WCOOP 2016: Pandemonium! bambooeater wins Heads-Up High Roller ($10,300 NL Heads-Up)

The High Roller field was a veritable seafood buffet for bambooeater, who quickly dispatched three heads-up opponents on the second day of action in WCOOP Event #23 $10,300 NL to win and $162K in cash. In one of the fastest final tables in the history of the WCOOP, bambooeater defeated high-stakes regular SamRostan in a mere 28 hands. The two did not even get out of the first level of play before they rumbled. As Mike Sexton would put it, "SamRostan got caught with his hand in the cookie jar" after bluff-shoving the river with T♠9♥ and absolutely nothing but ten-high against bambooeater, who flopped a pair of Aces with A♠Q♥.

Ever watch a panda eat? It's a simple, yet peaceful affair with the panda slowly masticating on a steady diet of bamboo and other vegetarian options like shoots and stems. Once you extracted this particular panda from the wild and set it down in front of an online poker table, it was an entirely different narrative. The newest WCOOP champion, bambooeater, slings virtual cards under a panda-inspired moniker. However, this was not an adorable panda chowing down on greens. Rather, we witnessed a predator panda savagely feasting on sharks and other aquatic creatures.

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WCOOP Event #23 $10,300 NL Heads-Up High Roller was a two-day affair. This high-end event attracted 36 heads-up specialists. They created a prize pool worth $360,000. Only the top four places paid out with $162,000 set aside for the champion.

Three rounds played out on Day 1 and only eight players made the cut on Day 2... AceSpades11, bambooeater, Ben86, Grination, Oxota, SamRostan, Tim0thee, and philivey2694. The first round on Day 2, or the fourth round overall would determine the unfortunate souls on the money bubble and the lucky four who secured themselves a mn-cash worth $54,000.

ROUND 4: ELITE 8

The fourth round of action featured four heavyweight bouts: SamRostan vs. philivey2694, Tim0thee vs. bambooeater, AceSpade11 vs. Oxota, and Grindation vs. Ben86. SamRostan won his match the fastest, whereas the Grindation/Ben86 fracas lasted the longest.

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BOX OF RAIN: philivey2694 eliminated in 8th place

SamRostan picked off philivey2694 in a mere 12.5 minutes for the fastest match in the semi-finals. Tale of pocket Kings. Early in the match, SamRostan took 3-1 edge after winning a 21K pot with pocket Kings. Only 11 hands later, SamRostan woke up to Kings again and the results were disastrous for philivey2694. Both players were all-in on river. The board read J♣6♣2♦J♠J♦. SamRostan shoved for 25,359 and philivey2694 called all-in for 6,757. philivey2694's 9♣9♦ lost to SamRostan's K♥K♣. That was it for philivey2694, who bounced in eighth place. SamRostan became the first player to advance to the final four and locked up a min-cash of $54,000.

FRIEND OF THE DEVIL: Tim0thee eliminated in 7th place

Short-stacked Tim0thee ran K♠3♠ into bambooeater's 3♥3♣. The board ran out A♦J♠6♣9♠T♣. Tim0thee flopped a spade flush draw but whiffed on the turn and river. Pocket treys held up for bambooeater, who advanced to the final four and locked up a min-cash. Tim0thee headed to the virtual rail in seventh place.

SUGAR MAGNOLIA: AceSpades11 eliminated in 6th place

Oxota had AceSpade11 on the ropes and finally delivered a knockout. AceSpades11 was down to 1,781 and tried to double up with K♣2♥ against Oxota's 6♦5♦. Oxota flopped a flush draw and a gutshot draw. The turn filled in a flush for Oxota, which held up to win when the board finished up A♦7♣3♦2♦9♥. Oxota moved into the semi-finals and secured a min-cash. Meanwhile. AceSpades11 was dunzo in sixth place.

CANDYMAN: Ben 'Ben86' Tollerene eliminated in 5th place

This was by far, the longest match of the quarterfinals and ended up being the money bubble match. The winner got a min-cash and a seat in the semifinals, while the loser busted out as the proverbial Bubble Boy, or gender nonspecific Bubble Person.

Whenever Ben86 opened up a sizable advantage, Grindation lived true to his moniker and went into grind mode to almost pull even. When the match reached Level 8, Ben86 opened up a 3-1 edge. Midway thru that level, Grindation was on the proverbial ropes but Ben86 failed to land the crushing blow. Instead, Grindation doubled up with A♣J♥ against J♠9♠. Ben86 even picked up a gutterball redraw but whiffed on the river.

Within a single level, Ben86 went from the hunter to the hunted. During Level 9, Grindation got down and dirty by smallballing himself back into contention. Grindation dragged a 5K pot to snatch a marginal lead. Two hands later, he rivered trips with 9♦4♦ to beat out Ben86's K♠9♠... who flopped top pair and a flush draw. Grindation faded the flush to win the 10K pot and chipped up 25K.

