WCOOP 2017: Four bullets and a dream lead WeakyLeeks to victory in Event #4-H ($530 NLO8, 8-Max)

Not many games are better suited to a re-entry tournament format than No-Limit Omaha Hi/Lo, but even NLO8 rarely favors a player who opts to use all his re-entry chances in the first four hours of play. Event #4-H of this year's WCOOP was no different - by the time thehushpuppy busted 13 spots shy of the money on Day 1, only two of the remaining 75 players had fired four bullets to get there. Of them only the United Kingdom's WeakyLeeks, twice a past SCOOP finalist, persevered and progressed to Day 2. Then, after making the final table and waiting out its dry early stages, WeakyLeeks rode a late surge past the field to a big WCOOP breakthrough.

The 18 players who survived this tournament's first day of play took an hour and a half to trim their number in half. Sweden's thegiant was the last to go, calling all-in in the big blind with A♥ K♦ J♥ T♦ after Naoya "nkeyno" Kihara open-shoved from the small blind with A♦ Q♥ 4♦ 3♥ but falling short with a king-high straight against queens full of treys. That gave Kihara the 4.27-million-chip pot and set this final table lineup:


Seat 1: Naoya "nkeyno" Kihara (4,805,204 in chips)
Seat 2: João Mathias "joaoMathias" Baumgarten (1,016,813 in chips)
Seat 3: Juicy_J_93 (3,161,201 in chips)
Seat 4: bob43155 (2,310,341 in chips)
Seat 5: Dorination (1,477,153 in chips)
Seat 6: L.V.K.777 (2,429,224 in chips)
Seat 7: UnempIoyed (3,062,536 in chips)
Seat 8: Richard "raconteur" Gryko (4,078,682 in chips)
Seat 9: WeakyLeeks (2,708,846 in chips)

Past Super Tuesday champion João Mathias "joaoMathias" Baumgarten came to the table with the shortest stack and was looking for any opportunity to chip up, so he opened the action all-in for 783,313 when he was dealt A♦ K♣ 5♣ 4♦ in the small blind seven minutes in. Overnight chip leader Juicy_J_93 called in the big blind with A♣ K♠ 9♦ 8♥, a 39-percent pre-flop underdog that became a pair of nines after the board fell 9♥ 3♣ T♦ Q♦ 2♥. Unable to top that, joaoMathias bowed out in ninth.

Incoming chip leader Naoya "nkeyno" Kihara stayed active but lost half his stack when his A♦ K♠ 4♠ 3♣ lost out to two-time WCOOP 2016 winner bob43155's A♠ A♥ T♥ T♣ on a board with no low. Just before the 5:55 p.m. ET break he made a fateful decision, calling off most of his stack on the button with A♦ J♦ J♠ 2♦ after dorination open-shoved for 2.17 million chips under the gun. dorination's A♥ K♥ K♦ 3♠ was vulnerable after the flop but eventually scooped with a pair of kings when the board came 5♦ 9♥ T♦ 6♠ Q♥. Kihara doubled on the next hand and shoved again on the hand after that with 6♠ 4♣ 3♣ 3♠; past SCOOP-Medium finalist L.V.K.777 called with A♣ 9♣ 9♥ 2♠ and won with a set of nines to bust him in eighth.

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WeakyLeeks had entered the final table in the middle of the pack and only slid backward from there, settling into last place with seven players left. But the player from the U.K. finally caught a break in the big blind when Richard "raconteur" Gryko, who won the Sunday Grand Special Edition $2,100 PLO 6-max event at SCOOP 2017, opened all-in from the small blind with A♦ 6♠ 6♣ 4♣. WeakyLeeks called with A♣ T♠ 5♣ 4♦ and scooped the 3-million-chip pot with tens and fours and a 7-5 low after the board came 7♥ T♣ 3♠ Q♣ 4♥. A few more scoops in the next 10 minutes boosted WeakyLeeks into second place with 5.06 million chips to bob43155's 5.7 million.

Hungary's UnempIoyed left a few minutes later, the victim of bad timing. UnempIoyed, holding A♦ 9♦ 7♣ 4♥, opened the action from the small blind with an all-in bet of 2.19 million chips. raconteur called with A♥ A♠ 3♦ 3♣ and scooped the pot with a wheel after the board came 5♣ Q♠ T♠ 4♣ 2♦, busting UnempIoyed in seventh.

