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Last month, TheDegenFundwas one of five people to chop the PokerStars Sunday Warm-Up. His reward was a healthy $52,000, $17,000 more than fourth place would have made otherwise, and he has since risen to #150 in the PocketFives Rankings, his all-time high. "It feels really good to get a score out of the Warm-Up," TheDegenFund told PocketFives in an exclusive interview. "I've watched a lot of my friends do really well in that particular tournament, so I was happy it was finally my time." By our count, it was the second time he had ever final tabled it. "There was a lot of raise-folding going on at the final table, so when we got to five-handed play, the chip leader only had 20 big blinds, meaning everyone was really short-stacked," TheDegenFund said of the five-way deal. "There were only competent players remaining, so I felt like I had to deal in that situation. I got offered an ICM chop with $10,000 for the winner, so that was a good deal for me being third or fourth in chips at the time." Fifth place in the tournament, and also participating in the chop, was PocketFiver LucianoHollanda (pictured), who has been a member of our site since 2011. "Luciano was definitely the stickiest reg at my table and was seated to my direct left," TheDegenFund said. "So, I had a pretty bad seat and couldn't mash as hard as I wanted to." LucianoHollanda ended up cashing for $55,000, the second largest amount awarded, and is over $1.2 million in career online winnings. TheDegenFund used to play Counter-Strike competitively and noticed that a lot of the top players in that game made the move to poker. He got a free $50 to jump-start his online poker career and never looked back. He has since piled up $637,000 in online tournament cashes across nearly 2,000 in the money finishes. He just returned home to Playa del Carmen, Mexico after a trip to Los Angeles and said he'll now "punt the rest of my winnings on more tournaments." He's not originally from the US, however, but is rather a native of Western Europe and went to Mexico to be able to play online poker. He pointed out, "When I left in early 2012 to make the move to Playa del Carmen, I was still able to play back home, but I wanted to be in a warmer climate and around better players so I could improve faster." We're about to turn the page on 2014, so we wanted to ask TheDegenFund what his goals were for the new year. "Consistently win at mid- and high-stakes online tournaments and keep studying to get to the top," the Mexico poker community member responded. "I really enjoy the competition." As you'd expect from someone who lives in sunny Mexico, he enjoys hanging at the beach, playing volleyball, and spending time with friends. Volleyball seems to be particularly tough, however, since he says he is "short and I suck at it." Love it. The Sunday Warm-Up runs weekly 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 one free month of Tournament Poker Edge or CardRunners poker training. Get started here. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
There were 18 events in action on the opening day of the PokerStars 2018 World Championship of Online Poker, but only three played down to a winner and one of those winners decided to make a little bit of history. 'TheDegenFund' beat out 875 other players to win Event #6 High ($530 Eight Max, Turbo No Limit Hold'em) for a $61,597.15 prize after the final three players made a deal. 'FloweerBoy' earned $51,349.88 for finishing in the runner-up spot while third place finisher 'TimThompson' actually earned a little bit more, $54,257.39 thanks to the chop. The final table also featured Shawn Buchanan and Andreas Berggren. As for that little bit of history, in 2015, 'TheDegenFund' won the opening event of the Spring Championship of Online Poker. Lithuanian 'Gintaras2192' topped the 5,370-player field in Event #6 Medium ($55 Eight Max, Turbo No Limit Hold'em) to earn $38,189.04. Russia's 'ArturMarti' finished in second place for $26,797.29 while Brazil's Yuri 'theNERDguy' Martins had to settle for $18,805.49 as the third-place finisher. Event #6 Low ($5.50 Eight Max, Turbo No Limit Hold'em) drew 12,106 players with 'GStronda' of Brazil walking away with $7,643.02 and his first WCOOP title. 'Nrocky777' and 'MECMAR_I' banked $5,442.19 and $3,879.38 respectively for their second and third place finish. The 15 other events that started on Sunday will resume play and play down to a winner on Monday. Event #6 (High): $530 No Limit Hold'em (Eight Max, Turbo) Entries: 876 Prize pool: $438,000 TheDegenFund - $61,597.15* FloweerBoy - $51,349.88* TimThompson - $54,257.39* xKoSSSx - $29,048.81 Zagazaur - $21,307.25 Alexandru 'alexxt7' Farcasanu - $15,628.84 Shawn 'buck21' Buchanan - $11,463.73 Andreas 'mrAndreeew' Berggren - $8,408.59 *Denotes a deal was made. Event #6 (Medium): $55 No Limit Hold'em (Eight Max, Turbo) Entries: 5,370 Prize pool: $268,500 Gintaras2192 - $38,189.04 ArturMarti - $26,797.29 Yuri 'theNERDguy' Martins - $18,805.49 landofhoney - $13,197.09 uinnston313 - $9,261.28 Marcello 'MenininhaMah' Camargo - $6,499.28 Ivan 'ILS007' Stokes - $4,560.98 doubleace90 - $3,200.76 Event #6 (Low): $5.50 No Limit Hold'em (Eight Max, Turbo) Entries: 12,106 Prize pool: $59,300 GStronda - $7,643.02 Nrocky777 - $5,442.19 MECMAR_I - $3,879.38 ImAPole92 - $2,765.35 Reeedler - $1,971.24 kichupl - $1,405.16 fscheifer - $1,001.64 RiverMessi - $714.00