WCOOP Event #14: Mildred53 wins with patience, aggression and some timely draws
Many players would say that no-limit hold'em is a game of patience and cunning. Of those that have also played seven-card stud for any appreciable amount of time (and given the relative disdain that most players have for stud, you might have difficulty finding players who admit to playing both), it's without a doubt that they would say seven-card stud requires even more patience and is, in certain ways, more taxing than no-limit hold'em. Board-reading and tracking dead cards are two critical skills for any seven-card stud player, and performing either at a high level can be mentally draining for just a few hours. Since there's no flop that can turn rags into the nuts after just one round of betting, waiting for premium hands takes on a stronger significance in stud than it does in no-limit hold'em, which can also drive action players crazy. Now imagine trying to harness the right amount of patience, while reading opponents' boards and tracking dead cards at a world-class level. Once that picture is firmly in your mind, imagine trying to do all of those things for almost fourteen hours.
That's what 627 players set out to do in WCOOP Event #14, $320 Seven-Card Stud. In doing so, they created a prize pool of $188,100, with just shy 18% of that money -- a total of $33,387.75 -- going to the winner. That's not a bad return on a $320 investment, so much so that the usual smattering of Team PokerStars Pros turned up to try their hand at the event. Victor Ramdin, Barry "barryg1" Greenstein, Andre "aakkari" Akkari, Steve "stevejpa" Paul-Ambrose, Hevad "RainNKhaN" Khan, and Isabelle "NoMercy" Mercier all entered the field and were early departures.
Tom McEvoy spent part of his tournament pontificating with railbirds about luck, but none of it was on his side. He went out in the middle of the field after failing to improve upon split aces and losing to Mildred53's diamond flush. Remember that name.
Alex Kravchenko made a strong showing early, but was crippled with open aces after Caleros made open sevens and improved to a full house, kings full of sevens, by sixth street. Kravchenko went out a bit later in 193rd place. Gavin Griffin went the deepest of all of the Team PokerStars Pros, going out in 103rd place. With his bust-out, it was certain that none of the Team PokerStar Pros would make the money, never mind take down WCOOP Event #14.
The money bubble burst approximately seven hours after play began, when player "sascos" was eliminated in 97th place with split jacks. losing to the six-high straight of "marcel_ve". Play proceeded at a tidy pace from that point, with the field slowly reducing itself table by table. When Gunslinger3, a player who had rocketed to the top of the chip counts in Hour 8, and stayed near the top through Hours 9 and 10, was eliminated at 4:30am in ninth place with buried tens that never improved, losing to fly high989's rivered two pair, eights and sevens, the final table was set.
Seat 1: SanibelSanta (348,540 chips)
Seat 2: AGame18 (52,540 chips)
Seat 3: tiffaniejoy (415,010 chips)
Seat 4: yhcaep (97,190 chips)
Seat 5: lilletrold (171,745 chips)
Seat 6: Mildred53 (421,450 chips)
Seat 7: fly high989 (235,015 chips)
Seat 8: adsonvonmelk (755,510 chips)
Almost as soon as play started at the final table, a player went out. It wasn't even the shortest stack, AGame18, who came into the final table with just two-and-half big bets in his stack. It was lilletrold, a player who had been near the top of the counts for a long stretch of the tournament. He took a few small hits and then went to war on sixth street of a hand against SanibelSanta. lilletrold had made two pairs, queens up, SanibelSanta wasn't about to be bullied by lilletrold, having made his own two pair, kings up. All of lilletrold's chips wound up in the middle, and they didn't come out again when he couldn't find a full house on the river. He was the first player eliminated from the final table, going out in eighth place and earning $3,291.75.
After that, it was AGame18's turn. He managed to chip up a little bit at the start of final table play, but came out super aggressive on the first hand after the eleventh-hour break. He completed the bring-in and then three-bet when tiffaniejoy raised him. It was an imaginative play for someone holding only Kd-5s / Ah, but it backfired when tiffaniejoy called the three-bet, called again on fourth street, and raised on fifth street. Having made a pair of fives at that point, Kd-5s / Ah-5h-4d, and with so many chips in the middle, AGame18 must have felt compelled to go with his hand. tiffaniejoy was in the lead with 9c-9h / 8h-Td-Jd and caught a queen on sixth street to make an unbeatable queen-high straight. That sent AGame18 out of the tournament, $3,762 richer for the experience.
SanibelSanta, the player who had eliminated lilletrold first from the final table, went out next in sixth place. He started with an excellent hand, two aces in the hole, and managed to improve upon them on sixth street when he caught a second pair. The only problem for SanibelSanta was that sixth street was the street where chip-leader adsonvonmelk filled an open-ended straight. Down to just four outs on the river, SanibelSanta bricked and was eliminated in sixth place with a payday of $4,702.50.