The next 20 minutes were mostly uneventful and it looked like the next break might arrive with no more knockouts. Then dorination min-raised to 200,000 chips under the gun. L.V.K.777 re-raised to 600,000 in the next seat, a bet that raconteur (in the cutoff) and Dorination both called to see the 9♠ 4♣ 5♠ flop. Dorination checked and then L.V.K.777, holding both nut low and nut flush draws, moved all-in for 3.06 million chips. raconteur called with A♥ 7♦ 5♥ 2♠ and Dorination folded, leaving raconteur with 39.1-percent equity despite being technically ahead with a pair of fives. When the T♣ turn and 9♣ river changed nothing, raconteur scooped the 8.14-million-chip pot and L.V.K.777 bowed out in sixth.


That win moved raconteur just ahead of WeakyLeeks into the chip lead. Both players had more than 60 big blinds to work with, while the other three players were all holding between 15 and 25 blinds' worth of chips and trying to suss out any advantage. bob43155 was the first of them to take a stand that led to a showdown. The table's only past WCOOP winner opened the action all-in for 3.83 million chips with A♣ K♦ 8♣ 3♦ in the hole and WeakyLeeks, with A♥ K♦ K♣ 4♣, was the lone caller. WeakyLeeks's pair of pocket kings fell by the wayside for a wheel straight when the board fell 7♠ 3♣ 7♥ 5♦ 2♠. That beat two pair and a 7-5 low for the scoop and sent bob43155 to the rail in fifth.

raconteur made a Broadway straight three hands later with K♦ K♥ Q♠ T♥ to win a 3.6-million-chip pot heads-up against WeakyLeeks, bringing the two players back to within one big blind of each other for the lead. Minutes later raconteur reclaimed the lead after opening the betting under the gun with A♠ A♦ Q♥ 9♥ and calling when Juicy_J_93 jammed for 2.75 million in the big blind with A♣ J♠ 7♥ 5♦; raconteur's aces held up on the 5♣ 6♦ 9♠ T♣ K♥ board and Juicy_J_93 was out in fourth.

Winning that pot put raconteur in the lead temporarily, but Dorination doubled through him three hands later to move WeakyLeeks ever so slightly ahead once again. When Dorination tried to double through WeakyLeeks, though, things didn't go as well. The Hungarian player moved in for 2.85 million chips in the small blind with A♦ Q♦ 7♥ 2♦ after WeakyLeeks min-raised on the button. Only a slim favorite before the flop, WeakyLeeks won on kickers when both players made a pair of nines on the 9♦ 6♣ 6♥ 9♥ T♠ board. That sent Dorination packing in third.


It took just three hands for raconteur to get all-in. He got all 4.94 million of his chips in with the nuts, a queen-high straight with A♣ Q♣ T♣ 8♥ on the turn of a board reading 5♠ 9♥ 8♦ J♠. WeakyLeeks called with J♥ T♠ 8♠ 3♥ and missed his flush draw but split the pot when the Q♦ river gave both players the same straight.

Four hands later they clashed again after both players limped to see a J♠ 8♠ 2♦ flop. WeakyLeeks check-called a 189,000-chip bet there with A♣ T♦ 9♦ 9♥ and made a set of nines when the 9♠ hit the turn. Both players checked and, with 693,000 chips in the pot, the 2♣ hit the river. WeakyLeeks checked and then shoved when raconteur bet 1.05 million chips with nines full of deuces. raconteur quickly called and showed 8♣ 8♥ 4♥ 3♠ - eights full of deuces - to bring the tournament to a close.

Given the volatility of NLO8 and the closeness of the stacks in the final stretch, either of the heads-up finalists could have walked away with this title. Congratulations to both Richard "raconteur" Gryko and our champion, WeakyLeeks, for getting this year's WCOOP off to a solid start!

WCOOP-04-H: $530 No-Limit Omaha Hi/Lo [8-Max] results
Entrants: 501 (335 entries, 166 re-entries)
Total prize pool: $250,500
Places paid: 63

1. WeakyLeeks (United Kingdom) $62,354.87
2. Richard "raconteur" Gryko (United Kindom) $44,448.44
3. Dorination (Hungary) $31,684.34
4. Juicy_J_93 (Canada) $22,585.70
5. bob43155 (Mexico) $16,099.86
6. L.V.K.777 (Russia) $11,476.53
7. UnempIoyed (Hungary) $8,180.85
8. Naoya "nkeyno" Kihara (Japan) $5,831.58
9. João Mathias "joaoMathias" Baumgarten (Brazil) $4,156.97

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Jason Kirk is a Freelance Contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in WCOOP