStars $109 and added $4,783 to his more than $18.6 million in career earnings, currently second on the Online All-Time Money List. Worldwide Online Poker Rankings Top 10 [table id=185 /]
  16. For the second month in a row, a high-profile Brazilian poker pro ran away with the monthly PLB contest as Yuri ‘Yuri Martins’ Dzivielevski used a pair of major six-figure scores to help clinch the February Online Poker Player of the Month title. It was an impressive performance from Dzivielevski who, despite the shorter month, put up more than 1000 more PLB points than his countryman Brunno ‘bbotteon’ Botteon did when he won the award in January. In the end, Dzivielevski racked up 4,942.38 PLB points, with many of them coming from his battles in the high-roller arenas. It took less than 24 hours into February for Dzivielevski to know it was going to be an epic month. A runner-up finish in the ACR Venom $8 million guaranteed Main Event brought him an $849,150 payday, the second-largest score of his career, and an astounding 2,026.53 PLB points. It was that tournament that set him up to outpace everyone else in the month. One week later he had back-to-back five-figure scores which included a third-place run in the PokerStars High Roller Club $1,050 Sunday High Roller for $32,064 and 283.33 points. At the same time, he made the final table of the Winamax Grand Tournament where he added another $14,292 and 181.24 to his daily total. On February 21 Dzivielevski found himself at another GGPoker Super MILLION$ final table battling against the likes of Sam ‘Pudge714’ Greenwood, Mikita Badziakouski, and former #1-ranked Niklas Astedt. He ended up falling in fourth place but took home $207,649 for his efforts and 651.46 PLB points. In total, Dzivielevski recorded 38 total cashes for a total of more than $1.55 million in earnings. During that run, he climbed as high as #2 in the Online Poker Rankings. He currently sits ranked at #5 in the world. In most months, what Bert ‘girafganger7’ Stevens accomplished in February would be more than enough to sit atop the leaderboard. He amassed 4,319.95 points by going on an absolute heater through the high roller tournaments on GGPoker. On February 2, Stevens finished fifth in the $10K Super MILLION$ for $150,112 and 551.73 PLB points. Just three days later be secured a victory in a GGPoker $1,050 High Roller for $45,769 and 447.21 points. At the very same time, he took third place in another $1,050 High Roller, capturing another $56,602 and 365.77 points. The very next day, ‘Giraf’ was taking down another tournament when he walked away with the win in a third $1,050 High Roller, good for $45,769 and 447.21 points. One week later, Stevens was back at another Super MILLION$ final table, finishing in seventh place for another $85,857 and 442.20 PLB points. It just didn’t seem to stop. In total, he added 10 PLB-qualifying cashes to his profile and 16 scores of five-figures or more. While it may not have been enough to bring him the February Player of the Month, it did build the foundation that helped him return to the worldwide #1 ranking, where he currently sits. Rounding out the top three for the month is Brazilian grinder Ramon ‘Ramonkrop’ Kropmanns who amassed the majority of his 4,193.44 PLB points in a single score. Kropmanns outlasted the 3,774 player field in the same ACR Venom $8 million guaranteed Main Event where Dzivielevski finished as the runner-up. Kropmanns ended up taking home a career-high score of $1,113,330 and 3,071.64 PLB points. Kroppmanns is now up to over $3.1 million in lifetime career online cashes and sits just outside the Top 25, ranked #26 in the world. February 2021 Player of the Month Results [table id=186 /]
