When we last dropped in on the Winter Series, we were detailing massive tournaments won by some of the biggest names in the game. And four days on, it’s a case of more of the same — and then some.
Not only has the tournament entry record been broken for the series, by a staggering 15,000-entry margin, but we’ve also seen the biggest prize pool for a PKO event so far. Furthermore, recent winners include Ole “wizowizo” Schemion, Mustapha “lasagnaammm” Kanit, Bartlomiej “bartek901” Machon, Simon “C. Darwin2” Mattsson, Anatoly “NL_Profit” Filatov and Pedro “PaDilhA SP” Padilha, while “a.urli” won his second title and Jerry “Perrymejsen” Odeen followed up three top-three finishes with an outright victory.
We’ve a lot to be catching up on…
The New Year was barely a day old when the Winter Series offered PokerStars players the perfect chance to give their bankrolls a boost with 15 tournaments played out across the day and night. The first three — the low, medium and high buy-in versions of Event #29 — were re-buy tournaments, and it all went suitably crazy.
In the $5.50 tournament, there were 8,116 entries, 10,977 re-buys and 3,648 add-ons, which is best thought about with reference to the way re-buy tournaments are done in brick and mortar card-rooms. Just picture the poor TD and assistants scurrying around from table to table to nearly 11,000 shouts of “Chips!”
Russia’s “Student 407” won the $5.50 tournament for $15,652.53. Estonia’s “AS Leshiy” won the $55 event for $32,784.77 and UK-based Spaniard Juanki “B4NKR0LL3R” Vecino won $45,262.36 in the $530-entry tournament. There’s no record of how many re-buys they all had.
It was a spectacular day for Vecino, who followed up that success with second place in the $1,050 buy-in Event #32-H, a six-max hold’em tournament. Only the brilliant Simon Rønnow “IgorKarkarof” Pedersen beat Vecino in this one, with the pair earning the $51,727.72 and $38,342.35 prizes between them. Pedersen retains his No1 ranking in Denmark and builds lifetime cashes to nearly $5 million.
The biggest prize pool of the day was contested in the $215 NLHE PKO event, commonly known as the Thursday Thrill. “auercan” of Latvia took the lion’s share of the $473,200 pool by winning $30,865.43 in prize money and another $20,537 in bounties. At the same time, Costa Rica’s “ImDaNuts” was busy earning $52,300.21 + $49,960.93 in the high buy-in version.
The only non hold’em event was Event #31, which brought the PLO beasts to the table. Fittingly, Simon “C. Darwin2” Mattsson took down the $1,050 tournament for $33,442.58, beating Richard “raconteur” Gryko into third and Andras “probirs” Nemeth into fourth.
Another day, another 15 Winter Series tournaments, with the biggest prize pool amassed in the $109 NLHE event, otherwise known as Event #35-M. There was $335,600 in the middle in this one, from which Romania’s “andr31123” snatched the largest portion. His victory over a 3,356-entry field was worth $48,222.86.
The best-known winner of the day came in the $1,050 Hyper Turbo closing event, in which Bartlomiej “bartek901” Machon returned to the winner’s enclosure. The UK-based Polish player continues his remarkable run in high profile series on PokerStars, adding to his WCOOP High Roller victory from 2017 and his second WCOOP win from this past autumn. Machon beat a 180-entry field in the $1,050 buy-in Daily Supersonic and bagged himself another $36,471.38.
There was a constellation of stars at the final table of Event #37-H, a $530 NLHE Turbo, with Niklas “lena900” Astedt, Patrick “pads1161” Leonard, Parker “tonkaaaa” Talbot and Dimitar “KuuL” Danchev taking their seats in the last nine. However, it was “KeithRaz” of the UK who outlasted them all, beating Danchev heads up for the $32,522.83 first prize. Astedt and Danchev were eighth and ninth, respectively.
Latvia’s “PIPON777” added a Winter Series title to his runner up finish in WCOOP this year, bagging $23,896.62 in the $1,050 NL08 6-Max. This one didn’t quite hit its $100,000 guarantee, so “PIPON777” got the benefit of a small overlay as well.
