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  1. It's hard to believe that 2015 will mark the 10th year PocketFives has been around. One of the members of the poker world who signed up for our site in Year 1 was Ari Engel(pictured), known to many in our community as BodogAri. He has $2.3 million in tracked scores online plus another $1.4 million in the live arena, according to the Hendon Mob. In the last few weeks, Engel won a PokerStarsSpring Championship of Online Poker $109 No Limit Hold'em event for $187,000 after a four-way deal. Engel said, "I'm feeling good. It's always really good to get a big score. They don't come very often, so it's good to get them." A total of $2.1 million was handed out to 2,700 in the money finishers. "There was definitely a lot of money on the line," Engel said of his motivation to chop. "I am always open-minded to chops because I have gotten good deals over my career, but I'm not necessarily looking for one. There were two players who didn't seem as experienced, while another guy and I were co-chip leaders and he seemed experienced. The short stacks wanted to chop and we all agreed to look. I got a little more than ICM and, with so much money on the line, I had to deal." Interestingly enough, this was Engel's first six-figure tracked online score. He has 42 cashes of at least $10,000 and said of his performance over the last nine years, "I have run really well to get the results coming consistently. One of the things that has helped is I play lower buy-ins than people with my record would play. Even this tourney was a $109 buy-in tourney, so there weren't a lot of experienced players. It's a little easier to do better in those kinds of fields." Engel has been focused on lower buy-in tournaments ever since this author can remember meeting him. We asked where his approach came from and he responded, "I'm so nitty outside of the tables and it has definitely affected the choices I have made regarding tournament buy-ins." He added that he doesn't play nitty in tournaments themselves, however. Engel has also been heavily into poker training and famously ran a "Poker Batcave" of sorts in Las Vegas. "A challenge a lot of coaches get into is that being a good coach doesn't take the same skill set it takes to be a good player," BodogAri told us. "It's about condensing your thoughts into good sound bytes. If you asked a lot of great players, I don't think many of them could condense their plays and rationally explain them. A lot of them could, but there are plenty who couldn't." As you've probably guessed by now, Engel will be entering many of the $1,000 and $1,500 buy-in events at the World Series of Poker at the Rio this year. He has 16 WSOP cashes for $100,000 total, but has made a name for himself on the WSOP Circuit, where he owns six rings, two shy of the most ever (Alex Masek, eight). His first ring came in 2007 in Atlantic City and his most recent was last year at Foxwoods (pictured). As we said at the top, almost 10 years have passed since Engel signed up for PocketFives, back then a quaint community that had just developed a system for ranking online poker players. On the changes over the years, he said, "The game has changed so much. Even if I took my mind now and went back in time, I wouldn't play the same way I do now or did back then." SCOOP and other big-time tournament series take place on PokerStars. If you don't already have a PokerStars account, sign up through the links on PocketFives and deposit to get a 100% up to $600 bonus along with one free month of PocketFives Trainingwith no sign-up fee. Register your PokerStars account here. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  2. Late last month, Brazil's Luciano Santos de Hollanda (pictured), known as LucianoHollandaon PocketFives, earned his $1 million cash badge. He is the top-ranked player in the city of Curitiba and told us he's "feeling really good" about his brand new profile badge. Perhaps even more importantly, Hollanda is "even more excited about the game." --- Follow professional sports tipsters, make your own betting tips, and compete for real cash prizes. Tipdayis the ultimate sports tipping resource. Check it out. --- "I feel more confident for sure," Hollanda told PocketFives about his mindset going forward. "Every time I get a nice result, I feel I need to study more, play more, and use that energy to get better results." Just about all of his tracked scores have come on PokerStars, where you can find him competing under the screen name Luciano S.H. Last May, Hollanda was part of a four-way chop of a $215 No Limit Hold'em SCOOP event and earned $110,000. He officially came away with the win as well and what remains his largest tracked cash to date. The tournament had nearly 6,000 entrants and PocketFivers laid claim to one-third of the prize pool. "It was really important to my career," Hollanda said of the SCOOP bracelet. "I always wondered how a big hit could change my poker career and when it finally happened, I noticed that it made me more confident. I realized I could do much more with my poker career." As a result, he played higher buy-in games and enlisted the help of a few poker coaches to fine-tune his skills even further. Speaking of coaches, Hollanda worked with Yuri "theNERDguy" Martins (pictured) and was able to enter a few higher-stakes games online. He explained, "Online, I could play the high-stakes tournaments I was not used to playing and had a really good time adjusting to those very good regulars. I also played live poker. I played a few WSOP events last year and went to the PCA. I would have never imagined playing in those live tournaments until SCOOP happened." The Brazilian is headed back to Las Vegas for the WSOPthis year. In fact, his flight is on the second-to-last day of May. "I'm looking forward to feeling more prepared and, with more experience, I believe I can make a final table this year," he previewed. "I will be playing more tournaments this year than last year, when I played a few events, but didn't cash." Hollanda will hit the pillow each night at Ariaduring the WSOP and, while it requires a ride to the Rio each day, he said, "I think it's important to have a good and comfortable night of sleep before playing." We wanted to close our interview by heralding the Brazil pokercommunity on PocketFives, which has managed to reach #4 in our Country Poker Rankings with a combined PLB score of its top 20 players of 101,199 points. We've interviewed countless Brazilians for feature articles and the nation has been flush with not only World Cup fever, but also poker fever. "Lately, poker in Brazil has become very popular and the professional poker players have become way more respected," Hollanda asserted. "Lots of new, good players are appearing and making the Brazilian image to the world a better one. There are very good poker teams and coaches here now." See who else has managed to get $1 million in tracked scores. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  3. The SCOOP Main Event on PokerStarsbrought out thousands of players for tournaments that had three different price tags. The mid-stakes version had a $1,050 buy-in and attracted over 4,000 entrants. Besting all but four of them was PocketFiver Kevin Kevish Williams (pictured), whose fifth place finish was worth a healthy $171,000. "I'm feeling great," Williams told PocketFives. "I ran kind of badly at the final table, but I am very happy with the score." The winner of the mid-stakes SCOOP Main Event bagged $635,000 and the top six brought in at least $100,000. "The money at stake didn't affect me that much," Williams argued. "I don't think you ever know if it will or not until you're there, but I was enjoying it. Obviously, I was super conscious of the dollar value of wasting a big blind and the implications of an ICM mistake, but I certainly didn't freeze up at all." He added, "Even when I got a couple of three-outers, I thought, 'Well, that was an expensive river,' but I didn't let it get me down. Variance in poker tournaments is way deeper than all-in showdowns and I appreciate the run-good inherent in even getting into that spot. I was enjoying every minute." He headed out to Las Vegas last month for the World Series of Poker in late June and said the SCOOP money will help him buy a little more of his own action. However, as he put it, "The real value of the money is staying in the game." Williams is also heading to Peru in September, quite a haul from England. Williams is involved in a theater company in his hometown of London and a portion of his SCOOP winnings may go to producing a play. "I started it when I met a talented writer and we decided to put on one of her plays," he said. "It was on for three weeks at a small theater in London and we're looking to put her next play on next year. It's mainly a dark comedy and drama. I think she's a real talent." Let's get back to poker now. Williams got into the game originally while playing in a staff pub game. Then, he attended Sussex University