WCOOP 2010: No ducking around; Anders "Donald" Berg wins Triple Draw 2-7 Lowball crown

wcoop2009-thumb.jpgWhen you see someone with a simple screen name like "Donald", you have to assume that player was one of the earliest members to join PokerStars when the site went live in the autumn of 2001. That's the case with Anders "Donald" Berg from Norway. He's a true renaissance man with a doctorate degree in mathematics. He's a proficient chess whiz and a serious athlete. He's one of the fastest men (40 and over) in all of Norway.

It didn't take long for the online community to take notice of Donald's skills at the table. PokerStars was also paying attention to his deft abilities and added him to the roster of Team PokerStars Online.

At the end of June, Donald made five final tables in major Sunday events, and he won four of those. No joke. Four wins in a single day. That's the stuff that legends are made of.

Now, you can add a WCOOP title to Donald's long list of achievements. If he keeps this up, he's going to replace that suave old guy with a bushy white beard in the Dos Equis beer commercials as "the most interesting man in the world."


Team PokerStars Online Anders "Donald" Berg

Event #34 $320 Limit Triple Draw 2-7 Lowball attracted 446 players and featured a prize pool of $133,800. The top 60 places paid out cash with $25,890.30 set aside for the winner. Team PokerStars Pros John Duthie, Greg Raymer, ElkY, and George Danzer were among the notables in the field, however, they were all listed among the early casualties.

Notables who cashed included mdot20 (10th), Team PokerStars Pro Marcin "Goral" Horecki (17th), gipsy74 (18th), Stevie "Stevie4444" Chidwick (20th), ilushan (33rd), BrynKenney (43rd), and 2010 WCOOP champion Kroko-dill (47th).

Donkey X, who at one point held the chip lead in this event, became the proverbial Bubble Boy when he donked out in 61st place. With Donkey X's elimination, the remaining 60 players were guaranteed a minimum payday of $535.20.

With 46 players remaining, 7CardRyon held the lead as the only player past the 100K mark. Meanwhile, Marcin Horecki sat 6th in chips and eying a final table.

With 30 players to go, merla888 snagged the top spot. Donald and Marcin Horecki were above average and sitting in the top third of the field.

British pro Stevie444's table drew a significant amount of attention. Most of the chatter on the rail was was inspired by his avatar, Super Hans, a quirky character on a British sitcom Peep Show, who has proclivities for crack cocaine and religious cults.

"I love Super Hans," explained Stevie.

Alas, Super Hans could not lift up Stevie's Triple Draw game. The young Brit went busto in 20th place when his 10-8-7-6-4 lost to plplaya's 8-5-4-3-2.

With 18 players remaining on the final three tables, AintNoSun had taken over the overall lead. A pair of PokerStars players, Donald and Marcin Horecki, were shorties and dwelling at the bottom of the leaderboard.

Horecki, a former member of the Polish national ski team, suffered a crippling blow when he failed to make a low after the third draw. His pair of fours lost to ColoBushKa's 9-8-7-6-4. Down to just 9K, barely enough for a big blind, Horecki was knocked out two hands later. He paired up again on a frustrating final draw, and lost to ColoBushKa's 9-7-6-5-2. Horecki finished in 17th place and won $1,271.10.

Donald hung on with a shortstack and lingered at the back of the pack, yet he managed to advance to the final two tables. With 12 players remaining, Merla888 was way out front of the pack with over 420K.

Donald picked up consecutive pots and obtained a little breathing room. That sparked his comeback. He passed the 100K mark for the first time in the tournament after winning a 97.5K pot with 8-7-5-4-2 low against Kahlan. Donald kept up the assault and dragged a 93K pot with 7-6-4-3-2 against MOJOEX1. Donald surged into the Top 5 in chips with 200K, but trailed the top three: GET_BEAT33, merla888, and AintNoSun. The front runners were all in excess of 300K, as the lead got passed back and forth among those three.

Event #34 headed into its 10th hour and Donald won another decisive pot when his 7-6-4-3-2 bested mdot20's 8-7-6-4-2. Donald pushed his stack to over 310K, while mdot20 hit the rail in 11th place.

With 10 to go, Donald positioned himself to make a run at the lead pack, however, he faced a challenging new obstacle -- chipleader GET_BEAT33 -- who was moved to Donald's table and took the seat to his right. GET_BEAT33 quickly became Donald's nemesis and won two pots worth 117K and 114K. Donald slipped to 213K, while GET_BEAT33 passed the half-million chip mark.

After a level in inaction, with nine to go, GET_BEAT33 coughed up the lead and ColoBushKa settled into the top spot. Donald had slipped to under 200K, but chipped back up to over 300K after he won a 148K pot with a 10-5-4-3-2 low against pbxed's 8-7-6-6-2 and pair of sixes.

With 8 to go, the final two tables played four-handed starting at 10K/20K blinds. Donald went on the offensive and picked up six pots in seven hands. He seized the lead with a shade under 500K. Donald's lead was fleeting. His nemesis, GET_BEAT33, struck back and won a 250K pot with 7-6-4-3-2. Donald's stack got downgraded to under 300K.

Donald finally had a chance to get rid of GET_BEAT33. Donald's 8-6-5-4-2 prevailed over GET_BEAT33's 7-7-5-4-3. GET_BEAT33, who seemed like a lock for the final table, unceremoniously got booted in 8th place.

Short-stacked AintNoSun's run ended when K-8-7-4-2 lost to merla888's 8-7-5-4-2. AintNoSun bubbled off the final table in 7th place and collected $2,089.80. With the final table of six set, 7CardRyon held the lead.


