WCOOP 2013: Iftarii scores second career bracelet in heavyweight thriller Event #22 ($215 NLHE)
Sometimes a final table simply oozes class. Such was the sense you got when the final nine took their places ahead of a bracelet push in Event #22. Not only were there more than 3,000 people watching from the rail, they were watching some COOP royalty - former WCOOP winners, former SCOOP winners. Then there was the player with both "Wuh" and "Skuh" titles to his name, like Iftarii. Actually you can now make that two WCOOP titles.
Jonathan "Iftarii" Jaffe bagged his second tonight, following on from 2011 when he did a WCOOP and SCOOP double. Iftarii was among the leaders at the start and put in a confident performance to outlast the competition today, and as competition goes Event #22 had no weak spots.
His eventually heads-up opponent was LOL_U_91, himself a WCOOP winner having won the opening event of the 2011 Championship. Then there was the high stakes players Danger0us and Skrigepas, as well as past SCOOP winner Brianm15. Here's how they lined up.
Seat 1. Iftarii - 18,993,206
Seat 2. LOL_U_91 - 8,461,524
Seat 3. Toolhead82 - 6,752,542
Seat 4. VyruAlus - 5,551,265
Seat 5. RickyAs27 - 4,000,975
Seat 6. Danger0us - 17,269,941
Seat 7. Brianm15 - 19,138,143
Seat 8. Jinji men - 6,108,908
Seat 9. Skrigepas - 6,875,996
There was gravitas to this final, a dash of panache; bottom.
The final of Event 22 gets underway
RickyAs27 got things underway with a double-up, flopping a flush to bend Brianm15's straight out of shape. Jinji men then did the same, making a straight on the river against Danger0us. So taking their work as inspiration, Toolhead82 tried the same, shoving for a little more than 6 million with ace-king. But he came a cropper when RickyAs27 flopped a set of tens. Toolhead82 was out in ninth.
VyruAlus would follow shortly afterwards. His queens looked good pre-flop, even on the jack-high flop. But the third jack on the turn for SKRIG undid the ladies and VyruAlus departed in eighth.
By now it was clear that everyone knew what they were doing. Jinji men found some loose change to enhance his stack by forcing a fold from RickyAs27, while LOL_U_91, down to 4.1 million, shoved without getting a response to pick up some valuable blinds.
Again the all-ins were coming in threes, and again they brought similar results.
Danger0us shoved with pocket eights with his last 7.4 million but ran into the pocket tens of Skrigepas - he was out in seventh.
Then came a spectacular run of play on the part of LOL_U_91 who, having been reduced to a little more than 4 million minute earlier, set about using it like a large sock of horse manure. With this he moved up to 5.1 million, then 7.5 million, then 9.3 million before resting at 11.3 million. He didn't stop for long. Soon enough he was three-betting behind Iftarii to 13.4 million, although Iftarii probably felt only minor concern:
Jinji men's day would soon be over. His ace-queen had the edge over RickyAs27's ace-ten until his opponent made a flush, sending Jinji men out in sixth.
That served as a short interval between two decisive hands. One would catapult LOL_U_91 hilariously into the lead, while the other would see Iftarii snatch it back again. First LOL_U_91:
Then Iftarii's resurgence:
Skrigepas had no way to compete with that kind of drama, and when he found queen-ten he shoved behind a bet from Iftarii, who held ace-king. The flop and turn changed nothing, but the river brought an ace. Skrigepas out in fifth.
Meanwhile Brianm15, who had led coming into the final, was still in contention, albeit with a less noticeable performance to that of Iftarii or LOL_U_91. He doubled with ace-king against Iftarii's ace-jack, the kicker coming into play and nudging him ahead.
Then LOL_U_91 struck Brianm15 in response, his ace-king easily steering past Brianm15's ace-ten to leapfrog him back ahead. But then this was to be a final not short on drama.
Iftarii secured these vital chips before the hand of the tournament, which took play from four-handed to heads-up in a hand with fireworks.
The deal added to the sense that this event was different. No icm, no doubts, just cold hard numbers. Both Iftarii and LOL_U_91 took their time, made their case and decided quickly. Content that they couldn't agree, they played on with some well-meant "gls." For about three minutes anyway. Then LOL doubled, his ace-king catching an ace on the flop to beat Iftarii's pocket sixes in a race.
LOL_U_91: even chop?
LOL_U_91: click it
The rest of the final lasted a matter of minutes. Both found a hand they were happy to commit to and got their chips in, Iftarii narrowly covering LOL_U_91.
Nine players, 3,000 railbirds and nearly two hours of top-drawer poker. All of which exemplifies what makes WCOOP so great. Congratulations to Iftarii on his second bracelet, and also to LOL_U_91 on a great comeback.
WCOOP 2013: Event #22, $215 NL Hold'em
$1,878,800 total prize pool ($1.25 M Guaranteed)
1,260 places paid
1st place. Iftarii (Canada) $251,673.45
2nd place. LOL_U_91 (Belgium) $226,673.44
3rd place. brianm15 (Costa Rica) $140,910.00
4th place. RickyAs27 (Canada) $94,940.00
5th place. Skrigepas (Denmark) $75,152.00
6th place. jinji men (Israel) $56,364.00
7th place. danger0us (Costa Rica) $37,576.00
8th place. VyruAlus (Lithuania) $20,666.80
9th place. toolhead82 (United Kingdom) $14,560.70
With events in games from Badugi to Stud and Courchevel to Omaha, there's something to interest just about any poker player in this year's WCOOP. And with 11 events sporting guaranteed prize pools of $1,000,000 or more, there's a lot of money on the line.
Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.