SCOOP 2021: Salas shines to take $10K, while Watson bags a magnificent seventh

April 22, 2021inPoker

The 2021 Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) had some extra star appeal on Wednesday when the reigning WSOP champion dropped by to win an event. Plus one of SCOOP’s all-time greats was at it again. Here’s all the latest…


• Salas adds SCOOP to WSOP Main
• Badugi makes it seven for Watson
• Two more second places for Lyapin
• Andorra on the SCOOP map at last


Salas slayed the stars in the $10K

World Champ crushes SCOOP too: At 45, Damian Salas might be older than the average modern poker pro, but the Argentinian continues to crush the toughest fields in the game. In January, he won the World Series of Poker Main Event, played partially in Rozvadov and then in Las Vegas, for more than $1.5 million. Then last night Salas added a huge online title, taking down the $10K buy-in SCOOP-72-H for $263,023. Salas, known as “pampa27” on PokerStars, outdid a star-studded final that also featured Linus “LLinuLLove” Loeliger, Talal “raidalot” Shakerchi, Christoph “26071985” Vogelsang, Jon “apestyles” Van Fleet, Wiktor “Iimitless” Malinowski, Thomas “WushuTM” Muehloecker and Christian “WATnlos” Rudolph, who perished in eighth through second, respectively. This was Salas’s first SCOOP victory but he did it in a style befitting a world champion, and watched by thousands on the PokerStars Twitch broadcast.

A SCOOP seventh for SirWatts

Magnificent seven for SirWatts: It’s been a quiet SCOOP by the incredible standards of Mike “SirWatts” Watson, but the Canadian great dusted off a few cobwebs last night to win the $1K Badugi event, a little more than $20K, and a magnificent seventh career SCOOP title. Watson beat a field of 57 entries (inc. 21 re-entries) to out-gun a who’s who of mixed game specialists at the final. Jussi “calvin7v” Nevanlinna, himself a seven-time SCOOP champion, was out in fifth, Benny “RunGodlike” Glaser, who won his sixth SCOOP last night, was fourth and Chris “Apotheosis92” Kruk was third. That left Watson heads-up against Rinat “Zapahzamazki” Lyapin, who has four SCOOP titles, including two already this year. But coming into the evening’s play, Lyapin also had two runner-up finishes, and Watson condemned him to another. (See below for even more about Lyapin.) It put seven up for Watson, who is now equal second in the all-time SCOOP standings for multiple champions, alongside Nevanlinna. Only Calvin Anderson has more. (This is unconfirmed, but I strongly suspect that the 23 titles shared between players at this six-max final table is a record.)

Watson’s seven SCOOP titles:
2021 – 78-H: $1,050 FL Badugi 6-Max – $20,038
2020 – 51-H: $1,050 NL 2-7 Single Draw – $22,050
2020 – 66-H: $2,100 NLHE – $80,642.40
2020 – 113-H: $1,050 6+ Hold’em 6-Max – $29,997.02
2019 – 73-H: $5,200 6+ Hold’em – $94,915.40
2015 – 29M: $215 PL Omaha 6-Max – $58,368
2015 – 37H: $2,100 PL Omaha Hi/Lo – $65,320

The surprisingly calm “J0hnny_Dr@m@”

No dramas for J0hnny_Dr@m@: Alex Zervos plays as “J0hnny_Dr@m@” on PokerStars and before SCOOP began had documented tournament earnings on the site of $1.99 million. A number of small cashes in the opening couple of weeks pushed Zervos past the magic $2 million mark, before last night he won the biggest single payout of his career: a whopping $196,627 for taking down the $1K buy-in Super Tuesday Special Edition (SCOOP-72-M). That was more than double the prize Zervos won for a Sunday Warm-Up second place in 2012 and more than three times the $62K he won with his other ‘COOP title, a WCOOP Shootout victory in 2010. Originally from Greece, but now based in the UK, Zervos beat a field of 1,258 entries in last night’s tournament, including Chris “Moorman1” Moorman, who fell just short of his second SCOOP of the series. Moorman was third in this one, with Estonia’s brilliant Eelis “EEE27” Pärssinen second.

