WCOOP 2010: AlexKP crushes final table en route to Event #1 victory

wcoop2009-thumb.jpgAt first glance, it was a Sunday like so many other Sundays that have come before. Thousands of players launched the PokerStars client. They then registered for a $215 no-limit hold'em tournament that featured a guaranteed prize pool of seven figures. But this was no ordinary Sunday tournament on PokerStars. This was the first event of the 2010 World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP), a three-week festival of online poker that, in its nine years of existence, has kick-started the careers of several promising young players. On this Sunday, it would be AlexKP who would best 9,001 players after 18.5 hours to collect the first WCOOP title of 2010.

Any of the 9,001 players that registered for WCOOP Event #1, $215 six-handed no-limit hold'em, could have been forgiven if they had proverbial visions of sugar plums as the tournament began. The $1.8 million prize pool crushed the $1.25 million guarantee that PokerStars made for the tournament and ensured that the account of the eventual winner would be credited with more than a quarter million dollars.

Randy "nanonoko" Lew was the pace-setter for the 56 members of Team PokerStars that played Event #1. Lew finished a very respectable 33rd-place finish and collected $5,400.60 in prize money. He was joined on his deep run by Noah "Exclusive" Boeken (87th) and venerated poker icon Barry "barryg1" Greenstein (110th). Eight other Team Pros also made the money.

But even Boeken's impressive deep run came up well short of the final table. That honor went to these six players:

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Seat 1: AlexKP (27904440 in chips)
Seat 2: inhidonks (7378980 in chips)
Seat 3: Stephen "stevie444" Chidwick (10804952 in chips)
Seat 4: Tutanhamon1 (20274472 in chips)
Seat 5: Drateks (5440084 in chips)
Seat 6: ROOJAR_M (18207072 in chips)

Chidwick was perhaps the most well-known player at the table. Over the last several years, he has won more than 200 seats in the WSOP Main Event and has collected a slew of other seats for live events on the EPT and other poker tours. But his laurels alone wouldn't be enough to collect a WCOOP title. Stacked 4th of the final six players, he'd need to move up the counts.

The final table started off with a bang. On the second hand of play, chip leader AlexKP opened pre-flop to 550,000. When the action came around, Drateks re-raised all in for approximately 5.1 million. AlexKP quickly called with a pair of nines. That left the two sevens that Drateks held drawing very thin. Neither player improved from that point, allowing AlexKP to knock Drateks out in 6th place.

From there AlexKP started relentlessly attacked the blinds of the short-stacked players to his left, inhidonks and Chidwick. Chidwick eventually fired back in a pot that AlexKP opened to 550,000 pre-flop, his standard open. Chidwick re-raised to 1.475 million, then bet just more than 1 million on a flop of 6♥J♣J♠. AlexKP called to see the A♣ fall on the turn. That's where AlexKP tried a raise, raising Chidwick from 1.75 million to 3.75 million. Chidwick responded by shoving for 6.5 million total. AlexKP snap-folded, allowing Chidwick to add 6 million chips to his stack without a showdown.

At the 5:55am break, with five players still remaining Tutanhamon1 proposed a "friendly deal". AlexKP, who had 35 million of the 90 million chips in play, quickly quashed that idea.

inhidonks was the next player out, and the only player at the final table not eliminated by AlexKP. Inhidonks opened all in for 4.5 million with A♥9♦. ROOJAR_M made an easy call with K♦K♣, then flopped a matching king to remove almost all doubt from the outcome of the hand. ROOJAR_M then suggested looking at chop numbers. Chidwick, the new short stack, declined. "I'm too short," he said of his 30-big blind stack. "Let's gamble."

AlexKP's lead continued to widen. Tutanhamon1 fired two bullets against AlexKP on a board of 2♠T♥3♥4♣K♥, leading the flop for 1.1 million and the turn for 2.0 million. AlexKP check-called each time, leading Tutanhamon1 to shut down on the river and check behind. AlexKP dragged the pot with an unimproved pair of sevens to climb to 47.6 million in chips. But Tutanhamon1 returned the favor three hands later by turning a club flush and inducing AlexKP to pay off a 5.2 million-chip river bet.