Final table chip counts:
Seat 1: pbxed (369,944)
Seat 2: ColoBushKa (235,141)
Seat 3: merla888 (320,252)
Seat 4: Donald (536,106)
Seat 5: MOJOEX1 (177,033)
Seat 6: 7CardRyon (591,524)

Donald won consecutive hands, including a 162K pot against ColoBushKa, which propelled him into the lead with over 720K. That incident marked the beginning of the end for ColoBushKa. His fate was met during a four-way pot. Betting was capped pre-draw, with ColoBushKa all-in. He discarded 2, then 1, and stood pat on the third draw. We never got to see his cards because he mucked his losing hand. MOJOEX1 discarded a single card on the first, second, and third draws. He made an 8-6-5-3-2 low to win the main pot and side pot. ColoBushKa was eliminated in 6th place and won $4,549.20.

The second elimination of the final table happened fairly quick. Short-stacked MOJOEX1 re-raised all-in for 15,174. 7CardRyon re-raised to 28,000 and pbxed called from the small blind. On the first draw: pbxed discarded two, MOJOEX1 discarded three, and 7CardRyon discarded one. Action got checked to 7CardRyon, who bet 14,000 and pbxed called. On the second draw: pbxed ditched two cards again, while both MOJOEX1 and 7CardRyon stood pat. Pbxed check-folded to a 28,000 bet from 7CardRyon. On the third draw: both 7CardRyon and MOJOEX1 stood pat. When the opened up their hands, 7CardRyon's 8-7-6-5-3 prevailed against 9-8-7-5-4. MOJOEX1 got knocked and collected $7,091.40 for 5th place.

With four to go, Donald retained the lead. 7CardRyon was second in chips until pbxed took a chunk of his stack. Donald also got into the fray and crippled him. With less than 100K in chips, 7CardRyon was on life support. Meanwhile, Donald became the first player to pass 1 million as he held approximately 45% of the chips in play.

Action was paused for a 15-minute break when the tournament reached the 12th hour of play. A couple of the players desired a shorter break, and they resumed play after ten minutes.

Although 7CardRyon doubled up, that would be the last hand he'd win. 7CardRyon had gotten it all-in with 9-7-6-4-3, but lost to Pbxed's 8-7-5-4-3. 7CardRyon busted in 4th place and collected $9,901.20.

With three players remaining, Donald's stack topped 1.2 million and he held more chips than his opponents combined -- pbxed (561K) and merla888 (413K). That gap did not deter pbxed, who won nine consecutive hands to pull even with Donald.

Short-stacked merla888 became the hunted. Donald won a pot without a showdown, after standing pat by the second draw. Merla888 kept calling Donald's bets, including a raise after the first draw. Merla888 apparently whiffed on the third draw, and folded with less than 100K behind. Merla888 was not about to leave the final table without a fight. Merla888 avoided elimination with a pair of timely double ups, which provided a bit of wiggle room.

When the tournament spilled into level 34, the blinds were increased to 20K/40K. Merla888 had less than 10 BBs and made a stand against pbxed. On the first draw: pbxed discarded three and merla888 drew two. Pbxed check-called a 20,000 bet. On the second draw: pbxed discarded 2 and merla888 only one. Pbxed checked, merla888 shoved for 12,632, and pbxed called. On the final draw: pbxed discarded one and merla888 stood pat. At showdown, pbxed's 9-8-7-4-3 beat out merla888's 10-8-6-3-2. Merla888 was eliminated in 3rd place and won $14,383.50.

Heads-up chip counts:
Seat 1: pbxed (1,080,368)
Seat 4: Donald (1,149,632)

Both players were about even in chips (with 25+ BBs) when the heads-up match began. Over the first 25 hands, both players stuck to small ball tactics, but Donald picked up the majority of those pots to increase his lead. The largest pot played? 360K, which was won by pbxed's 7-6-5-4-2. After that hand, Donald shut pbxed down and won the next 12 hands to push his stack to over 1.7 million. Meanwhile, pbxed slipped to below 420K.

Donald could smell the victory and continued relentless siege of pbxed's stack over the next dozen hands. Donald surged over 2 million while pbxed went card dead and could do nothing but fold as his stack shrunk to 200K.

On the final hand... Donald raised and pbxed called. On the first draw: pbxed discarded two and Donald discarded three. Pbxed bet out 25,000 and Donald called. On the second draw: pbxed stood pat and Donald discarded two. Pbxed bet 50,000 and Donald called. On the final draw: pbxed stood pat and Donald drew one. On the final round of betting, pbxed fired out 50,000 and Donald raised to 100,000. Pbxed responded with "sad panda" in the chat, immediately followed by "gg." Pbxed called all-in for his final 32,868. After the first draw, pbxed stood pat with 9-7-4-3-2, but his hand got chased down when Donald made his low after the third draw. Donald's 9-7-4-3-2 prevailed. He won the pot, the tournament, and the coveted WCOOP bracelet. For a runner-up performance, pbxed collected $19,200.30, while Anders "Donald" Berg banked $25,890.30 for first place.

You can watch the final hand below in the snazzy replayer...

RSS readers must click through to view the replayer

Event #34 Triple Draw final table results and payouts:
1. Team PokerStars Online Anders "Donald" Berg - $25,890.30
2. pbxed - $19,200.30
3. merla888 - $14,383.50
4. 7CardRyon - $9,901.20
5. MOJOEX1 - $7,091.40
6. ColoBushKa - $4,549.20

Congrats to Team PokerStars Online Anders "Donald" Berg for winning Event #34. Stay thirsty, my friend.

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

Pauly McGuire
@PokerStars in WCOOP