WCOOP 2015: Ben "Ben86" Tollerene rules $51K Super High Roller, earns $616K after three-way deal (Event #47)
There's been nothing like it before -- not on PokerStars, not anywhere. A $51,000 buy-in no-limit hold'em tournament, conspicuously standing out on the 70-event 2015 World Championship of Online Poker schedule from the day it was released. As might be expected, the big, big buy-in attracted big, big names -- lots of them -- and after two days' worth of poker it was online star Ben "Ben86" Tollerene walking away with all of the chips and a first-place prize worth $616,518.34.
Tollerene's payout came following a three-handed deal with José Ángel "Cejakas14" Latorre and Nikita "fish2013" Bodyakovskiy, both of whom also managed better than half-million-dollar scores. FPP winner Nopaleva and a couple of other familiar usernames on PokerStars -- Mike "Tîmex" McDonald and Fedor "CrownUpGuy" Holz -- were also among the cashers in this one.
This marks Tollerene's second big 'COOP win in a High Roller event after his victory in the $21,000 Heads-Up High Roller during the 2013 SCOOP series, good for a better than $200K payday. Here's the story of how he won the biggest buy-in online poker tournament there has ever been.
Play kicked off at 12:30 p.m. ET on Sunday afternoon with 23 players already in seats and satellites still firing off all about. An hour later the total number of registrants had increased to 34, then an hour after that they were up to 39.
As the field grew, though, early knockouts were occurring as well. ICEMAN2710 was the first player eliminated after pocket queens failed versus OtB_RedBaron's aces. Talal "raidalot" Shakerchi then ran pocket kings into the aces of Daniel "mrGR33N13" Colman. And VbV1990 lost a short stack with a pair of jacks against David "dpeters17" Peters's aces.
While pocket aces were helping others, they failed Jason "jakoon1985" Koon who had his aces cracked after José Ángel "Cejakas14" Latorre turned a set of deuces, sending Koon railward.
By the three-hour mark 32 players remained from what was then a 42-entry field, with Team PokerStars Pro Daniel "KidPoker" Negreanu sitting 32nd of 32. Over the next hour four more players joined in, bringing the total field to 46 entries, the total prize pool to $2.3 million (more than twice the $1M guarantee), with the top six places paid and an eye-popping $851,000 scheduled for the winner barring a final-table deal.
Negreanu would soon thereafter go out in 30th after taking Q♣Q♠ up against Chris "BigHuni" Hunichen's A♦K♠ and failing to survive when a king came on the turn. Fellow Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier went out just a short while later (in 26th) in very similar fashion, losing with Q♦Q♥ aginst cuffme's A♦K♣. In between those eliminations, Ike Haxton of Team PokerStars Pro Online would go out in 28th after his A♠Q♦ failed to improve against cuffme's J♠J♥.
Several of poker's best had already hit the rail, including Dzmitry "Colisea" Urbanovich, Sam "Str$$$Homey" Greenwood, and Ivan "Negriin" Luca (just to name a few). And more would follow, among them Pascal "Pass_72" Lefrancois (24th), Thomas "WushuTM" Muehloecker, Dan "Danny98765" Smith (22nd), and Ole "wizowizo" Schemion (20th).
Timofey "Trueteller" Kuznetsov was the early leader on Sunday, then José Ángel "Cejakas14" Latorre spent some time in first position before Mike "Tîmex" McDonald grabbed the top spot during the early evening where he would remain for the rest of the night, ahead of David "dpeters17" Peters in second position who added chips after felting Daniel "mrGR33N13" Colman in 17th.
The last red-spade sporting player in the field, Alex "Kanu7" Millar of Team PokerStars Pro Online, would next fall in 16th when his jacks couldn't hold against Nick "caecilius" Petrangelo's A♦8♣. Sam "Lrslzk" Kelopuro (15th) and Igor "lechuckpoker" Kurganov (14th) continued the parade of recognizables to the exit, followed by Educa-p0ker (13th), Nick "caecilius" Petrangelo (12th), Roman "Roma-Tilt" Korenev (11th), and forhayley (a.k.a. Russian high-stakes regular "Dima") (10th).
