WCOOP Event #3 - Limit Hold'em limited to cwp394's long-fought victory

Limit hold'em is one of the more popular games in land-based casinos as well as online poker rooms, but the limit variation in tournaments is another story. Of course, it is still popular, but the length of time it takes to play out due to (obvious) betting limitations tests even the most prepared players with long hours and capped action.

This tournament was a prime example of the game's popularity, as 2,258 players signed up to spend their Saturday vying for a coveted WCOOP title in a tournament that could take quite some time. And it was proof that it could go long. Beginning at 2:30pm ET, it ran until the magical hour of 8:16 am the following day. But it wasn't for a lack of action. Quite the contrary, chips were flying, players who found themselves at the top of the leaderboard were eliminated levels later, and those who looked as if they had the most stamina and paced aggression fell by the wayside before the final table. This was anyone's game.

Early on, the Team PokerStars Pros made their appearances, including Gavin Griffin, Bill Chen, Alex Kravchenko, Andre Akkari, ElkY, Chad Brown, Dario Minieri, John Duthie, Katja Thater, Humberto Brenes, Isabelle Mercier, Alexandre Gomes, Lee Nelson, Marcin Horecki, Steve Paul-Ambrose, Luca Pagano, Tuan Lam, Tom McEvoy, Vanessa Rousso, and Victor Ramdin. It was a star-studded event by any poker player's standards. Even Ylon Schwartz, a member of the WSOP November Nine final table, came by to play some limit poker. Also in the field was Cardinal7, the 2007 WCOOP limit hold'em title holder who looked to better his first place cash of $67,933.49 from the previous year.

When registration closed and players were settled, it was determined that 2,258 of them were in the tournament - more than the 2,059 from 2007 - which created a prize pool of $451,600. More than the $300,000 guarantee meant excited players and a tournament underway.

As the event progressed, player dropped from the field, including some of the PokerStars Pros like McEvoy and ElkY who didn't make it into the third hour. Five hours in, the money bubble burst, and the remaining 324 players were insured of a cash. Some of the in-the-money finishers included Bill Chen and Gavin Griffin. Steve Paul-Ambrose was the last Team Poker Stars member standing, who valiantly hung in there and finally finished in 39th place.

After a long play-down to the final table, the elimination of pfkaok in tenth place allowed the final nine to be seated together and play on.

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Coming into the final table, there were several short stacks who would be tested early on, one of them being lucky_aces08. Perumov was able to improve his/her own standing by sending lucky_aces08 out in ninth place with a $5,012.76 prize.

Soon after, it was BadcardsAA who didn't get good cards when he needed them the most. #1PEN and BadcardsAA went so far as to cap the betting pre-flop, though all of BadcardsAA's money was in before the turn. The entire board came 9d-6c-3h-9h-Kc, and #1PEN showed the winning hand of kings and nines. BadcardsAA had to settle for eight place and a $8,128,80 payday.

Perumov, who had been fighting off elimination for quite some time, was short-stacked despite his earlier elimination of lucky_aces08. With only 146,768 left, Teacher G decided to put Perumov to the test, and the latter was ready. It was all in the pot before the board came out Qs-Jh-4d-3c-4h, and Teacher G showed Ac-Qd for the winning hand. Perumov had to accept that Ah-Kh was outdone by the pair of ladies, and Perumov took a seventh place WCOOP finish with $12,644.80 spending money to part with.

With no deal in sight, it was #1PEN in command of the final table. It took some time, but Bdbeatslayer chipped up and finally took the chip lead when he eliminated skizer in sixth place. skizer was ready for action in the deciding hand, making an initial raise and calling raises from Bdbeatslayer and #1PEN pre-flop. After the 5c-Qc-8s were dealt, skizer was all-in after #1PEN raised, and Bdbeatslayer came along for the ride. The 2s on the turn brought checks, but the river of a Kh brought a bet from Bdbeatslayer that was called by #1PEN. Bdbeatslayer showed Kc-Qs for two pair, and the other two mucked, forcing skizer to settle for $17,160.80, which is not a bad payout for a $215 investment.

It wasn't long until edwinv070 was forced to move. One time was golden, as he doubled through cwp394 to get back to the 300,000 mark again, but soon he found himself with little more than 50,000 to play with. That amount went into the pot pre-flop, and the rest of the table simply called to see the 9d-2h-Jc on the flop. Checking around gave them the 9s on the turn, which prompted a bet from #1PEN and folds from the others. The river was an 8s, and #1PEN's Kd-9h showed trips. The Ad-Qh of edwinv070 was good enough for a fifth place exit and $21,676.80.

Four-handed action looked like it might take awhile, as all players were virtually even with 1.5 million stacks. After quite a bit of trash-talking from Bdbeatslayer in the chat box, things got quiet when he began to lose chips. The one-time chip leader was then the short-stack and went all-in with Kh-7h. cwp394 called with 8d-7d, and the board came 7c-8s-2s-3d-9d, and Bdbeatslayer was suddenly shushed and on the rail with a fourth place finish and $26,192.80.

Talks of a deal were quickly squashed by #1PEN, who was certain about playing it out. And so it was. It took quite some time of passing chips and changing strategy before Teacher G was short-stacked enough to feel it necessary to move. With As-4s against the 10c-3c of cwp394, it looked promising for a double-up until the virtual dealer gave them Ks-4h-5d-3h-10h. Two pair was good enough to win it and send Teacher G off to rest with $38,927.92 for a respectable effort.

Heads-up action began with #1PEN trailing by quite a bit with only 1,632,484 to the monstrous count of 5,141,516 of cwp394. #1PEN never gave up and made somewhat of a surge, but in the end, it wasn't enough. #1PEN was down to 477,484, and when cwp394 raised the next hand up, #1PEN reraised, and it was capped going to the flop of 8h-6d-4h. Betting and raising ensued until #1PEN was all-in with Kd-Jc against the Jd-Tc of cwp394. The Ts came on the turn to clinch it for the chip leader, and it was over when the river produced a 4s. #1PEN took second place and $54,192 for this WCOOP event.

See the winning hand replay above

The winner of the third event of the 2008 WCOOP $215 Limit Hold'em tournament was cwp394, who was awarded a bracelet and a substantial first prize of $73,385 for the accomplishment.

Congratulations cwp394!

Check out all of the details of the tournament, including final table action, on the Event #3 live blog.

Jen Newell
@PokerStars in WCOOP