WCOOP Challenge Series: Keep3r blocks all shots winning $160K (Event #6, Sunday Warm-Up Special Edition)

For those who celebrate Christmas and enjoy the World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP), the WCOOP Challenge Series this weekend was like being able to open your presents a month early. Nine tournaments, including tonight's Sunday Warm-Up special edition, would not only boost the guarantees (tonight's was up from $400,000.00 to $750,000.00). The players responded to the added guarantees and the $5,200 2014 WCOOP Main Event ticket and WCOOP commemorative money clip sitting on top of the pot pumping up the prize pool to $1,023,400. Keep3r would use a strong finish to overcome paulwiter heads-up and take home the entire $160,553.17 first place prize and the free shot at the $10 million guaranteed WCOOP Main Event next month.

A few minutes past the nine hour mark of tonight's Sunday Warm-Up special edition just two tables stood between Mr Negreanu and a Sunday Major... wait not Team PokerStars Pro Daniel "KidPoker" Negreanu but this "Mr Negreanu" from the UK, who would be one 18 players with a shot at $160K. Palmero92 would go off in unattractive fashion in 18th place ($3,070.20) with the blinds up to 50K/100K ante 10K and getting 1.5 million chips in the middle pre-flop with pocket kings K♣K♦ against shanet2014's A♠Q♠ and watching an ace on the river T♥ 7♣ 3♥ 3♠ A♥ end Palmero92's tournament.

Twenty-five minutes later the table population would shrink to 12 with players such as Chop_Chop96, who made the Sunday Warm-Up final table just last month, taking home a consolation prize in 16th place ($3,070.20). Only shanet2014 would not continue on to the tenth hour of play as 11 players took to the five minute hourly break with a possible six-figure score in their near future.

After MiracleQ busted in 11th place ($6,140.40), hand-for-hand play would decide the difference between taking home $6K and a potential $160K. Once again, an ace on the river would play a part in a big hand. With the blinds up to 100K/200K ante 20K losos007 would raise to 440,000 from the hijack seat as sanderos18 shoved for 1.06 million from the button. losos007 made the call with A♦6♦ looking up at the pocket nines of sanderos18. But, after another ace on the river 8♦ 7♠ K♥ 3♣ A♥ Event #6's final table was set below:


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Seat 1: lordjosejose (1543750 in chips)
Seat 2: MRjjuann (2980968 in chips)
Seat 3: paulwiter (3622239 in chips)
Seat 4: Niendorfer (9590395 in chips)
Seat 5: Mr Negreanu (11312167 in chips)
Seat 6: Keep3r (5418915 in chips)
Seat 7: Viking8844 (5739522 in chips)
Seat 8: vinifenomeno (6160684 in chips)
Seat 9: losos007 (4801360 in chips)


Fast start towards the title

In the first two hands of the final table, no one was up for playing small ball as paulwiter managed to knock Keep3r off a hand. After the 9♠Q♠8♥ flop, paulwiter bet out 657,765 chips as Keep3r raised to 1.52 million. However, paulwiter's three-bet all-in for 3.2 million took home the 4.5 million chip pot. On the next hand with the blinds moving up to 125K/250K ante 25K Viking8844 and MRjjuann got together for a 6.7 million chip hand. Three players to the 5♠7♥9♥ flop Viking8844 would check as MRjjuann led out for 625,000. Niendorfer would fold as Viking8844 check-raised to 3.725 million. MRjjuann called all-in for less holding an overpair of tens T♠T♦ as Viking8844 flipped up bottom two 5♥7♠. The two pair would hold on the 8♣ turn and 4♦ river as MRjjuann collected $8,187.20 in ninth place.


Needing divine intervention

On the next hand shortstacked lordjosejose would open shove 1.47 million chips from early position, getting a call from Niendorfer. However we would not get a chance (until tomorrow's replay) to see Niendorfer's cards as Mr Negreanu would three-bet to 3.25 million getting the German to fold. Mr Negreanu showed pocket aces A♦A♥ needed to evade the K♦Q♣ held by lordjosejose. No help came from above as the T♣ T♦ 3♦ 7♥ 6♠ board handed $12,792.50 to lordjosejose in eighth place.


