WCOOP 2016: Epic $153K win for SSSMBRFC2/C in Event #72, $109 NLHE

There have been bigger prizes in terms of sheer dollar amount on offer during this WCOOP, but compared to the buy-in, Event #72 packed just about the biggest punch. The nine finalists, whose combined buy-ins totaled $991, combined for more than $697,000 in prizes. For much of the third day of this no-limit hold'em tournament it looked like Germany's PolecatRider, who has had close calls at WCOOP for the last three years, was going to run away with the title. But after a swing of fortune and a deal that gave the German player the largest share of the prize pool, PolecatRider lost the key pots at the end of a 45-minute heads-up battle with Canada's SSSMBRFC2/C, who walked away the newest WCOOP champion.

Poker chips!

With a $1 million guarantee, a $109 buy-in, and everyone's favorite poker game in play, Event #72 was sure to draw an enormous crowd. It did just that as 18,624 players turned out for a shot at a scheduled $206,609 first-place prize. Saturday was spent sorting out the 1,954 players who would make the money from the players who focus their attentions elsewhere on WCOOP 2016's final weekend. Sunday saw those players clash until just 27 were left, led by PolecatRider with 14 million chips and blinds and antes still at 100K/200K/20K.

They shed nine players during the first hour of Day 3 and another eight in the second, leaving the tournament on the bubble as the second break of the day ended. PolecatRider, a finalist in WCOOP events for each of the last three years running, including third place in this year's Event #62, carried the chip lead through to the final with a margin - nearly 23 million chips more than the closest competitor - built through sheer aggression as the final table bubble approached, leveraging the shorter stacks' desire to outlast the competition and make the final table to steal more than the German player's share of blinds and antes.

Seat 1: SSSMBRFC2/C (13,548,788 in chips)
Seat 2: 1$ickDisea$E (12,252,102 in chips)
Seat 3: PolecatRider (57,000,774 in chips)
Seat 4: king_tsan (14,151,256 in chips)
Seat 5: delfina_47 (13,950,957 in chips)
Seat 6: ArdiVa (12,958,400 in chips)
Seat 7: xenomorph101 (17,506,002 in chips)
Seat 8: Harrison "gibler321" Gimbel (10,676,446 in chips)
Seat 9: xerox206 (34,195,275 in chips)

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The same aggressive game plan carried over to the final, which helped PolecatRider chip up by 7.7M in the early going. That cushion that came in handy after raising with K♠ T♠ and calling an all-in bet by two-time WCOOP 2016 runner-up (in Event #6 and Event #16) delfina_47, who had shoved with 7♣ 7♠. delfina_47 flopped a set and doubled to 17.8M, while PolecatRider's stack dropped back to where it had begun the final table.

Four hands later xenomorph101 and past Super Tuesday winner and runner-up 1$ickDisea$E collided pre-flop with big pocket pairs, xenomorph101 with K♣ K♠ and 1$ickDisea$E with J♣ J♠. 1$ickDisea$E had zenomorph101 covered by less than one big blind and was left with that amount after the board ran out 6♠ T♥ 8♣ 6♣ 9♦. After doubling up once, 1$ickDisea$E moved in with K♠ J♥ and was called by delfina_47, who held T♣ 8♣ in the small blind. 1$ickDisea$E looked set for another double to 5.2M after the 5♠ 6♠ 2♥ flop and 3♥ turn, but the 8♠ river made a pair of eights for the Argentinian player and sent 1$ickDisea$E to the rail in ninth.

king_tsan was the next short stack to double through the chip leader, picking up A♦ A♠ in position while PolecatRider had 8♦ 8♥ and dodging the other two eights in the deck to win the 14.8M-chip pot. PolecatRider got all those chips back three hands later, though, after isolating from the small blind following a shove in the hijack seat by Harrison "gibler321" Gimbel. The 2010 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure winner had moved in with A♠ 9♥ for a coin-flip situation, but the Q♣ 5♥ Q♠ flop left him drawing all but dead to PolecatRider's fives full of queens. The 6♣ on the turn left him officially drawing dead, and the 3♦ river eliminated Gimbel in eighth.

