The opening day of the PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker would draw to a close with the final table of the $215 No-Limit Hold’em (6-Max) event, which found 4,610 souls prepared to play deep into the night. As the final of the Five Card Draw raged on a few clicks away, this final table would be a rapid fire melee of quality play.
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By the time the final six were ready to start they had already been playing for over 15 hours.
Seat 1: TiltHappens (United States) 4,540,326 in chips
Seat 2: LUFCBas (United Kingdom) 2,396,363 in chips
Seat 3: Samh133 (United States) 1,959,713 in chips
Seat 4: toomanyonks (United States) 968,974 in chips
Seat 5: WiLDmAn75 (United States) 2,069,922 in chips
Seat 6: bearbeer123 (Sweden) 1,818,652 in chips
It’s a saying in the game, often quoted by players on a roll and acknowledging that the poker Gods are either looking the other way or taking a personal interest in their plight - that ‘living right’ can help you at the poker table. What is meant as a casual remark to soothe the bruises of the badly beaten surely has some relevance when you’ve been playing for the best part of all day and now find yourself having to shift up a gear, taking your game into overdrive for the final. Caffeine can only take you so far, the rest is sheer will.
TiltHappens seemed to display some of this true grit. He arrived at the final table the clear chip leader, enjoying the spoils of solid play that continued into the early hands of the final where he picked up close to 700k without showing. On the misery end of this, and maybe wondering how he’d ‘lived wrong’, was toomanydonks. The short stack at the start of the final he was left even closer to the felt by the exploits of the leader. Or at least he was for close to 60 seconds.
The next hand saw him move in. Sometimes it’s brought on by grumpiness t having lost, other times the players is fortunate enough to have a good hand disguised by the effects of the last bad hand. Either way WiLDmAn75 called to find out showing 77 to toomanydonks’ A-9. Mercy came on the flop - a second Ace to float him back up to the million mark – still the short stack but with a little more breathing space.
But his story seemed destined to come to a close. He was forced to cut ties with the final table in sixth place when he called the all-in raise of samh133. Both were holding an ace, the difference being that samh133’s made him an ace high flush, whilst for toomanydonks it was just ace high. Out in sixth for $10,142.
In contrast to the five card draw final the game showed no sign of lapsing into anything other than a volatile fight to the finish. The impressive graphics of an entire multi-colored stack pushed in captured the drama nicely - as found on a hand between WiLDmAn75 and TiltHappens.
By now TiltHappens had begun to show the first signs of decline. He led out making it 150k to play. When it reached WiLDmAn75 he re-raised, a further 350k to 500k. Already the stacks in the middle were climbing high. On a 4-5-6 rainbow flop WiLDmAn75 pushed all-in for over 1.3 million. No fear from TiltHappens, he called. 2-4 for WiLDmAn75, who would need help. Aces for TiltHappens.
But in online poker no one can hear you scream - the turn promptly delivered a 3, making WiLDmAn75 his straight and turning the Aces into dust. But it had been decided – perhaps by those poker gods again – that this would be the ‘wow’ hand, making participants pull at their hair and onlookers chuckling with relief. This very point was made by the 7 on the river which allowed both to play the board. A split pot.
This maintained TiltHappen’s lead but was perhaps the last good fortune he would find. This we would get to later but in the meantime it was WiLDmAn75 again all-in pre-flop with A-K, this time called by bearbeer123 with QQ in a monster hand. For some time LUFCBas had considered his options, looking for an excuse to call. He paused for some time before folding.
It looked good for bearbeer123 on the flop of 4-10-2 rainbow but the Ace hit the turn sending the chips to WiLDmAn75 who had returned unscathed from the brink yet again and boosted his stack to the tune of over 4 million.
“Please don’t tilt me” said LUFCBas, “I had 10s”.
“So sick” added TiltHappens. “I had QQ too.”