  17. For the last 17 days, the top online poker players in Michigan battled in the first major online poker series since the launch of PokerStars Michigan, the only regulated site currently operating in the state, just over seven weeks ago. The original schedule for the Michigan Championship of Online Poker called for $1 million in guarantees but strong turnouts throughout the series convinced PokerStars to up the guarantees and the total prizepools for the 60 events surpassed $2.2 million. Not surprisingly, the biggest winner came from the marquee event on the schedule. 'smftt' beat out 1,283 other entries in Event #55 ($300 Main Event) to take home a $56,398.35 payday. Runner-up 'zscoro' had to settle for $40,202.13 while third place finisher 'cbauer6789' walked away with $28,657.44. The Main Event originally featured a $125,000 guarantee, but after the opening weekend turnout took each tournament prize pool past the guarantees, PokerStars upped the guarantee to $200,000. The final prizepool ended up at $359,520. The Mini Main Event, with a $50 buy-in and a $50,000 guarantee, had 1,201 runners to build a $54,645.50 prize pool. 'BiggyBlains22' outlasted all of them to win $8,573.25 while 'smoker364' came in second place for $6,110.55 and 'PHV0311' earned $4,355.80 for coming in third place. The only event other than the Main Event to eclipse the six-figure prizepool mark was Event #31 ($250 NL Sunday Special SE) which had 461 entrants for a $107,413 prizepool. 'GmdChalengChmp' secured a $19,161.33 score for outlasting the entire field. Two players each managed to score a pair of MICOOP titles and one of them won both events in a 24-hour span. On Sunday, February 21, 'sexycaitlyn' wound up on top of Event #6 ($200 NL Sunday Special SE) after the final four players agreed to a deal. The next night 'sexycaitlyn' scored an outright victory in Event #11 ($100 NL 4-Max). The two wins earned the player $14,923.40. The second player to secure two victories was 'Coolriver84'. On Sunday, February 28, they outlasted 318 entries in Event #34 ($100 NL 6-Max) to win $5,495.38. Then, on the final night of the series, Monday, March 8, they chopped Event #59 ($100 Nightly Stars SE) with two other players to earn $6,629.72 and the title. While the overall prizepools went well passed the total guarantee, there were three events that failed to meet the guarantee. The first two came on Sunday, February 28. Event #33 ($50 PLO 8-Max Turbo) drew just 191 runners and missed the $10,000 guarantee by $1,309.50 and Event #35 ($75 NL Hyper-Turbo Sunday Supersonic SE) had a $5,265.50 overlay on the $20,000 guarantee after just 209 players entered. The final event with an overlay was Event #57 ($200 NL 6-Max Turbo) which had 109 entries to fall $9,726.00 short of the $30,000 guarantee. Complete MICOOP Results [table id=184/]
  18. Damian Salas’ amazing start to 2021 got even better this week with a string of online scores propelling the newly crowned World Series of Poker Main Event champion to a career-high spot in the latest worldwide Online Poker Rankings. If the totality of Salas’ yearly accomplishments would have been taking down the 2020 WSOP Main Event in January, by any standard it would have been a great year. But Salas, who has a well-documented love of the grind seemingly isn’t content with his place in the history books, he wants more. After spending the past two weeks racking up picking up impressive scores and the PocketFives Leaderboard points that come with them, the Argentinian has soared 19 spots this week to break through into the top 10 of the Online Poker Rankings where he currently sits at #9. His spotlight score of last month was a runner-up finish in the February 14 edition of the weekly GGPoker $10,000 buy-in Super MILLION$. From a final table that included top-ranked pros like Bert ‘girafganger7’ Stevens, Arsenii ‘hellohellohello’ Malinov, and, eventual winner, Sami ‘LarsLuzak’ Kelopuro, Salas collected a $314,924 payday and 937.69 PLB points for his second place finish. On the same day, Salas finished in third place in the GGPoker Sunday High Roller Bounty Special for another $7,390 and 131.69 points. One week later, Salas ran deep in another major event when he finished inside the final two tables in the PokerStars Turbo Series 03 ($5,200 NLHE, 8-Max High Roller) for $14,284 and another 179.43 PLB points. And finally, he grabbed another 180.61 PLB points when he bubbled the final table of the GGPoker two-day $1,050 Monday Main Event, finishing in tenth place for $4,289. For Salas to remain in the top 10 moving forward, he’s