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  1. With the 2021 GGPoker Super MILLION$ Week coming to a close, the online operator rolled out a special Main Event edition of its weekly $10,000 buy-in Super MILLION$ tournament by giving it a massive $10 million guarantee. It turned out that it was also a special week for the UK’s Ben Ward who battled through the field of 976 entries, went into the final table as the chip leader, and took down the tournament and its $1,242,332 first-place prize. It’s not just a career-high score for Ward, who had no previous results in the Super MILLION$, but likely a life-changing one. According to GGPoker, Ward had a total of just over $23,000 in total earnings on the site and his recorded live results total just $101. As a cash game player, Ward faced down some serious competition at what was one of GGPoker's biggest tournaments of 2021. Joining Ward at the final table was the 2019 World Series of Poker Main Event champion (and previous GGPoker Super MILLION$ winner) Alexandros Kolonias, WSOP bracelet winner Shankar Pillai, and high-roller tournament specialist Thomas Muehloecker. With just eight players remaining and so much money up top, it was slow going for the first hour or so. Eventually, the first player fell when after Kolonias opened in late position, France's Benjamin Chalot three-bet behind him holding [poker card="as"][poker card="td"]. Muehloecker then put in a four-bet holding [poker card="th"][poker card="tc"]. When it folded back to Chalot, he made the call with his tournament on the line. The board ran out [poker card="9s"][poker card="6h"][poker card="6c"][poker card="qd"][poker card="jd"], keeping Muehloecker’s pocket tens out front and sending Chalot to the rail in eighth place for $299,366. Twenty minutes later Muehloecker was involved yet again. He raised the button with the [poker card="ac"][poker card="ks"] and then Ward three-bet from the small blind holding [poker card="qs"][poker card="qh"]. Muehloecker four-bet shoved his stack and Ward, having him covered, made the call. The flop came [poker card="ts"][poker card="9s"][poker card="5c"], keeping the pocket queens ahead. The [poker card="jc"] hit the turn, swapping some outs for Muehloecker. The river was the [poker card="js"], ending Muehloecker’s run in seventh place for $366,078 and giving Ward a massive chip lead headed into six-handed play. Another forty minutes passed when a short-stacked Krasimir Yankov from Bulgaria put in a raise in late position with the [poker card="ks"][poker card="jd"]. Kolonias, who was second in chips, moved all-in holding the [poker card="7h"][poker card="7d"] and when the action returned to Yankov, he put in the rest of his chips. The [poker card="ah"][poker card="9s"][poker card="3s"][poker card="2h"][poker card="6s"] run out was of no help for Yankov who was eliminated in sixth place and took home $446,657. Kononias continued to accumulate even more chips. When Pillai shipped his under ten big blind stack with [poker card="2s"][poker card="2h"], Kolonias made the quick call with his [poker card="9s"][poker card="9d"]. The flop came [poker card="qh"][poker card="jd"][poker card="8h"] and when the [poker card="td"] hit the turn, Kolonias made a straight leaving Pillai drawing dead to the [poker card="3h"] river. Two-time WSOP bracelet winner Pillai picked up $547,414 for fifth place. Minutes later, Kolonias was at it again. In a battle of the blinds, Kolonias open-shipped his stack holding [poker card="qd"][poker card="ts"] and Germany's 'Weizen’ made the call in the big blind with his [poker card="jd"][poker card="jc"]. The flop came [poker card="6h"][poker card="5h"][poker card="4d"], keeping ‘Weizen’ in the lead. But when the [poker card="qc"] hit the turn, the German was looking for one of two outs to save his tournament. However, the river was the [poker card="tc"], giving Kolonias two pair and sending ‘Weizen’ out in fourth place for $669,403. For a brief moment, Kolonias held the chip lead. But