TCOOP 2014: James "Andy McLEOD" Obst joins Triple COOP Club with win in Event #40 ($215 HORSE)
It was never really in doubt that Andy McLEOD was a brilliant payer, but if anyone was in any doubt today he demonstrated why.
Over the course of 21 minutes I and 413 others watched Andy McLEOD, better known as James Obst, obliterate a final table that could have gone to anyone, but which he seemed to control even before it began. His reward is a first TCOOP title, but more importantly the $18,772 first prize makes him only the second player ever to become a Triple Coop winner - with TCOOP, SCOOP and WCOOP titles, and all just two days after Shawn "buck21" Buchanan became the first. It's got to be one of the most exclusive clubs in poker.
If Buchanan and Obst are looking for things to chat about as they await the production of club blazers and ties, they could start with the emphatic way in which they each secured their entry.
Sometimes `OOP finals can be dreary affairs, let's not kid ourselves. But tonight, or this morning if you're in Oz, Obst injected some excitement into things as this latest TCOOP series heads towards its finale. Up, then down, he then finished up again, handling the big stack - which amounted at times to fewer than ten big blinds - like a deep stacked chip leader would, at great pains to cause everyone else great pain.
The final table of Event 40 begins
It's worth looking back to the period of play before the final.
With two tables left Obst set about digging his feet in, amassing not the biggest but the second biggest stack, behind only Zbad as play went hand-for-hand. Then, as the best players do, he began calling a series of all-ins when he thought it prudent to do so. None of which seemed to work, and he went from one of the favourites to one of the short stacks, this period of play reducing his stack from 500,000 to 140,000 at the start of the final. It lined up as follows.
Seat 1: fuddebuf (Denmark) 290,628
Seat 2: Pendall (Russia) 229,018
Seat 3: bastet2004 (Germany) 158,820
Seat 4: James "Andy McLEOD" Obst (Australia) 140,491
Seat 5: Bimbostix (United Kingdom) 181,235
Seat 6: Maicoshaa (Russia) 446,320
Seat 7: Zbad (Zbad) 564,348
Seat 8: Pauli elTopo (Germany) 209,140
With the final taking just 21 minutes it's no surprise that things moved along in a blur, starting with chip leader Zbad moving up to more than 800,000 after only the first hand. But as the game switched to limit Omaha Hi/Lo, and with blinds already at 50k/100k, it was difficult to understand how any player could find time to think. Each was short and it would take nerves of steel and perfect timing to succeed.
All managed to endure the first level, but as the game switched to limit Razz, with a big blind of 120,000, the departures began, preceded by the hand that would get Obst back into the game, and send fuddebuf out.
Reduced now to a mere 137 chips fuddebuf moved in for his pile of loose change. The results were predictable, bastet2004 sending fuddebuf to the rail with a nine-high low.
A minute later Pendall would follow when he got his chips in against Obst and Zbad. The latter would fold midway through the hand, but Obst's T-7-6-2-A was always ahead of Pendall who couldn't dethrone his own hand's troublesome king.
James "Andy McLEOD" Obst
Now it was a case of asking how long this final could realistically last. With the game now Stud, the answer came three minutes later for bastet2004, who shoved, getting a call from SuperNova Maicoshaa who would make a pair of jacks on third street, while bastet2004, a former SCOOP winner, couldn't improve on a pair of sevens.
He'd led at the start, but Zbad underwent a dramatic fall and reduced to fewer than 100,000 chips, would be out next when he picked his moment to shove.
Two minutes later it was the turn of Bimbostix to join him. With the game now limit hold'em, Bimbostix had shoved with ace-ten off-suit which Obst called with jack-seven off. The seven on the flop was enough to send the chips to Obst, who used them in part to despatch Maicoshaa just a minute later.
There was clear water between Obst and Pauli elTopo going into the heads up:
Obst - 1.8 million
Pauli elTopo - 661,000
By now everything Obst did seemed to inspire a degree of awe, as if everything was pre-ordained. Obst was composed, rational and completely in control, even though his advantage amounted to only three or four big blinds.
For his part Pauli elTopo was no slouch. An accomplished player in his own right, the German set about trying to level the playing field, and almost got there -- first securing first a double up, shoving in a limit Omaha hand, before drawing all-square. But Obst didn't flinch and, as the game changed to Razz, he simply picked his spot and acted accordingly.
It's a remarkable achievement for Obst, who has dazzled in live events as well as online, where his previous wins in SCOOP and WCOOP gave his name a familiar ring in high stakes circles. That his title came in a HORSE event, against former `OOP winners and finalists among the last eight makes it all the more memorable.
He may not be the first to win the Triple COOP, but like Buchanan 48 hours before him, he is worthy of the accolades which will now surely follow - another feel-good winner who proves not only how much talent there is in the game, but how much of the stuff is required to succeed.
Congratulations to him on a thrilling victory. The full results are below:
TCOOP-40: $215 HORSE (Turbo)
Prize pool: $98,800.00
Places paid: 64
1. James "Andy McLEOD" Obst (Australia) $18,772.00
2. Pauli elTopo (Germany) $13,832.00
3. Maicoshaa (Russia) $10,136.88
4. Bimbostix (United Kingdom) $7,410.00
5. Zbad (Russia) $4,940.00
6. bastet2004 (Germany) $3,458.00
7. Pendall (Russia) $2,470.00
8. fuddebuf (Denmark) $1,976.00
Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.