No lack of wit

After the fast start, it would take over 20 minutes of play and bump in the blinds before naming the seventh place finisher. With the blinds up to 150K/300K ante 30K vinifenomeno, who nearly took away a SCOOP watch last year in Event #22-M while banking $183K as the runner-up, would shove 3.2 million chips from the cutoff. paulwiter was up to the challenge and re-shoved for 9.3 million from the small blind holding J♠A♥. vinifenomeno showed the dominated A♣7♥ as the board 9♦ 4♦ K♠ K♣ K♦ lack a seven, and vinifenomeno lacked chips to continue earning $23,026.50 in seventh place.


Big stack crushes dreams

After knocking out vinifenomeno, Juan "paulwiter" Garcia used it as a springboard to a sizable chip lead. The Super Tuesday and WCOOP champ, Garcia looked to cruise right into adding a Sunday Major victory after two quick knockouts. First, with the blinds up to 200K/400K ante 40K losos007 would open shove 1.33 million from the small blind holding J♠Q♠. paulwiter with over 19 million chips at this point made the call with J♣8♣. losos007 would pair the kicker on the flop, but the turned nine Q♥ T♣ 6♥ 9♦ 3♣ gave the chip leader a straight while sending $33,260.50 to losos007 in sixth place.

Three hands later Garcia would open from the hijack seat for 855,558 as it folded around to Viking8844 in the big blind. Holding A♦T♥ Viking8844 shoved for 3.65 million as paulwiter made the call with K♦Q♠. Not an ace on the river this time, but no less significant as a king spiked 7♥ 8♣ 4♦ J♣ K♠ to ship 7.7 million tournament chips to Garcia and $43,494.50 in cash to Viking8844 in fifth place.


Losing the chip lead but closer to the title

After back-to-back loses sparring against Keep3r, paulwiter would take out the frustration on the other two remaining players. First, with the blinds up to 250K/500K ante 50K Garcia would open shove for 10.2 million from the small blind holding A♣9♣. Thinking of a steal and for survival, Niendorfer made the call for 4.04 million in the big blind with A♦3♦. Any thoughts of a reversal of fortune were dashed on the all-club flop 6♣ 8♣ T♣ 5♠ T♦. paulwiter would gain 9.2 million chips as Niendorfer took home a hefty $57,822.10 in fourth place.

Four hands later as the blinds remained level, Garcia would raise from the button for 1,111,111 as Mr Negreanu wasted no time going for a re-steal and shoved 8.27 million into the pot from the small blind. paulwiter was not letting go of Q♣A♥ and made the call as Mr Negreanu turned up the connecting 7♥8♦. Despite picking up four more outs on the turn K♠ 6♦ K♣ 4♥ 9♣ Mr Negreanu would settle for third place cash tonight ($84,430.50).


A keeper for all-time

Despite eliminating nearly the entire table, Juan "paulwiter" Garcia would start heads-up play against Keep3r with a 28.1 million to 23 million chip deficit. After just 12 minutes and $160K along with that $5,200 2014 WCOOP Main Event ticket on the line, Keep3r would block Garcia's run to the title for good.

Garcia did not back down from the challenge but after losing a 10 million chip pot just four hands into heads-up play, the chips kept trickling Keep3r's way. Then, with the blinds moving up for the last time to 300K/600K ante 60K Keep3r would make the final save of the tournament. Holding a commanding 45.2 million to 5.9 million chip lead going into the hand, Keep3r would call Garcia's button shove with pocket sevens 7♠7♥. paulwiter's A♣6♦ would need to drop an ace for an out on the river and replace it with an eight. But, the river card was one pip too heavy 4♦ K♠ 5♣ 7♣ 9♦ sending $160,553.17, a WCOOP money clip, and the WCOOP Main Event ticket to tonight's WCOOP Challenge Series Event #6 champion Keep3r!


WCOOP Challenge Event #6 (Sunday Warm-Up Special Edition) results (08-03-14):

Entrants: 5,117
Places paid: 675
Prize pool: $1,023,400.00

1. Keep3r (Austria) $160,553.17 + WCOOP Main Event ticket
2. Juan "paulwiter" Garcia (Uruguay) $119,226.10
3. Mr Negreanu (United Kingdom) $84,430.50
4. Niendorfer (Germany) $57,822.10
5. Viking8844 (Israel) $43,494.50
6. losos007 (Czech Republic) $33,260.50
7. vinifenomeno (Brazil) $23,026.50
8. lordjosejose (Mexico) $12,792.50
9. MRjjuann (Mexico) $8,187.20


David Aydt is a freelance contributor

David Aydt
@PokerStars in Challenge Series