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by Shawn Patrick Green |  Published: Oct 01, 2007

Full Tilt Online Poker Series V Back With a Vengeance
By Shawn Patrick Green

The Full Tilt Online Poker Series (FTOPS), like any other poker tournament series out there, strives to one-up itself with each run. The FTOPS did it once again when it managed to blow its expectations out of the water with its fifth installment, much unlike this year's World Series of Poker. Pretty much every aspect of the tournament's 14 events beat out its predecessor, the FTOPS IV, held in May.

Here are some numbers to mull over for the tournament series:
Total combined entrants: 24,901
Total combined guarantees: $7 million
Total combined actual prize pools: $10.5 million
Percentage by which guarantees were beaten: 45
Total combined first-place prize money: $2.1 million

This run-through of the Series had not one, but two truly gigantic events - the $500 buy-in $2 million-guaranteed no-limit hold'em main event and the $2,500 buy-in two-day no-limit hold'em event.

The Main Event: Both Epic and a Bit Underwhelming
No one can deny that the main event of the FTOPS V was a tremendous success. The event lured 4,578 entrants and had a prize pool of $2,289,000. The first-place finisher of the event stood to earn a huge $396,000 payday for taking it down. Despite those huge numbers, that first-place prize was not the biggest prize to be won in the Series, which undercut the
tournament to a certain extent.

Also underwhelming was the stock of star power at the final table (at least, as far as we know; who knows who's hiding behind those screen names?). The two most notable players were pokerskibum, a player who had taken down a $100,000-guaranteed tournament at Bodog this year, and CrazyZachary, who recently had sat down with Brian "sbrugby" Townsend for some heads-up high-stakes poker. The marathon final table lasted almost two hours before CrazyZachary bested Clayton_27 heads up to take down the top prize.

A Two-Day Tournament Online?
While it wasn't the first time a two-day event had been held online, it was nevertheless a fairly unprecedented move for a major online poker site to hold such a tournament. Also unprecedented, at least for Full Tilt, was the event's $2,500 buy-in. The event had a conservative guarantee of $600,000, but actually generated a prize pool of $1,620,000 when it attracted 648 entrants. It offered a first-place prize of almost $397,000, the largest payday in the Series.

Notable Internet player Wade "soggy dogg" Woelfel sat at the final table but made an early exit when he busted out in ninth place ($31,000). It came down to a heads-up match between Viktor and Grndhg25, and Grndhg25 scooped in the final pot to snag the mammoth first-place payout.

Chatbox Cunning
Quick strategy from online poker's top pros
Annette "Annette_15" Obrestad

On tournaments with weak players and fast blinds structures:
"You just can't bluff if you're playing against weak players. Just be patient. If you have three calling stations behind you, you don't want to be raising with king-deuce. You might, however, raise with seven-six suited and hope to hit a flop. You don't want to get too tricky, though. You can't do too much unless you get cards in that situation. For example, when you get short-stacked and have 10 big blinds, if you shove queen-deuce, you'll get called by queen-jack. You can't do much without getting cards, because their calling ranges are so huge. As long as you bet your hands hard enough, you're going to get paid off when you hit. So, just be patient with them."

On flopping the absolute nuts:
"If you're playing against an aggressive player, you want him to bluff at you, but if you think he has a big hand, you can just shove it in and hope you get a call. It looks more suspicious if you just call, basically. It looks like you're trying to trap him."

Tournament Schedule
The PokerStars tournament lineup is one of the most robust of any online poker site, and is getting even more jam-packed every day. Here are some tournaments to look out for:

No-limit hold'em - $3.30 buy-in (with rebuys) - $30,000 guaranteed - daily at 8 p.m. ET
No-limit hold'em - $55 buy-in - $50,000 guaranteed - daily at 9:30 p.m. ET
No-limit hold'em - $11 buy-in (with rebuys) - $55,000 guaranteed - daily at 10 p.m. ET

Those interested in signing up for these tournaments can follow this link to see a complete schedule: