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  1. It’s another trip at the top of the Online Poker Rankings for UK online pro Patrick ‘pleno1’ Leonard, who, thanks to a dominant end of 2021 and fast start in the New Year, is now enjoying his fifth reign at #1 in the world. For more than a decade, Leonard has honed his skills to become one of the most respected online grinders in the game. He's amassed more than $15 million in lifetime career online tournament earnings as well as spent the past five years as a vocal ambassador for partypoker. In the closing months of 2021, Leonard soared back up the rankings, breaking back into the top 10, crashing the top 5, and settling into the #2 spot. This week, he completed the journey and unseated Brazil’s Pedro ‘pvigar’ Garagnani for the top spot, ending Garagnani’s six-week stint at #1. Leonard’s first time taking control of the Online Poker Rankings was back in August 2014, when he held the position for a short stay of one week. However, it wasn’t long before he was back on top, overtaking Nicholas Fierro in October 2014 for another two-week run. It was nearly five years later that Leonard battled his way back to the top for a week grabbing the lead in September of 2019, and then made his fourth appearance just two months later. Leonard’s latest surge in results gives him the kind of leaderboard points total that could see him having the longest #1 reign of his career to date. Since the beginning of December 2021, Leonard has produced nearly 200 in-the-money finishes for a total of more than $908,000 in total earnings. This included his victory in the December 27 GGPoker $1,050 GGMasters High Roller in which he outlasted 986 entries for a monthly high score of $141,384, the seventh-largest cash of his online career. Along with the cash he also picked up 1000.00 leaderboard points, the critical score he needed to retake the #1 spot. Among his notable results over the past few weeks was his January 5 win in the GGPoker World Series of Poker Online Series $365 GIANT for $46,427 (576.30 points) and the score that kicked off his recent hot streak, a fourth-place finish in the PokerStars $5,200 Titans Event for $75,469 (383.19). He’s had 15 five-figure scores in the past month and 14 outright victories - an outright win rate of just over 7% every time he makes it into the money over this stretch. Leonard has always been a threat when it comes to the Online Poker Rankings, however, as previously noted, his past stints as the worldwide leader have never exceeded two weeks. This time around, thanks to his four leaderboard-qualifying scores this week, he built up a significant point lead over Garagnani. With 11,006 points, Leonard holds a 547 point lead over the #2 spot and 1,211 point lead over Dan ‘SmilleThHero’ Smijkovic who occupies the #3 spot. Of course, anything can happen, but assuming Leonard continues his persistent grind, this may be the time that he not only takes the top spot but retains that ranking for some time. Additional Top 10 Moves This Week In addition to Leonard and Garagnani swapping places in the #1 and #2 spots, Alex Theologis (#4) jumped over Brazil’s Lucio Lima (#5) by just 4 points on the back of a cash in the Natural8 $400 DOUBLE STACK for $3,302 and 109.69 points. Mike ‘SirWatts’ Watson (#8) jumped up six spots this week bouncing back into the Top 10. Watson went one tear at the end of 2021, amassing seven qualifying scores since December 15 including a final table finish in the December 21 edition of the GGPoker Super MILLION$ for $93,080 (544.45) and, more recently, a runner-up finish in the PokerStars Winter Series Event 54-H $1,5050 NLHE for $60,618 (445.03). Watson’s career-high rank is #3 in the world. Ramiro Petrone, recent winner of the partypoker Millions Online Main Event for $859,018, also joined the top 10. It’s not the first time Petrone has entered the top 10, but it’s the first time since leaving and rejoining the rankings earlier in 2021. He jumped 7 spots this week with his most notable cash of the week being his victory in the January 2 Black Chip Poker $200K GTD for $40,449 (590.76). Online Poker Rankings Week of 1/5 [table id=281 /]
