WCOOP 2011: What's your sign? z0di@c takes Event #44 $320 NLHE 2X Chance

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Large attendance? Check. A star-studded field? Check. A prize pool approaching seven figures? Most definitely check.

Event #44 of PokerStars WCOOP 2011 attracted more than 2,000 players. This $320 buy-in No-Limit Hold'em tournament guaranteed a prize pool of $400,000, but those entries plus 625 rebuys created a whopping pot of $811,500, with nearly $130,000 to the winner. A deep structure with plenty of chips in play ensured a long climb to the top for the eventual champion.

Plenty of the names of the online poker world were in attendance. Members of Team PokerStars Pro who participated included Chad Brown, Vanessa "LadyMaverick" Russo, Humberto Brenes, Toni Judet, Maxim Lykov, Johnny Lodden, Vicky Coren and Pat Pezzin. PokerStars Team Online members in the field included Randy "nanonoko" Lew, Adrienne "talonchick" Rowsome, Jorge "twin-caracas" Arias, Anders "Donald" Hoyer Berg, Tyler "frosty012" Frost and Diego "vgreen22" Brunelli. Those players fell short of the 270-player money line, but some of their brethren fared better.

J.P. Kelly finished 233rd ($770.92), Kevin "WizardOfAhhs" Thurman placed 216th ($811.50), Liv Boeree came in 145th ($1,014.37), George Danzer exited in 95th ($1,338.97) and Andrew "foucault82" Brokos finished 84th ($1,420.12.)

As the field narrowed to the final two tables a few PokerStars players remained in the hunt. Jude "j.thaddeus" Ainsworth and Daniel "KidPoker" Negreanu were both among the top players in chips as the field dwindled, but both exited early in the two-table action, with Ainsworth finishing 18th and Negreanu in 17th. Both got $3,448.87 for their efforts.

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Georgios "gkap13" Kapalas went deeper, but finished just short of the final table in 11th ($6,289.12).

We reached our final nine after more than 13 hours of play when Pvd170590 from the small blind put byfon all in for 287K in the big blind with Q♥ 9♥ vs. A♠ 6♣. The board ran out 5♠ Q♣ 7♥ K♦ 9♣ to boot byfon in 10th place.

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Final table positions and chip counts:
Seat 1 -- trampek (327,806)
Seat 2 -- sizzlinbetta (1,083,267)
Seat 3 -- thagrinda444 (1,126,880)
Seat 4 -- z0di@c (674,067)
Seat 5 -- Pvd170590 (3,399,580)
Seat 6 -- Obafemi 9 (1,652,414)
Seat 7 -- Teobaldo (758,703)
Seat 8 -- BuRR7deuce (3,578,920)
Seat 9 -- nutzho (923,363)

As most players had comfortable stacks, eliminations were few and far between as final table play began. After nearly an hour of play, Obafemi 9 was the first to depart. After z0di@c raised the 35K big blind to 70K from the button, Obafemi 9 shoved all in for 980K and z0di@c snap called.

The hands:
Obafemi 9 A♣ T♥
z0di@c J♠ J♥

The board did not help Obafemi 9 with 4♥ Q♠ 3♣ Q♦ K♦ and this player from United Kingdom finished in ninth place, earning $8,115.

We had our next elimination only six hands later. Teobaldo raised to 79K from middle position and BuRR7deuce made the call to his immediate left. Sizzlinbetta pushed all in for 710K on the button, Teobaldo four bet all in for 1.1 million and BuRR7deuce folded. Teobaldo tabled K♦ K♠ versus the A♠ T♦ held by sizzlinbetta. Just as before, the all in player hoped for an ace to beat a big pocket pair, and just as before the ace did not come on a board of 3♠ 2♥ J♦ 6♥ 7♥. For eighth, sizzlinbetta got $14,201.25.

The third final table elimination occurred in much the same fashion:

RSS readers click through to see replay

Thagrind444 earned $20,287.50 for the seventh-place showing.

Six hands later, nutzho made it 120K to go from the button, trampek pushed all in from the small blind for 470K, z0di@c called and nutzho folded.

The hands:
trampek 9♥ 9♠
z0di@c A♣ T♥

The community cards came 8♦ T♦ A♦ 3♥ 4♠ to knock trampek out in sixth place with $28,402.50 in earnings.

Z0di@c was soon at it again. Teobaldo open shoved for 767K under the gun and z0di@c called in the small blind. Teobaldo held a dominating 9♥ 9♦ against z0di@c's A♦ 7♥, but a board of 2♠ 5♣ A♠ 2♦ 7♦ ended the Brazilian's day in fifth place, worth a tidy sum of $36,517.50.

The final four

That hand gave z0di@c a cool 4 million in chips, second to BuRR7deuce's stack of 6 million that the Candian had slowly been able to accumulate at the final table. Pvd170590 and nutzho trailed behind, each holding less than 2 million.

Call it unfortunate timing for Pvd170590 that sent the Dutch player to the poker tournament graveyard. After z0di@c raised the 100K big blind to 200K from the button, Pvd170590 pushed in over the top for 2 million. Z0di@c snap called with A♠ A♥ and faced the A♣ J♦ held by Pvd170590. The harmless board came 9♥ 3♥ 5♠ 9♦ 4♦ to bury Pvd170590 in fourth place with a $52,057.72 prize.

We had our final two contestants minutes later. Nutzho pushed all in for 1.23 million from the button and BuRR7deuce called in the big blind.

The hands:
nutzho J♠ Q♥
BuRR7deuce A♥ 8♠

The board of K♣ 5♦ 8♣ 8♥ 3♣ missed nutzho, so the Mexican collected $73,035 for third place.

At the start of heads up play z0di@c held a chip lead of about 9.2 million to 4.2 million and used it to his advantage.

After chipping away at Burr7deuce's stack, z0di@c finished off the Canadian on the 28th hand of heads up play. Burr7deuce limped for 100K on the button and z0di@c raised to 400K. Burr7deuce called. After a flop of 6♦ 7♥ 5♣, z0di@c led out for 470K and BuRR7deuce pushed all in for 2.65 million. Z0di@c quicky called with Q♦ Q♠ and Burr7deuce was drawing thin with Q♣ 5♦. The turn 8♣ gave Burr7deuce eight additional chop outs, but the river 8♠ sealed his fate.

After a nearly three-hour final table and a tournament that lasted more than 15 hours, z0di@c was crowned winner and recipient of the WCOOP bracelet. BuRR7deuce settled for a nice consolation prize of nearly six figures.

Final table standings:
1st -- z0di@c ($129,840.80)
2nd -- BuRR7deuce ($97,380)
3rd -- nutzho ($73,035)
4th -- Pvd170590 ($52,057.72)
5th -- Teobaldo ($36,517.50)
6th -- trampek ($28,402.50)
7th -- thagrind444 ($20,287.50)
8th -- sizzlinbetta ($14,201.25)
9th -- Obafemi 9 ($8,115)

Tuscaloosa Johnny Kampis
@PokerStars in WCOOP