going to need to continue to keep busy. The PLB point race is especially tight in the #8-#12 spots with Salas being just 383 points behind Brazilian Bruno ‘brunovolks’ Volkmann and a mere 127 points ahead of Anatoly ‘nl_profit’ Filatov who sits at #10. For someone to enter the top 10 means that someone has to leave and this week it was Anton ‘AnteSvante’ Wigg who slipped from the #9 spot to #11. Also of note for Salas, at the very end of January he scored a runner-up finish in a GGPoker $1,500 High Roller Deepstack for $16,119. That's a nice score by any measure but it was also the moment that he eclipsed the $9 million in online earnings mark. Online Poker Rankings Notes This Week • Last week it was Yuri ‘Yuri Martins’ Dzivieleski who was in the position to make a run at Brunno ‘bbotteon’ Botteon’s reign at #1, this week former #1-ranked Bert ‘girafganger7’ Stevens assumes the #2 spot. The difference this week is that Steven has eclipsed the 13,000 PLB mark, putting him closer than any other player has been in nearly a month. Helping Stevens out was his victory this week in the GGPoker $400 Forty Stack where he earned $11,669 and 224.46 PLB points. • With his win in the aforementioned GGPoker Super MILLION$, Sami ‘LarsLuzak’ Kelopuro also had a significant leap in this week’s rankings rising from #26 back to #12. The win was worth $408,406 and brought with it an impressive 1,421.27 PLB points. Keep an eye on the former worldwide #1 for a possible return to the Top 10 in the coming weeks. • Jonathan ‘proudflop’ Proudfoot flew back into the Top 100 this week, rising 245 places to #40 thanks to a slew of recent high roller results from GGPoker, a deep run in the PokerStars Turbo Series, and a runner-up finish in the partypoker High Roller One Shot for $26,425 (307.69 PLB points). Next week see another surge for the Brit as he took down a the $5,250 High Roller Special on GGPoker for $125,383 and made the final table of the partypoker MILLIONS Online Main Event. • Five players returned to the Top 100 this week including the Brazilian trio of 'dennysramos2', ‘jason132008’, and ’saymon9’ as well as former #1-ranked superstar Jon ‘apestyles’ Van Fleet who comes in at #98 this week. Although Van Fleet’s recorded volume has been light in 2021, he’s is always good for massive scores. Including his third-place finish in the PokerStars Turbo Series 03 ($5,200 NLHE High Roller) where he won $101,421 (471.27 PLB points) and jumped to over $17 million in career online cashes, good for #4 on the All-Time Online Money List.
  19. It’s been over six years since Brazil’s Yuri ‘Yuri Martins’ Dzivielevski was the #1-ranked online poker player in the world and this week he took another step closer to becoming it again. After weeks of hovering inside and out of the worldwide top five for the better part of two months, the tournament superstar unseated Croatia's Ivan ‘zufo16’ Zufic to assume the #2 spot and became the next player to make a run at fellow Brazilian Brunno ‘bbotteon’ Botteon, who has now held the #1 ranking for 11 weeks in a row. For many, Dzivieleski first stepped into the poker spotlight when he was featured on the ESPN broadcast during the 2019 Main Event. Ever since then, he has continued to pile up the accolades. He’s won two World Series of Poker gold bracelets, including one in 2020, as well as multiple partypoker POWERFEST events, and a total of four PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker titles. A regular in the online high roller scene, with over $10 million in total lifetime online earnings, Dzivielevski has become known as one of Brazil’s very best all-around players. But there are also plenty of poker players and fans who know that ‘Yuri Martins’ has been a must-respected tournament grinder years before his 2019 “breakout” year. In 2014, he soared to the top of the rankings and ended Nicolas ‘PokerKaiser’ Fierro’s first two-week run as #1. Dzivielevski held the top spot for three weeks, lost it, and then clawed his way back to the top three months later knocking Fedor ‘CrownUpGuy’ Holz out of the top spot. Now, he’s in a position to reach #1 again. He did