2009 WCOOP: Sleep is the winning formula for Science in Event #22, $530 Omaha Hi/Lo

WCOOP 2009 logo.jpgWe've all done it. Shut our eyes between hands, grabbed a few winks on a break, nodded off during hand-for-hand play. Heck, some of us have even fallen asleep in front of a screen full of blinking sit-n-goes, only to wake up hours later to the damage. Typically running over 14 hours each, WCOOP tournaments are a true test of a poker player's mental and physical stamina, something that tonight's champion discovered as the clock ticked past 1:00 a.m. in London. Sitting on 23,000 in chips about three and a half hours into the tournament, Science decided to take a short nap, only to wake up a full three hours later, his stack blinded down to 10,000. What would happen for Science in the hours that followed was the stuff of legends, as he propelled his short stack all the way to a WCOOP title.

840 players each put up the $530 buy-in for this event, creating a $420,000 prize pool. 126 places were paid with first place set to earn $75,600. Representing Team PokerStars Pro were Alexandre Gomes, Andre Akkari, Barry Greenstein, Chris Moneymaker, Greg Raymer, Jason Mercier, Juan Manuel Pastor, Maria Mayrinck, Noah Boeken,Tom McEvoy, Victor Ramdin, and Ylon Schawartz. Team Pros notching in-the money finishes included Katja Thater (113th), Steve Paul-Ambrose (83rd) and George Danzer, who ended his run at back to back WCOOP titles in 18th place. Other familiar screen names earning cashes were WhoooooKidd (30th), jacksup (47th), BigRiskky (57th), stevesbets (68th), UGOTPZD (74th), Moorman1 (76th), and Lenny (87th).

With the betting limits at 30,000-60,000, here's how the final nine stacked up as action began:

Seat 1: The1Messiah (1,012,045 in chips)
Seat 2: Canuck (283,246 in chips)
Seat 3: SLOPPYKLOD (164,220 in chips)
Seat 4: ~US&Co~ (524,448 in chips)
Seat 5: Science (1,106,220 in chips)
Seat 6: vui-qua-di (438,838 in chips)
Seat 7: sheckwave (242,202 in chips)
Seat 8: _unskiIIed_ (1,224,086 in chips)
Seat 9: gudfaren (1,304,695 in chips)

WCOOP 22 FT.jpg

The final table lost a player within the first orbit. After SLOPPYKLOD and _unskilled_ capped the betting pre-flop, _unskilled_ led out on the T♠9♣3♠ flop and SLOPPYKLOD committed his last 6,720 in chips. SLOPPYKLOD had nothing more than a gutshot and a backdoor low draw with his A♥Q♣8♥5♠ while _unskilled_ flopped a pair of threes with A♦J♥4♠3♣. _Unskilled_ turned trips when the 3♦ fell and SLOPPYKLOD couldn't find a straight on the river, the 2♥ falling to send him home in ninth place for a $5,040 payday.

Only two hands later, _unskilled_ claimed most of vui-qua-di's stack. Vui-qua-di opened from middle position and _unskilled_ made it three bets from the button. Vui-qua-di called, then led out on the Q♣J♦7♠ flop. _Unskilled_ raised and vui-qua-di called. The turn was the 6♠ and vui-qua-di slowed down and checked. _Unskilled_ bet and vui-qua-di called. Vui-qua-di check-called one more big bet when the A♣ hit the river only to see the bad news; _unskilled had rivered top two pair with A♠K♥Q♦2♣. Vui-qua-di's stack plummeted to 146,000 while _unskilled_ jumped up to 1.35 million.

Vui-qua-di managed to hang on while sheckwave was crippled to only 24,000 in chips after Canuck turned a seven-high straight and rivered a 6-5 low to take away most of his stack. Sheckwave was eliminated only moments later, getting his remaining 47,053 in before the flop against both _unskilled and ~US&Co~, who continued betting on the side. _Unskilled_ check-called a bet from ~US&Co~ on the T♥8♣2♥ flop, but check-folded to another bet when the J♥ hit the turn, leaving him heads-up with sheckwave. The river was the K♣ and ~US&Co~ showed down the nut flush with A♥Q♥6♥3♦, besting sheckwave's jack-high flush with A♣9♥4♥4♦. ~US&Co~ took down the pot, taking his stack up to 855,000 while sheckwave hit the rail in eighth place, collecting $8,400 in prize money.

