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  1. [caption width="640"] Anatoly Filatov hopes the Russian fighting spirit will lead the Moscow Wolverines to GPL success[/caption] If you believe American pop culture, the Russians are always the bad guys. In Rocky IV, Ivan Drago was meant to destroy Rocky Balboa. In Rambo, Colonel Podovsky was the one torturing John Rambo. In the WWF, Nikolai Volkoff wouldn’t begin his matches until he sang the Soviet national anthem. Granted, those are all throwbacks to the Cold War, but you get the point. As the Global Poker League makes its way through its first season Anatoly Filatov is hoping to be anything but a bad guy. Still, the 28-year-old Moscow Wolverines team manager went into the inaugural draft and with a really short list of players he was targeting. “I mostly concentrated on Russian and (Commonwealth of Independent States) players because they were more clear for me. Some of them are my friends and I know what to expect from them,” said Filatov. “My strategy was to find flexible people who can work in the team and adapt to different circumstances.” To that end Filatov filled his four spots with three Russian players and another with strong ties to the former Soviet Union. With his first pick, eighth overall, Filatov took one of the hottest players in poker today, Dzmitry Urbanovich. The 20-year old poker pro, who was born in Belarus but now lives in Poland, won European Poker Tour Player of the Year last season and last month took down the EPT Dublin Main Event for the third biggest score of his career. From there, Filatov went full Russian and had more than a few heads turning as he filled out his roster. In the second round he chose Vladimir Troyanovskiy, fresh off of his fifth place finish in the 2016 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure main event. With over $4,000,000 in lifetime earnings, Troyanovskiy is a successful tournament player. Filatov selected Andrey Pateychuk and Sergey Lebedev in the third and fourth round respectively. Pateychuk already has EPT and World Poker Tour titles to his credit and is the ninth highest ranked online player in Russia. When Filatov selected Lebedev with his final pick, those watching the live stream were left with one question. “Uhh, who?” Lebedev has made final tables in Europe, Asia and North America but hasn’t broken through with a live win just yet. He’s banked over $1.2 million in tournament earnings with a quarter of that coming in the last four months. While the general public might not be overly familiar with his roster, Filatov is quite happy to have built his team around players from his part of the world. “I must admit that it played a huge role for me, because we need to communicate well and have the common mentality. That`s why I prefer to choose mostly Russian-speaking or European players,” said Filatov, who also took into consideration the enthusiasm the players showed for the GPL concept. Enthusiasm is what got Filatov interested in the GPL in the first place. Not his mind you, but that of GPL founder Alex Dreyfus. “Some time ago Alex called me and described the concept. We talked a lot about the ideas that they have to promote and how these events will develop poker as a sport,” said Filatov. “His vision of this project, enthusiasm inspired me to lead the Moscow team and I didn`t doubt that I wanted to be involved in it.” Even though the Cold War is long over, Filatov is happy to some Russian history when it comes to his team name and logo. “I like the red color of the logo because its associates with 'Red Machine' – the USSR hockey team and Red Square," said Filatov. "And the the logo shows Russian character and fighting spirit.”
