It was the big one.
Event #22 was one of biggest buy-in tournaments on the internet and managed to draw a crowd of 297 players. Some bought in directly, others came through satellites, a few players in dire need of high-roller action sold action, worldly possession or body parts for a chance at the $1.25 million guaranteed prize pool.
But the tournament didn't meet the guarantee, it destroyed it. With 297 players, the total prize pool of event #22 was $2.97 million, more than double the guarantee. But while the prize pool took nearly 300 players to create, only 45 would get a slice of the finished pie.
The final 45 players of the tournament would cash for $17,820.00 with $574,695 going to the champion.
The smell of this plump juicy prize seeped through ethernet connections everywhere and attracted some of the games biggest players, especially Team PokerStars Pros. Eighteen Team PokerStars players signed up for this tournament, two cahsed and one bubbled.
Team PokerStars Pro Ville Wahlbeck bubbled in 46th place while Leo Fernandez and Daniel Negreanu managed to inch into the money. Both Fernandez and Negreanu scored a mincash of $17,820, but Negreanu finished a bit deeper, placing 37th while Fernandez finished in 40th.
While things didn't go in favor of Team Pro this tournament, it did go very well for darrenelias. With two tables left, darrenelias managed to get the tournament chip lead and maintain it for the majority of the tournament.
He also took care of bursting the final table bubble.
With 3,500/7,000 blinds and an 875 ante, Lottenice moved all-in for 112,177 from the button. darrenelias called from the big blind and was drawing a bit slim when he showed A♦K♥ to Lottenice's K♠K♦.
But the board ran 4♣A♥8♦J♦Q♥ and aces were better than kings. Lottenice was eliminated in 10th place and we were down to our:
Seat 1: ch0ppy -- 329,849
Seat 2: nandor82 -- 374,352
Seat 3: ImDaNuts -- 213,543
Seat 4: Artem205 -- 631,131
Seat 5: Sykoen -- 846,913
Seat 6: Paolo69 -- 273,698
Seat 7: MONSTER _DONG -- 265,927
Seat 8: Shhh00kem -- 435,282
Seat 9: darrenelias -- 1,083,430
Nearly 27 hours after the tournament started, the initial 297 players were whittled down to nine. For making it this far, all nine players were guaranteed $51,975, an hourly wage of about $1,925/hr. This impressive hourly rate would only go up for eight of the players as MONSTER_DONG was eliminated in 9th place.
The blinds were 6,000/12,000 with a 1,500 ante and MONSTER_DONG's high roller song was about to come to an end. MONSTER_DONG raised to 24,000 from the hijack and darrenelias 3-bet to 56,500 from the button.
Action folded back to MONSTER_DONG who moved all-in for 181,197. darrenelias called and MONSTER_DONG showed [10d][10c], just below darrenelias's own J♥J♠.
The flop came 3♣9♦8♦ and two backdoor draws opened up for MONSTER_DONG. But the turn brought a K♣ and MONSTER_DONG's only hope was a 10 on the river.
MONSTER_DONG was eliminated in 9th place and earned $51,975 for his WCOOP high roller run.
UP AND DOWN
MONSTER_DONG's elimination increased darrenelias's lead to 1.3 million, but that lead would soon transfer to Sykoen:
AND UP AGAIN
But Sykoen's lead was short-lived. darrenelias would knockout a player, guarantee everyone at the table another then double up to get nearly 50 percent of the chips in play.
Chris "ImDaNuts" Oliver raised to 24,000 from middle position and darrenelias re-raised to 59,250 from the big blind. With only about 200,000 behind him, Oliver moved all-in for a total of 221,614. darrenelias called, the players showed their hands and we had ourselves a flip.
The flop fell 6♣9♠[10c] and the turn was a 5♣. No player had a club and all Oliver had to do was dodge a king or an ace on the river. But things went all Barry Greenstein and an A♣ came on the river.
ImDaNuts was eliminated in 8th place and added another $71,280 to his online bankroll.
When darrenelias took back the lead, the blinds were the same, but the pot was significantly bigger. Sykoen raised to 24,000 from the hijack and darrenelias re-raised to 62,450 from the small blind. When the electronic action got back to the initial raiser, Sykoen 4-bet to 131,780.
darrenelias made it 285,450 to go and -- after dipping into the time bank -- Sykoen moved all-in for 1,610,693. With only 706,238 chips, calling would put darrenelias all-in, but that was his nearly-instant move.
