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  1. The year 2008 was a turning point in the history of the World Series of Poker, as it was the first in which the final table of the Main Event was delayed until November. The winner of that year's WSOP Main Event was Peter Eastgate, who nabbed a first prize of over $9 million. The runner-up in a fantastic heads-up match was Russia's Ivan Demidov (pictured), who despite likely being disappointed that he came up one spot short of the bracelet, received a consolation prize of $5.8 million. Or did he? --- Tournament Poker Edgeis the only poker training site dedicated exclusively to MTTs and features over 1,000 training videos, blogs, articles, podcasts and a dedicated strategy forum for members. Check Tournament Poker Edge out on Twitter. --- According to an interview with All In Magazine, Demidov never received his windfall. It does not appear that it was the fault of Caesars or the World Series of Poker, though, but rather a raw deal with a backer. Demidov did not give any details as to the situation, simply saying, "That second place has changed my life completely, but not because of the money I won, as I haven't received any. That's a long and dark story, but basically my backer did not pay me and I ended up not getting any prize money." He mentioned the problems in an article in Poker Player Magazine in August 2009, but again did not say exactly what the conflict was with his backer. He did give some insight into the staking arrangement, though. As he was climbing the online poker ranks in 2007, he impressed a high-stakes Russian poker player who offered to back Demidov. In the deal,the backer would pay for all expenses and receive an 80% cut of Demidov's winnings in return. Not the best deal for Demidov, by any means, but as he said, "It's probably worse than average, but in Russia you either take this deal or have no deal at all. I always dreamed of going to Las Vegas to play in those big events. so I said yes straight away." In his first trip to Las Vegas in 2007, he lost $150,000 of his sponsor's money and proceeded to take a break from poker for several months. He figured that was the end of the staking deal, but when he was ready to play again, the unnamed benefactor called him up and told him to get ready to play in the 2008 WSOP. Demidov still didn't do well at the WSOP, winning only $40,000 in the events leading up to the Main Event, but of course his fortunes turned dramatically in the big one. In the article, he again said that he was having problems with his backer, but at that point, he probably didn't expect the issues to last as long as they had. Demidov was the man of the end of 2008, as he also finished third in the WSOP Europe Main Event, cashing for over $600,000. Of course, he was probably in that same staking arrangement, since the WSOP Europe took place before the November Nine. Fast-forward to today and despite not having seen any of his winnings from the 2008 WSOP Main Event, Demidov appears happy. "I was contracted by PokerStarsand was able to open a popular website in Russia, all that thanks to my second place finish," he told All In. "That gave me the bankroll and freedom to play what I want and to do what I want. And that's what I always dreamed of." Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  2. In the 2008 World Series of Poker Main Event, Russian grinder Ivan Demidov (pictured) battled his way through 6,843 entrants to take second place after being bested by Peter Eastgate in a lively heads-up match. For the win, Eastgate took home $9.1 million, leaving Demidov with a consolation prize of $5.8 million. But in a recent interview, the Russian poker pro claimed he never saw one cent of the seven-figure prize, as his backer would not pay him. --- Tournament Poker Edgeis the only poker training site dedicated exclusively to MTTs and features over 1,000 training videos, blogs, articles, podcasts and a dedicated strategy forum for members. Check Tournament Poker Edge out on Twitter. --- That backer has been revealed as Russian gambler Sergey Rybachenko (pictured below), who has a penchant for playing the highest poker games around. "I used to play for huge stakes," he told CalvinAyre in an interview. "A few years ago when I sponsored all the Russians when Ivan Demidov got second place in the Main Event, I was his sponsor, but then I almost went broke. I am on my way back now… but these are not like games I used to play in before." His statement seemingly reveals that Demidov's WSOP payout was used essentially