WCOOP Event #2: ImBillMcNeal Captures 5-Card Draw title

5-Card Draw might be a game straight out of your grandmother's era, but she never four-bet you all in the way these six players did on their way to the final table of the 2008 WCOOP's second event. Launching only two hours after Event #1's 7,000+ players took to the felt, it drew an eclectic mix of old-time draw fans, curious gamblers, online hotshots, and regulars in PokerStars' 5-Card Draw cash games resulting in a 1,024-strong field, up a healthy amount from 2007's 857 runners. The $100,000 guarantee on the event was smashed, the prize pool swelling to $204,800. Of course Team PokerStars Pro was out in force with Gavin Griffin, Humberto Brenes, John Duthie, Tom McEvoy, Bill Chen, Chad Brown, Vanessa Rousso, Dario Minieri, Katja Thater, Victor Ramdin, ElkY, Hevad "RaiNKhAN" Khan, Andre Aakkari and Isabelle Mercier all in the fray.

Carrying the torch for the old guard, Team PokerStars Pro Tom McEvoy was asked by a railbird if this event made him recall poker's bygone days.

"Reminds me of old Gardena" wrote McEvoy in the chat window, referencing the Southern California town that was the capital of draw poker in the 1970's.

Team PokerStars Pro Andre Aakkari (58th), Danny "THE__D__RY" Ryan (29th) and 2007 WCOOP Main Event winner ka$ino (14th) all made deep finishes. For a while it looked like nothing could stop the bulldozer that is Hevad "RaiNKhAN" Khan, but he ultimately ended up as the final table bubble boy in 7th place.

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Seat 1: ImBillMcNeal (564,310 in chips)
Seat 2: nathalie111 (1,202,345 in chips)
Seat 3: wedlowjones (420,941 in chips)
Seat 4: Yamzit (379,148 in chips)
Seat 5: xoxol73 (98,730 in chips)
Seat 6: Isidor3 (406,526 in chips)

The tournament reached the final six just after 8:00 a.m. EDT, with nathalie111 holding a dominant chip lead with 1.2 million--more than twice his/her closest competitor's stack. The final table's first elimination didn't take long, when a short-stacked xoxol73 moved all in for over the top of Yamzit's initial pre-draw raise. Yamzit made the call and both players drew one card. While xoxol73's Ac-Jh-Js-Ts-Tc was good for two pair, Yamzit showed a better two with Ad-As-5h-5c-2h and raked in the pot, eliminating xoxol73 in 6th place, good for $7,680.00

Over the hour following xoxol73's elimination, ImBillMcNeal began making strong moves and doubled through chip leader nathalie111, making tens full of jacks vs. nathalie111's aces up in a 672,000 chip pot. nathalie111 slipped to 893,000 on the hand while ImBillMcNeal claimed the chip lead. Though nathalie111 re-built her stack up past the 1 million mark, two disastrous back-to-back hands led to her surprise elimination in 5th place. After ImBillMcNeal opened for a 40,000 raise from the button, nathalie111 reraised to 150,000 and ImBillMcNeal called. Each player drew one card, and nathalie111 led out for a pot-sized bet of 330,000. ImBillMcNeal made the call and showed down aces and queens, revealing that nathalie111 was on a total bluff with only king-high. Two hands later, nathalie111 opened for 80,000 of her remaining 248,000 from the cutoff. Yamzit popped it to 260,000 from the small blind and nathalie111 shoved for 286,694. Yamzit called and drew one card while nathalie111 drew two. At showdown, Yamzit revealed kings and nines while nathalie111 couldn't show more than ace-high. Yamzit raked in the 603,000 pot and just like that, nathalie111 was gone. Not all was lost, though--that $11,038.72 payday is nothing to sneeze at.

During four-handed play, ImBillMcNeal grew his stack to 1.5 million while his three opponents all remained under 800,000. Yamzit was the next to be eliminated. After opening for a 90,000 raise Yamzit was immediately put to the test by Isidor3, who reraised to 210,000. Yamzit decided it was time to take a stand and moved all in for 242,000, Isidor3 calling the 32,000 balance. Each player drew one card and Isidor3 turned up queens and deuces, trumping Yamzit's sevens and fives. Isidor3's stack climbed to nearly 800,000 while Yamzit departed in 4th place, earning $14,848.00.

Shortly after Yamzit's elimination, talk of a deal broke out. Though ImBillMcNeal and Isidor3 wanted to pause the action and take a look at what a chop based on chip count would look like, wedlowjones put the kibosh on it, stating "not that much difference i'd rather play" --a surprising remark as he was the short stack at the time.

The final three soldiered on until Isidor3 was eliminated in 3rd place. Isidor3 had been working a short stack for hours and had survived a number of all ins during the tournament endgame. With just under 393,000 in chips and blinds of 20,000/40,000/4,000, Isidor3 made it 80,000 to go from the small blind after wedlowjones folded the button. ImBillMcNeal min-raised to 160,000, and Isidor3 reraised all in for an additional 229,000. ImBillMcNeal made the call and drew two after Isidor3 took three. When the hands were turned up, Isidor3's pair of aces fell to ImBillMcNeal's trip fives, taking us to heads-up play. Isidor3 earned $18,739.20 for the day's work.

ImBillMcNeal held a 2-1 chip lead over wedlowjones as they began heads-up play, but but after hitting trip sevens in a 1 million chip pot, wedlowjones pulled slightly ahead of ImBillMcNeal. The two continued trading small pots, eventually working their way back to where they started heads-up play in terms of chip count when a key pot unfolded. ImBillMcNeal raised double the big blind to 80,000 and wedlowjones made the call. wedlowjones took three cards while ImBillMcNeal discarded one. wedlowjones led out for a small bet of 80,000 after the draw, which ImBillMcNeal popped to 280,000. wedlowjones called, only to see his opponent's king-high flush. The hand left wedlowjones with only 653,230 to ImBillMcNeal's 2,418,770.

It was all over only a few hands later. ImBillMcNeal min-raised to 100,000 from the small blind and wedlowjones called from the big blind, each player discarding three cards. Wedlowjones led out for 150,000 but in short order faced a raise to 550,000.

"You got it, gg" wrote wedlowjones in the chat window as he made the call all in.

wedlowjones showed Qd-Qs-7s-7h-8d for two pair, queens and sevens, but ImBillMcNeal tabled As-Ah-Ac-2c-6c--trip aces. At last every chip on the table was in front of ImBillMcNeal and he earned his first WCOOP title and $34,201.60. wedlowjones took home $25,395.20 for his runner-up finish.

2008 WCOOP Event #1 Final Table Results
1. ImBillMcNeal $34,201.60
2. Wedlowjones $25,395,20
3. Isidor3 $18,739.20
4. Yamzit $14,848.00
5. nathalie111 $11,038.72
6. xoxol73 $7,680.00

Congratulations to the newest WCOOP champion, ImBillMcNeal! Want even more details on how the tournament unfolded? Check out the WCOOP Event #2 live blog.

Kristin Bihr
@PokerStars in WCOOP