Sykoen showed Q♦Q♠ and probably wasn't too happy when darrenelias turned over A♣A♥. The board ran 7♣K♥[10s]3♦5♦ and darrenelias doubled up to 2,005,876. On the other side of the table, Sykoen saw his stack shrink down to 619,005, still good for second place.
darrenelias amassed nearly 50 percent of the chips in play with seven players to go. But then he'd bring it down to six.
With 7,000/14,000 blinds, darrenelias raised to 28,250 from the hijack and Matt "ch0ppy" Kay moved all in for his remaining 210,484 from the cutoff. ch0ppy showed A♠Q♠ for his tournament life but was pitted against darrenelias's A♣K♠.
The flop came 9♥2♦5♥ and darrenelias stayed in the lead. The turn was a K♣ and his lead was cemented. The river was an irrelevant [10d] and ch0ppy was out in 7th.
ch0ppy, who's won nearly $4.5 million online, now added another $100,980 to that number for his final table finish.
darrenelias was just doing all the work. He was responsible for every final table elimination so far and boosted up the remaining players payday while they struggled to double up and stay alive. But that's expected of someone with such a commanding chip lead.
Despite that, Sykoen -- as second in chips -- would up and get a final table elimination for the other guys.
Artem205 open-shoved for 165,160 from UTG and Sykoen was the only caller. Artem205 showed A♦Q♠ and was in for a flip when Sykoen showed J♣J♥. Artem205 needed a few high cards, but the 5♥3♠7♥8♠2♠ board brought nothing but lowness.
Artem205 became our 6th place finisher, a performance worth $130,680.
SHAKING THINGS UP
With five players left, Shhh00kem was the table short stack with just under 160,000. But Shhh00kem would ride that shorty to a runner-up finish.
His runner-up journey started with a single step, in this case, it was a double up. Shhh00kem moved all-in for 137,582 from the small blind and darrenelias called from the big.
darrenelias showed A♥9♠, dominating Shhh00kem's A♣4♠. The Q♦4♦7♠ flop paired Shhh00kem and the 8♠ on the turn and 8♣ on the river gave him the double up.
Still the short stack, Shhh00kem would get lucky and double up again.
Sykoen raised to 28,000 from the button and paolo69 3-bet to 78,000 from the small blind. Shhh00kem was in the big blind and moved all-in for 336,414. Sykoen folded, Paolo69 called and we had a showdown.
The flop gods favored Shhh00kem this hand and gave him a Q♦[10h][10d] flop. The turn god to favor Shhh00kem and put out an A♥, filling Shhh00kem up. The river was an 8♥ and Shhh00kem was up to 700,000.
This made Paolo69 our new short stack with about 260,000.
Shhh00kem then won a large pot of nandor82 and took the lead away from darrenelias.
Sykoen had been the faithful second-in-chips player for so long, but after a rough hands, he'd face elimination.
Blinds were 8,000/16,000 with a 2,000 ante and Sykoen raised to 32,000 from UTG. nandor82 moved all-in for 310,813 and Sykoen called. nandor82 showed A♥[10h] and was dominated by Sykoen's A♦Q♦.
The flop came 6♦Q♠3♥ and Sykoen's lead grew even more. The turn brought a 5♥ and all of a sudden, nandor82 had a flush draw. But that draw turned into a double-up when the 8♥ came on the river.
nandor82 was back up to 639,626 while Sykoen was down to 527,258. One big hand later, Sykoen was out.
With 10,000/20,000 blinds and a 2,500 ante, Shhh00kem raised to 40,000 from UTG. Sykoen 3-bet to 85,300 from the small blind and Shhh00kem moved all-in for 1,159,665.
Sykoen called and showed J♥J♣, flipping against Shhh00kem's A♣K♣. The flop came 4♦K♦9♠ and Shhh00kem took the lead. The turn and river were a lowly 3♣ and 7♥ and Sykoen was eliminated in 5th place, earning $169,290.
DOWN TO TWO
With large antes and even bigger blinds, Paolo69 was whittle down fairly quickly. After being chipped down to about 230,000, Paolo69 went for a final play. Paolo69 moved all-in for 244,802 from the small blind and Shhh00kem called from the big.
