WCOOP 2011: DYBYDX derives a win in Event 2, $10,300 NLHE (High Roller)

wcoop2009-thumb.jpgThere's no question that the PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker is the premiere event in the online poker world today. So what better way to get things started than by having the world's best players duke it out in a high-stakes event?

Event 2, the $10,300 No-Limit Hold'em tournament, was everything a high roller could ask for in an online poker tournament: 10,000 starting chips, 30-minute levels with blinds starting at 25/50, and a guaranteed prize pool of $1.25 million. There were 92 players registered when play began at 12:00 ET, and their numbers more than doubled to 200 by the time late registration closed. That boosted the total prize pool $2,000,000 and set a top prize of $430,000.

As you would imagine, there was a full contingent of PokerStars players on hand for this marquee event, including ElkY, Daniel Negreanu, Jonathan Duhamel, El_Cañonero, Humberto Brenes, Isildur1, Ana Marquez, Jude Ainsworth, John Duthie, Maxim Lykov, Ville Wahlbeck, and Sebastian Ruthenberg. They would all fall short of the money, though two of their PS brethren managed to give themselves a shot at that big payday through strong play.

There were also plenty of other highly accomplished players in the field, including former WSOP Europe Main Event winner Annette "Annette_15" Obrestad, former Super Tuesday and Sunday Million winner Cesar "caio_pimenta" Pimenta, former SCOOP event winner Mickey "mement_mori" Petersen, former EPT Warsaw champ (and Portugal's all-time leading money winner) João Barbosa, $7 million online tournament man Chris "Moorman1" Moorman, and former Australian chess prodigy and SCOOP mixed-game event winner James "Andy_McLEOD" Obst.

Former WSOP Main Event winner and Team PokerStars Pro Joe Hachem jumped into the top five in the early going, as did Annette Obrestad, and both were still there after five hours of play. Former Sunday Warm-Up champ MatchBalla was another of the early chip leaders, building to over 62,000 chips by the start of the 8th level and maintaining a healthy stack as the tournament played down toward the money. Obrestad would eventually fall by the wayside in 46th place, but the other two would stay in the thick of things.

Stir it up (Team PokerStars represent, represent)

As the money bubble closed in with 30 players remaining, only two PokerStars players remained in the action. JP Kelly was in the top five, with more than 114,000 chips at the 500/1,000/125 level, while Joe Hachem was a little further back with just over 52,000 chips. Both men had to contend with bigger stacks to their left - JP Kelly with second-placed former EPT Berlin champ Kevin "ImaLuckSac" MacPhee (200K), and Hachem with Tobias "PokerNoob999" Reinkemeier (100K) and third-placed Skilled G (150K). Hachem played it close as the pace of play slowed down, but Kelly clashed with MacPhee multiple times. They both took a relatively equal number of pots, but MacPhee came away with the best of it thanks to this hand:

DYBYDX held the chip lead at this point and only continued to get richer, applying maximum pressure and winning upward of 80 percent of the hands on Table 12 to climb above the 300,000-chip mark. On the other end of the spectrum, short stacks Hichcock, salfishb and takechip were holding on for their tournament lives, each holding less than 10 orbits' worth of chips. All three survived through the next break and were still in the action when the level changed to 700/1,400/175.

Germany's nimuuuh busted in 29th place just after the level rose to 800/1,600/200, and the tournament slowed further as play went to hand-for-hand. Meanwhile things weren't going too well for Kelly and Hachem. Hachem dropped to just over 26,000 after three-betting Sussie Smith before the flop and folding to an all-in four-bet. Kelly, meanwhile, took a big hit on this hand:

Both men made it through to the money, though, when short-stacked 4rebmun shoved with K♦ T♦ only to run into NCSU2012's A♠ K♠. The A♦ 8♣ J♦ flop gave 4rebmun plenty of outs with a royal flush draw, but the board ran out 5♣ 7♠ and it was time to move on to the next portion of play.

