It's almost a dirty word in this all no-limit-all-the-time world. In a poker world that values guts over nuance, aggression over math, and pre-flop stares over river value bets, the limit hold'em world has become a quiet, almost antiquated subculture. Stumbling over a limit hold'em tournament is like a trip to a small town's Frontier Days Festival, minus the period costumes and blacksmith artistry.
And yet, in the PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker, the limit poker world survives and thrives. Event #7, a $215 limit hold'em tournament, drew more than 2,000 players in the middle of the week and more than quadrupled the $100,000 prize pool guarantee.
It took more than 12 hours to reach the final table. When the final nine faced each other for the first time, here's how they stacked up.
Seat 1: TheMasterJ33 (1136618 in chips)
Seat 2: 011180 (253219 in chips)
Seat 3: Itchy (956871 in chips)
Seat 4: Cardinal7 (673710 in chips)
Seat 5: cfinnn (704680 in chips)
Seat 6: superbrono (545844 in chips)
Seat 7: PapaPapsilon (475999 in chips)
Seat 8: Nirvana76 (398160 in chips)
Seat 9: lilholdem954 (1031899 in chips)
Nirvana76 came into the final table as the second-shortest stack, so when he picked up KcJs in the big blind, he felt okay calling a raise from Cardinal7. He felt even better when the flop came down king-high rainbow. With only 60,000 chips left, he decided to check-raise all-in. He was in good shape against Cardinal7's pair of queens for all of half a second. A queen fell on the turn and Nirvana76 was drawing dead. He finished in ninth place $3623.84
Within just a few hands, cfinnn was down to less than 120,000. With AK, it was time to get it all-in. Cfinnn and Cardinal7 got into a raising war and capped it pre-flop. As it turned out, the 5s2d2h was nearly irrelevant. Cardinal7 held a pair of kings. No ace appeared on the turn or river and cfinnn became the second casualty, finishing in eighth place for $6,053.46.
Overt the years, it has not been uncommon to see 011180 show up at PokerStars final tables. Event #7 proved to be yet another tournament where the pro showed his stuff. The early going at the final table did not prove to be his luckiest of moments, however. When his stack dwindled down below 150,000, it came time to pick a hand and go with it. 3cAc looked good enough. He came in for a raise and was re-raised by lilholdem954. On a flop of QhKc9h, the players got it all in. 011180's opponent only held A4, but it was good enough, especially when a four fell on the turn. 011180 went out in seventh place, earning $9,759.66.
Itchy was the next to see his chip stack fade to dangerous levels. It was both a good and bad time to pick up pocket queens. He got them all-in versus TheMasterJ33 pre-flop. Again, he was in good shape versus 6sKh. All was well until the river. There fell the king of diamonds, one of just three cards that could've sent Itchy scratching to the rail in sixth place. Itchy's scratch? $13,877.66.
Player lilholdem954 had been the most chatty at the final table and for a while looked like he might be on his way to a WCOOP win. A tough hand tore his stack apart in the late-going. Finally, saying he'd rather be sleeping, he got all his chips in with the best hand AJ vs A6 on a 4AQ4 board. The problem, his opponent TheMasterJ33 had a spade draw that got there on the river, sending lilholdem954 to bed with $18,407.46.
Superbrono had been having a very good game, but four-handed ran into TheMasterJ33's flopped two pair and ended up on the short-stack. Just a couple of minutes later, superbrono got the rest of his chips in on a six-high flop. In the end, he couldn't beat a pair of fives and exited in fourth place, earning $23,472.60
Just a few minutes later, PapaPapsilon was out. Picking up a pair of eights, PapaPapsilon re-raised Cardinal7 pre-flop. He bet and was called on a queen-high flop. When another turn, PapaPapsilon ended up getting raised and making the call. The rest of his chips went in on the river. Cardinal7 showed QcTc and and PapaPapsilon was out in second place. His efforts earned him $28,990.72.
Heads-up, TheMasterJ33 and Cardinal7 cut a chip-count deal that left $20,000 on the table to play for. TheMasterJ33 held a substantial chip lead when play resumed, but Cardinal7 wasn't going to give up on the extra $20,000 that easy. Within ten minutes, Cardinal7 had battled back to nearly even the chip counts. Instead of a quick end to Event #7, the heads-up battle became the kind of fight poker players like to watch. When a king-high flop brought big action, Cardinal7 overtook the chip lead, showing down AK to TheMasterJ33's KQ.
It was in the middle of this fight that true fans of poker could begin to appreciate what limit poker has over no-limit. One hand was not going to decide who would win this event. The limit heads-up struggle was more a boxing match than a no-limit nuclear war. Instead of a player dropping all his chips and hoping the mushroom cloud blew the jetsam his way, the two remaining fighters jabbed, juked, and threw the occasional uppercut. It was poker science instead of poker miracle.
There began a bit of a heads-up clinic. Cardinal7 went to town, applying heavy pressure and the occasional good river to put TheMasterJ33 to bed. Cardinal7 won nearly $68,000 and the WCOOP gold bracelet.
Congratuations to all the winners.
2007 WCOOP Event #7 final table results
Based on finishing order and two-way deal that left $20,000 extra for the winner
1. Cardinal7 (United States) $67,933.49
2. TheMasterJ33 (United States) $53,629.87
3. PapaPapsilon (Germany) $28,990.72
4. superbrono (Slovenia) $23,472.60
5. lilholdem954 (United States) $18,407.46
6. Itchy (United States) $13,877.66
7. 011180 (United States) $9,759.66
8. cfinnn (Canada) $6,053.46
9. Nirvana76 (Netherlands) $3,623.84
Complete 2007 WCOOP Event #7 Results
2007 WCOOP: Event #7 Final Table Report
- 2007 WCOOP: Putting the World in World Championship
- 2007 WCOOP: TheV0id wins $1.2 million in main event
- 2007 WCOOP Main Event Underway
- 2007 WCOOP: Event #22 Final Table Report
- 2007 WCOOP: Event #21 Final Table Report
- 2007 WCOOP: Event #20 Final Table Report
- 2007 WCOOP: Event #19 Final Table Report
- 2007 WCOOP: Event #18 Final Table Report
- 2007 WCOOP: Interview with Event #17 winner, pes4fans
- 2007 WCOOP: Event #17 Final Table Report