Andorra on the board: The United Nations recognises 44 sovereign states in Europe, and poker players from almost of them have won SCOOP titles over the past 13 years. The list of countries who haven’t won a title shrunk by one overnight when a first representative from the tiny country of Andorra picked up a title in the Mini Super Tuesday (SCOOP-72-L). Andorra is landlocked between France and Spain and a few players from each country are known to relocate there to play online, so the chances are that “Diplomatic_Boy” is not born and raised Andorran. (He was based in the UK when he made the Sunday Million final table in January 2020.) However, there is now an Andorran flag among the official SCOOP winners after Diplomatic_Boy took this one down, beating a field of 6,435 entries to a first prize of $91,445. The former SCOOP champion “boerni21”, of Hungary, was beaten into second place. Incidentally, the outstanding SCOOP-less countries are as follows: Italy, Iceland, Albania, Liechtenstein, San Marino, Monaco and Vatican City. Come on Pope Francis!


Rinat Lyapin: Runner up twice in a night

Fisherman FV reels in another; another second for Lyapin:Fisherman FV“, of the Netherlands, landed a second career SCOOP title last night, reeling in the $11 buy-in HORSE tournament (SCOOP-76-L) for $4,590. The same player won a $109 HORSE event in 2017 so continues to demonstrate a mastery of this most tricky variant, which tests skills across several games. The “medium” tier went to “luckyluck653“, who became Estonia’s second winner of the series, and took $12,413. Meanwhile, the $1K “high” version went to Germany’s “NicoBoko“, who left some stars trailing in his wake. Jonah “RaiseUpBlind” Silverstein made yet another final, but finished fourth, while Rinat “Zapahzamazki” Lyapin came second for the second time in a night and the fourth time during this series. It means that Lyapin, having also won two titles, has been heads up on six occasions, and was playing both Mike Watson (see above) and NicoBoko heads-up at the same time. NicoBoko took $27,685 for becoming the latest player to beat Lyapin mano-a-mano, with another $19,210 going to the reigning WCOOP Player of the Series for second.

Another Day 2 for Spraggy: If you go into the barbers often enough, eventually you’ll get a haircut. It’s a weary aphorism, perhaps, but it holds a general truth: persistence does eventually pay off. Anyone who has watched the Twitch streams of Ben “Spraggy” Spragg during this SCOOP knows that he hasn’t literally set foot in any barber shop for a long time, but he has shown some real persistence at the poker tables and continues to make Day 2s of major events. He’s done it again in the $1K PKO Freezeout (SCOOP-79-H), where our hirsute hero sits in 20th of 54 players remaining (from 431 total), seeking a first prize of $34K, plus bounties. There are a lot of fine players alongside him, including chip-leading Andrew “stato_1” Hulme (as well as Markku “markovitsus” Koplimaa, Kenny “SpaceyFCB” Hallaert, Jens “Fresh_oO_D” Lakemeier, Talal “raidalot” Shakerchi, Juan “Malaka$tyle” Pardo and Christian “WATnlos” Rudolph), but maybe this is the time Spraggy goes all the way and gets a buzz cut.


*after deal


We are now into the final week of SCOOP 2021 and are still well on track to obliterate the series guarantees. The figure that’s hidden in the data below is that first prize winners have now earned more than $10 million between them, even before bounty payments were added. The other standout figure is the number of tournaments starting today. There’s 18 of them! Full details below.

Latest standings:

Entries: 1,115,171 (inc. 228,990 re-entries)
Prize pools: $87,060,837
First place payouts: $12,884,178 (inc. $2,218,972 in bounties)
Tournaments completed: 228
Tournaments ongoing: 6
Tournaments starting today: 18

(Note: Stats from completed tournaments only)


Check your tickets, players. You too may have won a competition you didn’t even know about!