We're in the money, the skies are sunny

As you might expect, the pace of play picked up considerably once the bubble burst. Within the space of ten minutes four players hit the rail. Hichcock, who had held on so tightly for so long, was the first to cash when his pocket eights couldn't outrun the ace-ten of samerrr. Tom "kingsofcards" Marchese quickly doubled up with pocket kings against bmwmcoupe's ace-jack, and bmwmcoupe quickly went out in 26th place two hands later with queen-jack to the ace-queen of Sussie Smith. AceSpades11 went next in 25th, getting his last 7,462 chips in the middle with Q♠ 8♥ and losing out to salfshb's pocket nines. And then Joe Hachem fell in 24th place when his A♣ J♠ was unable to crack the pocket kings of early chip leader MatchBalla, leaving JP Kelly as the sole remaining representative of Team PokerStars.


Kelly played his cards close and managed to wait as five more players - hyahhoo (23rd place), pokerbok (22nd), gregior (21st), samerrr (20th) and doncarignano (19th) - busted out with their $20,000 earnings. That took the tournament down to its final two tables as the level changed to 1,000/2,000/250. With just over 35,000 chips left he was looking for a spot to get his entire stack in the middle, and he found it while facing a button raise from roi kin23. Kelly shoved holding Q♣ J♣ and roi kin23 called with a dominating A♥ Q♠. The board ran out T♣ 5♥ Q♦ 4♦ 8♣, giving Kelly the rest of the morning off with $25,000 in his pocket for an 18th-place finish.

ukipt edinburgh_day 1A_jp kelly.jpg

The Czech Republic's Vinkyy fell next, getting in with pocket fives against SenorPokes' pocket tens and watching as SenorPokes hit quads by the end of the hand. Then Canada's d0r1t0s went out in 16th place, slowplaying aces before the flop from the small blind; the Canadian check-raised all-in on the Q♣ 9♥ 5♣ flop, only to find that Skilled G had flopped a set with pocket fives. Both Vinkyy and d0r1t0s earned $25,000.

Running down a dream (or maybe walking)

With 15 players left, everyone was guaranteed at least $30,000. With $430,000 set for the winner, though, it wouldn't be unfair if three times the tournament's buy-in were to seem like a disappointment. Everyone's eyes were clearly on that top prize as the pace of play slowed once again, not quite to the crawl of the money bubble, but close.

After holding on to a short stack through the seemingly endless bubble period, takechip had managed to work back into contention once everyone was in the money. But the Canadian player's run would finally come to an end at the hands of another player who had survived as a short stack, salfshb, whose A♠ K♣ held up against takechip's A♣ Q♦ to send takechip out in 15th place. Nearly 40 minutes later, chip leader Kevin "ImaLuckSac" MacPhee got the ball rolling back toward the final table in a coin flip that turned into a suck-resuck situation. Dilith got all his chips in the middle with Q♥ J♥ against MacPhee's pocket nines on a board of T♦ 9♦ 5♠, turned a straight on the 8♠ turn, and fell in 14th place to a full house when the river came the 5♥. Then salfshb exited in 13th place, getting in with pocket nines to Skilled G's pocket eights only to see an eight hit the flop.

Former WCOOP bracelet winner Ruben "rubenrtv" Visser had performed well throughout the day despite never holding a particularly large stack, but he found the end of the road in 12th place ($35,000) when his pocket sevens ran into the pocket queens of 2010 EPT Grand Final High Roller winner Tobias "PokerNoob999" Reinkemeier and couldn't go runner-runner for quads after a queen fell on the flop. Reinkemeier claimed another victim in 11th place - Sweden's Sussie Smith - by hitting the nut flush with A♥ 8♥ to take out the Swede's pocket kings. That took the tournament down to its second and final round of hand-for-hand play as the final table awaited everyone but the next player out.

Four players who had held significant chip leads during the day remained in play with healthy stacks on the 1,500/3,000/375 level - Skilled G with more than 413,000 chips, ImaLuckSac with over 358,000, MatchBalla with more than 245,000 and DYBYDX with over 163,000. Reinkemeier had worked up to more than 322,000, while Tom "kingsofcards" Marchese was hanging on in 10th place with just over 33,000 in chips - less than 20 percent of the average.

