WCOOP 2011: Joe "ender555" Ebanks earns Limit Six-Max bracelet

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Event 56 of the PokerStars WCOOP tournament series featured a six-max limit hold'em tournament with a $1,050 buy-in. A field of 284 players created a $284,000 prize pool, continuing the tradition of going over the listed guarantee. The final 36 runners make the money as a $62,000 payday will go to the winner. In the end, it was 2011 WSOP bracelet winner Joe "ender555" Ebanks adding a WCOOP bracelet to his many successes in short-handed hold'em events.


Team PokerStars Pro and Team PokerStars Online were well represented in the field, but just two would make the moneyas Team Canada Pro Pat Pezzin and Team Online player Randy "nanonoko" Lew both made deep runs. Lew was eliminated at the hands of Pezzin in 14th place, while Pezzin went deeper, hoping to make his third WCOOP final table.

It was a battle of survival between Pezzin and PikkuHUMPPA, the two shortest stacks among the remaining seven players. The limits were at 8,000/16,000 with Pezzin down to 21,214 chips at the three-handed table and in the big blind. Joe "ender555" Ebanks raised from the button as Roenepoen decided to fold in the small blind. Pezzin gave it some thought, as this conversation happened:

ender555: "slowrolling ?"
Pat Pezzin: "ya"

Pezzin then three-bet for his remaining chips and Ebanks called qiickly. When the hands were revealed, Ebanks held the dominating hand - K♠7♦ to Pezzin's T♣4♠. The board ran out Q♣ 6♣ 8♦ 9♥ Q♠, meaning Ebank's king-high was good, preventing Pezzin from making his third WCOOP final table. The Canadian earns $7,668 for his seventh place finish, while the remaining players were seated at the final table:

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Final Table Chip Counts:

Seat 1: RiverBoom (231,197 in chips)
Seat 2: Roenepoen (555,260 in chips)
Seat 3: PikkuHUMPPA (95,186 in chips)
Seat 4: vitapur (529,181 in chips)
Seat 5: Joe "ender555" Ebanks (329,122 in chips)
Seat 6: StoneFace007 (390,054 in chips)

PikkuHUMPPA hung around long enough to make the final table, and for a brief time the Finnish player moved up the leaderboard into 4th in chips. However, tangling in this hand with StoneFace007 would be a crippling blow:

Two hands later, the rest of PikkuHUMPPA's chips were collected by Ebanks. The limits were at 10,000/20,000 as Roenepoen raised and PikkuHUMPPA called all in with Ebanks calling from the big blind. Both players with chips checked on the T♥ 8♣ 4♣ flop and A♠ turn. Ebanks bet on the river when the Q♦ hit the river and Roenepoen called. Ebanks turned over J♠9♠ for a rivered straight, as Roenepoen and PikkuHUMPPA mucked, the latter earning $11,360 for the sixth place finish.

RiverBoom finished in fifth, earning $17,040. Limits increased to 12,000/24,000 as RiverBoom was down to 18,325 chips raising all-in. Vitapur called from the big blind holding 5♣3♥ as RiverBoom held A♥2♠. The board ran out 8♠ 9♥ 5♦ Q♣ 6♣, as bottom pair was good enough to send the Dutch player to the rail.

At one point, this is how the chips were distributed as the limits were bumped up to 16,000/32,000:

StoneFace007 - 1,211,054
vitapur - 607,426
ender555 - 256,360
Roenepoen - 55,160

What transpired was surely a surprise to the chip leader, suffering a massive collapse to finish fourth for $22,720. A series of losing hands for StoneFace007 meant the chip lead would quickly disappear, with Ebanks taking the chip lead by flopping a set in this hand as the limits climbed to 20,000/40,000:

Another run of losing hands pushed StoneFace007 to wonder what happened. Now holding just 39,894 in chips, StoneFace007 called all-in after Ebanks made an opening raise as vitapur called from the big blind. The flop came down K♠ 8♠ Q♥ as Ebanks and vitapur checked. The turn brought the 5♣ as vitapur bet 40,000 and Ebanks decided to pass. Vitapur held 5♠ 5♥ for a turned set of fives as StoneFace007 was drawing dead with A♥6♣ as the T♠ completed the hand history as three players remained.

The curse of the chip leader would strike again as vitapur held half the chips as Ebanks was down to under six big bets. Ebanks held a wide experience advantage over his opponents and was able to get paid off in several key hands to get back into contention. Ebanks doubled through vitapur when his pocket sevens held against A-K. Roenepoen would take a turn with the chip lead, but could not stop Ebanks from running over the table.

Vitapur had the best avatar among the three with a picture of their dog, but Ebanks Don King avatar would send some double shot power to eliminate the Canadian in third, earning $32,660. The action was now at 25,000/50,000 as Ebanks raised from the button as vitapur called from the big blind. Vitapur check-called Ebanks bet as the first three cards were K♦ 4♣ T♦. When the Q♥ hit the turn, vitapur bet 50,000, Ebanks re-raised to set vitapur all in, calling their remaining chips. Vitapur held K♣9♥ outkicking Ebanks K♥2♣. However, it was Ebanks who binked the 2♠ on the river to earn the checkmark and hold a nearly 3-1 chip lead, poised to earn his first WCOOP title.

Roenepoen gave it a valiant effort, especially when down to just two big bets four-handed to give Ebanks a bit of a battle. However, the online poker veteran with over $3m in online tournament winnings has plenty of experience in closing when heads-up. Ebanks held a 3-2 lead with limits at 30,000/60,000 when holding K♥2♥ turned into a very profitable situation in the largest pot of the final table:

Two hands later, Ebanks locked up all the chips, earning a $62,480 score. Ebanks raised from the small blind as Roenepoen called. The flop came down K♣9♦4♣ as both player put in four bets to cap the action. The A♦ on the turn led Roenepoen to bet out, Ebanks re-raised and Roenepoen called off their remaining chips. Ebanks held K♦9♥ for two pair while Roenepoen was drawing dead, holding K♥8♦, left drawing dead. The inconsequential 3♥ on the river meant Joe "ender555" Ebanks was the victor as Roenepoen cashed in for $43,594 for a runner-up finish.

WCOOP Event 56: $1,050 Limit Hold'em (Six-Max) Final Table Results:

1st: Joe "ender555" Ebanks - $62,480
2nd: Roenepoen - $43,594
3rd: vitapur - $32,660
4th: StoneFace007 - $22,720
5th: RiverBoom - $17,040
6th: PikkuHUMPPA- $11,360

The closing weekend of the WCOOP brings plenty of high buy-in tournament action, concluding with the $5,200 Main Event with $1,000,000 guaranteed to the winner. Be sure to check out the PokerStars Blog for recaps and hit up www.WCOOP.com for the schedule, results, stats, and more!