The 2011 World Championship of Online Poker came roaring out of the blocks this past week, as more than a handful of events either flirted or past the million dollar prize pool mark. On Wednesday, another trio of high-stakes tournaments looked to do the same.  The biggest contest of the day was the $1,050 buy-in Event #9.  The $600,000 guaranteed tournament easily passed that mark on its way to more than $1,200,000 in prize money.  With 1,237 players in the field, including many notable PokerStars professionals, it was no surprise how stacked the final table was. Before the final nine could be set, there were more than 1,200 players to eliminate, including well known professionals such as Jamie “thecronic420″ Rosen, Lex “RaSZi” Veldhuis, and Mike “Pipedream17″ Dietrich. All three well known professionals made the money, but were unable to reach the final table.

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First to bust at the final table was “dadowiec” who earned one of the bigger scores of his career.  The 9th place finish netted him $14,225, besting a $13,235 cash for winning the $50k Guaranteed back in June.  Finishing one spot better was “Eri264″, a high-stakes professional who had not seen a lot of success on keluaran hk lately. His $24,740 cash appears to be the biggest score of his career on Stars and FullTilt.  Rounding out the bottom trio at the final table was Dean “dean23price” Price, a top-100 ranked online MTT professional.  The high-stakes grinder has seen success on a multitude of sites including a 2nd place finish in the Stars Sunday Million for $205,570, a third in the Warm-Up for $76,461, and a win in the Super Tuesday for $75,465.  His $37,110 cash late Wednesday night barely cracked his top-5 scores on PokerStars alone.

The next player to bust was “G3RALDO”, a small stakes player who somehow made his way into the $1,050 event.  In what appears to be a true rags to riches story, he earned nearly $50,000 for his 6th place finish.  Once G3RALDD busted, there were five players left and more than $630,000 remaining in the prize pool.  With a $216,227 check on the line for the winner, it was a mad dash to the end.  High-stakes PLO grinder “mitdadu” was unable to gain much momentum and had to settle for a 5th place finish.  The $61,850 cash rates as the biggest of his tournament career, and will certainly go a long way in letting him compete in the Stars high-stakes PLO cash games.

The final four was set, and all eyes were on Pat “TorontoToro” Pezzin, a PokerStars Team Member hailing from Canada.  Pezzin is one of the most respected tournament players in the world, and was surely the favorite with just four players remaining.  The next casualty was “777taxist777″, another low-stakes grinder who was able to qualify into Event #9 through a series of satellites.  In fact, it appears his/her biggest score before the $87,827 won yesterday, was the $1,050 entry fee gained from the $370 satellite.  It is quite incredible how someone’s fortunes can change overnight, but that is surely the case for 777taxist777.

Unfortunately for the rail, Pezzin was the next to go.  Falling just short of heads-up play, Pezzin still earned a six-figure payday in Event #9.  The $117,515 cash appears to be the biggest score of his online career.  Pezzin does have a deep run in a WSOP event to his name.  Back in 2009 he finished 2nd to Greg “FBT” Mueller in the $10,000 Limit Hold’em World Championship for more than $285,000.  While this was his first humongous online score, he does have a handful of big cashes including an $80,000 win back in 2009 on Stars as well as a 2nd place finish in SCOOP Event #9 last year for $65,920.

With Pezzin gone in third place, the heads-up battle was set.  There was nearly $60,000 on the line between first and second as “extasyman” and “Shafeman” battled it out for the cash and WCOOP glory.  Both players had seen some success on Stars in the past, interestingly enough each in re-buy tournaments.  Back in 2007 Shafeman won the $11 re-buy for a nice $11,399 cash.  His opponent, extasyman, one upped that with a $85,921 cash for winning the $109 re-buy earlier this year.  Extasyman was certainly the more experienced of the two in bigger events, and he put that to good use, winning Event #9 for a massive $216,227 payday.  The six-figure sum was the biggest cash of his long career, and it also came with a WCOOP Gold Bracelet.  While Shafemen was unable to win the event, a $157,009 check should provide plenty consolation for the mid-stakes grinder.

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