WCOOP: Draw specialist scuel1975 earns gold in Event #7, $215 NL Draw

Few poker variants today are as well-known yet little-played as five-card Draw. For those who master it there's still plenty of money to be won, not to mention gold bracelets during WCOOP. Event #7 came down to one player who had already won a SCOOP watch and a career-high tournament score playing Draw, and another who specializes in the game but had never had a chance to become a COOP champion in it.

The tournament kicked off at 11 a.m. ET today and by the time late registration closed at 2 p.m. it had drawn a field of 433 players. The top 60 finishers all earned a share of the $86,600 prize pool, with $16,757.10 set aside for the winner. It took just under 10 hours for the field to narrow down to the final six players, who sat down to duke it out over the bracelet with blinds and antes at 4K/8K/2K:

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Seat 1: micumina (433,875 in chips)
Seat 2: Ce$ar$pa (104,746 in chips)
Seat 3: jon011 (351,684 in chips)
Seat 4: scuel1975 (676,450 in chips)
Seat 5: pimenta7 (285,053 in chips)
Seat 6: ghost crab (313,192 in chips)

First steps

There was plenty of Draw cred in the top half of the final table chip counts. Chip leader scuel1975 of Argentina is something of a Draw specialist, with dozens of wins and even more final table cashes in both no-limit and pot-limit varieties of the game. And third-place player Jon011 from Estonia was looking for a second COOP bracelet in no-limit draw, to follow up on a $22,800 heads-up win over Team Online's George "Jorj95" Lind in the $1,050 NL Draw tourney during SCOOP 2013.

At the other end of the leaderboard, Ce$ar$pa of the United Kingdom entered the final table with the shortest stack of anybody and watched the blinds and antes take half of it away before a good enough starting hand came around on Hand #11. The U.K. player moved in for 43K on the button and was called by scuel1975 in the big blind. Both players drew three cards, and Ce$ar$pa earned the double-up to 106K with 2♠ 8♥ Q♥ K♦ Q♠ against scuel1975's K♠ A♦ 9♠ T♣ T♥.

Two consecutive wins an orbit later boosted Ce$ar$pa's stack upwards of 240K, but by the time Hand #32 arrived the player from the U.K. was down to 84K and opened the action all-in from middle position. scuel1975 shoved for 777K to isolate and succeeded, then drew two cards. Ce$ar$pa took three cards and showed 6♣ A♣ A♥ 5♣ 9♠ for a pair of aces, but scuel1975's trip tens with 2♣ T♦ T♣ T♠ 8♥ took the 198K-chip pot. That made Ce$ar$pa the first player to exit the table, finishing in 6th place ($2,944.40).

After 23 minutes of play the table had finally been reduced to five. The next elimination would only take half as long to come around, and it did so as the largest hand of the 6K/12K/3K level. ghost crab opened the action with a raise to 25K on the button. Romania's micumina re-raised that to 60K in the small blind before jon011 moved all-in for 239K in the big blind. ghost crab folded, but micumina called with the tournament on the line. Both players drew just one card, and jon011 showed down 3♦ K♣ 7♦ K♠ 7♠ for two pair, kings and sevens. micumina had been one card away with a flush but didn't get there with T♥ A♠ 8♥ K♥ 4♥, eliminating the Romanian player in 5th place ($4,589.80).

The long haul

Four-handed play began with the chips as equitably distributed as they would be for the rest of the tournament:

Seat 3: jon011 (469,238 in chips)
Seat 4: scuel1975 (732,167 in chips)
Seat 5: pimenta7 (431,303 in chips)
Seat 6: ghost crab (532,292 in chips)

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scuel1975 applied continuous pressure and chipped up to 939K over the rest of the hour, while jon011 and ghost crab made small gains and Brazil's pimenta7 trended steadily downward. By 10:16 p.m. ET the Brazilian was down to 148K and moved all-in from the button before the draw. ghost crab called in the small blind and both players drew one card; each showed down two pair, but ghost crab's 3♣ 3♦ K♥ 2♦ 2♠ couldn't top 5♣ 4♥ 5♥ 2♣ 4♦ and pimenta7 doubled to 325K. ghost crab was able to get all those lost chips back over the next few orbits, though, and pimenta7 was left with less than 10 big blinds on the 8K/16K/4K level.

At 10:17 p.m. ET, scuel1975 opened for 32K on the button and pimenta7 moved all-in for 125K from the small blind. ghost crab gave up the big blind and scuel1975 called, then drew two cards. pimenta7 also drew two cards, showing down J♣ K♣ J♦ 4♦ Q♣ for a pair of jacks. scuel1975 had that beaten with K♥ 7♣ K♠ K♦ 2♠ for trip kings, knocking pimenta7 out in 4th place ($6,408.40).