The very next hand, the short-stacked Chidwick found the spot he was looking for. ROOJAR_M opened pre-flop to 822,799, then shoved over the top of Chidwick's re-raise to 2,041,394. Chidwick instantly called with pocket queens, which held up against ROOJAR_M's pair of sixes. The hand doubled Chidwick to 24.4 million and left ROOJAR_M with just 5 million in chips. It all ended for ROOJAR_M in 4th place about ten minutes later, when AlexKP's flopped a set of jacks against ROOJAR_M's K♣Q♣, who had flopped top pair. ROOJAR_M did turn a flush draw, but it failed to fill on the river.

Chidwick didn't have long to enjoy his newfound chips. Just a few hands after his double up, he found himself on the rail. He opened the button with a minimum raise to about 1 million. AlexKP, in the big blind, re-raised to 3 million. Chidwick four-bet shoved for 24.8 million and was immediately called by AlexKP, creating a pot worth 50 million chips.

Chidwick showed A♣T♥. He was a big underdog to AlexKP's A♥K♥ but found a great flop of A♦5♦T♠, to make two pair, aces and tens. The turn 4♣ left Chidwick needing to fade only the remaining three kings in the deck to take over the chip lead. He couldn't do it; the river fell the K♦, giving AlexKP an improbable two pair and the winning hand. Instead of becoming the chip leader, Chidwick was retired to the rail in third place.

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Stephen "stevie444" Chidwick

As heads-up play began, Tutanhamon1 was down to about 18.5 million in chips against AlexKP's 71.5 million and tried again for some sort of chop. AlexKP's reply was blunt. "If you get to 30 million we can talk." With a total of 180 big blinds between the two players, Tutanhamon1 had plenty of time to reach that point.

The two players made incremental gains back and forth for about 20 to 30 minutes. The moment that Tutanhamon1's count crested the 30-million chip mark, he again proposed a chop. Good to his word, AlexKP agreed to take a look. "I'm not taking an even chip chop though," AlexKP warned Tutanhamon1. "I'm a HU cash player and you're obviously not - no offense."

The chip-chop numbers came in at $225,370.42 for AlexKP and $204,904.06 for Tutanhamon1. AlexKP countered with $232,000 for himself, a number to which Tutanhamon1 immediately agreed. The deal was in place; all that was left was to play for the $25,000 set-aside.

Five hands after the deal, Tutanhamon1 took down a 15 million pot without showdown to further narrow the gap between the two stacks. When Tutanhamon1 subsequently took down another large pot without showdown, AlexKP's lead was narrowed to just 10 million chips, 50 million to 40 million. It seemed most of the pressure was being applied by Tutanhamon1.

But that momentum came crashing down around Tutanhamon1's ears just a few hands later. AlexKP opened with a minimum raise to 1.2 million that Tutanhamon1 called. On a flop of Q♥T♣3♥, Tutanhaon1 checked and called another 1.2 million. On the 4♥ turn, Tutanhamon1 checked, then made a huge over-raise shove of 33 million after AlexKP bet 3.8 million. It was the over-aggression that AlexKP had been waiting to pounce on. He quickly called with a set of treys, 3♠3♦. Tutanhamon1 showed top pair with no draw, Q♣7♠. That left the river 2♦ as a mere formality in front of AlexKP's win.

WCOOP Event 1 $215 No-Limit Hold'em [6-max] results (includes two-way deal):
1st place: AlexKP ($257,000.00)
2nd place: Tutanhamon1 ($198,274.48)
3rd place: Stephen "stevie444" Chidwick ($130,514.50)
4th place: ROOJAR_M ($76,508.50)
5th place: inhidonks ($40,504.50)
6th place: Drateks ($27,003)

AlexKP is the first winner of the 2010 WCOOP, but there are 61 more events to come. You can find the schedule of all of those events, along with all types of other statistics, at the WCOOP homepage.

Dave Behr
@PokerStars in WCOOP