The final table bubble lasted for 20 minutes, with a short-stacked Chris "Big Huni" Hunichen hanging on valiantly until finally reraise-pushing with Q♥T♣ and watching José Ángel "Cejakas14" Latorre call with A♠Q♦. An ace fell on the flop, a ten on the turn, and a blank on the river, and Hunichen was done in ninth.
They'd played almost exactly eight hours' worth of poker to get from 46 down to eight, and with two more eliminations still to go before the money, play was paused for the night. Here's how the stacks looked then:
1. Mike "Tîmex" McDonald (Canada) -- 237,712
2. José Ángel "Cejakas14" Latorre (United Kingdom) -- 214,540
3. David "dpeters17" Peters (Canada) -- 195,294
4. Ben "Ben86" Tollerene (Canada) -- 193,912
5. Fedor "CrownUpGuy" Holz (Austria) -- 145,222
6. Nikita "fish2013" Bodyakovskiy (Belarus) -- 69,783
7. Nopaleva (Russia) -- 53,427
8. cuffme (United Kingdom) -- 40,110
Twenty minutes into the second day of play, the blinds were 1,000/2,000 when the table's short stack cuffme opened for 4,600 from middle position. It folded to Ben "Ben86" Tollerene in the small blind who made it 11,000 to go, and when cuffme responded with an all-in push for 35,610, Tollerene made the call.
cuffme had picked up a pair with 9♠9♣, but Tollerene had a better one with J♣J♥. The board ran out 4♦7♣A♠5♣J♦, giving Tollerene a set and ending cuffme's run in eighth.
The money bubble had arrived -- and it was a big one, with $126,500 due the sixth-place finisher and a big zero for the one taking seventh. By then Tollerene had moved up into the lead, while Nikita "fish2013" Bodyakovskiy and Nopaleva were the short stacks hoping to avoid bubbling.
Nopaleva had earned a spot in the event via the WCOOP VIP Bash (with FPPs), and after folding through several orbits had become the short stack with less than 40,000. Nopaleva then picked up K♥K♦ and managed to double through David "dpeters17" Peters to earn a little breathing room.
Nopaleva turtled up again, folding through the next half-hour or so as they crossed the day's two-hour mark. Then with the blinds at 2,500/5,000 a hand arose that saw Nikita "fish2013" Bodyakovskiy open-shove a stack of just over 126,000 from the cutoff seat, and David "dpeters17" Peters call all in for a little more than 111,000 from the button. The blinds folded, Peters showed A♠K♠, and Bodyakovskiy tabled A♣Q♦.
The flop came 9♣K♣T♣ and turn the K♦, giving Peters trip kings. But alas for him the river was the 6♣, filling a flush for Bodyakovskiy and causing Peters to bubble in seventh.
About five minutes later Nikita "fish2013" Bodyakovskiy was open-pushing again, this time from the small blind for just over 241,000, and a short-stacked Fedor "CrownUpGuy" Holz called all in from a seat over with a little more than 95,000 (about 19 BBs).
The 2014 WCOOP Main Event champion had 5♣5♠ and was hoping the small pair would hold against Bodyakovskiy's A♦7♣, and through the Q♣2♥8♠ flop and T♦ turn the small pair was still best. But Bodyakovskiy enjoyed another good river -- the 7♦ -- giving him a better pair and stopping Holz in sixth.
Just three hands later, Mike "Tîmex" McDonald -- at the time fourth of five and only ahead of the short Nopaleva -- opened for 11,000 (just over 2x) from the cutoff and José Ángel "Cejakas14" Latorre called from the big blind.
The flop came 7♠4♣J♦, and Latorre check-called a 10,000 continuation bet from McDonald. The turn was the 2♠ and again the action went check-bet-call, with Tîmex betting 20,000 this time, leaving himself just a little under 40,000 behind.
