Monday, March 14, 2022

TP News

March, 2016

  • 14 March

    Jonathan Little - 2016 California Swing Video Blog

    This is the longest video blog I have made, but that is because a lot has happened in the last three weeks. I got drafted to the Global Poker League ...

  • 13 March

    P1M Guarantee- March: A dominating victory for Wang-Ping Yuan

    It was a big day for Taiwanese player Wang-Ping Yuan aka Wayne who overcame a field of 361 entries at the P1M Guarantee Main Event to claim the trophy and the P332,648 first place cash prize. Yuan's run to the finish line began with him scalping man...

  • 13 March

    P1M Guarantee- March: Final Day Updates

    We are at the final day of the P1M Guarantee with 56 players returning to the felt for a battle to the trophy. The first place cash prize is P332,648 big ones plus a seat to the upcoming Manila Megastack 5. Top 36 players will see a profit with the low...

  • 13 March

    P1M Guarantee- March: Final Day Begins; 56 qualifiers

    We are at the final day of the P1M Guarantee at the PokerStars Live Manila poker room at City of Dreams Manila. The combined day one flights saw a total of 361 entries - 168 for day 1a and 193 for day 1b - bringing the prize pool to a massive P1,540,74...

  • 12 March

    P1Million Guarantee- March: Soo Jo Kim ends day 1b with a monster stack; Chip Counts

    Although the day started slow, day 1b of the P1M Guarantee Main Event eventually picked up momentum and recorded 193 total entries by the end of late registration. At the end of regulation play, only 28 players were able to hold on to their chips with ...

  • 12 March

    P1M Guarantee- March: Day 1b Updates

    Cards are in the air for day 1b of the P1M Guarantee Main Event at the PokerStars Live Manila poker room. We will post random updates of some of the action at the felt today. This is the last flight to qualify into day 2. Buy-in is P5,000 with unlimite...

  • 12 March

    P1M Guarantee- March: Last Main Event day one flight underway today

    The final day one flight of the P1M Guarantee Main Event kicks off today at 1230pm at the PokerStars Live Manila poker room at City of Dreams, Manila. Buy-in for this event is P5,000 with unlimited re-entries until the end of level 8. Starting stack is...

  • 11 March

    P1M Guarantee- March: Dave Colclough rides high above at day 1a

    UK poker pro Dave Colclough, one of the most decorated and experienced players at the PokerStars Live Manila P1M Guarantee Main Event, came out way on top at the end of day 1a with 227,700 chips in his arsenal at bagging. Colclough earned a massive...

  • 11 March

    P1M Guarantee- March: PS Live Manila Day 1a Updates

    Action is underway at the PokerStars Live Manila poker room at City of Dreams Manila for day 1a of the P1M Guarantee Main Event. They will be playing a total of 16 levels with late registration / re-entries open for half of that. Blind duration is 30 m...

  • 11 March

    PokerStars Live Manila P1M Guarantee Main Event

    We are back at PokerStars Live Manila for the poker room's second event of the year, the P1M Guarantee poker festival. The festivities kicked off on Tuesday March 8 at City of Dreams Manila, and will run until Sunday March 13, 2016. Today begins day 1a...

  • 10 March

    Jonathan Little - Weekly Poker Hand, Episode 85

    In this episode of Weekly Poker Hand, I get tricky with A-A, hoping to induce a gigantic blunder from my opponents. Do you typically reraise in this situation or just ...

  • 8 March

    LAPT9 Chile: Strong start, strong finish! Rodrigo Strong claims title and $120,565

    Over the last few days, we've mentioned a few different themes throughout our coverage of the LAPT9 Chile Main Event. Through both Day 1 flights, we talked about two-time LAPT champions, one of which was defending his title here in Vina del Mar, and a ...

  • 8 March

    LAPT9 Chile: Final table live updates

    * CLICK HERE TO REFRESH THE LIVE UPDATES * CLICK HERE FOR CHIP COUNTS * 8 of 565 remain * Click here for prize pool and payouts * Want more tournament action? Check out live updates from Eureka6 Rozvadov 11:30pm: The final table awaits 565 started....

  • 7 March

    LAPT9 Chile: Rodrigo Strong tops stacked final table line-up

    On the first few days of this event, we relied heavily on our Latin American colleagues to point out the who's who of LAPT regulars (this is my first time covering an LAPT, and the same goes for my colleague Will, and we couldn't be happier to be here)...

  • 7 March

    LAPT9 Chile: Day 3 live updates

    * CLICK HERE TO REFRESH THE LIVE UPDATES * CLICK HERE TO REFRESH CHIP COUNTS * 32 of 565 remain * Click for prize pool and payouts * Want more tournament action? Click here for Eureka6 Rozvadov coverage 11:30 Day 3 a half hour away... With close to...

  • 7 March

    Jonathan Little - Should you ever fold pocket Kings preflop?

    I don’t usually write about spots that come up infrequently but recently I witnessed this hand I thought was uniquely instructive. Everyone started with about 150 big blinds. Player A ...

  • 7 March

    LAPT9 Chile: Ricardo Matamala sets himself top on Day 2; leads 32 into penultimate day

    In yesterday's Day 1B recap, Jack Stanton mentioned Oscar-nominated film The Revenant, in which Leonardo DiCaprio's character is left for dead and then comes back from the dead to get revenge. We don't want to completely piggy back off of that post but...

  • 6 March

    The Poker Academy - The Month of February

    It has been a busy month for me. The LAPC was in full swing for the month of February. The cash game section of the commerce is full of games ...

  • 6 March

    LAPT9 Chile: Day 2 live updates


    * 192 of 565 remain (79 get paid)
    * Want more tournament action? Click for Eureka6 Rozvadov coverage

    11:40am: Day 2 about to start
    Level 11 - Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

    Welcome back to Viña del Mar, where the last bits of prep are underway before we kick off Day 2 at 12pm. There will be 192 players in total taking their seats today, as we combine both the Day 1A and Day 1B survivors into one field.

    We'll need to lose 113 players before we make the money, as only 79 will be able to lock up a guaranteed min-cash of $2,500. However, they'll all have their eyes set on making it through to Day 3 and eventually claiming the $141,785 first place prize.

    Uruguay's Francisco 'Tomate' Benitez is out chip leader coming in with 181,800, followed by Sergio Palma who has 167,500. If you want to find out more about each of the Day 1 flights, click here for Day 1A or click here for Day 1B.

    The plan is to play down to 32 players today, so the bubble is guaranteed to burst here on Day 2. Make sure you stick around all day to see how it goes down - there's a link at the top for you to refresh the updates. --JS

    PokerStars Blog Reporting Team at LAPT9 Chile: Will O'Connor and Jack Stanton. Photos by Carlos Monti. Follow the PokerStars Blog on Twitter: @PokerStarsBlog

    Want to qualify for the LAPT? Click here to get a PokerStars account and start today

  • 6 March

    LAPT9 Chile: Day 2 live updates


    * 104 of 565 remain (79 get paid)
    * Want more tournament action? Click for Eureka6 Rozvadov coverage

    4:35pm: chips ahoy
    Level 15 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (400 ante)

    We're back and ready to begin Level 15. Here the biggest stacks and notable names in the room. --JS

    Manuel UrrejolaChile315000
    Francisco RochaChile280000
    Frank NaranjoColombia275000
    Alfredo TorresChile255000
    Bruno Vendramini PolitanoBrazil 240000
    Fernando MartinezArgentina 235000
    Andres FinkelbergArgentina 230000
    Sebastian RuizChile175000
    Francisco BenitezUruguay 135000
    Sergio Antonio Palma HerreraChile132000
    Lucas Fernandes TabarinBrazil 124000
    Richard DubiniArgentina 96000
    Andrius BielskisLithuania 92000
    Bruno De Oliveira SeverinoBrazil 84000
    Mauricio ZemanChile 60000
    Fabian ChauriyeChile57000
    Fernando Reines CornejoChile 51000
    Bruno Pereira Lima KawautiBrazil 45000
    Fabian Daniel OrtizArgentina 22500


    Manuel Urrejola leads

    4:23pm: Take a break
    Level 14 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (300 ante)

    Our players have gone on a 15-minute break. There are 104 players remaining, and 79 will get paid. Notable chip counts are coming shortly. --JS

    4:12pm: Ruiz four-bets, then flops better
    Level 14 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (300 ante)

    A trend through the first few levels of this Day 2 session has been tactical pre flop play, plenty of small clicks and raises building sizable pots. Those pots have usually seen those encounters end with the chips getting in the middle at some point or another and Sebastian Ruiz just four-bet and called off with ace-queen to score a massive knockout.

    Action was picked up with Alejandro Rodriguez opening the action to 5,200 from middle position, a player then three-bet the hijack to 13,200. Ruiz was waiting in the cutoff and after some thought, he four-bet to 23,000. The button and blinds folded back to Rodriguez, who looked like he wanted to do something with his 50,000 chip stack.

    He couldn't pull the trigger, eventually folding, but the three-bettor could. He immediately moved all-in for 63,000 total and Ruiz snap called, only to see that he was dominated. His opponent held [Ad][Kh] to Ruiz's [Ah][Qh] and the Chilean would need to hit to score the knockout.

    He did just that, spiking his pair on the flop and holding through the [Qs][4d][3c][9c][4c] runout, a board that left his opponent in near disbelief. That player hovered around the tournament area for a few minutes and then eventually headed out, while Ruiz stacked up just shy of 175,000. --WOC

    3:52pm: Table movements
    Level 14 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (300 ante)

    We've just had a table break and it featured a couple of big names.

    One was our sole remaining two-time LAPT champ Fabian Ortiz, who now is sitting alongside start-of-day chip leader Francisco Benitez, as well as Bruno Severino and Lewis Osvaldo.

    Meanwhile, former November Niner Bruno Politano from Brazil, who shared that original table with Ortiz, is now sat in tough spot - to the direct right of new chip leader Manuel Urrejola. Mauricio Zeman joins them on that table. --JS

    3:45pm: Our new chip leader
    Level 14 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (300 ante)

    The man with the most chips right now is Chile's Manuel Urrejola, who has a massive 300,000 stack right now. We'll have all the big stacks on the second break of the day, but I don't think anyone comes close right now. --JS

    3:35pm: Adding some color and emotion
    Level 14 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (300 ante)

    Poker tournament reporting is an interesting task. In a few small paragraphs you not only have to explain what happens in a given hand but you also have to make it entertaining and engaging to the reader. You have to put them right into the action, giving them a sense of what exactly is happening at the table.

    We've been trying to do just that over the last two days and Rodrigo Strong, who we featured during Friday's Day 1A session, let us know that our work was well received by family and friends who were following the PokerStars blog. He caught up with us before play began at 12pm and commented how "we have so much emotion" in our updates.

    Quite frankly, poker hands are a somewhat boring exercise. 'Player A does this, Player B does that. Player C wins." We'd lose our minds if we didn't add some color, and we'd also be missing the most important part of our job: the players, the atmosphere, and the emotion around a given hand, table or event.

    We're going to report on the rest of this event as we normally would but we'll also be keeping a little extra eye on Rodrigo over the next few levels, to see if we can catch another update, as he's still alive with just over 120 players remaining in this LAPT9 Chile Main Event. --WOC


    Rodrigo Strong - presumably after reading a moving piece on the PokerStars Blog

    3:25pm: Level up
    Level 14 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (300 ante)

    We've moved into Level 14 - 1,200/2,400 (300 ante). --JS

    3:24pm: Gone but not forgotten
    Level 13 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

    I mentioned in our Day 1B coverage that the PokerStars Blog team here in Chile have said 'two-time LAPT champ' so much over the past few days that it's now become an in-joke. Even when I was typing it earlier I had a little chuckle to myself.

    Well, it's with much regret that I have to inform that Mario Lopez - as in two-time LAPT champ Mario Lopez - has been eliminated from this event. He opened to 5,100 and found a caller in Rodrigo Chavez from the small b lind. But then Jorge Ellena announced "all-in", having both players covered. Lopez snap called and Chavez folded, and the cards were on their backs.

    Two-time LAPT champ Mario Lopez [ac][qs]
    Jorge Ellena [ah][ks]

    Our man was behind and in need of help, but he couldn't find any on the [4c][2s][td][7c][2h] board. And like that, he was gone.

    But you know what? The two-time LAPT champ will always be in our hearts and in our minds. (Jorge Ellena now has 160,000 by the way). --JS


    Lopez in happier times on Day 1B

    3:24pm: Dubini passes Palma's test, moves over 100,000
    Level 13 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

    We've done a few posts of Richard Dubini through the early portions of this Day 2 session and with just a few minutes remaining in the level, he's now peaking with close to 120,000. The Argentine came into this restart relatively short but he's been involved in a lot of pots, with his more recent victory coming against Day 1A chip leader Sergio Palma.

    On a board of [Qs][8h][3s][6h], Dubini check-called a bet of 12,000, leaving himself close to 45,000 behind. The [3h] paired the board and brought some backdoor draws in and Dubini checked for a second time, leading Palma to bet 24,000. It was a sizable bet and one that put Dubini to the test for a decent portion of his remaining stack.

    After a minute of thought, he eventually called, giving himself a little fist pump after he saw Palma turn over [th][9s] for ten-high. Dubini turned over [ts][8s] and everyone at the table seemed to shoot the Argentinian a look, as they all realized just how good of a call that was for more or less your tournament life.

    Had Dubini been wrong, he'd likely have been left with just over 10 big blinds. He wasn't though and he's now playing over 50 bigs heading towards Level 14. Sergio Palma is playing 135,000 and we could continue to see these two, along with big stack Andrius Bielskis, battle over the next few hours. --WOC

    3:14pm: Lopez wins one but stays in danger zone
    Level 13 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

    Two-time LAPT champ Mario Lopez is stuck in the danger zone, despite just picking up a small pot when his 4,600 bet on a [3h][6d][8c] flop got through. He only has 24,000 - good for 12 big blinds right now. --JS

    3:08pm: The biggest stack in the room, but not the largest
    Level 13 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

    Cristian Monterrosa arguably has the biggest stack in the room right now. That doesn't mean he has the chip lead though; rather just that his chips seem to be taking up the most space of any player.

    He's built something of a chip castle with his 178,000, and it's quite impressive. So much so that it's currently being filmed for TV. --JS

    2:58pm: Chenaud turns Hua dead
    Level 13 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

    Even though we're still a ways from the money bubble, we're at the stage of the tournament where short stacked players are going to be under some intense pressure. Across the tournament area, there are nearly two dozen players working close to ten big blind stacks and He Hua was one of them until he ran into Brazil's Guilherme Chenaud.

    Action was picked up with Hua open shoving from late position for just over 22,000 and after some folds, Chenaud had a decision to make in the big blind. He asked for a count and even though it was just an eleven big blind shove, it was a decent portion of his own stack.

    He was playing close to 60,000 and eventually, he elected to call. He held [Kh][Qs] and was surprised to see that he was up against [8d][7d]. He still needed to hit or fade and he did the former as the board ran out [As][4c][3s][Kd][ts]. Hua hit the rail and after making the correct call, Chenaud, who won last night's $600 NLH Turbo side event, is playing nearly 85,000. --WOC

    2:48pm: Roberly Fericio rivers Daniel Cordaro
    Level 13 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

    Roberly Fericio entered this Day 2 session with a top ten stack and after a swingy first two levels, the Brazilian is now back near the top of the leaderboard after catching the perfect river. The hand was picked up at Table 16 with the board showing [Kc][7c][5c][td]. Daniel Cordaro checked from the big blind and Fericio, in middle position, bet 9,400 only to see Cordaro click it back with a check-raise.

    That raise weighed in at 23,300 and quickly, Fericio called to see the [Js] complete the board. After check-raising the turn, Cordaro slowed down and checked the river, putting Fericio in a slightly awkward position. We weren't inside his head but after curiously inspecting the board, his stack and his opponent's, Fericio elected to push out a 35,000 chip bet.

    Cordaro clearly didn't like the bet, as he began to cut down his stack and try to make sense of it all. He had just over 85,000 in front of him and eventually, after close to a minute, he put out the necessary chips to call only to see the bad news.

    He'd been rivered, as Fericio tabled [Kh][Jc] and after an almost painful exhale, Cordaro threw over [Kd][Qs]. His pair, and kicker, were good until the end and as the dealer push Fericio a nearly 185,000 chip pot, Cordaro sat in dead silence, head in his hands left bemoaning his luck, or lack thereof. Eventually, he snapped up and tapped the table, with Fericio sportingly sending a knock of his own across the felt, realizing how fortunate that river was. --WOC

    2:38pm: Crowd gathers to watch big bluff
    Level 13 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

    I was the first one to arrive at this hand, but by the end the table was surrounded by fellow players, TV cameras, and spectators. Here's what happened.

    Jorge Ellena had kicked off proceedings with an open to 4,200, only for Ivan Raich to three-bet from his immediate left up to 10,100. That wasn't the end of the pre-flop action though; Ellena then four-bet to 25,000 and Raich made the call.

    [3s][6d][8h] came the flop, and neither wanted to fire again as both checked. The turn came the [ks], and the action picked up again with a 15,000 bet from Ellena. Raich called.

    The river landed and it was the [3h], pairing the board. Now Ellena shoved and Raich immediately asked for a count. It was 43,600 total and he went into the tank as it was for around all his chips too. The crowd had gathered by this point as Raich was staring Ellena down sternly, but he eventually gave his hand up.

    Ellena flipped over [as][6h] for just a pair of sixes to go with the threes, and Raich nodded, suggesting he'd thrown away the winner. Raich has 50,000, while Ellena is up to 115,000 now. --JS

    2:28pm: More or less 50/50 coming back from break
    Level 13 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

    After a quick break, this Day 2 field is back and heading into Level 13, more or less 50% of this remaining LAPT9 Chile Main Event field will record a cash today. As it stands, 144 players remain and with 79 officially making the money, that leaves us with a pretty even split of the future haves and have nots.

    The PokerStars blog will bring you all the action as this field moves towards that money bubble and if the pace at the start of Day 2 continues, as over 50 players hit the rail through the first two levels, we'll likely get into the money before dinner. --WOC

    2:24pm: AND we're back
    Level 13 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

    Players have returned from their break, and we're straight into Level 13 - 1,000/2,000 with a running 300 ante. --JS

    2:15pm: Notable chip counts

    Here's the big stacks and notable names on the first break of Day 2. --JS

    Frank NaranjoColombia204000
    Lucas Fernandes TabarinBrazil 184000
    Sergio Antonio Palma HerreraChile171000
    Andrius BielskisLithuania 133000
    Francisco BenitezUruguay 128000
    Bruno Vendramini PolitanoBrazil 120000
    Fernando Reines CornejoChile 94000
    Mauricio ZemanChile 94000
    Amos Ben HaimChile 83000
    Bruno Pereira Lima KawautiBrazil 77000
    Fabian ChauriyeChile66000
    Mario Lopez RitaArgentina 58000
    Bruno De Oliveira SeverinoBrazil 57000
    Richard DubiniArgentina 49000
    Fabian Daniel OrtizArgentina 38200
    Osvaldo Rene LewisArgentina26500
    Irina PetrovaRussia17400
    Daniela HornoChile0
    Juan Duran CeronChile0
    Damián Andrés SalasArgentina 0


    Brazil's Bruno Kawauti

    2:08pm: First break of the day
    Level 12 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

    Players have gone on a 15 minute break. We'll have updated notable chip counts momentarily. --JS

    2pm: Martin moves up the leaderboard
    Level 12 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

    Wagner Martin has played some sizable pots over the last orbit. The first seeing a portion of his stack head to Rodrigo "Zidane" Caprioli after a pre flop leveling war forced the Argentinian to fold but the second shot him up the leaderboard, as he took a sizable portion of Mac Hilaire's chips after flopping a straight.

    The first hand was picked up with a player opening in early position and after some folds, Martin three-bet to 8,400 from the cutoff. Caprioli, who was on the button, then pumped it up to 19,100. The blinds and original opener folded and after a quick trip to the tank, Martin elected to wait for a better spot.

    That spot came a few hands later, as he and Hilaire saw a flop of [8c][7h][6s]. Hilaire led for 4,600 and Martin raised to 12,300. The Chilean called to see the [th] fall on the turn, putting four to a straight on board. That scary called slowed both players, as Hilaire both quickly tapped the table to see the [Kc] fall on the river.

    Hilaire repeated his turn action and after some thought, Martin went for value, betting 18,000. It was a decent portion of Hilaire's stack, as he had just over 50,000 behind, and after seeing Martin splash around in a few previous pots, he elected to make a bit of a "hero call". Unfortunately, he picked the wrong time to take a stand, as Martin tabled [5d][4d], good for a flopped straight.

    Hilaire flashes [As][6d] and bottom pair was sent to the muck, while a majority of his chips were headed to Martin. When the dust settled, the Argentinean was playing just under 140,000, putting himself in a good spot as this field is just a few minutes from the first break of Day 2. --WOC

    1:46pm: Dubini gets a big boost
    Level 12 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

    Richard Dubini has a great opening two levels to this Day 2. In one hand we just saw against Chile's Andrés Achelat, the Argentinian called a big 5,400 open on the button from the big blind, and the two went to a flop. It came [6c][5h][AS] and Dubini checked, allowing Achelat to c-bet for 8,100. Now Dubini made it 17,000 to go, and after a little bit of thought Achelat decided it was worth a call.

    The turn landed and it was another ace - the [ac]. It put the breaks on proceedings as both players checked, resulting in the [th] on the turn. Now Dubini decided to move all-in, and Achelat asked for a count. Achelat had around 50,000 in front of him, and after the dealer counted it was saw that Dubini had him covered with 58,100. Achelat went into the tank but eventually decided to fight another day. Dubini is up to around 95,000 now. --JS

    1:36pm: Petrova's shove gets through
    Level 12 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

    Russia's Irina Petrova started Day 2 short with 22,100 and seemed to have slipped even further. After a player opened to 3,200, Petrova insta-jammed for her last 14,700 and it folded all the way around. That meant she picked up the blinds and antes, plus the 3,200 - bringing her stack to 21,500 now. --JS

    1:32pm: "Limpio, limpo" until the river
    Level 12 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

    One of the bigger pots we've seen throughout this LAPT9 Chile Main Event just played out on Table 11, with Fernando Santin and Tomas Molina getting nearly 190,000 in pre-flop with massive holdings. That hand was picked up with Santin opening the button and after the small blind folded, Molina, in the big blind, three-bet to 10,000.

    Santin clicked it back again, four-betting to 25,000 but he was then faced with a five-bet shove, as Molina verbalized himself "all-in" for just under 84,000. We haven't prided ourselves on being able to 100% translate what's being said at the tables over the last few days but it doesn't matter what your native tongue is to understand when someone doesn't like the position they're in.

    "Aye yai yai," Santin said as he went to count out his own stack, one that barely had Molina covered. He put his head in his hands and eventually called, only to see that he was in a great spot, as his [Kc][Ks] had Molina's [Qh][Qd] drawing to just two immediate outs. The five-bettor rolled his eyes and slouched in his chair as the [tc][3s][3d] flop did nothing to help his current situation.

    The [3h] didn't do much either and Santin, turning to his friend at a table across the room, said, "Limpio, limpo." That means "clean" in Spanish and while the runout was clean for the Argentinian through the flop and turn, the river was all kinds of dirty. The [Qs] spiked to complete the board and in a flash, Santin went from likely holding the chip lead to being left with just a handful of big blinds.

    Molina apologized before getting pushed the pot, looking like he was asking Santin for forgiveness after the brutal beat. Nothing to be sorry for though and now, Tomas Molina is playing one of the bigger stacks in the room midway through Level 12. --WOC

    1:22pm: Different directions for Day 1 leaders
    Level 12 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

    Francisco Benitez and Sergio Palma ended their respective Day 1 starting flights with the chip lead and then, obviously, entered today's restart one-two on the LAPT9 Chile leaderboard. While they each peaked during those Day 1 sessions, they're trending in opposite directions heading into Level 12.

    Benitez, who came back with just over 180,000 has seen close to half that stack disappear over the first hour of play. He's now working just shy of 95,000 and while he's fallen, he's still working a very comfortable over 50 big blind stack. Palma hasn't fallen though, as he's increased his stack slightly to 185,000.

    The Chilean has done so despite having to deal with one of the tougher table draws in the room. He doesn't seem phased by the big names at Table 12 though, as he's still near the top of the leaderboard as we continue to play through the early levels of Day 2. --WOC

    1:15pm: A closer look at the field
    Level 12 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

    Thanks to my colleague Reinaldo Venegas, we can now see how the field breaks down by nationalities. As you'd expect, Chileans make up most of the players, but take a look at the stats. --JS


    1:10pm: Blinds are up
    Level 12 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

    We're now playing 800/1,600 with a 200 ante. --JS

    1pm: Chop it up
    Level 11 - Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

    Fernando Reines opened to 2,500 and Rodrigo Chavez made the call on the button. The blinds got out of the way and two players saw a flop of [3s][jd][5h]. Reines put out a c-bet of 2,600 and Chavez called, taking us to the the [7s] on the turn. Both checked, and the [8d] hit the river. It started to feel like neither player had much, but Reines now bet 5,200 - perhaps trying to steal the pot.

    It turned out he was bluffing - but he was bluffing with the joint-best hand. Chavez called after thinking for a while (he had just 24,000 behind) and turned over [ac][2d] for ace high, and that's exactly what Reines had too with the [ah][2h]. Nice call, sir. --JS

    12:55pm: Cornelio Lopera leaves Daniela Horno short, then leaves the table
    Level 11 - Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

    When a player jokes that he has 'walking chips', that usually means he's playing one of the bigger stacks in the room. All Cornelio Lopera needed to earn a trip around the room, and to the bathroom, was a double up to 25,000 though, which he got courtesy of Daniela Horno.

    Action was picked up with Lopera all-in for 13,400 from the small blind and Horno, looking like she limp-reshoved from middle position, also all-in for just over 20,000. Another limper, in the cutoff, had both short stack shoves covered and he went into the tank. While the third player thought, Lopera, who might be the most energetic player in the room, jumped from his seat and did a half lap around the table to stand behind Horno.

    While he was the one at risk, as she had him covered, he began massaging her shoulders, drawing a round of laughter from Horno and the rest of the table. When the thinking player eventually folded, he quickly ran back to his cards and said, "Uno?" saying that each should only show one of their hold cards.

    Lopera turned over the [Kc] and Horno showed [7h]. The dealer rightfully wasn't going to let them play their own little game though, forcing Lopera and Horno to show their other card as well. They each had a matching ace, meaning Horno would have to hit to score the knockout with [Ah][7h] to the shorter stack's [Ac][Kc].

    The board ran out [Qd][th][ts][2d][Kd] and Lopera high-five himself after the river paired him up and confirmed his double. When the dust settled, Horno, still in good spirits herself, was a left with just a few big blinds while Cornelio Lopera stacked up just over 25,000 and then, in the middle of an almost oration that bordered on rambling, he said "bano".

    We know that one! The Chilean then exited the tournament area, heading to the bathroom with a little pep in his step but he should try to hurry back, as he's still only working close to ten big blinds. --WOC

    12:45pm: Great call by Tabarin
    Level 11 - Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

    Dan Denghal opened to 3,200 from the hijack and it folded to Lucas Tabarin in the small blind. "How much do you play?" he asked (or something along those lines), and Denghal didn't say but showed instead. He moved his stack into middle as if he was moving all-in, but only to Tabarin could get a better look. He made the call and the two went to a flop.

    It came the [tc][th][8d] and Tabarin checked only for Denghal to continue for 6,500. Tabarin made a quick call and we saw the [6c] hit the turn, which both checked. Then came the [8c] on the river, bringing two pair to the board. Tabarin checked once more and Denghal threw out three blue chips for 15,000 total. Now Tabarin, who had been leaning forward the whole hand, leant back in the day for a more comfortable thinking position. It worked - he made a great call with [ad][qh] for just an ace and the board, while Denghal announed "good call" and turned over a counterfeited [2h][2s]. Denghal now has 27,000, while Tabarin is up to roughly 170,000. --JS

    12:37pm: Andruis Bielskis involved early
    Level 11 - Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

    There are a few ways players can attack a Day 2 restart. Some bide their time and wait for their spots as they figure out the lineup they've been thrown into and others go in trying to assert themselves as table captain. So far, Lithuania's Andruis Bielskis has done the latter, as he's been involved in a few hands early in Level 11.

    The first saw Bielskis and Richard Dubini see a flop of [Ah][Qs][ts] in a blind versus blind encounter. Bielskis bet 1,500 from the small blind and the Argentinian called to see the [5c] fall on the turn. Bielskis bet for a second time, firing out 2,600. Again, Dubini called and while the [Js] hit the felt to complete the board, Dubini shot his opponent a quick glare.

    Bielskis could likely feel that stare coming from his immediate left and after he tapped the table, Dubini did the same to get to showdown after seemingly every potential draw got there by the river. Bielskis tabled [As][3d] but top pair was no good, as Dubini turned over [Qd][5h] for turned two pair. That was enough to take the pot and get him up near 40,000 after coming into Day 2 relatively short.

    In the next hand, Bielskis took a small pot off Day 1A chip leader Sergio Palma and then after he folded his button, he was back in the action from the cutoff. Rodrigo Quezada opened from middle position to 2,600 and after a player called, Bielskis did the same to see the [Kh][7s][4s] flop in position.

    Quezada continued for 3,900 and Bielskis quickly called to see the [8s] fall on the turn. That forced the Chilean to slow down, as he checked and Bielskis then took the betting lead with a wager of 6,300. Quezada called and the [3s] put four to a flush on board.

    The out of position Quezada checked for a second time and Bielskis decided to put him a test to close to a third of his remaining stack, sliding out 16,700. The Chilean shook his head, visibly frustrated with potentially the turn card and the river. In the end, he folded and Bielskis took in the pot, one that moved him up near the 125,000 chip mark. --WOC

    12:26pm: Two knock-outs; Salas and 'the departed' fall to Naranjo
    Level 11 - Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

    A few minutes ago I brought you word of arguably the toughest table in the room. Now here's a bit about the table with the most action!

    It was the table that Damian Salas was sitting at - but we'll get to him. First came the felting of an unknown player (I tried asking for his name, but he was in no mood to talk - as you're about to find out).

    It started with an open to 2,700 from Colombia's Frank Naranjo, which Damian Salas called from the small blind. The player we're going to name 'the departed' then bumped it up to 7,200 and both Naranjo and Salas made the call.

    The flop came the [ad][jh][3h] and Salas checked to the departed, who continued for 7,200 again. Now Naranjo raised to 14,400, doubling the bet. Salas got out of the way but the departed went nowhere. The turn was then the [3c] and the departed went into the tank. The cameras were rolling on the table as he thought for a while, constantly peeking back at his cards. He then decided to move all-in, but Naranjo couldn't have called faster.

    The departed let out a sigh and sheepishly turned over [ah][9s] - he knew he was beat and he was, as Naranjo had [ac][qd]. The [7c] hit the river, the departed left without a word, and Naranjo stacked 103,000.

    Then - the very next hand...

    Naranjo was back in the action, opening to 2,700 and facing a three-bet to 6,700 from Salas. A four-bet then arrived from Naranjo up to 21,000 and Salas went into the tank. He eventually made the call.

    The dealer fanned a flop of [2d][ts][8h] and with the action on Naranjo, he slid out a bet of 20,000 in 1K chips. Salas thought for a long time once more, counting his chips (he had about 60,000 behind), and eventually made the call.

    The turn was the [qd] and it was to be a very quick street. Naranjo announced "all-in", and Salas snap-called. His confidence turned to regret, though, as he saw his [ks][kh] was crushed by Naranjo's [as][ah]. The [2c] river changed nothing and now it was Salas hitting the rail. Naranjo might have the biggest stack in the room now with more than 190,000. --JS

    12:13pm: The toughest table
    Level 11 - Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

    While we don't have an official seat draw to bring you, I've just had a walk around the room and our notable names seem to be spread quite well across the floor. However, there is one particular table featuring two-time LAPT champ Mario Lopez (here we go again), Bruno Severino, and Fernando Reines. There's sure to be a lot of action over there. --JS

    12:08pm: We're off!
    Level 11 - Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

    Well, it didn't quite get started at 12pm as expected, but we're now off and running in Level 11. Stay tuned. --JS

    11:40am: Day 2 about to start
    Level 11 - Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

    Welcome back to Viña del Mar, where the last bits of prep are underway before we kick off Day 2 at 12pm. There will be 192 players in total taking their seats today, as we combine both the Day 1A and Day 1B survivors into one field.

    We'll need to lose 113 players before we make the money, as only 79 will be able to lock up a guaranteed min-cash of $2,500. However, they'll all have their eyes set on making it through to Day 3 and eventually claiming the $141,785 first place prize.

    Uruguay's Francisco 'Tomate' Benitez is out chip leader coming in with 181,800, followed by Sergio Palma who has 167,500. If you want to find out more about each of the Day 1 flights, click here for Day 1A or click here for Day 1B.

    The plan is to play down to 32 players today, so the bubble is guaranteed to burst here on Day 2. Make sure you stick around all day to see how it goes down - there's a link at the top for you to refresh the updates. --JS

    PokerStars Blog Reporting Team at LAPT9 Chile: Will O'Connor and Jack Stanton. Photos by Carlos Monti. Follow the PokerStars Blog on Twitter: @PokerStarsBlog

    Want to qualify for the LAPT? Click here to get a PokerStars account and start today

  • 6 March

    LAPT9 Chile: Francisco ‘Tomate’ Benitez leads the revenants on Day 1B

    Have you seen that movie The Revenant? In it, Leonardo DiCaprio plays frontiersman Hugh Glass; a man on a revenge mission after being attacked by a bear and then left for dead by his backstabbing colleagues. In fact, that's what a revenant is - someone who has come back from the dead.

    Well, there weren't any bears here on Day 1B of LAPT9 Chile, but there were plenty of revenants - i.e. players who busted Day 1A and were back today with a revived tournament life. In case you hadn't guessed, it's a re-entry event here at Viña del Mar.

    The possibility to re-buy was too tempting for many, and in the end we had a total of 307 entries here on Day 1B, and a total of 565 across both Day 1 flights. That created a juicy prize pool of $737,325, with a handsome $141,785 up top for the winner.


    Francisco 'Tomate' Benitez

    The player closest to that prize at the end of Day 1B is Argentina's Francisco 'Tomate' Benitez, who finished the day as our chip leader with 181,800. That tops Day 1A leader Sergio Palma's 167,500, making Benitez the overall big stack going into Day 2. 102 players made it through from this flight, and in total 79 players will be paid, with a min-cash worth $2,500.

    Parts of The Revenant were actually filmed in Argentina, and we had plenty of other Argentinians in the field today aside from the chip leader. Two-time LAPT champion Fabian Ortiz was back again, for one, having busted his Day 1A stack around 6pm. He fared a lot better today and will take 43,900 into Day 2.


    Ortiz survived

    We also had two other members of that elusive two-time champ club in Mario Lopez and LAPT Player of the Year Oscar Alache. It was a rocky day for Lopez, who busted his first Day 1B bullet earlier and then bizarrely found himself sitting in the exact same seat once he'd re-entered. His stack was up and down all day, and he ended the day with 47,400.


    Lopez is coming back

    Oscar Alache, on the other hand, couldn't survive. The best player of LAPT's Season 8 will have to wait a little longer to add to his trophy collection, as he busted his stack midway through Level 9.


    Alache might be Player of the Year, but he's out of this one

    The only player representing the red spade in Chile was Team PokerStars Pro Leo Fernandez, but he could never really get anything going here today. He nursed short stacks all the way until the last level of the day before being felted.


    Leo Fernandez is gone

    After Benitez, the biggest stacks in the room belonged to Javier Venegas (158,200), Luis Alberto Aray LePiche (143,600), Roberly Felicio (126,200), Yoel Palmer (121,400), 
Andres Hemola (110,900), Carlos Polna (109,000
), Jose Paez (103,300
), and Amos Ben (101,100
). They'll also be joined by Irina Petrova (22,100) and Francisco Belaustegui (28,000) on the lower end of the counts.

    Meanwhile, some of the many eliminated players we had today included Bruno Severino, Renata Teixeira, Jorge Cantos, and Pablo Chacra.

    Both the Day 1A and Day 1B survivors will combine at 12pm tomorrow for the beginning of Day 2. There'll be a total of 192 players looking to become the next LAPT champ, and blinds will be 600/1,200 with a 200 ante. Make sure you come back and follow the action.

    Until then, you can catch up on all of the live updates from the past two days:

    Day 1A live updates
    Day 1B live updates

    Photos by Carlos Monti.

    Want to qualify for the LAPT? Click here to get a PokerStars account and start today

  • 6 March

    LAPT9 Chile: Francisco ‘Tomate’ Benitez leads the revenants on Day 1B

    Have you seen that movie The Revenant? In it, Leonardo DiCaprio plays frontiersman Hugh Glass; a man on a revenge mission after being attacked by a bear and then left for dead by his backstabbing colleagues. In fact, that's what a revenant is - someone who has come back from the dead.

    Well, there weren't any bears here on Day 1B of LAPT9 Chile, but there were plenty of revenants - i.e. players who busted Day 1A and were back today with a revived tournament life. In case you hadn't guessed, it's a re-entry event here at Viña del Mar.

    The possibility to re-buy was too tempting for many, and in the end we had a total of 307 entries here on Day 1B, and a total of 565 across both Day 1 flights. That created a juicy prize pool of $737,325, with a handsome $141,785 up top for the winner.


    Francisco 'Tomate' Benitez

    The player closest to that prize at the end of Day 1B is Uruguay's Francisco 'Tomate' Benitez, who finished the day as our chip leader with 181,800. That tops Day 1A leader Sergio Palma's 167,500, making Benitez the overall big stack going into Day 2. 102 players made it through from this flight, and in total 79 players will be paid, with a min-cash worth $2,500.

    Parts of The Revenant were actually filmed in Argentina, and we had plenty of other Argentinians in the field today. Two-time LAPT champion Fabian Ortiz was back again, for one, having busted his Day 1A stack around 6pm. He fared a lot better today and will take 43,900 into Day 2.


    Ortiz survived

    We also had two other members of that elusive two-time champ club in Mario Lopez and LAPT Player of the Year Oscar Alache. It was a rocky day for Lopez, who busted his first Day 1B bullet earlier and then bizarrely found himself sitting in the exact same seat once he'd re-entered. His stack was up and down all day, and he ended the day with 47,400.


    Lopez is coming back

    Oscar Alache, on the other hand, couldn't survive. The best player of LAPT's Season 8 will have to wait a little longer to add to his trophy collection, as he busted his stack midway through Level 9.


    Alache might be Player of the Year, but he's out of this one

    The only player representing the red spade in Chile was Team PokerStars Pro Leo Fernandez, but he could never really get anything going here today. He nursed short stacks all the way until the last level of the day before being felted.


    Leo Fernandez is gone

    After Benitez, the biggest stacks in the room belonged to Javier Venegas (158,200), Luis Alberto Aray LePiche (143,600), Roberly Felicio (126,200), Yoel Palmer (121,400), 
Andres Hemola (110,900), Carlos Polna (109,000
), Jose Paez (103,300
), and Amos Ben (101,100
). They'll also be joined by Irina Petrova (22,100) and Francisco Belaustegui (28,000) on the lower end of the counts.

    You can find all of the end of Day 1B chip counts here.

    Meanwhile, some of the many eliminated players we had today included Bruno Severino, Renata Teixeira, Jorge Cantos, and Pablo Chacra.

    Both the Day 1A and Day 1B survivors will combine at 12pm tomorrow for the beginning of Day 2. There'll be a total of 192 players looking to become the next LAPT champ (click here for all the Day 2 chip counts) and blinds will be 600/1,200 with a 200 ante. Make sure you come back and follow the action.

    Until then, you can catch up on all of the live updates from the past two days:

    Day 1A live updates
    Day 1B live updates

    Photos by Carlos Monti.

    Want to qualify for the LAPT? Click here to get a PokerStars account and start today

  • 5 March

    LAPT9 Chile: Oscar Alache - your LAPT Player of the Year

    It's not often you see an entire poker room stop and applaud for someone they're still competing with. However, when the player in question is as popular as Oscar Alache, it's not surprising at all.

    A Chile native who currently sits fourth on the country's all-time money list, Alache has had quite a year. The icing on the cake came right before our Day 1B players here at LAPT9 Chile returned to play after their dinner break:

    Alache was officially named our LAPT Player of the Year.


    Oscar Alache (right) with Santiago Gandara

    When that message was announced over the microphone, all 200-plus of the remaining Day 1B field started clapping and cheering. Alache looked touched, but remained as cool as ever.

    So, how did Alache get to this point? Let's take a look at just some of his results over the past 12 months.

    - LAPT8 Chile Main Event - 1st place for $131,962

    - Two side event wins

    - Six final tables for a combined $70,532

    Needless to say, Alache is a very worthy winner of Player of the Year. He also has another LAPT title too, one he won in Peru back in 2014. That means he's on the short list of players who are chasing their third title alongside Fabian Ortiz, Jose Barbero, and Mario Lopez.


    Oscar Alache winning his second LAPT title in Chile, 2015

    And Alache's not done yet - there's still the matter of LAPT9 Chile, in which Alache is still playing.

    "I have seven LAPT trophies now, but I also have lots of room for more," Alache said over the mic.

    When you've got the talent, and the support of even the people you're playing against, we wouldn't bet against Alache scooping more trophies over the next year.

    En @Enjoy_Vina @santigandara @PokerStarsLAPT me entregó el premio al "Player of the year 2015"
    Inolvidable momento!

    — alachepoker (@alachepoker) March 5, 2022

    Follow all the action from LAPT9 Chile with our live coverage.

    Photos by Carlos Monti.

    Want to qualify for the LAPT? Click here to get a PokerStars account and start today

  • 5 March

    MPC24: Wayne Yap conquers record High Roller!

    Congratulations to Wayne Jun Wen Yap! He overcame this star-studded record High Roller field with 114 entries to take home HK$2,292,720 and etch his name in Macau poker history. It was back to back hands that ultimately decided the winner. Yap st...

  • 5 March

    LAPT9 Chile: Main Event restarts; Day 1B live updates

    CLICK TO REFRESH FOR LATEST UPDATES 12pm: Cards are in the air Level 1 - Blinds 50/100 Play has kicked off here at Day 1B - the room's not quite full yet but we already see plenty of familiar faces that played yesterday. Stay tuned. --JS After an ...

  • 5 March

    MPC24: High Roller live updates

    2:45pm: Level 11 begins, blinds are 3,000/6,000 with a 500 ante 2:40pm: Bad river sends Celina Lin packing Team PokerStars Pro Celina Lin was super short-stacked and moved in for her last 19,000 with ace-jack. Wing Cheong Chong made the call with a s...

  • 5 March

    LAPT9 Chile: Sergio Palma quietly leads through Day 1A

    Vina del Mar, Chile welcomed the Latin American Poker Tour for the second stop of their Season 9 schedule, after the LAPT opened 2016 at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. We're now back to the continental tour of South America and if Day 1A of LAPT9 ...

  • 4 March

    MPC24: Three cheers for Ying Lin Chua!

    A stellar week of poker, a record-breaking field and a new Macau Poker Cup Red Dragon champion! The atmosphere here at PokerStars LIVE Macau has been electric over the past few days. Not only did this iteration of the Red Dragon prove to be the bigges...

  • 4 March

    Valentine’s Day Score

    I was fortunate enough to score on Valentine's making the final table of the $10.50 Super-Knockout! Unfortunately, I also had a date planned with my girlfriend at the same time. It was your typical poker-life balance dilemma, one that full-t...

  • 4 March

    LAPT9 Chile: Main Event gets underway! Day 1A live updates



    12:40pm: Giorgio Calls The River, Then Takes One
    Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

    Early level play usually involves small pots and quick decisions but don't tell that to Viccenzo Giorgio and Mauricio Aguilar, who just got involved in a sizable pot on Table 10. Action was picked up with three players seeing a flop of [Qs][7c][6h], with Aguilar checking from the blinds.

    Giorgio, on the button, put out a bet of 600. Aguilar then clicked it back with a check-raise to 1,500, forcing a fold from the middle position player and picking up a call from Giorgio who wasn't going away quietly. The [Qd] fell on the turn and the action slowed, with both players quickly passing to see the [Ah] complete the board.

    Aguilar quickly made a move towards his stack and bet 3,500, a sizable bet at this stage of the tournament. Giorgio's face said it all, as he seemed to hate the bet and the spot he was in on the river. After shooting Aguilar a few looks and talking himself through the hand for close to two minutes, Giorgio called, to see that his decision-making process led to a correct call.

    The out-of-position Aguilar tabled [4c][4s] and Giorgio's hand was good, as he turned over [Ad][Kh] for a rivered top pair. The dealer mucked Aguilar's cards and pushed Giorgio the pot, or at least pushed it towards his seat. After the hand, the victor quickly stood and stepped away from the table to receive a quick phone call.

    He eventually returned to the table to stack his newly won chips and after making a great river call and receiving one on his cell phone, Viccenzo Giorgio is off to a hot start here in Day 1A. --WOC

    12:20pm: Top Two From Season 8 Headline Early Crowd
    Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

    While this early Day 1A crowd is full of unfamiliar faces, two of the big names from Season 8's Latin American Poker Tour stop in Chile are headlining the action. Oscar Alache, who claimed his second LAPT title last year, returns to not only defend his title but also attempt to write his name into the LAPT record books.

    A back-to-back win and third overall LAPT title would do just that. The Chilean has already started 2016 with some solid results, including two final table appearances at January's PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. He ended January with another final table run and will be walking away with hardware regardless of his LAPT9 Chile finish this weekend (he's being presented with the LAPT8 Player of the Year title). He's the player to watch over the next few days.


    Oscar Alache - LAPT Player of the Year

    Alache isn't the only podium finisher from 2015 to make an early Day 1A appearance, as Renata Teixeira has just taken her seat at a central table. The Brazilian finished 2nd last year, good for a $113,000 score, and she'll now try to make her third career LAPT Main Event final table appearance after finishing 9th in Uruguay last September.

    With past experience and immense success on the LAPT and at Vina del Mar, these two players will certainly be contenders throughout this $1,500 NL Hold'em Main Event. --WOC


    Renata Teixeira - going for the gold this year

    12pm: Shuffle up and deal - vamos!
    Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

    We're officially off and running here in Chile. The players start with 20,000 chips, and we'll be playing 10 one-hour levels today. --JS

    11:30am: Who will set the bar in Viña del Mar?

    Buenos días! We're here in the beautiful 'Garden City' of Viña del Mar in Chile for the Latin American Poker Tour Season 9's second stop. In a half hour's time, we'll be kicking off the festival with Day 1A of the $1,500 NL Hold'em Main Event with unlimited re-entries.

    Viña del Mar has been a regular stop on the tour since Season 2 back in 2008, when Argentina's Fabián Ortiz took down the inaugural event. Last year it was Chile's own Oscar Alache who won the $131,962 first place prize and his second LAPT title, having also notched a win in Peru in Season 7. To scoop the trophy in Chile last year, Alache defeated a tough final table that also included two-time LAPT champ Jose Barbero.

    So, the question is: will he try and go back-to-back, overtaking both Ortiz and Barbero to become the first player with three LAPT titles? We'll have to wait and see!

    We're expecting an exciting day of play to get this Main Event going, and if other LAPT stops are anything to go by then that's exactly what we're going to get. We'll be back shortly when the players start to arrive and the cards are (almost) in the air - don't go anywhere. --JS

    Want to qualify for the LAPT? Click here to get a PokerStars account and start today

    PokerStars Blog Reporting Team at LAPT9 Chile: Will O'Connor and Jack Stanton. Photos by Carlos Monti. Follow the PokerStars Blog on Twitter: @PokerStarsBlog

  • 4 March

    MPC24: Final table live updates

    3:10pm: Cards in the air And we're off! PokerStars LIVE Macau's Rex Cheong has just introduced our final nine players and with that the action is underway. The blind levels now switch to 75 minutes each and begin today on 20,000/40,000 with a 5,000 ...

  • 3 March

    I had no other choice…

    PokerStars festivals are, by far, my favorite. They're enjoyable in a lot of ways; you can visit a new country, meet old friends and make new ones, or just simply have a good time. For some players these are the biggest reasons. like to concentrate on the tournaments and try my very best to maximise my playing ability.

    I recently went to Prague EPT, and my first tournament of the series was the €1,100 Eureka Main Event. I felt I played well and in general was satisfied with my game, but I managed to bust out during last three hands of the day. The elimination was hard to take, because I had a built a big stack. I found myself on the wrong end of a cold deck.

    The next day I played the €2,200 High Roller, making it into Day 2 and managing to cash, I busted in 72nd due to some bad luck. I had originally decided to play in the evening Turbo €300, but then I saw a €1,100 deep stack which had a much more agreeable tournament structure.

    Ready to sign up for PokerStars? Click here to get an account.

    I really wanted to win this one. I felt extremely focused and was silently repeating, "I have to win it!" as a mantra. I planned each action with the maximum amount of attention, trying not to make any mistakes. What bet-sizing to use? How to play best against each particular player? Step by step, I was moving ahead in the tournament. As the number of players decreased, I was able to maintain a good stack.


    Closer to the bubble, I was able to put pressure on my opponents. An aggressive style works well when emotions are bubbling up and everyone is doing their best to get into the money. When there were three tables left, I was among the chip leaders. At that moment I had an extremely tough table with what looked to be only professionals left in the tournament. I met a fellow countryman who appeared to be an experienced MTT player, and he ended up taking sixth place. As I speak only a little English, it was great to meet players and dealers from Russia and have conversations with them in Russian during the breaks. Being able to do this regularly is really precious to me.

    Surprisingly, the final table felt very comfortable, and I felt confident in my abilities. I was able to play a lot of hands and always had a big stack. When we got down to the final three players the tournament seemed like a turbo and luck started to become a major factor. I proposed a deal to my opponents but one of them consistently refused. I knocked him out soon after.

    I was left head-up versus a player from Hong Kong. I had met him earlier and we had spoken a little. I offered him a deal but he also declined. After that I had no other choice but to win, and I managed to do so! My happiness was bottomless. I was full of emotion and had a real feeling of triumph. It's just one of the reasons why I like poker so much.


    Ahead I have more hard work planned to improve my game and hopefully some more victories under the PokerStars flag.

    Ready to sign up for PokerStars? Click here to get an account.
    Liliya "Liay5" Novikova is a member of Team Online Pro


  • 3 March

    MPC24: Final table player profiles

    Seat 1: Takashi Ogura, 33 (Tokyo, Japan) - 2,710,000 Japan's Takashi Ogura starts our Red Dragon final table second in chips. The 33 year-old says he's played poker for six years and got his start in cash games. When he's not running deep in tournam...