shortly into three-handed play, Ward took it back and then added on. Ward shoved his chip leading stack all-in from the small blind with [poker card="qc"][poker card="jh"] and was called by Javier Gomez holding a dominating [poker card="as"][poker card="qh"]. The [poker card="jc"][poker card="4d"][poker card="2c"] flop put Ward in the lead, which he held through the [poker card="4h"] turn and [poker card="8h"] river. Just like that Gomez was out in third place, earning $818,576 in just his second Super MILLION$ event. Entering heads-up play, Ward held nearly a two-to-one chip lead over Kolonias, and through applying pressure he kept that lead the rest of the way. The final hand was fairly standard as Kolonias raised with [poker card="9h"][poker card="9s"] and Ward three-bet holding the [poker card="ad"][poker card="kd"]. Kolonias then moved in with his pocket nines and Ward made the call. The [poker card="ac"][poker card="8d"][poker card="2s"] flop paired Ward’s ace and nothing else changed through the [poker card="7h"] turn and the [poker card="7s"] river. Kolonias, finished the day as the runner-up but still took home a seven-figure score of $1,000,991. In just his first Super MILLION$ appearance, Ben Ward walked away with the title and the $1,242,332 first-place prize. $10M GTD Super MILLION$ Final Table Results (3/9) 1. Ben Ward - $1,242,332 2. Alex Kolonias - $1,000,991 3. Javier Gomez - $818,576 4. ‘Weizen’ - $669,403 5. Shankar Pillai - $547,414 6. Krasimir Yankov - $447,657 7. Thomas Muehlocker - $366,078 8. Benjamin Chalot - $399,366
  2. As the 2019 World Series of Poker Main Event was playing down to a final table inside the Amazon Room, another eight events were in action on Friday including three that resulted in a player winning the first gold bracelet of their career and another player earning his second. James Anderson, Maximilian Klostermeier, Ivan Deyra, and Shankar Pillai all contributed to tying the record for most bracelets awarded in a single day. James Anderson Ships Little One for One Drop Just five players returned to a chip stack on Day 5 of the $1,111 Little One for One Drop and James Anderson was right in the middle with an average stack. He overcame that and the massive chip lead of Brazil's Fernando Karam to win $690,686 and his first bracelet. The 33-year-old recently returned to playing poker after taking some time away. “I just started playing again a couple of months ago so this one definitely feels good,” Anderson said. “I wanted to get away from the game for a little bit. I was grinding really hard and wanted to take a little break from it. I feel good now. My mind is a lot fresher now, I have a different perspective, and hopefully, it continues. It’s a good start.” Karam ended up taking home $426,543 for his runner-up finish. Final Table Payouts James Anderson - $690,686 Fernando Karam - $426,543 Marco Guibert - $316,233 Liran Betito - $236,151 Shalom Elharar - $177,639 Nils Tolpingrud - $134,608 Mark Strodl - $102,757 Ying Fu - $79,029 Bob Mather - $61,238 Bounty Hunter Maximilian Klostermeier Wins $1,500 PLO Bounty Event Maximilian Klostermeier really did live out a poker players dream this week. The 23-year-old German turned his first career WSOP cash into gold. Klostermeier beat Ireland's David Callaghan heads up to win the first bracelet of his career and $177,823. “I have only played poker professionally for about a year, so to win a bracelet this soon is amazing," Klostermeier. "This is the only PLO game I have played. I have only played a couple of online tournaments, 25 at the most. PLO is not my main game, I play Hold’em.” Bryce Yockey finished third for $77,893. That's his eighth cash this summer and fourth time finishing in the top eight. Final Table Payouts Maximilian Klostermeier - $177,823 David Callaghan - $109,844 Bryce Yockey - $77,893 Ryan Lenaghan - $55,939 Jason Stockfish - $40,691 Tim Seidensticker - $29,987 Scott Sharpe - $22,391 Heng Zhang - $16,944 Joseph Liberta - $12,996 Vive la France: Ivan