Shhh00kem showed K♠7♠ and Paolo69 looked to be in good shape with A♣Q♦. The flop gods seemed fairly neutral this time as the flop fell 4♥J♣6♠, but the turn god was still favoring Shhh00kem.
The turn was a 7♦ and Shhh00kem took the lead. The river brought a 4♠ and we were down to our final three players.
Paolo69 was eliminated in 4th place and won $245,025 for his deep high roller run.
This last hand evened things out, with all three remaining players having close to 1.5 million.
But that wouldn't last.
darrenelias raised to 41,250 from the button and nandor82 re-raised to 89,875 from the small blind. Shhh00kem folded and darrenelias made it 212,450. nandor82 5-bet to 335,025 and darrenelias called, bringing a [10d]2♥6♥ flop.
nandor82 led out for 188,875 and darrenelias raised to 377,750. nandor82 folded, bringing his stack down to 1 million while raising darrenelias's to 2 million.
nandor82 then got shook off the final table. nandor82 raised to 40,000 from the button and Shhh00kem re-raised to 100,000. nandor82 made it 238,875 and Shhh00kem moved all-in 1,503,205. nandor82 called and showed A♦Q♥ while Shhh00kem turned over K♣K♦.
The board ran 7♣[10s]Q♠2♠J♥and nandor82 was out in 3rd. For just missing out on the 2012 WCOOP high roller heads-up match, nandor82 got a consolation prize of $326,700.
Two, we were down to two. At one point, darrenelias was the dominating chip leader and Shhh00kem was the wee short stack. Now the tables were turned, Shhh00kem had the lead with 2,620,094 while darrenelias entered the heads-up match with 1,834,906.
Shhh00kem managed to get his lead up to 3 million before darrenelias scored a double-up. Blinds were 12,500/25,000 with a 3,125 ante and darrenelias raised to 51,250 from the button.
Shhh00kem called and the flop came 6♥8♥Q♠. Shhh00kem check-raised darrenelias's 54,250 bet to 125,000. darrenelias called and a 4♥ came on the turn. Shhh00kem bet 174,222 and darrenelias called, bringing a 7♣ on the river.
Shhh00kem moved all in for 2.6 million and darrenelias called for his remaining 1 million. darrenelias showed 8♦8♠ while Shhh00kem turned over K♣J♦ for...air.
darrenelias then took another big pot off the player with a panda avatar:
It seemed like Shhh00kem's luck had run out, a theory that'd be confirmed a few minutes later.
In the final hand of the tournament, Shhh00kem raised to 50,000. darrenelias raised to 126,450 and Shhh00kem called, bringing a 4♥2♥[10s] flop. darrenelias led out for 128,750 and Shhh00kem raised to 300,000.
darrenelias re-raised to 2,050,000, putting Shhh00kem all-in. Shhh00kem called and showed K♥7♥ while darrenelias turned over 7♦7♣. Shhh00kem was letting it all ride on a draw to hearts.
The turn was a 5♦ and Shhh00kem was in need of a king or a heart. The river brought a [10d] instead and Shhh00kem became our 2nd place finisher, earning $430,650. With no players left, darrenelias now had all 4,445,000 of the chips in play.
The two-day, $2.97 million prize pool tournament had come to an end. For his high roller WCOOP victory, darrenelias took the largest prize of this WCOOP so far, $574,695.
2012 WCOOP Event #22 ($10,300 NLHE High Roller) results:
Places Paid: 45
Prize Pool: $2,970,000
1st: darrenelias -- $574,695.00
2nd: Shhh00kem -- $430,650.00
3rd: nandor82 -- $326,700.00
4th: Paolo69 -- $245,025.00
5th: Sykoen -- $169,290.00
6th: Artem205 (Ukraine) -- $130,680.00
7th: ch0ppy (Canada) -- $100,980.00
8th: ImDaNuts (Costa Rica) -- $71,280.00
9th: MONSTER_DONG (Australia) -- $51,975.00
And that's it for the 2012 WCOOP high roller event. But don't fret faithful readers, while this high-stakes extravaganza just ended, there's plenty more WCOOP action to go. Check out the WCOOP homepage for all WCOOP-related information. Check out the schedule, look at the leader board and find satellites that'll fit your bankroll. If that's not enough WCOOP for you, then be sure to tune in to the WCOOP radio at 15:00 ET up until September 25th.
Alexander Villegas is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog.