WCOOP 2014: Lateski right on time for $488K win in Event #45, $2,100 NLHE

At the $2,100 buy-in level, Event #45 sported one of the largest buy-ins of the entire 2014 World Championship of Online Poker. Only a handful of high roller events and the Main Event cost more to enter, making this one of the more attractive tournaments on the schedule for bagging a big score. It turned out to be a big score, indeed, worth $488,095 to the Finnish player who came out ahead more than 36 hours after the tournament began.

Day 1 of this two-day event kicked off with 15,000-chip starting stacks, 25/50 blinds, and 30-minute levels. That drew a field of 1,457 players and built a $2,910,000 prize pool that nearly doubled the $1.5 million guarantee. The top 198 players earned at least $3,351.10, with $488K at the top for the winner. The first day of play ended with these 10 players at the top of the heap:

1. poosnack11 (Canada) 419,501 chips
2. gkap13 (Greece) 357,639
3. Lateski (Finland) 351,916
4. Pro1612 (Germany) 351,746
5. RJules12 (Costa Rica) 343,798
6. badbeatman06 (Mexico) 332,073
7. KKremate (Brazil) 317,975
8. hwtd1 (Canada) 297,944
9. GoToCa$hier (Portugal) 293,786
10. ZeelandBoy (Malta) 291,710

In the end just three of those top 10 players from the beginning of Day 2 - those sitting in 3rd, 7th, and 9th overall - would stick around long enough to see the final table.

Team Online's Naoya "nkeyno" Kihara wasn't near the top when Day 2 began, but he managed to maneuver his short stack into contention as the field shortened to four, three, and then two tables. Living so close to the edge, he was very nearly the final table bubble boy in this event. He got all-in before the flop with pocket sevens against the pocket aces held by Portugal's GoToCa$hier as one of the shortest of the 10 remaining stacks, only to catch a seven on the turn and double right back into contention.

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A break on the bubble helped Naoya Kihara in Event #45

A few orbits later Kihara's A♥ J♣ lost out to the all-in FaceStealer's K♣ J♠ as the latter hit a straight, but Kihara had enough enough momentum left to cruise into the final table. It kicked off at 10:47 p.m. ET, with blinds and antes at 20K/40K/5K and these nine players vying for WCOOP gold:

Seat 1: FaceStealer (1,225,958 in chips)
Seat 2: IneedMassari (717,155 in chips)
Seat 3: thagrinda444 (3,161,512 in chips)
Seat 4: AJacejackAJ (4,117,676 in chips)
Seat 5: nkeyno (1,318,717 in chips)
Seat 6: Lateski (3,891,392 in chips)
Seat 7: GoToCa$hier (860,795 in chips)
Seat 8: KungKroon (3,284,372 in chips)
Seat 9: KKremate (3,277,423 in chips)

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The calm, and then the storm

More than an hour would go by before the first elimination, but it wasn't for a lack of action. Sweden's KungKroon chipped away at Canada's thagrinda444 early, but then the Canadian struck back and doubled up to 4.03M with K♠ K♥ against the A♣ 5♠ of fellow Canadian (and Event #37 champion) AJacejackAJ. thagrinda444 ran T♣ T♥ into FaceStealer's A♣ A♥, giving the Costa Rican player a double to 2.15M, and past SCOOP champ GoToCa$hier doubled to 2.72M with J♦ J♥ against Brazilian KKremate's A♦ Q♥ after flopping a set.

Naoya Kihara got in on the action in a great spot for a double-up, too, moving all-in for 832K on the 30K/60K/7.5K level with K♣ K♠ to open the betting. KungKroon raised to isolate on the button and showed down A♠ K♥, which needed some help from the board to win the pot. The 5♣ T♦ J♣ gave the Swede four Broadway straight outs to go with the threes remaining aces in the deck. The 7♠ on the turn was no help, but the A♣ on the river made a pair of aces, giving KungKroon the 1.82M chips in the middle. With that, Kihara's run as the last Red Spade standing ended in 9th place ($30,014.20).

The next elimination wouldn't take nearly as long. Just three minutes after returning from the first break of the final table, with the blinds and antes newly up to 40K/80K/10K, Brazil's IneedMassari, a past WCOOP champion, came in for a relatively modest raise to 176K. AJacejackAJ was in the cutoff and made it three bets all-in for 1.12M, which got the rest of the table to fold quickly. IneedMassari snap-called with Q♦ Q♥, which was bad news for AJacejackAJ's pure bluff with 9♠ 6♠. The board fell 8♦ 2♥ A♣ T♣ J♥, the queens held up, and AJacejackAJ was gone in 8th place ($55,466).