DYBDBX took a significant hit when he couldn't beat the flopped set of queens of SenorPokes, but it was Marchese who looked sure to be the next one out when his stack fell to just over 20,000. A couple of fortunate runner-runner cards kept Marchese's hopes alive, however, when his K♣ 3♦ beat Skilled G's A♠ J♣ on the T♠ 5♥ A♥ K♥ K♦ board. Instead it was NCSU2012 who hit the rail. A lost coin flip with pocket fives against xraypies' A♦ 9♦ left NCSU2012 with just 1,288 chips, and MacPhee finished the job on the next hand to leave NCSU2012 as the 10th-place finisher ($35,000).

It's the final countdown

Some 12 hours and 20 minutes after the tournament had begun, with blinds at 2,000/4,000 and antes at 500, the final table lineup was set. It looked like this:

Event 2 final table.jpg

Seat 1: roi kin23 (76,435 chips)
Seat 2: SenorPokes (275,219 chips)
Seat 3: MatchBalla (238,785 chips)
Seat 4: DYBYDX (84,062 chips)
Seat 5: xraypies (139,394 chips)
Seat 6: PokerNoob999 (258,933 chips)
Seat 7: ImaLuckSac (464,693 chips)
Seat 8: kingsofcards (47,736 chips)
Seat 9: Skilled G (414,473 chips)

With the first major jump of the payout table going to the player who would finish in 8th place - $60,000 compared to the $40,000 for finishing in 9th - nobody had an itchy trigger finger as play resumed. DYBYDX was the first to make major waves by doubling through SenorPokes with pocket queens against ace-queen, but the action remained relatively sedate.

Incoming chip leader MacPhee extended his advantage early on, but it was more through strong cards than through blatant aggression. First he flopped top two pair with ace-king against Skilled G for a 95,744-chip pot. Then he benefited from another strong starting hand when his pocket queens were good for a 276,561-chip pot on a 2♣ 3♦ 9♣ 2♠ 4♥ board against MatchBalla's mucked hand. Thanks to that win he had climbed to just over 676,000 chips, almost exactly twice that of his nearest competitor, Skilled G. A few hands later he won with another big hand when his A♦ K♣ held up against Tom "kingsofcards" Marchese's K♥ J♥, winning a small pot but sending Marchese to the rail in 9th place ($40,000).

MacPhee slipped up a bit a few hands later, dropping a 222,500-chip pot to Skilled G just before the break with 6♦ 4♦ against A♣ T♦; Skilled G's hand was good for ace-high on a board of K♣ 8♦ 3♠ J♦ J♠. Still, both players were both standing head and shoulders above the rest of the table, all of whom appeared to be waiting on strong hands rather than mixing it up with lesser holdings.

The United Kingdom's DYBYDX became the first player to get within striking distance of ImaLuckSac and Skilled G thanks to coming out on the right end of a coin flip. DYBYDX's pocket eights held up in a coin flip against SenorPokes' ace-king on a 6♣ 9♦ J♠ Q♣ 9♠ board, good for a 317,556-chip pot that sent SenorPokes packing in 8th place ($60,000). Had the pot gone the other way DYBYDX would have been left with less than 80,000 chips at the 2,500/5,000/625 level; instead the UK player moved up to second place with 396,555 chips.

The move up was temporary as DYBYDX fell further back as the table settled into a rhythm that involved MacPhee moving back ahead of the crowd and everyone else passing chips around to each other. Tobias "PokerNoob999" Reinkemeier finally got back into the mix when his pocket queens held up against Skilled G's pocket jacks in a preflop, all-in confrontation for a 359,578-chip pot. Then, three hands later, DYBYDX got back into the swing of things, winning another coin flip with pocket eights, this time against MatchBalla's ace-jack to send the Dane out in 7th place ($80,000).

Change - you can change

As the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus once wrote, nothing endures but change - and the next hour of the tournament was perfect proof of the wise man's words.

