WCOOP Challenge Series: Main Event Day 1 wraps with David "WhooooKidd" Baker leading final 80

Following a successful pilot performance last December, the WCOOP Challenge Series returned this weekend for a three-day, nine-event run. Not only did players enjoy $9 million in guaranteed prize pools, but the winner of each event came away with a customized commemorative money clip as well as a bonus that has the potential to produce a million-dollar score-- a ticket to the $5,200 2014 WCOOP Main Event. Featuring special editions of the Sunday Warm-Up and the Sunday Million, each event in the WCOOP Challenge Series smashed its guarantee including its center-ring extravaganza, the two-day $2,100 buy-in NLHE Main Event. Sunday's plan was to reduce the field to its final 81 players and they will reconvene Monday at 3:30 pm ET to play down to a winner. As Day 1 wound down, David "WhooooKidd" Baker enjoyed a lucrative final hour of play to top the overnight chip counts and advance to Day 2 with 808,000 in chips.

pca_high roller_david baker.jpg

David "WhooooKidd" Baker leads the final 80 players

As cards went in the air, 775 players were seated and another 225 arrived in the next half hour, allowing the tournament to hit its $2 million guarantee as players went to their first break. Four hours of late registration were available and by the time it closed, 1,624 players had bought in, bringing the prize pool to a total of $3,248,000.00. 216 places would be paid with $532,834.40 set aside for the champion.

From 1,624 to the money

Sixteen Red Spades joined this field, among them Liv Boeree, Theo Jorgensen, George Danzer, Joe Cada, Mickey "mement_mori" Petersen, Maxim Lykov, Leo Fernandez, and Randy "nanonoko" Lew. One of the first to catch a break was Team Online's Isaac Haxton. He moved up to 22,100 when Nunavut Nerd ran A♠K♦ into his pocket aces and was 19th in chips after the first hour of play. However, FishOnHeater won a 50,000-chip coin flip and decimated Haxton's stack when his A♠K♦ flopped a king vs. Q♥Q♦. Left with 1,287 in chips, Haxton was unable to recover and went out in 1,353rd place.

Andre Akkari acquired a big stack early, busting 1mDonuts with pocket aces vs. A♦K♣ to move up to 35,700 in chips. A short time later, Akkari four-bet shoved pre flop with K♣K♦ and ricestud called with T♠T♦, taking him up to 48,800. Nacho Barbero also steadily built up a stack, turning a Broadway straight to move up to 62,000 in chips, then flopping top pair with A♥K♥ vs. A♠J♠ to top 75,000. By the end of the fifth hour, Barbero had the largest stack among the remaining Red Spades at 80,836, while mora7777 topped the remaining 750 players with 132,437 in chips.

The sixth hour concluded with 485 players remaining and six Red Spades still in contention: Nacho Barbero, Andre Akkari, Angel Guillen, Randy "nanonoko" Lew, and Maxim Lykov. Unfortunately, Lew did not survive much longer, exiting in 357th place when his pocket fives ran into pocket tens. Lykov was on the rail in 273rd by the end of the next level, his A♦T♠ falling to GoToCa$hier's K♥J♥ when a jack hit the flop. When hour eight finished, only four Red Spades were among the remaining 234 players, the money bubble looming ahead.

The bubble burst at 11:55 pm ET and aabas was on the unfortunate end of it, his pocket queens running into donthnrmepls's pocket aces.

24 tables become 9

A contingent of four Latin American Red Spades made the money: Nacho Barbero (Argentina), Caio Pessagno (Brazil), Andre Akkari (Brazil) and Angel Guillen (Mexico). Pessagno was the first of the quartet to bust, going out in 171st place when his A♣Q♣ didn't improve vs. mora7777's 9♣9♠. Barbero was next to depart, his 150th-place finish sealed when his K♠J♥ didn't improve against Faith#1Virtu's A♥K♥. Akkari made it all the way to the 3,500/7,000 level, but his J♠J♣ couldn't hang on against darrenelias's A♦Q♦ and he went out in 103rd place.


