SCOOP 2012: The epilogue
There's a glow that hangs around after something like the Spring Championship of Online Poker, a sort of spent, endorphin-charged euphoria that has many of us stumbling around with silly smiles on our faces. I submit that it's the natural biological reaction to a festival that became the biggest of any online tournament series in history--$65,332,179 in prizes and bounties, 526,154 buy-ins, 156 countries, 120 champions.
It's such a pleasant feeling that we'd bottle it if we could. Since we can't (Big Pharma would never let that happen), we'll do the best we can do. We're going to help ourselves and you come back down to earth slowly with a few final words. This, indeed, is the part of the film where a guy with a voice like Owen Wilson narrates over a montage of video and lets you know what happened to everybody when it was all over.
When the final river of the high buy-in main event finally fell, Team PokerStars Pro Lex Veldhuis stepped into the recording booth and offered the best and most insightful commentary on how the championship ended. The good folks at PokerStars.tv recorded it all and put it together in this video for us.
Meanwhile, players across the globe sat back and waited for the delivery man to drop off the SCOOP championship watches. Among those new champions was the 19-year-old BreezyWest who won Event 34-L, the $55 limit hold'em battle.
"The SCOOP win means a lot to me and I am proud of myself that I did it," he said. "Thanks to the win, I am able to move from Tenerife to London. Poker will still be a big part of my life, but there are so many other things I want to do."
While BreezyWest packs his bags for London, Sweden's Kristoffer "Hefty.TILT" Sandberg, winner of the Event 25-M 2-7 Triple Draw tourney, is using poker as a form of therapy. The 20-year-old readily and humbly admits to rage issues that cause him problems in real life.
"Poker has helped me to keep those feelings calm. This is something I have great use for also outside my poker life," he said. "It is simply interesting because it shows that poker is so much more than playing about money back and forth. There is so much else around it."
While life may be grand for Sandberg, he and the other SCOOP champions aren't immune to struggle.
Woody Deck is an American who left the U.S. for Lithuania several years ago. Though he mitigated the direct effects of Black Friday on his life, he didn't avoid them entirely.
"Everything I won and the opportunities I had slowly went away," he said.
Now he splits his time between the US and Mexico.
"This means I have had to traverse difficult conditions in going to Tijuana, Mexico, one of the most dangerous cities in the world," he said.
This time it worked out and he won Event 35-H.
"I was going to play a full schedule at the WSOP this year for only the second time before my SCOOP win. Now I will be going in with some badly needed confidence," he said. "In addition to my SCOOP win, I played and won a live WSOP Circuit plo8 event in San Diego earlier this year. I don't think anyone has more live plo8 cashes/wins than me, but I still don't have a WSOP plo8 cash yet, I am 0/6 lifetime. That will hopefully change this year. I wish for nothing more than to have a ridiculously high US tax bill at the end of the year for once."
Halfway around the world is Vincent Lu, aka, DamienRise, who lives in Shanghai and won Event 32-L. He was the only person from China to win a title this year.
"To be the best Chinese poker player is always my goal," he said. "It's my first major tournament title, of course, but not the last one."
Finally, there is the Brazilian who goes by PaDiLhA SP. He won Event 33-L toward the end of SCOOP.
"I really love and work to seek great achievements in my career," he said. "I hope this is the first of many."
And so, says Owen Wilson's disembodied voice, that's how we put SCOOP to bed for 2012. The records are broken. The champions are basking in the afterglow. The people at PokerStars are looking toward WCOOP. And the PokerStars Blog? Well, we're back to traveling the world, keeping an eye on the weekend majors, and making sure all the PokerStars news that's fit to print makes right here on this blog.