WCOOP Event #11: 92848 outlasts field of 1,733 to claim title

Six ways to win, a thousand ways to lose. That is probably the most succint way to describe omaha. At its core, omaha is a game of the nuts, a game of draws and a game of small advantages. What distinguishes the top omaha players from the recreational players is a sharp eye for spotting these slight advantages and the willingness to press them - even if it means that all of the chips go into the middle without a made hand. When things go wrong, however, unimproved aces are cracked, low draws are counterfeited and runner-runner something-or-other sends you back to the rail.

What is it that attracts people to the game of omaha? Perhaps it is the optimism that is inherent in opportunity. Opportunity created by four hole cards instead of two or having 17 outs to the nuts (sometimes twice). Perhaps it is the satisfaction in pulling down three-quarters of a pot, while your opponent only gets one-quarter. That oft elusive scoop. The pleasure in announcing "nut nut." Perhaps it the possibility that it isn't really a thousand ways to lose, but a thousand ways to win.

Event #11 $320 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo of the PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker kicked off with 1,733 entrants. Some of the names are already familiar to you: Alexandre "Allingomes" Gomes, Barry "barryg1" Greenstein, Chris "Money800" Moneymaker, Dario Minieri, Gavin Griffin, Hevad "RaiNKhAN" Khan, Humberto "Humberto B." Brenes, Isabelle "NoMercy" Mercier, Joe Hachem, Katja Thater, Luca Pagano, Marcin "Goral" Horecki, Steve "stevejpa" Paul-Ambrose, Tom McEvoy and Victor Ramdin. One of the names, familiar or not, will be forever known as the WCOOP Event #11 champion. To go along with the title was $88,383 in cash and a WCOOP bracelet.

The final table was set when the following players took their seats:

Seat 1: lucasino (1,278,017 in chips)
Seat 2: gillete (471,703 in chips)
Seat 3: 92848 (1,283,552 in chips)
Seat 4: The Omaholic (1,850,554 in chips)
Seat 5: a_zuzolo (423,716 in chips)
Seat 6: astarisborn (1,061,792 in chips)
Seat 7: Fedigan221 (168,409 in chips)
Seat 8: fazy4 (160,965 in chips)
Seat 9: A_Ivanovich (233,292 in chips)

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First to the rail was Fedigan221. As the second shortest stack at the final table, Fedigan221 limped from the cutoff and was called by A_Ivanovich in the small blind. lucasino checked his option from the big blind. Was a short-stack double-up in store for Fedigan221, or would one of the blinds catch good in an unraised pot? lucasino bet 60,000 after the 2d-5c-Jc flop, and Fedigan 221 raised all-in to 213,409. lucasino made the call with top pair King kicker and a King-high flush draw. Fedigan221 flopped two pair and an open-ended straight draw with a low draw. The Jd on the turn gave lucasino trip Jacks to go along with his flush draw. The Tc fell on the river, giving lucasino not only a flush, but a runner-runner full house. Fedigan221's 9th place finish was worth $7,278.60.

Shortly after Fedigan221's elimination, the other short-stack met his demise in a battle of the blinds. astarisborn completed from the small blind and fazy4 checked his option. The flop came 8s-As-7s and astarisborn checked. fazy4 bet 30,000, astarisborn min-raised to 60,000 and fazy4 called. When the 7d hit on the turn, astarisborn led out for 90,000 and fazy4 called again. The 5d was the river card, prompting astarisborn to fire 240,000. fazy4 called all-in for less, showing Ad-7c-6d-6s for sevens full of Aces and an 8-7 low. astarisborn showed 8d-8h-4s-2c for eights full of sevens and a 7-5 low, beating out fazy4 in both directions. And with that, the first two eliminations took place at the hands of the big blinds who saw a flop for free. fazy4 collected $10,398 for the 8th place finish, but astarisborn collected a pot that propelled him to 1.5 million in chips.

The next player to go was A_Ivanovich, who led the field throughout the latter stages of the tournament but reached the final table as the third shortest stack. A_Ivanovich potted pre-flop from middle position, leaving himself only 82,764 behind. The rest of his chips went into the middle on the flop of 2s-8s-2c. A_Ivanovich held Ac-Qh-6s-5d for overcards and low possibilities. 92848, his sole opponent in the hand, held As-4d-4c-3d for two pair with the nut low draw. The last two cards were Th-8h, eliminating the possibility of a low. A_Ivanovich's 7th place finish brought him $15,597.

lucasino, who came to the final table third in chips, was sent to the rail in 6th place for a $20,796 cash. Pre-flop, lucasino raised from the cutoff to 140,000, and 92848 re-raised enough to put lucasino all-in for his last 438,202. lucasino picked a bad time to take a stand with an Ace in his hand (Js-Ac-Qh-8c), as 92848 already had two of them (Ah-Qd-As-Td). Throughout the tournament, we noted several big hands where Aces were cracked, but lucasino could not pull off the same feat even though he flopped top pair top kicker to go along with his emergency low draw. The board ran out 3c-Jd-7h-Ad-7c, giving 92848 Aces full and a 916,404 chip pot. 92848 moved to second on the leaderboard behind astarisborn.