  • 3 March

    MPC24: China’s Liang Xu leading into final table

    We finally made it! After a week of exciting poker action here at PokerStars LIVE Macau the Red Dragon final table is here at last. When things kicked off at 3pm we had 55 players and weren't sure how long the day would last. Approximately eight hou...

  • 3 March

    Jonathan Little - Weekly Poker Hand, Episode 84

    In this episode of Weekly Poker Hand, I have to figure out how to get full value from middle set in a three-way pot. Would you have played this situation ...

  • 3 March

    MPC24: Day 3 live updates

    3:00pm: Cards in the air! We're live again! Tournament official Rex Cheong has just told the players it's time to shuffle up and deal. Blinds will recommence at 5,000/10,000 with a 1,000 ante and the average stack at the start of proceedings sits at...

  • 2 March

    MPC24: Ukraine’s Kamel Mokhammad back on top for Day 2

    Eliminations and cold hard cash were the main features today. The poker room is dying down here now as Day 2 of the MPC24 Red Dragon has wrapped but not long ago PokerStars LIVE Macau was electric with excitement. We had 259 returning from our reco...

  • 2 March

    MPC24 Day 2 live updates

    3:05pm: Shuffle up and deal! Cards are in the air here for Day 2 of the MPC24 Red Dragon. Blinds commence at 1,200/2,400 with a 400 ante and the average stack currently at 62,258. The returning 259 will be hoping to have another great day at the f...

  • 1 March

    MPC24: China’s Huitong Cao claims top spot on Day 1c

    For poker fans; today had everything.

    We witnessed records broken and an indescribable atmosphere as players flooded the poker room here for the third and final opening flight of the Red Dragon.

    By the close of late registration it was 512 who joined the hunt today. That brought our total up to 1,075 for a record-breaking Red Dragon field. Not only was today the biggest Day 1 flight and confirmed we were among the biggest iteration of this tournament ever, but it also became the largest-ever freezeout tournament in the whole of the Asia-Pacific.

    Of those 512 who did take part today, only 127 would survive the 12 levels of play. Ahead of the pack when all was said and done stood Huitong Cao. He finished with 232,600 ahead of Wayne Zhang with 167,600 and Jun Yang Ong on 165,900.

    MPC24 Day 1c chip leader Huitong Cao.jpg

    Ahead of the pack on Day 1c - Huitong Cao

    Cao has only one previous live cash to his name from a second place finish in a turbo event back in 2014. With that score awarding him only $4,479 Cao is well on his way to the biggest result of his poker career.

    Returning tomorrow to join Cao on Day 2 from today's flight will be four previous Red Dragon champions. Yuefeng Pan (95,700), Zhenru Xie (73,400), Raymond Wu (73,000) and Tom Alner (49,000) all finished with chips.

    MPC23 Red Dragon Day 1c Top Ten Chip Counts
    Huitong Cao (China) - 232,600
    Wayne Zhang (China) - 167,600
    Jun Yang Ong (Singapore) - 165,900
    James Chen (Taiwan) - 150,500
    Raul Gallego (Spain) - 138,400
    Leo Cheng (Canada) - 135,100
    Satrya Wijiya Teja (Indonesia) - 126,500
    Yongjun Liang (China) - 121,200
    Marc Rivera (Philippines) - 115,900
    Vladimir Dobrolskii (Russia) - 114,800

    Click here for full end of day chip counts
    Click here for Day 2 seating draw/i>

    While these lucky players survived the night, for others, it was a different story. Our two representatives for the PokerStars contingent couldn't hold on. Bryan Huang was eliminated earlier after a three-way all in didn't end in his favour. Also hitting the rail was Yaxi Zhu who lasted until late in the day but just came up short in the end.

    MPC24 day 1c Yaxi Zhu.jpg

    Team PokerStars Pro Yaxi Zhu

    We also lost a horde of notable names today with Jason Lo, Aaron Lim, Raiden Kan, Jack Salter and MC HotDog all falling by the wayside.

    For the 127 who made the cut, they'll join the qualifiers from the first two flights back here tomorrow. Play will kick off earlier with a 3:00pm start to give players a chance to attend the MPC24 Welcome Party in the evening.

    As always we'll be covering all the action from here at PokerStars LIVE Macau. We hope you can join us for another exciting day of poker action!

  • 1 March

    Are you ready for the Elite Series?

    As I wrote in my previous blog entry, Play Money Poker has changed. One of the big changes in the last two years is the dramatic increase in popularity of tournament poker, with the number of daily tournament entries more than doubling in the last two ...

  • 1 March

    MPC24: Day 1c live updates

    MPC24 Red Dragon Day 1c ready to go It's almost time for the Red Dragon's third and final opening flight! Today is expected to be easily the biggest yet and with 563 combined entrants from Days 1a and 1b we'll be hoping the field can reach the 1000-p...

  • 1 March

    Xuan Liu - I Only Write on Leap Days

    I actually wrote most of a blog post on my way home from Australia, but this finalized version looks almost nothing like the bizarre, poetic version I had in my ...

February, 2016

  • 29 February

    MPC24: Ukraine’s Kamel Mokhammad crushes Day 1b

    The Red Dragon spread its wings again today and now Day 1b is in the books. Dwarfing the opening flight yesterday, today's proceedings had the room here at PokerStars LIVE Macau packed out. While Day 1a attracted a field of 205, we saw that smashed b...

  • 29 February

    How to make Team PokerStars Pro Online

    Social media, and especially Twitch lately, is the best way to get in touch with Team Pro Online members. There is no better way for asking someone a question as you get your answer right away. And it's not in some sort of a text form. You can actually see and hear the player answering. Of course, some of you guys like to put us on the spot with some...interesting stuff...but that just makes everything even more super-duper exciting, right? Kappa Kappa.

    I got asked a myriad of questions during my livestream ramblings in the last year or so, but the most asked one by far is "How do you get in Team Pro Online?" One would think that in situations like this, the way it goes is, "Don't call us, we'll call you." But that is actually not the case here. Every year during the Team Pro Online week, Supernovas have a chance of filling out an application to become a member of our team. And you know what? It's that time of the year again!


    A relaxed moment away from Twitch!

    This is exactly how I've got that Red Spade displayed by my name on the tables. I filled out an application and was chosen among 500 other online grinders. I play Limit Hold'em, and PokerStars didn't have an ambassador for this niche variant at that point.It also helped that my country Slovenia wasn't represented yet, so there was definitely some luck involved. Even though I could have filled out an application in the years before, I didn't do it. But I did send one that particular year. What has changed from one year to another, you might ask? Nothing really. I just decided, well...I guess this is going to sounds as cliché as possible...there was nothing to lose, but everything to gain. Here I am today.

    I know I'm no Tolkien and this might not be the most interesting story you're going to hear during the week, but it's still mine, and I don't mind talking about it, even though I've told it many times during the Twitch livestreams. I've been member of Team Pro Online for two years now, and this is without a doubt the most exciting period of my poker career. All fellow members are also great people to work with, and it's definitely a privilege to be part of the team. So if you are Supernova, do not miss this amazing opportunity during the Team Pro Online week. Send in that application. Remember - there's nothing to lose, everything to gain!

    Luka "LukaSteel" Kovač is a member of Team PokerStars Pro Online


  • 29 February

    Jonathan Little - More ICMizer and SNG Coach Study

    I have been spending a lot of time working on my game recently, and one of my favorite tools to use is ICMizer’s SNG Coach feature. This program puts you ...

  • 29 February

    MPC24: Day 1b live updates

    MPC24 Red Dragon Day 1b begins soon It's time for the second Day 1 flight of the Macau Poker Cup 24's feature tournament - The Red Dragon! The poker room here is already filling up with players preparing to make a run at that prestigious title and im...

  • 28 February

    MPC24: China’s Chao Yang charges ahead on Day 1a

    The Red Dragon took flight again today. The feature tournament of this Macau Poker Cup 24 generated an electric atmosphere across the room here at PokerStars LIVE. When late registration was locked out it was a total of 205 who had posted up the HK$1...

  • 28 February

    MPC24: Day 1a live updates

    MPC24 Red Dragon Day 1a set to start Welcome once again to PokerStars LIVE Macau for our coverage of the Macau Poker Cup 24 Red Dragon! We're kicking things off with the first of three opening flights as Day 1a is set to commence shortly. In the mean...

  • 27 February

    MPC24: The Red Dragon fires up

    Lower the drawbridge. It's time again for players to hunt for the illustrious Red Dragon. Macau Poker Cup 24 is in full swing and now the festival's crown jewel is upon us. It's already been an exciting nine days here at PokerStars LIVE in the City ...

  • 25 February

    Jonathan Little - Weekly Poker Hand, Episode 83

    In this episode, I flop a premium draw, miss, and then have to figure out how to make my opponent fold a decently strong hand on the river. Would you ...

  • 24 February

    Barry Shulman - WSOP Schedule Adds More Events and Introduces Changes That All Players Should Like

    Once again, instead of resting on its laurels, the World Series of Poker has shown its stuff by making several tweaks that guarantee a huge jump in attendance and overall ...

  • 24 February

    Barry Shulman - 2016 WSOP Gets Even Better, Colossus To Be Biggest Tournament Ever

    Once again, instead of resting on its laurels, the World Series of Poker has shown its stuff by making several tweaks that guarantee a huge jump in attendance and overall ...

  • 23 February

    Padraig Parkinson - Mystery Envelopes

    Killiney Castle 1982 played a major part in the history of European poker. A planeload of the best players in the world flew into Dublin as guests of Irish bookmaker ...

  • 23 February

    Daniel Negreanu - Arrogance

    Many intelligent people do come across this way, and poker attracts intelligent people. Arrogance isn’t exclusive to smart people, but it’s often a character trait that comes along with having ...

  • 22 February

    Jonathan Little - Combating A Maniac

    The following hand is from one of my newest books, Jonathan Little on Live No-Limit Cash Games, Volume 2, The Practice. This book is a collection of 105 in-depth hand ...

  • 18 February

    Jonathan Little - Weekly Poker Hand, Episode 82

    In this episode, I find myself facing a river bet on a 4-flush board with only middle pair. Do you make the hero-call? Be sure to sign up for the ...

  • 18 February

    Daniel Negreanu - Don’t Play Tired!

    Last Tuesday I had people in and out of the house between 8am and 10am and I typically don't wake up until 10:42am each morning. Normally that's not going to ...

  • 16 February

    EPT12 Dublin: Charlie Carrel defeats Dominik Nitsche to win €10,300 High Roller

    Whoever plans these big poker festivals is one clever cookie.

    You see, with Day 1A of the Main Event taking place yesterday, that meant that anyone who had played and survived now wasn't due back until Tuesday for Day 2. Add to the mix the fact that the €25,000 EPT High Roller finished yesterday, and you could have expected a lot of bored poker players searching for something to fill their Monday off.

    Yeah, right.

    Boredom doesn't exist at the EPT! Luckily for those players who just want to keep on playing (i.e. the vast majority), there was a €10,300 High Roller tournament running today that would start and finish all on the same day, meaning they could comfortably play before returning to the Main Event tomorrow. Heck, even if they hadn't played the Main Event yet, they can still buy-in at the start of Day 2!

    A total of 66 players decided to pony up the buy-in, and 23 of those exercised their single re-entry option, making it 89 entries in total. That produced a staggering prize pool of €863,300, with a handsome €229,200 going to the eventual winner.

    That final table was full of familiar faces, including Dominik Nitsche - who won the UKIPT High Roller last night for €156,560. Nitsche would go on to finish 2nd in this event, but in the end it was the 22-year-old British superstar Charlie Carrel who took it down, fresh off his 3rd place finish in the €25,000 High Roller yesterday for €234,100.

    Carrel can now add €164,500 to his Dublin winnings, as the final four players made a deal. Here's how the tournament played out over the day (the full updates can be found here).

    Every face a name

    It was a stacked line up: Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier, PCA 2016 Main Event champ Mike Watson, and €25,000 EPT Dublin High Roller champ Mustapha Kanit were amongst the action, as were Mike McDonald, Steve O'Dwyer, Igor Kurganov, Dzmitry Urbanovich, Martin Jacobson, Adrian Mateos, Timothy Adams, Christoph Vogelsang, Daniel Dvoress, Ryan Riess, and Ben Heath.

    Our bubble boy was Daniel Dvoress, who was crippled when he ran jacks into Kevin MacPhee's kings, and busted a few hands later.


    Daniel Dvoress bubbles

    Ryan Riess, Kevin MacPhee, Fernando Brito, and Sergey Lebedev were the next to go.


    MacPhee out in 11th

    That got us down to a final table of 9, and here's how they stacked up:

    Mark Radoja 1,840,000
    Dominik Nitsche 1,425,000 
    Demetrio Barreca 1,220,000
    Senh Ung 1,000,000
    Jeff Rossiter 930,000
    Charlie Carrel 825,000
    Francois Billard 670,000
    Viacheslav Goryachev 400,000
    Paul Tedeschi 375,000

    Viacheslav Goryachev was the first to leave the final table, followed by a crazy double elimination hand. Jeff Rossiter shoved, then Senh Ung shoved, and then Mark Radoja shoved as well!

    Rossiter had [ad][qh], Ung had [jd][jc], but Radoja had them both with [kc][ks], which would hold up, knocking both players out.


    Rossiter falls in 7th

    Demetrio Berreca went out in 6th shortly after, followed by Paul-Francois Tedeschi in 5th.


    Paul-Francois Tedeschi laddered up nicely with a short stack

    When we got to four-handed, the players cut a deal. Here's what they agreed:

    Mark Radoja €144,180
    Dominik Nitsche €139,450
    Charlie Carrel €134,600
    Francois Billard €128,120

    They left €29,900 plus the trophy to play for, and after a little bit of four-handed play we lost Billard in 3rd. He'd already locked up €128,120 so wasn't too dissapointed!


    Francois Billard gets 4th

    Three-handed went on for quite some time, taking us into the early hours of the morning. It was Mark Radoja - the man who led for much of this final table following that double-elimination hand - who exited in 3rd, taking home his €144,180. He moved all in from the small blind for 1 million with [qs][6h] and was called by Carrel in the bb with [ac][8s]. The flop paired Carrel's eight and no queen turned up on the turn or river.


    Radoja gets 3rd

    Heads up was quite a relaxed affair, with both Carrel and Nitsche fresh off huge scores yesterday. However, both still clearly wanted to win the extra €29,900 and the shiny trophy.

    The chip lead changed hands several times, and plenty of bluffs were shown. However, it was two big hands that would settle it.


    Carrel and Nitsche - two poker beasts

    Nitsche limped on the button and Carrel made it 400,000 to play from his bb. Nitsche didn't waste time shoving for his last 2.1 million and the call from Carrel was even quicker - "Aces!" he said gleefully, turning over [ac][as]. Nitsche had [ah][qd], and the [ts][5d][jc] gave him some hope for a straight. But the [4s] turn and [8c] river were no help whatsoever.

    And just like that, we had our champ!

    Nitsche and Radoja were all talking about whether or not they could still register for the EPT Dublin Main Event tomorrow on Day 2 - which they can in the morning. So don't be surprised if we see them both tomorrow, alongside Carrel who survived Day 1A.

    We hope we see you tomorrow too! Come back and check out all the action from Day 2 of the Main Event. Goodnight!

    €10,300 Single-Day High Roller
    Players: 66
    Re-entries: 23
    Prize pool: €863,300

    1 Charlie Carrel (United Kingdom) €164,500*
    2 Dominik Nitsche (Germany) €139,450*
    3 Mark Radoja (Canada) €144,180*
    4 Francois Billard (Canada) €128,120*
    5 Paul-Francois Tedeschi (France) €66,480
    6 Demetrio Barreca (Italy) €51,800
    7 Jeff Rossiter (Australia) €41,000
    8 Senh Ung (United Kingdom) €31,940
    9 Viacheslav Goryachev (Russia) €24,170

    *Indicates a four-handed deal was made

    Ready to sign up for PokerStars? Click here to get an account.

  • 15 February

    Jonathan Little - More PokerSnowie Study

    I have been studying poker a ton recently and one of my favorite programs to work with is PokerSnowie. Since I strive to constantly bring you the best training material possible, I ...

  • 15 February

    Sunday Million: Resilient Sr.Rouquinho rides out storm to $171K victory

    Of all the qualities a poker player can have, none is more important than resilience. It lets you play the same quality game whether you're working with a big stack or a short one, whether you're playing a turbo structure or a deep one, and when you opt to hold out for more money when everyone else at the table wants to cut a deal. Sr.Rouquinho has encountered all those situations at the PokerStars tournament tables in recent weeks: first in January when the Czech player ruined the rest of the table's deal en route to a TCOOP title, and now after riding out a see-sawing stack to victory in the Sunday Million.

    After three hours of late registration, the field for this week's Million was set at 5,494. That was good for $1,098,800 prize pool, split among the top 810 finishers with $171,854.75 up top. After 11 hours and 47 minutes of play there were just these nine players still in contention:

    Seat 1: 163Andrey63 (6,636,738 in chips)
    Seat 2: ismo Seat 3: amar11111 (5,408,135 in chips)
    Seat 4: Camari (2,250,640 in chips)
    Seat 5: marcel389 (5,767,633 in chips)
    Seat 6: woopwoopster (1,768,528 in chips)
    Seat 7: sslazio904 (5,559,864 in chips)
    Seat 8: NEMEZIS JT (3,665,000 in chips)
    Seat 9: Sr.Rouquinho (9,080,297 in chips)

    2-14-16 Sunday Million ft.jpg

    Final table play started with 150K/300K/30K blinds and antes. After a few small pots, the real action got started on the fifth hand when sslazio904, a WCOOP finalist last fall, opened for a small raise on the button with [Jc] [Js] and Sr.Rouquinho re-raised all-in for 10.3M, holding [Ad] [Kd]. An ace on the flop and no jacks the rest of the way meant sslazio904 was out in 9th place ($8,790.40).

    That gave Sr.Rouquinho the lead with 15.4M chips. Over the next 11 hands the Czech player stole the blinds and antes and won at showdown where necessary to pick up another 2.3M, extending the lead to almost 10M chips over second-place ismowinner of the PokerStars Tournament Leader Board for the last three years in a row. Norway's woopwoopster folded over that entire stretch and eventually ended up all-in for 228K on the big blind. Sr.Rouquinho min-raised to 800K, got a call from Camari, and then won the pot with [Ad] [4s] for a spade flush after checking down every street of the [3s] [Tc] [7s] [Js] [Qs] board. Camari and woopwoopster both mucked, and woopwoopster finished in 8th place ($13,735).

    The fortunes of the table's short stacks turned for a while. Camari managed to triple up to 4.5M with [Kd] [Qd] against 163Andrey63's [Ac] [Ks] thanks to a friendly queen on the flop. 163Andrey63 turned around four hands later and doubled back to 6.3M, catching top two pair with [Qd] [7c] on a [Qc] [4c] [7d] flop and outrunning Sr.Rouquinho's nut flush draw with [Ac] [9c].

    Even the newly short stacks got in on the act. After NEMEZIS JT picked up [As] [Ah] on the same hand as marcel389 held [8d] [8h], flopping top set and turning a full house to chip up to 10.8M, marcel389 three-bet all-in with [Kh] [Th] over the top of amar11111's opening raise with [Js] [8s] and won unimproved to get back to 5.8M. And then amar11111 got back in the game by winning a pre-flop race with [Kc] [Js] against Camari's [Td] [Th] with two pair on the [Kd] [7s] [Jd] [9s] [7d] board.

    Sooner or later the trend had to end, and Camari was the odd player out when it did. Down to 1.2M - less than three big blinds with blinds and antes freshly up to 250K/500K/50K - the Norwegian shoved with [Qc] [8c] in the hijack and got action from Sr.Rouquinho in the small blind with [Qd] [Qh]. The [4h] [8h] [7c] [2s] [5h] didn't offer enough help, and Camari was gone in 7th place ($24,723).

    2-14-16 Sunday Million ft six-handed.jpg

    The Czech player had been slipping downward while the short stacks took turns doubling up, but that win was enough to reclaim the chip lead. Then Sr.Rouquinho took seven of the next eight pots, moving north of 25.4M with the last of them, a 7.5M-chip win earned by a river call of amar11111's 2M-chip bet into the 3.5M-chip pot. Sr.Rouquinho called with [Ah] [4s] for top pair, beating amar11111's stone bluff with [5c] [4h].

    That left amar11111 against the ropes, but the German player's number wasn't up just yet. Instead it was marcel389 who would depart next, despite getting in well ahead on the final hand. marcel389 called for 5.5M with [Ks] [Kc] after Sr.Rouquinho opened for 1M and ismo

    amar11111 avoided joining the castoffs with a double on the next hand, cracking ismo

    With only 13 big blinds, amar11111 was the shortest stack, but the German player stayed aggressive and managed to win four pots, bringing the four remaining players at the table to within just four big blinds of one another. Then NEMEZIS JT and ismo

    Left with a scant million chips, ismo

    A volatile mix

    That left the chip counts looking like this with blinds and antes at 300K/600K/60K:

    Seat 3: amar11111 (14,332,008 in chips)
    Seat 8: NEMEZIS JT (29,249,623 in chips)
    Seat 9: Sr.Rouquinho (11,358,369 in chips)

    After having been so close to elimination just hands earlier, amar11111 went on a tear, winning eight out of 11 pots to chip up to the lead with 26.5M. The other three pots went to NEMEZIS JT, leaving Sr.Rouquinho with just 4.5M. The Czech player doubled that in a coin-flip situation, flopping a nine with [Ad] [9s] to survive an all-in against amar11111's [6d] [6s]. That gave NEMEZIS JT possession of the lead again, and the Russian player used it to exert pressure and force amar11111 to fold on a [Js] [4d] [3s] flop, allowing NEMEZIS JT to stack up over 30.8M.

    Sr.Rouquinho sat at 6.1M and, after a desperate shove from the small blind with [Qs] [4s], ended up all-in when amar11111 called in the big blind with [Kh] [Jc]. Things looked grim after the turn with the board reading [3h] [7d] [9h] [3s], but the [4c] river delivered Sr.Rouquinho from danger with an 11M-chip pot. Revitalized, Sr.Rouquinho held strong for another 38 brutal rounds of three-handed play as NEMEZIS JT held a big lead and amar11111 refused to back down.

    The tipping point came when Sr.Rouquinho picked up [9h] [9s] in the big blind. NEMEZIS JT had open-shoved with [Ad] [3s] in the small blind, and calling gave Sr.Rouquinho the 25.3M-chip pot after the board ended up [Kd] [Js] [7d] [4c] [7s]. On the very next hand Sr.Rouquinho limped from the small blind with [Ah] [As] and called when amar11111 shoved in the big blind with [Jh] [4d]. The [Js] [7s] [Kc] [Qh] [6s] board didn't offer enough help, and amar11111 left in 3rd place ($90,486.18).

    2-14-16 Sunday Million ft hu.jpg

    Things were tight as heads-up play began, with NEMEZIS JT holding 26M chips to Sr.Rouquinho's 28.8M. Sr.Rouquinho won the first showdown, after having called in the big blind with [Qh] [Jd], check-called 1.1M on the [Ah] [As] [6d] flop, and checked the [2c] turn and [3c] river. With a lead of 10.1M chips, the Czech player had enough space to control the match for most of its 11-minute duration. NEMEZIS JT stayed within striking distance for most of it before three-betting all-in for 10.4M with [Kh] [Td] over the top of Sr.Rouquinho's opening min-raise. Sr.Rouquinho called with [Ah] [Qc] and caught top pair on the [4c] [Tc] [Qs] flop, holding on through the [9s] turn and [8h] river to bring the tournament to its end.

    After an hour and 21 minutes of final table play and 12 hours and four minutes of total play time, NEMEZIS JT had earned $128,010.20 as the runner-up, a new career best at PokerStars by more than $110,000. Sr.Rouquinho, meanwhile, scored $171,854.75 and a Sunday Million title. It's also a new career best at PokerStars for the Czech player, topping last month's $41K TCOOP win for that honor. If the first two months are any indication, 2016 is shaping up to be quite the year at the tables for Sr.Rouquinho. Congratulations to both players on their fine performances!

    2/14/16 Sunday Million ($215 No-Limit Hold'em) results
    Total prize pool: $1,098,800
    Places paid: 810

    1. Sr.Rouquinho (Czech Republic) $171,854.75
    2. NEMEZIS JT (Russia) $128,010.20
    3. amar11111 (Germany) $90,486.18
    4. ismo 5. 163Andrey63 (Russia) $46,699
    6. marcel389 (Canada) $35,711
    7. Camari (Norway) $24,723
    8. woopwoopster (Norway) $13,735
    9. sslazio904 (Russia) $8,790.40

    Ready to up your game and compete in the Sunday Majors? Click here to get a PokerStars account.

  • 15 February

    Daniel Negreanu - The Elimination of Badeucy

    I put in another session of high stakes poker at the Bellagio on Saturday, my longest yet at 10 hours. The game is scheduled at noon, but if you showed ...

  • 15 February

    Sunday Warm-Up: shtruddle savors sweet $64K victory

    More often than not, coming to the final table with the short stack is a ticket for a quick exit. Even catching a break or two early on can will usually still leave you vulnerable enough that surviving long enough to move up a pay spot or two can be considered a win. But every now and then a short stack will end up making a real run, despite the long odds. And sometimes - like today - the short stack will be the last one standing. shtruddle, who faced long odds from the very first deal of today's final table, ended up the triumphant underdog thanks to a little bit of luck followed by some very good timing.

    The 2,250 players who showed up for a shot at this week's Sunday Warm-Up title combined for a $450,000 prize pool. That set a $72,000 prize for first place and at least $315 to everyone who finished in the top 324 places.

    By 7:24 p.m. ET the field had been narrowed to just these nine players:

    Seat 1: Nicolau "nicofellow" Villa-Lobos (4,380,389 in chips)
    Seat 2: 0$kar15 (1,983,308 in chips)
    Seat 3: pr0fes0rul (1,753,444 in chips)
    Seat 4: Pokerfan89Gr (3,732,545 in chips)
    Seat 5: arturuz77 (964,868 in chips)
    Seat 6: shtruddle (841,076 in chips)
    Seat 7: Steve "Illini213" Barshak (2,752,022 in chips)
    Seat 8: Caz_Carneiro (5,082,999 in chips)
    Seat 9: LlKE A G6 (1,009,349 in chips)

    2-14-16 Sunday Warm-Up ft.jpg

    Flying high

    The possibility of a repeat Sunday Warm-Up winner was present at today's final in the form of Steve "Illini213" Barshak, a 2012 WCOOP winner who won this tournament exactly four years ago this weekend. He came in with more than 30 big blinds in fourth place, more than enough to put him in good position for a chance at repeating as champion, but his stay at the final table would be short and chaotic.

    Barshak saw action on the first hand, re-raising all-in with [Ah] [Qh] to isolate shtruddle, who had jammed for 833K under the gun with [As] [Jh]. Barshak was a 3-to-1 favorite before the flop but ended up splitting the pot when the board fell [Kd] [Ac] [4c] [6h] [6c] to give both players aces and sixes with a king kicker.

    Eight hands later he held [As] [Qs] against a short stack again, but LlKE A G6's [Ac] [Ad] took the 2.2M-chip pot and dropped Barshak to 2M chips himself. After folding five hands and losing 570K on the sixth after calling shtruddle's bets on the [Kd] [Tc] [6s] flop and [5h] turn but folding on the [2d] river, he caught a break, shoving with [Ks] [Qd] and flopping two pair to crack pr0fes0rul's [Ah] [As].

    Following all of that, Barshak was actually a few big blinds ahead of where he'd begun the final table. He immediately lost half of it after putting Caz_Carneiro all-in, his 4-to-1 lead before the flop no good after Caz_Carneiro caught the [8h] on the turn for a set to crack Barshak's [Tc] [Ts]. Another pair of tens four hands after that left him in a race against LlKE A G6's [Ad] [Kh], but the [As] [Qs] [Ac] [Ks] [Qc] board closed the door hard on the pre-flop favorite. And with that, Steve "Illini213" Barshak's 23-minute stay at the final table ended in 9th place ($4,050).

    LlKE A G6 scored another knockout eight hands later in a cooler for Caz_Carneiro. The Brazilian player open-shoved with [Ad] [Ks] and only got action from LlKE A G6, who re-shoved with [Ah] [As]. There was a glimmer of hope in the form of a gutshot wheel draw on the [4c] [5h] [3s] flop, but the [Jh] turn and [8h] river sent Caz_Carneiro to the rail in 8th place ($6,525).

    LlKE A G6 ran that stack up to 7.8M before finally dropping a significant pot, losing with [8d] [8h] to 0$kar15's [Qh] [Qs] to give the latter a double to 2.4M. Another dominated starting hand would cost pr0fes0rul, who re-raised all-in for 1.27M on the next hand after LlKE A G6 opened the pot for a minimum raise. shtruddle re-raised with [As] [Kh] and successfully isolated pr0fes0rul, taking the pot with three aces after the board came [5c] [Ac] [3c] [4h] [Ah].

    Lead change, lead change, lead change

    With the table now six-handed and blinds and antes at 65K/130K/13K, the chip counts looked like this:

    Seat 1: Nicolau "nicofellow" Villa-Lobos (4,420,837 in chips)
    Seat 2: 0$kar15 (2,400,984 in chips)
    Seat 4: Pokerfan89Gr (4,590,395 in chips)
    Seat 5: arturuz77 (833,736 in chips)
    Seat 6: shtruddle (3,772,767 in chips)
    Seat 9: LlKE A G6 (6,481,281 in chips)

    Pokerfan89Gr, a TCOOP finalist just last month, upped the aggression and started chipping up quickly, stealing blinds and antes and taking down one 2M-chip pot with an all-in three bet after being check-raised by shtruddle on a [Kc] [As] [5s] flop. But an opening raise with [Jc] [5c] a few hands later committed Pokerfan89Gr to calling after arturuz77 jammed with [Tc] [Ts], giving arturuz77 a double to 1.86M. Six hands later arturuz77 got the better of Pokerfan89Gr a second time, re-raising before the flop with [Qh] [Qd] and then calling all-in after original opener Pokerfan89Gr made it four bets with [Ah] [Jc]. A queen on the flop gave arturuz77 the set and 3.49M chips.

    2-14-16 Sunday Warm-Up ft six-handed.jpg

    Six more hands passed before arturuz77 opened for a minimum raise to 320K with [As] [Qc] and 0$kar15 called with [Jc] [6c] in the big blind. 0$kar15 shoved for 1.04M on the [3s] [4s] [5c] flop, holding a two-way straight draw with a backdoor chance at a club flush, but arturuz77 called and won the pot when nobody improved on the [4d] turn or [Ts] river. That spelled the end for 0$kar15 in 6th place ($15,525).

    arturuz77 was poised to take over the chip lead just five hands later after min-raising to 320K under the gun with [Kc] [Kc] and getting Pokerfan89Gr to three-bet all-in with [9c] [9s]. arturuz77 called and stayed ahead on the [2s] [3s] [7s] flop and [Th] turn, but the [8s] river made a spade flush, giving Pokerfan89Gr an escape hatch and 5.83M chips. From there the blinds and antes advanced to 100K/200K/20K, and after shtruddle took down the first pot uncontested after LlKE A G6 folded to a bet on the river of the [5d] [Kc] [6h] [3h] [6c], everyone left at the table was within 15 big blinds of one another.

    There was no room to sit back on a hand so when two strong starters ran into one another it meant someone's stack was on the line, as when shtruddle picked up [Jc] [Jd] and doubled through Nicolau "nicofellow" Villa-Lobos when the 2013 SCOOP Medium Main Event winner held [8c] [8d]. That loss left nicofellow with 1.53M chips, which was whittled down to 1.08M by blinds and antes by the time he was able to attempt a steal in the cutoff with [Ks] [4h]. arturuz77 called in the small blind with [4s] [4d], though, and with no kings on the [2c] [9s] [8d] [8h] [7c] board Villa-Lobos was eliminated in 5th place ($20,250).

    Like Icarus

    That gave arturuz77 the lead at 7.29M chips, but it was short-lived as LlKE A G6 won 8.14M with a big call on the river of the very next hand. Pokerfan89Gr opened the hand with a minimum raise to 500K and LlKE A G6 called with [Jh] [Td] in the big blind, catching bottom two pair on the [Js] [Tc] [Kc] flop. LlKE A G6 check-called 372K there and 667K on the [3d] turn, building a 3.3M-chip pot before the [5c] came on the river. LlKE A G6 checked and this time Pokerfan89Gr moved all-in for 4.1M, a bet that covered LlKE A G6's remaining stack. The Czech player used the time bank and thought for around 90 seconds before calling, taking down the pot when Pokerfan89Gr showed down [9s] [6s] for a stone cold bluff.

    LlKE A G6 would have no more luck with the lead than arturuz77 had. Pokerfan89Gr got the first win, calling all-in for 1.4M in the big blind with [Jc] [9h] and winning unimproved on the [5d] [Kd] [Ah] [5c] [3d] against LlKE A G6's attempted steal with [9d] [6h]. A few hands later two stabs at the pot on the turn and river of a [Qs] [8d] [Td] [5d] [6s] board, after checking in the big blind before the flop and then again on it, couldn't make shtruddle fold top pair with [Qh] [9d].

    The crippling blow came in a race against Pokerfan89Gr, whose [7d] [7h] beat LlKE A G6's [Ac] [Jh] for 7.3M. That left LlKE A G6 with 2.2M chips, all of which went in the middle under the gun on the next hand. shtruddle called with [Ah] [8c] and was a 58-percent favorite against LlKE A G6's [Kh] [Jd] before catching top pair on the [8d] [7s] [5h] flop to move up to 74 percent. The [5d] and [4d] on the turn and river brought no help, and LlKE A G6 departed in 4th place ($27,000).

    Going out with a bang

    With 200K/400K blinds and 40K antes applying maximum pressure to the remaining three players, the time for making a deal had arrived. They didn't take long to come to an agreement - just nine minutes after pausing for discussion they were back to play. And within two minutes of that, they would all three participate in the sort of final hand that might finish out a Hollywood film.

    2-14-16 Sunday Warm-Up ft three-handed.jpg

    Pokerfan89Gr opened the final hand with a min-raise to 800K on the button, holding [Ad] [Kd]. Then arturuz77 moved all-in for 3.7M in the small blind, holding [Td] [9d]. shtruddle re-shoved with enough chips to cover Pokerfan89Gr, holding [8s] [8h], and Pokerfan89Gr called all-in, building a 20.7M-chip pot. All three players caught a strong piece of the [8d] [Qd] [Th] flop: shtruddle the strongest with a set of eights, arturuz77 with an inside straight flush draw, and Pokerfan89Gr with a combo straight/nut-flush draw. The [2c] turn left everyone with a chance to win, but shtruddle earned the win with four of a kind when the [8c] came on the river.

    That closed out the tournament with a bang, giving shtruddle the extra $8,000 on the table for a total prize of $64,427.98. That's a new career best at PokerStars for the Swiss player, more than doubling the third-place prize from a 2014 Sunday 500 final table appearance. Pokerfan89Gr and arturuz77 also earned new career high prizes with their shares from the deal, as detailed below. Congratulations to all three players on making the most of the Sunday Warm-Up!

    2/14/16 Sunday Warm-Up ($215 No-Limit Hold'em) results
    Total prize pool: $450,000
    Places paid: 324

    1. shtruddle (Switzerland) $64,427.98*
    2. Pokerfan89Gr (Greece) $53,416.40*
    3. arturuz77 (Uzbekistan) $46,293.12*
    4. LlKE A G6 (Czech Republic) $27,000
    5. Nicolau "nicofellow" Villa-Lobos (Brazil) $20,250
    6. 0$kar15 (Germany) $15,525
    7. pr0fes0rul (Romania) $11,025
    8. Caz_Carneiro (Brazil) $6,525
    9. Steve "Illini213" Barshak (Costa Rica) $4,050

    *Reflects the results of a three-way deal that left $8,000 in play for the winner

    Ready to up your game and compete in the Sunday Majors? Click here to get a PokerStars account.

  • 15 February

    EPT12 Dublin: Gilles Bernies leads to end Main Event Day 1A

    Love is in the air. There are flowers everywhere. It can only be Valentine's Day, so what did 147 romantics decide to do? Come and play Day 1A of the EPT Dublin Main Event of course!

    It's the first EPT stop in Dublin for 10 years, and plenty of big names have made the trip. While the UKIPT and High Roller tournaments have kept players busy so far, it seems many couldn't wait to get stuck into the €5,300 Main Event.

    After 8 levels of play, the man who had the biggest stack in front of him was PokerStars Qualifier Gilles Bernies from Germany, who'll take a whopping 189,600 charging into Day 2 on Tuesday.


    Gilles Bernies - your Day 1A chip leader

    The other biggest stacks going through to Day 2 belong to Mike McDonald (162,400), Ian Hunter (139,400), Artem Litvinov (138,900), Adrian Mateos (128,800), Anthony Zinno (124,800), Fabrice Soullier (123,400) and Kamran Aliyeu (114,200).

    79 players in total had chips to bag and tag at the end of the day, and now that they're sealed and the players have headed to the bar, here's a little run down of what went down on Day 1A.

    Ready to sign up for PokerStars? Click here to get an account.

    How romantic

    Like we said, love was in the air today and two players who knew all about it were Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier and esteemed pro Natasha Barbour (who happens to be Mercier's girlfriend). Both were in the field today and both survived, with Mercier bagging 83,200 and Barbour 37,400 when it was all said and done.

    Spending Valentine's Day with @natashabarbour doing what we both love to do.. Playing the #EPTDublin main!

    — Jason Mercier (@JasonMercier) February 14, 2022

    Meanwhile, it was a lovely day for Team PokerStars Pro Luca Pagano, who had a steady rise to his 78,000 end-of-play stack.


    Smooth sailing for Luca Pagano

    Charlie Carrel hopped straight into this event after placing 3rd in the €25K High Roller for
    €234,100. No rest for the wicked! He'll back in action on Tuesday with 49,900.


    High Roller to Main Event for Carrel

    And Fabrice Soulier had a swingy day - down to 20,000 then up to 125,000, then back down to 69,000 before finally finishing with 123,400.


    Swingy for Soullier

    One player who ended the day in stunning form was Mike McDonald. He won an enormous pot from a player who had led the chip counts for a lot of the day, Artem Litvinov from Russia, and shot up to 162,400 - which he'd the day with. Litvinov wasn't happy - "Why, Michael?" he protested, jokingly. "I spend all day accumulating my chips while you were sleeping!"


    McDonald wins big pot


    Litvinov moans...


    ...but he's only kidding really

    Sam Greenwood, Davidi Kitai, Pierre Neuville, Kevin MacPhee, Jeffrey Rossiter, Barny Boatman, Nick Petrangelo, Christoph Vogelsang, Ben Heath, Keith Johnson, and Darryll Fish are also through to Day 2.

    Of course, we had to have some casualties. Max Silver busted to Team PokerStars Pro Luca Pagano when both flopped two-pair; Mohsin Charania was knocked-out just a few hands after sitting down when his flopped set of fives lost to Artem Litvinov's rivered set of kings; and Mike 'SirWatts' Watson couldn't make it two Main Event titles in a row when he was felted in the last level of the day.


    Pagano busts Silver

    Other notables who couldn't survive the day included Dario Sammartino, Ryan Riess, Rocco Palumbo and Joao Vieira.

    You can catch up on all of today's action by checking the Day 1A Live Updates here.

    And while you're at it, you can check out the full Day 1A chip counts here.

    We'll be back with live updates for Day 1B at 12:00pm tomorrow, so make sure you can come back and check out what's sure to be a much larger field.

    Go get some rest and we'll see you tomorrow!

    Ready to sign up for PokerStars? Click here to get an account.

    Take a look at the official website of the EPT, with tournament schedule, news, results and accommodation details for the rest of the season.

    Also all the schedule information is on the EPT App, which is available on both Android or IOS.

    PokerStars Blog reporting team on the EPT12 Dublin Main Event: Stephen Bartley, Nick Wright, Jack Stanton and Martin Harris. Photography by Neil Stoddart. Follow the PokerStars Blog on Twitter: @PokerStarsBlog

  • 12 February

    Welcome to the Big Leagues - Where the Poker is Real

    Play Money Poker has changed. For the first ten years of PokerStars it provided new and inexperienced players with training wheels to get used to the look and feel of online poker before committing themselves to real money. However, in the last few y...

  • 12 February

    Daniel Negreanu - GPL and The State of Poker Sponsorships in 2016

    So a new initiative called the Global Poker League looks set to launch with their initial draft in a couple weeks in Los Angeles. It's a team format where players ...

  • 11 February

    Jonathan Little - Weekly Poker Hand, Episode 81

    In this episode, I flop a weak drawing hand and find a way to run a bluff by the river. Do you attempt the bluff in this spot? Be sure ...

  • 10 February

    Daniel Negreanu - Politics in High Stakes Poker

    So as I mentioned previously, my goal this year was to put in 200 hours of cash game poker in 2016 after not playing any at all for about two ...

  • 9 February

    Padraig Parkinson - The Irish Open: The Tournament That Was Too Much Fun

    From the beginning, the Irish Open was always a bit different. That it had its roots in the aptly named Eccentrics Club is a bit of a clue. When the ...

  • 8 February

    Jonathan Little - 5 hands from the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open

    Due to the popularity of my recent blog post where I reviewed 5 hands from an EPT event, in this blog post I am going to share with you the ...

  • 7 February

    Anniversary Special: A glorious win for Jean Issa at the Main Event

    "I finally did it!" Those were UK Jean Issa's words after he defeated Norwegian poker pro Henrik Tollefsen to claim his first-ever trophy at PokerStars Live Manila. Issa overcame a field of 534 entries at the Anniversary Special Main Event to capture t...

  • 7 February

    Anniversary Special: Final Day Updates

    We will be posting random updates right here on some of the action at the final day of the PokerStars Live Manila Anniversary Special Main Event. We kick off with 76 players returning to the felt, each one vying for that top cash prize of P461,600. The...

  • 7 February

    Anniversary Special: PS Live Manila Final Day

    From 534 entries down to the 76 players, the PokerStars Live Manila Anniversary Special resumes today in search of its first main event champion. What's up for grabs? A big piece of the P2,279,112 prize pool, a total of P461,600 in cold hard cash to th...

  • 6 February

    Anniversary Special: Guiterrez leads day 1d and Dizon ships it in big at day 1e

    We have completed the last two flights of the PokerStars Live Manila Anniversary Special Main Event and what a big turnout it was with 99 entries for day 1d and 171 entries for day 1e. This easily surpassed the guarantee, bringing the prize pool to a h...

  • 6 February

    Anniversary Special: PS Live Manila Day 1e Updates

    We are down to the last day one flight of the PokerStars Live Manila Anniversary Special Main Event P2M Guarantee. Alike the previous flights, late registration is open until the end of level 12 and regulation play will conclude five minutes into level...

  • 6 February

    Anniversary Special: PS Live Manila Day 1d Updates

    Here we go! Day 1d of the Anniversary Special Main Event is underway at the PokerStars Live Manila poker room. This event has a P2M Guarantee with buy-in fee of P5,000. Unlimited re-entries are available until the end of level 12. Action will conclude ...

  • 6 February

    Anniversary Special: PS Live Manila Day 1d and Day 1e

    With rain coming down outside, that only means lots of poker action to be expected this Saturday at the PokerStars Live Manila poker room with the Anniversary Special Main Event P2M Guarantee already underway. Today will see day 1d and day 1e heat up...

  • 5 February

    Anniversary Special: Tollefsen skyrockets in Day 1b; Lo on top at Day 1c

    It was a big day at the felt with PokerStars Live Manila Anniversary Special Main Event running two day one flights, day 1b early in the afternoon and day 1c early evening. Day 1b was a big hit with many players in attendance for a total of 129 entries...

  • 5 February

    Anniversary Special: PS Live Manila Day 1c Updates

    The third qualifying flight (day 1c) of the Anniversary Special Main Event has just begun. Late registration will be open until the end of level 12, that's just over 3 hours with the breaks. Players will be on the felt past the midnight hour until we r...

  • 5 February

    Daniel Negreanu - Good Old Fashioned Poker Blog

    One of the goals I set was to get back into the high stakes mixed games at Bellagio. A modest goal of 200 hours with the intention of making $250k+ ...

  • 5 February

    Anniversary Special: PS Live Manila Day 1b and Day 1c Updates

    We are back at the PokerStars Live Manila poker room for the weeklong Anniversary Special. Today has Day 1b kicking off at 215PM and Day 1c at 7PM. Updates for both flights will be posted right here. Late registration is open until the end of level 12,...

  • 5 February

    Anniversary Special: Day 1b and Day 1c Today

    Day 1b of the PokerStars Live Manila Anniversary Special Main Event has just gotten underway here at the PokerStars Live Manila poker room in City of Dreams Manila, Philippines. This event has a P2M Guarantee for an affordable P5,000 buy-in fee. Unlimi...

  • 5 February

    The Poker Academy - Poker Night in America at Thunder Valley Poker Room

    I am sitting here in my room at the Commerce Casino getting ready for our 12-Week Challenge webinar tonight. It is on session 4. I just finished re-watching the session ...

  • 4 February

    Anniversary Special: Hassan Leads Day 1a with 8 Remaining

    After roughly around 5 hours of regulation play, day 1a of the PokerStars Live Manila Anniversary Special Main Event ended with 8 players out of 59 surviving the night. Sitting on top with the largest stack was Carlo Aziz Hassan from the United Kingdom...

  • 4 February

    Jonathan Little - Weekly Poker Hand, Episode 80

    In this episode, I elect to 5-bet preflop with K3s. Is this a standard play or have I lost my mind? Be sure to sign up for the FREE Excelling ...

  • 4 February

    Anniversary Special: PS Live Manila Day 1a Updates

    The PokerStars Live Manila Anniversary Special Main Event has begun. We will have random live updates for you on the action at the felt. Players will begin with a 15,000 stack, 15-minute levels, and will play until the end of level 12, that's a total o...

  • 4 February

    Anniversary Special: PokerStars Live Manila

    One year ago, PokerStars opened up its newest hub in Asia, the PokerStars Live Manila poker room at the highly prestigious City Of Dreams Manila in Pasay City, Philippines. Since then, they have held several festivals such as the highly attended Manila...

  • 1 February

    Jonathan Little - When To Skip Hands At The Poker Table

    I recently traveled to Atlantic City, New Jersey for a World Poker Tour event at Borgata and I was shocked at how many players were willing to voluntarily miss numerous ...

January, 2016

  • 31 January

    TCOOP 2016: Switzerland’s bambelbi3510 with precision victory in 8-Game; Team Online Naoya “nkeyno” Kihara 4th (Event #48 $530 8-Game)

    Going into the final day of the 2016 TCOOP, Team Online Naoya "nkeyno" Kihara from Japan cashed in seven other TCOOP events this year, with one final table appearance. Kihara had began the final day 24th overall on the leader board, but a TCOOP title h...

  • 31 January

    TCOOP 2016: Large Coffee stays hot to win Event 45 ($109 NLH, 8-Max, 1R1A)

    Today is the last chance for players to earn a title in the 2016 Turbo Championship of Online Poker and the first event was a fun $109 buy-in No Limit Hold'em game. A nice little tournament to kick of a bigger than normal Sunday schedule. There were se...

  • 31 January

    Ari Engel wins 2016 Aussie Millions Main Event

    "An amazing feeling!" They were the words of our new Aussie Millions champion Ari Engel. "I'm kind of speechless." His supporters on the rail cheered and applauded as Engel was awarded his Aussie Millions gold bracelet and $1,600,000! Engel ove...

  • 31 January

    TCOOP 2016: Second COOP win for Zackattak13 in Event #41 ($215 PLO, Heads-Up)

    Zackattak13 has been a COOP winner since the spring of 2012, when the Canadian player outlasted the field in Event #14-M, a grueling affair where the final table alone lasted five hours. Now Zackattak13 has a TCOOP title to go along with it after winning Event #41, a heads-up pot-limit Omaha affair.

    It's probably hard to say which of Zackattak13's COOP wins was tougher, but today's event was definitely shorter - at six hours and 17 minutes from start to finish, it was only a little more than an hour longer than just the final table of that SCOOP tournament. The 497 entrants got going at 12:00 p.m. ET, coming up just three entries shy of breaking the $100,000 guaranteed prize pool. Within four hours they had reached the fourth round, where the top 64 - including both Naoya "nkeyno" Kihara (63rd place, $400) and Roy "GodlikeRoy" Bhasin (35th, $400) from Team Online - collected their paychecks.

    Within another hour the field had been reduced to just four players with a chance to earn the last heads-up title on the 2016 TCOOP schedule.

    Semifinal: flaszeczka (Poland) vs. WTFOMFGOAO (Russia)

    One of the two semifinals featured past COOP final experience on both sides of the table as flaszeczka, a 2012 TCOOP winner in shorthanded no-limit hold'em, faced off against two-time WCOOP 2013 finalist and past Sunday 500 champ WTFOMFGOAO.

    The two would play for 23 minutes and they wasted no time getting to the big pots. Within the first three hands there were two lead changes. WTFOMFGOAO opened the second hand for 150 on the button, holding [8d] [5d] [5h] [3c], and got two streets of value for a 1,748-chip pot after turning a set of fives and rivering fives full of treys. flaszeczka immediately struck back with a 3,700-chip pot on the next hand, won without showdown after check-raising to 550 on the [5c] [6h] [2c] flop, betting 1,150 into 1,400 on the [Ah] turn, and jamming on the [Ks] river.

    TCOOP-41 2016 semifinal 2.jpg

    WTFOMFGOAO got back in front a few hands later through some good old-fashioned PLO aggression, taking the 1,900-chip pot without showdown and the river card still undealt, and maintained the lead through the 30/60 level and into 40/80. Then flaszeczka picked up [Kc] [Ks] [8c] [7s] on the button, raised the minimum, and bet half the pot on both the [4s] [Tc] [6s] flop and [As] turn. WTFOMFGOAO check-called both those bets and checked again on the [Jd] river, eventually calling flaszeczka's nearly pot-sized bet of 1,120 and mucking when flaszeczka showed the nuts.

    That gave flaszeczka 6,294 chips and the lead, and WTFOMFGOAO got right back on the horse and started trying to get back in front. flaszeczka mostly got out of the way, giving up the smaller pots and taking the occasional larger one to maintain the lead as the 50/100 level came and went.

