WCOOP 2011: K_0_S_T_Y_A conquers colossal field to claim Event #3 ($215 NLHE)

wcoop2009-thumb.jpgTen thousand players. How often comes the chance to play a poker tournament with that many runners? And with seven-figure prize pools? Well, the World Championship of Online Poker offers several. In fact, just last year, there were no less than four occasions among the 62 events on offer during the WCOOP in which the total field exceeded 10K. Look at these turnouts from 2010:

Event #3 ($215 no-limit hold'em): 12,066 entrants
Event #19 ($109 no-limit hold'em): 11,085 entrants
Event #21 ($215 no-limit hold'em): 10,492 entrants
Event #60 ($215 no-limit hold'em): 11,733 entrants

This year's WCOOP kicked off in fine fashion with big, guarantee-busting turnouts all around, including yet another five-figure field of 10,107 for Event #3, which like last year's third event was a $215 no-limit hold'em tourney.

That added up to a prize pool of $2,021,400, well over the tourney's $1.25 million guarantee. The top 1,350 finishers got paid, with a handsome $288,660.78 due the winner.

After last year's marathon Event #3 in which joao bauer survived 19-and-a-half-hours' worth of poker to claim the bracelet, this year's version was made into a two-day affair, with 33 levels (20 minutes each) played on Sunday and the remainder today.

Day 1

After three-and-a-half hours of play the field had been more than halved as just 5,000 remained. RaulOly led the way at that point, followed by FeelThaFunk and magosa34. And friend of PokerStars Charlotte "Sjlot" van Brabander found herself on the first page of the leaderboard in the early going, sitting just inside the top 20.

Two hours later they were down to 2,000, with edimax, ZachariaZ, and MDT-Lekiam on top and van Brabander still up there just outside the top 50. The money bubble burst shortly thereafter, and among those first to cash were Team PokerStars Pros Jan Heitmann (1163rd, $384.06), Pat Pezzin (1099th, $384.06), and Henrique Pinho (1013rd, $404.28).

They cruised past the seven-and-a-half-hour mark, at which point 1,000 players remained. edimax was still on top, with IQ_999 and rocks50 not far behind. "Sjlot" van Brabander had slid back and soon found herself ousted in 813th for $464.92. Then Daniel "KidPoker" Negreanu hit the rail as well in 768th for $485.13, as he reported on Twitter soon after:

"Out of #WCOOP3 got it in 81% fav after flop Ac6c vs Kc7c flop 8c5h4c," typed Negreanu. "Made the money, but King on river crushed dreams of a deeper run."


Team PokerStars Pro Daniel "KidPoker" Negreanu

The dreams of others continued, however, and a little over an hour later just 500 remained, with REMA, IQ_999, and Piggysnipz leading. Among those representing PokerStars, Kevin "WizardOfAhhs" Thurman of Team Online was in the best position sitting in 27th place.

Soon Negreanu's vanquisher, ThePadster, rose up the counts to become the first player to cross the one million-chip mark, although others would soon join him.

Meanwhile other PokerStars team members bowed out, including Stavros "IDOLLS" Kalfas, challenging to join Team Greece (283rd, $828.77), Sigge "ClarkKent89" Reichard of Team Online (252nd, $889.41), Matthias "mattidm" de Meulder of Team Belgium (186th, $1,010.70), Nuno Coelho of Team Portugal (132rd, $1,313.91), and Ana Marquez of Team Spain (114th, $1,516.05).

Soon they were moving past the 12-hour mark and having 1 million chips meant you had an average stack. With 100 players left and three levels to go in Day 1, ishlibidish had the lead with more than 3 million, ChiphunterTH was next with just over 2.9 million, and REMA third with about 2.74 million. Meanwhile, ThePadster slipped to short-stacked status and soon was out in 97th ($1,819.26).

Before long the day was done. Just 69 players out of that five-figure field remained with chips, including lone representative of Team PokerStars Kevin "WizardOfAhhs" Thurman, albeit in dead last with less than 200,000.

Meanwhile, here's how the top of the leaderboard looked as players took a break to rest up for Day 2:

1. ChiphunterTH - 5,003,166
2. O-Totoro - 3,886,006
3. 4mc4 - 3,840,432
4. anneka_15 - 3,795,211
5. jakov IV - 3,395,669
6. ishlibidish - 3,393,587
7. derlude89 - 3,360,754
8. K_0_S_T_Y_A - 3,046,700
9. Kreskin666 - 2,842,453
10. sjaak2afhaak - 2,816,040

Day 2

Cards went back in the air Tuesday afternoon. Alas for Thurman his second day of play would prove much shorter than his first. Shortly after the tourney resumed, the "WizardOfAhhs" committed his six-and-a-half BB stack with [A][7], but ran into an opponent holding [A][Q] and soon was out in 68th ($2,728.89).


