WCOOP 2011: Flying Smile soars to the top in Event #22 ($530 NLHE)

wcoop2009-thumb.jpgRemember those days not too long ago when WCOOP events lasted a single day? Had this one played straight through, it would have lasted 23 hours and 37 minutes. Excellent for 19 year-old Scandis listening to trace music while hooked up to caffeine IVs, a disaster for mere mortals. Rather than turning the WCOOP into an MTT "Ironman" competition, Event #24 mercifully unfolded over two full days of play, its 3,739 runners getting maximum bang for their tournament buck. As this one drew to a close more than 35 1/2 hours after cards went in the air, Russia's Flying Smile saw his frown turned upside-down mounting a stunning come-from-behind victory to earn his first WCOOP title and the fourth for Russia this year.

495 players earned a share of the $1,869,500 prize pool with first place set to earn a staggering $293,512.31. Three Team Pros earned cash finishes in this event including Chad Brown (222nd), Fatima De Melo (340th), and Angel Guillen (475th), while Team Online made a strong showing with two cashes, a 489th-place finish by Sigge "ClarkKent89" Reichard and an even deeper run by the Team's newest member.

Mickey "mement_mori" Petersen's first day on Team Online was successful to say the least. In addition to cashing Event #23 ($215 NLHE 4-max), Petersen made the deepest run of the entire Red Spade Army and could have gone even further if not for one unlucky flop. A preflop raising war ended with Petersen calling alienPL1968's four-bet shove with pocket queens, his opponent turning over pocket jacks. Although Petersen got his money in good, the flop fell K♥J♣7♠ to make alienPL1968 a set. Petersen picked up a straight draw when the T♠ hit the turn, but the 8♣ on the river sent him to the rail in 70th place. Later on, Petersen made the final table of Event #24, $320 Stud and finished in third place for $10,868.25. AND it was his birthday. Helluva way to spend your 22nd, Mickey.

Seven and a half hours into Day 2 (19 1/2 overall), tom timoshka burst the final table bubble. With the blinds at 25,000/50,000, his last 95k went in the middle with K♣J♦ and TheUrsaraie reraised to isolate with A♥K♠. The rest of the table folded and an ace hit the flop, ending tom timoshka's run in tenth place.

WCOOP 22-FT.jpg

Final table chip counts:

Seat 1: jektiss (1,946,218 in chips)
Seat 2: 00psiedaisy (2,669,089 in chips)
Seat 3: kafelnikovz (4,801,907 in chips)
Seat 4: Flying Smile (3,186,259 in chips)
Seat 5: TheUrsaraie (8,341,631 in chips)
Seat 6: Mad4it4life (5,948,788 in chips)
Seat 7: pvas2 (8,281,702 in chips)
Seat 8: lachanin (1,013,474 in chips)
Seat 9: IbABzuSPkR (1,200,932 in chips)

Lachanin found himself on the rail in ninth place after committing his last 14 BB in a standard spot. Mad4it4life opened for 100,000 from middle position and lachanin three-bet shoved for 720,742 from the big blind with A♣K♥. Mad4it4life called with pocket jacks and made the nut boat when the flop came down J♣9♥9♣. Although lachanin had an ace-high flush by the river, it was no good, his finish earning him $14,956.

TheUrsaraie entered the final table as the chip leader but quickly ran into trouble. He lost the chip lead when he doubled up 00psiedaisy with pocket jacks against pocket kings, pvas2 taking over the top spot. Minutes later, TheUrsaraie went to war with pvas2 in a massive pot that ended with pvas2 making an ace-high flush against TheUrsaraie's queen-high flush:

Just like that, the onetime chip leader was on the rail, collecting $23,368.75 for eighth place.

Kafelnikovz experienced an even worse cooler to go out in seventh. With the blinds up to 40,000-80,000, Flying Smile opened for 161,228 from UTG, pvas2 three-bet to 480,000, kafelnikovz smooth-called from the big blind and Flying Smile called as well. The action checked to pvas2 on the 6♣5♥3♣ flop. He bet 1,040,000, kafelnikovz moved all-in for 4.89 million, Flying Smile ducked out of the way and pvas2 called, turning over A♣A♠. Kafelnikovz tabled K♠K♦. The turn and river fell the 5♠ and the Q♦, kafelnikovz departing with a $42,063.75 payday (and perhaps a broken mouse).

Three minutes later, pvas2 opened for 192,000 on the button and jektiss three-bet shoved for 1.7 million from the big blind, holding K♥J♥. Pvas2 quickly called with A♠K♠. Jektiss' dominated hand did not improve on the 8♥3♥3♠T♠Q♣ board and he hit the rail in sixth place, earning $60,758.75.

With five players remaining, Mad4it4life opened for 168,766 and IbABzuSPkR three-bet to 280,000 only to face a four-bet shove for 3.6 million from 00psiedaisy. With the action back on Mad4it4life, he re-shoved for 4.86 million, leaving IbABzuSPkR to run for cover. It was another cooler-- two black jacks for 00psiedaisy and two black kings for Mad4it4life. The board ran out 8♣7♦2♦3♥7♣ to send 00psiedaisy home in 5th place, although the $79,453.75 waiting for him should ease the pain just a bit.

Six hands later IbABzuSPkR made his last stand, open-shoving his last 12 BB from the cutoff with A♣3♠. Flying Smile called with 7♦7♥ on the button and saw his pair hold up on the J♠9♦2♥3♦5♦ board, eliminating IbABzuSPkR in fourth place. His finish was worth six figures, though-- $107,496.25 to be exact.

