TCOOP 2013: Champions leading charge to main event

As you look forward to the final three days of the 2013 Turbo Championship of Online Poker, you might do well to look to the people who have already won a title this year. Their lives and games are as wide and varied as the TCOOP tournament options.

Take for instance the 24-year-old genius who won TCOOP Event #25 for nearly $100,000 earlier this week. Andrija Martic (a.k.a cyncialfish) is a member of the Croatia arm of Mensa. That is to say, he's exceptionally smart but dropped out of college because he simply can make a better living playing poker.

"I studied history, and although I never graduated, I spend hours watching documentaries and on Wikipedia reading history, especially millitary history articles," he said. "Apart from that, professional poker is very demanding these days. I spend most of time grinding, discussing, and thinking about the game and wait for free time to spend with friends and family."

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cyncialfish

If you don't rate yourself with Mensa members, you might be better off following Renaissance man, LastDrive, Greece's $68,000 winner in TCOOP Event #8. There isn't much this guy doesn't do. Born in 1978 in the wake of one Greece's biggest ever earthquakes, he's spent the past 35 years making the most of life. He's a record producer, punk rock fan, and data analysis assistant professor. He just spent a month in the hospital undergoing emergency treatment.

"I finished this 'jolly holiday period' just a few days before my success in TCOOP Event #8. What a week!" he said. "The championship was such a dream-goal. It has also been a symbolic success. In contrast to 2012, which has been such a disastrous year for me, 2013 seems to be a year with good manners. I guess I'm going to spend few dollars in gifts, but since I have not fully recovered yet, I will save most of it in case I will face any other health emergencies in the future."

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LastDrive

Finally, there is recent champ Joey "khanrava" Fulford who relocated to the UK after Black Friday in America. At 23-years-old, the hyper competitive TCOOP champ had chopped a SCOOP event before, but had been dying have a title all his own.

"It's awesome to win a title outright. My first few large cashes were second places. I also ended up getting 2nd in a SCOOP a few years ago after we chopped heads-up. I'm still chasing a WCOOP bracelet, but for now I'm happy with a TCOOP title," he said. "I don't do anything exciting with the money. I just love to grind and live the lifestyle that poker makes possible. This win will allow me to just focus on the grind without worrying about downswings and savings for a while."

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khanrava

Those are just three of the 35 champions PokerStars has crowned so far this year. With 15 events remaining, you still have your chance to be among them.

Check out the TCOOP tournaments page to plan your TCOOP weekend.

Brad Willis is the PokerStars Head of Blogging

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in TCOOP