WCOOP Event #15: Noah Boeken still looking for heads-up win
by Noah Boeken
Winning WCOOP Heads-up tournaments has always been a huge goal of mine. Having watched fellow Dutchman Rob Hollink win the Heads-up in the first WCOOP ever, I was eager to follow in his footsteps and take this tournament down.
Unluckily for me I was met with my elimination in the very first round. I went 146 hands deep against my opponent "MickBt23" before going all in on a flip. I ended up getting it all in with AK against TT. The board ran out rags and I was busted out early. AK got me into trouble a few times in this tourney. It can be a tricky hand to play properly heads-up.
I came back to watch the final eight play, as this was the first big jump in money. Everyone was guaranteed over $16k in winnings at this point, which was over $10K more than the final 16 paid out. I noticed that fellow Magic the gathering player player and LAPT winner Julien Nuijten was still in it and was playing really strong. He grinded down his opponent 'pokerjamers' playing a balanced poker game until he had a big chip lead. Then Julien put the pressure on and took his opponent out.
In other final eight action, player 'Benba' took out 'evilly' in what was the quickest match of the quarter finals. Huxfluxen was the next to win his quarter final as he busted out sqmpork after a heated battle. The last match pitted Lucarelli and IFiNishfish against each with IFiNishfish as the eventual winner.
By the time the semi-finals were set, all the players were playing extremely well. They had each won many matches in a row, and were comfortably playing in most situations, and overall were showing huge confidence. Preflop no one was willing to commit much money and were rather trying to trap each other. What decided the final four ultimately came down to not making mistakes and instead producing sound decisions and maintaining a high level of mental endurance.
IFiNishfish faced off against Huxfluxen. This heads-up really didn't last long. On the tenth hand both players ended up all in on a flop of [5s 4s 3h]. Hux had 55 for a set, up against the flopped nuts of IFiNishfish who had 67. The board came turn K river K sending the pot to Huxfluxen with his runner runner full house. It was all over on the next hand when Hux took the last 100k off of his opponent in a blind all in.
PANDAChan12 (Julien) faced off against Benba in the other match. Julien continued to play his strong pre and post flop style, again grinding his opponent down pretty well until getting involved in a huge cooler hand. Julien and Benba ended up with first nut against third nut, and Benba doubled up huge. Julien took the chip lead back about 20 minutes later when he tripped up middle pair on the turn. It didn't take much longer for Julien to win the match.
Going into the heads-up final both players wanted to make a deal. Instead of playing for an extra $50K for first place, both players decided to take $70K and play for the remaining money. Play seemed to loosen up as both players were assured some nice money. Both players started to open up some more, with Julien getting in the hole early. Eventually both players were all in on the flop with Julien holding a pair against the flush draw of Huxfluxen. The flush hit on the turn, and Huxfluxen won the bracelet.
Watching this event play down with the best players battling it out was really a great experience for me. I am confident that my own thinking of how I played today combined with the analysis of watching the others (including the eventual winner) will prove to have been a really good rehearsal for the $25K Heads-up event
I will be playing in the WCOOP on Sunday. Wish me luck!
Congratulations to all the players that have cashed in this year's WCOOP, and good luck to the rest of you that are going to cash!
Noah Boeken is a member of Team PokerStars Pro.