WCOOP 2010: Shawn "buck21" Buchanan leads the Day 1 pack in Event #28 ($1,050 NLHE)

wcoop2009-thumb.jpgNo-limit hold'em tournaments have come a long way since the dawn of the poker boom. Strategies and styles are constantly changing; the best players adapt and learn new ways to exploit their opponents' tendencies, while those slower or unwilling to learn or change are quickly left in the dust. When it comes to improving one's game, there are countless resources out there. Books, videos, training sites, weekend "boot camps," personal coaching. But if you really want to get a good look at how NLHE is being played today, just watch a deep-stacked WCOOP event. Today's $1,050 NLHE event was a perfect example. Many of the finest minds in the game were scattered throughout the field and much of the cream rose to the top, Shawn "buck21" Buchanan leading the pack at the end of Day 1.

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Shawn "buck21" Buchanan

1,433 players bought in to Event #28, creating a $1,433,000 prize pool. 162 places were paid with the champion set to earn $243,610 and a WCOOP bracelet. In the mix for Team PokerStars Pro were Jan Heitmann, Sandra Naujoks, George Danzer, Gualter Salles, Veronica Dabul, Martin Hruby, Daniel Negreanu, Joe Cada, Chris Moneymaker, Barry Greenstein, Anh Van Nguyen, Andre Akkari, Bertrand "Elky" Grospeller, Humberto Brenes, Alex Kravchenko, Angel Guillen, and Pat Pezzin.

Team Pro uh-oh

Although three Team Pros made the money today, not a single member of the Red Spade Army survived to Day 2. Cue the violins.

Although Chris Moneymaker doubled up early on, he lost his 11,500 stack during the 100/200 level. Moneymaker raised to 714 with A♠Q♠ and bdmaly made the call with 9♠T♠. Moneymaker missed the T♣9♦2♣ flop while bdmaly hit top two pair. Bdmaly checked, Moneymaker made a 1,000 continuation bet, bdmaly raised to 4,116, and Moneymaker called, leaving himself 6,690 behind. The turn came the A♥, a disaster for Moneymaker as he made a no-good top pair. Bdmaly went for maximum value, betting 7,644 and Moneymaker called all-in, needing an ace, a queen, or a deuce on the river to survive. It was the 9♥, and bdmaly raked in the pot, sending Moneymaker to the rail.

Barry Greenstein lost an A♥K♥ vs. pocket nines coinflip ending his tournament, while Negreanu's own pocket nines fell to fellow Team Canada Pro Pat Pezzin's A♠Q♣ when he rivered a queen. Former MLB pitcher Orel Hershiser staked his tournament life on pocket tens only to run into pocket aces, while a short-stacked Humberto Brenes' open-ended straight draw did not come in against his opponent's two pair. Faring a bit better were Angel Guillen (128th), Team Online's Denys "diatty" Shcherbakov (121st), Alex Kravchenko (84th), and Pat Pezzin (76th) who all made the money. Other notable finishes included Mike "SirWatts" Watson (156th), Rayan "rkruok" Nathan (153rd), Tim "TMay420" West (149th), Steven "PiKappRaider" Burkholder (139th), Matt "All_in_at420" Stout (131st), Phil "USCPhildo" Collins, and Christina "lindeyloo22" Lindley (79th).

The rise of josh prager

Josh "josh prager" Prager's table draw wasn't too pretty. He had to contend with Grayson "spacegravy" Physioc, Mike "SirWatts" Watson, and James "mig.com" Mackey among others, but still managed to build himself a healthy stack of 73,000 in chips. With the blinds at 400/800, Prager tested medtech with a light three-bet, and medtech's decision to smooth-call with his aces rather than four-betting ended up costing him his entire stack when Prager flopped a straight. Check it out on the replayer:

Prager picked up another huge pot in the penultimate level of the evening. Holding 6♣7♣, Prager bet 22,000 on the 6♠4♦7♦T♦ board, mrAndreeew moved all-in for 82,234 and Prager called, his sixes and sevens a favorite over his opponent's bottom pair and flush draw with A♦4♠. The 6♥ on the river made Prager sixes full and he collected the 214,000 pot. Prager ended Day 1 12th in chips with 250,695.

Suckout of the night: Dominated Deeb pulls out a win in three-way all-in

With 264 players remaining, Shaun "shaundeeb" Deeb four-bet all-in for more than 65,000 holding pocket tens and ran into both pocket queens and pocket nines. Yup, he won.

On the next hand Deeb took the chip lead when his 2♥4♥ made a flush on the turn, snapping off MazeOrBowie's flopped set of eights. As the online kids like to say, "must be nice."

Buck21 hits the slot machine

Shawn "buck21" Buchanan already had a healthy 215,000 stack when this hand unfolded. With the blinds at 1,000/2,000, ComptonMasta raised to 4,444, OBVAMENTS flat-called, and Buchanan put the squeeze on, making it 13,980 to go. Both players called. Buchanan checked the Q♦7♣2♣ flop over to ComptonMasta, who bet 18,750. OBVAMENTS shoved for 91,176, Buchanan called, and ComptonMasta folded. Buchanan's set of sevens was up against OBVAMENTS' top pair with Q♥J♥, the 9♦ on the turn and the 6♦ on the river sealing up the hand for him. Buchanan took his stack up to 357,000 on that hand and ended Day 1 with a tournament-leading 451,770 stack.

Among the 72 players returning to the virtual felt tomorrow at 8 pm EDT are Thayer "THAY3R" Rasmussen, Greg "DuckU" Hobson, Isaac "philivey2694" Haxton, Brock "t soprano" Parker, 2008 WCOOP Main Event runner-up liberace, and Peter "twirlpro" Turmezey. Although they're all guaranteed at least $3,439.20 for their efforts, in this crowd, it's all about first place.

Top 10 Day 1 chip stacks, Event #28 ($1,050 NLHE):

1. Shawn "buck21" Buchanan (451,770)
2. snake8484 (405,909)
3. Thayer "THAY3R" Rasmussen (343,230)
4. HotKarlMC (325,639)
5. caecilius (316,540)
6. Shaun "shaundeeb" Deeb (301,558)
7. Greg "DuckU" Hobson (294,479)
8. golferen50 (289,527)
9. Pokerccini (283,110)
10. Tjollerboy (278,232)

Wondering how your favorite players are faring in the WCOOP? Head over to the WCOOP page and feast your eyes on all the stats you can handle. If multimedia is more your cup of tea, hit up the fine folks over at PokerStars.tv.

Kristin Bihr
@PokerStars in WCOOP