Years of hard work and regulatory due diligence in Pennsylvania are finally paying off in spades for PokerStars.
The first-ever Pennsylvania Championship of Online Poker (PACOOP) concluded this week, marking the long-awaited return of serious online poker tournaments to the state. Gyea08 outlasted a field of 640 entries in the $300 Main Event, earning the top prize of $31,335.64 and a place in PA online poker history.
The big payout was a fitting conclusion to a wildly successful series that guaranteed $1,225,000 in payouts across a dense schedule of 50 events.
Here are the vitals for the 2019 PACOOP:
The series began on November 30 with a $100 no-limit hold-em event, and a huge turnout was an omen of things to come.
That opener drew 546 entries, nearly tripling the $20,000 guarantee and easing whatever concerns might have lingered at PokerStars HQ. The powers that be soon increased the guarantees across the remaining events, then increased them again a day later.
Most surpassed their new guarantees with ease, and the 10 that overlaid did so by less than $20,000 combined. Interestingly, four of those events came on a Sunday afternoon that would typically figure to be ripe for action. Chalk it up to the Eagles home game in Philadelphia, perhaps, or the especially ambitious boosts that weekend.
Anyhow, there is little room to complain about those numbers. With fees ranging from 5-9% on each entry, PokerStars itself raked in nearly $125,000 in revenue for the series.
The Main Event was the only two-day event on the slate, a $300 NLH event that began on Sunday afternoon. Registration closed late in the evening with 420 players and 220 re-entries, flying past the $150,000 guarantee. The final 89 players earned shares of the prizepool worth $179,200.
The 39 who survived Day 1 returned to action Monday at 7 p.m., with I.Ogimura and their stack of 973,504 (162 bb) setting the pace. That lead only lasted for a few hands, however, before lilholdem952 crossed over the million-chip milestone and into the top spot.
Those two ultimately ended up tangling in the hand that set the final table, with lilholdem952 scooping the knockout pot to take a commanding lead into nine-handed play around 11:30 p.m.
From there, it took about two hours to play to a winner. Gyea08 was the short stack with four players left, and their request to check the numbers went mostly unanswered. That turned out to be a mistake for their opponents.
Gyea08 quickly overtook their three opponents once play resumed, ultimately delivering a heads-up cooler to lilholdem952 to eliminate them in second place. Both players turned a straight on the final hand, but Gyea08’s nut straight was good enough to seal the title and the champion’s payout.
You can watch a cards-up replay of the final table within the PokerStars client Tuesday at 7 p.m. PokerStars PA Ambassador Jen Shahade, by the way, was eliminated midway through Day 1 in 122nd place.
The 50 events were won by 45 different players, with five of them notching multiple victories.
HeavyLizard was the first to accomplish the feat, backing up their win in Event #3 with another one in Event #13. They subsequently made the final table of Events #25 and #36.
User wolfofbrdst won Event #14, then Event #33 in the spicy no-limit Omaha hi/lo format about a week later. They also made the final table of Event #18.
NeolithicFarmer squeezed two wins into the span of two days, conquering Event #25 and Event #30 on back-to-back evenings. They had a standout series from start to finish, in fact, adding final table appearances in Events #9, #16, #20, #31, #32, and #40 (runner-up) to the twin victories.
Speaking of back-to-back, RevoltingBlob12 pulled off a remarkable feat of their own. They won two PACOOP tournaments in a row, taking down Event #36 and Event #37 on consecutive days. Amusingly, they also made consecutive final tables in Events #10 and #11 earlier in the series.
Lastly, High Roller winner fubadbeatbob closed out the series with a second victory in Event #50 to become the fifth double winner of the series.
The numbers from the inaugural PACOOP may not turn heads in international .com markets, but they are huge numbers for a regulated US poker site in 2019.
Lest you forget, Pennsylvania is one of just four states with legal online poker and the only one still ring-fenced to its own players. If nothing else, this series seems to confirm the appetite for online poker in the young PA market.
It’s also worth noting the variety of games and formats PokerStars was able to offer out of the gate. The first PACOOP included hold’em, Omaha, stud, and 8-game tournaments, turbos, rebuys, deepstacks, knockouts, and even a Zoom event. Few, if any, previous tournament series in the US offered such a diverse schedule.
Here’s the breakdown by game type:
That feels like an appropriate mix for a new pool of players primarily familiar with the Cadillac of Poker.
The series’ two smallest events cost just $30 to enter, and both exceeded their guarantees by a mile. The richest event carried a buy-in of $750, drawing 48 entries and 29 entries to surpass its guarantee by more than a third. While most events fell somewhere in the middle of that range, there appears to be good appetite across all price points.
