Honestly, there’s not enough room on the internet to record all of yesterday’s news from the World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP). I don’t know why we’re wasting even more space with this intro bit. Let’s just get stuck in.


TODAY’S HEADLINES

• Busiest day yet at WCOOP with 22 winners
• UFC special draws enormous crowds and prize pools
• Filipe “Zagazaur” Oliveira wins huge again
• Thomas “Sandman201” Taylor also wins second title
• Laplante live-streams two consecutive finals
• “calvin7v”, “kleath”, “IgorKarkarof” and “merla888” win
• Team Pro Moreira De Melo at final table
• Players from 15 different countries claim titles


BEHIND THE HEADLINES

Even by the lofty standards of WCOOP, last night was extraordinary at the PokerStars tournament tables. No fewer than 22 WCOOP tournaments played to their conclusion, including all four buy-in levels in WCOOP-41, which came with an additional sweetener. Thanks to our friends at UFC, the winners of these tournaments — billed as Bantamweight ($11), Lightweight ($109), Middleweight ($1,050) and Heavyweight ($10,300) — also picked up a hospitality package to UFC 244 in New York in November. It swelled entry numbers and prize pools to record levels: there were more entrants to the $11 event than in any other tournament this WCOOP, and the prize pool for the Middleweight bout was the largest so far. When all the bounties were counted too, the winner of the Heavyweight contest also won the biggest single prize of this festival so far. It was, in a word, BIG.

In all but the Heavyweight tournament, the last two players arranged a heads-up deal, splitting the remaining prize pool almost precisely down the middle and then playing for the final bounty and the UFC package. It was the best way to make it look like a one-to-one UFC fight.

In the Bantamweight division, Latvia’s “eirowin88” floored Brazil’s “diego7791” to win the tickets, in addition to the $19,865.97 (inc. bounties) prize.

In the Lightweight bout, Bulgaria’s “stilchuka” arranged a heads-up deal with Jamie “Ship It 2010” O’Connor, from the UK, securing $72,832 from the prize pool, which then swelled to $97,730.07 with the addition of his bounty haul. The UFC tickets nestled handily amid all of that.

There was additional interest in the Middleweight tournament where Canada’s Ryan “PROTENTIALmn” Laplante was streaming everything live on Twitch and made it all the way to heads up against “CRmeImDabou“, based in Malta. (Laplante was also at the final table of WCOOP-42-H, see below.) Laplante ended up on the receiving end of the knockout blow, but secured the largest prize of his online career. It meant that “CRmeImDabou” took a total $245,958.08, including bounties, which was the largest slice of the record-setting $2.251 million prize pool.

Filipe “zagazaur” Oliveira (a long time ago)

All of that brings us to the $10,300 buy-in Heavyweight contest, where a heads-up deal did not materialise. In this one, previous winners “Remi Lebo_10”, Chris “Big Huni” Hunichen and Claas “SsicK_OnE” Segebrecht went out in 11th, eighth and fifth, before Sami “Lrslzk” Kelopuro bust in third. That left Uruguay’s “MB TREMENDO” up against the breakout star of this WCOOP: Filipe “Zagazaur” Oliveira. And Oliveira got it done again. Having made at least four final tables, Oliveira won his second title this year, putting $360,309.54 in the bank and inking his name on the tickets to New York for next month.

In other news:

Canada’s Thomas “Sandman201” Taylor became the latest double WCOOP champion of this series when he beat Dzmitry “colisea” Urbanovich heads-up to claim the WCOOP-45-M Badugi title, and $5,467. This crazy variant attracts pretty small fields, but they are exceptionally tough, and Taylor’s victory underlines his mixed game abilities after he won the $1,050 HORSE event in WCOOP’s opening week.

Simon “IgorKarkarof” Pedersen brought his recorded lifetime online poker earnings to $4.36 million — about the equal of his Quidditch winnings apparently — with the biggest win of his career in WCOOP-40-H $2,100 NLHE. Pedersen was the last man standing from a 435-entry field, picking up $156,669 for his efforts. He has a third, a fifth and a seventh place WCOOP finish on his list of results before today, as well as a string of victories from the regular PokerStars calendar, but this represents a new high for the man from Denmark.


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Hats off to the “geokrinikali” for victory in the $215 Sunday Warm Up, here billed as WCOOP-40-M, but apologies to the player from the UK for us skipping right over his achievement to look at the third-placed finisher. Fatima Moreira De Melo, the Team Pro from the Netherlands, pulled off what must rank among the best results of her online career, placing in the bronze medal position from a field of 2,952. The former field hockey Olympian, and multi-talented singer, presenter, Survivor-ist, has documented live poker earnings of more than $570,000 since she put down her hockey stick for the poker tables. She has also been at a SCOOP final table in May, where she finished fifth. But Moreira de Melo’s third here — a run that included knocking out her former mentor Lex Veldhuis banked $43,464.83, which is her largest online score. “geokrinikali”‘s victory was worth $85,540.27.