An emotional title for Pye

We’ve been catching up with some of the stars of SCOOP to talk about their latest triumphs, including:

Mason Pye’s Mixed Game Movement gaining momentum
Marcos “masaldanha94″ Saldanha: Luck at the right moments
“Marcelinhobf” puts the pieces togerher for $34K win
Dejan “dejanlc357” Kaladjurdjevic: First ever from Montenegro — and he’s won three!
Daniel Almeida: Study brings success
Francesco “dottorsydUK” La Cognata makes the most of his free time
Elias “SinKarma” Gutierrez on winning title with 15,000 watching
Fagner “FagnerCR7” Brito one step closer to ambition of turning pro


Twitch action comes in all languages, particularly during SCOOP, and it’s time to take a look at what’s going down overseas. First up, here’s the Spanish versions of James Hartigan and Joe Stapleton reacting in brilliant disbelief as Talal “raidalot” Shakerchi somehow manages to get away from a very bad spot despite having only eight big blinds. The reactions say it all.

And here’s German Twitch streamer Felix “xflixx” Schneiders receiving a very special gift from PokerStars to mark the occasion of his seventh birthday as a streamer. Enjoy it, Felix.


Here’s a sentence I never thought I’d write: Last night in SCOOP, Andorra won more tournaments than Brazil. It’s true. The tiny European microstate, home to fewer than 80,000 people, won its first ever SCOOP event on the first night this series that Brazil drew a complete blank. They will be sambaing through the Pyrenees all night. Brazil, of course, still sits pretty at the top of the overall countries standings, while Andorra becomes the 37 nation to win at least one title this time. In other trivia, all 12 tournaments to complete on Wednesday night were won by players from different countries.

Latest standings:

38 – Brazil
25 – Russia
24 – UK
14 – Sweden
12 – Netherlands
10 – Canada, Finland
9 – Germany
8 – Poland
7 – Austria
6 – Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania
5 – Mexico, Norway
4 – Denmark, Greece, Ukraine
3 – Argentina, Belarus, Bulgaria, Montenegro
2 – Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Malta
1 – Andorra, Belgium, Bolivia, Chile, Ireland, Japan, Lithuania, Moldova, New Zealand, Uruguay, Uzbekistan.


There’s a ludicrously packed schedule today in SCOOP, with the first tournaments starting at 10.30am ET and the last kicking off at 5.05pm. That’s a full day’s work! There are two $1 million guarantees on Event 82, comprising the $530 Thursday Thrill Special Edition and its $5K high roller (both are PKOs), while the purists will be flocking to the 8-Game, whose $2,100 “high” level will attract the very cream of the crop. Here’s today’s full schedule (all times are ET):

80-L: $11 NLHE, $80K Gtd
80-M: $109 NLHE, $175K Gtd
80-H: $1,050 NLHE, $250K Gtd

81-L: $22 PLO8 6-Max, $50K Gtd
81-M: $215 PLO8 6-Max, $100K Gtd
81-H: $2,100 PLO8 6-Max, $200K Gtd

82-L: $55 NLHE 8-Max, PKO, Mini Thursday Thrill SE, $500K Gtd
82-M: $530 NLHE 8-Max, PKO, Thursday Thrill SE, $1M Gtd
82-H: $5,200 NLHE 8-Max, PKO, High Roller, $1M Gtd

83-L: $22 8-Game, $30K Gtd
83-M: $215 8-Game, $60K Gtd
83-H: $2,100 8-Game, $150K Gtd

84-L: $22 NLHE 6-Max, $85K Gtd
84-M: $215 NLHE 6-Max, $200K Gtd
84-H: $2,100 NLHE 6-Max, $300K Gtd

