WCOOP 2011: LOL_U_21 does it for the lulz in Event 1, $215 6-max NLHE

wcoop2009-thumb.jpgThough the High Rollers were the first to be awarded a bracelet last night, the 10th running of the PokerStars World Championship of Poker officially kicked off yesterday with Event 1, a $215 6-max No-Limit Hold'em tournament with a $1 million guaranteed prize pool. The field drew 7,500 players and bled over from Sunday into Monday with 37 players still in contention for a $225,000 top prize.

A total of 960 players made the money and plenty of Team PokerStars and Team Online players grabbed some cash, including Pierre "Zoutechamp" Neuville (814th place), Richard Toth (780th), Georgio "gkap13" Kapalas (675th), Kevin "WizardOfAhhs" Thurman (593rd), Tyler "frosty012" Frost (577th), Javier "El_Cañonero" Dominquez (425th), Fredy "sirfreddy83" Torres (351st), Vicky Coren (325th), and Jan Heitmann (82nd). Only one of them, though, made it through to Day 2: former EPT San Remo champion Liv Boeree.

Liv-ing on the edge...

Boeree came in near the bottom of the remaining 37 players today and the 74,375 price per orbit threatened to eat her entire stack in short order if she didn't find a way to pick up more chips. She managed to avoid that fate, doubling up in the early going of Day 2 after she moved all-in over the top of a raise from N1GhTFoX with A♣ K♠; n1GhTFoX called with 9♠ 9♥ and stayed ahead until the river, which came the A♦ to give Boeree a much-needed boost.

She was moved once the field reached 30 and was again the table short stack, holding less than 1M in chips while everyone else at the table ranged from 1.5M to 7.5M. With the level up to 20K/40K/5K, Boeree managed to double up again to more than 2M, this time without having to win a race. Her T♠ T♥ was never in any danger of losing to the 8♣ 8♦ of petter85. This put her in the middle of the pack with 30 players still remaining, which was fine - but then she quickly won two more pots to continue her climb, first with pocket sevens on a 5♦ T♦ 4♠ 2♣ 3♣ board against petter85's 7♣ 5♣ for a 515,000-chip pot, then with pocket fives against the all-in hasenpfot912's K♠ 3♠ for a 909,114-chip pot to climb up to nearly 2.8 million chips and 11th place of the 27 remaining players. Two more minor clashes with petter85 went Boeree's way and suddenly she found herself in the top 10 with more than 3M.

If that hadn't been enough to boost her spirits, the next hand certainly was. She took her game straight at the chip leader, Fisherman903 and came out the better for it, to the tune of jumping up to 2nd place in the standings:

...she can't help herself from falling

Boeree's rush of incredible cards finally slowed down (one railbird commented that she must have had Nick Wealthall dealing the cards), but she remained in the top five as the tournament reached its first break of the day. Even with a few hands going against her and her stack dropping down to 3.6M, the Team PokerStars Pro was still in the top half of the field as the tournament dropped down to its final three tables. Meanwhile two of her tablemates - Russia's Dimka19881 and the Netherlands' Fisherman903 - occupied the top two spots with 9.2M and 7.8M, respectively, on the 40K/80K/10K level.

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Boeree would tread water from there, managing to grab the blinds and antes a few times during an otherwise uneventful stretch with the blinds and antes up to 50K/100K/12.5K. She once again found herself with a chance to move up the leaderboard after Fisherman903 opened for 270K and she picked up 8♦ 8♣; after thinking it over, she opted to move all-in for her remaining 3.185M. The button and blinds folded and Fisherman903 instacalled with A♣ K♠. The eights were good through the 4♣ J♠ 7♠ flop and 9♦ turn, but the river brought the cruel A♦. Just like that Boeree was out in 18th place, earning $9,000 for another top-flight performance.

