WCOOP 2012: GermanBraine solves Event #30 ($215 NLHE, Ante Up)

wcoop2009-thumb.jpgAmong the offerings for Day 11 of the 2012 WCOOP was Event #30, the second of two "Ante Up" no-limit hold'em events on this year's schedule. The "Ante Up" format calls for blinds to remain steady at 5/5 throughout while the antes gradually increase with each level.

This one saw big field of 1,091 players put up the $215 entry fee. That built a $218,200 prize pool, thereby besting the tourney's $200K guarantee. The top 144 places paid in this one, with a $38,141.36 first prize due the winner.

From 1,091 to 18

At the three-hour mark, less than half of those who had entered remained, with just 510 players left with chips. Of those, Kuubek, sharkleg, Vild, PICKLED EGG, and LordBaldrick had the most of them to position themselves at the top of the counts.

It would take another three-plus hours for the money bubble to burst. With 144 players left, gingerslim had pushed in front with Randal "RandALLin" Flowers, artec1974, João Paulo "Ponga80" Aquino, and KtheKing rounding out the top five.

About two hours after that they were down to 50. By then lizzar353 had climbed to the top with more than 333,000, with kansis47 (319,060) and artec1974 (263,201) the nearest challengers.

From 18 to 9

Shortly after the 11-hour mark they'd played down to just 18 players gathered around two tables. "Ponga80" Aquino had pushed out to lead by a wide margin, having chipped up over 900,000 while Aduobe4 was in second position with just over half a million.

Over the next two hours they would play down to the final nine, during which period Aduobe4 pushed ahead of Ponga80 into first chip position. abcd1951 (18th), L0L__KQ (17th), and WCOOP bracelet-owner z_balata (16th) each took away $1,200.10 for their efforts. foot1oose (15th), another WCOOP bracelet-owner James "Andy McLEOD" Obst (14th), and Randal "RandALLin" Flowers (13th) each saw $1,636.50 added to their PokerStars accounts. And Hariseldo723 (12th), ghost crab (11th), and plau13 (10th) each took away $2,072.90 from Event #30.

The final table was set.


Seat 1: helst66 (Norway) -- 248,828
Seat 2: PICKLED EGG (Brazil) -- 487,553
Seat 3: Ponga80 (Canada) -- 838,523
Seat 4: Aduobe4 (Germany) -- 1,123,996
Seat 5: limaron (Ukraine) -- 660,032
Seat 6: ProfPanik (Portugal) -- 368,946
Seat 7: MaxBNuts (Russia) -- 342,962
Seat 8: Ulileo (Russia) -- 754,241
Seat 9: GermanBraine (Germany) -- 629,919

From 9 to 6

After about 10 minutes of play at the final table, the antes were 7,000 -- meaning there was 63,000 in the middle preflop -- when João "ProfPanik" Silva opened for 23,599 from early position. Only Ulileo called from a couple of seats over, and the pair saw the flop come all spades -- T♠Q♠3♠.

ProfPanik led for 55,000, Ulileo raised to 170,460, ProfPanik pushed all in for 266,332 total, and Ulileo called. Silva showed A♥Q♣ for top pair-top kicker while Ulileo held Q♦J♠ for queens plus a flush draw. The 8♣ turn meant Silva was still ahead, but the 9♠ on the river gave Ulileo the flush and sent ProfPanik packing in ninth.

About 20 minutes later the antes had risen to 8,000. GermanBraine, who has three previous cashes in this year's WCOOP although hadn't finished higher than 35th before today, raised to 33,333 from middle position. Next to act, helst66 reraised all in for 137,768 and it folded back to GermanBraine who paused a beat, then called.

GermanBraine: 5♠5♦
helst66: A♦T♠

The board rolled out 3♥K♣Q♠3♦2♣, bringing no help to helst66 who was ousted in eighth.

A short while later MaxBNuts had pushed out into the chip lead, but then lost a massive 1.94 million-plus chip pot versus Ulileo to become severely short-stacked.

In that one MaxBNuts and Ulileo traded preflop raises until the latter was all in with T♠T♦ against MaxBNuts' A♥K♣. The board came eight-high, giving Ulileo a huge chip lead and leaving MaxBNuts with only 4,223 chips -- not even 1/20th of an ante.

All in on the next hand versus three opponents, MaxBNuts didn't improve and mucked before heading railward in seventh, marking a fourth cash for MaxBNuts in the 2012 WCOOP and best finish thus far.

From 6 to 2

They had just crossed the 14-hour mark when the next elimination took place.

PICKLED EGG entered this final table with three previous cashes including a runner-up finish in Event #19 ($320 NLHE), good enough to claim a top 40 spot in the current WCOOP Player of the Series rankings.

With six left, though, PICKLED EGG had become short-stacked, and when GermanBraine opened for 33,333 from middle position, PICKLED EGG shoved all in for 618,154 from the cutoff. It folded back to GermanBraine who called, turning over Q♦Q♠ to PICKLED EGG's T♣T♥. The board ran out 7♥6♦3♥2♥5♣, and PICKLED EGG was out in sixth.

Like PICKLED EGG, João Paulo "Ponga80" Aquino has a had a terrific 2012 WCOOP, with this marking his fifth cash and second final table after taking sixth in Event #7 ($215 Triple Stud). And not long after PICKLED EGG's departure, Aquino was getting involved.

The antes were up to 10,000 -- meaning with five-handed play that 50,000 sat in the middle before the flop -- when Ponga80 opened for 16,000 from the button. Aduobe4 then reraised all in for 275,871 total from the small blind, and when it folded back to Ponga80 he called.

Aquino had 5♣5♦ and Aduobe4 2♥2♠, and five community cards later -- 6♣4♠9♥7♥T♥ -- Aduobe4 was out in fifth. That also makes five cashes and two final tables for Aduobe4 who previously took seventh in Event #5 ($215+R, NLHE Turbo).

