WCOOP 2016: pads1161 earns $162K, second WCOOP victory in Event #65 ($700 NLHE, Ultra-Deep)

No major poker tournament is ever won easily, but some wins are definitely more difficult than others. Just ask Patrick "pads1161" Leonard. He won his first WCOOP event - last year's Event #17, a $700, 6-max, triple-stack no-limit hold'em tourney - after entering Day 2 as the chip leader, taking that lead to the final table, and putting his heads-up opponent away in just five hands. Event #65 of this year's series saw Leonard tread a much more difficult path, but in the end he again emerged in the familiar position of WCOOP champion.

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Patrick Leonard, your newest two-time WCOOP winner

This $700 tournament kicked off yesterday at 10 a.m. ET with 25/50 blinds and every player holding a 50,000-chip stack and up to three optional chances to re-enter the tournament. That was an attractive enough proposition to draw a field of 1,061 players, who combined for 544 re-entries to build a total prize pool of $1,067,325, more than double the original guarantee.

Day 1 saw them play 47 levels, with those levels growing from six minutes each at the start of the day to 20 minutes apiece at its end. They would advance to 30 minutes each a few levels into Day 2, which kicked off at 10 a.m. ET with just 36 players remaining from the original field. SCOOP 2012 winner and WCOOP 2016 Event #35 finalist Thomas "sandman201" Tyler led the pack with 5.44M chips, good for just under 91 big blinds.

Tyler's eventual heads-up opponent, Patrick Leonard, sat in second with 4.82M at the start of Day 2, but the two players would take different paths to that duel. Tyler continued to expand his lead over the three hours and nine minutes it took to reach the final table, piling up a stack worth 140 big blinds. Leonard arrived with about two million chips more than he'd started the day with, putting him at the lower end of the middle of the pack as the final kicked off:

Seat 1: C.Regando (7,490,375 in chips)
Seat 2: chess87 (6,283,531 in chips)
Seat 3: Thomas "sandman201" Tyler (19,625,347 in chips)
Seat 4: lll_HWDP_lll (15,206,154 in chips)
Seat 5: Patrick "pads1161" Leonard (6,760,393 in chips)
Seat 6: RigasDinamo (3,797,192 in chips)
Seat 7: Ken "kenny05" Smaron (5,417,850 in chips)
Seat 8: dirty.brasil (7,328,780 in chips)
Seat 9: zaki74 (8,340,378 in chips)

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Latvia's RigasDinamo, a past Super Tuesday, SCOOP 2015, and SCOOP 2016 finalist, was familiar with the player sitting to the right, having beaten pads1161 heads-up after a deal to win the Sunday Warm-Up back in 2014. None of that familiarity was put to the test, though, as RigasDinamo's stack was depleted in an early coin flip after losing out with A♣ K♥ against SCOOP 2015 champion and TCOOP 2012/SCOOP 2012/WCOOP 2014 finalist Ken "kenny05" Smaron's 3♥ 3♠. Left with just three big blinds, RigasDinamo did double on the next hand with K♠ 5♠ against zaki74's A♥ 7♦. But five hands later the Latvian player moved in with J♠ T♣ and lost out to lll_HWDP_lll's A♦ K♥, which hit two pair, to bust in ninth.

The pace of play at the final was as deliberate as you'd expect with the deep stacks and 30-minute levels in play. It was so deliberate, in fact, that all eight players held down their seats at the table for the next hour. The next elimination came exactly 60 minutes after RigasDinamo's departure. zaki74 came into the hand in question with 7.6M, down three and a half big blinds since the start of the final table, and opened the action with a cutoff raise to 442K. sandman201, himself up about three big blinds since the start of the final table, re-raised for 1.2M in the big blind, and zaki74 called to see the 7♣ 8♥ 7♥ flop. sandman201 led for 1.25M, then called with A♣ A♦ when zaki74 moved all-in for 6.37M with Q♥ T♥. The 4♣ turn and 4♦ river didn't change anything, giving sandman201 the 15.4M-chip pot and sending zaki74 to the rail in eighth.

