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  1. 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.
  2. High-stakes cash game pro and former #1-ranked player in the world Sami ‘LarsLuzak’ Kelopuro bested 2020 World Series of Poker Main Event champion Damian Salas heads-up in this week’s $10K GGPoker Super MILLION$ to take home his first Super MILLION$ title and the $408,406 first-place prize. Finland’s Kelopuro has proved to be a regular runner in the Super MILLION$, appearing in 32 out of the 36 times the tournament has taken place. This week marked the third time Kelopuro earned a trip to the final table however in his previous two attempts he had never finished higher than seventh place. The odds were stacked against him again this week as he entered the final table eighth in chips and facing off against a table full of poker’s toughest tournament players. In addition to Damian Salas, Bert ‘girafganger7’ Stevens, Adrian Mateos, and two-time Super MILLION$ champ Darren Elias all had eyes on this week's top prize. With just nine of the 202-entries left, Guillaume Nolet found himself slipping in the chip counts. The former Super MILLION$ winner started the day in the middle of the pack but nearly an hour into the final table, he had fewer than 20 big blinds. Nolet opened holding [poker card="ad"][poker card="qc"] only to be three-bet by Stevens on the button with [poker card="as"][poker card="9s"]. Nolet four-bet jammed and Stevens called putting Nolet at risk. The flop came [poker card="td"][poker card="th"][poker card="3s"] keeping Nolet in the lead. The [poker card="8c"] was safe as well. But the [poker card="9c"] hit the river giving Stevens a pair and sending Nolet out the door in ninth place for $51,051 sending his Super MILLION$ total earnings above $900,000. Russia’s Aleksei Barkov had been grinding a short stack as well and six hands later, when it folded to him on the button, he put his final five big blinds in the middle with [poker card="kc"][poker card="7c"]. Salas, in the small blind, made the call with the [poker card="ac"][poker card="qc"] and the pair watched as the board ran out [poker card="6s"][poker card="3s"][poker card="5c"][poker card="5h"][poker card="9d"] awarding the pot to Salas' ace-high and eliminating Barkov in eighth place for $66,205. Stevens had entered the day as the chip leader, but after losing some key hands his stack had dwindled down to roughly ten big blinds. From under the gun he shipped his remaining chips with [poker card="ks"][poker card="qd"]. In the small blind, with slightly fewer chips, ‘dimiasg’ made the quick call with [poker card="qh"][poker card="qs"]. The flop was [poker card="qc"][poker card="jd"][poker card="3s"] giving ‘dimiasg’ top set and leaving Stevens looking for help. The [poker card="4c"] turn left Stevens drawing dead to the [poker card="7h"] river which allowed ‘dimiasg’ to double up. Stevens was left with less than a small blind, which he lost on the very next hand to Kelopuro. Stevens exited in seventh place for $85,857. Four hands later it was Adrian Mateos’ turn to tangle with Kelopuro. In the cutoff, Kelopuro raised with [poker card="ac"][poker card="kh"]. With fewer than ten big blinds, Mateos three-bet with his [poker card="ad"][poker card="td"], leaving himself just a little over one big blind behind. The action folded back to Kelopuro who bet enough to put Mateos all-in and the three-time WSOP bracelet winner made the call. Kelopuro’s ace-king held through the [poker card="jc"][poker card="6s"][poker card="4s"][poker card="9h"][poker card="7c"] board eliminating Mateos, who has played in every single edition of the Super MILLION$, in sixth place adding $111,342 to his $645,087 in previous Super MILLION$ earnings. With five left, Kelopuro had a dominating chip lead as well as [poker card="6s"][poker card="6h"] in the small blind. He opted to complete and Arsenii Malinov checked his option holding [poker card="ah"][poker card="5c"] in the big blind. The [poker card="6s"][poker