WCOOP 2010: knecht_poker is the knockout wunderkind in Event #14 $320 NL 6-Max Knockout

wcoop2009-thumb.jpgThe German word "knecht" means laborer in English. That translation is fitting for Kyle "knecht_poker" Knecht, a 20-something pro from Ohio, who won his first WCOOP title in Event $14 $320 NL 6-Max Knockout.

Knecht paid in his dues at the tables the last few years and honed his MTT skills as a live player. At the 2010 WSOP in Las Vegas this past summer, Knecht made one final table and cashed three times in events containing fields with almost 2,000+ players. Most recently, Knecht took second place at the Indiana State Championship in August. And now, you can now add a WCOOP bracelet to his blossoming resumé.

Six-handed tables add a heightened element to any tournament. The short-handed format does not favor nitty play because you can't play timid, sit back, and wait for a big hand like you can at a full ring table. In a short-handed situation, it is essential to open up your range (and more importantly widen the scope of your opponent's range), which translates into more playable hands. More hand equals more action. To spice things up a bit more in Event #14, the event included knockout bounties -- if you bust a player, then you collect $50 -- which is a slick way of distributing an alternative prize pool by rewarding your abilities to terminate opponents.

Event #14 attracted 3,325 runners. The top 420 were paid out prize money with $104,737.50 set aside for the eventual champion. The $665,000 prize pool included $200 from each player's buy-in. Meanwhile, $50 per entry was set aside for the bounty pool, which reached $166,250.

Team PokerStars Pros Jason Mercier, ElkY, Chris Moneymaker, Gaulter Salles, Humberto Brenes all participated in this event, but none of the advanced to the money.

It took less than 6 hours before the field slashed and burned its way from 3,325 to 420 players. Bubble boy honors went to JoaoCastro91, who hit the rail unceremoniously in 421st place.

MarthaHerrara+PA.jpgTeam PokerStars Online Pro Martha "marene" Herrara at the final table of LAPT Mexico

A trio of Team PokerStars Online Pros cashed including Henrique "Henrique.P" Pinho (120th), Martha "marene" Herrara (234th), and Diego "vgreen22"Brunelli (377th). Marene went out when she lost a flip with A♦Q♣ against pocket sevens. Short-stacked Henrique.P hit the rail when his J♦9♦ lost to A♣T♦.

Notables players who cashed included EnoBaLL (17th), PremiumStud (18th), dolphin (20th), elitelive (41st), terrelk11 (62nd), and Johnny Bax (71st).

With two tables to go, pitaoufmg by far had the most rambunctious railbirds, and they were all vocally supportive of their fellow countryman. How can you tell there's a Brazilian at your table? Wait until he wins a hand and every single Brazilian on the virtual rail will clutter the chat box with "Vamooooooooooooooo!'

"Portuguese only at the tables." joked one player.

"Vamooooo!" one railbird chimed in. "I'm American as apple pie, but I'm gonna keep yelling it. Vamooooooooooo!"

All of Brazil shed a tear when pitaoufmg bubbled off the final table in 7th place. He got it all in with A♥Q♦ against knecht_poker's A♠A♦. After an all-heart flop, Knecht_poker was sweating the outcome because pitamofmg held the A♥. He faded the flush draw and pitaoufmg hit the rail. With pitaoufmg's elimination, all of his boisterous railbirds disappeared and left the chat box virtually silent. As expected, the final table was not treated with a single "Vamooooo!"

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Final table chip counts:
Seat 1: a365551 (5,489,386)
Seat 2: knecht_poker (3,049,264 in chips)
Seat 3: Mrazeg (3,263561 in chips)
Seat 4: VM47 (888,422 in chips)
Seat 5: LazersNUTS (810,131)
Seat 6: SCAINS2 (3,124,236)

The final table of six was set. Although a365551 held the overall lead, it quickly slipped out of his hand. Knecht_poker seized the lead after he won a hand with A♠6♠ against Mrazeg's 4♣4♠. He added more chips to his tumescent stack after he clashed with a365551 in what became the largest hand of the tournament at the time. Action folded to a365551 in the small blind. He raised to 144,444, and knecht_poker called from the big blind. The flop was Q♠8♣7♥. A365551 bet 255,555 and knecht_poker called. The turn was the T♦. A365551 bet 555,555, and knecht_poker called. The 3♦ on the river induced a bet of 1,333,333 from a365551, and knecht_poker called. Holding a mere K♥5♥, a365551 was firing away with nadda -- only King-high. Knecht_poker showed K♦Q♦ and won the 4.6 million pot with pair of Queens. Knecht_poker rocketed to over 7.1 million, while a365551 slipped to under 2 million.

When the tournament passed the 15th hour of play, knecht_poker vacuumed up a pot worth almost 2 million against SCAINS2. The leader's stack climbed past the 8 million mark.