Kevin "ImaLuckSac" MacPhee's bore the brunt of this ancient lesson at this point, propelling both Reinkemeier and DYBYDX to the top of the chip counts. First DYBYDX took down a 160,650-chip pot against MacPhee after three bets had gone in before the flop, with MacPhee leading out and then folding to a raise on the J♦ T♥ 4♥ flop. On the very next hand Reinkemeier grabbed a 395,720-chip pot from MacPhee, flopping two pair with K♠ Q♦ and rivering a full house; MacPhee paid off on a big value bet on the river and dropped to just under 360,000 chips. One orbit later things would continue to get worse for the former EPT Berlin champ as he dropped under 300,000 chips when his pocket eights couldn't hold up against short stack roi kin23's ace-king.

The change of the guard was complete on the 3,500/7,000/875 level, as the two incoming chip leaders - MacPhee and Skilled G - had fallen to the bottom of the chip counts and Reinkemeier and DYBYDX had risen to the top. As quickly as DYBYDX had risen, though, he fell back to earth when his pocket queens ran into the pocket aces of fellow UK player xraypies for a 500,000-chip pot. Reinkemeier now held the lead as the players went on break with 682,447 chips, with xraypies in second at 465,908 and MacPhee trailing in third at 378,641.

Like Kevin MacPhee before him, Tobias Reinkemeier was in the best possible position with a lot of chips and plenty of experience on his side. He appeared set to surge into a commanding lead shortly after the break but would find himself repeating MacPhee's fate after this hand:

Also like MacPhee before him, things would get worse for Reinkemeier when he found himself doubling up the quiet Russian short stack, roi kin23, just an orbit later; both players flopped a pair, but Reinkemeier's deuces with A♠ 2♥ couldn't chase down roi kin23's jacks with Q♥ J♥. The German high roller still had more than 265,000 chips to work with but he was no longer in position to dictate terms to the rest of the table. He still tried to do so against roi kin23 when the Russian limped in, leading out with 9♣ 2♥ for a pair of deuces on a Q♥ 5♦ 2♦ flop, but roi kin23 called with J♦ 8♦ and turned a flush. The Russian doubled through the former EPT Grand Final High Roller champ, calling Reinkemeier's bets on the turn and river.

Down to just over 76,000 chips, Reinkemeier would double up on the next hand with pocket jacks against DYBYDX's Q♠ 8♠, but he would never recover. DYBYDX took him out a few orbits later in 6th place ($100,000) with A♣ Q♦ against A♥ T♣, finally breaking the deadlock almost exactly one hour after the last elimination.

Furious five

By now the level had changed to 5,000/10,000/1,250, so each round of five hands cost the players 21,250 chips. That was loose change to DYBYDX, who now held the chip lead with a stack of 828,068, and not too much of a hassle for second-placed xraypies, who held 521,378 chips. But for the other three players, sitting back was not a viable option. Stasis meant death. DYBYDX knew that as much as his opponents, though, and took full advantage of the big stack. The Brit won the majority of pots five-handed through the skillful application of pressure to keep the shorter stacks from getting anything easy and moving over 920,000 chips in the process.

After another break DYBYDX continued to apply pressure, becoming the first player to top the one-million-chip mark as everyone else bided their time. He became the third straight chip leader to double roi kin23 up when his A♦ T♣ couldn't beat the Russian's A♠ Q♠, but he soon regained those lost chips through constant preflop aggression. Only MacPhee and xraypies stood up to DYBYDX with any regularity at all, and only MacPhee got any real benefit, doubling up to 473,532 chips with A♦ J♥ against 9♦ 9♠ when the board ran out 5♥ 3♥ 6♥ K♠ 2♥.

Eventually xraypies took out short-stacked roi kin23 in 5th place with pocket aces against J♥ 8♦, taking the field down to four players. Fellow short stack Skilled G managed to double through MacPhee with A♥ 7♥ against K♣ 4♣, but the ex-EPT champ quickly won those chips back; then Skilled G repeated the feat, his Q♦ J♥ outrunning MacPhee's T♠ 7♥. The third time was the charm for MacPhee, though - his A♣ 9♠ held up against A♥ 4♠ to send Skilled G to the rail in 4th place ($175,000).