    They finally came to an impasse in a perfect PLO action hand. WTFOMFGOAO opened for 240 on the button with [9d] [7h] [4c] [5h] and called flaszeczka's re-raise to 600, then caught a jack-high straight on the [Ts] [8d] [Js] flop and bet when flaszeczka checked. Then flaszeczka re-raised enoguh to put WTFOMFGOAO all-in, the Russian player called, and flaszeczka's [Ad] [As] [7s] [4d] promptly turned a close race into the end of the tournament by catching the nut flush with the [Qs] turn. The [Jh] on the river was just a formality, and WTFOMFGOAO finished the tournament in 4th place ($7,000).

    Semifinal: Zackattak13 (Canada) vs. JimmyDean (Finland)

    The other semifinal featured Finland's JimmyDean against 2012 SCOOP winner and past Sunday Warm-Up runner-up Zackattak13 of Canada.

    The two players faced off for 28 minutes, and much of the early portion of that time was spent taking small pots and exchanging the lead on a frequent basis. Through the first four levels of play, only three of the 31 pots were worth more than 1,000 chips.

    TCOOP-41 2016 semifinal 1.jpg

    Things were so close that the two players began the final hand of the 50/100 level just 17 chips apiece from where they began their match. Even when they finally started playing bigger pots, they stayed close. JimmyDean won two worth 2,036 and 2,268 chips, and then Zackattak13 doubled up to 5,902 when a flopped set of eights with [9s] [8d] [8c] [5s] outran JimmyDean's heart flush draw with [Kc] [Qh] [6c] [6c] and became eights full of jacks on the river. Then JimmyDean oromptly flopped a queen-high diamonds flush on the next hand and won a 2,610-chip pot, moving back into the lead with 5,403 chips.

    The balance fell apart from there. JimmyDean rattled off five straight wins, but they were all worth just a few blinds each. Then Zackattak13 won three four-figure pots in a row and put JimmyDean against the ropes with the last of them, which kicked off with JimmyDean raising slightly more than the minimum on the button and Zackattak13 calling to see a [2c] [9d] [7d] flop. Zackattak13 check-called a smallish 239-chip bet from JimmyDean before check-raising from 536 to 2,750 on the [5c] turn. JimmyDean thought before calling with 1,109 chips left behind, but eventually folded on the [4h] river, giving Zackattak13 the 6,642-chip pot.

    Four hands later JimmyDean opened on the button with [Ks] [9c] [7s] [6c] and called all-in when Zackattak13 re-raised with [Ac] [Tc] [Th] [6h], only to be left with a 0.1-percent chance to win - namely a runner-runner straight flush draw - when the flop came [Td] [5c] [5h]. The [6d] turn and [Jc] river were devoid of miracles, and JimmyDean finished in 3rd place ($7,000).

    Final: Zackattak13 (Canada) vs. flaszeczka (Poland)

    The first order of business for both players upon reaching the final was to make a deal. They hammered it out before the moderator ever showed up in the chat box, leaving $2,000 for the winner and splitting the $36,000 in remaining prize money down the middle. With that out of the way they started what would be an entertaining, back-and-forth match.

    TCOOP-41 2016 final.jpg

    flaszeczka struck the first blow. The past TCOOP winner opened for 150 on the button with [Qd] [Qc] [6h] [8h] and then checked behind on the [2s] [7h] [3s] flop after Zackattak13, who had checked with [3d] [Qs] [3h] [8c] for a set of treys. Zackattak13 led for 225 into the 300-cip pot on the [5h] turn, flaszeczka called with the eight-high flush draw, and then flaszeczka took down a 1,574-chip pot with the completed flush after calling Zackattak13's bet on the [Jh] river.

    Zackattak13 spoke truth to screen name by going on the offensive and taking down nine of the next 11 pots. The last of those, worth 1,418 chips at the conclusion of the 30/60 level, came after flopping top pair with the nut flush draw, turning three of a kind, and showing down an ace kicker on the river when flaszeczka had a king. That gave Zackattak13 a 6,614-to-3,386 lead to begin the 40/80 level, where flaszeczka was able to climb back above the 4,000-chip mark. So the 50/100 level became a crucial crossroad, and Zackattak13 came out of it with the advantage.

    Zackattak13 opened the second hand of the level for 230 and called when flaszeczka re-raised to 500 in the big blind. flaszeczka led for 500 on the [9h] [7s] [5s] flop, Zackattak13 called, and both players checked the [8d] turn. flaszeczka led out for 1,500 on the [Th] river but mucked when Zackattak13 showed [Jh] [Js] [8c] [5d] for a jack-high straight.

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    Being on the wrong end of that 5,000-chip pot left flaszeczka with 1,906 chips, most of which was was still left four hands when the past TCOOP champ picked up [Ac] [As] [Ts] [4h] and called all-in after Zackattak13 re-raised before the flop with [Kd] [Jh] [Js] [4c]. The flop delivered a set of aces and that got flaszeczka back to 3,412, but that turned out to be the Polish player's high point for the rest of the final.

    The downfall began when flaszeczka limped on the button. Zackattak13 checked with [Th] [8h] [6s] [2c] and then checked again on the [9d] [Ts] [Kh] flop, and flaszeczka checked behind. Zackattak13 bet 200 with trip tens on the [Td] turn and then another 800 on the [6d] river and flaszeczka called both, but mucked when Zackattak13 showed down tens full of sixes.

    Left with 1,529 chips and with the blinds freshly up to 60/120, flaszeczka faced a major task just to get back into the game. Twice the player from Poland had to split the pot with Zackattak13, not only without finding a double-up but while watching precious time tick away.

    flaszeczka finally made a stand when the blinds went up to 80/160, re-raising all-in for 749 chips with [Qc] [Js] [8d] [5c] after Zackattak13 opened for 480. Zackattak13 called with a ragged [Ah] [9d] [6c] [2s] and caught a pair of sixes on the [6s] [Ks] [7c], while flaszeczka picked up an open-ended straight draw. The [6h] on the turn made trip sixes for Zackattak13, and the tournament came to its end when the [Kh] river shut the door on flaszeczka's draw.

    flaszeczka missed out a second career TCOOP title but earned $18,000 as the runner-up thanks to the 50-50 deal cut at the start of the final, while the extra cash on the table gave Zackattak13 a $20,000 prize. Congratulations to both players on navigating a tough heads-up bracket for the big money at the end, and to Zackattak13 for earning and a second career COOP victory to go along with that SCOOP win from 2012.

    TCOOP-41 ($215 PL Omaha, Heads-Up, Turbo) results
    Total prize pool: $100,000
    Places paid: 64

    1. Zackattak13 (Canada) $20,000*
    2. flaszeczka (Poland) $18,000*
    3. JimmyDean (Finland) $7,000
    4. WTFOMFGOAO (Russia) $7,000

    *Reflects the results of a two-way deal that left $2,000 in play for the winner

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  • 30 January

    TCOOP 2016: 94-Minute Victory for AntonKrasch in Hyper-Turbo Event #43 ($215 NL Omaha 8, 6-Max)

    Switzerland's AntonKrasch won a TCOOP event in only 94 minutes in a hyper-turbo event. Where else can you turn $215 into $25K in 94 minutes or, less time it takes to watch Rounders?

    6-Max Hyper-Turbos are efficiently thrilling. The money bubble in TCOOP Event #43 burst in an under an hour, the final table was set in 80 minutes, and a champion declared in less than fourteen minutes. It total... 94 minutes from start to finish. Oh, did I forget to mention this was a split-pot game?

    As the kids would say today... "Hyper-Turbos, bruh."

    If you bought into the event and started watching the movie Rounders at the same time, the money bubble would have burst 49 minutes in, or just before the scene when Mike McD (Matt Damon) and Worm (Ed Norton) take a road trip to Atlantic City, where "the sand turns to gold." And this tournament would have ended in the middle of the infamous scene when Matt Damon plays Johnny Chan heads-up in a pot.

    2016 TCOOP Event #43 $215 NL Omaha Hi/Lo, 6-Max was a Hyper-Turbo format with 3-minute levels. This no-limit O8 hyper-event attracted 641 runners. They created a prize pool worth $135,122.80. The top 84 places paid out with $24,998.15 set aside for the champ.

    A pair of Team Online secured themselves a cash. At the money bubble, Team Online nkeyno from Japan was in the Top 25 and Team Online talonchick was 69th overall. Canada's talonchick would bust in 71st place and earn $391.85.

    At the first break, nkeyno was 22/48. By the next break... um... there was no "next" break. The tournament reached a climax in 94 minutes and nkeyno had fizzled out in 38th place. nkeyno lost the majority of his stack in a three-way pot in which he lost boat over boat. A couple of hands later, nkeyno was knocked out in 38th place in a 3-way pot with [As][Kh][8h][2d] and lost to R_Caiaffa's [Ad][Jd][5h][3c]. Team Online nkeyno won $621.56.

    With 12 remaining on the final two tables, Czech Republic's filfedra sat a top the big stack with 850K and was seeking  a second career COOP title.

    Action went hand-for-hand with seven remaining. filfedra was closing in on 1M and mabelstark was the shorty with under 90K. However, Pikiniki ™ ran into SHIPP ITT's [As][Ac][Ts][4h] and Pikiniki ™ bubbled off the final table in seventh place. The 6-Max final table was set.


    TCOOP 2016 - Event #43 Final Table Chip Counts:
     Seat 1: SHIPP ITT (1,013,789)
    Seat 2: OELoose (474,993)
    Seat 3: duremar2001 (159,958)
    Seat 4: mabelstark (161,336)
    Seat 5: AntonKrasch (461,290)
    Seat 6: filfedra (933,634)

    The final table kicked off during Level 26 with blinds at 15K/30K and a 6K ante. Canada's SHIPP ITT held the lead with 1M and filfedra was right behind with 993K. Meanwhile, duremar2001 and mabelstark were both the shorties with 160K. SHIPP ITT had previously won a 2014 SCOOP bracelet and won the Sunday Million in 2010 on 10/10/10. Also, filfedra once won a 2011 SCOOP.

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    JACOB'S LADDER: duremar2001 eliminated in 6th place

    Action did not last a full orbit before a first bustout. Short-stacked duremar2001 open-shoved for 141,958 and OELoose called from the big blind.

    OELoose: [As][6h][6d][2d]
    duremar2001: [Ad][4c][3s][3c]

    The board finished up [Td][9h][7h][Ah][Kh]. Without a qualifying low hand, OELoose won the pot with a pair of Aces and a better kicker. duremar2001 became the first player to ecit the final table and won $4,053.68.

    STUCK WITH YOU: mabelstark eliminated in 5th place; OELoose eliminated in 4th place

    Three-way pot. Two players busted. SHIPP ITT opened to 82,994, OELoose re-raised all-in for 243,661, and super-short mabelstark called all-in for 58,336, and SHIPP ITT called.

    SHIPP ITT: [Tc][3s][3h][2s]
    OELoose: [Ah][Kh][4s][2d]
    mabelstark: [Ad][9s][7c][2c]

    The board ran out [9h][9d][3d][6c][Js]. Without a qualifying low hand, SHIPP ITT won the main pot and side pot with a full house. The U.K.'s mabelstark made a final stand with trip nines buyt busted in fifth place, which paid out $6,756.14. Norway's OELoose never improved and was knocked out in fourth place, which paid out $9,458.59.

    With three to go, SHIPP ITT led with almost 1.5M, followed by filfedra (934K) and AntonKrasch (784K).

    FOREST FOR THE TREES: SHIPP ITT eliminated in 3rd place

    SHIPP ITT's lead was short lived before AntonKrasch wrestled away the top spot. SHIPP ITT went from the penthouse to slumming it in the basement with the short stack.

    SHIPP ITT bombed it all-in for 781,661 and AntonKrasch called.

    AntonKrasch: [Qd][Qc][4h][2d]
    SHIPP ITT: [As][9c][4s][3h]

    The borad ran out [Ad][Kh][Qs][Jh][Jc]. AntonKrasch flopped a set of Queens and rivered a full house. Without a qualifying low, AntonKrasch won the pot and sent SHIPP ITT to the rail in third place. SHIPP ITT was dunzo in third, which paid out $13,850.08.

    HEADS-UP: AntonKrasch (Switzerland) vs. filfedra (Czech Republic)
    Seat 5: AntonKrasch (2,567,911)
    Seat 6: filfedra (637,089)

    With two to go, AntonKrasch held almost a 4-1 edge. Heads-up would only last 12 hands.

    HIP TO BE SQUARE: filfedra eliminated in second place; AntonKrasch wins Event #43

    On 12th hand of heads-up and the final hand... filfedra bombed it all-in for 547,089 and AntonKrasch called with Aces.

    AntonKrasch: [Ad][Ah][7c][2s]
    filfedra: [Kd][Td][6h][3h]

    The board ran out [Tc][7s][4d][Jh][Jc]. filfedra had flopped a gutshot draw, but whiffed on the river. Without a qualifying low... AntonKrasch won the pot with two pair -- Aces and Jacks. filfedra lost with a lower two pair -- Jacks and tens.

    For a runner-up finish, Czech Republic's filfedra took home $18,646.94.

    Congrats to AntonKrasch for winning Event #43. First place pay day was worth $24,998.15.

    TCOOP-43 ($215 NL Omaha H/L, 6-Max, Hyper-Turbo) results
    Entrants: 641
    Total prize pool: $135,122.80
    Places paid: 84

    1. AntonKrasch (Switzerland) $24,998.15
    2. filfedra (Czech Republic) $18,646.94
    3. SHIPP ITT (Canada) $13,850.08
    4. OELoose (Norway) $9,458.59
    5. mabelstark (United Kingdom) $6,756.14
    6. duremar2001 (Russia) $4,053.68

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    Pauly McGuire is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.

  • 30 January

    Aussie Millions 2016: $100,000 Challenge live updates

    Click to refresh for latest updates 2:10pm: Cards in the air! Level 16: 10,000/20,000 (3,000) It's finally here. The $100,000 Challenge final table has been set for four days and now it's finally time to play down to a champion. Our remaining six wil...

  • 29 January

    TCOOP 2016: Ichinose 5th, duffm0n the champion in Event #39 ($82 FLHE, 6-max)

    There was a time when limit hold'em was "the only game in town" in just about any town where people were playing poker. It's been a long time since those days, and a lot of people will tell you that game is out of style and never coming back. The United Kingdom's duffm0n will probably beg to differ after taking down the title in Event #39, a 6-max limit hold'em tournament, and winning nearly $9,000 for it.

    The game began at 2:00 p.m. ET and ended up drawing a total field of 643 players, good enough to nearly double the guarantee with a $48,225 total prize pool. The top 84 players would earn at least $130.20, with $8,921.95 set aside for the last player standing.


    Kosei Ichinose won a big pot on the final table bubble of TCOOP Event #39

    As the field was narrowed to just two tables at the start of the fourth hour of play, Team Asia's Kosei "K. Ichinose" Ichinose was down to less than two big bets. He managed to double up with a pair of sevens after flopping a set, though, and chipped up as the field shrank to the bubble. And then he popped it with a humble starting hand to seize the chip lead, busting one player and putting another on the verge of elimination.

    BADEXTASY had opened the hand with a raise under the gun, holding [Kh] [Qh], and got calls from both blinds, including DJeka[MD] all-in for 58K in the small blind. K. Ichinose led for 40K in the big blind on the [Ts] [4c] [7c], called when BADEXTASY raised to 80K, and then check-called on both the [5s] turn and [7d] river. Ichinose held [6h] [4h] for two pair, sevens and fours, and took 698K between the main and side pots, knocking DJeka[MD] out in 7th place ($988.61) and leaving BADEXTASY with a stack worth next to nothing.

    Seat 1: Team PokerStars Pro's Kosei "K. Ichinose" Ichinose (909,096 in chips)
    Seat 2: RyderRock (363,203 in chips)
    Seat 3: TaBuLA_Ras4 (857,065 in chips)
    Seat 4: duffm0n (806,945 in chips)
    Seat 5: _stel_23_ (276,152 in chips)
    Seat 6: BADEXTASY (2,539 in chips)

    TCOOP-39 2016 ft.jpg

    The odds were long but BADEXTASY won the first all-in and got in ahead with [Ah] [7c] on the second. TaBuLA_Ras4's [Ks] [Th] flopped top pair and stayed ahead, though, and BADEXTASY left in 6th place ($1,446.75).

    The pots stayed mostly small in the early going, with only two of the first 14 getting as large as four big bets. By the time a bigger pot came along the stakes were already up to 60K/120K, so the 536K up for grabs was still only worth four and a half bets. Two-time MicroMillions finalist and RyderRock took that one from Ichinose, calling with [Ts] [9c] in the big blind after Ichinose raised with [As] [Kd] in the small blind and then flopping two pair against the unimproved Big Slick.

    Everyone had been playing so close to the vest because of the structure and pay jumps that all the action on the largest pot so far went bet-call on every street. Both duffm0n and past Super Tuesday finalist TaBuLA_Ras4 had picked up open-ended straight draws on the flop of the [5d] [6d] [7c] [5h] [Ah] board, but duffm0n's [8c] [6c] had made a pair and TaBuLA_Ras4's [Td] [8h] hadn't, so duffm0n dragged the 840K chips in the middle to move into the lead with 1.29M.

    No matter which short stack got involved at this point, they found a way to survive. TaBuLA_Ras4 got back to 784K on the next hand with unimproved [As] [Js] in a checked-down three-way pot. Kosei Ichinose tripled up with an [As] [Jc] of his own three hands later, but the Red Spade pro still had just two big bets at 257K. RyderRock doubled through duffm0n with [Ah] [As] against [8d] [8s], chipping up to 691K. And then Ichinose picked up [Ac] [Js] again, winning the race against duffm0n's [5c] [5h] for the 455K-chip pot.

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    Unfortunately for Kosei Ichinose, the next big ace that came along wouldn't fare as well. With the stakes up to 80K/160K, he opened with a raise on the button, holding [As] [Ks], and then capped the betting after RyderRock re-raised in the small blind with [Jc] [Td]. RyderRock called and then both players essentially ended up all-in on the [5c] [Qc] [9h] flop, there being just a 1,664-chip difference between their stacks. Ichinose had a 1.2-percent edge in equity on the flop, and it grew to 13.6 percent on the [9c] turn, but the [3c] on the river made a club flush to win the 1.11M-chip pot for RyderRock. And with that, Kosei Ichinose's tournament came to an end in 5th place ($2,411.25).

    TCOOP-39 2016 ft four-handed.jpg

    Like the block holding a Jenga tower together being pulled out of place, Ichinose's departure set the final table's collapse into motion. _stel_23_ wasn't far behind. Holding just 91K, the Greek player was essentially forced all-in on the next big blind. The [6d] [Qd] [Ks] was extremely friendly to _stel_23_'s [Kd] [7d], though, and the kings held up against RyderRock's [Ac] [2h] for a near triple-up to 223K. _stel_23_ made another pair on the next big blind, this time fives on the [2c] [5h] [3c] flop with [7d] [5s] in the hole. But this time RyderRock had [Kc] [Ks] in the hole, the cowboys held, and _stel_23_ left in 4th place ($3,375.75).

    That gave RyderRock the edge in chips as three-handed play began, with 1.25M to duffm0n's 1M and TaBuLA_Ras4's 758K, and the German player suggested a deal. duffm0n was against the idea so play continued, and after 17 hands, with stakes at 100K/200K, those two players tangled in a pot that set the course for the tournament's end. Ryder Rock opened for a raise on the button ,called when duffm0n three-bet from the big blind with [Ad] [Ts], and then called bets on the [8h] [Jd] [6c] flop, [Qs] turn, and [Kc] river before mucking with 112K in chips remaining. duffm0n's [Qh] [5s] held up unimproved against RyderRock's [Td] [7c] on the next hand, and RyderRock departed in 3rd place ($4,943.06).

    duffm0n limped on the button on the next hand with [8h] [4h], called TaBuLA_Ras4's raise, and promptly caught three of a kind on the [Ah] [4d] [4s] flop. duffm0n flat-called TaBuLA_Ras4's bet on the flop, and then did the same after making a full house on the [8s] turn, before raising all-in on the [2d] river. TaBuLA_Ras4 had been bluffing with [Qc] [Jh], and the tournament was over.

    TaBuLA_Ras4 earned $6,655.05 as the runner-up, a top-10 score in the Greek player's career here at PokerStars. Meanwhile duffm0n earned a first career TCOOP title $8,921.95, the fourth-best cash of the U.K. player's career here and the most ever for an outright win. Congratulations to both players!

    TCOOP-39 ($82 FL Hold'em, 6-max, Turbo) results
    Total prize pool: $48,225
    Places paid: 84

    1. duffm0n (United Kingdom) $8,921.95
    2. TaBuLA_Ras4 (Greece) $6,655.05
    3. RyderRock (Germany) $4,943.06
    4. _stel_23_ (Greece) $3,375.75
    5. Team PokerStars Pro's Kosei "K. Ichinose" Ichinose (Japan) $2,411.25
    6. BADEXTASY (United Kingdom) $1,446.75

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  • 29 January

    TCOOP 2016: Rui “RuiNF” Ferreira in the Triple COOP clubhouse ($215+R NLH, 6-Max)

    For nearly two years, there have been only two people in all of poker who have won a WCOOP, SCOOP, and Triple COOP title. Now there are three. Today, Rui "RuiNF" Ferreira became only the third person in history to enter the exclusive Triple COOP club...

  • 29 January

    TCOOP 2016: FrederickH. tops deal for title in Event #35 ($27+R PL Omaha, 6-max)

    The turbo structures of TCOOP have a way of altering most poker games in a pretty fundamental way, especially fixed-limit varieties, but 6-max PLO feels almost like its rules were made with an accelerated pace in mind. "Throw in a few re-buys and an add-on," you might think, "and you'd have the perfect TCOOP tournament." And as it turns out, you'd also have TCOOP 2016's Event #35. With a $27 entry, an hour of re-buys with an add-on at the end, four cards in the hole, and five-minute levels, it was possibly the TCOOP-iest way for FrederickH. of the Netherlands to earn a first career TCOOP title.

    There were 1,602 entries in the pool at the close of late registration, which also ended the re-buy period, though just under 1,200 of them remained at that time. Together they combined for 4,082 re-buys and 1,080 add-ons, building a total prize pool of $166,056.20. That was set to be split among the top 204 finishers, with a scheduled top prize of $27,400.26.

    The action was brisk. Half of those 1,200 players were knocked out in the next 30 minutes, and within another two hours there were just six survivors trying to stay ahead of the 150K/300K blinds:

    Seat 1: Rodrigo "caprioli" Caprioli (2,510,801 in chips)
    Seat 2: kiselevich1 (312,791 in chips)
    Seat 3: Zbad (6,111,899 in chips)
    Seat 4: Bald Warrior (1,289,498 in chips)
    Seat 5: Murat Yilmaz (3,361,305 in chips)
    Seat 6: FrederickH. (8,865,706 in chips)

    TCOOP-35 2016 ft.jpg

    Bald Warrior opened the final table with the button and the second-shortest stack and, after being dealt [Ad] [Tc] [6d] [4c], raised opened with a pot-sized raise. The Canadian player called when FrederickH. re-raised with [As] [Jh] [8h] [7s] and caught a huge combo draw on the [5d] [6h] [3d] flop. The [Qd] on the turn made the flush and moved Bald Warrior into third place with 2.87M chips.

    The next 13 hands saw kiselevich1 avoid elimination twice and Bald Warrior double through Past WCOOP and TCOOP finalist Zbad with another combo draw that came home on the river for 5.85M. But the biggest moves were made by three-time SCOOP winner and Event #6 finalist Rodrigo "caprioli" Caprioli. He got started by moving into second place with 4.09M chips when [Ac] [Ad] [4d] [3h] held up against Zbad's [As] [Js] [8d] [7h]. Then he took the lead after calling FrederickH.'s small-blind raise to 899K with [Ah] [Jh] [Tc] [4h] in the big blind, turning a pair of aces and rivering a wheel straight to chip up to 9.39M.

    Short-stacked kiselevich1 held on through all those hands but finally reached the end of the rope in the big blind. Already committed for 500K, kiselevich1 called 253K more all-in with [Ac] [Jd] [Jh] [Ts] after Murat Yilmaz open-raised all-in with [Kd] [Qc] [9c] [5d]. Murat Yilmax caught top pair on the flop of the [Ks] [8s] [Td] [4s] [8d] board and never looked back, while kiselevich1 became the first final table casualty in 6th place ($4,151.40).

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    Zbad survived an all-in on the next hand for less than two big blinds, rivering two pair with [Jh] [Tc] [8c] [2c] to outrun Bald Warrior's top pair on the flop. But Bald Warrior got those chips back with a bonus on top on the next hand. Sitting in the small blind, the player from Canada raised with [Ac] [Ad] [Jd] [8s] and called when Murat Yilmaz jammed with [Qs] [Qc] [7s] [2h]. A flush draw threatened on the flop of the [4c] [Th] [8c] [9h] [5s] board but never evolved further, and Murat Yilmaz left in 5th place ($6,642.24).

    TCOOP-35 2016 ft four-handed.jpg

    Zbad was short enough when the button and [Ad] [Qd] [Jh] [8h] came along that a pot-sized raise was worth just 19K less than Zbad's entire stack. The rest of it went in before the flop with the best of it when FrederickH. re-raised with [Td] [7s] [5s] [4d], and even though it stayed ahead on the [6s] [Kd] [9s] flop it became an underdog against FrederickH.'s combination straight-and-flush draw. Neither of those draws ever came home, but the [5d] on the turn did give FrederickH. a pair. It became two pair with the [6c] on the river, enough to claim the 3.78M-chip pot and knock Zbad out in 4th place ($9,963.37).

    The three remaining players agreed to talk over a potential deal. Before they could get there, Bald Warrior took the lead after raising on the button, checking behind after catching top pair on the flop, and then calling down caprioli's bets on the turn and river of the [Kh] [6d] [2c] [7c] [Th] board to win the pot with kings and tens against caprioli's tens and sevens.

    That gave Bald Warrior the edge in chips as deal-making began, but FrederickH. was taking other factors into account in asking for more than ICM:

    FrederickH.: i have made calculations
    FrederickH.: including my edge
    FrederickH.: and lack of hair at warriors side
    caprioli: lol
    FrederickH.: i dont want no crazy capriolis
    FrederickH.: so i need 20k
    FrederickH.: my wife wants new ring
    FrederickH.: i bought really old one

    After some negotiation FrederickH. and caprioli both got exactly $20,000, making this the second deal of the series for Caprioli after Event #6. Bald Warrior took $20,852.25 as chip leader and $2,000 remained on the table for the winner.

    The remainder of the tournament spanned just 10 hands, with nine of those pots going to FrederickH. The fourth one started with FrederickH. opening for 1.8M in the small blind with [Ad] [Qd] [7s] [2d] and caprioli calling with [Qc] [Ts] [9d] [3c]. The rest of caprioli's chips went in with a 34-percent chance to win on the [2h] [Qh] [5s] flop. That chance dropped to zero when the [2c] on the turn made FrederickH. a full house, and caprioli left in 3rd place ($20,000.00).

    TCOOP-35 2016 ft hu.jpg

    FrederickH. had 15.3M chips to Bald Warrior's 7.07M now, and the next hand all but ended the tournament. FrederickH. limped on the button and Bald Warrior checked to see the [4d] [8d] [6h] flop. Bald Warrior led for the minimum bet of 600K and then called FrederickH.'s minimum raise, and check-called a pot-sized bet of 3.6M on the [2h] flop, but folded with 1.67M behind on the [Qs] river.

    After folding pre-flop on the next hand, Bald Warrior's last stand came in the big blind with [Qh] [Jc] [8h] [2c] against FrederickH.'s [Ks] [5d] [4d] [2s]. The latter had the lead from before the flop until after the river of the [8s] [Kh] [Js] [Qs] [Ah] board, winning with a flush to bring the tournament to its end.

    Congratulations to all the players in on the deal, to FrederickH. for the $22,000 score and first career TCOOP title, and to Mrs. FrederickH. on the upcoming jewelry upgrade.

    TCOOP-31 ($27+R PL Omaha, 6-max, Turbo) results
    Re-buys: 4,082
    Add-ons: 1,080
    Total prize pool: $166,056.20
    Places paid: 204

    1. FrederickH. (Netherlands) $22,000.00*
    2. Bald Warrior (Canada) $20,853.25*
    3. Rodrigo "caprioli" Caprioli (Brazil) $20,000.00*
    4. Zbad (Russia) $9,963.37
    5. Murat Yilmaz (Germany) $6,642.24
    6. kiselevich1 (Russia) $4,151.40

    *Reflects the results of a three-way deal that left $2,000 in play for the winner

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  • 29 January

    TCOOP 2016: SKD20™ dodges the bad beats and trademarks Event #32 with a win

    You know a final table is going to be entertaining when you see aces get cracked twice and two players eliminated in the first few hands.

    Bad beats were something of a trademark at the final table of Event 32, a $7.50 NL Hold'em Turbo rebuy tournament with a $200,000 guaranteed prize pool. I lost count in the end, but it's safe to say the best hand really didn't hold up all that often. Considering our final 9 players had battled their way through 6,797 other players to get there, that's pretty brutal. But hey, that's poker, right?

    One player who knows a thing or to about trademarks and dodging the suck-outs is Australia's SKD20™, our latest TCOOP champion. We've got plenty of hands to get through in the story of how he'd net himself the $36,374.61 first place prize, so let's get down to it.

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    Faces in the crowd

    With just three tables left there were a few names that might seem familiar to followers of the online felt. Pablo 'gordiju' Gordillo, a player who pulled off arguably one of the sickest Sunday sessions on PokerStars...maybe ever, went very deep in this event (21st for $551.42), as did a player from the Netherlands who goes by the name Elmagico19A1. The latter had great bookends to 2015, winning the Sunday Warm-up in January and the Super Tuesday in December for a combined $177,000, but he'd eventually fall in 15th ($1,008.99).

    The most evidently accomplished player at this final table, when it comes to tournaments, was PokerStars Supernova Pokerfan89Gr. The Greek player had almost a million dollars in online results coming into this event, including wins in the Sunday Kickoff, the Big $109, and the $530 Monday PL Omaha 6-Max event; not to mention many big-time final tables. Now you can add another impressive final table to that list.

    The final 9

    Here's how they looked when we got down to one table:

    gahoibvthakn (Brazil) 21,595,994
    zerucka (Georgia) 20,689,100
    Kasabian88 (Russia) 6,353,406
    SKD20™ (Australia) 53,134,319
    scrubbyz (Canada) 61,097,455
    Pokerfan89Gr (Greece) 24,973,779
    stam89 (Netherlands) 6,695,777
    aurimelis (Lithuania) 11,318,938
    basketziomb2 (Poland) 6,358,232


    The blinds were 800K/1.6M by this point and so with 3 or 4 significantly short stacks in play we expected to see some action. We didn't necessarily expect to see the best starting hand in Hold'em beaten. Twice.

    Our first elimination came when it was folded around to scrubbyz and he shoved on the button for 59 million. Pokerfan89Gr let it go and stam83 snap called from the big blind with the pocket rockets ([ac][ah]) which was up against [qc][th]. The [8c][2s][js] flop presented only one dangerous card on the turn or river - a nine. Just like that, the [9s] appeared on the turn, giving scrubbyz a queen-high straight, and the [jd] river couldn't help. stam83 said goodbye in 9th place for $1,830.26.

    That gave scrubbyz the chip lead with 75 million. Just a few hands later we had another all-in and a call; this time Pokerfan89Gr open shoved under-the-gun for just under 21 million and basketziomb2 called from middle position, with a stack of just 2.3 million. Both were somewhat standard plays, as Pokerfan89Gr had [as][kd] but basketziomb2 was poised for the double up with [ac][ah].


    It wasn't to be though. The board ran out [jh][2d][6s][qh][th] and gave Pokerfan89Gr the straight, eliminating basketziomb2 in 8th for $2,933.11.

    Pokerfan89Gr had enjoyed a nice start to this final table, but he would hit a big bump in the road shortly after when a mistimed shove with [kh][2h] for 24 million on the button ran into gahoibvthakn's [kc][kd] out of the big blind. This was a hand where the best hand did indeed hold up. gahoibvthakn shot up to 44 million while Pokerfan89Gr slipped to just 2 million.

    Our 7th place elimination wasn't so much a bad beat; after all, Kasabian88 didn't even have a full big blind and was all-in when it came round to him. He'd managed to pick up pocket nines, which was pretty lucky you might say. Not when gavoibvthakn shoved, forcing everyone else to fold, and then revealed pocket queens though. There would be no nine, straights or flushes for Kasabian88, but there was a $5,162.27 payday to ease the bust-out blues.

    Ups and downs

    Now here's another one of those cheeky suck-outs I was talking about earlier. The blinds were now 1M/2M and zerucka limped from early position. scrubbyz would shove on the button for 65M, more than enough to put all the remaining players all-in, and Pokerfan89Gr would make the call having basically been put all-in by the big blind. zerucka wasn't ready to play for it all yet and let it go.

    The [th][tc] for scrubbyz was ahead of Pokerfan89Gr's [9h][8h], although we all know how plucky those suited connectors can be sometimes. The flop was a kind one for the all-in player: [6s][7s][4s], giving him an open-ended straight draw. The turn was even kinder - the [5d]. The [9d] changed nothing and it was a welcome double for Pokerfan89Gr, even if it was just for 7 million total.


    The hope from that hand wouldn't last long though, as we quickly had our 6th place finisher. Pokerfan89Gr shoved on the button for little over 5 million and aurimelis from Lithuania isolated with a shove of his own for 10 million. gahoibvthakn gave up the big blind and the cards were on their backs: [3d][ah] for Pokerfan89Gr against [th][ks] for aurimelis.

    The ace-high was ahead, but we're sure you can see where this is going by now. A [kd][2c][jh][8s][6h] paired aurimelis' king, and that was all she wrote. Aurimelis chipped up to 16 million while Pokerfan89Gr banked $7,508.76.

    The next best pre-flop hand to lose belonged to SKD20™, much to zerucka's delight. The latter had shoved for 12.4 million on the button and SKD20™, who was chip leader at the time with 75 million, made the call from the small blind.

    It was [ah][2s] for the big stack and [qd][tc] for zeruka, who would need to hit to survive. And hit he did. The board ran out [qh][5d][9d][kd][7h] and it was eureka for zurecka, who doubles to 29 million while SKD20™ slipped to 63 million.

    Zureka's good fortune continued with another double up just 4 hands later, this time at the expense of another big stack belonging to scrubbyz.

    scrubbyz open-shoved for 57.3 million and zureka called for 30.8 million. When the cards were revealed we saw the [7c][7s] in front of zureka and the [jd][kc] in front of scrubbyz. On first glance we zureka's pocket pair had been outflopped, but on closer inspection the [th][7d][kd] flop had given zureka a set of sevens. The [6h] turn and [9h] river couldn't improve scrubbyz, who dropped to 23.9 million, while zureka was now sitting pretty with 69.5 million.

    An orbit later and we had a classic race. The blinds were 1.5M/3M and zureka opened to 6,540,000, only for aurimelis to shove for 12,303,472. zureka made the call.

    aurimelis: [js][jd]
    zureka: [as][qd]

    You're probably thinking that, as I've waffled on so much about bad beats, zureka is bound to hit an ace or queen and beat the pocket pair, right?

    Right you are - not until the turn though. The [7d][2c][ts] flop was sweet and safe for aurimelis, but the [ah] turn and [th] river were no help to him. For 5th place, aurimelis won $9,855.25.

    Then there were 4

    Here's how the chip counts looked with 4 players remaining:

    SKD20tm 82,082,719
    zerucka 77,772,372
    gahoibvthakn 30,882,894
    scrubbyz 21,479,015

    There were 2 big stacks, 2 shorter stacks, but everything still to play for.

    The final stretch

    In turbos it never takes too long to whittle down to a winner, and tonight was no exception. When it was folded around to the blinds (2M/4M), gahoibvthakn shoved for 33 million and zureka snapped it off with the bigger stack. It was [8c][8d] for the player at risk, but zureka had him crushed with the [th][ts]. As gahoibvthakn was hoping for an 8 or some miracle straight or flush draws to appear, we saw a board containing the [qh][4h][ac][7s][7d] - which was far from ideal. Gahoibvthakn was eliminated in 4th place winning $13,175.33 for his efforts.

    This shot zureka up further into the chiplead with 109 million to SKD20™'s 74 million and scrubbyz' 27 million. You could soon add that short stack to zureka's though, as we'd lose scrubbyz in 3rd.

    He shoved from the small blind for 22 million and zureka made the call with the [3d][ac] - ahead of the [8s][6s] for scrubbyz. There would be no outdrawing done this time either - a tame board of the [jh][3c][2s][9h][7c] paired zureka's 3 and eliminated scrubbyz for $19,006.56.

    We were now heads-up. Chipleader zerucka (123 million) posed the question of a deal but there was no response from SKD20™ (88 million).

    It seemed to have been a good decision to stay silent as SKD20TM began to pick up pace and took over the chiplead. However, it flipped right back when SKD20™ min-opened to 10M and zeruka called. The flop was the [7d][js][8h] and zureka checked, leading to SKD20™ continuing for 8.5M, which was called again. The turn was the [3c] which both checked, but on the [3s] river zureka took the betting lead for 20,655,000. SKD20™ made the call but mucked when zureka showed [9s][tc] having flopped the nuts. That put zureka back up to 120 million while SKD20™ was still strong with 91 million.

    Just a few hands later and SKD20™ had taken a small lead again. Then we reached our final hand.

    The blinds were now 3M/6M and SKD20™ min-opened to 12M, which zureka called. There was an [8c][2h][6s] flop and zureka checked, making way for SKD20™ to continuation-bet for 10,965,000. zureka now opted to 3-bet to 25,222,222, and after some tanking SKD20™ shoved for 97,352,719. zureka called and we knew our winner was basically going to be decided here.

    Both had flopped top pair, but zeruka's [7c][8h] was out-kicked by SKD20™'s [8d][9h]. The turn was the [3h]. The river was the [2s]. And it was all over.


    For a 2nd place finish in this event, zeruka won $26,984.62.

    'Winner of TCOOP 2016 E#32' will now always be SKD20™'s trademark. Congratulations on your $36,274.61 score, sir.

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    TCOOP-32 ($7.50+R, NL Hold'em, 3x-Turbo) results
Entrants: 6,806
    Rebuys: 23,563
    Add-ons: 4,037
    Total prize pool: $234,648.92
    Places paid: 855

    1. SKD20™ (Australia) $36,274.61
    2. zeruka (Georgia) $26,984.62
    3. scrubbyz (Canada) $19,006.56
    4. gahoibvthakn (Brazil) $13,175.53
    5. aurimelis (Lithuania) $9,855.25
    6. Pokerfan89Gr (Greece) $7,508.76
    7. Kasabian88 (Russia) $5,162.27
    8. basketziomb2 (Poland) $2,933.11
    9. stam83 (Netherlands) $1,830.26

    Jack Stanton is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog.

  • 28 January

    TCOOP 2016: aramesko goes low to win Razz title ($82 Razz Turbo)

    While most players seem to enjoy their poker games with a No Limit Hold'em format, PokerStars still finds room for those who like to sling chips in the non-Hold'em games. Event 33 presented them with the only Razz game on the schedule and they came out...

  • 28 January

    Aussie Millions 2016: Tony Dunst dominates Day 3

    How would you feel if 39 people stood between you and $1,600,000? That's the situation our remaining players find themselves in after an exciting week of poker at this Aussie Millions Main Event. Today was full of ebbs and flows. Things slowed down ...

  • 28 January

    Jonathan Little - Weekly Poker Hand, Episode 79

    In this episode, I attempt a creative bluff versus a world-class loose-aggressive player. Was this too optimistic? Be sure to sign up for the FREE Excelling at No-Limit Hold’em webinars ...

  • 27 January

    TCOOP 2016: Second win of the series for buzzard1881 in Event #31 ($82 FL Stud Hi-Lo, Turbo)

    Between the relatively small number of events on the schedule compared to WCOOP and SCOOP and the turbo structures at play in all of its events, TCOOP might be the toughest PokerStars tournament series for players to earn repeat victories in. Tough, but not impossible. Just ask buzzard1881, who followed up on a victory late last week in Event #6 with another win today in Event #31, an $82 Seven-Card Stud Hi-Lo tournament.

    The game kicked off at 2:00 p.m. ET with a $25,000 guarantee and by the time late registration closed had drawn 665 players, good for a $49,875 prize pool. With $9,361.75 awaiting the winner, they played on. The average stack was worth 36K as the money bubble approached, with stakes at 5K/10K, so nobody was too comfortable even with 11 tables still in play. That lack of ease continued on for the rest of the tournament, with one small exception: the knowledge that every eliminated opponent meant a pay jump when the final table arrived at 4:53 p.m. ET.

    The stakes and antes were up to 50K/100K/10K for these eight finalists:

    Seat 1: buzzard1881 (770,738 in chips)
    Seat 2: admiralph (405,720 in chips)
    Seat 3: SiiliSuhonen (268,150 in chips)
    Seat 4: jasonpavlich (165,427 in chips)
    Seat 5: tvtotaliwin (233,220 in chips)
    Seat 6: l0serk1ng14 (316,570 in chips)
    Seat 7: 7PRS (660,623 in chips)
    Seat 8: viking47 (504,552 in chips)

    TCOOP-31 2016 ft.jpg

    The average stack coming in was worth just four big bets on the 50K/100K/10K level, so a lengthy final was never in the works. The first to go Twitch broadcaster and 2014 TCOOP runner-up tvtotaliwin, who started Hand #3 with 205K in chips and ([Qh] [Kh]) [Ah] in hand. tvtotaliwin completed to 50K and only 2012 WCOOP NL Draw champion 7PRS came along. 7PRS was holding ([5d] [7s]) [5c] and capped the betting on fourth street after making two pair, sevens and fives, with the [7d]. tvtotaliwin picked up a flush draw on fifth with the [9h] but never got the chance to chase it, as the [7h] on fifth gave 7PRS a full house. With that, tvtotaliwin finished in 8th place ($748.12).

    7PRS scooped 770K on the next hand to settle into first place with 1.34M chips, but Event #6 champion and past WCOOP winner buzzard1881 struck back immediately to retake the lead. buzzard1881 started with ([Ad] [Ah]) [Td] and bet on every street without improving; 2009 WCOOP finalist viking47 was all-in on third with the [9h] showing, while 7PRS called down to seventh street but mucked (x-x) [7h] [6h] [Qs] [Ks] (x) to give buzzard1881 the 566K-chip side pot. viking47 couldn't beat a pair of aces, either, giving buzzard1881 the main pot and eliminating viking47 in 7th place ($1,122.18).

    The jockeying for position continued four hands later when 7PRS started with the bring-in and ([3d] [5c]) [2d]. 7PRS called buzzard1881's completion to 60K before leading out on fourth with the [3h] for a pair of threes. buzzard1881 came along with [8h] [Ts] showing, led out on fifth with the [Qd], and then called on sixth and seventh before mucking when 7PRS scooped the pot with ([3d] [5c]) [2d] [3h] [Qs] [4h] ([Ah]) for a wheel straight.

    jasonpavlich had come to the final table with a little more than one big bet and had been anted down to less than half of that by the time WCOOP 2010 runner-up and past Sunday Warm-Up finalist SiiliSuhonen had the bring-in with the [2s] showing and, holding a buried pair of fours, opted to complete instead. jasonpavlich called all-in with ([7h] [9h]) [8d] and improved to a pair of eights with the [8h] on fourth street to take the lead. SiiliSuhonen made two pair on fifth to jump back ahead and held on from there, knocking jasonpavlich out in 6th place ($1,745.62).

    TCOOP-31 2016 ft five-handed.jpg

    Even with that win, SiiliSuhonen still had just two and a half big bet at 306K, making every hand potentially the last. That potential became reality five hands later after trying to steal the antes and bring-in with ([5h] [6s]) [7s] and running up against l0serk1ng14, who raised to 120K with ([5s] [Kc]) [5d] for a split pair of fives. SiiliSuhonen made sevens on fourth street but l0serk1ng14 picked up the [Kh] on fifth for two pair. SiiliSuhonen never caught up and bowed out in 5th place ($2,493.75).

    admiralph, the winner of MicroMillions 9 Event #48, turned the trend of busting short stacks around after starting with a split pair of aces on the same hand as 7PRS started with a split pair of queens. That scoop was worth 491K, but still left the table split into two strata:

    Seat 1: buzzard1881 (1,137,290 in chips)
    Seat 2: admiralph (491,440 in chips)
    Seat 6: l0serk1ng14 (353,147 in chips)
    Seat 7: 7PRS (1,343,123 in chips)

    2013 TCOOP finalist l0serk1ng14 took a stab at evening things out a bit when the action folded around, raising with the [7h] showing to 7PRS's [4s]. 7PRS called and by fifth street both players had made 8-7 lows and the rest of l0serk1ng14's chips went in the middle. 7PRS had the better hand at that point with ([8s] [3d]) [4s] [7d] [As], not just for the low against l0serk1ng14's ([2s] [5s]) [7h] [8h] [6d] but also with ace-high. Neither player improved for the high on sixth or seventh, and l0serk1ng14 left in 4th place ($3,740.62).

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    admiralph doubled through buzzard1881 on the next hand, turning ([4h] [5s]) [2d] into a 6-5 low and six-high straight by sixth street against the ace-high, no-low hand that developed from buzzard1881's ([7h] [Ac]) [4c] starter. buzzard1881 dipped as low as 249K from there before doubling back through admiralph with, fittingly, a 6-5 low and six-high straight for the scoop. The two-time COOP winner survived one more all-in moment with a split pot before coming up with a pot on the 120K/240K/24K level that changed the course of the final.

    7PRS got the hand in question going by completing to 120K with ([Kc] [5c]) [Qc] and buzzard1881 called with ([6d] [4d]) [7h]. Both players checked by fourth street and on fifth buzzard1881, holding a made 7-6 low, led out. 7PRS called with ([Kc] [5c]) [Qc] [3c] [Jh] showing and then again after picking up the [Td] on sixth and the [9s] on seventh, making a king-high straight. But that was no good against buzzard1881's ([6d] [4d]) [7h] [2c] [3d] [7d] [8d], which made a diamond flush for the high to scoop the 1.77M-chip pot.

    7PRS was anything but out of the game with 743K chips, but unfavorable starting positions saw that stack whittled down to 467K by the antes before the past WCOOP champ picked up ([9h] [9s]) [Kd] and completed for 120K. buzzard1881 called there and then again on fourth and fifth streets, holding ([6s] [7s]) [6c] [Ts] [4c] for a split pair of sixes. Neither player improved on sixth street but buzzard1881 made a two pair with the [7c] on the river, good enough to take the pot with two pair and end 7PRS's run in 3rd place ($4,987.50).

    Four uneventful hands of heads-up play passed before admiralph had a reason to press the issue, starting with ([2d] [2s]) [6s], but the past MicroMillions winner had the misfortune of picking that hand up while buzzard1881 held ([9c] [9h]) [7s]. buzzard1881 sat back and called admiralph's bets there and on fourth, unimproved, before leading out with ([9c] [9h]) [7s] [Qd] [Ah]. admiralph called with the unimproved deuces and finally made two pair by seventh street, showing down ([2d] [2s]) [6s] [Qs] [Kh] [Jd] ([6d]), but it was too late. buzzard1881 had made nines and sevens with the [7d] on sixth street, and they claimed the pot to bring the tournament to an end.

    Finishing the runner-up was worth $6,733.12 for admiralph, three times as much as winning that MicroMillions event back in 2014. As for buzzard1881, the win was worth $9,361.85, about half of the score from last week's Event #6 victory. It's also good for another 100 points on the TCOOP Player of the Series leaderboard, good for second place at the moment behind TedyKGB88 of the U.K. Congratulations on the win, and good luck chasing down that trophy!

    TCOOP-31 ($82 FL Stud Hi-Lo, Turbo) results
    Total prize pool: $49,875.00
    Places paid: 88

    1. buzzard1881 (Canada) $9,361.85
    2. admiralph (Belgium) $6,733.12
    3. 7PRS (Canada) $4,987.50
    4. l0serking14 (Finland) $3,740.62
    5. SiiliSuhonen (Finland) $2,493.75
    6. jasonpavlich (Mexico) $1,745.62
    7. viking47 (United Kingdom) $1,122.18
    8. tvtotaliwin (Switzerland) $748.12

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  • 27 January

    TCOOP 2016: Ukraine’s Shtopol’ crushes 6-Max PLO Event #30 ($7.50 PLO 3x-Turbo)

    On the opening day of the 2016 TCOOP, Ukraine's Shtopol' was the runner-up in Event #2. Less than one week later, Shtopol' had a second shot at a TCOOP title. And this time, Shtopol' did not squander the opportunity. Two Ukrainians battled each othe...

  • 27 January

    TCOOP 2016: Tim Ulmer earns second COOP title in Event 29 ($215 NLH 6-Max, Shootout, PSKO)

    Players hit the midweek portion of the 2016 TCOOP schedule with four new events on the agenda. Event 29 brought one of the favorite structures with a $215 buy-in, short-handed shootout, progressive bounty tournament. Players didn't need to crush their ...

  • 27 January

    TCOOP 2016: Konstantinos “arxigos” Nanos notches second TCOOP title with win in Ultra-Deep Turbo Event #26 ($700 NL 8-Max)

    Konstantinos "arxigos" Nanos is no stranger to the winner's circle. The former eye doctor turned pro shipped the Sunday Warm Up in 2014 and won a TCOOP back in 2012. He's even a savvy live player with one final table appearance at the 2010 EPT Vienna. ...

  • 26 January

    TCOOP 2016: Aggro Santos nears TCOOP title but it’s victory for Raabinator93

    Poker can be a game of amazing highs and crushing lows. But also amazing lows. And highs that are only half-good.

    Well, that's true in this game at least. A total of 1,206 players hit the register button for this TCOOP $82 PL Omaha Hi/Lo 6-max event, resulting in a crescendoed prize pool of $90,450 - way more than the $50,000 that was guaranteed.

    PokerStars Team Pro George Danzer was in this one chasing his first TCOOP title (and the triple COOP), but would eventually bust just seven players before the money. He was the last red spade standing, while other notable names to go deep included Chris 'Moorman1' Moorman, Scott 'Aggro Santos' Margereson, and Chris 'NigDawg' Brammer.

