WCOOP 2010: croll103 master of his domain with victory in Event #56 $1,050 Limit Hold'em

wcoop2009-thumb.jpgLimit hold'em is just like comedian Rodney Dangerfield said with his famous tagline, "I can't get no respect."

Limit hold'em is a redheaded stepchild at a family picnic. Limit hold'em is sort of like being the awkward nonathletic kid who is always being picked last for football on the playground. If poker games were like the Jackson Five, then Michael Jackson would be NL, while poor poor Tito is limit hold'em.

Limit hold'em might not be a classic throwback, or as sexy or exciting as other forms of poker, but it's a game that many of us hold dear to our hearts as the introduction into poker. But just because we've played it, doesn't mean we all necessarily enjoy it. Limit poker can be one of the most frustrating forms of poker imaginable. But that's the beauty of the game that seems so simple, yet it's incredibly complex when played in a tournament format. That's why the best limit hold'em players have a much wider gap between themselves and the rest of the pack.

Event #56 $1,050 Limit Hold'em attracted 396 players, just four shy of hitting the $400,000 Guarantee. The total prize pool was $400,000 with $80,000 set aside for the winner. The top 54 places paid out prize money.

Terrance "Unassigned" Chan was the defending champion in this event, but did not play and opted to travel to Argentina and play in the LAPT Rosario instead. It looks like Chan made the correct decision to skip out on the WCOOP, because he survived Day 1 and ended Day 2 of the LAPT Rosario in the Top 5 in chips with 24 players to go.

Meanwhile, back on the virtual felt a handful of Team PokerStars Pros were among the earliest casualties in Event #56. That list included ElkY, Chris Moneymaker, Victor Ramdin, and Vanessa Rousso. Fellow Team Pros Nacho Barbero and Joe Cada went deep, but not deep enough and missed the money.

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Team PokerStars Pro Noah "Exclusive" Boeken

PokerStars Team Pro Noah Boeken made the money with a 30th place finish. A pair of Team PokerStars Online players also cashed when Geroge "Jorj95" Lind III missed the final table for 9th, and Norway's Anders "Donald" Berg took 40th place.

2010 WCOOP leader board front runner Kroko-dill attempted to pick up more points. The Russian is in hot pursuit of the "Player of the Series" honors, but he fizzled out in 145th place. At the start of this event, Jamie "Xaston" Kaplan was second in points on the lead board after winning a pair of WCOOP titles. He also failed to gain any ground on Kroko-dill because he busted in 60th place and missed the money.

A handful of notable players cashed in this event including 2010 WCOOP champion Shaun "shaundeeb" Deeb (21st Place), gordo16 (23rd), Isaac "westmenloAA" Baron (47th), Bret "get crunk" Richey (48th), and ComeOnPhish (51st). A trio of notables made the final table including Aussie pro James "Andy McLEOD" Obst, James "croll103" Carroll, and Jamie "pokerjamers" Armstrong.

Bubble Boy honors went to tony82446333 who finished unceremoniously in 55th place. The remaining 54 players were guaranteed a minimum of $1,800. When the bubble finally burst, Noah Boeken sat on a 100K stack and lurked in the Top 5.

With seven tables remaining, George "Jorj95" Lind III and Noah Boeken were seated at the same table and forced to feed on each others' carcasses, while Anders "Donald" Berg clung to life support as the shortest stack in the tournament. The Norwegian pro got booted in 40th place when his A♥Q♥ was run down by A-J.

Boeken got crippled in a fight against jadajadamasa's A♠A♣. On the next hand, it was Boeken's turn to get dealt Aces, and he doubled up. He jumped right back into the fight, but his resurgence was short-lived. Boeken was eliminated in 32nd place an orbit later when his Q♦T♣ failed to improve against jadajadamasa's A♠T♠.

Shaun Deeb, who won WCOOP Event #28, hit the road in ugly fashion. Deeb's A♣A♠ were brutally ravaged by keltrr's J♥8♥, when two eights hit the flop. Deeb finished in 21st place.

With 10 players remaining, short-stacked Jorj95 doubled up when his K♣Q♠ outflopped elitelive's Big Slick. Two Queens hit the flop and he avoided elimination. On the next hand, he dragged a 159K pot with full house, passed the 200K mark, and rocketed into the Top 5 in chips. Alas, Jorj95's comeback came to an abrupt halt courtesy of Andy McLEOD, when his two pair was not good enough to beat Andy McLEOD's full house. George "Jorj95" Lind IIII went busto in 9th place. He won $8,800 and missed the final table by a few spots.

Römpsä bubbled off the final table when his two pair lost to pokerjamers trip fives. He finished in 7th place and and collected $8,800.

This event played out six-handed, which sped up the pace because full-ring limit hold'em tournaments are historically long affairs. When the final table of six was set, James "Andy McLEOD" Obst held the overall lead with over 915K.

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Final table chip counts:
Seat 1: bcans (450,338)
Seat 2: Andy McLEOD (915,655)
Seat 3: croll103 (474,244)
Seat 4: KongenavU (125,007)
Seat 5: pokerjamers (754,820)
Seat 6: AZTERROR (249,936)

Over the first 25 hands of the final table, Andy McLEOD passed the 1 million mark and short-stacked KongenavU doubled up. The player who declined the most was bcans, who dropped half of his stack.

I doubt that KongenavU will be sending AZTERROR a holiday card this year after AZTERROR terrorized him at the final table. AZTERROR crippled KongenavU and eventually took him out. Short-stacked KongenavU made a stand with 8♥7♠ but lost to AZTERROR's A♦2♦ when the board ran out K♣K♦5♦3♠6♥. KongenavU became the first player eliminated from the final table and collected $14,200 for 6th place.

