2006 WCOOP: Event #10 Final Table Report

Livin' the dream
--posted by fans in 2+2 immediately following Jason "strassa2" Strasser's WCOOP victory

Jason "strassa2" Strasser spent the entire summer in Las Vegas. Though he'd already traveled overseas several times to compete in major brick and mortar tournaments, until 2006, he wasn't old enough to play in the WSOP. At age 21, he astounded competitors with what was surely a game that had matured far faster than Jason's age might suggest. In Las Vegas, it was not uncommon to find Strasser yawning behind a teetering mountain of chips. He went deep more often than he did not. By August, Strasser already had enjoyed a year that most poker players would envy.

Strasser at the 2006 WSOP

Before the World Series of Poker Main event, Strasser cashed in four major events, including a no-limit hold'em WSOP final table finish. By the end of the main event, Strasser had gone very deep and cashed again. In the first eight months of 2006, Strasser has cashed for nearly $200,000 in major brick and mortar events alone. That's not to mention the money he earned playing online (as that amount is not so much a matter of public record, I'll leave it to Strasser to divulge his winnings if he wishes).

Strasser on his way to a cash at the 2006 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure

As Blogger-in-Chief for PokerStars, I've had the pleasure of watching Strasser play in four different countries. Each time, he has played with a wry poise and respect one rarely finds in a 21-year-old player. Despite the fun of watching him play, a theory developed midway through this year's WSOP that my presence in his vicinity more often than not ended in some unfortunate circumstance that resulted in his demise. Strasser claims to never have believed I was a jinx, but that didn't stop me from believing it all the same (To wit: The night Strasser made a no-limit hold'em final table at the WSOP, I was buried in a bunker preparing for main event coverage).

Apparently, the jinx doesn't carry across the intertubes.

Part of my blogging duties here require me to sweat major events online at PokerStars. As such, I spent about seven hours sweating Strasser as he rode roughshod over the field of top players. Event #10, the $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em event, was overrun with insanely good players. As the field narrowed to fewer than 100 runners, railbirds were beside themselves with the selection of well-known players. Among those players was none other than Jason Strasser.

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Note: Table background created using Hyper-Simple PokerStars Theme

Seat 1: elementry (780516 in chips)
Seat 2: BarnyBoatman (1395975 in chips)
Seat 3: sappy123 (2021497 in chips)
Seat 4: MaltLiquor40 (828444 in chips)
Seat 5: razeit (2021880 in chips)
Seat 6: strassa2 (3022563 in chips)
Seat 7: NNICOLAS (1063231 in chips)
Seat 8: thugmoneymkr (438978 in chips)
Seat 9: Pipestew (716916 in chips)

With the blinds at 30,000/60,000 and a 6,000 ante, the big-stacked players had some room to breathe. Other players were starting to feel the pressure. Pipestew, with a little more than half a million chips, made the decision to open-raise all-in with KQ. Razeit, sitting on more than 1.7 million chips, made the call from the small blind with pocket eights. An eight on the flop didn't lock Pipestew out of the pot entirely, but it might as well have. Razeit made a full house by the turn and a queen on the river was useless for Pipestew. For ninth place, he earned $28,267.00. That's right--more than 28 grand for ninth place. Sometimes I think online poker won't stop amazing me, and then something like WCOOP comes around and I'm impressed all over again.

Three hands later, my notes began as follows: HOLY [expletive] BIG HAND.

By virtue of his big stack (and in step with the way he'd been playing all day) Strasser came in for a raise. More often than not, a Strasser raise either ended the hand before the flop or shortly thereafter. Very rarely did Strasser end up showing down a hand. One player was already grousing about the frequency at which his blind was being nicked. Now, Strasser was in for a standard raise, and sappy123 jammed from the big blind. Strasser was left with a decision about whether to call for a little less than half his stack. The decision came quickly. Strasser called and turned up pocket eights to sappy123's AQ. The drama ended quickly. Strasser flopped a set and turned a full house. Sappy123 was out in eighth place, earning a whopping $46,702.00.

The next elimination would play out much the same way (but without as good of a starting hand for Strasser). Facing yet another Strasser raise, elemntry jammed with pocket eights. Strasser, with 160,000 of his chips already in the pot, only had to call 120,000 more. He did so with the Brunson, T2, flopped a ten, and made two pair on the turn. Seconds later, elementry counted himself as another Strasser victim and found the rail in seventh place. A prize of $61,450.00 likely made the exit easier to handle.

