The PokerStars Winter Series came to a conclusion on January 7 with the 152-event extravaganza shattering guarantees and paying out hefty sums to players from all over the world.
With events running from December 25 through January 7 the Winter Series provided two straight weeks of value-packed action in the form of 38 different events, each broken into four different buy-in categories: micro, low, medium and high.
PokerStars boasted $25,000,000 in guarantees for the tournaments and it was clear early on that this lofty number would clearly be shattered. Players helped generate well over $37,000,000 in prize pools and over 25 players were awarded six-figure sums during the series.
Damian Salas Has A Career Series
It’s going to be hard for Damian ‘pampa27’ Salas to ever reach his previous high point in poker. The #1-ranked Columbian was, after all, seated at the 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event Final Table. That day in July he finished in seventh place for $1.425 million, far and away a career-high score. During the Winter Series, he put some of that Main Event money to use by playing in the two biggest buy-ins of the series and ending up with a new online poker career-high cash in the process.
Early in the series in Event #7-High ($5,200 No Limit Hold’em 8-Max) Salas made his way to an absolutely stacked final table that included the #1-ranked player in the world, ‘C Darwin2’, who finished in sixth, Belgium’s #1 player Gary ‘quiditbear’ Hasson (fifth), the UK’s Phill ‘Grindation’ Mcallister (third), ‘girafganger7’ (runner-up) and top 30-ranked player ‘dattebayo’, who ended up winning the event for $138,000. It was a who’s who of online poker elite players and Salas, who fit right in, finished in fourth for over $63,000.
A just a week and a half later, in Event #25-H ($5,200 No Limit Hold’em), Salas didn’t settle for fourth. Instead, he outlasted the talented 127 runner field to collect a no-chop first place prize of $139,182. By defeating ‘DEX888’ heads-up, Salas secured the largest online sum he’d ever won to date and helped propel him into the Worldwide top 100 to his current rank of #52 in the world.
‘BadWolfOne’ 3713x’s His Money
The largest tournament of the series belonged to Event #37-Micro ($2.20 No Limit Hold’em). This was the Main Event for the micro-grinders and it generated an impressive $111,900 prize pool. There were 55,966 entries and in the end it was ‘BadWolfOne’ who carved out the best of it in a four-way deal collecting $8,170.56 for his $2.20 investment. Impressively, he did it on a single bullet. The other three players in the deal ‘MatroSkin280’, ‘545TV’ and ‘Fabio_BH01’ all took home $5,932 for their efforts.
Six-Figure Scores, Platinum Passes Highlight The Main Event
‘BadWolfOne’ wasn’t the only player to leverage the final day of the series to find a huge score. As expected, both the High and the Medium buy-in tiers of the Event #37 generated the two highest prize pools of the entire series, both crushing their guarantees.
Event#37-M ($215 No Limit Hold’em ) saw 10,644 players pony up for a shot at a piece the over $2.1 million prize pool. At the final table, the final five agreed to a deal that would guarantee each of them a six-figure score. In the end, ‘The Haamer’ took the top spot and $221,965 for the win. PocketFivers ‘mrvogt’ (third for $145,633) and ‘NoTilit’ (fourth for $141,763) from Lithuania also were part of the chop.
In the High buy-in of the Main Event, 1,116 entries helped surpass the $1.5 million guarantee by nearly $750,000. Five players in this event also won six-figure sums, but there was no deal made in this one. Canada’s ‘freezeplay’ ended up winning it all for $363,177 – the largest payday of the entire Winter Series. PocketFiver Alexandros ‘mexican222’ Kolonias finished as the runner-up taking home $266,207 for second. ‘ikkedus’, currently the #316-ranked player in the world, finished in third for over $195,000 and PocketFiver ‘B4NKR0LL3R’ took seventh for over $56,000.
The four winners of the Main Events, all of those mentioned above as well as ‘smir9david’ who won Event #37 Low, all received a coveted PokerStars Player Championship pass. The pass gives them free entry into the 2019 $25,000 buy-in Hold’em Championship to be held at the 2019 PokerStars PCA. The tournament is being touted as likely to be the largest $25,000 buy-in event in poker history.
With the Winter Series in the rearview mirror, online players can begin dreaming about the next big PokerStars series which is likely to be the 2018 Spring Championship of Online Poker, coming in the first half of the year.