Only 13 more minutes would be needed for the third knockout of the final table to come to pass. After 17 consecutive six-figure pots, two short stacks would face off against each other. FaceStealer opened the action with a minimum raise to 160K on the button, then called when thagrinda444 re-raised all-in to 1.13M in the big blind. FaceStealer had the advantage with 9♠ 9♥ to thagrinda444's A♥ 8♣, and the pair held up for the 2.37M-chip pot on a 6♠ 2♣ K♥ 6♦ 3♣ board. With that, thagrinda444 left the tournament in 7th place ($84,506).

Six ways to Tuesday

After that relatively quick burst of activity, the chips were distributed like so:

Seat 1: FaceStealer (2,841,401 in chips)
Seat 2: IneedMassari (4,061,921 in chips)
Seat 6: Lateski (4,097,705 in chips)
Seat 7: GoToCa$hier (3,254,850 in chips)
Seat 8: KungKroon (3,275,155 in chips)
Seat 9: KKremate (4,323,968 in chips)

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Everybody had at least 35 big blinds to work with, and the 30-minute levels meant there was plenty of room for patient play. As a result, it would take another hour before the next knockout came along. Lateski survived an all-in moment with K♥ K♠ against KKremate's A♦ Q♦, good for a double to 3.76M, then won another 2.2M pot from the Brazilian to move into the chip lead. But other than that the confrontations mostly stayed small.

There were no more all-in confrontations until 1:18 a.m. ET, on the 60K/120K/15K level, when KungKroon opened for 240K under the gun and FaceStealer jammed for 1.7M in the cutoff. KungKroon was the only caller and showed A♣ K♥, which had FaceStealer's A♦ T♦ dominated. Both players' kickers played on the 3♦ 8♣ 8♥ 5♥ 4♣ board. KungKroon's king won the 3.67M-chip pot, and FaceStealer was out in 6th place ($113,646).

The next 18 minutes saw GoToCa$hier grab three seven-figure pots to move up to the lead with 7.87M chips. Then the Portuguese player had the chance to knock out KKremate, calling for 1.3M total after opening for 270K and having the Brazilian move all-in from the small blind. GoToCa$hier's A♥ T♦ had the lead but lost out on the 2.79M-chip pot when KKremate's K♥ Q♦ caught good on the Q♥ 9♦ 8♣ 7♥ 9♥ board.

GoToCa$hier jumped right back ahead a few hands later with another seven-figure pot, this one won on the turn without a showdown. But the Portuguese player reached new heights on a hand with nearly identical action to the last big win. GoToCa$hier opened for 270K under the gun with 8♣ 8♥ and then called after IneedMassari jammed in the small blind for 2.64M with A♦ K♦. The eights were under siege from the J♣ Q♠ 4♣ flop, which gave IneedMassari eight outs twice. But The J♠ turn and 4♥ river were safe, and IneedMassari hit the rail in 5th place ($142,786).

The haves and the have-nots

That left the last four players broken into clear strata:

Seat 6: Lateski (6,758,840 in chips)
Seat 7: GoToCa$hier (9,312,384 in chips)
Seat 8: KungKroon (3,001,742 in chips)
Seat 9: KKremate (2,782,034 in chips)

The rest of the table set to the task of chipping away at GoToCa$hier's lead, and two seven-figure pots, first for KKremate and then for Lateski, actually gave the latter the chip lead. From there the balance held until the break at the end of the hour, the fourth of the final table. On the first hand back, which kicked off the 70K/140K/17.5K level, that lead would serve Lateski well.

The Finn opened the hand in question with an opening raise to 291K on the button, then called KungKroon's re-raise to 2.47M in the big blind. Lateski called with 3♦ 3♠, and the classic race with KungKroon's Q♦ J♥ was on. The board came down A♦ [54c] 5♣ 8♥ K♥, the treys were good, and KungKroon departed in 4th place ($198,152).

That gave Lateski 10.7M chips to GoToCa$hier's 8.09M and KKremate's 3.04M as a lively period of three-handed play commenced. GoToCa$hier jumped into the lead thanks to a 7.7M-chip pot when both players caught top pair on the 2♠ 6♣ Q♣ flop, the Portuguese player with A♦ Q♦ and Lateski, out of position, with Q♥ T♠. Then KKremate survived a flip with A♣ K♣ against GoToCa$hier's 7♠ 7♥, doubling to 4.08M and bringing the two big stacks back to within a couple of big blinds of one another. Soon enough, KKremate had taken over the lead through steady aggression.

