The 2015 World Championship of Poker Main Event — due to complete tomorrow — is getting a lot of the focus at the moment over at PokerStars. But another marquee event also took place over the last couple of days, the star-studded $10,300 buy-in 8-Game Championship (Event #68) that predictably drew many of poker’s greats inspired to challenge for one of the more coveted bracelets of the WCOOP.
After two days of intense competition, it was Russia’s krakukra outlasting a talented final table that included Shaun “shaundeeb” Deeb, Brian “aba20” Townsend, Mike “goleafsgoeh” Leah, Andrew “ClockWyze” Pantling, and Frederik “Fred_Brink” Jensen to earn a first career WCOOP bracelet and a big $214,050 payday.
krakukra won after striking a heads-up deal with the gritty Jensen. Here’s the story of how krakukra did it.
Play began Sunday afternoon, and by the second hour Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu had shot out to an early lead with about 40 players seated, although as he tweeted to his followers it was “way too early” to put too much meaning into it.
Indeed, by the six-hour mark and end of late registration, a total of 91 players had signed up, building a total prize pool of $910,000 (way over the $500K guarantee) to be split among the top 12 finishers.
By then just 59 were left, with Fresh_oO_D — at the time leader of the 2015 WCOOP Player of the Series as the final tournaments of the festival began — sitting in first position ahead of another player familiar with POY races, EPT11 Player of the Year Dzmitry “Colisea” Urbanovich.
A couple of hours after that the field was already down under 30 players, with Fresh_oO_D having been knocked out in 44th, Daniel “KidPoker” Negreanu having just been eliminated in 30th, and eight-time ‘COOP winner Shaun “shaundeeb” Deeb sitting in first position.
Dzmitry “Colisea” Urbanovich would go out a bit later in 22nd, then as the night neared its conclusion Event #70 ($1,050 NLHE Turbo) champ calvin7v ran A♦J♥ into Andrew “ClockWyze” Pantling’s A♠A♥ in a NLHE hand to go out in 14th, meaning the money bubble had arrived.
The short stacks hung on for a good while after that before finally Vladimir “GVOZDIKA55” Shchemelev was knocked out in a pot-limit Omaha hand versus Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier to finish 13th. Then on the very last hand of Day 1, Daniel “steamraise” Alaei was eliminated in 12th — also in a PLO hand (versus Mike “goleafsgoeh” Leah) — to collect a $22,750 cash.
With that play paused until Monday, with Andrew “ClockWyze” Pantling leading a tough group of very familiar usernames among the final 11. Here’s how the stacks looked overnight:
1. Andrew “ClockWyze” Pantling (Canada) — 305,343
2. Frederik “Fred_Brink” Jensen (Denmark) — 225,945
3. Alexey “LuckyGump” Makarov (Russia) — 165,746
4. Shaun “shaundeeb” Deeb (Mexico) — 146,441
5. Mike “goleafsgoeh” Leah (Canada) — 117,431
6. Ronny “1-ronnyr3” Kaiser (Switzerland) — 101,819
7. Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier (Canada) — 93,711
8. krakukra (Russia) — 81,574
9. Brian “aba20” Townsend (Canada) — 59,482
10. Dan “djk123” Kelly (Australia) — 41,507
11. Team PokerStars Pro Online George “Jorj95” Lind III (Canada) — 26,001
Day 2 then began amid the 2-7 triple draw round, and on just the third hand of the day George “Jorj95” Lind III of Team PokerStars Pro Online lost the last of his short stack to Mike “goleafsgoeh” Leah to finish 11th. Shaun Deeb then felted Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier in 10th in another 2-7 triple draw hand, and in short order the last two red spades alive in the tournament were done, each earning $22,750 for their finishes.
Dan “djk123” Kelly — who just won the weekly $215 pot-limit Omaha over the weekend, has four WCOOP titles (and two SCOOPs), and eight cashes in this year’s WCOOP before this one — was the next to fall in ninth in a limit hold’em hand against Andrew “ClockWyze” Pantling. Ronny “1-ronnyr3” Kaiser then went out in eighth place in a hand of limit Omaha hi/lo versus krakura.
Then as Deeb and Leah chatted about the WCOOP Player of the Series — in which Deeb’s deep run in this event catapults him into the top spot — Alexey “LuckyGump” Makarov was knocked out in seventh by krakukra in a hand of seven-card stud. Like Kelly and Kaiser, Makarov earned $34,125 for his finish.
With Mike “goleafsgoeh” Leah the new chip leader among the final half-dozen, the final table was underway.
Seat 1: Mike “goleafsgoeh” Leah (Canada) — 321,468
Seat 2: krakukra (Russia) — 195,998
Seat 3: Brian “aba20” Townsend (Canada) — 231,587
Seat 4: Shaun “shaundeeb” Deeb (Mexico) — 198,395
Seat 5: Frederik “Fred_Brink” Jensen (Denmark) — 173,638
Seat 6: Andrew “ClockWyze” Pantling (Canada) — 243,914
The final six all made it to the day’s third hour of play, then in the pot-limit Omaha round it was Shaun Deeb raising 2x to 10,000 from early position and getting one caller in Frederik “Fred_Brink” Jensen from a seat over.
The flop came 2♣10♥7♦, and Deeb led for 13,700. Jensen raised to 68,600, Deeb responded by pushing all in for 139,295 total, and Jensen called.
