WCOOP 2012: hronik81 collects one for Russia in Event 23 ($700 NLHE)

wcoop2009-thumb.jpgHaving fallen short of winning a major in the past can forever haunt a player, especially when you never get a chance to compete on the final table due to an elimination on the final table bubble that knocked you out in ninth place. For hronik81 that was just what happened just over a month ago in the Sunday Warm-up. After suffering that the fate hronik81 treaded a bit lighter and it paid off in a big way as winning WCOOP Event 23 netted almost a quarter million and a coveted WCOOP bracelet.

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This two-day $700 no-limit hold'em event kicked off on Sunday with 3,215 players coming together to generate a $2,154,050 prize pool to surpass the $1.5-million dollar guarantee. Overall 414 players would earn a share of that prize pool with a min-cash getting $1,206.26 and first place slated to get $339,264.78.

The money bubble was a short affair with only a handful of hands being played before they made it into the money. Unfortunately for PokerStars Pro Jose "nachobarbero" Ignacio Barbero his tournament ended at the wrong time as he was the bubble boy, busting in 415th place.

With the money bubble busted the remaining 414 players had five more levels to play before play was paused for the day. During those five levels 245 players made their exit, including six of the remaining eight red spades, leaving only 169 to return for Day Two. The two remaining were PokerStars Pros Daniel "KidPoker" Negreanu in 48th place and Victoria "Vicky Coren" Coren in 131st place.

Leading the way after playing 20 levels was westmenloAA with 586,102 followed by bestM4N with 503,719. Here is a look at how the top ten looked at the end of the day:

westmenloAA (Canada) - 586,102
bestM4N (Russia) - 503,719
bluemenkind53 (Germany) - 499,509
jpvr (Belgium) - 493,528
Telefonkiosk (Sweden) - 446,201
Houbanan (Denmark) - 440,256
Kedrila (Russia) - 421,902
Joao M. (Russia) - 420,921
DanceWiwMe (Finland) - 415,922
shuriken555 (Germany) - 403,698

Day Two:

The 169 players that returned for Day Two were guaranteed a payday of at least $2,261.75, but it was the almost $340,000 that first place was to get that they were all eyeing. One of the first victims of Day Two was Victoria Coren who made her exit in 128th place, collecting $2,692.56. This left Daniel Negreanu as the lone red spade remaining.

At one point Negreanu was up to fourth place but was knocked back down to the middle of the pack in a hand that saw his trip kings beat by a full house. Under-the-gun Negreanu opened to 16,000, a min-raise. He was re-raised to 40,000 by RediceRap on the button, Negreanu called and the pair saw a K♣7♥4♦ flop. Negreanu checked and RediceRap bet 45,678 into a 100,000 chip pot. Negreanu called and the K♥ came on the turn. Once again Negreanu check-called the bet from RediceRap, this time for 89,898. The 6♥ river brought another check from Negreanu and another bet from RediceRap, this the for 241,378 into a 371,152 chip pot. Negreanu called and RediceRap showed 4♠4♣ for the turned full house. Negreanu's hand was mucked but it was later revealed in a BOOM Hand Replayer that he held A♦K♦.

RSS readers click through to see replay.


Negreanu shook off that cooler and bounced back into the top five after a table change though things eventually ended for Negreanu. It all started when he lost around 85,000 of his almost 1.4-million chip stack calling an all-in by Houbanan. Houbanan's A♥A♦ held against Negreanu's A♠K♣ leaving Negreanu with just over 500,000. Negreanu tried to battle back but eventually he shoved all-in from the button after it folded to him and was called by LUFCBas in the small blind. Negreanu showed A♣8♦ while LUFCBas showed A♠9♥. The board ran out 9♣5♣4♥9♠6♥ giving LUFCBas trip nines and the honor of eliminating Negreanu in 27th place where he collected $5,923.63.

With all the red spades now dispatched the remaining 26 players worked their way to the final table. By the time they reached the final nine three players sat with over five-million in chips. Vesselman lead the way followed closely by PPWPFPP and Vzsolt800. Here's a look at how they sat at the start of the final table:

Seat 1: RedIceRap (3,758,378 in chips)
Seat 2: _JMCD_89 (1,614,996 in chips)
Seat 3: POWOFOO (5,580,593 in chips)
Seat 4: hronik81 (2,963,999 in chips)
Seat 5: wardough20 (2,900,492 in chips)
Seat 6: 888R8 (1,608,913 in chips)
Seat 7: pistecaloze (2,665,851 in chips)
Seat 8: Vesselman (5,888,495 in chips)
Seat 9: Vzsolt800 (5,168,283 in chips)

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The first elimination came quickly as _JMCD_89 moved all in from the big blind after Vzsolt800 min-raised from the button. Vzsolt800 called and showed 7♠7♣ which was ahead of _JMCD_89's 5♠5♣. The T♠T♥2♥9♠Q♠ board was a safe one for Vzsolt800's pocket sevens eliminating _JMCD_89 in 9th place collecting $18,309.42.