Team PokerStars Pro Angel Guillen

Akkari's departure left Angel Guillen as the last Team Pro standing. However, we would be remiss if we didn't share the remarkable story of one of his tablemates. Belarus's Jeeep1967 was one of the shortest stacks in the field when the money bubble burst at 216 players and with less than 150 players remaining, he was miraculously still clinging to life with less than 10,000 in chips. Jeeep1967 shared with his table that he'd qualified for this event with only 30 FPPs, so any jump up the pay ladder he could manage was icing on the cake.

Each time he was all-in (usually from one of the blinds), Jeeep1967 reminded the rail how many consecutive all-ins he'd survived until that point. That number reached 17 when he called all-in from the small blind with 5♦8♣ and hit a 5♣7♥8♠ flop vs. Kepalas89's A♣Q♠ and Angel Guillen's Q♦Q♣. Jeeep1967 tripled to 22,800, just over three big blinds.

Jeeep1967: 17
Arquerito (observer): sick
volcomluli (observer): WTF? haahahahahah

Jeeep1967 survived all-in #18 when his pocket sixes won a flip vs. Zareta's K♥J♣, good for 41,676. However, his improbable run finally came to an end in 87th place, when his J♠8♠ couldn't stand up to WushuTM's J♣J♥.

After teetering on the edge for most of the late evening, Angel Guillen went on a tear in the final hour of play. He tripled to 241,000 when his pocket jacks held up vs. two ace-kings, then cracked pocket kings when his J♥9♠ turned a queen-high straight to move up to 414,000.

As the field was whittled to its final nine tables, dozens of notable players finished in the money including Dan "Danny98765" Smith (211th), Carter "cswidler" Swidler (209th), Andrey "ThePateychuk" Pateychuk (205th), Sam "Str8$$$Homey" Greenwood (200th), Sean "wormnorton" Getzweiller (199th), Aaron "AaronBeen" Been (187th), Andrey "Kroko-dill" Zaichenko (182nd), Mike "Timex" McDonald (136th), Mike "goleafsgoeh" Leah (130th), Luke "LFmagic" Fields (125th), Ana Marquez (119th), Ben "Sauce123" Sulsky (115th), and Aditya "intervntion" Agarwal (102nd).

When TTSIP and Carster were eliminated in 82nd and 81st places respectively on the same deal of hand-for-hand play, action was suspended for the day. Each of the remaining 80 players are guaranteed at least $6,496.00 for their efforts, with over half a million dollars going to the champion.

Who will it be? Check back for Day 2 of the WCOOP Challenge Main Event tomorrow, March 31st, at 3:30 pm ET. In addition to Team Pro Angel Guillen (369,207 in chips), a slew of familiar faces are still in contention including Darren "darrenelias" Elias (556,603), Maria "Femmeonfelt" Ho (364,237), Ben "ShankingYou" Palmer (351,544), Peter "Belabacsi" Traply (316,581), J.C. "PrtyPsux" Alvarado (226,557), Mick "BIGMICKG" Graydon (181,603), Ozzy "Ozzy 87" Sheikh (177,540), Phillipe "takechip" D'Auteuil (145,166), Antony "wwwBTHEREcom" Gregg (109,007), and Rayan "rkruok" Nathan (65,792).

End of Day 1 Top 10 in chips

David "WhooooKidd" Baker (Mexico) 808,006
Cristoff1 (Argentina) 785,581
Bryn "BrynKenney" Kenney (Canada) 783,313
WushuTM (Austria) 659,997
mora7777 (Mexico 659,274
pablito_2121 (Belgium) 657,193
Tom "hitthehole" Middleton (United Kingdom) 641,245
FOO-92 (Germany) 634,258
jbrown8777 (Canada) 621,783
ventox (Norway) 592,774

Kristin Bihr is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog.

Kristin Bihr
@PokerStars in WCOOP