The Guinness World Record for the most players participating in an online poker game has recently been making headlines as archrival Full Tilt took a stand against PokerStars’ current record of 35,000, only to have the world’s largest poker site counter-strike with another special tournament. With the war being waged between the two online poker powerhouses, there is hardly a record that PokerStars hasn’t broken in recent years.
When the 2009 WSOP PokerStars report card came across the PokerNetwork desk last week, more numbers were crunched than at an accountant’s convention. With 6,494 players taking their seat in the $10,000 World Championship No Limit Hold’em Main Event, PokerStars were responsible for seating 20% of the field.
“[The WSOP Main Event] is the largest land-based event in poker,” said 2003 WSOP Main Event champion, Chris Moneymaker. “It makes sense that the largest online poker site in the world has more players competing than any other site. Every year PokerStars players show why they are the best at the WSOP. I expect this year to be no different.”
PokerStars gave away over 1,826 seats and packages into this year’s Main Event, with 1,100 players taking to the felt for their shot at poker stardom – 100 of those were sponsored poker pros or celebrities. 113 players went on to make the money, earning over USD $7 million.
2008 WSOP final table contender Dennis Phillips and Main Event champion Peter Eastgate made yet another deep run in this year’s Main Event, coming in 45th and 78th place respectively. Noah Boeken cashed in 96th position, while Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier, fresh from his online sit-and-go record-breaking attempt at the EPT, also managed a 122nd place finish. Actor Lou Diamond Phillips also had a gallant run, heading to the cage to pick up his hard-earned in 186th place.
Eastgate was particularly proud of their efforts, “PokerStars players were very successful this year. Everyone kept cashing left and right. This is the best time for poker and PokerStars players.”
It didn’t stop there – the preliminary bracelet events at this year’s WSOP also proved to be bountiful for the PokerStars pros. Poster boy Daniel Negreanu continued his dominating form, earning eight cashes, including runner up in $2,500 NLHE Six-Handed Event. Barry Greenstein also earned seven cashes, Alex Kravchenko had six while Vanessa Rousso added four cashes to her burgeoning bankroll from her victory at the EPT Grand Final High Roller’s Event.
John Duthie, Chad Brown, JC Alvarado and Ylon Schwartz all made final tables in various events, but 2004 WSOP Main Event champion Greg “The Fossilman” Raymer won the single largest individual prize after his third place finish on the $40,000 NLHE event for USD $774,927.
However, it’s Team PokerStars Pros Angel Guillen and Jason Mercier who stand together as the two bracelet winners this year. Guillen earned Mexico’s second WSOP bracelet after taking down the $2,000 NLHE event for a cool USD $530,548 in prizemoney – only ten days after his runner-up finish in the $2,500 NLHE event. Mercier won his first ever bracelet after securing victory in the $1,500 NLHE event. Tom McEvoy also earned top marks (as well as a fully restored 1970 Corvette and the Binion Cup) for his victory in the inaugural WSOP Champions Invitational tournament.
The PokerStars Class of 2009 graduated with honours this year at the WSOP – and they celebrated in style at the PokerStars Party, which remains one of the most talked-about nights on the social calendar. As well as all the big names, celebrities and online qualifiers getting together to eat, drink and be merry (not necessarily in that order) it included a performance from hip-hop’s own shining star, Nelly.
With the 2009 WSOP all but wrapped up, PokerStars can be proud of their players’ efforts and cheer on their last man standing when Kevin Schaffel returns to that final table in November to make his stand at the World Championship $10,000 No Limit Hold’em Main Event championship bracelet and the USD $8.5 million first prize.
Will we see another WSOP Main Event champion in the PokerStars stable? Only time will tell!
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