as Rybachenko's bankroll, which he promptly lost in ultra-high-stakes games. After a growing 2+2 thread filled with speculation, Demidov turned up to set the record straight. "The 'I didn't get my WSOP money' is true; however, it was taken out of context," he said. "Sergey still owes me money, but we have settled it down a long time ago. He is slowly repaying me and we are still friends." In fact, for a man who was shorted $5.8 million, Demidov is doing surprisingly well. In an interview with All In magazine, he talked about an ambitious startup he founded called Yaliny, which he hopes will be able to offer "global mobile service" for about $10 a month using low Earth orbit satellites. While he never received his full WSOP prize money, Demidov was able to capitalize on the win in a different way. "I was contracted by PokerStars and was able to open a popular website in Russia, all that thanks to my second place finish," he said. "That gave me the bankroll and freedom to play what I want and to do what I want. And that's what I've always dreamed of." The Russian entrepreneur is still involved in poker and plans to play in several WSOP events this year, but the events following his 2008 second place finish will likely continue to affect him. "That second place has changed my life completely, but not because of the money I won, as I haven't received any," he said. "That's a long dark story." Stay tuned to PocketFives for the latest WSOP coverage, brought to you by Tournament Poker Edge. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  3. [caption width="640"] Russian players continue to pile up impressive numbers with 'veeea' leading the way.[/caption] Even before Ivan Demidov made the 2008 World Series of Poker Main Event final table, Russia was a burgeoning poker powerhouse. That has translated to the online game where a few of the nation’s finest have been in and currently reside inside the PocketFives worldwide top-10. Without further adieu, PocketFives is proud to introduce the first edition of the Russian rankings. Former worldwide #1 and current #5 ‘veeea’ leads the Russians with nearly 700 points standing between them and second place. ‘Veeea’ won WCOOP Event #6 ($1,050 Progressive KO $750K GTD) for $97,389 and 781.34 points and has gradually added to that total since. Among other cashes on the resume of ‘veeea’ include WCOOP payouts in the Main Event and a $5,200 side event. Following an October that saw them finish second in PLB points, ‘josef_shvejk’ is #2 in Russia. The largest win for ‘josef_shvejk’ so far in November is a victory in the Big 109. The first place came on November 4 and earned ‘josef_shvejk’ 205.18 points along with over $7,500. Poker is working out well for ‘NoPlanB’ who is third in Russia and #25 worldwide. ‘NoPlanB’ was up as high as third in the world in 2016 and recently moved over the $5 million mark in career earnings. One of those recent scores occurred on October 31 when ‘NoPlanB’ placed third in the PokerStars Bounty Builder High Roller for $10,432. Two players hovering below the 6,000 PLB point mark but holding strong at the fourth and fifth spot, respectively, are ‘hellohellohello’ and‘drupalucker.’ ‘hellohellohello’ gave warm greetings to two first place results last week, which earned them nearly $20,000 in the process. ‘drupalucker’ started their month off well with a win in the PokerStars Big $215, which came with 187.08 PLB points and $7,000. ‘papan9_p$’ stands less than 20 points ahead of ‘Flat’ for the sixth spot on the list. ‘Flat’ ended October with a bang by winning the partypoker High Roller Warm Up to pick up $16,767. ‘papan9_p$’ already has three wins less than two weeks into November. #8 ranked ‘Ti0’ started of November slow but is picking up the pace based on their win in the 888poker $10,000 Tornado on November 7. ‘MiracleQ’ is gradually accumulating points in the low and midstakes events on PokerStars and is currently ranked #56 in the world. Finally, in tenth place is ‘NikolasDLP’ who is holding onto the spot despite not having a cash yet in November. ‘NikolasDLP’ did close out partypoker Powerfest with a second place finish in the Championship event, which gave them over $122,000 and 659.75 points. Russia's Current Top 10 RANKPLAYERPOINTS 1veeea7,436.10 2josef_shvejk6,740.64 3NoPlanB6,496.84 4hellohellohello5,956.35 5drupalucker5,855.99 6papan9_p$5,780.28 7Flat5,560.94 8Ti05,539.06 9MiracleQ5,469.50 10NikolasDLP5,209.84
  4. 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.

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