The river brought the K♣ and another check from Latorre. McDonald pushed all in, and Latorre called more time.
McDonald showed Q♦J♠ for a pair of jacks, but Latorre had A♦J♥ for the same hand with a better kicker, and McDonald was done in fifth.
Just three hands later it was finally Nopaleva's turn to bid the tournament adieu after having laddered up nicely. After Nopaleva open-pushed for just over 51,000 (about 10 BBs) from the small blind with T♠6♠, Ben "Ben86" Tollerene called from the big blind with A♣8♦.
The board came A♠4♣K♦2♠Q♦, and they were down to three -- still, that was one terrific trick for Nopaleva to turn FPPs into a cool $230K score.
The final trio reached the break that came at the day's two-and-a-half-hour mark, at which point a deal discussion arose with Ben "Ben86" Tollerene on top with 409,960, Nikita "fish2013" Bodyakovskiy close behind with 404,456, and José Ángel "Cejakas14" Latorre third with 335,584.
"ICM"-based numbers were soon produced -- $596,518.34 for Tollerene, $594,069.53 for Bodyakovskiy, and $560,412.13 for Latorre, with $20K left for which to play -- and after only a short pause all three agreed and play resumed.
They battled on into the day's fourth hour with Tollerene pushing further ahead and Bodyakovskiy slipping back to an even shorter stack. Then with the blinds at 3,000/6,000, Latorre opened from 15,300 from the small blind, Bodyakovskiy reraised all in for just over 150,000 from the big blind, and Latorre called.
Bodyakovskiy had 6♣6♦ and was racing versus Latorre's A♥J♥. The 3♠A♦A♠ flop dramatically shifted the advantage, though, giving Latorre trips. The turn was the 5♠ and river the 2♣, and and Bodyakovskiy was out in third though cashed for nearly $600K thanks to the deal.
Heads-up play began with Ben "Ben86" Tollerene in front with 665,280 to José Ángel "Cejakas14" Latorre's 484,720. With the blinds still just 3,000/6,000 the pair might have gone on much longer, but as it happened the end would arrive less than five minutes later.
Over the next 10 hands during Latorre gradually narrowed Tollerene's lead down to just over 40,000 (not quite seven BBs).
Latorre then raised to 13,500 from the button, Tollerene three-bet to 42,000, and Latorre called. The flop came a coordinated 9♦T♦7♠. Tollerene checked, Latorre bet 42,000, and Tollerene called. Both players then checked after an intriguing-looking J♦ fell on the turn.
The river brought the 6♠ and an all-in push from Tollerene, and Latorre called with his last 468,520. They tabled their hands...
Latorre had a set of nines, but Tollerene had made a jack-high straight to win the pot, the extra $20K, and the WCOOP bracelet.
Congratulations to Ben "Ben86" Tollerene for beating out one of the toughest fields ever assembled for an online tournament to win more than $616K. And kudos also to José Ángel "Cejakas14" Latorre and Nikita "fish2013" Bodyakovskiy for making it to the three-handed deal to ensure themselves handsome paydays as well in this historic event.
WCOOP-47: $51,000 NL Hold'em (8-Max, Super High Roller)
Prize pool: $2,300,000
Places paid: 6
1. Ben "Ben86" Tollerene (Canada) $616,518.34*
2. José Ángel "Cejakas14" Latorre (United Kingdom) $560,412.13*
3. Nikita "fish2013" Bodyakovskiy (Belarus) $594,069.53*
4. Nopaleva (Russia) $230,000.00
5. Mike "Tîmex" McDonald (Canada) $172,500.00
6. Fedor "CrownUpGuy" Holz (Austria) $126,500.00
* = denotes a three-way deal
There's a still a week's worth of events left to go in the 70-event World Championship of Online Poker, culminating with the $5,200 Main Event with a $10 million guaranteed prize pool. Check the WCOOP page for a complete of the remaining events.
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Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.