WCOOP 2014: RahvusKala reigns, collects $137K for Event #1 win ($109 NLHE Kickoff)

It's here! The long wait has ended, and online poker's most popular annual tournament series has returned again as the 2014 World Championship of Online Poker has begun at PokerStars, getting underway Sunday with three different two-day events. Event #1, a $109 buy-in no-limit hold'em affair appropriately titled the "WCOOP Kickoff," saw more than 10,000 vying for the first title of the series, and when the last hand was dealt RahvusKala of Estonia came away with the win and a $137,289.83 first prize.

Ultimately 10,129 joined the fun in this one, building a huge $1,012,900 prize pool that well exceeded the tournament's $700K guarantee. The top 1,350 finishers divided those riches, with the top eight all guaranteed five-figure paydays and more than $100K due to go to each of the final two players. Here's the story of how RahvusKala came away with all of the chips and the biggest share of the Event #1 prize pool.

Day 1

By the six-hour break of Day 1 the money bubble had burst and just 669 players remained with fragonik, LaKabii, and Raymond "rayvanpersie" Biwott sitting atop the counts. Among the cashers to that point was Team Online member Naoya "nkeyno" Kihara who earned $232.96 for his 813th-place finish.

A little over three hours later the field had shrunk to less that 100, with RobocopAA, Sick'nSocial, and Diego "Die Ventura" Ventura the new leaders while former frontrunners fragonik (166th, $546.96), LaKabii (259th, $425.41), and Raymond "rayvanpersie" Biwott (538th, $303.87) had all been eliminated.

At last they'd finish level 30 and the end of play for Day 1, and with 32 players left luis_faria led all with a stack of more than 5.57 million, followed by Mutombooh and guanfahai. Once again the former leaders had all hit the rail, with RobocopAA (33rd, $1,975.15), Sick'nSocial (45th, $1,823.22), and Diego "Die Ventura" Ventura (69th, $1,367.41) among the fallen.

Here's how the top of the leaderboard looked overnight:

1. luis_faria (Portugal) -- 5,577,487
2. Mutombooh (Germany) -- 4,422,290
3. guanfahai (China) -- 3,023,330
4. Drogbaaaaaaa (Russia) -- 2,962,762
5. Jan "Brendy88" Brandejs (Czech Republic) -- 2,795,152
6. blinkiejans (Netherlands) -- 2,616,951
7. student210 (Russia) -- 2,481,529
8. FBurnz01 (Canada) -- 2,426,033
9. roo_400 (Canada) -- 2,062,017
10. Hasseh922 (Finland) -- 2,026,017

Day 2

The first hour of the tourney's second day saw the field shrink to 22 players, with Hassah922 the new leader and Stefan "I'am_Sound" Huber among the eliminated, having gone out in 24th for a $2,177.73 score.

An hour after that just 14 were left, with Brendy88 the new frontrunner. Recent eliminations at that point included drjushka (18th), FBurnz01 (17th), and start-of-day-2 leader luis_faria (16th), each of whom picked up $2,532.25, and lukjoch (15th) who cashed for $3,899.66.

It would take a little less than 30 minutes more for five more players to be knocked out, with vlaviusz (14th) and sixa26 (13th) each picking up $3,899.66, then whiskysalmam (12th), GrowinUp23 (11th), and guanfahai (10th) following them to earn $5,267.08 apiece for their finishes.

With Drogbaaaaaaa the new leader by a wide margin, the final table was underway.


Seat 1: RahvusKala (Estonia) -- 2,913,733
Seat 2: 7.045.pptY (Denmark) -- 3,569,336
Seat 3: Kabotajoe (Germany) -- 5,262,368
Seat 4: MG10tze (Germany) -- 4,291,708
Seat 5: call2light (Canada) -- 7,948,819
Seat 6: Hasseh922 (Finland) -- 2,461,965
Seat 7: Drogbaaaaaaa (Russia) -- 13,807,186
Seat 8: Mutombooh (Germany) -- 1,916,037
Seat 9: Brendy88 (Czech Republic) -- 8,473,848

Mutombooh booted in ninth

On the fourth hand of the final table, the blinds were 70,000/140,000 when leader Drogbaaaaaaa opened for 280,000 from the button, Mutombooh reraised all in for 1,706,037 from the small blind, and Drogbaaaaaaa called.

Mutombooh needed help with K♣9♠ versus Drogbaaaaaaa's A♥J♠, but the 6♥A♦3♥6♠3♠ board didn't provide it and Mutombooh was out in ninth.

Hasseh922 hits rail in eighth

A few minutes later Drogbaaaaaaa would be claiming another final table victim by knocking out Hasseh922 in eighth.

The blinds had increased to 80,000/160,000, and after Hasseh922 had open-pushed all in for 1,689,465 from the cutoff seat Drogbaaaaaaa was the only caller from the button. Hasseh922 had K♠T♠ and Drogbaaaaaaa J♠J♦.

The 2♥T♦9♥ flop gave Hasseh922 one pair, but the 8♥ turn and 8♣ river kept Drogbaaaaaaa in front and sent Hasseh922 out in eighth.

MG10tze sunk in seventh

The final seven pushed onward into the day's fourth hour with the blinds increasing once again to 100,000/200,000. Then a hand arose that saw MG10tze open-pushing for 2,516,078 from under the gun, Brendy88 reraising all in over the top from the cutoff, and the others folding.