Short-stacked LazersNUTS avoided an elimination and crawled out of the basement when he doubled up with 9♣9♠ against a365551's A♠Q♦.

The new short-stack, VM47, didn't last very long. When action folded to him on the button, he shoved with 7♦4♣ and hoped to steal the blinds. Unlucky for him, SCAINS2 woke up with A♠A♦ in the big blind. VM47's rags were inferior and his tournament had come to a bitter end. VM47 collected $11,803.75 for 6th place.

Two hands later, the other shorty, LazersNUTS, shoved for his last 897,262 and knecht_poker called from the big blind. LazersNUTS showed A♠T♠, but he ran into pocket Aces. Tough break. The flop was K♣J♣3♥, and LazersNUTS caught a glimmer of hope with a Broadway gutshot, but whiffed on the turn and the river. Pocket Aces held up for knecht_poker. He won the pot and collected a bounty. LazersNUTS busted out in 5th place and won $23,155.30.

Sitting on a stack worth over 8.4 million, knecht_poker held over 50% of the chips in play with four to go. But it wouldn't stay four-handed for very long because on the next hand, we had another elimination.

It appeared that a365551 was trying to steal the blinds with a button raise. Russian Mrazege three-bet from his big blind, and A365551 flat called. The flop was J♣T♠8♣ with 870,000 in the pot., Mrazeg fired out 560,678, a365551 shoved, and Mrazeg called all-in for his last 1,787,255. Mrazeg was ahead with K♦K♠, but he needed to avoid a club because a365551 held 4♣2♣ for a flush draw. The 3♣ spiked on the turn and a365551 flushed out Mrazeg's pocket Kings. Mrazeg was eliminated in 4th place and he won $36,242.50.

With three to go, knecht_poker was out in front with 9.4 million, while a365551 jumped up to over 6 million. By default, SCAINS2 was the short stack with 2,194,294, even though he held over 27 BBs.

SCAINS2 chipped away at knecht_poker's and was gaining momentum, until disaster struck and he lost his entire stack withing seven hands. SCAINS2 made a mistake by getting involved with a365551 in a pot. The flop was Q♣8♥7♣. SCAINS2 checked, a365551 bet a heady amount of 420,000, SCAINS2 check-raised to 840,000, a365551 re-raised to 1,300,000, SCAINS2 shoved for 4,912,176, and since a365551 was covered, he called all-in for his last 2,229,054. A365551 flopped two pair and was ahead with Q♠8♦. SCAINS2 trailed with Q♥6♣, but he picked up outs when the 5♣ fell on the turn. He missed his OESD and a365551 won the pot to double up to almost 7.7 million.

Six hands later and down to his last 1 million, SCAINS2 got it all-in with A♦8♣ against knecht_poker's K♦Q♠. SCAINS2 led all the way until the river, when the K♠ spiked, crushing his hopes for a comeback. Knecht_poker collected another knock out bounty, meanwhile SCAINS2 busted out in 3rd place. He won $55,860.

A throwback to the Cold War, a heads-up battle was set between America's knecht_poker and Russia's a365551.

Heads-up chip counts:
Seat 1: a365551 (7,883,108)
Seat 2: knecht_poker (8,741,892)

Their match lasted only 15 hands. Knecht_poker picked up seven of the initial 10 hands playing small ball, until fireworks ensued on the 11th hand when he won a doozy. The flop was 5♣4♣3♣. Knecht_poker checked, a365551 bet 250,000, knecht_poker check-raised to 758,750, and a365551 called. The turn was the Q♦. Knecht_poker bet 1,165,500 and a365551 called. The river was the Q♠, and knecht_poker shoved for over 7.4 million. A365551 tank-folded. Knecht_poker won the 4.2 million pot and surged to over 11 million, while a365551 slipped to under 5 million.

On the final hand... both players got it all in pre-flop. For his duel to the death, a365551 took A♥8♠ to battle against knecht_poker's 8♥8♦. The flop was K♠9♣8♣, and knecht_poker further improved with a set eights. Unless a365551 miraculously caught running Aces, he was going to be toast. The turn was the 7♣ and a365551 was officially drawing dead. The river was a meaningless 6♥. A365551 was eliminated in 2nd place and won $76,475.00.

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For winning Event #14 $320 NL Knockout, Kyle "knecht_poker" Knecht collected $104,737.50. Congrats!

Event #14 NL 6-Max Knockout final table results and payouts:
1. knecht_poker - $104,737.50
2. a365551 - $76,475
3. SCAINS2 - $55,860
4. Mrazeg - $36,242
5. LazersNUTS - $23,155.30
6. VM47 - $11,803.75

For stimulating visual coverage of the 2010 WCOOP, visit PokerStars.tv. Don't forget to peruse the WCOOP homepage for the remaining tournament schedule, complete event results, current player-of-the-year stats, satellite information, and much much more.

Pauly McGuire
@PokerStars in WCOOP