WCOOP 2014: OtB_RedBaron shoots down the competition in Event #44 ($10,300 NLHE High Roller, Heads-Up)

As this high roller heads-up shootout headed into its penultimate round, Dan "djk123" Kelly still had a record fifth WCOOP title in his sights. However, a giant obstacle loomed from above-- a gutsy Belgian who put the young American ex-pat to the test on only the third hand of their semifinal match. Facing a decision for his tournament life, Kelly folded when OtB_RedBaron shoved the river and never quite recovered his mojo. OtB_RedBaron claimed the rest of Kelly's stack and went on to face ForTheSwaRMm in the final round. ForTheSwaRMm had already defeated his own Goliath in the semis, feared heads-up specialist Ben "Ben86" Tollerene, but after 17+ hours of play, he couldn't make it past OtB_RedBaron, who came away with his first WCOOP title and a $224,000.00 payday.

64 of the world's top heads-up NLHE players entered Event #44, driving the final prize pool up to $640,000.00. 8 places were paid with the champion set to earn $224,000.00. Team Pros ElkY and Vicky Coren along with Team Online's Alex "Kanu7" Millar and Ike Haxton bought in, but unfortunatley were all eliminated in the first round. Others who fell by the wayside en route to the final eight included Shaun Deeb, Dan "w00ki3z" Cates, Sami "Lrslzk" Kelopuro, Bryn Kenney, Ole "wizowizo" Schemion, Jonathan "Iftarii" Jaffe, and Ami "UhhMee" Barer.

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THE QUARTERFINALS (Round of 8)

Dan "djk123" Kelly def. FMyLife

Four-time WCOOP champ Kelly put away FMyLife in only 19 minutes. Still playing with 25/50 blinds, Kelly opened K♣J♠ for 125 and FMyLife three-bet to 450. Kelly called and made top pair when the flop came down J♥6♣5♠. FMyLife led out for 468 and Kelly called. The K♦ turn made Kelly top pair and FMyLife did his bidding for him, making it 1,350 to go. Again, Kelly smooth-called. The river was the 7♦ and FMyLife wasted no time moving all-in for his remaining 4,613. FMyLife's A♠K♥ went up in flames as Kelly called and punched his ticket to the semifinal round. For eighth place, FMyLife took home $40,000.00.

OtB_RedBaron def. SayNo2Racism

Moments after FMyLife hit the rail in eighth, OtB_RedBaron and SayNo2Racism's match ended on a huge cooler. OtB_RedBaron had SayNo2Racism outchipped by less than 500 when he picked up Q♠Q♥ and three-bet to 392 from the big blind. SayNo2Racism four-bet to 1,176, OtB_RedBaron came back over the top for 2,400 and SayNo2Racism called. The flop fell T♦7♣2♥ and the rest of the money went in, OtB_RedBaron firing first for 1,450 and SayNo2Racism moving in for 7,358. SayNo2Racism's J♦J♥ didn't improve and his run came to an end in seventh place ($40,000.00).

ForTheSwaRMm def. OLD TIME GIN

ForTheSwaRMm hopped out to a 3 to 2 chip lead early in this match and never looked back. With the blinds up to 30/60, OLD TIME GIN opened 3♦4♦ for 141, ForTheSwaRMm three-bet to 440 with A♣K♥ and OLD TIME GIN called. The 5♥3♥2♣ flop gave OLD TIME GIN a pair and an open-ended straight draw and he called ForTheSwaRMm's 572 lead bet. The turn came the Q♥ and ForTheSwaRMm picked up a flush draw to go with his overcards. He bet another 1,260 and OLD TIME GIN called. The 8♥ river made ForTheSwaRMm a king-high flush and he checked over to OLD TIME GIN, who moved in for 3,664. ForTheSwaRMm snap-called and advanced to the semifinals, while OLD TIME GIN had to settle for sixth place ($40,000.00).