and started playing in local casinos in Brighton. Eventually, the Brit won a winner-take-all 1,000 FPP satellite to the World Series of Poker Main Event and, as he worded it, "I was hooked." Poker has been his full-time job for a few years now. Speaking of the Main Event, which started on July 5 from the Rio in Las Vegas, Williams finished 77th in it last year, his fifth time entering. "I think I have a decent grip on the psychology of playing that event," he said. "I think it's a very forgiving structure that allows you to come back from setbacks well. I also can never tilt in that event. It's on so many people's bucket list to play even once, so if you're in it, life can't be that bad!" Williams also added that the Main Event, which once again had three starting days this year, has "so much value." He explained, "It's such a long tournament that not tilting or making silly mistakes is probably twice as important as pulling off super A-game moves." You can catch all of our WSOP news by clicking here. Real Gaming, a regulated online poker site in Nevada, sponsors our WSOP coverage this year. Finally, we wanted to mention that Williams sold a portion of his SCOOP Main Event on Twitter. Several of his followers bought 2% of him as the first piece of action they ever had. He gleaned, "Having them railing me was really fun and I guess we have them for life now! Action-selling regs: you're welcome!" Each 2% stake was worth about $3,500. SCOOP and other big-time poker series run on PokerStars, the largest site in the world. If you don't have a PokerStars account, sign up through the links on PocketFives and get a 100% up to $600deposit bonus and one free month of PocketFives Training with no signup fee. Click here to create your account. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  4. Even though the PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker(SCOOP) is over and done with, we're happy to be able to report on players who did well in one of the largest series of the year. Among those who earned six-figure paydays this month was Jacob Slevin (pictured), who is known as 6Thor6 on PocketFives. Slevin was part of a three-way chop of the mid-stakes opening event, a $215 NLHE Six-Max tournament that stretched over two days. "I'm still completely dazed by it really," Slevin said to PocketFives following his hallmark score. "Having minimal sleep between Day 1 and Day 2 and then the same again the night after the chop, I am still feeling a bit psychologically battered, but in a really great way if that makes sense." That's one of our favorite quotes ever. In between Day 1 and Day 2 of the kickoff tournament, he did what others still in the field likely did: researched their opponents. "In between the two days, I was able to research players and modify my HUD," he revealed. "Then, I could act accordingly." His reward was $127,000, the largest amount given out during the chop. He was the lone PocketFiver to make the six-handed final table. As far as the money goes, Slevin plans to buy a new car, go on a few vacations, and enter other SCOOP events. The England poker community member has about $700,000 in tracked online scores, almost entirely from PokerStars, and is averaging $265 per in the money finish. The 27-year-old Dorset resident called the Day 2 field of the SCOOP tournament "very challenging," saying, "There were many names I recognized. Because I have recently had coaching from Supernova Elite ICANTSNG, I was able to implement and interpret the data in my HUD more successfully and figure out how to exploit those players." The tournament itself had just shy of 5,700 entrants. Besides his SCOOP chop, his other claim to fame is a final table in the PokerStars Sunday Warm-Upin early 2012. That finish was good for $58,000 and he said, "It was by far the biggest cash I had ever won at the time. It was enormous for me. It did falsely lead me into believing I was much more than an average player, however. Consequently, I kept playing and paid little regard to how the game was gradually evolving around me." He continued, "Being young and quite care-free, I inevitably crashed and burned over a long and gradual time, with the occasional bink in the process. This time around, however, I am much more self-aware, less arrogant, and, as a result of my recent coaching, I know there are still many holes in my game that need patching up if I hope to continue to run deep in events like these." Slevin closed by thanking "everyone who railed me and anyone I don't know who cheered for me." SCOOP and other big-time tournament series take place on PokerStars. If you don't already have a PokerStars account, sign up through the links on PocketFives and get a 100% up to $600 deposit bonus along with one free month of PocketFives Trainingwith no sign-up fee. Sign up here. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  5. In 2012, Bulgaria's Slaven VarnatraderPopov (pictured) won the PokerStars SCOOP Mid-Stakes Main Event for over a half-million dollars. Two years later, he followed up the colossal hit by final tabling a SCOOP $2,100 NLHE tournament for another $108,000, shooting him well over $1 million in tracked online poker scores. As a result, he did what any rational Bulgarian would do: headed to Asia to escape the winter. "I have mixed feelings," Popov said about his latest SCOOP score. "Fifth place and $100,000 are great of course, but winning another major SCOOP event would have been an enormous success for me personally. Still, it's a very good result against some of the best online poker players in the world." He is the #2 ranked player in Bulgaria and tops in the third largest city in the country, Varna. Popov has played poker professionally since 2007. He said, "My career was going up and up gradually but firmly. The 2012 success though was a huge leap for me. My best result was $50,000 at the time and, all of a sudden, I had a half-million dollars to work with. The major change was that I started to play more live events where I also had some good results. I was also able to do some interesting stuff outside of poker, which was great." As far as the money goes this time around, Popov said his bankroll will receive a much-needed boost. "I wasn't sure about Vegas this year after I had some rough times in 2013, but now I am probably going," he added. As you probably have noticed, Popov has made the annual SCOOP his personal playground and is over $1 million in winnings on PokerStars, the series' host site. "The SCOOP events have a really nice and unique structure," he commented. "It allows you to play the style you are most comfortable with no matter what that style is. One should also change gears all the time, but the structure allows you to stay in your comfort zone most of the time. Just stay cool, play the style that comes naturally, and wait for your spots." The 2012 SCOOP Main Event had almost 3,600 entrants and PocketFivers collected 44% of the $1.5 million prize pool. There were five PocketFivers in the top 10 of that event. In the 2014 SCOOP event he final tabled, there were 1,073 entrants and PocketFivers earned 43% of the purse. He originally got started in poker while in London after catching "Late Night Poker" on television. He explained, "I didn't think the live version was for me, but then I saw the online version of it and went from there. I won my first tournament pretty fast while reading Doyle Brunson's bible." Although Brunson's "Super System" was a big help early on, Popov also found "Harrington on Hold'em" useful. "It was a nicely written book with great, detailed examples of real-life situations," Popov said of Dan Harrington's effort. "Back in 2008 and 2009, it was just the best book on the market. I was reading during the day and making money at night. Now, that book is outdated, but it's still useful for basic strategies." Outside of poker, Popov enjoys traveling and, after the big score in 2012, the Bulgarian fled to Southeast Asia to escape the winter. He was away from Bulgaria for five months traveling and continues to parlay his poker success into trips to the four corners of the Earth. According to Google Maps, Bulgaria to China is well over 4,000 miles. SCOOP and other big-time tournament series take place on PokerStars. If you don't already have a PokerStars account, sign up through the links on PocketFives and get a 100% up to $600 deposit bonus along with one free month of PocketFives Trainingwith no sign-up fee. Sign up here. