WCOOP 2015: Brazil's hellzito wins stunning 2.5 hour heads-up battle in Event #9 Super Tuesday SE [$1,050 NL]

The final two seemed so evenly matched that it came down to a battle of contrasting styles: small ball versus big ball. Brazil's hellzito unleashed an offense that relied on blitzing tactics and winning small pots, whereas Ireland's bullyboy1978 won fewer hands but focused more on quality and not quantity by going after bigger pots.

2015 WCOOP Event #9 featured a remarkable final table that lasted almost five hours. At least 2.5 hours were devoted to a sensational heads-up battle between hellzito and bullboy1978. Both players agreed that they never expected to play that long during an endless fight that seemed to go on forever. William "hellzito" Arruda emerged from the scorched battlefield as the victor at a tempestuous final table in which pocket Queens played a prominent role. While on the brink of elimination, hellzito snapped off Queens to avoid a fatality and on the final hand, hellzito's pocket Queens held up to win the pot and the tournament.

WCOOP Event #9 (Super Tuesday Special Edition) $1,050 NL attracted 1,722 players to this two-day bonanza. The top 198 places were paid out of the prize pool worth $1,722,000.00, which crushed the $1M guarantee. A first-place prize of $288,435.00 was set aside to the eventual champion.

Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier embarked on a deep run in Event #9, but the two-time WCOOP champion (and 6-time COOP champ) narrowly missed the final table when he finished in 15th place.

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15th Place for Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier

Late into Day 1, Jason Mercier clung onto one of the shortest stacks remaining on the final five tables in the tournament. Moments before play ended on Day 1, Mercier staved off elimination by winning a decisive pot worth approximately 233K with A♠Q♦ against pAtcAsh83's A♦5♦. Mercier flopped two pair, which held up, and he leap-frogged to the middle of the pack.

When play ended on Day 1, only 45 players were left standing in Event #9. Kyle Aiken (Costa Rica) was the overall leader with 1.61M. Kyle Aiken was one of only two players to surpass the 1M mark along with anth0nypappa at 1.1M. Mercier advanced to Day 2 with 266,390 in chips, good enough for 24th overall.

Day 2. Dawn of a new day. The first few minutes of action commenced with a couple of rapid-fire bustouts. Less than 12 minutes into Day 2, Mercier chipped up to 411K with 8♠8♣ against diamanto13's A♠K♦. Mercier flopped a set of eights and rivered a full house and diamanto13 was dunzo in 42nd place.

With 2 tables to go and 18 players left, Kyle Aiken retained the lead with 2M and Mercier sat 11th overall with 705K. Mercier went to work right away and chipped up to over 1M. Mercier turned a straight with Q♣J♥ on a board of A♦T♦8♥K♠K♥, and he won a 656K pot against Dimsevich. Alas, that would be as high as he'd get.

Only 15 were left in the hunt when Pro Jason Mercier ran T♣T♦ into Grindation's K♦K♥. Mercier started the hand with 1.06M and he got it all-in preflop after a rare 6-bet shove. The board finished up 8♦5♠3♠A♠6♦ and Mercier busted out in 15th place, which paid out $11,193.00. Grindation seized the lead with 2.2M.

With 14 to go, Ireland's bullyboy1978 slow-played pocket Aces to jump into the lead after dragging a 1M pot against Kyle Aiken. As action winded down toward the final table, Grindation became the new leader and the first player to pass 3M.

Action went hand-for-hand with 10 remaining and big-stacked Grindnation had 3.8M. Irini2011 attempted to make a final stand with Q♣T♠ but ran into Grindation's K♣K♥. Irini2011 turned a gutshot, yet never got there. Irini2011 bubbled off the final table in 10th place and Grindnation's big stack got bigger.

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WCOOP-09 - Final Table Chip Counts:
Seat 1: Dimsevich (1,353,217)
Seat 2: gusmaa (1,247,850)
Seat 3: Kyle Aiken (763,265)
Seat 4: Elmagico19A1 (830,004)
Seat 5: hellzito (724,440)
Seat 6: tollgate (2,279,789)
Seat 7: Grindation (4,372,896)
Seat 8: bullyboy1978 (3,598,970)
Seat 9: 88118811 (2,049,569)

The final table commenced during Level 42 with the blinds at 15K/30K and a 3,750 ante. The U.K.'s Grindation held the lead with 4.3M, while Brazil's hellzito was the shortest stack with 830K. The final table featured Tom "tollgate" Grigg, who won the 2015 SCOOP Main Event earlier this year. Other notables included Phill "Grindation" Mcallister (runner-up in 2014 SCOOP and final table in 2015 SCOOP) and William "hellzito" Arruda (a MTT grinder from Brazil with over seven figures in earnings).

