Online tournaments continued to roll on this past weekend, as millions of dollars were up for grabs at many popular poker rooms.  Sites like Party and PokerStars had strong showings while both the iPoker and Merge Poker Networks continue to struggle to fill their major events.   It seems the 2011 WCOOP provided more of a hangover for some sites than its typically boom.  However, Party and PokerStars continue to stand out above the rest as the two biggest rooms for online tournaments.

The Party $200,000 guaranteed once again proved to be the best tournament not taking place on PokerStars each week. With more than 1,200 players and $252,000 in the pot, there was plenty of cash on the line for the final ten participants.  Making a deep run was “MichaelBrent”, a solid tournament player who has many four-figure scores to his name. Before his third place finish here for $18,328, he had scored a wins in the $15k Guaranteed for $5,832 and the $10k for $4,144 back in July.  Finishing one spot better was “MAP97” who earned a nice $30,366 payday for his 2nd place finish.  Much like Brent this was the highest recorded score of his career on Party, besting a $5,225 win in the $15k last month.  While both players had solid resumes, they were ultimately no match for “blckwater3” who won the $200k and earned himself a $53,088 check.  Actually, out of the final trio blckwater3 was the least experienced, but he was able to outlast his foes and earned himself a life-changing score.

Party Poker Sunday $200k Guaranteed
1,264 Entrants; $252,800 prize pool

1. blckwater3 $53,088
2. MAP97 $30,336
3. MichaelBrent $18,328
4. simpson555 $14,536
5. JotaSpewnie $12,008
6. nvvku86 $9,480
7. golf_Junkie $7,204
8. JustInCases $4,803
9. mjw_006 $3,665
10. vamp007007 $2,528

While the Party $200k keeps growing, the iPoker $200k continues to move in the wrong direction. This past weekend saw a huge dip in attendance as the tournament lost more than 100 players from previous weekends.  With just 915 players in the field, the world’s 3rd largest poker network was forced to pay out more than $17,000 in overlay.  The STR is still unsure why the Party $200k is faring so much better than its counterpart on the iPoker Network, but things like satellites, freerolls, etc… must be playing a part.  As for the tournament itself, with some nice added value due to the overlay, there were plenty of happy campers who ponied up the $200+$15 entry free.  Amongst those were “getonboard” and “D1sAstRWeeeeE” who made it all the way to heads-up play.  Unfortunately for D1sAstRWeeeeE, a win was not in the cards as he fell in second place for $22,000. The five-figure sum was one of the biggest scores on an already impressive resume that includes a SCOOP win earlier this year for $113,293. He also won a WCOOP event and the Second Chance over the past year and has more than $1,000,000 in scores to his name. Ultimately, all that experience could not take down “getonboard” who shipped the biggest score of his career, $42,000, and the title in the iPoker Sunday $200k.

iPoker Sunday $200k Guaranteed
915 Entrants; $200,000 prize pool

1. getonboard $42,000
2. D1sAstRWeeeeE $22,000
3. onefreekingtime $16,000
4. gingerslim $12,000
5. MrVestvik $10,000
6. CoRnFieLD777 $8,000
7. Kifaraa $6,000
8. V1sionary129 $4,000
9. firaldo87bbp $2,800
10. BigFrankieW $2,000

Much like the iPoker $200k, the Merge Poker $100k just cannot seem to get any traction lately. It seems each week their $100k cannot even come close to gaining the 1,000 necessary players to reach its guarantee. Yesterday was no exception as only 869 players entered, forcing Merge to pay out more than $13,000 in overlay.  With each player in the field getting more than $15 in added value, it’s certainly a nice deal for those who shelled out the $100+$9 entry fee. Making the most of this opportunity was “kidcanplay”, a sold player who nearly won the $10k High Roller back in July.  His $20,000 score here certainly outweighed his $1,400 cash back then and ranks as the best of his short career on Carbon Poker.  Runner-up “skyboyPT” had a much more extensive career on Merge but could not break through for his first major win. Still, a $12,000 cash is a nice consolation for losing the heads-up battle.

