2006 WCOOP: Main Event Final Table Report

A lot of organizations and event organizers like to toss around the phrase "world championship." From competitive hotdog eating to pugilism, promoters just love to talk about their world champions. At PokerStars, however, the concept of a true world championship is not lost.

For the fifth consecutive year, PokerStars hosted its World Championship of Online Poker. It's an event that has grown beyond anyone's expectations. This year, the series boasted 18 events, including the first-time addition of Razz and HORSE tournaments. As for calling it a "world championship," PokerStars isn't just blowing smoke. Over the course of the 18 events, players from 89 different countries played poker in search of a WCOOP title. From Bangladesh to Belize, from the Faroe Islands to Finland, from Macedonia to Malaysia, players built prize pools that grew in excess of $18.5 million.

It's quite a rare thing to find a major poker tournament, especially one with a relatively small buy-in of $2,600, with a $3 million guarantee. What you've never seen online, until the WCOOP main event, is a tournament that boasts a prize pool of $6,275,000 and a monster first prize of $1,157,737.50. In short, what we saw in the 2006 World Championship of Online Poker was the type of thing people will someday look back on and see as a watershed moment in poker.

Players from across the globe settled in on Sunday to fight for what has become one of the most coveted titles in poker, the PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker gold bracelet. Over the course of the next twelve hours, players battled through one of the best tournament structures in poker. The final nine players faced the reality that they would earn, at the very least, $79,000. What's more, they had a shot at $1,157,737.50.

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Seat 1: area23JC (4010937 in chips)
Seat 2: GODFATHER 72 (1375712 in chips)
Seat 3: Numie2 (1067104 in chips)
Seat 4: Annette_15 (2915940 in chips)
Seat 5: DEEZZZ_NUTS (773441 in chips)
Seat 6: hannibalrex (5719465 in chips)
Seat 7: serb2127 (2026074 in chips)
Seat 8: milkybarkid (2702967 in chips)
Seat 9: Lefort (4508360 in chips)

Despite the huge money on the line, the players were not scared to get in action. In the opening moments of final table play, GODFATHER 72 put his entire stack on the line pre-flop against Lefort's AK. GODFATHER 72 won the race and doubled up early. Just a minute later, serb2127 lost nearly half his stack when he took AQ to battle with Numie2's pair of aces. In another early race, Annette_15 lost more than half a million chips with pocket fives versus DEEZZZ_NUTS' big slick.

The early action must have been contagious, because soon, experienced player Serb2127 refused to slow down. After losing the big hand against Numie2, Serb2127 started moving in pre-flop to pick up the blinds and antes. His first two attempts were successful. The third time, he moved in for $1.5 million with AJ. Numie2 would prove to be Serb2127's nemesis. Numie2 held AK, made the call, and watched the best hand hold up. The hand crippled Serb2127. He was out just a couple minutes later when his AT couldn't hold up against hannibalrex's 2-4. Serb2137 finished in ninth place and won $79,065.00.

Serb2127's departure didn't end the pre-flop poker. Just a few minutes after Serb2127 left, DEEZZZ_NUTS came over the top of a Numie2 raise all-in. Milkybarkid, in the big blind, called with AK. Numie2 folded and DEEZZZ_NUTS showed Milkybarkid a pair of kings. The cowboys held up and put a hurting on Milkybarkid's one-time big stack. Two hands later, Milkybarkid, facing a raise from hannibalrex, moved all in from the button with pocket tens. Milkybarkid's timing was off. Hannibalrex turned over pocket queens and sent Milkybarkid out in eighth place and a $119,225.00 payday.

Like many of the hands before, Numie2's next double-up came by virtue of a coin flip. All-in with pocket-eights versus hannibalrex's AK, Numie2's pocket pair held up and he found himself with nearly four million chips. On the very next hand, hannibalrex discovered being the chip king can be a short-lived honor after chasing a flush draw against GODFATHER 72's set of queens. GODFATHER 72 rubbed it in by making quads on the turn and taking 3.2 million chips off the onetime king.

Most-of the big pre-flop hands thus far had been races or contests where the best hand held up. After several big hands, the players finally saw the worst beat of the final table. Annette_15 came in for a raise and Lefort decided to make a move on her. He pushed with 5-6. Annette_15 made the call with pocket nines. The flop was a very ugly 7h-4h-3h, giving Lefort the nut straight. Annette_15 exited in seventh place for $163,150.00.

With so much money left on the table, the players decided that a locked-up payday was better than shooting for the one million. After a few minutes of discussion, they decided to split up the money based on chip count. With insanely big paydays for all of them, the players went to work for the $50,000 they left on the table and the championship bracelet.

DEEZZZ_NUTS, who had already locked in a $353,164.00 prize, ultimately decided to play some more pre-flop poker. Holding a pair of sixes, he came in for a raise under the gun. When GODFATHER 72 re-raised, DEEZZZ_NUTS moved all in. GODFATHER 72 called and showed pocket queens. DEEZZZ_NUTS finished in sixth place.

After a lot of action, well-known professional poker player J.C. Tran (area23JC) started to pick apart the competition. Holding pocket nines, Tran called a raise from Numie2. When the flop came down KT9, Tran check-raised Numie2. Numie2 responded by moving all-in. Tran called with his set to see Numie2's AK. Tran made quads on the turn, and Numie2 left in fifth place, after the deal earning $600,042.00.

That's when the chips started to fly. Lefort doubled through GODFATHER 72 with AQ versus A5 on an ace-high flop. Then hannibalrex doubled though Lefort with 9T against AJ on a nine-high flop. A few hands later, Lefort crushed GODFATHER_72 after flopping a set. GODFATHER 72 finished in fourth place and cashed for $540,793.00.

While Lefort would soon take over the chip lead from Tran, it would be a short-lived stay at the top. Lefort came in for a raise with a pair of jacks and Tran called. They saw a flop of T28. Lefort bet his over pair and Tran smooth-called. The turn was a three. Lefort again bet out. This time, Tran raised. Lefort, still with an over pair, called. The river was another eight. Lefort checked and Tran bet enough to put Lefort all-in. Lefort called and Tran showed him pocket deuces, for a flopped set and a rivered full-house. A few hands later, Lefort was out when his A7 couldn't outrun hannibalrex's pocket fives. Lefort finished in third place for $400,581.00.

Heads-up play began with Tran holding around 18 million in chips to hannibalrex's six million. The rest of the game would last less than 30 seconds. Hannibalrex came in for a raise with A4 and Tran called. The flop came 2c-5d-Ks. Tran check-called hannibalrex's bet. The turn was a four, giving hannibalrex a pair to go along with his gutshot straight draw. He bet out and Tran moved all-in. Hannibalrex called to see Tran's K9. The river blanked and hannibalrex was out in second place, earning $400,581.00.

Then, with a flash on the screen, the two weeks of the 2006 World Championship of Online Poker was over. Eighteen events and $18 million worth of prize money had made the series the biggest in online poker history and cemented WCOOP as one of the biggest poker events--live or online--in the world. J.C. Tran, the smiling, well-known poker pro took his spot in the limelight, a championship bracelet-holder in the biggest-ever online poker tournament.

You can find a list of everyone who cashed at the PokerStars WCOOP Main Event results page. Final table results are below.

PokerStars WCOOP Main Event Results
Results based on finishing order and six-way deal that left $50,000 for first place

1. J.C. Tran -- aka area23JC (United States) $670,194.00
2. hannibalrex (United States) $400,581.00
3. Lefort (Canada) $417,734.00
4. GODFATHER 72 (United Kingdom) $540,793.00
5. Numie2 (United States) $600,042.00
6. DEEZZZ_NUTS (United States) $353,164.00
7. Annette_15 (Norway) $163,150.00
8. milkybarkid (United Kingdom) $119,225.00
9. serb2127 (Canada) $79,065.00

Special thanks to all the members of the PokeStars staff and Team PokerStars that worked and played tirelessly to make WCOOP a piece of poker history.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in