Ben "Ben86" Tollerene def. Ben "Sauce123" Sulsky

The last quarterfinal match to finish up was contested by two high-stakes NLHE heavyweights. Ben "Sauce123" Sulsky is one of the most accomplished and feared heads-up players in the world and was the biggest cash game winner on PokerStars in 2012 with $3.6 million in earnings. However, his opponent Ben "Ben86" Tollerene knows first-hand how to win a heads-up 'COOP event; he defeated Dan "mrGR33N13" Colman in the final match of the 2013 SCOOP $21,000 Heads-Up NLHE event and banked $200,401.00 for the win.

Three hours after their match began, Sauce123 and Ben86 were dead even in chips. It was only when the blinds rose to 80/160 that one player at last gained a bit of traction. Holding K♠K♦, Ben86 opened for 400 on the button and Sauce123 called. The flop came down 8♦7♣3♠ and Sauce123 checked to Ben86, who bet 533. Sauce123 raised to 1,407, Ben86 shipped 7,469 and Sauce123 called, his Q♠8♠ in dire shape. Sauce123 didn't get any help from the 6♥ turn or the 5♣ river and slipped to 4,262 in chips while Ben86 doubled to 15,738.

Sauce123 slipped to only 2,297 at the 100/200 level, but doubled through Ben86 when his pocket jacks held up against K♣6♣. Ben86 whittled Sauce123 back down to 10.5 big blinds, but he survived another preflop all-in when his A♦3♠ flopped trips and turned quads vs. Ben86's K♦J♠. This match at last reached a conclusion when Sauce123 moved in for his last 2,347 with Q♠J♠ and Ben86 called with A♠8♠. Ben86's ace-high held up on the 7♣6♠2♣9♦2♠ board and with a simple "gg," Sauce123 departed in fifth place ($40,000.00).

THE SEMIFINALS (Round of 4)

Dan "djk123" Kelly vs. OtB_RedBaron

OtB_RedBaron wasted no time putting djk123 to a decision for his tournament life. On Hand #3, OtB_RedBaron opened for 129 and djk123 three-bet to 450. OtB_RedBaron called and they saw a Q♥T♥5♠ flop. Djk123 led out for 360 and OtB_RedBaron called. The turn came the A♦ and djk123 fired another 891. OtB_RedBaron raised to 2,550 and djk123 looked him up. However when the Q♠ hit the river, djk123 passed to OtB_RedBaron, who moved all-in. Djk123 tanked for two minutes before he gave up his hand and elected to save his last 6,640 in chips.

However, before time ran out on the first level, djk123 retook the chip lead. After calling a preflop raise, djk123 check-called OtB_RedBaron's flop and turn bets on a T♦8♦3♠Q♥ board. When the K♥ rivered, djk123 checked a third time, OtB_RedBaron bet 1,150 and djk123 raised to 3,838. OtB_RedBaron called, only to muck when djk123 revealed J♥9♦ for a king-high straight. Djk123 moved up to 11,742 in chips while OtB_RedBaron slipped to 8,258.

OtB_RedBaron retook the chip lead in Level 2. On a Q♠J♥9♠ flop, OtB_RedBaron check-raised djk123's 210-chip bet to 630 and djk123 called. The turn was the 6♦ and OtB_RedBaron made it 1,669 to go. Again, djk123 called. The river fell the 3♣ and OtB_RedBaron moved all-in for 7,002. Djk123 gave up his hand and fell to 8,100 in chips.

Djk123 was down to 4,823 by Level 3. Holding 5♥8♥, he made a light three-bet preflop and OtB_RedBaron called with A♥3♥. Both players picked up flush draws on the Q♥9♥6♣ flop and the rest of their chips went in, djk123 making the final raise. Djk123 needed a five or an eight to survive, but the turn and river brought the K♠ and the K♣, ending his quest for a record fifth WCOOP bracelet. For fourth place, djk123 took home $64,000.00.

