WCOOP 2011: Daut44 comes close, z81ima wins in Event #40, $215 NLHE

wcoop2009-thumb.jpgThe first day of WCOOP Event #40 fielded a truly massive turnout of 8,332 players, crushing the $1 million guarantee with a $1,666,400 prize pool. The schedule called for 1,080 players to be paid, with $349.94 going to the first casher and a whopping $249,964.40 to the last man (or woman) standing.

Just 57 players returned for Day 2 when the action began at 9:00 a.m. CT, with Slovenia's moreno007 in the lead with just under 4 million chips. Also still in the running were Team PokerStars Pro's Angel Guillen and Sandra Naujoks, 2011 WCOOP Event #27 champ Mike "goleafsgoeh" Leah, and 2007 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure winner Ryan "Daut44" Daut.

As the day went on all but two of them would fall by the wayside, with Naujoks taking 42nd place ($3,132.83), Guillen claiming 25th ($3,882.71) and Leah finishing 20th ($3,882.71). Only moreno007 and Ryan Daut were still going as the final table began at 12:19 p.m. CT. With blinds at 100K/200K and antes at 25K, the lineup was:

Seat 1: Daut44 (5531665 in chips)
Seat 2: rickv17 (4908864 in chips)
Seat 3: Igor Priva (16085681 in chips)
Seat 4: bendeauville (7678834 in chips)
Seat 5: xwc123 (3924926 in chips)
Seat 6: z81ima (21023419 in chips)
Seat 7: luigy666 (16129159 in chips)
Seat 8: Lecher1991 (3366562 in chips) out of hand (moved from another table into small blind)
Seat 9: moreno007 (4670890 in chips)

xwc123 takes 9th place

It wouldn't take long for the action to begin. Igor Priva opened under the gun for 473K and got calls from xwc123 in middle position and Daut in the big blind. The flop fell 6♦ 9♦ A♠ and Igor Priva led out for 870K, only to see xwc123 move all-in behind for 3,426,926. Then Daut made an isolation raise from the big blind, moving all-in for 5,033,665. Igor Priva got out of the way and Daut was in terrible shape with A♣ Q♠ against xwc123's set of sixes with 6♣ 6♥. But the turn and river came Q♥-Q♦, giving Daut queens full of aces to beat xwc123's sixes full of queens in cruel fashion and send the Belgian player out in 9th place ($12,914.60).

rickv17 retires in 8th

Only three minutes later Daut would be the preflop raiser who got out of the way, after opening for 400K, seeing rickv17 move all-in for 4,633,864, and watching Igor Priva make the call. Igor Priva held K♥ K♦ against rickv17's A♥ K♠, which received no help from the 5♠ T♠ 9♦ 8♣ 8♦ board. That made rickv17 the day's 8th-place ($19,996.80) finisher.

moreno007 makes it 7th

The pace of bustouts slowed from there, with another 22 minutes passing before moreno007 of Slovenia, the player who had entered Day 2 with the chip lead, finally became the next to exit. The Slovenian opened with an all-in raise for 2,617,754 holding K♣ J♦ and was called by Igor Priva with A♥ Q♠. The 7♦ K♥ 4♥ was great news for moreno007, as was the 9♥ turn, but the A♣ completed the suck-resuck and moreno007 was out in 7th place ($35,827.60).

Six-handed play would go on for another full level and Igor Priva took the worst of it, falling away from the chip lead and back toward the middle of the pack while Ryan Daut and Russia's z81ima moved to the top of the leaderboard. Down at the bottom, meanwhile, was Lithuania's Lecher1991. The Lithuanian player got in with a good chance to double up right after the break at 1 p.m. CT, holding A♠ K♠ against the A♣ 5♦ of chip leader z81ima, but was still in danger after the flop came 2♥ 6♣ 3♦. But with the A♦ on the turn and the T♦ on the river, Lecher1991 was able to get back in the game.