January 4, a Saturday, brought the biggest buy-in event of this short period when Event #40-H demanded $2,100 to play. With more than $11.5 million in live tournament earnings, and something approaching that online, Mustapha “lasagnaaammm” Kanit is not going to balk at any entry fee, and he duly took his place in this 174-entry field.
About 29 hours later (this was a two-day event), Kanit had all the cream and won $35,079.60 in prize money, bolstered by $42,390.62 in bounties. His final opponent was Germany’s “cmontopdeck“, with Austria’s “Graftekkel” in third.
By the time Kanit completed that victory, his fellow high roller Ole “wizowizo” Schemion was already toasting success. Schemion won the high buy-in 8-Game for $27,250, defeating Rory “Mafews” Matthews heads up after Yuri “theNERDguy” Martins perished in third. With Luke “lb6121” Schwartz, “merla888” and “krakukra” also finishing in the top 10, this was one of the toughest fields of the week.
Of course, 8-Game tests the skills across a number of variants and tends to be favoured by the very best. That was further underlined by the sight of Jerry “Perrymejsen” Odeen heads up against Thomas “sandman201” Taylor in the $109 medium buy-in level of this one. Taylor won two WCOOP titles last September, but he was put in his place by Odeen this time around. Odeen finished third twice and runner-up once in the first week of this series, so this title, worth $9,614, was only to be expected.
The superstars were not done there, however. Brazil’s Pedro “PaDilhA SP” Padilha almost always features in these tournament series round-ups, at least ever since he did (or did not actually) knock on Andre Akkari’s door. No sign of Akkari himself in these reports, but Padilha won his customary event, chopping the $55 NLHE 6-Max HyperTurbo with the UK’s “JamesThistle” and winning $21,324.16.
There was just time for one more star-studded final table in Event 43-H, with a $1,050 buy-in. This one was won by former Sunday Million champion “blackaces93“, who kept Andras “probirs” Nemeth still looking for victory (Nemeth finished third) and also relegated Dominik “Bounatirou” Nitsche to fourth. “blackaces93” won $22,345.
And, as we well know, the PokerStars tables are not exclusively reserved for established greats. There are many, many ways for even low-stakes players to earn themselves a fortune. Just ask “MANIACkz” of Kazakhstan, who won his seat in Event-39-L: $11 NLHE Afternoon Deep Stacks in a satellite costing $1.10. “MANIACkz” went all the way to the top spot, recording an ROI of 10,205.4 percent as he won $11,227.05!
Sunday is invariably the biggest day of the week on PokerStars, and a major series only makes that more apparent. There were a staggering 37,033 entries to the $11 buy-in PKO event, building a prize pool of $362,923. The eventual winner, Denmark’s “fossemand”, won $14,573.87 in prize money and a further $6,697.18 in bounties, which is especially good when you consider the fact that he did no re-enter even once. A few people did. And by “a few” I mean 11,996. (There were 25,037 uniques and close to 12,000 re-entries.)
The biggest prize pool on Sunday came about as players in Event #45-H obliterated the $350K guarantee. The 235 entries (inc. 99 re-entries) meant there was $470,000 on the line, and two absolute titans slugged it out at the end. Samuel “€urop€an” Vousden took on Anatoly “NL_Profit” Filatov, with $97,817.22 on offer to the winner. Filatov closed it out, leaving Vousden with “only” $67.5K for his troubles.
Filatov returned to the final table in the $2,100 NLHE PKO, otherwise known as the Sunday Cooldown, but had to settle for seventh. Even Ole “wizowizo” Schemion couldn’t bag another title and had to make do with fifth, mainly because Canada’s “a.urli” was on another charge. “a.urli”, who won the Sunday Million 10th Anniversary tournament in 2016, has already won one PKO title in this Winter Series. This second title was even more valuable, however, as he picked up $42,738.46 in prize money and $44,019.52 in bounties for a near $90K score to round out the weekend.
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