If you love huge prize pools, SCOOP 2011 will give you something to look forward to. SCOOP is also known as the Spring Championship of Online Poker, and all of the tournaments in this annual series carry an impressive guarantee. SCOOP is unique because each event carries a low, medium, and high buy-in for a total of three tournaments per event.

This year’s series consists of thirty-six events in May. The weekends host events at 10:00 am ET and 2:00 PM ET. Weekdays see events three times per day at 11:00 ET, 2:00 PM ET, and 5:00 PM ET. In past years the tournament start times were later than these, but that was back when PokerStars hosted US players. Us players are no longer able to play real money games on the site, so the hours have been changed to reflect European peak hours.

All players should be able to find something they like in this series. Let’s start by taking a look at the No Limit Holdem MTTs. The buy-ins for the short-handed first event are $22, $215,and $2,100, and you will be playing for $200,000, $500,000, and $500,000 respectively. If you’d like to play for larger prize pools, play Event 2 the very next day. You buy-in for $22, $215, and $2,100 and the prize pools are $200k, $1 million, and $1 million respectively.

The biggest No Limit Holdem prize pools for SCOOP 2011 are found in Event 38, the Main Event. The buy-ins are $109, $1,050, and $10,300. In return, you will play for a whopping $750k, $1.5 million, or $2.5 million!

Your skills in games other than Holdem will be put to good use in this series. Your chance to play Badugi, for example, is on May 9th in Event 4. PL 5-Card Draw is scheduled for Event 6, and Event 10 offers 7-Card Stud High. You will also have access to a few mixed game tourneys, a Razz tournament, and a bunch of different Omaha events.

If you play plenty of PokerStars tournaments already, you have the chance to win some free SCOOP tickets. Play the new Daily Big 22 three times before May 7th, and you will receive a $22 SCOOP ticket. The process is the same for the other three Daily Big tourneys, giving you the chance to freeroll 4 SCOOP events.


Selbst and Mercier Repeat NAPT Wins

The sometimes stumbling North American Poker Tour got a big publicity boost this week. After the debacle that became The Big Event at the Bicycle Casino, Los Angeles, PokerStars needed their stop at the Mohegan Sun to go off without a hitch.

Luckily for them, not only did the event pass by with aplomb, but it saw not one, but two repeat champions. Both Vanessa Selbst and Jason Mercier reclaimed the titles they won in 2010, in an almost impossible moment of dual excellence.

If you were to argue that Vanessa and Jason were the two best No Limit Hold’em tournament players in the world right now I’d be hard pressed to disagree with you. Mercier has a WSOP, EPT, and WCOOP title to his name, along with being voted the Bluff Magazine Player of the Year for 2009. Vanessa seemed to cash in every tournament on Earth last year, including 1st place at the Partouche Poker Tour for $1.8 million.

In 2011, Vanessa managed to reclaim the title she won a year previous, becoming two-time NAPT Mohegan Sun main event champion. There have only ever been 6 NAPT events, meaning that Vanessa has so far won 1/3 of them.

To reach her second trophy she had to battle past the resilient Dan Shak heads up, but when all the chips were in the middle she had the best of it. Shak shoved on the final hand with middle pair, but found himself down and out against Vanessa’s top two. Her victory was worth $25,000.

Jason Mercier would have to wait until one day later to steal the headlines away from his fellow Team PokerStars Pro.

He was competing at the final table of the $10k High Roller Bounty Shootout. To progress in the event, the 78 competitors would have to a single-table sit and go worth $40k. In addition, for every other player they knocked out they’d win $2,000.

Having knocked out every opponent at his first table, Mercier already had a guaranteed $47,000, but that wasn’t enough. Bounties at the final table were worth $10,000 and he collected three of those to add $30k to his wallet. Add in the $142,600 prize for first place in the tournament and the $20k award for having the most bounties, and you end up with total winnings of around $246,000.

Battling past a final table that included Eugene Katchalov and Jonathan Jaffe is hard enough, but to be gunning for your second consecutive High Roller title at the same time. It’s a feat worth applauding.


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