2009 WCOOP: vakAAttack relentless, takes Event #6, $109 NLHE

WCOOP 2009 logo.jpgFifteen thousand, six hundred and seventy-four. That's how many runners came out on Saturday for Event #6, the $109 buy-in No-Limit Hold'em event -- by far the most ever in the eight-year history of the World Championship of Online Poker event. Kind of mind boggling, really. 15,675 players. All logged in, sitting before their computers, scattered all over the globe in over 100 different countries, all pursuing the same goal to take the other 15,674 players' chips.

Aside from Friday's night's 8-game Event #5 -- won by FireGoblin (read about it here) -- Event #6 represented the only other sub-$200 buy-in tourney in this year's WCOOP series. It wasn't surprising, then, to see such a large turnout. That enormous field created a total prize pool of $1,567,500, easily crushing the $1 million guarantee. The top 2,250 spots paid, with first prize scheduled to receive a payday of $183,334.81.

With 10-minute levels, the bustouts were destined to come quickly, and indeed it took just two hours for the field to be trimmed down under 3,500. That's 12,000 hitting the rail in 120 minutes -- 100 per minute! Within three hours the money bubble would burst, and by the time the tournament reached its 15-minute dinner break -- that is, about 6 p.m. Eastern time, or just over five hours into play -- just 102 players remained.

Gone by then were all of the 15 or so of the Team PokerStars Pros who made it out for this record-breaking event, the best finishers among them being George Danzer of Team PokerStars Germany who just missed the cash in 2,586th, and Eric Assadourian of Team PokerStars Australia who made the money, ending in 1,443rd.

With a hundred players left, the top of the chip counts featured the likes of angie156, DHUSTLER15, ComeOnPhish, tong26, and 2006 WCOOP Main Event winner area23JC -- also known as J.C. Tran -- all of whom had stacks of more than 1.2 million. Less than a hour later, the field was down to 50, with Sick M out in front with just over 1.5 million, followed by grainpit, angie156, and DonLeu.


J.C. "area23JC" Tran, 2009 WCOOP Event #6 35th place finisher

Shortly afterwards, Tran became short-stacked after losing a huge pot to EL KIERO. Down to just 75,400 -- and with the blinds 25,000/50,000 -- Tran was forced to go all in from the big blind with 3♠T♥ versus DonLeu who held J♠A♥. The board brought no pairing cards for either player, and Tran was out in 35th place.

By the time they were down to 27 players left arranged around three tables, THOR12345 had pushed out in front with over 5.8 million, followed by tong26 with 4.49 million and Percussion with 2.72 million. chufty83 hung on with a below average stack for a while, though was finally ousted in 21st by merkurstar, much to the dismay of his crowded rail. "I can't believe chufty's gone!!!" chimed one.

With 14 left, THOR12345 had pushed out past 10 million, more than twice the stack of razorbite, his nearest foe. THOR12345 lost a big chunk of that stack, though, in a big hand in which Percussion drew pocket kings against THOR12345's pocket queens, and the kings held. Then DHUSTLER15 took a bunch of Percussion's chips, as the all-in hands continued with frequency. Meanwhile, on the other short-handed table, DonLeu was busy building the big stack.

During this final stretch before the final table, vakAAttack was having some trouble getting his chat to work properly, and was finally aided by a moderator after his questions to tablemates went unanswered. "guys that was embarrassing you could answer me lol" cracked vakAAttack afterwards. takesix had a good explanation for the lack of help: "everyone has their pokerface on."

At last, after a somewhat lengthy final table bubble lasting nearly 30 hands, vakAAttack knocked out AZIZbustonFT in 10th place, and the final table was set:

Seat 1: Percussion -- 2,597,963
Seat 2: razorbite -- 3,798,320
Seat 3: DHUSTLER15 -- 5,282,317
Seat 4: vakAAttack -- 10,828,554
Seat 5: THOR12345 -- 6,785,648
Seat 6: Dwayno86 -- 1,761,944
Seat 7: merkurstar -- 2,611,568
Seat 8: DonLeu -- 10,058,592
Seat 9: Rockkaholic -- 3,300,094


That last big hand had propelled vakAAttack just ahead of DonLeu and into the chip lead as the final table began. It took just one orbit before the first elimination. The table folded around to Dwayno86 who shoved all in from the small blind for 1,437,944 total, and merkustar called. Dwayno86 showed 9♥8♣ and merkustar Q♥J♦. The board came 5♣7♠Q♦J♥9♣, giving merkustar two pair and the pot, and knocking out Dwayno86 in ninth.

Six hands later, Percussion open-raised all in for 1,787,963 from the hijack seat, and DHUSTLER15 called from the button. Percussion had K♣J♦, but would need some help against DHUSTLER15 who held A♠T♠. The community cards came 3♦Q♥Q♦3♥5♣, and Percussion beat it in eighth.

