WCOOP 2010: TDT07 bricks the nuts in Event 15, $215 Razz

wcoop2009-thumb.jpgIgnore the domestic violence component (which, admittedly, is almost impossible) and Eminem's hit single Love the Way You Lie becomes about two people who thrive off of being in a horrible relationship with each other. "I can't breathe but I still fight while I can fight," Eminem raps. "As long as the wrong feels right it's like I'm in flight." He lays bare his own "emotional cutter", a personality type that more people can identify with than would care to admit it.

If Eminem is a poker player, he might be a razz player.

There is no pain in poker quite as exquisite as that experienced by the razz player. Dedicated razz players know this. Yet many of them seem to thrive off of being four to a wheel in four and then bricking out against a 9-8. The pain of those beats doesn't discourage dedicated razz players from continuing to play razz; it brings them back for more.

That pain brought out 976 players for WCOOP 2010 Event #15, $215 Razz. Because PokerStars guaranteed a $250,000 prize pool, that's what would be divided by the 128 players that made the money. It's not often that PokerStars misses a guarantee, but it seems appropriate that it would be in the game that players love to hate.

A friend emailed me a hand history near the beginning of the third hour of Event 15. He started four to a 7 in four and then caught runner-runner-runner quads. "That should give you an idea how it's going," he said. The day didn't go any better for the PokerStars Team Pros and Team Online members in the tournament. 20 registered to play, but only Team Online player George Lind cashed in the event, just squeaking into the money with his 125th-place finish.

After almost 11 hours of razz, these eight players were the ones who had the most success avoiding the bricks:

Event 15 FT final.JPG

Seat 1: cal42688 (176047 in chips)
Seat 2: mddgfc (506758 in chips)
Seat 3: STUDMANRONN (514480 in chips)
Seat 4: Unibasjoe (660439 in chips)
Seat 5: cpfactor (503520 in chips)
Seat 6: solody (598270 in chips)
Seat 7: TDT07 (1257807 in chips)
Seat 8: MadisonAce29 (662679 in chips)

Over half of the final table had been in this position before. mddgfc made the final table of the inaugural Triple Stud WCOOP event earlier this week, finishing 6th; solody was the Battle of the Planets winner in May 2009; cal42688 made two SCOOP 2010 final tables, with a 6th-place finish in Event 2-High and a win in Event 17-Low; MadisonAce29 made the final table of the first-ever WCOOP badugi tournament in 2009; and Danny "cpfactor" Smith has made multiple SCOOP and WCOOP final tables during his career.


The average stack to start the final table was 610,000, a fairly sizable 15 big bets with limits at 20,000 and 40,000. Yet mddgfc immediately asked, "Anyone want to look at numbers?", stating a belief that the tournament was a "crapshoot".

Smith was the first to agree. "I will with these limits," he said.

"I will say this guys, I'm not taking less than 40k," said chip leader TDT07. "So we can play if you want." TDT07 specifically requested that the tournament not be paused. "Unless I'm getting 40k I do not want a deal."

"I say chop with fewer people," said STUDMANRONN.

"If I ever do an 8-way chop in my life please just shoot me in the face," agreed TDT07. There was no deal.


cal42688 was the first player to be tossed overboard. cal42688's last three bets were in by fourth street with A-2 / 9-9. MadisonAce29 showed a wheel draw, 3-4 / A-5, then binked a deuce on fifth for a lock wheel. cal42688 drew a 3 to stay barely alive, but the miracle runner-runner wheel for a chop did not materialize. The field was down to 7 players.

Of all the final table players, solody seemed the most willing to pursue hands to the later streets. A series of second-best hands depleted solody's stack to 3.5 big bets. solody's final stand came in a three-way pot with Unibasjoe and STUDMANRONN:

RSS readers click through to see replay

STUDMANRONN took over the chip lead from TDT07 but then quickly lost a pot to Smith, who rivered an eight-low. The hand drew some biting remarks from STUDMANRONN. Smith sniped back before TDT07 put in another two cents.

"Today is the first day I have seen someone flat[-call] and hope the other person gets a higher card, and it work, for 4 hours straight," said TDT07.

As the final table wore on, the three big stacks of STUDMANRONN, Smith, and TDT07 began to separate themselves from the other three players. Each had more than 1 million in chips out of the total 4.9 million in play. The short stacks engaged in some cannibalism as Unibasjoe made a stand with 5-8 / A-K. The sole other player in the hand, MadisonAce29, was certainly not going to fold 6-3 / 4-2. An ace on fifth for MadisonAce29 against a 9 for Unibasjoe removed all doubt as to the outcome of the hand. Unibasjoe would finish in 6th place.

Smith continued his relentless march up the counts by making an 8-7 against mddgfc's 9-7 to climb to 2 million in chips. But things are never easy in poker. A few hands later, with limits up to 40,000 and 80,000, Smith made 7-8 / 6-A-5-3 / A, against TDT07's 3-2 / 4-7-6-7 / 5. A raise on third street and a bet on every other street wound up costing Smith 360,000.


mddgfc held on as the short stack for far longer than seemed possible as the limits kept going up. But the double-ups were always for exceedingly small amounts of chips. Everyone sensed that the cards were going to break bad for mddgfc at some point. After starting a hand against TDT07 with three big bets and 2-6 / 8, mddgfc moved all in on fifth street, 2-6 / 8-5-8. TDT07 didn't have much, J-A / 3-7-9, but wound up making 9-8 by drawing an 8 and a 10. mddgfc caught two bricks, Q and J, to bow out in 5th place.

