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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.
In a case going through the court system in London, a businessman is accusing two poker players, Josh Gould and live Triple Crown winner Roland de Wolfe (pictured), of colluding against him over a three-year timespan. --- PocketFives' news coverage is brought to you by Betsafe, one of the leading suppliers of online gaming products worldwide and a major sponsor of Gumball 3000. Sign up now for great bonuses, €3,000,000 guaranteed monthly, and plenty of live events! --- The accusations come as a result of a £10 million lawsuit that Dubai investorIraj Parvizi has filed against Les Ambassadeurs casino in London. This lawsuit follows one filed by the casino against Parvizi, who allegedly canceled checks to the casino to cover approximately £185,000 in losses. As a part of his counter-suit, Parvizi has issued claims of collusion against Gould and de Wolfe, saying that the duo worked as a team against him. Parvizi is pulling all the stops out when it comes to attempting to prove his case. He has hired Richard Marcus, who has made a career as an author of several books regarding cheating different games in a casino. After viewing the archival footage of the game in question that included Parvizi, Gould, and de Wolfe, Marcus issued his opinions in an affidavit filed with the court. The game that Parvizi played in, Marcus stated in the document, was "utterly corrupted by collusion on the part of Gould and de Wolfe. I will not even concede to a small probability that this poker game was fair and above board." For their part, Gould and de Wolfe have remained silent on the issue, but Les Ambassadeurs is vehemently fighting the charges. If there were collusion going on, the casino stated, they were unaware of the actions. Regardless, under the view of the casino, the allegations made by Parvizi are "embarrassing" for the businessman. Other players who were involved with the game in question seem to back the casino, Gould, and de Wolfe. Under the condition of anonymity, one player said Parvizi's claims were "ridiculous." "No one would need to cheat to beat Iraj," the player stated to the London Daily Mail. "We're professionals and he's terrible, so it's like Brazil versus San Marino in football." Noting that Parvizi's losses for that night in question were "nothing" for a professional, the unidentified player finished by saying, "As a professional player, you sometimes need credit and you rely on your reputation. I'd rather lose than collude." Gould has built a middling career in tournament poker around England and Europe with about a dozen cashes, according to the Hendon Mob database. His biggest score came at the Monte Carlo Poker Masters in 2008, where he finished in eighth place in a €2,500 No Limit Hold'em tournament. He also has one cash on his resume from the European Poker Tour in the same year, when he finished in 24th place in the Main Event of the Polish Open. De Wolfe's resume is much grander than Gould's. He is ranked third in all-time tournament earnings for English players with more than $5.3 million in career winnings. In 2005, he captured the title at the World Poker Tour Rendezvous a Paris for almost $575,000 and finished in third place at the 2006 WPT Championship for his largest career score of $1,205,205. Later in 2006, de Wolfe won the EPT Irish Masters for another six-figure cash. He completed poker's Triple Crown in 2009 with a victory in a $5,000 Pot Limit Omaha Hi/Lo event at the World Series of Poker. Earlier this year, there were similar charges of such collusion, but it wasn't in a cash game setting in a casino. Several of the participants who play in High Roller and Super High Roller tournaments around the world discussed how professionals would sometimes "soft play" each other and wait until the time was right to take out a wealthy businessman rather than each other. Although the discussion was heated at times, no accusations against any specific players came to light and the issue quietly died off. Both lawsuits are currently under review in the English court system.