WCOOP 2015: vick23789 bests two bracelet winners in Event #50, $215 NLHE (Knockout)

WCOOP is a time of year when the poker's best players rise to the occasion so frequently that repeat winners almost feel like a natural side-effect of even holding the series. Of course, every repeat winner was a first-timer at some point. And while some are fortunate enough to repeat early on, most of them are denied at least once before winning for the second time. That turned out to be the fate of two aspiring double bracelet winners tonight when they found themselves in the path of vick23789, a player who wouldn't be stopped from joining their club.

Event #50, a $215 Knockout No-Limit Hold'em tournament, kicked off Monday at 2:00 p.m. ET and drew a total field of 3,562 players. With $41.25 for each knockout, minimum payouts of $293.83 awaiting the top 450 finishers, and more than $90,000 set aside for the winner, the tournament played through 28 levels on Day 1.

That eliminated all but the last 75 players and the United Kingdom's PhilRoyal888 led overnight with 630,962 chips, good for 90 big blinds at 3.5K/7K/875. PhilRoyal888 had collected 10 knockouts at that point and scored five more on Day 2 before eventually busting on the bubble of the final table, a $4,543.34 cash before bounties. Israel's lion23pstar led the way in knockouts on Day 1 with 13 but couldn't collect any more on Day 2, finishing in 51st place ($1,094.16), just ahead of Team Pro's Matthias "mattidm" de Muelder (56th, $1,037.07).

The player with the next largest stack overnight to make it to the final table was vick23789, who had 536,178 when Day 1 ended. That stack had grown sixfold over the course of Day 2, good for second place, three big blinds behind FireFaux, who had been in fifth place when Day 2 began. After four hours of play they were joined by these seven players to race for the bracelet:

Seat 1: WhoAreYoux1 (1,450,885 in chips)
Seat 2: Flshman (2,776,795 in chips)
Seat 3: Andre_Hansen (1,440,429 in chips)
Seat 4: mrzm0118 (492,068 in chips)
Seat 5: vick23789 (3,345,190 in chips)
Seat 6: naruhhudesu (427,065 in chips)
Seat 7: FireFaux (3,491,742 in chips)
Seat 8: Gavin "gavonater" O'Rourke (2,372,804 in chips)
Seat 9: teruliro (2,013,022 in chips)

WCOOP-50 2015 ft.jpg

The action got off to a quick start on Hand #5 with naruhhudesu shoving for 345K in the small blind, holding K♠ 6♦. FireFaux called with K♦ J♥ in the big blind, neither hand improved on the A♣ A♦ 7♥ 4♠ 9♥ board, and naruhhudesu's brief stay at the final table ended in 9th place ($4,609.22).

mrzm0118 was the only player at the table left with less than 20 big blinds, and the pots remained small until the Canadian opened the pot 12 hands later with an all-in bet of 478K. Flshman called in the small blind with A♥ J♠ and was a significant favorite to win against A♦ 9♣ even before the J♣ T♥ Q♥ flop. No eights, nines, or kings emerged on the turn or river, and mrzm0118's run came to an end in 8th place ($7,201.91).

No repeats

A hand between the two past WCOOP champions at the table would set the stage for one of them to depart. Belgium's WhoAreYoux1, fresh off a bracelet win in yesterday's Event #45, opened for 121K in middle position and Ireland's Gavin "gavonater" O'Rourke, a 2013 WCOOP winner and the leader in bounties for this tournament with 18, called in the big blind to see the K♣ 8♥ A♣ flop. O'Rourke had flopped top pair with A♥ 7♣ and check-called 163K there and 398K more on the 3♥ turn before both players checked the river and WhoAreYoux1 showed K♥ 8♠ for two pair and the 1.44M-chip pot.

That left O'Rourke with 1.5M chips, all of which went in the middle as the fourth bet before the flop two hands later when he was dealt A♦ Q♠. Brazil's teruliro had made the third bet from the small blind with A♠ A♥ and called with 242K left behind, catching top set on the 9♠ A♣ T♠ flop and leaving O'Rourke in need of running cards for a straight or flush. The 6♣ and 2♠ on the turn and river didn't help, and gavonater was gone in 7th place ($12,963.45).

WhoAreYoux1 chipped up again two hands after O'Rourke's departure, winning an all-in race against FireFaux's 8♦ 8♣ with A♣ K♣ via a king on the turn to move up to 4.22M. That left FireFaux with 1.98M, nearly half of which made its way to Andre_Hansen's stack two hands later when FireFaux's three-bet with A♣ 7♥ was called and Andre_Hansen's 9♥ 9♠ held up to take the 1.92M-chip pot.

Left with 1.04M, FireFaux again moved all-in two hands later, this time with A♦ K♦ over the top of vick23789's cutoff raise to 160K. vick23789 called with T♦ T♠ and dodged both flush and straight draws on the 5♥ J♦ 7♦ Q♠ 4♠ board to win the 2.15M-chip pot and knock FireFaux out in 6th place ($18,724.98).

