WCOOP Event #21: weaktight stops The Little Engine That Could

If you're standing on the tracks and a train is barreling towards you, horn blaring and with the conductor leaning out a window of the engine, telling you there's not a chance he's going to hit the brakes, what would you do? Unless you're the Man of Steel (Superman, that is; not Stalin), you probably get the hell out of the way.

Now what if you're playing Seven-Card Stud Hi/Lo, a poker variant that to most poker players is the kryptonite of poker, and the train is a player on a mad rush of cards? Of all the stud games, stud-eight, as it's known, seems to cause the most involuntary shudders amongst poker players, probably due to the fact that the combination of playing stud and playing hi/lo (with an eight as the qualifier) causes the game to be extremely mentally taxing while moving at a glacial pace. Chances are that you'd do exactly what you did on the train tracks; you'd get the hell out of the way.

That's what happened at the final table of WCOOP Event #21 - $530 Seven-Card Stud Hi/Lo. One player went on an incredible heater and all of his opponents tried to get out of the way, fighting amongst themselves for who would have to take on the unenviable task of actually trying to slay Goliath. But all of that action only took place after a field of 525 players had been trimmed to the final eight. Seventy-two other players in addition to those eight made money in this event, with a prize pool of $262,500 doled out in amounts ranging from $787.50 for 80th place to $47,775 for first place.

Team PokerStars Pros represented a larger proportion of the field for this event than in most of the previous 2008 WCOOP events. Twenty of them would hit the virtual felt, including perennial fan favorites Isabelle "NoMercy" Mercier, Daniel "KidPoker" Negreanu, Greg "FossilMan" Raymer, Barry "barryg1" Greenstein, Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier and Hevad "RaiNKhaN" Khan.

Four members of Team PokerStars swam through the field to the promised land of the money. Mercier finished in 72nd place, done in by a full house; Andre "aakkari" Akkari was eliminated in 44th place after aldenpogi crippled him with a heart flush and finished him off with aces-up; and Lee "LeeNelsonP*" Nelson exited in 29th place after also being crippled by a heart flush. Chad "ChadBrownPRO" Brown went the deepest of all of the Team PokerStars Pros, coming up just short of the final table in 16th place when CR00K hit trip sixes against Brown's two pair, queens and fours. That 16th place earned Brown a return of $3,412.50 on his $530 investment.

And so when BluffYou31 was eliminated in 9th place at 2:59am, twelve and a half hours after the tournament began, the final table was set without any members of Team PokerStars. There were, however, a couple of notable players among the eight that found themselves at the last table that separated them from a WCOOP bracelet. The most notable name at the final table happened to be the chip leader, Andy McLEOD. Andy McLEOD was fresh off of a first-place finish in Event #16 - $215 Pot-Limit Omaha (one rebuy) and looking to be a double bracelet winner at the 2008 WCOOP. Also present were the executioners of two of the Team PokerStars Pros; aldenpogi, who eliminated Andre Akkari, and CR00K, who was responsible for Chad Brown's elimination.

All eyes, however, were on Andy McLEOD. He ruthlessly dominated the final table of Event #16, knocking out almost every single player at the final table (check out the Event #16 recap for more details). Andy McLEOD has very loose-aggressive style that has apparently earned him a fair amount of criticism from his opponents; his avatar is a text box that reads, "OH IT'S ANDY! I HEARD HE'S A LAGTARD! HE MUST HAVE NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!!" He was a train at the final table, the one that left New York at 8pm heading towards Chicago at sixty miles per hour like in those math problems most people dreaded as children. Bad Beat Oz was the train heading from Chicago to New York at seventy-five miles per hour that overtook Andy McLEOD.

But that's getting a bit ahead of the action. The final eight took their seats arranged thusly:

Seat 1: sagwise (494098 in chips)
Seat 2: Andy McLEOD (528092 in chips)
Seat 3: aldenpogi (249051 in chips)
Seat 4: Bad Beat Oz (441692 in chips)
Seat 5: 7CardRyon (107867 in chips)
Seat 6: CR00K (113760 in chips)
Seat 7: weaktight (475965 in chips)
Seat 8: The_Drow (214475 in chips)


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7CardRyon, the shortest stack of the final eight, was the first player to be eliminated. He ran into a ruthless tag team from The_Drow and aldenpogi, who split the pot between themselves. The_Drow took the high with aces and deuces while aldenpogi took low with 8-7-4-3-A. That left no chips for 7CardRyon. His chair was removed and he was relegated to the role of observer, albeit an observer who was $5,250 richer.

