World Cup of Poker: Partorg Defeats VARICO in Heads Up Tie-Breaker; Latvia Advances to Bahamas Final

At the conclusion of this morning's matches, the Europe III division of World Cup V ended in a tie, with both Spain and Latvia claiming 43 points. For Spain, brsariego took a first place (worth 20 points), Rompe1946 took third at his table (11 points), and VARICO and pable818 both finished fifth (6 points each). For Latvia, both BuTuT? and Partorg finished second at their tables (earning 15 points each), missjazz83 took a third (11 points), and vilks77 took eighth at his table (worth 2 points).

Each team was asked to select one player to compete in a winner-take-all heads up match this afternoon to determine which country's team would get to go to the live final in the Bahamas on January 6th. Spain chose VARICO (of Madrid), and Latvia sent Partorg (of Riga) as their representative.

Play began shortly after 1:00 p.m. Eastern time, meaning it was early evening for our European competitors when they sat down behind their respective stacks of 1,500 chips to begin play.


After twenty hands, the starting stacks remained where they had begun, with neither player having enjoyed any significant advantage. Partorg then snuck out to a small lead after claiming a couple of modest pots without showdowns, edging out to 1,780 to VARICO's 1,220. Cautious play remained the rule, though, as no pot exceeded 240 chips through the first 32 hands.

A big bet from VARICO on a flop of 3d-8s-7h in Hand #33 won a 400-chip pot, enabling VARICO to reclaim the chip lead. Then, in Hand #35, VARICO raised to 60 from the button/small blind and Partorg called. The flop came Ks-Jc-Kc. Partorg checked, VARICO bet 60, and Partorg called. The turn was the Js, putting two pair on the board. Partorg checked again, VARICO bet 120, and Partorg called. The river was the 6c. This time Partorg check-called a bet of 320 from VARICO, who then showed As-Kh for kings full. Partorg mucked, and VARICO had chipped up to 2,130 to Partorg's 870.

By the first hand of Level 2 (Hand #55), VARICO had 2,310 to Partorg's 690. VARICO began the hand raising to 90, and Partorg called. The flop came 7s-Ts-9h. Partorg checked, VARICO bet 90, Partorg check-raised all in, and VARICO called. Partorg had Kc-Tc for top pair, but VARICO had 8s-8h for the open-ender. The turn was the 3s and the river the Ad, and Partorg was back in contention with a stack of 1,380. "GO LATVIA," typed Partorg's teammate missjazz83 in the chatbox, one of the many railers watching this decisive match.

VARICO kept the lead, though, chipping back up to 1,995 when, in Hand #77, pocket kings helped him claim a 660-chip pot and move back up to a 2,325-675 advantage.

After 100 hands, VARICO still enjoyed a commanding lead, with 2,445 to Partorg's 555. Hand #104 saw a desperate Partorg push all in with Kd-Qc only to get called by VARICO's pocket queens. The flop was 8d-9h-Tc, giving Partorg a gutshot draw. The turn was the 4s, and Partorg was down to one card and just seven outs (the three kings and four jacks). Life! The Kh on the river saved Partorg, and he was back up to 1,140. And by the end of Hand #120, Partorg had retaken the chip lead!

A few hands later, VARICO shoved all in with Ac-Jc, and Partorg thought a while before calling with Ah-Ts. The board brought no ten (but a jack), and VARICO had retaken the lead. When Level 4 began (blinds 50/100), VARICO had built back up to a 3-to-1 chip advantage. But in hand #141 Partorg would take back the lead. After VARICO pushed all in with Qs-8d, Partorg called with Ah-9h, and the board of 9d-Ac-Ts-5d-9s propelled Latvia back in front.

Then, after just over 50 minutes of play, came Hand #152, which began with Partorg enjoying an ever-so-slight chip lead with 1,570 to VARICO's 1,430. Partorg limped from the small blind/button, VARICO raised to 500, Partorg hesitated for a bit before reraising all in, and VARICO thought about it himself for a few seconds before making the call.

VARICO showed 9c-9s, well behind Partorg's Kh-Kd. The flop was 8s-2d-3d, and the turn the Ad. The river was the 9d, giving VARICO a set, but Partorg the flush. Latvia wins!

Congratulations to Partorg and the team from Latvia, who are now headed to the Bahamas for the live final on January 6th. Get your travel plans in order (and your Visas)!

Martin Harris
@hardboiledpoker in World Cup of Poker