WCOOP 2017: girafganger7 grabs second COOP title in Event #34-H ($1,050 NLHE, 8-Max, Super Tuesday SE)

The odds were in girafganger7's favor. The Belgian TCOOP 2017 Ultra-Deep Zoom champion, making a final table appearance for the first time in 12 WCOOP 2017 cashes, returned for Day 3 of Event #34-H with a massive chip lead over five remaining players. After running pocket kings into pocket aces to lose the lead, though, girafganger7 was in last place of three remaining and in danger of losing out on nearly $100,000 in prize money between third place and first. But the Belgian player fought back to make it to heads-up play with the lead, then survived nearly an hour of improbable situations to finally walk away with a second career COOP title.

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The final table was set and a third of the participants found their way to the rail before the end of Day 2. Two-time WCOOP winner nilsef's third final table appearance of this series - after Events 17 and 26 - ended in ninth place. Nick "chilenocl" Yunis, who won Event #12-H of this series to complete his Triple COOP, took eighth. And Lithuanian player nemce cashed for the first time during WCOOP 2017, finishing in seventh.

When play closed out for the evening the chips were distributed like so:

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Seat 2: Powergolf (15,232,780 in chips)
Seat 3: PokerFan_lol (3,155,575 in chips)
Seat 4: rayen888 (1,709,098 in chips)
Seat 5: BERRI SWEET (5,045,767 in chips)
Seat 7: Dinesh "NastyMinder" Alt (6,800,859 in chips)
Seat 8: girafganger7 (31,055,921 in chips)

Those six players returned to 60,000/120,000/15,000 blinds and antes at 2 p.m. ET today, which put pressure on both rayen888 and TCOOP 2017 Hyper-Turbo 6-Max PKO champion PokerFan_lol to make something happen quickly.

PokerFan_lol picked up A♥ K♥ on the button on the fifth hand back and re-raised all-in for 2.6 million chips after TCOOP 2016 Main Event winner Dinesh "NastyMinder" Alt opened under the gun for 258,000. Alt got out of the way when past Sunday Grand PLO finalist BERRI SWEET re-shoved from the big blind with A♦ A♣, though, and BERRI SWEET's rockets outflew PokerFan_lol's flush and straight draws on the T♥ 4♥ K♦ J♦ 7♠ board to bust the Lithuanian player in sixth.

Three hands later rayen888 open-shoved for 1.6 million chips with K♦ J♠. girafganger7 called with 8♣ 8♥ in the small blind, dodged a diamond flush draw on the A♥ 9♦ 5♦ 3♦ 7♥ board, and knocked out rayen888 in fifth.


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girafganger, who had won more than half the pots since play resumed, continued to dominate the proceedings and looked set to take the lead straight into heads-up play. That was before the Belgian picked up K♠ K♦ in the big blind and re-raised past Super Tuesday champ Powergolf's under-the-gun opener to 1.05 million chips. Powergolf, appearing at a third WCOOP 2017 final table after finishing Event #7-H in second and #16-H in ninth, took six bets to get all-in and turn over A♠ A♣ and five non-king community cards to claim the 26.5-million-chip pot and the lead.

Another pair-over-pair situation popped up 10 minutes later to take the table down to three players. BERRI SWEET was the beneficiary this time, holding Q♦ Q♥ to NastyMinder's 7♦ 7♣. Neither hand changed after the board fell 5♦ 4♣ J♥ 2♠ 6♦, giving BERRI SEEET the 10.2-million-chip pot and eliminating NastyMinder in fourth.

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Powergolf entered three-handed play with a 20-big-blind chip lead and remained ahead for most of the next hour despite not being able to put either opponent away. BERRI SWEET stayed patient, deep-stacked at more than 80 big blinds despite having fewer chips than the other two players. girafganger7 tangled with Powergolf in small pots frequently but seemed to take the worst of it more often than not, going into the 2:55 p.m. ET break with half the chips that Powergolf held.

Things changed after the break. girafganger7 won two separate 18.7-million-chip heads-up pots against Powergolf within a six-hand span, the first after backing into a gutshot straight and the second with an uncalled all-in river bet after firing on every street with the board reading 6♥ 8♠ 3♥ 5♦ 3♠. Those two wins gave girafganger7 33.4 million chips, a little more than the other two players combined, and a streak of 11 wins in 12 pots firmed up the lead to put BERRI SWEET and Powergolf at odds with one another.

The heads-up portion of the tournament was set after two coin-flip situations between BERRI SWEET and Powergolf. First BERRI SWEET doubled to 10 million chips with 5♠ 5♥ against Powergolf's A♣ 9♠ to move slightly ahead of the Danish player. Then Powergolf survived with 4♦ 4♠, catching the 4♣ on the river to crack the flopped pair of queens BERRI SWEET had made with A♥ Q♣. BERRI SWEET jammed on the button a few hands later with Q♦ 3♦ and girafganger7 called with Q♥ T♠ in the small blind, making a pair of tens on the flop to end BERRI SWEET's run in third.

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girafganger7's 45.6-million-chip stack was almost three times larger than Powergolf's to start heads-up play, but thanks to the slow-advancing structure Powergolf still had almost 90 big blinds to work with. girafganger7 got to work and had Powergolf down to a third of that within 20 minutes, but then Powergolf's T♦ 9♠ held up against girafganger7's 9♥ 5♥ after both flopped straight draws, giving Powergolf a boost back into the match.

Powergolf turned a corner 20 minutes later with two big wins. First the Danish player limped with J♦ J♠ on the button and played small-ball to make jacks full of fives on the 5♦ T♠ A♥ 5♣ J♥; girafganger7 led out with A♦ 5♠ for fives full of aces and then called when Powergolf shoved on the river. That 25.3-million-chip win preceded another 15.7-million-chip win two hands later, taken with Q♣ J♥ for a queen-high straight after flopping an open-ended draw, that moved Powergolf into the lead by about 15 big blinds.

Powergolf's time in the sun was short-lived, though. girafganger7 doubled to 53.6 million chips six hands later when both players flopped sets, Powergolf with 2♣ 2♥ and girafganger7 with T♦ T♠. The money went in on the river of the 5♣ 2♠ T♣ J♥ 7♦ and suddenly Powergolf was back down to 9.3 million. A pocket pair of queens held up for girafganger7 a few minutes later to cripple Powergolf's stack, and the Belgian locked up the win when a flopped eight-high straight on the following hand.

Day 3 was a wild ride for both Powergolf, who narrowly missed out on a second career Super Tuesday title, and for girafganger7, who withstood the swings of variance to walk with COOP title number two of 2017. Congratulations to them both on their hefty six-figure scores!

WCOOP-34-H: $1,050 No Limit Hold'em [8-Max, Super Tuesday Special Edition] results
Entries: 1,260
Prize pool: $1,260,000
Places paid: 159

1. girafganger7 (Belgium) $196,939.84
2. Powergolf (Denmark) $140,809.41
3. BERRI SWEET (Sweden) $100,677.40
4. Dinesh "NastyMinder" Alt (Switzerland) $71,983.29
5. rayen888 (Canada) $51,467.34
6. PokerFan_lol (Lithuania) $36,798.67
7. nemce (Lithuania) $26,310.69
8. Nick "chilenocl" Yunis (Chile) $18,811.92
9. nilsef (Germany) $15,227.60


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Jason Kirk is a Freelance Contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in WCOOP