Harrison Gimbel

2010 PCA champ Harrison Gimbel, out in eighth place

PolecatRider got back to work and began stealing small pots again, moving back over 64M just after the blinds and antes advanced to 500K/1M/100K. Then came a major clash with second-place player xerox206, who had opened the betting with a raise to 2.2M in the hijack seat. PolecatRider re-raised to 5.6M, then jammed when xerox206 put in a fourth bet for 9M. xerox206 called for 30M more and showed A♦ A♠, which was a 4-to-1 favorite against PolecatRider's Q♣ Q♦ until the flop came 7♠ 8♥ Q♥. Two aces were left in the deck, but the K♥ and 9♣ came instead, and xerox206 was out in seventh.

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Instead of being left with 25.1M chips, that pot boosted PolecatRider to more than 105M chips. That was a comfortable enough position with everybody else holding 26M or less that the German player ended up playing a smaller role in the proceedings for a bit while the others tangled. king_tsan looked likely to bust before catching a break - a set with 8♦ 8♥ against xenomorph101's Q♣ Q♥ to stay alive - but then lost with 9♣ 9♦ to past Sunday Million finalist SSSMBRFC2/C's Q♣ J♥.

After doubling with unimproved A♣ 7♠ against PolecatRider's 8♠ 7♥, king_tsan was still in trouble with just 12 big blinds. Then SSSMBRFC2/C's Q♦ Q♠ held up against delfina_47's A♥ K♥, dropping the Argentinian player to short-stack status with 5.7M, just behind ArdiVa's 6M and king_tsan's 8.6M. All three managed to double their stacks in the next six hands, but ArdiVa's next attempt wouldn't go as well. After PolecatRider opened all-in on the button with A♥ T♦, the Estonian player called all-in for 7.9M from the big blind with Q♥ J♠. PolecatRider had sealed up the win by the turn of the 8♠ 7♠ 4♣ A♦ 2♥ board, knocking out ArdiVa in sixth.

Four hands later xenomorph101 opened the betting with an all-in bet for 11.9M, holding Q♦ Q♠, and delfina_47 called for 9.6M in the big blind with A♥ K♣. The queens turned into a set on the river of the 5♥ 7♥ 6♦ 8♠ Qh] board, and delfina_47 left in fifth.

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king_tsan managed another double on the next hand, K♥ T♣ becoming a nut flush on the J♥ A♥ 2♥ 3♥ 7♦ board to top PolecatRider's cutoff-raising K♠ 4♠. That brought the Greek player's stack to 20M, within two big blinds of xenomorph101 and five of SSSMBRFC2/C. All three players trailed PolecatRider by close to 80 big blinds, making the conditions right to discuss a deal. The discussions were tense, but after 15 minutes PolecatRider coaxed an extra $8,000 over ICM out of the other players and everyone was satisfied enough to get the game going again by typing "i agree" into the chatbox.

The game opened up with everybody guaranteed at least $105,000 and another $37,248 left on the table for the winner, starting with xenomorph101's double to 45M with Q♥ 8♥. After opening on the button and getting a call from PolecatRider in the big blind, xenomorph101 bet when checked to on the A♥ 7♠ J♥ flop and Q♠ turn, then called all-in when PolecatRider check-raised the turn with T♥ 9s] and an open-ended straight draw. xenomorph called and made a flush on the 4♥ river, moving into a clear second place.

Like the Polish player's namesake in the Alien films, xenomorph101 struck again quickly. After 15 quick hands of steals and small pots, xenomorph101 moved all-in over the top of an opening raise from PolecatRider and an all-in three-bet from king_tsan. That cleared PolecatRider out of the way, leaving king_tsan on the wrong side of an A♣ J♠ vs. A♥ 8♣ clash with xenomorph101. The board fell 3♥ T♣ 9♣ 5♦ 6♥, and king_tsan fell in fourth.

From there xenomorph101 moved into the chip lead, out-kicking PolecatRider's Q♣ 8♣ with Q♥ T♣ on an 8♥ 7♠ J♠ Q♠ J♥ board for a 27.5M-chip pot. Another pot at PolecatRider's expense three hands later - this one after calling PolecatRider's preflop raise and bets on the 5♠ 8♦ Q♦ flop and 6♣, followed by an a raise on the 6♦ river - moved xenomorph101 up to 106M chips, almost twice what PolecatRider held and five times SSSMBRFC2/C's stack.

