WCOOP 2010: Wretchy fetches Event #35 bracelet ($215+R NLHE)

wcoop2009-thumb.jpgThe re-buy event. In which "bullets" don't simply refer to aces, but also to the number of times you are willing and able to buy back in.

Online poker has often been compared to video games, with some having suggested that the play is often looser than in live poker because players sometimes approach it as if it really were like a shoot-'em-up video game in which losing your "life" -- or chip stack, in this case -- is no great trauma, easily remedied by simply by clicking "play again."

Such an idea could certainly be applied to re-buy tournaments such as Event #35, the $215 no-limit hold'em re-buy event. If it did happen that you were to get shot down in the first hour, there really was an option -- unlike in freezeout events -- simply to click a button and start anew.

But, of course, it would cost you. So, how many bullets you bringin'?

This event came with a $1 million guarantee, and it was interesting to watch the prize pool swell toward that mark as the 60-minute re-buy period wound down. Registration was open through that first hour, during which time players were also re-buying at a healthy clip. Each re-buy of 3,000 chips (available only to those who were at or below the starting stack of 3,000) cost a player $200, as did the add-on (also for 3,000 chips, available to all).

Here's a breakdown of what we saw, numbers-wise, during that first hour:

Start: 986 entries, 382 re-buys (total prize pool: $273,000)
after 10 minutes: 1,230 entries, 634 re-buys ($372,800)
20 min.: 1,366 entries, 872 re-buys ($447,600)
30 min.: 1,526 entries, 1,070 re-buys ($519,200)
40 min.: 1,654 entries, 1,314 re-buys ($593,600)
50 min.: 1,763 entries, 1,559 re-buys ($664,400)
1 hour: 1,882 entries (registration closed), 1,733 re-buys ($723,000)
1 hour, 5 min. (end of add-on period): 1,882 entries, 1,867 re-buys, 1,268 add-ons ($1,003,400)

Those last few add-ons pushed the total prize pool just over the $1 million target. In the end, the top 252 finishers out of that field of 1,882 would make the cash, with $160,544 due the winner.

It would take about six-and-a-half hours to reach the money, at which point unluckyrc sat at the top of the leaderboard, followed by QQbaxTT, Tagir, Steve "gboro780" Gross, and JAMES-007. And in sixth place sat gaffel, one of the players currently in the thick of things in the 2010 WCOOP Player of the Series race.

Now that we are more than halfway through this year's WCOOP, the Player of the Series race has begun to take shape, with Anders "Donald" Berg of Team PokerStars Online the leader heading into today's events. Check out the Player of the Series page over on the WCOOP site for details regarding the point system as well as up-to-date standings.

Besides bragging rights, this year's WCOOP POY will be earning a Champion's Trophy, an EPT Season 7 Monte Carlo prize package, a 2011 SCOOP Main Event (High) ticket, a 2011 PCA package, and a special edition chip set. Quite a haul! Players finishing second and third are due some fantastic prizes as well (see the page for more details).

Those prizes are quite the incentive, and probably help explain why many of those 25 players appearing on the first page of the leaderboard came out to play in Event #35. However, of those 25 only three were still around once the cash bubble burst. As mentioned, gaffel (currently tied for 16th in the POY race) was in sixth place with 252 players remaining. Michael "miw210" Wang, tied for 10th in the POY race heading into today, was in 44th in this event at that point. And Iteopepe88, tied for eighth for POY, was sitting further down in 156th place.

By cashing, all three of those players assured themselves additional Player of the Year points. Iteopepe88 would go out soon after the bubble burst in 242nd. Team PokerStars Pro Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier followed him to the rail soon thereafter, finishing in 221st.

A total of 28 members of Team PokerStars entered this one, but just three others joined ElkY in the money. Theirry "BOKPOWER" van den Berg of Team PokerStars Netherlands lasted for a while longer, and was sitting not too far below the average stack when he found himself committing all his chips on a T♣5♦6♦ flop versus BehnamPatros. Van den Berg had Q♠T♥ for top pair, while BehnamPatros had K♦Q♦ for a flush draw. The turn was the T♦, bringing the flush but giving van den Berg hope for a full house. But the river was the J♦, and BOKPOWER was out in 153rd.

At the eight-hour mark there were still 127 players alive, with EZz_GAME out in front, badplyr99 in second, and Altrum Altus in third. The two remaining Team PokerStars pros were John Duthie representing U.K./Ireland (in 51st) and Tae Joon Noh of the Republic of Korea (in 24th).