Deyra Wins $3,000 No Limit Hold'em Ivan Deyra has been to a WSOP final table before, but only to cheer on his friends. On Friday he was the one being serenaded after beating David Gonzalez for the bracelet in the $3,000 No Limit Hold'em event. “The main goal was to have a bracelet. When I was young I watched TV with stars in my eyes. To be here and to win it, it’s amazing. It’s like a real dream,” Deyra said. He's the third player from France to win gold this year joining Jeremy Saderne and Thomas Cazayous. Deyra's previous best WSOP result came earlier this summer when he finished eighth in the $1,000 Double Stack for $78,638. Gonzalez, who started the day with the chip lead, earned $234,882. Guillaume Nolet earned $162,575 for finishing third. Former #1-ranked PocketFiver Patrick Leonard came in fourth for $114,347 and his seventh cash of the summer. Final Table Payouts Ivan Deyra - $380,090 David Gonzalez - $234,882 Guillaume Nolet - $162,575 Patrick Leonard - $114,347 David Dibernardi - $81,749 David Weinstein - $59,421 Andras Nemeth - $43,925 Dennis Brand - $33,032 Diego Zeiter - $25,278 Shankar Pillai Takes Down Bracelet Winners Only Event Shankar Pillai got his second bracelet on Friday and wouldn't have done it had he not gotten the first one. Pillai beat out 184 other WSOP bracelet winners to win the $1,500 Bracelet Winners Only event for $71,580. New Jersey online poker grinder Michael Gagliano finished runner-up for $44,232. Tommy Nguyen rounded out the podium finishers with a third-place finish and $31,176 score. The event was part of the celebrations for the 50th annual WSOP and only players who had previously won a gold bracelet could enter. Final Table Payouts Shankar Pillai - $71,580 Michael Gagliano - $44,232 Tommy Nguyen - $31,176 Brett Apter - $22,349 Kevin Gerhart - $16,299 Andreas Klatt - $12,097 Thom Werthmann - $9,140 Scott Bohlman - $7,032 Haixia Zhang - $5,512 Ayaz Mahmood Leads $1,500 Mixed NLHE/PLO Final Table Ayaz Mahmood won his first bracelet nine years ago in the $10,000 Heads Up Championship event at the 2010 WSOP. He's been waiting to win his second ever since and on Saturday he'll start the final table of the $1,500 NLHE/PLO event in pole position with seven players left. Mahmood bagged up 8,430,000 and sits almost 2 million ahead of the second biggest stack. Lucas Greenwood is the owner that 6,515,000 stack. Jeremy Kottler is third with 5,145,000. There were 47 players at the start of the day. David 'ODB' Baker, Lexy Gavin, Steve Sung, Matt Giannetti, and Anton Wigg all busted before the final table but did manage to pick up a cash. The final table resumes at Noon PT. Final Table Chip Counts Ayaz Mahmood - 8,430,000 Lucas Greenwood - 6,515,000 Jeremy Kottler - 5,145,000 Eddie Blumenthal - 3,240,000 Peter Linton - 3,115,000 Jerry Odeen - 2,380,000 Adam Demersseman - 2,315,000 Freek Scholten Leads $1,500 Double Stack Final Table Freek Scholten is hoping to put the Netherlands on the board on Saturday. The Dutchman finished Day 2 of the $1,500 Double Stack with 26,000,000 and leads the final eight players into an extra day of play. Darren Rabinowitz snuck past the 20,000,000 mark with 20,050,000 and sits second. Barry Shulman is third with 18,450,000. Of the 349 players to be sent to the cashier window on Friday were Kristen Bicknell, Jerry Wong, Shannon Shorr, Conor Beresford, Ismael Bojang, Phil Hellmuth, Jake Schwartz, and Ryan Laplante. Mike Leah, who started the day with the lead, finished 34th for $13,808. The final table begins at 11 AM PT. Final Table Chip Counts Freek Scholten - 26,000,000 Darren Rabinowitz - 20,050,000 Barry Shulman - 18,450,000 Kunal Punjwani - 15,500,000 Adam Hendrix - 15,350,000 Philip Scaletta - 13,575,000 Tom Koral - 10,550,000 Kalyan Cheekuri - 9,925,000 Keith Tilston Leads $100K High Roller Just six players remain in the $100,000 High Roller event with Keith Tilston on top with 14,475,000. Brandon Adams, who started the day with the biggest stack, sits second now with 12,375,000. Nick