That would end up being xenomorph101's peak. The downward slide started after calling SSSMBRFC2/C's 14.5M-chip all-in bet with Q♣ J♦. xenomorph101 caught top pair on the Q♦ 5♠ T♠ flop and two pair on the J♥ turn, but the A♥ river made a Broadway straight for SSSMBRFC2/C. Then SSSMBRFC2/C moved all those chips in from the big blind over the top of xenomorph101's 4M-chip opening bet with A♣ K♠. This time SSSMBRFC2/C had Q♥ J♦, which made two pair on the 4♥ 3♦ Q♣ 7♦ 7♥ board to bring all three players to within 15 big blinds of one another. And with xenomorph101's next loss to PolecatRider, all three players' stacks were within two big blinds.

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After making up a little ground to move back ahead, xenomorph101 ceded the lead for good with Q♣ J♥ against SSSMBRFC2/C's A♥ A♠. A few hands later PolecatRider doubled through the Polish player with A♦ K♥ against A♣ Q♠, but xenomorph101 had an excellent chance to get those chips back three hands later after PolecatRider shoved from the small blind with K♣ 3♣. xenomorph101 called with A♠ 3♥ and was an 81.2-percent favorite after the J♥ T♠ J♣ flop, but the K♥ turned things around for PolecatRider. The 3♦ changed nothing, and xenomorph101 was out in third.

After having it for most of Day 2 and then seeing it slip away, PolecatRider held the chip lead again as heads-up play began with 1M/2M blinds and 200K antes:

Seat 1: SSSMBRFC2/C (89,268,896 in chips)
Seat 3: PolecatRider (96,971,104 in chips)

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There would be five lead changes over the course of the 45-minute heads-up duel. All were in small-to-medium-sized pots and three of them came early, leaving SSSMBRFC2/C in the driver's seat as the match progressed. The two players split the number of pots almost exactly down the middle, which played into the leader's favor, and the dynamic held until just a few hands before the end.

PolecatRider was behind but stayed within striking distance throughout the match, which paid off with a reclaimed chip lead when the German player picked up Q♦ Q♠ on the same hand as SSSMBRFC2/C was dealt 6♣ 6♥. PolecatRider won that pot to retake the lead, but SSSMBRFC2/C did the same on the next hand, calling with an unimproved A♠ 8♣ on the river of a Q♥ 6♣ T♥ 2♦ 5♣ to beat PolecatRider's bluff with K♦ 9♣.

The lead seemed poised to trade hands again two hands later when PolecatRider picked up Q♣ Q♠ again, re-raised SSSMBRFC2/C's 6.1M-chip opener, and then called all-in when SSSMBRFC2/C shoved with A♠ 7♥. The 5♦ K♥ 4♥ flop gave PolecatRider a 79.1-percent chance to win and move into a dominating position, but it also gave SSSMBRFC2/C backdoor draws to both a straight and a flush. Both draws stayed live with the 8♥ turn, and the straight materialized with the 6♦ on the river. PolecatRider's queens had been cracked, SSSMBRFC2/C's straight won the pot, and the tournament came to its end.

PolecatRider finished second in another WCOOP close call but still claimed the largest share of the prize pool thanks to having such a big lead when the four-way deal was cut. Meanwhile, SSSMBRFC2/C claimed the extra money on the table at the end for a $153K+ prize to go along with that first career WCOOP title. Congratulations to both players for outlasting an enormous field for those big scores!

WCOOP 2016: Event #72, $109 No-Limit Hold'em (6-Max, High-Roller)
Entrants: 18,624
Prize pool: $1,862,400
Places paid: 1,954

1. SSSMBRFC2/C (Canada) $153,551.90*
2. PolecatRider (Germany) $165,079.71*
3. xenomorph101 (Poland) $114,870.50*
4. king_tsan (Greece) $105,258.50*
5. delfina_47 (Argentina) $55,216.43
6. ArdiVa (Estonia) $39,700.96
7. xerox206 (New Zealand) $28,545.19
8. Harrison "gibler321" Gimbel (Canada) $20,524.20
9. 1$ickDisea$E (Mexico) $14,758.21
* - denotes results of a four-way deal

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Jason Kirk is a Freelance Contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in WCOOP