this by maintaining a disciplined grind and continuing to rack up large scores. Of course, his runner-up finish in America's Cardroom Venom Main Event, which was covered last week, set the stage and pushed him back into the top five. But it was his work over the past week and a half that put him where he is now. A deep run in the February 15 edition of the Natural8 Sunday 500 High Roller brought him a $9,826 payday and 148.04 PLB points. Three days later he bested a field of 242 entries in the PokerStars High Roller Club $530 Bounty Builder for over $10,253 and another 245.97 PLB points. Finally, he tacked on another 310.92 PLB points with his sixth-place result in the PokerStars Turbo Series Event #3 ($5,200 NLHE, High Roller) for $47,858. All of that said though, Dzivielevski has a tough task ahead of him if he’s going to reach #1. Botteon has not slowed down. He picked up three PLB qualifying scores of his own including a win in the PokerStars High Roller Club $530 Bounty Builder. Botteon currently holds a healthy lead on the field with a total of 13,963 total PLB points, 1,672 points above Dzivielevski. However, should Dzivielevski continues to pile on the results, as he did this week in the GGPoker Super MILLION$ where he finished in fourth place for $207,649, he has a real shot at becoming #1 in 2021. Online Poker Rankings Notes This Week • There were several notable jumps inside the top 100 this week including Dalton ‘daltonhb’ Hobold who soared 125 places from #160 to a career-high #36 by stringing together 11-PLB qualifying cashes so far this month including a ninth-place finish in the GGPoker Global MILLION$ where his final table finish brought him an $11,271 score. • ‘Olorion’ is Poland’s #1-ranked player thanks to his victory in the GGPoker Sunday Special $88 that brought him $21,572 and 416.82 PLB points. That spotlight score helped him leap from #217 in the world all the way to #58. However, it’s not a career-high for the longtime grinder who, back in 2013, reached as high as 28 in the world. • Alex ‘Veruz’ Butcher remains the #1-ranked player in the USA, landing at #64 worldwide. It’s hard for players in the USA to maintain high placements on the worldwide stage due to the limited offering of tournaments in America, but Butcher managed a pair of nice PLB scores one week ago and added to it this week with his win in the partypoker NJ Daily $10K GTD for $3,338 and 125.30 PLB points. Worldwide Online Poker Rankings [table id=178 /]
  20. If there was ever any doubt that Michiganders were ready for the return of online poker, the opening weekend of PokerStars' inaugural Michigan Championship of Online Poker should put those notions to rest. Less than one month ago PokerStars announced the launch of PokerStars MI, the first (and currently only) regulated online poker site in the Wolverine State. Much like the online poker operator did when they went live in Pennsylvania, they quickly scheduled their signature Championship of Online Poker (COOP) series for a whole new batch of recently registered screen names. MICOOP serves both as a celebration of the return of online poker back to the state of Michigan as well as an effort to ensure that the PokerStars brand creates an impactful first impression. The first ten of the series’ 60 events took place over the weekend and players packed the tournament lobbies, ensuring that all ten events not only met but far exceeded their individual posted guarantees. Over the first 48 hours, $175,000 of MICOOP’s promised $1 million in total guarantees was on the line. It turns out that PokerStars was conservative with the initial slate of guarantees as Michigan players helped push the total weekend prize pools to $400,260, and many of the largest tournaments more than doubled their posted guarantees. This was certainly true for Saturday’s MICOOP Event-01 ($100 NLHE MICOOP Kick Off, Nightly Stars SE) where 883 entries dwarfed the $30,000 guarantee by creating a prize pool of $81,059.40. After roughly seven hours of play ‘PowerRanges’ became the first player to win a MICOOP title, locking up $13,652.42 for first place. ‘Buckyeye48875’ also took home