Deeb had K♣J♥J♠10♣ for an overpair of jacks while Jensen showed A♣10♠9♣7♠ for top two pair, tens and sevens. The turn was the 4♣ and river the 3♠, and Deeb was out, his quest for a fourth WCOOP title and a ninth ‘COOP overall cut short by a sixth-place finish.
Don’t feel too bad for Deeb, though — this marks his 18th cash of this year’s WCOOP, including his victory last week in Event #44 ($215 NLHE)!
Then a hand of 2-7 triple draw arose (limits 6,000/12,000) that saw Townsend raise from the button and Andrew “ClockWyze” Pantling call from the big blind. Pantling drew three and Townsend one, and Pantling check-called a bet from Townsend. On the second draw Pantling took two while Townsend stood pat, and after Pantling checked, Townsend bet his last 11,871 and Pantling called.
Pantling drew one card on the last draw while Townsend stood pat again, then turned over 9♥7♣6♥4♣2♠ for a 9-low. Pantling outdrew him, however, turning over 7♦6♣4♠3♣2♦, and Townsend was out in fifth.
Mike “goleafsgoeh” Leah was looking for another WCOOP bracelet this series — having won Event #27 ($215 PLO) and come close by finishing runner-up in Event #34 ($320 NLHE 6-Max) — and his third overall. Alas for Leah, he was the next to grow short, and after a series of third-street bets in a razz hand found himself all in on fourth street versus Frederik “Fred_Brink” Jensen.
The players showed their down cards, and Leah had (2♠)(3♥) / J♦5♣ while Jensen showed (4♠)(6♥) / 9♠7♦. Leah then drew Q♦7♠2♣ to finish with a J-7-5-3-2, while Jensen picked up A♥9♥6♠ to win with a 9-7-6-4-A and knock out Leah in fourth.
Then in the stud hi/lo round, Pantling brought it in with the 8♦ showing, krakukra raised to 20,000 with the A♣ up, and Pantling called. Pantling then called bets from krakukra on fourth and fifth, the latter putting him all in.
ClockWyze: (2♥)(4♠) / 8♦6♠9♣
krakukra: (10♥)(5♦) / A♣5♣10♠
Pantling had a good draw to a low while krakukra’s tens and fives were well in front for the high. krakukra would pick up Q♣3♦ to remain with two pair. But unfortunately for Pantling he’d draw 6♦9♠ to miss his low and pick up a lesser two pair, ending his run in third.
krakukra swiftly closed the gap between the pair during the remainder of the stud hi/lo round, but by the end of no-limit hold’em Jensen was back up to a 2-to-1 chip advantage.
Pot-limit Omaha came next, and before that round could finish krakukra had pulled even again and had nudged out in front when the pair decided to talk about a possible deal. krakukra had 690,139 and Jensen 674,861, and “ICM”-based numbers (leaving $10K for which to play) were soon produced.
The payout difference between the two being suggested was just over $800 ($202,427.38 for krakukra and $201,622.62 for Jensen), and after a little bit of back-and-forthing they decided on each getting $200K even with the remaining $14,050 to go to the winner.
Jensen grabbed the lead back shortly thereafter, but as they continued into 2-7 triple draw krakukra began building again, with Jensen being all in and surviving twice before the switch to limit hold’em.
At one point krakukra began a hand with 1,312,778 to Jensen’s 52,222, but the latter was able to survive several more all-ins, then was at risk once more on the flop with the board showing 5♦K♥3♠, Jensen holding 9♥8♣, and krakukra Q♥3♦. The turn and river next came 7♣ then 6♠, pulling Fred_Brink back from the brink of elimination to keep the tournament going.
They moved to razz and the same pattern continued, with Jensen on fumes and surviving all-ins to avoid the knockout. Then just after the game turned to stud, the end finally arrived.
With krakukra sitting on just over 1.2 million, Jensen down under 160,000, and the limits 50,000/100,000, Jensen raised third street, krakukra three-bet, Jensen raised all in, and krakukra called:
Fred_Brink: (10♦)(K♣) / Q♥
krakukra: (A♠)(8♠) / 4♠
The race was on, but while krakukra was able to pair up on fifth, Jensen never could improve on his king-high:
Fred_Brink: (10♦)(K♣) / Q♥7♣J♠5♥ / (8♥)
krakukra: (A♠)(8♠) / 4♠2♥4♣9♦ / (6♦)
Finally, after what ended up being a nearly two-hour heads-up duel, krakukra had won.
Congratulations to krakukra for taking down one of the tougher WCOOP events to win, and kudos also to Frederik “Fred_Brink” Jensen for making it to the heads-up deal to secure himself a $200K payday as well.
WCOOP-68: $10,300 8-Game Championship
Prize pool: $910,00 0
Places paid: 12
1. krakukra (Russia) $214,050.00*
2. Frederik “Fred_Brink” Jensen (Denmark) $200,000*
3. Andrew “ClockWyze” Pantling (Canada) $127,400.00
4. Mike “goleafsgoeh” Leah (Canada) $86,450.00
5. Brian “aba20” Townsend (Canada) $63,700.00
6. Shaun “shaundeeb” Deeb (Mexico) $47,775.00
* = denotes a two-way deal leaving $14,050.00 for the winner
For the latest on the WCOOP Player of the Series Leaderboard — and to see if Shaun Deeb manages to hang on to the top spot — check that WCOOP page.
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Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.