Schulman is third with 11,650,000. The other three players at the final table are Dominik Nitsche, Igor Kurganov, and the shortest remaining stack belongs to Daniel Negreanu. Six players took the Day 2 late registration option to push the total to field to 99 players. Sam Grafton, Stefan Sontheimer, $50,000 High Roller Danny Tang, and Christoph Vogelsang made into the money before busting. Kainalu McCue-Unciano, who won the $1,500 Monster Stack earlier this month, finished 12th for $195,862. Prior to this event, he had never cashed in an event with a buy-in grater than $3,500. Cards are in the air beginning at Noon PT. Final Table Chip Counts Keith Tilston - 14,475,000 Brandon Adams - 12,375,000 Nick Schulman - 11,650,000 Dominik Nitsche - 9,850,000 Igor Kurganov - 8,500,000 Daniel Negreanu - 3,150,000 Ari Engel in Contention After Day 1A of The Closer The first of three starting flights in the $1,500 The Closer brought out 463 entries, 30 of whom survived all the 20 levels of play. Roman Korenev ended Day 1A with 1,198,000 and the biggest stack. Griffen Abel was the only other player to finish with a seven-figure stack after putting exactly 1,000,000 in the bag. Former #1-ranked Ari Engel sits third with 936,000. Other notables moving on to Day 2 include Ian O'Hara, Steven Wolansky, Kristen Bicknell, and Mike Sexton. Day 1B begins at 11 AM PT. Top 10 Chip Counts Roman Korenev - 1,198,000 Griffin Abel - 1,000,000 Ari Engel - 936,000 Ian O'Hara - 756,000 Fabian Gumz - 628,000 Steven Wolansky - 610,000 Daniel Neilson - 538,000 Brian Croak - 520,000 Christopher Fisher - 500,000 James Pavlick - 400,000 $3,000 Six Max Pot Limit Omaha Paresh Doshi topped the 173 players who made it through Day 1 of the $3,000 Six Max Pot Limit Omaha with the biggest stack. The Londoner finished with 359,300. That gives him a 67,800-chip lead over the next closest player. Kenneth Lucas is that player with 291,500 while Hao Chen and Christopher aren't far behind with 287,800 and 284,300 respectively. Anton Morgenstern, David Williams, Max Silver, Denis Strebkov, Joseph Cheong, Bruno Fitoussi, Fabrizio Gonzalez, Vivian Saliba, and Michael Mizrachi were among the familiar faces moving onto Day 2. The 835-player field put the total prize pool at $2,254,500 with the first place score being $448,392. Top 10 Chip Counts Paresh Doshi - 359,300 Kenneth Lucas - 291,500 Hao Chen - 287,800 Christopher Wehner - 284,300 Alan Sternberg - 270,100 Keith Lehr - 235,400 Anton Morgenstern - 233,000 Martin Zamani - 231,700 Niko Soininen - 224,700 Ka Lau - 218,900
  3. The final table of the World Poker Tour Rolling Thunder stop was not hurting for storylines before play began on Tuesday afternoon. Defending champion Erkut Yilmaz had a shot at going back-to-back. Jake Schwartz had another shot at his first WPT title at his sixth final table. Robert Heidorn, who bubbled the 2019 WSOP Main Event final table, was hoping for a small piece of redemption. Tony Tran was hoping to win his second WPT title in just over 18 months. One of those came true, but it came with a twist that M. Night Shyamalan would have been proud of. [ptable zone=“888poker”][ptable zone=“Party Poker NJ”][ptable zone=“Global Poker Article Ad”] When Tran won his first WPT title at the bestbet Bounty Scramble in October 2018, he finished it off by beating Schwartz heads-up. Tuesday night he got heads-up with Schwartz again and once again he beat him. It was the first time in WPT history that the final two players in an event had already battled heads-up in another tournament. Tran started the final table with the shortest stack, but Shankar Pillai was right there with him. Neither player was able to gain much traction until the two players clashed in an all-in preflop pot. Tran opened from the hijack to 65,000 and Yilmaz called from the cutoff. Down to just 19 big blinds, Pillai moved all-in for 565,000 before Tran moved all-in for 655,000 forcing Yilmaz to fold. Pillai turned over [poker card="7c"][poker card="7s"] which put him well