card="4s"][poker card="4c"] gave Kelopuro a flopped full house and he led out with a min-bet. Malinov put in a raise and Kelopuro called. The action went check-check on the [poker card="7s"] turn. Kelopuro put out a bet on the [poker card="5s"] river and Malinov, after hitting bottom pair, shoved all-in representing a number of made hands, one of which could have been the straight flush. After taking a few extra seconds, Kelopuro made the call which ended Malinov’s tournament in fifth place for $144,393. Roughly fifteen minutes later, Super MILLION$ satellite winner ‘dimiasg’ made their final move. From the button, they shipped their last nine big blinds in the middle with [poker card="ad"][poker card="qh"] and was called by Salas in the big blind holding [poker card="ah"][poker card="th"]. The flop came [poker card="jc"][poker card="9h"][poker card="3h"] which gave Salas some additional flush outs to win the hand. The turn was the [poker card="kc"] which kept ‘dimiasg’ in the lead but increased Salas’ outs to include straight outs. The river was the [poker card="6h"], bringing in the flush for Salas and sending ‘dimiasg’ home in fourth place for $187,255 in their first appearance in the Super MILLION$. Just ten minutes later, Darren Elias, who started the day third in chips, needed to win a flip to stay alive. From the button, Elias moved all-in for roughly 12 big blinds holding [poker card="4c"][poker card="4h"]. In the small blind, Salas made the call with his [poker card="ah"][poker card="9s"]. After Kelopuro folded the big blind, the flop came out [poker card="ts"][poker card="td"][poker card="5h"] keeping Elias in the lead. The [poker card="ad"] turn changed all of that and in order to join Michael Addamo as the only three-time Super MILLION$ champions, he needed to hit one of the two remaining fours in the deck. However, the river was the [poker card="qs"] eliminating Elias in third for $242,840 which, when added to his $1,086,055 in previous earnings, propels him into the top 5 of the Super MILLION$ all-time money list leaders. After winning the hand, Salas took over the chip lead as the final two headed into heads-up play. Salas and Kelopuro passed the chip lead back and forth, eventually evening out the stacks. Then, in a critical hand, Kelopuro raised with the [poker card="ts"][poker card="9d"] which prompted Salas to three-bet his [poker card="8c"][poker card="8s"]. Kelopuro made the call and the flop came [poker card="js"][poker card="7c"][poker card="6c"]. Salas put out a small bet which Kelopuro called. The turn was the [poker card="8d"] giving Salas a set and Kelopuro the nut straight. Salas then checked, and it was Kelopuro's turn to put out a bet. Salas called and the river came the [poker card="2c"]. Salas checked again to Kelopuro who, with less than a pot-sized bet behind, shoved. Salas tanked but eventually made the call. Kelopuro won the hand with his turned straight and took a commanding chip lead. Five hands later, Kelopuro raised from the button with [poker card="ks"][poker card="jd"] and Salas made the call with the [poker card="kd"][poker card="8c"]. The flop came [poker card="kh"][poker card="jc"][poker card="4d"] giving Salas top pair, but giving Kelopuro a dominating top-two. When checked to, Kelopuro min-bet the flop. Salas then min-raised and Kelopuro called. The turn was the [poker card="td"] and Salas put out another small bet. Kelopuro decided to ship all-in and Salas, after a few extra seconds, called with top pair drawing dead to the [poker card="3s"] river. Salas’ runner-up finish earned him $314,924, the second-largest online score of his career while Kelopuro’s $408,406 first-place prize becomes the third-largest score of his prestigious online career. Super MILLION$ Final Table Results (2/16) 1. Sami Kelopuro - $408,406 2. Damian Salas - $314,924 3. Darren Elias - $242,840 4. ‘dimiasg’ - $187,255 5. Arsenii Malinov - $144,393 6. Adrian Mateos - $111,342 7. Bert Stevens - $85,857 8. Aleksei Barkov - $66,205 9. Guillaume Nolet - $51,051