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  6. Making mincemeat of the PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Pokerwas Phill Mcallister (pictured), who is known on PocketFives as Grindation. And, perhaps fittingly, Mcallister's success started in the very first tournament of SCOOP and ended with its Main Event. --- Follow professional sports tipsters, make your own betting tips, and compete for real cash prizes. Tipdayis the ultimate sports tipping resource. Check it out. --- We'll start with the opening event of SCOOP, the high-stakes version of which carried a $2,100 buy-in and had $1 million guaranteed. There were nearly 900 entrants in the Six-Max No Limit Hold'em event and Mcallister finished in second place for $232,000. "It feels good, especially since it was a bit of a shot," Mcallister said of his six-figure payday. The opening tournament had three PocketFivers at the final table and Mcallister commented about the event, "I love Six-Max. I think it's a very fun game type. Plus, high buy-in tournaments are something to look forward to and I felt in the zone… It was a tournament with a lot of big names, but there are always going to be soft spots in any given tournament, whether it's some absolute sicko who isn't playing their best or some rich fish who decides to test their luck." This week, Mcallister rounded out his SCOOP in the same way he started it: finishing fifth in the High-Stakes Main Event for $350,000. When SCOOP was over, Mcallister had peeled off nearly $600,000 in cashes from those two events. We think he is probably licking his chops at the 2015 SCOOP already. In May 2012, Mcallister finished second in the PokerStars Sunday Million for $154,000 officially, which stood as his largest cash for two years. He said of the Sunday Million runner-up showing, "I was backed at the time by dirtybrasil and wanted to win big money for my backer, so that felt very good. It's nice to pay someone who has a lot of faith in your ability." At the time, his backer was such an inspiration that Mcallister decided to walk in his footsteps by getting into the world of staking. He said, however, that it didn't go as planned: "I got into the game of backing and buying pieces of people in the marketplace and that didn't go so well. I soon went on my own and had many deep runs in Majors that I didn't close. I traveled a little bit too and, overall, it was a nice time." He found poker originally through home games with friends and said, "I instantly fell in love with the game. I remember a story where a friend of mine was sent $5 on Absolute Poker and, a few months later, he was playing NL1k and mid-stakes and high-stakes tournaments, so I wanted to see what was up." Mcallister has come a long way since, piling up $1.4 million in tracked scores online. He described his run-up in the game as filled with peaks and valleys, but he sits at $591,000 in scores this month alone. "I really want to thank everyone who has believed in me," Mcallister closed by saying. "Some names that come to mind are dyble, dando, ZeelandBoy, dirtybrasil, jackstack99, bubbleoutcas(pictured), j0hndayt0n, gevork, and ketendjian. I'm sure I'm missing more." SCOOP and other big-time tournament series take place on PokerStars. If you don't already have a PokerStars account, sign up through the links on PocketFives and get a 100% up to $600 deposit bonus along with one free month of PocketFives Trainingwith no sign-up fee. Sign up here. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  7. The three PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker Main Events wrapped up on Monday and, when the smoke cleared, $12.7 million had been distributed to over 26,000 total entrants. All three Main Events more than doubled their guarantees. We'll start with the High-Stakes Main Event, which saw Ivan "vandir4rek" Soshnikov (pictured) emerge victorious in a $10,300 buy-in tournament from a field of 657 entrants after a three-way deal. Soshnikov is an EPT High Roller champion and followed in the footsteps of Viktor "Isildur1" Blom, who won the High-Stakes Main Event last year for about the same amount. Heads-up play between Soshnikov and Peter "Se7enTr3y" Akery lasted an hour, with A-6 outlasting K-9 for the win. Soshnikov amassed a seven-figure score, the only one given out during any of the SCOOP Main Events this year: 1. vandir4rek $1,048,000 2. Se7enTr3y $860,000 3. Better C4ll $890,820 *3-way deal 4. M.nosbocaJ $499,320 5. Grindation $350,838 (Grindation) 6. NeverScaredB $279,225 (NeverScaredB) 7. VVVILELAAA $213,525 8. sanpri $147,825 9. sat1337en $98,550 In the Mid-Stakes Main Event, LexaLucky666held onto a 5:1 chip lead to defeat EPT Loutraki champion and WCOOP bracelet winner Zimnan Zimmy Ziyard. In fact, heads-up play lasted a scant five hands, with LexaLucky666's pocket nines crushing Ziyard's pocket sevens when the money went in. No deal was struck in this one: 1. LexaLucky666 $635,379.00 2. Zimmy86 $473,499.00 (Zimmy) 3. marek_heinz $333,877.50 (marek_heinz) 4. secky0222 $232,702.50 5. Four-7-Kevin $171,997.50 (Kevish) 6. €urop€an $131,527.50 (European) 7. seonkett1 $91,057.50 8. Andr the gun $50,587.50 9. 1337Gambl0r $32,376.00 Last, but certainly not least, a former #1 player in the PocketFives Online Poker Rankings, Ari Engel(pictured), won the Low-Stakes Main Event after entering heads-up play against jeppinhowith a 3:1 chip lead. The prize pool was chopped four ways and Engel recorded his first six-figure tracked online score. He is over $2.3 million in career online MTT earnings and has six World Series of Poker Circuit rings, the third highest total ever behind Alex Masek (eight) and Chris Reslock (seven): 1. BodogAri $187,669.27 (Ari) 2. jeppinho $136,418.37 3. MAKKAPAKK $172,207.27 (makkapakk) 4. MoscowNo1 $117,442.65 *4-way deal 5. camikater $75,407.50 6. vlaviusz $53,862.50 7. sksjohny $32,317.50 8. capinhabr $19,390.50 9. Didcot4 $12,927.00 This year's SCOOP was the largest one ever, with $81 million being given out over 135 tournaments. Incredibly, every single tournament surpassed its guarantee. If you don't already have a PokerStars account, sign up through the links on PocketFives and get a 100% up to $600 deposit bonus along with one free month of PocketFives Trainingwith no sign-up fee. Sign up here. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  8. We have a tie! On Friday, Cal cal42688Anderson (pictured), a former #1 ranked player here on PocketFives, tied the record by getting his fifth PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker watch. According to PokerStars, Anderson came mighty close to several victories already this year, making six final tables during the 2014 SCOOP before Friday's win: Event #4-M ($55+R NLHE, 6-Max, Action Hour): 5th Place Event #16-M ($109+R NLHE, Big Antes): 2nd Place Event #19-L ($27 NLHE, 6-Max, Shootout): 5th Place Event #31-M ($215 Razz): 5th Place Event #31-H ($2,100 Razz): 8th Place Event #35-H ($2,100 PLO Hi/Lo): 8th Place Anderson ultimately got over the hump in a $2,100 HORSE event on Friday that drew 111 entrants and had a prize pool of $222,000. He chopped heads-up with Mikhail MiklelerSemin (pictured below), but came away with the all-important victory and tied fellow PocketFiver Shaun shaundeebDeeb for the most number of SCOOP wins ever at five. On the strength of seven final tables and one win, Anderson leads the SCOOP Player of the Series leaderboard and has $5.5 million in tracked scores on his PocketFives profile, nearly $4 million of which has come on PokerStars. He was last ranked #1 on our site in November 2013 and is currently #4 in the Mexico poker community. He posted on Twitter after his latest SCOOP victory, "After 6 final tables, I finally won another scoop! 2K horse weeeee." He was camped out in Playa del Carmen during his SCOOP run after flying in from London on the third day of May. Anderson had to navigate a minefield in the $2,100 HORSE event in order to get a win. Here's how the final eight players cashed out: 1. Calvin cal42688Anderson (Mexico) - $47,065 2. Mikhail MiklelerSemin (Russia) - $45,065 3. Matt plattsburgh Vengrin (Mexico) - $28,860.00 4. Bill "PICKLED EGG" Gazes (Brazil) - $19,980.00 5. Crisper (Argentina) - $14,430.00 6. blonytair (Germany) - $11,100.00 7. Pthelegend (Canada) - $8,880.00 8. Christer "lennart" Johansson (Sweden) - $6,660.00 Anderson's five SCOOP wins are as follows. Note that each one has come in a different genre of poker: 2010: PLO Turbo 2011: Stud High-Low 2011: Razz 2013: Limit Hold'em Six-Max 2014: HORSE If you don't already have a PokerStars account, sign up through the links on PocketFives and get a 100% up to $600 deposit bonus along with one free month of PocketFives Trainingwith no sign-up fee. Sign up here. