There is a lot going on in the poker world lately. Between the 2011 WCOOP, new developments with FullTilt, and the WSOPE just on the horizon, there is much to talk about.  This past weekend online tournaments continued to grow as both attendance and prize pools were nearly universally up across the board.  There were plenty of big WCOOP events running including Event #41, a $10,000 High-Roller heads-up championship.  That tournament saw PokerStars professional Daniel Negreanu make a deep run before being ousted by the eventual champion “pistons87”. For more in-depth write-ups on big WCOOP events be sure to check out the FlopTurnRiver News Section.

Even with the WCOOP taking up the majority of the weekend headlines, there were still plenty of other major tournaments being played around the poker world.  The day started off strong with the $200,000 guaranteed on Party Poker. One of the earliest majors of the day, the $200k is full of European and Australian professionals looking for a $50,000+ score to kick their Sunday off on the right foot.  Over 1,200 players entered the event, growing the prize pool dangerously close to the $250,000 mark.  It has been mentioned here many times before, but it has to just be a matter of time before Party decides to raise the prize pool back to the quarter-million mark it once held.

The tournament itself was a good one. With a final table full of solid players, it was a race to the finish for a $50,000 first-place prize.  Unfortunately, after “Fitzcarrald1” busted in 3rd place, the remaining two players felt it best to chop up the remaining prize pool based on chip counts. Taking home the biggest piece of the chop pie was “KNAAPINEN”, a well-known Finnish professional who is no stranger to success in this event. While this was his first win in the $200k, he did finish 2nd earlier this year for $30,000, when it was still a $250k Guarantee.  The high-stakes pro has also done well on PokerStars, finishing 3rd in the bigger $100k and 2nd in the big $100k back in August for $21,060 and $13,973 respectively.  Runner-up “Insertnow ” earned himself $35,534 after the chop, marking the biggest score of his career on Party Poker.

Party Poker Sunday $200k Guaranteed
1,247 Entrants; $249,400 prize pool
*2-way chop

1. KNAAPINEN $46,768
2. Insertnow $35,534
3. Fitzcarrald1 $18,082
4. OBV_NUTS $14,341
5. banditpandaa $11,847
6. amergin888 $9,353
7. HurryupMan $7,108
8. Beg4Mercy_ $4,739
9 .ravenbyrne $3,616
10. mickeydinser $2,494

While the Party Poker $200k creeps closer to the $250,000 prize pool mark, it appears the iPoker $200k appears happy to just pass its guarantee.  The iPoker’s biggest weekly event has not had to pay overlay recently, but it has not exactly been growing either.  This past weekend just 1,024 players entered the biggest weekly tournament on the world’s 2nd largest online poker network. This continues to be somewhat worrisome as the iPoker Network, home to rooms like Titan Poker, should have little trouble filling their major tournaments. With under $205,000 in the pot there was still more than $43,000 on the line for the winner.  That prize came down to “k0000000lx” and “araju023” who battled it out for more than a $20,000 difference between first and second place. Both players appeared to be somewhat experienced on the iPoker Network, yet neither had hit a big score in some time. That all changed, certainly for k0000000lx, who won the heads-up battle and took down the $43,008 first-place prize. The five-figure score appears to be the first for him this year, besting a $7,303 cash for winning the $25k rebuy all the way back in January.

iPoker Sunday $200k Guaranteed
1,024 Entrants; $204,800 prize pool

1. k0000000lx $43,008
2. araujo23 $22,528
3. BigBills2011 $16,384
4. shakirass $12,288
5. GAPP99 $10,240
6. rimininotte $8,192
7. Sguirre1 $6,144
9. SirNitAlot $2,867
10. SGrinderslev1 $2,048

If there is one tournament that continues to be a head scratcher, it’s the $100+$9 buy-in, $100,000 guaranteed on the Merge Network.  The biggest poker network still serving American poker players has had an extremely tough time filling its biggest weekly event.  As of late, it seems more players are qualifying through freerolls and low buy-in satellites than buying into the tournament. The past two weeks have found players winning seats through freerolls taking down the $20,000 prize.  Unfortunately, if the tournament cannot attract more players, it will only be a matter of time before the guarantee is dropped.  This Sunday only 820 players entered, forcing the Merge Network to dig deep into their pockets and pony up $18,000 of their own money.

With a lot of extra value in the tournament, there were 820 happy players on hand. Not only did they receive more than $20 per player in overlay, but they had to wade through about 20% less players than they normally would. No one was happier about this than “StepnRazor” who, after final tabling this tournament two weeks ago, was able to make up for his 9th place finish with a win on Sunday. The $20,000 score was the biggest of his career on Merge, surpassing the $1,750 he made for being eliminated first at the final table back on the 4th. Runner-up “whotookmynamec2tmfp” was unable to win the title, but still took home $12,000 as a nice consolation prize.

