WCOOP 2013: dadowiec drops a bomb on Event #53, $215 NLHE (3x Chance, Big Antes)

Often times antes are an afterthought in tournament poker. They're usually just a small fraction of a big blind, but those small fractions can add up over time. In Event #53 of this year's WCOOP, a $215 NL Hold'em event with three re-buys and big antes, they were a little harder to ignore. At one-fifth of a big blind, they were just big enough to increase the pressure and keep everybody's focus on picking up chips as often as possible.

The big-ante structure and option for multiple re-buys were attractive enough to draw a field of 1,903 players, creating a $565,000 prize pool worth nearly double the original $300K guarantee. The top 252 finishers cashed, including plenty of familiar names like Team Online's Mickey "mement_mori" Petersen, who hung on until 135th place ($762.75).

Two women from Team PokerStars Pro also made it through to the money. Sandra Naujoks exited earlier than she would have liked in 179th place but still earned $621.50. Her fellow Team Pro Vanessa Rousso went considerably further, finishing in 49th place ($1,384.25). That wasn't quite enough to make it through to Day 2, though - only the last 24 players remained in the field at the end of the first day's play.


Vanessa Rousso outlasted all her fellow Team Pros in Event #53

They returned for Day 2 at 11:00 a.m. ET today and it took just an hour and 46 minutes to whittle down those 24 survivors to a final table of nine. The blinds and antes were at 15K/30K/6K as they sat down to play for the gold bracelet and a $90,500 top prize:

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Seat 1: villepn (1,496,650 in chips)
Seat 2: kleath (1,171,813 in chips)
Seat 3: z_balata (1,135,327 in chips)
Seat 4: dadowiec (1,250,521 in chips)
Seat 5: Kaggis (1,137,705 in chips)
Seat 6: T0MyK (1,972,660 in chips)
Seat 7: idacir_bra (1,255,864 in chips)
Seat 8: vic_xcite (2,803,979 in chips)
Seat 9: dracon 19408 (1,900,481 in chips)

This lineup was a bit unusual in that there were no clear short stacks. Sweden's z_balata had the smallest chip total but at almost 39 big blinds it wasn't enough to force any action, even with the big antes. Unsurprisingly, everyone took advantage of the elbow room and most hands in the first couple of orbits saw at least a flop, if not a turn.

It wasn't until the blinds were up to 17.5K/35K/7K that a major confrontation took place. Hand #22 saw past SCOOP champion John "kleath" Leathart open the betting in middle position for 83.1K and get a call from Poland's dadowiec in the cutoff seat. Then Norway's Kaggis re-raised to 264K on the button, only to see the Czech Republic's T0MyK put in a fourth bet of 467K from the small blind. "too rich for my blood," said kleath, and both he and dadowiec folded. Kaggis was willing to play on with A♥ K♥ and shoved for 1.2M, but T0MyK called immediately with A♦ A♣. The board came 4♣ 8♣ 6♣ J♥ 7♠, the aces held up, and Kaggis was gone in 9th place ($5,650).

The peace from the start of the final table wouldn't return immediately. Two hands later z_balata opened for 101K from middle position and was the only caller after dadowiec three-bet to 192K. The flop fell 7♣ 7♦ 5♠ and z_balata, holding 8♣ 8♠, immediately moved all-in for 593K. dadowiec also held an overpair to the board and called with Q♣ Q♦. z_balata needed running straight cards or one of the last two eights in the deck to survive, but the turn and river came 7♠ T♣ to knock the Swedish player out in 8th place ($9,887.50).

With the table now seven-handed, things slowed back down for a couple more orbits. Then Finland's villepn, another past SCOOP champion, dodged 16 outs twice for a double-up on Hand #39:

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Just four hands after that Russia's dracon_19408 would end up all-in for 1.15M before the flop after opening for 80K and being re-raised to 189K by kleath. The Russian player's A♣ K♦ was in excellent position before the flop against kleath's A♠ Q♠ and only improved after the flop and turn fell T♣ A♥ 2♦ T♥. Only three cards left in the deck could steal hte pot for kleath - and the Q♦ on the river was one of them. kleath's better two pair won the day and dracon 19408 was out in 7th place ($15,255).

Six-gun shootout

Aside from the occasional outlier where the big stack wins nearly every confrontation, the flow of most tournament final tables will stall out for an extended period somewhere along the way. Here in Event #53, that point came once the table was six-handed. A full 88 hands would come and go between the seventh- and sixth-place knockouts.

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It didn't look like things were going to go that long at first. One last burst of action came three hands after dracon 19408's departure, when kleath and dadowiec both caught strong hands on a 9♦ 7♦ 6♦ flop. The 348K in the pot blossomed to 3.92M after dadowiec ended up all-in with 5♦ 4♦ for a flush with a redraw to a straight flush, against kleath's 6♣ 6♥ for three of a kind. A paired board would have given kleath the pot, but dadowiec won it - and took the chip lead - after the turn and river came 2♠ 4♥.

kleath joined the ranks of the short-stacked at that point with 1.36M, just a few big blinds ahead of Brazil's idacir_bra (1.22M) on the 20K/40K/8K level. The patience that comes with experience kept kleath in the game as the blinds and antes rose to 25K/50K/10K and finally paid off on Hand #64.

