WCOOP 2011: bajskorven87 scores for Sweden in Event #38, $530 Heads-Up NLHE

wcoop2009-thumb.jpgFor just the second time this WCOOP, players had a chance to exercise their heads-up skills for cash and a coveted bracelet in Event 38. And with the exception of those who had the bankroll to swing today's other heads-up event - the $10,300 High Roller event - it would be their last. No surprise, then, that 765 entries turned out for this tournament, building a $382,500 prize pool that would pay 64 places and award $95,625 to 1st place.

The first day of play ended on Saturday night with 32 players remaining from the original field. Team PokerStars Pro member ElkY almost made it through to Day 2 but cashed in 37th place, losing out in Round 5 to matori0406. Meanwhile PokerStars Team Online's Mickey "mement_mori" Petersen lost out to mtvdeuem in the same round for a 45th-place exit. Both players grabbed $1,530 for their efforts.

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The only PokerStars-affiliated player remaining as Day 2 began at 9:00 a.m. CT was Team Pro Chad Brown, who drew a matchup with Russia's 06E3b9HAaa in Round 6. With 7,500 chips and blinds at 25/50 to start the match there was plenty of time for anything to happen; as it turned out, only one hand was needed to decide the outcome. Brown opened for 100 chips on the button and 06E3b9HAaa made it 300 from the big blind. Brown responded with a fourth bet to 1,300 and then called when 06E3b9HAaa made it five bets and all-in for 7,500. Brown held A♥ K♣, which was a hair under 43 percent to win against the J♣ J♦ of 06E3b9HAaa. The board fell Q♣ 4♥ 5♠ 3♥ Q♠ and Brown, the last remaining WCOOP bracelet winner in the field, made his exit in 32nd place ($3,060).

WCOOP 2011 Event 38 Round 7 bracket.jpg

Round 7 finally began at 10:24 a.m. CT after Canada's gray31 capped off a comeback from just 1,800 chips to outlast Greece's ZISIMO7 in the last remaining match of Round 6. Despite only needing to eliminate half as many players as in the previous round, it would take even longer for Round 7 to draw to a close. The last running match was between snakaa of Belarus and yakimaki or Russia, where the lead changed hands a few times, most notably in a preflop all-in confrontation that saw yakimaki's pocket queens hold up against snakaa's A♠ Q♦. After bluffing all-in before the flop with six-high and running into ace-king, snakaa was finally eliminated in 9th place ($4,590) to send the tournament into its next stage.

Quarterfinals

With the most significant pay jump of the tournament so far behind them, the remaining eight players - caecilius and gray 31 of Canada, "0PIGGYBANK" and jektiss of Germany, 06E3b9HAaa and yakimaki of Russia, mtvdeuem of Slovenia, and bajskorven87 of Sweden - moved on to the quarterfinals at 12:13 p.m. CT.

WCOOP 2011 Event 38 Quarterfinal bracket.jpg

On the 140th hand of what had been a pretty even match, mtvdeuem triumphed over the highly aggressive 06E3b9HAaa (8th place, $12,240) when all the chips went in on an action flop:

It took fewer hands but more time for bajskorven87 to take down gray31. On the 114th hand of their match, after steadily being whittled down, gray31 made a stand before the flop with pocket eights and was in excellent shape to double up against bajskorven87's pocket threes. But a little luck goes a long way in heads-up play, and the T♥ 6♦ 4♥ 3♣ 5♠ board gave bajskorven87 a set and sent gray31 packing in 7th place ($12,240).

Russia's yakimaki was the third player to advance to the semifinals. The match against caecilius had been fairly even in the early going, with the two players exchanging the chip lead a number of times before yakimaki surged into a commanding 4-to-1 lead. Though caecilius mounted a comeback from just over 2,000 chips back to 5,731, the last hand turned out to be a situation where getting in with the currently best hand can still leave you behind. After a min-raise from yakimaki and a call from caecilius, the two players saw a flop of 7♥ 3♣ 2♣ and caecilius led out for 200 chips. That brought a quick raise to 755 from yakimaki, to which caecilius responded with an all-in shove for 5,531; yakimaki made the call with K♣ T♣, which was behind caecilius' A♠ 7♠ but still had 15 outs and thus a slim edge in the hand. The 9♦ on the turn changed nothing, but the T♠ on the river gave yakimaki the win and send caecilius out in 6th place ($12,240).

