WCOOP 2015: We have a two-time champ in Event #6...but it's not a human.
"After this is over, we should have some Klingon blood wine... that is what honourable warriors do."
When was the last time you heard that at a poker table? Then again, when was the last time you played poker with an extraterrestrial?
Let me explain.
In Event #6 of the WCOOP 2015, the $700 PL Omaha [6-Max, Monday PLO SE], a champion from last year has just won their second WCOOP crown. The thing is - he says he isn't human. He actually identifies himself as a Klingon - the extraterrestrial humanoid warriors from Star Trek.
You see, for a long time we were under the impression that Matt 'plattsburgh' Vengrin, who took this event down for $90,157.72 and his second WCOOP title in consecutive years, was a dude from New York, who had moved to Mexico after Black Friday in order to continue plying his trade on the online felt. Brad Willis, PokerStars Head of Blogging, even interviewed him last year following his win in a $320 NLHE WCOOP event.
It turns out we were wrong.
"I am a KLINGON. If you doubt it, a demonstration CAN be arranged!" Vengrin announced in the chat to tournament monitor and member of Team PokerStars Online Mickey 'mement_mori' Petersen.
We're still waiting to hear back on whether or not those arrangements were made...
The trek to stardom
A total of 769 players entered this event, and several big names made the money including Team PokerStars Pro ElkY (58th - $1,585.29), Patrick 'pads1161' Leonard (16th - $4,449.04) and Chris 'Moorman1' Moorman (90th - $1,278.32).
However, two levels into Day 2, with the blinds at 10,000/20,000 and having reached a final table of six, the chip stacks weighed up like this:
1. gavz101 (United Kingdom) - 1,818,878
2. fjutekk (Sweden) - 1,142,113
3. Cashcid Linc (Germany) - 1,054,463
4. plattsburgh (Mexico) - 796,022
5. MaTitheone (Poland) - 593,863
6. Ravenswood13 (Malta) - 326,161
It was a talented bunch. As well as the eventual winner we had Gavin 'gavz101' Cochrane, an online nosebleed cash game beast and accomplished tournament player too, having already won a SCOOP event back in 2010. The Brit came into the final table with a dominant chip lead.
Also present was Germany's Cashcid Linc, who won the Super Tuesday for $77,911 only in July, and has also won a Pokerstars.fr SCOOP event in the past. Ravenswood13 is another high-stake cash game phenom, while Sweden's fjutekk is a skilled $25/$50 PLO cash game player in his own right.
The human starts huge, but the Klingon clings on
You don't reach the top of the nosebleeds without knowing a thing or two, and throughout this final table Gavin 'gavz101' Cochrane showed us why he's considered one of the best.
Ravenswood13 would be his first victim and our 6th place finisher. He opened for 44,800 and both gavz101 and Cashcid Linc called from the small and big blinds, respectively. The 5♣3♠8♥ flop caused the chipleader to lead at it with a bet of 90,000, which got a fold from the player to his left. The short stack was going nowhere, however, and shoved for 317,361 total. The snap call meant the cards were flipped: 8♠9♥7♥6♠ for Ravenswood13, for a juicy wrap and top pair, but still currently trailing the A♣8♣9♦3♥ two pair of the SCOOP champion. The 5♥ turn made things interesting - a wrap and a flush draw is one heck of a PLO hand. But the A♠ on the river sealed the deal and the six-max was now down to five.
From this point, gavz101 was unrelenting in his quest to become a double COOP champ. In one hand he took half the stack of Cashcid Linc, then just a few hands later it was fjutekk's turn to lose a few hundred thousand. He doubled up MaTitheone three hands after that, and then did the same for Cashcid Linc again just a couple of hands later (although, at that point, Cashcid Linc was in the big bling with just five bigs behind). Despite all of this action, gavz101 still had twice as many chips as his next opponent.
Cashcid Linc was the next to fall. A heads up all-in pot with fjutekk saw, by the turn, a board of 8♦Q♠6♠A♣, giving the German player two pair and the nut flush draw. However, the hand was trailing fjutekk's top two pair, and couldn't improve on the river. We had our final four.