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  9. Chalk up the first PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker(SCOOP) title for Jason treysfull21Mercier (pictured). The longtime PocketFiver won a $215 Eight-Game event on Thursday and now needs a TCOOP victory to become poker's third Triple COOP champion. --- Follow professional sports tipsters, make your own betting tips, and compete for real cash prizes. Tipdayis the ultimate sports tipping resource. Check it out. --- "It feels good," Mercier told PocketFives on Friday about his SCOOP win. "I am happy to get another title under my belt." The tournament had 559 entrants and more than doubled its $50,000 guaranteed prize pool. Mercier is an avid Mixed Game player and typically plays Eight Game cash online. "I'm very experienced in it," Mercier said. In fact, one of his two WCOOP titles came in an Eight-Game event. His other was in a $1,050 No Limit Hold'em tournament. Thursday's Eight-Game final table was stacked with the likes of Michael benvo123Benvenuti (pictured) and Eugene Katchalov. Perhaps not coincidentally, Mercier, Benvenuti, and Katchalov finished 1-2-3, respectively. "Michael and I had all the chips going into the final table," Mercier said. "I predicted I'd be facing him heads-up with two tables left. He played very well and Eugene did a good job to get third, allowing the others to get knocked out before him." We asked Mercier to break down the Eight-Game skills of Benvenuti and Katchalov. He responded, "I wasn't really even aware Michael played, but I was very impressed with how he was playing from what I could see. Eugene is very skilled at Mixed Games." Entering the final table, Mercier and Benvenuti had 1.77 million in chips; the rest of the table had just one million combined. Also on Thursday, Mercier finished seventh in a $2,100 SCOOP Eight-Game tournament, telling us, "I was kind of hanging on for a while in the $2K, but eventually got knocked out of that one. I was trying to finish the heads-up quickly so I could focus on the $2K because there was a lot more money on the line there and the heads-up was taking much more of my focus." Here's how the mid-stakes Eight-Game event's final table looked: 1. Jason treysfull21Mercier - $21,242.00 2. Michael benvo123Benvenuti - $15,652.00 3. Eugene "E.Katchalov" Katchalov - $11,459.50 4. Ceegee - $7,826.00 5. st0nebluff - $5,590.00 6. Eric tightlines Pratt - $3,577.60 Mercier has his sights set on winning the $50,000 Poker Player's Championship at the upcoming World Series of Poker. The tournament takes on an Eight-Game format and Mercier joked, "That one would have a little better payout." Finally, we asked Mercier whether he gets a rail when he is running deep in tournaments online. After all, he has had a considerable amount of success over the years for people to get behind, including two WSOP bracelets and $1.5 million in tracked online scores. "I have some close friends and family back home watching," Mercier said, "and I get a lot of mentions on Twitter from fans that tell me they are rooting me on and sweating, which is pretty cool." If you don't already have a PokerStars account, sign up through the links on PocketFives and get a 100% up to $600 deposit bonus along with one free month of PocketFives Trainingwith no sign-up fee. Sign up here. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  10. The recent PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Pokerawarded $81 million to players. One of the big winners was Denmark's Rasmus Agerskov (pictured), who is known as RasAon PocketFives. Agerskov took home $257,000 of that amount, or 0.3%, after chopping Event #22-H of SCOOP, a $2,100 No Limit Hold'em tournament. "It's a great feeling to go really deep in one of the biggest events," Agerskov told PocketFives in an exclusive interview. "I've had quiet a few semi-deep Day 2 runs in SCOOP and WCOOP events, so finally booking a win in one of the big ones is awesome." Event #22-H had nearly $2 million up for grabs by itself, but despite the money on the line, Agerskov admitted that he wasn't automatically gravitating toward chopping. "I was not sure if I wanted to deal. I think I gave up a little bit of value since I was in a very good spot, as I was the chip leader and had direct position on the guy who was second in chips. But, you're not in this situation very often and you are never going to realize your EV here anyway, so I think chopping here is never really bad." He ultimately finished third and his $257,000 was the largest amount given away in the chop. His plans for the money included buying into the SCOOP Main Event and then "traveling quite a bit around Europe this summer, so I guess I'll get lots of chances to spend some of the money during that. Besides that, it's always nice to boost your bankroll with a nice chunk of change." Agerskov, who calls Denmark home, has one other six-figure online score, which came in the Sunday Warm-Up in 2012 for $112,000. "It was my biggest ever online cash until now, so it was huge," he said of the score two years ago. "But, it didn't really change anything career-wise. I was already playing a lot of tournaments and, back then, I also played a lot of heads-up sit and gos, even the highest ones from time to time. I remember I lost $25,000 earlier that day in heads-up sit and gos, so the win came at a very nice time." Agerskov (pictured with his regular hair) had been into sports betting until a friend introduced him to poker. The proverbial light switch didn't come on until he found heads-up sit and gos, which he said were appealing because "you have to act all the time, which made it more fun." He continued, "It was in these games that I started my poker bankroll and network of friends. My first poker buddy, sifosis, I met in these games. We started talking poker and I think this is when I started winning and playing on a more serious basis." Nowadays, he has transitioned away from heads-up sit and gos and toward – you guess it – MTTs. "I think MTTs are more appealing with the change of structure throughout a tournament and the fun in finding yourself in the middle of a big endgame," he said. He has $1.7 million in online MTT winnings and is the #8 ranked player in Denmark. Finally, we always like to ask our interviewees what they do away from poker. After all, there's more to life than the game, right? Agerskov has been playing football since he was a little tyke – four years old, to be exact – and plays squash and tennis as well. He also enjoys traveling, hanging out with friends, eating, and having a good time. SCOOP and other big-time tournament series take place on PokerStars. If you don't already have a PokerStars account, sign up through the links on PocketFives and deposit to get a 100% up to $600 bonus along with one free month of PocketFives Trainingwith no sign-up fee. Register your PokerStars account here. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  11. The 22nd event of the ongoing PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Pokerfeatured a mid-stakes version with a $215 buy-in and $1 million guarantee. Nearly 5,600 entrants turned out and UK PocketFiver Martin molliemalone Malone (pictured) was part of a four-way chop for $135,000, the largest amount dished out. He is ranked #214 worldwide on PocketFives and we'd expect him to climb even higher in the future. --- Follow professional sports tipsters, make your own betting tips, and compete for real cash prizes. Tipdayis the ultimate sports tipping resource. Check it out. --- PocketFives: Awesome job on the SCOOP chop for $135,000. Tell us how you're feeling about it. Martin Malone: Thanks so much. I'm still smiling now from it. It took a while to sink in just how big a result it was for me and I still haven't really had time to sit back and enjoy the moment properly. PocketFives: Talk about the chopand how that came up. Martin Malone: I wasn't thinking too much about a chop until we got short-handed. The money was so big at that point. I knew I was happy to talk numbers when I had a bunch of chips to see how good the deal could be for me. PocketFives: Like the Sunday Million, the SCOOP tournament you chopped had a $215 buy-in and a $1 million guarantee. How similar was the field to a typical Sunday Million? Martin Malone: The field size and buy-in were very similar to the Sunday Million. Any MTT with over 5,500 runners is going to be soft for a lot of it. Most of the best players will be in the field too, but there aren't that many of them and the rest of the field will be more recreational players. Those bigger fields are tough to get through, however. You have to get lucky and not get unlucky at the right times. PocketFives: Are you going to the World Series of Poker, which starts in two weeks? Martin Malone: I'm going to head to the WSOP for a few weeks, so this score will help fund that trip for sure. I'm sorting out where to stay at the moment. I will stay with friends in a shared house, condo, or hotel. I need to sort it out soon, I guess! I will probably play all of the No Limit Hold'em events that run while I'm there up to maybe the $5Ks. I'll also play the Main Event. I'm definitely looking forward to the Main Event the most. It's so much fun and I love that there is a real buzz in the room as soon as you sit down on Day 1. I love meeting people at the table; no other event has the same feel where people who sit there almost feel like winners just to be playing in it. PocketFives: What will you do in Las Vegas outside of the WSOP? Martin Malone: It can be hard to juggle time in Las Vegas. It's very easy to get eaten up by Vegas and get lost in partying, drinking, and socializing. It's also easy to play too much and go the other way. Last year, I didn't go to a single nightclub. I did socialize a lot and caught up with friends, but in previous years, I spent way too much time and money in clubs, so I stayed away last year. This year, I will try to party at least a couple of times, inevitably when one of the gang makes a final table or wins a bracelet. PocketFives: We understand you volunteer away from poker. Where? Martin Malone: I volunteer at a unit for young adults with autism, which I love and plan to spend more time doing over the summer. I've worked in that field since I was 20. The place I am at right now is actually where my girlfriend works full-time in Vancouver and it's awesome. It's so much fun and everybody there is so lovely and kind, both the staff and students. I'm looking forward to working there more. PocketFives: Is there anything else you'd like to add? Martin Malone: I am very lucky to have the support and advice of my friends, both in and out of the poker world. They are all heroes. My backer also deserves a shout-out for always having faith. Shout-out to my girlfriend and mom, who I'm sure will be very excited reading this! If you don't already have a PokerStars account, sign up through the links on PocketFives and get a 100% up to $600 deposit bonus along with one free month of PocketFives Trainingwith no sign-up fee. Sign up here. