There was a time a a youngster that I stood on the sporting field and heard the phrase, “It’s like kissing your sister.” I didn’t have a sister, nor did I particularly want one. And if I had, I certainly wouldn’t have wanted to kiss her. Chances are she would look something like me and, folks, that’s not something I want to kiss.
But what? What is like kissing your sister? A tie, that’s what.
And such is the beast that is Omaha Hi-Lo. It’s a game where the best is not always the best. The best is the worst and the best combined, and that’s where things get tricky. If you do not alone have the best and the worst at the same time, chances are you’re going to tie. Or get quartered. Or worse yet, you might just lose. And like my childhood hero George Brett once said, “If a tie is like kissing your sister, losing is like kissing you grandmother with her teeth out.”
WCOOP Event #11 was a limit version of this wretchedly frustrating game. It’s the game where action junkies get their fix, the chasers sometimes win, and no hand is a fantastic favorite pre-flop.
It also happens to be quite a bit of fun.
Here’s how the final table shaped up when the final nine sat down.
Seat 1: ballbanger (Lombard, IL) $38,944
Seat 2: NOWHY (Oswego, OR) $171,247
Seat 3: musher (Las Vegas, NV) $217,220
Seat 4: 77KEETER88 (322222 in chips)
Seat 5: DirtyTowel (Ann Arbor, MI) $178,078
Seat 6: Stupid-Cing (Las Vegas, NV) $244,626
Seat 7: yellowhat (Paris,France) $205,756
Seat 8: TOPTEN (S.Elmonte, CA) $201,106
Seat 9: TheMuppet (London, United Kingdom) $258,301
With the final table in place, most of the stacks hovered around the same level, with the exception of ballbanger, who was desperately shortstacked with barely enough chips to play one hand. As such, he tried to make a move soon. And so it was unfortunate that he drew the big blind as soon as he sat down. Holding 9d3d6cQs, a queen-high flop and open-ended straight draw was good enough to get the rest of his chips in the middle. His hand never improved past the queens, there was no low on board, and two pair bested ballbanger’s pair of queens. He was out in ninth place, cashing for $5,880.
TOPTEN would be the next to go, learning that no stack is safe in Omaha Hi-Lo. Starting with more than $200,000 in chips, TOPTEN couldn’t make a hand and over the course of his stay at the table his stack dwindled away to nothing. His eighth place finish earned him $9,187.
For those not familiar with the game, when a player wins both the high and low hands, it’s called a “scoop.” (Incidentally, that’s my dog’s name as well). It’s the best of all outcomes for a player in a hi-lo game. TheMuppet showed the table how to do it with 2sAcQsJs, nailing the nut low and no better than a pair of queens for the high. Musher, who would soon prove a force with which to be reckoned, scooped two back-to-back pots and moved into the chip lead. 77KEETER88 scooped when he needed to. In for all his chips, 77KEETER88 flopped the nut flush on a board where no low would be possible. He doubled up at just the right moment to stay alive.
Stupid-Cing, who came to the table with a lot of chips, had been lobbying for a chop since the first hand. No one would take him up on it. He, too, suffered the inability to make a hand and finally decided to go with Js9h8sJd preflop. An ace on the flop and no jack coming, Stupid-Cing was out in seventh place, cashing for $12,862.
TheMuppet, who had put on quite a show for the entire tournament, started losing ground in the middle stages of the finall table. And so it happened that both he and 77KEETER88 both got all in against DirtyTowel on a flop of 4hJs8d. We never saw either losing players’ hand. We were only treated with DirtyTowel’s TcAc7dKs which ended up making a an ace-high straight and knocking both TheMuppet and 77KEETER88 out at the same time. 77KEETER88 started the hand with fewer chips, so he placed sixth and took home $16,537. TheMuppet took fifth and $20,212.
Musher and DirtyTowel stood close the the chip lead with NOWWHY close behind and yellowhat bringing up the rear. With very few chips left, yellowhat got all his chips in pre-flop with 4cAc6c9h. Musher’s As5c2h7c was good enough to scoop the pot and send yellowhat out in fourth place and $25,357.
With three players remaining, musher took command of the game, but eventually fell back to a point to where the remaining three were nearly even in chips. Then, came the hand that shifted the balance of power.
In a battle of the blinds, NOWHY limped in from the small blind and called a raise from musher in the big blind. The flop came out 4sJdJh. NOWHY bet out and got a call. The turn was 5d. NOWHY bet out again and again got a call. The river was the eight of spades. NOWHY bet out, got raised, re-raised, and then musher only called. Musher’s 7h6s5cAc was good for the four to eight straight and the low. NOWHY’s 2s2c6dJc was crushed. So was his stack. Though he worked his way back, musher scooped another final pot, beating NOWHY’s two pair with a turned straight and the wheel for the low. NOWHY was out in third place and cashed for $33,810.
With only two players remaining, musher and DirtyTowel worked out a deal based on chip percentage. They played it out for $10,000 and the WCOOP bracelet going to the winner. On the final hand, musher flopped a full house that crushed DirtyTowel’s straight.
Musher at one point said he has a child on the way in just about a week. Eighty grand should just about cover the first year of parenthood, buddy.
Congratulations to all the players.
WCOOP Event #11 Final Table Results
1. musher (Las Vegas, NV) $81,289.00
2. DirtyTowel (Ann Arbor, MI) $63,137.00
3. NOWHY (Lake Oswego, OR) $33,810.00
4. yellowhat (Paris,France) $25,357.50
5. TheMuppet (London, United Kingdom) $20,212.50
6. 77KEETER88 (Bakersfield, CA) $16,537.50
7. Stupid-Cing (Las Vegas, NV) $12,862.50
8. TOPTEN (S.Elmonte, CA) $9,187.50
9. ballbanger (Lombard, IL)$5,880.00
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