Team PokerStars Pro Tae Joon Noh

A little over an hour later they were down to 68 players, with gaffel having gone out in 73rd and Duthie in 69th. Play continued over the next couple of hours, with the field whittling to 44 players. A big hand then arose between Tae Joon Noh, ASPoker8, and miw210. All three held big pocket pairs -- Noh jacks, ASPoker8 kings, and miw210 aces. The aces held -- though not until after a nasty tease of a turn card for Noh -- knocking out Noh in 44th, and crippling ASPoker8 (who'd soon go out in 43rd). Behold:

That 829,863-chip pot was good enough to put miw210 in the top ten as the field shrunk to less than 40 left, though still well behind lobito121 and mezvinsm, both of whom had about 1.22 million.

As they neared the 11-hour mark, 20 players were left, with lankeshwar on top, followed by QQbazTT, badplyr99, Dan "Wretchy" Martin, and miw210. At the 12-hour break, they were down to 15, and lankeshwar had maintained the advantage. And as they neared 13 hours of play just 10 players remained.

During that period lankeshwar had some ups and downs, but still sat with over 1.6 million chips, a little below average with 10 left. By then, Odd_Oddsen had moved near the chip lead with almost 3 million, just ahead of badplyr99. Meanwhile, miw210 was sitting on top of the counts with more than 3.6 million, most of which had been won in a huge hand in which miw210 picked up pocket aces once again, this time outlasting QQbazTT's pocket queens to claim a monster pot.

Finally Odd_Oddsen knocked out stennn in 10th when A♦K♠ held versus stennn's A♣9♣, and the final nine was set.


Seat 1: IfIHadItAll -- 1,605,540
Seat 2: Wretchy -- 916,757
Seat 3: badplyr99 -- 2,932,488
Seat 4: osten -- 1,031,025
Seat 5: miw210 -- 3,741,785
Seat 6: Odd_Oddsen -- 3,131,286
Seat 7: lankeshwar -- 1,645,025
Seat 8: QQbazTT -- 973,396
Seat 9: mezvinsm -- 1,609,698

As the final table began, the tourney was about halfway through Level 34, with the blinds 17,500/35,000 (ante 4,375). And thanks to all of those re-buys and add-ons, and the average stack among the final nine was close to 2 million chips. They'd been playing for more than 13 hours, but it appeared as though there was still a long way to go.

It would take 45 minutes before the first elimination of the final table. They'd moved to Level 36 (blinds 25,000/50,000), and lankeshwar -- now the short stack -- open-shoved all in from early position for 497,838. It folded around to osten in the big blind who made the call, showing 9♣9♥, while lankeshwar tabled A♦J♣. The board came K♣7♣8♥6♠2♦, and lankeshwar was out in ninth.

The 14-hour break arrived, during which IfIHadItAll asked the table if they would be interested in looking at the numbers for a possible deal, even with eight remaining. Odd_Oddsen said "sure," but mizvinsm said no thanks. "ok," said IfIHadItAll, noting he was "just curious" to see.

Play resumed, and with the blinds now 30,000/60,000, it wasn't long before Odd_Oddsen was opening with a raise to 132,000 from the button. QQbazTT reraised to 277,735 from the small blind, then mezvinsm shoved all in for a little over 1.58 million from the BB. Odd_Oddsen skedaddled, but QQbazTT quickly made the call with his remaining 1,131,120 chips.

QQbazTT showed K♠K♥, while mezvinsm had but A♥J♠. QQbazTT was okay through the turn -- T♣2♠3♣Q♦ -- but the K♦ landed on the river, giving mezvinsm a straight and knocking QQbazTT in eighth.

About 30 hands later, badplyr99 had pushed out in front with 4.6 million, mezvinsm was now second with 3.32 million. miw210 had slipped back to fourth with 1.93 million when he opened a hand with a raise to 132,210 from UTG. mezvinsm called the raise from middle position, then it folded to badplyr99 in the small blind who reraised to 412,344. osten folded the BB, then miw210 shoved all in over the top. mezvinsm got out, but badplyr99 called.

badplyr99 showed Q♣Q♠, and miw210 would need help with his T♦T♣. The board came all babies, however, running out 2♦5♦3♥2♠7♠, and miw210 was out in seventh. miw210 does get some more Player of the Series points, however, which should push him up into the top 10 when today's totals are added in.

badplyr99 continued his steamrolling ways, next taking out osten a short while later. The blinds had moved to 40,000/80,000, and badplyr99 had opened with a raise to 80,000 from the cutoff. osten reraised all in for 1,022,834 from the button, the blinds got out, and badplyr99 called, showing A♥J♣ to osten's K♦Q♥. The board came 2♣A♠T♥4♣8♣, and osten was gone in sixth.

