WCOOP 2015: Bulgaria's Liskacha survives final table quagmire to win Super-KO Event #16 ($1,050 NL Thursday Thrill SE)

Marathon final tables test your patience and discipline. You can have all the skill and ability in the world, but if you cannot maintain focus for an extended period of time, then you're doomed to fail when it counts the most. The final table in WCOOP Event #16 hit a lull when it got down to six players. During that 100-minute stretch, the entire dynamic of the final table had shifted and changed a dozen times. Coming out of that arduous dead zone, Liskacha shifted gears into aggro-mode. The Bulgarian chipped up to an immense lead and eventually got down to heads-up against Poland's actaml. Liskacha failed to put actaml away early and the short stack went into full-blown "alligator blood" mode to extend their battle to over 90 minutes. But similar to the extended lull in the middle of the final table, Liskacha hunkered down and regained focus. Liskacha patiently waited for another opportunity to finish off actaml and finally landed a crushing blow to become the newest WCOOP champ.

2015 WCOOP Event #16 $1,050 NL Hold'em (Progressive Super-Knockout, Thursday Thrill Special Edition) attracted 1,828 runners to this two-day affair. They contributed to a total prize pool worth $1,828,000, with a fair split of $914,000 devoted to the regular prize pool and bounty prize pool. The top 216 places paid out with $149,941.70 set aside to the champion. In this Progressive Super-KO format, each player begins with a $500 bounty and whenever someone is eliminated, the winning player collects half the bounty and the other half is added to their initial bounty.

Day 1 ended with 63 players advancing to Day 2 and marty7 (United Kingdom) sat in the top spot with 744K.

Day 2 progressed slowly and the final table was even slower. When action started hand-for-hand with 10 remaining, three big stacks were jockeying for the top spot: Liskacha (Bulgaria) held the lead with 3.1M, with actaml (Poland) and chiconogue (Brazil) right behind. UK's pablotenisis was the shortest stack with barely 420K. One of the other short stacks, Vitorbrasil, made a final stand with 2♣2♥ against Howié's K♥Q♥. Vitorbrasil's pocket deuces held up through the turn but the Q♣ spiked on the river and Howié won the pot. Vitorbrasil bubbled off the final table in tenth place, which paid out $7,220.60. Howié picked up a bounty worth $4,796.87 for picking off Vitorbrasil and Howié's own bounty increased to $14,881.81.

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WCOOP Event #16 - Final Table Chip Counts:
Seat 1: Howié (2,408,904)
Seat 2: Negriin (1,268,355)
Seat 3: pablotenisis (318,556)
Seat 4: actaml (3,500,108)
Seat 5: Liskacha (3,589,587)
Seat 6: chiconogue (3,181,272)
Seat 7: leopeluca (1,605,675)
Seat 8: FaZeHigh (1,481,587)
Seat 9: gray31 (925,956)

The final table commenced during Level 43 with blinds at 17.5K/35K and a 4,375 ante. Liskacha held the lead with approximately 3.6M, and pablotenisis was struggling with only 318K. The final table featured Francisco 'chiconogue' Nogueira, who won a WCOOP last year.

BOB DYLAN'S BLUES: pablotenisis eliminated in 9th place

The final table quickly saw an exit when one of the shorties hit the road... pablotenisis insta-shoved for 274,806 and FaZeHigh re-shoved for 1,420,337, and everyone else bailed. Heads-up. FaZeHigh was ahead with Q♣Q♠ against pablotenisis's K♣J♠. The board ran out 9♥7♦2♦T♣4♥. Although pablotenisis turned a gutshot draw, it never filled in and pablotenisis failed to improve. FaZeHigh faded a straight and pocket Queens held up for the win. For a ninth-place finish, pablotenisis earned $9,140.00.

DOWN THE HIGHWAY: gray31 eliminated in 8th place

The final table played for almost two levels before we saw a second elimination. One of the biggies took out a small stack... actaml min-raised to 90,000 and gray31 called from the big blind. Both players checked the flop of 5♥3♥3♠. When the Q♠ fell on the turn, gray31 fired out 112,500, actaml bumped it to 315,000, and gray31 called. The 2♥ hit the river, gray31 shoved for 377,873 and actaml called.

gray31: 7♥4♥
actaml: 5♣5♠

Although gray31 rivered a flush, it was meaningless because actaml flopped a full house. Poland's actaml won the pot and collected $5,113.28 for busting gray31 and their own bounty increased to $21,417.95. Alas, Canada's gray31 was knocked out in eighth place and took home $15,995.00.

THE GIRL FROM NORTH COUNTRY: Howié eliminated in 7th place

Howié opened to 111,000, actaml called, and chiconogue called. The flop was A♥T♥3♥ chiconogue checked, Howié bet 200,875, actaml called, and chiconogue folded. Heads-up. All the money went in on the turn when the J♣ fell.

Howié: A♦K♦
actaml: Q♥9♥

Howié flopped top pair, but actaml flopped a flush. The T♣ on the river did not help Howié. Poland's actaml won the pot and Howié busted out in seventh place, which paid out $25,135.00. Poland's actaml earned another bounty. This one was worth $7,440.91, and actaml's own bounty increased to $28,858.85. With six to go, actaml was closing in on 6M and leopeluca was last with 866K.

SLOW DOWN

The dreaded slowdown. With six left in the hunt, the lead changed hands several times, but no one was ever close to busting. Negriin became the new leader with 5.7M, while FaZeHigh was the shorty with 1.1M.