behind Tran's [poker card="kc"][poker card="ks"]. The board ran out [poker card="9d"][poker card="4s"][poker card="3c"][poker card="qs"][poker card="9s"] to send Pillai out in sixth place and nearly double Tran's stack. Tran continued to build and doubled through Yilmaz. Another 19 hands after that, Tran sent the defending champion to the rail. Action folded to Tran in the small blind and he moved all in with [poker card="8d"][poker card="7d"] before Yilmaz called off his last nine big blinds with [poker card="9c"][poker card="5c"]. The board ran out [poker card="6h"][poker card="6s"][poker card="3s"][poker card="7s"][poker card="kd"] to give Tran a pair of sevens to eliminate Yilmaz in fifth. Four-handed play continued for 51 hands without an elimination before Tran found yet another victim. Kevin Rabichow moved all-in from the button for 1,175,000 and Tran called from the big blind. Rabichow showed [poker card="kc"][poker card="4c"] before Tran turned over [poker card="ac"][poker card="jc"]. The [poker card="qd"][poker card="qh"][poker card="jh"] flop cut Rabichow's chances down even further. The [poker card="9c"] turn gave him an extra out but the [poker card="jd"] river finished him off for good in fourth. Just a few moments later, Tran once again ended another player's run. Heirdon moved all-in for 1,625,000 and Tran called from the big blind. Heirdon showed [poker card="2d"][poker card="2h"] but was behind Tran's [poker card="td"][poker card="ts"]. Heirdon found no help through the [poker card="ad"][poker card="8d"][poker card="8s"][poker card="3h"][poker card="4d"] runout and was eliminated in third. Thanks to his work eliminating the other four opponentns, Tran began heads-up play with a nearly 4-1 chip lead over Schwartz. It took 30 hands for Tran to finish Schwartz off to win his second WPT title. On the final hand, Tran raised to 250,000 before Schwartz moved all-in for 1,350,000 and Tran called. Schwartz showed [poker card="jh"][poker card="th"] but found himself dominated by Tran's [poker card="qc"][poker card="ts"]. Tran made gin on the [poker card="jd"][poker card="9d"][poker card="8c"] flop and Schwartz was unable to catch any of the three remaining queens to stay alive and was eliminated, giving Tran another WPT title and $279,270 including a seat in the WPT Tournament of Champions in late May. WPT Rolling Thunder Final Table Payouts Tony Tran - $279,270 Jake Schwartz - $177,680 Robert Heidorn - $122,105 Kevin Rabichow - $85,800 Erkut Yilmaz - $61,685 Shankar Pillai - $45,390
  4. When the complete schedule for the online iteration of the 2020 World Series of Poker was announced, the high-stakes tournament pros from around the world cleared their calendar to be available for the $25K NLHE Poker Players Championship. Sure, this year’s PPC wouldn’t have the traditional variety of mixed games as the live version in Las Vegas has in year’s past, but this tournament had the biggest buy-in of the entire 2020 WSOP and gave players a shot at the largest first-place payday outside of the Main Event. Now, only nine players from the star-studded field of 407 remains. It's a mix of some of poker's brightest superstars, online poker savants, and even a shot-taker or two. They will return on Saturday, August 29 to play down to a winner and award the $1.8 million first-place prize and World Series of Poker gold bracelet. Jason Koon Country: United States Chip Count: 7,863,055 Final table chip leader Jason Koon is one of the most well-known high-stakes tournament players in the world. The Las Vegas, by-way-of Weston, West Virginia, poker pro has climbed into ninth place on the Hendon Mob’s All-Time Money List with over $31 million in lifetime live earnings. Koon boasts eight seven-figure scores including a career-high $3,579,836 cash at the 2018 Triton Super High Roller Series Montenegro series. In addition to his success in Triton events, for which he’s an ambassador, Koon has high roller victories on both the European Poker Tour and the World Poker