85-L: $11 NLHE 7-Max, Turbo, PKO, $100K Gtd
85-M: $109 NLHE 7-Max, Turbo, PKO, $200K Gtd
85-H: $1,050 NLHE 7-Max, Turbo, PKO, $350K Gtd


It’s all change yet again in the Overall Player of the Series standings as Jussi “calvin7v” Nevanlinna, having dropped away from the summit for two days, returns to the top. He made a final table in badugi last night to retain top spot from Patrick Leonard and “aleksandrs10”, who had kept the seat warm on Tuesday and Wednesday. Those two are now tied third after Rinat “Zapahzamazki” Lyapin finished second in two events and is now Nevanlinna’s closest challenger. Having won the WCOOP leader board last year, Lyapin is seeking a historic double.

Here’s the latest standings:

Overall Player of the Series
1 – Jussi “calvin7v” Nevanlinna, Finland – 1,345 points
2 – Rinat “Zapahzamazki” Lyapin, Russia – 1,315
=3 – aleksandrs10, Russia – 1,275
=3 – Patrick “pads1161” Leonard, UK – 1,275
5 – Ilari “Fabahaba” Tahkokallio, Finland – 1,150

Winner: $25,000 + Trophy

1 – Patrick “pads1161” Leonard, UK – 750 points
2 – Jonah “RaiseUpBlind” Silverstein, Canada – 660
3 – Rinat “Zapahzamazki” Lyapin, Russia – 625
4 – Jussi “calvin7v” Nevanlinna, Finland – 620
=5 – Simon “C. Darwin2” Mattsson, Sweden – 610
=5 – Niklas “Lena900” Astedt, Sweden – 610

Prizes: 1st – $15,000 + Trophy; 2nd – $10,000; 3rd – $5,000

1 – aleksandrs10, Russia – 600 points
2 – Ilari “Fabahaba” Tahkokallio, Finland – 485
3 – römpsä, Finland – 415
4 – Rinat “Zapahzamazki” Lyapin, Russia – 385
=5 – Scarmak3r, Slovenia – 365
=5 – Patrick “pads1161” Leonard, UK – 365

Prizes: 1st – $10,000 + Trophy; 2nd – $7,500; 3rd – $5,000 (10 players rewarded)

1 – FONBET_RULIT, Russia – 605 points
2 – phil_a-QQ, Germany – 485
3 – Alex_Vol, Russia – 470
4 – rawsignature, Norway – 465
5 – Jussi “calvin7v” Nevanlinna, Finland – 455

Prizes: 1st – $5,000 + Trophy; 2nd – $2,500; 3rd – $1,500 (20 players rewarded)

See official SCOOP page for more details


PokerStars’ streaming army will be out in force during this SCOOP, with all of Lex Velduis, Spraggy, Fintan “easywithaces” Hand, Arlie “Prince Pablo” Shaban, Mason “Pyefacepoker” Pye and Georgina “GJReggie” James certain to be playing most, if not all, days.

The PokerStars central Twitch and YouTube account will also be streaming cards-up final table action five nights a week. Here’s the schedule.

SCOOP 2021 broadcast schedule


Day 1: Opening night salvos
Day 2: Bujitas and Brazil win big
Day 3: Shakerchi reigns as superstars dominate
Day 4: Double for Montenegro, plus Mateos and Malinowski
Day 5: Two in a night for Nevanlinna; three for Montenegro
Day 6: Lex denied by Padilha
Day 7: Two $1m+ prize pools, and more Lex
Day 8: Astedt and Mulder take customary titles
Day 9: Two in a night for Mattsson
Day 10: Viera crushes again as Moorman wins first
Day 11: Mateos does it again, huge night for Brazil
Day 12: Benitez and Badziakouski take headlines
Day 13: More titles for Leonard, Theologis, Track and WhatIfGod
Day 14: Back-to-back for Leonard as Pye claims one for Red Spade
Day 15: Glaser makes it six and first for Mathis


Next Story