Feeding himself for a lifetime

Not only did Fisherman903 serve as executioner of Liv Boeree's tournament life, he reigned over the rest of the field as the tournament worked down to its final two tables. The Dutch player's elimination of qbgoose in 13th place set up the penultimate stage, and some muscle-flexing shortly afterward - a 5.87M-chip pot won before the flop with a six-bet all-in shove that knocked AntiTop1 off the hand - helped to secure the chip lead. Then, after the next break, Fisherman903 signed off on AntiTop1's 10th-place ($12,000) walking papers with this hand:

Fisherman903's tablemate Dimka19881 had kept close even as the Dutch player surged forward. That trend continued after AntiTop1's elimination as Dimka19881 won a coin flip with pocket nines against the A♠ Q♦ of Brazil's gaucho l., sending the Brazilian out in 9th place ($15,000). And when LOL_U_91 took a chunk out out of Fisherman903's stack with pocket sixes against pocket deuces, Dimka19881 was suddenly holding the chip lead with 18.87M.

Dimka19881 continued to stay just ahead of Fisherman903 on Table 311 as the 100K/200K/25K level progressed. Meanwhile, over on Table 516 it was Russia's Mrazeg who led the proceedings with more than 11.8M. That held true even after BrightStripe sent the tournament into hand-for-hand mode by shoving all-in from the small blind with T♠ 7♦, getting called by the short-stacked Glenmorangie with A♦ K♠, and hitting tow pair on a 7♦ Q♦ 9♥ T♣ Q♥ board to send Glenmorangie out in 8th place ($15,000).

Hand-for-hand almost ended immediately when Dimka19881 got in ahead with pocket queens against the ace-king of China_White1 back on Table 311, but a king spiked on the river to give China_White1 the 5.28M-chip pot and keep the game spread across two tables. Then, just as the level changed to 125K/250K/31.25K, two hands came simultaneously to change the shape of the tournament: LOL_U_91 doubled through Dimka19881 with pocket sevens against ace-queen for a 10.45M-chip pot on Table 311, and Mrazeg's K♦ Q♦ outran the A♥ T♣ of kwintenkvg for a 10.79M-chip pot to eliminate the Belgian player in 7th place and set up the final table.

Finally it's happened to me

As the final six players began fighting over the remaining prize pool, they were seated like this:

WCOOP 2011 Event 1 final table.jpg

Seat 1: China_White1 (4,296,118 chips)
Seat 2: Fisherman903 (20,289,691 chips)
Seat 3: BrightStripe (9,184,252 chips)
Seat 4: Mrazeg (19,022,371 chips)
Seat 5: LOL_U_91 (11,039,318 chips)
Seat 6: Dimka19881 (11,168,250 chips)

China_White1 was the first player to make waves, doubling up to just over 8M in the early going with pocket aces against the ace-queen of BrightStripe. That was followed by two more pots - one worth 2.2M and the other worth 2.8M - that brought China_White1's stack up to 11.8M, close to triple what it had been as the final table began. It was about that time when Fisherman903 began talking about a deal; Dimka19881 was in for it, but LOL_U_91 scuttled the discussion, saying "not now guys maybe later".

After a five-minute break play resumed on the 150K/300K/37.5K level with Fisherman903 getting richer at the expense of LOL_U_91 when pocket tens held up against pocket fives on a 4♦ 7♣ 3♠ 2♠ Q♣ board. That was good for an 8.1M-chip pot, moving Fisherman903 up to a 25.22M-chip stack. That was more than 11 million chips better than the nearest competitor, Mrazeg, and twice that of third-placed Dimka19881. Nobody would be eliminated over the course of the level, though Fisherman903 continued to stack up and eventually reached the 28M-chip mark as the level changed to 200K/400K/50K.

Deadlocked no more

Then Fisherman903 used the power of the big stack - and a bit of luck - to claim the first victim at the final table. China_White1 raised to 1M from the small blind; Fisherman903 bet enough to put China_White1 and got a call for 4.43M. It was Q♥ J♣ for the leader and A♥ K♥ for the short stack, but a queen on the flop and another on the river meant a 6th-place ($22,500) exit for China_White1. Just two hands later, LOL_U_91 made it a four-handed game, calling BrightStripe's 5.9M-chip all-in bet with A♥ K♣ and seeing it hold up against A♠ 2♥ when the board fell A♣ 4♠ 7♣ 5♣ 9♣. BrightStripe was out in 5th place ($37,500).

