As the second weekend of the 2011 World Championship of Online Poker came to an end, so did a solid day of high-stakes online poker tournaments.  Not only was there a lot of action on PokerStars, but sites like Party Poker, iPoker, and Merge Poker had big events running as well.  It cannot be understated how incredible the turnout has been lately; even with Black Friday still looming large over the online poker world, sites like Stars and Party have been thriving. For in-depth write-ups on all the biggest WCOOP events be sure to check out the FlopTurnRiver News Section.  The STR will continue to cover some of the “smaller” weekend WCOOP events, but the rest of the news team will get you all you need on the 2011 WCOOP.

While players were gearing up for a day full of American Football and the WCOOP, both Party Poker and the iPoker Network were busy running their $200,000 guaranteed events.  The Party $200k might be looking at raising its guarantee in the near future, as the event has been crossing the quarter-million dollar mark for some time now.  Both their no-fee promotion earlier this summer, along with gaining players from FullTilt’s debacle, has increased their overall site traffic.  Yesterday, more than 1,250 players entered the $200+$15 event, creating a nice $252,400 prize pool in the process.   There was more than $50,000 on the line for the winner, although that number was unfortunately never reached.  Once “MyMojoSoDope” was felted in 3rd place, both “phat_llzard” and “astnz22” decided it was best to chop up the remaining prize pool. Both players agreed upon a figure of $41,646, and just like that the tournament was over.

While two lesser-known players took down the title, the final table headliner was Nicolas “JokerzFull” Fierro who finished in 6th place for $9,465.  The high-stakes professional hailing from Chile has earned many huge scores during his career including two six-figures sums.  His first big cash was in FTOPS Event #12 last year for more than $181,000. He then followed that up with a win in the $200k guaranteed for $82,944. Earlier this year, Fierro continued his run with a 3rd place finish in SCOOP Event #2 for $126,684.  The top-10 ranked MTT pro now has more than $3,000,000 in online cashes spread across rooms like PokerStars, Party Poker, Bodog, and Titan Poker.

Party Poker Sunday $200k Guaranteed
1,262 Entrants; $252,400 prize pool
*2-way chop

1. austnz22 $41,646
2. phat_llzard $41,646
3. MyMojoSoDope $18,299
4. Rex_Cramer $14,513
5. holdi12555 $11,989
6. JokerzFull $9,465
7. Merseylad $7,193
8. Yoshin666 $4,796
9. ZedCandy $3,660

The iPoker Sunday $200k has seen a slight uptick with the start of the 2011 WCOOP.  While it has been unable to run down the Party $200k, the tournament is now easily passing its guarantee.  It is still unknown why the world’s 2nd largest poker network cannot gain more entrants, but satellites and VIP programs might be to blame. Still, with rooms like Titan, Bet365, Noble, and William Hill, it is a bit concerning they can only muster 1,085 players for the week’s biggest event.  Those on hand at the final table certainly weren’t complaining, as a $45,570 first-place check was on the line for the winner.  Making a deep run was “LALAPALOOLALALA” who ultimately fell one spot short in 2nd place.  The high-stakes player has had quite the 2011, winning SCOOP Event #8 for $122,094. He also won the Sunday Second Chance last year for more than $54,000 and overall has more than $600,000 in career cashes online.  Eventual winner “Torres9CFC” was certainly less experienced, but that did not stop him/her from taking down the Sunday $200k and a huge payday.  The $45,570 win is a great score for someone who rarely plays MTT’s on iPoker.

Titan Poker Sunday $200k Guaranteed
1,085 Entrants; $217,000 prize pool

1. Torres9CFC $45,570
3. skovjensen $17,360
4. the21kid1 $13,020
5. NoonieDaPug $10,850
6. tottiromano56 $8,680
7. Chorb $6,510
8. daviec01 $4,340
9. KPAC00TKA $3,038
10. samoletLED $2,170

An even more interesting study than the iPoker $200k is the Merge Poker Network Sunday $100k.  The event everyone thought would explode post Black Friday has done nothing but. In fact, over the past month the tournament has lost about 10% of its player base for one reason or another.  Some players might be skeptical that the Merge Network is next in line on the US government’s watch list, while others might have found homes at sites like Bodog or Cake Poker. Either way, a tournament that needs 1,000 entrants to hit its guarantee has been coming up more than 150 players short lately.  Yesterday was no exception as just 825 players entered the $100+$9 event, forcing the Merge Network to pay $17,500 out of its own pockets in overlay.  While each player in the field received about $20 in added value, it is still not a great sign for the overall health of the site.  We’ll continue to monitor this closely as the year moves on.

