WCOOP 2015: SQUA99 squirms way into Event #20 title ($109, Re-Entry)

Pac-Man, Frogger, and Q-Bert all used to cost a player quarter to challenge wandering ghosts, snapping alligators, and coiled purple snakes all for the glory of posting high score initials for everyone to see. Video games have come a long way since the dusty arcades with multi-million dollar League of Legends teams, college scholarships, and even selling online characters for profit. The WCOOP 2015 Event #20 NLHE (with optional re-entry) was similar to those big blocks of 8-bit goodness. Only the fee to play was $109.00 and if you needed an extra life (or five) those would cost the same amount all for the glory of putting a name on the leader board (and a little cash and jewelry).

Sorry, the Contra up-up-down-down-left-right-left-right-B-A-start code for 30 extra lives (re-entries) was not available.

SQUA99, 10111420, and mr.valerius would chop the remaining funds. While 10111420 would take away the most money, SQUA99 surged just at the right time to win $85,205.12, Event #20, and get the name at the top of the high score list for everyone to see.

Read on for the story of SQUA99's come from behind win.

The try-try-try-try-try again award goes to afgan73, Ashwatthama, Calvin "cal42688" Anderson, dariepoker, Davydenko123, and Goods0077 (among others) who all managed to cash on a fifth bullet (but sadly not enough for a positive ROI).

As for people with a decent ROI in the WCOOP 2015 series, Rui "RuiNF" Ferreira holds the current WCOOP Player of the Series lead thanks to a win in Event #14 and a final table in Event #19 (finishing ninth). Ferreira would snag a couple of points, adding to his lead in this one after finishing just inside the 990 money spots in 861st place.

Second place Dzmitry 'Colisea' Urbanovich, who finished third in Event #12, and third place in the Player of the Series race Matt "Plattsburgh" Vengrin (who won Event #6) both fired three bullets at this tournament going away empty.

A lone Red Spade would make it through the dust of day one's 7,140 eliminations. Team PokerStars Pro Fatima DeMelo was one of the 128 skillful players to return for day two of Event #20's $109 NLHE with five optional re-entries but would start with a short stack in the quest for a WCOOP bracelet and $110,550.06 up top. The time back was short-lived as DeMelo quietly took away $559.63 in 122nd place for her troubles.

No one with five re-entries made it to the second day. Instigator85 scratched out a small win with four re-entries earning $603.24 in 110th place. Oxota (98th place, $719.53) and BundAA (69th place, $1,046.59) would enjoy a mild refund on their three re-entries. Only Csikken would take a fourth buy-in to the final two tables. Csikken made the final table of this event last year when no re-entries were allowed.

Unfortunately, csikken would pick the wrong time for a shortstack shove, shipping K♣8♣ with DiegoCheblii holding K♦A♣. No luck on the 4♣ Q♠ T♦ J♦ 8♥ board as DieboCheblii's straight sent csikken home with $3,052.56 in 15th place.

Around the same time csikken was heading for the rail mr.valerius started running up a chip leading stack. The first player to ten million chips, mr.valerius would have over twice as many chips as second place 10111420 at the fifth hourly break of day two. The numerically named 10111420 already has a SCOOP watch from the 2015 Event #20-M and will be looking to add a leg towards the Triple COOP.

While mr.valerius racked up tournament funds on Table 106, R32-I would be all-in with a shortstack on the final table bubble against Raaadzio91 on the adjacent table. A flip potentially worth $100K as R32-I showed 7♣A♣ against the pocket treys 3♣3♠ of Raaadzio91. Good news: R32-I turned two pair. Bad news: Raaadzio91 flopped a set 7♥ 3♥ T♦ A♦ Q♦ as R32-I was told to leave, starting up the final table below:


Seat 1: Raaadzio91 (1507240 in chips)
Seat 2: 10111420 (4459590 in chips)
Seat 3: SQUA99 (3874064 in chips)
Seat 4: @TrashBlade@ (2589641 in chips)
Seat 5: live@pompeii (3363322 in chips)
Seat 6: DiegoCheblii (4456204 in chips)
Seat 7: AA Full Mike (2312445 in chips)
Seat 8: mr.valerius (12785157 in chips)
Seat 9: guimoura (992337 in chips)

Two out of three ain't bad as the lyrics go. Well, it ain't good for guimoura and @TrashBlade@. On the first hand of the final table with the blinds up to 50K/100K ante 12.5K with guimoura holding under a million chips, the shortstack would shove over a min-raise by AA Full Mike. Around the table back to AA Full Mike holding A♥J♦ and willing to make the call. Guimoura, who made a TCOOP final table earlier this year (collecting $21K in Event #45 after chopping fourth place), needed pocket eights 8♦8♣ to run clean.

They did not as an ace on the turn and an ace on the river 3♠ K♠ 2♥ A♠ A♦ finished guimoura's Event #20's run in ninth place ($5,632.70).

Two hands later chip leading mr.valerius would raise to 215K as @TrashBlade@ wasted no time to shove for 2.3 million. Holding over 12 million chips behind, mr.valerius was happy to gamble with A♣Q♣ facing another shortstack with pocket eights 8♠8♦. And once again the eights would not make it home as the queen on the flop 3♠ 3♦ Q♠ 5♣ J♦ sent @TrashBlade@ to the curb in eighth place ($8,721.60).

