WCOOP 2017: Carster prevails in five-hour Event #59-H finale ($530 NLHE, 6-Max, PKO)

It's not often that entering the final table fifth of seven in chips still affords a player a chance at winning that depends on more than the cards, but Carster was in just such a position in Event #59-H. The slow structure and deep stacks around the table - Carster had more than 60 big blinds - meant there was plenty of time to find a way to win. It took five hours, much of it spent playing with a relatively short stack, but the past Sunday Warm-Up champ finally came to life when the table was three-handed and held on from there for the win.

Day 2 picked up play with 62 players remaining at 10 a.m. ET and saw many big-stacked players fare just as poorly as their shorter-stacked competition. Of the owners of the top 10 incoming chip stacks, only Carster (in eighth) and Event #19-H finalist and two-time SCOOP champ Benny "toweliestar" Spindler (in fifth) survived the four-and-a-half road to the final table.


Seat 1: blazinchron (17,032,721 in chips, $6,182.59 bounty)
Seat 2: tomas2242 (7,361,942 in chips, $7,548.80 bounty)
Seat 3: Benny "toweliestar" Spindler (9,937,903 in chips, $6,602.99 bounty)
Seat 4: byfon (4,213,395 in chips, $2,976.55 bounty)
Seat 5: K.T.A.-1985 (25,191,501 in chips, $6,955.53 bounty)
Seat 6: vernicci (6,165,380 in chips, $5,228.48 bounty)
Seat 7: Carster (6,347,158 in chips, $6,583.95 bounty)

The first hour of deep-stacked play saw no knockouts, but there was plenty of action. toweliestar increased his stack by 40 big blinds, more than half of it from flopping a queen-high straight on the second hand of the final table. Carster picked up K♦ K♥ to double to 10 million chips through WCOOP 2015 Main Event finalist K.T.A.-1985, whose active style cycled through millions of chips per orbit in pursuit of as many pots as possible.

Fittingly, the first knockout bounty of the final went to K.T.A.-1985 after defending the big blind with K♠ J♦ and flopping a jack to top vernicci's 7♣ 7♠ and knock the Dutch player out in seventh. The action remained competitive an hour later, when two-time past Super Tuesday finalist byfon's J♣ J♥ lost out to tomas2242's A♠ K♠ to bust the Russian player in sixth. Past Sunday Million runner-up and Event #54-H finalist blazinchron looked set to avoid the same fate minutes later, making two pair by the turn with A♦ K♠ to move ahead of K.T.A.-1985's 5♦ 5♥, but the 5♠ hit the river and blazinchron left in fifth.


toweliestar was on the short stack now with 7.6 million chips, though the 100,000/200,000/25,000 blinds and antes still gave him plenty of room to maneuver. Surviving with J♦ J♠ against tomas2242's K♠ Q♣ minutes later gave him even more room and opened up the table for another hour of deep-stacked play. Where K.T.A.-1985 had dominated play in the early going, tomas2242 now took over. The Lithuanian player chipped up from 10.7 million after the coin-flip loss to toweliestar to more than 36 million, all without ever facing elimination.

Eventually tomas2242 picked up K♣ Q♣ in the small blind and re-raised after Carster opened on the button; Carster folded after toweliestar jammed for 10.2 million with A♥ 8♥, and tomas2242 called, catching a royal flush draw on the 5♠ J♣ T♣ flop. The Q♠ on the turn sealed the deal, though, making a pair of queens to eliminate toweliestar in fourth.

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With nearly three and a half hours of final table play already in the books, three players still remained: tomas2242 with 48.4 million chips, Carster with 15.4 million, and K.T.A.-1985 with 12.3 million. The 150,000/300,000/37,500 blinds and antes kept the action moving but the knockouts were put on hold for another hour after tomas2242 took a swing at knocking Carster out with 2♣ 2♦. Carster's K♣ 5♦ flopped two kings and won the 33.4-million-chip pot. Then it was K.T.A.-1985's turn to come roaring back into contention. First K.T.A.-1985's A♠ 7♣ held up against tomas2242's Q♦ 9♦ to double to 11.3 million. Then came a 13.2-million-chip win after defending the big blind with K♠ 4♦ and check-calling every street with top pair against Carster's semi-bluffs.

The chip lead rotated among the three competitors for an hour and a half, no one of them able to string together two consecutive key pots for a knockout blow. Eventually Carster flopped a set with 5♥ 5♠ while heads-up against K.T.A.-1985 and began pulling steadily away from the other two after that.

Then tomas2242's Q♥ J♠ held up all-in against K.T.A.-1985's 7♣ 7♠, giving tomas2242 a six-big-blind edge over K.T.A.-1985 for a distant second place behind Carster's 53-million-chip stack. K.T.A.-1985 picked up K♦ J♣ in the small blind on the next hand and shoved for 9.5 million chips after tomas2242 opened for 1.1 million on the button. tomas2242 called with A♦ J♠, nothing changed after both players paired on the A♥ 2♠ K♣ flop, and K.T.A.-1985 departed in third.

tomas2242 kept up the attack and picked up about 20 big blinds' worth of chips in the first eight minutes of heads-up play. The Lithuanian was in the same mindset with A♥ Q♥ in the big blind on the final hand, re-raising to 3.9 million after Carster opened for 1.25 million on the button. tomas2242 led for 4.4 million with the nut flush draw on the 3♥ 3♠ T♥ flop and then shoved after Carster raised to 9.9 million. Carster called with J♥ T♦ and won with two pair after the 2♣ turn and J♣ river, claiming the pot, the final bounty, and one very hard-fought WCOOP title.

Congratulations to all the players at this final for putting on a show worthy of a WCOOP final, and to Carster on outlasting them all to take down the title!

WCOOP-59-H: $530 NLHE [6-Max, Progressive KO] results
Entries: 1,525
Prize pool: $762,500 ($381,250 regular, $381,250 bounty)
Places paid: 191

1. Carster (Canada) $58,119.09 + $31,587.02 in bounties
2. tomas2242 (Lithuania) $40,495.19 + $18,419.15
3. K.T.A.-1985 (Mexico) $28,215.93 + $12,411.09
4. Benny "toweliestar" Spindler (Austria) $19,660.10 + $6,353.02
5. blazinchron (Canada) $13,698.61 + $5,932.61
6. byfon (Russia) $9,544.82 + $2,726.57
7. vernicci (Netherlands) $6,664.59 + $4,978.52

WCOOP 2017's final weekend is here. Don't miss out! Click here to open your PokerStars account today.

Jason Kirk is a Freelance Contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in WCOOP