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  12. The high-stakes version of Event #8 of the ongoing PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker was a $700 No Limit Hold'em Heads-Up contest that brought out 765 players. In the end, it was only fitting that two PocketFivers chopped heads-up. In the biggest pot of the heads-up match, lukethafluke(pictured) called a bet from fellow PocketFiver RuiNF on a board showing 8-3-7-5-10 with three hearts. RuiNF showed Q-J of hearts for a flush and lukethafluke folded, giving the former an edge in chips. Thirty minutes later, lukethafluke was all-in with Q-J against RuiNF's J-10 of diamonds. The action flop of K-Q-6 with two diamonds gave lukethafluke middle pair and RuiNF flush and straight draws, the former of which hit when the queen of diamonds peeled off on the turn. The river was a red five and Portugal's RuiNF claimed the SCOOP title in the heads-up event after a two-way chop: 1. RuiNF(Portugal) - $78,469.56 2. superkid-bam (Sweden) - $72,469.56 This was a pretty heavyweight fight, as the two PocketFivers have combined for nearly $7 million in tracked online poker MTT winnings. lukethafluke is currently #3 in the PocketFives Rankings, while RuiNF is #177, but was ranked as high as #10 in 2012. Each has over $2 million in winnings just on PokerStars, the largest online poker site in the world, with RuiNF being about $100,000 shy of $3 million. RuiNF earned his first SCOOP title in the process, while lukethafluke recorded his second top-three finish in a SCOOP tournament. The event took 14 hours to complete, so it was a marathon for everyone involved. If playing in SCOOP events sounds like a hoot, No Limit Single Draw 2-7, Pot Limit Omaha Heads-Up, and No Limit Hold'em Ante-Up events are all in store on Thursday. Each has low, medium, and high-stakes versions to suit your bankroll. Visit PokerStars for the full schedule. Finally, we should mention that PokerStars is hosting a special satellite to Event #30-M of SCOOP this Sunday, May 11. It's a $5.50 tournament that's open to anyone in the PocketFives community and the top 10 finishers will get tickets to Event #30-M. These tickets are in addition to the regular prize pool, so there's a ton of value to be had. If you don't already have a PokerStars account, sign up through the links on PocketFives and get a 100% up to $600 deposit bonus along with one free month of PocketFives Trainingwith no sign-up fee. Sign up here. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  13. On Wednesday, PokerStars, the largest online poker site in the world, announced the schedule for the 2014 Spring Championship of Online Poker, or SCOOP as it's more commonly called. The series will run from May 4 to May 18 and guarantee $40 million. View the schedule here. As a press release from the site announced, "For the first time ever, there will be three events every day of the championship, re-entry tournaments, and Progressive Super-Knockouts, which have proved very popular." The 2014 SCOOP schedule boasts 18 different games in 15 different formats, 13 tournaments with a guarantee of at least $1 million, and 90 tournaments with a guarantee of at least $100,000. There are 45 events, or 135 individual tournaments. The SCOOP Main Event will take place on May 18 with buy-ins of $109 (Low), $1,050 (Medium), and $10,300 (High) and guarantees of $1 million, $2 million, and $3 million, respectively. If you're not familiar with the series' format, each SCOOP event consists of three tournaments with Low, Medium, and High buy-ins. In essence, there's a tournament for every budget every day. PokerStars officials are predicting that the 2014 SCOOP will be the richest in the series' history. As the same press release explained, "Last year's SCOOP is still the richest online poker championship series ever held, with a total of $75,585,435.05 awarded to players across 132 tournaments. With three extra tournaments this year, there are high expectations that it will beat last year's total to set a new record." The opening event of the 2014 SCOOP is a No Limit Hold'em Six-Max event that has buy-ins of $27, $215, and $2,100. For players who excel in that tournament and others on the SCOOP schedule, PokerStars will host a variety of leaderboardswith prizes that include SCOOP trophies, PCA packages, and WCOOP tickets. In 2013, Viktor Isildur1Blom (pictured) won the High-Stakes Main Event for over $1 million. Pros like Daniel Negreanu also won SCOOP events and $75 million was awarded to PokerStars players. If you don't already have a PokerStars account, sign up through PocketFives' link and make a deposit to get one free month of PocketFives MTT Training. You'll also get a 100% up to $600 sign-up bonus. Click here for PocketFives' PokerStars link. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  14. He might be a tad modest, but Rasmus Agerskov Larsen (pictured), known as RasAon PocketFives, won the PokerStars Sunday 500 outright for $68,000, defeating a group of 765 entrants. As he told us, "I'm feeling awesome about it. It's my favorite tournament of the regular Sunday Majors, so I am very happy I finally won it." He's up to $1.9 million in online tournament winnings and could be found as high as #80 in the PocketFives Rankings two years ago; now, he's #192 in the world. Here's what the Denmark native had to say. PocketFives: Nice job on the win! Can you walk us through how the tournament went in general? Rasmus Agerskov Larsen: I came into the final table second or third in chips, but it didn't start out very well for me. I spewed away some chips in a mistimed 4bet bluff, which is kind of expensive in the later stages when stacks are shallower, so that decreased my possibilities a bit. When we got down to six players, I was one of the shortest stacks. I won a flip against gifuhorna with my A-8o against his 7-7 to help me out. He opened from the button, I jammed from the small blind, and, lucky for me, I got there. Five-handed, I lost a big pot with A-Js versus K-Js, which could have put me in a favorable position with only four players left, but, I lost and was last again. I won a couple of good pots and eliminated the guy who came in fourth to give me a good chip lead, which made it easier to win a lot of pots three-ways. Heads-up, I had a 5:2 chip lead. I managed to throw that one away in the beginning, but fortunately it all went right in the end. PocketFives: How have your friends and family reacted? Rasmus Agerskov Larsen (pictured with crazy hair): My family and friends always react very nicely. I went to football practice the day after and my friends congratulated me. They all think it's awesome, which is very nice, but to be honest it is also a little awkward for me. I know it's a lot of money for most people, so to tell those who ask how much I won is not something I feel comfortable doing. To win the kind of money that some of us do in the poker world by sitting in front of our computer playing cards can seem a little unfair. PocketFives: Any plans for the money? Rasmus Agerskov Larsen: I don't have any special plans for the money. I'm off to London to play the EPT and the tours around it, so I'll have lots of possibilities to use some of it over there. So, most of it will go to my bankroll. I celebrate with friends when I get a big score like this too. PocketFives: You have two huge scores so far this year between the Sunday 500 and a SCOOP $2,100 NLHE event. What has been going right? Rasmus Agerskov Larsen: I'm more motivated in these kinds of events. The Sunday 500 and the SCOOP events are deeper than most online tournaments, which make them more fun to play, in my opinion. Variance is also a reason. You have to run really well and avoid too many setups the wrong way in order to win a tournament. I feel my game has been very good as well. I have been making the right decisions, but that is also part of running well. When everything works out, you feel like you're playing awesomely. Sometimes it's difficult to tell whether you played really well or just ran like a god. PocketFives: Talk about your live poker success so far. Rasmus Agerskov Larsen: I've been playing most EPTs the last couple of years, WPTs in Europe, and also some smaller events from time to time. Live poker has been decent for me. I won a couple of tournaments and have had some decent cashes. But, it is very expensive to play all of the EPTs including a lot of side events, so you have to make some good scores to survive. The WCOOP and other big-time tournament series take place on PokerStars. If you don't already have a PokerStars account, sign up through the links on PocketFives to get a 100% up to $600 deposit bonus and a free copy of Chris Moorman's "Moorman's Book of Poker" before October 29. Get started here.