THE REAL ME: Kyle Aiken eliminated in 9th place

We played a half of a level before short-stacked Kyle Aiken attempted to double-up or go home. 88118811 opened to 72,500, Kyle Aiken shoved all-in for 493,315 with K♥Q♠, and 88118811 called with A♠K♠. 88118811 flopped trip Aces, but Kyle Aiken picked up outs on the turn with a gutshot Broadway draw. The board finished up A♦A♥6♠T♥8♥. Alas, Kyle Aiken failed to improve on the river and 88118811's three Aces held up. Day 1 chip leader, Kyle Aiken from Paraguay, became the first player to exit at the final table. Ninth place paid out $17,736.60.

DOCTOR JIMMY: Elmagico19A1 eliminated in 8th place

Action played through almost two levels before a second elimination. Shorty Elmagico19A1 tried to double up with A♠2♠, but ran into 88118811's A♦J♦. The board was 7♣6♠3♠9♥K♥ and 88118811 won the pot with an Ace-high and Jack-kicker. The Netherlands' Elmagico19A1 took home $32,718.00 for 8th place.

HELPLESS DANCER: gusmaa eliminated in 7th place

Cooler time. 88118811 opened to 84,500, gusmaa raised to 220,300, 88118811 shoved for 2,315,603, and gusmaa called all-in for 813,827. Gusmaa's A♥K♠ was in trouble against 88118811's K♦K♥. The board ran out J♦7♦3♠6♥J♠ and 88118811's Kings held up by winning the pot with two pair -- Kings and Jacks. Brazil's gusmaa did not improve Big Slick and was knocked out in seventh place, which paid out $49,938.00.

With six remaining, Grindation continued to be out in front with 5.7M, while hellzito was short with 637K.

SEA AND SAND: Dimsevich eliminated in 6th place

Another cooler. More firepower. Big Slick vs. Queens. Dimsevich opened to 80,000, bullyboy1978 raised to 200K, Dimsevich re-raised to 1,098,593 with A♥K♦, and bullyboy1978 called with Q♥Q♣. bullyboy1978 flopped a set and rivered a boat. Dimsevich never had a chance with a board of Q♠9♥7♣3♥9♣. Lithuania's Dimsevich busted in sixth place, which paid out $67,158.00.

DROWNED: 88118811 eliminated in 5th place

More fireworks with Queens versus A-K. This incendiary result sent one player to the rail, and propelled the other into the chip lead. Here's another tale of two Queens... bullyboy1978 min-raised to 100,000, 88118811 bumped it up to 301,000, bullyboy1978 re-raised to 850,000, 88118811 five-bet shoved for 3,603,417, and bullyboy1978 called. 88118811 led with Q♦Q♥ vs. bullyboy1978's A♣K♣. The board finished up K♠T♥4♦3♠K♥. The King on the flop gave bullyboy1978 the lead and another King on the river sealed the deal with trips. With Queens ravished, Argentina's 88118811 finished in fifth place, which paid out $84,378.00.

With four to go... bullyboy1978 led with 9.6M followed by Grindation's 4.3M, then tollgate (1.7M) and hellzito (1.6M).

QUADROPHENIA: Grindation eliminated in 4th place

Phill "Grindation" Mcallister was the next player to meet his fate. Short-stacked with approximately 1.1M, Grindation got it all-in on the board of 7♠5♦2♠4♦ with K♦Q♦ and a flush draw. hellzito called with 7♥7♦ and a set of sevens. The 7♣ spiked on the river and hellzito won the pot with quads. Tough break. Phill "Grindation" Mcallister was knocked out in fourth place, which paid out $117,096.00.

DEAL? NO

With three to go, action was paused to discuss a deal. bullyboy1978 held the top slot with (8.88M), followed by tollgate (5M) and hellzito (3.2M). Any deal had to leave $20,000 on the table for first place and the ICM numbers were floated: bullyboy1978 ($232,881.10), tollgate ($210,690.20), and hellzito ($195,093.70).

"I'm gonna need 217,500 gents. Take it or leave it," remarked tollgate.

Hellizto politely asked for better deal, "I don't want to sound rude, but I'm comfortable playing. But I'd be happy if I got 200K on a deal."

To which bullyboy1978 responded, "WTF?"

tollgate urged the players to resume play. Unable to reach a deal, action resumed three-handed.

CUT MY HAIR: tollgate eliminated in 3rd place

Three-handed did not last very long before we saw a bust out. tollgate opened to 154,000, bullyboy1978 raised to 350,000, and tollgate called. Both players checked the board of J♠T♣5♥. The turn was the 7♠. bullyboy1978 fired out 294,612, tollgate bumped it up to 848,484, and bullyboy1978 called. The T♦ fell on the river. bullyboy1978 checked, tollgate moved all-in for 3,209,260, and bullyboy1978 called. tollgate tabled an unimproved 3♦2♦ and lost the pot to bullyboy1978's T♠8♥ and trip tens. Australia's tollgate was knocked out in third place, which paid out $159,285.00.