One time chip monster, NNICOLAS, eventually fell on hard times and found himself with fewer than 400,000 chips at the 40,000/80,000 level, few enough to certainly justify an all-in open raise with KJ. MaltLiquor40 made the call from the big blind with A3. NNICOLAS never improved and left in sixth place for $82,343.00, which I can only assume will spend very well in his native Argentina.

Razeit decided to make his move next. Facing a standard raise from BarnyBoatman, Razeit jammed with AQ. BarnyBoatman made the easy call with pocket kings. Although Razeit made a queen on the flop, he couldn't improve enough to avoid leaving in fifth place, the first of five people who were guaranteed a six-figure payday. Razeit's share was $105,694.00.

Less than one minute later, BarnyBoatman was the one to pick up AQ and came in for a raise. MaltLiquor40 picked up pocket jacks and moved all-in for more than a million more chips. BarnyBoatman called in a shot, made his ace on the turn, and sent MaltLiquor40 out to look for a drink in fourth place. Buying drinks for his buddies shouldn't be too difficult with his $129,045.00 in winnings.

Three-handed, there was an ever-so-brief discussion of a deal which promptly fell through when Strasser suggested he take $360,000 and let the other two players split the rest. BarnyBoatman said, "You must be joking," and play resumed. While I'm not one to believe in the Curse of the Deal-Killer, BarnyBoatman may have tempted fate a little bit when he said, "3rd is ok anyway."

Seconds later, after losing a big pot to thugmoneymkr and facing a raise from Strasser, BarnyBoatman pushed all-in for more than 2.5 million chips. Strasser called in a shot with AQ. BarnyBoatman showed A6. Around the world, and in one particular dorm room in North Carolina, a collective groan recognized the six on the flop. While Strasser would admit that he benefited from a couple big suckouts along the way to the final table, he didn't necessarily want to fall victim to one at such a critical time. One second later, the turn was out and no help. And then the river...a queen. Strasser said later, when the queen fell, his dorm room looked more like a riot.

Success for Strasser meant BarnyBoatman was gone. The man had played a fantastic game for 13 hours and no one doubted the guy had serious game. He earned $155,345.60 for third place.

That left Strasser heads up with the ever-talkative thugmoneymkr. The man with the monkey icon was eager to take some money off the table instead of putting more than $175,000 at risk in a heads up battle. The chat bar looked like this:

thugmoneymkr: u wanna take some dough outta the pot- or shoulda we race for 170k?
strassa2: id rather gambool

And so, gamble they did, though not for an exceptionally long time. Less than 15 minutes later, thugmoneymkr came in for a raise and Strasser called. The flop came out 8d-9h-8h. Strasser checked, thugmoneymkr bet out, and Strasser called. The turn was a jack. This time, Strasser check-raised thugmoneymkr all-in. After a lot of deliberation, thugmoneymkr said, "gotta call ya..." and made the call. Strasser turned up J9 for two pair, besting thugmoneymkr's AJ. The turn had been great for both of them, but more so for Strasser.

Obviously, as a devotee of PokerStars, I'm excited when any of the players there make a big score. That said, I think Strasser is an exceptional example for his contemporaries. He represents a lot of what is good about online poker right now. While he's still young, his skill is undeniable. Though he's made major cashes for more than $600,000 this year alone, he is still respectful of the game and his place in it. His demeanor, maturity, and self-deprecating sense of place in poker is laudable. All are traits from which a lot of people, young and old, could learn.

Strasser at the 2006 WSOP

Congratulations to Jason Strasser and every one else who made big scores in Event #10. A full list of money winners can be found on the PokerStars WCOOP Event #10 results page. Final table results are below.

PokerStars WCOOP Event #10 Final Table Results

1. strassa2 (United States) $442,440.00
2. thugmoneymkr (United States) $266,693.00
3. BarnyBoatman (United Kingdom) $155,345.60
4. MaltLiquor40 (Canada) $129,045.00
5. razeit (United States) $105,694.00
6. NNICOLAS (Argentina) $82,343.00
7. elementry (United States) $61,450.00
8. sappy123 (United States) $46,702.00
9. Pipestew (United States) $28,267.00
Brad Willis
@BradWillis in