As for the tournament itself, the final table was full of players looking for a big score. With $20,000 on the line for the winner, it was a mad dash to the finish between “ArcticCircl”, “neddita”, and “chippynilly”. First to fall from that trio was “chippynilly” who has been on a big of a good run lately.  Not only did he earn $6,500 for his 3rd last night, but he also finished 3rd in the $8,500 guaranteed earlier today for $1,056.  Falling in second place was “neddita” which was good for a $12,000 payday. This was the first big score of neddita’s career on Merge, and while he fell just short, a five-figure check is nothing to sneeze at.  Taking home the title was “ArcticCircl”, another player who hasn’t played much on Merge in the past.  His $20,000 was easily the biggest score of his short career on Merge, surpassing a $1,248 cash for finishing 2nd in the $33 cubed back in July.

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

1. ArcticCircl $20,000
2. neddita $12,000
3. chippynilly $6,500
4. SpartOn21 $5,000
5. ProfessorK99 $4,250
6. MyWayOf $3,500
7. Jamgi4me $2,750
8. torubu $2,250
9. StuffMaster000 $1,750

As we mentioned before, be sure to check out the News Section for more in-depth write-ups on WCOOP 2011 events.  There were a few big tournaments running yesterday including the $1,250,000 guaranteed Event #21.  What’s incredible about this tournament is its $1,696,800 prize pool might have been bigger than the rest of the online poker world’s major events yesterday combined.  With nearly 8,500 players paying the $200+$15 entry fee, Event #21 instantly became on of the biggest post-Black Friday events in all of online poker.   The tournament had more than $800,000 on the line when the final table started including more than $200,000 slated for the winner. Unfortunately that number was never realized as the last five players decided upon a chip-chop.  Taking home the biggest piece of the pie was 3rd place finisher “Gnostan” who earned the biggest score of his career. The $169,325 cash was an incredible amount for a player who rarely plays on PokerStars. In fact, before yesterday his biggest score was under $20!  Eventual winner “gregor7878” may not have earned as much as Gnostan, but he did take home a WCOOP Gold Bracelet on top of his $158,627 win.  Much like Gnostan, the six-figure sum was easily the biggest cash on a resume that includes just a few four-figure scores.

PokerStars 2011 WCOOP Event #21 $1.25M Guaranteed
8,484 Entrants; $1,696,800 prize pool
*5-way chop

1. gregor7878 $158,627
2. prot0 $145,615
3. Gnostan $169,325
4. borvik $116,377
5. BlockWinner $147,100
6. robban 28x $52,601
7. OverTheTop43 $36,481
8. soydelmillo $20,362
9. obamaria $13,150

Without the Million, Warm-Up, or Sunday500 on the docket, we’ll take a look at a lesser-known major, the Sunday $100 re-buy. This event tends to get overshadowed by the $215r, but yesterday it proved just how major it is, as more than 1,300 players created a massive $442,000 prize pool.  With nearly 3,100 re-buys and add-ons there were plenty of gamblers in the field yesterday.  As the tournament winded down and the final was set, the were 9 players still standing with a chance at more than $80,000.  Out of those nine there were more than a handful with strong tournament resumes, including the final three competitors.  Third place finisher “th’Kick” earned himself a solid $44,200 payday.  This marked the third time he has cashed for more than $40,000 online as he also finished 2nd in the Mulligan and the $150k over the past year.  Runner-up “heißtercamp” is no stranger to success online, although he is quite secretive with regards to his results.  His heads-up opponent, “AJacejackAJ”, is quite the opposite. The two had a solid battle that ultimately went the way of AJacejackAJ. His $80,267 cash was the 2nd biggest of his career, coming in behind another win in this very event last year for more than $85,000.  The high-stakes professional also has a 3rd place finish in the Warm-Up as well as a 2nd place in WCOOP Event #12 last year on his resume.

PokerStars Sunday $109r $200k Guaranteed
1,321 Entrants; $442,000 prize pool

1. AJacejackAJ $80,267
2. heißtercamp $58,344
3. th’Kick $44,200
4. Goodrugs $33,150
5. HR_Dub $23,025
6. Gabfield $18,785
7. VernonH $14,365
8. Rocketmist $9,945
9. tollgate $6,188