WCOOP 2010: Raymer, Noh, Makarov advance to Day 2 in Event 58, $530 PLO HU

wcoop2009-thumb.jpgThe most highly skilled poker players in the world love to play heads-up poker. Playing heads-up requires each player to play more hands and to make more decisions about each hand he or she plays. Because of all of the decisions required, a player's skill takes on much more prominence in determining the outcome of a match than it would in a full-ring setting.

In the online poker world of 2010, the most "balla" of the "ballas" play heads-up pot-limit Omaha. It's a game where a random hand is almost never too far behind pre-flop and a game where drawing out post-flop is the norm. It's also a highly popular form of poker, as attested to by the 493 players that signed up to play WCOOP 2010 Event 58, $530 Pot-Limit Omaha (Heads-Up).

In its wisdom, PokerStars elected to make Event 58 one of several two-day events taking place during WCOOP 2010. Players would have to survive three Day 1 matches to make the lowest money tier and a fourth Day 1 match if they hoped to return tomorrow to play for the $61,625 first-place prize.

Round 1: 493 to 256

19 players got a bye in the first round. Lucky them. The remaining 474 were paired off and given stacks of 7,500. The blinds were set at 25 and 50, the clock wound to 15-minutes levels, and play commenced. Included among the 493 registrants for Event 58 were 11 Team PokerStars Pro and 6 members of Team Online. Jason Mercier has had his share of PLO success but it wasn't to be today. He was eliminated by rSMig in 4 minutes after flopping a wheel against the second nut flush draw. rSMig's flush filled on the turn and that was it for Mercier.


Jason Mercier

Mercier's match was not unusual. 34 of the 237 1st-round matches were completed within 10 minutes. Shaun Deeb lasted 17 minutes - four times as long as Mercier - only because Deeb wasn't at the table for his Round 1 match against bar-bar9999. 25 and 50 chips at a time, bar-bar9999 relieved the phantom Deeb of his stack.

Other notable first-round eliminations included Alex Kravchenko, who was knocked out by AK87 with flopped trips against an overpair; Chris Moneymaker, whose overpair went down to kwob20's flopped set; Pieter de Korver and Steven "stevesbets" Jacobs.

Round 2: 256 to 128

The last match of the first round, between WCOOP 2010 bracelet winner SixthSenSe19 and joaoMathias, took almost 2.5 hours to complete. The second round wasn't much faster, with the longest match clocking in at 2:20.

As with the first round, some second-round matches were lightning quick. yuvee04 went for broke with one big hand against zwacke, all in on a flop of 5♣K♠6♦. yuvee04's K♣Q♣Q♠J♦, a pair of kings, failed to improve against zwacke's 5♠5♥7♥3♠, a set of fives.

laino89 had the toughest match of Round 2. Drawing BA06ERS for an opponent, the two played the longest match of the round, trading the lead back and forth several times. The final hand saw BA06ERS flopped set of sevens overtaken by laino89's pair-and-flush-draw combination when the board flushed but didn't pair.

The second round carnage included the eliminations of Jason "JP OSU" Potter, RandALLin, Michael "SirWatts" Watson, Sorel "zangbezan24" Mizzi, James "Andy McLEOD" Obst, and Team PokerStars Pros Marcin Horecki and Jose Barbero.

Round 3, the Bubble Round: 128 to 64

By the start of Round 3 the tournament was on the bubble. 64 players would make the minimum $986 with a win; 64 players would lose their whole $530 investment with a loss. Losers included SixthSenSe19, who despite playing an epic 1st-round match had nothing to show for persistence; Tom "luvgamble" Schneider, Noah "Exclusive" Boekken, alex987, Sebastien "Seb86" Sabic, 2010 WCOOP double-bracelet winner Jamie "Xaston" Kaplan and Richard Toth.

