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Just like McDonalds, you’re never too far away from a new Full Tilt Series of Poker. The latest episode of the tri-monthly series began yesterday, and has already stormed its way through three events. FTOPS XIV Event #3 was a straightforward tournament that stuck to  the tried and true formula of big guarantees, unique structures, and big payouts.

The 729 entrants all put up $500 + $35 for this No Limit Hold ‘em 3x Shootout. For those unfamiliar with the lingo, a shootout tournament essentially consists of multiple single table tournaments, linked together in a knockout style. To progress, each player must be the last player remaining at their table. In Event #3, one win you see you break the bubble and a second win would land you on the final table. There was a decent $300,000 guaranteed for the prize pool, but the buy-ins handily topped that at $364,500.

The tournament took only 7 hours to complete, a relatively short time for these high-pressure events. Each player started with the same stack at the final table, so it was a simple contest of luck and skill to see who could emerge the champion. The eventual victor was chrispeace, a regular online player with little in the way of celebrity. However, his $500 cash in FTOPS XIV Event #1 demonstrates that he may be a force to be reckoned with in this series. He picked up $76,545 for his first place finish.

In second was JonEeeWhite, a regular high stakes online player who added a solid $51,030 to his bankroll. In third was Thayer Rasmussen, known on Full Tilt as THAY3R. The 25 year old pro has over $500,000 in live tournament winnings, including 9 WSOP cashes. The Florida native still plies his day-to-day trade online and is a regular fixture in the money of big buy-in tournaments. You can can follow Thayer at

Each and every FTOPS event is hosted by one of the cadre of sponsored online professionals. Doing his duty this time around was CardRunners instructor Eric Lui. As a key member of the poker teaching website, he has imparted his successful high stakes ring game strategies to a whole host of willing students. He’s no slouch in the tournament arena either, as he demonstrated with an EPT cash in 2008. Eric began his career by turning $200 into $34,000 in just a few months, but he failed to add to his bankroll in Event #3. With 81 places paying, Eric finished in an agonizing 86th.

He can take some consolation in the fact that only one Red Pro fared better than he did. Andrew Feldman bowed out in 84th, a few spots away from the bubble. A good pack of famous names were on hand to contest the title, but not one of them managed to leave with a profit. Among those who didn’t cash were Aaron Bartley, David Pham, Huck Seed, Jeff Madsen, Jennifer Harman, Roy Winston, and Scott Fischman.

To add a little extra spice to FTOPS XIV, Full Tilt has added in a series of challenges that reward players for completing certain tasks. The simplest of these is the Satellite Challenge, that simply rewards players for winning as many seats into an FTOPS event as they possible can. Each seat won after the first is converted into T$, which can be used to buy into other Full Tilt tournaments. The top finisher for Event #3 was The Fiend 34, who can now add an extra two seats worth of T$ to the 12 he has already won. In second place, UGGs is now T$500 richer, thanks to his already impressive 8 satellite victories.

FTOPS XIV continues unabated until November 15th, when the $2.5 million guaranteed Main Event takes centre stage.