Here’s the full list of events and winners from the inaugural PACOOP:
|1||$100 NL Hold'em [Nightly Stars - PACOOP Warm-Up]||546||$50,122.80||TeamTess100|
|2||$200 NL Hold'em [Turbo - PACOOP Warm-Up]||115||$21,390.00||dbrinker|
|3||$100 NL Hold'em [Deepstack, 8-Max]||377||$34,608.60||HeavyLizard|
|4||$100 NL Hold'em [Big Antes]||202||$18,543.60||AndrewYang2020|
|5||$150 NL Hold'em [Progressive KO]||277||$38,142.90||MrMonkeyJones|
|6||$200 NL Hold'em [Sunday Special SE]||341||$63,426.00||JustBlaze324|
|7||$100 PL Omaha [6-Max]||182||$16,707.60||GetRoman|
|8||$50 NL Hold'em [Sunday SuperSonic SE, Hyper-Turbo]||300||$13,650.00||LongSpur207|
|9||$50 NL Hold'em [Battle Royale SE Progressive KO]||677||$30,803.50||CashewSlippin|
|10||$75+R PL Omaha Hi/Lo [8-Max]||227||$15,492.75||BungalowB422|
|11||$250 NL Hold'em [Super Tuesday SE]||204||$47,532.00||5BETCHET|
|12||$30 NL Hold'em [Mini Super Tuesday]||824||$22,495.20||PetCheetah101|
|13||$150 NL Hold'em [Escalating Antes]||132||$20,000.00||HeavyLizard|
|14||$100 NL Holdem [DeepStack]||380||$34,884.00||wolfofbrdst|
|15||$750 NL Hold'em [High-Roller, 6-Max]||77||$54,670.00||fubadbeatbob|
|16||$150 NL Hold'Em||126||$17,350.20||blankface777|
|17||$200 NL Hold'em [Thursday Thrill SE]||249||$46,314.00||ATCJKoff|
|18||$50+R NL Hold'em||437||$20,000.00||Allin1out|
|19||$100 NL Hold'em [BigStack Turbo]||176||$16,156.80||bouttime2019|
|20||$300 Eight-Game [6-Max]||59||$16,520.00||NicoHughes|
|21||$150 NL Hold'em [Turbo, 6-Max]||170||$23,409.00||king12929|
|22||$100 NL Hold'em [Deepstack, 8-Max]||417||$38,280.60||ChasingDonkeys|
|23||$150 NL Hold'em [Saturday Speedway SE]||113||$15,560.10||An0ldLady|
|24||$100 NL Hold'em [Marathon]||350||$32,130.00||jkat333|
|25||$100 PL Omaha [8-Max]||113||$12,000.00||NeolithicFarmer|
|26||$150 NL Hold'em [6-Max, Big Antes]||179||$30,000.00||Iuap25|
|27||$300 NL Hold'em [Sunday Special SE]||201||$60,000.00||soccerdad29|
|28||$200 NL Hold'em [Progressive KO]||184||$35,000.00||chucksaucey925|
|29||$100 NL Hold'em [Sunday SuperSonic SE, Hyper-Turbo]||143||$13,585.00||ActionDave35|
|30||$300 NL Hold'em [4-Max]||114||$31,920.00||NeolithicFarmer|
|31||$500 PL Omaha [High-Roller, 6-max]||62||$29,140.00||ChinaPaul412|
|32||$200 NL Hold'em [Super Tuesday SE]||262||$50,000.00||[email protected]|
|33||$100 No Limit Omaha Hi/Lo [8-Max]||125||$11,475.00||wolfofbrdst|
|34||$30+R NL Holdem [6-Max]||817||$22,304.10||ArdentCensor|
|35||$200 NL Hold'em||173||$32,178.00||Boomer24709|
|36||$100 Stud Hi/Lo||111||$10,189.80||RevoltingBlob12|
|37||$250 NL Hold'em [Thursday Thrill SE]||169||$39,377.00||RevoltingBlob12|
|38||$150 NL Hold'em [Turbo]||156||$21,481.20||Phishfan717|
|39||$200 FL Holdem [6-Max]||64||$12,000.00||dirtymaxhype|
|40||$200 NL Hold'em [Deep, Hyper-Turbo]||85||$16,150.00||keithsutton302|
|41||$300 NL Hold'em [6-Max]||145||$40,600.00||Dynasty0304|
|42||$75 NL Hold'em [Zoom]||395||$26,958.75||StashMoney14|
|43||$100 NL Hold'em [Big Antes]||333||$30,569.40||PLANTandDTS|
|44||$300 NL Holdem [Main Event, 2-Day Event]||640||$179,200.00||Gyea08|
|45||$50 NL Hold'em [Main Event Structure]||830||$37,765.00||JimTMCL|
|46||$100 NL Hold'em [Progressive KO]||336||$30,844.80||anamlr|
|47||$100 PL Omaha [6-Max]||122||$12,000.00||ScooterMcShovin|
|48||$75 NL Hold'em [Sunday SuperSonic SE, Hyper-Turbo]||148||$12,000.00||R1chard0nYoFace|
|49||$100 NL Hold'em [Nightly Stars SE - PACOOP Wrap-Up]||408||$37,454.40||andurltldog2|
|50||$100 NL Hold'em [Deep, Hyper-Turbo, 6-Max]||183||$17,385.00||fubadbeatbob|