The Omaholic, fresh off a $1,256.64 cash in Event #12 Mixed Hold'em, collected an even bigger cash in Event #11 for his 5th place finish - $25,995. After a raise from a_zuzolo to 120,000 and a call from astarisborn, The Omaholic re-raised from the big blind to the tune of a half million. a_zuzolo folded but astarisborn made the call. The Omaholic moved all-in for 171,800 after the Ks-Th-Jd flop, and astarisborn looked him up holding Ad-Kd-Qs-4c for the nut straight. The Omaholic held As-4s-2h-2d for a pair of deuces. He would need to catch perfect runner-runner to survive, but the 9c-7h on the turn and river weren't those perfect cards. The 1,483,600-chip pot won by astarisborn gave him a commanding chip lead over the four remaining players. He had 4,421,792, which dwarfed the next highest stack of 1,193,828 held by 92848.

Having both a monster chip stack and the button, astarisborn raised pot to 175,000. gillete then re-raised to 575,000 out of the small blind. After another raise from astarisborn, this time to 1,000,000, gillete made the call and was all-in before the flop. Based on the heavy pre-flop betting, we weren't surprised that one of the players had Aces. And based on all of the cracked Aces that we witnessed throughout the day, we weren't surprised when that player's Aces went down to a turned two pair. The hole cards of the players were as follows:

astarisborn: Tc-3h-2h-As
gillete: Ah-4h-Qc-Ad

The flop was Th-8c-6c, giving astarisborn a pair of tens and the nut low draw to gillete's Aces and worse low draw. The 2c on the turn gave astarisborn two pair and made his nut low. The 7c fell on the river, which was of no help to gillete and he was eliminated in 4th place for $36,393.

With astarisborn now up to 5,120,728, it put pressure on 92848 and a_zuzolo to make moves to accumulate chips. 92848 had 1,193,828 in chips to a_zuzolo's 617,444. a_zuzolo's bid fell short in a battle against astarisborn, but he collected $49,650.45 for 3rd place. a_zuzolo raised pot (175,000) from the button and astarisborn re-potted (575,000) from the small blind. a_zuzolo then moved in for 617,444 total and got the call. a_zuzolo showed Kh-Ks-9s-4d and was ahead of astarisborn's As-9h-8d-2c. That all changed when the flop came Qd-Ah-Qh, giving astarisborn Aces-up. a_zuzolo had no chance at a low and needed to catch one of two remaining Kings or two runners to make a straight. The last two cards were 5s-3s, which were of no help.

At the start of heads-up play, 92848 faced a 2/1 disadvantage. But after 92848 won a 1,900,000-chip pot without going to showdown, the two players were almost even in chips. The next big pot went to 92848, giving him a 4.3 million to 2.6 million chip lead. 92848 called on the button, and astarisborn checked. astarisborn check-called 92848's 100,000-chip bet after the Kd-Kh-2c flop and took the lead by betting 300,000 when the Ah hit on the turn. The Ac was dealt on the river, and astarisborn check-called 92848's bet of 600,000. astarisborn mucked when 92848 flipped over 2s-2h-6c-7d for a flopped full house.

astarisborn battled back to almost even in chips, but 92848 would make another big strike for a 3,240,000-chip pot. astarisborn raised to 180,000 on the button, and 92848 re-raised to 540,000. Both players saw a flop of 9d-2s-Kc. 92848 check-raised all-in after astarisborn bet pot (1,080,000), forcing astarisborn to fold. 92848 had an almost 3/1 advantage after that hand.

At this point in the tournament, 92848 started to apply significant pressure on astarisborn, forcing him to fold several hands in a row pre-flop. astarisborn was eventually whittled down to 628,688 in chips and was all-in pre-flop holding Ad-Td-7s-5s. 92848 held Ac-Kh-5h-4c. The board came 2h-Qh-2s-Tc-5c, making no low possible. 92848 made two pair, fives and deuces, but was beat by astarisborn's tens and fives. astarisborn doubled up to 1,237,376. Despite his failure to eliminate astarisborn, 92848 still had a considerable advantage with 5,694,624 in chips.

astarisborn was never able to recover the chip lead and eventually succumbed to 92848's pressure in the following hand. astarisborn raised pot to 180,000, followed by a re-pot by 92848 to 540,000. astarisborn went all-in for a total of 1,417,376 holding As-8s-7d-2h. 92848 had Ac-9s-6d-2s making it a very close hand. The board ran out 4d-Ad-Jc-Ah-Td with no low possible. Both players made trip Aces, but 92848 had the better kicker with his 9 to astarisborn's 8. Over 15 hours of omaha hi-lo action, it all came down to a single pip.

WCOOP Event 11 Final Hand.jpg

astarisborn's 2nd place finish was worth $66,547.20.

For first place, 92848 added $88,383.00 to his bankroll and a WCOOP bracelet to his wrist.

Congratulations 92848!

2008 WCOOP Event #11 Final Table Results

1. 92848 $88,383.00
2. astarisborn $66,547.20
3. a_zuzolo $49,650.45
4. gillete $36,393.00
5. The Omaholic $25,995.00
6. lucasino $20,796.00
7. A_Ivanovich $15,597.00
8. fazy4 $10,398.00
9. Fedigan221 $7,278.60

For coverage of Event #11 from start to finish, go to the Event #11 Live Blog. Action picks back up later today with Event #13 $215 No-Limit Hold'em w/Rebuys at 2:30pm ET and Event #14 $320 7-Card Stud at 4:30pm ET. To find out what other events are coming up in the WCOOP schedule, check out the WCOOP homepage. There is still time to qualify for the remaining events, and WCOOP satellites are running all the time.

CK
@PokerStars in WCOOP