a nice payday, walking away with $9,753.30 as the runner-up. The final spot on the podium belonged to ‘theduke8605’ who finished in third place for $6,968.05. Sunday’s first event, MICOOP Event-04 ($100 NLHE, 8-Max, Deepstacks) nearly saw the same amount of enthusiasm. The $25K guarantee turned into a $60,220.80 prize pool as 656 players settled in for the Sunday grind. ‘WOW $dogecoin’ had a nice uptick as they became the second player of the series to lock up a five-figure score, taking home $10,386.42 for first. ‘YouLoseIGiggle’ earned $7,403.61 for second place while ‘vikmod’ settled for $5,277.54 in third place. The biggest buy-in event of the weekend was $40K GTD MICOOP Event-06 ($200 NLHE Sunday Special SE) which saw 430 entries battle for over the $79,980 prize pool. Had the tournament played all the out, the winner would have taken home over $14,300 but the final four players agreed to an even chop. 'sexycaitlyn', ‘BackdoorFILTH’, ‘jTizzle450’ and ‘imakewinhappen’ each took home $9,567.68 in the deal and 'sexycaitlyn' emerged as the official winner of the event. Another highlight of the weekend was MICOOP Event-07 ($25 NLHE Mini Sunday Special) which boasted the largest field of the first weekend. The modest buy-in allowed for 1,229 entries to juice the prize pool to $27,959.75, well above the original $12.5K guarantee. Another deal was made in this event, however, it was double the size of the deal made in Event-06 as the final eight players agreed to a deal with each of them taking home $1,782.01. The tournament played out with 'Flintston Pip1' earning the title of MICOOP champion. PokerStars MICOOP continues through March 8 with its two-day $300 buy-in, $125K GTD Main Event taking place on March 7. If the turn out in Michigan for MICOOP continues to be high, as it did on the first weekend, look for PokerStars to potentially boost guarantees across the series as they did back in December 2019 for the first-ever PACOOP when it was made clear early that the series was going to be a success. PokerStars MICOOP Opening Weekend Winners [table id=174 /]
  21. This week Russian high-stakes tournament pro Arsenii ‘hellohellohello’ Malinov catapulted back into the Online Poker Rankings top 10 after a string of high profile cashes helped him rise 26 spots to land at #9 in the world. This is by no means Malinov’s first trip into the top 10. In 2018, he was on the verge of becoming the #1 ranked player in the world, however that entire year was dominated by Sweden's 'C Darwin2’ and ‘Lena900’. Although he spent multiple weeks at #2, the Russian was just unable to find a path to the top spot. Now Malinov returns as the #1-ranked player in Russia, surpassing Anatoly ‘nl_profit’ Filatov, who, this week, is currently ranked #10 in the world. He accomplished this, in part, by making deep runs in marquee tournament and consistently putting together PLB-qualifying scores in small timeframes. He built a bed of PLB points in early January, on January 10 specifically, that included a fifth place finish in the PokerStars Blowout Series Event #53-H ($2,100 NLHE) for $28,089 and 244.38 points. The same day he finished in seventh place in Blowout Series Event #54-H ($10,300 NLHE) for another $56,424 and 339.40 points. He wrapped the day with another deep run in a Blowout Series event and it looked like it was just a matter of time that he closed one out. One week later, Malinov (playing under his ‘hello_totti’ screenname) did just that. While not an official Blowout Series title, he took down the $5,200 NLHE Blowout Series Side Event for a $219,546 payday and a massive 1,060.66 PLB point score. The victory was the third-largest of his over 10-year online poker career and was critical to helping him soar back up the rankings. Malinov has also found recent success in the GGPoker Super MILLION$ tournament. He cashed in the January 26 and February 2 events for a total of nearly $44,000 and just this week he made the final table where he finished in fifth place for another $144,393. It’s likely that he will see another bump next week when his back-to-back victories on February 16 in the PokerStars High Roller