Winner’s Circle: Spotlighting Big October Champions in Legal US Online Poker Markets

November 8, 2022
Winner’s Circle: Spotlighting Big October Champions in Legal US Online Poker Markets

Online poker players grabbed some solid wins in October in US regulated markets. Even though BetMGM and PokerStars didn’t host major series, World Series of Poker bracelets and WSOP Online Circuit championship rings were still up for grabs. 

Jeff Platt , Nick Schulman, and Jeff Madsen all found victories along with their first circuit rings. Also New Jersey’s top player Frank “thewholefunk” Funaro finally snagged his first bracelet.

USPoker takes a look at standout online poker winners and notable players from October. PokerStars, BetMGM/partypoker US, and generally offer monthly tournament series. Here’s a look at some players who rose to the top.

Current legal states

In the US, online poker is legal and running in the following states: 

♠♠♠ Winner’s Circle highlights some recent action at the online tables. For players winning big online events, please tag @USPoker on Twitter each month to be featured. ♠♠♠

Bagging bracelets recently wrapped up the online bracelet hunting, but Online Circuit Series continue each month throughout the year. These offer a combined series in New Jersey and Nevada markets. Pennsylvania and Michigan also host separate monthly Circuit Series.

Frank Funraro came up big in October for a bracelet and $94,096 in cash.

A few others players also scored some hardware. Matthew “Peepeepoopoo” Paoletti won his first bracelet and $61,070 after taking down the Big 500. He defeated Jesse “Dangerous22” Lonis heads up for the win. 

Another first timer was Mike “BrockLesnar” Holtz. He won the Player of the Year title in 2021 on and also now has a bracelet. The $777 Lucky Sevens saw 347 entries and Holtz won $76,157 along with his first bracelet.

After finishing runner-up in the Lucky Sevens, Jordyn “thistcrdbnd” Miller got his revenge when he shipped Event 19 for his first bracelet and $96,914. 

Another regular, Michael Gagliano grabbed his second bracelet in Event 18 for $62,756. 

New Jersey/Nevada Online Circuit winners

After finishing third in a WSOP Online tournament, poker commentator Jeff Platt scored his first circuit ring in Event 2. Poker streamer Justin “LappyPoker” Taylor took runner-up.

Fellow commentator Nick Schulman won his first ring in the High Roller Circuit event for $40,709 as well. David Larson grabbed his ninth ring after winning Event 4 for $12,292.

Kevin Ripple, of Northfield, New Hampshire, earned his second ring and $18,290 in Event 7. Another multiple ring winner, Frank Marasco of Brooklyn, got his third ring and $14,351 in a Turbo Deepstack.

Four-time bracelet winner Jeff Madsen secured his first ring and $13,823 after dominating the only Pot Limit Omaha tournament of the series.

Pennsylvania & Michigan

In Pennsylvania, Jon Landis found another victory for his second ring and $10,083. Another two-timer was Fancis Sharp, who defeated Jonas Wexler for the win in Event 2. Wexler didn’t wait long though, scooping his sixth ring and $6,612 in Event 5. 

Twitch streamer and poker pro Zach Gruneberg locked up two rings in October. He took down two events for over $16,000. Gruneberg said he’s taking some of his winnings and heading to Borgata this January.

“Been waiting for Borgata to come back since COVID,” he told USPoker. “I’ve always considered it my home casino even though I’m a little over four hours away. I’ve been very lucky historically at Borgata and I’m excited to be back playing with home field advantage.”

In Michigan, Timothy Bishop won his fourth ring for $6,529. Bracelet winner Robert Kuhn won his second ring and $10,59 as well.

Other winners

Some other Online Circuit  winners included:

  • Joshua Faris – Event 1, $28,935 (NJ/NV)
  • David Raiman– Event 5, $10,735 (NJ/NV)
  • Blaze Gaspari – Event 6, $13,884 (NJ/NV)
  • Matthew Vaughan – Event 8, $50,636 (NJ/NV)
  • Michael Bohmerwald – Event 8, $22,804 (NJ/NV)
  • Eric Ethans – Event 12 , $30,573 (NJ/NV)
  • Cole Keenan – Event 3, $10,928 (PA)
  • Justin Vaysman– Event 4, $6,160 (PA)
  • Ryan Mcknight – Event 7, $6,888 (PA)
  • Justin Koniuk– Event 8, $15,923 (PA)
  • Kyle Ciccarello– Event 11, $6,180  (PA)
  • Kyle Goodman– Event 1, $11,146 (MI)
  • Doug Cuneaz– Event 4, $6,554 (MI)
  • Corey Paggeot– Event 5, $7,096 (MI)
  • Kenneth Wills– Event 6, $6,961 (MI)
  • Dennis Amos– Event 7, $7,096 (MI)
  • Jacob Schultz– Event 8, $15,203 (MI)
  • David Reed– Event 9, $6,751 (MI)
  • Zinoviy Pelekh– Event 10, $7,766 (MI)

All bracelet and ring winners through July 2023 earn a seat in the WSOP Tournament of Champions. The $1 million freeroll is held during the live WSOP in Las Vegas as it was earlier this year.


No major series ran in October at PokerStars, but leaderboard winners are still grabbing Platinum Passes for seats into the upcoming PokerStars Players Championship in January. The famed passes are now up for grabs for poker players in the US.

A pass is valued at $30,000 and earns players a $25,000 buy-in for the PSPC in the Bahamas as well as a complete travel package. The leaderboard competition saw the top 500 players in Pennsylvania, 300 in Michigan, and 200 in New Jersey earn a seat into a Platinum Pass freeroll.

The top two winners of each freeroll received a coveted Platinum Pass. The winner’s list includes:

  • Barrett Lipkin (PA)
  • Joseph Nicholas (PA)
  • Richard Milburn (PA)
  • Scott Brown (MI)
  • Jason Brown (MI)
  • Justin Buxman (MI)
  • Ramon Liriano (NJ)
  • Corey Hersch (NJ)
  • Ryan Flynn (NJ)

A few other players won their pass after finding victory in the PokerStars Live events hosted in Philadelphia last month. This included Vladimir Grechnikov, Nicholas Immekus, and Rishva Iyer.

Poker rounder Dan “Double Down” Jehens went on the Nerdthusiast Poker Podcast to discuss his experience playing in the first ever live PokerStars event in Philadelphia.

Top online grinder Nick “cooooooch” Amiucci was happy to get back to the online tables recently. He picked upa  nice win in the process.

BetMGM/partypoker/Borgata Poker

BetMGM didn’t run a major series last month but will have an announcement about an online series this month. In September, the site ran the Online Championships and winners showed off the trophies in October. 

Jeff “ShipHappens” Stellwagon had a major flex online showcasing his BetMGM hardware and WSOP ring. 

New Jersey grinder and old school DJ, Frank “FLD15” DiRe also took advantage of all the nightly events . He scored an impressive double victory for some extra cash in October. 

In Michigan, Mario “MarioParty” Arribas outplayed the competition in the Tuesday $12,000 guaranteed event. He took his winnings and headed to the Firekeepers Mid-States Poker Tour main event.

★★★ USPoker will update big winners each month in the “Winner’s Circle” feature. Please tag @uspoker on Twitter with your wins. ★★★

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