    In fact, Brammer was the chipleader with around 50 players remaining. He'd eventually fall in 26th place, but Margereson would reach the final 6. With a Sunday Million win and two WCOOP titles to his name, a TCOOP title would fit very nicely on his online poker mantelpiece.


    Scott "Aggro Santos" Margereson

    The final table outlined in this blog is a twisting and turning tale of unwavering all-ins and a dismissed deal that eventually led to our latest TCOOP champion, Germany's Raabinator93, banking a good few thousand more than he would have if he'd shook hands when he was outchipped 3 to 1 (he took home a not-too-shabby first place pay out of $15,150.81).

    But before we get to that, let's rewind a little.

    The magnificent six

    Here's how the final six players stacked up coming into this final table:

    sandman201 (Canada) 2,322,520
    Scott 'Aggro Santos' Margereson (Mexico) 1,064,953
    Raabinator93 (Germany) 508,472
    Grebinat (Ukraine) 422,646
    imcastleman (Canada) 1,294,948
    Olsen33 (Denmark) 356,461

    Aside from Margereson's accomplishments, there was another notable winner at the table. Canada's sandman201 already has a SCOOP title under his belt, and was coming in to this final table as the chipleader.


    The shortest stack at the table belonged to Grebinat, but he'd soon fix that with a double up early through sandman201. With the blinds at 40K/80K, sandman201 opened to 160,000 and Grebinat defended his big blind leaving just 262,646 behind. It would all go in the middle on the [4s][2d][jd] flop and Grebinat's [tc][js][jh][kc] for a set of jacks was ahead but at risk against his opponent's [td][kd][ad][5h] flush and straight draws. The [2h] on the turn improved his hand to a full house and Grebinat shot up to 885,292.

    sandman201 remained active though, and clashed with the second biggest stack, imcastleman, not long after. The blinds were 50K/100K at this point and imcastleman opened to 200K on the button. Sandman201 made the call from the big blind and the two saw a [ks][kc][9s] flop, which both checked. That brought the [9d] on the turn and now sandman201 bet 200K, which was called. The [jc] on the river was again checked by both, and sadman201's [3d][jd][2c][4s] couldn't compete with the [qh][8c][5d][qd] for a two pair, kings and queens. Ship the pot and chiplead to imcastleman.

    He'd put it to good use, knocking out Olsen83 in 6th for $2,713.50. The player from Denmark had little over 2 big blinds when he found himself having to put 120K in the middle without yet seeing his cards. Unsurprisingly he called off imcastleman's shove and it was [8c][qc][kh][jc] for the shorty against [9c][5h][js][8s]. The board ran out [as][4c][3s] [td] [6s] and that was all she wrote for Olsen83.

    Exit sandman201

    Things weren't looking good for the Canada-based player and after doubling up Grebinat once more he was gone. Sandman201 opened to 420,000 under the gun and imcastleman called out of the big blind. The [kc][4s][9h] flop fell and both players checked, but when the [2h] arrived on the turn imcastleman put sandman201 all-in and found a caller.

    Sandman201 [3d][as][2c][6c]
    imcastkeman [jh][kh][kd][9d]

    imcastleman was ahead with top set but sandman201 had a chance to win the whole pot with a straight or chop it on the low end. The river, however, was the [9s] and the full house sent sandman201 to sleep in fifth for $3,853.17.


    Grebinat refused to be eliminated from this tournament, doubling up and chopping the pot at every all-in opportunity, but imcastleman was running away with it in between, continuously picking up the blinds hand after hand, chipping up to 4 million.

    It would be Scott 'Aggro Santos' Margereson who would finish in 4th. Raabinator93 opened to 490,000 under the gun leaving little behind. Aggro Santos shoved for 618,897 and Raabinator93 made the call.

    Aggro Santos [6d][ts][kd][as]
    Raabinator93 [2h][qs][qh][4s]

    The cards fell as follows: [tc][7d][4h] [7h] [qc] and with a full house (queens full of sevens) Raabinator93 scooped the 1.3 million pot and Margereson had $5,879.25 added to his PokerStars account.

    Click here to get your own PokerStars account.

    Then came another elimination, this time the plucky Grebinat (only after he'd doubled up once or twice more, of course). A blind vs blind pre-flop raising war saw him all-in at the hands of imcastleman, with a hand that played well for the low pots - [2c][3s][js][4d]. Imcastleman had the [td][4c][th][2h] and we saw a board of the [tc][as][9s] [9d] [8h]. In the end yet another boat for imcastleman would secure him another knockout, while Grebinat secured a 3rd place finish for $8,592.75.

    "Deal" and "No deal"

    As soon as heads up play started, the two remaining players decided to discuss their deal options. However, it would be a short conversation, as you can see below.


    There were 2 surprises here. One was that imcastleman was so willing to make the deal despite having a 3 to 1 chip lead. And the second was that Raabinator93 was so quick to turn it down.

    But we digress. After a short break we were under way and the all-in confrontations came thick and fast.


    After a few chops, Raabinator93 found a double up. It would all go in before the flop: [6d][ac][9s][8s] for Raabinator93 and [qs][ad][jh][ts] for imcastleman. After five community cards were dealt, [6c][kc][7c] [8d] [2d], Raabinator93 won both the Hi (with two pair) and the Lo (with 8,7,6,2,A) for the whole shebang and 2.8 million in chips to imcastleman's 3.2 million.

    Not long later Raabinator93 had totally reversed the chip counts. The final hand of the tournament played out like this.

    Raabinator93 made a 3x open on the button to 750,000 and imcastleman shoved for 1,831,790, which got a quick call.

    The cards were revealed and here's what we saw:

    Raabinator93: [5s][7c][7h][ah]
    imcastleman: [qh][9s][ac][7s]

    Although behind to begin with, imcastleman would take the lead the on the [qd][6s][jd] flop. The turn was the [8d], giving Raabinator93 an up and down draw and imcastleman more cards to dodge. He couldn't do it though; the [4s] on the river gave Raabinator93 the straight and the win.

    For his 2nd place finish, imcastleman banks $11,306.25.

    Winning in this game is never easy - you've got to take the highs with the lows. By refusing the deal and saying those two simple words ("let's play"), Raabinator93 secured himself the TCOOP title, and $15,150.81.

    TCOOP-24 ($82 PL Omaha H/L, 6-Max, Turbo) results
Entrants: 1,206
    Total prize pool: $90,450
    Places paid: 156

    1. Raabinator93 (Germany) $15,150.81
    2. imcastleman (Canada) $11,306.25
    3. Grebinat (Ukraine) $8,592.75
    4. Aggro Santos (Mexico) $5,879.25
    5. sandman201 (Canada) $3,853.17
    6. Olsen83 (Denmark) $2,713.50

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    Jack Stanton is freelance journalist for the PokerStars Blog.

  • 26 January

    Casey Jarzabek - The Moose is Loose

      Well its been a long journey absolutely – no doubt about that. As things finally begin to settle down, I want to send my appreciation to those people that ...

  • 26 January

    2016 Aussie Millions: Lakemeier leaps ahead on Day 1c

    While most people in Melbourne were enjoying a drink and a barbecue for Australia Day, players in the Crown Poker Room were partaking in festivities of their own as they chased poker glory in this year's Aussie Millions. All in all 337 players took t...

  • 25 January

    The Poker Academy - Recent Doings

    The last time I wrote, I was getting ready to go to the Commerce for a little poker. I have been there twice since then. On my first trip, I ...

  • 25 January

    TCOOP-22: Ulett_23 denied a Triple COOP, 7HE__D__ASH scoops Event #22 title ($82 FL Omaha Hi-Lo, 8-Max, Turbo)

    It hasn't been uncommon the last few years to see a player come seemingly out of nowhere to earn multiple COOP titles within a short period of time, making every new series a reason to keep an eye on their performance. But for some players, multiple COOP titles only come along after years of play. Today's TCOOP Event #22 was populated by multiple players with past wins during PokerStars' big annual tournament series, including one just a TCOOP title away from becoming a Triple COOP winner after wins dating back almost a decade. Ulett_23 came up just short of that accomplishment in the end, finishing two spots behind eventual champion 7HE__D__ASH.

    The prospect of playing one of the quickest big-money Omaha hi-lo tournaments around drew 728 players, good for a $53,600 prize pool with $10,237.50 awaiting the winner. With five-minute levels, even fixed-limit betting and split pots couldn't slow things down. It took just two hours and 26 minute to reduce the field to 96 and start the payouts, and by the break before the start of the third hour there were just 23 players left.

    They finally reached the eight-handed final table at 3:19 p.m. ET, playing 40K/80K stakes with this lineup:

    Seat 1: LillyPutina (167,560 in chips)
    Seat 2: sleepy_seven (748,382 in chips)
    Seat 3: BraunerBär (336,868 in chips)
    Seat 4: Tyler "sandman201" Thomas (407,911 in chips)
    Seat 5: 7HE__D__ASH (775,841 in chips)
    Seat 6: glennerz (502,632 in chips)
    Seat 7: juicy joy (360,821 in chips)
    Seat 8: Ulett_23 (339,985 in chips)

    TCOOP-22 2016 ft.jpg

    The final table would last 64 hands from start to finish, and almost a quarter of that total would go by with all eight finalist still at the table. Short stacks BraunerBär and LillyPutina survived on the brink of elimination four times between them. That included one pot where both players were all-in against 7HE__D__ASH, who took third place in a hold'em event during SCOOP 2013. LillyPutina's [Ah] [Qs] [8h] [6s] took the low and BraunerBär's [Kc] [7c] [6d] [4d] made a six-high straight on to beat 7HE__D__ASH's pair of jacks on the [2s] [Jh] [3s] [Td] [5c] board.

    With juicy joy and Triple COOP aspirant Ulett_23, winner of a 2008 WCOOP bracelet and a 2010 SCOOP watch, also short-stacked, it was only a matter of time before the 80K/160K stakes forced someone into action that would send them to the rail. That came on Hand #14 when BraunerBär raised to 160K with [Ac] [Kd] [Jh] [4d] and Ulett_23 raised all-in for 33K more from the big blind with [9d] [8c] [6d] [2h]. BraunerBär called and had outs on the [9h] [5c] [Qs] flop, but Ulett_23 made a nine-high straight on the [7s] turn to leave BraunerBär in need of a low card to split the pot or a ten to scoop with a higher straight. The [Js] came instead, and BraunerBär was gone in 8th place ($819).

    LillyPutina walked a fine line in avoiding a similar fate over the next few hands, splitting two pots with past SCOOP and WCOOP finalist sleepy_seven before making a wheel with [Ad] [7s] [7h] [2c] to scoop a 499K-chip pot against 7HE__D__ASH. Even that wasn't much defense against the high stakes, though. First LillyPutina called a small-blind raise to 160K by Ulett_23 while holding [Ah] [8d] [6c] [5c], only to fold to a bet on the [Ks] [4s] [Jh] flop. Then the Russian player raised from the small blind on the next hand with [As] [9d] [6c] [2d] and capped the betting with big blind sleepy_seven, chipping in the last 19K after the [2c] [Th] [4c] flop. sleepy_seven's [Ad] [Js] [7d] [3h] was a 57.4-percent favorite there and ended up making a wheel after turn and river came [4d]-[5s]. That scooped the pot, and LillyPutina was out in 7th place ($1,228.50).

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    juicy joy looked to be next on the chopping block, but the player from the Netherlands tripled up with [Ks] [Qc] [Qd] [Jd] and then doubled that stack to 394K on the next hand with [As] [Ts] [7s] [4h] in a battle of the blinds against glennerz's [Qs] [Js] [9d] [5d]. One hand later juicy joy doubled up again, this time dodging sleepy_seven's nut flush draw on a [Qh] [3d] [Qd] flop to go runner-runner for the nut heart flush with [Ah] [Ks] [4h] [2d]. And that's how juicy joy went from 65K to 889K in the span of five hands.

    The short stacks' survival streak continued on the next hand when sandman201's [Ac] [Ah] [Td] [3c] held up against sleepy_seven's [As] [Qd] [9h] [2c] when the board only held two low cards. Ulett_23 and 7HE__D__ASH kept it going by splitting pots with juicy joy and sandman201, respectively, but glennerz didn't have the same luck. glennerz ended up all-in for 160K, just 40K more than the big blind, before the flop with [Js] [7d] [4c] [2c] after Ulett_23 raised with [Kd] [Kc] [6h] [5s]. Ulett_23's set of kings on the [8d] [Ts] [Kh] flop held up against glennerz's inside straight draw on the [Ah] turn and [Jh] river, and glennerz left in 6th place ($1,911).

    sleepy_seven and Ulett_23 faced off on a couple of pots and broke close to even - Ulett_23 survived the first one with just a quarter of the pot, then doubled back through sleepy_seven with an unimproved [Ks] [8s] [4d] [3s] when sleepy_seven's [8c] [6d] [4s] [3d] also failed to improve. Then sleepy_seven lost half that stack after raising to 240K on the button and calling 7HE__D__ASH's all-in bet for 107K more on a [5c] [5h] [4c] flop. sandman201 was along for the ride, too, but both players lost out when 7HE__D__ASH made a full house with [9c] [9s] [6c] [2s] on the [9d] turn.

    Three hands later the stakes were up to 140K/280K and sleepy_seven had 198K left behind after paying the big blind. That all went in the middle before the flop with [5h] [5c] [4s] [3c], which was a 4-to-1 underdog to juicy joy's [As] [Tc] [8c] [3h] after the flop came [Td] [4d] [8s]. With no help from the [Kd] turn or [Qc] river, sleepy_seven's tournament came to a close in 5th place ($2,730).

    TCOOP-22 2016 ft four-handed.jpg

    Ulett_23 opened the next hand with a raise on the button, holding [Ac] [7d] [2s] [2h], and 7HE__D__ASH called in the big blind with [As] [Qd] [Ts] [4h]. It looked like Ulett_23's quest for a third COOP title would likely continue with at least half the pot when the flop came [Th] [5h] [3h], but the [9c]-[5c] turn and river made no low possible. That gave the pot to 7HE__D__ASH with tens and fives, and Ulett_23's opportunity to join the Triple COOP club ended in 4th place ($4,095).

    Three hands later, past SCOOP champion and WCOOP 2014 finalist Thomas "sandman201" Tyler raised on the button with [Ah] [Kd] [7s] [6h] and called when juicy joy three-bet from the big blind. One more bet on the flop was enough to get sandman201 all-in as a 35.6-percent underdog to juicy joy's [7c] [5c] [3h] [2s]. The [Ac] on the turn made juicy joy a 6-5 low and sandman201 two pair, aces and sixes, but the [8d] on the river made juicy joy and eight-high straight to go with that low. With that, sandman201 finished in 3rd place ($5,460).

    TCOOP-22 2016 ft hu.jpg

    As soon as the field was down to two, 7HE__D__ASH won the first hand to bring both players within one big blind of each other. Discussions for a deal began immediately from there and were as straightforward as possible. Both juicy joy and 7HE__D__ASH agreed to ICM numbers with $500 left on the table for a winner, and two hands later they played the decisive hand. 7HE__D__ASH raised on the button with [Qh] [8d] [6d] [2c] and called when juicy joy three-bet from the big blind with [Ah] [Qs] [Jh] [4d], hitting the jackpot with a nine-high straight when the flop came [7h] [5s] [9s]. juicy joy's edge for the low evaporated with the [Ad] on the turn, and the [3c] on the river gave 7HE__D__ASH the scoop with the straight and a 6-5 low.

    For second place, juicy joy earned $8,529.97. With the extra cash from the deal, 7HE__D__ASH won $9,078.53, a nice prize to accompany that first career TCOOP title. Congratulations to both players on their success!

    TCOOP-06 ($82 FL Omaha Hi-Lo, 8-Max, Turbo) results
    Total prize pool: $54,600.00
    Places paid: 96

    1. 7HE__D__ASH (Switzerland) $9,078.53*
    2. juicy joy (Netherlands) $8,529.97*
    3. Thomas "sandman201" Tyler (Canada) $5,460.00
    4. Ulett_23 (Canada) $4,095.00
    5. sleepy_seven (Germany) $2,730.00
    6. glennerz (Canada) $1,911.00
    7. LillyPutina (Russia) $1,228.50
    8. BraunerBär (Germany) $819.00

    *Reflects the results of a two-way deal that left $500 in play for the winner

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  • 25 January

    TCOOP 2016: Brazil Wins Another; Thi_cortes binks Hyper-Turbo 10-Stack Event #23 ($215 NL 6-Max)

    Hyper-Turbos. It's an instant adrenaline boost, like drinking a double shot of espresso... immediately after you downed a double shot of espresso. Two-thirds of the field for Event #23 was liquidated in under an hour in this Hyper-Turbo format which i...

  • 25 January

    TCOOP 2016: TeaDrinker77 bags TCOOP win in Event 21 ($27 NLH 4-Max, Zoom, Progressive Super-Knockout)

    The weekend wrapped up yesterday with some big TCOOP tournaments and Monday rolled around with a tournament sporting a big name and surprisingly deep stacks for a turbo structure. Event 21 was a $27 buy-in tournament with progressive super-knockout bou...

  • 25 January

    Statement on Montreal player meeting

    We've received many questions regarding the recent meeting between Amaya/PokerStars executives and three prominent, high-volume online poker players. Although many details of the meeting must remain confidential because we shared proprietary and non-p...

  • 25 January

    Jonathan Little - Five hands from the first two levels in a €2,000 event

    Hello everyone! In this blog post, I am going to share with you every significant hand I played from the first two levels of a €2,200 buy-in EPT event in Prague. ...

  • 25 January

    TCOOP 2016: Ben “Fabaz” Farrell with expeditious win in Hyper-Turbo Event #19 ($215 NL Sunday Supersonic SE)

    When the turbo format isn't strong enough...the Hyper-Turbo format boasts 3-minute levels for those virtual thrill seekers or the online poker equivalent of extreme sports. Hyper-turbos are not for the faint of heart and best suited for adrenaline j...

  • 24 January

    TCOOP 2016: George “Jorj95” Linds adds 2nd COOP win in Event 15 ($215 NLH, 6-Max, Hyper-Turbo)

    Players know to anticipate quick structures when they enter a TCOOP tournament, it is right in the title of the series. The opening Sunday of the series took a standard turbo structure and turned it up to 11, blinds climbing faster and bigger antes. E...

  • 24 January

    Aussie Millions 2016: James Obst jumps in front on Day 1a

    The poker room at Crown Melbourne was absolutely bustling today. Four Aussie Millions events and a flurry of cash games were all running simultaneously here. The Accumulator event was winding down with its final table, the Terminator and the $100,000 C...

  • 24 January

    TCOOP 2016: MikeyGG3 Coasts to Victory in Turbo-Charged Saturday Speedway SE (Event #13 $33 NL)

    The beauty of a simple TCOOP tournament? For a 5,000+ person event, the money bubble burst in under 100 minutes and the entire tournament was wrapped up in a little more than four hours. In that short time frame, MikeyGG3 faded a field of 5,162 players...

  • 23 January

    TCOOP 2016: Mantas “bagoch” Bagočius zooms to Event 9 Win ($215 NLH, Zoom, Re-Entry)

    Because a turbo structure doesn't generate enough action, why not throw in some Zoom poker to juice it up a little further. There are three Zoom events on the TCOOP schedule and Event 9 was the first, a $215 buy-in tournament with a $250,000 guaranteed prize pool.

    The fast-fold format kept things moving quickly with players seeing more hands than a standard turbo. If players found themselves without chips in the first 75 minutes, they had up to three re-entries available to them.

    The tournament drew 1,367 entrants with 676 re-entries during the late registration period. They blasted past the guarantee and the prize pool was up to $408,600 when registration was shut down. The tournament paid out the last 270 players with the winner set to earn $65,376.

    Want to compete for your own online championship? Click here to get a PokerStars account.

    The tournament was in the money less than 30 minutes after registration closed and those 270 players wasted no time mixing it up. The Zoom portion of the tournament closed with three tables remaining and it played out as a standard turbo.

    Team PokerStars' Naoya "nkeyno" Kihara had a top five chip stack when they settled into the last three tables and had a chance to add a major online title to his 2012 WSOP bracelet. His efforts fell short when he three-bet shoved with [qc][9c] straight into girafganger7's [ts][tc] to go out in 16th.

    The tournament hit the final table when Mantas "bagoch" Bagočius sent MeBeKing out in 10th place after his [ac][4h] out-turned [ah][5s]. Bagočius came to the final table with a past record that includes two Sunday Million titles, the last coming this past summer.

    2016 TCOOP-09 Final Table.jpg

    Seat 1: Econometrist (986,035 in chips)
    Seat 2: Mantas "bagoch" Bagočius (3,003,052 in chips)
    Seat 3: Joao Valli (627,003 in chips)
    Seat 4: girafganger7 (1,045,883 in chips)
    Seat 5: DJeka[MD] (340,830 in chips)
    Seat 6: Zagalo87 (1,681,302 in chips)
    Seat 7: kraftatze (1,320,610 in chips)
    Seat 8: hateblondies (827,788 in chips)
    Seat 9: TANGKETAN (382,497 in chips)

    Blinds: 20K/40K with 5K Ante

    TANGKETAN can't capitalize on making final table

    The turbo final table was expected to play out quickly and they actually waited until the second hand for one player to get all their chips in the middle. It was TANGKETAN to start things off with an open-shove for only 132,497 from under the gun and girafganger7 called.

    TANGKETAN: [as][jd]
    girafganger7: [ah][qd]

    TANGKETAN needed a lot of help to stay alive, missed the [9s][7s][5s] flop, but picked up the nut flush draw. None hit on the [6d] turn or [kh] river to send TANGKETAN out in 9th place for $4,086.

    DJeka[MD] makes a move, falls out in 8th

    DJeka[MD] probably thought he found a good spot to pick up a few bonus chips but it went sideways. He was in the small blind when girafganger7 limped from button and DJeka[MD] shoved with [ks][jh]. It might have worked to get girafganger7 out of the hand but Zagalo87 followed that move with one of his own.

    Zagalo87 moved all-in over the top to get the fold from girafganger7 and his big blind [ac][ad] was dominating. DJeka[MD] needed a miracle but didn't catch the [td][5d][2s] before getting a brief glimpse of salvation on the [js] turn.

    DJeka[MD] had five ace-cracking outs but blanked the [5h] river to be the next sent out, eliminated in 8th place for $7,150.

    Econometrist not strong, second best for 7th

    Keeping with the theme, the final table let one hand go by without a knockout before two players mixed it up in a big pot. It also produced one of the few hands in the fast tournament that featured post-flop play.

    It started when Bagočius opened to 105,000 under the gun then picked up calls from Zagalo87 and Econometrist to see the three-way, diamond-friendly [ad][7d][2d] flop. Econometrist and Bagočius checked before Zagalo87 led out for 170,200.

    Econometrist responded with a check/raise all-in for 796K. Bagočius let his hand go but Zagalo87 quickly called with the nuts. His [kd][qd] was crushing Econometrist's [td][8d] to leave him with less than 0.2% chance of winning.

    He needed perfect-perfect running straight flush cards and the [7h] turn was not one of them. That meant Econometrist was drawing dead to 7th place for $10,215.

    hateblondies hates Queens, gone in 6th

    Three players were gone in mere minutes of final table action and the pace stayed hot when hateblondies tossed in his (nearly) 500K virtual stack in the middle from middle position. Bagočius stayed busy and followed it up with a shove of his own next to act.

    Everyone else got out of their way and hateblondies saw his predicament. Bagočius was ahead with [ah][qd] against [ac][jh] then nearly locked up the hand on the [qs][qc][5d] flop. Another miracle was needed but we instead saw another player drawing dead after the turn.

    It was the [9d] to leave hateblondies with zero river outs and he was gone in 6th place for $14,301.

    girafganger7 runs set up, run out in 5th

    The knockout of hateblondies set up an odd stretch of play at the final table. They played nearly two orbits without a single player at risk, almost unthinkable in this game. Then we saw Zagalo87 run into a monster and (Kings full) before he produced one of his own.

    It started when he raised it up under the gun with [as][ac] and girafganger7 came along in the big blind. girafganger7 checked after the [ah][8s][6c] flop and Zagalo87 played it cool with a check behind. He saw another check from girafganger7 after the [7c] turn and fired a small, 122K bet.

    girafganger7 called the bet and check one last time after the [kh] river and raised after another small bet from Zagalo87. The check/raise was for all his chips with bottom pair [9s][6s] and Zagalo87 quickly called with his top set to send girafganger7 out in 5th place for $18,387.

    This was not the first taste of big tournament success for girafganger7. He came very close to picking up a WCOOP title this past September when he finished 2nd in Event 67.

    kraftatze jacked up and out in 4th

    kraftatze is having a very nice week, this deep run comes on the heels of his Sunday Kickoff tournament victory a few days ago. He earned more than $30,000 for that result and was close to doubling it at this final table.

    If he was going to cash for more than $30K, kraftatze needed to pick up some chips and he tried with an under the gun shove with [7s][7d]. The bet got through Bagočius but Joao Valli reshipped with [jd][jh] to get heads up.

    kraftatze fell further behind on the [qs][ts][js] flop but did pick up a flush draw. The [kd] turn added some chop outs but he whiffed the [4h] river for a 4th place finish.

    Zagalo87 loses long battle

    Only 12 minutes to go from a full final table to three-handed action, it would take more than double that amount of time to get to a champion. The final three players went at it for 34 hands, more than 20 minutes, plus the regularly scheduled break before they hit heads up.

    The fast action meant the average stack deepened enough to give them some flexibility. It might have gone longer if not for a couple big hands to get closer to a champ.

    In a battle of the blinds, Zagalo87 opened to 70,000 from the small and Bagočius three-bet to 414,400 from the big. Zagalo87 took the opportunity to move all-in with his second place stack and Bagočius quickly called.

    Bagočius: [ad][kd]
    Zagalo87: [jd][th]

    Zagalo87 had two live cards but missed the [qh][6c][2h] flop before adding outs on the [kh] turn. He had flush and straight outs going into the river but the [7d] was not one of them. It was a long grind at the end but Zagalo87 had to settle for 3rd place money.

    Mantas "bagoch" Bagočius wins first TCOOP title

    Seat 2: Mantas "bagoch" Bagočius (8,043,899 in chips)
    Seat 3: Joao Valli (2,171,101 in chips)

    Blinds: 70K/140K with 17.5K Ante

    Bagočius had a comfortable lead at the start of heads up play but Joao Valli evened things up on the third hand. His [ad][qs] was best for the double against [jd][td] but that was the end of his good run.

    The two went back and forth over 14 hands before they flipped a coin to finish it. Bagočius opened a big lead once again and shoved after Joao Valli limped on the button.

    Bagočius was ahead with [5c][5h] against [kh][7c] and dodged the over cards as the board ran out [8h][4s][2c][ac][8d]. A predictable fast end to a tournament that only took four hours from start to finish.

    Joao Valli earned $49,032 for his runner-up finish while Bagočius picked up his third major title for $65,376. The win gives Bagočius a TCOOP title to go along with his previous two Sunday Million victories, half way to a PokerStars Grand Slam.

    TCOOP-09 ($215 NL Hold'em, Turbo, Zoom, Optional Re-Entry) results
    Entrants: 1,367 (676 Re-Entries)
    Total prize pool: $408,600
    Places paid: 270

    1. Mantas "bagoch" Bagočius (Lithuania) $65,376.00
    2. Joao Valli (Brazil) $49,032.00
    3. Zagalo87 (Czech Republic) $36,744.00
    4. kraftatze (Germany) $26,211.69
    5. girafganger7 (Belgium) $18,387.00
    6. hateblondies (Russia) $14,301.00
    7. Econometrist (Netherlands) $10,215.00
    8. DJeka[MD] (Moldova) $7,150.50
    9. TANGKETAN (China) $4,086.00

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  • 23 January

    TCOOP 2016: LuckboxStami with Big Comeback Win in Big Antes Event #8 ($82 NL)

    With three tables remaining in TCOOP Event #8 Big Antes, Russia's IvanHaldi seized the lead and appeared to be the one player that everyone else was chasing. When the final table was seated, IvanHaldi held a formidable lead and LuckboxStami was treadin...

  • 22 January

    TCOOP 2016: buzzard1881 wins second career COOP title in Event #6 ($82 NLHE 6-max, Turbo, Shootout)

    For players pursuing the elusive Triple COOP, the TCOOP title can sometimes be the toughest of the three to chase down. TCOOP's turbo structures tend to make things a little more chaotic than during, say, a SCOOP or WCOOP tournament. But for buzzard1881, who took down a second COOP title in TCOOP Event #6, catching a few breaks at the right time today guarantees that the rest of 2016 will hold literally dozens of non-turbo opportunities to join the Triple COOP club.

    The field for today's event, which had no late registration and started at 10:00 a.m. ET, was 1,672 players, good for a $125,400 prize pool. The top 216 players - those who won their first two tables - cashed for at least $205.65, with $877.80 going to the players who busted from the semifinal tables. Those kicked off at 1:37pm ET, and it took an hour and eight minutes for them to play out completely. Once they did, these six winners of four tables apiece were left to compete for the first shootout title of TCOOP 2016:

    Seat 1: buzzard1881 (5,000 in chips)
    Seat 2: Avi Popo (5,000 in chips)
    Seat 3: Knakworst93 (5,000 in chips)
    Seat 4: Mrcaimann (5,000 in chips)
    Seat 5: madnutscrazy (5,000 in chips)
    Seat 6: Rodrigo "caprioli" Caprioli (5,000 in chips)

    TCOOP-06 2016 ft.jpg

    The first major action came on the 30/60 level when Mrcaimann opened for 150 on the button and madnutscrazy came along in the small blind to see the [2c] [Jh] [9h] flop. madnutscrazy check-raised Mrcaimann's bet of 180 to 420, and Mrcaimann called there and after madnutscrazy led for 528 on the [3c] turn. madnutscrazy then check-called a bet of 720 on the [5d] river, mucking when Mrcaimann turned over [Jc] [9c] for two pair, jacks and nines. That 3,696-chip pot gave Mrcaimann a stack worth 6,638 chips and the lead heading into the first break of the final table.

    Mrcaimann grabbed another 1,535 chips nine minutes after the break without having to show down a hand, four-betting on the button after an opening raise to 225 under the gun by buzzard1881 and a re-raise to 550 from Avi Popo. But the biggest pot yet for the player from the U.K. came four minutes later after raising in the cutoff with [Td] [9d], flopping a combination flush-and-open-ended-straight draw, catching the straight on the turn of the [Ad] [8d] [7s] [Js] [Jc] board, and getting three streets of value out of buzzard1881, who had called the initial raise from the big blind.

    After that 4,946-chip pot went to Mrcaimann, the chip counts looked like this with blinds and antes at 50/100/10:

    Seat 1: buzzard1881 (3,166 in chips)
    Seat 2: Avi Popo (4,803 in chips)
    Seat 3: Knakworst93 (4,590 in chips)
    Seat 4: Mrcaimann (11,681 in chips)
    Seat 5: madnutscrazy (1,380 in chips)
    Seat 6: caprioli (4,380 in chips)

    Mrcaimann used the ammunition to try to take out the shorter stacks, but without success. First madnutscrazy, winner of a Sunday Kickoff last year, survived all-in against the leader in a blind-versus-blind showdown, calling with [Jd] [Td] after Mrcaimann shoved from the small blind with [Kc] [4c]. madnutscrazy caught top pair, turned a jack-high straight, and dodged any clubs on the river to chip up to 2,778. Mrcaimann got those chips back quickly enough through sheer aggression, but then buzzard1881 got all-in behind with [Ah] [9h] against Mrcaimann's [Tc] [Th], flopped an ace, and seized the lead with 7,546 chips.

    The loss dropped Mrcaimann to second place, but not that far behind at 7,378 chips. But with the blinds and antes now up to 125/250/30, the momentum now shifted to buzzard1881, who picked up two pocket pairs and put that chip lead to work. First the Canadian player successfully isolated with [7d] [7s] after short-stacked madnutscrazy open-shoved, winning the flip against madnutscrazy's [Kc] [Th] on the [5h] [4d] [3c] [2d] [Qs] board to eliminate the player from India in 6th place ($3,109.92).

    Four hands after that came a bigger score. buzzard1881 picked up [Js] [Jh] and called in the big blind after Knakworst93 open-shoved for 5,155 chips. The Dutch player's [6c] [6h] didn't improve on the [Qd] [Kc] [2s] [5h] [Ah] board, and Knakworst93 was gone in 5th place ($5,016).

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    buzzard1881 took a swing for the fences four hands later, calling with [7d] [7h] in the big blind after Avi Popo jammed for 2,800, but the Latvian player's [Ac] [Tc] caught an ace on the flop for the double-up. Eight hands later Avi Popo looked to be in position for another double at buzzard1881's expense, after opening under the gun with [Ad] [Qs] and being re-raised by buzzard1881 with [Ah] [8h]. But then the flop came [Jh] [8c] [Jc], and suddenly Avi Popo needed an ace, king, or queen to stay in the game. The [Js] and [4s] came instead, and Avi Popo was out in 4th place ($7,524).

    TCOOP-06 2016 ft deal.jpg

    With the table three-handed, the blinds and antes at 150/300/35 and rising, and buzzard1881's lead at almost 10,000 chips, a deal was struck. Mrcaimann had the shortest stack but asked for a bit more than ICM, citing a track record at sit-and-go tournaments. Then something interesting happened. Before three-time SCOOP champion Rodrigo "caprioli" Caprioli could add anything, buzzard1881 offered to give up $400 not just to Mrcaimann, but to caprioli as well, and offered up this nugget of humility:

    buzzard1881: biggest holdem score im a fish

    caprioli: lol

    That sealed the deal and with $2,000 left on the table for the victor, the path to the tournament's end was clear. caprioli opened the second hand for the minimum on the button, holding [4c] [4s], and called quickly when buzzard1881 shoved from the small blind. But the leader held [Kd] [Kh], which stood up after the board came [Qh] [3d] [Td] [3c] [9h] and sent caprioli to the rail in 3rd place ($14,841.50), two spots shy of a fourth career COOP title.

    Four hands later Mrcaimann picked up [Qh] [8s] and shoved on the button, and buzzard1881 called with [Kc] [7c]. Mrcaimann flopped top pair but buzzard1881 caught up with a club flush on the river of the [2s] [5c] [8d] [4c] [2c] board to end the game.

    Mrcaimann took $14,018.13 from the deal, a little less than last year's winnings after making a four-way deal in SCOOP Event #17-L. As for buzzard1881, the winner's share was worth $17,539.45. Even more notably, it's a second career COOP title after WCOOP 2013's Event #42, adding a little more anticipation to this year's SCOOP and WCOOP series. Congratulations to both players for their early success in TCOOP 2016!

    TCOOP-06 ($82 NL Hold'em, 6-Max, Turbo, Shootout) results
    Total prize pool: $125,400.00
    Places paid: 216

    1. buzzard1881 (Canada) $17,539.45*
    2. Mrcaimann (United Kingdom) $14,018.13*
    3. caprioli (Brazil) $14,481.50*
    4. Avi Popo (Latvia) $7,524.00
    5. Knakworst93 (Netherlands) $5,016.00
    6. madnutscrazy (India) $3,109.92

    *Reflects the results of a three-way deal that left $2,000 in play for the winner

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  • 22 January

    TCOOP 2016: From Germany With Love: makarios007 wins Event #4 ($82 NL Turbo)

    Watching the electrifying accelerated action of TCOOP on the sidelines is akin to standing on a balcony overlooking a windy cobblestone street during the San Fermin festival's annual running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain...from your vantage point, yo...

  • 22 January

    TCOOP 2016: rekri reaps the whirlwind for $12K in Event #2 ($82 NL Omaha Hi-Lo, 6-max)

    One of my personal favorite things about TCOOP is how great the series is for helping me put time into perspective. For instance, on a normal day, I'd say that four hours and six minutes isn't really time enough to accomplish anything significant. But today, the first day of TCOOP, I learned me that four hours and six minutes is exactly enough time to win a turbo no-limit Omaha hi-lo tournament. The education was indirect, of course - I'm just the reporter here. It's rekri from Hungary who learned it all firsthand by becoming the champion of TCOOP 2016's second event.

    Event #2 kicked off at 2:00 p.m. ET and attracted a field of 1,649 players by the time late registration closed one hour and 15 minutes in. Each was given 5,000 starting chips and the blinds rose every five minutes. Less than an hour after that there were just 216 players left, all guaranteed a payout of at least $129.85. Where moments before the short stacks had clung to their chips, now they started to put them into action. And before the tournament could reach a third break, the field had been reduced to just these six players:

    Seat 1: homasapiens (1,208,136 in chips)
    Seat 2: rekri (1,153,394 in chips)
    Seat 3: Nopaleva (1,822,898 in chips)
    Seat 4: ouchbadbeat (801,878 in chips)
    Seat 5: Shtopol' (1,625,242 in chips)
    Seat 6: isDatLekker? (1,633,452 in chips)

    TCOOP-02 2016 ft.jpg

    With even the biggest stacks worth just 20 big blinds, nobody had a significant advantage. That could've made things tense, especially since it was a first TCOOP final table for everyone involved, but ouchbadbeat kept things light from the start. The short stack, runner-up in a SCOOP event back in 2013, rattled off a list of shout-outs in the chat box like an Oscar winner and then raised all but 1 chip and typed, "folding to reraise."

    Nobody took up the offer, but the action wasn't too long coming. rekri climbed out of the cellar with a scoop after moving in with [Ac] [Kc] [Jh] [2c], falling behind homasapiens's [As] [Kd] [Ts] [5d] on the [Kh] [6c] [5h] flop, and moving back ahead with kings and jacks thanks to the [Jd] on the turn and the harmless [Tc] on the river.

    rekri and Shtopol' split a pot two hands later with the nut flush and nut low, respectively. Then homasapiens open-shoved for 524K three hands after that, holding [6d] [4h] [3c] [3d] and looking for a board with some low cards. ouchbadbeat isolated all-in from the small blind and showed down [As] [Ad] [9d] [4d], which held up when the [9s] [Jc] [Qc] [8d] [Kd] kept the pair of aces ahead of the pair of treys. With that, homasapiens was out in 6th place ($3,091.87).

    Discussions for a deal followed two hands later, no big surprise given the biggest stack being worth just 19 big blinds. 2015 WCOOP Super High Roller finalist Nopaleva held out for a little more than ICM, asking for $60 more from each player, and even there ouchbadbeat was still entertaining. While the others figured out whether to agree, he typed, "i pay my donation of $60 tribute to putin" (in reference to Nopaleva's Vladimir Putin avatar). Eventually Nopaleva got the extra $60 from everyone, leaving $1,000 and the champion's watch on the table for the winner.

    Want to compete for your own online championship? Click here to get a PokerStars account.

    From there it took just eight minutes to bring the tournament to a close. Shtopol' took on Nopaleva immediately when play resumed, moving all-in from the cutoff with [Ac] [Kc] [Qs] [5s]. Nopaleva called in the big blind with [As] [Tc] [9h] [5h] and the board came [8d] '[Jc] [3c] [8s] [3s], leaving no low and making both players' top two cards the kickers to a pair of treys.

    Following two split pots, first between rekri and Nopaleva and then isDatLekker? and Shtopol', ouchbadbeat got the chance to take out the player that had exacted "tribute" during the deal. Nopaleva open-shoved for 1.15M with [Ad] [Js] [Jc] [8h] and ouchbadbeat successfully isolated by re-shoving for 1.24M with [Ac] [8c] [6c] [2d], leaving ouchbadbeat with just 86K after the [4s] [Th] [Jd] [5c] [5s] board made no low possible and gave Nopaleva jacks full of fives.

    ouchbadbeat survived twice and typed, "expart chip and chair comeback coming. i warn u now." But the first hand the player from the U.K. was dealt after that, [Qc] [6s] [5d] [2d], couldn't pull off the trick. ouchbadbeat shoved with it, Shtopol' called with [7c] [5c] [5s] [3h], and tens and sevens scooped the pot when the board came [Ts] [Tc] [Ad] [Kh] [2s]. That sent ouchbadbeat to the rail in 5th place ($11,142.72).

    isDatLekker? doubled up two hands later, shoving with [Ah] [Qs] [Th] [5c] and scooping the 2.59M-chip pot when Nopaleva called with [9d] [7s] [5s] [4d] but couldn't make a hand on the [8h] [3d] [Kc] [8s] [Jd] board. Five hands later Nopaleva called all-in from the big blind with [Ad] [Kh] [Js] [Ts] after rekri shoved in the small blind with [Ah] [7d] [5h] [4d]. Broadway cards and spades could have kept Nopaleva in the game, but the board came [8h] [3d] [6s] [2d] [Qh], rekri scooped the pot with a six-high straight, and Nopaleva departed in 4th place ($13,304.68).

    rekri climbed to 3.38M with that pot, providing crucial momentum for the final stretch. The Hungarian player called in the small blind with [Ad] [9d] [7h] [7s] and 1.37M left behind when past WCOOP finalist isDatLekker? shoved from the button with [Ah] [6c] [5c] [3h], but the cushion ended up being unnecessary. The [Qs] [Ac] [Ks] [Js] [Qc] board made both players aces and queens, and rekri's nine kicker was good for the whole 4.35M-chip pot. That knocked isDatLekker? out in 3rd place ($11,439.90).

    TCOOP-02 2016 ft hu.jpg

    The heads-up showdown for the last $1,000 and the title lasted a single hand. rekri opened all-in on the button with [As] [9h] [8h] [7d] and was called by Shtopol', who was a slim favorite before the flop with [Ac] [Ks] [9d] [2h]. The [Qs] [7c] [2c] [Ts] [Qc] made two pair for both players, but rekri's queens and sevens took the pot and brought the tournament to a close.

    Just four hours and six minutes after putting down $82 for a stack of chips, Shtopol' took $10,017.82 from the deal as the runner-up. And rekri earned $12,717.66, the champion's watch, and a first career TCOOP title to go along with a MicroMillions 7 win in 2014. Congratulations to both players for hanging on until the end!

    TCOOP-02 ($82 NL Omaha Hi-Lo, 6-Max, Turbo) results

    Total prize pool: $123,675.00

    Places paid: 216

    1. rekri (Hungary) $12,717.66*
2. Shtopol' (Ukraine) $10,017.82*
3. isDatLekker? (Netherlands) $11,439.90*

    4. Nopaleva (Russia) $13,304.68*

    5. ouchbadbeat (United Kingdom) $11,142.72*
6. homasapiens (Poland) $3,091.87

    *Reflects the results of a five-way deal that left $1,000 in play for the winner

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  • 21 January

    Jonathan Little - Weekly Poker Hand, Episode 78

    In this episode, I decide to slow play QQ versus a tricky reg. Would you have played the hand as I did or would you have tried to maximize value? ...

  • 18 January

    2016 Macau Millions: Zheng crushes final table to take title

    China's Alvan Zheng has emerged victorious, powering though Macau's largest-ever 2,343-strong field to take the title and lions share of the prize pool. Banking an impressive HK$911,000 (~$116,000) for his first place finish, Zheng defeated fellow c...

  • 18 January

    Jonathan Little - 2016 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Vlog

    In this video blog, I discuss the ups and downs of my 2016 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. I also share some clips from the daily Breakfast Talks put on by PokerStars, ...

  • 18 January

    2016 Macau Millions: Final table

  • 17 January

    2016 Macau Millions: Zheng leads final nine

    China's Alvan Zheng leads the field The record-breaking Macau Millions Main event of 2,343 has now been whittled down to just nine. Leading the charge is China's Alvan Zheng, who edged into pole position after enjoying a late game card rush to fini...

  • 17 January

    2016 Macau Millions: Final table player profiles

    Seat 1: Quan Zhou, 31 (Heilongjiang, Harbin, China) - 4,185,000 A 31-year-old poker professional from Harbin, China, Zhou is the most experienced player at the final table and is currently sitting second in chips behind the second biggest winner - A...

  • 17 January

    2016 Macau Millions: Day 2 live updates

    Cards are now in the air as Day 2 of the 2016 Macau Millions gets underway. Currently there are 160 players still in contention battling it out for the HK$911,000 (~US$ 116,800) top prize. Blind levels have increased from 30-minute levels to 45-minut...

  • 17 January

    2016 Macau Millions Day 2: Records tumble as Main Event attracts Macau’s largest-ever field

    Poker's popularity in Macau continues to rise as the 2016 Macau Millions smashes its own record for largest-ever field, attracting an impressive 2,343 entries over three starting flights. Expectations for breaking the previous record of 1,804 - set by...

  • 15 January

    Padraig Parkinson - The Day The Music Lived

    Some races are more important than others. On a Friday night a few weeks ago I won one in a live game in Clichy in Paris to hit the front ...

  • 14 January

    PCA 2016: Bahama Mamas all round

    Something happened last night. Something extremely fun and entertaining. And while it was in no way forgettable, I'm not sure many people will remember it with crystal clear clarity.

    I'm talking, of course, about last night's PokerStars players party here at the PCA. If you've never been to one, you really owe it to yourself to try and attend one of these shindigs.

    Party-PCA 2016-5829.jpg

    All you need to do is play the main event, so why not try and qualify for next year's PCA or an EPT/LAPT?

    Ready to sign up for PokerStars? Click here to get an account.

    First of all - there's a free bar. The Bahama Mamas were flowing as far as the eye could see.

    Secondly, there's free food. And there's no expense spared here at the PCA; from exotic mini burgers and delicious Cajun chicken to exquisite canapés and...we mentioned the free bar, right?

    Then there's the entertainment. This year the PCA has transformed the ballroom at Atlantis into a Cirque du Soleil-esque extravaganza.

    Two men painted gold like Oscars performing physical feats that have to be seen to be believed; a woman manoeuvring 15 hula hoops around her body with ease; acrobats dangling from the ceiling; it really was quite remarkable to watch.

    Party-PCA 2016-5774.jpg

    Party-PCA 2016-5865.jpg

    Party-PCA 2016-5748.jpg

    So, who was in attendance? Well, let's start with the PokerStars Team: Daniel Negreanu, Liv Boeree, Bertrand 'Elky' Grospellier, Eugene Katchalov, Jake Cody, Jason Mercier, Andre Akkari, Felipe Ramos, and Fatima Moreira de Melo were all in attendance.

    Party-PCA 2016-5815.jpg

    So were the high rollers: Mike McDonald, Ole Schemion and Fedor Holz are just a few of the big names we saw enjoying themselves.

    Sadly, all good things must come to an end - or do they? When the official PokerStars party was drawing to a close, hundreds simply made the short walk over to the amazing Aura nightclub here on the Atlantis resort.

    And the Bahama mamas continued to flow. Our heads are very sore this morning, but boy did we have a good time.

    Party-PCA 2016-5854.jpg

    Get yourself out to the PCA next year and you'll see it all for yourself. Satellites for next year's PokerStars Carribean Adventure and all of the EPT and LAPT stops are running right now.

    We mentioned the free bar, right? --JS

    Ready to sign up for PokerStars? Click here to get an account.

  • 14 January

    Jonathan Little - Weekly Poker Hand, Episode 77

    In this eposide, I make a turn bet with the nut flush draw and face a sizable. Would you have the courage to go all-in in this spot? To get ...

  • 13 January

    PCA 2016: Jason Somerville’s KappaPride and joy

    There are a lot of bloggers, fans, friends and family watching the players do their thing here at the PCA, but one man has a bigger audience than all of those combined. Team PokerStars Pro Jason Somerville has 10,000 people watching him right now. N...

  • 11 January

    Jonathan Little - Force Them Out Or Keep Them In?

    This blog post will be a bit longer and more technical than normal but I promise, the payoff is worth it as this concept alone could easily take your game to ...

  • 10 January

    PCA 2016: Opponents in the ring; opponents on the felt

    Did you catch the press conference between Ronda Rousey and Holly Holm before their big UFC fight in November? Or how about Conor McGregor's press conference altercation with Jose Aldo back in September? It's safe to say that people who are preparing to fight each other have a...well, let's just say there's some animosity between them.

    You definitely wouldn't sit them right next to each other; that's for sure.

    Here at the PCA though, PokerStars provides a safe and calming atmosphere for its players. And that's why for Olivier Busquet and JC Alvarado it's just business as usual.

    JC Alvarado_Olivier Busquet_2016 PCA_Main Event_Day 2_Giron_8JG8833.jpg

    Busquet and Alvarado - keeping it friendly

    In case you didn't know, in September 2015 the two players had this interaction on Twitter:

    @olivierbusquet I haven't trained seriously all year, but I'm interested. Lmk.

    — JC Alvarado (@JCAlvarado1) September 23, 2022

    Busquet was looking for training motivation, and as you can see from the photos of him here at the PCA, he's huge. This doesn't necessarily give him the advantage over the smaller-framed Alvarado, though, who will be looking to put his extensive kickboxing experience to good use. The two have now agreed to the conditions of their MMA fight, which stand as follows:

    - JC Alvarado must weigh in at 165 lbs
    - Busquet must weigh in at 187.7 lbs
    - Neither player will bet on the fight

    JC Alvarado_Olivier Busquet_2016 PCA_Main Event_Day 2_Giron_8JG8821.jpg

    Busquet sizes up his opponent

    Both guys have four months of training still to go, with the battle scheduled to commence in April 2016. But first there's the small matter of the PCA 2016 Main Event to deal with.

    If any fights break out, you'll be the first to know.

  • 8 January

    The Poker Academy - A Little Poker and Session 1 Q&A Webinar

    As I am sitting here writing this, I am also making my reservations for my next poker trip to the Commerce. I will be spending a lot of time there ...

  • 7 January

    Jonathan Little - Weekly Poker Hand, Episode 76

    In this episode, I flop a top pair, the King-high flush draw, and a gutshot straight draw. I have it all! Would you have played this situation differently? To get ...

  • 5 January

    Linda Johnson - Happy New Year 2016!

    Happy New Year! I am happy to report in my first blog of 2016 that poker is alive and well in Las Vegas. Three days into the New Year, I ...

  • 4 January

    Jonathan Little - Psychological Fortitude

    Happy New Year! Strive to ensure this year is the best yet! I recently played a World Poker Tour event at Borgata in Atlantic City. Around halfway through day two, ...

  • 4 January

    Sunday Million: Noaceforme tops four-way deal for $169K (1/3/16)

    It's a new year, which means a lot of poker players are thinking about their new year's resolutions. And a lot of those resolutions, no doubt, got their first major test today, the first Sunday of 2016, with the PokerStars Sunday Majors.

