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Familiar Faces and Record Turnouts in Online Poker

Both PokerStars and FullTilt Again Broke Their Own Records While Sporting Final Table Star Power

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The big Sunday tournaments' final tables were chock full of notable talent this weekend. Final table stars included Michael Craig, author of The Professor, The Banker, and the Suicide King and Internet poker pros Jon "apestyles" Van Fleet and Jared "TheWacoKidd" Hamby. This weekend also saw PokerStars and FullTilt return to their record-breaking ways, making for an exciting series of tournaments.

PokerStars Sunday Million Guaranteed

PokerStars upped the buy-in again this weekend, as it had last month, making it $500+$30 to enter the fray for the $1 million guaranteed prize pool. A total of 2,794 entrants forked over the cash to take a shot at the big money, building the prize pool to $1,397,000. That amount broke PokerStars' previous record prize pool by almost $50,000, keeping the site well in the lead for the biggest weekly guaranteed tournament.

Jon "apestyles" Van Fleet began amassing a good chip lead during the last two tables. Upon entering the final table, apestyles held over a third of the chips in play with $9.9 million. Jovial Gent was his closest rival, in second with $5.3 million. Realest8 brought up the rear with only $700,000 in chips and, appropriately enough, he found himself all in on the second hand of the final table. Realest8 pushed in preflop and was called by apestyles, who showed Kdiamond Qclub. Realest8 was narrowly ahead with pocket eights, but the flop spelled disaster when it spiked a queen for apestyles. An unneeded king came on the river to give apestyles two pair to eliminate realest8 in ninth ($16,764).

Apestyles went on to pick off the next player, as well. Apestyles raised preflop and Pimplyteen reraised all in for over three times as much. Apestyles called and turned over pocket sixes while Pimplyteen held Aspade 10diamond and was slightly behind. The board paired, but otherwise improved neither player, and Pimplyteen was sent packing in eighth with $25,146.

The next elimination hand was most accurately summarized by apestyles when he said, simply, "Ow." Jovial Gent raised preflop and jesseduke pushed all in over the top for $1.6 million. Grgr333 called all in with less and Jovial Gent folded to the aggression. Grgr333 turned over pocket queens and jesseduke was well behind with Aclub Qdiamond. The flop came Kspade Kclub Jheart, improving neither but giving jesseduke a gutshot straight draw. The 8heart came on the turn and the 10diamond fell on the river to complete jesseduke's straight and send grgr333 to the virtual rail in seventh ($34,227).

Jesseduke and grgr333 were comparably stacked short stacks going into that hand and the outcome left GoNoles at the bottom of the pile. GoNoles held on for eight more minutes before finally pushing all in preflop against Jovial Gent. Jovial Gent flipped up pocket queens and GoNoles was hurting with his pocket fives. The board bricked out and GoNoles was ousted in sixth, taking home $43,307.

Apestyles had continued to dominate throughout the final table action and he sat with $16.9 million compared to Jovial Gent, still in second with $4.4 million. Shortly thereafter, the two short stacks at the table butted heads. JP 5-time pushed all in preflop and was called by tumbleweeds, who had him barely covered. Tumbleweeds showed Adiamond Qheart while JP 5-time held Qclub 8diamond and was dominated. Neither player paired a card and tumbleweeds' ace high was enough to take out JP 5-time in fifth ($53,785).

Of the final four players, jesseduke, tumbleweeds, and Jovial Gent were virtually even at around $3 million while apestyles continued to tower over them with $17.5 million. Four minutes later, jesseduke pushed all in preflop and was called by Jovial Gent. Jovial Gent showed pocket aces and jesseduke was dominated with Aheart Qdiamond. The board left them playing their holecards and jesseduke was eliminated with ace high. Jesseduke earned $65,240 for fourth place.