That left just jektiss and "0PIGGYBANK", the last two Germans in the field, squaring off against each other. For 389 hands they went back and forth before finally playing their last hand at 1:52 p.m. CT. It was a simple affair; "0PIGGYBANK" raised the minimum to 400 on the button, jektiss shoved all-in for 4,260 with K♠ 9♥, and "0PIGGYBANK" called with A♣ 8♥. The 3♠ T♣ 5♥ 7♣ A♠ board was no help to jektiss, who became the last quarterfinalist eliminated, taking $12,240 for 5th place.

Semifinals

The last four players took to their tables guaranteed no less than $26,775, a fantastic return on a $530 investment but a far cry from the winner's purse of $95,625. On one table it was Russia against Germany as yakimaki took on "0PIGGYBANK", while on the other it was Slovenia against Sweden in the form of mtvdeuem against bajskorven87. After a quick five-minute break on the hour, the semifinals began in earnest.

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The match on Table 1 between bajskorven87 and mtvdeuem lasted just 77 hands, a relatively short match considering that the lead changed hands multiple times. The first to jump out front was bajskorven87, who managed to grind up to more than 10,400 chips after just 22 hands. On the 51st hands bajskorven87 was in position to end the match early, holding pocket queens in a five-bet, all-in confrontation before the flop against mtvdeuem's ace-king. But a king on the flop gave the Slovenian a bigger pair and, once the board ran out, the lead for the first time since the early stages of the match.

Not discouraged, bajskorven87 immediately began to grind back up with small pots before grabbing one worth 4,480 chips - and the lead once more - betting all the way and capping the action with an all-in move on the river as the board read 6♠ 2♣ 3♣ J♥ T♥. Another 16 hands would pass before the this pot wrapped up their semifinal match, sending mtvdeuem out in 4th place ($26,775):

Over on Table 2, "0PIGGYBANK" and yakimaki played a lot of small-ball in the early going. Each player held relatively thin leads before "0PIGGYBANK" grabbed a more significant advantage after flopping second pair and turning trip nines with J♥ 9♣ for a 1,300-chip pot - the largest on the table up to that point - on the 50th hand of the match. "0PIGGYBANK" would extend that lead even further while continuing to mostly play small pots and eventually grind yakimaki down to just 2,076 chips before doubling his opponent up on Hand #174 with A♣ 4♦ against A♦ Q♥. By the time they went on their first 15-minute break of the day at 2:56 p.m. CT they had played 215 hands and "0PIGGYBANK" held 11,498 of the 15,000 chips in play.

One the duo returned they would play another 35 hands, with "0PIGGYBANK" continuing to dominate the proceedings. In the end it all came down to the kickers in play: yakimaki got all-in with T♣ 9♥ on a 5♠ 8♦ 9♦ flop, only to be up against J♥ 9♣. The K♠ turn and 3♦ river made it official, sending "0PIGGYBANK" to the final and awarding yakimaki $26,775 for 3rd place.

Final

Now there were just two players remaining, Germany's "0PIGGYBANK" and Sweden's bajskorven87. The winner would take home a WCOOP bracelet and a hefty prize of $95,625, while the other would snag a still-enviable $49,725 but have to do without the jewelry.

The early hands saw more small-ball as only one pot reached four figures, that one being split between the two players when each had two pair. On the 18th hand "0PIGGYBANK" jumped ahead after raising the minimum on the button, facing a three-bet to 325 from bajskorven87, making a four-bet for 865, seeing a five-bet to 1,775, and making the sixth bet all-in. Eventually bajskorven87 decided to give it up, and "0PIGGYBANK" grabbed the 3,550-chip pot to take a lead of 10,100 to 4,900.

