WCOOP 2014: Aggression wins the day for Face333X in Event #57, $215 FL Hold'em (6-Max)

Limit hold'em players always get a couple of moments in the sun with their favorite game during every PokerStars COOP series. But unlike with its no-limit cousin, there comes a point in every schedule when limit's time has come to an end for the season. That point is here for WCOOP 2014, now that Event #57 has played out and crowned Germany's Face333X its champion.

The tournament, a $215 6-max affair, kicked off at 2 p.m. ET and drew 694 players in all. That built a $138,800 prize pool to be split among the top 90 finishers, with prizes running from $360.88 all the way up to $24,984. The stakes started at 50/100 and advanced every 20 minutes for nine hours and 10 minutes. Team PokerStars Pro's Christophe de Muelder was around for most of that time but eventually bowed out of the penultimate table in 11th place ($1,804.40).

After four more eliminations the stakes were up to 12K/24K, and these six players were still in the game:

Seat 1: chippen91 (517,989 in chips)
Seat 2: Face333X (721,993 in chips)
Seat 3: AceSpades11 (509,732 in chips)
Seat 4: sandman201 (1,047,354 in chips)
Seat 5: vitapur (406,986 in chips)
Seat 6: joaoMathias (265,946 in chips)

WCOOP-57 2014 ft.jpg

Brazil's joaoMathias was appearing at a second WCOOP final table this week. The first one, in Event #49, ended in 7th place. This one was guaranteed end in a higher placing from the 6-max format alone, but the Brazilian player had an uphill climb toward bigger money as the incoming short stack at 265K.

At the other end of the leaderboard were Canada's Thomas "sandman201" Tyler, a past SCOOP champion in no-limit hold'em, and German player Face333X, with 40+ and 30+ big bets apiece. They clashed early and often once the stakes went up to 16K/32K, with the leader growing richer as a result. sandman201 won a 306K-chip pot early after three-betting on the button with T♣ 9♣, flopping a gutshot straight draw, and getting there on the turn. One orbit later came another worth 280K, also won after a button three-bet, this one with 3♠ 3♦ after turning a set. Face333X managed to prey on the rest of the table to hold steady, though, and won 232K against sandman201 without showdown on a Q♣ 4♠ T♠ 8♦ 4♥ board.

The low end of the chip counts was getting more crowded, meanwhile, with joaoMathias down to 151K and Norway's chippen91 at 181K. The Norwegian was the first to end up all-in, after raising the button with A♦ T♦ and getting a call from AceSpades11 with T♠ 9♥ in the big blind. The flop came T♣ 5♦ 8♦ to give both players top pair, and the race was on. The J♦ turn and 7♣ river made a straight for AceSpades11, too late to beat chippen91's flush for the 371K-chip pot.

That put chippen91 in position to score a knockout 10 hands later from the big blind. joaoMathias opened the action with a raise to 32K in the small blind, which chippen91 called with K♣ 8♠ to bring a 8♣ 3♦ 3♣ flop. joaoMathias led out there and chippen91 raised, with the Brazilian ending up all-in and showing down 7♠ 7♦. In need of one of the other two sevens in the deck, joaoMathias got the J♠ and A♥ instead and left in 6th place ($4,164).

chippen away

Soon the stakes were up to 20K/40K, with these stacks in play:

Seat 1: chippen91 (467,924 in chips)
Seat 2: Face333X (953,993 in chips)
Seat 3: AceSpades11 (585,743 in chips)
Seat 4: sandman201 (1,015,354 in chips)
Seat 5: vitapur (446,986 in chips)

sandman201 and Face333X continued to take the lead in the betting and claimed most of the pots to start the new level. AceSpades11 was able to claw away a few pots worth 260K and 180K, taking both of the bigger stacks back under a million chips. Then sandman201 won five out of six pots, with four of them ranging from 210K to 370K in size, to surge back ahead of the field with 1.51M. That run started with a T♥ 3♦ T♦ flop that pitted sandman201's K♠ T♠ against chippen91's K♦ Q♦ and turned into a 370K-chip pot.

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chippen91 was left with 147K and a desperate need to double up as the stakes advanced to 25K/50K, but the big pots were going to other players at the table. AceSpades11 won 412K with A♦ 7♦ against sandman201 after flopping top pair and hanging on through the 5♠ 2♠ 7♠ J♦ 6♦ board. Then vitapur picked up K♠ K♥ in the big blind against sandman201's small blind raise and walked away with 400K. chippen91 managed to double to 349K through vitapur with A♣ K♠ against K♥ 5♥ when both players flopped top pair, but turned around and dropped most of that in a three-way pot that had been pushed to four bets before the flop. Only chippen91 hung around the entire K♦ Q♦ 3♠ T♥ 7♦ board, mucking when Face333X showed A♣ K♠ for top pair and the 600K-chip pot.

That left chippen91 with just 86K, which all went in the middle before the flop with J♣ T♣ two hands later after opening under the gun and re-raising AceSpades11's third bet on the button. The German's K♠ K♥ promptly fell behind on the T♦ J♥ 8♦ flop but picked up additional outs to a straight with the 9♥ on the turn. Then came the 9♣ on the river, making AceSpades11 a better two pair and knocking chippen91 out in 5th place ($6,940).

