The 2019 World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) is becoming a one-man show. I really, really, really, really wanna Zag-aza-ur.


TODAY’S HEADLINES

• Third title for Filipe “Zagazaur” Oliveira
• Success in Triple Draw increases Player of Series lead
• Two $1m+ prize pools awarded in Super Tuesday events
• High Roller triumph banks $350K for Michael “mczhang” Zhang
• 6+ here to stay as Nick “FU_15” Maimone takes down latest


BEHIND THE HEADLINES

Ladies and gentlemen, we might have found our Player of the Series. Filipe “Zagazaur” Oliveira (main picture, above) has been on fire during this WCOOP and last night his furnace grew even hotter. He added a third title to his batch, prevailing from the 67-entry field in WCOOP-49-H, a $2,100 buy-in 2-7 Triple Draw affair. Though this one earned him a comparatively meagre $40,200 — meagre, that is, in comparison with the $185,467.46 and $360,309.54 of his first two hauls — it provided another heap of leader board points. The Portuguese player, based in the Netherlands, also further burnished a growing reputation that includes a $1.5 million live haul in a tournament in the Bahamas last November. Read our new interview with Oliveira, the day of his third title.

Michael “mczhang” Zhang

At EPT Barcelona a few weeks ago, we caught up with Michael “mczhang” Zhang of the UK, who was playing the €10K High Roller. It was particularly interesting to hear the story of his past few years, a rapid rise through the ranks from £10 buy-in tournaments at his local casino to games that cost 10,000 times as much. Last night, Zhang again proved that he’s here to stay at the high buy-in tables when he won the $10,000 WCOOP High Roller, beating Alexandru “steakaddict.” Papazian heads up and winning $352,811. The 175-entry field was stacked with the very best online tournament players, but Zhang outdid them all.

Thomas “MarToMchat”Boivin

Thomas “MarToMchat” Boivin, a Belgian player based in the UK, has also pulled off a similar rise through the ranks to occupy poker’s top table. Last night he won the medium buy-in tournament, billed as the Super Tuesday special edition, banking a career high $178,332. Boivin’s list of documented cashes on Pocket Fives shows a steady increase in success, including a few High Roller Club victories earlier this year, plus a few final tables in Sunday Millions and the like. He has also secured a number of high-profile live scores including a single-day high roller title at EPT Prague, and is a regular in events with buy-ins of $25K or more. Last night, victory in WCOOP-48 was worth $178,331 after he beat a 1,112-entry field.

6+ hold’em, otherwise known as short deck, really does seem like it is here to stay. WCOOP-53 was played with this variant last night, and with 2,966 players in the low buy-in, 677 in the medium and 178 in the high buy-in, it’s safe to say the guarantees were easily met. The biggest winner was also one of the most familiar names: Nick “FU_15” Maimone won $35,503 in the $1,050 buy-in, adding another major online title to his vast clutch of accolades. He later tweeted that it was his first tournament in 6+, but likely not his last (see below). The top ten also included Mikita “fish2013” Badziakouski and Krissy “krissyb24” Bicknell. Players in three of the top four spots in the high buy-in, including Maimone, were based in Canada, but it was far more cosmopolitan at the other levels. Ireland’s “cha 1” won the low buy-in, and Austria’s “LutznButzn” was first in the medium.

Nick “FU_15” Maimone: Natural at 6+


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The Asian gambling hotspot of Macau has its first champion of this year’s WCOOP as Sam “neesam1405” Nee, originally from Malaysia, defeated Latvia’s “PIPON777” heads up to win WCOOP-51-M, the six-max PLO. Not that “PIPON777” will be too disappointed. The two players struck a heads-up deal that secured the player from Latvia $21,346 to Nee’s $20,364.37. Nee may have ended up with all the chips, but “PIPON777” got more money.

Lex Veldhuis had another deep run in WCOOP-51-H last night, but he was long gone in 20th place by the time another UK-based player, “shenideda“, was heads up with Brazil’s Felipe “felipebeltra” Beltra for the title. Those two had also seen off Yuri “theNERDguy” Martins in fourth and Rui “RuiNF” Ferreira in third, but it was one-way traffic heads up with “shenideda” winning his or her first WCOOP title. It came with a prize of $81,752.23 for topping a field of 458 entries.


TODAY’S RESULTS

Tournament Players Prize pool Winner Country Prize
WCOOP-48-L: $109 NLHE 4,578 $457,800 flamant.blanc Netherlands $65,239.80
WCOOP-48-M: $1,050 NLHE Super Tuesday 1,112 $1,112,000 MarToMchat UK $178,331.76
WCOOP-48-H: $10,300 High Roller 175 $1,750,000 mczhang UK $352,810.54
WCOOP-49-L: $22 FL 2-7 Triple Draw 1,064 $21,280 Denis XXX007 Russia $3,564.90
WCOOP-49-M: $215 FL 2-7 Triple Draw 297 $59,400 Pauli elTopo Germany $12,177.00
WCOOP-49-H: $2,100 FL 2-7 Triple Draw 67 $134,000 Zagazaur Netherlands $40,200.00
WCOOP-51-L: $11 PLO 6-Max 4,414 $43,257 sonnor1707 Germany $6,173.51
WCOOP-51-M: $109 PLO 6-Max 1,617 $161,700 neesam1405 Macau $20,364.37*
WCOOP-51-H: $1,050 PLO 6-Max 458 $458,000 shenideda UK $81,752.23
WCOOP-53-L: $11 6+ Hold’em 6-Max 2,966 $29,067 cha 1 Ireland $3,038.21*
WCOOP-53-M: $109 6+ Hold’em 6-Max 677 $67,700 LutznButzn Austria $11,611.91
WCOOP-53-H: $1,050 6+ Hold’em 6-Max 178 $178,000 FU_15 Canada $35,503.07

STAT TRACKER

Events completed: 154
Entries so far: 659,677
Prize pools so far: $62,410,279
First prizes so far: $9,665,207.42
In-the-money finishers so far: 104,279
Tournaments starting today: 15
(Note: completed events only)


INTERVIEWS! INTERVIEWS! INTERVIEWS!