Fisherman903 now held 34.4M, with LOL_U_91 in second place with 17.75M, Dimka19881 in third with 15.78M and Mrazeg bringing up the rear with 7.0M. Fisherman903 and Dimka19881 both wanted to discuss a deal, but LOL_U_91 once again put the clamps on any kind of talks. Then, three orbits later, came another quick elimination, as LOL_U_91's pocket tens held up against the ace-queen of Dimka19881 to send the Russian out in 4th place ($67,500).

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Now sitting in second place on a 26.9M-chip stack, LOL_U_91 finally agreed to take a look at the numbers for a possible deal: "just look ok i'm fine with dealing but i would be ok to play this out, but only a good deal," he warned his opponents. When the PokerStars support staff came back with the numbers nobody was happy with them, so play resumed. Only a few hands later Mrazeg shoved all-in for 9.3M holding A♠ 2♠; LOL_U_91 called with pocket eights, flopped a set and turned a full house to bust Mrazeg in 3rd place ($112,500) and set up the final battle.

Deal, no deal, maybe a deal...yeah, let's deal

Fisherman903 held a five-big-blind advantage as heads-up play began but LOL_U_91 grabbed the lead after just three hands, picking off a bluff on the river holding pocket fives on a 6♣ 6♥ K♠ 9♦ T♥ board for a 6.86M-chip pot. A few hands later grabbed a pot of the same size without ever going past the J♦ 6♥ 4♥ flop, signaling that no one was going to win this title with ease as the level changed to 250K/500K/62.5K and the tournament went on another break. During that break Fisherman903 continued to press for a deal, and more than 20 minutes of hard bargaining they came to an agreement: $171,500 for Fisherman903, $190,000 for LOL_U_91, and an extra $20,000 for the winner.

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And so the last stage of the tournament finally got underway in earnest, with most hands passing by faster than you could say "raise and a fold." LOL_U_91 generally got the better of the exchanges over the first 15 minutes, working up to as much as a 10-to-1 advantage at several points, but Fisherman903 picked up dominating hands twice - and had them hold up - to bring the match all the way back to even. LOL_U_91 then worked back to a 4-to-1 advantage before again seeing Fisherman903 pull back to even. It was as if the hard bargaining from the dealmaking process had transferred over to the last bit of poker that had been played, with the deck refusing to give

Finally, on the 215th hand of heads-up play, with blinds at 400K/800K and the two players separated by just 2.82M in chips, the tournament would come to an end. LOL_U_91 opened for a minimum raise on the button and Fisherman903 called, bringing a flop of T♠ K♥ Q♦. Fisherman903 immediately led out for half the pot, drawing a 3x raise from LOL_U_91, to which Fisherman903 responded by moving all-in. LOL_U_91 couldn't have called any more quickly, having flopped a straight with J♥ 9♦. Fisherman903, meanwhile, held K♦ T♦ for top and bottom pair. The A♣ on the turn threatened to split the pot if a jack fell on the river, and Fisherman903 had four outs to win with a full house, but the 9♥ on the river meant that two long days of poker had finally come to a close.

Results for 2011 WCOOP Event #1, $215 6-max No-Limit Hold'em

1st place: LOL_U_91 (Belgium) - $211,000*
2nd place: Fisherman903 (Netherlands) - $171,500*
3rd place: Mrazeg (Russia) - $112,500
4th place: Dimka19881 (Russia) - $67,500
5th place: BrightStripe (Austria) - $37,500
6th place: China_White1 (Belgium) - $22,500

* - denotes results of a two-way deal

With Liv Boeree's deep run, all the dealmaking talk and back-and-forth action at the final table, and the lengthy heads-up battle, one has to believe this tournament will generate a bit of discussion between hosts Joe Stapleton and Nick Wealthall on the PokerStars Radio - WCOOP show. You'll definitely want to tune in on Wednesday, September 7 for the first show to see what they have to say. And in the meantime, why not give the official WCOOP page a browse?

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in WCOOP