    The crown jewel of this weekly poker tournament fest, the Sunday Million, is the kind of event that only makes specific appearances on the resolution lists of those who dare to dream the biggest. But if it isn't on your list specifically, winning it can make a whole lot of other resolutions a lot easier to achieve. Just ask Noaceforme, winner of today's tourney. Even after making a four-way deal, the first-place prize was 12 times as big as any the Swede, already the outright winner of a Stars MTT no less than 17 times, had ever won before.

    After sending off 2015 in style last week with a $6.26 million prize pool, this week's Sunday Million was back in familiar territory with a $1 million guarantee. The tournament had drawn 6,749 players by the end of late registration at 5:30 p.m. ET, good for a $1,349,800 prize pool, and 3,110 of them still had seats at the table. Two more hours of play saw the field reduced to the money bubble, and at 7:39 pm ET AsjBaaaf of New Zealand busted in 991st place to pop it.

    Aside from Marc-Andre "FrenchDawg" Ladouceur's 910th-place finish for $310.45, the ranks of the cashers were devoid of Red Spades. They piled up quickly when the bubble burst, but as midnight approached there were still two tables in play. It wasn't until 12:47 a.m. ET, with blinds and antes at 125K/250K/25K, that the game was narrowed to just these nine players:

    Seat 1: KvicKiller (13,201,422 in chips)
    Seat 2: tvtotaliwin (7,115,183 in chips)
    Seat 3: ¿¿toneecho?? (2,133,351 in chips)
    Seat 4: Bababooyboff (7,032,884 in chips)
    Seat 5: Noaceforme (9,107,362 in chips)
    Seat 6: Sheeeeep (5,959,232 in chips)
    Seat 7: MastercarAA (7,568,519 in chips)
    Seat 8: Ticiz (3,493,990 in chips)
    Seat 9: Saitek00 (11,878,057 in chips)

    Sunday Million 1-3-16 ft.jpg

    The long and winding road

    Past WCOOP Super Tuesday SE finalist ¿¿toneecho?? was in the cutoff on the first hand of the final table holding [9h] [8h] and raised all-in. Saitek00 had [Kd] [Qh] in the big blind and called, flopping two pair and turning a full house on the [6h] [Qc] [Kc] [Qs] [8s] to send ¿¿toneecho?? to the rail in 9th place ($10,460.95). That took the table to its first break, and the first hand back saw past Sunday Million champ Ticiz open all-in for 3.4M with [Th] [Ts]. Noaceforme thought for a bit before calling with [Kc] [Qs] and catching top pair on the [Qc] [3h] [9s] flop. Ticiz picked up a gutshot draw on the [8c] turn but the [3c] ended the Dutch player's repeat bid in 8th place ($16,197.60).

    The path to the next knockout was far longer than the one that led to the first two. MastercarAA, whose stack had been dwindling since the final table began, saw that trend continue before it was compounded to leave the Swedish player in dire straits. Sitting in the big blind, MastercarAA called a minimum raise by 2012 TCOOP winner KvicKiller and led out on the turn and river of a [5s] [Ks] [Kd] [Ts] [9d], only to call a raise to 1M on the river and lose to KvicKiller's [Ac] [Kc] for trip kings.

    After all that waiting, the stage was set for the next three knockouts to come in rapid succession. MastercarAA was left with five and a half big blinds, which bled away in blinds and antes until the Swedish player finally picked up [Tc] [Th] in the small blind. It was a favorite over Saitek00's big blind special of [Jh] [2c], but the [Qd] [9d] [Qh] [Ks] [Kc] board gave both players two pair, kings and queens. The jack played as a kicker to take the pot, and MastercarAA was out in 7th place ($29,695.60).

    Four hands later the biggest pot of the final table so far would move Bababooyboff into the chip lead. Noaceforme, who had the lead at the time, opened for 1M under the gun with [Ac] [Qd] and then called when Bababooyboff shoved for 8.6M total with [As] [Kd]. The board came [6d] [8d] [7c] [3s] [Kh], and Bababooyboff chipped up to 17.7M via a pair of kings.

    Just three hands after that, short-stacked KvicKiller picked up [3h] [3s] under the gun and shoved for 14 big blinds, only to be called by Sheeeeep with [Qc] [Qd]. Sheeeeep went from a 4-to-1 favorite to a 99.9 percent favorite when the flop came [Th] [2d] [Qs], leaving KvicKiller with only running treys as an out. The [3d] turn was half a bailout, but the [Tc] river bounced KvicKiller in 6th place ($43,193.60).

    Six hands later Noaceforme ended up in another dominated-ace scenario, this time on the right side of the equation. Neither Noaceforme's [Ah] [Ks] nor Sheeeeep's [Ad] [Qc] improved on the [2h] [3c] [5s] [2d] [Td] board, and Noaceforme moved back into the lead with 22.7M chips. That left Sheeeeep the short stack with 6.4M, but Noaceforme took down another player before the German player could get involved again. Past TCOOP runner-up and Twitch broadcaster tvtotaliwin opened all-in for eight and a half big blinds with [Kc] [Jh], only to see Noaceforme isolate with [Ac] [As]. The Swiss player was drawing dead on the turn of the [Ks] [Ah] [7c] [7s] [3h] board and left in 5th place ($56,691.60).

    Q: Deal? Or no? A: Deal.

    The remaining four players discussed a possible deal during the next break, since the 300K/600K/60K blinds and antes were eating into everyone's stacks, but too many of them wanted too much from the others to come to an agreement. And so they kept grinding away at each other. And grinding. And grinding. They did this for another 35 minutes with no knockouts, until the blinds were at 500K/1M, and then decided to take another look at the numbers.

    Seat 4: Bababooyboff (9,469,390 in chips)
    Seat 5: Noaceforme (28,528,951 in chips)
    Seat 6: Sheeeeep (10,202,164 in chips)
    Seat 9: Saitek00 (19,289,495 in chips)

    Sunday Million 1-3-16 ft four-handed.jpg

    There was more haggling, but by 2:03 a.m. ET they had reached a deal and it was time to gamble. Sheeeeep pressed forward while the already short Bababooyboff lost a third of those ever more valuable chips. But then Bababooyboff flopped top pair to double up after re-shoving with [Qs] [Js] over the top of Sheeeeep's opening min-raise with [Ah] [7h]. Just a few hands later Sheeeeep got those chips back with some spare change on top, surviving a coin flip with [7d] [7c] against Noaceforme's button-stealing [Kc] [Jc].

    Even with the deal in place and the enormous 500K/1M/100K blinds and antes putting pressure on everyone, it took until 2:42 a.m. ET to cash out the first deal-maker. Noaceforme, chip leader by almost 10 big blinds with 25.5M, opened all-in under the gun with [Ah] [Jh]. Bababooyboff called for 12.5M in the big blind with [Qh] [Jc] and moved into a temporary lead on the [5h] [8h] [Qd] flop with a pair of queens. The [3s] turn was no help to Noaceforme, but the [2h] on the river made a heart flush and sent Bababooyboff to the rail in 4th place with $117,792.34 from the deal.

    Noaceforme now had 39M chips to Saitek00's 16.6M and Sheeeeep's 11.7M. The latter two clashed with one another five hands later before the chip leader had a chance to take either of them on. Sheeeeep opened all-in for 12.3M from the small blind with [Th] [9s], Saitek00 called with [Qs] [Jd], and the [8d] [Qc] [3s] [Ah] [5c] board left Sheeeeep on the outside in 3rd place ($117,231.37).

    Seat 5: Noaceforme (38,337,594 in chips)
    Seat 9: Saitek00 (29,152,406 in chips)

    Sunday Million 1-3-16 ft hu.jpg

    Heads-up play lasted just 17 hands, 11 of which ended with Noaceforme dragging the pot. The only one with any significant betting was the last, which opened with Saitek00 moving all-in on the button for 14.8M, holding [Jh] [Th]. Noaceforme called with [Ad] [5d] and stayed ahead through the river of the [7s] [2s] [6c] [Qd] [As] board to make a pair of aces and close the tournament out.

    Saitek00's runner-up share of the deal came to $135,099.52, an improvement over a 7th-place finish in the Sunday Million last October and a final table bubble finish in today's Sunday Warm-Up. The extra $20K on the table for the winner boosted Noaceforme's share, already the largest at the time of the deal, even further to $169,260.63. That's a new career high for the previous winner of 18 other PokerStars tourneys. Congratulations to both players for outlasting thousands of players in the first Sunday Million of 2016!

    1/3/16 Sunday Million ($215 No-Limit Hold'em) results
    Entrants: 6,749
    Prize pool: $1,349,800
    Places paid: 990

    1. Noaceforme (Sweden) $169,260.63*
    2. Saitek00 (United Kingdom) $135,099.52*
    3. Sheeeeep (Germany) $117,231.37*
    4. Bababooyboff (Canada) $117,792.34*
    5. tvtotaliwin (Switzerland) $56,691.60
    6. KvicKiller (Czech Republic) $43,193.60
    7. MastercarAA (Sweden) $29,695.60
    8. Ticiz (Netherlands) $16,197.60
    9. ¿¿toneecho?? (United Kingdom) $10,460.95
    * - denotes results of a four-way deal

    Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.

  • 2 January

    Daniel Negreanu - Other 2016 Goals

    Every year I post an annual poker goal blog that preceded this one. These are career goals directly related to my poker career, but I have never really published a ...

December, 2015

  • 31 December

    Jonathan Little - Weekly Poker Hand, Episode 75

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  • 30 December

    The Poker Academy - 12 Week Challenge Webinar Series

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  • 28 December

    Jonathan Little - 4 Habits That Stuck

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  • 24 December

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  • 21 December

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  • 21 December

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  • 21 December

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  • 17 December

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  • 17 December

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  • 15 December

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  • 14 December

    Jonathan Little - I got married! Full wedding video!

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  • 10 December

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  • 9 December

    Four $1 Million Freerolls Planned for 2016

    We are happy to announce plans to hold four $1 million freeroll tournaments in 2016 on PokerStars. These tournaments will surely create buzz and generate excitement among players at all skill and experience levels and the injection of $4 million into the economy will help many players' bankrolls. These tournaments will be on top of an already exciting - though not-yet-announced - series of promotions, events and new products that are planned for 2016.

    We're doing everything we can to make 2016 an exciting year for poker, but recognize that 2015 has been tough for many of our players. This year has been difficult for our depositing customers who have seen a reduction in their purchasing power of close to 20% due to the strengthening of the US dollar, the primary currency of poker gameplay, vs their local currencies, most notably the Euro and other European currencies. This has reduced the value of their deposits meaning they are unable to play as long as before with the same amount of money, exacerbating issues of retention of new and casual players we have already seen over the past few years due to an increasing imbalance in the ecosystem. While we cannot influence where currency exchange rates will go, we can make changes that we believe will improve retention of such players by lengthening the time they will be able to play, allowing them to have more fun at poker and hopefully becoming a lifetime player.

    We have been taking steps - across the whole business - to address these changes. The recent three-day boycott by some players that disagree with our announced VIP changes did not have a significant impact on PokerStars, as traffic actually spiked through the period as a result of the start of our long-planned holiday promotion.

    Of course that doesn't mean it went unnoticed by us. We care very deeply about what players say and what they expect of us. And we strive to live up to their expectations.

    Some of our players feel we have not met their expectations in the recently announced changes to the PokerStars VIP program. Indeed, some players who support the VIP changes feel we should have done a better job communicating the changes. We first announced that there would be significant changes to the 2016 VIP program in October 2014, following a comprehensive review we had undertaken earlier that year, and repeated this several times throughout 2015, including telling players that details would be provided in October. In fact, we had considered making significant VIP changes to take effect in January 2015, but our new ownership at Amaya chose to delay the changes for another year.

    In hindsight, we could have communicated to players more often that significant changes were coming in 2016. We could have been more explicit that these changes would be significant and would take effect in 2016. And we could have noted this on our VIP web pages that gave details of the program. There was no intention to deceive and certainly not to profit from this, as an increase in the number of Supernova Elites, who are on average net withdrawing players, does not provide a financial benefit to us. It was simply a function of a long internal process and an honest belief that we had given players sufficient notice.

    We sincerely apologise to players who did not expect cuts as significant in 2016 as we announced on November 1st and recognize that some players may have chosen not to participate in the rewards program in 2015 had they known. Although we did not publicize it at the time, we did recognize that players might not be expecting as severe a decrease in awards, so we provided a higher level of reward in 2016 than originally planned and delayed implementing the full decrease in rewards until 2017. This was explicitly in recognition that players were grinding in 2015 in order to reap the maximum benefit for 2016.

    We believe that these freerolls are further affirmation of our commitment to bring more excitement and recreational players to PokerStars, which is good for ALL players.

    Most importantly, these changes are a critical component of our broad-based initiative to improve our online poker ecosystem by attracting more new players, improving the environment for recreational players and instituting loyalty programs that serve the majority of players.

    A tremendous amount of analysis goes into making these decisions by PokerStars. Our poker room management team is staffed with many former poker pros. And we have examined all possible scenarios. We are making these changes for the long term health of the poker ecosystem and to put in place a system that is sustainable.

    We will not alter those plans. The current VIP program is no longer fit for its purpose. When combined with the increasing skill gap in the online poker market, the result is an increasingly poor experience for recreational and new players.

    Changes are needed and we are making them. The funds that previously went to these rewards will be placed in more and bigger online promotions, more consumer marketing campaigns to attract new players and research and development of innovative new products and features. We have mass consumer marketing campaigns featuring Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar Jr; we're launching innovative new poker variants that take advantage of mobile platforms, social gaming and the popularity of other card-based strategy games and e-Sports; and levelling the playing field for recreational and new players by restricting the use of third party software and data mining that give an unfair edge to professionals.

    As we have in the past, we will continue to make changes to ensure our ecosystem is healthy and vibrant. We know and understand that players won't always agree with these changes. We'll do our best to communicate them early and with as much transparency and frequency as possible.

    In that spirit of transparency, we can tell you that we did see effects from the recent boycott that give us even greater confidence that our strategy is on the right track to improve the health of the ecosystem. During the three-day boycott we recorded the healthiest consecutive three-day ecosystem results of the year with steady net gaming revenue, even though our net-depositing players lost at a much lower rate than they have all year. As we have seen with Spin & Go's, which have higher retention levels than cash games due to the increased winning experiences provided to all players, we believe this decreased loss rate will result in those players' deposits lasting longer and retention rates improving, resulting in more deposits and more money in the system because players are enjoying their time at the tables more. This is the right foundation for us to build upon.

    Our commitment to poker is as strong as ever. We believe that our actions will demonstrate this in the months and years ahead.


    Eric Hollreiser is Vice President of Corporate Communications for Amaya Inc. and PokerStars.

  • 9 December

    2015 World Cup of Poker sets final four

    The quarter finals were off to a blistering start with the France v Russian Federation game going down to the wire. A pair of players from each team faced off in the final two tables, with "buzz37000" ultimately taking honours - and a semi-Final spot -...

  • 9 December

    Daniel Negreanu - VIP Program Changes at PokerStars

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  • 7 December

    Dusty Schmidt - Sunday Million Update

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  • 7 December

    Jonathan Little - Studying poker with ICMizer

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  • 6 December

    Manila Megastack 4: Tetsuya Tsuchikawa bags the Main Event title

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  • 6 December

    Manila Megastack 4: Final Day Updates

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  • 6 December

    Manila Megastack 4: Main Event Final Day Battle and Chip Counts

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    Manila Megastack 4: Quijano skyrockets to day 1b chip lead

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  • 5 December

    Manila Megastack 4: Day 1b Main Event Updates

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  • 5 December

    Manila Megastack 4: Final Event of 2015 at PokerStars Live Manila Day 1b

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  • 4 December

    Manila Megastack 4: John Tech leads Day 1a of the Main Event

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  • 4 December

    Manila Megastack 4: Day 1a Main Event Updates

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  • 4 December

    Manila Megastack 4: Final Event of 2015 at PokerStars Live Manila

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  • 3 December

    Jonathan Little - Weekly Poker Hand, Episode 71

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November, 2015

  • 30 November

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  • 26 November

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  • 24 November

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  • 23 November

    Jonathan Little - Fun hand from a $1/$2 live cash game

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  • 23 November

    Darryll Fish - Sexism, poker, and growing the game.

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  • 21 November

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  • 19 November

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  • 17 November

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  • 14 November

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  • 13 November

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  • 13 November

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  • 13 November

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  • 13 November

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  • 12 November

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  • 12 November

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  • 12 November

    2015 ACOP Day 3: Things are heating up

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  • 12 November

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  • 11 November

    2015 ACOP Day 2: Li leads the charge into Day 3

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  • 11 November

    2015 ACOP Day 2: Notable knockouts as registration closes

    Late registration is locked out! The field is capped at 260 entrants and with that we can reveal what everyone will be playing for. First place will be an impressive HK$5,885,000 (~US$760,000) from a total prize pool of HK$24,206,000 (~US$3,120,000)...

  • 11 November

    2015 ACOP Day 2: Australians firing on all cylinders

    The Australian dollar has been on the decline recently. We wouldn't blame you for thinking that'd mean an absence of Aussies at this ACOP series in Macau, but that's evidently not the case as the field here is riddled with players from Down Under. ...

  • 11 November

    2015 ACOP Day 2: Chasing glory

    Day 2. Where the survivors from the first two opening flights will battle it out in a bid to edge closer to the next ACOP Main Event title. We don't quite yet know what they'll be playing for, with late registration still open for the first 90 minut...

  • 10 November

    2015 ACOP Day 1B: Ojiri owns the night

    It was back to the action at PokerStars LIVE Macau this afternoon, and with seven levels in the books, Day 1B is a wrap. By the time play concluded we had seen 145 new players enter, eclipsing yesterday's 110 and bringing the current total to 245. Re...

  • 10 November

    2015 ACOP Day 1B: Shalamov joins hunt, Wakeman among leaders

    We're entering the home stretch of this Day 1 flight now. Before play kicked off we were expecting big things and that's exactly what we saw. It didn't take long for yesterday's field of 100 to be surpassed here this afternoon. At the moment today'...

  • 10 November

    2015 ACOP Day 1B: Team Pros out in force

    One of the added bonuses of buying in to a great tournament like the ACOP Main Event is the chance to play with the Team PokerStars Pros. For those among the field today it's highly likely that they'll face off with at least one player from the Poker...

  • 10 November

    2015 ACOP Day 1B: Railing Ronaldo

    It's a rare sight that a poker player has their own security on the tournament floor. Today, however, that's exactly what we're witnessing. Football superstar Ronaldo Nazario is among the field here today, with two members of his personal security t...

  • 10 November

    2015 ACOP Day 1B: Back to the action

    Notable names and bigger numbers. That's what we're expecting here today for Day 1B of the ACOP Main Event. Yesterday saw 110 runners pack the tournament floor here at PokerStars LIVE Macau and that number is predicted to be eclipsed this afternoon....

  • 9 November

    2015 ACOP Day 1A: Yao, Andrejevic and Seidel round out top three

    Seven levels, several notables and 63 remaining. The ACOP Main Event Day 1A is a wrap. Players were fresh from a different sort of tournament last night before football legend Ronaldo Nazario kicked off proceedings this afternoon. The High Roller w...

  • 9 November

    2015 ACOP Day 1A: Li leads late in the day

    A field of familiar faces. That's probably the best way to describe Day 1A here at the ACOP Main Event. A walk across the tournament floor here at PokerStars LIVE Macau and any poker fan could see that there is an abundance of notable names in atte...

  • 9 November

    Jonathan Little - 2015 EPT Malta Video Blog

    In this video blog, I share with you the trials and tribulations of my 2015 European Poker Tour experience in Malta. It was a rough 11 days! I hope you ...

  • 9 November

    2015 ACOP: Darts ’til dawn

    What better way to celebrate ACOP Main Event Eve than with a different type of tournament? That seemed to be the sentiment last night as poker players packed the Music World Karaoke Bar for some competitive games of darts and dice. The drinks were f...

  • 9 November

    2015 ACOP: Sukonthachartnant scoops High Roller

    What a whirlwind we just witnessed! It was the final seven who showed up to do battle in the 2015 ACOP High Roller today and after less than three hours of play a champion has emerged. That honour goes to Thailand's Phanlert Sukonthachartnant who ju...

  • 9 November

    2015 ACOP: A sense of stardom

    The Asia Championship of Poker Main Event started with a sense of stardom this afternoon. Players pulled up seats for the 3pm start to Day 1A and proceedings began with a few words from none other than football legend Ronaldo Nazario. He announced to ...

  • 9 November

    Sunday Warm-Up: Late surge boosts Merin09 to $80K win

    The best thing about coming to a final table with a big stack is the number of options it gives you. You can go on the offensive if the situation calls for such a strategy. You can also take the occasional pot and hold your ground while you wait for a ...

  • 8 November

    2015 ACOP: Move over for the Main Event

    There's no denying that poker in Macau is flourishing. Once an emerging market, the poker landscape here has shown us steady and impressive growth. A driving force behind that popularity is the Asia Championship of Poker. The prestigious flagship e...

  • 5 November

    Jonathan Little - Weekly Poker Hand, Episode 67

    In this episode, I attempt to bluff on a flop that should be great for my range and horrible for my opponent’s. I love this bluff. How do you feel ...

  • 2 November

    Jonathan Little - Go listen to The Mindset Advantage podcast now!

    I listen to a lot of different podcasts, but the one I am excited to listen to each week as soon as it is uploaded is The Mindset Advantage with ...

  • 1 November

    Comprehensive Plan for Enhanced PokerStars Experience

    PokerStars today unveiled a comprehensive plan to enhance the playing experience and to re-emphasize the fun and social aspects of online poker while attracting and retaining more players to the game. Poker is a fun game that we love and our responsibility is to make sure that every player at PokerStars -- advanced, recreational or new - can enjoy this game as much as we do.

    We believe that the combination of a new VIP club program, the release of innovative new games and broad-based consumer marketing campaigns - including new campaigns featuring Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar Jr - will put the poker ecosystem on the right tracks to deliver growth for the years to come.

    Investments in research and development will bring new innovations to the game beginning in the first half of 2016 and continuing throughout the year to increase play from existing customers and attract new players.

    PokerStars also plans to roll out new policies that will reinforce the fundamental elements of human competition by limiting certain software programs that may provide an unfair advantage to some players.

    For more than 95% of our players, the most obvious change will be the introduction of the VIP Steps program and changing our variable FPP currency into a constant value which will be called StarsCoin. This will simplify the reward system and enhance its visibility during play, so that players can follow their progress in real time. VIP status players from BronzeStar to GoldStar will continue to be able to receive up to a similar level of rewards to what they receive now. In some cases, players will receive less; in some cases, players will receive more, but it's very much in the same ballpark.

    PokerStars will also revamp the loyalty program to effectively incentivize and reward more players and to encourage competitive play over high volume play. The changes will result in improved rewards for the vast majority of players. Approximately two percent of players - including our highest volume and high stakes players - will have significantly reduced rewards. The reason we are focused on the highest status levels is because these rewards have become so enticing that we have inadvertently altered why some people play and how they play. We are introducing these changes to move towards a more balanced long-term poker economy and to return the game back to one that rewards skill via winning at the tables rather than playing primarily for volume.

    A Summary of 2016 Changes

    Introduction of VIP Steps
    • Simplified rewards mechanism replaces FPPs, Stellar Rebates, and Milestone Rewards with StarsCoin.
    • StarsCoin value will be one cent each for all statuses.

    Reducing Rewards for High-Volume and High-Stakes Players
    • VIP Club rewards will be capped at 30%, impacting mainly high-volume Supernova and SupernovaElite status players.
    • PlatinumStar status will have up to a 10% reduction in their overall rewards.
    • In recognition of the players who have already-earned SupernovaElite status or will by the end of the year, the benefits cap for players who earn Supernova Elite in 2015 will be 45% in 2016.
    • No VPPs for pot-limit and no-limit games with blinds of $5-$10+, 8-game $10-$20+, and other limit games with blinds of $10-$15+. This change is implemented due to high transaction costs and operation costs of monitoring these games.

    We will soon have a dedicated web site for details and will post that as soon as ready.

    Third-Party Software Restrictions
    Technology liberated poker from the constraints of bricks and mortar and allowed poker fans to discover the game at their own pace in their own home on the internet. While the tactics of the game may have evolved, poker has stayed true to its core - it's fundamentally about human competition, which is something that needs to be protected. The game should be about combining logic and an ability to steel your nerves to make that big call or bluff; it shouldn't be about clicking a button because harvested stats tell you to. For this reason, we are on a path to eliminate many of these technological advantages that are used by a minority of players.

    People have differing views on where the line around third-party software in poker should be drawn; it's certainly something that we constantly debate and review. Technology can aid, but it shouldn't take over.

    Today, we want to make clear that the line will be drawn to preserve poker as a battle of wits and a test of heart. This will only have a direct effect on a small proportion of players and builds upon our responsibility to provide a level playing field for all players.

    The new restrictions on third-party software will extend recent changes to our third-party software policy. Last month, we reduced data mining in Zoom!, restricted the use of heads-up displays, and limited the use of Spin & Go seating scripts.

    Our intention is to expand these restrictions through major changes within our own software that we will communicate in more detail through 2016. PokerStars wants to offer fun, fair and competitive games of poker globally. These changes aim to help us achieve that goal.

    Product Innovation & Marketing Investments
    We are also continuing to invest heavily in marketing that reaches new audiences and re-ignites the interest of lapsed players. Earlier this year we announced the signing of two of the most popular athletes in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar Jr. They've already been involved in some of our most successful promotions ever. Soon, they will be part of the biggest global consumer marketing campaign in PokerStars history.

    Our investment includes the most significant research and development initiatives in years, some of which will come to market in early 2016, including a standalone PokerStars branded app that we believe will bring a brand new twist to poker. Later in the year we're planning an even more bold take on poker that we believe will be very exciting.

    The changes to the PokerStars VIP Club will come into effect from January 1, 2016, and new policies on third-party software will come into effect throughout 2016.

    We are confident that these changes will improve the playing experience for all PokerStars players and will drive increased play and more players to the ecosystem.


    Eric Hollreiser is Vice President of Corporate Communications for Amaya Inc. and PokerStars.

October, 2015

  • 29 October

    Jonathan Little - Weekly Poker Hand, Episode 66

    In this episode, I flop top pair and then check-fold for one more bet. Do you ever fold in this spot? Am I the tightest player you know? Be sure ...

  • 26 October

    Jonathan Little - Introducing Strategies for Beating Small Stakes Poker Cash Games

    I am excited to announce my newest self-published book, Strategies for Beating Small Stakes Poker Cash Games. This book was inspired by my best-selling ebook (now available in audiobook and ...

  • 25 October

    P1 Million: Local player David Erquiaga claims the Main Event title

    The PokerStars Live Manila poker room at City of Dreams Manila held its final day of the P1 Million Guaranteed Main Event with 66 players returning to the felt. After seven hours of play, Filipino player David Erquiaga bested them all to claim the cha...

  • 25 October

    Daniel Negreanu - The Civilian Life

    Just finished watching the latest WSOP main event episodes and reflecting on the last few months. I haven't taken this long of a break from poker since the year 2000. ...

  • 25 October

    P1 Million: Final Day Updates

    The final day of the P1M Guarantee Main Event has started with 66 hopefuls looking to go deep and claim the first place purse of P357,300. Only 36 players will make a profit which means, nearly half the field will fall before the money is guaranteed. W...

  • 25 October

    P1 Million: Final Day Begins

    Cards are flying at the PokerStars Live Manila poker room for the final day of the P1M Guarantee Main Event. A total of 66 qualifiers from the combined results of the day one flights are batting it out for the first place purse of P357,300 plus the add...

  • 24 October

    P1 Million: Final Day Information

    PokerStars Live Manila saw a combined total of 368 entries for the P1M Guarantee Main Event. The prize pool well exceeded the guarantee but the break down is yet to be announced (so stand by for that). At the end of each day one flight, only 66 players...

  • 24 October

    P1Million: Kim is the chip leader for Day 1b

    The PokerStars Live Manila poker room at City of Dreams Manila was in full swing with both cash tables and tournament tables filled up. Quite a number of alternates were in line waiting for their chance to get in the P1M Guarantee Main Event. By the en...

  • 24 October

    P1 Million: Day 1b updates

    This is the final day one flight of the P1 Million Guarantee Main Event. Play is already underway, and late registration is still open. We will be posting random updates throughout the day to give you a glimpse of some of the action at the felt. Good l...

  • 24 October

    P1Million: Up and running here at day 1b

    Day 1b of the P1M Guarantee Main Event has just started here at the PokerStars Live Manila poker room inside City of Dreams Manila. This is the last day one flight so for those unable to attend yesterday's kickoff, this is your final chance. For a q...

  • 23 October

    P1 Million: Jessie Leonarez bags the most chips in day 1a

    It was an action-packed day at PokerStars Live Manila with players flocking in to participate in the P1 Million Guarantee Main Event. By the end of late registration, a total of 170 entries were recorded, and at the end of tournament play, only 30 made...

  • 23 October

    P1 Million: Day 1a Updates

    Cards are in the air for the P1 Million Guarantee Main Event at the PokerStars Live Manila poker room. We will be posting updates right here throughout the day. For all those latecomers and early bust outs, late registration and re-entry is available u...

  • 23 October

    P1 Million: Third Edition of the P1M Gtd at PokerStars Live Manila

    We are back at the PokerStars Live Manila poker room at City of Dreams Manila awaiting the start of day 1a of the P1 Million Guarantee Main Event. This will be the third and last edition of this event for the year. Buy-in for the event is P5,000. This ...

  • 22 October

    Jonathan Little - Weekly Poker Hand, Episode 65

    In this episode, I attempt an aggressive bluff versus a loose, aggressive Asian kid. Is this a standard play or am I throwing my tournament life in the trash? Be ...

  • 21 October

    In search of a Spadie

    I am used to traveling but this year has been particularly busy for me and so I haven't found the time to blog. It's the end of the year now and I will be just playing two more live tournaments. I'll first be heading to PokerStars LIVE Macau in Novem...

  • 20 October

    ANZPT7 Melbourne: Oh baby Shi’s got it!

    What a week it's been here for the ANZPT7 Melbourne Main Event! Records broken, history made and after four days of play at Crown Melbourne a champion has emerged. Ultimately is was Lin Shi who reigned triumphant, overcoming Peter Matusik in a short h...

  • 20 October

    ANZPT7 Melbourne Final table: Three more fall, three remain

    And then there were three! It's been five hours since play began today and now we've reached our final three. After the first three players found the rail in quick succession, Erich Stadler was next to go when he was eliminated in sixth place. Stadl...

  • 20 October

    ANZPT7 Melbourne Final table: Three down in quick succession

    Well it didn't take too long to see our first final table casualty here. Mile Krstanoski found the rail first in today's proceedings at the hands on Lin Shi. The action began with Shi opening to 65,000 from middle position and when it folded around t...

  • 20 October

    ANZPT7 Melbourne Final Table: The stage is set

    It's go time here at Crown Melbourne as the final nine take to the felt. They'll have their eyes on snagging the last-ever ANZPT Main Event title and the $261,200 first place prize. We've already seen three days of exciting play in the poker room her...

  • 19 October

    ANZPT7 Melbourne Day 3: Matusik maintains lead into final nine

    The final table is set! While the cash tables were buzzing with players chasing the royal flush jackpot, those on the tournament floor were looking for a huge score of their own. When play began we had 63 poker hopefuls return to the Crown poker roo...

  • 19 October

    Jonathan Little - Getting There On The River

    The following hand is from one of my newest books, Jonathan Little on Live No-Limit Cash Games, Volume 2, The Practice. This book is a collection of 105 in-depth hand ...

  • 19 October

    ANZPT7 Melbourne Day 3: Hitting the jackpot

    The ANZPT Main Event has well and truly stolen the attention here at Crown Melbourne this week, but something else that's been the cause for commotion is the cash game royal flush jackpot. The jackpot payout increases with every hand played and to wi...

  • 19 October

    ANZPT7 Melbourne Day 3: From online anonymity to impressive live runs

    "Who is kennl?" That was a common question among the online poker community, with forum posts inquiring about his identity dating back to 2009. No one knew who was behind the infamous online avatar, but he had gained notoriety for crushing MTTs and ...

  • 19 October

    ANZPT7 Melbourne Day 2: Early exits as Matusik moves ahead

    It's still very early on Day 3 of this ANZPT Melbourne Main Event but that hasn't stopped players flying out the doors. The action dramatically slowed down last night as the money bubble approached and we're seeing the effects of that here today. We'...

  • 19 October

    ANZPT7 Melbourne Day 3: Open the floodgates

    We've reached that point. The bubble burst with the final hand of last night's action and now it's time for the shortstacks to get it in and gamble. The 63 remaining players have all guaranteed themselves a $3,200 return and will be chasing that $2...

  • 18 October

    ANZPT7 Melbourne Day 2: Langcake leads the way

    What a day! The plan going into today was to play down to the money but as the action slowed down when the bubble approached, the call was made that we wouldn't play more than eight levels regardless. The bubble was reached with 36 minutes left of ...

  • 18 October

    ANZPT7 Melbourne Day 2: Bubble looms as Psaros shoots ahead

    We're approaching the money now. Today has seen hours of fast paced action with players flying out the doors but as the bubble looms play seems to have slowed down significantly. There are only 63 places paid in this ANZPT Melbourne Main Event and ev...

  • 18 October

    ANZPT7 Melbourne Day 2: Birthdays and battles for Player of the Year

    This stop in Melbourne is the last-ever ANZPT event and that means the final chance for players to earn themselves AZNPT Player of the Year points. The frontrunners in the points race were out in force this week with over half of the current leaderbo...

  • 18 October

    ANZPT7 Melbourne Day 2: Like father like son

    If you've played at all on the Australian poker circuit, chances are at some point you've run into Australian Hall of Famer Leo Boxell. 'The Mechanic' as he's also known, Boxell has a poker resume dating back to the nineties. And to say that resume i...

  • 18 October

    ANZPT7 Melbourne Day 2: Back to the action

    Records set as players return on the hunt for the biggest prize in ANZPT history. A cool quarter of a million for the one who reaches the top of the podium this week. First place prize is set at $261,200 and it's serious business here as the action g...

  • 17 October

    ANZPT7 Melbourne Day 1B: Chasing Choi

    One for the history books. The ANZPT staff here were quietly confident that the tour's player and prize pool records would be broken this afternoon, and that's exactly what happened before the tournament was locked out earlier today. Ultimately it ...

  • 17 October

    ANZPT7 Melbourne Day 1B: A new record to end an era

    We did it! Late registration is officially locked out as we approach the closing stages of Day 1B and the ANZPT record has been broken. Today we saw 314 entries and with that added to yesterday's field we have a total of 520 players for a history-ma...

  • 17 October

    ANZPT7 Melbourne Day 1B: Let’s Party!

    A collective hangover lingers over the room this afternoon. Players are fighting it, but it's clear the ANZPT Melbourne Welcome Party has left a few of them a little worse for wear. The fun kicked off just after the poker action concluded last nigh...

  • 17 October

    ANZPT7 Melbourne Day 1B: Bar hopping and bad beats

    A collective hangover lingers over the room this afternoon. Players are fighting it, but it's clear the ANZPT Melbourne Welcome Party has left a few of them a little worse for wear. The fun kicked off just after the poker action concluded last nigh...

  • 17 October

    ANZPT7 Melbourne Day 1b: Punting it off

    "Where's the TAB?" That's been the question from more than one punter at the registration booth and the reporting desk this afternoon. And it's no surprise with the Caufield Cup taking place not far from Crown Melbourne here. Poker players are renow...

  • 17 October

    ANZPT7 Melbourne Day 1B: Racing for a record

    We're chasing history today. Here for Day 1B of the ANZPT7 Melbourne Main Event there are some watchful eyes on the registration booth. Will Melbourne be able to go back-to-back with another record-breaking ANZPT field? That's the question on every...

  • 16 October

    ANZPT7 Melbourne Day 1A: Park pushes ahead

    Every beginning has an end. And we just reached ours here as Day 1A of ANZPT Melbourne concludes. Last year's prize pool record was in the back of everyone's minds this afternoon, with the Melbourne stop of Season 6 the only one to surpass a millio...

  • 16 October

    ANZPT7 Melbourne Day 1A: Champions and chip leaders

    Late registration is now locked out as we move into the closing stages of ANZPT Melbourne Main Event Day 1A. We saw a total of 206 try their luck this afternoon, but already so many have found the rail among this shark-infested field. Today attracted...

  • 16 October

    ANZPT7 Melbourne Day 1A: He’s ‘Unique’

    It's not often you win a trophy for NOT cashing a tournament. For Tony 'Unique' Tartaglia though, he did exactly that this afternoon. Technically the award was for 'extreme loyalty to the ANZPT' but judging by the sly smile of ANZPT Commissioner Da...

  • 16 October

    ANZPT7 Melbourne Day 1A: Play with the pros

    One of the best aspects of poker is testing your own abilities. There's no denying that luck can play a big part at the table on any given day, but we all know that in the long run, the skill factor always trumps the variance. What better way to test...

  • 16 October

    ANZPT7 Day 1A: Start your engines

    And we're off! The Crown Poker Room is bustling with an air of excitement this afternoon as the ANZPT Main Event finally gets underway. There are a couple of cash games still running, a few lurkers at the overlooking bar, but of course it's the tourna...

  • 16 October

    ANZPT7 Day 1A: Start your engines

    And we're off! The Crown Poker Room is bustling with an air of excitement this afternoon as the ANZPT Main Event finally gets underway. There are a couple of cash games still running, a few lurkers at the overlooking bar, but of course it's the tourna...

  • 15 October

    Jonathan Little - Weekly Poker Hand, Episode 64

    In this episode, I flop an overpair in a 3-bet pot but face a ton of aggression. Is this an easy fold? What would you do if you had bottom ...

  • 15 October

    ANZPT7 Melbourne Day 1A: A send-off with style

    It's official. This edition of ANZPT Melbourne not only marks the end of Season 7 but the last event on the Australian New Zealand Poker Tour ever. It's the end of an era, but that doesn't mean we can't cap off a seven-year legacy with a bang! While...

  • 12 October

    Jonathan Little - Don’t let them push you around

    This hand is from the $10,000 buy-in WSOP Asia Pacific Main Event. I arrived to my seat on time, only to find four other players at my table. Everyone was playing ...

  • 12 October

    Daniel Negreanu - How Racist Are You?

    So in light of my last blog and the discussions on Twitter on the topic of racism, there were several posters who discussed what the modern definition of racism is. ...

  • 9 October

    The ultimate PokerStars VIP Club experience

    From the peaceful and breath-taking views of the German Alps to the boisterous and celebratory streets of downtown Munich, this trip to Germany has been one for the books. As I was strolling through the PokerStars VIP store, I noticed a new item in t...

  • 8 October

    2015 ACOP: Relishing the Battle Against the Best

    Sometimes I visualize poker like video games such as Defense of the Ancients (DOTA) and League of Legends (LOL). My good hands are my heroes; my chips are my weapons; and, my soldiers are used to establish my base, protect my home, and attack the villa...

  • 8 October

    Jonathan Little - Weekly Poker Hand, Episode 63

    In this episode, I attempt to navigate a tricky spot with middle pair, bad kicker versus a loose, aggressive European kid. Do you think my play is too optimistic? Click ...

  • 7 October

    Padraig Parkinson - Probably The Finest Poker In The World

    Back in the days when the Merrion Club was the home of Irish poker, a Danish based American player who had honed his skills as a teenager in Vegas, and ...

  • 5 October

    Jonathan Little - I am now part of Pocarr

    I am excited to announce that I am now an investor in the poker backing stable Pocarr. is unique in that they are more than happy to stake micro, ...

  • 2 October

    LukaSteel on the Red Spade Open (and playing heads-up for USBs)

    It's that time of the year and Red Spade Open is here again. This time with $1,000,000 prize pool and whooping $500 bounty on all Red Spades at the tables. Five hundred sweet American dollars - that is the single biggest bounty I ever had on my head, ...

  • 1 October

    Jonathan Little - Weekly Poker Hand, Episode 62

    What do you do when the flush draw completes on the river in your opponent leads into you? In this hand, I show you how I tackle this situation. I ...

September, 2015

  • 30 September

    Daniel Negreanu - Racism

    Over a decade ago I shot a video of me wearing a Jamaican dreadlocks cap, a jean jacket, and to top it all off, some brown makeup on my face. ...

  • 29 September

    WCOOP 2015: All hail! Caesar325 wins Event #67, $215 NLHE (Sunday Warm-Up SE)

    After nearly a month of guarantee-busting prize pools, strong performances from accomplished poker players from around the world, and dramatic battles over bracelets, WCOOP 2015 is finally coming to an end. That means the Special Editions of the Sunday majors are saying goodbye, too. This weekend was the last chance to wrap up a title in one, and Caesar325 took full advantage by winning more than $211,000 in Event #67.

    The final Sunday Warm-Up Special Edition of WCOOP 2015 kicked off yesterday at 11:00 a.m. ET, offering players 10,000-chip starting stacks, 8-max tables, and up to three optional re-entries during the extended registration period. That was attractive enough to draw a field of 6,529 players, who combined for an additional 2,323 entries to drive the total prize pool to $1,774,000.

    After 30 levels of play, when the tournament paused for the night, there were just 112 players remaining. Holding the chip lead by less than 100 chips at the end of Day 1 was Belgium's girafganger7, whose 2,198,857 chips just topped KingGorn's 2,198,765. Team PokerStars Pro's Kosei "K.Ichinose" Ichinose was also in the mix in 13th place with 1,318,278 chips.

    Day 2 was just as grueling as the first. The journey from 112 to the final table of eight took more than eight hours. Kosei Ichinose fell along the way, finishing in 31st place ($5,323), as did all but two of the players who had been in the top 10 chip counts at the end of Day 1: Moldova's npomocc, a 2011 SCOOP champion who had been in 10th to start the day, and girafganger7, who was still in possession of the chip lead.

    With blinds and antes at 150K/300K/37.5K, they faced off with these six players:

    WCOOP-67 2015 ft.jpg

    Seat 1: vladsilver (10,674,628 in chips)
    Seat 2: girafganger7 (17,990,116 in chips)
    Seat 3: npomocc (8,346,640 in chips)
    Seat 4: Caesar325 (12,624,448 in chips)
    Seat 5: suarez_BG (11,239,071 in chips)
    Seat 6: ienutz (15,353,268 in chips)
    Seat 7: pokerjamers (8,592,864 in chips)
    Seat 8: Vakio¤Ässä (3,898,965 in chips)

    The action got started on the first hand with a npomocc raise to 717K and a call from SCOOP 2015 champ Vakio¤Ässä in the big blind. Both players checked the [Td] [8c] [7s] flop, leading Vakio¤Ässä to bet 998K on the [5s] turn. npomocc, who had hit a set with [5c] [5d], raised all-in, and Vakio¤Ässä called with [Th] [9h] for top pair and an open-ended straight draw. The [3s] changed nothing on the river, sending Vakio¤Ässä to the rail in 8th place ($10,646.40).

    girafganger7 dominated as play continued. The leader chipped up to 28.4M before re-raising all-in from the big blind with [Qs] [9s] after short-stacked ienutz opened in the cutoff for a small raise to 844K. ienutz called for 8.1M total with [As] [Kh] and doubled to 16.8M when the flop brought an ace.

    Though girafganger7 remained the chip leader, it was with a much slimmer lead than before, and the Belgian would fall out of the lead a few hands later after taking a 2.4M-chip stab at a pot worth 4.5M on the river of a [5c] [Kd] [As] [Jh] [7d] board. Caesar325, who had called girafganger7's cutoff raise before the flop, checked the flop, and check-called 979K on the turn, and called that river bet with [Ac] [Qs] to become the new leader with 18.1M chips.

    girafganger7's move from the penthouse was merely temporary, though. Dealt [Ac] [Ad] on the next hand, the Belgian player opened for 910K and called when npomocc moved in for 12.1M from the cutoff. npomocc's [4c] [4h] couldn't catch a two-outer on the [3h] [8c] [5h] [Ks] [7s] board, giving girafganger7 the 25.2M chips in the middle and knocking out npomocc in 7th place ($17,744).

    Another pair of aces figured into the next knockout, this one just a few hands later after the blinds and antes jumped to 250K/500K/62.5K. 2014 SCOOP finalist suarez_BG called with [Ad] [As] in the big blind after vladsilver moved in for 2.6M from the cutoff with [Ah] [7c]. An inside straight draw briefly flared up on the turn before being extinguished on the river of the [9c] [Jd] [9s] [8c] [4h] board, and vladsilver was gone in 6th place ($35,488).

    Eight hands later, suarez_BG would be the one holding an ace and facing off against a big pair. The Bulgarian player opened the action in the cutoff with a raise to 1.25M, then shoved for 12.7M after girafganger7 re-raised to 3.1M in the big blind with [Kd] [Ks]. girafganger7 called and suarez_BG's [Ad] [Qs] failed to improve on the [4d] [5s] [Tc] [5d] [3d] board, busting the Bulgarian in 5th place ($70,976).

    WCOOP-67 2015 ft four-handed.jpg

    With more than double anybody else's chip stack at the four-handed table, girafganger7 controlled the pace of play and won plenty of pots with no contest. Caesar325 stepped in to claim a few pots, too, stealing the blinds and antes and then knocking pokerjamers off a preflop raise with an all-in re-shove. But Caesar325's big step forward came after opening for 1.4M in under the gun with [Kd] [Ks]. ienutz jammed for 10.7M on the button with [Ah] [6h] and came nowhere close to making a hand after Caesar325 called. The board came [8c] [4d] [Qc] [8d] [Ts], kings and eights won the 22.7M-chip pot, and ienutz left in 4th place ($106,464).

    girafganger7 won nine of the next 11 pots and pokerjamers took the other two, but Caesar325 took the 13th with a bang. girafganger7 folded on the button and Caesar325, holding [Ks] [3d], raised to 22M in the small blind. pokerjamers called all-in as a 65.5-percent favorite with [As] [Jh] and had to have been stunned to see the flop come down [3h] [3c] [3s]. Drawing dead from there, pokerjamers exited in 3rd place ($141,952).

    An hour and 17 minutes into the final table, a heads-up duel that would last nearly that long was just getting started:

    Seat 2: girafganger7 (50,335,730 in chips)
    Seat 4: Caesar325 (38,384,270 in chips)

    The first order of business was a deal. It was accomplished with a minimum of haggling, leaving $20,000 on the table for the winner and setting the stage for a pitched 142-hand battle between the two players. With 11 lead changes and both players facing elimination at multiple points, it was worthy of the WCOOP stage it was played on.

    Caesar325 almost didn't get the chance to make it that kind of fight, getting down to 14.3M before doubling up with [5c] [3d] in the big blind. That came after check-raising all-in with an open-ended straight draw against girafganger7's top pair of kings with [Kc] [6s] and catching an ace on the river to double up.

    WCOOP-67 2015 ft hu.jpg

    Even surviving that was just a license to withstand a withering assault from girafganger7, who soon enough had Caesar325's stack back down in the teens. Then Caesar325 doubled up again with [Ad] [Qd] against girafganger7's [Ah] [7h], getting back to 36.8M. That proved to be a stepping stone to the first lead change, which came after limp-calling a raise on the button, calling bets on the [Qd] [Qc] [Kh] flop and [8s] turn, and moving all-in for 22.7M on the [Ks] after girafganger7 checked.

    girafganger7 folded there but retook the lead quickly, wearing Caesar325 back down to 15M within about 20 hands. Then Caesar325 moved back ahead with pocket queens. And then girafganger7 doubled with [6c] [6d] against [Ac] [Jh] to pull the two player to within a single 1M-chip big blind of one another.

    The balancing pull was so strong that even after winning a 71.3M-chip pot all-in before the flop with [6c] [6s] against girafganger7's [Ac] [9c], leaving girafganger7 with just 17.3M, the Belgian player was still able to retake the lead. But with the 600K/1.2M/150K blinds and antes exerting major pressure, the match couldn't last forever.

    Caesar325 finally limped in from the button and re-raised all-in with [6c] [6h] after girafganger7 three-bet to 3M in the big blind. girafganger7 called with [Kc] [Qd] and threatened to catch any of a number of Broadway cards to take the lead from the [9h] [7s] [Jh] flop on. But the [9d] turn and [Ah] didn't see any threats materialize, and Caesar325 won the pot to bring the tournament to an end.

    For girafganger7, holding the chip lead from the end of Day 1 until the start of heads-up play was good for a deal share of $217,000. Caesar325, meanwhile, earned the extra $20K on the table for a total first-place prize of $227,384.96. Congratulations to both players on closing out this WCOOP in style.

    WCOOP 2015: Event #67, $215 NL Hold'em (8-Max, Optional Re-Entry, Sunday Warm-Up SE)
    Entrants: 8,872 (6,529 entries, 2,343 re-entries)
    Prize pool: $1,774,000
    Places paid: 1,120
    1. Caesar325 (United Kingdom) $227,384.96*
    2. girafganger7 (Belgium) $217,000*
    3. pokerjamers (Mexico) $141,952
    4. ienutz (Romania) $106,464
    5. suarez_BG (Bulgaria) $70,976
    6. vladsilver (Russia) $35,488
    7. npomocc (Moldova) $17,744
    8. Vakio¤Ässä (Finland) $10,646.40
    * - denotes results of a heads-up deal

    This might be the last Special Edition during WCOOP 2015, but the Sunday Warm-Up runs every week along with lots of other great tournaments. Click here to get a PokerStars account today.

    Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.

  • 28 September

    Jonathan Little - Borgata Poker Open Video Blog

    I recently traveled to Borgata in Atlantic City, New Jersey for the World Poker Tour Borgata Poker Open. Amie (my wife) tagged along for the first few days. It was fun! ...

  • 28 September

    WCOOP 2015: Maicoshaa redeemed, Danzer 3rd in Event #66, $2,100 HORSE Championship

    Even for the best of players, being heads-up for a WCOOP bracelet isn't the kind of situation that comes around too often. Miss out once and you never know if you'll find yourself with the chance to win one again, much less make it back in the same year. Russia's Maicoshaa did just that in the $2,100 HORSE Championship and then made the most of the opportunity, outlasting a tough final table that included Team PokerStars Pro's George Danzer to walk away with $58,290 and a first career COOP title.

    The high buy-in and rotation of five limit games kept the field for Event #66 elite and intimate at 134 players, good for a $268,000 prize pool to be split among the top 24 players. They played 35 fifteen-minute levels on Day 1, cycling through the game rotation seven times and whittling the field down to 20 players at night's end.