  2. It's going to be a happy holiday season for Dario Sammartino who, in his seventh trip to a GGPoker Super MILLION$ final table, took down this week's $10K tournament for his first Super MILLION$ title, a World Series of Poker Circuit gold ring, and the $740,917 first-place prize. Sammartino started the day third in chips, but there was a massive gap between the top two stacks and the rest of the field. Sammartino simply bided his time, held tough through the early levels, and eventually picked up big hands in key spots to position himself to win. It looked like it could be a tight final table, with only one person busting before the first break, but soon enough the knockouts picked up with Sammartino driving the action and amassing a chip lead he rode to the end. But this holiday edition of the Super MILLION$ was no easy gift for Sammartino who was forced to fight past a number of big-name pros including Mike Watson, Francisco Benitez, and previous Super MILLION$ champ David Miscikowski who started the day as the chip leader. Roughly twenty minutes into play, Mike ‘SirWatts’ Watson’s stack evaporated in two consecutive hands. With the blinds at 60,000/120,000 (15,000 ante), Watson and Austria’s ‘Intermecik’ got it all-in with Watson holding the [poker card="ks"][poker card="js"] and ‘Intermecik’ with the [poker card="as"][poker card="qs"]. The board ran out clean for ace-high and Watson was left with just over one big blind. He open-shoved the very next hand with [poker card="ac"][poker card="qd"] and Michel Dattani woke up with [poker card="as"][poker card="ah"] in the small blind. The board ran out [poker card="7s"][poker card="4s"][poker card="5d"][poker card="9d"][poker card="qc"] to end Watson’s day in ninth place for $92,614. Watson was the only elimination before the first break, but with five of the remaining eight players sitting on 20 big blinds or less, the bustouts were right around the corner. Just a few hands after players returned, with the blinds at 80,000/160,000 (20,000 ante) Dattani raised to 1.175 million with the [poker card="qd"][poker card="8d"], leaving himself just 240,000 behind. David Miscikowski picked up [poker card="9h"][poker card="9d"] and shoved over the top pushing Sammartino out of the pot in the big blind. Dattani called off for his remaining chips. The flop came [poker card="ah"][poker card="3c"][poker card="3s"], providing no help to Dattani. When the turn came the [poker card="9c"], Dattani was drawing dead to the [poker card="jh"] river. Miscikowsk scored a full house and Dattani scored $120,106 for his eighth-place finish. On the very next hand, Miscikowski made it 320,000 to go on the button with the [poker card="jc"][poker card="6h"] and ‘Internecik’ defended the big blind holding the [poker card="jd"][poker card="ts"]. The flop came [poker card="jh"][poker card="6d"][poker card="2s"] giving Miscikowsk top two pair and ‘Internecik’ top pair. ‘Internecik’ checked it over and Miscikowski put out a bet of 160,00 which ‘Internecik’ called. The turn was the [poker card="6s"], and once again Miscikowski hit a full house. ‘Internecik’ checked again and Miscikowski bet 422,200. Again, ‘Internecik’ called. The river was the [poker card="2c"], and ‘Internecik’ checked a third time, this time Miscikowski put it all in the middle and after a short tank, ‘Internecik’ called it off, ending their tournament in seventh place for $155,758. Over the next twenty minutes, Sammartino started climbing the leaderboard and into second place. On the other end of the spectrum, ‘TheRayGuy’ slipped to the bottom of the chip counts. The blinds climbed to 125,000/250,000 (30,000 ante) and from UTG+1, ‘TheRayGuy’ shipped their final 960K in the middle with the [poker card="as"][poker card="2s"] and was called by Russia’s ‘fizoka’ in the big blind holding [poker card="th"][poker card="ts"]. The flop came [poker card="js"][poker card="4d"][poker card="2c"], giving ‘TheRayGuy’ a couple more outs with the deuce. But the turn was the [poker card="7d"] and the river came the [poker card="3s"] and ‘TheRayGuy’ hit the rail in sixth place for $201,994. The eliminations picked up with five left but it wasn’t the big stacks just picking on the short stacks. A