WCOOP Event #22: BUCKIZ6 mixed it up and scooped the Mixed Omaha Hi/Lo title

The mere mention of Omaha catches many poker players' attention. While hold'em still remains the game of choice for many players, it is Omaha that seems to provide a new and exciting challenge for those who wanted to mix up their game repertoire. Popular demand for pot-limit Omaha cash games has caused many poker rooms - brick and mortar as well as online - to spread Omaha for their patrons, and PLO tournaments have been added to most tournament series.

PokerStars took it one step further during the 2008 WCOOP with a unique mix. Combining limit and pot-limit Omaha and making both hi/lo games resulted in Event #22, the Mixed Omaha Hi/Lo tournament. And Omaha enthusiasts flocked to PokerStars to try their hands, figuratively and literally, at this $530 buy-in event.

The result? A very diverse field that included some of the best players in the world playing alongside members of the online poker community looking to put themselves in that "best" group. The Team PokerStars Pros in the field were many: Andre Akkari, Alex Kravchenko, Barry Greenstein, Alex Gomes, Bill Chen, Chad Brown, Dario Minieri, Bertrand Grospellier, Greg Raymer, Gavin Griffin, Marcin Horecki, Humberto Brenes, John Duthie, Katja Thater, Vanessa Rousso, Lee Nelson, Chris Moneymaker, Isabelle Mercier, Hevad Khan, Steve Paul-Ambrose, Tom McEvoy, and Victor Ramdin. Along for the ride were other pros like Annette Obrestad and Michael Mizrachi. And joining them were numerous players with online monikers that expressed their love for Omaha, such as The Omaholic, plo8, and omaha kid.

Right from the start, a number of pros were seated together and would likely be forced to tangle with their own Team PokerStars members. Horecki and Brenes were at the same table, as well as Duthie and Moneymaker. Moneymaker was soon moved to Paul-Ambrose's table, and Duthie changed tables and found himself facing 2002 WCOOP PLO8 winner Canuck. In the latter of those battles, Duthie came out on top and put a stop to the former champ's run at another title, only to find Chad Brown occupying that no-longer-empty seat.

Early eliminations from Event #22 included Akkari, Thater, Kravchenko, and Mercier. And within the next few hours, Khan, Grospellier, and McEvoy followed. Even the persistent John Duthie was eliminated at the hands of fellow Team PokerStars Pro Chad Brown when the former's post oak bluff was caught by Brown, who scooped the 17,950 pot and sent Duthie to the rail. Other notable avatars that disappeared from sight during the early evening hours of the tournament were Brenes, Rousso, Greenstein, Nelson, Brown, Raymer, and Griffin.

It was interesting to note the participation of several past WCOOP winners in the field of Event #22. Andy McLEOD was the 2008 WCOOP Event #16 PLO champion, and though he ran deep in this tournament, he failed to make the money. And copi, the 2007 WCOOP Limit O8 event champion, was on point to add a second WCOOP Omaha bracelet to his collection, but he finally finished in 31st place for a $1,550 cash.

Speaking of the money, as the bubble approached, Bill Chen was eliminated just 28 spots short of the money, courtesy of emptyseat88's top two pair and no qualifying lo hand. And a few tables later, Boosted J reluctantly accepted the position of bubble player in the tournament by leaving in 91st place, but kindly allowing the remaining 90 players to get paid.

Team PokerStars Pros represented well in the tournament overall. Marcin "Goral" Horecki made it to 70th place for his third WCOOP cash this year. Chris "Money800" Moneymaker had spent a good deal of time in the top 100 of the tournament, but a rapid decline took him to a point of desperation, which was where he lost with Ac-Kh-5h-3h in a three-way pot and forced to take 58th place. Dario Minieri was looking strong as well, but he quickly went from the top five in the tournament to a short stack, and the aggressive Italian was soon eliminated in 45th place. Alexandre Gomes went even deeper with a 33rd place finish.

The last member of the PokerStars team left in the field was Victor Ramdin, and he experienced a bit of a roller coaster ride with his chip stacks - as most players do in Omaha hi/lo tournaments - he maintained a spot in the top ten from the time of the 37th level on through the 41st level. He sat near the top of the leaderboard while grindnitout left in 18th place courtesy of geirto, mildred53 was eliminated in 17th at the hands of PieOhMy, mddgfc went out in 16th place by jonspencer, and a_zuzolo finished in 15th place. All of them received $2,790 for their outstanding runs in the tournament.