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The key pot of three-handed play came when Lateski opened on the button for 297K and GoToCa$hier three-bet to 854K in the small blind. Lateski called with 5.81M behind, bringing a Q♦ 4♦ 6♦ flop. GoToCa$hier opened for 665K, then jammed for 7.6M after the Finn raised to 1.7M. Lateski called with Q♥ J♥ for top pair, and GoToCa$hier held A♦ 9♠ for the nut flush draw with additional outs to a pair of aces. The 6♣ turn and 4♥ river were safe for the pair of queens and Lateski survived to earn the 13.5M-chip pot.

Three minutes later the short-stacked GoToCa$hier survived a first all-in attempt, calling with A♠ K♥ after Lateski bluff-raised from the small blind with T♠ 3♦. That got the Portuguese player back to 3.11M. Five hands later GoToCa$hier was on the button and raised the minimum to 320K, getting a lone call from Lateski in the big blind. Lateski checked the 4♣ 5♥ 3♦ flop before raising all-in; GoToCa$hier called for 2.05M total with A♣ 5♣ which had the lead and stayed there after the Q♥ flop, though not without generating a bevy of outs to dodge on the river. Unfortunately for GoToCa$hier, the 6♦ was one of those outs, and Lateski won the 4.89M chips in the pot with a pair of sixes. With that, GoToCa$hier was out in 3rd place ($269,545).

End of the line

Finland had the advantage over Brazil in the heads-up chip counts:

Seat 6: Lateski (15,488,800 in chips)
Seat 9: KKremate (6,366,200 in chips)

The heads-up portion of play stood out compared to the rest of the final table, since it took just 17 minutes and 27 hands to complete. But it wasn't without its own drama.

KKremate was able to make a match of it with a 7.2M-chip win on the sixth hand of the match. The Brazilian called a Lateski raise with 8♦ 6♣, check-called a bet after picking up an open-ended draw on the 5♥ 3♦ 7♣ flop, and then led out when the Q♠ hit the turn. Lateski called that bet, but the deception disguised a nine-high straight after the 9♦ came on the river, getting the Finn to call a 2.07M-chip bet on the river. Lateski mucked, KKremate won the 7.25M-chip pot, and the two players were within 2.04M of each other.

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KKremate slipped from there but kept things close enough that one double-up could seize the lead. Twelve hands later it would, thanks to another straight, this time turned rather than rivered, and an all-in river bluff by Lateski at exactly the wrong moment. The resulting 15.2M-chip pot gave KKremate the advantage and put Lateski on the defensive. But just two hands later, a turned flush for Lateski was good enough to retake the lead after the Finn called KKremate's semi-bluff with a pair of fives and a straight draw that was drawing dead.

KKremate was left with 9M chips and still had most of it seven hands later on the button. The Brazilian opened the pot for a minimum raise to 320K and called Lateski's out-of-position three-bet to 909K, bringing a 5♣ 2♦ J♥ flop. Lateski led there, on the 5♠ turn, and on the A♠ river, and KKremate called the entire way, showing A♣ 2♣ for two pair, aces and fives. But Lateski's pre-flop raise had fidguised 7♦ 5♦ in the hole, good for trip fives and the tournament.

KKremate's final prize as runner-up was $356,965, a new career best for the former chess player. Lateski's prize, besides a spiffy WCOOP bracelet, was $488,095. Congratulations to both players for outlasting a tough field, including a four-hour final table, in this latest high-dollar WCOOP event.

WCOOP 2014: Event #45, $2,100 No-Limit Hold'em
1,457 entrants
$2,914,000 prize pool
198 places paid

1st place: Lateski (Finland) $488,095
2nd place: KKremate (Brazil) $356,965
3rd place: GoToCa$hier (Portugal) $269,545
4th place: KungKroon (Sweden) $198,152
5th place: IneedMassari (Brazil) $142,786
6th place: FaceStealer (Costa Rica) $113,646
7th place: thagrinda444 (Canada) $84,506
8th place: AJacejackAJ (Canada) $55,466
9th place: Team Online's Naoya "nkeyno" Kihara (Japan) $30,014.20

Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in WCOOP