Kevin "WizardOfAhhs" Thurman, Team Online

An hour later just 40 remained, with Kylling1952 having surged ahead with more than 7.1 million, followed by 4mc4 in second and K_0_S_T_Y_A in third.

After another hour and 20 minutes they were down to 20, with K_0_S_T_Y_A up over 15 million, O-Totoro next with almost 13.8 million, and ElB@ndolero and 4mc4 both with over 10 million.

A half-hour later they were down to 10, with AGANAKTHSH77 having been knocked out in 12th and start-of-Day-2 leader ChiphunterTH eliminated in 11th (both earning $10,511.28). By then O-Totoro had moved well ahead of the pack with more than 29.2 million, 4mc4 next with 17.3 million, and K_0_S_T_Y_A third with 14.7 million.

Soon ElB@ndolero knocked out ChiphunterTH in 10th (also good for $10,511.28) when his J♠J♣ held versus the latter's A♥3♠, and nine remained.


Seat 1: O-Totoro -- 29,274,331
Seat 2: Bhaphom3t -- 3,432,375
Seat 3: dbt777 -- 3,978,476
Seat 4: pocketsmcgee -- 3,828,715
Seat 5: Yoggi744 -- 3,572,010
Seat 6: Jukka862 -- 9,579,594
Seat 7: ElB@ndolero -- 15,088,375
Seat 8: K_0_S_T_Y_A -- 14,542,949
Seat 9: 4mc4 -- 17,773,175

It would take about 15 minutes for the first final table elimination to occur. The blinds having reached 100,000/200,000, a short-stacked dbt777 open-pushed for 996,101 from early position and got one caller in chip leader O-Totoro in the big blind. dbt777 held Q♦8♦ and was hoping to catch versus O-Totoro's K♦5♦. but the board ran out A♥6♣J♠4♣5♠, and dbt777 was out in ninth.

It would take more than a half-hour for the next to go, by which time the blinds had moved up to a hefty 150,000/300,000. After K_0_S_T_Y_A opened with a raise to 600,000 from under the gun, pocketsmcgee reraised all in from the cutoff for 3,482,465 total. It folded to ElB@ndolero in the big blind who called the shove, and K_0_S_T_Y_A stepped aside.

pocketsmcgee had chosen a pocket pair -- 6♥6♦ -- with which to make a stand, while ElB@ndolero turned over A♣T♦. The flop was good for ElB@ndolero, coming T♠9♥K♥, and the A♠ turn gave him a second pair. The river was the 5♥, and pocketsmcgee was out in eighth.

The remaining seven battled for another 40 minutes, during which time O-Totoro maintained the lead with K_0_S_T_Y_A starting to close in.

Then, with the blinds at 200,000/400,000, K_0_S_T_Y_A opened for 800,000 from middle position and got one caller in 4mc4 sitting one seat over. The flop came A♥T♠4♠. K_0_S_T_Y_A led for 1.2 million, and 4mc4 called. The turn then brought the 3♥ and a check from K_0_S_T_Y_A. 4mc4 took the opening to bet 2.5 million, then K_0_S_T_Y_A check-raised to 10.4 million.

4mc4, with but 5,409,846 remaining made the call, showing A♣J♣ for top pair. Meanwhile K_0_S_T_Y_A showed K♠6♠ for the spade flush draw. The river soon arrived -- the A♠ -- filling K_0_S_T_Y_A's flush and awarding him the 20 million-plus chip pot while sending 4mc4 railward in seventh.

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That hand catapulted K_0_S_T_Y_A out in front with more than 33 million with six left, and K_0_S_T_Y_A began applying pressure immediately, taking seven of the next 13 hands, mostly with preflop raises.

Then it was Yoggi744 doing the raising, opening with a minimum-raise to 1 million from middle position. Next to act, Jukka862 responded with a reraise shove for 3,614,363 total and it folded back to Yoggi774 who called. Yoggi774 had K♠J♠, better than Jukka862's Q♠6♠. And the hand was still better five cards later after the board came T♦2♦J♣A♦2♣, knocking out Jukka862 in sixth.