  2. There were a number of big scores picked up by online poker tournament players over the past weekend, as the 2017 WSOP Main Event began in Las Vegas. Longtime online tournament specialist 'veeea' picked up the outright victory in the PokerStars Sunday Million for $166,531 with 'Lui Martins' walking away with $115,248 in second place and '[Esmone_PT]' cashing for $79,761 in third. 'MoshiMoshi84' won the Sunday Warm-Up for $33,684 after negotiating a three-way deal that included PocketFives member 'jpous' who collected $31,492. The No Limit Hold'em Sunday Grand event attracted 182 entries, as 'BCE_MOE_05' outlasted the field and won $36,130. The Pot Limit Omaha version of that event was taken down by 'vovtroy' for $18,134 in a heads-up chop with kanaris9 who received $17,918 in second place. Amazingly 'vovtroy' also won the 6-max Sunday Supersonic and chopped that evenly with the runner-up 'xAndorx' for a separate payday of $22,980. The $2,600 buy-in "Super High Roller" event was won by 'eet_smakelijk' who earned close to $37,000 for coming out on top. The $530 buy-in version of that tournament was taken down by 11th-ranked 'Sheater' of Sweden, who is guaranteed to move back into the Top 10 this week after his $24,117 take home. The $1,050 buy-in WHALE tournament on 888 Poker saw 'joao_mathias' atop the field for a cash prize of $28,043 once the event had concluded. The "Mega Deep" tournament was won by 'CllsDntMttr' for $15,697. PokerStars Sunday Million - 5,554 entrants - $1,110,800 paid out to 899 spots veeea - $166,530.76 Lui Martins - $115,248.27 [Esmone_PT] - $79,760.99 the_eel_89 - $55,200.98 Ysjah - $38,203.52 oldfandango - $26,439.92 Penny280190 - $18,298.54 KumoZing - $12,664.11 (AceOfShamrocks) Posti - $8,764.65 PokerStars Sunday Warm-Up ($200 + $15 NLHE) *$275K Guaranteed - 1,353 entrants - $275,000 paid out to 233 spots MoshiMoshi84 - $33,683.94 Omon_Ra_AA - $29,539.20 jpous - $31,492.32 *3-way deal FaceRolly - $15,745.31 (Macovei '0foldequity' Neculai) Teddycm - $11,321.00 Revolver1970 - $8,139.89 KsuAgro - $5,852.63 69sBigLick - $4,208.07 hylke1980 - $3,025.63 PokerStars Sunday Grand ($1,000 + $50 NLHE) *$150K Guaranteed - 182 entrants - $182,000 paid out to 26 spots BCE_MOE_05 - $36,129.57 anti-durrr - $27,455.44 magicopa1101 - $20,863.87 charlie580 - $15,854.83 (Lorenzo Bazei) leitalopez - $12,048.38 mrAndreeew - $9,155.78 (Andreas 'r4ndomr4gs' Berggren) BuddyAces2 - $6,957.64 Fukuruku - $5,287.24 Chus1979 - $4,017.86 PokerStars Sunday Grand PLO ($1,000 + $50 PLO Six-Max) *$75K Guaranteed - 77 entrants - $77,000 paid out to 9 spots Vladimir 'vovtroy' Troyanovskiy - $18,134.06 Tinas21 - $17,917.99 (kanaris9) *2-way deal Zagalo87 - $11,217.88 (Peidalhaco) BustiJauli - $8,241.61 NEED100KFAST - $6,054.98 c0cain_1 - $4,448.50 PokerStars Sunday Supersonic ($200 + $15 NLHE 6-Max Hyper Turbo) *$125K Guaranteed - 811 entrants - $166,060 paid out to 119 spots Vladimir 'vovtroy' Troyanovskiy - $22,979.73 xAndorx - $22,979.72 *2-way deal isistar185 - $11,875.22 ChiphunterTH - $7,762.49 yogibeing - $5,074.12 SiCaRioS1990 - $3,316.80 PokerStars Sunday Storm ($10 + $1 NLHE) *$200k Guaranteed - 25,065 entrants - $250,650 paid out to 4,526 spots bluntis77 - $24,653.34 dcbarros - $17,553.37 stiltskinz - $12,512.64 Yura.tomsk - $8,919.43 shaggy 26757 - $6,358.06 Ivan169254 - $4,532.22 homeliar - $3,230.70 deluxe1904 - $2,302.94 xEGRx - $1,641.60 partypoker Super High Roller ($2,500 + $100 NLHE) *$75K Guaranteed - 33 entrants - $82,500 paid out to 5 spots eet_smakelijk - $36,999 aptand - $20,332 azkabante - $12,577 HungarysHero - $7,780 COCAL_GRINDER - $4,813 partypoker High Roller ($500 + $30 NLHE) *$125K Guaranteed - 239 entrants - $125,000 paid out to 39 spots Doyle_B - $24,117 (Sheater) gmurrr - $17,678 sweet_dreammm - $12,958 (papan9_p$) spasticmonkey - $9,498 BrtzRU - $6,962 MentulaMagna - $5,103 lorenzo180 - $3,740 888 Poker WHALE ($1,000 + 50 NLHE) *$120K Guaranteed - 95 entrants - $121,000 paid out to 12 spots Joao Mathias 'joao_mathias' Baumgarten - $28,043 nutflopper - $27,617 Chipeez888 - $16,940 (ikkedus) wellyxx - $11,495 (emeriaa) wildwildfish - $8,470 B.Mitchell - $6,353 rufstation - $5,143 jnevanli - $4,235 gonzabon14 - $3,630 888 Poker Mega Deep ($200 + $15 NLHE) *$80K Guaranteed - 409 entrants - $81,800 paid out to 54 spots CllsDntMttr - $15,697 aryL86 - $11,657 Lov3ThiSGamE - $8,589 popsnpoker - $6,544 (bustindanut) wisimaki - $4,581 (wisoooo) joao_mathias - $3,477 NaftaComun - $2,659 garyt20 - $1,841 FL1PM4ST3R - $1,358