About 20 hands later the blinds were 125,000/250,000 when DonLeu open-raised to a million from late position and a short-stacked Rockkaholic decided to reraise all in behind him for just a little more. DonLeu called, showing 7♦A♦ versus Rockkaholic's 4♦4♥. The flop came a provocative 2♥3♦5♦, but the J♦ on the turn meant that Rockkaholic was drawing dead, eliminated in seventh.

Then, on the very next hand, DonLeu open-raised again from middle position -- this time to 1.5 million -- and it folded around to THOR12345 who shoved all in for 4,888,828 million from the big blind. DonLeu called him, showing K♦A♠ while THOR12345 tabled T♥T♦. The flop brought a king -- K♣3♣Q♥ -- and THOR12345 was in bad shape. The turn was the 3♦ and river 8♦, and THOR12345 was out in sixth.

Meanwhile, DonLeu now had a commanding chip lead with more than 17.8 million. Then came this interesting hand between merkurstar and vakAAttack, the result of which was vakAAttack retaking the chip lead with more than 20 million. Take a look:

A few hands later, razorbite would open-raise to 674,500, vakAAttack reraised to 3 million, razorbite pushed all in for 4,065,280 total, and vakAAttack called. razorbite showed 8♥8♠, but couldn't have been happy to see vakAAttack's K♥K♦. The board came 3♦3♣3♠Q♣J♠, and razorbite was out in fifth.

Shortly after that, DonLeu raised to 1.8 million and vakAAttack was back at it again, this time reraising all in with his gaudy stack of 24-plus million. DonLeu thought a moment, then called with his last 6,302,374. DonLeu showed A♦9♣, but vakAAttack had picked up another big hand with Q♣Q♥. Again vakAAttack's big pair held, as the board came 7♠T♦T♥5♠4♠, eliminating DonLeu in fourth.

The short stack merkurstar asked "chop?" but got no answer. Tourney host and Team PokerStars Pro Steve Paul-Ambrose chimed in the chat box to congratulate the three remaining players on their all having earned at least six figures. "6 figures?" asked vakAAttack, his chat now working just fine. ">$100,000" clarified Paul-Ambrose. Not a bad day's work, that.

merkurstar would gather some chips and move barely past DHUSTLER15 and into second place, but then would lose the bulk of that stack in an unfortunate hand versus DHUSTLER15. The pair got it all in on the turn with the board showing 6♠5♦7♠4♦. merkurstar showed 2♠3♦, but DHUSTLER15's A♦8♠ meant he had the better straight, and the J♦ on the river changed nothing.

That hand left merkurstar with just a piddling stack of 10,513 chips. merkurstar would quickly double and triple up to over a quarter million, actually, but finally succumbed after going all in preflop with A♦9♣ against DHUSTLER15's 9♦6♥. merkurstar was okay through the turn -- K♦4♥7♠T♣ -- but the 6♣ on the river gave DHUSTLER15 a pair and knocked merkurstar out in third.

When heads-up play began, the remaining two players were close in chips, with DHUSTLER15 having 21,037,189 and vakAAttack 25,987,811. With the blinds 175,000/350,000, both players had deep enough stacks to exercise some caution, and so they did, battling back and forth for the next two-and-a-half levels. vakAAttack gradually increased the advantage, pushing out past 30 million to DHUSTLER15's 16-plus million.

It was starting to look as though something extraordinary was going to have to happen for these two to get all of the chips in the middle. And finally, on the 65th hand of heads-up play, something extraordinary did.

DHUSTLER15 opened with a raise to 1 million from the small blind/button, and vakAAttack called from the big blind. The flop came K♣8♥7♠, and both players checked. So far so harmless. Or so it seemed. The turn brought the 7♣, and again both players checked. Still no hint of fireworks to come.

The river was the Q♥, and vakAAttack suddenly, and somewhat surprisingly, bet 5.4 million -- more than twice the size of the pot. Just as surprisingly, DHUSTLER15 reraised all in for a little more than 15 million! And vakAAttack snap-called!

DHUSTLER had Q♣Q♦ for a rivered full house. A big hand. But not big enough. vakAAttack had 7♥7♦ for quad sevens!

WCOOP Event #6 ($109 No-Limit Hold'em) Results

1. vakAAttack (Greece) -- $183.334.81
2. DHUSTLER15 (United States) -- $133,237.51
3. merkurstar (Germany) -- $101,887.51
4. DonLeu (Germany) -- $70,537.51
5. razorbite (United Kingdom) -- $54,862.51
6. THOR12345 (Germany) -- $39,187.51
7. Rockkaholic (Denmark) -- $26,647.51
8. Percussion (United States) -- $14,107.51
9. Dwayno98 (Netherlands) -- $9,405.01

Here's the PokerStars.tv recap.

Watch WCOOP 2009: Event 6 - $109 NL Hold'em on PokerStars.tv

Congratulations to vakAAttack, winner of the largest ever WCOOP event in history! There's still a lot more history to be made at the 2009 WCOOP. Check out the WCOOP page for the remaining schedule as well as information about satelliting your way in.

Martin Harris
@hardboiledpoker in WCOOP