The 2016 Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) kicked off on Sunday on PokerStars, May 8 with more than two weeks of non-stop tournament action. In what promises to be the biggest SCOOP to date, the schedule features 55 events broken out into low, medium, and high buy-in levels, generating a massive schedule of 165 total tournaments with over $40 million in guaranteed prizes.
Poker players and fans will not only be able to enjoy playing in their favourite games for huge sums of money and root on the players they want to win the most, but also be able to bet on the PokerStars Team Pro they feel will perform the best thanks to a new betting market opened on BetStars.
More than 30 PokerStars Team Pro members plan to join in on the action in the SCOOP, each provided with odds on the market. The favorite before the action begins is Jason "JasonMercier" Mercier, who not only outperformed all of his fellow Team Pros last year, but also finished on top of the overall SCOOP Leaderboard to be named the SCOOP 2015 Player of the Year.
It appears early on there is already plenty of action on Mercier and perhaps for good reason. To help propel him to become last year's top performer during the online poker festival, Mercier won three different SCOOP events giving him four SCOOP titles in total. While this is two away from the record six SCOOP titles that Calvin "cal42688" Anderson, this is tied for tops among PokerStars Team Pro members with George "GeorgeDanzer" Danzer who also won four different SCOOP events.
When the betting exchange opened yesterday, Mercier was already a heavy favorite when compared to others listed at 5/1 (6.0) to win the Team PokerStars Leaderboard. We can only surmise that many people are betting on Mercier to dominate once again as the odds listed at the time of the article were down to 5/2 (3.5).
Not surprisingly, Danzer, who has the most career cashes in SCOOP history by finishing in the money 148 different times, is also a popular pick currently listed as the second favorite on the betting board being listed at 4/1 (5.0). In addition to the action on the betting market, Mercier and Danzer also have a $10,000 side-bet on which player will finish higher on the leaderboard.
Mercier, who was already excited by the SCOOP now feels more pumped up than before with the new leaderboard and his side-bet with Danzer. "Last year was amazing, winning the three titles and Player of the Year. I really love SCOOP!" Mercier shared in a press release. "I’ll play as many events as I can and whether it’s a $200 event or a $20,000 one, I’m always focused on finishing first. The addition of the Team PokerStars leaderboard, the $10k side bet with George, and earning bragging rights over some of my best poker friends, will be an extra incentive to take the top spot."
Danzer appears equally excited about the SCOOP, the leaderboard, and his side-bet with Mercier explaining, "I’ve had some great success in SCOOP and was so close to being the Player of the Series a couple of years ago, so I’ll be trying my best to go one better this time. The extra spice and competition that the Team PokerStars Leaderboard, my side bet with Jason, and the betting maket adds, will make for an exciting couple of weeks."
After Mercier and Danzer, there is a bit of a drop-off. However, punters may find value with a potential bigger payment in the next tier of players including big names Eugene "E.Katchalov" Katchalov listed at 9/1 (10.0) and Jake "jakecody" Cody, Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier, Andre "akkari" Akkari, Naoya "nkeyno" Kihara, and Randy "nanonoko" Lew all being listed at 13/1 (14.0).
Notable players listed in the middle of the pack include Mickey "mement_mori" Petersen at 22/1 (23.0), Jason "jcarverpoker" Somerville at 28/1 (29.0), and Daniel "KidPoker" Negreanu and Vanessa "V. Selbst" Selbst both being listed at 33/1 (34.0).
For those looking to take a shot on a true underdog, the odds listed on Marcin "Goral" Horecki, who has the second most cashes in SCOOP history, are currently at 70/1 (71.0). Additionally value may be found with other heavy underdogs including George "Jorj95" Lind listed at 50/1 (51.0) and 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event winner Chris "money800" Moneymaker at 66/1 (67.0).
Whether you decide to punt on the BetStars Team PokerStars Leaderboard betting market or not, share with us in the comment box below who you think will finish on top and why.