  3. Orpen Kisacikoglu will have you believe that he's a businessman who plays poker recreationally. That might be true, but on Tuesday the Turkish-born high roller showed he has the chops to hang with some of the best poker players in the world by beating the 32-entry field in the Triton Super High Roller Series €100,000 event at partypoker MILLIONS Europe for a seven-figure score. Day 2 began with 18 players still in the field and registration open for the first level of play. Four players, including a re-entry from Phil Ivey, decided to take advantage of the late registration period to push the total field size to 32 players. Leading the way into Day 2 was Igor Kurganov. Unfortunately, things didn't go smoothly for Kurganov however and he was eliminated on the bubble in seventh place. Once play hit the money, it took almost 90 minutes for the first player to bust. Down to just 15 big blinds, Kristen Bicknell shoved from the button with [poker card="ah"][poker card="3h"] and Kisacikoglu called instantly from the big blind with [poker card="ac"][poker card="ad"]. The [poker card="jh"][poker card="9d"][poker card="8h"] flop gave Bicknell a flush draw, but neither the [poker card="tc"] turn or [poker card="td"] river completed it and she was eliminated in sixth place for €213,000. Just 20 minutes later, Cary Katz joined her on the sidelines. From the hijack, Katz called with [poker card="8d"][poker card="7c"] and Vladimir Troyanovskiy checked his big blind with [poker card="qd"][poker card="6d"]. The [poker card="5s"][poker card="3d"][poker card="2s"] flop got a check from Troyanovskiy and a shove of 230,000 - less than four big blinds - from Katz. Troyanovskiy called and then watched the [poker card="ts"] miss both players while the [poker card="4s"] river gave Troyanovskiy a straight to bust Katz in fifth place for €273,000. Wai Kin Yong has been on massive heater over the last week. He won the Triton SHR NLHE Main Event in London for $3,154,064 and then finished runner-up in the Short Deck Main Event two days later for $2,232,740. He nearly added another top-two finish to his resume, but ultimately had to settle for fourth place thanks to Ben Heath. Yong shoved his last three big blinds holding [poker card="qs"][poker card="9d"] on the button only to have Heath look him up from the big blind with [poker card="qd"][poker card="tc"]. The [poker card="jc"][poker card="6d"][poker card="3d"][poker card="7s"][poker card="6s"] runout kept Heath ahead and eliminated Wong in fourth for €349,000. Three-handed play lasted over an hour before Kisacikoglu began his push to the title. Kisacikoglu moved all-in for 1,710,000 from the button with [poker card="2d"][poker card="2s"] and Heath called from the small blind with [poker card="ad"][poker card="tc"]. The [poker card="jc"][poker card="ts"][poker card="2h"] flop gave Kisacikoglu bottom set but left Heath drawing thin. The [poker card="qs"] turn gave the 2019 WSOP bracelet winner four outs to Broadway, but the [poker card="6d"] river wasn't one of them and he was out in third for €455,000. Troyanovskiy and Kisacikoglu battled heads-up for just over an hour. On the final hand of the tournament, Troyanovskiy raised to 250,000 with [poker card="9h"][poker card="8h"] and Kisacikoglu called with [poker card="th"][poker card="8d"]. The flop came [poker card="8s"][poker card="3d"][poker card="2s"] and Kisacikoglu check-shoved after Troyanovskiy bet 300,000. The Russian pro called off his last 2,800,000 and couldn't improve on the [poker card="jd"] turn or [poker card="ks"] river and was eliminated in second place for €710,000. Payouts Orpen Kisacikoglu - €1,040,000 Vladimir Troyanovskiy - €710,000 Ben Heath - €455,000 Wai Kin Yong - €349,000 Cary Katz - €273,000 Kristen Bicknell - €213,000
  4. Russia is an absolute powerhouse when it comes to online poker. From their high-profile top-tier tournament pros to their stables of small-stakes grinders, the results put up by Russia has the country as a perennial presence in the top-3 of the PocketFives Overall Country Rankings. When it comes to capturing World Series of Poker bracelets, Russia is down a little bit on the list - tied for sixth overall with France with 22 total gold bracelets. But if there was ever an ideal time for Russian players to break that tie it’s here in 2020 as Russians are cleared to play in all 54 bracelet events on GGPoker. So let’s take a look at some of the Russian crushers that may find themselves in the headlines during the 2020 WSOP. Artem Vezhenkov The name Artem Vezhenkov may not ring many bells for the recreational poker player, but for those who have followed online poker over the past five years or more will certainly recognize his screen name of ‘veeea’. A former #1-ranked online player in the world, Vezhenkov has amassed nearly $10 million in total online earnings throughout his