  3. After battling back from a short stack and climbing out of a nearly four-to-one heads-up chip deficit, renowned high-stakes tournament pro Benjamin ‘bencb’ Rolle bested the talent-packed final table of the 34th edition of the $10K GGPoker Super MILLION$ to walk away with this week’s $424,580 first-place prize. This week was Rolle’s 11th time playing the event and it marked his fourth cash and second final table. His previous final table appearance was back on August 9 when he finished in fifth place for $136,479. In total, the Raise Your Edge lead coach had previously earned $276,213, and his victory this week brought his Super MILLION$ total prize money to just over $700,000. At the start of the final table, Rolle was considered one of the long shots to win. He was starting the day eighth in chips (just 6% in play) and, along with Rolle himself, the final table featured some of poker’s brightest minds. Nick Petrangelo was highlighted as the chip leader and joining him at the top of the chip counts was online poker’s former #1-ranked Bert ‘girafganger7’ Stevens and UK high-stakes savant Michael Zhang. Like Rolle, Aliaksei Boika was enjoying his second trip to the final table of the Super MILLION$. In his first appearance Boika finished in ninth place and this time he was hoping for more. Unfortunately for Boika, he got involved in a big hand while holding [poker card="ac"][poker card="td"] against Bert Stevens who held [poker card="ah"][poker card="kd"] on a board that ran out [poker card="as"][poker card="kh"][poker card="3h"][poker card="5s"][poker card="tc"]. When Stevens shoved the river, Boika made the call which left his stack crippled. It was déjà vu for Boika as he was eliminated on the very next hand, in ninth place, for $53,073. With roughly 10 big blinds, Ukraine’s Andrii Novak put in a late position raise with [poker card="ad"][poker card="tc"] to which Nick Petrangelo, in the cutoff, three-bet with his [poker card="9c"][poker card="9h"]. When it folded back to Novak he shipped, Petrangelo quickly called and the pair watched as the board ran out [poker card="jd"][poker card="6c"][poker card="2d"][poker card="qh"][poker card="6s"]. Novak, who started the day sixth in chips, was out in eighth place and collected $68,826. The very next hand, ‘U LOSSER’ opened under the gun with [poker card="td"][poker card="th"] only to be three-bet by Stevens holding [poker card="js"][poker card="jc"]. After Michael Zhang folded [poker card="ad"][poker card="qc"] in the big blind, ‘U LOSSER’ committed the rest of his chips, putting their tournament at risk. The flop came [poker card="8h"][poker card="3h"][poker card="2s"] giving ‘U LOSSER’ a back door flush draw to hope for. The [poker card="ah"] turn made it interesting, but the [poker card="as"] completed the board sending ‘U LOSSER’ out in seventh for $89,257. With six left, Steven put in a raise with the [poker card="kd"][poker card="kh"]. Rolle then three-bet shipped his 15 big blind stack with [poker card="ks"][poker card="6s"]. It folded to the ‘WatWudHaraldSDo’ in the big blind who shipped his 35 big blind stack with [poker card="tc"][poker card="ts"]. Stevens, covering both players, made the call with his kings and the three watched a flop of [poker card="ac"][poker card="9c"][poker card="8c"] providing some flush outs to ‘WatWudHaraldSDo’ but keeping Stevens in the lead. With less than a 2% chance of pulling it out, Rolle was all but out the door. The turn was the [poker card="7d"] giving hope to both Rolle and ‘WatWudHaraldSDo’ who now both had open-ended straight draw outs. The river was the [poker card="5s"] bringing Rolle back from the brink with a straight but sending ‘WatWudHaraldSDo’ out the door in sixth place for $115,752. The final five grinded for over an hour until the next player was eliminated. Petrangelo opened in the cutoff with the [poker card="jc"][poker card="jh"] and, with just 15 big blinds left, Stevens three-bet shoved his [poker card="as"][poker card="9s"] from the small blind. Petrangelo