Fatima Moreira De Melo: Third in a WCOOP

We still don’t know a huge amount at PokerStars Blog about the man or woman behind the “merla888” screen-name, and that’s been a problem for a while. Back in May, “merla888” won two enormous events at SCOOP, banking six figures for a NLHE victory and more than $50K for an 8-Game success. “merla888” is back again in WCOOP, and had already finished second and third before last night winning the high buy-in version of WCOOP-39, outlasting a 460-entry field to claim another $82,452.36. Maybe this time we will get behind the mask…

WCOOP-42 was a NL Omaha Hi/Lo tournament, which obviously meant a slightly smaller list of players than the NLHE events, but no less rich a line-up. The medium buy-in level turned out to hold the most particular interest when Ryan “PROTENTIALmn” Laplante made it heads up against Finland’s “texasilainen”, playing most of the final table at the same time as he was playing the UFC Middleweight special, se above. Much like in the other event, Laplante couldn’t quite get it over the line, falling in second once again. “texasilainen” picked up $23,637.77 including bounties, while this one banked Laplante about $12.5K.

It’s also tempting to look directly at the beaten heads-up finisher in the $2,100 buy-in event as Mike “goleafsgoeh” Leah fell one place short of pulling off a dramatic his second win in three days. Over the weekend Leah won the $2,100 Turbo, but this time fell one spot short when Russia’s “bokkie87“, a former TCOOP champion, got the job done and won $73,475.45.

In 2011, Bjorn “kleath” Kleathersson was ranked No2 in the world at online tournament poker, according to Pocket Fives, and has lifetime documented cashes on PokerStars alone of $6.75 million. But it’s been a while since Kleathersson banked a six-figure score…until last night, when he won WCOOP-43-H, a $530 buy-in NLHE event. His victory over a 179-entry field was worth $107,214.84 and required him to beat Jussi “calvin7v” Nevanlinna, who went out in third, and Canada’s “dumme811” in second.

Jussi Nevanlinna: Champion again

Nevanlinna clearly didn’t allow that set-back to bother him too much, however, as he fired up the Limit Badugi tables and duly won the $1,050 high buy-in variant for his first WCOOP title of the year. Nevanlinna is an absolute fixture at the ‘COOP tables and has gone all the way in numerous Player of the Series races in the past. He’s up there again this time, and this victory, worth $19,075, was all the sweeter for beating fellow mixed-game crusher Benny “RunGodlike” Glaser heads up.


TODAY’S RESULTS

Tournament Entries Prize pool Winner Country Prize
WCOOP-39-L: $11 NLHE 8-Max 8,124 $79,615 alenka_p15 Ukraine $9,560.58*
WCOOP-39-M: $109 NLHE 8-Max 2,966 $296,600 Sanderssi Finland $42,823.47
WCOOP-39-H: $1,050 NLHE 8-Max 460 $460,000 merla888 Belgium $82,452.36
WCOOP-40-L: $22 NLHE 9,286 $185,720 miniDanny028 Russia $25,657.74
WCOOP-40-M: $215 NLHE 2,952 $590,400 geokrinikali UK $85,540.27
WCOOP-40-H: $2,100 NLHE 435 $870,000 IgorKarkarof Denmark $156,669.56
WCOOP-41-Micro $11 UFC Bantamweight PKO 32,820 $321,636 eirowin88 Latvia $19,865.97†*
WCOOP-41-L: $109 UFC Lightweight NLHE PKO 15,129 $1,512,900 stilchuka Bulgaria $97,730.07†*
WCOOP-41-M: $1,050 UFC Middleweight PKO 2,251 $2,251,000 CRmeImDabou Malta $245,958.08†*
WCOOP-41-H: $10,300 UFC Heavyweight PKO 165 $1,650,000 Zagazaur Netherlands $360,309.54†
WCOOP-42-L: $22 NLO8 6-Max PKO 3,947 $78,940 su_pop Russia $7,382.00†*
WCOOP-42-M: $215 NLO8 6-Max PKO 841 $168,200 texasilainen Finland $23,637.77†
WCOOP-42-H: $2,100 NLO8 6-Max PKO 137 $274,000 bokkie87 Russia $73,475.45†
WCOOP-43-L: $5.50 NLHE 6-Max 13,455 $65,930 superhero_18 Moldova $8,245.91
WCOOP-43-M: $55 NLHE 6-Max 7,205 $360,250 Gaul4200 Germany $44,402.90*
WCOOP-43-H: $530 NLHE 6-Max 1,398 $699,000 kleath Malta $107,214.84
WCOOP-45-L: $11 FL Badugi 1,223 $11,985 vanov04 Russia $2,110.23
WCOOP-45-M: $109 FL Badugi 284 $28,400 sandman201 Canada $5,467.00
WCOOP-45-H: $1,050 FL Badugi 70 $70,000 calvin7v Finland $19,075.00
WCOOP-46-L: $11 NLHE Win the Button 8,095 $79,331 nomalice Serbia $11,144.02
WCOOP-46-M: $109 NLHE Win the Button 2,474 $247,400 texaszanardi Chile $36,357.44
WCOOP-46-H: $1,050 NLHE 8-Max Win the Button 379 $379,000 despedespi33 UK $69,281.98

†inc. bounties
*denotes deal


STAT TRACKER

Events completed: 133
Entries so far: 588,653
Prize pools so far: $54,827,897
First prizes so far: $8,428,441.33
In-the-money finishers so far: 92,902
Tournaments starting today: 12

(Note: completed events only)


INTERVIEWS! INTERVIEWS! INTERVIEWS!

