WCOOP 2013: Tha Giggy transcends five hour marathon to win Event #11 ($320 NLHE Ante-Up)
The origin of the Ante-Up format of no-limit Texas hold'em is not fully known. One theory is that it was devised by the computer in War Games (WOPR) to take so long that it would leave no time for nuclear war. Others say it originated among an ancient order of Himalayan monks. Finding their daily propitiation of towing Buicks on cords attached to their testicles to be wanting, they sought a more agonizing pursuit. And so the Ante-Up format was born. It's just a rumour of course, but no other tournament structure includes such a lengthy ordeal. Just ask the winner of Event 11, Tha Giggy.
Tha Giggy was always going to win Event 11 of WCOOP. He knew it. Everyone else knew it. It was just that it would take him a full five hours and one minute to do it.
He took the lead within half an hour of the final table starting, and from then on would not give it up, barring one Hail Mary play after which Lunalaikanb1snatched it from him. But so dizzied was Lunalaikanb1 for managing it, he promptly dropped it like it was on fire, and never came close to it again.
The final table begins
So steadfast was Tha Giggy's performance that it could only have been the result of an extended period meditation, and perhaps that Buick. Here's how the final table looked long, long ago.
Seat 1. OMGjonyctt, 355,103
Seat 2. Hookahey78, 246,329
Seat 3. Tha Giggy, 1,419,809
Seat 4. Flaszeczka, 638,966
Seat 5. Lunalaikanb1, 868,035
Seat 6. AJSuited16, 1,656,169
Seat 7. Rmntaw4ever, 106,646
Seat 8. Yara777, 787,125
Seat 9. BdBeatslayer, 459,808
From among them several players had first-hand experience to rely on in such circumstances, or were high stakes players. Flaszeczka was a former TCOOP winner, while BdBeatslayer is a former Sunday Million champion. Most obvious though was OMGjonyctt in seat one, who only yesterday won Event #9 of WCOOP and a first prize of $216,000.
Alas, that proved no use tonight. Within minutes of the start OMGjonyctt was the first faller, running tens into the queens of Tha Giggy. Aside from Tha Giggy seizing the lead, in part owing to a pot worth half a million chips against Yara777, it would be nearly an hour before there was any more movement, and when it came it sent two players to the rail - Rmntaw4ever in eighth and BdBeatslayer in seventh.
They were followed by Flaszeczka in sixth place, whose queens and eights were flattened by Tha Giggy's trips.
Tha Giggy would add more to his stack, so too Lunalaikanb1, but boy, was progress slow.
That there were 1,000 people watching at times was testimony to the quality of play, and the esteem in which these contests are held. But when Yara777 went out in fifth place, king-queen into Lunalaikanb1's jacks, it had not come without a long, long session of poker, which to play under such pressure must have been exhausting.
AJSuited16 may have thought so, for he soon proposed a deal. Anyone thinking this was a white flag of sorts has yet to grasp the seriousness of the Ante-Up format. But Tha Giggy was having none of it. In front, and comfortable, he'd pulled his Buick too far to give anything away now.
His lead was sizeable:
Tha Giggy - 3.1 million
Lunalaikanb1- 1.5 million
AJSuited16 -- 1.45 million
Hookahey78 - 379,000
Hookahey78's task had been hardest. Occasionally he would look down at his stack, count his static big blinds, and figure that having 55,000 of them meant it was time to push. Either no one would call his three-bet shove or he'd double up, but only enough to survive another round or two.
Eventually he did go in fourth, Tha Giggy despatching him to the rail.
Three-handed play would last two hours and 22 minutes. Time had somehow stood still. As the antes slowly increased every 20 minutes, the effect they had seemed to lessen. The chips would occasionally fly around a bit, the odd strafe reducing AJSuited16's stack, or that of Lunalaikanb1's but never Tha Giggy's. He would fluctuate between three or four million leaving the others to split the rest.
As mentioned earlier Tha Giggy did drop the lead, in a knock-your-drink-over three-way all-in hand which is worth recalling.
But within minutes had regained the lead. He topped 4.6 million at the next break, leaving AJSuited16 few options but the inevitable shove.
With Lunalaikanb1 trailing nearly three-to-one the white flag of common sense went up again.
But Tha Giggy, now transcending everything in a state of blissful meditation, said play. And they did. That it would be over in ten minutes was at least a humane end for Lunalaikanb1, who lost a million chip pot, and then this one, to concede victory to Tha Giggy.
Suddenly it was all over. Five hours had passed, in which time the railbirds, the 850 or so who were left, would have felt, like I did, a sense of withdrawal. Now what do we do? The answer is not difficult to find. It's to turn our attention to whatever is next up on the WCOOP schedule.
Congratulations to the unstoppable Tha Giggy, winner of Event 9, a WCOOP bracelet and an unadulterated first prize of $66,963.09.
WCOOP 2013: Event #11, $320 NL Hold'em (Ante-Up)
$393,900 prize pool ($250 Guaranteed)
171 places paid
1st place. Tha Giggy (Canada) $66,963.09
2nd place. lunalaikanb1 (Belgium) $49,237.50
3rd place. AJSuited16 (Costa Rica) $37,381.11
4th place. hookahey78 (Germany) $26,785.20
5th place. yara777 (Ukraine) $19,498.05
6th place. flaszeczka (Poland) $15,559.05
7th place. rmntaw4ever (Canada) $11,620.05
8th place. Bdbeatslayer (Brazil) $7,681.05
9th place. OMGjonyctt (United Kingdom) $4,254.12
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.