Living right indeed.
bearbeer123 moved in next hand with the cause of his woes being WiLDmAn75 calling him, a mercy call perhaps. Well, not exactly. Both players showed A-9, splitting this one. Same again on the next hand though where bearbeer123’s Ace high was good against WiLDmAn75’s King high.
Not to worry though from Wldman75’s point of view. Soon after he won an 800k pot, restoring him to lofty heights whilst for bearbeer123 it was into the cellar and fifth place when he moved in pre-flop finding his nemesis WiLDmAn75 calling again. 77 for bearbeer123, 99 for WiLDmAn75. The Swede’s day was done, departing with $18,901.
Whilst an 800k pot had helped TiltHappens bolster his chances, his conservative and successful style of play was about to lose its charm. A raise from samh133 of 166,666 started it all, which WiLDmAn75 called and TiltHappens re-raised to 540k. Samh133 added a re-raise of 2 million to keep things interesting which TiltHappens called.
The board brought 4-J-2-7-7. Neither player matched anything on show but both had an Ace. The difference being samh133’s was accompanied by a king, whilst TiltHappens just a 10. Out kicked, he watched nearly 5 million chips get shipped the other way. From the lead his tournament now lay in ruins and to rub salt in a little, the next hand saw him lose close to 900k to LUFCBas holding Aces. It was like kicking a man when he’s down.
No one was surprised when TiltHappens exited next, hopefully into the arms of a nurse with hot cocoa and cold compresses. samh133 did the deed, his King high flush more than enough to send TiltHappens out with $36,880.
It left three players who chopped up what was left and played on for the bracelet. One of which, representing the United Kingdom, was LUFCBas. For those not predisposed to English ‘Soccer’ LUFC are the initials of Leeds United Football Club. More than that, as fans on the English side of the Atlantic will testify, Leeds United are a team beset by turmoil - fines from the league and a deduction of points for financial irregularities have left them adrift at the bottom of what is the third tier of English soccer.
But there’s something else about Leeds United that seemed befitting of the player whose avatar proudly displayed the team’s crest. That is that regardless of such challenges they get results. LUFCBas looked set to do just that, surviving this far ahead of over 4,600 others. His journey to victory was thwarted in third place though when he found himself to be the short stack. He called a WiLDmAn75 raise to see the flop 5-10-2 and called another raise to see the ace on the turn. This time a WiLDmAn75 bet saw LUFCBas push all-in, getting the call that would make or break his tournament. His A-J was good for a pair, but the 55 in WiLDmAn75’ hand had made him a set and would lead him into heads-up with samh133. For the Englishman LUFCBas - third place and $84,710.
Soon samh133 was ahead and comfortable in the heads up, a set of nines good for a 5 million pot from which WiLDmAn75 would never recover. He still had some fight left in him and as his name suggested it would not be a predictable amble into second place. But he still trailed by almost 2 to 1.
As East coasters first noticed signs the morning sunlight and hid their heads under the sheets blissfully aware it was the weekend, samh133 sealed his bracelet win. Re-raising on a flop of 5-J-Q, WiLDmAn75 called and did so again when the turn brought a 7. The 2 on the river was irrelevant as WiLDmAn75 could only manage a pair of queens against samh133’s set of fives.
Day 1 of the PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker had drawn to a close - the first salvo in an action packed month. All that’s left is to look forward to what’s next.
Combining his share of the chop and the extra left in the middle samh133 takes $155,561 and a bracelet for first place. Not a bad way to start the weekend.
PokerStars WCOOP Event # 1: $215 No-Limit Hold’em (6-Max) Final Table Results
1. samh133 (United States) $172,875 ($155,561 after chop)
2. WiLDmAn75 (United States) $99,115 ($96,352 after chop)
3. LUFCBas (United Kingdom) $64,632.20 ($84,710 after chop)
4. TiltHappens (United States) $36,880
5. bearbeer123 (Sweden) $18,901
6. toomanydonks (United States) $10,142
Full WCOOP Event #1 Results