The final four would then battle for more than an hour, with Ulileo gradually pushing further and further ahead, chipping up over 3 million while the others all fell below the 1 million-chip mark.

Soon the antes were 17,500, and GermanBraine was opening for 33,333 from under the gun. It folded to limaron in the small blind who pushed all in for 398,194 total and after Ulileo stepped aside, GermanBraine made the call.

limaron showed A♣8♣ and needed help versus GermanBraine's A♠K♦. The flop came Q♣K♥8♥, pairing both and leaving limaron still seeking further help. But the turn was the T♥ and river the 4♣, and limaron was gone in fourth.

The battle continued through the tourney's 16th hour, with GermanBraine and Ponga80 gradually closing the gap to pull even with Ulileo, then Ponga80 pulling ahead of the others as they reached another break.

Soon after they returned, Ulileo had slipped to just under 800,000 chips when João Paulo "Ponga80" Aquino -- with the antes up to 25,000 -- opened for 22,000 from the button. Ulileo reraised to 75,000 from the small blind, GermanBraine folded, then Ponga80 reraised enough to put Ulileo all in and the latter called with the 699,103 left behind.

Ponga80 showed 9♠9♥ and Ulileo A♦8♦. The board came 7♠J♠T♥7♥4♣, and they were down to two.

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Heads-up play

After that hand Ponga80 had about a 5-to-2 chip lead over GermanBraine to start heads-up play, with Aquino sitting with 3,857,387 to GermanBraine's 1,597,613.

"Look at numbers?" asked GermanBraine as the first hand between the two was dealt. "Let's play," responded Ponga80, and with an "ok" from GermanBraine their battle commenced.

Ponga80 immediately increased his lead over the first few hands between them, pushing out to more than 4.5 million chips while GermanBraine fell to less than 1 million. GermanBraine clawed back, however, after doubling up in a hand in which both players flopped top pair of jacks with GermanBraine holding the better kicker.

Play continued, and eventually a big hand developed between the two in which GermanBraine was all in on the flop after flopping a straight while Ponga80 flopped two pair. Take a look at how that one turned out:

RSS readers click through to see replay

After a little over 20 minutes of play between them, GermanBraine had seized the chip advantage for the first time during heads-up. GermanBaine would maintain the lead over the rest of the 17th hour, and the pair reached the next break with GermanBaine sitting with 3,686,636 to Ponga80's 1,768,364.

The final table had lasted about four hours, with heads-up alone comprising the last 60 minutes. The first "Ante Up" event -- Event #10, won by Team PokerStars Pro George Danzer -- had similarly taken a long time to complete, including a heads-up battle that lasted well into a second hour.

So, too, did GermanBaine and Ponga80's duel extend deeper into the night, with Ponga80 surviving several all-ins to prolong the proceedings, battling back nearly to even the score, then falling back again as GermanBaine once more pushed out to a better than 4-to-1 chip lead.

However as the event's 18th hour came to a close, it was João Paulo "Ponga80" Aquino grabbing several small-to-medium pots to close the gap once more, then pushing out in front to lead 3,161,208 to GermanBraine's 2,293,792 at the 18-hour break.

Soon after play resumed, GermanBraine retook the lead once again in a hand in which GermanBraine held Q♣6♣ to make a full house by the turn with the board showing Q♥7♥7♦Q♦, then earned a couple more streets' worth of value to claim a 1.85 million-chip pot. A little while later, though, it was Ponga80 doubling through to grab the lead back when his 8♣8♦ held up against GermanBraine's A♦J♠.

It was looking as though Ponga80 may have permanently grabbed the momentum, but then came a stretch in which GermanBraine won 12 of 13 hands to push back over 3 million to Aquino's 2.4 million.

Then -- 18 hours and 16 minutes after Event #30 had begun -- the end finally arrived.

The antes had increased all of the way to 70,000, meaning there was 140,000 in the middle (plus the 10 chips' worth of blinds) when Ponga80 raised to 22,222 from the button and GermanBraine called.

The flop came 6♣J♥7♥. GermanBraine checked, Ponga80 bet 77,000, GermanBraine check-raised to 296,988, and Aquino called.

The turn was the J♦. This time GermanBraine led for 319,152, and Ponga80 responded with an all-in shove for 2,017,352. GermanBraine called instantly.

Ponga80 turned over J♠4♠ for trip jacks, but GermanBraine had J♣7♠ for a full house. The river was the 2♥, and after more than 360 (!) hands of heads-up GermanBraine had finally won.

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Congratulations to GermanBraine for surviving a marathon final table including an epic heads-up battle with João Paulo "Ponga80" Aquino to claim the latest WCOOP bracelet and a $38K-plus score!

WCOOP Event #30 ($215 No-Limit Hold'em -- Ante Up) Results:
1st: GermanBraine (Germany) -- $38,141.36
2nd: Ponga80 (Canada) -- $27,711.40
3rd: Ulileo (Russia) -- $20,729
4th: limaron (Ukraine) -- $15,492.20
5th: Aduobe4 (Germany) -- $10,910
6th: PICKLED EGG (Brazil) -- $8,728
7th: MaxBNuts (Russia) -- $6,546
8th: helst66 (Norway) -- $4,364
9th: ProfPanik (Portugal) -- $2,509.30

Entrants: 1,091
Places paid: 144

As we approach the halfway point of this year's WCOOP, tracking results and following the Player of the Series leaderboard becomes all the more interesting. Check
the WCOOP site for all WCOOP-related stats. Also, be sure to dial up WCOOP Radio every day for more WCOOP scoop!

Martin Harris is a Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.

Martin Harris
@hardboiledpoker in WCOOP