From four to two

The top three players were clustered together now:

Seat 2: Face333X (1,006,993 in chips)
Seat 3: AceSpades11 (564,939 in chips)
Seat 4: sandman201 (1,005,430 in chips)
Seat 5: vitapur (892,638 in chips)

Soon AceSpades11 muddled the picture even further, calling three bets in the big blind with A♦ 6♦, then flopping a flush draw and getting there on the turn. Face333X stayed for the entire 7♦ 5♦ K♠ 8♦ Q♥ board but mucked on the river, bringing all four players on the table within six big bets of one another. But as the level played out, sandman201 (1.23M) and Face333X (1.09M) resumed their familiar positions ahead of the crowd.

The 30K/60K level arrived, and with it a skid for sandman201. There were no particularly dramatic losses early on, just a big bet here and there lost to the blinds or a bust flush draw. But then came a pot where sandman201, who started with 930K, three-bet from the small blind after AceSpades11 raised on the button. sandman201 took the lead on the 2♥ J♦ J♠ flop and A♣ turn, and AceSpades11 simply called both bets. But AceSpades11 raised on the river, then showed down Q♠ J♥ for trip jacks and the 630K-chip pot after sandman201 called.

Left with 630K, sandman201 again began to slowly bleed chips to the blinds, dropping to 480K. Then came a pot where the Canadian re-raised AceSpades11's opening raise, bet the Q♣ T♥ 5♥ flop, checked behind on the 9♠ turn, and called on the 9♣ river. AceSpades11 showed down J♥ J♠, good for the 405K-chip pot. That dropped sandman201 to 300K, and a little more bleeding shrank that stack further to 135K.

Then sandman201 kicked off a hand in the big blind with 8♣ 7♦ and called Face333X's button raise to catch a gutshot straight draw on the T♦ J♥ 6♣ flop. sandman201 led out and ended up all-in on the third bet, facing down against Face333x's pair of sixes with A♣ 6♥. There were plenty of winners left in the deck for sandman201, but the 5♦ on the turn and T♣ on the river weren't among them, bringing the Canadian player's tournament to an end in 4th place ($9,716).

Face333X now had 50 percent more chips than both opponents combined:

Seat 2: Face333X (2,084,923 in chips)
Seat 3: AceSpades11 (632,439 in chips)
Seat 5: vitapur (752,638 in chips)

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AceSpades11 immediately made a move upward, taking a 510K-chip pot down on the first hand of three-handed play after raising on the button with A♠ 5♦, catching a pair of fives, and turning a flush draw. The draw never got there, but the fives were good at showdown on the 5♠ 7♣ Q♠ 2♠ 2♣ board.

AceSpades11 won four of the next six pots and otherwise continued to trade the bigger pots off with Face333X. vitapur still won a few pots, but they were small and not enough to hold back the tide. Finally the Canadian picked up 4♣ 4♥ in the small blind and got four bets in both before and after the 9♠ 8♠ 3♥ flop. vitapur's last 17K went in on the J♦ turn and was in need when AceSpades11 showed down A♥ 8♦ for a pair of eights. The 7♠ on the turn didn't make the set vitapur needed, sending the Canadian to the rail in 3rd place ($13,880).

Staying aggressive

Face333X had the advantage as heads-up play began:

Seat 2: Face333X (2,249,923 in chips)
Seat 3: AceSpades11 (1,220,077 in chips)

AceSspades11 won 600K on the first pot of heads-up play. After three-betting from the big blind and leading on the 9♣ 5♣ 4♥ flop, the Canadian led on the 6♦ turn and then called a raise by Face333X. AceSpades11 then led again on the Q♥ river and got Face333X to fold.

That brought AceSpades11 to within 420K of Face333X's leading stack, but that would be as close as the match ever got. Face333X won six of the next eight pots to expand on the beginning lead and take AceSpades11's stack down to 1.07M. With that firm lead, Face333X began to bob and weave, backing away whenever AceSpades11 showed aggression and pressing the issue after hitting hands.

WCOOP-57 2014 ft hu.jpg

After another stretch winning five of six pots, AceSpades11 was left with 495K and the stakes going up to 40K/80K. The Canadian stayed alert for opportunities to pick up chips and tried to just that from the big blind after calling Face333X's raise to see a 9♠ T♥ Q♣ flop. AceSpades11 check-called there with K♦ 6♥ and then check-raised the 4♥ flop, but Face333X didn't go away. AceSpades11 continued to tell the same story with a bet on the river, but Face333X called with A♠ T♣ for tens and fours and won the 720K chips in the middle.

That left AceSpades11 with just 135K, which was down to 115K two hands later when the Canadian three-bet it all-in from the big blind, holding Q♠ 4♣. That was actually ahead of the 9♠ 8♣ that Face333X had opened with on the button, and it stayed there through the A♣ A♠ K♦ flop and J♥ turn. But the 9♦ made a pair of nines for Face333X, busting AceSpades11 in 2nd place ($18,738) and bringing the tournament to a close.

Face333X stayed aggressive throughout the final table, leading to a first career WCOOP title. It came with a $24,984 prize, plus the gold champion's bracelet and a spot in the WCOOP annals alongside the best in online poker. Congratulations on the accomplishment!

WCOOP 2014: Event #57, $215 Limit Hold'em
694 entrants
$138,800 prize pool
90 places paid

1st place: Face333X (Germany) $24,984
2nd place: AceSpades11 (Canada) $18,738
3rd place: vitapur (Canada) $13,880
4th place: Thomas "sandman201" Tyler (Canada) $9,716
5th place: chippen91 (Norway) $6,940
6th place: joaoMathias (Brazil) $4,164

There's still one more chance for limit hold'em players to grab WCOOP gold this year. Check the WCOOP schedule for information on satellites to Event #60 and the rest of WCOOP 2014's final weekend.

Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in WCOOP