    Maicoshaa sat in third place overnight with 117,664 chips, behind only Narcisus90 (137,428) and 2002 WCOOP Limit Hold'em bracelet winner Christer "lennart" Johansson (127,579). Danzer sat further back in 13th place, while four-time WCOOP 2015 finalist Adamyid, Event #6 champ Matt "plattsburgh" Vengrin, past Super Tuesday and Sunday Million winner Georgios "GeoManousos" Sotiropoulos, and past SCOOP & WCOOP winner Stephen "stevie444" Chidwick held on to even shorter stacks.

    Narcisus90, Adamyid, plattsburgh, and stevie444 would fall short of the final table, but the others held on through the 6K/12K/1,200 Razz round to face off with some other battle-tested competitors:

    WCOOP-66 2015 ft.jpg

    Seat 1: Team PokerStars Pro George "GeorgeDanzer" Danzer (76,830 in chips)
    Seat 2: ilushan (205,527 in chips)
    Seat 3: Bernardo "bedias" Dias (92,180 in chips)
    Seat 4: Maicoshaa (191,994 in chips)
    Seat 5: DerRaeuber (224,537 in chips)
    Seat 6: Christer "lennart" Johansson (246,928 in chips)
    Seat 7: Georgios "GeoManousos" Sotiropoulos (80,262 in chips)
    Seat 8: to0dey (221,742 in chips)

    The table played through 8K/16K/1.6K Stud without any major shifts but things changed when the game changed to Stud Hi-Lo. lennart had the bring-in with the [3s], and GeoManousos completed to 8K with the [Ad] showing. George Danzer called with the [5h], and ilushan, a finalist in Event #29, called with the [4d]. GeoManousos ended up all-in on fourth street, where Danzer paired with the [5s], and the two-time WCOOP winner check-called ilushan's bets on fifth, sixth, and seventh streets, showing down ([7d] [3d]) [5h] [5s] [9h] [Ac] ([2h]) to scoop 162K with a pair of fives and a 7-5-3-2-A low. ilushan mucked (x-x) [4d] [6d] [Ah] [9c] (x), and GeoManousos mucked (x-x) [Ad] [7c] [Kh] [Jd] (x) to leave in 8th place ($7,370).

    Losing that pot left ilushan with 56K, and after folding on fifth street a few hands later the Russian player was left with just 6,065 chips as the game changed to 8K/16K Hold'em. After Bernardo "bedias" Dias doubled up on the first hand with [Td] [Th] against Maicoshaa's [Ad] [Qh], ilushan was forced all-in from the big blind on the second. George Danzer played his [Jc] [Jd] conservatively from the small blind, check-calling Dias's bet on the [6d] [Ts] [4h] flop and then checking down the [Qc] turn and [Jh] river. Danzer's set of jacks beat Dias's pair of tens with [Ks] [Th], and ilushan mucked and left the tournament in 7th place ($9380).

    WCOOP-66 2015 ft six-handed.jpg

    Dias, the past Sunday Million and Super Tuesday winner appearing at his first WCOOP 2015 final table, was left with 82K there and mostly stayed out of the way for the rest of the hold'em round, saving 62K for the 10K/20K Omaha hi-lo round. He opened his final hand for 20K in the hijack seat with 42K left behind and called lennart's re-raise from the small blind, seeing the [3h] [2c] [Kc] flop. The action went bet-raise-call, then a bet and a call all-in on the [Kh] turn. lennart's [Qh] [Qd] [6d] [3s] for kings and queens was ahead for the high pot, but bedias's [Ad] [7c] [4s] [2h] was drawing to scoop both halves if he could hit a wheel straight on the river. Any low card would have saved half the pot for Dias, too, but the [Th] came instead, giving lennart a 135K-chip scoop and knocking Dias out in 6th place ($12,060).

    Short-stack showdown

    With Dias gone, Russia's to0dey, the SCOOP 2015 $2,100 Razz champion, became the short stack with 109K. Already a thin stack for flop games with four betting streets, it became thinner when the antes and extra betting street rolled back around with 10K/20K/2K Razz. to0dey was left with 59K after tangling with Danzer, who raised with the [Ac] faceup on third after to0dey completed to 10K with the [2s]. to0dey check-called on fourth and fifth streets, checked sixth, and folded on seventh with (x-x) [2s] [6c] [Qc] [8s] (x) showing to Danzer's (x-x) [Ac] [6d] [Qs] [4c] (x).

    That dropped further to 45K through bring-ins and antes before t0odey faced off with lennart. to0dey started with ([4s] [5c]) [3h] [6d] before going runner-runner-runner for two pair for a Q-6 low. Somehow lennart only made a K-Q low after starting with ([8h] [2s]) [5h], and to0dey doubled to 90K. That number would dip and rise again as the game shifted to 12K/24K/2.4K Stud, remaining well behind lennart before the past WCOOP bracelet winner, appearing at his second final table of this series after Event #29, squared off with George Danzer.

    to0dey brought in the hand in question with the [2s], Danzer completed with ([4c] [Jc]) [4s] for a split pair of fours, and lennart called with ([8s] [5d]) [5s] for a split pair of fives. lennart made eights and fives with the [8d] on fourth street and continued to bet through sixth before checking behind Danzer on seventh with a full board of ([8s] [5d]) [5s] [8d] [2c] [9c] ([Kh]). Danzer showed ([4c] [Jc]) [4s] [Qh] [Ks] [As] ([Js]) for jacks and fours, taking the 159K-chip pot to slide into second place.

    lennart lost another pot a few hands later to DerRaeuber, missing both straight and flush draws and failing to even make a pair after starting with ([Ks] [Qd]) [Jd]. Left with 32K, he got it all-in on the next hand with a split pair of kings on third street. Maicoshaa came along with a three-card flush draw that turned into the real deal with a board of ([Js] [4s]) [5s] [Ts] [6c] [Jh] ([Qs]). lennart's kings never improved further, and he departed in 5th place ($14,740).

    WCOOP-66 2015 ft four-handed.jpg

    to0dey was still the short stack with four players left but managed to double to 168K behind a full house, sevens full of sixes, against Maicoshaa's fives and fours. That put the Russian neck-and-neck with George Danzer, while Maicoshaa still had the lead and DerRaeuber was still holding three times as many chips as either Danzer or to0dey. Danzer eventually edged back ahead as the game changed to 12K/24K/2.4K Stud Hi-Lo, leaving to0dey in need of a double-up once again.

    The Russian got the opportunity shortly thereafter, bringing it in with ([2h] [7h]) [5h] and calling Maicoshaa's completion to 10K to pick up the [4h] on fourth street. to0dey led out there and then called bets on fifth and sixth before both players checked down seventh street. to0dey had improved mildly to a pair of deuces but had no low with ([2h] [7h]) [5h] [4h] [Tc] [2d] ([Jd]). Maicoshaa's ([Kc] [3s]) [Ah] [7d] [7c] [6h] ([Jh]) also had no low, but it was good for the high pot with a pair of sevens. That left to0dey with 5,072 chips, barely enough to cover two antes, and two hands later the Russian player's run ended in 4th place ().

    Danzin' for a third bracelet

    George Danzer was now the short stack with just under 10 big bets and two opponents to work against:

    Seat 1: Team PokerStars Pro George "GeorgeDanzer" Danzer (229,107 in chips)
    Seat 4: Maicoshaa (699,524 in chips)
    Seat 5: DerRaeuber (411,369 in chips)

    George Danzer_WSOP_d4.jpg

    Danzer mostly stayed out of the way for the remainder of the Stud Hi-Lo round, waiting for the last hand of the level to scoop one 223K-chip pot against Maicoshaa with a runner-runner pair of aces on sixth and seventh streets to go along with the 6-5-4-3-A low he made on sixth. But when 16K/32K Hold'em came around he would drop back to 125K after calling a pre-flop raise and bets on the flop, turn, and river from DerRaeuber. The Austrian's [Th] [7h] had gone from a steal before the [4c] [Ad] [6s] flop to a stab on it, a pair of tens on the [Ts] turn, and three of a kind on the [Td] river. Danzer dipped into his time bank before making that final call on the river but ended up mucking, giving DerRaeuber the 224K chips in the middle.

    Danzer finished out the Hold'em round with a double to 195K, his [Ad] [Th] holding up unimproved against DerRaeuber's [Ac] [7d] on an [8d] [5c] [Qc] [Qd] [Qs] board, but he couldn't maintain the momentum on 16K/32K Omaha Hi-Lo. Danzer dropped 48K raising on the button and calling Maicoshaa's small-blind three bet before folding to the Russian player's bet on the [9h] [Kh] [Tc] flop. It was then his turn to three-bet from the big blind when Maicoshaa raised on the button, and though he check-called 16K on the [6d] [2c] [5d] flop, he check-folded to Maicoshaa's bet on the [2d] turn. Down to 35K, he would double up twice to end the level essentially where he began it.

    The chase for a third WCOOP bracelet would end for Danzer during the 20K/40K/4K Razz round. He called DerRaeuber's bets on third and fourth with ([Ad] [2d]) [9d] [Qd] before making a Q-9 with the [3d] on fifth and raising all-in. DerRaeuber called with ([3h] [5c]) [7s] [8h] [Kd] for a K-7, then promptly caught the [Ac] on sixth to make an 8-7 low. Danzer had drawn the [4d] on sixth, so any five, six, seven, or eight would have won him the pot when DerRaeuber paired with the [7c] on seventh street. But Danzer caught the [Qc], his 9-4 low couldn't beat DerRaeuber's 8-7, and the two-time WCOOP-winning Team PokerStars Pro was gone in 3rd place ($32,160).

    Redemption song

    Maicoshaa, earner of cashes in three different HORSE game WCOOP Championships during this series (14th in Event #18, 2nd after a heads-up deal in Event #32, and 7th in Event #54), was now within one spot of a bracelet for the second time in this WCOOP, while DerRaeuber was guaranteed at least a runner-up finish in just the Austrian player's second cash of the series:

    WCOOP-66 2015 ft hu.jpg

    Seat 4: Maicoshaa (1,026,082 in chips)
    Seat 5: DerRaeuber (313,918 in chips)

    Maicoshaa had been in the lead when a deal was struck in Event #32, only to eventually finish second. DerRaeuber threatened to make this duel a repeat by drawing to within less than one small blind with three big pots early on, but Maicoshaa quickly turned around with a five-big-bet pot to get back to 792K, just over 245K ahead of DerRaeuber. It was a pattern that would repeat for several levels.

    By the time the Razz round was complete, Maicoshaa was back to 1M chips. DerRaeuber began to claw back with a 408K-chip pot early in the 20K/40K/4K Stud round, with a split pair of queens holding through sixth street before becoming two pair on seventh. Maicoshaa's split pair of sixes would have won the pot otherwise, having become nines and sixes on the river, but instead DerRaeuber pulled back to within less than four big bets. But that progress all disappeared after Maicoshaa won 368K uncontested on the river with a (x-x) [4h] [8c] [Jh] [9h] (x) board when DerRaeuber mucked (x-x) [8s] [6c] [Ad] [Qs] (x).

    The see-saw trend continued at the start of the 25K/50K/5K Stud Hi-Lo round when DerRaeuber started with a split pair of jacks that turned into a flush after drawing four straight clubs, good for a double to 411K. But every time DerRaeuber began threatening to even the chip counts, Maicoshaa would win another pot to put DerRaeuber back on the ropes, and 25K/50K Limit Hold'em kicked off with Maicoshaa back to 1M chips once again.

    DerRaeuber opened the final hand with a raise to 50K on the button, holding [Ah] [4s], and then called Maicoshaa's re-raise with [Kh] [7h] to see the [7s] [4h] [7c] flop. The rest of DerRaeuber's 103K in chips went in there, the board ran out [9c] [Qc], and Maicoshaa's trip sevens brought the WCOOP 2015 HORSE Championship to a close.

    DerRaeuber's second cash of WCOOP 2015 was worth $41,540. And Maicoshaa, after having come so close just a week ago, held on for the bracelet and $58,290. Congratulations on making the second try count!

    WCOOP 2015: Event #29, $700 Seven-Card Stud Championship
    Entrants: 134
    Prize pool: $268,000
    Places paid: 24
    1. Maicoshaa (Russia) $58,290
    2. DerRaeuber (Austria) $41,540
    3. Team PokerStars Pro George "GeorgeDanzer" Danzer (Austria) $32,160
    4. to0dey (Russia) $22,780
    5. Christer "lennart" Johansson (Sweden) $14,740
    6. Bernardo "bedias" Dias (Brazil) $12,060
    7. ilushan (Russia) $9,380
    8. Georgios "GeoManousos" Sotiropoulos (Austria) $7,370

    Start playing HORSE now and it could be you at this WCOOP final table next year. Click here to get a PokerStars account today.

    Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.

  • 27 September

    Manila Megastack 3: Rivera reigns victorious at the Main Event

    The Manila Megastack 3 Main Event concluded at the PokerStars Live Manila poker room just after sundown at City of Dreams Manila with local player Euryd Rivera besting the 362 field to claim the championship trophy. Rivera was also awarded PHP529,000 i...

  • 27 September

    Manila Megastack 3: Final Day updates

    The Manila Megastack 3 Main Event took off at 12:15pm, and almost instantly, short stacks were denied a much needed double up. By the end of the first hour, we reached the bubble stage at 37 players. Here is a recap of some of today's hard-hitting act...

  • 27 September

    Manila Megastack 3: Here we go! Final day is underway!

    We are now at the final day of the Manila Megastack 3 at PokerStars Live Manila! The surviving 58 players are ready to battle it out, each one with the same mission, to bag all the chips and be proclaimed the champion. With only 36 seeing a profit, we ...

  • 26 September

    Manila Megastack 3: A big day 1b sees Su taking the lead

    It was another rocking day at the PokerStars Live Manila poker room at City of Dreams Manila with the Manila Megastack 3 recording 194 entries for the final flight of the Main Event 2M guarantee. When day 1b started, it was already presumed that the ...

  • 26 September

    WCOOP 2015: Calvin “cal42688” Anderson wins 2nd WCOOP bracelet with win in Event #62 ($320 PLO Hi/Lo); ties Shaun Deeb with 8th career COOP title

    Shaun Deeb did not hold the record for most career COOPs for very long before Calvin "cal42688" Anderson tied Deeb with eight. Anderson took down Event #62 to win his second WCOOP bracelet and 8th overall COOP. He had previously been tied with Deeb at ...

  • 26 September

    Manila Megastack 3: Day 1b Updates

    The Manila Megastack 3 is heating up the PokerStars Live poker room here at City of Dreams Manila. Today is the final day one flight, late registration and re-entry available until the end of level 8. Posted here are some hand histories of the day. 2...

  • 26 September

    Manila Megastack 3: Cards are flying for day 1b

    The final day one flight of the Manila Megastack 3 has just gotten underway here at the PokerStars Live Manila poker room at City of Dreams Manila. This event has a P10,000 buyin with late registration and re-entries available until the end of level 8....

  • 26 September

    WCOOP 2015: omaha4rollz blitzes to the win in Event #60, $2,100 NLHE (Thursday Thrill SE)

    What's a chip lead? It's a snapshot of a moment in time, a promise of bounties to come, and in some cases a lot of pressure, depending on who's holding it. At a deep-stacked final table, it means having the ability to attack as you see fit without worr...

  • 25 September

    Manila Megastack 3: South Korea’s Jeon dominates Day 1a

    Seung Soo Jeon from South Korea was clearly the man of the hour. We don't even know how many players he railed but with a massive stack of 605,000 at the end of day 1a of the Manila Megastack 3 at the PokerStars Live Manila poker room in City of Dreams...

  • 25 September

    WCOOP 2015: easylimp adds second COOP in Event 58 win ($530 NLH Ultra-Deep)

    The final weekend is upon us for the 2015 World Championship of Online Poker. Tons of huge games of all varieties available for anyone looking for big action. Event 58 provided players with plenty of room to maneuver with another run of the Ultra-Deep format.

    The blinds would rarely play a factor as the stacks stayed well ahead of the structure and it seemed to be a popular game to play. PokerStars put a $150,000 Guarantee on this $530 buy-in event which seemed a little mild when all the accounting was complete. Meeting the guarantee was never in question, it was how far it would go over. Not content to double it, or triple it, the field blasted more than $400,000 on top.

    The 1,132 players created a $566,000 prize pool paying out to the last 117 remaining. The final eight players would all receive a five-digit payout while the winner would earn more than $100,000. They played down to the last four tables and 32 players took an extra-long break before returning for Day 2. VyruAlus was the overnight leader with whiteser and Jigs Flippin not far behind.

    2015 WCOOP Event 58 Day 2.jpg

    There were plenty of big results among those returning, some looking for redemption. lechuckpoker has a lot of big final table appearances but has yet to be the last player standing. He made two Super Tuesday and a SCOOP final table in 2013, a Sunday Million fourth place finish in 2011, and a WCOOP final table in the glory days of 2009.

    tnxcomeagain finished second in the 2014 SCOOP-M 8-Max event in May then followed that up with a Sunday Million win two weeks later. Nearly $350,000 for two results, a nice ROI. Jigs Flippin already has success this series with a runner-up finish in Event 28 ten days ago.

    Two players were looking for a chance to get the second part of a Triple COOP. The numerically-happy 10111420 picked up a SCOOP title this past spring when he captured the 4-Max Medium title. He came very close to adding a WCOOP earlier in this series with a second place finish in Event 20.

    easylimp has some of the biggest results of the returning players. The UK-grinder picked up a TCOOP title in 2014 and continued a great year with a Super Tuesday win and WCOOP second place finish in Event 37.

    Everyone was in contention after making it this far with these deep stacks. They kicked things off for Day 2 and began the grind down towards the final table.

    Keeping with the Ultra-Deep theme, they reached the final table bubble and threw out a parachute. After 16 rounds of hand-for-hand action (30 minutes worth) between the two tables, it finally ended in a big race with easylimp's [jc][js] catching a turned set against OlegOmsk's [ah][qh]. The matter was settled and they all virtually moved as one to the final table.

    2015 WCOOP Event 58 Final Table.jpg

    Event 56 Final Table

    Seat 1: 10111420 (8,777,931 in chips)
    Seat 2: lechuckpoker (3,292,932 in chips)
    Seat 3: biszibosz (5,086,242 in chips)
    Seat 4: pol17pl (5,134,917 in chips)
    Seat 5: whiteser (3,663,078 in chips)
    Seat 6: easylimp (11,224,285 in chips)
    Seat 7: Jigs Flippin (8,254,954 in chips)
    Seat 8: VyruAlus (8,622,175 in chips)
    Seat 9: Stümpper88 (2,543,486 in chips)

    Blinds: 80,000/160,000 with 20,000 Ante

    biszibosz races out the door

    The average stack starting the final table was nearly 40 big blinds deep with no one sweating a short stack. They pushed chips around the table for a while before two of them found something worth fighting over.

    lechuckpoker open shoved from the cutoff and biszibosz called on the button after his stack moved to the bottom of the counts. The blinds got out of the way and lechuckpoker was ahead with [4h][4d] against [ad][js].

    The race almost ended early on the set-making [9d][4c][2c] flop but biszibosz had a small glimpse of hope in the form of a gutshot wheel draw on the [3d] turn. It wasn't meant to be and biszibosz was the first off the final table when the river came [7d]. He picked up $7,075 for his 9th place finish and everyone else was guaranteed a five-digit payday.

    pol17pl can't win with JackAce

    Just one orbit later and another player found himself in trouble with the troublemaking JackAce. lechuckpoker min-raised it up to 400,000 and pol17pl moved all-in with [ad][js] to get folds from the rest of the table.

    It was a quick, easy call for lechuckpoker with [kc][kh]. A dry [qs][9c][5h][4c][qc] run out for both hands and lechuckpoker's kings stayed ahead the entire way. JackAce gets another one and pol17pl was goine in 8th place for $11,603.

    Stop and go poker; VyruAlus can't get there

    After two quick eliminations at the final table, the remaining seven players settled in for another long stretch of small ball. It wasn't until VyruAlus took a stand that the fireworks were lit again.

    It all began when Jigs Flippin opened to 545,000 before VyruAlus went aggressive and shoved his 15 big blinds next to act. The button and small blind dropped their hands but lechuckpoker reshipped from the big blind to get a fold from Jigs Flippin.

    lechuckpoker was ahead once again, this time with [th][ts] against VyruAlus's [kd][qh]. lechuckpoker improved his hand on the [jc][tc][2h] flop while VyruAlus picked up an open-ended straight draw. The [4d] gave him no help and lechuckpoker added the overkill full boat when the river was a knockout [2d]. An unfortunate end for the returning Day 2 leader but the $17,206 payout should soften the blow.

    10111420 can't count a winner

    Two minutes after VyruAlus was sent out, 10111420 decided it was a good place to make a move. He opened for a min-raise from early position and easylimp three-bet to 1,689,000 from the small blind.

    10111420 came over the top with a four-bet shove for over 8 million, a strong move with [tc][td] that might have given him the pot right there. But easylimp was holding [ah][kd] and ready to flip some coins. It landed easylimp-side up on the [ad][kc][js] flop while 10111420 added a gutshot Broadway draw to the two remaining tens in the deck.

    The [7d] turn was no help and the [6s] river sent 10111420 out of the tournament in 6th place. A nice run for 10111420 to make his second final table of the series but he was unable to add a WCOOP to his SCOOP title.

    Jigs Flippin wasn't flippin; another JackAce victim

    They hit the stop portion of the "stop and go" action at the Ultra-Deep final table with the five remaining players just moving chips around the table. Jigs Flippin was the shortest of the five and decided he wasn't waiting for the blinds to reach him again.

    He open-shoved from under the gun for his ten big blinds and Stümpper88 did the same with his 21 big blind stack next to act. The button and blinds moved out of the way and Jigs Flippin saw his problem. He was at risk with [qs][js] and dominated by [ac][jd].

    Jig Flippin did pick up a gutshot draw on the [9c][8c][4h] flop but couldn't find a save as it completed [8d][kc] to send him out in 5th place for $28,526.

    lechuckpoker falls short again

    lechuckpoker did well to make it this far but the end was nigh. The elimination of Jigs Flippin moved him to the bottom of the four-handed counts but this time waited until after a flop to get frisky.

    lechuckpoker called a three-bet from whiteser to see the [9s][7h][3h] flop and immediately shoved after a continuation bet. whiteser called the all-in with [ah][7s] to outkick lechuckpoker's [8d][7d]. He was drawing thin to stay alive then missed the [3c] turn and [6s] river to go out in 4th place. A nice jump from the final table bubble he survived.

    Let's make a deal; whiteser gets slick

    Seat 5: whiteser (24,398,928 in chips)
    Seat 6: easylimp (18,303,701 in chips)
    Seat 9: Stümpper88 (13,897,371 in chips)

    Blinds: 200,000/400,000 with 50,000 Ante

    The three players quickly decided to pause the clock to discuss a deal to spread the remaining prize pool a little more evenly. whiteser had the clear lead and was given the biggest chunk when negotiations were complete.

    Getting that nice slice of the pie made whiteser ramp up the aggression and his chips started going elsewhere. The deal meant he was going to get a big payout no matter what happened but he probably didn't expect [as][kh] to be his undoing.

    It was a quick slide to third best stack and he put them in the middle after Stümpper88 min-raised his button. easylimp let his hand go and Stümpper88 quickly called with [kd][kc]. whiteser couldn't connect his overcard on the [qh][9c][4h] flop but added a gutshot draw on the [tc] turn.

    No love for whiteser on the [3s] river and our former three-handed chip leader was gone in third for a very nice $78,868.

    Begin the long, slow battle

    Seat 6: easylimp (24,657,902 in chips)
    Seat 9: Stümpper88 (31,942,098 in chips)

    Blinds: 250,000/500,000 with 62,500 Ante

    Stümpper88 began heads up play with a small lead and neither play slipped up or went crazy with the stack so deep. They exchanged the lead several times and were in no hurry.

    The first big swing came more than 30 minutes after the start of heads up. Stümpper88 made a couple big bets in a hand that built a 12 million deep pot before he checked the river and his king-high was no good against middle pair.

    That hand swung the momentum toward easylimp but 20 minutes later it moved back. It was a pretty mellow pot with the board reading [ks][th][8h][4c][6d] when easylimp raised enough to put Stümpper88 all-in.

    Stümpper88 let his time bank tick all the way down to one second before calling with top pair [kd][5d], good enough to take the huge 49 million pot, leaving easylimp with less than ten big blinds.

    Seat 6: easylimp (7,865,404 in chips)
    Seat 9: Stümpper88 (48,734,596 in chips)

    Blinds: 400,000/800,000 with 100,000 Ante

    But a little thing like being short stacked didn't hold easylimp back, he quickly doubled. Then doubled again and wielded his stack to build back another small lead. An impressive comeback completed after 75 minutes of heads up action.

    It might have gone for another hour if each didn't hit one big, final hand. It was limped to the [js][5d][3h] flop and easylimp check/called a 1 million chip bet to see the [7d] turn. It was another check/call from easylimp, but for 2.3 million this time around.

    He finally pulled the trigger with a river check/raise to put Stümpper88 all-in and he called with his flopped set [3s][3c]. A very fine heads up hand but second best when easylimp tabled his turned straight [6h][4s].

    A crazy hand to finish a deep, long, tough battle that began with nine Ultra-Deep players and ended with an impressive heads up battle. Stümpper88 had several chances to win the title but had to settle for a runner-up result and $69,895.

    easylimp joins the ranks of players with two legs of the Triple COOP. This victory plus his 2014 TCOOP win will put him in contention for that honor next spring. Until then, he has $81,597 added to his bankroll and the title of WCOOP champion.

    WCOOP-58: $530 NL Hold'em (Ultra-Deep)
    Entrants: 1,132
    Prize pool: $566,000
    Places paid: 117

    1. easylimp (United Kingdom) $81,597.76*
    2. Stümpper88 (Argentina) $69,895.60*
    3. whiteser (Ireland) $78,868.64*
    4. lechuckpoker (United Kingdom) $41,035.00
    5. Jig Flippin (Canada) $28,526.40
    6. 10111420 (United Kingdom) $22,866.40
    7. VyruAlus (Lithuania) $17,206.40
    8. pol17pl (Poland) $11,603.00
    9. biszibosz (Poland) $7,075.00
    * = denotes three-way deal

  • 25 September

    Manila Megastack 3: Jeon dominates Day 1a

    Seung Soo Jeon from South Korea was clearly the man of the hour. We don't even know how many players he railed but with a massive stack of 605,000 at the end of day 1a of the Manila Megastack 3 at the PokerStars Live Manila poker room in City of Dreams...

  • 25 September

    Manila Megastack 3: Updates

    4:00pm Araniel chipping up Noel Araniel is starting his day where he left off, that is to say, by sending one to the rail. Action began with two limpers, then a raise to 900 by a late position player. On the small blind seat, Araniel three-bet to 2500...

  • 25 September

    Manila Megastack 3 Begins

    The Manila Megastack 3 kicked off a few minutes ago here at the PokerStars Live Manila poker room at City of Dreams Manila. This event features a PHP2M guarantee with the eventual winner receiving the top cash prize plus an event package to one of the ...

  • 25 September

    WCOOP 2015: IAmSoSo marvels with win in PLO Championship Event #57 ($2,100 6-Max PLO); 6th place for 3-time WCOOP champ mikal12345

    If you host it, they will come in droves. Like ravenous moths flocking en masse to flame, PokerStars ignited another raging inferno with its WCOOP PLO Championship. The final table in event #57 featured three-time WCOOP bracelet winner Norway's Mikal "...

  • 24 September

    WCOOP 2015: maggess88 denies Traply Triple COOP in Event 56 win ($530+R NLH)

    The final weekend is almost here for 2015 World Championship of Online Poker players and they were given a small tournament, big prize pool gift before the really big games take off.

    Event 56 was a $530 No Limit Hold'em tournament with unlimited rebuys during the late registration period plus a bonus add-on if they decided to stick around that long. The tournament drew 560 players and they popped the rebuy button 376 times then threw another 467 add-ons in there.

    All told they created a $701,500 prize pool to easily surpass the $500,000 Guarantee with some big money loaded up top. The final table would all bank at least $10,000 with the winner getting the only six-digit payout; $132,583 is a nice goal.

    Day 1 finished after they already hit the final table, not a normal occurrence but that left the last nine players with plenty of ammunition to fire at pots. There were plenty of big names remaining including Mike "Tîmex" McDonald.

    The high roller specialist is just a small cash away from having $12 million in live career earnings though he has yet to break through in a major online event. He has five live cashes over $1 million and finished 2nd in the 2014 PCA Main Event. McDonald came close to combining his High Roller skills and first online major just a few days ago. He was deep in the $51,000 WCOOP Super High Roller but went out in 5th place.

    Peter "Belabacsi" Traply had the most interesting story coming in to the final table. Traply is one of only a handful of players in line this series for the elusive Triple COOP honors. Traply won his first SCOOP title in 2010 then followed up with a TCOOP title in 2013 and second SCOOP that spring. If he could pull off the win today, he would join James "Andy MCLEOD" Obst and Shawn "buck21" Buchanan as only the third player with a title from WCOOP, SCOOP, and TCOOP each.

    Not to be left behind, Ben "vindog03" Vinson has some impressive results himself, especially over a short span in 2014. Vinson made a lot of money in a few days when he finished fourth in a Sunday Million event for a nice chunk then followed it up with an outright win in the next Super Tuesday tournament. He was another to keep an eye on at the Day 2 restart.

    2015 WCOOP Event 56 Final Table.jpg

    Event 56 Final Table

    Seat 1: Giuseppe "Ansgar2000" Pantaleo (404,875 in chips)
    Seat 2: Ben "vindog03" Vinson (776,735 in chips)
    Seat 3: rodckz (387,870 in chips)
    Seat 4: superf1sh (375,692 in chips)
    Seat 5: dreamland23 (1,136,359 in chips)
    Seat 6: Peter "Belabacsi" Traply (512,234 in chips)
    Seat 7: Mike "Tîmex" McDonald (537,674 in chips)
    Seat 8: No Shock (445,796 in chips)
    Seat 9: maggess88 (565,765 in chips)

    Blinds: 6,000/12,000 with 1,500 Ante

    Final table starts out with the ol' suck/resuck

    There were plenty of chips in play with all the rebuying and fast Day 1 play. The nine players took some time to get their feet under themselves and feel each other out, it took 30 minutes to get the first major hand and it was a good one.

    Vinson opened the action from middle position with a little raise to 35,000 and superf1sh three-bet it up to 87,621. No Shock had to like a little of the action four-bet shoved with a big hand. It was a quick call and No Shock saw his dilemma, his big hand wasn't so big after all.

    No Shock: [qs][qd]
    superf1sh: [as][ad]

    No Shock was in trouble but the dealer gave him a potential bailout on the [qc][8d][2d] flop. It looked like a tough beat for superf1sh when the [4s] turn dropped before he hit the two-out [ac] river to complete the classic suck/resuck. A very swingy hand for No Shock but he was the first eliminated from the final table, picking up $10,732 for his efforts.

    No second leg for Pantaleo

    While the majority fo the attention was on Traply and McDonald, Pantaleo was also looking for another major title. He had the first part of the Triple COOP with a SCOOP win 2014 and close to adding a WCOOP title.

    He came to the final table with one of the shorter stacks and was never able to run it up. He moved all-in for a tick over ten big blinds and rodckz moved in over the top to isolate. It worked and Panteleo's [kh][jh] was live against [ad][qh].

    He caught the flop but rodckz hit it a little better when it came [ah][ks][3s]. It left Panteleo drawing very thin and he missed as the board completed [6h][as] to cut him short of the second leg, gone in 8th place for $15,783.

    maggess88 has not time for Tîmex

    It took more than one hand to knock out one of our most accomplished players at the final table. Even someone with McDonald's record has to win some flips to get a title. He lost one and was gone soon after.

    The hand to really damage McDonald came against maggess88 after a lengthy stretch of play with few big hands. It was a battle of the blinds with maggess88 getting all-in with [ac][tc] in the small blind against McDonald's [9h][9s] in the big.

    maggess88 hit right on the [ad][jd][2h] flop and McDonald never caught up. He was left with less than four big blinds and lasted only a few more hands. McDonald put his last chips in the middle with [ac][3c] but lost to Traply's [5c][5h] flopped set, rivered full house. McDonald ran deep but could not pick up his first COOP title.

    rodckz climbs the ladder, cashes out

    rodckz was never a big stack at the final table despite his KO of Panteleo but slowly moved up the payout ladder until he had to make a move one hand after McDonald was gone. He was down to peanuts when he moved all-in from the big blind with [ad][jc] after Traply opened with [js][9d].

    It was less than a min-raise and the bet was quickly called. rodckz was ahead for the double up but Traply hit his lone live card on the [kh][9h][4d] flop. Not a good situation for rodckz then only went downhill on the [2c] turn and [7c] river to send him out in $29,813 for a nice payday.

    superf1sh makes it three-for-three

    After such a long draught of big hands, they tore through two hands with two eliminations and tried again on the next one. This time it didn't take a bad beat to get them one player closer to a champ.

    superf1sh was under ten big blinds when action folded to him in the small. He put them all in the middle with [tc][7c] and maggess88 called in the big with [td][9d]. superf1sh needed that same type of flop Traply found on the previous hand but the board ran dry for both with [ad][ac][4s][2d][ts] and the kicker played to send him out.

    dreamland23 goes to sleep after leading

    Three staight knockout hands and they took a little break. They woulnd't get another big pot until an near-marathon five hands later. And this time around they waited longer than preflop action to get things moving.

    It was three-way action to the [qc][8c][7d] flop between Traply, maggess88, and dreamland23. Traply and dreamland23 checked before maggess88 led out for 135,200 to get a fold from Traply and call from dreamland23.

    It was a check/raise from dreamland23 after the [4s] turn facing a maggess88 299,000 bet. The move was for all his chips and maggess88 quickly called with the flopped set [8d][8h]. It was bad timing for dreamland23, he was drawing dead with top pair [qs][jd]. There was no miracle card available and he was gone in 4th place for $54,015.

    Vinson can't duck Jacks

    Three-handed action settled down after the quick string of eliminations boosted the average stack and they could all see a six-digit payout at the end. Vinson was in no danger of getting blinded down but found a pair to get things moving.

    He was over 30 big blinds when he got into a preflop raising war with maggess88. Vinson opened the action from the button and maggess88 popped it back with a big blind three-bet. Vinson responded with a shove holding [2d][2h] but his baby pair was in deep trouble when maggess88 called with [jd][js].

    Vinson needed another duck or miracle cards but found none of them. The virtual dealer ran out a [kd][8d][7c][8s][7d] board to send Vinson out in 3rd place and set up a potential Triple COOP title.


    Peter "Belabacsi" Traply gets heads up for Triple COOP honors

    maggess88 denies Triple COOP to Traply with Event 56 win

    Seat 5: maggess88 (3,568,020 in chips)
    Seat 9: Peter "Belabacsi" Traply (1,574,980 in chips)

    Blinds: 17,500/35,000 with 4,375 ante

    maggess88 began heads up play with a healthy chip lead but Traply wasn't going to give up the battle easily. His "short stack" was still 100 big blinds deep and they settled in for the long haul.

    Despite the gap in tournament results, maggess88 never let Traply get a toehold. They went at each other for more than 30 minutes with Traply slowly getting deeper in the hole. He finally took a stand and it was one final tough beat to close out Event 56.

    Traply was ground under ten big blinds and all-in from the button with [qs][th]. maggess88 called with the better hand but [kh][jd] was out flopped when it came [qh][5h][3c] to give Traply the lead. maggess88 paired the [jc] to give him more river outs and he nailed the [kd] to hand a tough loss on Traply.

    It was an impressive run for the Hungarian champ but he will have to wait for another chance to add to his SCOOP and TCOOP titles, he will have to be content with the $97,157 consolation prize. maggess88 never gave up at the final table and rode it all the way to his first WCOOP title and a very healthy $132,583 payout.

    WCOOP-56: $530+R NL Hold'em
    Entrants: 560 (376 Rebuys, 467 Add-ons)
    Prize pool: $701,500
    Places paid: 72

    1. maggess88 (Germany) $132,583.50
    2. Peter "Belabacsi" Traply (Hungary) $97,157.75
    3. Ben "vindog03" Vinson (United Kingdom) $71,553.00
    4. dreamland23 (Argentina) $54,015.50
    5. superf1sh (Norway) $37,881.00
    6. rodckz (Brazil) $29,813.75
    7. Mike "Tîmex" McDonald (Canada) $22,798.75
    8. Giuseppe "Ansgar2000" Pantaleo (Germany) $15,783.75
    9. No Shock (Canada) $10,732.95

  • 24 September

    WCOOP 2015: David “Mrdawwe” Sonelin seizes the day in Event #53, $2,100 NLHE (Super Tuesday SE)

    This week's WCOOP Super Tuesday Special Edition had a huge prize pool, a final table lineup full of regulars with past success battling for hours, savvy dealmaking, and a 139-hand heads-up duel between two past WCOOP finalists. You probably couldn't do much better than WCOOP 2015's Event #53 if you were ever somehow tasked with putting together an epic WCOOP final table under the one condition that you couldn't populate it with names that TV watchers would know well. Perhaps that's a statement that's up for debate, but new WCOOP champion David "Mrdawwe" Sonelin will surely agree that the tournament's final result was right on the money.

    David Sonelin.jpg

    WCOOP 2015 Event #53 champ David "Mrdawwe" Sonelin

    This special edition featured a $2,100 buy-in and a $1.5 million guaranteed prize pool. Even at twice the normal price, that enticed a field of 1,062 players, about double the turnout for most Super Tuesdays, to turn up. Together they built a $2,124,000 prize pool to be split among the top 126 finishers. Day 1 wrapped up after 30 levels of play with most of those players having already claimed their payouts, including Team Pro Jason "jcarverpoker" Somerville, who finished 85th for $4,672.80.

    Leading the way overnight was SCOOP 2013 & 2014, WCOOP 2014, and Sunday Million finalist Cesar "Ce$ar$pa" Garcia with 658,784 chips. That was good for a bit more than 100 big blinds on the 3,200/6,400/800 level, enough of a cushion to carry Garcia to the final table in third place. Three other players from the Day 1 Top 10 - Mrdawwe, gifted08, and Barrrii - would also go on to the final. So would two of the three smallest stacks: Israel's dodavi started Day 2 36th of 38 and scraped into the final table as the short stack, while MicroMillions III winner Amit "bblacklegend" Jain went from 35th of 38 to second of nine:

    Together with a lineup of other players with past appearances in major PokerStars tourneys, they would play four and a half hours of poker en route to Sonelin's victory.

    Seat 1: Anjeyyy (2,562,509 in chips)
    Seat 2: Rui "sousinha23" Sousa (753,129 in chips)
    Seat 3: fishbones11 (1,228,342 in chips)
    Seat 4: gifted08 (1,003,794 in chips)
    Seat 5: Cesar "Ce$ar$pa" Garcia (1,727,627 in chips)
    Seat 6: Barrrii (325,360 in chips)
    Seat 7: dodavi (265,281 in chips)
    Seat 8: Amit "bblacklegend" Jain (1,945,964 in chips)
    Seat 9: David "Mrdawwe" Sonelin (807,994 in chips)

    WCOOP-53 2015 ft.jpg

    Though Ce$ar$pa came in third in chips, he would end up being the first player to collect a final table payout. He took a 500K-chip hit early on in a blind-versus-blind hand where 2014 SCOOP finalist Barrrii flopped a set of sixes, called bets on the flop and turn, and then bet small for value on the river. That still left 1.3M chips for Ce$ar$pa to work with, but then next orbit's small blind started with a three-bet of gifted08's button raise. It ended with a bet and fold to gifted08's re-raise, dropping Ce$ar$pa's stack to 901K.

    After bluffing off a few more chips in the big blind the orbit after that, stabbing at a pot on the river against fishbones11, Ce$ar$pa had 682K left. A few hands later he picked up [Ac] [Ks] and wound up four-betting all-in after opening for 77K and having Mrdawwe re-raise to 175K in the small blind. Mrdawwe called with [Jc] [Js], the pair held on the [Qd] [Td] [2s] [9s] [7s] board, and Cesar Garcia's day ended in 9th place ($25,488).

    One orbit later, short-stacked dodavi, a Sunday Million finalist back in January, picked up [Jd] [Js] and outran Rui "sousinha23" Sousa's straight draw with [Qh] [Jh] for the double to 422K. Another nine hands went by before dodavi picked up [Qd] [Qh] and doubled up again, this time to 748K through fishbones11's [As] [Qc].

    sousinha23, a past Sunday Warm-Up and SCOOP 2014 finalist who hadn't won a pot in 20 hands since the loss to dodavi, eventually picked up [As] [Qh] and moved in for 287K after Mrdawwe opened for barely more than a minimum raise to 88K. Mrdawwe folded, but only after gifted08 had already called [9c] [9d]. A full house on the [9h] [Jd] [Js] flop left sousinha23 in need of running aces or queens for a bigger boat, but the [2c] and [4d] came instead and sousinha23 left in 8th place ($42,480).

    dodavi's magic streak continued with a double in the next orbit, to 980K with [Ad] [8h] against Mrdawwe's [Ac] [2h]. That left Mrdawwe with a slim lead over bblacklegend, 2.26M to 2.14M, but on the next hand bblacklegend defended the big blind with [Ad] [7h], made top pair on the [As] [6c] [2d], and called down Anjeyyy's bets to win a 1M-chip pot and take the lead with 2.72M.

    gifted08 was able to close in on that territory and stake a claim to third place three hands later after being dealt [Ad] [Ah] under the gun, having fishbones11 call in the big blind with [Ac] [Jh], and watching the flop come jack-high. fishbones11 was all-in by the turn and drawing to the last two jacks in the deck, but the [5c] on the river gave gifted08 the 1.95M-chip pot and left fishbones11 with a stack worth slightly more than one ante. After being forced all-in on the next hand with [7s] [3c], fishbones11 departed in 7th place ($63,720).

    dodavi had been hanging on by a thread throughout Day 2, but it finally snapped with the tournament six-handed. The Israeli player opened the hand with a 675K-chip stack and raised to 90K in the cutoff with [Qh] [Jd]. Anjeyyy called in the big blind with [Kc] [Qc] and then check-called dodavi's all-in bet as an 86-percent favorite to win the hand. That improved to 100 percent when the [Td] turn and [Tc] river came down, and dodavi's magic ride ended in 6th place ($84,960).

    No deal

    WCOOP-53 2015 ft five-handed.jpg

    With blinds and antes now at 22,500/45,000/5,625, there wasn't a lot of separation between the five remaining players:

    Seat 1: Anjeyyy (1,819,470 in chips)
    Seat 4: gifted08 (1,847,322 in chips)
    Seat 6: Barrrii (1,930,536 in chips)
    Seat 8: bblacklegend (2,469,499 in chips)
    Seat 9: Mrdawwe (2,553,173 in chips)

    Talk of a potential deal came up. After 15 minutes play resumed, though, as Mrdawwe wanted the chip chop numbers ("i like my situation here") and nobody else was willing to stray from ICM.

    Within minutes Mrdawwe would actually be the first player to survive an all-in situation, having folded on the river when gifted08 raised all-in with a potential flush on the board and then doubled back to 2.63M on the next hand with [Ad] [Qd] against Barrrii's [9d] [9c]. Losing that coin flip left Barrrii with only 118K, all of which went in the middle in a four-way pot two hands later. Mrdawwe won that one, showing down [Kh] [Ts] for a pair of kings on the [2s] [Jh] [Kd] [5d] [Qc] board, and Barrrii mucked, leaving in 5th place ($107,049.60).

    Deal talk came up again but Mrdawwe, back in the lead with 3.49M chips, wasn't interested. A combination of consistent aggression with the bigger stack and hitting a few hands just good enough to win when a bigger pot developed had Mrdawwe up to 4.59M while all three other players were sitting between 1.91M and 2.07M. That eventually became 5.6M without the rest of the table improving, which is where it was when gifted08 moved all-in for 720K on the button. Mrdawwe called with [As] [Kd], which dominated gifted08's [Ks] [2s], and when neither hand improved, gifted08's day concluded in 4th place ($153,990).

    Mrdawwe's streak continued seven hands later after bblacklegend opened for 120K on the button. Mrdawwe re-raised to 286K in the small blind with [8h] [8s] and then called when bblacklegend jammed for 1.91M on a bluff with [9d] [7s]. Three nines and a few backdoor draws were all bblacklegend had on the [5d] [4d] [Tc] flop, and the draws dried up on the [Ah] turn. The [6s] hit the river, and bblacklegend hit the rail in 3rd place ($206,028).

    Long-time player, first-time WCOOP winner

    WCOOP-53 2015 ft hu.jpg

    Seat 1: Anjeyyy (2,395,582 in chips)
    Seat 9: Mrdawwe (8,224,418 in chips)

    It had already been nearly three and a half hours since the beginning of the final table when Mrdawwe's and Anjeyyy's heads-up match began. Both players had previously made WCOOP final tables without winning a title - Mrdawwe took 5th in WCOOP 2014 Event #40, and Anjeyyy was a finalist in WCOOP 2013 Event #45 - but only one could earn the bracelet today.

    The leader applied pressure consistently but lost a chance to seal up first place early when Anjeyyy's [Ks] [Qh] rivered a king-high straight to beat Mrdawwe's [Ac] [8s]. Another double-up 10 minutes later with [Ts] [Td] against Mrdawwe's [Ah] [Jd] gave Anjeyyy 4.33M, and when the Ukrainian player suggested looking at a deal, Mrdawwe was game. Within seven minutes they had struck one, leaving $30,000 on the table for the winner, and play resumed with Mrdawwe still in the lead.

    Anjeyyy actually managed to take the lead for a short while after that, thanks to a series of smaller pots over a stretch, but then Mrdawwe picked up [8c] [8h] on the button, bet all three streets for value, and took a 3.07M-chip pot at showdown with the board reading [5s] [3d] [7s] [3c] [Jd].

    The match went on another 15 minutes after that and the pattern of mostly small pots continued to play out until a surprise ending. The 139th and final hand of heads-up play saw Mrdawwe open for 160K on the button and call Anjeyyy's re-raise to 440K to see the [Ad] [2h] [Qh] flop. Anjeyyy led out for 350K there, 880K on the [Kd] turn, and all-in for 2.54M on the [6c] river, and Mrdawwe called every bet without too much hesitation. Anjeyyy had been barreling with [Js] [2d] for a lowly pair of twos the whole way, and Mrdawwe ended the proceedings four hours and 29 minutes after the final table had begun by showing [Ah] [4h] for a pair of aces.

    Anjeyyy's runner-up share of the deal came to $309,744.85. With the winner's $30K, David "Mrdawwe" Sonelin earned a total of $348,695.15. Congratulations to both players on their hard-earned paydays!

    WCOOP 2015: Event #53, $2,100 No-Limit Hold'em (Super Tuesday SE)
    Entrants: 1,062
    Prize pool: $2,124,000
    Places paid: 126
    1. David "Mrdawwe" Sonelin (Sweden) $348,695.15*
    2. Anjeyyy (Ukraine) $309,744.85*
    3. Amit "bblacklegend" Jain (India) $206,028
    4. gifted08 (United Kingdom) $153,990
    5. Barrrii (Belgium) $107,049.60
    6. dodavi (Israel) $84,960
    7. fishbones11 (Canada) $63,720
    8. Rui "sousinha23" Sousa (Hungary) $42,480
    9. Cesar "Ce$ar$pa" Garcia (United Kingdom) $25,488
    * - denotes results of a heads-up deal

    Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.

  • 24 September

    WCOOP 2015: villepn wins second COOP and beats Andy McLEOD heads-up to win Razz Championship (Event #54 $1,050 Razz)

    The final table featured a true legend in Triple COOP winner James "Andy MCLEOD" Obst, a pair of cagey SCOOP champs from Finland (villepn and calvin7v), Mike "goleafsgoeh" Leah (who shipped a WCOOP last week), and Adam "Adamyid" Owen (10th on the Leade...

  • 24 September

    WCOOP 2015: Skint Paddy denies b8chatz a Triple COOP in Event #55, $320 5-Card Omaha (6-max, 1R1A)

    Winning a Triple COOP is no easy feat. Billy "b8chatz" Chattaway was two-thirds of the way there when WCOOP 2015 began and had a chance to pull it off in Event #25, only to finish fourth. A strong showing in today's Event #55 meant a second chance to j...

  • 24 September

    The Poker Academy - A Week of Poker in Seattle – Part 2

    This is the continuing saga of A Week of Poker in Seattle. In the first post, I talked about poker on Wednesday through Friday, two tournaments and one cash game. ...

  • 23 September

    WCOOP 2015: theNERDguy geeks out with win in PLO Hi/Lo Championship (Event #51 $1,050 PLO8 6-Max)

    Yuri "theNERDguy" Martins has gone deep in several COOP events, including a second-place finish in last year's WCOOP Main Event, a runner-up in a TCOOP, and a third-place in a SCOOP. Despite the deep runs, theNERDguy had yet to break through and actual...

  • 23 September

    WCOOP 2015: vick23789 bests two bracelet winners in Event #50, $215 NLHE (Knockout)

    WCOOP is a time of year when the poker's best players rise to the occasion so frequently that repeat winners almost feel like a natural side-effect of even holding the series. Of course, every repeat winner was a first-timer at some point. And while so...

  • 23 September

    WCOOP 2015: 3P3NIPA banks $503K win in Event #48, $2,100 NLHE (Sunday Million SE)

    Sundays are already the best day of the week at PokerStars even before the three annual COOP series roll around. That's when the regular Sunday majors become Special Editions, with all the attendant boosted prize pools and paydays. If making it to the final in one of these events is tough enough to do that managing it twice is worth celebrating, making that second appearance a $503,170 win, as the Czech Republic's 3P3NIPA did today, is truly priceless.

    3P3NIPA's first taste of Sunday COOP greatness came earlier this year at the final table of the Sunday Kickoff Special Edition during SCOOP 2015. That event's prize pool paled in comparison to that of WCOOP 2015's Event #48, a Special Edition of the Sunday Million with a $2,100 buy-in. With a field of 1,502 players building a $3,004,000 prize pool, the first-place prize in this tournament was worth almost as much as all the buy-ins together during 3P3NIPA's SCOOP adventure.