MG10tze had 4♦4♥ while Brendy88 held 9♦9♥. The board came 8♠3♠2♠T♥A♠, ending MG10tze's run with a seventh-place finish.

call2light cut down in sixth

Meanwhile Drogbaaaaaaa continued to lead, eventually pushing up over 23 million -- more than three times the stack of nearest challenger Kabotajoe. "Want to deal guys?" asked Drogbaaaaaaa at one point as play proceeded, and after Brendy88 responded "not really :)" play marched on.

Not long after that exchange the blinds were 125,000/250,000 when 7.045.pptY min-raised to 500,000 from early position, call2light reraised all in for 3,922,408 from the button, and after the blinds folded 7.045.pptY called.

7.045.pptY: J♠J♥
call2light: A♥K♠

It was a race, and after the community cards came nine-high -- 5♥6♠9♣4♣9♦ -- 7.045.pptY had won, thus sending call2light out in sixth.

Kabotajoe KO'd in fifth

A couple of orbits later a short-stacked RahvusKala doubled through leader Drogbaaaaaaa, then asked the others about discussing a deal but it was Drogbaaaaaaa saying no this time.

Then with the blinds having moved up again 7.045.pptY min-raised to 600,000 from the cutoff, Kabotajoe reraised all in for 4,917,061 from the button, and 7.045.pptY called. 7.045.pptY had the better pocket pair with T♦T♥ versus Kabotajoe's 8♣8♦. The board came 6♠6♣K♣, then J♥, then T♠, improving 7.045.pptY to a full house and knocking Kabotajoe out in fifth.

Brendy88 bounced in fourth

That hand helped 7.045.pptY move ahead of Drogbaaaaaaa and into first position with four players left.

Soon a short-stacked Brendy88 doubled through Drogbaaaaaaa, then on the very next hand 7.045.pptY raised a little over 2x to 630,000 from UTG, Drogbaaaaaaa called from the button, then Brendy88 shoved for 7,316,708 from the small blind. It folded back around to Drogbaaaaaaa who called, turning over 9♦9♠ while Brendy88 showed 6♣6♦.

The board rolled out K♠4♦3♠J♥Q♥. Drogbaaaaaaa's nines had held, and Brendy88 was out in fourth.

Kings crushed, Drogbaaaaaaa's done in third

The final trio battled onward, then it appeared as though Drogbaaaaaaa was on the verge of elimination after going all in with 8♣8♥ versus the Q♠Q♦ of RahvusKala. But an eight fell on fifth street to give Drogbaaaaaaa a winning set, and the three continued.

The blinds moved up once more to 200,000/400,000, and after Drogbaaaaaaa opened from the small blind for 800,000, RahvusKala three-bet to 2 million from the big blind. Drogbaaaaaaa responded with an all-in push for 7,286,902, and RahvusKala called.

This time Drogbaaaaaaa appeared in great shape to double up with K♥K♠ versus Rahvuskala's T♠8♠. But the flop fell 8♦5♥T♥ to give the latter two pair, and after the 3♥ turn and 2♦ river, Drogbaaaaaaa was done in third.

A heads-up deal, then RahvusKala outlasts 7.045.pptY

The final two players played one small hand then quickly stopped the tournament to talk about a possible chop. At that point RahvusKala had a big lead with 35,306,521 to 7.045.pptY's 15,338,479.

Figures were soon produced guaranteeing $123,289.93 for RahvusKala and $113,711.85 for 7.045.pptY -- leaving $14,000 for which to play -- and after both players readily agreed, play resumed.

They battled onward, then 7.045.pptY grabbed the lead after doubling through with J♠J♣ versus RahvusKala's 8♣8♠. RahvusKala battled back, however, retaking the lead and then pushing back up to a better than 2-to-1 chip advantage.

Then with the blinds 300,000/600,000, 7.045.pptY raised to 1.2 million from the button, RahvusKala pushed all in, and 7.045.pptY called with the 14,238,218 behind.

RahvusKala: A♠T♠
7.045.pptY: A♦K♣

Both had drawn aces with 7.045.pptY's kicker best before the community cards came. But the T♦J♥2♠ flop paired RahvusKala's ten to swing the advantage. The turn was the 6♥ and river the 8♦, and it was all over... after almost five hours of play on Day 2, RahvusKala had won.

Congratulations to RahvusKala for topping the first of many big fields in this year's WCOOP series to earn more than $137K. And kudos as well to 7.045.pptY who also enjoyed a big payday of $113K-plus after the two-handed deal.

WCOOP 2014: Event #1 ($109 NLHE WCOOP Kickoff)
Entrants: 10,129 

Prize pool: $1,012,900.00
Places paid: 1,350

1. RahvusKala (Estonia) -- $137,289.83*
2. 7.045.pptY (Denmark) -- $113,771.85*
3. Drogbaaaaaaa (Russia) -- $75,410.40
4. Brendy88 (Czech Republic) -- $50,645.00
5. Kabotajoe (Germany) -- $40,516.00
6. call2light (Canada) -- $30,387.00
7. MG10tze (Germany) -- $20,258.00
8. Hasseh922 (Finland) -- $11,141.90
9. Mutombooh (Germany) -- $7,090.30

*= reflects the results of a two-way deal that left $14,000 in play for the winner

This year's WCOOP is only getting started, with three weeks and more than 60 events left to play. Check the WCOOP homepage for full details of the entire schedule.

Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.

Martin Harris
@hardboiledpoker in WCOOP