The Year in Poker: February, 2008
February brought the tournament poker world to full throttle, and the month was dominated by major events, both live and online. From the breakthrough win in the EPT German Open by online star Michael "Timex" McDonald to the win by "reverse" in the FTOPS VII main event, every few days of action meant a big payday for another player.
"Reverse" Captures FTOPS VII Main Event
One of the largest of all online poker series is the Full Tilt Online Poker Series (FTOPS). In February, the first of three FTOPS series in 2008 got underway with 20 events on the docket. The richest of the 20 was the February 17th Main event, which drew 5,291 players and generated a prize pool of $2,645,500. When the action wrapped early on the 18th, "reverse" had triumphed over the massive field, taking down a $456,401.66 payday. Well-known pro player Thomas Wahlroos was the runner-up, winning $276,454.75.
"Timex" Takes EPT Dortmund
The PokerStars.com European Poker Tour traveled to Germany as January turned in to February, and of North America's hottest and youngest Internet players made the stop his first major live success. Canadian online star Michael "Timex" McDonald triumphed in Dortmund, getting the best of a strong final table and collecting €933,600 for the win. McDonald outdueled Andreas Gülünay (€528,500) for the win, with Torsten Haase pocketing €307,000 for third.
Women's Poker Hall of Fame Announces Inaugural Class
The Women's Poker Hall of Fame debuted in early February with a gala at Binion's, one of Las Vegas' traditional poker homes. Founder Lupe Soto and emcee Mike Sexton oversaw the festivities of the four women enshrined – Linda Johnson, Barbara Enright, Susie Isaacs and Marsha Waggoner.
Michael Pickett Triumphs at WSOP-Circuit Rincon
The second WSOP Circuit stop of 2008 was held at Harrah's Rincon, outside San Diego, and the final table of the stop's main event boasted plenty of star power – Gavin Smith, Lee Watkinson and Eddie Sabat were all in the hunt. By the time the final hand was dealt, however, it was Michael "Mickey" Pickett who claimed the championship ring, along with $229,002 in prize money. Peters rivered a straight to trap runner-up David Peters ($120,156) to secure the win. Sabat finished third for $70,680.
Andy Black Wins PartyPoker Premier League II
PartyPoker's second annual Premier League competition again drew the very best of the poker world to London in February. Twelve top players were issued special invitations to participate in the event's qualifying rounds and final, led by returning champion Juha Helppi. The impressive lineup also included David "Devilfish" Ulliott, Tony G, Andy Black, Phil Hellmuth, Ian Frazer, Vicky Coren, Roland de Wolfe, Eddy Scharf, Annie Duke, Marcel Luske and Alex Kravchenko. After a week of intense action, Andy Black finished off Roland de Wolfe to claim the event's $250,000 first prize. De Wolfe's runner-up showing was worth $120,000, while Tony G took third for $60,000.
Ben Hock Wins at WSOP-C Council Bluffs
The second World Series of Poker Circuit stop of February brought poker to the heartland, or more specifically, to the Horseshoe in Council Bluffs, Iowa, near Omaha. Despite a small starting field, the final table for the Council Bluffs main event offered plenty of star power, with Michael Martin (who would go on to have a huge year) leading in chips and Bernard Lee also in the hunt. Lee would go on to finish fourth while Martin battled for the title throughout, before finally finishing as the runner-up to Ben Hock, who collected $169,327 after flopping two pair and fading Martin's flush draw on the tournament's final hand. Martin's showing was worth $94,263.