classic cooler took place to speed things along. Russian ‘Topgrek’ opened to 1.875 million from late position with the [poker card="ad"][poker card="qs"], leaving just 1.3 million behind. Then, Miscikowski flat called from the small blind holding the [poker card="kd"][poker card="kh"]. In the big blind, Sammartino woke up with the [poker card="ah"][poker card="ac"] and shoved all-in for 12.6 million. ‘Topgrek’ made the quick call putting themselves at risk and Miscikowski, who had Sammartino covered by just 2.5 million also called with his pocket kings. The flop came the [poker card="ts"][poker card="7c"][poker card="3h"], not providing any help to the two underdogs. But it was officially all over when the case ace, the [poker card="as"], hit the turn guaranteeing Sammartino the hand and a huge chip lead. The meaningless river was the [poker card="8c"] and ‘Topgrek’ was out in fifth for $261,954 and Miscikowski went from the big stack to the bottom. Moments after the third break, with the new blinds at 150,000/300,000 (35,000 ante), Sammartino was the beneficiary of another cooler. He raised to 660,000 on the button with [poker card="qh"][poker card="qc"] and ‘fizoka’ three-bet shipped from the small blind with the [poker card="jd"][poker card="jc"]. Once again, no drama for Sammartino as the board ran out [poker card="9h"][poker card="8c"][poker card="3c"][poker card="5h"][poker card="2d"] ending the Russian’s run in fourth place, good for $339,712. With three left, Miscikowski was sitting on seven big blinds and needed to make a move. From the small blind, he shipped his 2.1 million with the [poker card="js"][poker card="7h"] into Sammartino in the big blind who snap-called with his [poker card="8d"][poker card="8s"]. The [poker card="th"][poker card="ts"][poker card="2h"] flop kept it clean for Sammartino’s eights which held through the [poker card="9c"] turn and [poker card="qd"] river. Miscikowski settled for a third-place finish and a $440,552 payday while Sammartino took a nearly 9-to-1 chip lead into heads up against Francisco Benitez. Although Benitez found a double-up early on, it took only seven hands or so for Sammartino to close it out. Sammartino limped the button with the [poker card="qd"][poker card="jd"] and Benitez shipped just over 7 million from the big blind with the [poker card="ac"][poker card="7d"]. It took about 10 seconds for Sammartino to call and the pair saw a flop of [poker card="td"][poker card="7c"][poker card="2s"], keeping Benitez in the lead with middle pair. However, the turn was the [poker card="js"] putting Sammartino in the lead. The [poker card="9h"] river sealed the deal for Sammartino, sending Benitez home as the runner-up for $571,325 and awarding Sammartino his first-ever Super MILLION$ title and largest Super MILLION$ score of $740,917. Super MILLION$ Final Table Results (12/21) Dario Sammartino - $740,917 Franciscio Benitez - $571,325 David Miscikowski - $440,552 ‘fizoka’ - $339,712 ‘Topgrek’ - $261,954 ‘TheRayGuy’ - $201,994 ‘Internecik’ - $155,758 Michel Dattani - $120,106 Michael Watson - $92,614
  3. Stop us if you’ve heard this one before. Niklas Astedt, the former worldwide #1-ranked pro and one of the most decorated online poker players in history, captured this week’s GGPoker Super MILLION$ title, the third of his career, and added the $337,599 first-place prize to his more than $22.4 million in career recorded online earnings. Astedt fought through this week’s field of 171 entries to reach a record-extending thirteenth Super MILLION$ final table. A favorite in any field, the winner of the PocketFives #1 NumberOne award was, once again, faced with top-tier competition en route to the win. Newly minted PokerStars pro Benjamin Rolle, Canada’s #1-ranked Mike Watson, 2019 WSOP Main Event finalist Dario Sammartino, and the start of day chip leader Kahle Burns all made the final nine, but in the end, it was Astedt that became just the second player in Super MILLION$ history to record more than two victories. On the very first hand of the final table, with the blinds at 20,000/40,000 (5,000 ante) current worldwide #5-ranked pro Mike Watson opened to 88,000 from the cutoff with [poker card="ac"][poker