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  1. If there was ever any doubt that Michiganders were ready for the return of online poker, the opening weekend of PokerStars' inaugural Michigan Championship of Online Poker should put those notions to rest. Less than one month ago PokerStars announced the launch of PokerStars MI, the first (and currently only) regulated online poker site in the Wolverine State. Much like the online poker operator did when they went live in Pennsylvania, they quickly scheduled their signature Championship of Online Poker (COOP) series for a whole new batch of recently registered screen names. MICOOP serves both as a celebration of the return of online poker back to the state of Michigan as well as an effort to ensure that the PokerStars brand creates an impactful first impression. The first ten of the series’ 60 events took place over the weekend and players packed the tournament lobbies, ensuring that all ten events not only met but far exceeded their individual posted guarantees. Over the first 48 hours, $175,000 of MICOOP’s promised $1 million in total guarantees was on the line. It turns out that PokerStars was conservative with the initial slate of guarantees as Michigan players helped push the total weekend prize pools to $400,260, and many of the largest tournaments more than doubled their posted guarantees. This was certainly true for Saturday’s MICOOP Event-01 ($100 NLHE MICOOP Kick Off, Nightly Stars SE) where 883 entries dwarfed the $30,000 guarantee by creating a prize pool of $81,059.40. After roughly seven hours of play ‘PowerRanges’ became the first player to win a MICOOP title, locking up $13,652.42 for first place. ‘Buckyeye48875’ also took home a nice payday, walking away with $9,753.30 as the runner-up. The final spot on the podium belonged to ‘theduke8605’ who finished in third place for $6,968.05. Sunday’s first event, MICOOP Event-04 ($100 NLHE, 8-Max, Deepstacks) nearly saw the same amount of enthusiasm. The $25K guarantee turned into a $60,220.80 prize pool as 656 players settled in for the Sunday grind. ‘WOW $dogecoin’ had a nice uptick as they became the second player of the series to lock up a five-figure score, taking home $10,386.42 for first. ‘YouLoseIGiggle’ earned $7,403.61 for second place while ‘vikmod’ settled for $5,277.54 in third place. The biggest buy-in event of the weekend was $40K GTD MICOOP Event-06 ($200 NLHE Sunday Special SE) which saw 430 entries battle for over the $79,980 prize pool. Had the tournament played all the out, the winner would have taken home over $14,300 but the final four players agreed to an even chop. 'sexycaitlyn', ‘BackdoorFILTH’, ‘jTizzle450’ and ‘imakewinhappen’ each took home $9,567.68 in the deal and 'sexycaitlyn' emerged as the official winner of the event. Another highlight of the weekend was MICOOP Event-07 ($25 NLHE Mini Sunday Special) which boasted the largest field of the first weekend. The modest buy-in allowed for 1,229 entries to juice the prize pool to $27,959.75, well above the original $12.5K guarantee. Another deal was made in this event, however, it was double the size of the deal made in Event-06 as the final eight players agreed to a deal with each of them taking home $1,782.01. The tournament played out with 'Flintston Pip1' earning the title of MICOOP champion. PokerStars MICOOP continues through March 8 with its two-day $300 buy-in, $125K GTD Main Event taking place on March 7. If the turn out in Michigan for MICOOP continues to be high, as it did on the first weekend, look for PokerStars to potentially boost guarantees across the series as they did back in December 2019 for the first-ever PACOOP when it was made clear early that the series was going to be a success. PokerStars MICOOP Opening Weekend Winners [table id=174 /]
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