The PokerStars Pennsylvania Spring Championship of Online Poker reaches its climactic finale this weekend with the PASCOOP Main Events starting Sunday, May 23. With it comes the end of the site’s first major tournament series for PokerStars PA‘s newest ambassadors, Keith Becker and Mark Foresta.
Both Becker and Foresta had been dedicated PokerStars PA players and Twitch streamers prior to becoming official site ambassadors earlier this month. They’ve each notched some impressive results in PASCOOP as well while entertaining their audiences over their livestreams.
PlayPennsylvania reached out to Becker and Foresta to share a few PASCOOP-related thoughts heading into the Main Events.
PASCOOP awards $1.82M ahead of final weekend
So far the (now) 41-event, 123-tournament PASCOOP has performed especially well. Turnouts have been consistently large, with tournaments routinely exceeding their guarantees.
Heading into tonight, 90 tournaments have completed with over 35,000 total entries and $1.82 million awarded. The entire series had guarantees adding up to $2 million. That mark will surely be exceeded before PASCOOP ends on Monday.
As noted, Becker and Foresta have been playing PASCOOP events throughout with both making several deep runs.
Becker, also known as “AccidentalGrenade” online, plays as “whoopsboom” on PokerStars PA. Among his cashes so far are two third-place finishes, a fifth-place finish, and a ninth.
Foresta goes by “NaigoPA” on the site, and he, too, has made multiple deep runs. On Tuesday this week Foresta took third in Event #26-H, the Super Tuesday Special Edition. Joining him deep in that event was fellow PokerStars Ambassador Jennifer Shahade who finished ninth.
Foresta again went deep last night in an event added to the schedule just this week. In the “Medium” version of Event #41 (pot-limit Omaha hi-lo), NaigoPA finished fifth.
‘Poker is a game and it’s meant to be enjoyed’ says Mark ‘NaigoPA’ Foresta
“The series is amazing,” says Mark Foresta. He particularly likes that PokerStars PA has “buy-ins available for everyone,” ranging from $5 to $2,000 during PASCOOP. “There are some who have never been able to play a poker tournament with the prestige of a PokerStars SCOOP title on the line, and now they have that chance.”
Foresta recalls feeling similarly when living in New Jersey. While there, he managed once to win a NJSCOOP title on PokerStars NJ. “I can tell you from that experience, the first series win is magical.”
“For PASCOOP primarily I have been hitting the poker books,” says Foresta. He adds he’s prepared more for streaming PASCOOP in part so he can be better prepared mentally to play.
“I have been carefully planning out my days, giving myself enough time for my day job” as a software engineer, he says. That includes exercising regularly as well.
Indeed, for Foresta streaming his play is partly about entertaining and helping others improve. But more than anything, Foresta focuses on community building.
“My main goal in streaming is to add to the social part of poker which, to me, can certainly be the best part,” he says. “Poker success is always more fun when you get to share it with others.”
When giving advice to PASCOOP players, Foresta points out the importance of playing within your bankroll and always striving to improve your game.
But first and foremost, he says, remember to have fun.
“Poker is a game and it’s meant to be enjoyed,” he says. “These tournaments do have amazing guarantees and huge opportunities to show you are one of the best players in the state, but I am a firm believer if you aren’t having fun you’re going to make mistakes and you won’t play your best game.”
Competition and camaraderie motivate Keith ‘whoopsboom’ Becker
Keith Becker works as a software developer and business analyst. A natural entertainer, he enjoys sharing his poker playing with audiences. But he also relishes the tangential discussions and the extracurricular entertainment streams can produce.
That includes sometimes poking fun at his streaming partner Foresta — “harmless jabs,” Becker grins.
Like Foresta, Becker especially values the variety of stakes in series like PASCOOP. “As a lower stakes player, I am loving the affordable variety that this series has to offer,” says Becker. “PokerStars is so clearly listening to players,” he adds. Supporting the point, he notes the “many small tweaks” PokerStars PA has recently made to the regular schedule.
Like Foresta, Becker also talks a lot about practicing sound bankroll management with his viewers, some of whom are just starting out in poker.
“Even the best players go through downswings, and even more likely when you’re still learning the game,” he notes. “But with the proper bankroll management, you afford yourself the time to learn this great game, and it can be a fun hobby!”
With so many near-misses at PASCOOP titles between them, the competition is heating up between Becker and Foresta entering the final weekend.
“My goal for the series was to win a PASCOOP event,” says Becker. “While I have many wins on PokerStars PA, I have yet to acquire one in a series. If Naigo gets a win before me, I will never hear the end of it!”
“I’m joking, of course,” he adds. “I’d be ecstatic for him, but we do compete constantly.”
Busy days ahead for PokerStars PA players as PASCOOP concludes
As Foresta and Becker continue to grow their poker communities on Twitch, the addition of those two as ambassadors indicates PokerStars’ growing commitment to their US sites.
Meanwhile the next few days should be plenty busy for Foresta and Becker as well as for other PokerStars PA players. There are still 33 PASCOOP tournaments left to play out from Friday to Monday. Twelve of those tournaments happen on Sunday, May 2, including the three PASCOOP Main Events at 6 p.m.:
- $300 NLHE PASCOOP Main Event, $200K gtd. (Event #36-H)
- $75 NLHE PASCOOP Main Event – Mid, $40K gtd. (Event #36-M)
- $30 NLHE PASCOOP Main Event – Mini, $20K gtd. (Event #36-L)
Earlier on Sunday as well is the PASCOOP Depositor Freeroll at 2 p.m. PokerStars PA players who deposit $30 or more using the bonus code “PASCOOP” prior to then receive an entry into the freeroll. The top 50 finishers will win seats into the $300 “High” version of the Main Event, meaning $15,000 worth of tournament tickets are up for grabs.
It will be interesting to see just how many come out for this weekend’s Main Events, and whether Foresta and/or Becker can break through to capture a title.