WCOOP 2015: TheFish77 denies Katchalov in Event #37 ($320 8-Game)

It's rather exciting when a Team PokerStars Pro makes a deep run at a major title such as those on offer at the World Championship of Online Poker. There are many reasons why a player is chosen to adorn the red spade of PokerStars, but above all, it's about a player's skill, and success, on the poker felt.

We've seen some great runs by Team PokerStars Pros already this series and we came awfully close to adding another WCOOP title for the team today as Ukrainian Eugene Katchalov navigated his way through the field in WCOOP Event #37 to reach heads-up play. Katchalov found himself matched against a player called TheFish77, but this Norwegian was no fish as he was able to overcome the pro to claim an impressive victory.

It was Event #37 of the World Championship of Online Poker -- a $320 8-Game event which attracted a strong field of 533 entrants. They created a prize pool of $159,900 to easily surpass the advertised guarantee.

George Danzer, Adrienne Rowsome, Bertrand Grospellier, Jason Somerville, Jason Mercier and 2003 World Champion Chris Moneymaker were all in the field representing Team PokerStars but they would fall short of the money for the top 72 players.

When Russia's Iwantbearich was bounced out on the bubble, the remaining players had secured a minimum $511.68.

There were a couple of red spades making a deep run in this one. Japanese star Naoya "nkeyno" Kihara reached 15th place for a $1,487.07 however it was Eugene Katchalov who was making big waves as the chip leader entering the final two tables.

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Katchalov was able to maintain his stack on one table while TheFish77 was running rampant on the other. TheFish77 was catching cards and betting with aggression as his table quickly became short-handed.

birddy420, who claimed to be playing his first ever 8-game tournament, was the one to bubble the final table. The luck didn't go his way late and when birddy420 committed in a hand of Omaha Hi-Lo, he was narrowly pipped for the high and low by TheFish77 as our final table was set:

wcoop2015-ev37-ft.jpg

Final Table Line up
Seat 1: isDatLekker? (110,560 in chips)
Seat 2: Eugene Katchalov (288,659 in chips)
Seat 3: Raabinator93 (227,834 in chips)
Seat 4: Leon_Javur (715,862 in chips)
Seat 5: TheFish77 (1,101,214 in chips)
Seat 6: Jonas Palsgård "Palsgaard1" Christensen (220,871 in chips)

Team PokerStars Pro Eugene Katchalov was in the middle of the pack, but caught an early double up with a pretty 7-4-3-2-A in Razz against TheFish77.

However Raabinator93 wasn't quite so fortunate to become the first eliminated from our final table. The game had switched to Seven-Card Stud, and after a series of raises, all the chips were in on third street. Raabinator93 started with a pair but could improve no further on a board of 7♠Q♣7♥6♣4♠A♠3♥ as TheFish77 had that well covered with T♦Q♠Q♦T♣J♦7♣A♣ for queens and tens. That left Raabinator93 to pick up $5,116.80 for sixth place.

The chips were heavily on one side of the table with TheFish77 and Leon_Javur well out in front while the other three tried to survive.

isDatLekker? found quads at the right time but had to split the pot in Stud Hi-Lo, however the double up came in No Limit Holdem when isDatLekker?'s ace-queen held against Leon_Javur's dominated ace-five.

It was the No Limit Holdem round where Eugene Katchalov also made a move with pocket aces landing a big double up through the open-ended straight draw of TheFish77.

It would take until the Pot Limit Omaha round for the next casualty with isDatLekker? the one to go. With the chips all-in preflop, isDatLekker? went with 6♠Q♦A♠Q♣ but ran into Palsgaard1's 7♥K♦K♥8♦. The board ran out 2♣J♠T♥5♦9♠ to give Palsgaard1 the bottom end of a straight to take it down and eliminate isDatLekker? in fifth place for $7,995 in prize money.

TheFish77 continued to surge at the top of the counts, winning more than a fair share of pots to accumulate more than two-thirds of the chips in play with four players remaining.

Leon_Javur took a couple of hits during Triple Draw before Katchalov started to make a few moves with well-timed aggression in the Limit Holdem round. When Katchalov got three streets of value with ace-ten on a ten-high board against TheFish77, it was Katchalov who was into the chip lead.

The blinds got hold of Jonas Palsgård "Palsgaard1" Christensen who was all in preflop during Limit Holdem. Both TheFish77 and Katchalov made the call and fired a bet into the side pot on the flop before Katchalov gave it up on the turn. The board read A♥6♦A♣7♠ and Palsgaard1 was hopeful that 9♣7♣ was good, but TheFish77 was all over that board with A♦7♦ for a full house! The river was the T♥ leaving Palsgaard1 to pick up $11,193 for fourth place.

Two hands later and three became two as Leon_Javur was sent to the rail. Again it was Limit Holdem that did the damage, with Leon_Javur four-betting all in preflop against TheFish77. It was 8♦9♥ for Leon_Javur against the A♦T♦ of TheFish77. The flop landed 3♠3♣8♥ and Leon_Javur had snuck ahead but that all changed again on the T♥ turn as TheFish77 paired the ten. The river bricked the 5♣ to send Leon_Javur home in third place for $16,389.75 in prize money.

Heads-up chip counts
Seat 2: E. Katchalov (1,247,248 in chips)
Seat 5: TheFish77 (1,417,752 in chips)

Things were pretty even when heads-up play commenced with TheFish77 holding a narrow lead over the Team PokerStars Pro.

With the blinds so large in the limit games, it didn't take long for the chips to pass back and forth. Katchalov grabbed the early advantage but TheFish77 fought back with six pots in a row to take a two-to-one lead.

Big pots were exchanged during Omaha Hi-Lo before a crucial hand went the way of TheFish77 during Razz. There were bets on every street with TheFish77 showing up with a pretty 6-5-4-3-2 to scoop a pot worth 800k.

TheFish77 continued to grind down Katchalov who just couldn't get anything going before the final hand unfolded during Seven-Card Stud.

The chips were all in on third street with the boards running out as follows:

TheFish77: K♠8♠3♣7♣Q♦6♣3♦
Katchalov: 2♥7♦2♠5♣Q♣J♦8♣

Katchalov started with a lowly pair of ducks which had the lead all the way until the river where TheFish77 paired the three to nudge ahead and claim the title!

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Congratulations to Team PokerStars Pro Eugene Katchalov on a tremendous run. He fell just short of the WCOOP title but did pick up $22,386 in prize money for his runner-up result.

However on this occasion it would be Norwegian TheFish77 who topped the pro to collect the title and $30,381 in prize money. Congratulations!

WCOOP-37: $320 8-Game - $100K Guaranteed
Entrants: 533
Prize Pool: $159,900
Places Paid: 72

1. TheFish77 (Norway) $30,381.00
2. Eugene Katchalov (Ukraine) $22,386.00
3. Leon_Javur (Estonia) $16,389.75
4. Jonas Palsgård "Palsgaard1" Christensen (Denmark) $11,193.00
5. isDatLekker? (Netherlands) $7,995.00
6. Raabinator93 (Germany) $5,116.80

The 2015 World Championship of Online Poker is only just past the half-way mark with over 70 events throughout the series. Check out the WCOOP home page for the full schedule of events.

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Heath "TassieDevil" Chick is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Heath
@PokerStars in WCOOP