There is no overstating it. The 2012 Spring Championship of Online Poker was simply amazing. It was history's biggest online poker festival. It hosted more players than any PokerStars festival ever. It awarded more money than PokerStars has ever given out in a poker tournament series. Meanwhile, one player stood above them all as the clear and undeniable Player of the Series.
Shaun Deeb, the American expat living in Mexico, made SCOOP his personal playground for the past two weeks. Already a previous SCOOP champion, Deeb added four more titles in this series alone to become the all-time leading title-winner among all SCOOP players. Deeb played 115 of the 120 tournaments, cashed 27 times (more than anybody), made eight final tables (double his nearest opponent's four final tables), and won $237,528 in tournament prizes. The performance earned him the overall Player of the Series title and the high buy-in Player of the Series championship. For his Herculean efforts, Deeb will win an 2013 EPT Grand Final package and 2013 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure package.
Shaun Deeb, 2012 SCOOP Player of the Series
While Deeb dominated the standings in those categories, he wasn't the only one picking up Player of the Series honors. PokerStars Team Online's George Lind won the low buy-in leaderboard, and C. Darwin2 won the medium leaderboard. Both players will pick up 2013 PCA packages.
While all of those players put on performances that will be remembered for ages, nobody earned more money in this year's SCOOP series than the $10,300 buy-in 2012 SCOOP main event winner GripDsNutz who pocketed $814,079 overall, including his $798,675 main event win. He was joined on the main event podium by medium main event winner suarez_BG and low main event champion john_tri80.
In all SCOOP awarded $65,332,179 in prizes and bounties over the two-week festival. Players from 156 countries put up 526,154 buy-ins, the biggest of any SCOOP in history. It was impressive by almost any measure.
Here are a few more superlatives from the past two weeks:
For all the numbers from this year's SCOOP and previous festivals, see the SCOOP stats page.
If you missed anything over the past two weeks, we've been on top of all the action. You can look back at all the coverage in our special 2012 PokerStars SCOOP news section.
Thanks to everyone for making this the biggest and best SCOOP yet.
With the rising popularity of the fun, fast-paced Zoom poker on PokerStars, players are now getting a handle on the ring format game where their opponents change every hand and it is time not just to adapt, but thrive. To help other players come out ahead, we approached Team PokerStars Pro Raymond Wu for his top tips on how to maximize your Zoom experience.
1. Don't get in over your head: Zoom is fast and the action is awesome; however, you don't want to overwhelm yourself by popping up too many tables. This will cause you to play too robotically which will cause your results to suffer.
2. Don't over-fold your blinds: It can be very enticing to fold your marginal hands when in the blinds in favour of seeing the next hand; however, doing this will cause you to be very vulnerable to steals which will lead to you bleeding money slowly but surely.
3. Don't over-defend your blinds: Contrary to the above, you also don't want to over defend your blinds versus steals. This is a key ingredient to fancy play syndrome and your goal is to achieve a balance regarding blind defence.
4. Take notes on opponents: This can be a bit difficult as the games are super fast paced. I think the most effective way to take notes is to do it after the session when it's all over and done.
5. Do go back and see what happened last hand: If there was a big pot being played out and you folded and got moved, you can either hold CTRL when folding to watch the hand play out or you can click on "previous hand" on the left of the table to see what happened. Don't overlook this simple task as it can gain you valuable information down the road.
6. Don't get personal: If someone is messing with you in position, don't worry. The next hand it will be another person since you will move. Therefore, when faced with a decision you don't really have to factor meta-game or game dynamics in there. Zoom poker is more about how to deal with THIS specific hand on the spot.
Keep these simple and useful tips in mind the next time you play Zoom and you'll be playing like a Pro before you know it. Have fun at the tables! For more information about Zoom poker, visit the Zoom Poker home page.
The "high" version of SCOOP Event #40, the $10,300 buy-in Main Event, saw a field of 517 build an eye-popping prize pool of $5.17 million. And after one long day of play, no one had claimed even the tiniest slice of any of it. Not yet.
All 63 of those making it through Sunday's first day of play had earned some portion, however, as the cash bubble had burst on the very last hand of Day 1 when Ben "NeverScaredB" Wilinofsky knocked out Steve "Illini213" Barshak in 64th place. (Read the full recap of Day 1 here.)
