WCOOP 2010: ChopSueyyy, 2009's #1 of #1

wcoop2009-thumb.jpgThe 2009 World Championship of Online Poker was ambitious. It awarded more than $51 million over 45 different events. It gave out bracelets to 45 champions. By the time it was finished, the 2009 series was the most successful in history.

Standing out among the dozens of winners was a young man from Finland. Kaapo "ChopSueyyy" Martinmäki was a man of distinction. His credit? Taking first place in the very first event of WCOOP 2009.

Martinmäki beat out more than 8,500 players who saddled up for the $215 six-max No-Limit Hold'em event. There would be other champions that year, but he was the first. The distinction earned him nearly a quarter of a million dollars and a gold WCOOP bracelet.

"I enjoy my life more now and have more money to spend," he said, "but not that much changed in my life. I'm still the same guy."

He may be the same guy, but he is now a man of means. He won another big online tournament, went deep in some SCOOP events, and played his first live tourney. All of that and he spent the first two months of this year in Indonesia.

"It was my first trip to a foreign country and I loved it," he sad.


Martinmäki may be a man of poker distinction, but he has a hard time distinguishing himself from other players. He still lives with his parents (a situation he describes as the "opposite of cool") and spends most of his downtime exercising or hanging out with friends.

"I barely know any poker players in real life," he said. "I might be just like everyone else!"

If he shares one thing in common with most poker players, it's the bated-breath anticipation of what is going to happen here in just a few weeks. WCOOP is going to kick off with some of the biggest guarantees, biggest prize pools, and most events in history. You can see the full schedule and how you can qualify on the official WCOOP site.

"Final-tabling an event would be a dream come true for me," he said. "It is a feeling that you just cannot describe, you have to feel it yourself. I would love to live it all again."

He'll have his chance when everything kicks off September 5. Keep your eye on that first event. Chopsueyyy has some history there and may well return to defend his title.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in WCOOP