WCOOP 2017: FluAnta finds the flow in Event #8-H ($215+R NLHE)

The last time FluAnta was this close to a major title, things went awry. With more than $205,000 on the line for the winner at the Sunday Million final table in June 2014, the Dutch player called all-in as a favorite only to lose out to a rivered flush and fall in seventh place. FluAnta started today's WCOOP Event #8-H final in seventh, but history didn't repeat itself. Instead the Dutch player went on the attack in the early going, hit a good run of cards to build up a lead during the middle stages of the final, and then outdueled a determined opponent to walk away with a first career COOP title.

The chip leader overnight with 37 players left was past Super Tuesday winner Unkn0wn123 of Uruguay, who still held the lead after three hours of Day 2 poker trimmed the field down to just nine. It was a lineup stacked with players who know a thing or two about success at the PokerStars tournament tables:


Seat 1: FluAnta (2,511,477 in chips)
Seat 2: abeainy (3,545,888 in chips)
Seat 3: CROSA COLL (1,940,669 in chips)
Seat 4: hawiwi (5,519,925 in chips)
Seat 5: Daniel "ShippityShip" Nielson (3,397,750 in chips)
Seat 6: Mike "goleafsgoeh" Leah (2,241,184 in chips)
Seat 7: robdag (3,774,350 in chips)
Seat 8: Unkn0wn123 (7,174,059 in chips)
Seat 9: Thiago "tnapoleao" Napoleão (4,644,698 in chips)

The first hour of play didn't see any knockouts, but that wasn't of much help to short-stacked past Sunday Million finalist and SCOOP runner-up CROSA COLL, whose stack stayed flat while others like FluAnta chipped their way up the leaderboard. By the time CROSA COLL was able to double up with 6♣ 6♥ against past Sunday Warm-Up and SCOOP champion Thiago "tnapoleao" Napoleão's K♣ Q♦, the pot wasn't even big enough to get back to where the player from Uruguay had been when the final table began.

Just after returning from the first break at 3:00 p.m. ET, CROSA COLL opened for 570,000 chips under the gun with A♠ J♣ and then called all-in for 123,252 after past Sunday Warm-Up and TCOOP PLO champ abeainy re-raised from the big blind with K♥ 9♣. A pair of kings on the river of the 8♦ 4♠ J♥ 2♦ K♦ board gave abeainy the pot and CROSA COLL finished in ninth.

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tnapoleao was the next to go, though not before mixing it up a bit. He doubled with K♣ J♣ after moving in over the top of Unkn0wn123's opening bet with A♠ K♦, catching a jack on the turn to make jacks and nines. Most of his winnings from that pot disappeared 15 minutes later after defending the big blind against FluAnta's under-the-gun raise, check-calling bets on every street of the J♥ 9♣ 5♥ T♥ K♥ board, and mucking when FluAnta showed down A♥ 3♠ for the nut flush. On the next hand tnapoleao picked up 9♣ 9♥ in the small blind and called all-in after when Triple COOP winner Mike "goleafsgoeh" Leah open-shoved for 1.85 million chips. Leah's K♦ Q♦ made queens and fives on the flop and never looked back, sending tnapoleao to the rail in eighth.

It took just five hands for Mike Leah to pick up a pair and lose with it in a coin flip - this time 7♣ 7♠ against WCOOP 2016 finalist hawiwi's A♣ K♥. Left vulnerable from the loss, he called all-in seven minutes later with K♦ T♦ after past SCOOP and Super Tuesday finalist Daniel "ShippityShip" Nielson tried to steal the pot from the small blind with Q♠ J♣. The 6♦ Q♣ 2♠ 2♣ T♥ board gave ShippityShip the pot with queens and deuces, and Leah departed in seventh.


Mike "goleafsgoeh" Leah, out in seventh

FluAnta had a comfortable lead at this point with 15.8 million chips in hand and nobody else at the table holding more than 5.2 million. That provided the Dutch player the freedom to attack pots at will - and that freedom along with some good cards led to the next two knockouts.