That managed to tie things up nice and neat there at the end of the night, but Day 2 arrived to make things complicated once again....
It was time to decide who gets what.
Winning that last hand of the night had helped secure Wilinofsky's second-position spot in the counts with 404,575 to end the day, just a touch behind leader Kazu "imashokU" Oshima who led overnight with 405,124.
When the virtual cards began to fly once more Monday afternoon, the average stack was just over 123,000, with the Level 21 blinds at 1,500/3,000, meaning most were relatively deep to start. And that a lot of work likely remained for the player who'd manage to negotiate the remaining field to victory and the largest piece of that enormous prize pool.
From 63 to 27
After a relatively slow pre-bubble period to end the night on Sunday, the pace was predictably quicker to begin proceedings for Day 2, with 15 eliminations occurring within the first half-hour.
Among those min-cashing for $22,748 were David "Betudontbet" Emmons (59th), Dan "w00ki3z." Cates (58th), Brian "Halfrek" Elgaard (57th), Clark "snake8484" Hamagami (56th), and Jeff "jeff710" Hakim (55th). And in the group taking away $24,299 before the initial half-hour break were Johan "busto_soon" Van Til (52nd), Frederik "Fred_Brink" Jensen (50th), and Andrey "Kroko-dill" Zaichenko (49th).
The next half-hour saw nine more fall, including Sorel "zangbezan24" Mizzi who took $24,299 for finishing 46th, and Jon "FatalError" Aguiar (42nd), Rui "RuiNF" Ferreira (41st), and Anthony "wwwBTHEREcom" Gregg (40th), each of whom cashed for $25,850. By then aagefr had pushed ahead of the field to a stack of more than 460,000, followed by ValueH, johnxfleming, Kazu "imashokU" Oshima, and Ben "NeverScaredB" Wilinofsky.
That's when a clash arose between Andre "akkarri" Akkari of Team PokerStars Brazil and Mickey "mement_mori" Petersen of Team Online. With the blinds 2,000/4,000, Akkari min-raised from the cutoff with [As][10c], Petersen reraise-shoved for 56,925 from the big blind with [Ah][Kc], and Akkari called. The flop came [10h][3s][4d] to pair Akkari, and after the [6c] turn and [2c] river Petersen was out in 39th ($25,850).
The next stretch saw another table's worth of players fall, including Spencer "UH Big Tex" Hudson (36th), Rory "Mafews' Mathews (35th), Jamie "TheCronic420" Rosen (34th), and Vojtech "Vojta_R" Ruzicka (32nd), each of whom won $28,435 for getting that far.
Soon after Ben "NeverScaredB" Wilinofsky would lose the majority of his stack in a big hand versus hotmark777 in which Wilinofsky flopped top pair of aces versus hotmark777's set of sixes. That sunk Wilinofsky to less than 70,000, and a couple of hands later Mathew "Matfrankland" Frankland claimed the last of NeverScaredB's chips to send him railward in 31st ($28,435).
Three more fell soon thereafter, and after two hours of Day 2 they were down to the final three tables.
From 27 to 9
By the two-and-a-half-hour mark of Day 2 they were down to 22, with ValueH on top with more than 805,000, followed by Kazu "imashokU" Oshima and Mathew "Matfrankland" Frankland. Among the most recent eliminations at that point were Calvin "cal42688" Anderson (27th), Griffin "Flush_Entity" Benger (26th), and Peter "twirlpro" Turmezey (24th), all earning $31,020.
Another quick spate of knockouts followed the break -- including William "Altrum Altus" Reynolds (19th, $31,020) -- and suddenly they were down to two tables.
johnxfleming (18th) and Mongy (17th) were the next to go, each earning $41,360, and several orbits later Andre "akkari" Akkari found himself 16th in chips out of 16 remaining.
A hand then occurred in which Akkari, down to 187,991 with the blinds 4,000/8,000, raised to 16,000 from middle position and got two callers, Stefan "I'am_Sound" Huber (cutoff) and KeyserMM (big blind). The flop came [9h][9s][5s], and when checked to Akkari bet 29,500, earning a raise to 60,000 from Huber. KeyserMM folded, Akkari pushed all in, and Huber called, turning over [Ac][Ad] to Akkari's [Js][Jh]. The turn was the [9d] and river the [2c], and Akkari was out in 16th ($41,360).