made the call and the board ran out [poker card="qc"][poker card="tc"][poker card="4d"][poker card="6s"][poker card="9h"] giving the pot to Petrangelo’s pocket jacks. Stevens hit the rail in fifth place and added another $150,112 to his over $13.3 million in career online earnings. In his 32nd appearance in the GGPoker Super MILLION$, Lithuanian pro Laurynas Levinskas was guaranteed his best Super MILLION$ finish once play reached four-handed. From the cutoff, Levinskas shipped his final seven big blinds with [poker card="3s"][poker card="3h"]. Zhang came over the top holding [poker card="ah"][poker card="ts"]. The flop came [poker card="kd"][poker card="qd"][poker card="8s"] keeping Levinskas in front but providing some extra straight outs to Zhang. The turn was the [poker card="4h"] but it was the [poker card="ad"] river that ended Levinskas’ run this week. Levinskas finished in fourth place for $194,671 bringing his Super MILLION$ earnings up over $627,000. With just three left, Zhang held a two-to-one chip advantage on both Rolle and Petrangelo. Petrangelo made his move, looking to do something about that when he opened from the button holding [poker card="qd"][poker card="jd"]. Zhang, from the big blind, made the call with his [poker card="ks"][poker card="tc"]. Zhang hit top pair on the [poker card="kc"][poker card="7s"][poker card="3c"] flop and checked it over to Petrangelo who put in a bet. Zhang called and the [poker card="9d"] peeled off on the turn. Zhang checked again, Petrangelo fired big again. Zhang made the call. Zhang checked for the third time, and with just 13 big blinds left Petrangelo emptied the chip and fired the third barrel, leaving himself less than one big blind behind. Zhang went into his timebank but ultimately found a call taking the hand down with top pair. Petrangelo was left with next-to-nothing but managed to double up over the next few hands. Ultimately, he went broke four hands later when his [poker card="qd"][poker card="5d"] fell to Zhang’s [poker card="ad"][poker card="2h"]. Petrangelo finished in third place for $252,457. With a nearly four-to-one and momentum on his side, it looked like Zhang was about to pull out his first victory in just his third-ever GGPoker Super MILLION$ appearance. But Rolle steadily chipped up, found a double, evened the stacks, and eventually took the lead. Rolle kept the pressure on and while Zhang made some moves of his own, the cards continued to fall Rolle’s way. All the chips made it into the middle when Rolle called on the button with the [poker card="ac"][poker card="6c"] and Zhang moved all-in for roughly 15 big blinds with the [poker card="qd"][poker card="th"]. Rolle called and the [poker card="ad"][poker card="kd"][poker card="8s"] flop put him in the lead right away. Zhang picked up gutshot straight outs along with his backdoor flush possibilities. The [poker card="qc"] killed his flush outs but added two pair possibilities. It was not to be though as the [poker card="kc"] completed the board sending the accomplished Zhang out in second place for $327,396. Super MILLION$ Final Table Results (2/2) 1. Benjamin Rolle - $424,581 2. Michael Zhang - $327,396 3. Nick Petrangelo - $252,457 4. Laurynas Levinskas - $194,671 5. Bert Stevens - $150,112 6. ‘WatWudHaraldSDo’ - $115,752 7. ‘U LOSSER’ - $89,257 8. Andrii Novak - $68,827 9. Aliaksei Boika - $53,073
  4. When the 2020 World Series of Poker was forced to move online because of the global coronavirus pandemic, a number of the tournaments that WSOP officials had given a brand name over the years came with it. The Millionaire Maker, Colossus and Sunday night's event, The Marathon, were meant to give poker players a sense of familiarity with the events. Some 14 hours after it began, Nick Maimone beat out 1,437 other players to win Event #69 ($1,500 Marathon) for his first career bracelet and a little over $300,000. One of online poker's quietest superstars had a short-lived visit to the final table. Bert Stevens, better known to his fans