WCOOP Event #20: NYC P.I.M.P claims the bracelet

The 20th event of the 2008 WCOOP, a $1,000 No Limit Hold'em tournament, kicked off on Sunday with a truly impressive field of 3,467 players putting up a grand apiece for their shot at big money and online poker glory. As has been the pattern so far this September, the $3,467,000 prize pool topped the guarantee by a solid margin. Scheduled as a two-day event, Event 20 ended the first day of play in the wee hours of Monday morning with just 43 players remaining in the field.

Among that number were two Team PokerStars Pros. Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier, coming off a second-place finish in Event 19 ($25,000 High-Roller Heads-Up No Limit Hold'em), was joined in the Event 20 restart by teammate Humberto Brenes, who sat in the top 10 chip counts as the day began.

Both men would fare well in the early going when play resumed on Level 23 with blinds at 12,500/25,000 and antes of 2,500. Brenes hovered around where he started for much of the first few hours of play, while ElkY got a quick double-up to nearly 2 million when his A-A was good against Belabasci's Q-Q.

The two were still in the hunt when 21 players remained, but Brenes had to catch a big break to keep himself going. After getting his near-average stack of 2.1 million in the middle before the flop, his As-Kh was able to snap off the Kd-Ks of VuaXi`Tô' with an ace on the flop. There were four outs in the deck for VuaXi`Tô', but none of them came and suddenly the Shark was up to almost 4.5 million.

Brenes would finally bow out in 16th place when he found himself unable to triumph in another Big Slick-versus-Cowboys confrontation. With blinds at 40,000/80,000 and antes of 8000, Brenes opened under the gun for 160,000. When Mary 717 made it 560,000 to go on the button, Brenes moved all-in for 2,085,549 with Ah-Kh; Mary 717 called with Kc-Ks, taking down the pot when the Jd-9s-8c-5d-9h board brought no help for Brenes.

Only two spots later, the only remaining representative of Team PokerStars Pro would also find his way to the rail, despite starting the hand in a great spot. ElkY's stack went in the middle with Ah-Qs against NYC P.I.M.P's As-Js, but it all slid to NYC P.I.M.P after the board came down Jh-6c-3d-Kd-9h to send ElkY home in 14th place.

When play went hand-for-hand it looked like we would see one of the four very short stacks go out to give us our final table lineup. Instead, Numbass would be the final table bubble boy, thanks to this hand:

At 9:00 pm, after more than 15 hours of play, the final table began with the players stacking up like this:

Seat 1: Mary 717 11,817,844
Seat 2: Sumar07 1,223,614
Seat 3: JSchnett 2,093,726
Seat 4: henri72 3,150,664
Seat 5: CamoJr 6,325,276
Seat 6: VuaXi`Tô' 1,096,544
Seat 7: QuasiFiction 17,614,385
Seat 8: C.K. 4,630,228
Seat 9: NYC P.I.M.P 4,068,719

Event 20 final table.jpg

It didn't take long to get the action started. Just five minute into the final table, Sumar07 moved all-in before the flop for 1,559,614 with Ah-Qc and found himself racing with JSchnett's 9c-9s. The nines held up on a board of 2c-6h-Tc-4s-Kc, sending Sumar07 home in ninth place with $31,203.

Less than ten minutes later we would have our second casualty of the final table. VuaXi`Tô' moved all-in under the gun for a total of 1,729,088 holding Jd-Td and got a call from CamoJr in the big blind with Ah-Qh. VuaXi`Tô' caught some outs on the Qd-8s-6s flop and picked up even more when the Kd on the turn gave him an open-ended straight flush draw, but the 2c sealed his fate in 8th place. He took home $45,071.

The game turned tentative for the next twenty minutes, and there was little action with the lone exception of NYC P.I.M.P doubling up to 6,692,350 when he got his stack in the middle preflop with 8-8 against Mary 717's 3-3. Finally, henri72 - who had been clinging to a short stack almost the entire day - made his stand. Facing a preflop all-in from Mary 717, he called with Ac-Qd and found himself in fantastic shape against Mary's Qh-7h - until the board came 6c-5d-3d-4h-8h, giving her the straight and sending henri72 home in 7th place with $72,807.

Only five minutes would pass before JSchnett shoved in his remaining 2,485,340 from middle position before the flop with J-J. His timing couldn't have been worse, as C.K. made the call with Ac-As. When the board came down Kc-6h-2c-3h-7c, JSchnett was out in 6th place, earning $107,477.

As the break began after Level 32, the players agreed on a five-way chop based on chip count, leaving $60,000 and the bracelet on the table.

Heads-up play began at precisely 11:00 pm EDT, with QuasiFiction enjoying a chip lead of better than 2-to-1 over NYC P.I.M.P. After 10 minutes of back-and-forth play, the tables would be turned.

QuasiFiction opened preflop for his standard 900,000 on the button and NYC P.I.M.P re-raised to 2,850,000; QuasiFiction called and the flop came down 9h-3h-2d. NYC P.I.M.P led weak for 375,000, and QuasiFiction called. When the turn came the Qc, NYC P.I.M.P instantly shoved all-in for almost 12.5 million. After thinking it out, QuasiFiction called with Qs-Js, only to find himself up against Ac-Ah; an unnecessary Ad on the river gave him a set and the 3-to-2 chip lead.

NYC P.I.M.P would extend his lead a bit further with a pot worth 10 million when he flopped two pair with 6s-4d and got QuasiFiction to call down his bets on the flop (600,000), turn (1,200,000), and river (3,000,000) with the board reading 6d-4s-Js-Ks-Ac. QuasiFiction would get all those chips back on the next hand when his Kh-Td hit a Broadway straight on the river, but NYC P.I.M.P reclaimed them when he claimed the next pot with a bet on the turn.

At 11:19 ET, the match would end with a bang. NYC P.I.M.P limped in on the button for 300,000 and QuasiFiction checked to see a flop of Qd-9c-6h. QuasiFiction check-called a 550,000 bet and the turn came the 4c. This time QuasiFiction led out for 1,200,000, but NYC P.I.M.P quickly shoved all-in. With only four seconds in his time bank, QuasiFiction was forced to make a fast decision and he elected to call with Ks-9h. He was behind his opponent's Qh-2h, and he would finish in second place once the 4d hit the river.

After taking the smallest share of the chip count chop with five players remaining, NYC P.I.M.P emerged victorious. He might not have claimed the lion's share of the final table money, but he got the WCOOP bracelet - and the money he won is nothing to sneeze at.

WCOOP Event 20 Final Table Results (payouts reflect five-way chop based on chip count)

1. NYC P.I.M.P $257,953
2. QuasiFiction $340,000
3. CamoJr $230,388
4. C.K. $226,965
5. Mary 717 $288,155
6. JSchnett $107,477
7. henri72 $72,807
8. VuaXi`Tô' $45,071
9. Sumar07 $31,203

For full coverage of Event #20 from start to finish, check out the Event #20 Day 1 Live Blog and the Event #20 Day 2 Live Blog. For commentary on the event, check out PokerStars.tv. For full WCOOP results and stats, visit the WCOOP homepage.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in WCOOP