After that elimination, Andy McLEOD tried to impose his loose-aggressive style on the table, but he met with resistance from Bad Beat Oz, who used chips he won from aldenpogi without a shodown in a 272,000-chip pot to stand up to the table steam engine, taking him down 75,000 to 100,000 chips at a time. Bad Beat Oz finally got Andy McLEOD to move all in on fourth street with only a pair of sixes against Bad Beat Oz's trip deuces. When McLEOD couldn't find a miracle six or runner-runner low draw, he was surprisingly eliminated in 7th place. There would be no second WCOOP bracelet for Andy McLEOD, only $6,562.50 and the satisfaction of making his second WCOOP final table in a week.

With Andy McLEOD out of the way, Bad Beat Oz picked up the slack. He barreled towards the finish line like an out-of-control freight train, at one point hitting a rush where he won ten out of eleven pots:


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With six players left, he had 60% of the chips in play. The other players all seemed very cautious about playing a pot with a player who had chips to burn. Bad Beat Oz quickly dispatched The_Drow in sixth place, perfectly playing buried kings and getting The_Drow to commit to the hand when he made open jacks on sixth street. With no low draw, The_Drow needed to improve on his jacks on the river and couldn't do it. His sixth-place finish was worth $7,875 and was just one more bridge crossed for the Bad Beat Oz Train.

Yet after that elimination, something happened. Maybe aldenpogi cursed Bad Beat Oz after losing a pot when he said, "Don,t slowdown now bad beat. We are all playing for second anyway." Maybe Bad Beat Oz had a premonition by responding, "It ain't over 'til it's over." Whatever the case, the Man of Steel finally appeared on the tracks to stop the Bad Beat Oz locomotive. The Man of Steel was dressed in the guise of weaktight.

Over the course of half an hour, weaktight chipped away at Bad Beat Oz's chip lead. aldenpogi did his part, eliminating CR00K in fifth place with jacks and deuces when CR00K wound up with only a pair of eights no qualifying low. aldenpogi kept this chips safe and away from Bad Beat Oz while weaktight kept at his task, eventually taking over the chip lead from Bad Beat Oz.

Then the final table entered a dormant period, with nobody able to make any headway for at least half an hour. At a break before Level 27 (30,000 / 60,000 / 3,000) the short-stacked aldenpogi inquired about a chop. Nobody took him seriously, as he had only four big bets in his stack. So aldenpogi turned into the Little Engine That Could, climbing out of the hole by crippling Bad Beat Oz with aces and jacks and then eliminating him on a flip, aldenpogi's 6h-5s-4s against the 6d-5h-2h of Bad Beat Oz. aldenpogi won the flip by making a pair of tens. Bad Beat Oz made only a pair of deuces with no low. It was a stunning reversal of course for the steam train that looked poised to run away with the whole tournament. His reward for fourth place was $14,437.50.

That left sagwise sitting on a stack of about 180,000 chips, with the rest of the chips almost evenly distributed between The Little Engine That Could (aldenpogi) and the Man of Steel (weaktight). weaktight eventually eliminated the persistent sagwise by making two pair, sixes and threes, against sagwise's solitary pair. With sagwise out in third place, collecting $19,687.50, weaktight took a slight 1.5 million-to-1.1 million lead into heads-up play.

aldenpogi figured he'd take another shot at offering a chop, but weaktight said he'd prefer to play it out. The Man of Steel had already stopped one runaway locomotive; had hard would it be to stop The Little Engine That Could?

After fifteen minutes of heads-up play produced negligible changes in the chip counts, aldenpogi tried again, offering a straight chop. weaktight suggested that aldenpogi should try to tie up the match first, so aldenpogi offered a chip-count chop. weaktight agreed to look at the numbers, which came out to $38,735.78 for weaktight and $34,439.22 aldenpogi, with a $4,000 set-aside for the winner, along with the WCOOP bracelet. Both players quickly agreed to the deal; The Little Engine That Could had worn down even the Man of Steel.

With $4,000 still on the line, play resumed. aldenpogi managed to pull the match level at one point, but then weaktight came storming back by making a heart flush. The final hand was the monster that was clearly required to end this match; weaktight made 5h-Th / Tc-Td on fourth street, while aldenpogi had a huge draw on fifth street with 9s-Qc / Ks-As-Js. aldenpogi's flush came in on the river, but so did weaktight's full house. aldenpogi was eliminated.

Event 21 Final Hand.jpg

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In the end, the Man of Steel proved true to his task. He stopped a steaming locomotive; he stopped The Little Engine That Could. In doing so, he crowned himself as the champion of Event #21.

WCOOP Event #21 - $530 Seven-Card Stud Hi/Lo Order of Finish
(based on two-way deal)
1. weaktight $42,735.78
2. aldenpogi $34,439.22
3. sagwise $19,687.50
4. Bad Beat Oz $14,437.50
5. CR00K $9,187.50
6. The_Drow $7,875.00
7. Andy McLEOD $6,562.50
8. 7CardRyon $5,250.00

For more information about WCOOP Event #21, see the live blog. More WCOOP-related news is available at the WCOOP homepage.

Dave Behr
@PokerStars in WCOOP