WCOOP Challenge Series: TsubasaOO leads final 81 after Main Event Day 1

The three-day, eight-event World Championship of Online Poker Challenge saw huge fields and big prize pools over the last three days, with all eyes directed toward the culminating two-day Main Event that kicked off on Sunday afternoon. A $2,100 buy-in no-limit hold'em affair, the tourney sported a big $3 million guarantee to entice players to come out. The schedule called for play to continue until 81 players remained on Sunday's Day 1, at which point TsubasaOO of Germany ended play with the chip lead as the only player to have built the 15,000-chip starting stack to more than 1 million.

From 1,541 to 198

As the first hands were dealt more than 700 players had registered. But with a lengthy late registration period of four hours the field was sure to continue expanding into the early evening.

Halfway into that late registration period the number of total players registered had indeed doubled to more than 1,400, which meant that $3 million guarantee was close to being eclipsed as the prize pool continued to build. By then Team Online member Shane "shaniac" Schleger had claimed an early spot inside the top five in the counts, with his teammate Ike Haxton having also gotten off to a good start to double his stack and move into the top 100.

Two more hours passed and late registration finally came to a close, and when the final numbers were tallied there were 1,541 total entrants, thus building a guarantee-beating prize pool of $3,082,000. The top 198 finishers would be dividing that big bundle, with a first prize of $516,235 scheduled to go to the winner on Monday barring a final table deal.

By that four-hour mark the field had already been whittled to less than 1,000, with Charles "Chilax Chuck" Sylvestre sitting atop the counts with more than 125,000, one of only two players along with Dimon_77_rus who'd cracked the six-figure mark chip wise.

By then Schleger had suffered a setback in a hand versus SafryginDro to slip down in the counts, then in the tourney's fifth hour the latter took the last of shaniac's stack to end his run. Schleger joined Team PokerStars Pros Theo "Theo J" Jorgensen, Jose "nachobarbero" Barbero, Humberto "Humberto B." Brenes, Andre "aakkari" Akkari, Jake Cody, Martin "AABenjaminAA" Hruby, and Maxim Lykov on the virtual rail as the tourney continued.

They carried onward to the tourney's six-hour mark, at which point 440 players remained with JNandez87, Dimon_77_rus, and UncleAnte9 having moved to the top spots on the leaderboard as the only players with more than 200,000 chips. Other Team PokerStars Pros had fallen by then, including Lex Veldhuis, Joe "jcada99" Cada, and Mattias "mattidm" de Meulder, as did Team Online members Marc-Andre "FrenchDawg" Ladouceur and George "Jorj95" Lind III.

By then Charles "Chilax Chuck" Sylvestre had slid back down the counts as well before being eliminated. Following him would be Team PokerStars Pro Eugene Katchalov and Team Online members Randy "nanonoko" Lew and Ike Haxton, all of whom fell shy of the final 300.

By the eight-hour mark nearly a hundred more had fallen, bringing the tournament close to the money bubble. geek128 had moved into the top spot by then with a stack of almost 400,000, with Nur1ck and JNandez87 in the next two spots and Dimon_77_rus and UncleAnte9 still near the top and rounding out the top five. The bursting came and went shortly thereafter, with schmette of Austria the unfortunate 199th-place finisher to fall one spot shy of the cash.

From 198 to 81

Over the next hour-plus he field was carved down further, with John "kleath" Leathart (198th, $3,544.30), Christopher "NigDawG" Brammer (192nd, $3,544.30), Ravi "govshark2" Raghavan (186th, $3,544.30), Bryan "Brryann" Ruiter (174th, $3,689.40), Jonathan "Poker Own U" Bardier (171st, $3,852.50), Chris "Run dat Game" Lovett (142nd, $4,314.80), Michael "Skammes" Tureniec (129th, $4,468.90), Leandro "leopeluca" Csome (128th, $4,468.90), Isaac "westmenloAA" Baron (126th, $4,623), and Sam "SamSquid" Grafton (120th, $4,623) among the cashers.


Sam "SamSquid" Grafton

Meanwhile both Team PokerStars Pro Angel Guillen and Andre "acoimbra" Coimbra of Team Online remained in the hunt, with Coimbra moving in and out of the top 10 frequently as play wound down for the night. They pushed toward the nine-and-a-half-hour mark as the field shrunk to 82, with Ana Marquez (100th, $5,239.40) and EPT10 Barcelona High Roller champion Thomas "WushuTM" Muhlocker (96th, $5,547.60) among the last knockouts of the night.


Thomas "WushuTM" Muhlocker

Soon came Day 1's final elimination as Tommy "Tmoney0209" Miller got the last of his chips in on a 6♣J♦T♣ flop with Q♠Q♥ only to have run into the J♠T♥ of TsubasaOO. Miller's queens failed to improve on the turn and river, and he finished in 82nd for a $5855.80 cash. Take a look:

That huge pot of nearly 830,000 moved Tsubasa00 up over the 1 million-chip mark and into first position overnight, sneaking past geek128 who would end Day 1 in second. Meanwhile, Andre "acoimbra" Coimbra had moved back into the top 10 as play concluded.


Team Online member Andre "acoimbra" Coimbra

WCOOP Challenge 8: $2,100 NLHE Main Event, Day 1 chip leaders

1. TsubasaOO (Germany) -- 1,060,986
2. geek128 (Canada) -- 995,293
3. lasagnaaammm (Malta) -- 834,424
4. FaNjkEEE (Ukraine) -- 716,512
5. Yoo4 (Russia) -- 664,827
6. jobetzu (Finland) -- 585,921
7. babecallme (Finland) -- 504,849
8. B4d3m3!st3r (Germany) -- 491,095
9. Team Online member Andre "acoimbra" Coimbra (Portugal) -- 482,888
10. Face333X (Germany) -- 458,359

Team PokerStars Pro Angel Guillen still remains as well in 61st place overnight with a stack of 172,331, a bit shy of the current average of 285,370.

Play resumes at 15:30 ET on Monday in the middle of Level 25 (blinds 3,500/7,000, ante 875) and will march forward through 20-minute levels until a winner is found. Follow along on PokerStars tomorrow to see who takes down the WCOOP Main Event Challenge, and be sure to come back to the PokerStars blog as well for a full recap of all the action.

Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.

Martin Harris
@hardboiledpoker in WCOOP