Grindation went on a mini-rush to win 6 out of 7 hands and chip up to over 36K. The roles had reversed and Ben86 was on the ropes with Grindation seeking a knockout. Did Ben86 literally get saved by the bell? A scheduled break at 12:55pm ET occurred with Ben only left with 3.4K remaining in chips. Alas, the break only postponed the inevitable. On the first hand back, both players got it all-in preflop. Ben86 trailed with K♣8♠ against Grindation's A♠T♦. The board ran out J♠9♦6♦2♣T♥ and Ben86 failed to improve. Grindation won the pot and advanced to the Final Four. Unfortunately for Ben 'Ben86' Tollerene, he missed a shot at winning another WCOOP. Ben86 bubbled out in fifth place and missed the money by one spot.


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ROUND 5: SEMI-FINALS
SamRostan (Macao) vs. Oxata (Canada)
Grindation (Mexico) vs. bambooeater (Mexico)

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The final four were seated and Grindation was back at it after a three-hour heads-up match. Grindation's next opponent was bambooeater, while Oxata and SamRostan squared off. The winners of the fifth round would meet in the championship. This round went rather fast all things considered with both tables clinched by level 3. The final four included Phil 'Grindation' McAllister, Daniel 'Oxota' Dvoress, and Chun 'SamRostan' Lei Zhou. Grindation is a British pro shipped over $2.1 million playing tournaments on PokerStars and he once chopped the Sunday Million back in 2012. SamRostan is a regular in nosebleed games both online and in Macau. Also, Oxota won a SCOOP back in 2014, and he is most known as an instructor from Run It Once.

RIPPLE: Grindation eliminated in 4th place

Grindation didn't have a break between his quarterfinal and semifinal match. The moment Ben86 busted, Grindation was already re-seated against a well-rested bambooeater. The refreshed panda went on the attack early on and landed an early combination to win two sizable pots. bambooeater seized a lead 33K to 7K.

Early during Level 3, bambooeater finished off Grindation. bambooeater limped, Grindation raised to 560, bambooeater reraised to 32,960, Grindation called all-in for 1,138 with K♥Q♦. bambooeater was ahead with A♣2♣. Grindation turned a King to take the lead, but the Ace of diamonds spiked on the river when the board finished up T♥8♣7♠K♠A♦. bambooeater won the pot with a pair of Aces and Grindation was dunzo. The swift win boosted bambooeater into the finals. For a fourth-place finish, Grindation earned $54,000.00.

BROKEDOWN PALACE: Oxota eliminated in 3rd place

Another quickie semi-final match. SamRostan got off to a positive start and chipped up to an early lead with a straight against Oxata's top two pair. SamRostan chipped away with small pots to build a 3-1 edge by the start of the second level.

By the middle of Level 3, SamRostan built up a formidable lead and Oxota was in trouble. Super-shorty Oxota shoved for his last 1,682 with A♥2♠ and SamRostan insta-called with A♦Q♠. A Queen on the flop solidified the lead for SamRostan. The board ran out Q♣7♠5♦7♦4♦ and SamRostan won the pot with Queens up. Oxota never improved and went busto in third place, which paid out $54,000. SamRostan won another match and headed to the finals against bambooeater.

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ROUND 6: CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS
bambooeater (Mexico) vs. SamRostan (Macau)

Both players restarted with 20,000 stacks and they played with 20-minute blind levels.

TRUCKIN': SamRostan eliminated in 2nd place; bambooeater wins High Roller crown

With blinds at 50/100, you didn't think these two would drop the gloves and rumble so early into their match. In the immortal words of Rodney Dangerfield, "These two mooks were not effing around!" This heads-up match lasted a mere 28 hands. They did not even get out of the first level before one of them landed the fatal blow.

Over the first 25 hands, only two pots were in excess of 5K. Going into the final hand, bambooeater held a minor lead with 21.3K to 18.7K. Just three hands earlier, bambooeater dragged a 6.3K pot to take the lead.

Here's what went down on the final hand... SamRostan opened with a raise to 265, bambooeater reraised to 1,188, SamRostan four-bet to 2,750, and bambooeater only called. The flop was A♣5♦2♥ and bambooeater check-called a bet of 1,550 from SamRostan. The turn was the J♥ and bambooeater check-called a 3,750 bet from SamRostan. Fireworks ensued on the river when the 5♣ spiked. bambooeater checked, SamRostan shoved for 10,648, and bambooeater called.

SamRostan: T♠9♥
bambooeater: A♠Q♥

SamRostan was firing away with air, whereas bambooeater flopped top pair and let SamRostan bet into him on the flop, turn, and river. SamRostan busted out after bluff-shoving the river. bambooeater won the pot, the match, and the tournament.

For a second-place finish, Macau's SamRostan earned $90,000.

Congrats to bambooeater for the quickie victory in the finals. First place paid out $162,000 for bambooeater.

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WCOOP-23 ($10,300 NLHE [High-Roller, Heads-Up]) results
Total entries: 36
Prize pool: $360,000
Places paid: 4

1. bambooeater (Mexico) $162,000.00
2. SamRostan (Macau) $90,000.00
3. Oxota (Mexico) $54,000.00
4. Grindation (Mexico) $54,000.00

Head over to the WCOOP home page for a full schedule of events and find out who is in contention for Player of the Series.


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Pauly McGuire is the author of Lost Vegas and a freelance contributor to PokerStars.

Pauly McGuire
@PokerStars in Online