WCOOP 2017: Andrey "Kroko-dill" Zaichenko defends title, wins #71-H ($1,050 FLO8, 8-Max)

Last night the PokerStars Blog was reporting on the big WCOOP $25K High Roller, kicking off the report with a reference to everyone in that stacked event having "alligator blood."

Today it was a "Kroko-dill" gobbling up all the chips at the conclusion of another highly competitive tournament, Event #71-H, a $1,050 buy-in limit Omaha hi-lo event. That would be the Russian Andrey Zaichenko, of course, well known around here for his many deep runs in 'COOPs.

This marks Zaichenko's fourth 'COOP title overall and third WCOOP victory, good for a $36,700.23 payday. It also marks a rare title defense, as Zaichenko also won this very same event a year ago!


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Andrey "Kroko-dill" Zaichenko

There were 185 entries all told (126 uniques), building a $185,000 prize pool that beat the $125K guarantee. The top 23 made the money, and the bubble burst as they reached the final levels of Friday's first day of action.

Representing the red spade brigade, Adrienne "talonchick" Rowsome of Team PokerStars Pro Online made it nearly all of the way to the end of Day 1, surviving the bubble bursting before going out in 15th in a hand versus then-chip leader Andrey "Gigaloff" Zhigalov. Rowsome earned $2,901.48 for her finish.


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Adrienne "talonchick" Rowsome

Stevie "stevie444" Chidwick was also among those eliminated just before Day 1 concluded, exiting in 13th (also for $2,901.48) after a hand versus guilherme12.


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Stevie "stevie444" Chidwick

Soon after that play ended for the night with just 12 players left. Zhigalov was still the leader with over 2 million, raare01 was next with just under 1.5 million, and no one else had as much as 1 million.

It took less than 20 minutes on Saturday for the first three knockouts to come -- Event #52-H ($1,050 Razz) champion L1TE-BR1TE (12th), Event #4-H ($530 NLO8, 8-Max) winner WeakyLeeks (11th), and guilherme12 (10th) -- each of whom earned $3,739.59.

The remaining nine were then reseated around a single table and in less than a half-hour more Richard "CHUFTY" Ashby hit the rail in ninth, picking up $4,819.80 for the finish.

With nilsef having nudged ahead of Gigaloff for the chip lead, the final table was underway.


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Seat 1: hotmark777 (Lebanon) -- 948,759
Seat 2: gangstachel9 (Russia) -- 750,230
Seat 3: nilsef (Germany) -- 1,531,728
Seat 4: Andrey "Kroko-dill" Zaichenko (Russia) -- 973,045
Seat 6: raare01 (Netherlands) -- 1,820,103
Seat 7: Slavik_Krs (Austria) -- 721,679
Seat 8: Drento18 (Canada) -- 1,036,774
Seat 9: Andrey "Gigaloff" Zhigalov (Russia) -- 1,467,682

It took a full hour and 15 minutes before Drento18 was knocked out in eighth.

After getting chopped down to less than a big blind in a hand versus raare01, Drento18 was all in before the flop and had three opponents, with two of them -- gangstachel9 and hotmark777 -- putting in bets on all three postflop streets as the board came 5♦A♥K♦2♣A♦. gangstachel9 took the low with 7♠5♥4♦3♥ for a wheel, hotmark777 the high with 5♣3♣2♦2♥ for a full house, and Drento18 mucked before departing.

Almost a half-hour after that, Slavik_Krs raised from the small blind, Andrey "Gigaloff" Zhigalov three-bet from the big blind, Slavik_Krs reraised all in for not quite four bets, and Zhigalov called.

Slavik_Krs had 6♠4♠3♠3♦ while Zhigalov showed A♥J♣7♠2♥. The runout of 4♣J♠5♠K♦9♥ gave neither a low hand and a better pair to Zhigalov (jacks vs. fours), and Slavik_Krs was done in seventh -- a third final table for Slavik_Krs this WCOOP.

After that slow start, the next four knockouts came in swift succession. all happening in less than 15 minutes.