card="qd"]. After ‘Neel’ called from the button holding [poker card="6s"][poker card="6d"], Astedt three-bet to 332,500 from the small blind. When the action got back to Watson, he moved all-in for just over 1 million in chip and when ‘Neel’ released his hand, Astedt quickly called putting Watson at risk. The flop came [poker card="ts"][poker card="6h"][poker card="2c"], leaving Watson looking for help to survive. The turn was the [poker card="jd"], opening the door for a gutshot straight if he could catch one of the two remaining kings. But the river came the [poker card="9h"] and Watson’s day was over in just one hand as he exited in ninth place for $52,486. While Watson was felted quickly, the rest of the table had a mind to stick around for a while. The eight players passed chips around for more than an hour and twenty minutes before the next player hit the rail. The blinds were up to 35,000/70,000 (8,500 ante) and Dario Sammartino found himself sitting on the short stack with fewer than 10 big blinds left. The action folded to him in the small blind and he shipped all-in for just over 550,000 with [poker card="ks"][poker card="2c"] and Benjamin Rolle, in the big blind, made the call with a dominating [poker card="kd"][poker card="jc"]. The [poker card="8h"][poker card="8c"][poker card="3c"] flop offered Sammartino some chop opportunities to go along with his outs. The turn was the [poker card="kh"], keeping kickers in play. The [poker card="6s"] river was no help to Sammartino and the former 2019 WSOP Main Event final tablist added another $66,235 to his bankroll for an eighth-place finish. After the hand, Rolle, who started the day ninth in chips, has climbed to third overall. With the blinds at 40,000/80,000 (10,000 ante), Eelis Parssinen woke up with [poker card="ac"][poker card="ah"] in the small blind. With the table folding to him, he put in a raise to 200,000 and a short-stacked ‘oldfishing’ decided to defend his big blind with the [poker card="jd"][poker card="8d"]. The [poker card="qd"][poker card="8c"][poker card="3d"] flop gave ‘oldfishing’ a pair and a flush draw and when Parssinen bet 120,000 into him with his aces ‘oldfishing’ went with his hand and moved all-in. Parssinen quickly called and the pair saw a turn of the [poker card="js"], sending ‘oldfishing’s two pair into the lead. However, the river came the [poker card="3h"], giving Parssinen a better two pair and ending ‘oldfishing’s run in seventh place for $83,585. India’s ‘Neel’ found themselves slipping in the chip counts and when the blinds hit 60,000/120,000 (15,000 ante) he was looking for a spot to pick up some chips. When it folded to him in the cutoff, he put in a raise holding [poker card="kc"][poker card="jh"] to 900,000, leaving himself with roughly 5 big blinds behind. On the button, Astedt looked at [poker card="ah"][poker card="ac"] and put in a raise to 2.2 million, more than enough to put everyone left in the hand all-in. The blinds both folded and when it came back to ‘Neel’, he eventually shipped all-in. The flop came [poker card="qd"][poker card="9s"][poker card="8s"], giving ‘Neel’ outs to a gutshot straight. The [poker card="7s"] turn changed nothing and when the [poker card="qs"] river hit, Astedt picked up the healthy pot and increased his chip lead to roughly double the next closest player. ‘Neel’, who won his way into this week’s Super MILLION$ on a $525 satellite, parlayed that seat into a $105,482 payday for his sixth-place finish. After ‘Neel’ departed, Brazil’s Rodrigo Selouan was firmly in last place with roughly six big blinds in his stack. Four hands later, Rolle opened the button to 240,000 with his [poker card="ah"][poker card="ts"] and after Astedt folded his small blind, Selouan defended his big blind with the [poker card="qd"][poker card="4d"]. The [poker card="th"][poker card="4h"][poker card="2s"] flop gave both players a pair and when Selouan checked it over to Rolle, the new PokerStars Pro put in a bet of 120,000. Selouan check-shipped his stack of just over 500,000 and Rolle snap-called. The [poker card="js"] and [poker card="jh"] completed the board sending Selouan out in fifth for $133,113. Six hands later it was Parssinen’s turn