Sheckwave's elimination had to have pleased a still short-stacked vui-qua-di, who moved up a notch in the payouts. Vui-qua-di's remaining 53,634 in chips went in the middle shortly thereafter, _unskilled_, Canuck,and ~US&Co~ all making the call. The three active players checked the Q♣9♥3♦ flop, but Canuck led out on the T♠ turn, earning folds from ~US&Co~ and _unskilled_. Canuck turned over T♥8♦3♣2♥ for two pair, snapping off vui-qua-di's A♠A♦9♦5♣. The river was the 7♠ and Canuck raked in the pot, ending vui-qua-di's run in seventh place.

Vui-qua-di has enjoyed a remarkable WCOOP thus far, tonight marking his fourth cash and second WCOOP final table of 2009. Less than 48 hours ago, vui-qua-di earned $37,500 for his runner-up finish in Event #18, $320 8-Game, and tonight, added another $12,800 to his bankroll.

~US&Co~ proceeded to go on a stunning rush, taking his stack from 314,000 to 1.44 million in the space of only a few minutes. First, he doubled through Science, scooping the pot with aces full of queens and an 8-7 low to hit 628,000, then passed 850,000 after making the nut flush. ~US&Co~ broke the 1 million mark after making a king-high flush against _unskilled_, then hit a wheel to scoop gudafarden in a 600,000 pot. Though he ended up shedding about 300,000 chips before the tournament went on a 15-minute break, his run ended up putting him in much better shape just as talk of a deal broke out.

Everyone agreed to take a look at the chip count chop numbers and the action was paused. Though ~US&Co~, Science, and The1Messiah quickly agreed to the deal, gudfaren would not settle for less than a $30,000 payday (over $5k above his chip count share) despite having only three big bets remaining in his stack. Unable to come to an agreement, the final six decided to play on.

Gudfaren's stubbornness ended up paying off, as he almost immediately doubled through _unskilled_. With the action folded to him in the small blind, _unskilled_ put in a raise and gudfaren defended his big blind. The flop came down Q♦5♠5♥ and the betting was capped after _unskilled_ led out for 50,000. _Unskilled_ led again when the turn fell the 2♠ and guafaren called all in, showing A♣Q♣7♠5♦ for queens full of fives to _unskilled_'s K♦7♣3♠2♥ for fives and deuces. The river was the 4♣ and gudfaren made a 7-5-4-2-A low to go with his boat, just out-pipping _unskilled_'s 7-5-4-3-2 to scoop the pot and double his stack to 638,000. _Unskilled_ was left with 285,000.

Three hands later, _unskilled_ opened for a pre-flop raise and Canuck made the call from the small blind. Canuck check-called a bet from _unskilled_ on the 9♣3♣2♣ flop, then check-raised when the A♠ hit the turn. _Unskilled_ called all in and turned over A♥J♣4♠2♠ for aces and deuces while Canuck had him one better with A♦7♦6♦3♦ for aces and threes and a 7-6-3-2-A low. The river was the Q♣ and Canuck took down the pot, eliminating _unskilled_ in sixth place for a $16,800 score.

Gudfaren's choice not to take a deal continued to pay off when he took scooped two huge pots from The1Messiah take his stack up to 1.3 million and leave the former chip leader with 640,000. The1Messiah, however, was able to chip back up to just over 1 million in chips before offering up a suggestion to the group.

The1Messiah said, "guys lets make a deal"

With everyone's stacks fairly even, ranging between 1 and 1.4 million, the final five decided to have another go at a deal and the tournament was paused to accomodate their discussions. That's when everyone found out about Science's mid-tournament power nap.

Canuck said, "blinds are so big"
The1Messiah said, "it will be down to luck"
The1Messiah said, "I think"
The1Messiah said, "and endurance at this point"
Science said, "i fell asleep for 3 hours during this tourney so have plenty of gas"
Science said, "probably why I got this far"
The1Messiah said, "seriously"
The1Messiah said, "lol"
Science said, "woke up at 4 AM with 10K"
~US&Co~ said, "how much did you have prior to this nap of yours"
Science said, "23k"

When host Maria Mayrinck came back with the chip count chop numbers, all five players quickly agreed to the deal, leaving $8,000 and the WCOOP bracelet on the table for the winner. Science couldn't help but congratulate gudfaren, who locked up an additional $18,000 in prize money after holding out for a better deal.

