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Over the past 50 years, for many, the World Series of Poker has grown into more than just a poker series. It’s become a pilgrimage of sorts. Players from all over the world head to Las Vegas to take their shot at battling against the best, bringing home a bracelet and possibly be crowned a World Champion. With the WSOP regularly taking place in the U.S., it’s no surprise that American players, far and away, have amassed the most bracelets in WSOP history. It’s nearly 20 times that of the next nearest country. But this year is different and the tables have turned. After the month of July, the focus of the bracelet chase will be handed over to GGPoker where the rest of the world will have the edge on grabbing gold as American players continue to be shut out of the global online poker scene. On GGPoker, players from nations from around the world who wouldn’t otherwise make it to the Rio this summer will be looking to add to their own poker resume while contributing to the WSOP legacy of their country. Brazil It’s no secret Brazilians love their poker. They also love playing online. In the history of PocketFives, four Brazilian players have climbed to the #1 worldwide ranking. But when it comes to the World Series of Poker, Brazil isn’t even in the top 10 countries when it comes to taking down WSOP events. Through the end of 2019, six players have earned a bracelet including one of those former #1-ranked online players, Yuri Martins Dzivielevski. Dzivielevski grabbed his first WSOP win just last year after taking down the $2,500 Mixed Omaha/Seven Card Stud Hi/Li 8 or Better event for over $213K. Dzivielevski, partypoker ambassador Joao Simeo, WSOP bracelet winner Andre Akkari, and GGPoker ambassador Felipe Ramos are just some of Brazil's top-flight talent that make it so it wouldn’t be unthinkable for Brazil’s total bracelet count to double in 2020. Canada The truth is, it’s been hard for Canada to compete for bracelets in the U.S. Not because of a lack of talent, there’s more than enough. But because of tax ramifications. When Canadians win at the WSOP they can lose as much as 30% to the US-Canada Tax Treaty, making it hard to be profitable in tournaments. That hasn’t stopped Canada from claiming the #2 spot with 60 total bracelets. Led by Daniel Negreanu and his six wins, Canada boasts numerous multi-time bracelet winners including Greg Mueller, Mark Radoja, Kristen Bicknell and 2010 World Series of Poker Main Event champion Jonathan Duhamel, the first and only Canadian to hold that title. There’s a good chance for Canada to add to their legacy and strengthen their bracelet count in 2020. It’s well known that Negreanu, also a GGPoker ambassador, is going to charging hard for a bracelet with over $500,000 in bracelet bets on the line. Also online crushers like Bicknell, bracelet winner Mike Leah, former #1-ranked PocketFiver Sebastian ‘p0cket00’ Sikorski, and recent PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker winner Mike Watson all have full reign to win without getting punished in the wallet simply for being great. United Kingdom Some of the most colorful characters to grace the World Series of Poker stage have come from the UK. Many of which have contributed to the country’s 51 bracelets. David ‘Devilfish’ Ulliott, Luke Schwartz, Roland de Wolfe, Jake Cody, and Barny Boatman are just some of the legendary names that have posed for a WSOP winner’s photo and elevated the profile of poker in the UK. This year it will be a new crop of players who will lead the charge for England starting with the current #1 ranked online poker player in the world, Conor ‘1_conor_b_1’ Beresford. In fact, four of the top 20 online players in the world play from the UK including Patrick ‘pleno1’ Leonard and Tyler ‘Wonderboy222’ Goatcher. In the history of the UK, only seven players have earned multiple bracelets and if there’s one player who is a favorite to join that club it would be high roller savant Stephen Chidwick. Chidwick, who holds a bracelet of his own, is one of the most talented tournament players in both the live and online arena. Provided he has the time, he could even have a shot at catching Benny Glaser, who holds the UK’s record as a three-time bracelet winner. Russia Russia and France both have 22 bracelets, but when it comes to playing online Russia gets a definitive edge. It’s impossible to forget the impact that Russian players have had on the World Series of Poker from Ivan Demidov’s runner-up finish the original November Nine for over $5.8 million to Vitaly Lunkin taking down the 40th WSOP Anniversary event for his second gold bracelet. But while Russia is another talent-rich country, it takes a lot of effort to make it from Moscow to the middle of the Amazon Room. While Dennis ‘aDrENalin710’ Strebkov made the journey in 2019 and went home with a bracelet, many of the online crushers from Russia opt to grind online through the summer. It’s those players, like former #1-ranked ‘veeea’, who could break the tie with France this year and tack on to Russia’s total. That is unless Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier has anything to say about it. The truth is that for many countries, the series on GGPoker can really impact their gold bracelet standing. In China, there are four players who have won a bracelet. With GGPoker’s wide exposure to the Asian market, there’s a very good chance that that club will be adding some new members in 2020. There’s only one bracelet winner from Uruguay, Alex Komaromi, who won his at the WSOPE in 2015. Top-ranked players from Hungary, like ‘Wildace_hun’ have the chance to break a long-standing five-country tie of five bracelets. While none of these countries are going to make up much ground on the 1,1132 bracelets earned by Americans, the gold they take home this summer will be an important part of WSOP, and their countries, legacy in poker.