K_0_S_T_Y_A would soon resume control, however, again raising and taking several hands before Bhaphom3t opened with a raise to 1.04 million from the cutoff/UTG+1. It folded to K_0_S_T_Y_A who shoved all in from the big blind and Bhaphom3t called for 10,710,002 total, turning over A♥J♣ to K_0_S_T_Y_A's A♠9♠.

The flop was especially bad for Bhaphom3t, coming 9♦Q♠7♠ to give K_0_S_T_Y_A both a pair and a flush draw. The turn was the 4♦ and the river the 8♠, completing K_0_S_T_Y_A's flush and sending Bhaphom3t out in fifth.

K_0_S_T_Y_A was rolling now, his 57 million-plus chip stack representing more than half the chips in play with four left. Just five hands later they'd be down to two.

After three small hands, the blinds were still 250,000/500,000 when K_0_S_T_Y_A opened for 1 million from UTG. O-Totoro then made it 2.5 million from the button, prompting a fold from Yoggi744. But ElB@ndolero then reraise-shoved all in for 13,364,590. K_0_S_T_Y_A folded, but O-Totoro snap-called, tabling K♥K♠ to ElB@ndolero's 4♣4♦. The five community cards came T♥3♠5♣7♥7♦, and they were down to three.

On the very next hand, Yoggi744 min-raised to 1 million from the button, then K_0_S_T_Y_A made it 2,222,222 from the small blind. O-Totoro got out, then Yoggi744 reraised all in for 16,172,627 and K_0_S_T_Y_A called.

K_0_S_T_Y_A: J♠J♣
Yoggi744: 5♦A♥

The board came T♥2♥2♣4♦Q♦, and K_0_S_T_Y_A's jacks had held, knocking Yoggi744 out in third.

Having begun with more than 10,000, the tournament was now at last down to just two.

Heads-Up Play

Heads-up play began with K_0_S_T_Y_A enjoying about a 3-to-1 chip advantage with 73,149,728 to O-Totoro's 27,920,272. However within 15 minutes O-Totoro had won a handful of medium-sized pots to draw even with K_0_S_T_Y_A. Then over the next 15 minutes O-Totoro pushed out in front and was nearing the 60 million-chip mark when a key hand developed.

With the blinds 400,000/800,000, K_0_S_T_Y_A raised to 1.6 million from the button, the O-Totoro reraised to 5.2 million in response. K_0_S_T_Y_A hesitated, then after several seconds called the reraise.

The flop came 9♣6♥6♦, and fairly quickly O-Totoro led for 4.8 million. K_0_S_T_Y_A hesitated again, then raised to 12 million. O-Totoro immediately reraised all in and K_0_S_T_Y_A immediately called, tabling A♥9♥ for nines and sixes. O-Totoro showed 8♣8♥ for a lesser two pair, and after the T♥ turn and K♦ river K_0_S_T_Y_A suddenly owned more than 80% of the chips.

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O-Totoro scored a double-up on the very next hand when his A♥T♥ held versus K_0_S_T_Y_A's K♠6♥. But a half-dozen hands later O-Totoro's fortune finally ran dry.

On the final hand, O-Totoro had a little over 30 million to start when he opened with a min-raise to 1.6 million from the button. K_0_S_T_Y_A made it 4 million, O-Totoro reraised all in, and K_0_S_T_Y_A called.

O-Totoro had K♣7♣ while K_0_S_T_Y_A tabled A♥J♦. The flop came 5♠Q♣2♦, and O-Totoro was still looking for a pair or running clubs. But the turn brought the A♠, making the Q♥ river no matter.

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Congratulations to K_0_S_T_Y_A for outlasting more than 10,000 foes to claim the third WCOOP bracelet of the year and a cool $288K-plus!

WCOOP Event #3 ($215 No-Limit Hold'em) Results:
1st place: K_0_S_T_Y_A ($288,660.78)
2nd: O-Totoro ($212,247)
3rd: Yoggi744 ($150,493.23)
4th: ElB@ndolero ($101,070)
5th: Bhaphom3t ($80,856)
6th: Jukka862 ($60,642)
7th: 4mc4 ($40,428)
8th: pocketsmcgee ($22,235.40)
9th: dbt777 ($14,149.80)

That's three bracelets awarded, still 59 to go. So much more poker!

There are lots of ways to follow the action for this year's WCOOP. You can visit the official WCOOP site for all sorts of information including the schedule of events and satellites, results, and tons of stats from WCOOP's past. Also worth a look -- and listen -- are the Exclusive Live WCOOP Radio shows that will begin airing in Russian, Spanish, German, and English starting Wednesday, September 7th. Check 'em out!

Martin Harris
@hardboiledpoker in WCOOP