Sweden's vic_xcite opened the betting for 100K and kleath called in the big blind to take the 6♣ 3♠ 3♦ flop. kleath got in a check-raise to 333K after vic_xcite bet 123K, and the Swede called to see the A♠ fall on the turn. This time kleath led out for 389K, and once again vic_xcite called. The river was the T♣ and kleath moved all-in for his last 1.08M into the 1.72M-chip pot, leaving vic_xcite with a big decision. The Swede finally made the call with J♦ J♠, but the jacks were no good against kleath's 6♠ 6♦ for a flopped full house and kleath dragged the 3.9M-chip pot to supplant vic_xcite in second place behind dadowiec.

Another 68 hands would pass before the deadlock finally broke, a stretch that was dominated by dadowiec expand a table-leading chip stack of 4.61M to 7.63M. Finally idacir_bra, down to just 941K with the blinds and antes now at 40K/80K/16K, opened the betting on Hand #132 by moving all-in under the gun. The only player at the table with a shorter stack, T0MyK, called in the big blind for 477K more and turned up A♦ T♥, which was behind idacir_bra's J♠ J♥ and would stay there after the board came 7♥ 7♣ 9♠ 2♦ 8♠. That pot moved idacir_bra back over the 20-big-blind threshold and eliminated T0MyK in 6th place ($20,905).

Express train to the finish

Most of the big confrontations at the final table had been driven by strong hands running into stronger hands, a pattern that continued on Hand #144. Chip-leading dadowiec opened for a minimum raise to 160K with A♣ A♠ and called quickly after villepn moved in for 1.27M from the big blind. The Finn held 9♦ 9♠ but couldn't catch a break on the 7♥ 3♥ 2♥ 5♦ 8♣ board and left in 5th place ($26,837.50).

With more than 9.5M chips and lots of room for error, dadowiec hit the gas. Hand #154 saw the Polish player raise all-in from the small blind with Q♣ 4♣. Short-stacked idacir_bra called for 1.11M and was ahead with A♦ 7♦, but the deck had other ideas. The board fell 8♦ Q♦ J♥ T♣ 6♥, the pair of queens won the pot, and idacir_bra left in 4th place ($37,148.75).

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The action didn't slow down from there, though the beneficiaries did change for a short while. vic_xcite was fortunate enough to pick up Q♦ Q♠ on Hand #161 when dadowiec was dealt J♣ J♥, good for a double to 4.34M. Three hands later that stack was cut down a bit after vic_xcite moved all-in with 4♣ 5♣ from the small blind to steal the blinds and antes and kleath was able to call for 1.04M total with A♦ 8♦. Neither player improved on the 9♣ Q♠ 2♦ Q♦ J♣ board, kleath won the 2.14M-chip pot, and vic_xcite was left with 2.8M.

Both short stacks were walking a tightrope now, and five hands later vic_xcite would be the first to fall:

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Top pair and a straight draw couldn't outrun second pair/top kicker, and vic_xcite was gone in 3rd place ($50,850).

With better than a 5-to-1 chip lead, dadowiec had a big advantage heads-up against kleath. Just four hands into their match that advantage paid off after the former shoved with A♥ 6♠ and the latter called with A♦ 9♣. kleath was looking good for a double-up even after the 4♦ 5♣ 2♥ flop gave dadowiec more outs, and the J♦ brought the chance to get into the match even closer. But the river card was the 6♥, one of just seven in the deck that could help dadowiec, and the tournament came to a close.

It was a close call for John "kleath" Leathart, but ultimately he wasn't able to add a WCOOP title to go with his previous SCOOP win. Still, a $67,800 prize for being runner-up is nothing to complain about. As for dadowiec, who had previously finished 9th at one WCOOP final table and won good money with two deep runs in WCOOP 2nd Chance events, the Polish player finally laid claim to WCOOP gold - and $90,400 to boot. Congratulations to both players on their fine runs through a tough two-day event!

WCOOP 2013: Event #53, $215 NL Hold'em (3x Chance, Big Antes)
1,903 entrants, 922 re-buys
$565,000 prize pool
252 places paid

1st place: dadowiec (Poland) $90,400
2nd place: John "kleath" Leathart (Malta) $67,800
3rd place: vic_xcite (Sweden) $50,850
4th place: idacir_bra (Brazil) $37,148.75
5th place: villepn (Finland) $26,837.50
6th place: T0MyK (Czech Republic) $20,905
7th place: dracon_19408 (Russia) $15,255
8th place: z_balata (Sweden) $9,887.50
9th place: Kaggis (Norway) $5,650

Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in WCOOP