WCOOP 2016: clinc3 tops Connor Drinan for $138K win, Blom 3rd in Event #55 ($530 NLHE)

WCOOP final tables are frequently filled with the best poker players in the world. More often than not we know them well enough to put their screen names in quotes between their first and last names in the real world. A good rule of thumb is that the more of these players listed in the final results, the tougher the final table probably was. By that measure, Russia's clinc3 win tonight in Event #55 came at one tough final table indeed, finished off as it was with knockouts of Viktor "Isildur1" Blom and Connor "blanconegro" Drinan to earn more than $138,000 as the last player standing.

All the chips, all the money

A relatively rare one-day WCOOP no-limit hold'em tournament, Event #55 kicked off at 5:00 p.m. ET with up to three re-entries available to any player who busted out in the first three hours of play. By that period's end the field had accommodated 1,279 entries and another 554 re-entries for a total prize pool of $916,500. The blind levels got slightly longer as the tournament went, from six minutes each at the start all the way up to 15 minutes by the time the final table was in sight. Once the United Kingdom's Pollopopeye was eliminated in 10th place at 1:50 a.m. ET, one tough final table lineup was in place:

Seat 1: clinc3 (1,189,088 in chips)
Seat 2: Garrin4e (1,330,247 in chips)
Seat 3: Luiz "justholdplz" Duarte (1,412,016 in chips)
Seat 4: Matt "plattsburgh" Vengrin (1,016,950 in chips)
Seat 5: GuiKsy07 (4,023,204 in chips)
Seat 6: Isildur1 (2,009,935 in chips)
Seat 7: Stefan "I'am_Sound" Huber (1,945,197 in chips)
Seat 8: Connor "blanconegro" Drinan (4,825,377 in chips)
Seat 9: conradofpg (577,986 in chips)

WCOOP 2016-55 ft.jpg

Some final tables get off to a quick start, but this one got a major boost of momentum with a double knockout on just its second hand. Past Super Tuesday and SCOOP 2016 finalist Garrin4e opened the betting in middle position by moving all-in for 1.31M with A♣ K♥. SCOOP 2016 finalist and past Super Tuesday runner-up Luiz "justholdplz" Duarte was next to act and moved all-in as well, for 1.61M with K♣ K♠. Everyone else at the table folded except for EPT Barcelona High Roller winner and Event #5 champ Connor "blanconegro" Drinan, who called with A♦ A♠ and 3.19M chips left behind. The cushion proved unnecessary when the board ran out Q♦ J♥ 6♣ 4♥ 5♦, giving Drinan the 4.64M-chip pot and knocking out Garrin4e in ninth and justholdplz in eighth.

With those two early knockouts setting the pace, the action continued to move quickly, but more double-ups were in the cards than knockouts. conradofpg called in the big blind with Q♣ 9♣ and doubled up to 1.16M after Connor Drinan tried to steal from the small blind with 7♥ 2♠. Then SCOOP 2013 champ and Super Tuesday winner Stefan "I'am Sound" Huber flopped top pair, dodged a flush draw, and then made a flush of his own on the river to double to 3.28M courtesy of GuiKsy07.

Unfortunately for Matt "plattsburgh" Vengrin, a two-time WCOOP champion with a SCOOP 2016 title on his resume, he couldn't manage the same feat on the next hand. He raised to 840K on the button with A♣ J♥ and called all-in for 169K more when Viktor "Isildur1" Blom re-raised from the big blind. Blom had Q♣ Q♦, so the jack on the J♦ 4♥ 8♥ flop was no help. The 6♥ gave Vengrin a flush draw, but he missed it on the 3♦ river and left in seventh.

Matt Vengrin

WCOOP title number three eluded Matt Vengrin today

The pace wouldn't relent from there. Five hands later the table's two short stacks collided, with clinc3 raising to 175K when the action folded to the small blind and calling all-in for 1.39M when GuiKsy07 jammed for 1.9M in the big blind. clinc3's A♣ K♣ held up against A♠ 9♣ to grab the 2.84M-chip pot and leave GuiKsy07 with just seven big blinds. Seven hands after that, GuiKsy07 open-shoved with Q♣ 7♥ and was called by I'am Sound on the button with K♦ K♥. A queen on the river wasn't enough help, and GuiKsy07 was out in sixth.

Pocket kings knocked out a short stack on the following hand as well. This time Connor Drinan had the kings, raising with them on the button and prompting a desperate shove from conradofpg in the small blind with 8♠ 6♠. Drinan made an unnecessary flush on the river of the A♥ T♠ T♥ 7♥ 6♥ board, earning the 1.93M-chip pot and eliminating conradofpg in fifth.

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In just 27 minutes, Event #55 had seen a final table convene and then lose half its participants - and all that with five of those minutes dedicated to the hourly break. With blinds and antes still at 40K/80K/10K, Connor Drinan had 7.7M chips to Stefan Huber's 4.5M, clinc3's 3.4M, and Viktor Blom's 2.6M. Drinan spent the next 25 minutes playing small ball and slowly moving north of the 10M-chip mark before a monster three-way pot led to the next knockout.