Hong Kong's robdag was on the hot seat after Mike Leah's departure with just 12 big blinds' worth of chips. That all went in the middle from the button a few minutes later with A♥ 4♥ and FluAnta was the lone caller. The Dutch player had A♣ J♣ in the big blind and won on kickers when both players made a pair of sevens on the board, knocking out robdag in sixth.


abeainy dodged a similar fate on the next hand, doubling through FluAnta's Q♦ T♠ with pocket sixes. Then the table hit a lull of small pots until hawiwi picked up T♣ T♥ in the big blind and re-raised all-in for 1.53 million chips after FluAnta min-raised to 600,000 in the cutoff with Q♠ 9♠. FluAnta called and hit a flush on the K♠ A♠ 2♥ 4♠ 5♥, eliminating hawiwi in fifth.

Five hands later it was ShippityShip re-raising all-in with T♦ T♥, this time on the button over the top of abeainy's opening min-raise - but Unkn0wn123 was waiting with A♣ A♦ in the small blind. abeainy got out of the way, the aces stayed ahead through the river, and ShippityShip shipped out in fourth.

That win gave Unkn0wn123 some ammunition but the Uruguayan's chip stack still trailed FluAnta's by more than 3-to-1. Winning a flip with T♦ T♥ against the leader's A♦ K♣ took that deficit down to just 20 big blinds, but a loss when defending the big blind with K♦ Q♠ against abeainy's small-blind-raising A♥ J♦ muddled the situation again. A split pot came a few hands later with A♦ K♥ against abeainy's A♥ 9♠ when both players made tens and eights on the board.

abeainy won a few more small pots and soon the three players were all within about a dozen big blinds of each other. Then Unkn0wn123 picked up A♣ K♣ in the small blind. It took five bets before the flop to set the Uruguayan all-in against FluAnta's 8♦ 8♣. The board fell 6♥ J♠ 4♣ 9♣ T♦ and the eights held, ending Unkn0wn123's run in third.


Winning that pot gave FluAnta 23.7 million chips to abeainy's 11 million as heads-up play began, but that advantage didn't translate to a quick win. In fact, abeainy almost put the tournament away early on. First the player from Lebanon got all-in on a flush draw with Q♠ 3♠ after the flop of a limped pot, only to turn a pair of queens and beats FluAnta's nines with 9♠ 6♥. Smaller wins after that trimmed FluAnta's stack as low as 4.5 million on the 150,000/300,000/37,500 level before the Dutch player got A♠ J♥ to hold up against abeainy's A♦ T♦ for a bit of breathing room.

FluAnta's ticket back into the game was making a Broadway straight on the river with A♣ 8♠ of the same board that gave abeainy's Q♥ J♦ queens and jacks. The lead came back minutes later after limping on the button with J♠ T♣, calling abeainy's big-blind raise, and then hitting top two pair on the J♣ T♥ 3♠ flop. That became a full house on the river, where FluAnta check-raised all-in and took down the 19.3-million-chip pot.

abeainy survived another 20 minutes, fighting uphill the entire way and finally calling all-in with K♦ 2♦ after FluAnta raised the button with K♠ T♦. The K♥ 4♦ 6♠ 5♣ T♥ board delivered two pair for the Dutch player and brought this latest WCOOP event to its close.

Congratulations to FluAnta on the win and to abeainy on still collecting a nice payday despite narrowly missing out on a second career COOP title.

WCOOP-08-H: $215+R No-Limit Hold'em results
Entries: 1,002 (1,233 re-buys, 620 add-ons)
Prize pool: $579,565
Places paid: 125

1. FluAnta (Netherlands) $94,644.43
2. abeainy (Lebanon) $69,168.53
3. Unkn0wn123 (Uruguay) $50,550.52
4. Daniel "ShippityShip" Nielson (Australia) $36,943.90
5. hawiwi (Lebanon) $26,999.78
6. robdag (Hong Kong) $19,732.27
7. Mike "goleafsgoeh" Leah (Canada) $14,420.96
8. Thiago "tnapoleao" Napoleão (Brazil) $10,539.27
9. CROSA COLL (Uruguay) $7,702.41

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Jason Kirk is a Freelance Contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in WCOOP