Jovial Gent now had over twice as much as tumbleweeds in third. Both players siphoned some chips from apestyles before tumbleweeds saw his chips in the middle. Apestyles raised preflop and tumbleweeds pushed all in over the top for $4.2 million. Apestyles called and showed Adiamond Qspade. It was a coin flip against tumbleweeds' pocket tens. The flop came Jdiamond 9diamond 6heart, offering no help to apestyles. The turn spiked an ace for apestyles to take the lead and a jack on the river sealed tumbleweeds' fate. Tumbleweeds got a $80,328 payday for third place.

Apestyles now had almost $20 million compared to Jovial Gent's $8 million. The players took a break to discuss a by-the-chips chop but the idea was quickly dismissed and play resumed. Seven minutes into heads-up play, with the big blind at $200,000, Jovial Gent raised to $600,000. Apestyles called and the flop came 10heart 8heart 8spade. Both players checked to see the 3diamond on the turn. Apestyles bet $800,000 on this card and Jovial Gent raised up to $2 million. Apestyles reraised to $4 million, prompting Jovial Gent to push all in for his $8.6 million total stack. Apestyles eventually folded the huge pot to Jovial Gent, and the stacks were now virtually tied at $14 million apiece.

Just two minutes later, Jovial Gent raised to $640,000 preflop and apestyles reraised up to $2.16 million. Jovial Gent called to see the flop of Qheart 10diamond 3spade. Apestyles bet $2.4 million on the flop and Jovial Gent pushed all in for $11.8 million. Apestyles called all in, Jovial Gent having secured a very small chip lead just moments earlier. Apestyles showed pocket kings for an over pair while Jovial Gent flipped up Qspade 10heart for a flopped two pair. The turn and river did nothing to improve either and apestyles was eliminated in second after dominating for all but the last two minutes of the final table. Apestyles earned $135,230 for second while Jovial Gent raked in a huge $250,203 for his win in the event.

The final standings were:

1) Jovial Gent - $250,202.70
2) apestyles - $135,229.60
3) tumbleweeds - $80,327.50
4) jesseduke - $65,239.90
5) JP 5-time - $53,784.50
6) GoNoles - $43,307
7) grgr333 - $34,226.50
8) Pimplyteen - $25,146
9) realest8 - $16,764


FullTilt $350,000 Guaranteed

Like PokerStars, the FullTilt weekly $350,000 guaranteed tournament trounced its own record. With 2,279 entrants, the tournament went well beyond its most recent record of 2,006 on the weekend before the FullTilt Online Poker Series kicked off. Correspondingly, the prize pool was also a record-setter at $455,800.

Author and Card Player writer Michael Craig made his way to the final table of this week's tournament, much to the delight of his many fans, including Mike Matusow, who cheered him on from the virtual rail. Craig was fifth in chips entering the final table, with $741,000, while cjhubbard sat in the chip lead at $1.7 million. Appropriately enough, Craig was eventually ousted in fifth ($20,383) when he pushed all in preflop with Adiamond Qdiamond against Bluechip200's pocket fours, which held up.

Craig's elimination actually put Bluechip200 into the chip lead ahead of cjhubbard. Cjhubbard forged ahead and regained the lead with a little less than $1 million over Bluechip200 with three players left. In a pivotal hand, Bluechip200 pushed all in after some aggressive preflop action and cjhubbard called and showed Aheart Kheart. Bluechip200 turned over pocket jacks for a slight lead. The board ultimately gave Bluechip200 a full house and left cjhubbard unimproved. The hand gave Bluechip200 a huge lead and severely diminished cjhubbard's stack.

Just three minutes later, cjhubbard was all in against XMart, who now had him covered. This time XMart held Aheart Kheart while cjhubbard was dominated with Adiamond 2club. Aside from a meaningless ace on the flop, no help arrived for cjhubbard and he busted in third ($33,592), despite his early chip lead.

Bluechip200 had two-and-a-half times as many chips as XMart going into heads up, but XMart stuck it out for over 10 minutes before the final hand. XMart pushed all in preflop for $800,000 and Bluechip200 called and turned over Aclub 6club. XMart showed Kheart Jclub and would need to improve. The board came out Adiamond 3spade 2club 8diamond 7diamond, needlessly pairing Bluechip200's ace to eliminate XMart in second ($51,617). Bluechip200 took home $83,617 for his first-place finish in the tournament.

