2007 WCOOP: Event #14 Final Table Report
Confidence. It's an intangible part of a poker player's arsenel and one of the qualities that seperates mere players from champions. It's the ability to look at a table and say, "I'm going to win this."
Many times, confidence can be mistaken for foolhardy hubris. Sometimes it takes waiting until the end of the tournament to tell the difference between the two.
The 2007 WCOOP Event #14, $1,050 no-limit holdem, was the third biggest cash tournament in PokerStars' history. Only the 2005 and 2006 WCOOP main events were bigger. The money at the final table alone (in the neighborhood of $1.5 million) was astounding. With two players busting simultaenously on the bubble, the final table began eight-handed. Almost immediately, a player suggested the players chop it up.
Dissent came instantly from the man in the two-seat.
"No chop as long as I am playing," mig.com said.
Around the world, eyes widened. Who was this guy? Sure, eight-handed was a little early to chop, but who could possibly refuse to consider a deal at any point during the final table.
That role fell to mig.com, known to most people offline as one James Mackey, a red-haired poker wizard from the heart of Mizzou Tiger country in Columbia, Missouri. Mackey won a gold bracelet and $730,000 in Event #22 of the World Series this year, just a few months after taking third and winning $61,000 in a $2,500 event at the Bellagio.
Certainly, Mackey didn't need the money. Certainly, he had the confidence. The only question that remained was did he have what it took to win the final table of Event #14.
Seat 2: mig.com (8642161 in chips)
Seat 3: jochen8 (2804200 in chips)
Seat 4: Kenny Rap (3487870 in chips)
Seat 5: chulwoo (8760270 in chips)
Seat 6: saphire1 (8847480 in chips)
Seat 7: Trickybstrd (4048930 in chips)
Seat 8: ephman (9527811 in chips)
Seat 9: tralaira (3756278 in chips)
With eight players remaining and the blinds at 65,000/130,000/13,000, tralaira looked at AQ suited in hearts in the small blind. When chulwoo came in for a 3x the big blind raise, tralaira decided to pick up the pot right then and there. He moved his entire 3.75 million stack into the middle. Chulwoo, with nearly nine million in chips, wasted no time in calling with AK. While an ace flopped, no queen fell to match tralaira's kicker and he was out in eighth place, earning $43,890.
On the short-stack, Kenny Rap (a solid player in his on right) was in a fun mood. He asked commentator Tom McEvoy for a little advice. McEvoy joked back, suggesting Kenny Rap win his next all-in. It was advice Kenny Rap couldn't follow.
Facing a raise from Mackey and a re-raise from jochen8, Kenny Rap called all-in with a pair of tens. He was actually ahead of jochen8's JhAc. His lead lasted all of one second. A jack fell on the flop and Kenny Rap never caught up. He finished in seventh place for $69,825.
With fewer than than three million chips, jochen8 was looking for a chance to double up. When Mackey came in for a raise 420,000, jochen8 pushed all-in. Chulwoo over-called for the whole amount and Mackey, obviously more than a little suspiscious, folded. Chulwoo held KsAh to jochen8's 5cAs. A king fell on the flop and jochen8 finished in sixth place, a $96,425 payday.
Over the course of the final table, there were three hands that had nearly everyone scratching their heads.
The first began with a min-raise to 320,000 from ephman. Mackey popped him back to nearly $2 million and ephman called. The flop came down 8h9s3d. Mackey led at the pot for four million, nearly his entire stack. Ephman re-raised all-in and Mackey was forced to call with AK. He was dumbfounded when he saw ephaman's hand...TdJd.
"Wow," Mackey said. "Are you serious?"
Although he was ahead at the moment, it looked like disaster for Mackey. When another diamond fell on the turn, more outs materialized for ephman. Mackey needed to dodge 21 cards...and did. The river was the six of hearts.
Suddenly, ephman had the attention of everybody at the table. He sat in the big blind when saphire1 picked up queens on the button. Saphire1 had more than seven million chips and raised to 420,000. Ephman had just slightly more chips and moved all-in. After seeing the JT hand a few mintues earlier, it was an easy call for saphire1. He looked over to see AcJc in ephman's hand. It could not have gone worse for saphire1. Two clubs on the turn and one on the river sent saphire1 in fifth place for $130,340.
Now, ephman had nearly 15 million in chips, nearly the same as two other players at the table, and a huge lead over Trickybstrd. The chances of anyone getting their entire stack in pre-flop while the short-stck was still playing were slim. Or so everyone thought.
From the button, Trickybstrd came in for a raise, ephman re-raised to 800,000, and Mackey re-raised to a huge eight million. Trickybstrd wisely got out of the way. Ephman chose a different route. With less than one million invested in the pot, ephman pushed in the rest of his 15 million chips. Mackey called with AK. Ephman held...AQ.
In just three seconds, Ephman's meteoric rise was reduced to nothing. He finished in fourth place, earning $166,250.
Mackey now had a commanding chip lead...more than $30 million chips.
"It's going to be an uphill battle," Tickybstrd mused.
He thought he'd found his first step up the mountain. Looking down at pocket aces, Trickybstrd flat-called a raise from chulwoo. The flop came down TdQs9d. Trickybsrd decided to make his move, check-raising all-in. His first step up the mountain was a tragic stumble. Chulwoo held a set of nines. Trickybstrd was out in third place for a whopping $210,472.50.
Beginning heads-up play, Mackey held a 3-2 chip lead and was staring at a nearly $300,000 difference between first and second place. Making good on his vow to play it out without a deal, he never offered a chop. He simply went to work.
Mackey played a hyper-aggressive game, but one that couldn't be criticized. He raised nearly every time he was on the button. He controlled the size of the pot and kept chulwoo on the defensive. Chulwoo's only defense was the all-in pre-flop re-raise. It was a scene that played itself out over and over. For anyone watching, there was never a time that Mackey's victory was in question. It only seemed a matter of time.
It came down to this: Mackey came in for his usual raise and Chulwoo re-raised. Mackey called and they saw a flop of 6cQh8c. Both players checked. The turn was the four of spades. This time, chulwoo checked, Mackey bet, and chulwoo raised all-in.
Chulwoo had nothing. His bluff with K2 had run right into...the nuts. Mackey held 5h7h.
It's quite something to maintain the kind of confidence that allows one to compete for a $300,000 difference between first and second place without even the consideration of a deal. It's quite something else to win it without breaking a sweat.
Congratulations to James Mackey (aka mig.com) for winning Event #14 of the 2007 World Championship of Online Poker.
2007 WCOOP: Event #14 Final Table Results
1. mig.com (United States) $580,212.50
2. chulwoo $292,932.50
3. Trickybstrd (Canada) $210,472.50
4. ephman (United States) $166,250.00
5. saphire1 (United Kingdom) $130,340.00
6. jochen8 (Sweden) $96,425.00
7. Kenny Rap (United States) $69,825.00
8. tralaira (Spain) $43,890.00
9. UWillSuckOut (United States) $25,935.00
Full 2007 WCOOP Event #14 Results