Canadians “Big_Nemo”, Daniel Negreanu Finish Atop WCOOP POY As Canada Dominates


The three week festival of poker known as the PokerStars World Championships of Online Poker (WCOOP) has come to a close, with Canada figuring prominently in several key categories.

Canadian players – perhaps aided by the influx of transplanted Americans who took part – were at the head of many of the statistical categories from the 2011 WCOOP. There were 13,013 Canadians who took part in the 62 tournament schedule, ranking second only to Russia. Of those 62 tournaments, 63 Canadians made the final table, tying for first with Russia. But where the real standard lies – money won – Canada stepped up to win the most money of any country during the WCOOP, taking down $6.4 million out of the over $47 million generated, defeating Russia by over $1.1 million.

Individual Canadians played exceptionally during the run of the 2011 WCOOP. In the Player of the Year race, Spain’s “2FLYTOTILT” jumped out to an early lead, but he was run down by Canada’s “Big_Nemo” in an eventual tie for the POY honors. For their achievement, both “2FLYTOTILT” and “Big_Nemo” received an EPT Season 8 Grand Final prize package, 2012 SCOOP Main Event ticket, 2012 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure package, and a Special Edition Chip Set.

Overall on the POY leaderboard, Canadian players captured six of the top ten slots. Following up on his promise of a good WCOOP run, Daniel “KidPoker” Negreanu finished in third place on the POY leaderboard and Kevin “ImaLuckSac” MacPhee took down fourth. One of the transplanted Americans playing in Canada, Steve “gboro780” Gross tied for sixth, while Mike “goleafsgoeh” Leah finished the WCOOP schedule in eighth place.

Even though they couldn’t play from their home base and had to go to other countries to take part in the WCOOP, American players were able to make their mark on this year’s tournament. Dan “djk123” became the third player in the history of the WCOOP to take three bracelets in their career with a win in the $109 Eight Game Mixed Event. Shane “shaniac” Schleger took down the $320 Triple Draw and Gross won the $320 H.O.R.S.E. tournament, while Ryan Daut and Eugene Katchalov both had runner up finishes in two tournaments.

As a final note to the strength of online poker internationally, the 62 events featured a guaranteed $30 million in prize money. That was crushed by the number of players who came out, however, with the final total of the prize pool reaching $47 million.

The WCOOP Main Event proved to be highly successful, even without the United States involved in the action. 1,627 players donated $5000 of their bankrolls to build an $8.135 million prize pool, vastly outpacing the $5 million guarantee. The two day battle would feature a strong run from a Canadian before its champion was determined.

At the final table, Leah made a run at the championship before being eliminated from the tournament in third place, taking home $560,000 for his efforts. The heads up battle between the Czech Republic’s “Vojta_R” and Denmark’s Thomas “Kallllle” Pedersen started with Pedersen holding a 2:1 chip edge and lasted an eternity in online poker, thirty minutes. In the end, “Vojta_R” made a move for all his chips with pocket threes, only to be called by Pedersen’s A-10 that hit a ten on the flop. Once there was no three on the turn or river, Thomas “Kallllle” Pedersen took down the WCOOP Main Event bracelet and, perhaps more importantly, a $1.26 million payday.

Following such a great run, Pedersen has admitted he’s not going to just sit online and play. He stated after the Main Event that he will take his skills on the road, making a journey to London to take part in the upcoming European Poker Tour event there.

After some consternation that it wouldn’t reach its previous lofty heights, the 2011 WCOOP proved that online poker – for the international community – is alive, well and thriving. Perhaps in the near future the entirety of the world can once again participate in the crown jewel of online poker tournaments!

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Earl Burton
Earl Burton is a veteran journalist in the poker industry, having covered the game since 2004. He has played the game much longer, however, starting out playing in family games at a very early age. He has covered tournaments across the United States, including the World Poker Tour, the World Series of Poker and various charitable events. Earl’s background includes writing for some of the top poker news sites in the industry as well as other poker media outlets that include Poker Player Newspaper and Canadian Poker Player Magazine. Earl keeps an unblinking eye on the poker world, offering coverage of news from the industry, tournament action, player interviews, strategy and his opinions on the game. Whenever possible, Earl will also step to the tables to demonstrate that there’s more than just writing talent behind his poker game!


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