Andy McLEOD took a huge bite out of bcans stack and left him with paltry holdings. Croll103 took it upon himself to pick apart the rest of the pieces. Bcans got it all-in preflop for his last 38,028 with A♣4♥ against croll103's A♠K♥. The board ran out J♠5♦5♠7♥2♠, and caroll103's Ace-high (with his King-kicker playing) won the pot. For 5th place, bcans won $22,200.

With four players remaining, pokerjamer and Andy McLEOD's both held stacks over 1 million. They were nearly even in chips. Croll103 had a shade under 700K, while AZTERROR brought up the rear with 217K (or roughly 9 BBs).

Andy McLEOD bullied AZTERROR and dragged a pot with two-pair. That hand severely wounded AZTERROR and he didn't last much longer. On his final hand, AZTERROR got it all-in on a flop of J♠7♠4♦. He held 9♥8♥ for a gutshot against croll103's A♣Q♥. The turn was the A♥ and croll103 solidified his lead. The 6♠ on the river sealed AZTERROR's fate, who was knocked out in 4th place and took home $30,400.

With three players remaining, Andy McLEOD increased his lead to 1.6 million. Meanwhile pokerjamers hovered around 1 million and croll103 took on the role as the shorty with around 420K.

Andy McLEOD picked up a string of pots and went right after pokerjamers. He won a 300K pot with 9♥9♦ and flirted with 2 million, while pokerjamers and croll103 were even in chips around 500K each.

Pokerjams took half of croll103's stack with K♣Q♣. He whiffed on a flush draw, but still won the hand with a pair of Queens. At that point, croll103 slipped under 200K but he was not going to give up so easily. Carroll's avatar is Tom Brady, the star quarterback of the New England Patriots who is the poster child of perseverance. Even though Brady was involved in a car accident a few weeks ago, he did not miss a single game. In addition, Brady has endured a wave of public criticism over his new haircut, which makes him look more like a clone of teen pop sensation Justin Bieber, than a gritty warrior.

Andy McLEOD had his hands full with both of his opponents attacking his big stack. Croll103 nearly doubled up against him, and then pokerjamers dragged a 368K pot with A♦Q♠. Andy McLEOD got flushed out by the old "four-flush on the river" trick. Andy McLEOD slipped to 1.5 million, while pokerjamers seized momentum and continued the pressure. He chipped up to over 1 million after beating out Andy McLEOD in consecutive pots. Andy McLEOD eventually coughed up the lead to pokerjammers. Both players stacks were worth over 1 million, while croll103 silently crawled up to 800K.

Andy McLEOD experienced a rollercoaster of events after he lost a series of small pots to both opponents. He sunk as low as under 420K and became the short stack, while croll103 surged to over 1 million. Over the next dozen hands, Andy McLEOD increased his stack steadily, while croll103 slipped back under 1 million, and pokerjammers extended his lead to almost 1.5 million.

The tournament reached the 10th hour and after a five-minute break, croll103 came out swinging. He won 7 out of the first 10 pots after the break, including a 570K pot that thrust him into the lead. He flopped two pair with K♦9♥ and then turned a boat against pokerjammers. Croll103 increased his stack to over 1.5 million, while pokerjammers sunk to under 900K. Croll103 didn't stop there. He took half of Andy McLEOD's stack on one hand and left him with less than 240K. He dragged another pot against pokerjammers with two pair and passed the 2 million mark.

When level 28 began with 25K/50K blinds, croll103 kept adding more chips to his stack (pushing it over 2.5 million) after banging away at small pots. Both pokerjammers and Andy McLEOD were sitting on stacks worth around 250K apiece.

Andy McLEOD got crippled in a 350K pot against croll103. He found his fate on the next hand when croll103's A♣T♦ bested his K♥T♣. The board ran out 9♦5♥4♠7♥2♦ and croll103 won the pot with Ace-high. Andy McLEOD held the lead for a significant amount of the tournament, but he couldn't close the deal. The Aussie pro finished in 3rd place and collected $44,000.

Heads-up chip counts:
Seat 3: croll103 (2,601,138)
Seat 5: pokerjamers (368,862)

The future looked bleak for pokerjammers, who found himself at a 7-1 chip disadvantage against croll103's 2.6 million stack. Over the first 50 hands of heads-up play, pokerjammers only won two pots worth at least 420K -- one with pocket Jacks and the other with Big Slick. Meanwhile, croll103 did not rely on a single knockout blow. He didn't win any big pots, but methodically chipped away at pokerjammers stack

The entire heads-up match lasted 59 hands. Before the final hand was dealt, croll103 won nine out of the ten previous hands and nearly sucked pokerjammer's stack bone dry. With less than 88K, pokerjammer made a final stand with 2♦2♠ against croll103's 8♣4♣. His valiant pair of deuces were leading... until the 4♥ spiked on the river. The pot got shipped to croll103, while pokerjamers uttered, "gg." Pokerjammer hit the rail in second place, and for his runner-up performance, he received $59,200.

James "croll103" Caroll won the tournament, the coveted WCOOP bracelet, and $80,000 in cash. You can view the final hand in the snazzy replayer.

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Event #56 $1,050 Limit Hold'em final table payouts and results:
1. James "croll103" Caroll- $80,000
2. Jamie "pokerjamers" Armstrong - $59,200
3. James "Andy McLEOD" Obst - $44,000
4. AZTERROR- $30,400
5. bcans - $22,200
6. KongenavU - $14,200

Visit the WCOOP homepage for complete event results and updated "Player of the Series" lead board stats. You can also view the remaining schedule of events, including satellite information for the Main Event. Don't forget to watch PokerStars.tv for additional coverage of the 2010 WCOOP.

Pauly McGuire
@PokerStars in WCOOP