Merge Poker Sunday $100k Guaranteed
869 Entrants; $100,000 prize pool

1. kidcanplay $20,000
2. skyboyPT $12,000
3. ministerborg $6,500
4. KevinSorbo $5,150
5. MyLifeIsGr8 $4,400
6. russiancat77 $3,500
7. Nosukoutzone $2,900
8. Balalayka $2,475
9. bozNrita $1,900

While tournaments on the Merge and iPoker Networks were struggling, the same could not be said for the major rotation on PokerStars.  By far and away the world’s largest online poker site, PokerStars proudly boasts the most extensive tournament schedule as well.  All of their majors were on display yesterday including the $500k Warm-Up, $1,000,000 Million, and $250k Sunday500.  Getting this started off on the right foot was the Sunday Warm-Up, the world’s 2nd largest weekly online poker tournament. Coming in only behind the Million, the Warm-Up starts much earlier, and as the name suggests, prepares everyone for a day full of online grinding. Yesterday, more than 3,500 players entered the $200+$15 event, creating a massive $703,800 prize pool. With six-figures up for grabs for the winner there were nine players fully focused once the final table started.  Once the dust settled it was “LevotonKala” who was left holding all the chips and the money.  For a player who tends to participate in low-stakes events, the $110,498 score was nearly double his total career cashes on PokerStars in the past.  Runner-up “gtzy69” was even less seasoned than his opponent, and while he was unable to win, he did take home $82,345 for his efforts.

PokerStars Sunday Warm-Up $500k Guaranteed
3,519 Entrants; $703,800 prize pool

1. LevotonKala $110,498
2. gtzy69 $82,345
3. Littlemoon75 $58,064
4. bearbeer123 $40,469
5. 4bet_me $29,912
6. ace2chico $22,874
7. PSMozak $15,836
8. Marcotjow $8,798
9. Blom21 $5,630

As mentioned earlier, the only event that out-ranks the Warm-Up is the PokerStars Sunday Million. Once a $1,500,000 guaranteed event, the Million still boasts a seven-figure guarantee even after online poker’s Black Friday.  Without American players one might figure the tournament was in for a huge slide; however, lately the event is gaining steam and this past weekend was no exception. With nearly 6,500 players in the field the prize pool almost hit $1,300,000, good for almost more than all our other events combined.  While the first-place prize did not quite hit $200,000, it was still more than just a handful of tournament prize pools this past Sunday.  The final table had some strong players, including third-place finisher “Skazo4nik777” who earned the first six-figure score of his career.  In-face, he earned about $15,000 more than he should have due to a chip-chop that took place one three-handed play began.  The final two competitors, “StuU_ 0905” and “MeatPounder” had $20,000 to player for. That amount eventually went to StuU_ 0905 who earned the biggest score of his career on PokerStars.

PokerStars Sunday Million Guaranteed
6,494 Entrants; $1,298,000 prize pool
*3-way chop

1. StuU_ 0905 $148,165
2. MeatPounder $157,421
3. Skazo4nik777 $118,670
4. francoianna $71,434
5. BrazilianDog $54,549
6. JohnnyM77 $41,561
7. kmpk90 $28,573
8. ishiiguro_ $15,585
9. jdlkl7 $10,065

Wrapping up the STR is the Sunday500 on PokerStars. The quarter-million dollar guaranteed event soared past that number on its way to a $371,000 prize pool.   The bigger buy-in ($500+$30) both helps to build a bigger prize pool and to weed out a lot of amateur players. What is left is a top-heavy event full of big name professional online players.  There were plenty of big names on hand at the final table including the eventual winner, “terrific28″.  Not only did he win the Sunday500 this weekend, but he made up for finishing 2nd in this very event last year for $63,500.  Falling in second place was “katison” who plays events of all sorts of buy-in levels on PokerStars.  It appears he takes advantage of their satellite system which is easily the best in the world.  To check out freerolls, satellites, and the step system just log into PokerStars and head over to the Tournament Lobby.

PokerStars Sunday500 $250k Guaranteed
742 Entrants; $371,000 prize pool

1. terrific28 $67,151
2. katison $48,230
3. pyszalek $36,172
4. fuddebuf $27,083
5. Cod Meharly $19,106
6. Run dat Game $15,396
7. kalidonios $11,686
8. ferth22 $8,199
9. ChipRich20 $4,748