The final standings were:

1) Bluechip200 - $83,616.51
2) XMart - $51,323.08
3) cjhubbard - $33,592.46
4) YukDaDuke - $26,801.04
5) Michael Craig - $20,283.10
6) drbakunin - $14,585.60
7) dermsperm - $10,711.30
8) JohnnyROCKS - $8,386.75
9) salty14 - $6,381.20


UltimateBet $200,000 Guaranteed

The UltimateBet $200,000 guarantee held steady with 954 players this Sunday as it continued to try to break through its overlay streak. The final table had some big names, with THE__D__RY, who'd finished eighth ($22,531) in last week's FullTilt Online Poker Series main event, and Internet pro Jared "TheWacoKidd" Hamby. Those two were destined to have a short stay at this final table, busting out in 10th ($2,000) and ninth ($3,500) respectively. THE__D__RY's finish put his winnings at almost $25,000 for this week alone.

Pauly007 was the chip leader entering the final table, but he was eventually eliminated in fourth ($13,000) as romangra and simmo97 made their way to heads-up play. Stacks were close when the heads-up match began, with romangra at $1.1 million and simmo97 at $1.3 million. A big hand arose just two minutes into the match when romangra, having taken the chip lead, pushed all in after some intense preflop aggression. Simmo97 called all in and showed Kheart 9club while romangra flipped over Qclub 9heart and was dominated. The board improved neither and romangra was outkicked for the pot, giving simmo97 a substantial chip lead.

Three minutes later it would all be over. After raises and reraises preflop, the flop came out Jclub 3diamond 2spade. Romangra checked and simmo97 bet a fifth of the pot. Romangra pushed all in for three times as much and simmo97 called. Romangra revealed Aclub 6spade for ace high while simmo97 turned over pocket nines. The turn spiked another nine for simmo97, leaving romangra drawing dead and giving the tournament to simmo97. Romangra took home $27,000 for second while simmo97 cashed in for $45,000.

The final standings were:

1) simmo97 - $45,000
2) romangra - $27,000
3) josh prager - $18,500
4) Pauly007 - $13,000
5) BAN - $11,000
6) liz90 - $9,000
7) haman14 - $7,000
8) SMACKAHO22X - $5,000
9) TheWacoKidd - $3,500
10) THE__D__RY - $2,000

Bodog $100,000 Guaranteed

Bodog beat out last week's entry numbers with 962 players yesterday, compared to 927 last weekend. However, these numbers are still disappointing considering the tournament was on the cusp of surpassing its $100,000 guarantee just a few weeks ago.

Jstockton, BeerBaron, and ROBERT PAULSON were basically neck and neck for the chip lead through the first few eliminations of the final table. Eventually magpe came from behind to take the chip lead after doubling up with a flush versus Ryan506's pocket kings. Jstockton was in second at that point, with almost $500,000 chips. Magpe's stack had rocketed up to over $700,000 with his flush, to give him a fairly comfortable lead.

Jstockton gained some momentum and eventually he and magpe went back and forth with the chip lead until it was finally heads up between the two. Magpe had the advantage going into heads-up play with $1.5 million, compared to jstockton's $900,000. The stacks stayed virtually the same for the next five minutes, before the final hand.

Magpe pushed all in preflop and jstockton called all in and showed Aclub 7club. Magpe turned over Jdiamond 8diamond and needed to improve. The flop was no help for magpe when it missed him completely but landed a 7 for jstockton to further his lead. The turn was the 5club, still leaving magpe trailing and at risk of being crippled. The river was the 8heart to give the lead to magpe, who took down the pot to win the tournament. Jstockton took in $14,000 for second while magpe pocketed $25,000 for his victory.

The final standings were:

1) magpe - $25,000
2) jstockton - $14,000
3) BeerBaron - $9,000
4) not_hans_brix - $6,500
5) ROBERT PAULSON - $5,400
6) Ryan506 - $4,400
7) ShariVegas - $3,400
8) Vatche - $2,400
9) neneburger - $1,550


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