The monster online poker-fest that is Pokerstars’ Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) has once again broken its own record, awarding a mind-boggling $81,222,158 across 45 events, up almost $5 million from last year. This year’s series boasted 13 tournaments with $1m-plus guarantees and 90 tournaments with $100k-plus guarantees, and events ranged from standard hold’em fair to the more exotic, such as Badugi, 5-Card Omaha Hi/Lo, Single Draw 2-7 and 5-Card Draw.
As always, each SCOOP event was structured with three tiers of buy-in levels (low, medium and high), which meant tournament buy-ins ranged from $5.50 to $21,000, essentially transforming 45 events into 135 tournaments.
The Main Event
SCOOP culminated, of course, in the Main Event on May 18, which had a tiered buy-in structure of $109, $1,050 and $10,300, with guarantees of $1m, $2m and $3m. While the medium and low Main Event levels were taken down by “LexaLucky666” and Ari “BodogAri” Engel for $635,379 and $187,669 respectively, the biggest props go the High Main Event winner, Russian Ivan “vandir4rek” Soshnikov, who outlasted 657 to win the $1,048,000 top prize.This more than tripled Soshnikov’s previous biggest score of €382,050, which he earned by winning the EPT Prague High Roller event.
The final table was perhaps not as “star-studded” as last year’s, which saw Viktor “Isildur1” Blom defeat Noah Boaken heads-up for the title, but it did include an EPT winner, in Ben “NeverScaredB” Wilinofsky, and a multiple EPT finale tablist, in Martin “M.nosbocaJ” Jacobson.
Many big names went deep in the tournament, only to fall at the last hurdle, including Mike “Timex” McDonald (34th), Phil “RaiseOnce” Ivey (32nd) and Shannon “baseba1b” Shorr (28th).
War of Attrition
But when the dust had settled, it was Soshnikov versus the UK’s Peter Akery heads-up for the title, with Soshnikov enjoying a sizeable chip-lead. Akery soon fought his way back when his top pair held against the Russian’s up and down straight draw and flush drawto pretty much level the stacks. Then followed a war of attrition in which the chip-lead swapped back and forth over the next 78 hands.
Finally, with the blinds at 50,000/100,000/12,500 and Akery limping on the button, Soshnikov moved all in. Akery called off his final 1,757,492 with K-9 suited to find himself a 60-40 against Soshnikov’s A-6 which he failed to outrun – the final hand of a fantastic online poker series.
PokerStars also awards prizes for leaderboard winners across the whole series for each buy-in structure. This year’s top players were Paraguayan player “pantri” who came first in the low buy-in category; UK player Phil “Jackal69” Shaw, in the medium; and Canadian “paulgees81” in the high, while Mexican player “cal42688” was the best player across all buy-ins. Cal42688 wins an EPT Grand Final Package, plus a SCOOP trophy.