WCOOP 2010: johnsonck69 captures flag in Event #26 ($320 Mixed HE, 6-max)

wcoop2009-thumb.jpgSwitching gears. One of the more commonly evoked metaphors in discussions of tournament poker strategy. Tourneys (so they say) are lengthy, marathon-like races in which one generally cannot successfully sprint headlong from start to finish. There are times to speed up and times to slow down, and those who handle such adjustments most adeptly are generally the ones who avoid crashing the longest. That is to say, they are the ones often still racing and switching those gears at tourney's end.

The mixed hold'em format -- in which players move back and forth between levels of fixed-limit HE and no-limit HE -- provides an additional twist to this switching gears business, forcing players to adjust over and over to the differing strategies needed to excel in each game. Such was the challenge accepted by the 1,116 players who came out for WCOOP Event #26, the $300+$20 mixed hold'em event. The $400,000 guaranteed prize pool meant a bit of an overlay for this one, with the top 144 spots due to make the cash and the first-place finisher scheduled to receive $67,000.

Levels lasted but 10 minutes, and the tourney was played six-handed. Brock "t soprano" Parker found himself cruising along into the top 40 in the early going -- not too surprising, given that Parker won two WSOP bracelets in 2009, one in six-handed limit hold'em and the other in six-handed no-limit hold'em. Parker's good start came to an abrupt halt, however, when in the middle of Level 10 (no-limit, blinds 20/40) he found himself in an all-in situation against holyguacmole.

Parker had raised from middle position and only holyguacmole called from the big blind. The flop came 4♥J♠3♠, prompting a raising war between the two that saw Parker committing his nearly 9,000-chip stack with A♠K♠ versus holyguacmole's 6♠5♠. The 2♥ on the turn gave holyguacmole the straight, and a river blank meant Parker had been sent to the curb along with the many other early smash-ups.

At the four-hour mark, 420 players still had chips with which to fuel their tourney runs, with J0hnny_Dr@m@ leading the way followed by Owen "ocrowe" Crowe in second. holyguacmole was up there near the leaders, too, in ninth, with PokerStars Team Online player Karlo "elmagopr" Lopez of Puerto Rico in 13th.

A couple of hours later the tournament had approached the cash bubble, at which point the pace slowed considerably. They'd reached level 34, where the game was NLHE and the blinds were 300/600. There were a number of players with less than 20,000 at that point, including a couple hanging on with just a few big blinds, but that didn't deter Gambler4444 from living up to his name by putting his stack of 23,706 at risk preflop with A♣K♠. His opponent was x.UnLuCkY.x, who held J♣J♠, and the gambler indeed proved unlucky as the board ran out seven-high, sending Gambler4444 out in 145th place.

Of the 28 members of Team PokerStars who entered Event #26, just four had made it through to the money -- Lopez, Christophe "chrisdm" De Meulder, Randy "nanonoko" Lew, and Henrique "Henrique.P" Pinho. Lopez would soon fall in 112th place, wrecked by GhostButtons in a no-limit hand. Then, at about the seven-hour mark, both De Meulder (Team PokerStars Belgium) and Lew (Team PokerStars Online) crashed nearly simultaneously, both in limit hold'em hands.

First De Meulder was eliminated in 94th. He'd paired his ace on the flop with A♠3♣ and had all of his chips in by the turn, but was outkicked by MSilence's A♥K♥ and couldn't catch up. Meanwhile Lew and then chip leader Lansky capped the betting prior to a 7♦8♠3♣ flop, at which point the betting continued until all of Lew's chips were in the middle. Lew held Q♦Q♠, but unfortunately for him had run into Lansky's K♠K♥. No queen came to save Lew, and he was out in 93rd.

That left just Henrique Pinho of Team PokerStars Portugal to represent as the field continued to shrink. At the nine-hour mark just 24 players remained, with johnsonck69 having moved way out in front with more than 670,000, a healthy advantage over xxxCelticFCxx in second with a little over 470,000.

Pinho remained in the middle of the pack over the next half-hour before his stack began to dwindle. Then, in Level 52 (no-limit, blinds 2,500/5,000), Pinho put his stack of 60,355 at risk with pocket queens against AmarulaBr's A♥T♣. All was well for Pinho through the turn, but a river ace sent him off the track in 15th place.


Team PokerStars Pro Henrique Pinho

As play moved to the final two six-handed tables, x.UnLuCkY.x drove to the front of the pack and just after the 10-hour mark became the first player to reach one million chips. johnsonck69, WhiteM4n, and MadaMadaDonk would each surpass x.UnLuCkY.x who'd fall back over the next few levels. Finally x.UnLuCkY.x ousted AAA MARTIN in seventh place, moving back close to the million-chip mark in the process, and the six-handed final table was set:


Seat 1: x.UnLuCkY.x -- 982,506
Seat 2: WhiteM4n -- 1,080,708
Seat 3: martin69 -- 617,559
Seat 4: johnsonck69 -- 1,423,901
Seat 5: ForzaVaxholm -- 477,055
Seat 6: MadaMadaDonk -- 998,271

The stacks were deep enough to allow for the remaining six to exert some patience, and play slowed down over the next half an hour. As they moved through Level 63 -- another round of LHE -- one player piped up in the chat box to show he was ready to speed up the pace a bit.

x.UnLuCkY.x: hey host
K_Man2307 (TeamPro): hey
x.UnLuCkY.x: can we stay no limit the whole time plz
K_Man2307 (TeamPro): I don't think I can quite manage that

That was Keiran Harris of PokerStars Team Online politely denying x.UnLuCkY.x's request. Play would continue for another 15 minutes, then the tourney reached a scheduled 15-minute break, during which x.UnLuCkY.x pleaded with the other players the break be skipped. "no way. i need a cigarette," responded WhiteM4n. The others weren't responding, having opted to take pit stops as well, and so x.UnLuCkY.x was left idling alone.