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.

Espen “_sennj_” Sandvik: “It’s my first win in an official tournament”
Rodrigo “guinHuuh” Freire: Brazilian’s roller coaster ride turns $11 into $13K
Patrick “prepstyle71” Serda: No more pizzas for the three-time winner
Jeffrey “Jefffrr8” Reardon: He wanted a five-figure score. He got one.
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

Are you a fan of Lex Veldhuis? Do you like UFC? If so, you could be going to New York to see UFC 244 after Lex found out on last night’s stream that he can take a viewer along with him to the massive showdown.

It wasn’t all great news last night for Lex, however. He was knocked out of the $2K PLO after the grimmest of run-outs against eventual runner-up “felipebeltra”. This one is rough:

“bencb789” live streamed his entire $10K High Roller tournament, which ended for him in fourth place from a field of 175. His stream offers a rare insight into the mind of one of the most respected online tournament players in the world, featuring numerous strategy tips if you’re smart enough to follow them. In the following clip, he flops middle pair, turns two pair and goes for maximum value with two over-bets on turn and river. His opponent, “pruttzz12” ended the tournament in third, one place better than “bencb789”. But this one went to the streamer. (So did this one, after a gutsy river bluff.)


TOP TWEETS

Nick “FU_15” Maimone has taken to 6+ like a duck to water. He reveals exactly how he did it:

 

Meanwhile Celina Lin went deep in the same tournament. And the rest is brilliant #humblebrag time.

 

Means a lot to @NegromJames:


COUNTRIES LEADER BOARD

Are you all OK over there in Brazil? Another day without a win for Brazilians means that they have now slipped down to third in the country standings, with the UK’s three titles overnight putting the Brits within two spots of the Russians at the top. No matter than most of the UK’s titles have actually been won by other Europeans based in the country. The UK needs this kind of help at the moment — and anyway the biggest winner, Michael “mczhang” Zhang is British through and through.

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


PLAYER OF THE SERIES LEADER BOARD

This is without doubt one of the best races of recent years with top place in the Overall leader board now changing hands for the third consecutive day. Filipe “Zagazaur” Oliveira’s win yesterday in the 2-7 Triple Draw earned him 100 leader board points and helped him leapfrog Canada’s “TruthBeTold7” once again. Oliveira now has a 25-point lead, but Jussi “calvin7v” Nevanlinna is also within striking distance, on 955 points.

Here are all the latest standings, with 66 events still to be completed.

Overall:
1 – Zagazaur Netherlands 1,030
2 – TruthBeTold7 Canada 1,005
3 – calvin7v Finland 955
4 – shaundeeb Mexico 840
5 – krakukra Russia 835
6 – RuiNF Netherlands 805
7 – goleafsgoeh Canada 745
8 – Colisea Latvia 720
9 – Adamyid Mexico 635
10 – Kroko-dill Russia 595

Low buy-in:
1 – FONBET_RULIT Russia 400 points
2 – krakukra Russia 380
3 – -Rebus1980- Russia 340
4 – PamPamPake Finland 325
=5 – TruthBeTold7 Canada 320
=5 – Voziyanov15 Russia 320

Medium buy-in:
1 – Colisea Latvia 470
2 – shaundeeb Mexico 325
3 – TruthBeTold7 Canada 295
=4 – Mr Negreanu United Kingdom 275
=4 – Zagazaur Netherlands 270

High buy-in:
1 – Zagazaur Netherlands 575
2 – calvin7v Finland 465
3 – RuiNF Netherlands 440
4 – Lrslzk Finland 410
5 – theNERDguy Brazil 385


STARTING TODAY

Another two $1m+ prize pools are guaranteed in WCOOP-57, another huge NLHE PKO event with a high buy-in of $10,300. But possibly of greater interest to the Player of the Series races will be the HORSE tournament, which could play into the hands of the many mixed games specialists who are riding high this WCOOP. There’s also a Fixed Limit Omaha Hi/Lo event which, miraculously, is due to wrap in a single day. Chopped pots galore are surely inevitable. Thank goodness that the very opposite is also available: the latest re-buy NLHE event also gets under way, with the action certain to be wild.

WCOOP-55: NLHE – Buy-ins: $5.50, $55, $530
WCOOP-56: Limit Omaha Hi Lo – Buy-ins: $11, $109, $1,050
WCOOP-57: NLHE 8-Max PKO – Buy-ins: $109, $1,050, $10,300
WCOOP-58: HORSE – Buy-ins: $22, $215, $2,100
WCOOP-59: NLHE with re-buys – Buy-ins: $5.50, $55, $530


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