WCOOP bracelet winners still reveling in victory

WCOOP 2009 logo.jpgThe 2010 World Championship of Online Poker is starting that slow fade into history and sweet, sweet memory. As it slips down over the horizon line, the people who won bracelets are still getting used to the idea that they are world champions, including Tyson Marks, the WCOOP Main Event champion.

The sheer exhilaration must be something akin to an awakening, a moment during which you can look past the simple bounds of reality and see that there is something greater. Some people get there artificially. Some people get there spiritually. Poker players do it my summiting a mountain so great, only a few people can know what it's truly like.

And yet, it's something they are dying to share. Like an earthling who has been the first--the only!--to see life on another planet, the sheer desire for someone else to know what it feels like...to find that person and commiserate on the intense glory of it...it's a series of needs like none other.

Event #33 winner, Darreta summed it in one sentence. "The feeling is indescribable. I wish everyone could feel that way some day."

And if it's not for the hallucinogenic explosion that comes with winning a big one, there is a matter of the money. PokerStars awarded more than $63 million over 62 events and more than 140,000 buy-ins. Among those people is James "croll103" Carroll, who took down the $1,050 Limit Hold'em WCOOP event this year and won $80,000.

His simple goal for his poker play? "To be Oprah rich," he said.

James Carroll


The 2010 WCOOP winners come from all walks of the poker life--online grinders, seasoned live pros, and lifetime rounders.

Consider the story of Eddie "mustbetilt" Fishman, who won Event #51, PLO8:

"I started playing poker in the back of a pool hall in Staten Island with my twin brother, Michael. We both worked in a deli and would go and play hold'em. Once we turned 21, we started making trips down to Atlantic City. Eventually we both started playing full time, and never looked back. In 2002, we took our first trip to Las Vegas for the WSOP. I cashed in three events and won a bracelet in the $2500 Omaha8 for over $90,000."

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Eddie Fishman (right)

Then there are others like the young Money_1985, a 25 year-old Australian, who made sure to get his college degree. He studied finance and economics and walked away with a diploma. Like any responsible young man, he went look for a job and immediately landed a gig in a bank. He quickly learned he wasn't meant to be be sitting behind a desk.

"I decided that It would be better for my overall happiness to quit and just play poker," he said. "It was extremely hard for me to work a real job having already had a taste of the freedom that the poker lifestyle gives you."

Part of that lifestyle took our man into Event #41, a no-limit hold'em affair, that was only a matter of beating out a field of nearly 9,600 people.

He has since taken on a "Don't Worry, Be Happy attitude," something that is made a lot easier by a $282,798 WCOOP win.

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Money_1985

And then we have the brand of champion who simply--Babe Ruth-style--calls his shot.

"I actually am on record saying that I was going to win at 10:27pm PST," said mviper256, an Ivy League dropout, but poker success story who won $120,000 in Event #44, NL Hold'em (2X Chance). "I never considered not making the final table."

Confident? Sure he is. But it's not all about the money for him. There was this time on a cold night in Ft. Collins, Colorado that a Supernova Elite made innocent remark about paying somebody $200 to jump in a city fountain. Mr. mviper256 was disrobed and in the fountain before the bet could be called off.

"It wasn't all about the money," he said. "Even after my WCOOP bracelet I'd do it again in a heartbeat. I might need to ask for more next time though. I'm pretty sure $200 wouldn't have paid for me to get out of jail if the police caught me in their city's fountain."

When it's all said and done, though, the spirit of WCOOP is the Everyman who plays and wins the bracelet. WCOOP allows people to win major championships--bracelets that poker players worldwide respect--without every leaving their home.

"My father played when I was growing up," said bbbbb33, the man who took down a turbo NLHE event for nearly $120,000. "I didn't learn from him though. He's pretty bad at poker, though he claims he was beating his homegame."

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bbbbb33

Australia's aces_up4108 is a fairly well-rounded guy. He likes to play poker and does it seriously. He finished his degree, was in the Army, speaks Japanese, partied his way through his 20s, and is now a family man.

"The highlight of my day is walking to the mail box to get the mail," he jokes.

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Here's the funny thing, though. His friends believed in him more than he believed in himself. Earlier this year, he bet that he wouldn't have this big of a year or one that put him in the top of the rankings for his country. After winning WCOOP Event #57 for 36,833, it looks like he's going to lose the bet.

"I actually bet against myself!" he said. "Oh well, it's nice to have friends that believe in you. But I will have to pay him what I owe him and eat four cucumbers in four minutes. I really hate cucumbers, but If I had to chose I would win the tourney again."

These are the people who are champions in the world's biggest online poker series. No matter where they go, their accomplishment will be respected. They are part of an elite club that required more than hope to gain membership.

They are 2010 WCOOP bracelet winners.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in WCOOP