Soon after players returned from break, x.UnLuCkY.x scored a big double-up with pocket nines versus MadaMadaDonk's pocket eights. Then ForzaVaxholm was crippled in a hand versus MadaMadaDonk, leaving ForzaVaxholm with just under 45,000 -- less than a small bet in the current limit hold'em round (Level 65, stakes 50,000/100,000). Soon ForzaVaxholm was all in with K♠Q♦ against MadaMadaDonk's A♥K♥, the board ran out 6♦J♦5♣2♠9♠, and ForzaVaxholm was out in sixth.

MadaMadaDonk's good fortune wouldn't last long, however. Still playing limit hold'em, johnsonck69 opened with a raise (to 100,000) from the cutoff, MadaMadaDonk three-bet from the button, then WhiteM4n capped it from the big blind. johnsonck69 folded, but MadaMadaDonk called. The flop came 9♥4♥4♠, WhiteM4n bet, and the raises commenced again, with the betting capped once more.

The turn brought the 6♣ and another bet from WhiteM4n. MadaMadaDonk raised all in for 130,698 total, and WhiteM4n called, turning over 9♠9♦ for a flopped full house. MadaMadaDonk showed T♥T♠, and the 4♦ river meant MadaMadaDonk was out in fifth.

Just a few hands later, the game had switched back to no-limit hold'em (blinds 12,500/25,000). It folded to x.UnLuCkY.x in the small blind who raised to 60,000, and WhiteM4n called in the big blind. The flop came A♦J♥Q♣. x.UnLuCkY.x checked, WhiteM4n bet 100,000, and x.UnLuCkY.x called. The turn was the 2♥. x.UnLuCkY.x checked again, and this time WhiteM4n bet 175,000. x.UnLuCkY.x responded with an all-in check-raise to 486,945, and WhiteM4n called. x.UnLuCkY.x showed Q♠2♠ for two pair, but WhiteM4n had a better two pair with A♠2♣. The river was the 8♠, and x.UnLuCkY.x was out in fourth.

The tourney was then paused so the remaining three could discuss a deal. At that point WhiteM4n had the lead with more than 2.8 million, while johnsonck69 had 1.44 million and martin69 1.27 million. The trio quickly agreed to a chip-chop, leaving an additional $8,000 on the table for the eventual winner. The green flag was waved and play resumed.

WhiteM4n would soon suffer a huge hit when martin69, all in before the flop in a NLHE hand with A♦T♠ versus WhiteM4n's A♥J♥, spiked a ten on the turn. Shortly thereafter WhiteM4n open-raised all in for his last 271,113 from the button with A♦8♥, and johnsonck69 called from the big blind with K♥6♣. The flop brought a king -- 4♥K♠9♥ -- and the Q♣ turn and 3♥ river sent WhiteM4n out in third.

Heads-up play began with johnsonck69 in the lead with 3,161,214 chips to martin69's 2,418,786. It was Level 68, and the game was no-limit with blinds of 15,000/30,000. Plenty of room to be patient, but on the fourth hand of heads-up the cards were dealt in such a way that pretty much assured these two would be having a short race to the finish line.

johnsonck69 started with a minimum-raise to 60,000 from the small blind/button, and martin69 called. The flop came T♦Q♣A♥. martin69 checked, johnsonck69 bet 250,000, and martin69 called. The turn brought the Q♠, pairing the board. martin69 again checked, and this time johnsonck69 bet 250,000. Again, martin69 made the call.

The river paired the board again, bringing the T♣. martin69 checked one more time, and johnsonck69 shoved all in. martin69 called with his remaining 1,996,286 chips, showing Q♥J♥ for queens full of tens. But johnsonck69 had A♠A♦, giving him the better full house.

Congratulations to johnsonck69 for outracing the field and making it to the victory circle in Event #26!

WCOOP Event #26 ($320 Mixed Hold'em, 6-max.) Results
1st place: johnsonck69 ($54,531.51)*
2nd: martin69 ($45,529.29)*
3rd: WhiteM4n ($54,939.20)*
4th: x.UnLuCkY.x ($26,000)
5th: MadaMadaDonk ($17,160)
6th: ForzaVaxHolm ($12,000)

*payouts reflect three-way deal

There are still more than half of this year's WCOOP events left to go! Be sure to drive yourself on over to PokerStars.tv for reports on all of the action thus far. Then take a tour of the WCOOP site for the full schedule plus all of the results. And, of course, park it back here at the PokerStars blog for continuing coverage of the world's biggest online poker tournament series.

Martin Harris
@hardboiledpoker in WCOOP