Club are included in the rankings. Malinov is rapidly approaching $13 million in career earnings and currently sits at #17 on the Online Poker All-Time Money List. He’ll need to keep producing though if he wants to remain #1 in Russia as he only has a 4 PLB point lead over Filatov. Online Poker Rankings Notes This Week • What a difference a week makes for former #1-ranked Yuri ‘Yuri Martins’ Dzivieleski. He jumped up four spots from #7 to #3 after his runner-up finish in ACR’s Venom Main Event earned him $849,150 and a massive 2,026.53 PLB point jump. The four-figure PLB point score put him less than 500 points behind Ivan 'zufo16' Zufic, who has been in the #2 spot for the better part of two months. • Speaking of the ACR Venom Main Event, another Brazilian, ‘Ramonkrop’, won the whole thing for a career-high score of $1,113,330. The incredible 3,071.64 PLB points they received for defeating the 3,774-entry field launched him 111 places in the rankings from #137 to #26, by far the largest leap of the week. • UK-based grinder ‘JaegsPL’ broke into the Top 100 this week, hitting a career-high ranking of #72 in the world thanks to his sixth-place finish in the GGPoker Global MILLION$ for $26,728. ‘JaegsPL’ currently sits as the #6-ranked player in the United Kingdom. Worldwide Online Poker Rankings [table id=172 /]
  22. For weeks now, the worldwide Online Poker Rankings have been a tight-knit crew. Brunno ‘bbotteon’ Botteon has held down the top spot for the past eight weeks and well-known names like Ivan ‘zufo16’ Zufic, Mike ‘SirWatts’ Watson, and Bert ‘girafganger7’ Stevens have occupied their own positions inside the Top 5. But this week, a new player broke through into the upper echelons of the rankings for the first time in his career. Portugal’s #1-ranked pro Rui ‘RuiNF’ Ferreira soared past Brazil’s Bruno ‘brunovolks’ Volkmann and Yuri ‘Yuri Martins’ Dzivieleski to capture the #5 spot, building on what has been, for him, an incredible start to 2021. Ferreira has long been considered a top-tier tournament player but his recent rise in the rankings can be traced back to the beginning of this year when he collected large amounts of PLB points on a daily basis. Many of Ferreira's spotlight scores have come on GGPoker, where he dedicates most of his volume. His first notable score of the year came back on January 4 when he made a deep run in the WSOP Circuit Event #15 ($800 FIFTY STACK), finishing in fifth place for $56,646 and 451.33 PLB points. That was just the start of an onslaught of impressive results that week. In a three-day span, he collected five PLB-qualifying scores including a fifth-place finish in the prestigious $10K Super MILLION$ tournament where he collected $158,690 and 567.28 PLB points. In total, he brought in 1,396.28 points during that span which set him up for a run to the worldwide Top 10. Less than a week later, Ferreira finished as the runner-up in the Winamax W Series High Roller KO for $131,199, his second six-figure score of the week. The 921.92 PLB points that came with it remains his largest PLB score of the year so far. He wasn’t finished with the W Series as a victory in Event 185 added another $11,194 to his bankroll and helped pad the bed of PLB points he’d need to push into the upper echelons of the rankings. On January 26, he made another deep run in the GGPoker Super MILLION$, finishing in 11th place for $33,604. Ferriera has proved to be one of the most consistent players in the weekly Super MILLION$ having cashed in 15 of his 31 appearances and earning $1,000,053 along the way. After that result, Ferriera had climbed into the #8 spot in the rankings and needed an extra jolt to hit a new career-high rank this week. He got that lift this week after outlasting the 111 runners, and besting Chris Koldnicki heads-up, in the $525 buy-in GGPoker Sunday High Rollers for $12,886 and 235.58 PLB points. On the same day, at a final table that included Ryan Riess, Bryan Paris, and Jack Salter, Ferreira took fifth place in the High Roller MILLION$ for $66,038 and the 473.78 PLB points he needed to break into the Top 5. While he still has a way to go to make a run