WCOOP 2013: NikolasDLP outduels field to win Event #12 ($215 NLHE Heads-Up)

Lovers of relentless, adrenaline-fueled heads-up poker were eyeing Event #12 of the 2013 World Championship of Online Poker at PokerStars. That's because it was the only no-limit hold'em heads-up tourney on this year's WCOOP schedule with a buy-in of less than five figures, with the $10,300 High-Roller Heads-Up (Event #44) likely above many players' bankrolls.

No surprise, then, to see a huge turnout of 2,124 players sign up for the $215 NLHE heads-up Event #12, and after two days' worth of one-on-one dueling it was Russia's NikolasDLP laying claim as the only undefeated player, earning a nifty $62,440 prize for taking first in the event.

That big field easily smashed the tourney's $250K guarantee, building a prize pool of $424,800 to be divided among the top 256 finishers. They raced down to 64 players to complete the first day of play, with the survivors coming back on Thursday. Here's the story of how NikolasDLP's victory played out.

Day 1: 2,124 to 64

Matches saw players begin with 5,000 chip stacks and work their way through 10-minute levels, with the winners then advancing, their stacks reset to begin anew. With 2,124 entrants that meant nearly everyone enjoyed first-round byes as they only needed to carve the field down to 2,048 to set up a single-elimination, 11-round heads-up tournament.

It took about an hour for those first matches to end and the round of 2,048 to begin, then another four hours for the next three rounds to play out and the money bubble to burst with 256 players remaining.

One of those winning his way that far was Team PokerStars Pro Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier, who took to Twitter to report on his progress:

Another round would cut the field to 128, with those falling each earning $424.80 minimum cashes. Left to battle in the final round of Day 1 were three representatives of Team PokerStars -- Jake Cody, Jonathan Duhamel, and Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier -- plus PokerStars Challenger winner Stavros 'IDOLLS' Kalfas also sporting a red spade going forward.

Keven "Stammdogg" Stammen would stop IDOLLS in the next round, however, while ElkY lost to Unicum next. But Cody beat jays94 and Duhamel defeated Brett "brett_threat" Chalhoub, each securing spots in the next round.

Those coming up one round shy of the Round of 64 each earned $849.60. Meanwhile after about seven-and-a-half hours of play on Day 1, the remaining players took a break overnight to return on Thursday to find a winner.

Day 2: 64 to 1

Unfortunately for Duhamel, the second day of his WCOOP Event #12 run would end after the first match as Danielw8888 wiped him out in just under a half-hour. Meanwhile Cody would win his Round of 64 contest versus NL_Profit, but would ultimately fall in the Round of 32 to vovtroy in one of the last matches of that round to conclude.


Team PokerStars Pro Jake Cody

Duhamel and all of those knocked out in the Round of 64 earned $1,274.40 for their finishes, while Cody and the others making it to the Round of 32 before losing made $2,548.80 each.

Round of 16

With 10 minutes after the start of the next round, PALblCH felted BigTaces, Mabohai eliminated Milton14, and NikolasDLP knocked out Danielw8888 to grab the first three quarterfinal spots.

Then over the next half-hour gerd401 topped calculer_, doncarignano bested Athanasios "Athanasios 9" Polychronopoulos, UwouldntKnow survived against Stevie "stevie444" Chidwick, and CGobs took care of Brøndbøh.

vovtroy and 26P0KKet04 battled onward for a while longer in the lone remaining match. Their stacks were nearly even when 26P0KKet04 four-bet shoved with A♥Q♦ and vovtroy called with 7♥7♣. A queen flopped, vovtroy couldn't catch up, and 26P0KKet04 grabbed the last quarterfinal spot while vovtroy and the other Round of 16 losers each took away $3,823.20.


The Round of 8 went relatively quickly, with all four matches finished within a half-hour.

Within about 15 minutes, UwouldntKnow eliminated CGobs, NikolasDP knocked out Mabohai, and PALblCH beat doncarignano.

Meanwhile 26P0KKet04 had whittled gerd401 down to a short stack, with the latter finally finding it necessary to commit to a preflop all-in with J♥J♦. 26P0KKet04 had picked up A♣Q♦ again versus a shorter-stacked opponent's pocket pair, and again drew out as an ace flopped and the hand held. Like the other quarterfinal losers, gerd401 earned $11,682.00 while 26P0KKet04 moved on to the semis.