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kenny05 scored the next knockout a relatively short 20 minutes later after picking up 9♣ 9♥ and opening for a minimum raise of 400K in the hijack seat. dirty.brasil, a past Super Tuesday and Sunday Warm-Up finalist with victories during WCOOP 2012 and SCOOP 2016, moved all-in for 4.4M in the cutoff, clearing out the rest of the field, and showed 8♣ 8♠ when kenny05 made the call with 7.9M left behind. The board ran out A♣ J♥ 3♣ 7♠ Q♦, kenny05 collected to 9.3M-chip pot, and dirty.brasil exited in seventh.

With the field now down to six and blinds at 100K/200K with 25K antes, there was some separation between the chip stacks in the middle of the leaderboard and those at the bottom. Four of the players at the table had at least 12M in chips - good for 60 big blinds - while both C.Regando and past Sunday Million runner-up and SCOOP 2016 finalist chess87 were holding on to less than 4M. It would still take another 40 minutes before the first of them was forced out the door, though.

C.Regando managed to double up to 7.4M halfway through that span, moving in with Q♠ T♠ on the button and flopping two pair to top pads1161's 8♣ 8♦. chess87 didn't find such a spot, but the German player effectively stayed ahead of the blinds and antes with the occasional steal. But the steal chess87 attempted with A♠ 6♦ on the button would be the last after SCOOP 2015 finalist lll_HWDP_lll called in the big blind with A♦ K♥. chess87 picked up a gutshot straight draw on the 7♦ 3♠ 5♦ flop but missed on the J♦ turn and 8♥ river, falling in sixth.

That left the other five players stacked like so:

Seat 1: C.Regando (4,286,064 in chips)
Seat 3: Thomas "sandman201" Tyler (33,206,817 in chips)
Seat 4: lll_HWDP_lll (21,130,784 in chips)
Seat 5: Patrick "pads1161" Leonard (11,149,890 in chips)
Seat 7: Ken "kenny05" Smaron (10,476,445 in chips)

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With blinds and antes now up to 140K/280K/35K, the time for patience was beginning to grow late for the middling stacks. And for C.Regando, holding 15 big blinds, it was long in the rear-view mirror, especially after folding on the turn of a blind-versus-blind hand with kenny05 after calling a raise before the big blind and then another bet on the flop. That gave C.Regando 3.1M chips and even more ground to make up, so when the button came around a few hands later with 6♦ 6♠ , the Czech player moved all-in. Chip leader Thomas "sandman201" Tyler was the only caller in the small blind, but he was holding K♣ K♥, which held up on the 5♠ 7♥ 2♦ 3♦ T♠ board to eliminate C.Regando in fifth.

That left Patrick Leonard as the new short stack. A few hands earlier he had dropped half his stack in a hand where sandman01's Q♣ Q♥ made top set on the flop, and blinds and antes had reduced that 5.1M to 3.1M by the time C.Regando was knocked out. He managed to double up to 5.8M when finally forced to make a move with Q♥ T♣, catching a ten on the flop to best lll_HWDP_lll's A♣ 3♦, and then survived again with 6♣ 6♠ on the next hand in a coin flip with kenny05's A♣ T♥. That moved him back out of the basement to 12.3M, trading spots with kenny05 and his 6.1M.

After another 70 minutes of play, all four were still in the game. Positionally, nothing had changed - kenny05 was still the short stack at just under 6M, pads1161 was just ahead of there, and lll_HWDP_lll was in second place behind sandman201. The main difference was just how big sandman201's lead had become. Instead of being 10 million chips ahead of the closest competitor his cushion was now up to almost 40 million, built up not through one big knockout but through steadily stealing every pot available to him and occasionally showing down a winner on the river.

Meanwhile kenny05 and pads1161 were in a race to see who could outlast the other - one that ended when both players were dealt big starting hands in the blinds. pads1161 opened the action in the small blind, limping in with K♦ K♠, and then called when kenny05 shoved with A♣ K♣. The 6♥ J♥ J♦ Q♣ 9♠ board came close to making a Broadway straight for kenny05, but in the end it didn't, and he finished in fourth.