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

1. StepnRazor $20,000
2. whotookmynamec2tmfp $12,000
3. moondiesel $6,500
4. Cletus_Van_Damme $5,000
5. AbuHarTa $4,250
6. piccione14 $3,500
7. jakobgold $2,750
8. KeystoneF0H $2,250
9. tloft4 $1,750

Even though the crack news staff at FTR is covering much of the WCOOP, there are a few tournaments that have not been discussed. Two of those, Events #40 and #42 took place on Sunday.  Event #40, a $200+$15 buy-in event, only carried a $1,000,000 guarantee.  However, with more than 8,300 players in the field, the prize pool sky rocketed to over $1,650,000!  One interesting figure making the final table was Ryan “daut44” Daut.  Besides being one of the best MTT players in the world, what makes this even more interesting is Daut44 is American! That’s right, much like other high-stakes grinder, Daut decided to move to Canada to continue playing online poker professionally. Other players who have done so include Phil Galfond, Rich “nutsinho” Lyndaker, and Ben “Sauce123” Sulsky. These players understand there is still plenty of money to be made playing poker and are not willing to wait for the US to pass gaming legislation.  It did not take long for Daut to make his presence felt (again) on PokerStars has he finished 2nd in Event #40.  The $208,500 he made came via a chop with eventual winner “z81ima” who earned $225,385 and a WCOOP bracelet for his win.  The six-figure score was the biggest of his career, boosting his career cashes on Stars to nearly half a million dollars.

PokerStars 2011 WCOOP Event #40 $1M Guaranteed
8,332 Entrants; $1,666,400 prize pool
*2-way chop

1. z81ima $225,385
2. Daut44 $208,500
3. bendeauville $133,312
4. Lecher1991 $88,319
5. luigy666 $68,322
6. Igor Priva $51,658
7. moreno007 $35,828
8. rickv17 $19,997
9. xwc123 $12,915

Event #41 was covered by yours truly yesterday, as 32 of the world’s best online poker players entered the $10,000 buy-in heads-up championship. To read up on how everything went down just click “Poker News” as the top of the page.  The next event on the WCOOP schedule was the $1,050 buy-in Event #42. The high-stakes tournament carried a $1,500,000 guarantee, which much like Event #40 was easily surpassed. With 2,207 players in the field, the prize pool grew to more than $2,200,000! It’s incredible to think that just 5 months ago the state of online poker was in question, and then this past weekend PokerStars alone had more than $5,000,000 in major events running.  Event #42 was won by Mike “munchenHB” Telker for more than $353,000. The poker professional hailing from the European island Cyprus, took down the 5th major title of his career. In the past he has also won the $1k Monday twice, the Sunday Brawl, and FTOPS Event #27 earlier this year.  Telks now has more than $3,000,000 in online cashes to his name as the FTOPS win was worth more than $400,000 alone! Runner-up “joejoe1337″ was less experienced in big events, and it showed as he was unable to take down the crown. Still, the $264,480 score was nothing to scoff at, as it easily bested his previous high score on PokerStars of just $20,000.

PokerStars 2011 WCOOP Event #42 $1.5M Guaranteed
2,207 Entrants; $2,207,000 prize pool

1. munchenHB $353,120
2. joejoe1337 $264,840
3. FlipflopUK $198,630
4. po77a $136,834
5. 68ioweyou1 $99,315
6. davidmoreira $77,245
7. sporty_2311 $55,175
8. bajskorven87 $37,519
9. Langustee $20,967

The STR has made an executive decision, and that is to include the $200,000 guaranteed $100 re-buy on PokerStars from now on.  One, if not the biggest re-buy tournament in the world, the $109r has been doubling its guarantee as of late. Yesterday just 1,265 players re-bought and added-on enough to create a massive $429,700 prize pool.  That means for just $109 a player could have a chance at a near $80,000 first-place prize. Taking full advantage of that opportunity was “th’Kick” who took down “Shaddy Boy” heads-up for the title and a $78,420 payday.  Both players were certainly no slouches on PokerStars, having hit major cashes in big events in the past.  Shaddy Boy nearly won a $1k event back in 2007 for $45,250 and also won a smaller $109r that year for $19,440.  th’Kick has had more recent success, with now nearly $500,000 in careers cashes on PokerStars after his $78k payday.

PokerStars Sunday $109r $200k Guaranteed
1,265 Entrants; $429,700 prize pool

1. th’Kick $78,420
2. Shaddy Boy $57,107
3. Elia001 $42,970
4. Mattssons $32,228
5. dopehead4 $22,559
6. jambeyang $18,262
7. Mc.Pokerist $13,965
8. leguito $9,668
9. andyhin22 $6,016