    Day 1 gave each player 15,000 starting chips and lasted the first 20 levels of play. Day 2 saw most of the 198 payouts distributed, including to Team Online's Randy "nanonoko" Lew (26th place, $12,016) and Caio "Pessagno" Pessagno (84th, $5,707.60) and Team Pro's Johnny Lodden (90th, $5,707.60) and Marcin "Goral" Horecki (163rd, $3,755). It didn't take quite as long to finish as Day 1, pausing for the evening when stanman420 of Costa Rice was knocked out in 10th place on Level 36. That left these nine players to return for Day 3 with 25K/50K/6,250 blinds and antes:

    Seat 1: BrigaDatada (2,297,082 in chips)
    Seat 2: 3P3NIPA (3,649,910 in chips)
    Seat 3: AQUA RAIDER (959,916 in chips)
    Seat 4: Pascal "Päffchen" Hartmann (1,522,870 in chips)
    Seat 5: Ch33s3z0r (2,747,946 in chips)
    Seat 6: toril274 (3,326,766 in chips)
    Seat 7: 2pacnrw16 (1,056,163 in chips)
    Seat 8: JohnyK91 (586,960 in chips)
    Seat 9: GaryT20 (6,382,387 in chips)

    WCOOP-48 2015 ft.jpg
    Making it to Day 3 was worth a minimum of $30K, but everybody at the table was looking further up the pay table. Six-figure scores started rolling in at sixth place, with six-figure pay jumps reserved for the top two finishers.

    There was room for patience with 30-minute blind levels, but the action got going early thanks to a pair-versus-pair confrontation that kicked off just after the blinds and antes climbed to 30K/60K/7.5K. 3P3NIPA min-raised in early position and then called after Pascal "Päffchen" Hartmann, who beat 3P3NIPA heads-up to win the Super Tuesday earlier this year, re-raised all-in for 1.58M, showing [Ad] [As] to the latter's [Th] [Tc]. The board ran out [2s] [6d] [3s] [9s] [Ah], 3P3NIPA won the 3.32M chips in the middle, and Päffchen left in 9th place ($30,941.20).

    Five hands later, AQUA RAIDER was caught in a nearly identical situation, opening all-in for 676K with [Qc] [Qs] only to be called by JohnyK91, who held [Ad] [Ac] in the big blind and had the Canadian player covered by 14K. The [Kh] [7c] [8c] [Js] [2d] board offered no help, and AQUA RAIDER evaporated in 8th place ($57,076).

    Musical chairs

    Ch33s3z0r, a bracelet winner during WCOOP 2014, picked up a big pair four hands after that and got action by limping on the button. toril274 did the same from the small blind, prompting a 956K-chip all-in bet from 2pacnrw16 in the big blind. Ch33s3z0r re-raised with [Kc] [Kh] to drive toril274 out of the pot and then caught top set on the [Ks] [5d] [Jd], leaving 2pacnrw16's [Ah] [Td] with a 16.6-percent chance to win the hand. That chance improved to 25 percent on the [7d] turn before becoming 100 percent with the [Qc] on the river, giving 2pacnrw16 the double to 2.02M and dropping Ch33s3z0r's stack to less than 10 big blinds.

    The race to stay out of the basement was on. Ch33s3z0r jammed with [Kh] [8d] in the small blind an orbit later and got caught by toril274's [Ah] [Ts] in the big blind, but the board made a ten-high straight to keep Ch33s3z0r in the game with 1.24M. Then JohnyK91 won a flip with [Ad] [Qc] to 2pacnrw16's [6d] [6h] to leave the German player in last with 715K.

    The three of them would jostle for position over the next 37 hands as the blinds and antes progressed through the next two levels, moving from 30K/60K/7.5K all the way to 50K/100K/12.5K, but none of that jostling resulted in any serious forward momentum. The end result was that all three were now under intense pressure to make something happen.

    The impasse finally came to an end when Ch33s3z0r picked up [Td] [Th] in the big blind. toril274, who had opened for the minimum raise to 200K under the gun with [Qs] [Jc], called Ch33s3z0r's all-in bet for 504K more and spiked a queen on the turn of the [As] [4c] [2c] [Qd] [4d] board, bringing Ch33s3z0r's tournament to an end in 7th place ($87,116).

    No showdowns for the next nine hands didn't mean no action at all, but it might have been better for 2pacnrw16 if it had. Of the three pots won after the flop during that stretch, the biggest one saw the German player lose nearly 700K defending the big blind against 3P3NIPA only to fold to an all-in bet on the river. That left 2pacnrw16 with 11 big blinds and just one move after being dealt [Ah] [9s] four hands later. The German player shoved in the cutoff and was called by BrigaDatada, who had [As] [Jd] in the big blind. The [2c] [9d] [Qd] was a promising start, but the [Jc] turn and [8c] left BrigaDatada with a pair of jacks, topping 2pacnrw16's pair of nines to end the German's run in 6th place ($117,156).

    JohnyK91 looked for a better outcome on the next hand, moving in from the cutoff for 895K with [Qd] [Jc]. BrigaDatada was in the small blind with [As] [Ts] and called, taking down the 1.95M-chip pot when the [7c] [7s] [5d] [9s] [6d] board improved neither hand. With that, JohnyK91 finished in 5th place ($147,196).

    WCOOP-48 2015 ft four-handed.jpg

    For the first time at this final table, everyone had at least 40 big blinds to work with. The tenor of play changed as a result, with those holding the shorter stacks more willing to engage by calling rather than re-raising all-in, but the end result was still that the big stacks got bigger. They just had to apply pressure at inflection points to do so, rather than winning at showdown after calling a shove from a small stack.

    That left GaryT20 (a finalist in Event #21) and BrigaDatada within a single big blind of one another as the blinds and antes advanced to 60K/120K/15K. Then GaryT20 opened on the button with [Ac] [5c] and shoved all-in after BrigaDatada re-raised to 775K in the small blind with [9h] [9d]. The pair was 65 percent to win before the flop came [4c] [Jd] [As], and just eight percent after. With no nine on the turn or river, BrigaDatada was left with one big blind. Two hands later the Czech player was forced all-in from the big blind with [4s] [3c] and was knocked out by GaryT20 in 4th place ($204,272).

    A series of unfortunate events

    Three-handed play would last for 112 hands and was dominated in the early going by GaryT20, whose combination of consistent aggression and winning the occasional showdown was good enough to pick up close to 40 big blinds and move into a firm chip lead with 13.M to 3P3NIPA's 7.2M. toril274 was stranded at the other end of the leaderboard with 2.1M and couldn't even catch a break picking up pocket kings - 3P3NIPA had the other two in the hole and both players chopped the pot.

    3P3NIPA began chipping away at GaryT20's advantage after that split pot, shaving a few big blinds off here and there while toril274 hovered around the 2M-chip mark. The Czech player finally turned things around for good about 40 hands after that point, raising on the button with [Ks] [Qc] and firing barrels on the [6c] [7c] [Jc] flop and [3h] turn before making a value bet of two-thirds the pot with a pair on the [Kh] river. GaryT20 made a withdrawal from the time bank before eventually calling and mucking.

    That gave 3P3NIPA the 4.4M chips in the pot and the lead for the first time since just after BrigaDatada's exit, but the major tipping point came on the next hand. GaryT20 limp-called 3P3NIPA's 420K raise in the small blind with [As] [5h] and check-called another 475K with top pair on the [Kh] [2h] [Ac] flop before checking again on the [Jd] turn. 3P3NIPA checked there as well and called when GaryT20 bet 1.02M in 1.84M on the [6d] river, showing down [Js] [6h]. A position bluff on the flop and a free card on the turn made two pair, GaryT20 mucked, and 3P3NIPA won the 3.89M chips in the pot.

    WCOOP-48 2015 ft three-handed.jpg

    3P3NIPA kept up the pressure, toril254 stole enough blinds and antes to stay afloat, and GaryT20 was caught in between for the next 35 hands or so. The Irish player finally found a spot to break out of the slump when toril254 jammed from the small blind with [Qh] [5c], waking up to [Th] [Ts] and making the call with 746K behind, but the deck had other plans entirely. GaryT20 went from being a 72-percent favorite before the flop to drawing all but dead after it fell [Qs] [Qd] [5h], making a full house for toril2574. Running tens for four of a kind were GaryT20's only hope to re-steal the pot, but the [3c] and [6h] arrived on the turn and river instead.

    GaryT20 picked up [Jc] [Jh] on the next hand but was again smacked around by the deck when the board came [2c] [6d] [5c] [4d] [3c] to make a six-high straight for both GaryT20 and 3P3NIPA, who had called in the big blind with [8h] [4h]. The Irish player's bumpy saga sounded a brief high note a few hands later after calling all-in from the big blind with [Qd] [8c], discovering that toril274 had raised with [Ah] [As], and then making a queen-high straight on the turn to crack said aces. But just a few more hands after that, GaryT20 shoved on the button with [Ah] [8h] and 3P3NIPA called with [As] [9c]. The [9s] [Jd] [2d] [3c] [4d] board gave 3P3NIPA a pair of nines and the pot, and GaryT20's wild ride came to an end in 3rd place ($277,870).

    Aaaaaaand scene

    With the epic three-handed portion of the final table having concluded the tournament's rising action, heads-up play served as denouement. toril274 offered to look at numbers for a deal, but 3P3NIPA, leading by 9.1M chips with blinds and antes at 80K/160K/20K, preferred to play it out. toril274 managed to make some headway in the first few hands, but it all disappeared after three-betting 3P3NIPA's check-raise on a [6c] [3s] [2d] flop, checking behind on the [Ad] turn, and folding to an all-in bet on the [8s] river.

    That still left toril274 within striking distance, but 3P3NIPA all but sealed things up four hands later by flopping trip jacks out of position after three-betting before the flop with [Jc] [3d]. It took calling toril274's semi-bluff bet on the river of a [Qd] [Jh] [Jd] [8c] [Qh] board, made with [8d] [4d], but that win left toril274 with only 1.4M chips. Five hands later, 3P3NIPA shoved with [8d] [7c] on the button, caught a pair of eights on the [4s] [Ah] [8c] flop to jump ahead of toril274's [Kd] [9d], and stayed ahead through the river to bring the tournament to its end.

    Finishing runner-up was good for $367,990, a new personal best for toril274 by more than $300,000. And 3P3NIPA's $503,170 score topped that runner-up finish to Päffchen in the Super Tuseday this spring to set a new personal best as well. Congratulations to both players for coming up big in the right event!

    WCOOP 2015: Event #48, $2,100 No-Limit Hold'em (Sunday Million SE)
    Entrants: 1,502
    Prize pool: $3,004,000
    Places paid: 198
    1. 3P3NIPA (Czech Republic) $503,170
    2. toril274 (Russia) $367,990
    3. GaryT20 (Ireland) $277,870
    4. BrigaDatada (Czech Republic) $204,272
    5. JohnyK91 (Austria) $147,196
    6. 2pacnrw16 (Germany) $117,156
    7. Ch33s3z0r (Russia) $87,116
    8. AQUA RAIDER (Canada) $57,076
    9. Pascal "Päffchen" Hartmann (Austria) $30,941.20

    Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.

  • 22 September

    WCOOP 2015: Popiedejopie ships second COOP; overcomes tough final table to win Event #49 ($530 NL Optional Re-Entry)

    Talk about a difficult final table. WCOOP Event #49 featured a couple of high-stakes grinders including Grayson "gray31" Ramage, a pair of Sunday Million winners, and a handful of players who narrowly missed a previous COOP title. It got down to heads-...

  • 22 September

    Shannon Shorr - Burning Man: Life in Black Rock City

    Hello all! Two weeks ago I emerged from the Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada. I spent seven nights camping in an RV with friends while taking part in the ...

  • 22 September

    WCOOP 2015: TheBeeftank stampedes to victory in Event #46 ($215 NL Sunday Warm-Up SE)

    With 12 players remaining in WCOOP Event #46, TheBeeftank (Netherlands) seized the lead and never looked back. No one could stop TheBeeftank, who nearly went wire-to-wire at the final table to win a WCOOP bracelet. Online poker nomad Daniel "deoxyribo"...

  • 21 September

    WCOOP 2015: WhoAreYoux1 defeats Linde to win Event 45 ($1,050 NLH 6-Max, Ultra-Deep)

    WCOOP tournaments are generally stacked deeper than your standard tournaments, giving players plenty of bang for their buck. Unless you're playing a turbo or Zoom, chances are you'll find yourself with a healthy stack to wield against opponents. Throw ...

  • 20 September

    WCOOP 2015: gieras finds victorious redemption with win in Triple Draw Championship (Event #39 $700 2-7)

    The final table at the WCOOP Triple Draw Championship included a trio of voracious bridesmaids looking to get hitched. Fresh_oO_D and Adamyid both finished in second place in different WCOOP events in the last few days, while Poland's gieras was a runn...

  • 19 September

    Daniel Negreanu - Which Poker Books Should you buy?

    Poker isn't like real sports. While there may be plenty of genius football or golf coaches that never reached the elite level as a player, only the elite players themselves ...

  • 19 September

    WCOOP 2015: antispeed methodically binks Prog-KO Event #38 ($1,050 NL, Thursday Thrill SE)

    Lebanon's antispeed experienced an unusual tournament in WCOOP Event #38. Considering this was a Progressive Knockout event, antispeed made it all the way to the final table without knocking out a single opponent. Now, that feat is not exactly impossib...

  • 18 September

    The Poker Academy - A Week of Poker in Seattle – Part 1

    This week, the Muckleshoot Casino in Seattle is hosting what they call their Summer Classic. The casino is about 30 minutes south of Seattle. It is one of 3 Indian ...

  • 18 September

    WCOOP 2015: Matthew “mjw006” Wakeman wins first COOP in Event 36 ($215 NLH 1R1A)

    Thursday was a fine day for some good ol' No Limit Hold'em and WCOOP Event 36 gave players plenty of room to move. It was a $215 buy-in No Limit Hold'em tournament which gave players the chance to rebuy should they find themselves without chips plus a ...

  • 18 September

    WCOOP 2015: Veni, vidi, viebu! Vladimir ‘vovtroy’ Troyanovskiy vanquished, viebu victorious

    There were four differents attempts at making a deal in this event. Four. I'll tell ya, they're a stubborn bunch, these PLO geniuses. But we'll get into the deal-making squabbles a bit later.

    Tonight was the second and final day of event 35 of the 2015 WCOOP, a $320+R PL Omaha [6-Max] tournament with a guaranteed prize pool of a quarter of a million. When there's rebuys involved, that amount was always likely to grow, and grow it did to $490,500 after 553 entries, 649 rebuys and 433 add-ons.

    The most familiar face was that of Russian high roller Vladimir 'vovtroy' Troyanovskiy, a man who - if his performance at EPT Deauville in February was anything to go by - needs little sleep to crush at the poker tables. Any guesses at what he got up to last night would be pure speculation.


    He don't need no sleep... - Vladimir 'vovtroy' Troyanovskiy

    But the player who came out on top tonight was Israel's viebu, who took home a monster pay day of $83,040.17. Back in 2009 he won $38,991.05 plus an Audi TT RS in a $1 Million Turbo Takedown tournament, but we're sure his first ever WCOOP title is even sweeter than that sweet ride.

    Day two kicked off with just seven players remaining, each guaranteed a $10,300.50 pay day. It meant we needed just one bust out to get our final table of six, and within 15 minutes of play resuming the spotlights were on. The first player leaving the tournament was the shortest stack coming into the day, Supernova player ComptonMasta from Canada, who exited in 7th.

    Under the spotlights

    Here's a look at the chip counts at the beginning of this final table:

    1. rmdr (Germany) 1,706,855
    2. viebu (Israel) 1,212,106
    3. Vladimir 'vovtroy' Troyanovskiy (Russia) 1,082,641
    4. Shhh00kem (Canada) 1,038,180
    5. Konstantinos "arxigos" Nanos (Austria) 441,843
    6. Joel "Odonkor1" Nordkvist (Sweden) 289,375

    Konstantinos "arxigos" Nanos has a TCOOP PLO victory for $55K, Sunday Warm-Up win for $112K, and several SCOOP and WCOOP final tables, so a win here would have given him his second COOP title. Meanwhile, Shhh00kem is a very accomplished player, having taken down the Super Tuesday and scoring a massive $430,650 with a runner-up finish in the 2012 $10,300 NLHE High Roller.

    We also had chipleader rdmr from Germany, a former SCOOP final tablist, as well as Joel "Odonkor1" Nordkvist, an extremely talented high stakes cash game player.

    rdmr wasted no time in proposing a deal, something he would continue to deal throughout, despite being the chip leader for much of it. "You guys want to take an early look on numbers? Fine playing it all the way out but just throwing it out there," he said, but got no response.

    Entering the final table with just under ten big blinds was always going to making things challenging for Sweden's Odonkor1, but unfortunately anything resembling a comeback wasn't to be in this event. With the blinds at 12,500/25,000, viebu min-opened to 50,000 and arxigos called from the small blind. Having seen his stack drop to just 138,175, Odonkor1 raised all-in and viebu called the 88,175 more. Now arxigos decided to put all his remaining chips at risk too, and also moved all-in for 532,686 total. Veibu called the 384,511 more and the cards were flipped.


    arxigos: [Ac][Ad][7h][Kc]
    viebu: [4h][7d][Qd][Kh]
    Odonkor1: [Qs][9s][2d][Qh]

    The flop fell [ks][2h][5c], meaning the aces of arxigos were in front. The [4s] on the turn gave Odonkor1 a flush draw and saw viebu take the lead with two pair, kinds and fours, but the [5d] on the river paired the board, meaning the aces were back in use. With a higher two pair, aces and fives, arxigos scooped both pots and Joel "Odonkor1" Nordkvist was sent to the rail with 6th place money worth $15,696.

    More talk of deals, more players bust

    At this point the five remaining players were considering a deal and opted to see the chop numbers. Rdmr, who posed the question of seeing the numbers at the very beginning of this final table, was chipleader at the time and again suggested that the table take a peek. After tournament host and Team PokerStars Online's Randy 'nanonoko' Lew presented the numbers, rdmr then requested more than the ICM figures presented - something which other members of the table didn't take too kindly to, notably Vladimir 'vovtroy' Troyanovskiy. The players didn't reach an agreement, and Vlad and rdmr would develop something of a trolling rivalry moving forward.

    Shortly after the first of three potential deals fell through, we lost another player. It was a roller coaster orbit or two for arxigos, who had gone from having roughly a million in chips after the big hand which eliminated Odonkor1, to a stack of just 135,605. With 45,000 in the middle as the cards were dealt, arxigos put out a committing bet of 105,000 which chipleader rdmr called. Now viebu bumped the price of poker up to 450,000, leading to arxigos calling off his remaining 30,605 and rmdr getting out of the way.

    viebu: [6h][Td][Ad][Ah]
    arxigos: [Jh][Qh][9d][Th]

    The flop was the [3c][8h][6d], giving arxigos a gutshot, but veibu's aces were still in the lead. The turn was the [6s], which discounted the aces giving viebu a set of sixes, and the [4c] on the river changed nothing. Konstantinos "arxigos" Nanos collected $24,525 for 5th.


    Konstantinos "arxigos" Nanos

    Now down to four, the players decided to consider a chop once again. Vovtroy had won a few pots off of rdmr by this point, giving him the chiplead.

    "Oh you're that rich Russian whale. don't worry, we'll deal when he busts," said rdmr of vovtroy, perhaps with a tongue firmly in his cheek, as one quick Google of Vlad shows he could very well be rich, but he's far from a cash machine.

    The next player to exit was Shhh00kem of Canada. With just under 18 big blinds he held the shallowest stack of the final four, so would need to make something happen to get back in this thing. After rdmr made it 75,000 to go, Shhh00kem raised to 240,000 - a large percentage of his chips. Rdmr wasted no time in setting his opponent all-in, which was called.

    Shhh00kem: [As][Jd][Ks][3d]
    rdmr: [Qs][Ah][Ad][6d]

    To the flop we went, and it arrived with the [7c][6c][4h] - nothing for Shhh00kem. The [7s] on the turn changed nothing, and although the [js] on the river gave him two pair, it wasn't enough to beat rdmr's aces and sevens. For 4th place Shhh00kem won $34,335.

    Once again the tournament was paused to discuss a deal, and once again there was no agreement.


    As rdmr's stack grew, vovtroy's shrank. With the stacks at 3M for rdmr, 1.7M for viebu and 947,466 for vovtroy, the Russian found a much needed double up through the chip leader. The blinds had gone up to 20,000/40,000 and vovtroy opened for 84,000 only to see rdmr raise to 292,000, which was called.

    We went to a flop of [7s][Ts][Jd] and after rdmr bet 624,000 - just about all of his opponents stack - vovtroy put his remaining chips in and was called.

    rdmr: [8s][Qs][2h][Ah]
    vovtroy: [Qh][3h][7d][Ks]

    Both players had draws a plenty, and the turn was always going to be an action card. It was the [8c], giving rdmr a pair, but the [9h] gave both players a straight. As vovtroy's was higher, he took down the pot and shot up to 1,934,932.

    Not long after vovtroy became chipleader again, taking the role of consistent aggresor, but soon lost a big to his rival rdmr. Vlad dropped to around 1,000,000 while the other had about 2,300,000 each. Just a few hands later with the blinds at 25,000/50,000 it was viebu's turn to take a commanding lead, with roughly 2,800,000 to vovtroy's 1,400,000 and rdmr's 1,500,000.

    The fall of vovtroy

    We would lose Vladimir 'vovtroy' Troyanovskiy in third. The blinds were now 30,000/60,000 and vovtroy opened to 120,000, finding a caller in his nemesis rdmr. The flop of [8s][4c][3s] saw rdmr fire out 144,000, which was called, resulting in the [kc] on the turn. Leading out again was rdmr with a bet of 588,000, and now vovtroy moved all-in for 767,652 which was called.

    rdmr: [6s][7h][5s][7c]
    vovtroy: [Jd][9c][Jc][3h]

    Troyanovskiy was ahead but rdmr had a huge drawing hand. The [kc] on the turn only improved vovtroy's hand, adding a club flush draw, but the [4s] on the river completed rdmr's spade flush draw and sent the Russian to the rail with third place money of $50,276.25.


    It would take just one hand of heads-up play before another deal was discussed. "Fine to just play for bracelet and 5k, so up to u," said rdmr, to which viebu responded "50 50 buddy, that's my minimum".

    But after the numbers were presented - $78,824.83 for rdmr, $78,040.17 for viebu with $5,000 left to play for - both players agreed and after four attempts, a deal was made. With a ton of money each locked up, the players wished each other luck and we got right back to the action.

    The final stretch

    It was a topsy turvy head-up war which at times saw both players have a demanding lead over the other. Ultimately though it was Israel's viebu who would come out victorious.

    At the beginning of the final hand, rdmr had just 671,228 to viebu's 5,099,772. It was a timid start to the hand, with viebu simply completing the 80,000 big blind and rdmr checking his option. The flop came the [2s][Th][6h] and rdmr bet 99,200, only to see viebu raise 358,400 to 457,600. Now rdmr moved all-in for 591,228 and viebu called the remaining 133,628.

    rdmr: [Td][Jc][5s][3s]
    viebu: [7s][6s][8s][2c]

    viebu's twos and sixes were ahead of rdmr's tens, but there was still hope. The [ad] on the turn didn't provide much help though, and the [8d] on the river only improved viebu's hand to eights and sixes.


    A big congratulations to our winner, viebu, who took down $83,040.17 for his first WCOOP championship, and also to rdmr, who wins a mighty fine $78,824.83 for finishing second.

    WCOOP-35: $320+R PL Omaha [6-Max]
Entries: 553 (649 rebuys and 433 add-ons)
    Prize pool: $490,500
    Places paid: 72

    1. viebu (Israel) $83,040.17*
    2. rmdr (Germany) $78,824.83*
    3. Vladimir 'vovtroy' Troyanovskiy (Russia) $50,276.25
    4. Shhh00kem (Canada) $34,335.00
    5. Konstantinos "arxigos" Nanos (Austria) $24,525.00
    6. Joel "Odonkor1" Nordkvist (Sweden) $15,696.00

    *indicates prize money after a heads-up deal was made

    There are plenty of WCOOP events left for you to play leading up to the Main Event on September 27th - check out the schedule here.

    Don't have a PokerStars account? Then what are you waiting for - sign up today.

    Jack Stanton is a professional journalist and a freelance writer for PokerStars.

  • 17 September

    WCOOP 2015: ekziter denies Adamyid to win Event 33 ($700 FL Badugi Championship)

    It was a small tournament but a talented tournament and an often-viewed tournament as it got deeper. Badugi tournaments don't generally draw the same crowd you might see in your standard, No Limit Hold'em, bet it and forget affair. You have to intenti...

  • 17 September

    WCOOP 2015: aricontre denies RuiNF second bracelet and wins Super Tuesday SE Event #31 ($1,050 NL)

    It's been a good week for Rui "RuiNF" Ferreira who won Event #14 and notched his first WCOOP victory (but second overall COOP title). Five days later in WCOOP Event #31, Rui "RuiNF" Ferreira's good fortune continued as he advanced to the final table in a marathon-like Battle Royale that seemed like it would never end. Alas, Ferreira luck finally ran its course when he busted in fourth place after getting ambushed by aricontre's pocket Aces. Some of that "good juju" was transferred from Ferreira to aricontre, who rallied back from a 3-1 deficit during a grueling hour-long heads-up match to win Event #31.

    2015 WCOOP Event #31 $1,050 NL Super Tuesday Special Edition drew 1,624 runners. The created a prize pool worth $1,624,00. The top 198 places paid out with $272,020.00 set aside for the champion.

    The Super Tuesday SE Day 1 ended with only 58 players making the cut. Canada's bluffyou15 ended Day 1 as the big stack with 962K.

    The action Day 2 picked up early on and went from a meandering to brisk pace. With 27 to go RuiNF out in fron with 1.8M. With 19 to go ¿¿toneecho?? surged over 2M and seized the lead when [Jh][Jd] held up against Be@trixKiddo's [Ah][Kd].

    With 11 left in the hunt, Hoegh93 catapulted into the lead after doubling up with [Kd][Kh] against WhaTisL0v3's [Ad][Jh]. WhaTisL0v3 flopped a Broadway straight, but Hoegh93 flopped a set and turned a boat.

    With ten to go, action went hand-for-hand, Brazil's paranoid999 failed to double up with a dominated [Kd][Ts] against bartek901's [As][Kc]. An Ace on the flop sealed paranoid999's fate in tenth place.


    WCOOP Event #31 - Final Table Chip Counts:
    Seat 1: onel4play (1,517,575)
    Seat 2: WhaTisL0v3 (843,808)
    Seat 3: Hoegh93 (3,234,485)
    Seat 4: ¿¿toneecho?? (2,203,987)
    Seat 5: RuiNF (190,2073)
    Seat 6: bartek901 (1,535,418)
    Seat 7: aricontre (1,192,241)
    Seat 8: bluffyou15 (2,892,776)
    Seat 9: TISSO1709 (917,637)

    The final table commenced during Level 42 with blinds at 15K/30K and a 3,750 ante. Denmark's Hoegh93 sat atop the big stack with 3.2M, while Malta's WhaTisL0v3 was the shorty with 843K. The final table included Rui "RuiNF" Ferreira, who won a 2014 SCOOP and shipped a WCOOP five days ago. Meanwhile, Javier "aricontre" Contreras once went deep at the EPT11 London and he once finished third in the Sunday Million.

    By the end of Level 43, bluffyou15 took over the lead and passed 4M when bluffyou15's [Jc][9c] outflopped ¿¿toneecho??'s [As][Ks] to win a 2.1M pot. The short stack was aricontre with 890K.

    onel4play eliminated in 9th place

    After almost an hour of inaction, we saw our first bustout at the final table. Short-stacked onel4play open-shoved for 286,420 with [As][7d] and WhaTisL0v3 called with [6s][6d]. The board ran out [Qs][6h][5c][Tc][Jd]. WhaTisL0v3 flopped a set of sixes and sealed the deal. For a ninth place finish, Romania's onel4play took home $16,727.20.

    With eight remaining, bluffyou15 led with 4.3M and bartek901 was right behind with 3.95M. Meanwhile, RuiNF was short worth 818K.

    Hoegh93 eliminated in 8th place

    It's never pretty to get it all in with A-Q vs. Big Slick. Alas, Hoegh93 min-raised to 90,000, bartek901 re-raised to 219,500, Hoegh93 four-bet shoved for 869,697 with [Ad][Qc], and bartek901 called with [As][Kc]. Neither player improved on a board of [9s][3s][2d][3h][7c] and bartek901 won the pot with Ace-King-kicker. For eighth place, Hoegh93 earned $30,856.00.

    With seven to go, bartek901 led with 4.5M and bluffyou15 was not far behind with 4.1M. The shorty was ¿¿toneecho?? with 500K.

    ¿¿toneecho?? eliminated in 7th place

    Another incident of A-Q vs. A-K. This one was borderline regicide... aricontre opened to 153,000, WhaTisL0v3 shoved all-in for 1,099,409 with [Ad][Qd], ¿¿toneecho?? called all-in for 668,428 with [Ah][Kc]. The board ran out [5s][3d][2h][Qc][7h]. WhaTisL0v3 turned a pair of Queens to win the pot. ¿¿toneecho??'s Big Slick never improved and even missed a gutshot Wheel draw for a potential chopped pot. For a seventh-place finish, ¿¿toneecho?? earned $47,096.00.

    With six remaining RuiNF was the new leader with 3.5M, but the shortstack -- TISSO1709 -- had 2.2M.

    TISSO1709 eliminated in 6th place

    Six-handed lasted a full level before someone busted... aricontre opened to 184,000, TISSO1709 shoved for 1,313,575 with, and aricontre called with [As][8h]. The board finished up [Tc][Td][4d][7c][9s] and neither player improved, yet aricontre won the pot with an Ace-nine-kicker. Germany's TISSO1709 was knocked out in sixth place, which paid out $63,336.00.

    With five remaining and the final table approaching its fourth hour... aricontre rocketed to over 7.3M, followed by RuiNF (2.7M), bluffyou15 (2.6M), WhaTisL0v3 (2M), and bartek901 (1.4M).

    WhaTisL0v3 eliminated in 5th place

    Five-handed went quick all things considered. WhaTisL0v3 bombed it all-in for 1,305,832 with [Kc][Jd] and aricontre called with [As][Qs]. The flop was [Jc][Td][2d] and WhaTisL0v3 took the lead. The turn was the [6h] and the river was the [Qc], which improved aricontre to a pair of Queens. WhaTisL0v3 was dunzo in fifth place, which paid out $7,9576.00.

    With four to go, aricontre was still ahead with 7.6M, followed by bartek901 (3.8M), RuiNF (2.9M), and bluffyou15 (1.7M)

    RuiNF eliminated in 4th place

    Looks like RuiNF will have to wait another day to win a second WCOOP bracelet... aricontre opened to 246,000, RuiNF bombed it all-in for 2,594,497, bartek901 shoved for 4,482,138, and aricontre called all-in for 4,155,252. Three-way.

    aricontre: [Ah][As]
    bartek901: [9h][9s]
    RuiNF: [Ad][Qc]

    Aces in a three-way pot made aricontre nervous. The board ran out [Ks][7c][5d][Jc][6d]. Pocket Aces held up for aricontre, who won both the main pot and the side pot. bartek901's pocket nines were no good and bartek901 was crippled with a left with barely 80K. RuiNF failed to improve A-Q and busted out in fourth place, which paid out $110,432.00.

    bartek901 eliminated in 3rd place

    Two hands later, it was all over. bartek901 called all-in for 107,658 with [Ad][3s] but ran into aricontre's [Jh][Jd]. The board finished up [8d][4s][2h][Jc][6c] and aricontre won with a set of Jacks. Mexico's bartek901 earned $150,220.00 for a third-place finish.

    HEADS-UP: aricontre (United Kingdom) vs. bluffyou15 (Canada)
    Seat 7: aricontre (11,747,887)
    Seat 8: bluffyou15 (4,492,113)

    With two to go, aricontre appeared to have a decent edge. This matched lasted approximately an hour before someone finally went down.

    After the first thirty minutes, bluffyou15 pulled even after winning a 2.5M pot with two pair. The tides had turned and bluffyou15 was ahead 3-1 in chips. But then aricontre embarked on a tsunami of a rush with the biggest destruction coming when aricontre won an 8M pot by snapping off bluffyou15's [Qs][Qd] with [9s][8c] (for a turned straight to beat two pair). The two pulled even and at that juncture, aricontre never looked back.

    bluffyou15 eliminated in 2nd place; aricontre wins WCOOP Event #31 Super Tuesday SE!

    Once aricontre saw daylight and pulled even, it was only a matter of time before this event was over...  aricontre dragged 12 out of the last 13 hands to bink this tournament.

    On the final hand...  bluffyou15 trailed 11.9M to 4.3M... bluffyou15 min-raised 280,000, aricontre re-raised to 847,029, bluffyou15 four-bet shoved for 4,296,882 with [Ad][9h], and aricontre called with [Ah][Th]. Neither player improved on a board of [Jd][6d][5h][8d][4c]. aricontre won the pot with an Ace-ten kicker.

    For a runner-up finish, bluffyou15 earned $19,8940.00.

    Congrats to Javier "aricontre" Contreras for winning Event #31 Super Tuesday SE. First place paid out $272,020.00.

    WCOOP-31: $1,050 NL Hold'em (Super Tuesday SE)
    Entrants: 1,624
    Prize Pool: $1,624,00
    Places Paid: 198

    1. aricontre (United Kingdom) $272,020.00
    2. luffyou15 (Canada) $198,940.00
    3. bartek901 (Mexico) $150,220.00
    4. Rui "RuiNF" Ferreira $110,432.00
    5. WhaTisL0v3 (Malta) $79,576.00
    6. TISSO1709 (Germany) $63,336.00
    7. ¿¿toneecho?? (United Kingdom) $47,096.00
    8. Hoegh93 (Denmark) $30,856.00
    9. onel4play (Romania) $16,727.20

     Visit the WCOOP home page for a complete schedule of remaining events. Plus, find out who is in contention for Player of the Series.

    Want to join in on the action at PokerStars? Click here and sign up for an account and start playing!

    Pauly McGuire is an author and freelance contributor to PokerStars.

  • 17 September

    WCOOP 2015: gettingpwned wins second COOP title in Event #32, $1,040 FL Omaha Hi/Lo Championship

    Conquering any of the tournaments necessary to become a PokerStars Triple COOP winner is a tough job, but titles in the annual Turbo Championship are particularly tough to come buy since the fields are generally enormous and the turbo structures make t...

  • 16 September

    WCOOP 2015: TIETYMM puts a bow on Event #29, $700 Stud Championship

    Every poker variant is a skill game. But seven-card Stud, with dead cards to keep track of and more betting streets than other games, has long been considered one of the most demanding of its players. That often means smaller crowds playing Stud than o...

  • 16 September

    WCOOP 2015: Sweden’s bajskorven8 notches second WCOOP bracelet with 6-Max win in Event #28

    Four years ago at the 2011 WCOOP, bajskorven8 went on a rush to win a Heads-Up event to secure a first WCOOP bracelet. With nine players remaining in this year's Event #28, bajskorven8 seized the lead. At that point, only eight other players stood in t...

  • 16 September

    WCOOP 2015: wiisssppppaa quietly wins the “small matter” of $275,850 in E#26

    It started with a tweet...

    It seems like it was a good Sunday for Andy 'wiisssppppaa' Taylor - a British online pro with more than $1M in online tournament earnings. On Monday he celebrated a successful day by returning to play in Event#26 of the WCOOP 2015 - a $700 special edition of the Sunday Million. He entered the day 92nd of a remaining 256, and sent out a tweet to his followers letting them know.

    Won the turbo MD yest for 14k & a few other deep runs along with 92/256 WCOOP milly back ina few hrs playing for the small matter off $356k

    — wiisssppppaa (@lllmurphlll) September 14, 2022

    So on Tuesday, it was somewhat odd to see that wiisssppppaa hadn't tweeted at all.

    You see, he'd made the final table of 9 in this event - which had 
 entries and a prize pool of $2,272,970. But there was no word from Taylor on Twitter of this achievement. I assumed wiisssppppaa was just quiet by name, quiet by nature. He simply sat down at his computer on Tuesday evening and went to work.

    And then he went and won it. His first WCOOP title, and biggest online score to date in the staggering $275,850.02 first place prize (following a four-way deal). Well wiisssppppaa, if you won't give yourself a shout out - we'll do it for you.

    The final table

    Seat 1: ham1l_I0n (Ukraine) 4,709,670
    Seat 2: Thor 'osten' Hansen (Norway) 3,972,325
    Seat 3: Andy 'wiisssppppaa' Taylor (United Kingdom) 2,562,273
    Seat 4: nemesis278 (Russia) 5,486,853
    Seat 5: Keith 'Kungfumonk' Johnson (United Kingdom) 1,553,483
    Seat 6: ModzillaPL (Canada) 5,028,414
    Seat 7: flopped6810 (Canada) 2,832,943
    Seat 8: asq201 (Australia) 3,792,176
    Seat 9: ratboy x (Canada) 4,241,863


    This was a strong line-up. Canada's ModzillaPL had more than $1.3m in tournament winnings, and was no stranger to massive final tables after finishing 7th in the 9th anniversary Sunday Million $9m guaranteed in March 2015 for $336,550. We also had two other players based in Canada: flopped6810 is an accomplished player with a Sunday Warm Up win under his belt, while ratboy x has more than half a million in winnings.

    Our chipleader coming into this event was Russia's nemesis278, whose biggest tournament score came from a win in the Sunday Storm for $29k in June 2014, while Keith 'Kungfumonk' Johnson is a well-respected British high-stakes player who took down the inaugural Eureka Poker Tour title for €58,400 back in 2011 and won the €2k IPT High Roller in March of this year for €144,500.

    Then we had ham1l_I0n from the Ukraine, a regular at the $100/$200 6-max cash tables on PokerStars, and asq201 from Australia. But arguably the player we were most happy to see at this final table was Thor 'osten' Hansen - a legendary player considered the "Godfather of Norwegian poker". Not only does Hansen have a WCOOP title, he's also living an incredible and inspirational life - check out this heart-warming interview with Sarah Herring at EPT11 Barcelona in 2014 and you'll see what I mean.

    Thumbnail image for ESPT_Barcelona-277_Thor Hansen.jpg

    Thor 'osten' Hansen - the Godfather of Norwegian poker

    Cards in the air

    It was a dream start for wiisssppppaa. Having entered the final nine with the second lowest chip stack, he immediately doubled up and shot into second place. With the blinds at 50,000/100,000/12,500, ham1l_I0n min-opened and Thor 'osten' Hansen three-bet to 862,500. The hefty raise didn't scare wiisssppppaa though, who four-bet jammed all in for 2,549,773 total. The rest of the players folded as did the original raiser, leaving osten to make the call.

    wiisssppppaa: [kc][ac]
    osten: [jc][jd]

    The flop fell [7c][3s][2h] - not much help to the player at risk. The turn, however, was a big help - the [8c] meant any club, ace or king would secure the double up for wiisssppppaa. The [3c] on the river completed his flush and he was now sitting pretty.

    Shortly after we lost our first player. Keith 'Kungfumonk' Johnson came into the final table with the shallowest stack and had to get busy early. With a stack of just under 15 big blinds he opened to 200,000, and it folded around to nemesis278 in the big blind who made the call. The flop came [jd][ah][6h] which nemesis278 checked over to the original raiser, who put out a continuation bet of 240,000. Now nemesis278 shoved and Johnson snap called. He was in front with the [qh][ad] but he'd need to hold against his opponent's [kh][jh]. The [8d] on the turn was safe, but the river proved deadly; the [jc] gave nemesis278 trips and the Kungfumonk couldn't live to fight another day. Johnson's consolation prize for 9th? $18,183.76.

    The action never stops

    The next player to have his tournament on the line was Norway's Thor 'osten' Hansen, who doubled up with [Jc][Js] against ModzillaPL's [as][qc], then picked up another 700k pot shortly after to get himself right back in it.

    Flopped6810 wouldn't be so lucky. With the blinds now 60,000/120,000/15,000, ham1l_Ion made it 240,000 and the action folded to flopped6810 in the big blind who shoved for 2,076,891 and was called. It was [as][ts] for flopped6810, and he'd need help against his opponent's [ks][ad] - but it wasn't to be. The board ran out [js][kd][5c][5h][9s] and the Canadian won $29,548.61 for his 8th place finish.

    Having picked up some steam not too long prior, the legend that is Thor 'osten' Hansen would leave this tournament in 7th. The blinds had gone up again and asq201 min-opened only to see osten shove for 2,628,104. He called and the cards were revealed: [Qs][Ac] for osten against the [jh][js] of asq201. It was a race we'd already seen tonight and on that occasion osten won the flip, but he couldn't do it twice. No ace or queen on the board meant the "Godfather of Norwegian poker" became our 7th place finisher - good for $52,278.31.

    We were down to six players. In just one hand we'd be down to four.

    Double elimination? Let's make a deal

    Poker can be a cruel game. Try taking a look at the image below and telling us otherwise.


    The blinds were 80,000/160,000/20,000 and ModzillaPL made it 352,000 to play. ratboy x called, and nemesis278 bumped the price of poker up to 1,024,000. Now ModzillaPL shoved enough to put both players all-in, and ratboy x called (for 3,926,444) as did nemesis278 (for 4,349,606). Nemesis278 had the hand he'd been waiting for - [as][ah], while ratboy x had the second best holding with [kc][ks], and trailing them all was the original raiser with [qd][qs]. ratboy x faced guaranteed elimination unless a king peeled off, while ModzillaPL would lose more than half his stack.

    As you can see from the image above, lady luck shone on ModzillaPL in this one. Unlucky nemesis278, but we hope you enjoy the $97,737.71 for 5th. Ratboy x, who had less chips at the beginning of the hand, was our 6th place finisher and won $75,008.01.

    And how did the other players react at this? Well, the instant pay jump up two spots was very welcome indeed.

    "Cooler town" said asq201, while wiisssppppaa simply said "Like!"

    The 4 remaining players agreed to view ICM chop numbers, and were presented with the following amounts.

    ModzillaPL: $278,109.54
    wiisssppppaa: $243,850.02
    asq201: $218,114.27
    ham1l_I0n: $172,119.54


    $30,000 was left to play for the winner. The players seemed to be on the verge of agreeing, before the shortest stack ham1l_I0n said "$188,000 and I agree" - which was not met well by wiisssppppaa who replied "Good luck with that". It was a feeling MozillaPL, the monster chip leader, shared - but asq201 said he was willing to give up the roughly $16,000 to secure the deal. He did, and the deal was done. The cards were back in the virtual air.

    ham1l_I0n and asq201 double, then one of them busts

    Having just locked up $188,000, the short stack got a much-needed double up through second shortest, when in a blind versus blind hand ham1l_I0n won with pocket aces against asq201's ace jack.

    The pain was short lived as asq201 then doubled up himself through the chip leader. Asq201 moved all-in for 3,043,241 under the gun and was called by ModzillaPL in the big blind, who was way ahead with [ah][qd] against [5d][as]. The flop was favourable to asq201 though, and the eventual board of [ts][5h][3d][3c][6h] secured the win.

    The player shortest going into the deal would be the first to exit after it. ham1l_I0n shoved for his last 1,796,006 with [qh][8c] only to run into the pocket rockets of wiisssppppaa, and that was all she wrote - we were down to three.

    The two big stacks seemed to be running away with it at first, but asq201 staged quite a comeback, managing to get his stack above 6,000,000. Then, with the blinds at 100,000/200,000/25,000 he had his breakthrough.

    Wiisssppppaa raised to 450000, ModzillaPL folded and asq201 three-bet to 996,000. After the Brit made the call, we saw a flop of [Ts][Qs][Qh] which caused asq201 to continue his aggression with a 675,000 bet. Now wiisssppppaa elected to raise 925,000 more to 1,600,000 only for asq201 to shove for 5,635,205 which was called.


    asq201: [Td][Th]
    wiisssppppaa: [Js][9s]

    Both players had flopped huge, but the full house of asq201 was way ahead. Only the king or eight of spades could win it for wiisssppppaa - meaning the [as] turn and [ad] river were no good. A big pot shipped to asq201 and wiisssppppaa was down to just over 3 million.

    But this is poker, and anything can happen...

    Wiisssppppaa's first double up came when his [4s][4d] held up against ModzillaPL's [as][qs]. Then he did it again four hands later, when his [jd][qs] outflopped ModzillaPL's [7c][7d]. Back up to almost 14,000,000, the momentum was truly on the Brit's side, but asq201 wasn't being shy about putting chips in the middle either. The player who gave up $16,000 earlier became an even bigger chipleader when he took down an almost 6,000,000 pot by flopping a flush and checking it all the way against wiisssppppaa. But in the very next hand the Brit doubled up again when his [5h][5d] held up against the [ad][kd] of asq201.

    Exhausting this poker business isn't it?

    Well, there was no rest for the wicked as we soon had our third place finisher. ModzillaPL had been chipleader for much of the final table, but with a few flips having gone against him, he found himself all-in on a board of [3d][kh][2s][8d] with [5d][6d] chasing either a diamond or a four against asq201's set of threes. The [ah] on the river changed nothing though, and the player who locked up the most money in this tournament was gone, taking his $278,109.54 and hitting the rail.

    The chip stacks were fairly even throughout the heads-up battle, until one massive hand swung the tournament in the Brit's direction. Wiisssppppaa opened the button to 675,000 (with blinds at 150,000/300,000/37,500) and faced a three-bet from asq201 to 1,200,000. After calling, the flop fell [ks][3d][9s] and asq201 continued for 1,237,500, which again was called. Now asq201 opted to check, leading to a bet of 3,465,000 from wiisssppppaa. Asq201 called and the river was the [6h], and he checked it once more. Wiisssppppaa took his time and shoved for 11,936,412 with 11,880,000 in the middle. Asq201 went deep into the tank and eventually folded.

    "I think I folded the best hand," asq201 wrote in the chat.

    "I think you did too," came the response.

    And three hands later it was over. A pre-flop betting war led to an all confrontation between wiisssppppaa's [9c][9h] and dominating chipstack against asq201's [ac][js]. The flop of [4c][ks][9s] practically sealed our second place finisher's fate, but the [2s] on the turn provided some hope for a flush. The [ah] was not the suit he was looking for though, and the Brit took this one down for his first WCOOP title and biggest online score to date.


    A big shout out to Andy 'wiisssppppaa' Taylor - winner of Event#26.

    WCOOP-26: $700 NLHE [Sunday Million SE] $1.5M Guaranteed
Entries: 3,418

    Prize pool: $2,272,970
    Places paid: 432

    1. Andy 'wiisssppppaa' Taylor (United Kingdom) $275,850.02*
    2. asq201 (Australia) $202,233.81*
    3. ModzillaPL (Canada) $278,109.54*
    4. ham1l_I0n (Ukraine) $188,000*
    5. nemesis278 (Russia) $97,737.71
    6. ratboy x (Canada) $75,008.01
    7. Thor 'osten' Hansen (Norway) $52,278.31
    8. flopped6810 (Canada) $29,548.61
    9. Keith 'Kungfumonk' Johnson (United Kingdom) $18,183.76

    *indicates prize money after a four-way deal was made

    Fancy winning a tournament quietly yourself? There are plenty of WCOOP events left for you to play.

    Don't have a PokerStars account? Then what are you waiting for - sign up today.

    Jack Stanton is a professional journalist and a freelance writer for PokerStars.

  • 15 September

    WCOOP 2015: Germany’s tobi123456 beats Andrew “RunThisTable” Lichtenberger heads-up to win High-Roller Event #24 ($10,300 NL 8-Max, Optional Re-Entry)

    Germany's tobi123456 thwarted Billy "b8chatz" Chattaway's attempt at winning an elusive Triple COOP. Earlier this year, 8chatz won a TCOOP and SCOOP, but needed a WCOOP win to secure a Triple COOP. With four remaining, tobi123456 picked off b8chatz in ...

  • 15 September

    WCOOP 2015: MaPuHo4Ka09 walks the line for $150K in Event #24, $215 NLHE (Sunday Warm-Up SE)

    Gamble. Too much of it leaves a poker player's fate to the whims of the deck. Too little, though it can result in an opportunity to climb the pay ladder, does the same. Finding the sweet spot is all about shifting gears as necessary, and while doing so...

  • 14 September

    Linda Johnson - WPT Deepstacks in Immokalee, Florida

    WPT Deepstacks in Immokalee, Florida After hosting two great Card Player Cruises trips on the beautiful Oasis of the Seas, Jan Fisher and I rented a car and drove to ...

  • 14 September

    WCOOP 2015: Arctic-cool Trymean77 ices victory Event #23 ($215 PLO KO)

    PLO is treacherous enough, but the Knockout element added a succulent financial incentive to bust as many opponents as possible. Sweden's Trymean77 survived a difficult final table in Event #23 that included kuhns89 (three-time SCOOP champion) and theN...

  • 12 September

    MPC23 High Roller: All glory to James Chen

    Today saw once again what the Macau Poker Cup has become renowned for - records broken! The record 75-player MPC23 High Roller field just worked its way down to a champion after one of the fastest final tables in MPC history. And that champion was T...

  • 12 September

    MPC23: High Roller live updates

    3:25pm: Level 11 begins, blinds 4,000/8,000 (1,000) 3:10pm: No luck for Lin Team PokerStars Pro Celin Lin was just eliminated by way of a bad beat from WSOP APAC champion Scott Davies. Lin made a preflop open to 13,500 and after a call from her fi...

  • 12 September

    2015 WCOOP: Bulgaria’s Liskacha survives final table quagmire to win Super-KO Event #16 ($1,050 NL Thursday Thrill SE)

    Marathon final tables test your patience and discipline. You can have all the skill and ability in the world, but if you cannot maintain focus for an extended period of time, then you're doomed to fail when it counts the most. The final table in WCOOP Event #16 hit a lull when it got down to six players. During that 100-minute stretch, the entire dynamic of the final table had shifted and changed a dozen times. Coming out of that arduous dead zone, Liskacha shifted gears into aggro-mode. The Bulgarian chipped up to an immense lead and eventually got down to heads-up against Poland's actaml. Liskacha failed to put actaml away early and the short stack went into full-blown "alligator blood" mode to extend their battle to over 90 minutes. But similar to the extended lull in the middle of the final table, Liskacha hunkered down and regained focus. Liskacha patiently waited for another opportunity to finish off actaml and finally landed a crushing blow to become the newest WCOOP champ.

    2015 WCOOP Event #16 $1,050 NL Hold'em (Progressive Super-Knockout, Thursday Thrill Special Edition) attracted 1,828 runners to this two-day affair. They contributed to a total prize pool worth $1,828,000, with a fair split of $914,000 devoted to the regular prize pool and bounty prize pool. The top 216 places paid out with $149,941.70 set aside to the champion. In this Progressive Super-KO format, each player begins with a $500 bounty and whenever someone is eliminated, the winning player collects half the bounty and the other half is added to their initial bounty.