impressive career. He has eight six-figure online scores, three of which were victories in the PokerStars Sunday Million for a total of over $491,000. His live resume isn’t much to speak of by professional poker player’s standards, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t know how to show up big when there are huge prize pools at stake. He’s earned titles in both the PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker and Spring Championship of Online Poker. And at the end of last year, Vezhenkov picked up a career-high score by taking down the PokerStars High Rollers Series Main Event for $457,344. Alexander Mordvinov Like Vezhenkov, Alexander Mordvinov may be hard to identify by his real name alone. However, his screen name of ‘NoPlanB’ is sure to register with online tournament grinders worldwide. The former #3-ranked online player in the world has made a habit in his career of racking up accolades including a pair of Triple Crown awards and topping the PocketFives Monthly PLB. He has scored six-figure cashes on three different online sites including a runner-up finish in the 888poker XL Eclipse $500,000 Super High Roller for $114,700 and a final table finish in the 2016 PokerStars SCOOP Main Event High for $104,000. Mordvinov may not be a player you’ll see in the highest buy-ins online but he thrives in large field events like what is expected on GGPoker. He’s a PokerStars Sunday Warm-up winner as well as a PokerStars WCOOP and partypoker POWERFEST champion and if the cards fall the right way he may add a WSOP bracelet to those titles. Artur Martirosyan While many people scoff at the notion that 2020 has been a ‘good year’, for Russian high roller Artur Martirosyan it actually has. In fact, it’s been great. Also known by his screen name ‘marathur1’, it was tough to escape the amazing results of Martirosyan during a number of the recent high-profile online series that have taken place including the PokerStars 2020 SCOOP, the Poker Masters Online series, and the Super High Roller Bowl Online series. Martirosyan picked up multiple SCOOP titles this year the first of which saw him besting Fedor Holz in heads-up play in Event #17-H ($10,300 NLHE 8-Max High Roller) to take home the title and a $271,790 payday. Then just days later he found the gold medal again in Event #29-H ($5,200 NLHE Midweek Freeze) for another $157,426 score. The heat from SCOOP carried over to the Super High Roller Bowl Online series as Martirosyan earned a total of $1.8 million over eight cashes, seven of which were good for podium finishes. His big takeaway during the series occurred when he scored an outright victory in Event #16 for $234,604. Maksim Vikrorovic Maksim Vikrorovic is another name that is unlikely to be well-known to most poker fans however, playing under his screen name ‘MAMOHT_T’, he has assumed the mantle as the #1-ranked player in all of Russia with more than $8.2 million in career online earnings. Vikrorovic is playing with a hot hand as of late having recently booked big wins including a victory in the PokerStars Turbo Series Event #1 ($215 NLHE PKO) for $81,421 and also a runner-up finish in the February 16 edition of the partypoker MILLION which brought him $112,000. He’s picked up a major title on just about every online poker site including a SCOOP title on PokerStars and a POWERFEST title on partypoker. He’s been grinding the tournaments on GGPoker as of late and a World Series of Poker title would fit nicely on his ever-expanding resume Vladimir Troyanovskiy Perhaps one of the most respected names in all of Russia when it comes to poker is that of Vladimir Troyanovskiy. The Saint Petersburg native has been a staple of the Russian poker scene for the better part of two decades and has traveled the world while accumulating nearly $8 million in live tournament earnings. His extensive list of results tells the tale of a gifted player who routinely makes deep runs in some of the biggest events of any given year. On the European Poker Tour alone he’s won side events in Berlin, Deauville, Monte Carlo, and at the PCA. In 2019, he added $1,325,000 to his bankroll which included a career-high cash in the partypoker LIVE MILLIONS Europe from Rozvadov where he earned $945,845 for his second-place finish. Online, Troyanovskiy is known to compete at the highest stakes under his screen name ‘vovtroy’.