After SanibelSanta's elimination, five players remained: tiffaniejoy, yhcaep, Mildred53, fly high989 and adsonvonmelk. Although adsonvonmelk retained a clear chip lead, the chip counts were bunched together, ensuring that there would be a fair amount of play before the next elimination occurred. After the shortest stack, yhcaep, chipped up with a few small pots and the largest stack, adsonvonmelk, chipped down by losing a few small pots, it seemed like the tournament might go on until well after sunrise on the east coast of the United States. But then adsonvonmelk came storming back, starting a hand with rolled-up queens and getting yhcaep to chase him all the way through showdown. That loss left yhcaep with just 70,000 chips, two-and-a-half big bets at the limits of 15,000 / 30,000 / 1,500. He finally took his chances with 4c-7c / 3s, and was called by tiffaniejoy, who didn't have a stellar hand either, showing 4s-6s / Ac. tiffaniejoy improved to a seven-high straight when all the cards ran out. It was a winning hand, as yhcaep could only muster up a pair of treys. He was eliminated in fifth place, collecting $5,643 in the process.
By the end of Level 24, tiffaniejoy had taken over the chip lead, with almost 1.2 million in chips. She was followed by adsonvonmelk, with 742,255, Mildred53, with 403,850, and fly high989, with 166,460. On the first hand of Level 25, Mildred53 made a very well-disguised quad queens with three queens in the hole to take a big pot off of tiffaniejoy and even out the chip counts of the top three players. This would not be Mildred53's biggest hand of the day against tiffaniejoy.
Five minutes later, fly high989 was eliminated in 4th place, when his pair of eights were outdrawn on the river. adsonvonmelk also had a pair of eights and managed to make a pair of jacks on the river to go with them. fly high989 took home $9,405 in prize money.
With the chips evenly distributed and only three players remaining, Mildred53 floated the idea of a chip-count chop. adsonvonmelk quickly refused, saying "no deal". As karma would therefore dictate, he was the next player eliminated, just seven minutes later. All of the chips were in by fourth street. adsonvonmelk's board ran out to make him a pair of nines, but tiffaniejoy, who had started with split deuces, hit a second pair of sevens on the river. That rivered seven eliminted adsonvonmelk in third place with $13,637.25 in prize money.
After the elimination, Mildred53 again floated the idea of a chop. It seemed reasonable, as the blinds were quite large (25,000 / 50,000 / 2,500) and each player had an almost identical amount of chips -- 1,267,850 for Mildred53 to 1,240,150 for tiffaniejoy. They agreed on chopping $50,000 right down the middle and playing on for the remaining $3,608.50 and the title. No sooner was the chop agreed to, than Mildred53 started running hot, winning pot after pot off of tiffanie joy. Mildred53's chip lead quickly became 2-to-1, then 3-to-1, then 7-to-1 as tiffaniejoy could only win small pots on third or fourth street and seemed to lose every pot that went beyond fourth street.
Then came what will probably be remember by both Mildred53 and tiffaniejoy as the defining hand of the tournament. After Mildred53 completed her 9h to 25,000, tiffaniejoy raised a Kh to 50,000. Mildred53 called. Fourth street came an Ah to tiffaniejoy, and the 7h to Mildred53. The betting was capped. On fifth street, tiffaniejoy bricked with the 4s and Mildred53 caught the Jh. She bet it when tiffaniejoy checked, and tiffaniejoy then called Sixth street paired aces for tiffaniejoy with the Ad, but again she checked to Mildred53, who paired sevens with the 7c. Mildred53 bet and tiffaniejoy called.
There were even More fireworks on the river. Four bets went in from each player. Tiffaniejoy showed her hand first, opening what seemed like an unbeatable 2c-kc / Kh-Ah-4s-Ad / As for a full house, aces full of kings. But Mildred53 was not to be outdone, showing down Th-8s / 9h-7h-Jh-7c / 8h for a rivered straight flush!
After making quad queens against tiffaniejoy earlier at the final table, Mildred53 came up with an even bigger hand to crippled tiffaniejoy to less than 100,000 remaining chips. It was a remarkable run for the player that started the final table third in chips, and she capped it off by winning the whole tournament one hand later with the smallest made hand possible -- a pair of deuces. All of the chips were in the middle on third street. The boards ran out:
With that lowly pair of ducks, Mildred53 eliminated tiffaniejoy in second place ($25,000) and went to bed with the title of Champion of WCOOP Event #14 -- $320 Seven-Card Stud and an extra $28,608.50 in her PokerStars account.