TCOOP 2017: The Cooker whips up a second COOP win in Event #30, $82 Limit O/8 (8-Max, Turbo)

With their massive fields and reputation for drawing poker's best and brightest to the virtual felt, PokerStars COOP events - those tournaments held during the World Championship, Spring Championship, and Turbo Championship of Online Poker - are all exceptionally difficult to win. Of the three series, the toughest to earn a win in has to be TCOOP, with its unforgiving turbo blind structures. Three different players came to the final table of TCOOP 2017's Event #30 looking to earn their second career COOP victory after previously winning in one of the other series. In the end it was Canada's The Cooker, who earned a SCOOP win back in 2012, who locked up the victory and moved just one WCOOP win away from joining the Triple COOP winners' club.

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Event #30, an $82 8-max Limit Omaha Hi/Lo tournament with five-minute levels, drew 683 players. Combined, they re-entered after busting from the tourney 162 times, building a total prize pool of $63,375. The top 103 finishers cashed, and first place was scheduled for $10,651.14.

It took five hours of play to take the tournament down to the bubble. Within minutes of returning from the hourly break, Russia's wadzon was knocked out in ninth place, setting up this final table lineup:

Seat 1: The Cooker (1,509,371 in chips)
Seat 2: krakukra (674,343 in chips)
Seat 3: all191291in (469,700 in chips)
Seat 4: Creatiff111 (701,884 in chips)
Seat 5: verbena777 (651,658 in chips)
Seat 6: ftgiants (690,523 in chips)
Seat 7: skilly (1,807,222 in chips)
Seat 8: Exzik (1,945,299 in chips)

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With the stakes at 80K/160K, there was no room for error at this final table. Even the leader held just 12 big bets, leaving the order of exit up in the air.

After six split pots in the early going and a few double-ups for other players, Russia's verbena777, a finalist in Event #15 of this series, would be the first to go. verbena777 raised to 240K on the button with A♣ A♦ 9♦ 7♦ and called for 11K more when skilly raised in the big blind with Q♥ J♠ 8♦ 4♣. A favorite before the flop, verbena777 lost out in eighth when the 9♠ 3♠ Q♣ T♣ 5♣ board made a queen-high straight for skilly and left no possible low.

The following hand saw ftgiants raise 10K on the button to get all-in for 170K total, holding A♦ J♦ 5♣ 4♥. skilly and Exzik (a finalist in the same TCOOP 2017 event as verbena777) both came along from the blinds, but skilly folded after the K♠ 6♠ K♣ prompted a bet from Exzik, who held A♣ K♦ 7♣ 4♦ for three kings. The 9♦ turn and Q♦ changed nothing, and ftgiants left in seventh.

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all19129in survived all-in on the next two hands in a row thanks to split pots, but the third time wasn't the charm. The Russian player ended up all-in for 328K on the button after a cutoff-seat raise from WCOOP 2015 8-Game Championship winner krakura. skilly came along from the big blind and led for 160K on the 9♦ A♠ 4♣. krakura called and then checked behind on the T♥ turn to bring the 4♦ river. skilly check-called 320K there but mucked when krakura turned over K♠ 6♥ 5♠ 4♥ for trip fours. all19129in mucked as well and departed in sixth.

The Cooker scooped a 1.2M-chip pot with A♣ A♠ J♠ 9♥ three hands later after turning a set of aces, winning against krakura. Then Exzik earned another knockout on the following hand after raising before the K♣ 3♣ T♠ flop and then again on the Q♦ turn card to put Creatiff111, a WCOOP 2014 PLO winner, all-in from the small blind. Creatiff111's A♣ K♠ 8♣ 5♦ had a pair of kings and the nut flush draw, while Exzik's A♠ J♥ 5♠ 2♣ had turned a Broadway straight. The 8♥ river was a miss, and Creatiff111 left in fifth.

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Amazingly enough, the next 41 hands passed without a knockout despite the sky-high stakes. Other than Exzik, everyone at the table had to survive being all-in at least once. Tops among them was skilly, who split eight pots and managed one scoop to stay in the hunt. The Cooker was the last player to survive during this stretch, taking down a 2M-chip pot on the 320K/640K level with Q♠ Q♣ T♣ 9♣ against krakura's A♥ K♣ 6♥ 3♥ to leave the latter with 1M chips.

The next hand saw The Cooker picked up A♣ K♣ K♠ J♠ and raise to 640K from the small blind. krakura called with Q♥ Q♠ 9♠ 3♣ and then raised all-in on the 7♦ 6♣ J♥ flop. Looking for one of the last two queens in the deck, krakura got the 4♠ and 4♦ instead and exited in fourth.

skilly fell on the next hand, and again The Cooker was the beneficiary. All-in before the A♦ 2♣ 9♣ flop with A♠ J♦ 5♥ 4♣ in hand, skilly was drawing to a strong low and had plenty of two-pair outs against The Cooker's A♥ Q♠ 7♠ 3♥. But even having a third of the remaining deck in play couldn't save skilly; the turn and river came 2♦-9♠, and skilly was out in third.

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The heads-up phase of the tournament would last just 12 hands, but the players made sure to split up the remaining prize pool before getting too far into their match. The Cooker's two-big-bet lead got a slightly larger share than Exzik, and with $1,267.50 lef ton the table for the winner, the game resumed.

The Cooker earned the first scoop of heads-up play after calling Exzik's button raise in the big blind with 9♥ 4♥ 3♣ 2♠. The Cooker check-called 320K on the 8♣ T♦ A♥ flop with the nut low draw and a backdoor flush draw, then check-raised when the Q♥ turn made the flush possibility real. Exzik called there and then again for 640K more on the 6♥ but mucked, giving The Cooker's heart flush the pot.

Exzik survived one split pot and then ended up all-in two hands later with A♠ A♦ 6♥ 3♥. The Cooker raised the button with K♠ K♦ 8♣ 4♦ and then raised again after making a full house on the Q♣ Q♦ K♣ flop. An ace could have kept Exzik alive, but the 5♠ and 8♥ came instead to close out this latest TCOOP event.

The heads-up deal gave Exzik a total prize of $8,620.53. Meanwhile The Cooker earned the extra cash on the table for a $9,759.76 total prize, plus a second career COOP victory. Congratulations to both players on their performances!

TCOOP-30: $82 Limit Omaha Hi/Lo [8-Max, Turbo] results
Entrants: 845 (683 entries, 162 re-entries)
Total prize pool: $63,375
Places paid: 103

1. The Cooker (Canada) $9,759.76*
2. Exzik (Ukraine) $8,620.53*
3. skilly (United Kingdom) $5,609.04
4. krakura (Russia) $4,070.48
5. Creatiff111 (Russia) $2,953.94
6. all191291in (Russia) $2,143.67
7. ftgiants (Brazil) $1,555.66
8. verbena777 (Russia) $1,128.94
* - denotes results of a heads-up deal that left $1,267.50 for the winner

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Jason Kirk is a Freelance Contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in TCOOP