    Day 1 ended with 63 players advancing to Day 2 and marty7 (United Kingdom) sat in the top spot with 744K.

    Day 2 progressed slowly and the final table was even slower. When action started hand-for-hand with 10 remaining, three big stacks were jockeying for the top spot: Liskacha (Bulgaria) held the lead with 3.1M, with actaml (Poland) and chiconogue (Brazil) right behind. UK's pablotenisis was the shortest stack with barely 420K. One of the other short stacks, Vitorbrasil, made a final stand with [2c][2h] against Howié's [Kh][Qh]. Vitorbrasil's pocket deuces held up through the turn but the [Qc] spiked on the river and Howié won the pot. Vitorbrasil bubbled off the final table in tenth place, which paid out $7,220.60. Howié picked up a bounty worth $4,796.87 for picking off Vitorbrasil and Howié's own bounty increased to $14,881.81.


    WCOOP Event #16 - Final Table Chip Counts:
    Seat 1: Howié (2,408,904)
    Seat 2: Negriin (1,268,355)
    Seat 3: pablotenisis (318,556)
    Seat 4: actaml (3,500,108)
    Seat 5: Liskacha (3,589,587)
    Seat 6: chiconogue (3,181,272)
    Seat 7: leopeluca (1,605,675)
    Seat 8: FaZeHigh (1,481,587)
    Seat 9: gray31 (925,956)

    The final table commenced during Level 43 with blinds at 17.5K/35K and a 4,375 ante. Liskacha held the lead with approximately 3.6M, and pablotenisis was struggling with only 318K. The final table featured Francisco 'chiconogue' Nogueira, who won a WCOOP last year.

    BOB DYLAN'S BLUES: pablotenisis eliminated in 9th place

    The final table quickly saw an exit when one of the shorties hit the road... pablotenisis insta-shoved for 274,806 and FaZeHigh re-shoved for 1,420,337, and everyone else bailed. Heads-up. FaZeHigh was ahead with [Qc][Qs] against pablotenisis's [Kc][Js]. The board ran out [9h][7d][2d][Tc][4h]. Although pablotenisis turned a gutshot draw, it never filled in and pablotenisis failed to improve. FaZeHigh faded a straight and pocket Queens held up for the win. For a ninth-place finish, pablotenisis earned $9,140.00.

    DOWN THE HIGHWAY: gray31 eliminated in 8th place

    The final table played for almost two levels before we saw a second elimination. One of the biggies took out a small stack... actaml min-raised to 90,000 and gray31 called from the big blind. Both players checked the flop of [5h][3h][3s]. When the [Qs] fell on the turn, gray31 fired out 112,500, actaml bumped it to 315,000, and gray31 called. The [2h] hit the river, gray31 shoved for 377,873 and actaml called.

    gray31: [7h][4h]
    actaml: [5c][5s]

    Although gray31 rivered a flush, it was meaningless because actaml flopped a full house. Poland's actaml won the pot and collected $5,113.28 for busting gray31 and their own bounty increased to $21,417.95. Alas, Canada's gray31 was knocked out in eighth place and took home $15,995.00.

    THE GIRL FROM NORTH COUNTRY: Howié eliminated in 7th place

    Howié opened to 111,000, actaml called, and chiconogue called. The flop was [Ah][Th][3h] chiconogue checked, Howié bet 200,875, actaml called, and chiconogue folded. Heads-up. All the money went in on the turn when the [Jc] fell.

    Howié: [Ad][Kd]
    actaml: [Qh][9h]

    Howié flopped top pair, but actaml flopped a flush. The [Tc] on the river did not help Howié. Poland's actaml won the pot and Howié busted out in seventh place, which paid out $25,135.00. Poland's actaml earned another bounty. This one was worth $7,440.91, and actaml's own bounty increased to $28,858.85. With six to go, actaml was closing in on 6M and leopeluca was last with 866K.


    The dreaded slowdown. With six left in the hunt, the lead changed hands several times, but no one was ever close to busting. Negriin became the new leader with 5.7M, while FaZeHigh was the shorty with 1.1M.

    A HARD RAIN'S GONNA FALL: FaZeHigh eliminated in 6th place

    Six-handed lasted nearly 100 minutes before someone finally bowed out. FaZeHigh bombed it all-in for 994,685 with [As][Qd] and actaml woke up with [Jd][Jh]. The board ran out [Tc][4h][2s][Jc][Qh]. FaZeHigh turned a Broadway gutshot draw, but never got there on the river. Instead, FaZeHigh backdoored a pair of Queens, which were no match against actaml's set of Jacks (which popped up on the turn). FaZeHigh busted in sixth place, which paid out $34,275.00. Poland's actaml earned a bounty worth $11,937 for picking off FaZeHigh and their own bounty jumped to $40,795.84.

    With five remaining, Liskacha was closing in on 7M, followed by Negriin (4.4M), actaml (3.5M), leopeluca (2.5M), and chiconogue (777K).

    TALKIN' WORLD WAR III BLUES: chiconogue eliminated in 5th place

    Five-handed lasted a couple of hands. Negriin min-raised to 200,000, super-short chiconogue moved all-in for 517,204 and Negriin called. A desperate chiconogue attempted to double up with [Kc][5c] against Negriin's [As][6s]. Although chiconogue flopped a flush draw, the Brazilian never got there. The board finished up [Jc][Jh][2c][7s][Jd] and neither player improved. Negriin won the pot with an Ace-kicker. For a fifth-place performance, chiconogue took home $43,415.00. Negriin picked up $7,015.62 for chiconogue's bounty. Meanwhile, Negriin's own bounty increased to $16,976.54.

    With four to go... Liskacha still led with 7.7M, followed by Negriin's 5.3M. Bringing up the rear was leopeluca with 2.1M.

    DON'T THINK TWICE, IT'S ALRIGHT: Negriin eliminated in 4th place

    Liskacha was in full bully mode and open-shoved for 11,243,316 and Negriin called all-in for 1,827,796 with [9c][9s]. Liskacha had overcards with [Qc][Tc]. The board finished up [Kd][Qd][8h][5h][Ad]. Liskacha flopped a pair of Queens to win the pot. Negriin was dunzo in fourth place, which paid out $61,238.00. Liskacha earned another bounty. This one was worth $8,488.27. Liskacha's own bounty was bumped up to $11,238.27.

    With three remaining, Liskacha sat atop a mountain of chips with 13.2M, followed by actaml's 3M and leopeluca's 2M.

    BLOWIN' IN THE WIND: leopeluca eliminated in 3rd place

    Liskacha went on the attack and shoved for 13,246,112 with [Qd][4c] and leopeluca called all-in for 1,577,338 with [Ac][7s]. Despite the better hand, leopeluca never improved. The board finished up [Jh][Ts][3d][9c][Qs] and Liskacha rivered a fortuitous Queen to win the pot. Argentina's leopeluca was knocked out in third place, which paid out $82,260.00. Liskacha earned another bounty -- $6,124.02 for busting leopeluca. Liskacha's own bounty increased to $17,362.28.

    HEADS-UP: actaml (Poland) vs. Liskacha (Bulgaria)
    Seat 4: actaml (3,319,050)
    Seat 5: Liskacha (14,960,950)

    Almost a 5-to-1 edge for Liskacha. The final heads-up battle would be waged over four levels.

    Level 50... actaml doubled up and avoided an elimination by making a straight with [Td][6d] against Liskacha's [Qs][Jh] and two pair. Near the end of the level, actaml struck again and doubled up a second time in a 7.5M pot that was a battle of two pair (Jacks and Eights vs. Eights and Sixes).

    Level 51... actaml dominated this level playing small ball and nearly pulled even. By the end of the level, actaml was only down 9.8M to 8.4M.

    Level 52... Liskacha applied pressure and picked up a trio of pots worth 1.2M to get back over 13M. Liskacha chipped away had actaml on the ropes for the rest of the level.

    Level 53... the final outcome would be determined less than ten hands.

    MASTERS OF WAR: actaml eliminated in 2nd place; Liskacha wins WCOOP Event #16 Super-KO!

    Going into the final hand, actaml was down to 4M and Liskacha was over 14.2M... actaml min-raised to 320,000, Liskacha bumped it up to 680,000, actaml four-bet shoved for 3,999,700 and Liskacha called. Liskacha was way ahead with [Kc][Kd] against actaml's [9h][9c]. The board finished up [Jh][7h][7c][Qh][8d] and Liskacha's Kings held up to win the pot with two pair -- Kings and sevens. Unfortunately, actaml was unable to improve and busted out in second place. Liskacha collected a bounty on actaml worth $20,397.92, and Liskacha's own bounty increased to $37,760.20.

    For a sensational runner-up performance, actaml earned $109,680.00.

    Congrats to Bulgaria's Liskacha for winning Event #16! First place paid out an impressive $149,941.70.

    WCOOP-16: $1,050 NL Hold'em (Progressive Super-Knockout, Thursday Thrill SE)
    Entrants: 1,828
    Prize Pool: $1,828,000 (Regular prize pool: $914,00; Bounty prize pool: $914,000)
    Places Paid: 216

    1. Liskacha (Bulgaria) $149,941.70 + $37,760.20 bounties
    2. actaml (Poland) $109,680.00 + $40,795.84 bounties
    3. leopeluca (Argentina) $82,260.00 + $12,248.03 bounties
    4. Negriin (Argentina) $61,238.00 + $16,976.54 bounties
    5. Francisco 'chiconogue' Nogueira (Brazil) $43,415.00 + $14,031.23 bounties
    6. FaZeHigh (Netherlands) $34,275.00 + $23,873.99 bounties
    7. Howié (Belgium) $25,135.00 + $14,881.81 bounties
    8. gray31 (Canada) $15,995.00 + $10,226.56 bounties
    9. pablotenisis (United Kingdom) $9,140.00 + $7,140.62 bounties

    Visit the WCOOP home page for a schedule of remaining events and take a peek at the leader board to find out who is in contention for Player of the Series.

    Want to play on PokerStars? Click here and sign up for an account and start playing .

    Pauly McGuire is an author and freelance contributor to PokerStars.

  • 12 September

    WCOOP 2015: Russia’s moshmachine quickly liquidates Zoom Turbo field to win Event #19 ($320 NL)

    Quads. Every poker player dreams about flopping quads and having your opponent shove into your monster hand. In the turbo-charged Event #19, Russia's moshmachine was heads-up and on the brink of elimination when moshmachine got it all in with pocket fo...

  • 11 September

    WCOOP2015: Rui “RuiNF” Ferreira adds second COOP with Event 14 win ($215 NLH Big Antes, Re-Entry)

    Tournament poker has recently begun moving towards bigger antes and running them out earlier. WCOOP Event 14 took both of those concepts and created a big tournament for the late week players. The Event 14 antes kicked in on the very first level and we...

  • 11 September

    MPC23: Pan’s push to victory!

    What a week it's been here at PokerStars LIVE Macau! A new record for the summer edition of the MPC Red Dragon saw a field of 945 where a champion has now been crowned. After three days of play it took less than six hours for that champion to emerge...

  • 11 September

    MPC23: Final table live updates

    3:35pm: Level 26 begins, blinds are 30,000/60,000 with a 5,000 ante 3:30pm: The first clash The slow start to proceedings has been broken with Tse Jui Tsai and Yue Feng Pan clashing in a recent pot. The action began with Zhixiong Tan raising to 85,...

  • 11 September

    WCOOP 2015: Hookah17 smokes heads-up field to wins Event #13 ($320 NL HU)

    When you have a user name like Hookah17, the title writes itself. Poland's Hookah17 had two perfect days of heads-up matches and faded a field of 1,021 headhunters en route to a victory in Event #13. Sometimes you have to come from behind and overpower...

  • 10 September

    WCOOP 2015: Dzmitry ‘Colisea’ Urbanovich denied fourth COOP title by Ti0373 - who wins his third

    2012 feels like a long time ago. The Olympics took place in London; Barack Obama was re-elected for his second term as US President; and The Dark Knight Rises took more than a billion dollars in cinemas around the world.

    It was also - going by his online tournament results - the best year in the history of Russian player Ti0373's career. Let's have a look at some of his 2012 results:

    1st - WCOOP-57: $530 NLHE - $182,629
    1st - WCOOP-39: $700 NLHE Heads Up - $120,600
    3rd - FTOPS Main Event - $253,932
    3rd - WCOOP-34: $320 PL Omaha - $55,560

    Pretty outstanding, by anyone's standards. Two WCOOP titles within a week of each other? Incredible.

    Well the dark knight from Russia has risen again, taking down his third WCOOP title and $20,402.23 in Event 12, a $700 NL Draw tournament.

    It wouldn't be a walk in the park though. Online poker changes faster than most games, and since 2012 strategies have evolved, training sites have become more popular, and players became a lot better. A new generation of geniuses came to fruition between 2012 and now, one of which was Poland's Dzmitry 'Colisea' Urbanovich.


    Dzmitry 'Colisea' Urbanovich close to fourth COOP title

    He won a WCOOP and SCOOP event in 2014 and his second SCOOP title in May, as well as some astonishing live results which led to us calling the last EPT season the 'year of Urbanovich'. Here are just a few of his live scores since March 2015:

    1st - EPT Grand Final Monte Carlo €100,000 Super High Roller €1,446,600 ($1,595,368)
    1st - EPT Malta €25,500 High Roller €572,300 ($605,929)
    2nd - EPT Barcelona €50,000 NLHE Super High Roller €841,500 ($949,967)
    3rd - EPT Grand Final Monte Carlo €10,200 NLHE Turbo €101,600 ($114,997)

    Both Ti0373 and Dzmitry 'Colisea' Urbanovich were on this final table. Both were chasing another WCOOP championship. But there could only be one winner.

    Here's how it happened

    Looking through the list of players who went deep in this event is like watching the sad part of an award ceremony when they show the black and white video of the people we've tragically lost; Fedor 'CrownUpGuy' Holz (33rd), Team PokerStars Pro Bertrand 'ElkY' Grospellier (31st), Ole 'wizowizo' Schemion, Kevin 'ImaLuckSac' MacPhee (24th), Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier (23rd), PokerStars Team Online's Naoya 'nkeyno' Kihara (15th - $1,020.11), Jon 'PearlJammer' Turner (11th - $1,687.10), and falling just one place shy of our final six-handed table was two-time WCOOP champion and five-time SCOOP champion Shaun Deeb (7th - $2,550.27).

    There was no rest for Naoya 'nkeyno' Kihara either, as after his deep run ended he would stay at the office (his computer) and become our tournament administrator for this event. His services would be needed as we had some deal discussions at three handed play, but we'll get to that.

    Just before we lost our 6th place finisher, here's how the final table stacked up:

    1. KornmeisterX (Germany) 287,751
    2. Dzmitry 'Colisea' Urbanovich (Poland) 237,832
    3. Ti0373 (Russia) 223,201
    4. KaptianKush (Canada) 192,104
    5. llambias (Argentina) 181,338
    6. Vladimir 'GVOZDIKA55' Shchemelev (Russia) 57,774

    Shortstack Vladimir 'GVOZDIKA55' Shchemelev was the first player to fall. The Russian banker and high-stakes player has over $1.6 million in online cash games winnings, and he's proved he knows his way around tournament play too. After discarding one card in a heads up pot with Ti0373 only to see his fellow Russian discard three, GVOZDIKA55 shoved all in for 49,654, which was called. His [ah][8c][ks][8s][3c] for a pair of eights wasn't enough to beat Ti0373's [jh][js][ts][2h][jc] for a set of jacks, and he hit the virtual rail with $3,531.15 for his efforts.

    Dzmitry 'Colisea' Urbanovich was a healthy chip leader for a while, but Ti0373 wasn't about to let his chance at a third WCOOP slip away from him. He battled his way into the chiplead not long into five-handed player, and he wouldn't relinquish the lead again.

    Next to go was the chipleader coming into the final table, Germany's KornmeisterX. It just wasn't meant to be as a few big pots didn't go his way, and he'd eventually bust to Urbanovich in an all-in pre-draw hand. Kornmeister drew one card, Urbanovich stood pat - unsurprisingly as he'd been dealt [5s][3s][ts][as][7s] for an ace-high flush. KornmeisterX's two pair, eights and threes, couldn't compete and he'd have to settle for fifth place prize money - $5,100.55.

    And then there were four

    Although Argentina's llambias was very short stacked with just 37,784 and blinds at 3000/6000, it didn't stop Ti0373 and Urbanovich from tangling with each other.


    In one big pot, Urbanovich made it 12,000 and Ti0373 bumped it up to 27,887, which was called. Both players discarded three cards, and Ti0373 lead out for a min-bet of 6,000. Urbanovich made a huge raise to 50,000 and got a call from the chipleader, and the cards were revealed: [4s][4h][6d][tc][kd] for Urbanovich, giving him a pair of fours, and [jd][ks][ad][as][8h] for Ti0373, whose pair of aces took down the hefty pot of 167,774.

    Things got worse for Urbanovich when he doubled up Canada's KaptianKush to 320,920 a few hands later, but he was still well and truly in the running for his fourth COOP title.

    However, so now was KaptianKush.

    "I can gamble I guess"

    Neither of those players would be the next to go - that duty would lie with llambias. With the blinds still at 3000/6000, the player from Argentina moved all-in for 42,284 and was called by Urbanovich, who drew three cards. Llambias drew two and then showed [3h][7h][kd][jd][ah] for just ace high, which trailed Urbanovich's pair of tens. Fourth place money was $6,669.95.


    After several orbits of three-handed play, Dzmitry 'Colisea' Urbanovich was the short stack. He was in a hand with big chipleader Ti0373 when the three players started to discuss a deal. With all three expected to hit the 'pause' button to see some chop number after the hand was over, Urbanovich typed in the chat "I can gamble I guess. GL guys" and shoved all in for 123,699 with 73,566 in the middle. It was a risky move on the verge of locking up more than third place money, especially as Ti0373 had more than 700,000 in front of him, but it worked.

    "Someone had a monster ;)" said KaptainKush, "I respect the heart if he was bluffing lol. Post HH" - meaning he was trying to get Urbanovich to reveal his hand.

    "U gonna see everything" he snapped back.

    "ye but I hate waiting" KaptianKush said, speaking for all of us watching.

    The players then saw the proposed ICM numbers:

    Ti0373: $16,745.60
    KaptianKush: $13,801.85
    Colisea: $12,788.13

    With $1,000 left to play for the winner. However, all three players decided to carry on and wished each other luck. And then almost immediately, we'd lose Urbanovich.


    Dzmitry 'Colisea' Urbanovich out in third - $10,201.10

    Urbanovich called from the small blind and Ti0373 made it 18,000 to play. There was a shove from Urbanovich for 117,385 total and it was called, leading to Urbanovich drawing three cards and his opponent taking two. Urbanovich had managed to end up with two pair, eights and sixes, but it wasn't enough - Ti0373 had a set of sixes and four time COOP winner and Poland's all time money winner Dzmitry Urbanovich was out in third place.

    From here on it was smooth sailing for Ti0373. Nothing against KaptianKush of course, he just had a pretty big mountain to climb as at one point he was outchipped ten to one.

    In the end, he moved all in for 67,545, and with a stack of 1,109,455 Ti0373 made the call and both players drew three. Once again two pair wasn't enough: KaptianKush's [3s][3c][qc][qs][js] was behind Ti0373's [tc][td][3h][7d][ts] and we had our winner.


    Congratulations to Ti0373 who took down his third WCOOP championship and a first place prize of $20,402.23.

    2012 really doesn't seem that long ago now.

    WCOOP-12: $700 NL Draw Championship
Entries: 118
    Prize pool: $78,470
    Places paid: 18

    1. Ti0373 (Russia) $20,402.23
    2. KaptianKush (Canada) $13,732.25
    3. Dzmitry 'Colisea' Urbanovich (Poland) $10,201.10
    4. llambias (Argentina) $6,669.95
    5. KornmeisterX (Germany) $5,100.55
    6. Vladimir 'GVOZDIKA55' Shchemelev (Russia) $3,531.15

    There's plenty of WCOOP action still to come - check out all the events at the WCOOP home page.

    Fancy playing a few events yourself but haven't got an account yet? Fear not - join PokerStars now.

    Jack Stanton is a professional journalist and freelance writer for PokerStars.

  • 10 September

    WCOOP 2015: Ojski1988 rejects deal, wins Event 11 ($215 NLH Progressive Super KO)

    The 2015 World Championship of Online Poker is well underway and one of the midweek games rewarded players for a little added aggression. Event 11 was a $215 buy-in No Limit Hold'em tournament with $100 going into the normal prize pool and another $100...

  • 10 September

    MPC23: Final table player profiles

    Seat 1: Tse Jui Tsai, 34 (Kao Hsiong, Taiwan) - 2,495,000 in chips 34 year-old Tse Jui Tsai is businessman from Taiwan. He learnt the game of poker from friends and his usual game is HK$100/200 cash. Tsai says the most important part of his success ...

  • 10 September

    MPC23: Tsai leads final table charge

    The MPC23 Red Dragon final table is set! It's been an exciting day here at PokerStars LIVE Macau and after six-and-a-half levels of action only nine players remain. Those lucky few will return tomorrow where one will be crowned the MPC23 Red Dragon ch...

  • 10 September

    MPC23: Day 3 live updates

    3:00pm: Cards in the air! Players have taken their seats and Day 3 is officially underway. There is no definite length to proceedings today as we'll be playing down until a nine-handed final table. Blinds begin at 5,000/10,000 with a 1,000 ante an...

  • 10 September

    WCOOP 2015: Brazil’s hellzito wins stunning 2.5 hour heads-up battle in Event #9 Super Tuesday SE [$1,050 NL]

    The final two seemed so evenly matched that it came down to a battle of contrasting styles: small ball versus big ball. Brazil's hellzito unleashed an offense that relied on blitzing tactics and winning small pots, whereas Ireland's bullyboy1978 won fe...

  • 9 September

    MPC23: Mu making waves on Day 2

    Day 2 is a wrap! The room here at PokerStars LIVE Macau is now dying down for the night after the conclusion of the MPC23 Red Dragon Day 2. Today promised to be shorter than the Day 1 flights with only six one-hour levels to play through. There were...

  • 9 September

    MPC23: Day 2 live updates

    3:30pm: Im chips up Team PokerStars Pro Vivian Im just sent Wenyi Xue to the rail and earned some much-needed chips. Im held jacks against ace-four on a board of [6c][7h][4d][5s][Tc] which were good enough to scoop the pot for an effective double up...

  • 9 September

    Daniel Negreanu - WSOP Hall of Fame 2015 Breakdown

    What is the criteria for being nominated into the Hall of Fame? It's quite simple, and people voting should read it before making their decisions this year and in future ...

  • 8 September

    WCOOP 2015: We have a two-time champ in Event #6…but it’s not a human.

    "After this is over, we should have some Klingon blood wine... that is what honourable warriors do."

    When was the last time you heard that at a poker table? Then again, when was the last time you played poker with an extraterrestrial?

    Let me explain.

    In Event #6 of the WCOOP 2015, the $700 PL Omaha [6-Max, Monday PLO SE], a champion from last year has just won their second WCOOP crown. The thing is - he says he isn't human. He actually identifies himself as a Klingon - the extraterrestrial humanoid warriors from Star Trek.


    You see, for a long time we were under the impression that Matt 'plattsburgh' Vengrin, who took this event down for $90,157.72 and his second WCOOP title in consecutive years, was a dude from New York, who had moved to Mexico after Black Friday in order to continue plying his trade on the online felt. Brad Willis, PokerStars Head of Blogging, even interviewed him last year following his win in a $320 NLHE WCOOP event.

    It turns out we were wrong.

    "I am a KLINGON. If you doubt it, a demonstration CAN be arranged!" Vengrin announced in the chat to tournament monitor and member of Team PokerStars Online Mickey 'mement_mori' Petersen.

    We're still waiting to hear back on whether or not those arrangements were made...

    The trek to stardom

    A total of 769 players entered this event, and several big names made the money including Team PokerStars Pro ElkY (58th - $1,585.29), Patrick 'pads1161' Leonard (16th - $4,449.04) and Chris 'Moorman1' Moorman (90th - $1,278.32).

    However, two levels into Day 2, with the blinds at 10,000/20,000 and having reached a final table of six, the chip stacks weighed up like this:

    1. gavz101 (United Kingdom) - 1,818,878
    2. fjutekk (Sweden) - 1,142,113
    3. Cashcid Linc (Germany) - 1,054,463
    4. plattsburgh (Mexico) - 796,022
    5. MaTitheone (Poland) - 593,863
    6. Ravenswood13 (Malta) - 326,161

    It was a talented bunch. As well as the eventual winner we had Gavin 'gavz101' Cochrane, an online nosebleed cash game beast and accomplished tournament player too, having already won a SCOOP event back in 2010. The Brit came into the final table with a dominant chip lead.

    Also present was Germany's Cashcid Linc, who won the Super Tuesday for $77,911 only in July, and has also won a SCOOP event in the past. Ravenswood13 is another high-stake cash game phenom, while Sweden's fjutekk is a skilled $25/$50 PLO cash game player in his own right.

    The human starts huge, but the Klingon clings on

    You don't reach the top of the nosebleeds without knowing a thing or two, and throughout this final table Gavin 'gavz101' Cochrane showed us why he's considered one of the best.


    Ravenswood13 would be his first victim and our 6th place finisher. He opened for 44,800 and both gavz101 and Cashcid Linc called from the small and big blinds, respectively. The [5c][3s][8h] flop caused the chipleader to lead at it with a bet of 90,000, which got a fold from the player to his left. The short stack was going nowhere, however, and shoved for 317,361 total. The snap call meant the cards were flipped: [8s][9h][7h][6s] for Ravenswood13, for a juicy wrap and top pair, but still currently trailing the [ac][8c][9d][3h] two pair of the SCOOP champion. The [5h] turn made things interesting - a wrap and a flush draw is one heck of a PLO hand. But the [as] on the river sealed the deal and the six-max was now down to five.

    From this point, gavz101 was unrelenting in his quest to become a double COOP champ. In one hand he took half the stack of Cashcid Linc, then just a few hands later it was fjutekk's turn to lose a few hundred thousand. He doubled up MaTitheone three hands after that, and then did the same for Cashcid Linc again just a couple of hands later (although, at that point, Cashcid Linc was in the big bling with just five bigs behind). Despite all of this action, gavz101 still had twice as many chips as his next opponent.

    Cashcid Linc was the next to fall. A heads up all-in pot with fjutekk saw, by the turn, a board of [8d][qs][6s][ac], giving the German player two pair and the nut flush draw. However, the hand was trailing fjutekk's top two pair, and couldn't improve on the river. We had our final four.

    With the freshly-gained chips and confidence, fjutekk began to take it to the chipleader, scooping a 1,300,000 pot against gavz101 in just the very next hand. Here's how the chip stacks looked then:


    Matt 'Plattsburgh' Vengrin, AKA the Klingon, was doing just that - clinging on and staying hopeful. He even complimented gavz101 for his skills as a "warrior". It was only after MaTitheone was eliminated in fourth place by the chipleader that the Klingon warrior began his descent to the stars, doubling up through gavz101 and winning big pots from fjutekk, who eventually busted out in third place.

    With blinds at 20,000/40,000, the Swede opened to 100,000 and got a three-bet from gavz101 to 340,000. After calling, the two saw a flop of [ah][6s][qs] which gavz101 fired into with a 240,000 bet. At this point, fjutekk moved all in for 1,412,774 which was called. It was [7c][ac][td][6d] for the Swede, and [kc][ks][jh][js] for gavz101. Despite being ahead with two pair, fjutekk was only a 49.3% favourite to win against the flush and straight draws of his opponent. The [th] turn completed the straight, and the [8h] river changed nothing. We were heads up.

    Klingon vs Cochrane - champion vs champion


    Both the Klingon - Matt 'Plattsburgh' Vengrin - and Gavin 'gavz101' Cochrane were playing for their second COOP titles and a first prize of more than $90,000, which made the battle very exciting indeed. Not that you'd know it from the chat box though.

    "Gavz. After this is over, we should have some Klingon blood wine... that is what honourable warriors do," said Vengrin. "Agreed," replied Cochrane.

    Gavz101 was a big chipleader with 4,265,278 to plattsburgh's 1,502,222 - but this is PLO, and it doesn't take long for things to change. The Klingon went on a tear winning pot after pot, one of which was worth more than 1.6 million. He eventually took his first lead of the final table.

    "Gamble time I think," said gavz101 as his stack became shorter and shorter. The Klingon's response was short and sweet: "Okie."

    It wasn't going to end without a fight though. Gavz101 doubled up and re-took the chip lead when his made hand held against plattsburgh's wrap, but just like that the Klingon regained his edge. With blinds at 25,000/50,000 and 600,000 in the pot already by the flop of [jc][qh][3d], gavz101 fired for 250,000 which was called. The turn was the [5d] and now the bet was 750,000; this time, though, plattsburgh shoved for 1,826,266 and was called.

    plattsburgh - [8d][5s][qc][7c]
    gavz101 - [td][ad][jd][kh]


    The Brit had was behind but his draw was enormous - any ace, king, ten, nine or diamond would give him the win...but the [6s] meant the pot (and massive chiplead) slid to plattsburgh. Three hands later and it was over when gavz101's [2h][6h][8d][8c] was out flopped, turned and rivered by plattsburgh's [3h][td][ks][2s], eventually giving him a winning hand of tens full of kings.

    So what have we learnt tonight?

    - Matt 'Plattsburgh' Vengrin is a Klingon
    - He's also now a two-time WCOOP champion
    - Gavin 'gavz101' remains an online poker beast
    - Mickey 'mement_mori' Petersen isn't interested in arranging a Klingon demonstration

    But where will the honourable warriors meet to drink their Klingon blood wine? That's what we really want to know...


    THE KLINGON! Or perhaps Matt 'plattsburgh' Vengrin to his friends...

    WCOOP-06: $700 PL Omaha [6-Max, Monday PLO SE]
Entries: 769

    Prize pool: $511,385
    Places paid: 102

    1. Matt 'Plattsburgh' Vengrin (Mexico) $90,157.72
    2. Gavin 'gavz101' Cochrane (United Kingdom) $66,480.05
    3. fjutekk (Sweden) $51,138.50
    4. MaTitheone (Poland) $35,796.95
    5. Cashcid Linc (Germany) $25,569.25
    6. Ravenswood13 (Malta) $15,341.55

    Take a look at the the WCOOP page for info and reports from the entire 2015 series. Enjoy!

    Want to play poker with Klingons at PokerStars? Click here to get an account.

    Jack Stanton is a professional journalist and freelance writer for PokerStars.

  • 8 September

    MPC23: Shashank shoots ahead on Day 1d

    Poker in Macau continues to boom as the summer edition of the Macau Poker Cup Red Dragon was blown out of the water tonight. After four flights Day 1 is officially in the books. An impressive 427 entrants ponied up the HK$12,000 buy in today, and c...

  • 8 September

    MPC23: Day 1d live updates

    7:30pm: Chen chips up from champ James Chen just won a pot from man who won this very event in August last year, Zhenru Xie. With the board reading [5d][3c][7c][5c] Zie led for 775 before Chen put in a raise to 2,200. The move forced Xie to give it ...

  • 8 September

    WCOOP 2015: V7JCV21 wins outright for $260K in Event #4, $215 NLHE (Sunday Million SE)

    The Sunday Million is already one of the biggest tournaments in poker, drawing thousands of players and awarding bankroll-busting prizes every week. The only thing better is a special edition during one of the COOP series, and with the start of WCOOP 2...

  • 8 September

    WCOOP 2015: juswhackit’s late surge wins Event #2, 215 NLHE (Sunday Warm-Up SE)

    The Sunday majors have gone on a temporary break, but of the best kind: to make way for the 2015 World Championship of Online Poker. Big money on the line means big opportunities for rising to the occasion, and that's exactly what Ecuador's juswhackit ...

  • 7 September

    MPC23: Yang the one to chase on Day 1c

    272 went in, 64 came out. That was the story here today for Day 1c of the Macau Poker Cup Red Dragon feature event. It was the third of four Day 1 flights and it did anything but disappoint. 272 took a shot today - that's more than double yesterday'...

  • 7 September

    MPC23: Day 1c live updates

    2:00pm: Play commences! Fred Leung from PokerStars LIVE Macau just grabbed the microphone and announced for dealers to get the cards in the air. Just like the other flights this will be a day of 12 levels - 40 minutes each. Late registration is open...

  • 6 September

    Jindrich Springl lifts King’s Cup, wins €22,920

    The King's Cup trophy will stay on the home soil as Jindrich Springl from a small town Unhost beat a 493-entry field to seize the title. Along with the silverware, the 26-year-old Czech scooped €22,920. All eight finalists agreed on a deal prior to the final table kick off with €6k left for the eventual winner and another €4k and €2k for the second and third place finishers.

    PokerStars Kings Cup final day_5DSC_7695.jpg

    Jindrich Springl

    The newly crowned champion was dealt pocket aces several times on the final table and the card distribution paid off with Sprigl's career's best result.

    After beating Danny van der Meer heads-up, Springl succeeded Philipp Harmann on the King's Cup Main Event throne. The Dutsch runner-up collected €25,659, the biggest cash among the participants. Van der Meer entered the final table as a chip leader and secured €21,659 thank to the 8-way chop. Eventually, he added another €4k for the second place.

    PokerStars Kings Cup final day_9DSC_7662.jpg


    PokerStars qualifier Christian Handschuh finished seventh, being the last German standing. He faced 165 compatriots in the tournament, making Germany the most represented country in the PokerStars King's Cup, covering more than half of the field.

    PokerStars Kings Cup final day_7DSC_7560.jpg

    Christian Handschuh

    The King's Cup Main Event attracted 493-entry field, created by 327 unique players. 71 players shared pieces of the €200,000 guaranteed prize pool. King's Cup Main Event Final Table results:

    1st - Jindrich Springl, Czech Republic, €22,920
    2nd - Danny van der Meer, Netherlands, €25,659
    3rd - Pascal Masset, Belgium, €21,443
    4th - Karol Radomski, Poland, €11,674
    5th - Tomas Steponkus, Lithuania, €16,510
    6th - Boris Tapelzon, Russia, €7,287
    7th - Christian Handschuh, Germany, PokerStars qualifier, €10,069
    8th - Ahmad Achegsei, Germany, €8,458

  • 6 September

    MPC23: Liu tops Day 1b

    Bigger, busier and more exciting - Day 1b of the MPC23 Red Dragon delivered! A new batch of players headed into PokerStars LIVE Macau today for the second of four Day 1 flights in this feature event. The 135-player field eclipsed yesterday's 108 runne...

  • 6 September

    MPC23: Day 1b live updates

    2:20pm: Notable names It's still early but we've noticed a few familiar faces among the field here. The reigning Asia Player of the Year has pulled up a seat for Day 1b. Needless to say Chen had a stellar 2014, the highlight of which saw him final t...

  • 6 September

    Final Table set for King’s Cup Main Event

    Eight players bagged their chips after Day 2 of the King's Cup Main Event to set the Final Table. Seven countries will be represented tomorrow with a Dutch flag waving on top of the chip counts as Danny van der Meer emerged as a leader with 2,770,000 chips. Belgium's Pascal Masset follows in second place, bagging 2,435,000. Jindrich Springl is the only player representing the home country, the Czech is currently sitting in third place with 2,020,000.

    PokerStars Kings Cup 2_12DSC_7231.jpg

    Danny van der Meer

    There were two attempts to make a deal tonight. First came when the tournament was down to 16 players. After a redraw, players discussed a huge 16-way chop but three of them were against the proposed numbers. Another discussions were just after the last redraw, when the final nine sat down to the unofficial final table. However, one player turned the offer down.

    After Tim Jurgawka's departure, the final eight bagged the chips and called it a day. They will come back tomorrow at 2pm to play for the title and a €38,600 first prize. All finalists are guaranteed €4,420 payday.

    Subject to a cards-up live stream on the King's Casino website, all live updates will be delayed by an hour. You can follow all the action on the German PokerStars blog from 3pm. King's Cup Main Event Final Table:

    Seat 1: Boris Tapelzon, Russia, 495,000
    Seat 2: Danny van der Meer, Netherlands, 2,770,000
    Seat 3: Karol Radomski, Poland, 1,085,000
    Seat 4: Christian Handschuh, Germany, PokerStars qualifier, 815,000
    Seat 5: Jindrich Springl, Czech Republic, 2,020,000
    Seat 6: Tomas Steponkus, Lithuania, 1,955,000
    Seat 7: Ahmad Achegsei, Germany, 560,000
    Seat 8: Pascal Masset, Belgium, 2,435,000

    Prior to start of Day 2, the remaining flight 1d got under way at 11am. Slovakia's Milan Lakatos emerging as a chip leader with 230,700 chips. Day 1d generated 194 entries to bring the total King's Cup Main Event field to 493 entries (including eight no-shows). The €200,000 guaranteed prize pool was divided between 71 players. Tomorrow's champion will take home €38,600 along with the title and a silver trophy.

    LAPT Panama runner-up Olga Iermolcheva (48th) and EPT6 Deauville High Roller champ Martin Kabrhel (50th) were among those who cashed tonight, both taking €860.

    PokerStars Kings Cup 2_11Olga Iermolcheva  DSC_7129.jpg

    Olga Iermolcheva

    Overall, 327 unique players from 28 countries attended the King's Cup Main Event. As expected, Germans covered the better part of the field with 166 participants (51%) while the Czech Republic was second with 42 players (13%). The home country was followed by Poland (28, 8%).

  • 5 September

    MPC23: Korea’s Lee leads Day 1a

    It was the start of something beautiful as Saturday saw another edition of the Macau Poker Cup Red Dragon in full effect. The feature tournament of the MPC's 17-day festival, the HK$12,000 Red Dragon, attracted a field of 108 for the first of four Da...

  • 5 September

    MPC23: Day 1a live updates

    Day 1a of the MPC23 Red Dragon is almost underway Welcome to PokerStars LIVE Macau! It's not long now until players take their seats for Day 1a off the prestigious Red Dragon event. This will be the first of four Day 1 flights and we're expecting a...

  • 5 September King’s Cup: Kabrhel and Karatas shine on Days 1b & 1c

    Martin Kabrhel was the latest player to appear on Day 1b of the €330 King's Cup Main Event (there were 59 entries: 56 unique players plus 3 re-entries), but at the end, he bagged 206,900 chips to seize the chip lead. Kabrhel is #2 in the Czech all-time money list with over $1.7m in live tournament winnings. He's been regularly playing EPT High Rollers and Super High Rollers for many years. Back in Season 6, Kabrhel took down the €20k High Roller at EPT Deauville for €250,000, securing his career's biggest payday.

    PokerStars Kings Cup 1B_11Martin Kabrhel DSC_6729.jpg

    Martin Kabrhel

    Eureka 5 Rozvadov fourth place finisher Marek Blasko also survived Day 1b, bagging 104,400. Blasko is a King's Casino regular whose main achievements came here in Rozvadov - his local resumé includes three €60k cashes. Eureka 5 Rozvadov runner-up Josef Pavelka also arrived for Day 1b, but was the very first eliminated player. Pavelka fired a re-entry bullet and eventually made through Day 2 with 64,000 chips.

    With David Wiese (90,000 chips) and Michael Kammer (34,800) only two of twelve PokerStars qualifiers are among the 16 players from Day 1b who survived for Day 2.

    WCOOP, SCOOP and Micro Millions title holder Stefan Becker and WPT Marrakech champ Sebastian Homann were also in the field, they both busted.

    While Day 1b survivors were already resting for tomorrow's Day 2, there was another starting flight on schedule as Day 1c kicked off at 8pm. There were another 149 entries made tonight (141 unique players plus 8 re-entries).

    While Day 1b survivors were already resting for tomorrow's Day 2, there was another starting flight on tonight's schedule as Day 1c kicked off at 8pm. There were another 149 entries made on Day 1c (141 unique players plus 8 re-entries).

    Germany's Sarharib Karatas collected 221,200 chips to take the overall lead from Martin Kabrhel. Frederic Grosjean from France also crossed the 200k mark, bagging 205,000. 51 players from Day 1c secured their seats for Day 2, which will start tomorrow right after the end of the last starting day (1d) at 4pm. The plan is to play down to six players.

    PokerStars Kings Cup 1C_26Sarharib Karatas DSC_6882.jpg

    Overall chip leader

    Day 1b chip counts:

    Martin KabrhelCzech Republic 209600
    Ahmad AchegseiGermany 166400
    Roman KadzielaPoland 109500
    Karol RadomskiPoland 105800
    Marek BlaskoSlovakia 104400
    Hendrik VeenstraNetherlands 101600
    David WieseGermanyPokerStars qualifier90000
    Tim JurgawkaGermany 87600
    Karel KovarikCzech Republic 87300
    Christoph MullerGermany 67400
    Stefan RauscherGermanyPokerStars player65600
    Juraj SosovickaSlovakia 65100
    Alexandru NeagoeRomania 64700
    Josef PavelkaCzech Republic 64000
    Agron HajrusiGermany 51800
    Michael KammerGermanyPokerStars qualifier34800

    Day 1c chip counts:

    Sarharib KaratasGermany 221200
    Frederic GrosjeanFrance 205000
    Michal BinczarskiPolandPokerStars qualifier175300
    Stanislav PetrovicSwitzerland 152000
    Hristo AnastassovAustriaPokerStars qualifier150900
    Ercan DoganGermany 137000
    Tomas SteponkusLithuania 136300
    Giordano Tovar MatosGermany 111000
    Sandorrom IlniczkyRomania 110700
    Christian HandschuhGermanyPokerStars qualifier108200
    Tobias GottwaldGermany 104600
    Simon HemsworthUK 104300
    Pascal MassetBelgium 101500
    Reiner GlogglerGermany 99100
    Johannes van de WielNetherlands 98600
    Maciej KondraszukPoland 97300
    Josef MairAustria 96700
    Martin MuhlbergerGermany 79300
    Thomas AnsemsNetherlands 78000
    Andreas HeiderGermany 76300
    Felisa WestermannGermanyPokerStars qualifier74300
    Claudius IstrateGermany 70100
    Volker StichGermany 69700
    Stefan PasholliGermany 69000
    Miroslav SeidlSlovakia 68900
    Ronald van de LindeNetherlands 66400
    Jonas JeschkeGermany 62400
    Peter MullerAustria 61600
    Josef LakatosCzech Republic 57900
    Eusebiu-Niclae JalbaGermany 56000
    Matthias BausenweinGermany 54300
    Timo ScarcellaGermany 51100
    Maximilian GrothGermany 50100
    Aidar KulumbetovGermany 47000
    Florin AndrenoiuRomania 42000
    Franz GeorgeGermany 41900
    Branko SlunjskiGermany 41600
    Danny van der MeerNetherlands 41300
    Rytas StaniukynasLithuania 39200
    Dariusz BeresPoland 38400
    Michail ManolakisGreece 32700
    Ladislav VitoslavskyCzech Republic 31800
    Ralf BarthGermany 29400
    Olaf LehmannGermany 29200
    Hannes FischerGermany 29000
    Mathias NehringGermany 28700
    Kerstin CollinsGermany 27600
    Patrick PiatekGermany 26200
    Angela JaussGermany 22500
    Yury FilippovRussiaPokerStars qualifier21200
    Heinz NeumannGermany 6800

  • 4 September

    MPC23: The Red Dragon awaits

    Records broken, new Team PokerStars Pros and the hunt for the best looking trophy in poker. Macau is gearing up for another legendary Red Dragon event. The 23rd edition of the Macau Poker Cup has seen the City of Dreams poker room buzzing over the l...

  • 4 September

    Hermansen tops King’s Cup Day 1a field

    The King's Cup is back in the small town of Rozvadov, located near the Czech and German border. The popular King's Casino, regular Eureka Poker Tour host, is once again sharing forces with PokerStars to provide an action-packed 16-event festival running from September 3-6. This time, all tournaments are scheduled in a turbo format, creating a unique Turbo Edition.

    The flagship €200,000 guaranteed €330 Main Event kicked off tonight with Day 1a with 83 entries (78 unique players + 5 re-entries), including EPT7 Vienna runner-up, Team PokerStars Pro Martin Hruby. The players started with 25,000 chips and after fourteen 20-minute levels only 26 players survived.

    PokerStars Kings Cup 1a_9Martin Hruby DSC_6507.jpg

    Martin Hruby

    Hruby didn't make it to day 2. At the end of level 13 (1,200/2,400/300), Michael Bauer from Germany raised to 6,200, Hruby went all-in for his remaining 20,000 chips with [qc][tc] and got called by Bauer with [ah][qh]. The board came [2c][8s][3d][qd][jh] and the Team PokerStars Pro from Czech Republic was eliminated.

    Day 1a chip leader is Regnhard Hermansen from Denmark with 162,000 chips followed by Boris Tapelzon from Russia with 155,000. Day 1A survivors include Ali Sameeian (71,600 chips) from Germany, who finished third in the Estrellas Barcelona Main Event in 2013 for €158,475.

    PokerStars Kings Cup 1a_Regnhard Hermansen.jpg

    Regnhard Hermansen

    There are four starting days in total (1b and 1c on Friday, 1d on Saturday) with one optional re-entry per flight, meaning the players are allowed to fire up to eight €330 bullets in the Main Event. And we expect a lot more players on Friday and Saturday with over 70 qualifiers who earned their Main Event seats via PokerStars online satellites.

    Day 1A chip counts:

    Regnhard HermansenDenmark162000
    Boris TapelzonRussia155000
    Piotr BudaPoland128700
    Tobias DenkGermany116800
    Jelka AndelicItaly108700
    Michael BauerGermany100200
    Dirk Klaus-Hinrich SellhornGermany99700
    Damian KrauzePoland87400
    Rene SelbstGermany86700
    Jaroslav PeterCzech Republic80700
    Robert PysiakPoland80300
    Michal HamacekCzech Republic80100
    Martin BrandGermany79900
    Robert GorschewskyGermany79500
    Johannes RitzGermany78100
    Josef AntosCzech Republic77000
    Ildegarde Don-BergerSwitzerland76400
    Ahmad Ali SameeianIran71600
    Benjamin StreberGermany63400
    Robert WirthGermany48100
    Wolfgang HoslGermany47100
    Marcel MajerCzech Republic43600
    Karel KasparCzech Republic38900
    Jan BoingenBelgium38300
    Philipp ZukernikCanada35900
    Ibro MoricCroatia10800

  • 3 September

    Six ways to qualify for WCOOP

    For sure you have heard the stories of Chris Moneymaker turning a $39 satellite buy-in at PokerStars into $2.5 Million, or Marat 'maratik' Sharafutdinov from Russia turning 40 FPPs into $1 Million at the PokerStars WCOOP Main Event. Satellites are what make these stories possible. If there is something even better than becoming a big champion,it is doing it with a very small investment. So, now that the WCOOP is almost starting it's a good time to think about the tons of satellites that you can play from which you can get a lot of value. Let's try to be the next Moneymaker!

    Ready to sign up for PokerStars? Click here to get an account.

    In this article I will discuss a bit different strategies that you can use to approach different types of satellites and help you prepare for the many opportunities that will be available during the WCOOP at PokerStars to grow your bankroll and achieve your poker dreams.

    Andre Coimbra wcoop 2015.jpg

    There are many different types of satellites available at PokerStars, for sure you will find the one that you'll enjoy the most. Just remember, not every satellite should be played the same way!

    1 Package (Winner takes all)

    The satellites that only pay the first place or that have a huge prize difference between the first and the second place are kind of rare nowadays, but you will find some from time to time, so for the sake of completeness I will tell you how to approach these.

    The goal is simple... Get all the chips!

    You don't have to worry about prize structures, ICM, or any sort of complicated model, just play it as close as possible to a cash game and only deviate whenever the risk of losing a hand costs the opportunity of playing a hand with a higher expected value.

    Multiple Packages

    These are my favorite to be honest, because since they play fundamentally different than pretty much all other forms of poker. People make huge mistakes and allow the savvy players to cash-out on their opponents' mistakes!
    You don't have to win all the chips to win the tournament; you just need to survive. This is fundamental, so let me say it again: The goal here is to survive and not to win all the chips!

    As it happens in most forms of tournament poker (re-buys/re-entries excluded), you need to be careful about spots where the risk of losing a hand might cost the opportunity of playing a hand with a higher expected value later, but in this particular format you need to take it even further!

    I recommend that if you have to call an all-in or go all-in in a situation without much fold equity to be very sure about the situation and to have a big advantage, because the cost of losing is just too high in these.

    On the other hand, if you can put an opponent all-in and you know that he/she is aware of these dynamics, put as much pressure as you can as long as his range is wide or capped without strong hands since very often he will have to muck his hand and you can accumulate chips to put more pressure on your opponents and increase your own chances of surviving until the very end.

    A final thought... aces win 85.2% vs a random hand, but what if you are in the bubble of a multiple package tournament and you think that by avoiding getting all your chips with aces you win the package like 90% of the times because there are shorts that need to risk it all before you do?

    Sit-n-go Steps

    You can find these on the Sit & Go -> Satellite -> Steps lobby. They start on level 1 ($7.50) and go all the way up to level 6 ($2,100) where you can win a WCOOP package, EPT package, PCA package, etc. If you don't have $7.50, you can still play some special satellites starting at 10 FPPs or $1.

    On each level you can usually go up or down depending on how high you finish on the sit-n-go and they tend to be the Multiple Package kind of satellites, so you should be able to use the advice I give here.
    If you enjoy playing sit-n-gos at your own time and schedule and get multiple opportunities, you should try the Steps!

    VIP Satellites

    PokerStars usually runs some VIP satellites for their main events and they usually have some exclusive ones for SilverStars+, Supernova+ and Supernova Elite+. You can find them in the Tourney-> VIP lobby and you might be able to find an exclusive opportunity for your VIP Status!

    WCOOP Main Event Mega Path

    If you have some FPPs you should check these out in the Events->WCOOP->FPP Satellites lobby. They have seven different qualifying rounds and one big final with five seats for the WCOOP Main Event Guaranteed!

    Like the Steps, you can start in any round you can afford and the higher the round gets the more expensive the entry. The first round can cost as little as 1 FPP (with re-buys) and the final costs 100K FPPs.

    If you like to play a bit every day and enjoy to grind big tournaments, these might be for you!

    Deadline Turbos

    These usually run a bit before the WCOOP events start and you can fin