The semifinal contest between PALblCH and NikolasDLP went quickly, with NikolasDLP jumping out to a quick lead, then finishing off PALblCH before the first 10-minute level had ended.

The final hand saw NikolasDLP calling a PALblCH three-bet preflop, then calling leading bets from PALblCH following both the K♣2♠7♦ flop and 8♦ turn. The river brought the A♠ and a check from PALblCH, and when NikolasDLP took the opening to shove all in, PALblCH called with the 1,601 left behind.

PALblCH had K♦J♥ for kings, but NikolasDLP had K♠8♠ for two pair to secure the first spot in the finals.

The other semifinal match only made it to Level 2, by which point 26P0KKet04 had edged out to a better than 3-to-1 chip lead over UwouldntKnow. That's when a hand arose in which 26P0KKet04 limped from the button, UwouldntKnow raised 4x to 240, and 26P0KKet04 called. Both checked the monotone J♥K♥3♥ flop, then when the turn brought the 2♣, UwouldntKnow pushed all in for 1,895 and 26P0KKet04 called.

UwouldntKnow showed Q♠Q♣, but 26P0KKet04 had already flopped a flush with 8♥5♥, with the river card at that point being no matter. UwouldntKnow and PALblCH had each earned $23,364 for coming one spot shy of the last match which immediately got underway.



26P0KKet04 and NikolasDLP played a few hands, then decided to pause the final match to discuss evening out the remaining prize money. With $72,216 due the winner and $38,232 the runner-up, both were interested in narrowing the gap between the final two spots.

While the stacks were still about even at that point, NikolasDLP nonetheless argued successfully to have had an advantage going into the match, and thus the pair agreed that NikolasDLP would be guaranteed $52,000, 26P0KKet04 $48,000, with $10,448 left for which to play.

The pair pushed back and forth for the next 20 minutes with 26P0KKet04 edging ahead. Then came a big preflop all-in confrontation that saw NikolasDLP all in and at risk for 3,330, holding A♣A♦ versus the 8♣8♥ of 26P0KKet04. The aces held, and NikolasDLP had grabbed the advantage.

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They'd trade the lead back and forth a couple more times, with 26P0KKet04 carrying the lead to a scheduled break coming in the middle of Level 5 that marked five hours' worth of Day 2 action.

But soon after play resumed NikolasDLP snatched the advantage back in a hand that saw the two players get all of NikolasDLP's chips in after a 5♣J♥4♣ flop. 26P0KKet04 had 5♠4♥ for two pair, but had run into a better two pair as NikolasDLP had J♦4♦. That hand held and NikolasDLP was back in front once more.

Just a few hands later 26P0KKet04 had been knocked down to just over 1,000 chips when NikolasDLP pushed all in and 26P0KKet04 called.

26P0KKet04 had J♠T♣ and the preflop edge over NikolasDLP's 5♠4♠, but the 2♠5♥9♣ flop swung the lead NikolasDLP's way. The turn was the 7♣ and river 9♠, and NikolasDLP's nines and fives were good enough to secure the hand and the WCOOP bracelet.

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Congratulations to NikolasDLP for outlasting a long line of heads-up opponents to win Event #12 and a $62K-plus payday. And kudos as well to 26P0KKet04 for making it to the heads-up deal to take away $48K.

PokerStars 2013 WCOOP Event #12 ($215 Heads-Up No-Limit Hold'em) results (*reflects two-way deal)

Players: 2,124
Total prize pool: $424,800.00
Places paid: 256

1. NikolasDLP (Russia) $62,448.00*
2. 26P0KKet04 (Germany) $48,000.00*
3-tie. UwouldntKnow (Norway) $23,364.00
3-tie. PALblCH (Belarus) $23,364.00
5-tie. gerd401 (Germany) $11,682.00
5-tie. Mabohai (Hungary) $11,682.00
5-tie. doncarignano (Germany) $11,682.00
5-tie. CGobs (Canada) $11,682.00

There's still two-plus weeks' worth of WCOOPin' left to go. Check the WCOOP information page for full details on the remaining schedule.

Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.

Martin Harris
@hardboiledpoker in WCOOP