to be all-in. During the same level, Astedt opened first-to-act to 240,000 with [poker card="6s"][poker card="6c"]. Four-handed, and on the button, Parssinen three-bet shoved his 14 big blind stack holding [poker card="ac"][poker card="5c"]. When the action returned to Astedt, he made the call and the flop came [poker card="as"][poker card="9s"][poker card="7s"], giving Parssinen top pair but providing Astedt with additional flush outs and backdoor straight outs. The turn was the [poker card="8h"] giving Astedt open-ended straight outs as well. Parssinen couldn’t dodge all of Astedt’s outs as the [poker card="js"] river gave Astedt the flush and the hand. Parssinen, who started the day second in chips, wrapped up in fourth place which was good for $167,983. Three-handed play lasted twenty minutes with start-of-day chip leader Kahle Burns looking up at both Rolle and Astedt, each of which had more than three times his stack. The blinds were up to 80,000/160,000 (20,000 ante) when Burns completed his small blind holding [poker card="9c"][poker card="7d"] and Rolle checked his option in the big blind with [poker card="9s"][poker card="6s"]. The [poker card="kh"][poker card="6c"][poker card="4s"] flop brought a pair for Rolle and the action checked through. The turn was the [poker card="td"] and again, the action went check-check. The [poker card="9h"] hit the river pairing both, but improving Rolle to two pair. Burns led the river for 462,000 and after a few moments, Rolle moved all-in. Burns took just a few seconds before making the call for the rest of his stack and seeing the bad news. Burns took home $211,988 for his third-place finish. Heads-up play between Rolle and Astedt started with Rolle having a 10 big blind chip lead. Astedt quickly clawed back the chip lead and was on the verge of closing it out a number of times until Rolle turned the tides once again. It became an entertaining back and forth affair with both players finding themselves on the brink of elimination multiple times. After Astedt picked off a river bluff attempt by Rolle with the blinds up to 200,000/400,000 (50,000 ante) - one of the longest Super MILLION$ in recent history - Rolle found himself left with fewer than 10 big blinds as Astedt continued to apply maximum pressure. The final hand had Rolle shipping nearly 3 million on the button with [poker card="9d"][poker card="6d"] and Astedt making the quick call in the big blind with his [poker card="kh"][poker card="8d"]. The [poker card="4d"][poker card="3h"][poker card="2d"] flop looked good for Rolle, giving him flush and straight outs to go along with pair possibilities. The turn was the [poker card="as"] and Rolle was left looking for one of his 17 outs. The [poker card="jc"] was not one of them and Rolle, who rose up from the shortest stack at the start of the day, bowed out as the runner-up and collected $267,520. Niklas Astedt picked up $337,559 for his third Super MILLION$ victory. The former worldwide #1-ranked pro joins Michael Addamo as the only two players to win a Super MILLION$ in both Season One and Season Two. Super MILLION$ Final Table Results (8/24) Niklas Astedt - $337,599 Benjamin Rolle - $267,520 Kahle Burns - $211,988 Eelis Parssinen - $167,983 Rodrigo Selouan - $133,113 'Neel' - $105,482 'oldfishing' - $83,585 Dario Sammartino - $66,235 Mike Watson - $52,486
  4. The first Pot Limit Omaha event of the 2021 World Series of Poker Online GGPoker schedule played down to a champion on Sunday with Roland Czika coming out on top of the 975-entry field in Event #10 ($400 Double Chance PLO) to pick up his first piece of WSOP hardware and more than $55,000. The seven players who made the final table battled for just over 15 minutes before one of them was eliminated. From UTG, Lei Yang raised to 200,000 and then called when Stanislav Halatenko three-bet to 750,000 on the button. Both players checked the [poker card="kc"][poker card="qd"][poker card="qs"] flop to see the [poker card="5d"] turn. Yang checked and Halatenko bet 673,375. Yang called and the [poker card="2d"] river completed the board. Yang checked again and Halatenko moved all in for 3,037,266. Yang called and showed [poker card="qc"][poker