First it was Andrey "Kroko-dill" Zaichenko calling raare01's preflop three-bet, then calling again after raare01 led the A♥4♥4♦ flop. The Q♣ turn saw raare01 fire again, Zaichenko raise, raare01 reraise all in, and Zaichenko call.

raare01 had K♣K♠6♣5♦ for aces and kings, while Zaichenko showed A♣8♣7♥4♣ for a full house, fours full of aces. The river 6♦ superfluously gave Zaichenko a low hand as well, and raare01 was out in sixth -- not a bad follow-up to raare01's victory a little under a week ago in Event #46-H ($1,050 NLO8).

Less than one short orbit later gangstachel9 raised from the cutoff and both Zaichenko and the other Andrey at the table, one-time SCOOP winner Andrey "Gigaloff" Zhigalov, called from the blinds. Zaichenko led at the 5♦4♣7♣ flop and the other two called, and the same thing happened after the Q♣ turn.

The 5♥ river saw Zaichenko bet again, Zhigalov call, gangstachel9 raise, Zaichenko call, and Zhigalov call with all he had left. gangstachel9 showed A♦J♥9♠2♠ for a 7-5-4-2-A low and a pair of fives. That earned the low half of the pot, as Zaichenko had A♣7♠3♥3♣ for a 7-5-4-3-A low and a flush to win the high half.

What did Zhigalov have? Who knows... he mucked, having finished fifth.


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Andrey "Gigaloff" Zhigalov

Less than a dozen hands later gangstachel9 was involved again, raising from the small blind and watching two-time WCOOP champion nilsef call from the big. After the 6♣2♠5♠ flop gangstachel9 bet, nilsef raised all in, and gangstachel9 called.

gangstachel9 had flopped a straight and also already had a 6-low with 9♠4♥3♠3♣ while nilsef had just K♣J♦9♦5♦. The 5♥ turn and A♣ only gave nilsef trips, not enough to avoid a fourth-place finish.

That makes an incredible 32 cashes for nilsef this WCOOP, moving him up further to seventh place currently in the WCOOP Player of the Series race.

Five hands after that hotmark777 and gangstachel9 capped the betting preflop, capped it again after the J♥2♦8♣ flop came, then got all of gangstachel9's chips in on the 8♦ turn.

hotmark777 had A♣A♠7♥3♣ for aces and eights and a nut-low draw while gangstachel9 had A♥J♦7♣4♦ for a not-quite-as-good low draw and jacks and eights. The river 4♥ sealed the scoop for hotmark777, and gangstachel9 collected third-place prize money.

That pot put hotmark777 in front to start heads-up play with just over 4.9 million to Zaichenko's just over 4.3 million. But after one hand Zaichenko had the lead. hotmark777 would grab it back briefly, but then Kroko-dill won a series of pots to push way ahead, scooping one without a showdown to knock hotmark777 down to less than a single small bet.

It was just a formality after that as hotmark777 was all in automatically from the big blind with K♥J♠9♦8♦ versus Zaichenko's similar K♠J♦T♠9♣. The five community cards came -- K♦T♦3♠2♥A♠ -- giving Zaichenko two pair and hotmark777 just one, and it was over -- Zaichenko had won.

Congratulations to Andrey "Kroko-dill" Zaichenko for claiming his third career WCOOP title after winning the $1,050 FLO8 event a year ago and another PLO8 event back in 2010.


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Andrey "Kroko-dill" Zaichenko

Kudos as well to hotmark777 who has two runner-up finishes in WCOOP events in just as many days (!) after he took second to Jens "Fresh_oO_D" Lakemeier in last night's Event #67-H ($1,050 Stud).

WCOOP-71-H: $1,050 FLO8 (8-Max)
Entries: 185 (126 entries, 59 re-entries)
Prize pool: $185,000
Places paid: 23

1. Andrey "Kroko-dill" Zaichenko (Russia) $36,700.23
2. hotmark777 (Lebanon) $28,474.90
3. gangstachel9 (Russia) $22,093.14
4. nilsef (Germany) $17,141.65
5. Andrey "Gigaloff" Zhigalov (Russia) $13.299,89
6. raare01 (Netherlands) $10,319.13
7. Slavik_Krs (Austria) $8,006.43
8. Drento18 (Canada) $6,212.02


You can qualify for the WCOOP on PokerStars for as little as a few cents. What's stopping you? Start your campaign by opening a PokerStars account.

Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.

Martin Harris
@hardboiledpoker in WCOOP