at #1, as he’s over 3,400 points behind Botteon as of this week, another solid performance over the next week could put him in striking distance of Stevens who sits at #4, just 194 points away. Online Poker Rankings Notes This Week • Russia’s Andrey 'kot_spartac' Kotelnikov reached a career-high ranking of #13 in the world, up 12 spots from #25 last week, thanks in part to finishing in fourth place out of a massive 28,404-entry field in the PokerStars 50/50 Series $50 Main Event. He earned $47,045 and 494.56 PLB points to push him past former #1-ranked Conor ‘1_conor_b_1’ Beresford who fell back to #14. • Popular Twitch poker streamer Patrick ‘Egption’ Tardif hit #34 in the world, a new career-high for him, after finishing as the runner-up in the Natural8 $1,050 High Rollers Main Event for $75,480 and 466.52 PLB points. The score helped propel Tardif to up over $3 million in career online earnings. • Brazil’s Gabriel ‘gtavares10’ Tavares made one of the biggest moves of the week, jumping up 27 spots to #58 after his victory in the February 7 PokerStars $530 High Roller Club Bounty Builder for $40,301 and 541.76 PLB points. Brazil has taken over the worldwide top 100, currently holding down 29 of the top 100 spots. Worldwide Online Poker Rankings [table id=171 /]
  23. Just over a week after launching the first regulated online poker site in the state of Michigan, PokerStars has announced the inaugural Michigan Championship of Online Poker. PokerStars’ marquee series is coming to the Wolverine State beginning on February 20 and running through March 8. It features 60 tournaments with buy-ins ranging from $20 to $500 and a total of $1,000,000 in guaranteed prize money. “Coming off the launch of our real-money gaming brands in Michigan, it is clear that players want the world-class offerings that online PokerStars can bring,” said FOX Bet CEO Kip Levin. “As the sole online and mobile poker product in Michigan, our commitment and investment in PokerStars is vital as we aim to bring all aspects of a great customer experience to the poker community. We are excited for Michiganders to join our most popular series and crown our first big winner who will join in the prestigious footsteps of other Championship of Online Poker (COOP) champions.” Modeled after PokerStars' annual World Championship of Online Poker (and SCOOP), MICOOP is similar to the series run in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey, where PokerStars also operates. The festival offers players a hefty dose of No Limit Hold’em Tournaments with the opportunity to play other poker variants that the online pokers site excels at including Pot Limit Omaha, Omaha Hi/Lo, 8-Game Mix, H.O.R.S.E., Stud Hi/Lo, and 5 Card Draw. Multiple tournaments run on each day and bring a mix of formats including Turbos, Deepstacks, and Progressive Knock-Outs. It all builds to the March 7 two-day, $300 buy-in Main Event with a $125,000 guarantee. Other schedule highlights include a $500 buy-in High Roller with a $35,000 guarantee, the $250 buy-in Sunday Special with a $50,000 guarantee, and the $50 buy-in Mini Main Event. In hopes to maximize the number of players who get to participate, PokerStars has satellites starting for as little as $2 as well as promotions to help players enter the series for next-to-nothing. Players who deposit $30 or more using the promotional code “MICOOP” before March 7 will be awarded a ticket to the Main Event Depositor Freeroll tournament in which 35 seats to the $300 Main Event will be given away. Additionally, any player who plays in any of the MICOOP tournaments and goes broke before making the money will be awarded a ticket to a “Second Chance Freeroll”. Players need not even be online to order to participate in these events in which players are forced all-in every hand and the winners are awarded additional prizes, including tickets to future MICOOP events. Players looking to play in the upcoming MICOOP do not need to be living in Michigan, but they do need to be physically located inside the state's borders to play. A full schedule of events can be viewed in the MICOOP tab in the PokerStarsMIUS client.