Science said "gusdaren - gutsy decision before - hats off"
gudfaren said "tyty"
The1Messiah said "seriously"
The1Messiah said "well done"

Action resumed and The1Messiah was the next player to fall, putting the rest of his chips in on a Q♠9♥8♦ flop and earning a call from ~US&Co~. The1Messiah showed A♠K♥6♦4♠ for nothing more than ace-high and a backdoor low draw while ~US&Co~ tabled A♦J♠T♦3♦ for a queen-high straight. The turn was the 5♠, the river was the 2♥ and ~US&Co~ made an 8-5-3-2-A low, against The1Messiah's 8-5-4-2-A to scoop the pot and send The1Messiah home with $38,692.39 for fifth place.

Minutes later, Canuck checked his option in a four-way limped pot and saw a flop of Q♠T♦8♠. Gudfaren checked, Canuck bet, ~US&Co~ called and both Science and gudfaren folded. The turn was the 3♦ and Canuck led out. ~US&Co~ raised, Canuck three-bet all in and ~US&Co~ called. Canuck turned up T♥T♠8♥5♥ for a set of tens, but ~US&Co~ had A♥K♣Q♣Q♥ for a set of queens. The 8♥ on the river filled up both players, ~US&Co~ with the bigger boat, sinking Canuck in fourth place. For a hard-fought day of poker, he earned $40,969.09.

As three-handed play began, ~US&Co~ was sitting on 3.3 million chips to Science's 1.1 million and gudfaren's 1.8 million. However, over the ensuing 45 minutes of play, he suffered a steady decline, most of his chips ending up in Science's stack. On what would be his final hand, ~US&Co~ limped in from the small blind and Science checked his option. ~US&Co~ checked the T♣9♥6♣ flop to Science, who bet 100,000. ~US&Co~ raised and Science called. The turn paired the board with the 6♦ and ~US&Co~ led out for 200,000. Science raised and ~US&Co~ three-bet all in. Science called and turned over 6♥6♠5♦3♣ for the stone nuts-- quad sixes. ~US&Co~ was drawing dead with K♦J♥T♦9♠ and hit the rail in third place, earning $45,998.35 for his performance.

Science had a 2.3 to 1 chip lead over gudfaren as heads-up play commenced:

Seat 5: Science (4,402,488 in chips)
Seat 9: gudfaren (1,897,512 in chips)

The chip counts hardly moved during the first 20 minutes of play before Science went on a tear, winning 10 out of 13 pots to pull out to over 5.9 million in chips while gudfaren was hanging on with only 397,000. Though he managed to chip back up to a bit over 1 million, gudfaren couldn't catch Science, who took him out on this hand.

Gudfaren limp-called a raise from Science before the flop came down K♣T♦4♠. Science led out, gudfaren raised, Science three-bet, gudfaren capped and Science called. The turn came the 5♥ and Science fired out again. Gudfaren raised all in and Science called, turning over A♣A♦Q♥3♦, his pair of aces behind gudfaren's K♥T♣9♣4♦ for kings and tens. However, the poker gods were on Science's side tonight, the J♣ hitting the river to make him a Broadway straight.

Despite sleeping through three hours of play, Science mounted a stunning comeback, greeting the London afternoon with a WCOOP title and $54,129.58 in prize money. For a confident, courageous performance, runner-up gudfaren earned $42,758.60.

WCOOP Event #22 ($530 Omaha Hi/Lo) Results

1. Science $54,139.58*
2. gudfaren $42,758.60*
3. ~US&Co~ $45,998.35*
4. Canuck $40,969.09*
5. The1Messiah $38,692.39*
6. _unskilled_ $16,800.00
7. vui-qua-di $12,600.00
8. sheckwave $8,400.00
9. SLOPPYKLOD $5,040.00

(*= reflects a five-way deal which left $8,000 and the champion's bracelet for the winner)

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Kristin Bihr
@PokerStars in WCOOP