Maxime Chilaud at EPT Barcelona 2019

We’ve been catching up with a heap of winners from this year’s WCOOP, all of whom have been happy to share the secrets of their successes. Click through for first-person accounts of WCOOP triumph, from those who have been there many times before to newcomers sampling the limelight for the first time.

Maxime “Daghemuneguu” Chilaud: Malta-based Frenchman wins first WCOOP of the series
Norway’s “19_Kumite_79”: First two-day event, biggest field, biggest cash
Viktor “TsiTool” Kovács: Puts Hungary on the WCOOP map
Italo “sep_itl1914” Carandinas: Brazilian chooses his own adventure
Naoya “nkeyno” Kihara: Woken up by a kick from his 3-year-old, plays Razz and wins!
“snovalshik1”: first-timer, who turned $5.50 into $3,408
Rinat “Zapahzamazki” Lyapin: Won PLO while streaming live
Alex “dynoalot” Difelice: Second win, but “I feel I have a ways to go.”
Pedro “PaDiLhA SP” Padilha: Akkari’s acolyte, who sets the record straight
Shaun “shaundeeb” Deeb: Seventh title, surely not the last


TWITCH WATCH

It’s been a fairly amazing WCOOP so far for Celina Lin, and her PokerStars team-mate Benjamin “Spraggy” Spragg found out to his cost just why Lin is so tricky to play. We’ll let Spraggy talk you through this one, but one imagines Lin chuckling merrily as she scores the double up:

It’s not easy to get chips from Shaun “shaundeeb” Deeb, especially in a variant like Badugi. But being dealt the stone cold nuts is one way, as Mason “Pyefacepoker” Pye found out.


TOP TWEETS

Celina Lin is just sick of cashing.

Meanwhile, Andy Gibbons is on the big spin up thanks to the Poker In The Ears podcast.


COUNTRIES LEADER BOARD

There were 22 tournaments wrapping overnight, and winners came from a miraculous 15 different countries. Even more astounding: Brazil wasn’t among them. Yes, it’s true. On a night when there were champions from Moldova, Latvia, Serbia and Chile, the usually dominant Brazilians fired only blanks. That, combined with three titles heading to Russia, means it’s all change at the top of the countries leader board:

19 titles – Russia
17 – Brazil
14 – UK
10 – Canada
7 – Germany, Finland
6 – Netherlands
5 – Austria
4 – Lithuania
3 – Norway, Mexico, Hungary, Romania, Ukraine, Malta
2 – Sweden, China, Argentina, Poland, Lebanon, Belgium, Denmark
1 – Czech Republic, Thailand, Ireland, Uruguay, Japan, Croatia, Georgia, Latvia, Bulgaria, Moldova, Serbia, Chile.


PLAYER OF THE SERIES LEADER BOARD

This is shaping up to be one of the all-time Player of the Series races with the two front-runners, Filipe “Zagazaur” Oliveira and Jussi “calvin7v” Nevanlinna, both winning titles last night. Nevanlinna also added a third-place finish, but at present he is still trailing in both the “high” and “overall” leader boards. Just look at the quality in the overall race:

The overall buy-in leader board

The only player who is really showing a clean pair of heels to his closest challengers is Dzmitry “colisea” Urbanovich in the medium buy-in contest. His latest second-place finish put him on 420 points, with Alan “Mr Negreanu” Gold in second with 275 points.

Latest standings:

Low buy-in:
1 – krakukra Russia 340 points
2 – FONBET_RULIT Russia 325
3 – TruthBeTold7 Canada 310
4 – -Rebus1980- Russia 280
5 – PamPamPake Finland 275

Medium buy-in:
1 – Colisea Latvia 420
2 – Mr Negreanu United Kingdom 275
3 – TruthBeTold7 Canada 260
=4 – shaundeeb Mexico 255
=4 – Zagazaur Netherlands 255

High buy-in:
1 – Zagazaur Netherlands 460
2 – calvin7v Finland 450
3 – Lrslzk Finland 410
4 – kimokh Lebanon 375
5 – RuiNF Netherlands 370


STARTING TODAY

There really is no rest on the WCOOP grind and another 12 tournaments start today. They include some high buy-ins in the Hold’em (it being Tuesday) as well as a couple of favourite other variants: PLO hi/lo and Limit 2-7 Triple Draw.

WCOOP-47: PLO8 8-Max – Buy-ins: $5.50, $55, $530
WCOOP-48: NLHE Super Tuesday – Buy-ins: $109, $1,050, $10,300
WCOOP-49: Fixed Limit 2-7 Triple Draw – Buy-ins: $22, $215, $2,100
WCOOP-50: NLHE 8-Max PKO – Buy-ins: $22, $215, $2,100


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