card="qh"][poker card="th"][poker card="9d"] for flopped quads while Halatenko tabled [poker card="ac"][poker card="as"][poker card="kh"][poker card="8s"] for aces and queens and was eliminated in seventh. It took nearly three-quarters of an hour to go from six players to five. With blinds of 80,000/160,000, Arkadiusz Liszewski raised to 560,000 from the cutoff and Noam Garama chose to defend his big blind. The flop was [poker card="qc"][poker card="6d"][poker card="2h"] and Liszewski moved all in for his last 1,241,589 and Garama called. Liszewski tabled [poker card="ad"][poker card="qh"][poker card="jc"][poker card="7d"] for top pair with an ace kicker while Garama also paired the queen but had kicker problems with [poker card="ks"][poker card="qd"][poker card="tc"][poker card="8d"]. The [poker card="8c"] turn solved those kicker problems and left Liszewski hoping for some help on the river. The [poker card="7s"] river was a complete brick and Liszewski was out in sixth place. It only took 20 minutes to find the next elimination and once again, Garama was the one conducting things. On the button, Garama raised to 500,000 before Mariam Nozadze bumped it up to 1,600,000 from the big blind. Garama called. After the [poker card="jh"][poker card="ts"][poker card="8d"] flop, Nozadze shoved for 2,598,733 and Garama called. Nozadze turned up [poker card="ac"][poker card="ah"][poker card="6c"][poker card="4h"] for a pair oces but Garama was way ahead with a flopped straight thanks to his [poker card="qc"][poker card="jd"][poker card="9d"][poker card="6h"] hole cards. Nozadze turned a set thanks to the [poker card="as"] on fourth street, but the [poker card="3h"] river didn't give her a full house and she was out in fifth. A full hour and 20 minutes passed without any eliminations before Garama got involved again - this time with a different outcome. Blinds were 250,000/500,000 and Garama raised to 1,750,000 and Czika came along from the big blind. The flop came [poker card="jd"][poker card="6s"][poker card="2h"] and Czika bet 2,872,800 and Garama called all in for 1,044,536. Czika showed [poker card="9h"][poker card="8d"][poker card="7d"][poker card="6d"] for a pair of sixes while Garama was drawing with [poker card="qs"][poker card="9c"][poker card="5s"][poker card="3c"]. Czika made two pair on the [poker card="5h"] turn then made a straight on the [poker card="7h"] river to send Garama to the rail in fourth place. That hand propelled Czika into the chip lead. Czika added to his lead 15 minutes later when he took out the most high-profile player at the final table. Czika raised to 1,320,000 from the button and Mike Watson moved all in for his last 2,756,392 in the big blind. Czika called and showed [poker card="ac"][poker card="qd"][poker card="jc"][poker card="3d"] while Watson tabled [poker card="qh"][poker card="td"][poker card="9c"][poker card="8c"]. The board ran out [poker card="5h"][poker card="3h"][poker card="2s"][poker card="jd"][poker card="ah"] to give Czika two pair and send Watson to the rail in third place. When heads up play began, Czika was ahead 3-2 in chips over Yang. Over the next 10 minutes, Czika continued to chip away and eventually found a spot to vanquish his last foe. From the small blind, Czika raised to 1,800,000 and Yang called from the big. Yang checked the [poker card="ts"][poker card="3h"][poker card="2c"] flop and then called when Czika bet 1,200,000. After the [poker card="qs"] turn, Yang moved all in for 3,559,464 and Czika called. Yang showed [poker card="ks"][poker card="9d"][poker card="5d"][poker card="2s"] for a flush and straight draw while Czika made a pair with his [poker card="kc"][poker card="qh"][poker card="9s"][poker card="7h"] holdings. The river was the [poker card="ac"] to miss all of Yang's outs and eliminate him in second place while Czika laid claim to his first-ever WSOP bracelet and $55,369. Final Table Payouts Roland 'Quina Quen' Czika - $55,369 Lei 'A LEI' Yang - $40,033 Mike Watson - $28,944 Noam 'lamalo21' Garama - $20,927 Mariam 'WisdomTree' Nozadze - $15,131 Arkadiusz 'Noksukow' Liszewski - $10,940 Stanislav 'shrekpoker91' Halatenko - $7,910

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