It took 32 hands before the next elimination came, and it was another pocket pair that did the deed. This time it was the K♥K♣ held by 888R8 taking care of things against wardough20's A♠4♣. The Q♥J♣5♠7♦9♣ board was of no help for wardough20 who collected $29,122.75 for an eighth place finish.

The player who was responsible for putting a dent in Negreanu's chip stack earlier in the night was the next player to make their exit. It came a few hands after RediceRap's A♠K♠ was unable to hold against hronik81's A♣Q♦. In a battle of the blinds RedicRap moved all-in from the small blind and was called by the big blind, POWOFOO. POWOFOO held the lead with A♠8♥ while RediceRap held K♠J♥. The T♥6♦4♠6♠9♥ board delivered no assistance to either players hand sending RediceRap out in seventh place collecting $50,620.17.

As has been the case for every elimination hand leading up to this one all the chips went into the middle pre-flop. This time it was Vesselman calling off his entire stack into Vzsolt800's all-in shove. The players cards were revealed and it was a classic rase with Vesselman holding A♥K♦ while Vzsolt800 held T♥T♣. The Q♥J♦9♦4♦5♥ brought no assistance to Vesselman eliminating him in sixth place collecting $72,160.67.

The final five players decided to take a break to discuss a possible deal. They had to leave $30,000 for the eventual winner so here are the ICM numbers they were shown:

Vzsolt800: $221,851.23
POWOFOO: $219,801.17
hronik81: $190,664.51
pistecaloze: $166,272.80
888R8: $162,275.18

After some discussion and pondering by a few players they all agreed to the above numbers and play resumed. It didn't take too long before one of the short stacks who just collected more than they would have made their exit. The hand got underway when POWOFOO opened to 251,009, just over 2 times the big blind, pistecaloze made it 729,789, POWOFOO called and the pair saw the T♦8♦4♣ flop which brought a 459,897 chip bet into a 1.6-million chip pot from pistecaloze. POWOFOO made it 1,578,000 and pistecaloze moved all-in for 3,613,152. POWOFOO called and showed A♦9♦ for the flush draw while pistecaloze showed Q♦J♠ for the inside straight draw. The J♦ turn sealed the deal giving POWOFOO the nut flush eliminating pistecaloze in fifth place.

Only a handful of hands passed before the top two in chips got into a betting war pre-flop that ended when Vzsolt880 moved all-in and POWOFOO called. Vzsolt880 showed A♥6♥ against POWOFOO's A♣Q♣. The T♦8♥4♠3♠9♥ board meant nothing but the end for Vzsolt880 who collects $221,851.23 for fourth place.

Three handed play went on for a while as the players were all at least 400 big blinds deep. It was the two short stacks who butted heads after seeing a Q♥T♥9♥ flop. 888R8 opened to 750,000 into a 1,660,000 pot, hronki81 moved all-in for 6,666,488 and 888R8 called. 888R8 showed A♠Q♣ for top pair top kicker while hronik81 showed Q♠T♦ for top two pair. The 5♠ turn and 5♦ river did not bring enough help to 888R8 who takes home $162,275.18 thanks to the previous agreed upon deal.

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When heads-up play began only 4-million chips separated the two players with POWFOO holding the lead though hronik81 only needed a few hands to eliminate that lead eventually taking it and not looking back on the way to collecting the extra $30,000.

The final hand got underway with a min-raise and call with hronik81 in the small blind. The 7♥3♣2♦ flop brought a check from both players but it was the 5♣ turn that induced all the action. hronik81 opened the action up by betting to 355,555 into a 680,000 chip pot. POWOFOO raised it to 1,100,000 and hronik81 moved all-in. POWOFOO called putting their tourney life on the line with 7♣6♣ for top pair and an inside straight draw while hronik81 held A♥4♦ for the five-high straight. The 3♥ river meant nothing to each player brining an end to this two-day event with POWOFOO collecting $219,801.17 and hronik81 taking home $220,664.51.

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Congrats hronik81 on winning your first WCOOP bracelet along with the $220,664.51 you collected.

WCOOP 2012 Event 23 ($700 NLHE) Results (reflects a deal):

Entrants: 3,215
Paid Players: 414

1st place: hronik81 (Russia) - $220,664.51*
2nd place: POWOFOO (Canada) - $219,801.17*
3rd place: 888R8 (Romania) - $162,275.18*
4th place: Vzsole800 (Hungary) - $221,851.23*
5th place: pistecaloze (Netherlands) - $166,272.80*
6th place: Vesselman (Belarus) - $72,160.67
7th place: RediceRap (Germany) - $50,620.17
8th place: wardough82 (Mexico) - $29,122.75
9th place: _JMCD_89 (United Kingdom) - $18,309.42
*indicates a five-way deal


With two week left in the WCOOP schedule you still have a chance to get in on the action. For information on what tournaments remain head over to the WCOOP home page. Also be sure to tune ni to WCOOP Radio for daily shows which start at 15:00 ET.

Michael Reed is a freelance contributor to for the PS Blog.