  5. When it was announced that 54 events of the 2020 World Series of Poker would be held on GGPoker, it meant that for the very first time players outside of the United States could compete for a gold bracelet online. It also opened the door for elite online poker players all over the world to bracelet chase without having to make the trek to Las Vegas. With that in mind, prior to the start of the series, PocketFives staff attempted to make some predictions of players that we thought would make a serious impact on the 2020 WSOP. We dove into the player pools from the online poker powerhouse countries of the United Kingdom, Brazil, Russia, and Canada to take our best guesses as to who would make headlines and history in 2020. Here’s how we did. Score...A Direct Hit From the thousands of potential entries in the 2020 World Series of Poker, we picked 20 players and two of them binked themselves a gold bracelet. Canada’s Kristen Bicknell already had two WSOP gold bracelets on her resume and had been running extremely hot on GGPoker prior to the series, winning thousands upon thousands in side events from the recently completed WSOP Super Circuit Online Series. During the WSOP, she outlasted the 892-entry field in Event #44 ($2,500 NLHE 6-Handed) to win her third career bracelet and the first-place prize of $356,412. She continued to play after the victory and put up a total of seven cashes for a total haul of $382,391. Another one of our picks that grabbed gold was Brazil’s former #1-ranked Yuri Dzivielevski who just one year ago made a splash at the 2019 WSOP with his impressive play on the televised table of the Main Event. Even though Dzivielevski had won the first bracelet of his career just one year ago, we were convinced he was going to do it again, this time in the online arena. He proved us right. The Brazilian topped the 4,356-entry field of Event #42 ($400 PLOSSUS) for $221,557 and his second bracelet. In total, Dzivielevski racked up 14 cashes, including two final tables, for $347,714. While Brazil’s Brunno Botteon didn’t win a bracelet, it’s safe to say he made a major impact on the series. Botteon had already been red hot in 2020, earning six of his seven-largest cashes this year and he only took it to the next level in the WSOP. Botteon finished as the runner-up on two different occasions including Event #67 ($500 Limit Hold’em) where he earned $41,855 and Event #79 ($25,000 NLHE Heads-Up) where he fell to Fedor Holz in the Heads-Up finals but walked away with $622,300. He also made the final table of the $25,000 NLHE Poker Players Championship, finishing in sixth place for more than $388,000. He may not have grabbed a gold bracelet this year, but Botteon finished the series with 15 cashes and over $1,105,562 in earnings. A Solid Series Some of the players we selected had a very respectable series that didn’t include winning a bracelet or earning a million dollars. When it came to picking players from the UK, it would be downright silly to pass over high-stakes crusher Stephen Chidwick. While he didn’t repeat his 2019 $25,000 PLO High Roller bracelet performance that brought him a $1.6 million score, he did manage seven series cashes for $147,679. And sure, perhaps it wasn’t the Chidwickian of his outings as we’ve seen in year’s past, but far be it from mere mortals to call six-figures in earnings anything less than success. Mike Watson fared a little better. The Canadian found himself at three final tables this summer, however, he was unable to lock down that first career bracelet. He scored a series-high cash of $115,117 in a fourth-place finish in Event #35 ($5,000 Pot Limit Omaha Championship) which contributed to the bulk of his $202,455 in total earnings over 11 cashes. Watson may be frustrated with not yet winning a bracelet. He has finished as the runner-up no fewer than four times in his WSOP career. But with a player of his caliber, we’d be sure to pick him again next year should the series take place live or online. Mike Leah was another of our Canadian picks that climbed over six-figures in earnings. Leah, who was promising to play just about every event prior to the start of the series, made good on his word. He racked up 18 total cashes for a total of $141,204 and made his deepest run in Event #82 ($1,050 NLHE Beat The Pros Bounty) finishing in sixth place for $41,892. What Were We Thinking? Some of our picks just didn’t pan out. Who knows why? We don't. A bad run of cards? Bankroll fatigue? Or simply living life outside of poker? Whatever it was, our high hopes for these players will have to wait for another series. Take for instance the UK’s Sam Grafton who we were pretty sure would thrive in this kind of international series. But it looks like Grafton didn’t put in much if any volume and therefore didn’t notch a single result during this year's WSOP. (However, it didn’t take him long to book a win during the current PokerStars WCOOP.) We also missed on picking Russia’s Alexander Mordinov and Vladimir Troyanovskiy. When it came to Mordinov, who goes by ‘NoPlanB’ online, we knew it might be a stretch for him to play in the bigger buy-in tournaments of the WSOP. However, with the ability to be staked right in the client, we felt it could have been perfect for him to sell pieces of himself after pointing investors to his over $6 million in lifetime online earnings. We also felt like Troyanovskiy, one of Russia’s premier players, and his extensive poker resume would excel in an online series but from the looks of it, the Russian poker legend simply took the summer off.
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