KeyserMM would be the next to fall in 15th after losing a preflop all in with [Ac][Ks] against UrMySponsor's pocket fours. A bit later UrMySponsor would also knock out Stefan "I'am_Sound" Huber 14th, using [Ah][Qd] to best Huber's [Ad][Jc]. Then start-of-day chip leader Kazu "imashokU" Oshima lost a preflop all with [As][Qs] versus sosickPL's [Jh][Jc] to end his run in 13th. Those three each saw $51,700 added to their PokerStars accounts.
The remaining dozen fought onward, reaching the four-and-a-half-hour break of the day with UrMySponsor leading with nearly 1.36 million, r4st4f4ri closest with just over 960,000, and sosickPL third with nearly 934,000.
ValueH then become short and had to push all in with [Ac][9s], getting called by sp00led who held [10h][10c]. The board brought no improvement for ValueH who was knocked out in 12th. Dr.Action next had [Ac][Ad] cracked versus r4st4f4ri's [Kh][Qh] when the board brought two queens on the turn and river, sending Dr.Action away in 11th. And Mathew "Matfrankland" Frankland lost a preflop all-in with [As][5s] after being unable to improve versus UrMySponsor's [8s][8h] to fall in 10th. Those three each left with $62,040 for their efforts.
Just nine remained.
Seat 1: hotmark777 (Lebanon) -- 680,210
Seat 2: r4st4f4ri (Germany) -- 877,267
Seat 3: sosickPL (Poland) -- 908,306
Seat 4: UrMySponsor (Germany) -- 1,269,454
Seat 5: wizowizo (Germany) -- 1,128,786
Seat 6: B4d3m3!st3r (Germany) -- 768,006
Seat 7: römpsä (Germany) -- 726,146
Seat 8: sp00led (Canada) -- 456,020
Seat 9: GripDsNutz (Costa Rica) -- 940,805
Five of the final nine hailed from Germany, the country entering the final day of play third in the overall SCOOP watch race between nations (behind Canada and the United Kingdom), though just barely in first ahead of Russia for most overall cashes in this year's SCOOP. And two of them -- UrMySponsor and wizowizo -- were battling for the chip lead as the final table got underway.
From 9 to 3
It would take about half an hour before the first elimination of the final table came. With the blinds at 8,000/16,000, sosickPL opened for 16,000 from late position, and it folded to B4d3m3!st3r who reraised all in for 286,312 from the small blind. römpsä quickly folded in the big blind, and sosickPL made the call.
B4d3m3!st3r held [Ks][Jd] and was hoping to catch versus sosickPL's [Ts][Th]. But the board brought cards that were only good from sosickPL, coming [As][Tc][4h][9c][Td] to give sosickPL quads and send B4d3m3!st3r out in ninth.
About 20 minutes later, the blinds had moved to 10,000/20,000 when UrMySponsor raised to 40,000 from early position, then römpsä shoved for 456,646 from a couple of seats over. It folded to Nick "GripDsNutz" Grippo on the button who by that point had become chip leader with more than 1.6 million, and Grippo responded by pushing all in over the top of everyone. All folded back around, and römpsä showed [Kh][Qs] to Grippo's [Ad][As]. The board came [Ts][3h][3s][Jh][6s], and römpsä was eliminated in eighth as Grippo increased his chip stack up over 2.15 million.
The remaining seven pushed through the six-and-a-half-hour break, and shortly after it appeared as though r4st4f4ri was in dire straits after going all in with [Ad][4d] against GripDsNutz who once more had picked up pocket rockets. But three diamonds had hit the board by the turn, and r4st4f4ri survived.
Alas for r4st4f4ri, it was but a brief reprieve. Soon GripsDsNutz was min-raising to 60,000 from the cutoff, and it was r4st4f4ri again reraising all-in, this time to 458,012. It folded back to Grippo who called, tabling [Jd][Td] to r4st4f4ri's [Qc][Jh]. The flop came [Qs][4c][4s] to further r4st4f4ri's advantage, but the turn was the [Kc] and river the [9s], meaning GripDsNutz had backdoored a straight and r4st4f4ri was out in seventh.