and followers as 'GirafGanger' shoved his last 2,070,036 into the middle from the cutoff and Nikolay Motsenko called from the small blind. Stevens showed [poker card="kh"][poker card="qs"] but got bad news when Mostenko tabled [poker card="ad"][poker card="as"]. The [poker card="td"][poker card="7c"][poker card="2h"] flop was made purely of bricks for Stevens. The [poker card="jc"] turn gave him some straight outs but the [poker card="5s"] completed the board an ended Stevens' run in ninth place. Another 20 minutes past before another player was eliminated and once again it was Motsenko doing the work. Action folded to Motsenko in the small blind and he raised to 400,000. Canada's Erik Lemarquand called from the big blind. The flop came [poker card="9c"][poker card="5h"][poker card="3c"] and Motsenko bet 316,800 before Lemarquand clicked back to 1,008,000 an Motsenko moved all in for 8,309,831. Lemarquand called all in and showed [poker card="ts"][poker card="9s"] for top pair but Motsenko once again had a premium hand, tabling [poker card="kh"][poker card="ks"]. Neither the [poker card="ah"] turn or [poker card="6c"] river were any help for Lemarquand and he was eliminated in eighth. Seven-handed play carried on for more than 30 minutes before one of two Brazilian players at the final table got an earlier than expected exit. Ermo Kosk raised to 420,000 from UTG and Murilo Nascimento moved all in for 1,724,680. Kosk called and showed [poker card="th"][poker card="8h"] and Nascimento tabled [poker card="qc"][poker card="qd"]. The [poker card="kd"][poker card="qh"][poker card="jh"] flop gave Nascimento middle set but left Kosk with flush and straight out. The [poker card="ac"] turn completed Broadway for Kosk and Nascimento was unable to make a full house on the [poker card="7s"] turn and the Brazilian was out in seventh place. Despite picking up that pot to move into the chip lead, Kosk didn't get to see much more action. Just 15 minutes after sending Nascimento to the rail, Kosk joined him. Down to just four big blinds, Kosk jammed from the small blind and Nick Maimone defended the big. Kosk showed [poker card="qh"][poker card="7c"] but Maimone had him in a world of hurt after showing [poker card="kh"][poker card="ks"]. The [poker card="qs"][poker card="js"][poker card="5d"] flop allowed Kosk some hope with top pair but the [poker card="3s"] and [poker card="6h"] completed the board to eliminate Kosk in sixth place. The deep stacks continued to make for longer stretches between eliminations. A battle of the blinds lead to the next elimination. Sebastian Sikorski moved all in from the small blind for 4,258,614 Diego Bittar called from the big. Sikorski showed [poker card="ad"][poker card="2d"] but found his hand dominated by Bittar's [poker card="ah"][poker card="kh"]. The [poker card="th"][poker card="6c"][poker card="6h"] flop only made things forse for Sikorski. Neither the [poker card="9s"] turn or [poker card="7c"] river was able to save the former #1-ranked PocketFiver from busting in fifth. Maimoine was the player in charge of the next bustout. From UTG, Bittar raised to 480,000. Maimone re-raised to 1,080,000 from the small blind before Motsenko moved all in for 3,426,101. Bittar got out of the way but Maimone called and showed [poker card="qc"][poker card="qh"]. Motsenko showed [poker card="ah"][poker card="jd"]. The board ran out [poker card="tc"][poker card="6s"][poker card="3h"][poker card="2h"][poker card="8d"] to eliminate Motsenko in fourth place. Maimone was the executioner on the next elimination as well, but he had to wait more than 30 minutes. During that time he had the shortest stack before doubling through Giovani Torre. Five minutes later, Bittar folded the button and Maimone moved all in for 14,978,646 and Torre called off from the big blind. Maimone was behind with [poker card="qs"][poker card="6h"] to Torre's [poker card="kd"][poker card="9s"] but the [poker card="qc"][poker card="4d"][poker card="4s"] flop changed that. Torre could only watch