A HARD RAIN'S GONNA FALL: FaZeHigh eliminated in 6th place

Six-handed lasted nearly 100 minutes before someone finally bowed out. FaZeHigh bombed it all-in for 994,685 with A♠Q♦ and actaml woke up with J♦J♥. The board ran out T♣4♥2♠J♣Q♥. FaZeHigh turned a Broadway gutshot draw, but never got there on the river. Instead, FaZeHigh backdoored a pair of Queens, which were no match against actaml's set of Jacks (which popped up on the turn). FaZeHigh busted in sixth place, which paid out $34,275.00. Poland's actaml earned a bounty worth $11,937 for picking off FaZeHigh and their own bounty jumped to $40,795.84.

With five remaining, Liskacha was closing in on 7M, followed by Negriin (4.4M), actaml (3.5M), leopeluca (2.5M), and chiconogue (777K).

TALKIN' WORLD WAR III BLUES: chiconogue eliminated in 5th place

Five-handed lasted a couple of hands. Negriin min-raised to 200,000, super-short chiconogue moved all-in for 517,204 and Negriin called. A desperate chiconogue attempted to double up with K♣5♣ against Negriin's A♠6♠. Although chiconogue flopped a flush draw, the Brazilian never got there. The board finished up J♣J♥2♣7♠J♦ and neither player improved. Negriin won the pot with an Ace-kicker. For a fifth-place performance, chiconogue took home $43,415.00. Negriin picked up $7,015.62 for chiconogue's bounty. Meanwhile, Negriin's own bounty increased to $16,976.54.

With four to go... Liskacha still led with 7.7M, followed by Negriin's 5.3M. Bringing up the rear was leopeluca with 2.1M.

DON'T THINK TWICE, IT'S ALRIGHT: Negriin eliminated in 4th place

Liskacha was in full bully mode and open-shoved for 11,243,316 and Negriin called all-in for 1,827,796 with 9♣9♠. Liskacha had overcards with Q♣T♣. The board finished up K♦Q♦8♥5♥A♦. Liskacha flopped a pair of Queens to win the pot. Negriin was dunzo in fourth place, which paid out $61,238.00. Liskacha earned another bounty. This one was worth $8,488.27. Liskacha's own bounty was bumped up to $11,238.27.

With three remaining, Liskacha sat atop a mountain of chips with 13.2M, followed by actaml's 3M and leopeluca's 2M.

BLOWIN' IN THE WIND: leopeluca eliminated in 3rd place

Liskacha went on the attack and shoved for 13,246,112 with Q♦4♣ and leopeluca called all-in for 1,577,338 with A♣7♠. Despite the better hand, leopeluca never improved. The board finished up J♥T♠3♦9♣Q♠ and Liskacha rivered a fortuitous Queen to win the pot. Argentina's leopeluca was knocked out in third place, which paid out $82,260.00. Liskacha earned another bounty -- $6,124.02 for busting leopeluca. Liskacha's own bounty increased to $17,362.28.

HEADS-UP: actaml (Poland) vs. Liskacha (Bulgaria)
Seat 4: actaml (3,319,050)
Seat 5: Liskacha (14,960,950)

Almost a 5-to-1 edge for Liskacha. The final heads-up battle would be waged over four levels.

Level 50... actaml doubled up and avoided an elimination by making a straight with T♦6♦ against Liskacha's Q♠J♥ and two pair. Near the end of the level, actaml struck again and doubled up a second time in a 7.5M pot that was a battle of two pair (Jacks and Eights vs. Eights and Sixes).

Level 51... actaml dominated this level playing small ball and nearly pulled even. By the end of the level, actaml was only down 9.8M to 8.4M.

Level 52... Liskacha applied pressure and picked up a trio of pots worth 1.2M to get back over 13M. Liskacha chipped away had actaml on the ropes for the rest of the level.

Level 53... the final outcome would be determined less than ten hands.

MASTERS OF WAR: actaml eliminated in 2nd place; Liskacha wins WCOOP Event #16 Super-KO!

Going into the final hand, actaml was down to 4M and Liskacha was over 14.2M... actaml min-raised to 320,000, Liskacha bumped it up to 680,000, actaml four-bet shoved for 3,999,700 and Liskacha called. Liskacha was way ahead with K♣K♦ against actaml's 9♥9♣. The board finished up J♥7♥7♣Q♥8♦ and Liskacha's Kings held up to win the pot with two pair -- Kings and sevens. Unfortunately, actaml was unable to improve and busted out in second place. Liskacha collected a bounty on actaml worth $20,397.92, and Liskacha's own bounty increased to $37,760.20.

For a sensational runner-up performance, actaml earned $109,680.00.

Congrats to Bulgaria's Liskacha for winning Event #16! First place paid out an impressive $149,941.70.

WCOOP-16: $1,050 NL Hold'em (Progressive Super-Knockout, Thursday Thrill SE)
Entrants: 1,828
Prize Pool: $1,828,000 (Regular prize pool: $914,00; Bounty prize pool: $914,000)
Places Paid: 216

1. Liskacha (Bulgaria) $149,941.70 + $37,760.20 bounties
2. actaml (Poland) $109,680.00 + $40,795.84 bounties
3. leopeluca (Argentina) $82,260.00 + $12,248.03 bounties
4. Negriin (Argentina) $61,238.00 + $16,976.54 bounties
5. Francisco 'chiconogue' Nogueira (Brazil) $43,415.00 + $14,031.23 bounties
6. FaZeHigh (Netherlands) $34,275.00 + $23,873.99 bounties
7. Howié (Belgium) $25,135.00 + $14,881.81 bounties
8. gray31 (Canada) $15,995.00 + $10,226.56 bounties
9. pablotenisis (United Kingdom) $9,140.00 + $7,140.62 bounties

Visit the WCOOP home page for a schedule of remaining events and take a peek at the leader board to find out who is in contention for Player of the Series.

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Pauly McGuire is an author and freelance contributor to PokerStars.

Pauly McGuire
@PokerStars in WCOOP