The tournament reached its second extended break of 15 minutes. The remaining four players agreed to consider a deal. Based on chip count, the proposed deal was: TDT07, $33,820.62; cpfactor, $31,856.98; STUDMANRONN, $27,219.18; and MadisonAce29, $24,428.22. The published payout schedule offered $32,500 to 2nd place and $25,000 to 3rd place.

TDT07, as chip leader, pushed for a small bump. "I will take 35."

Smith wanted to stick with the straight chip-chop numbers. "I'm not giving away money."

MadisonAce29 didn't even like the chip-chop numbers as presented. "That deal ain't gonna work. I'd want more and I don't see who it's coming from." That scuttled any deal discussions for the second time.

Limits quickly plowed up to 50,000 and 100,000, then 60,000 and 120,000. At those limits one pot this way or one pot that way could nudge the stacks closer together - or knock a player out - in a hurry. Smith started bricking all of his hands and jokingly asked for a "dealer push". It didn't help; the very next hand he went to showdown against MadisonAce29 and tabled 8-7-5-4-A. MadisonAge29 was just one pip better, 8-7-4-3-2.

Losing that pot crippled Smith. He doubled up twice to climb out of the hole but couldn't keep up with relentless antes and bring-ins, catching more than his share of the latter. Dealt 6-2 / 4, he raised and raised until his whole stack was in on fourth street against MadisonAce29's 3-2 / 5. MadisonAce29 only made a 9-7, 3-2 / 5-7-10-9 / Q, but it was good enough against Smith's jack, 6-2 / 4-2-8-J / 4. Smith became the 4th-place finisher.


Three-handed, TDT07 had the chip lead (2.5 million). He was followed by MadisonAce29 (1.7 million), with STUDMANRONN "woof"ing up the rear at 550,000. The three reached the next scheduled break and again started to discuss a deal. The final-table host ran the chip-chop numbers but the necessary consensus continued to elude the remaining players.

On the first hand back from break, the short-stacked STUDMANRONN was eliminated by TDT07 in a tough river spot:

RSS readers click through for replay

With the counts at 2.8 million for TDT07 and 2.1 million for MadisonAce29, deal discussions picked up yet again. TDT07 suggested that the two players continue to play and chop evenly if the chip counts evened. MadisonAce29 agreed; soon enough the counts were almost dead even at approximately 2.4 million each.

The players quickly agreed to an even chop of $36,787.50, leaving only the $5,000 set-aside up for grabs. TDT07 asked the final-table host whether it was permissible to also chop the set-aside. "Can we chop the $5,000 secretly or is that illegal? Are we allowed to say whoever wins sends $2,500 to the other or is that illegal?"

The host told TDT07 that it was required that the two players play out the tournament. What they did with the money afterwards was their business. TDT07 requested confirmation that it was ok for them to discuss, which he received with the caveat that if either player backed out, PokerStars would not enforce any deal beyond that which had already been agreed - splitting $36,787.50 and playing for the last $5,000.

MadisonAce29 was leery of splitting the last $5,000 without a backstop from PokerStars. "Not that I don't trust ya," MadisonAce29 told TDT07, "but we don't know each other." TDT07, who had mentioned several times being incredibly tired, was disappointed but replied, "Yeah, I feel ya." They were going to have to play it out.

Heads-up razz is an odd beast. The first person to catch a brick is usually going to fold, so building large pots requires both players' boards to develop roughly equally in strength at least through fifth street. That doesn't happen very often. No surprise then, that after fifteen minutes of post-deal, heads-up play little had changed. MadisonAce29 opened up a few small leads but each time TDT07 came roaring back.

But the limits were big. It only took TDT07 ten hands of run-good to end the tournament. TDT07 took down two pots on sixth street to open a 3.4 million to 1.4 million chip lead and then dealt a crippling blow to MadisonAce29 in this hand:

RSS readers click through to see replay

Three hands later each player was dealt a strong three-card hand: A-3 / 4 for TDT07 and 6-2 / 3 for MadisonAce29. The chips were in on 4th street. TDT07 drew into a 9-6, which was more than enough to beat MadisonAce29's Q-6 after MadisonAce29 caught three bricks on the way to the river. The marathon final table finally ended with TDT07 in the victory circle. For one day, at least, there would be no emotional cutting for TDT07.

WCOOP 2010 Event 15 - $215 Razz results (reflects two-way deal):

1st place: TDT07 ($41,787.50)
2nd place: MadisonAce29 ($36,787.50)
3rd place: STUDMANRONN ($25,000)
4th place: Danny "cpfactor" Smith ($18,750)
5th place: mddgfc ($12,500)
6th place: Unibasjoe ($8,750)
7th place: solody ($5,625)
8th place: cal42688 ($3,750)

There's only one pure razz event during the WCOOP 2010, but there's still plenty of other poker to be played. Get the WCOOP 2010 schedule, the latest news, and up-to-date statistics on the WCOOP homepage. You'll also find the folks at PokerStars TV are doing their usual excellent work during WCOOP 2010.

Dave Behr
@PokerStars in WCOOP