WCOOP 2013: Özgür "phaplap" Arda races to his first COOP title and $117,946

"I'm 32 years old. The biggest love of my life is the team I support, Besiktas! I love clicking buttons and like seeing new places around the globe."

It may read a little bit like an online dating profile, but don't be mistaken, this football and horse racing fan has more to offer than your usual moping lonely hearts hopeful. In April, Özgür "phaplap" Arda won the Sunday Warm-Up for $98,932, a large score but not strictly the one that he was after.


Özgür "phaplap" Arda

"My biggest goal starting the year was to win either a SCOOP or WCOOP event and I am very satisfied to have accomplished that. I am looking forward to wearing the bracelet as soon as possible," said Arda.

That bit of jewellery is much deserved, but the WCOOP-37 final table was no walk in the park. Among his opponents were former SCOOP Main Event champ Jude "j.thaddeus" Ainsworth, with whom he agreed a three-way chop that gave the Irishman $90,835, and Team PokerStars Pro Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier, one of the biggest winners in the game. ElkY was short stacked and finished eighth for $15,317.

Spotting the finishing line
Occasionally players get the feeling that everything's falling into place. That their A-game is working hand-in-hand with variance in a manner that will see them run deep. Arda certainly did.

"With around 45 people left, I folded jacks with about 32 big blinds, the hand went to showdown and my decision turned out right. At that moment, I knew I was going to make it to the final table," he said.

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The final table

And he was not wrong. Arda made the final nine as joint chip leader, barely one ante stood between him and zcedrick, who went on to finish fifth for $39,503. Arda, on the other hand, went all the way with a big stack and was in fine position to get the largest wedge of a three-handed deal, his first six-figure PokerStars cash.

Arda wasn't the only Turkish player to be thrilled with the $117,946 win. muratfb had a tasty chunk of this action.

"I would like to declare my frustration to muratfb, whom I called in the middle of the tournament to swap 15% shares. He bubbled whereas I went on to win it. He was hesitant to swap but I insisted to do it and he couldn't stand it. He is on a major upswing, and his upswing is proven now that he won a huge chunk of my win! He won the WCOOP-48 second chance, but I remain to be the only bracelet winner from Turkey.

"We have a sweet rivalry among each other. We have little amount of regular players in Turkey so we need some challenge between us so that we can be more motivated," explained Arda.

Galloping ahead
The motivation seems to be doing the trick, or perhaps it's just the User ID. Back in the early 2000's, Arda was looking for a screen name for an online game. The self-confessed horse racing addict had recently watched Phar Lap, a film about an Australian racehorse. It seemed appropriate, but it was taken. "phaplap" was a close replacement, but certainly hasn't slowed him down: he's just broken the $1m online winnings barrier.

"I have one last goal remaining, to play an EPT event. With the money I won I am looking forward to participate in one of them," said Arda.

The transistion from online success to live isn't always a smooth one but, just in casem perhaps he shouldn't make too many swaps this time around.

is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.

Rick Dacey
@PokerStars in WCOOP