The owner of two SCOOP titles, including the 2013 SCOOP-High Main Event, and a finalist in the WCOOP Main Event back in 2014, Blom opened the action with a min-raise to 240K on the button, holding J♣ J♠. Huber jammed for 2.8M in the small blind with A♦ T♣, and then Drinan re-shoved in the big blind with A♠ K♣. Blom called as a 56.6-percent favorite against the field and the jacks held up on a Q♦ 3♥ 9♠ 2♥ 9♦ board to give him the 8.37M-chip pot. Drinan dropped to second in chips, and Stefan "I'am Sound" Huber bowed out in fourth.

Stefan Huber

Stefan Huber, out in fourth

That gave Blom a small lead over Drinan, with clinc3 trailing:

Seat 1: clinc3 (2,747,741 in chips)
Seat 6: Viktor "Isildur1" Blom (8,145,555 in chips)
Seat 8: Connor "blanconegro" Drinan (7,436,704 in chips)

Blom's game was typically aggressive in the early going, but his A♠ J♥ couldn't put clinc3's K♥ 8♠ away when the Russian player caught a king on the flop and an eight on the turn to stay alive with 3.8M chips. That left Blom with the lead, but it didn't survive picking up A♥ Q♣ while clinc3 held K♣ K♦ two hands later. That 7.3M-chip pot gave clinc3 the chip lead, 1.2M ahead of Drinan, and dropped Blom into third place with 4.8M.

Despite playing with clinc3 to his right, Drinan managed to retake the lead thanks to some persistent aggression. They key pot saw him limp in the small blind and call a re-raise to 480K from clinc3, then check-call half-pot bets on the J♣ 3♥ 2♥ flop and T♣ turn before open-shoving on the 4♥ river. clinc3 folded, and Drinan moved over 10.1M chips. Eight hands later Drinan was in the big blind with K♠ 5♥ and called when Viktor Blom moved all-in. Blom's J♥ T♣ caught top pair on the 4♦ 9♣ J♠ flop, but Drinan moved back ahead on the K♦ turn. The 7♥ hit the river, and Blom's tournament ended in third.

Viktor Blom

Viktor Blom, gone in third

It was now 3:26 a.m. ET and Connor Drinan had two and a half times as many chips as the final opponent standing between him and his potential second win of WCOOP 2016. That potential would never be realized, though, as clinc3 managed to spin a victory out of the next 43 minutes of poker.

WCOOP 2016-55 ft hu.jpg

Flopping trip aces with A♥ 4♠ on the fourth hand of heads-up was a good start, but the gains from it were erased and then some on the next hand as Drinan made two pair with K♠ 9♥. clinc3 held on for 15 minutes before getting all-in with A♣ J♠, only to split the pot when Drinan also showed A♠ J♦. But then clinc3 was dealt A♦ A♠ on the button and limped next hand, and Drinan shoved with T♠ 8♠. clinc3 called, the aces held up, and suddenly the Russian player was back to within less than four of big blinds of being even.

A nine-high straight five hands later gave clinc3 the chip lead for the first time. Drinan pulled back to even shortly after that, and then they split another pot - this time with both players holding A-K. They went to the 4am ET break within less than three big blinds of one another, and Drinan won a few small pots immediately after returning to move into the lead briefly, but then clinc3 won 15 out of the next 20 pots - all but one limped-and-checked-down pot without showdown - to bring the tournament to its final hand.

clinc3 opened with a min-raise to 640K on the button and Drinan called to bring an A♠ 7♦ T♦ flop. Drinan check-called 906K there and both players checked the Q♠ turn to see the 2♦ hit the river. Drinan check-called all-in for 3.1M and showed T♥ 7♠ for the flopped two pair, tens and sevens. But clinc3's J♦ 3♦ had caught the diamond it needed for a flush on the river, bringing the tournament to a close.

Connor Drinan

Connor Drinan, second in the tourney and second on the WCOOP leaderboard

He might have come up one spot short of his second WCOOP 2016 victory, but Connor "blanconegro" Drinan moved into second place on the Player Of The Series leaderboard with his runner-up finish and claimed a cool hundred grand for his efforts. And clinc3 claims six figures, a WCOOP title, and the bragging rights of having topped two incredibly tough poker players in the final three to earn the win. Congratulations to both of them for making it to the end of a very stacked WCOOP final table lineup!

WCOOP 2016: Event #55, $530 NL Hold'em
Entrants: 1,833 (1,279 entries, 554 re-entries)
Prize pool: $916,500
Places paid: 224

1. clinc3 (Russia) $138,352.44
2. Connor "blanconegro" Drinan (Mexico) $100,401.29
3. Viktor "Isildur1" Blom (United Kingdom) $72,861.10
4. Stefan "I'am Sound" Huber (Switzerland) $52,875.26
5. conradofpg (Brazil) $38,371.56
6. GuiKsy07 (Brazil) $27,846.29
7. Matt "plattsburgh" Vengrin (Mexico) $20,208
8. Luiz "justholdplz" Duarte (Brazil) $14,664.91
9. Garrin4e (Ukraine) $10,642.30

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Jason Kirk is a Freelance Contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in WCOOP