An Argentinian-Estonian-Russian standoff

scuel1975 now had an even larger lead than the Argentinian player had opened the final table with:

Seat 3: jon011 (568,559 in chips)
Seat 4: scuel1975 (1,258,115 in chips)
Seat 6: ghost crab (338,326 in chips)

There were few significant pots as all three players were stacked deep enough to play small and wait for an opening. scuel1975 had a chance to knock ghost crab out on the 10K/20K/5K level after being dealt jacks and tens and drawing one card, but ghost crab's 2♥ 8♦ 2♠ 2♣ A♠ after drawing two was good for the 385K-chip pot.

The first major shift in play came on the 12.5K/25K level when 11 of 13 hands went to ghost crab, including pots worth 331K (with a jack-high flush), 223K (nines and sevens), and 286K (kings and eights). That took the Russian player up to 1.34M as the third break of the final table began, ahead of jon011's 470K and scuel1975's 353K and in full possession of the initiative.

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But things eventually shifted back, starting at 11:12 p.m. ET when scuel1975 raised to 50K on the button and ghost crab called in the small blind. Both players discarded three, then ghost crab check-called a bet of 150K. The Russian player mucked when scuel1975 turned up 8♦ T♥ T♣ T♦ 7♦ for trip tens, good for the 443K-chip pot.

ghost crab took down the next four pots in a row to climb back over 1.2M, and then scuel1975 and jon011 finally ran into one another in a big pot before the draw on the second hand of the 15K/30K/7.5K level. jon011 opened the betting with a raise to 60K before scuel1975 moved all-in for 332K. jon011 called and both players drew three cards apiece. jon011 turned over K♦ 3♦ T♥ K♠ J♣ for a pair of kings. scuel1975 showed the other two kings but had two queens to match, winning the 717K-chip pot with K♣ 9♦ Q♦ Q♣ K♥.

That left jon011 with 205K, or just under seven big blinds, but the next major action came six hands later between the two big stacks. scuel1975 opened in the small blind for 60K and then called ghost crab's re-raise to 120K. The Argentinian player discarded one card and then led out for 131K. ghost crab, who had drawn two cards, raised that to 270K with 3♦ 2♠ 6♦ 7♦ Q♦ for queen-high, but the bluff went south when scuel1975 tabled A♠ 2♦ A♦ 2♣ 8♠ for aces up. That gave scuel1975 the 802K in the middle and the chip lead with 1.27M.

jon011, meanwhile, was down to 70K. The Estonian and past SCOOP Draw champ survived all-in on the next hand after discarding four and coming up with a pair of kings to top the pair of tens ghost crab had been dealt before the draw. Two hands later, the same two players were dealt pairs before the draw and failed to improve after discarding three each. But this time ghost crab had T♣ 3♥ 8♠ Q♥ 8♦ for eights against jon011's 2♣ 8♥ K♥ 2♥ A♥ for deuces, sending jon011 to the rail in 3rd place ($9,309.50).

Heads-up for the bracelet

After 12 hours and 17 minutes of poker, these two players were the only ones left:

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Seat 4: scuel1975 (1,279,706 in chips)
Seat 6: ghost crab (885,294 in chips)

The duo split the first six pots heads-up before scuel1975 limped on the button and called ghost crab's raise to 90K in the big blind. ghost crab discarded just one, while scuel1975 drew three. ghost crab led for 90K after the draw but folded when scuel1975 tripled that bet, giving scuel1975 the 375K chips in the middle. On the next hand, the Argentinian took down a 315K-chip pot uncontested after playing the role of three-bettor from the big blind, discarding three, and continuing the action after the draw.

That sequence gave scuel1975 1.6M chips to ghost crab's 555K, and scuel1975 stayed on the attack, whittling the Russian's stack to 300K before ghost crab called an all-in before the draw with a pair of kings. scuel1975 also drew three cards and ended up with Q♥ 9♠ T♥ 8♦ K♣ for king-high, giving ghost crab a double to 600K.

scuel1975 stayed on the offensive, and 15 hands later ghost crab was calling all-in for just 180K. The Russian had a great chance to double, discarding just two and showing Q♦ Q♣ 8♥ 7♦ Q♠ for three of a kind. scuel1975 drew one card and hit, showing J♥ 6♥ 3♥ A♥ 2♥ for the ace-high heart flush. That was good for the 436K-chip pot, and after 35 hands in 10 minutes of heads-up poker, the tournament came to a close.

Twelve and a half hours after starting the tournament, ghost crab had walked away the runner-up with a $12,427.10, the largest score of the Russian player's tournament career here at PokerStars by nearly $4,700. And scuel1975, the Argentinian Draw specialist with so many past wins and final table cashes, earned a career-best $16,757.10 prize, and the prestige of a WCOOP bracelet. Congratulations to both players on their big days at the Draw table!

WCOOP 2014: Event #7, $215 No-Limit 5-Card Draw
433 entrants
$86,600 prize pool
60 places paid

1st place: scuel1975 (Argentina) $16,757.10
2nd place: ghost crab (Russia) $12,427.10
3rd place: jon011 (Estonia) $9,309.50
4th place: pimenta7 (Brazil) $6,408.40
5th place: micumina (Romania) $4,589.80
6th place: Ce$ar$pa (United Kingdom) $2,944.40

Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in WCOOP