With the freshly-gained chips and confidence, fjutekk began to take it to the chipleader, scooping a 1,300,000 pot against gavz101 in just the very next hand. Here's how the chip stacks looked then:
Matt 'Plattsburgh' Vengrin, AKA the Klingon, was doing just that - clinging on and staying hopeful. He even complimented gavz101 for his skills as a "warrior". It was only after MaTitheone was eliminated in fourth place by the chipleader that the Klingon warrior began his descent to the stars, doubling up through gavz101 and winning big pots from fjutekk, who eventually busted out in third place.
With blinds at 20,000/40,000, the Swede opened to 100,000 and got a three-bet from gavz101 to 340,000. After calling, the two saw a flop of A♥6♠Q♠ which gavz101 fired into with a 240,000 bet. At this point, fjutekk moved all in for 1,412,774 which was called. It was 7♣A♣T♦6♦ for the Swede, and K♣K♠J♥J♠ for gavz101. Despite being ahead with two pair, fjutekk was only a 49.3% favourite to win against the flush and straight draws of his opponent. The T♥ turn completed the straight, and the 8♥ river changed nothing. We were heads up.
Klingon vs Cochrane - champion vs champion
Both the Klingon - Matt 'Plattsburgh' Vengrin - and Gavin 'gavz101' Cochrane were playing for their second COOP titles and a first prize of more than $90,000, which made the battle very exciting indeed. Not that you'd know it from the chat box though.
"Gavz. After this is over, we should have some Klingon blood wine... that is what honourable warriors do," said Vengrin. "Agreed," replied Cochrane.
Gavz101 was a big chipleader with 4,265,278 to plattsburgh's 1,502,222 - but this is PLO, and it doesn't take long for things to change. The Klingon went on a tear winning pot after pot, one of which was worth more than 1.6 million. He eventually took his first lead of the final table.
"Gamble time I think," said gavz101 as his stack became shorter and shorter. The Klingon's response was short and sweet: "Okie."
It wasn't going to end without a fight though. Gavz101 doubled up and re-took the chip lead when his made hand held against plattsburgh's wrap, but just like that the Klingon regained his edge. With blinds at 25,000/50,000 and 600,000 in the pot already by the flop of J♣Q♥3♦, gavz101 fired for 250,000 which was called. The turn was the 5♦ and now the bet was 750,000; this time, though, plattsburgh shoved for 1,826,266 and was called.
plattsburgh - 8♦5♠Q♣7♣
gavz101 - T♦A♦J♦K♥
The Brit had was behind but his draw was enormous - any ace, king, ten, nine or diamond would give him the win...but the 6♠ meant the pot (and massive chiplead) slid to plattsburgh. Three hands later and it was over when gavz101's 2♥6♥8♦8♣ was out flopped, turned and rivered by plattsburgh's 3♥T♦K♠2♠, eventually giving him a winning hand of tens full of kings.
So what have we learnt tonight?
- Matt 'Plattsburgh' Vengrin is a Klingon
- He's also now a two-time WCOOP champion
- Gavin 'gavz101' remains an online poker beast
- Mickey 'mement_mori' Petersen isn't interested in arranging a Klingon demonstration
But where will the honourable warriors meet to drink their Klingon blood wine? That's what we really want to know...
WCOOP-06: $700 PL Omaha [6-Max, Monday PLO SE]
Prize pool: $511,385
Places paid: 102
1. Matt 'Plattsburgh' Vengrin (Mexico) $90,157.72
2. Gavin 'gavz101' Cochrane (United Kingdom) $66,480.05
3. fjutekk (Sweden) $51,138.50
4. MaTitheone (Poland) $35,796.95
5. Cashcid Linc (Germany) $25,569.25
6. Ravenswood13 (Malta) $15,341.55
Take a look at the the WCOOP page for info and reports from the entire 2015 series. Enjoy!
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Jack Stanton is a professional journalist and freelance writer for PokerStars.