  24. 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 /]
  25. It’s not often that one gets a second shot at greatness. Very few have been afforded that opportunity when it comes to becoming the World Series of Poker Main Event champion. So when Damian Salas, who just three years ago finished in seventh place at the WSOP Main Event, found himself in a position to win the championship bracelet that eluded him in 2017, he leaned into his passion for the game and his desire to be known as one of the very best finally reach his championship goal. “Taking into account my experience in 2017, I didn’t see it as a rematch, I took it as a new opportunity granted by this beautiful mind sport so that I could win the World Championship,” said Salas. “I felt great and highly motivated. I’ve worked with tons of persistence during these last eight or nine years of my professional career, so I can give my very best in times of extreme pressure. I felt like I could make it and that was a determining factor to becoming the champion.” It may be that Salas, the Argentinian lawyer turned poker pro, made a name for himself in poker with his seventh-place finish 2017 Main Event when he won $1.425 million but as he mentioned, it was by no means the start of his poker journey. Salas has made the trip to Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker for over a decade and prior to his first Main Event, final table appearance had posted a string of impressive results on the biggest poker tours in Latin America including the LAPT and BSOP. If Salas’ journey had essentially ended with his seven-figure score on ESPN it would be a poker success story by nearly every metric. However, for Salas, a few minutes in the spotlight was not what he was after. It still isn’t. “I don’t play for the money, that’s not my goal. It’s not what drives me,” Salas said. “It is great, taking those results into account, as it is paramount to meeting other ambitions in my life. But my basic motivation is to become better and better every day and remain a member of the world-class poker elite.” “As I’ve mentioned many times before, I don’t think winning [the Main Event] makes me the best player in the world, but I am worthy of the achievement since I believe I could compete for many years now with the world-class poker elite. That’s an honor I’ve earned, and it is my greatest challenge and motivation day in and day out - to remain a member of the world-class poker elite.” To get to where he is, Salas has embraced the grind. With live poker events essentially put on hold in 2020, Salas dove into online poker and quickly became the #1-ranked player in his native Argentina. He broke through into the worldwide top-20 with the help of a pair of impressive scores in some of the year’s biggest tournament series. First, he took third place in the first-ever WPT World Championship Main Event on partypoker which came with an $814,664 payday. Then he took home a PokerStars EPT Online title with a victory in Event #20 ($1,050 NLHE) for another $117,475. The success was paving the way to a run in the WSOP Main Event. “Honestly, I was having a great year,” he said. “So I wasn’t surprised by the [WSOP win] because I felt in great shape, I was really prepared. Obviously, it was incredible and even spectacular to close the year this way.” The path to the WSOP Main Event title was unlike any in years past. First Salas has to navigate the field of online entrants on GGPoker, then travel to the Czech Republic to play down the final table at King’s Casino in Rozvadov, and finally make his way to the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas to compete against Joseph Hebert, the winner of the domestic leg of the WSOP Main Event, in a for-broadcast heads-up match. “I can say that the online elements against international players at GGPoker were impressive. The poker world’s elite played in that tournament and I had to face them all,” he said, looking back on the tournament as a whole. “It was highly difficult. The clash was really hard from the beginning.” When he made the live final table he was third in chips but one of the toughest challenges awaited. Brazil’s Brunno Botteon, the current #1-ranked player in the world, held the chip lead and was also having a career year. “At the final table were at least five elite representatives of poker including Bruno Botteon, whose quality is extraordinary. And, well, the confrontation demanded my very best,” he said. “I was really inspired at the final table, where I took certain creative lines which I could capitalize in my favor. In the end, while I believe I also benefited from some good cards and good luck, I think those creative hands were responsible for my success.” Salas walked away with the win after defeating Botteon heads-up, which brought him a new career-high score of $1.55 million. It also put him in line to battle heads up for the championship bracelet. “Then came the heads up with Joseph [Hebert]. Either one of us could have won, really,” Salas said. But even after losing some key pots and being on the brink of finishing in second, Salas fought back. “I think I played with discipline, with concentration, with metered quantities of matured aggressiveness that was very efficient,” he said. “It is a great privilege because I understand I was very lucky. However, I also know I have done all I could so that I could meet my goal and that fills me with joy.” In the aftermath of reaching his goal, one might expect Salas to take some time off, perhaps enjoy a few of the finer things with his bonus $1 million payday he received for winning the bracelet. While some new doors are opening for the new World Champion, Salas insists that the main goal of being elite never stops. “Being totally honest, my daily routine has not changed much. As I always say, I’m not driven by money. There is another motivation, that’s to belong to the world elite. Added to the fact that I truly enjoy what I do and I do love playing poker, so my routine remains practically the same…I’m the World Champion, and that’s great, but understanding I’m the same person I was before the tournament.”
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