HEADS-UP: hellzito (Brazil) vs. bullyboy1978 (Ireland)
Seat 5: hellzito (3,262,729)
Seat 8: bullyboy1978 (13,957,271)

With two to go, bullyboy1978 held a sizable lead. Despite the disadvantage, hellzito seemed prepped for a long haul. I doubt either player knew it, but they'd embark on an epic heads-up battle that would last 2.5 hours.

During the first half hour or so, there was not much chip movement aside from bullboy1978 gaining minuscule ground. At the 40-minute mark, a patient hellzito finally doubled up. A bad beat prevented bullyboy1978 from picking off hellzito in yet another case of cracked Queens. bullyboy1978's Q♣Q♠ lost to hellzito's A♦3♠ trip Aces, when the board finished up T♦7♦2♥A♠A♥. Remember this particular hand because it would end up being the last opportunity bullboy1978 had a chance to knock out hellzito. At that point, hellzito doubled up to 6.8M and bullboy's big stack was trimmed to 10.3M.

hellzito embarked on a series of mini-rushes during several inflection points of the heads-up fracas. During this particular blitz, hellzito seized the lead when 8♠8♣ held up on a rigid board of 7♥A♦3♦2♠A♣.

At the one-hour mark, just as hellzito tried to pass 10M, bullyboy1978 dragged a 2.8M pot to regain a slight lead with 9M. hellzito counterattacked with another mini-rush by winning nine out of ten hands to retake the lead 10M to 7M.

70 minutes into heads-up, bullyboy1978 slipped under 5M, but appeared to gain momentum after dragging two pots worth 5M to chip up to 7M. Once again, hellzito launched a successful counterattack to win a flurry of hands as hellzito surged to over 14M.

90 minutes into heads-up, bullyboy1978 was on the ropes with 2.7M. When things looked bleak, bullyboy1978 finally woke up with a big pair. bullyboy1978 avoided an elimination with K♠K♥ and doubled up to 7M. For the next thirty minutes, the two flirted within the 7M-10M range, swapping the lead more times to count.

I'VE HAD ENOUGH... DEAL!

After nearly two grueling hours of heads-up, the final two paused action to discuss a deal. bullyboy1978 was ahead with 9.6M and hellzito held 7.6M. They had to leave $20,000 on the table to the eventual champion. hellzito jokingly offered to split the prize pool. The numbers were floated: bullyboy1978 ($243,177.20) and hellzito ($236,202.80). bullyboy1978 was in a generous mood and offered to give hellzito and additional 3K. The final deal numbers were: $240,177.20 for bullyboy1978 and hellzito secured $239,202.80... with an additional $20,000 left on the table to the champion.

"Good battle BTW," said bullyboy1978

"Yep, it's not standard to play 2 hours HU!" replied hellzito.

LOVE, REIGN O'ER ME: bullyboy1978  eliminated in 2nd place; hellzito wins WCOOP Event #9!

Approximately 2.5 hours after heads-up began and almost 5 hours after the final table commenced, this event reached a climax with a mini-rush by hellzito. The Brazilian won 5 out of the last 6 hands and finally landed a fatal knock-out blow.

Going into the final hand, hellzito led 10.9M to 6.3M. hellzito min-raised to 320,000 and bullyboy1978 called. The flop was 8♠7♦2♦. bullyboy1978 checked, hellzito bet 280,000, bullyboy1978 check-raised to 738,800, hellzito re-raised to 1,440,000, bullyboy1978 moved all-in for 5,975,260, and hellzito called.

hellzito: Q♣Q♦
bullyboy1978: T♥8♣

hellzito led with a pair of Queens versus a pair of eights. The turn was the J♣ and the river was the J♠. hellzito won the pot with two pair -- Queens and Jacks.

Ireland's bullyboy1978 was unable to come from behind and busted in second place. bullyboy1978's remarkable and valiant runner-up performance was worth $240,177.20.

Congrats to Brazil's hellzito for winning the marathon-like WCOOP Event #9 $1,050 Super Tuesday Special Edition. First-place payday was worth $259,202.80.


WCOOP-09: $1,050 NL Hold'em (Super Tuesday SE)
Entrants: 1,722
Prize Pool: $1,722,000
Places Paid: 198

1. William "hellzito" Arruda (Brazil) $259,202.80 *
2. bullyboy1978 (Ireland) $240,177.20 *
3. Tom "tollgate" Grigg (Australia) $159,285.00
4. Phill "Grindation" Mcallister (United Kingdom) $117,096.00
5. 88118811 (Argentina) $84,378.00
6. Dimsevich (Lithuania) $67,158.00
7. gusmaa (Brazil) $49,938.00
8. Elmagico19A1 (Netherlands) $32,718.00
9. Kyle Aiken (Costa Rica) $17,736.60

* = denotes a two-way deal

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Pauly McGuire is an author and freelance contributor to PokerStars.

Pauly McGuire
@PokerStars in WCOOP