WCOOP 2011 Event 40 final table.jpg

Igor Priva out in 6th

With Lecher1991's double-up, Igor Priva had fallen all the way down to the shortest stack. After a button raise from Daut, Igor Priva responded with an all-in move for 4,833,685 from the small blind. Instead of taking down the pot, though, he watched as bendeauville then called from the big blind. Daut got out of the way, Igor Priva showed A♣ Q♠, and bendeauville turned up 8♠ 8♦. The K♠ T♦ 5♥ flop gave Igor Priva more outs in the form of a gutshot straight draw, but the 3♦ turn and T♠ river did nothing to change the situation, and the table's only player from the Ukraine was out in 6th place ($51,658.40).

luigy666 leaves in 5th

Just eight hands after the previous elimination, the cast of players would shrink once more. This time the action had folded to chip leader z81ima, who opted for a minimum raise to 600K in the cutoff. From the button luigy666 responded with an all-in bet of 7,197,122, which was enough to clear out the rest of the field. No time was wasted as z81ima made the call with A♠ K♣, which was safely ahead of luigy666's A♣ J♥. Despite being an underdog on the flop, luigy666 picked up a monster draw on the 5♣ 3♣ 4♣ flop, needing any club, any deuce, or any jack to grab the lead. But the board ran out 7♥-Q♦, shipping the pot to z81ima and leaving luigy666 the 5th-place ($68,322.40) finisher.

With luigy666's departure and the blinds at 150K/300K with a 37.5K ante, a four-way battle was set with z81ima (34,870,877 chips) holding the lead, bendeauville (25,262,634) in a firm second place, Ryan "Daut44" Daut (15,533,619) holding onto third, and Lecher1991 (7,652,870) bringing up the rear. It wouldn't take long for that balance to shift, though; just two hands later, Lecher1991 doubled through bendeauville with pocket kings against bendeauville's Q♥ T♥, with all the money going in on a ten-high flop. That left those two players, along with Daut, in a dead heat for second place behind the massive stack of z81ima.

WCOOP 2011 Event 40 four-handed.jpg

The situation hadn't changed much once the blinds went up to 200K/400K with a 50K ante, with z81ima still standing head-and-shoulders above the crowd. But bendeauville managed to take do a little bit of rearranging and move up to second place thanks to two big pots. In the first Lecher1991 min-raised from the button and bendeauville called from the big blind to see a flop of A♣ T♠ J♠; bendeauville checked, Lecher1991 bet 1,224,242, and bendeauville made the call. Both players checked the 2♥ on the turn, and bendeauville checked once again on the 3♠ river. After some thought Lecher1991 stuck in a bet of 2,624,666 and bendeauville went into the tank; he emerged with a call holding T♥ 7♠, which was good enough to beat his opponent's K♣ 5♠ and grab the 9.69-million-chip pot. Just four hands later, a slightly bigger pot would also be shipped bendeauville's way, this time worth more than 10M.

Lecher1991 out in 4th

Four-handed play would finally end with the blinds up to 250K/500K with a 62.5K ante. After z81ima came in for another button raise to 1M, Lecher1991 responded with a reraise to 2.5M from the small blind. z81ima waited a few moments before shoving all-in, and Lecher1991 immediately called, only to find his A♠ K♣ thoroughly dominated by z81ima's A♦ A♥ for by far the biggest pot of the tournament. The 3♠ K♥ 4♦ flop held out some hope of another final-table suckout, but instead the turn and river came 7♠-5♦ to send Lecher1991 out in 4th place ($88,319.20).

WCOOP 2011 Event 40 three-handed.jpg

With the field shortened to just three, z81ima still held a hefty lead with 45,382,876 chips to the 22,427,626 of bendeauville and 15,509,498 of Ryan Daut. The former PCA champ wasn't shy about getting active with the field so short, picking up several pots on the flop with check-raises to begin trying to make up some ground. But his opponents, z81ima in particular, pressed back where they could and kept the balance of power roughly the same as the blinds advanced to 300K/600K with a 75K ante.

With the stakes raised, Daut and z81ima turned up the pressure and bendeauville, perhaps because of a run of bad cards, tended to sit back. When bendeauville finally did decide to take a stand, Daut made his first big surge forward in one of the biggest pots of the final table:

Daut and z81ima continued to lean on bendeauville and spar with each other, and Daut came close to grabbing the lead after a blind-versus-blind confrontation with z81ima that saw z81ima open for 1.425M from the small blind, Daut three-bet to 3.1M from the big blind, z81ima four-bet for 8.2M, and Daut shove for 28.5M. A fold shipped the 16.625M-chip pot to Daut, but he was still in second place. He finally grabbed the lead on this hand just a few minutes later:

bendeauville leaves in 3rd

As the blinds moved up to 400K/800K with a 100K ante, time was beginning to grow short for bendeauville. So when Daut made a giant bet from the small blind big enough to put bendeauville all-in, he called with A♥ J♥ and found himself in a coin flip against Daut's 8♦ 8♣. Any hope of survival was reduced to hope for a runner-runner chop when the flop came 6♠ 8♥ 4♠, giving Daut a set. The 2♣ made a 3rd-place ($133,312) finish official, and the river Q♠ was but a formality.

