Make no mistake about it, Ben “Spraggy” Spragg is very proud of the World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) title he won in 2020 in a $5.50 event for $4K, even if the victory didn’t impress his peers. “Everyone has been giving me stick for it,” he tells us.
One of those who occasionally poked fun at Spraggy’s WCOOP accomplishment was his fellow PokerStars Team Pro and Twitch streamer, Parker “Tonkaaaa” Talbot, who, like Spraggy, won his maiden WCOOP title in 2020 (Talbot’s came in a $530 PKO for $51K).
Both only had to wait a year to capture their second piece of WCOOP silverware. After 2021’s incredible series–which awarded more than $122 million in prizes–they can now call themselves two-time champions.
“Winning a second title feels amazing,” says Spraggy, whose $1K Turbo PKO title for $68K surely can’t be mocked. “It’s nice that this one is a high event with a big prize to go with the trophy.”
Talbot, on the other hand, captured his second title in a $5K Deepstack Freezeout for $108K. “The series was a blast actually,” says Talbot. “I made a splash in a lot of banana games (a.k.a. mixed games) on stream and had a really good time. I think I actually made five Day 2s in mixed games and only one in NLHE. A very strange series but a fun one nonetheless.”
What made both wins even more special was that they happened within hours of each other on the same day. Talbot’s final table came first.
“I was rooting for him super hard and he for me in reverse,” says Spraggy. “I think that’s the great thing about the team, everyone genuinely wants each other to do well. Lex was railing my run also and jumped out of his seat when I hit a much-needed queen on the river. The team is close and we all live and breathe the moments with each other.”
Once Talbot had won his event, he closed down his stream and jumped on a call with Spraggy. “It was honestly surreal,” says Talbot. “When I joined him I think he had only four big blinds. I just kept saying foolish stuff like “THIS IS OUR TIME TO SHINE! WE WILL BOTH WIN A WCOOP IN A DAY!” and then he actually did it. He ran insanely hot, kicked ass and just got it done.”
In order to kick ass, Spraggy has been putting in a lot of work on his game, even when he was taking a break from streaming.
“I’m enjoying the series more and more, working on my game and moving up in stakes each COOP,” he says. “I feel like I have a better chance to mix it up in the tougher fields. I’ve really enjoyed it.”
When Talbot won his first WCOOP in 2020, he too was taking a break from streaming, so this is the first COOP title he has won with the cameras rolling. “It was amazing, just like the good old days,” he says. “The viewer count skyrockets, the chat is insane and just popping off, thousands of people are sweating you and rooting you on…at the end of the day, it really is what streaming poker is all about.”
Any final words on WCOOP?
“I would like the record to show that Spraggy’s WCOOP titles come in $5 and $1K turbo events, whereas mine came in deepstack events against some of the world’s best,” says Talbot. “Not to take away from my main man’s achievements, or even to say that mine are better–although they are, and for more money–but I’d just like the record to show it.”