And then the Ramdin elimination happened. It was not expected. He started the hand with 337,457 in chips. With Ad-Qh-5h-4c, Ramdin raised preflop to find callers in Cordelia and BUCKIZ6. The flop came 8d-Js-7d, which was checked by all, but when the Ah came on the turn, Cordelia bet out 28,500. Ramdin raised to 57,000, BUCKIZ6 made it 228,000, and Ramdin called while Cordelia quietly folded. When the river gave them a 9s, BUCKIZ6 pushed and Ramdin called all-in for his last 100,457. BUCKIZ6 showed Ac-9c-3s-2s for the two pair high and eight low. While BUCKIZ6 scooped the monster pot and climbed to the top of the leaderboard, Ramdin was forced to settle for a stunning 14th place finish and $2,790 to go.

On the way to determining the final table, thegrizz1111 left the tournament in 13th place, the last departure in the $2,790 payout level. Cordelia was eliminated in 12th place, Mr_win in 11th, and Omaha pro Scott "BigRiskky" Clements in 10th place - all receiving $4,030 for their performances. geirto took 9th place, and jonspencer took 8th place, both worth $6,324, and hand-for-hand play ensued to determine the final table bubble player. After nearly 30 minutes of H4H, degrippes finally gave up the short stack in a three-way hand versus iamaction and BUCKIZ6, who split the pot and eliminated degrippes in 7th place on the final table bubble for $6,324 in prize money.

The final table was set! Just after 5:30am ET, the finalists in Event #22 and their chip counts were as follows:

Seat 1: Iamaction 312,333
Seat 2: jamie2000 640,200
Seat 3: Londolozi 69,872
Seat 4: BuckIZ6 1,169,060
Seat 5: lovesimi 106,632
Seat 6: PieOhMy 804,903

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By the start of Level 49, BUCKIZ6 had extended his stack to more than 1.4 million chips, which was 45 percent of the chips in play. And Londolozi remained the severe short stack by dodging elimination several times with split pots. Finally, shortly after Level 49 ensued, Londolozi moved all-in and was taken out by none other than BUCKIZ6 who hit a full house to take the pot from PieOhMy and Londolozi, sending the latter to the rail in 6th place with $9,300.

And rather quickly, iamaction got involved. After a preflop raise that BUCKIZ6 called, the flop of 9h-5h-4h came down. iamaction pushed all-in with Js-2s-3h-Ad, and BUCKIZ6 check-called with 5d-Jd-Qc-4d. The two remaining cards came Kc and Qd, and BUCKIZ6 won with the hi and no qualifying lo. iamaction was left with a 5th place finish and $15,500.

BUCKIZ6 struck lovesimi by crippling the already-struggling player, so an all-in move was eminent. The final hand for lovesimi was a three-way pot, though it was jamie2000 who came out on top with two pair - nines and tens - with the board showing 9s-Jc-Th-8c-As. lovesimi mucked and accepted the 4th place finish with $21,700 for the performance.

Three-handed play went on for about 45 minutes, with PieOhMy making a valiant effort to chip away and chip up. And though the goal of climbing out of third place was achievable, it was short-lived. The stack decreased as PieOhMy's opponents slowly took his chips. Finally, down to only 172,388 during a pot-limit round, BUCKIZ6 raised it up, PieOhMy reraised to 100,000, and BUCKIZ6 reraised his opponent all-in. PieOhMy had Ah-2s-5s-Qs, and BUCKIZ6 showed 6s-6d-8d-7c. The board came Kd-5c-3h-9d-Kc, and BUCKIZ6's two pair won it with no low. PieOhMy took his amazing efforts into the 3rd place spot for $31,000.

Heads-up action began with BUCKIZ6 still in the lead with 1,876,996 in chips as opposed to the 1,223,004 of jamie2000. BUCKIZ6 continued his relentless and aggressive style of play, and it wasn't until approximately twenty minutes into heads-up play that he delivered the final blow to his opponent.

BUCKIZ6 raised to 37,500, and jamie2000 reraised to 112,500, which was called by BUCKIZ6. The flop came 8c-Kh-5h, and jamie2000 bet 225,000, BUCKIZ6 raised to 900,000, and jamie2000 called. The turn of 9h prompted BUCKIZ6 to push all-in, and jamie2000 check-called all-in and was covered. The river brought an 8s, which was too little too late for his 5d-Js-Ah-2c hand because his two pair were no good against the full house of BUCKIZ6 with Kc-2s-3c-Kd. jamie2000 was eliminated from the tournament in second place with a consolation prize of $41,850.

Congratulations to BUCKIZ6 for claiming the Mixed Omaha Hi/Lo title, the WCOOP bracelet, and the $55,800 first prize!

For all of the action as it happened during Event #22, read through the $530 Mixed Omaha Hi/Lo Live Blog.

Jen Newell
@PokerStars in WCOOP