Tour. Should he take this chip lead all the way to victory, it will be his first WSOP title. [caption id="attachment_632398" align="aligncenter" width="700"] Shankar Pillai (photo courtesy of The Borgata)[/caption] Shankar Pillai Country: United States Chip Count: 6,875,234 New York’s Shankar Pillai first garnered the attention of the poker world back in 2007 when he won his first WSOP gold bracelet by winning a $3,000 NLHE event for over $527,000. Twelve years later Pillai earned his second bracelet by battling through the field of the 50th Annual Bracelet Winners event for a $71,580 score. In addition to his nearly $2 million in live earnings, Pillai recently earned two WSOP Online Circuit rings in 2020 as well as a victory in the 2020 WSOP.com Winter Online Championships for more than $69,000. [caption id="attachment_632397" align="aligncenter" width="700"] Christian Rudolph (photo courtesy of Poker Central)[/caption] Christian Rudolph Country: Germany Chip Count: 5,544,188 German superstar Christian Rudolph enters the final table third in chips and in a good position to add to his more than $2.2 million in live career earnings. Although Rudolph looks to have opted out of Hendon Mob tracking, some high-profile scores one simply can’t hide including his recent runner-up finish in the partypoker 2020 MILLIONS UK Main Event for $620,00. Online, Rudolph is well-known for playing under his PokerStars screen name ‘WATnlos’ where he regularly competes in the highest stakes tournaments online and has a victory in the marquee Sunday Million from back in 2018. [caption id="attachment_632396" align="aligncenter" width="700"] Aram Zobian (photo courtesy of Poker Central)[/caption] Aram Zobian Country: United States Chip Count: 4,405,440 Many will recognize Aram Zobian from his final table finish at the 2018 World Series of Poker Main Event where he finished in sixth place for a $1.8 million score. Zobian’s first live result dates back to 2016 and since that time he’s put together more than $2.1 million in total live earnings. In addition, the Las Vegas-based pro also earned his first WSOP Circuit ring in 2020 after winning the WSOP.com Online $215 Turbo Deepstack for $20,910. Should Zobian work his way from fourth in chips to taking down the $25,000 NLHE Poker Players Championship he’ll eclipse his career-high score by $290 and have a new top-line result on his poker resume. [caption id="attachment_632395" align="aligncenter" width="700"] Chris Hunichen (photo courtesy of Poker Central)[/caption] Chris Hunichen Country: United States Chip Count: 4,175,274 Chris ‘BigHuni’ Hunichen is one of poker’s elite grinders. Hunichen is found in the biggest buy-in tournament field both live and online and boasts a career that has amassed more than $20 million in total earnings. According to Hendon Mob, Hunichen has earned over $8 million which includes a $927,000 victory in the 2019 EPT Barcelona High Roller and a $1.1 million score in a podium finish in the partypoker MILLION World Bahamas Main Event. While Hunichen’s live resume is impressive, his online career is even more elite. ‘BigHuni’ is a former worldwide #1-ranked online player with more than $12.6 million in total online earnings, which currently places him at #13 on the Online All-Time Money List. He holds titles in both POWERFEST and the PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker as well as a number of six-figure super high roller scores. [caption id="attachment_632394" align="aligncenter" width="700"] Aleksejs Ponakovs (photo courtesy of World Poker Tour)[/caption] Aleksejs Ponakovs Country: Latvia Chip Count: 3,883,951 Long-time Latvian online high-stakes grinder Aleksejs Ponakovs has put himself in position for a career-high payday coming into the final table of the $25K sixth in chips. Ponakovs is an online crusher, having reached #4 in the worldwide rankings and topped more than $7 million in online earnings. He won the PokerStars Sunday Million in 2017 for more than $159,000 and holds partypoker