ForTheSwaRMm def. Ben "Ben86" Tollerene

ForTheSwarRMm and Ben86 kept the match pretty even until the last hand of Level 1. ForTheSwaRMm opened A♥Q♦ on the button for 125, Ben86 raised to 450 and ForTheSwaRMm four-bet to 1,050. Ben86 called and they saw a K♦Q♣6♦ flop. Both players checked. The turn came the 3♣ and Ben86 bet 1,800. ForTheSwaRMm called. The Q♥ river made ForTheSwaRMm trips and when Ben86 checked, he moved all-in for 5,472. Ben86 called with A♣K♠ and fell to 3,356 in chips while ForTheSwaRMm doubled to 16,644.

Ben86 chipped up to about 5,500, but ForTheSwaRMm successfully whittled him down to 2,129 by Level 3. Then, with the blinds up to 40/80, ForTheSwaRMm limped in on the button and Ben86 shoved with T♠4♠ from the big blind. ForTheSwaRMm called with K♣J♠, but Ben86 flopped a ten and rivered trips to double to 4,258.

A few hands later, Ben86 was down to 3,076 and limped in with A♠Q♦. ForTheSwaRMm shoved with 6♠6♦ and Ben86 snap-called. Unfortunately, Ben86 did not improve on the 9♥4♣3♦K♥4♦ board and went out in third place ($64,000.00)

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THE FINAL MATCH: OtB_RedBaron vs. ForTheSwaRMm

As the final match got underway, OtB_RedBaron suggested a deal, but ForTheSwaRMm shot down the idea.

OtB_RedBaron: hi
OtB_RedBaron: grats
OtB_RedBaron: gl
ForTheSwaRMm: u2 glgl
OtB_RedBaron: fwiw i dont mind lockin some $
ForTheSwaRMm: ride or die

OtB_RedBaron picked up momentum in Level 2 when he check-called ForTheSwaRMm's flop bet, then check-raised the turn on a J♠8♦6♣4♦ board. ForTheSwaRMm called and both players checked the 5♦ river. OtB_RedBaron turned over 7♥T♥ for an eight-high straight and moved up to 12,767 while ForTheSwaRMm fell to 7,233.

Later in the level, ForTheSwaRMm slipped below 5,000 in chips. On a 8♥5♦4♠ flop, OtB_RedBaron check-called ForTheSwaRMm's 225-chip bet, then checked again when the J♣ turned. ForTheSwaRMm bet 412, OtB_RedBaron raised to 1,470 and ForTheSwaRMm called. The river was the 3♣ and OtB_RedBaron fired out 2,915, but ForTheSwaRMm elected to fold and save his remaining 4,888.

ForTheSwaRMm never fully recovered and was sitting on 5,576 in chips when the final hand unfolded. The blinds still 30/60, OtB_RedBaron opened for 154 on the button and ForTheSwaRMm called. The flop fell 6♠4♥2♥ and ForTheSwaRMm checked. OtB_RedBaron bet 243, ForTheSwaRMm raised to 780 and OtB_RedBaron called. The turn brought the 3♠ and ForTheSwaRMm led out for 1,200. OtB_RedBaron called. When the 2♣ rivered, ForTheSwaRMm moved in for 3,442 and OtB_RedBaron looked him up. ForTheSwaRMm had complete air with 7♣8♥ and OtB_RedBaron locked up his first WCOOP title with J♥J♦.

Congratulations to Belgium's OtB_RedBaron on defeating one of the 2014 WCOOP's toughest fields. He banked $224,000.00 for the win, while runner-up ForTheSwaRMm earned $128,000.00

WCOOP-44: $10,300 NLHE [High Roller, Heads-Up]
Entrants: 64
Prizepool:$640,000.00
Places paid: 8

1. OtB_RedBaron (Belgium) $224,000.00
2. ForTheSwaRMm (Hong Kong) $128,000.00
3. Ben "Ben86" Tollerene (Canada) $64,000.00
4. Dan "djk123" Kelly (Australia) $64,000.00
5. Ben "Sauce123" Sulsky (Canada) $40,000.00
6. OLD TIME GIN (Canada) $40,000.00
7. SayNo2Racism (Russia) $40,000.00
8. FMyLife (United Kingdom) $40,000.00

Kristin Bihr is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog.

Kristin Bihr
@PokerStars in WCOOP