WCOOP 2011: Naked ambition and 2FLY2TILT's Player of the Series award

wcoop2009-thumb.jpgA chore as simple as taking out the garbage could've forever changed the course of history for the 2011 World Championship of Online Poker. Joel Adam Gordon (by now most know him as 2FLY2TILT) was getting ready to start registering for WCOOP events one morning from his flat in Barcelona, Spain. He thought he would first take out the trash.

So, Gordon stepped out the door of his apartment with garbage bag in hand like he had done hundreds of times since moving in. A garbage shoot wasn't far from his front door, so it was a simple procedure. Step out, toss the bag in the shoot, walk back in and register for WCOOP Event #8, a Triple Stud tourney. Nothing could be simpler.

If it hadn't been for that damned light, everything would've worked to plan. It was there, unexpectedly, on the door of the trash shoot.

"I have never seen this light on before," Gordon said. "It surprised me."

Just like poker, a moment of distraction can change the world. You miss that tell your opponent has when he has a strong hand. You miss the size of a bet. A pretty girl walks by and you don't hear your opponent say all-in before you call light. Or, a light appears on the garbage shoot door. Distraction is a sniper's bullet fired from a mile away.

The slam of this Barcelona distraction didn't sound like a bullet crack, or garbage sliding down a metal shoot, or the niggling little PokerStars alarm. No, this distraction sounded like a door closing. The door to an apartment. The locked door to Joel Adam Gordon's apartment behind which sat his keys, his phone, and the computer with which he intended to register for Event #8 of the 2011 WCOOP. What could be worse?

"It gets a little bit worse," Gordon said.

Anyone who walked by at that point would've seen the young man standing there by the garbage shoot wearing no more than a pair of boxer shorts and some flip-flops. The Barcelona sea breeze wasn't warm that day, my friends.

Gordon expected his brother to come by at some point with his key to the flat, but Gordon didn't know when. An hour passed as Gordon thought about missing Event #7. Another hour passed as he stood there shivering in his underwear and knowing Event #8 was coming up. A thought occurred to him.

"Locked out with no phone is never good, but locked out with just flip-flops and boxer shorts is pretty terrible on the day of a WCOOP event," he said.

Gordon cursed his distraction. He cursed the breeze. He cursed the fact his brother still hadn't come by. Finally, three hours into the naked ordeal, a savior.

"My brother saved me from being literally locked out of the Triple Stud Event that went on to be so important," Gordon said. "I don't think there was anyone who followed the WCOOP quest as closely as him."


Joel Adam Gordon, in flip-flops, and...other clothes

That quest began simply enough. Gordon wanted to make the top ten on the 2011 WCOOP leaderboard. Getting locked out so early in the series would've made that hard, especially since Gordon went on to put on his pants and win the Triple Stud event that night.

What began on that evening in Barcelona went on to make Gordon a star. Not only did he win the WCOOP bracelet that night, he followed it up with ten total cashes and four final table finishes. WCOOP radio (both the English and Spanish versions) were calling to have him on the show. The PokerStars Blog was hounding him. Gordon realized that top ten just wasn't going to do anymore. He wanted to win. He started seeing his chiropractor more, a man happy to work on a successful "virtual athlete." Gordon was as focused as he had ever been.

It paid off in the closest of all possible races.

When all the points had been counted after the main event finished, Gordon had 295 points on the leaderboard. The problem was this: so did Canada's Big_Nemo.

There was more than just pride on the line. The winner of the Player of the Series trophy was guaranteed these prizes:

  • WCOOP Champion's Trophy
  • EPT Season 8 Grand Final Prize Package
  • 2012 SCOOP Main Event (H) Ticket
  • 2012 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Package
  • Special Edition Chip Set
  • It came down to a tie-breaker.

    According to the Player of the Series rules, in the event of a tie, the winner would be determined by who won the most money over the course of the series. Big_Nemo had grossed $49,174.10.

    Gordon won... $96,097.55.

    And the Player of the Series title.

    Gordon is a gracious man. He wants to thank everybody. The radio hosts. The PokerStars Blog. His chiropractor. His brother. In the end, however, Gordon did it himself. That didn't stop him, however, from sharing a thought he discussed with this brother.

    "Maybe I should do this routine of being locked out for a while before all the WCOOP events!" he said.

    Congrats, Joel, on an amazing 2011 WCOOP performance. Now, go buy yourself an extra key to hide outside your flat. It may just come in handy during the 2012 Spring Championship of Online Poker.

    Brad Willis
    @BradWillis in WCOOP