At the 7pm "dinner break", six 3rd-round matches were still undecided, including that between LuckyGump and NYC P.I.M.P LuckyGump had a 2-to-1 chip lead and through a series of pots that didn't go to showdown extended the lead to 10-to-1. On the final hand, NYC P.I.M.P was all in-preflop with A♠2♠3♣K♥ and called by LuckyGump's Q♣Q♥8♥9♠. Although NYC P.I.M.P flopped one ace and turned another, LuckyGump rivered a 10-high straight to seal the match and to send NYC P.I.M.P off in search of a drink.

The bubble match of the bubble round came down to 97holly versus amichaiKK, a player well-known to those who follow high-stakes online poker tournaments. 97holly scored the knockout in a pot that was three-bet pre-flop. The rest of the chips went in on a flop of 2♠J♦9♣. Short-stacked amichaiKK showed J♥8♦6♥5♣ for a pair of jacks; 97holly had that well covered with A♥K♣J♣9♠, two pair jacks and nines. The match was over after a turn 6♦ and river 8♥, making amichaiKK the bubble boy of all the 3rd-round bubble boys.

Round 4 ($986): 64 to 32

With a minimum-cash secured, the remaining 64 players got down to the real business of pushing through the lower tiers of the money prize ladder to the serious cash. Their first in-the-money test would be the last round of Day 1.

Scott "emptyseat88" Fischman didn't survive that test, losing his match to wtf5s. On the deciding hand, Fischman raised pre-flop after wtf5s limped the button. Fischman continued on a flop of 7♦5♣Q♦ and was called. He opted to check 5♠ turn to wtf5s, then check-raised for two-thirds of his remaining 2,775-chip stack after wtf5s bet. wtf5s shoved and Fischman called with 9♣Q♥T♠A♠. Despite rivering a better two pair with the T♥, Fischman's queens and tens were no good. wtf5s was true to his name, showing down 8♦8♣5♦2♣ for trip 5s.

Anders "Donald" Hoyer Berg didn't fare any better. Ground down to 1,250 in chips by InnedMassari, Berg found himself holding a straight on the turn of a 3♠T♣J♦Q♦ board with 8♥5♠5♥9♣. The bad news for Berg was that IneedMassari also had a straight that was one pip better, 9♦K♠T♥7♦. Cue a blank river and it was curtains for Berg.

Greg "Fossilman" Raymer played one of the longest Round 4 matches against Sleffa. Sleffa never seriously challenged for the lead in the match, but Raymer had trouble notching the knockout all the same. Twice Raymer ran into Sleffa's pocket aces and failed to overtake them. The third time Raymer ran into Sleffa's pocket aces, things worked out a little better for Raymer:

RSS readers click through to see replay

When Dunpeal28 knocked out bad_beat_bud to conclude the last of the Round 4 matches, Day 1 of Event 58 came to an end. Tomorrow the 32 survivors will return to play their fifth match of the tournament. They'll be paired as follows:

WCOOP 2010 Event 58 - $530 Pot-Limit Omaha (Heads-Up) Day 1 survivors and Round 5 pairings:

Lenny v. ugotblufd, Mudvaynes v. YRWTHMELTHR, Dunpeal28 v. wtf5s, raulbcn v. Tulkaz, LUCKY FACE v. LuckyGump, ComptonMasta v. Ifeedurfam, DSchec v. nathalie111, doulas12 v. xaroCjes, Greg "Fossilman" Raymer v. Tae Joon Noh, bigfish302 v. BussDK, Browntown19 v. ElMastermind, 88Arsonist88 v. Mr Swatch, Artem205 v. head27, Cucudaclown v. mrshowd0wn, hkben v. UhhMee, dagunman v. IneedMassari


Team PokerStars Pro Greg "FossilMan" Raymer is still in the hunt

Play resumes at 13:00 tomorrow. From that point the tournament won't stop until there's a winner. Tomorrow is also the last day players can enter WCOOP 2010 events, including Event 62, the $5,200 NLHE Main Event. Check out the schedule at the WCOOP homepage and give PokerStars TV some love too.

Dave Behr
@PokerStars in WCOOP