POWERFEST and PokerStars Turbo Series titles as well. With more than $400,000 in live earnings, Ponakov has nearly a decade of experience including a deep run in the 2013 WSOP Main Event where he finished in 33rd place for $229,281. [caption id="attachment_632392" align="aligncenter" width="700"] Aliaksei Boika (photo courtesy of PokerStars)[/caption] Aliaksei Boika Country: Belarus Chip Count: 3,297,276 For more than 10 years, Belarusian pro Aliaksei ‘ale6ka’ Boika has been grinding both live and online. He’s amassed more than $248,000 in World Series of Poker earnings alone, nearly capturing a bracelet with his fourth place finish in the tough 2018 $5,000 NLHE event for $142,458. While those in the high-stakes online community will know his screen name thanks to his multiple PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker titles, he may be best known for his 2016 EPT Malta Main Event victory for $386,962. [caption id="attachment_632391" align="aligncenter" width="700"] Paullis Plausinaitis (photo courtesy of The Hendon Mob)[/caption] Paulius Plausinaitis Country: Lithuania Chip Count: 2,905,555 Lithuania’s Pauliuis Plausinaitis nearly made his mark in another high-profile $25,000 event back in 2018. However, he just missed out on winning a Platinum Pass to the PSPC by falling in fifth place in the PokerStars Festival London High Roller for a career-high score of just over $30,000. But now, after winning his way into the WSOP $25K NLHE Poker Players Championship in a $1K satellite, Plausinaitis has already locked up a six-figure score with the potential for life-changing money should the cards fall his way. [caption id="attachment_632390" align="aligncenter" width="700"] Brunno Botteon (photo courtesy of SuperPoker.com.br)[/caption] Brunno Botteon Country: Brazil Chip Count: 1,750,027 The #1-ranked online Brazilian pro (current #4 in the world) has more than $3.2 million in online earnings and has been in the midst of a career-heater in 2020. In January, he took second in the PokerStars Winter Series Medium Main Event for $196,908 while at the same time finishing in third in the Winter Series High Main Event for $265,463. Picked as one of the Brazilian players poised to dominate the 2020 World Series of Poker, Brunno 'bbotteon' Botteon has already racked up eight cashes during the series including a runner-up finish in Event #67 for over $41,000.
  5. As the 2020 World Series of Poker Online draws to a close with just a few tournaments left on the schedule, Event #85 ($500 The Closer [Last Chance]) tournament drew 4,012 to generate a prize pool of $1,905,700. Two-time World Series of Poker Bracelet winner Shankar Pillai and three-time WSOP Bracelet winner Michael Gathy both found their way into the final three in this massive field. And in the end, it was Gathy who came out on top to earn a first-place prize worth $260,504 and his fourth WSOP Bracelet. Gathy already had an impressive WSOP resume coming into this event. The Belgium native had 32 WSOP cashes worth $1,874,375 before Sunday’s big score. His last bracelet and biggest career cash came in 2016 when he won the $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em 6-Handed Event #35 for $560,843. The whole final table started with shallow stacks and took only 45 minutes to complete. The first elimination came within five minutes of reaching nine-handed play when action folded around to Vitor Adiron in the cutoff who raised to 3,184,066, leaving himself 500,000 chips behind. Gathy raised to 5,368,132 on the button and Yuan Yuan Li moved all-in from the small blind for 8,020,851. Adiron called with [poker card="5s"][poker card="5c"] and Gathy called with [poker card="ac"][poker card="7h"] and both found themselves behind Li’s [poker card="kh"][poker card="ks"]. Gathy flopped a pair on a [poker card="qd"][poker card="8c"][poker card="7s"] flop and Adiron turned an open-ended straight draw when the [poker card="6d"] fell, but a [poker card="3h"] on the river delivered a massive pot