as the [poker card="8h"] and [poker card="as"] completed the board to seal his third place result. Maimone had a three big blind lead when heads up play began and it took 25 minutes of heads up play for him to eliminate Bittar. On the final hand, Bittar called from the small blind and Maimone moved all in from the big. Bittar called off his last 8,514,472 and showed [poker card="ac"][poker card="5d"] while Maimone tabled [poker card="ks"][poker card="8h"]. The [poker card="kh"][poker card="th"][poker card="6d"] flop put Maimone in the pole position and he stayed there through the [poker card="6s"] turn and [poker card="jd"] river to prevent Bittar from becoming the fourth Brazilian to win a WSOP bracelet this year while capturing the first of his career. Final Table Payouts Nick Maimone - $302,471.86 + WSOP Europe Package Diego Bittar - $228,211.58 Giovani Torre -$165,613.12 Nikolay Motsenko - $120,185.51 Sebastian Sikorski - $87,218.79 Ermo Kosk - $63,294.75 Murilo Nascimento - $45,933.13 Erik Lemarquand - $33,332.52 Bert Stevens - $24,190.21
  5. The four-day World Poker Tour $10,000 Main Event Championship on partypoker came to a conclusion on Wednesday as the UK’s Phillip Mighall outlasted the 1,011 player field to claim his first WPT title and a career-high cash of $1,550,298.47. Even though Mighall started the final table with a comfortable stack, sitting second in chips, his path to victory was certainly not an easy one. He faced serious competition in the final nine players including World Series of Poker final tablist and Day 3 chip leader Damian Salas, Team partypoker pro Dzimitry Urbanovich, and renowned high-stakes online poker grinder Bert ‘Girafganger7’ Stevens. But Mighall leaned on his years of online poker experience, which has brought him more than $3.1 million in lifetime online earnings, and grinded out the over six-hour long final table to capture that signature victory years in the making. Roughly twenty minutes into the final table the first major confrontation took place. After an early position raise from Salas, Laszlo Molnar three-bet half his short stack with [poker card="ad"][poker card="jc"]. From the button, Brazil’s Victor Simonato put in the four-bet holding [poker card="js"][poker card="jd"] which allowed Salas to fold when it came back around to him. Molnar then stuck the rest of his stack in the middle to put his tournament on the line and Simonato made the quick call. The board ran out [poker card="qd"][poker card="3d"][poker card="2h"][poker card="3c"][poker card="th"] sending Molnar home in ninth for $127,386. The next elimination took place just a few hands later as Tuen Mulder opened from under the gun with [poker card="ad"][poker card="qs"] and then from the small blind, Simonato put in a three-bet with [poker card="qd"][poker card="qh"]. Finland’s Akseli Paalanen then four-bet shoved over 40 big blinds with [poker card="as"][poker card="ks"] which brought a fold from Mulder. After some thought, Simionato made the call. The flop came [poker card="th"][poker card="8h"][poker card="2d"] keeping the pocket queens in the lead. The [poker card="9s"] turn and the [poker card="9d"] river didn’t help Paalanen’s ace-king and he was eliminated in eighth place for $153,672. After having climbed two spots on the payout ladder, Bert Stevens open-shoved his final fifteen big blinds from the small blind with [poker card="qc"][poker card="th"]. Russia’s Blaz Zerjav made the call in the big blind with [poker card="as"][poker card="5h"]. The [poker card="7s"][poker card="4h"][poker card="9s"] flop opened the door for Stevens to pick up some additional outs on the turn. The [poker card="9s"] was not one of them and when the [poker card="8d"] fell on the river, the online legend Stevens exited in seventh place and added $194,112 to his nearly $10 million in career online earnings. Play slowed down at six-handed over the next hour and it took a bit of a cooler to send the next player to the rail. Salas opened under the gun with [poker card="7d"][poker