WCOOP 2013: Pushing, shoving, deals and drama as JNandez87 wins Event #43 ($215 NLHE)

Event 43, a leisurely stroll through the familiar territory of a $215 no-limit hold'em contest, would be defined by three things. There was some pushing and shoving in the early stages. Then there came a deal to keep things busy, before a heads-up finale to bring the curtain down on an entertaining tournament, all won, eventually, by JNandez87, of Switzerland, who collected $179,741.36 and the WCOOP bracelet.

At times it had been a thriller and that JNandez87's prize money was a shade less than second placed Palmero82, who earned $184,569.27, was down to a five-way deal and some earlier heroics by the eventual runner-up, who in turn had played a blinder, but missed out by the smallest of margins. But more of that later. First there were the preliminaries.

wcoop 43 pic.jpg
The start of the final table

Here's how the lined up as play went nine-handed:

Seat 1. Trickjump1 - 4,829,306
Seat 2. N0sferatv - 6,357,366
Seat 3. Elementx8 - 3,687,777
Seat 4. Palmero92 - 15,624,758
Seat 5. dr.Cooley - 3,423,202
Seat 6. Jaggalo1231 - 9,559,994
Seat 7. TheKhopMan - 6,795,130
Seat 8. JNandez87 - 17,861,389
Seat 9. Ohljo - 14,334,828

It would be a final with an international flare, with nine different nationalities represented. JNandez87, from Switzerland, led them all before promptly handing over the reins to Palmero82 from Germany. From then on it looked like it was his to win.

Pushing and shoving

Two double-ups marked the first real action, Elementx8 and TheKhopMan staying alive as the blinds, already to the 150,000/300,000 stage, began to bite. But the five short stacks didn't seem to be going anywhere, with Trickjump1, N0sferatv and dr.Cooley each moving in without any response. Or at least there was nothing on the first try. Having another go Trickjump1 ran ace-five into the ace-king of N0sferatv, to depart in ninth place. N0sferatv then followed a few minutes later when he check-raised on the turn on an ace-high board with ace-queen. Palmero92 called with pocket sevens, which went nicely with the third seven on the flop. N0sferatv out in eighth.

The short stacks kept at it, Ohljo shoving, then TheKhopMan, then even Palmero92 had a crack, ahead of dr.Cooley, TheKhopMan and TheKhopMan again. As the blinds increased there was no mistaking a hurried atmosphere, like a crowd of people at the bottom of a busy escalator, unable to see their feet but keen to get a move on without stumbling, or worse, getting sucked under. Finally, Elementx8 broke their fall, out in seventh when his ace-six was trampled on by Jaggalo1231's seven-deuce, the seven doing it for him on the flop.

There followed more double-ups -- two for dr.Cooley -- before TheKhopMan flopped an ace to take more chips from Palmero92, who, as chip leader, was obliging with calls, only to find there was nothing to benefit him other than an unwanted reputation for generosity. He would be frustrated further, again by dr.Cooley, calling dr.Cooley's all-in with a respectable ace-queen, only for dr.Cooley to table kings.

Then some dealing

It was this kind of conduct that prompted talk of a deal. Bruised, but whose stack of 27 million was still out front by some way, Palmero92 stood to do well and asked for a deal based on chip numbers rather than icm. Quietly alarmed, Ohljo suggested it might be nice to see both. Publically alarmed Jaggalo1231 was emphatic.

"icm or gtfo," he said. I think that means "great time for openness."

TheKhopMan was happy with the openness, Palmero92 not so much. Based on chips he was owed $205,000. On icm it was more like $165,000. He had to disagree he said, especially so when Jaggalo1231refused to give anything up. So they played on. At least until Jaggalo1231departed seconds after the re-start, unlucky when JNandez87, holding ace-jack, flopped a jack to out run Jaggalo1231's ace-queen.

Almost immediately the mood of the table changed.

"gl to him," said JNandez87 with no shortage of riddance. "Wanna see numbers now?" suggested Ohljo, and they all did happily ever after.

TheKhopMan was one of the principle beneficiaries as one of the short stacks, bending over backwards to please chip leader Palmero92. "I defer to you," he 'd say, in the manner of a footman on his last chance after being caught stealing the good silver. He was safe in the knowledge he'd effectively doubled what he would have taken home.
So with the numbers rubber-stamped and everyone better off, play resumed.

dr.Cooley was soon out in fifth, his sixes no match for JNandez87's aces. Seconds later TheKhopMan followed, hardly minding that his fours were out raced by JNandez87's king-nine.

Ohljo would double up twice, pushing Palmero92 into third place, which had seemed impossible minutes before. But even that would not prevent him departing next, Ohljo losing big posts to both opponents before his pair of queens on the flop was outkicked by Palmero92, busting him in third.

Heads up

JNandez87 - 40.6 million
Palmero92 - 42.3 million

There would be nearly an hour of heads-up play, during which JNandez87 proved himself to be a formidable heads-up player. He'd soon worked his stack up to 60 million, leaving Palmero92 the rest.

Occasionally he'd let Palmero92 back in again, but only in order to start taking them back again. Palmero92 almost managed to take the initiative after the hand below which swung the lead back his way, a thriller that looked to place Palmero92 in pole for good.

Did that change everything? Was Palmero92 to be restored to his place at the top of the pile? Not quite. Soon JNandez87 was ahead again by virtue of a series of well-crafted hands. Then a full house brought JNandez87 back to within sight of the prize.

From then on there would only be one winner, JNandez87 relying on a pair of kings to earn his first WCOOP crown.

Congratulations to JNandez87 on victory in event number 43, and commiserations to Palmero92.

WCOOP 2013: Event #43, $215 NL Hold'em
8,313 entrants
$1,662,600 total prize pool ($1 million guaranteed)
1,080 places paid

1st place. JNandez87 (Switzerland) - $179,741.36*
2nd place. Palmero92 (Germany) - $184,569.27*
3rd place. Ohljo (Bulgaria) - $108,144.13*
4th place. TheKhopMan (Ireland) - $122,348.99*
5th place. dr.Cooley (Greece) - $127,384.99*
6th place. jaggalo1231 (Czech Republic) - $51,540.60
7th place. elementx8 (New Zealand) - $35,745.90
8th place. N0sferatv (Hungary) - $19,951.20
9th place. trickjump1 (Japan) - $12,885.15

*denotes five way deal.

There are still 20 2013 WCOOP events left to decide, meaning there's plenty left up for grabs.

Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.

Stephen Bartley
@StephenBartley in WCOOP