With five players left, badplyr99 had begun to distance himself from the others, sitting with more than 8.2 million while everyone else had less than 3 million. Just nine hands later, badplyr99 was involved in another preflop all-in situation, this time against Odd_Oddsen.

It had folded to badplyr99 in the small blind who open-raised all in, and Odd_Oddsen -- now fifth of the remaining five -- called with his stack of 1,068,616. badplyr99 had 2♥2♠, while Odd_Oddsen had woken up with A♦K♠. Proof that badplyr99's run-good was still running good came on the flop -- 2♦J♥A♣ -- giving him a set. The turn was the 8♣ and river the 5♥, and osten was out in fifth.

With four left now, IfIHadItAll again proposed looking at a possible deal, but received no response to the suggestion. badplyr99's now 10 million-plus chip stack (about 60% of the chips in play) seemed to be filling the other three players (all at around 2 million) with a sense of urgency. So did those blinds -- now up to 50,000/100,000 (Level 39) -- which meant badplyr99 was the only one enjoying a deep stack anymore.

mezvinsm was soon pushing all in before the flop with A♦6♥ and ran into Wretchy's A♥K♦. Wretchy's hand held, and mezvinsm was now down close to 750,000. mezvinsm was all in soon thereafter, open-shoving from the cutoff with J♣T♥ and getting called by badplyr99 in the big blind with 3♥3♦. Not that he needed it, but badplyr99 would hit another set -- the board coming Q♥8♠A♣3♠7♦ -- and they were down to three.

There seemed no stopping badplyr99. Just a couple of minutes later, Wretchy had folded from the button, and badplyr99 again shoved all in from the small blind, and IfIHadItAll called with his stack of 974,866 from the BB. badplyr99 had a meager T♥4♦, and had once again run into a player holding Big Slick as IfIHadItAll showed A♦K♠. No worries for badplyr99, as the flop came 4♠T♣7♦, giving him two pair. The turn was the Q♦ and the river the 2♥, and now just two remained.

When heads-up play began, badplyr99 had 10,498,122 to Wretchy's 7,088,878, and on the first hand between them would claim a 4.285 million-chip pot to move to a better than 2-to-1 advantage over Wretchy. Soon Dan "Wretchy" Martin was all in with pocket fours against badplyr99's A♥9♦, and the pocket pair would hold up, putting the pair nearly even.

They reached the 15-hour break, and with badplyr99 sitting with 8,810,222 and Wretchy with 8,776,778, the pair decided to talk about a possible deal. Team PokerStars Online member Sebastien "Seb86" Sabic ran the numbers, with the chip chop essentially giving each $130,000, leaving $20K on the table for which to play. Here's how the chat went following that news:

Wretchy: if u wanna give me 136 i'll chop
Wretchy: that still leaves u 144 if u win
badplyr99: ehhhh...nah
Wretchy: mkayyy
Wretchy: lets rock n roll seb
Wretchy: glgl
Seb86 (TeamPro): ok
badplyr99: u too..i like the competition anyways

Cards back in the air, Wretchy quickly seized the advantage, and within 10 minutes had a 2-to-1 lead on badplyr99. The pair battled for another 20 minutes until Wretchy had built his stack to 13,583,713 to badplyr99's 4,003,287. Then -- about 15 hours and 20 minutes after the tourney's initial hands -- the final hand of Event #35 was dealt.

With the blinds 60,000/120,000 (Level 40), badplyr99 opened from the small blind/button with a minimum-raise to 240,000, as he done several times before. Then, as he had done several times, too, Wretchy reraised, making it 601,477 to go.

badplyr99 let several seconds pass, then shoved all in, and Wretchy made the call with little hesitation. Wretchy had the very nice A♥Q♠, while badplyr99 had the suddenly so-so seeming K♦7♥. The board came 2♣6♣5♦Q♥8♥, and it was all over.

Congratulations to Dan "Wretchy" Martin, winner of Event #35!

WCOOP Event #35 ($215+R, No-Limit Hold'em) Results
1st place: Wretchy ($160,544)
2nd: badplyr99 ($120,408)
3rd: IfIHadItAll ($90,306)
4th: mezvinsm ($65,973.55)
5th: Odd_Oddsen ($47,661.50)
6th: osten ($37,125.80)
7th: miw210 ($27,091.80)
8th: QQbazTT ($17,559.50)
9th: lankeshwar ($10,034)

Still lots more WCOOP to go. Check the WCOOP site for details on remaining events and satellites, as well as all the results and other stats from the series. And see PokerStars.tv for still more coverage of online poker's biggest tournament series.

Martin Harris
@hardboiledpoker in WCOOP