Near the sixth hourly break shortstacked Raaadzio91, who already has a WCOOP bracelet from 2012's Event #4, would try to double up by open shoving 7♥9♥ from the cutoff. SQUA99 showed no mercy from the small blind by re-shoving A♥T♠. Despite picking up a few outs on the turn 6♦ J♦ 2♣ 5♦ 3♦ the high-card ace shipped $15,989.60 to Raaadzio91 in seventh place.

Half way through the sixth hour with the blinds up to 80K/160K ante 20K DiegoCheblii, who had plenty of "VAMOOOOOOOOOOOOSS" cheers at the final two tables, would min-raise from middle position as AA Full Mike nearly pushed all-in for 2.72 million. DiegoCheblii was not going away with a similar chip stack and shoved all-in for 2.97 million holding pocket jacks J♠J♣. AA Full Mike heard the ghost of Teddy KGB knowing Q♣T♠ was not ahead but had to call off the remaining 176K. Despite pairing the river K♥ K♠ 7♣ 8♠ T♦ AA Full Mike could not topple the jacks leaving in sixth place ($23,257.60).

Surprisingly this spurred the massive chip leader mr. valerius to start chop negotiations as Team PokerStars Online Pro Tyler "frosty012" Frost got to work to present ICM and chip chop numbers. It would be all for naught as nearly everyone chanted "MORE MORE MORE". Thus the cards went back in the air with the six-figures intact up top.

Nearly three hours after mr.valerius reached eight digits in chips, someone else would join that lofty height. Ten minutes after the nixed deal with the blinds up to 100K/200K ante 25K 10111420 would min-raise from the button as live@pompeii blew up with a shove for 4.6 million. Holding pocket jacks J♥J♦ 10111420 made the call, dominating the J♣A♦ of live@pompeii. No ace bailout on the Q♣ 4♥ 8♦ 5♥ 9♦ board would give $30,525.60 to live@pompeii to play another day in fifth place.

Bluffing the whole way, mr.valerius would cripple DiegoCheblii after taking down a 5.1 million chip pot after value betting a rivered straight. Two hands later, DiegoCheblii would call a min-raise by mr.valerius out of the big blind to see a 2♣6♠8♥ flop. DiegoCheblii checked as the chip leader bet a million chips which was enough to put DiegoCheblii all-in. Flopping top pair with 8♠4♠ was fortuitous as DiegoCheblii made the call. But, mr.valerius' 6♥K♥ would find another 6♣ on the turn, and safely get through the river 2♠ knocking out DiegoCheblii in fourth place ($39,974.00).

10111420 breached the silence asking mr.valerius (now owning a 24 million to 11.4 million chip lead over 10111420 and SQUA99) for chop considerations again. The chip leader requested $110K or locking up first place cash (hopefully with some invisible internet sarcasm) as the other two players politely declined to re-start the tournament.


Twenty minutes before the seventh hourly break 10111420 would finally dent mr.valerius castle of chips. After a flop of 2♠9♥3♥ 10111420 shoved 6.7 million chips as mr.valerius made the call with top pair 9♦T♦. 10111420's pair and the nut flush draw A♥2♥ would get there on the turn and river the unnecessary flush 2♠ 9♥ 3♥ A♦ K♥ to drag 16 million chip pot and the lead.

Immediate calls for chop talk ended with a quick "I agree" from all three players to the amounts below (leaving $10K and the bracelet for the winner):

10111420: $85,368.81
mr.valerius: $79,885.13
SQUA99: $75,205.12

After the chop everything flipped in reverse.

Six minutes into the eighth hour of day two with the blinds up to 150K/300K ante 37.5K and a flattening of the stack sizes mr.valerius, now holding the shortest stack at 11.64 million, would min-raise from the button. SQUA99 holding 11.66 million three-bet to 2.02 million as mr.valerius shoved with A♠7♦. SQUA99 found a call with pocket sevens 7♥7♠ and safely knocked-out the previous chip bully after the ace-less Q♣ 6♦ K♠ Q♥ 3♣ board sent $79,885.15 to mr.valerius in third place.

A second COOP win for 10111420? Or would SQUA99's late push net a bracelet?

The answer arrived just six hands into heads-up play.

Owning a 23.2 million to 13.1 million chip lead, SQUA99 min-raised as 10111420 three-bet to two million. In no mood for a long, drawn out battle SQUA99 shoved all-in holding K♠Q♦ as 10111420 called and turned over A♣J♦. The jack on the flop did not mean much, but the queen on the river 7♣ J♥ 7♠ 7♥ Q♥ did as SQUA99 took away the extra cash from the chop earning a total of $85,205.12 and the WCOOP 2015 Event #20 bracelet!

WCOOP 2015 Event #20: $109 NLHE (Optional Re-Entry)
Entrants: 7,268
Prize pool: $726,800
Places paid: 990

1. SQUA99 (Romania) $85,205.12*
2. 10111420 (United Kingdom) $85,368.81*
3. mr.valerius (Russia) $79,885.13*
4. DiegoCheblii (Brazil) $39,974.00
5. live@pompeii [two re-entries used] (Mexico) $30,525.60
6. AA Full Mike (Netherlands) $23,257.60
7. Raaadzio91 (Poland) $15,989.60
8. @TrashBlade@ (Brazil) $8,721.60
9. guimoura (Brazil) $5,632.70

* = denotes a three-way deal

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David Aydt
@PokerStars in 2015