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On the 33rd hand bajskorven87 struck back. After raising to 125 on the button and calling a three-bet by "0PIGGYBANK" to 400, bajskorven87 then called a bet of 450 on the 9♠ 8♠ Q♠ flop to build the pot to 1,700 chips. Both players checked on the K♦ turn, and "0PIGGYBANK" fired out a bet of 1,325. After some time in the tank bajskorven87 emerged with a call, and J♦ 9♦ for a pair of nines was good against 8♥ 4♥ for a pair of eights. Another significant pot five hands later, this time worth 2,150 and taken down with aggression on an all-diamond flop, brought bajskorven87 back to within 275 chips of being even.

Neither player was content to see hands progress to showdown if there was a way for aggression to win a pot. "0PIGGYBANK" grabbed the match's 43rd pot, worth 3,410 chips, with a river bet of 2,825 on a board of Q♦ J♥ 3♥ 2♣ T♥. On the 49th hand it was bajskorven who won without a showdown, raising "0PIGGYBANK"'s 725-chip bet on the river of a T♥ 5♦ 8♥ Ah] J♥ board to grab a pot worth 3,185 and get back to within a few hundred chips of being even once more. Despite the blinds only being at 30/60, pots regularly crossed the four-figure threshold as the two battled it out with plenty of pre-flop three-bets and post-flop aggression.

"0PIGGYBANK" generally got the better of the exchanges over the next 50 hands or so, even winning 11 pots in a row at one point, but bajskorven again fought back to pull close to even by pulling a few tricks out of the hat on this hand, the 104th of the match:

Just seven hands later, "0PIGGYBANK" would again extend the lead after raising to 160 on the button and calling a three-bet to 440. The flop fell T♦ 2♦ 4♠ and bajskorven87 led out for 520. "0PIGGYBANK" called and the turn brought the 5♣. Again bajskorven87 led out, this time for 1,120 into a 1,920-chip pot, and again "0PIGGYBANK" called. When the river came the 5♥, bajskorven87 finally checked and "0PIGGYBANK" thought for just a moment before betting 5,680 chips, enough to put bajskorven87 all-in. Dipping into the time bank finally convinced bajskorven87 to let the hand go and "0PIGGYBANK" grabbed the 4,160-chip pot.

With that lead firmly in hand "0PIGGYBANK" continued to press bajskorven87, but the Swede grabbed two solid pots over the next 10 hands. The first was good for 2,950 chips and helped to narrow the deficit, but the second, on the 121st hand of the match, was the one that finally shifted the chip lead back in the other direction:

From there the tenor of the duel changed. "0PIGGYBANK" continued to stay aggressive and win pots over the next 50 hands, but the majority of them were small and won either before or on the flop; bajskorven87 gave up the smaller battles but used the chip lead to grab the more valuable pots. That helped to expand bajskorven87's lead to more than 8,500 chips as the 176th, and final, hand of the match came up. On the button, bajskorven raised the minimum to 240 and "0PIGGYBANK" called to see a 7♥ 8♥ T♥ flop. "0PIGGYBANK" checked but then fired off a minimum check-raise after bajskorven87 bet 240. After some thought the Swede got in a smallish three-bet to 1,000; "0PIGGYBANK" went into the tank and came out with an all-in shove for 3,020 chips, which bajskorven87 quickly called. The two turned up their cards:

bajskorven87: A♥ Q♣
"0PIGGYBANK": K♣ 9♥

"0PIGGYBANK" had the open-ended straight flush draw, but bajskorven87 was a nearly 61-percent favorite to win the hand. When the 5♦ turn and 5♠ river failed to change the situation, ace-high was good enough to close out a hard-fought final match and ship another WCOOP bracelet to Sweden.

Results for 2011 WCOOP Event #38, $530 Heads-Up No-Limit Hold'em

1st place: bajskorven (Sweden) - $95,625
2nd place: "0PIGGYBANK" (Germany) - $49,725
3rd place: yakimaki (Russia) - $26,775
4th place: mtvdeuem (Slovenia) - $26,775
5th place: jektiss (Germany) - $12,240
6th place: caecilius (Canada) - $12,240
7th place: gray31 (Canada) - $12,240
8th place: 06E3b9HAaa (Russia) - $12,240

With that the last of this year's WCOOP heads-up events is in the books, with the lone exception of the $10,300 High Roller event that's still running. There are still 20 more events in a variety of other games running, though, and plenty of time to win your way in. Be sure to check out the official WCOOP page for full details.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in WCOOP