Heads-up for the bracelet

As heads-up play began, the chip counts looked like this:

Seat 1: Daut44 (52,612,784 chips)
Seat 6: z81ima (30,707,216 chips)

WCOOP 2011 Event 40 heads-up.jpg

Though z81ima hails from Russia his avatar is a picture of the American boxer Rocky Balboa from the classic boxing movie, Rocky IV, where Balboa takes on the heavily-favored Soviet boxing machine Ivan Drago. And though the nationality was flipped around - Daut even made mention of this, saying "never thought I'd see a russian with a rocky iv icon" - it was perhaps fitting in this case. Daut, the 2007 PCA champion and a two-time World Poker Tour final tablist, was playing the role of the powerhouse Ivan Drago, while z81ima took up the underdog's mantle as Rocky Balboa.

Both players stayed aggressive in the early points of the duel, with Daut maintaining his lead but z81ima picking up a little bit of ground with some well-timed bets. Each was more than willing to employ three-bets and check-raises wherever necessary, which kept the outcome in doubt and the action highly entertaining for everyone watching from the rail. As the action progressed Daut continued to get the better of it until z81ima finally made a stand on the 23rd hand, shoving over the top of a button raise with A♣ Q♦ and getting a call from Daut with 7♦ 7♥. The board fell 5♠ T♦ J♥ 9♠ K♠, shipping the pot to z81ima and leaving the two of them virtually deadlocked, Daut with 41,692,012 chips and z81ima with 41,627,988.

The clock was then paused for the two players to talk about a deal. With the official numbers in hand and a slight bit of tweaking, the two players agreed to a deal that saw Daut take $208,500, with z81ima earning $205,384.96 and the last $20,000 - and the WCOOP bracelet - left for the winner. While they were negotiating, Daut was, amazingly enough, continuing to play on with just 61 players remaining in WCOOP Event #42.

After the deal was in place and the two took a short break on the hour, play resumed with blinds at 500K/1M and an ante of 125K. It went back and forth with both players staying aggressive, but Daut finally regained the lead with on Hand #37 with a 19.1M-chip pot that never went past the turn on a board of K♦ 6♠ A♦ 8♦. He pressed his advantage at nearly every opportunity from there, claiming more than half the pots and generally making life unpleasant for z81ima.

But true to his role as the unbeatable underdog Rocky, z81ima would jump ahead, this time for good, on the 62nd hand of heads-up play:

Daut relentlessly pounded at his opponent from there but was never able to make up any serious ground. The 82nd hand would end up being the last when z81ima raised to 2M on the button, Daut shoved with K♦ 4♦, and z81ima called with A♦ 6♠. The A♥ Q♣ 7♦ flop firmed up z81ima's lead and the A♣ turn sealed it up, with the 2♦ river making things official.

Congratulations are in order for both Ryan Daut and z81ima, who demonstrated their skill and heart at a tough final table and a tougher heads-up match. And while Daut might have missed out on a WCOOP title in this event, he still has hope in Event #42, where he's still in the hunt with just 44 players remaining.

Results for 2011 WCOOP Event #40, $215 No-Limit Hold'em

1st place: z81ima (Russia) - $225,384.96
2nd place: Ryan "Daut44" Daut (Canada) - $208,500
3rd place: bendeauville (Sweden) - $133,312.20
4th place: Lecher1991 (Lithuania) - $88,319.20
5th place: luigy666 (Romania) - $68,322.40
6th place: Igor Priva (Ukraine) - $51,658.40
7th place: moreno007 (Slovenia) - $35,827.60
8th place: rickv17 (United Kingdom) - $19,996.80
9th place: xwc123 (Belgium) - $12,914.60

Another WCOOP event, another win for Russia. It's been a good series for Russian players, who have more bracelets, final table appearances, and money won so far than players from any other country. You can get a feel for just how Ivan Drago-like they've been - and find out who's playing the part of WCOOP's Rocky Balboa - at the WCOOP stats page.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in WCOOP