On Sunday, May 6, PokerStars will kick off the 2012 Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) with the first two events of a 40-event schedule. What’s more, each event is featured in three different buy-in options (low, medium and high) for a total of 120 tournaments, culminating in the SCOOP Main Event on May 20.
This year’s SCOOP, which also features a $21,000 NLH Heads-Up High-Roller event, is slated to be the biggest yet, hosting six more events than last year and guaranteeing $30 million in prize money. With that said, the $10,300 Main Event is still the keystone of SCOOP.
“I’m looking forward to playing the main event because it’s like a big live tournament played online. The prizes are going to be huge,” said Randy Lew of Team PokerStars Online. “I’ll be entering almost all of the NL events and I’ll definitely be entering the low, medium, and high buy-in tournaments. For the non-no-limit games, I might enter them with the low buy-ins just to give it a shot.”
Likewise, Team Pro Angel Guillen is planning on playing a full slate of events, concentrating on the low and medium buy ins. “I think I’ll play at least 40 to 50 events, possibly more. All of the low and medium buy-ins and some high buy-ins as well,” Guillen said, “The main event High for sure. Can’t miss that one.”
On the flip side, high-stakes regular and Team Pro Ville Wahlbeck won’t play such a heavy volume, instead preferring to focus on the high buy-in events. “I’ll play maybe 8-10 tourneys. I won’t play any low or medium buy-ins. The main event and 5k PLO (are a must).”
For those who may not know, SCOOP was started back in 2009 and kicked off with a 22-event series. That year, a number of big-name poker pros captured titles including Isaac “westmenloAA” Baron (Event #1M $55 NLHE 6-Max w/ Rebuys), Matt “MCMATTO” Affleck (Event #8H $3,150 NLHE), Chris “PiMaster” Viox (Event #12L $22 7 Card Stud H/L), Daniel “steamraise” Alaei (Event #13H $2,100 Razz), Chris “SLOPPYKLOD” Klodnicki (Event #15M $425 8-game Mixed Event), Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi (Event #16M $320 7 Card Stud) and Benny “toweliestar” Spindler (Event #21H $25,500 Heads-up NLH).
While winning a SCOOP event is an accomplishment in itself, winning the same event twice in the same year is even more impressive. That’s exactly what Terrence “Unassigned” Chan did when he won both the medium and high buy-in tournaments of Event #20 $530 and $5,200 Limit Hold’em. Chan earned a combined $186,187.50 for the two wins.
Chan’s performance was impressive, but was soon overshadowed by the first-ever SCOOP Main Event. Jean “JannotLapin” Daligault had the distinction of winning the $109 low buy-in tournament, defeating a field of 18,747 for $151,203.71, while JC Alvarado conquered 3,197 other players to win the $502,086 first-place prize in the $1,050 medium buy-in. While these men were champions in their own right, it was Team PokerStars Pro Jude “j.thaddeus” Ainsworth who made headlines by becoming the $10,300 high buy-in SCOOP champion after topping a 502-player field for $963,338.
The following year, PokerStars added 16 events to the schedule, making it 38 events/114 tournaments total. Team PokerStars Pro George “GeorgeDanzer” Danzer (Event #4M $162 Fixed-Limit Badugi), Joe “floes” Serock (Event #5M $109 Pot Limit Omaha Turbo 1R1A), Bryn Kenney (Event #8H $1,050 NLHE), Brent “Astrolux85” Roberts (Event #11H $2,100 Heads-up Pot-Limit Omaha), Alexey “LuckyGump” Makarov (Event #17H $1,575 Six-Max PLO w/ rebuys), Team Pro Jose “nachobarbero” Barbero (Event #18H $2,100 Limit Hold’em Turbo) and Jason “Taknapotin” Somerville (37H $2,100 NLH) were are just a small list of players who captured SCOOP titles in 2010.
Another man who captured a title, one of the more prestigious ones at that, was Michael “Skammes” Tureniec, who bested a field of 32 players ton win the $25,500 NLHE Heads-Up event. Likewise, Ryan “toetagU” Fair received accolades, not to mention a $1,162,350 payday, for topping a field of 615 players to win the $10,300 2010 SCOOP Main Event.
Like the year prior, the 2011 SCOOP featured 38 events, and wouldn’t you know it, some notable names were busy capturing titles including Jake “in Y0UR F4CE” Cody (Event #2H $2,100 NLHE), Team PokerStars Pro Martin “filfedra” Staszko (Event #5M $109 NLHE Turbo w/ rebuys), Andrey “Kroko-dill” Zaichenko (Event #14H $5,200 Limit Omaha H/L), Team Pro Sebastian Ruthenberg (Event #18H $2,100 Triple Stud Turbo) and Calvin “Cal42688” Anderson, who actually won two events (Event #25M $215 7 Card Stud H/L and Event #27H $2,100 Razz).
Last year, Sami “Lrslzk” Kelopuro won the 380-player $10,300 Main Event for $504,691.09, while Team Pro Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier defeated eight other players to win the $25,500 NLHE Heads-Up tournaments.
Speaking of the high roller, the price tag has been lowered to $21,000 this year, and while it’s not known who will pay the price of admission, it seems unanimous that there in one man everyone would like to face in the first round . . . Viktor “Isildur1” Blom.
“As of right now, I’m not going to enter SCOOP #37 since I’m not a big heads-up and tournament type of player,” Randy Lew explained. “However, I might change my mind as the time gets closer. If I did enter and I got to choose whom I wanted to play first then I’d pick Viktor “Isildur1″ Blom. There’s so much excitement and buzz whenever he plays the match and I’d like to experience it first hand.”
Guillen echoed Lew’s sentiments. “I think I’ll try some satellites for this one, not sure if I’m willing to invest that much in a HU tournament full of specialists,” he said. “If I do, I would like to play versus Viktor Blom in the 1st round and get rid of one of the best ASAP. Why not?”
While he doesn’t plan to play the event, Wahlbeck was in the same boat as his fellow pros. “If I would (play), I’d like to play against Isildur1. I’d like to get it over quick.”
The two-week long 2012 SCOOP will kick off on Sunday, May 6. For a full look at the schedule and up-to-the-minute news, be sure to visit the SCOOP section right here on the PokerStars Blog.
And remember, satellites are running now for SCOOP events in the PokerStars lobby.