According to posts on his Facebook page and comments made in a thread on Two Plus Two, veteran poker pro David "Devilfish" Ulliott (pictured) has colon cancer and may have a short time to live. As one person who claimed to be close to the situation commented, "Ulliott has colon cancer (maybe more) and indications suggest it is terminal. I do not know how long they have known about the cancer, but I was told his health decline was a quick one. 'Only has days left' is how one source put it." Posts on Ulliott's Facebook page by family members seem to confirm the story. For example, Ulliott's nephew posted, "He is very much alive and we/his family are struggling." Ulliott, who calls the UK home, started a poker boom of sorts in his home nation and was one of the first poker players this author was exposed to when he began following the game a dozen years ago. As a poster on Two Plus Two put it, "Devilfish is a real legend of UK poker. Absolutely bossed the early Channel 4 'Late Night Poker' days from 1999 to 2003, helping fuel the poker boom over here big time." On Sunday, WPT host Mike Sexton re-Tweeted that Ulliott was "still very much alive" and added that "Rob Yong is [sitting]with him now." Around the same time, David Plastik Tweeted, "Hang in there my friend David 'Devilfish' Ulliott. Poker will not be the same without your mumbling jokes at the table." Ulliott won the first ever WPT World Poker Open in Tunica in 2003 for $589,000 and reached the final table of the Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic in 2007 for almost $700,000. He has $6.2 million in career live tournament winnings, according to the Hendon Mob, good for #2 on the all-time money list for England and #82 worldwide. He won a WSOP bracelet in 1997. Plenty of players wished Devilfish the best on Twitter, Facebook, and Two Plus Two and we definitely want to do the same. We wish this poker legend and his family the best during this difficult time. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
On Monday, David "Devilfish" Ulliott (pictured) lost his battle with colon cancer. One of the true faces of the poker community, he will be missed. Accordingly, our industry mourned his loss, with a variety of high-profile pros extending their sympathies to Ulliott's family and thanking "Devilfish" for the memories. He was 61. UK poker pros were among those commenting the most, with Sam Trickett saying on Twitter, "RIP Dave Ulliott. A great guy and a good friend. He will be missed." Toby 810ofclubs Lewis added, "RIP Dave, always putting smiles on faces. Knew my name for 10 years, called me 'kid' every time." Bluff Magazine's Lance Bradley wrote on Twitter, "Saddened to hear that Devilfish passed away. Truly a unique spirit." JP MavFish Kelly, referring to the UK television show "Late Night Poker," said of Ulliott, "Sad to hear about Devilfish. LNP was what first got me into poker." David Williams said, "Deeply saddened to hear about the passing of a legend, @devilfish2011. RIP friend," while PocketFiver Shannon ShannonShorrShorr wrote on Twitter, "RIP Devilfish. Talk about an entertaining poker player." WPT host Mike Sexton appropriately called Ulliott a "legend." Besides being a staple of "Late Night Poker," Ulliott ranked #2 all-time on the live tournament money list for England, according to the Hendon Mob, and can be found at #81 in the world. Ulliott, whose birthday was last Wednesday, won the WPT Season I World Poker Open in Tunica for $589,000, one of two WPT final tables to his credit. He has $1.7 million in winnings across 33 in the money finishes in WSOP events, including a bracelet. He has $6.2 million in live winnings, according to the Hendon Mob, dating back to 1993. Ulliott was one of the first pro poker players this author was ever exposed to. Here's a fun memory of him playing a guitar and a WSOP Europe satellite at the same time: We wish his family the best during this difficult time and thank Ulliott for all of his contributions to the game over the years. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.