And then there were three

As three-handed play began on the 6,000/12,000/1,500 level, DYBYDX still held the lead with 1,119,976 chips, with xraypies (467,095) and MacPhee (412,929) trailing. With no more short stacks looking to outlast each other, the pace of play picked up. The leader continued to dominate the proceedings, moving up to 1.2 million chips after hitting two pair with king-jack and getting paid off by xraypies on a river value bet. That left xraypies and MacPhee essentially level at the 400,000-chip mark, and both would continue to lose chips to the leader's consistent aggression. In the only early confrontation between the two, MacPhee got xraypies to fold on the river with the board reading A♠ 9♠ 9♦ 8♥ 9♥ and got a leg up on making a comeback.

After hours of waiting after losing the chip lead he had taken into the final table, MacPhee finally broke through two orbits later, getting all-in with A♦ 8♠ after a preflop raising war against the K♦ Q♦ of DYBYDX. The board never looked like trouble and suddenly he had reclaimed the lead by winning the 901,158-chip pot. Then xraypies got in on the action, doubling up with pocket nines against the queen-jack of DYBYDX to get back to 387,790 chips. What had looked like a potential bloodbath had turned back into a real poker game.

The chip standings came to resemble sand dunes for the rest of the level, constantly shifting. MacPhee would soon slip back under 500,000 chips after dropping one pot to each of his opponents, after which DYBYDX began applying pressure once again and taking pots before the flop almost at will. Then xraypies caught a break by picking up A♦ J♠ when DYBYDX held A♠ T♠, doubling back to 561,010 chips after a friendly board. Still DYBYDX held on to the lead, consistently staying above 1 million. One of the two short stacks seemed destined to go out sooner rather than later, and that fate fell to MacPhee when his pocket nines lost out on the river to DYBYDX's nut flush with A♦ T♦. The former EPT Berlin champion took home a hard-earned $235,000 for his 3rd-place finish.

Heads we rock, tails we roll

As heads-up play began between two British players, DYBYDX held the lead with 1,528,990 to xraypies' 471,010. That changed just five hands later when xraypies' pocket sevens held up against ace-jack to bring the margin down to 1,225,470-to-774,530. By the time the two went on break a few minutes later the margin had become even slimmer:

Event 2 heads-up.jpg

On the break xraypies proposed a deal and DYBYDX agreed to look at the numbers. As close as they were, they couldn't come to an agreement and so play continued with the level changing to 7,000/14,000/1,750. DYBYDX got the better of the early exchanges and moved back over 1.2 million; though the counts fluctuated a bit from there, DYBYDX was definitely the more offensive-minded of the two and continued to maintain a chip advantage.

The tenor of the match changed for good on this hand:

Now holding a clear advantage, DYBYDX continued to play aggressively but let off the gas enough not to make any impulsive moves that could see the match slide back toward even. With xraypies' stack down to just 227,328, DYBYDX got his opponent to commit preflop with Q♦ 7♠ while he held K♠ 4♣. The board ran out J♠ 4♦ 2♣ T♣ J♦, and after 93 hands of heads-up play and more than 16 hours of action, the tournament had finally concluded.

Congratulations are in order for DYBYDX, xraypies, and all the rest of the players who put in a hard day's work on their way to cashing in this event.

Results for 2011 WCOOP Event #2, $10,300 High Roller No-Limit Hold'em

1st place: DYBYDX (United Kingdom) - $430,000
2nd place: xraypies (United Kingdom) - $310,000
3rd place: Kevin "ImaLuckSac" MacPhee (Canada) - $235,000
4th place: Skilled G (Argentina) - $175,000
5th place: roi kin23 (Russia) - $120,000
6th place: Tobias "PokerNoob999" Reinkemeier - $100,000
7th place: MatchBalla (Denmark) - $80,000
8th place: SenorPokes (Canada) - $60,000
9th place: Tom "kingsofcards" Marchese (Canada) - $40,000

The High Roller event lived up to every expectation with some of the most skilled players in poker putting on a show for their peers, fighting it out for some of the biggest prizes around. As exciting as this tournament was, even more exciting is that there are still three weeks and dozens of events left on this year's WCOOP schedule. You can keep up with all the results - and find out how to get in on the action yourself - on the official WCOOP page.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in WCOOP