WCOOP Event #12: The Pros Have It! Randers Switches it Up to Collect the Mixed Hold'Em Title

No-Limit Hold'Em is the game that inspired and carried the poker boom throughout the past decade, but it has been the poker variations, even within the game of hold'em, that have kept players intrigued. Most poker players thrive on the challenge of the game, and sometimes that includes learning new skills and mastering different aspects of it. Short-handed hold'em games suit those players just fine, and mixing no-limit and limit together has become a popular combination.

Players ask and they shall receive from PokerStars. That brings us to the Mixed Hold'Em 6-max event at the WCOOP. A total of 1,496 players signed up to switch it up every fifteen minutes - from no-limit to limit and back. And that field of players, buying in for $320 each, created a comfortable prize pool of $448,800, of which the first place finisher would receive $73,603.20.

As many of these WCOOP events do, the Mixed Hold'em tournament began with Team PokerStars Pros scattered throughout the field. Not only are players typically excited to compete against some of the best in the world, but the railbirds come out in force to type messages in the chat boxes to those pros. Some of the names in the field today were Barry "barryg1" Greenstein, Hevan "RaiNKhAN" Khan, Isabelle "NoMercy" Mercier, Victor Ramdin, Tom McEvoy, Steve Paul-Ambrose, Chris "Money800" Moneymaker, Luca Pagano, Katja Thater, Joe Hachem, Marcin Horecki, Humberto Brenes, Gavin Griffin, Noah "Exclusive" Boeken, Dario Minieri, and Alexandre Gomes. Whew!

Some members of the group, as odds would have it, were eliminated early on in the tournament. Minieri, Mercier, and Paul-Ambrose were among them, and following closely behind were Hachem, Pagano, and Boeken. But on the other end of the spectrum, Katja Thater started off well....and continued well. Before the tournament reached the four-hour point, she had accumulated more than 30,000 in chips.

Meanwhile, her fellow Team PokerStars Pros were falling by the virtual wayside. The pocket aces of Humberto Brenes were taken out with an opponent's set, and he left in 432nd place. Victor Ramdin's 9-7 suited found another player's pocket queens, and he was out in 431st. Tom McEvoy followed in 373rd, and Chris Moneymaker was flushed out by a flush in 273rd. Vicky Coren followed when her A-J wasn't good enough to stand up to 5-2, so she settled for 242nd place.

Thater kept up her run, finally catapulting over the 100,000 mark and taking over the top spot on the leaderboard. But it was too good to last, and two significant pots - pocket sevens versus a straight, then pocket sevens against pocket aces. Sevens had to leave the repertoire. Even with that adjustment, she was chipped down to critical level and busted shortly after midnight eastern time. Thater finished in 96th place with a $942.48 payout. And she was left to rest before playing in Day 1B of the EPT in Barcelona later that day.

By the time the tournament found itself with 30 finalists and the field slimming rather quickly, something became obvious. Upon researching the players, many of them were found to have previous WCOOP cashes in this 2008 series. It only went to show that the WCOOP is a project for many PokerStars regulars, and as the saying goes, it is difficult to play just one.

As the final table loomed, play slowed...tremendously. Finally, more than ten hours after the start of the tournament, Filthy999 unwillingly did the honors and went to the rail in seventh place, allowing the last six players standing to take their virtual seats at one last table. The table was set as follows:

Seat 1: 011180 (1,668,745 in chips)
Seat 2: Punty (633,017 in chips)
Seat 3: Randers (516,729 in chips)
Seat 4: MUHoosh33 (1,453,441 in chips)
Seat 5: Gorrioncillo (1,251,913 in chips)
Seat 6: Snout19 (460,155 in chips)

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Snout19 entered the final table as the short stack but had enough to move around a bit. To that end, Snout19 lost chips, then doubled up, then tripled up, but finally succumbed to the big stacks in his midst. Down to only 22,950 in chips, he was all-in in a four-way pot until MUHoosh33 pushed two others out of the way. MUHoosh33 showed 3-5 for two pair on the 5-9-A-3 board, and the all-in player had nothing but J-T. The jack on the river wasn't good enough, and Snout19 was eliminated in sixth place with $14,361.60.

It wasn't until about thirty minutes later that another player would be forced out of the action. Punty was one of the shorter stacks and never seemed to gain momentum of any significance. Down to 493,137 on the final hand, Punty shoved it in response to a raise from MUHoosh33. Nothing helped Punty, as had been the story of his final table, and fifth place would have to suffice, with $22,440.00 to ease the pain.

Four-handed play began in the 57th level of the night with 011180 as the massive chip leader, sitting with over three million in chips. Gorrioncillo was the shortest of the four with 660,368, and it was very shortly thereafter that he would choose to move with it. The game was limit hold'em with blinds at 40,000 and 80,000, and Gorrioncillo got into the middle of a battle with the aggressive MUHoosh33. Betting was capped pre-flop, then after the 6d-2c-10c flop, and Gorrioncillo was all-in after the 2h on the turn. Gorrioncillo showed Kd-10s for top pair, but it didn't compare to the pocket queens of MUHoosh33. Gorrioncillo was out in fourth place with $30,742.80 to show for it.

With talks of a deal coming and going like players in a WCOOP tournament, the three survivors would play it out, despite the hour of the morning - approximately 8:45am ET. It was Randers who squashed the deal-making process by asking for more than his chip count dictated, and when the other players balked, play continued. Randers was the short stack but resumed play with a vengeance, quickly chipping up toward the two million mark. Finally, it was at the hands of the player with the newfound aggression that MUHoosh33 would meet his tournament end. MUHoosh33 eventually had to push with K-4 of clubs, but Randers had him dominated with A-9, and that ace high won the pot. MUHoosh33 was forced into third place with $39,718.80.

The two final players immediately talked of a deal. Aaron "011180" Kanter had 3,476,069 in chips, which came to $61,841.66 in cash, and Randers had 2,507,931 in chips for a payout of $59,617.54. The negotiations consisted of Randers wanting an even $60,000, which 011180 ultimately agreed to. Play then continued for the $6,000 set aside and the WCOOP bracelet.

Again, Randers came out swinging and worked his way into the chip lead. And after more than thirty minutes of heads-up action, the final hand happened. 01118 began the raising and 525,000 from each player was in before the flop. The first three cards came 8h-7s-4h, and Randers pushed all-in with Ad-6d. 011180 called with As-5h. The turn and river fell Ah and 2c respectively, and Randers won the tournament in dramatic fashion.

Aaron "011180" Kanter finished Event #12 in second place with $61,459.20.

Randers won the Mixed Hold'Em tournament, $66,000 in prize money, and the WCOOP bracelet. Congratulations!

All of the details of the exciting 12th event in the 2008 WCOOP, check out the $320 Mixed Hold'Em Live Blog.

Jen Newell
@PokerStars in WCOOP