to Li and eliminated Adiron in ninth place. Just four minutes after the players returned from break, Li min-raised to 2,000,000 in early position with [poker card="5c"][poker card="5d"] and faced an all-in shove from Toni Ojala in the cutoff for Ojala’s last 9,845,965. The button and blinds folded and Li called to see the bad news that Ojala was holding [poker card="as"][poker card="ad"]. But a [poker card="qc"][poker card="6h"][poker card="5h"] flop shot Li into the lead with a set of fives, and Ojala failed to catch up when the [poker card="kh"] came on the turn and the [poker card="9d"] completed the board on the river. Seven-handed play lasted for about five minutes before Li would claim yet another victim. Gathy min-raised from the hijack position with [poker card="kd"][poker card="8d"] and Li called in the cutoff with [poker card="kh"][poker card="qh"]. The action folded to Paul Hockin who went all-in for 11,591,938 in the big blind with [poker card="ac"][poker card="js"]. Gathy folded and Li called, taking the lead away from Hockin on a [poker card="qs"][poker card="td"][poker card="2s"] flop that gave Li top pair. The [poker card="jc"] turn and [poker card="7d"] river completed another winning board for Li and eliminated Hockin in seventh place. Ten minutes later, two eliminations occurred on back-to-back hands. The action folded to Craig Mason in the small blind who had [poker card="qs"][poker card="7c"] and just over two big blinds left. He went all-in for his last 2,749,096 and was quickly called by Erik Von Buxhoeveden in the big blind who held the [poker card="as"][poker card="8c"]. An [poker card="ah"][poker card="5c"][poker card="2d"] flop provided little drama and Mason was drawing dead when the [poker card="kd"] fell on the turn. A meaningless [poker card="8d"] on the river knocked Mason out in sixth place. The action folded around to the small blind again where Luis Gustavo Kamei raised to 4,222,222 with [poker card="ac"][poker card="2d"]. Gathy raised his big stack from the big blind with [poker card="tc"][poker card="6s"] to put Kamei in for the 671,446 he had left behind. Kamei called and fell behind on a [poker card="7h"][poker card="6d"][poker card="2s"] flop that gave both players a pair but put Gathy’s pair of sixes in the lead. The [poker card="5d"] on the turn and [poker card="qs"] on the river changed nothing and eliminated Kamei in fifth place. It took less than five minutes to narrow the field from four players down to two. Von Buxhoeveden went all-in for 12,254,336 with [poker card="6h"][poker card="6c"] on the button and was called by Gathy’s [poker card="ts"][poker card="tc"] in the small blind. The board ran out [poker card="as"][poker card="9c"][poker card="2d"][poker card="5s"][poker card="7s"] to bring Gathy’s stack up to just under 60,000. Moments later, Li raised enough from the small blind with [poker card="kd"][poker card="8c"] to virtually put Pillai all-in, and Pillai shoved with [poker card="ac"][poker card="3h"] in the big blind for 6,194,434. Li called and was still behind when the flop fell [poker card="7d"][poker card="5c"][poker card="4d"] and the turn came the [poker card="ts"]. But the [poker card="6c"] on the river completed Li’s gutter-ball straight draw and sent Li and Gathy to heads up. Gathy entered heads up play with a 3-to-2 chip advantage. He held over 80% of the chips in play after about 10 minutes of heads-up play when Li moved all-in with the [poker card="qs"][poker card="7s"]. Gathy called with [poker card="as"][poker card="3c"] and a safe runout of [poker card="kd"][poker card="5c"][poker card="4d"][poker card="th"][poker card="4s"] earned him a fourth career WSOP Bracelet. Final Table Payouts 1. Michael Gathy - $260,504 2. Yuan Yuan Li- $194,248 3. Shankar Pillai - $138,467 4. Erik Von Buxhoeveden - $98,704 5. Luis Gustavo Kamei - $70,359 6. Craig Mason - $50,154 7. Paul Hockin - $35,751 8. Toni Ojala - $25,485 9. Vitor Adiron - $18,166

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