SCOOP 2014: No giving up for new SCOOP champions

Mark Harrison knows when to give up, but you could never call him a quitter.

"I guess I don't mind people knowing I gave up a very well-paid job just because after 14 years I realized it was making me so unhappy," he said. "It was not worth the money."

While Harrison (known as monkeyboxes on PokerStars) doesn't recommend just giving up your job without something else in place, it's working for him. Today, at 50 years old, he's working part time to put himself through college. He's studying to be an accountant.

It helped that he once won $60,000 at a Sunday Million final table (he used a lot of it to buy a Ducati motorcycle). It helps even more than he is one of the newest SCOOP champions. He won event 13-L (NL 2-7 Single Draw) for more than $5,000.

Now the grandfather-college student-motorcycle enthusiast is one of the newest SCOOP champions, and he's humble about it.

"If I can win one, anyone can," he said. "The nicest thing has been the congrats I've received since by players I have played over the last few years within the 2-7 community. It means a lot. I love playing all forms of 2-7, as do the majority of guys who play the game, so makes it extra special to win."


Mark "monkeyboxes" Harrison

Meanwhile, thousands of miles away in Brazil, 21-year-old law student Kevin Ortiz Menna is relishing a bad decision. For years, people had been telling him poker wasn't the way to go in his life. Still, he stuck with it. Despite not having much of a roll on PokerStars, he saw potential in this year's SCOOP. And so, against all better advice, he entered the $27 SCOOP PLO Six-Max event. It left him with only $15 in his PokerStars account.

"A friend of mine saw a hand replay I posted on Facebook and called me immediately to berate me for being so irresponsible," Menna said. "But later on the semifinal table, he started to watch from his home and cheer through text messages."

By now it should be clear, Menna won. His take? $27,000.

"When the deed was done, my friend was the first to call me and congratulate me," Menna said. "But he reminded me that even though I won, entering the tournament was a mistake."


Kevin Ortiz Menna

Menna, who drew inspiration from a Caio Pessago blog post about surviving while short-stacked, found validation in his win.

"I never stopped believing I could achieve something as huge as SCOOP," he said. "My stubbornness paid off in the end."

is the PokerStars Head of Blogging

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in SCOOP