When play turned three-handed, the action was paused to look at chip count chop numbers for a potential deal. Although there was more than $665,000 in prize money still to be awarded, after thirty minutes of negotiations, the deal fell apart over a mere $1,500. At the time the tournament was paused, pvas2 had a dominating chip lead with 19.77 million, Flying Smile was in second with 9.19 million and Mad4it4life was close behind with 8.43 million.

Play resumed and Mad4it4life quickly lost ground, his chip count sinking to 3.68 million after losing back-to-back pots to pvas2, who climbed to 25 million. Flying Smile, however, slowed that runaway train when he picked up pocket kings against pvas2's pocket nines to double up to 13.2 million. Mad4it4life went back on the offensive in this hand, but snap-folded to pvas2's river raise, saving his last 2.61 million:

Mad4it4life managed to double back up two hands later, opening for 200,000 and calling pvas2's 500,000 three-bet. The flop landed T♣6♥3♥ and pvas2 bet 2.2 million, setting Mad4it4life all-in. He snap-called, tabling 7♦T♦ for top pair while pvas2 showed A♠K♣. The turn and river blanked with the 3♦ and the 8♠, taking Mad4it4life back up to 5.2 million. Only a few hands later Mad4it4life doubled again, his 9♦T♦ catching the perfect flop-- 6♦7♦8♦ for a straight flush. Flying Smile check-called 235,677 on the flop, 657,777 when the 4♣ hit the turn and another 2,721,092 on the river, drawing dead the entire time with 5♥5♦ despite flopping an open-ended straight flush draw himself and turning an eight-high straight.

Mad4it4life continued chipping up, hitting a high-water mark of 13.8 million before pvas2 cut him back down to size on this hand:

Down to 4.92 million, Mad4it4life flat-called Flying Smile's 282,228 opening raise before pvas2 made a squeeze play, three-betting to 1,120,000. Flying Smile folded and Mad4it4life four-bet shoved, pvas2 making the call with 8♦8♣. Mad4it4life turned up A♣K♥ and they were off to the races, Mad4it4life's tournament on the line. This time, the eights held, the board running out 7♥2♠J♥Q♥3♣ to eliminate Mad4it4life in third place.

Pvas2 held a 5.8 to 1 chip lead over Flying Smile as heads-up play commenced:

Seat 4: Flying Smile (5,484,576 in chips)
Seat 7: pvas2 (31,905,424 in chips)

With such a lopsided chip count, this match could have been over in only a few hands, but Flying Smile quickly found a double-up, his pocket jacks holding up against pvas2's pocket sixes in a pre-flop all-in. Although the hand took Flying Smile back up to 12.5 million, his stack eroded to 5.6 million before everything turned around. In the course of only 11 hands, Flying Smile won four 10M+ pots, beginning with a four-bet shove with A♥3♥ that ran into pvas2's K♣K♦. Flying Smile hit only bottom pair on the 7♦4♠3♦ flop and the T♣ on the turn didn't change anything, but a miracle A♠ on the river made him two pair and doubled his stack to 11.3 million. Two hands later Flying Smile opened for 400,000, pvas2 reraised to 1.28 million and Flying Smile four-bet to 2.53 million. Pvas2 called and they saw a Q♣2♠3♥ flop. Pvas2 check-raised Flying Smile's 1,542,311 c-bet to 3,084,622, having flopped top pair top kicker with A♣Q♥. However, Flying Smile came back over the top, shoving for 7,307,535. Pvas2 called only to watch Flying Smile turn over A♦A♥. The turn and river fell the 6♥ and the 3♣, and Flying Smile took over the chip lead with 19.7 million.

Two hands later another hand was four-bet preflop, Flying Smile opening for 400,000, pvas2 three-betting to 1.12 million and Flying Smile coming back over the top for 2.65 million. Pvas2 called, and led out for 2.4 million on the Q♠T♦7♠ flop. Flying Smile raise to 6.72 million and pvas2 let it go, Flying Smile raking in the 10.1 million-chip pot. With that hand, Flying Smile moved up to 25.2 million while pvas2 fell to 12.2 million.

Flying Smile's comeback continued as he picked up pocket eights and turned a full house, getting three streets of value from pvas2:

"Yeah that will do it," pvas2 said frustratedly.

As the final hand began, pvas2 was down to 8.47 million while Flying Smile was just short of 29 million. With the blinds at 80,000/160,000, Flying Smile opened for 400,000, pvas2 raised to 1.28 million and Flying Smile called. The flop came down K♣4♦2♦ and pvas2 led out for 1.12 million. Flying Smile called. The turn came the T♥ and pvas2 checked over to Flying Smile, who bet so small it might have been a typo-- 212,124. Pvas2 called and they went to the river which fell the J♣. Pvas2 moved all-in for 5.84 million and Flying Smile snap-called, his Q♣9♣ having rivered a king-high straight. Pvas2 thought he'd caught his gin card on the end, his J♠J♦ making a set. After an incredible comeback, Flying Smile claimed the WCOOP bracelet and a massive $293,512.31 payday while pvas2 took home a still-impressive $218,731.50 for his runner-up finish.

"Sick battle, gentlemen. You should both be proud," remarked final table host Shane "shaniac" Schleger.

WCOOP Event #22 ($530 NLHE) results

1. Flying Smile (Russia) $293,512.31
2. pvas2 (United Kingdom) $218,731.50
3. Mad4it4life (Norway) $154,233.75
4. IbABzuSPkR (Switzerland) $107,496.25
5. 00psiedaisy (Canada) $79,453.75
6. jektiss (Germany) $60,758.75
7. kafelnikovz (Brazil) $42,063.75
8. TheUrsaraie (Romania) $23,368.75
9. lachanin (Spain) $14,956.00

Two more weeks of WCOOP action remain! Check out the WCOOP page for a full schedule and satellite information.

Kristin Bihr
@PokerStars in WCOOP