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That 10.8M-chip win moved Leonard a touch ahead of lll_HWDP_lll's 13.1M, but both players still trailed sandman201's 52.1M-chip stack by close to 100 big blinds. Within just a few hands that situation would change dramatically. pads1161 opened the key hand for 800K on the button, then called sandman201's re-raise to 2.3M and saw the 5♠ 6♥ J♥ flop. sandman201 led for 2.2M, and after dwelling in the time bank for a moment, pads1161 called. sandman201 checked the 2♥ flop, bringing a 3.4M-chip bet from pads1161, and then ended up raising all-in. pads1161 called with 6♣ 6♠, which had caught a set on the flop and had already locked up the 44M-chip pot against sandman201's K♣ J♠.

lll_HWDP_lll then went on a run of eight steals in nine pots, moving up from 10.5M to 17.5M without having to show down a hand. On the tenth hand, lll_HWDP_lll raised from the small blind and then re-raised all-in after pads1161 made a third bet for 2.4M. pads1161 called with T♦ T♥, only to find himself outmatched by lll_HWDP_lll's K♦ K♠. The board ran out 3♣ 2♥ 6♠ 2♦ 2♣, pads1161 dropped to 22.9M, and lll_HWDP_lll became the new leader with 35.1M chips.

The new status quo wouldn't hold, though. While sandman201 found himself losing ground, pads1161 began chipping up until he was within 5M of lll_HWDP_lll. Then, just after the blinds and antes rose to 250K/500K/62.5K, he picked up a pot that changed the course of the tournament.

Leonard opened the hands in question with a raise to 1M on the button, which lll_HWDP_lll called to bring a 2♣ 7♣ 4♣ flop. lll_HWDP_lll check-raised pads1161's 814K flop bet to 2.2M, and pads1161 called to see the 7♦ on the turn. This time lll_HWDP_lll bet 3.9M and pads1161 called, bringing the 8♠ on the river. lll_HWDP_lll led again, this time for 4.4M into the 15M-chip pot. pads1161 raised all-in for another 18.3M, showing down 8♥ 7♥ for sevens full of eights when lll_HWDP_lll called with K♣ 9♣ - a flopped flush.

lll_HWDP_lll managed to steal a few pots over the next 14 hands, but being left with 5M chips after that kind of hand was too steep a hill to climb. The player form Poland eventually shoved on the button with A♣ 2♣ and was called by pads1161 with 5♣ 5♥. The board ran out 6♠ T♣ K♥ 3♦ 3♠ and lll_HWDP_lll left in third.

Heads-up play began with pads1161 holding 68.5M to sandman201's 11.6M, a margin that would prove too much for the former chip leader to overcome. sandman201 did manage an early double-up with A♥ T♠ to pads1161's K♠ T♣ to climb to 19.8M and pick up enough firepower to battle for 40 minutes. But pads1161 did everything he could to make any more progress difficult, winning a high enough volume of pots to offset the chips given away in his losses. Despite 30 minutes having passed, sandman201's stack was only four big blinds below that double-up mark when the final hand arrived. He shoved with A♦ 2♣, pads1161 called with K♥ K♠, the board ran out 5♦ 7♣ 8♦ 3♣ 9♥, and this epic WCOOP event reached its conclusion.

Congratulations to Patrick "pads1161" Leonard on his second WCOOP win, and to Thomas "sandman201" Tyler for turning a Day 2 chip lead into a six-figure score!

WCOOP 2016: Event #65, $700 No-Limit Hold'em (Ultra-Deep)
Entrants: 1,605 (1,061 entries, 544 re-entries)
Prize pool: $1,067,325
Places paid: 206

1. Patrick "pads1161" Leonard (Hungary) $162,054.98
2. Thomas "sandman201" Tyler (Canada) $117,602.77
3. lll_HWDP_lll (Poland) $85,344.26
4. Ken "kenny05" Smaron (Costa Rica) $61,934.30
5. C.Regando (Czech Republic) $44,945.69
6. chess87 (Germany) $32,617.02
7. dirty.brasil (Canada) $23,670.17
8. zaki74 (Hungary) $17,177.42
9. RigasDinamo (Latvia) $12,465.60

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Jason Kirk is a Freelance Contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in WCOOP