card="7s"] and it folded around to Mulder on the button who called with [aq][poker card="qd"]. From the big blind, Urbanovich three-bet off his fifteen big blind stack with [poker card="ah"][poker card="kc"]. Salas folded the pocket pair, but Mulder four-bet enough to put Urbanovich at risk. Urbanovich made the call with the dominating hand but was quickly an underdog on the [poker card="qh"][poker card="8d"][poker card="9h"] flop. The [poker card="5h"] brought flush outs for the partypoker pro but he missed with the [poker card="jc"] river. Urbanovich was out in sixth place for $277,014. Roughly fourth-five minutes later, Zerjav completed the small blind with [poker card="ac"][poker card="3s"] and the called Simonato who raised the big blind with [poker card="qc"][poker card="jc"]. The pair saw a flop of [poker card="9c"][poker card="2c"][poker card="5h"]. Zerjav check-called a bet from Simonato. The [poker card="kh"] turn elicited another check from Zerjav and Simonato continued his story with another larger bet, which Zerjav called. The [poker card="4h"] river brought Zerjav a straight, which he checked over to Simonato who continued his bluff by firing a third bullet. Zerjav made the easy call and crippled Simonato, leaving him with less than a big blind. Simonato, who won his way into the tournament on a $22 satellite, exited the very next hand in fifth place for $391,257. The final four players grinded for nearly three hours before Zerjav was forced to make his move. He open-shoved his final fourteen big blinds from the button holding [poker card="6h"][poker card="6s"] right into Mighall’s [poker card="ks"][poker card="kc"] in the big blind. The [poker card="kh"][poker card="js"][poker card="4s"] flop gave Mighall top set and left Zerjav looking for serious help. The [poker card="9s"] turn left Zerjav drawing dead to the [poker card="qh"] river and the Russian fell in fourth place earning $552,006. Salas raised his three-handed button with [poker card="ks"][poker card="qs"] only to be shoved on by chip leader Mighall with [poker card="3d"][poker card="3s"]. Salas made the call and found he was flipping for his tournament life. The [poker card="ah"][poker card="kh"][poker card="7s"] flop looked good for Salas and the [poker card="qc"] turn looked even better. However, Salas couldn’t fade Mighall’s two-outer as the [poker card="3c"] hit the river, giving Mighall a set and eliminating Salas in third place for $814,663.80. Mighall and Mulder negotiated a deal during heads-up play that locked up career-high cashes of $1,396,968 for Mulder and $1,450,298 for Mighall but still left $100,000 on the table to play for. The thirty minute heads up match saw Mulder strip the chip lead from Mighall for a short period of time but back to back hands swung the match back in favor to Mighall, including the final hand which was a wild one. On the button, Mulder raised with [poker card="ac"][poker card="as"] only to be three-bet by Mighall holding [poker card="ts"][poker card="7d"]. Mulder opted to flat the three-bet and the pair saw a [poker card="ad"][poker card="jh"][poker card="9s"] flop. Mighall led the flop for half-pot and Mulder put in another call with his top set, leaving himself less than a pot bet behind. The action [poker card="8h"] hit the turn bringing in Mighall’s gutshot straight draw. Mighall shoved his straight, Mulder called and needed the board to pair. It didn’t as the [poker card="2s"] hit the river ending Mulder’s tournament in second place. Phillip Mighall ended the night with a score of more than $1.55 million, his first WPT title, a seat to the WPT Tournament of Champions, and his name to be enshrined on the WPT Mike Sexton Champions Cup. Final Table Payouts Phillip Mighall - $1,550,298.47* Tuen Mulder - $1,396,968.73* Damian Salas - $814,663.80 Blaz Zerjav - $552,006 Victor Simionato - $391,257 Dzmitry Urbanovich - $277,014 Bert Stevens - $194,112 Akseli Paalanen - $153,672 Laszlo Molnar - $127,386
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