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Nick "GripDsNutz" Grippo's hot run would continue, as before the level had finished, he was raising again from UTG to 60,000, then hotmark777 reraised all in for 527,656 from a seat over and when it folded around Grippo snap-called. hotmark777 showed [Tc][Td], but GripDsNutz had picked up yet another big pair with [Kh][Kc]. The community cards came [3c][7s][7h][As][2s], and they were down to five.
Just two hands later it would be UrMySponsor stepping in to interrupt the string of eliminations by GripDsNutz. After UrMySponsor min-raised from UTG, wizowizo shoved for 594,455 total from the next position and it folded back to UrMySponsor who called. wizowizo showed [Ah][Qh] and UrMySponsor [As][Th], and the flop promptly landed [Ts][Jc][3c] to pair UrMySponsor. wizowizo still had hopes to hit a queen or king, but the turn was the [6d] and river the [4s], and wizowizo was out in fifth, claiming a better than quarter-million dollar consolation prize.
UrMySponsor was the last of the five Germans remaining at the final table, but just six hands after knocking out wizowizo, UrMySponsor would be the one at risk in a hand that began with a 2x raise to 60,000 by sosickPL from the button. UrMySponsor reraised to 148,777 from the small blind, and it folded back to sosickPL who made it 287,554 to go. UrMySponsor then pushed all in for 1,359,074 total, and sosickPL called.
The board came [8h][3s][Ac][Ah][Ts], sosickPL's nines had held, and UrMySponsor was out in fourth for a better than $400K score.
Three-Handed: Time to Deal
With that hand sosickPL closed the gap with leader GripDsNutz, pulling almost even with about 3.12 million to Grippo's 3.26 million, while sp00led sat in third with just over 1.36 million. sp00led soon evened things up, however, by doubling through GripDsNutz with [Ah][6d] against GripDsNutz' [8c][8s]. The eights were good through the turn, but an ace fell on the river to save sp00led.
A dozen hands later the trio agreed to pause the tourney to talk about how they might divide the more than $2.2 million for which they were playing. By that point sp00led had edged out in front with 3,193,856, sosickPL was second with 2,401,795, and GripDsNutz third with 2,159,349.
"Before we look at numbers," typed Grippo, "ill take an even chop and nothing else."
That statement initially led to some tentative agreements being voiced, then some backing away as details were hashed out among the trio. They kept coming back around to the idea, however, which ultimately would have meant $728,675 for each, with $50,000 remaining for which to play.
sp00led wanted to leave more on the table -- suggesting $100K -- but GripDsNutz wasn't hearing it. Neither appeared willing to budge until Grippo asked for a recalculation leaving $80K on the table. That would add up to $718,675 being guaranteed to each player.
A tension-filled pause followed, then one by one -- sosickPL, sp00led, then GripDsNutz -- all typed "i agree" and a deal was struck. A sense of relief could be inferred from sosickPL's subsequent chat:
sosickPL: so lets play for that amazing watch! :D
In terms of tangible value, it might not compare to the $700K-plus scores all three had just secured themselves. Even so, it is a pretty amazing watch...
A few moments more passed, and hands were being dealt once again. Soon came a big preflop all-in between sp00led and GripDsNutz in which the latter held [Ac][6c] and sp00led [Tc][Th]. In kind of a reverse echo of an earlier hand between the pair, this time the board rolled out [5s][Js][3d][7s]... [Ac], with the river ace saving Grippo and pushing him up over 4.1 million and into the lead.
Soon after that, the blinds were 17,500/35,000 when Nick "GripsDsNutz" Grippo opened with a raise to 81,465 from the small blind, sosickPL reraised to 167,930 from the BB, Grippo made it 374,645, sosickPL 591,360, Grippo shoved, and sosickPL called with the 1,579,405 left.
GripDsNutz showed [9d][9s] and sosickPL [8d][8c]. The flop came [Ks][9h][4c], giving Grippo a set, and the [Tc] turn meant the [5c] river was no matter.
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From the 517 who started, just two were left.
Heads-up play began with GripDsNutz enjoying a hefty chip lead with 6,134,353 to sp00led's 1,620,647. Over the next 20 minutes sp00led closed the gap somewhat, and 20 minutes after that the pair were virtually even. A few minutes after that they'd reached the seven-and-a-half-hour break for the day, with GripDsNutz just a little ahead with 3,948,153 to sp00led's 3,806,847.