  15. The 2015 PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Pokercontinues to be lucrative to members of the PocketFives community. The latest players to score SCOOP titles: Stefan mindgamerJedlicka and Artem veeeaVezhenkov, both top-70 players in the PocketFives Rankings. Let's start with Jedlicka(pictured), who took down a $1,050 No Limit Hold'em Big Ante Rebuy for $147,000 after a two-way deal. There were 351 entrants who combined for 171 rebuys and 321 add-ons. Jedlicka was second in chips entering the final table at 545,000, but was still well behind the 1.0 million-chip stack belonging to filushh. When four players remained, Jedlicka was last in chips, but he ultimately chipped up and then relegated RIMBOTAto the rails in fourth place after his pocket kings held against top pair. That pot gave him a sizable lead over the rest of the table and he proceeded to bust gordon0410in third place with sixes against fours. A deal was struck heads-up, but the battle raged on for 84 hands before Jedlicka emerged as the winner. The $1,050 Rebuy marked his first SCOOP victory. He won the Sunday Million in 2013 and is over $4.3 million in career online tournament winnings. Here's how the final table shook out: 1. Stefan "mindgamer" Jedlicka (Austria): $147,517 2. filushh (Israel): $137,838 3. gordon0410 (United Kingdom): $92,730 4. RIMBOTA (Poland): $69,547 5. Vlad "dariepoker" Darie (Romania): $48,051 6. Ryan "i need sheet" Yu (South Korea): $37,092 7. Younas "cocoojones" Roenhoff (Denmark): $28,662 8. lookoutdudes (Mexico): $20,232 9. NormyDozer (Australia): $14,752 Vezhenkov(pictured) won a $109 No Limit Hold'em Rebuy that spanned two days and drew 1,466 entrants who combined for 1,527 rebuys and 1,261 add-ons. He had a commanding chip lead entering the final table on Day 2 and, by the time heads-up play against fellow Russian TransSib rolled around, Vezhenkov was up 4:1. In the final hand, Vezhenkov out-raced K-J with pocket nines for the win. He added to his poker resume that already included multiple Super Tuesday wins, a WCOOP title, and an FTOPS jersey. He is a few thousand dollars shy of hitting $4 million in tournament winnings. Here's how the final table of the $109 No Limit Hold'em Rebuy looked after the final cards had been dealt: 1. Artem "veeea" Vezhenkov (Russia): $71,254 2. TransSib (Russia): $52,111 3. Bjuran (Sweden): $39,349 4. Fernando "fernandopipp" Pippi, Jr. (Brazil): $28,927 5. Emil "Emilohlsson" Ohlsson (Sweden): $20,844 6. cheeky4714 (United Kingdom): $16,590 7. Ballage87 (Hungary): $12,336 8. Vojtech "Vojta_R" Ruzicka (Czech Republic): $8,082 9. Simon "x1deadman1x" Deadman (United Kingdom): $4,381 Congrats to these two on their SCOOP wins! Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  16. "So much for the game being unbeatable and new Europeans taking over the game. Good to see regs from 10+ years ago still on top of the game, as James Andy McLEOD Obst (pictured) shipped the PLO SCOOP High the other day. First ballot shoe-in for the Online Poker Hall of Fame." Those were the words of longtime PocketFiver AJyowlerabout the results of a $1,050 Pot Limit Omaha Six-Max Rebuy SCOOP event on PokerStarsthis week. Obst defeated 2009 WSOP Main Event Champion Joe jcada99 Cada, so he certainly had his hands full, and earned $166,000. There were 286 entries and Obst steamrolled the final table. He entered with a slight edge in chips and busted Artem "roi kin23" Litvinov in sixth place. Then, within an hour, he had built better than a 3:1 chip lead on the next closest person. Obst sent John "dagunman" O'Shea home in fourth place and then relegated UK's flong78to the rails in third to set up heads-up play against Cada. The former Main Event winner was down a daunting 15:1 in chips to start heads-up play, which lasted all of four hands. Here's how the final table shook out: 1. James "Andy McLEOD" Obst (Australia): $166,980 2. Joe "jcada99" Cada (Canada): $116,506 3. flong78 (United Kingdom): $87.285 4. John "dagunman" O'Shea (Ireland): $60,720 5. BriDge2PaiN (Ireland): $45,540 6. Artem "roi kin23" Litvinov (Russia): $30,360 This was Obst's third SCOOP title. He has also won WCOOP and TCOOP events. 2015 has, so far, been the year of old school winners, as Obst, Calvin cal42688Anderson, Christopher kid_brammBrammer, and Jason treysfull21 Mercier have all won SCOOP titles. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  17. Last month, Woody CrazedZachDeck (pictured) won a pair of SCOOP events. The first was a $215 Studtournament, while the second, which happened nine days later, was a $700 HORSE event. Deck's reward: $34,000 and two SCOOP titles. We caught up with him after his HORSE win. He said he was tired, as the schedule-makers "made things tough on Europeans. All of my events started at 11:00pm." He used to play pot limit mixed cash games, but those haven't run in nine years at the mid-stakes levels. As he explained, "I don't really enjoy limit cash games, but I love limit tournaments. Scott emptyseat88 Fischman taught me how to do the Fischman Flop, so I am well aware of what you need to do when you win a big HORSE tournament." He added, "It is easier to accumulate in SCOOP in the early levels because even two-tabling Stud games is hard. All of the no limit MTT regs trying to win the leaderboard miss a lot of information early. They lag and then you know they are playing straightforward poker. That's not the best plan. I really don't know how Jason treysfull21 Mercier is doing it. He was playing five tables of mixed games along with whatever hold'em events were going on." Deck is up to three SCOOP wins total. His first came in 2012 in a $2,100 Omaha Hi-Lo tournament and meant a bankroll boost of $51,000, his largest online MTT score to date. "Limit tournaments are mostly luck at the end," he asserted. "All you can do is bang the 'bet/raise' button and hope for the best." We should probably mention that in the HORSE event, Deck at one point had just one big blind to his name… one. "I've lost every single Razz pot I've ever played," he joked. "I honestly have never heard of anyone winning at Razz. Nobody profits. They just play it so they can have something horrific to go on about. I once was chip leader in a WSOP HORSE event in London with 33 left. It paid 27, but I didn't come close to the money thanks to Razz. That hurt." The Lithuanian transplant got his start in poker through a friend's father. "He was a really enthusiastic Stud Eight or Better recreational player. He took my friend and me to the Indian casino when we were 16 and we played all night, $1/$3 Stud Eight or Better. It was then that we discovered how terrible he was at poker and that it was a game of skill. He was so bad, in fact, that I started immediately winning just by doing the opposite of everything he did." Deck is currently camped out in the Netherlands. As he put it, "I still definitely represent Lithuania, but life hasn't been stable enough for me to remain in any one place, unfortunately. I'm currently a resident of the Netherlands and trying to start a business with my wife. I'm a big fan of a unified Europe and feel comfortable anywhere on the continent." "Black Friday has taken away a lot from me," he continued. "I only play TCOOP, SCOOP, and WCOOP online now. It's only a few shots per year for me since I don't play no limit and there literally are no beatable cash games left. I could apply myself to no limit and play full-time if I wanted to, but I don't enjoy the immense swings I know even the best of the best have in it." Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  18. At the start of this year's SCOOPon PokerStars, 1,100 people turned out for a $1,050 No Limit Hold'em Turbo. In the end, Ryan urbanlights Yu (pictured) finished in second place for a commanding $143,000. It was his largest online poker cash to date by a factor of two. "I was having a really rough Sunday and wasn't even going to play the $1K," Yu admitted. "Griffin Flush_Entity Benger was insistent on it, gave me a little confidence boost, and I suppose the rest is history." Yes, that's really what happened. Benger told Yu to play and he ended up cashing for $143,000. "I'm new to Turbos," Yu admitted about the format. "I guess Griffin had a lot more confidence in my game than I did. He has been helping me tons in that format. It really seems absurd that I haven't been playing them thus far. I suppose my rationale comes from a sports betting background where variance is almost as important as value." Without giving away too much of his Turbo strategy, Yu told us that you need to be "really on point with your all-in ranges." He's up to $1.3 million in career online tournament winnings and plays on PokerStars under the screen namei need sheet. The week before his big SCOOP cash, he final tabled the Sunday Million for $52,000. Also in May, he final tabled a SCOOP $1,050 Rebuyfor $37,000. Needless to say, Yu has been on a tear. He told us, "I've been getting pretty lucky on Sundays in general for the past year or so. I am definitely running way above EV even though I'm confident my game has improved as well." The winner of the SCOOP $1,050 No Limit Hold'em Turbo event was Mohsin chicagocards1Charania (pictured). "He's obviously super successful and a WPT champ," Yu said. "He had such a huge chip lead even before the final table and obviously was taking every spot. He was pretty much putting me in ICM jail every time I opened, as I was also one of the bigger stacks, so I was unfortunately raise/folding a lot of big hands I would have probably otherwise re-shoved. He was really a headache to deal with." Fourth place went to ekziter, who was ranked as high as #6 in the world last year on PocketFives. Two of the other three PocketFivers who made the final table were once ranked in the top 100 worldwide. As Yu put it, "Everyone was really competent. The final table was pretty tough, but in Turbos you just need to run good in the showdowns you are forced to take." When we sat down with Yu, he wasn't sure what his WSOPplans were. As he evaluated. "I'm definitely going for the Main Event, but the rest of my WSOP plans are kind of up in the air. I'm not a big fan of Vegas in general and online is very soft during the Series, so we'll see." Outside of poker, Yu is a fan of North American sports like baseball, basketball, and football. He joked, "I'm probably the only Canadian who isn't a big hockey fan." Even though he's not a huge follower of hockey, the Maple Leafs are his second favorite team to the Blue Jays. "The Leafs are really just religion to any Torontonian," he said. "Professional sports is about loving the game, but it's also about sharing something with your city (pictured)." Yu closed by saying that if you're interested in learning MTTs, Benger's Twitch feed is a great place to start: "Griffin's not only one of the best, he's also articulate without needing to pontificate." He also wanted to give a shout out to "Carter cswidler Swidler, Kosei Ichinose, Jaeik Cho, Lawrence Chung, the c-buds, all the regulars in Korea, everyone else who has supported me, and last but not least my beautiful wife Jinju, who has patiently raised a beautiful son while allowing me to play this time- and mind-consuming game!" Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  19. The month of May is shaping up to be a solid one for Canadian grinder Mike SirWattsWatson (pictured). After finishing second in the EPT Grand Final Monte Carlo, the tournament specialist has captured not one, but two first place prizes in the ongoing PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker. His first SCOOP victory came on Tuesday in a $215 Re-Entry 6-Max PLO event, where he battled 1,159 runners for a piece of the $364,800 prize pool. The tournament smashed its $175,000 guarantee with a total of 665 reentries and paid out the top 228 places. SirWatts started the final table fourth in chips with 1.2 million, with FatmanScoopsholding the lead with 2.9 million. First-out was TherookieQQ9, who started with just a 342,000-chip stack, followed by DOCTORB911. Zinobrinhowas the next to go, with FatmanScoops then taking third place. That left Watson, who had amassed a huge chip lead of 7.8 million, to go head-to-head with MrSmits, who was backed by a 1.2 million stack. In the final hand, Watson check-raised his opponent all-in on the flop, which MrSmits called. MrSmits turned a gutshot, which failed to come through on the river and left him with just a pair of sixes against Watson's two pair. With that, Watson claimed victory and banked the $43,776 first place prize. But he wasn't finished there. Just three days later, Watson once again found himself at a final table, this time in a $2,100 buy-in Pot Limit Omaha Hi/Lo event. The field consisted of 142 runners, which was considerably smaller than what he faced during his first SCOOP win, but was stocked with some of the game's toughest players. Going into heads-up play, Watson found himself with a 538,000-chip lead against Naoya "nkeyno" Kihara's 171,000 stack. The final hand saw Watson raise the button and then call Kihara's re-raise all-in. The flop gave Watson a jack-high straight and leave his opponent with just a pair of nines. The turn gave nkeyno (pictured) two pair and a little hope to making a full house, but the jack on the river sealed the deal for Watson, who took first place and the $65,320 top prize. Watson is a force to be reckoned with in the poker world, with his total live earnings topping $8 million. His biggest cash came in a tournament at the World Series of Poker Europe in Cannes, France, where he scored a first place prize of $1.3 million. In a recent interview, the 31-year-old spoke of his life as a high-stakes tournament pro. "What I do is a little more aggressive, with the traveling and playing in some of the high-stakes tournaments, trying to make a little bit more money at it than just a comfortable living." He also highlighted the variance that comes with being a tournament pro and how he only makes the money in just a small percentage of the events that he plays. "You fail so much more, even if you're really good and you're making money at 20% of the tournaments you play," he said. "And of those, the majority are only giving back two or three times your buy-in." Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  20. Luke Schwartz(pictured), who plays on PokerStarsas lb6121, won his third SCOOP title this week after taking down a $1,050 Pot Limit Five-Card Omaha High-Low Six-Max event. The tournament spanned two days, drew 125 entrants, and sported 69 rebuys and 102 add-ons. Eighteen players made the money and the final seven returned for a Day 2 to determine a winner. Eugene Katchalov was the leader in the clubhouse when play paused overnight at 221,000, while Schwartz was fourth on the leaderboard at 164,000. By the time heads-up play rolled around, Schwartz and Australia's TheHoodforged a deal that saw Schwartz get $65,000, TheHood get $59,000, and the eventual winner get $4,000 more. After a deal was struck, Schwartz and TheHood battled for an hour, with the former eventually earning his third career SCOOP title. All of his SCOOP wins have come in six-max events. Here's how the final table shook out: 1. Luke "lb6121" Schwartz (United Kingdom): $69,268 2. TheHood (Australia): $59,491 3. lacabanhita (United Kingdom): $38,480 4. Eugene Katchalov (Ukraine): $25,160 5. lukro8 (Poland): $19,240 6. Fred_Brink (Denmark): $13,320 Schwartz has $1.3 million in live tournament winnings to his name, according to the Hendon Mob, including a fourth place finish in the WSOP's Poker Player's Championship in 2012 for $406,000. He excelled in the PartyPoker Premier League five years ago and has been a staple of high-stakes games. Speaking of high-stakes games, HighStakesDB began tracking Schwartz on PokerStars in 2011 and, since then, he's down a little over $200,000. On Full Tilt, where he plays as __FullFlush1__, Schwartz is down $506,000. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  21. In a $2,100 Stud event held this week during the ongoing PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker, or SCOOP, PocketFiver Calvin cal42688Anderson (pictured) made history. Anderson recorded his sixth SCOOP title, surpassing fellow PocketFiver Shaun shaundeeb Deeb, who was perhaps not coincidentally also at the final table. Deeb owns five career SCOOP victories. The PokerStars Blog outlined the resoundingly epic lineup that made it to the final eight in the $2,100 Stud event. The group included "shaundeeb(5 SCOOP titles and 2 WCOOP titles), cal42688(5 SCOOP titles and 1 WCOOP title), Dan djk123Kelly (4 WCOOP titles and 2 SCOOP titles), and Kroko-dill(won the Sunday Million, 1 SCOOP title, and 1 WCOOP title)." Combined, that's 13 SCOOP titles and eight WCOOP wins. Anderson went heads-up against Kelly, and the two had nearly equal stacks when two-handed play began. The pair eventually reached a deal where Anderson would take home $35,000, Kelly would take home $34,000, and $1,500 and the SCOOP title would be left in the center to play for. Fifty-four hands after heads-up play began, Anderson earned SCOOP title #6: 1. cal42688 (Mexico): $36,600 2. djk123 (Australia): $34,019 3. Kroko-dill (Russia): $19,800 4. shaundeeb (Mexico): $13,200 5. bedias (Brazil): $9,900 6. calvin7v (Finland): $7,260 7. chokitin (Argentina): $5,940 8. CMoosepower (Denmark): $5,280 Anderson has almost $6 million in career online tournament winnings that PocketFives has tracked, including a victory on Full Tilt just before Black Friday for $303,000. He has WCOOP, SCOOP, Super Tuesday, Sunday Second Chance, Sunday Supersonic, and Sunday $109 Rebuy wins under his belt, just to name a few. Congrats to Anderson on his latest SCOOP victory! Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  22. The start of the annual PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Pokerhas been mighty kind to PocketFiver Jason treysfull21 Mercier (pictured). He managed to score two SCOOP wins in the first eight events. His first title came in Event #5, a $2,100 Fixed Limit Badugi tournament. There were only 56 players, but the prize pool still swelled to $112,000 and the top seven left with cash. Mercier was fourth in chips entering the eight-handed final table, but built a 2:1 lead by the time heads-up play against Adam AdamyidOwen began. In the end, Mercier's title was worth $39,000; it was the first Badugi win of his career. One night later, Mercier was back at it, winning a $2,100 No Limit Five Card Draw tournament. There were 43 entrants in that one and Mercier beat out Russia's berserk64 heads-up for $34,000. The final table also featured the likes of Mike SirWattsWatson and Vladimir GVOZDIKA55 Schemelev. Mercier told PocketFives on Wednesday, "I feel good about it. I am happy to have a chance at winning the SCOOP Player of the Year title. I have never played a full SCOOP or WCOOP schedule and this time I actually am, so I'm hoping I can win it." Mercier has $1.6 million in tracked online tournament winnings, including WCOOP wins in 2010 and 2012 for almost three-quarters of a million dollars combined. He has seven SCOOP, WCOOP, and FTOPS titles under his belt. In the live arena, Mercier has $13.8 million in winnings, according to the Hendon Mob, and is #12 on poker's all-time money list. He hit it big back in 2008, introducing himself to the mainstream poker world with a win in the EPT San Remo Main Event for $1.3 million. His largest live cash was worth $1.6 million and came last year in a Super High Roller Event in Las Vegas. He was the EPT Champion of Champions in 2011. Congrats to Jason Mercier on his SCOOP run! Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  23. The 2015 Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) is underway and, already, Mohsin chicagocards1Charania (pictured), who is playing under the user name sms9231, has made waves, taking down Event #4's high-stakes version for $198,000. The $1,050 No Limit Hold'em Turbois one of just four Turbos on the schedule and was the first SCOOP event to finish. There were 1,100 players, which meant that the tournament's guarantee of a half-million dollars was more than doubled. By the time registration actually closed, there were 801 players remaining and by the time the final tabled rolled around, Charania had built better than a 2:1 lead in chips over the next closest person. A deal was briefly discussed three-handed, but nothing came to fruition. Charania took down the first four pots after that and then busted Benny toweliestarSpindler in third place with A-2 against J-10. Three hands later, the tournament was all over after Ryan urbanlights Yu moved all-in with ducks and lost a race against A-8. Charania won his first SCOOP title five years ago in a $2,100 No Limit Hold'em Two-Day Event for $380,000. He finished third in the Sunday Million back in 2008 for $84,000. His biggest claims to fame in the poker world are taking down the World Poker Tour's Five Diamond World Poker Classic last December for $1.1 million and scoring a win in the European Poker Tour's Grand Final in 2012 for $1.7 million. According to the Hendon Mob, Charania owns $4.5 million in career live poker winnings, good for 145th on the all-time money list and #2 for his home state of Illinois. Here's how the SCOOP final table shook out: 1. Mohsin sms9231Charania (Canada) - $198,000 2. Ryan urbanlightsYu (South Korea) - $143,000 3. Benny toweliestarSpindler (Austria) - $106,700 4. ekziter (Belarus) - $79,750 5. IFiNishfish (Finland) - $55,440 6. jus2awsum (Canada) - $44,000 7. pedro323 (Canada) - $33,000 8. torino2000 (Ireland) - $22,000 9. tinchoarce (Argentina) - $13,200 Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  24. Overnight, Mustapha lasagnaaammmKanit (pictured) hit the jackpot in the high-stakes Main Event of the PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker, taking the tournament down outright for $1.3 million. It was his second SCOOP title and marked the sixth largest online cash ever by a member of PocketFives. The $10,000 buy-in tournament drew almost 700 entrants. Kanit was in sixth place by the time the final eight rolled around and, if the chip deficit weren't enough, he was facing other heavy-hitters like Shaun shaundeebDeeb, Christian eisenhower1Jeppsson, and Emil Maroonlime Patel. Kanit took Deeb out in seventh place in a race with A-Q suited against 9-9. Kanit spiked an ace on the flop to pull ahead and hit a queen on the river for good measure to send Deeb packing. Jeppsson followed Deeb out the door in sixth in the same fashion, losing a race with K-J against 2-2. While this author was perusing Twitter on Monday night, he ran across a Tweet from Scott Seiver that said, "For anyone not watching, this SCOOP $10k FT is the most entertaining final table I have ever watched." The lead kept changing hands and, appropriately, the nail-biter ended in a very unique way. Kanit was up 3:1 in chips over Patel (pictured) when heads-up play began and, 10 hands later, Patel shoved on a board reading J-Q-9-Q-10 and tabled J-10 for two pair. Kanit, however, rolled over pocket queens for quads and won $1.3 million. One of our favorite comments on Twitter came from Jordan inblueCristos, who wrote, "Is @Mustacchione a real person? Like does he have blood and a brain and stuff? Or machine?" Here's how the SCOOP High final table shook out: 1. Mustapha "lasagnaaammm" Kanit (United Kingdom): $1,304,720 2. Emil "Maroonlime" Patel (Finland): $950,780 3. KumariOy (Russia): $700,940 4. I am Bobbie (Belarus): $527,440 5. prrrak4783 (Sweden): $370,596 6. Christian "eisenhower1" Jeppsson (Sweden): $294,950 7. Shaun "shaundeeb" Deeb (Mexico): $225,550 8. albeainy (Lebanon): $156,150 9. hello_totti (Russia): $104,100 Kanit has been on an absolute tear as of late. He won the FTOPS Main Event in Marchfor $239,000 and took down the Sunday 500 last December for $65,000. Earlier this month, Kanit won the EPT Monte Carlo Super High Roller for $1 million. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  25. The final weekend of SCOOP began with Belarus PocketFiver ale6kacoming away with the win in a $2,100 No Limit Hold'em Six-Max Variable Level Progressive Super Knockout (say that ten times fast) for $111,000 following a heads-up deal. As if the agreed-upon prize money weren't enough, ale6ka also banked $40,000 in bounties for over $150,000 total. As the PokerStars Blog explained about the tournament's structure, "The variable levels designation meant initial levels were short (just four minutes long) then gradually increased as the tournament wore on, with the structure eventually maxing out with 20-minute levels." The Belarus player was the leader in the clubhouse by the time the six-handed final table rolled around, but was almost a 2:1 underdog entering heads-up play. An hour later, the final two agreed to a deal that left $15,000 to play for and, as coverage noted, "They were playing for more, too… namely half of each other's remaining bounties, which meant about $12K more for hhecklenwith a win, or about $16K extra for ale6ka by triumphing." In the end, hhecklen put his tournament life on the line with J-2, but could not overcome K-3. hhecklen hit a deuce to make things interesting, but Boika spiked a three on the river for the win and his first SCOOP title: 1. ale6ka (Belarus): $111,061 (+ $40,213 in bounties) 2. hhecklen (Denmark): $91,558 (+ $32,400 in bounties) 3. Katz0r (United Kingdom): $62,935 (+ $11,750 in bounties) 4. Kamchatka 1 (Switzerland): $42,980 (+ $15,191 in bounties) 5. psyhoagromor (Ukraine): $30,700 (+ $17,632 in bounties) 6. 1nvoker (Ukraine): $19,648 (+ $9,250 in bounties) ale6ka is up to $2.6 million in career online tournament winnings. He won the PartyPoker$300K in 2013 for $40,000 and took down the Sunday $109 Rebuy the same year for $51,000. He's currently the #3 player in Belarus and is ranked #301 worldwide, but should quickly climb the PocketFives Rankings with this SCOOP victory. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.

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