WCOOP-50 2015 ft five-handed.jpg

WhoAreYoux1's quest for a second WCOOP bracelet in as many days went into the break still looking good. Only vick23789's 5.05M-chip stack was larger at this point, so when the two of them tangled five hands later on the 40K/80K/10K level, it set the tone for the rest of the tournament.

vick23789 opened the betting on the button for 240K, slightly more than the average raise at the table so far, and WhoAreYoux1 called to see the Q♦ 8♥ 6♦ flop. The Belgian player check-called 213K there and then led out for 521K, just over half the pot, when the T♠ came on the turn. vick23789 called the bet, and the river was the A♦. WhoAreYoux1 bet out again, this time 1.28M into the 2.04M-chip pot, but folded when vick23789 moved all-in. After WhoAreYoux1 mucked, vick23789 flashed K♥ J♦ - a Broadway straight - and scooped the 4.6M-chip pot to take the lead with 7.39M.

WhoAreYoux1 regained a significant chunk of that loss almost immediately, four-betting all-in from the big blind five hands later after Flshman opened under the gun for 212K and teruliro re-raised to 648K in the small blind. Both players folded and WhoAreYoux1 climbed back ahead of the pack into second place with 3.4M.

The good vibes came to a quick halt two hands later after losing a race with J♦ J♥ against Andre_Hansen's K♠ Q♥. That left WhoAreYoux1 in the middle of the short-stacked pack for the next 30-plus hands, with a 1.68M-chip stack bleeding away through blinds and antes before being dealt Q♥ Q♠ on the button.

WhoAreYoux1 finally moved it all in over the top of vick23789's opening minimum raise under the gun and was the favorite when vick23789 called with K♠ J♣, but the J♠ T♠ 5♠ flop presented enough problems to give vick23789 a 27.3-percent chance of winning from that point. The A♣ turn was safe and actually took away some outs from vick23789, but the J♦ on the river made trip jacks to crack the queens. vick23789 scooped the 2.66M-chip pot, and WhoAreYoux1 left the tournament in 5th place ($24,665.13).

The door is closing on WCOOP 2015 soon - don't miss your chance to win big money! Click here to get a PokerStars account today.

3-2-1 contact

With that win, vick23789 now had all three remaining opponents outchipped by a minimum of 70 big blinds, and after a few more minutes of the three of them would all trail by 90 big blinds. That kind of lead doesn't always translate to a win in big-bet games. In this case it would do exactly that, and in short order.

WCOOP-50 2015 ft four-handed.jpg

The first opponent to go was Flshman, who jammed for 1M with A♥ K♥. vick23789 called with T♣ T♥ in the big blind and fell behind on the flop before turning a set on the 5♣ A♦ 4♣ T♦ 5♦ board. That bumped Flshman to the rail in 4th place ($33,128.82).

Two hands later vick23789 opened all-in on the button with Q♦ T♣ and was called by Andre_Hansen, who held K♠ Q♣ and 1.55M chips. Domination was no issue for vick23789, who went from 3-to-1 underdog to top pair to trip tens on the T♥ 9♦ 2♦ T♦ 4♥ board to knock Andre_Hansen out in 3rd place ($47,820.74).

teruliro had 1.83M chips as heads-up play began and moved in several times over the next nine hands before jamming with A♦ 3♦ on the button and having vick23789 call with 7♣ 7♦. teruliro caught top pair but the same A♣ T♣ 7♥ flop gave vick23789 bottom set. The 2♣-2♥ turn and river weren't the running aces teruliro needed to survive, and the tournament came to its end.

teruliro's runner-up finish was good for $67,409.95, just a bit more than the Brazilian player's previous four biggest cashes combined. The $90,458.29 top prize that goes with vick23789's new bracelet, meanwhile, is somewhere around 90 times bigger than the player's previous best PokerStars tournament cash. Congratulations to both players on outlasting another huge WCOOP field!

WCOOP 2015: Event #50, $215 No-Limit Hold'em (Knockout)
Entrants: 3,562
Prize pool: $723,086 ($576,153.50 regular, $146,932.50 bounty)
Places paid: 450
1. vick23789 (Canada) $90,458.29 + 16 bounties @ $41.25 ea.
2. teruliro (Brazil) $67,409.95 + 4 bounties
3. Andre_Hansen (Ukraine) $47,820.74 + 5 bounties
4. Flshman (Belarus) $33,128.82 + 9 bounties
5. WhoAreYoux1 (Belgium) $24,665.13 + 12 bounties
6. FireFaux (Canada) $18,724.98 + 14 bounties
7. gavonater (Ireland) $12,963.45 + 18 bounties
8. mrzm0118 (Canada) $7,201.91 + 8 bounties
9. naruhhudesu (Japan) $4,609.22 + 8 bounties

Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in WCOOP