After the break the pair continued to trade relatively small pots, with sp00led finally nudging out in front to keep the lead for a dozen hands or so. Neither appeared in great hurry, and with the blinds still just 20,000/40,000 both were sitting with stacks more than 90 BBs deep, further enabling such patience.
A hand then arose in which sp00led called a preflop min-raise from Grippo, then check-called a bet of 73,465 after [5h][6s][Ac]. The turn was the [Jc], and sp00led checked once more. This time GripDsNutz bet 187,465, and sp00led fired back a check-raise to 440,000 which after some thought GripDsNutz called.
The river then brought the [6d] and a 640,000 bet from sp00led. GripDsNutz thought for some time, then called with [As][9h] for aces and sixes. sp00led had [9c][8s] for busted flush and straight draws, and GripDsNutz took the almost 2.5 million-chip pot.
They reached Level 36 (blinds 25,000/50,000), and with GripDsNutz having pushed out to a 2-to-1 lead, another hand developed that ended with sp00led pushing out another big river bet -- this time for 750,000 into a 912,500 pot -- with the board showing [10h][3d][Kd][7h][5h]. Grippo thought a while then called, and when sp00led showed [Kc][5s] Grippo mucked. They were close to even again.
GripDsNutz inched ahead once more, then after forcing a fold from sp00led after a five-bet shove, had climbed up over 5 million again to sp00led's almost 2.6 million. But sp00led pushed back, and soon the gap had been closed once more.
The match continued. Eventually the pair had been going at it heads-up for close to two hours. And more than nine-and-a-half hours on Monday, added to the 11-plus it took to get through play the day before.
All 119 of the other SCOOP events had completed, leaving just two players, battling for the last, biggest prize in the biggest tournament in the biggest ever online poker tournament series.
Finally came a hand in which sp00led opened for the minimum of 120,000, GripDsNutz raised to 298,765, and sp00led called. The flop came [As][4d][8c], GripDsNutz bet 264,845, and sp00led called. The turn was the [3s], and this time GripDsNutz checked. sp00led made a smallish bet of 180,000, and after a long pause GripDsNutz check-raised to 489,485. sp00led thought a while as well, then called.
The river was the [Qc], and this time GripDsNutz bet out 812,345. sp00led waited several seconds, nearly using up what had become a mostly depleted time bank, then called. GripDsNutz showed [Ad][2s], and sp00led mucked.
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That hand pushed GripDsNutz up over 6.45 million to sp00led's 1.30 million, and just two hands later sp00led opened for 120,000, GripDsNutz raised to 298,765, sp00led pushed all in for 1,422,207 total, and GripDsNutz called.
Nick "GripDsNutz" Grippo was five cards away from victory, if those sixes could hold. The flop came [2c][Ts][5c], and they remained good. The turn was the [8d]... just one more card! Then the river... the [5s]! It was all over! GripDsNutz had grabbed the watch!
RSS readers click through to see replay
Congratulations to Nick "GripDsNutz" Grippo of Costa Rica for topping a tough field of 517, making it through two hard-fought days of poker, and an especially grueling heads-up match to win Event #40-H! And kudos to sp00led and sosickPL as well for making it to the three-way chop and better than $700K payday!
2012 SCOOP Event 40-High, $10,300 No-Limit Hold'em, Main Event (*reflects three-way deal):
1st: GripDsNutz (Costa Rica) -- $798,675*
2nd: sp00led (Canada) -- $718,675*
3rd: sosickPL (Poland) -- $718,675*
4th: UrMySponsor (Germany) -- $403,260
5th: wizowizo (Germany) -- $284,350
6th: hotmark777 (Lebanon) -- $219,725
7th: r4st4f4ri (Germany) -- $168,025
8th: römpsä (Germany) -- $116,325
9th: B4d3m3!st3r (Germany) -- $85,822.00
Places paid: 63
Thanks for following our coverage these last two weeks of all 120 events of SCOOP. For full results and searchable stats of the 2012 Spring Championship of Online Poker, check out the official SCOOP site.
Looking for more SCOOP reporting? Visit our special SCOOP 2012 coverage section.
"Rags to riches" stories are a part of poker history and while there have been plenty of players that have made a little go a long way, the following four players took that extra step and became part of poker history. You already know the names; now, get the stories that helped these guys get where they are.