It was a merely a function of the software. It was a wink from Randomness that said, "Yeah, I've got a sense of humor. How about you?" It was an arbitrary number designating the final field of competition for the ultimate nine in the 2007 WCOOP Event #5.
The final table's number was 666.
The number of the beast notwithstanding, Event #5, a $530 No-Limit Hold'em bonanza, had been an amazing event. More than 6,000 players showed up in the normal place of the Sunday Million to fight a fiery (and perhaps a bit brimstoney) battle for a $3 million prize pool. In what would end up being the longest tournament in WCOOP history, Event #5 lasted more than 20 hours and saw some of online poker's greatest names make valiant runs for the final table.
As the sun rose and shed light on Monday all over the world, nine people remained at the cleverly-cursed final table.
Seat 1: fredmainiac (18342861 in chips)
Seat 2: dankhank (3225517 in chips)
Seat 3: 666 INRI (3885339 in chips)
Seat 4: Bill Ivey (4442000 in chips)
Seat 5: glynda (8057854 in chips)
Seat 6: debrisfish (7950211 in chips)
Seat 7: wNwNw1 (5480442 in chips)
Seat 8: AB_illusive (4615230 in chips)
Seat 9: taktloss47 (4250546 in chips)
Should anyone have given any credence to the unfortunate table destination? Hard to say, really. After all, not every culture assigns any significance to the triplicate six. It would be left to the cards to see what if any issues with good versus evil we'd see. Looking back, maybe it should've been more obvious. Take for instance, the first evil blow of the final table.
wNwNw1 came in for a raise 640,000 and taktloss47 made it 1,440,000 to play. Back around to wNwNw1, and in went the rest of his chips. With the virtual cards on their virtual backs, we saw the timeless and epic fight. Aces for wNwNw1. Kings for taktloss47. People who find good in everything, a silver lining in every cloud, and see a chicken in every pot should turn away before the river.
It was a pot worth nearly 8,000,000 chips. Even more significant, it was the first sign that the table number might not be just a number.
It's been said that insanity is defined as repeating the same behavior and expecting different results. However, no one could blame wNwNw1 when he repeated the same behavior just a couple of minutes later. Once again, in he went with his aces. This time he was up against...well, wait just a minute. Who is this player in the three seat? His name: 666 INRI.
666? Well, that's just spooky.
Indeed, wNwNw1's aces were up against the man who shared a name with the actual table's. This guy held pocket eights. This time, the aces--righteous warriors that they are--held up, leading anyone who might have been speculating on the double 666s to consider the possibility of double negatives when combining two numbers of the beast.
Player wNwNw1 on had one word for the chat bar: "JUSTICE."
Duly smitten by the final table of the same name 666 INRI was left with fewer than a million chips. So, when chip leader fredmainiac came in for a raise, 666 INRI got it all in with KJ. Two angels, both queens, greeted him on the other side of the baize. King and knave were no match for the crowned ladies. 666 INRI--one of three final table players from Germany--was out in ninth place, earning $18,677.50.
'Twas then, friends, it appeared as though good had taken a foothold in the crevasse of evil. Bill Ivey's kings held up against fredmainiac's AJ. Then AB_illusive's 44 held against AK. Indeed, for a while, it seemed like the best hands would hold up. Then, a half hour into the final table, the people managing the triumph of good over evil took a powder.
Taktloss47 came in for a min-raise to raise 400,000, fredmainiac called, and AB_illusive called from the big blind. The flop came down [4s Kc Ah]. AB_illusive checked, taktloss47 bet 780,000, and fredmainiac raised to 1,600,000. AB_illusive saw the battlefield grow dark and stepped into the shadows to let the two remaining Germans do the good vs. evil dance. Taktloss47 called.
The turn was the seven of hearts. This time taktloss47 checked. Fredmainiac bet out 2.2 million. And why wouldn't he? He already held two pair with his big slick. Taktloss47 called.
So, what was under taktloss47's virtual hands. Was it AQ? Was it some odd sort of draw? Hard to say, for sure. Taktloss47 had made the min-raise to start the hand and had made the continuation bet on the flop. Now he had reduced himself to check-calling on a dangerous board.
The river was the five of hearts. Suddenly, taktloss4 woke up and pushed all in. It was nearly six million to call. Fredmainiac didn't take too much time before throwing in his chips. When he saw taktloss47's JhTh for the flush, fredmainiac had but one word.
Somewhere south, a man with a pitchfork was chuckling.
Was taktloss47 some sort of evil genius? A demon from the underworld well-schooled in the ways of Texas Hold'em and how to make kings beat aces? The devil himself? No, no. The man in the nine-seat was not damned. He was simply a pretty damned good poker player who had gotten a tad lucky in a couple of hands at the final table (and to be fair, he'd had his share of bad luck along the way as well). Taktloss47 was, in fact, Sebastian "taktloss47" Ruthenberg, a German poker star. Last year, he won the German Open placed third at the EPT event in Dortmund, Germany.
With the chip lead now firmly in his grasp, taktloss47 (name taken from a German battle rapper), let some of the other players go to work on each other. AB_Illusive doubled through Bill Ivey with TT vs AT on a ten-high. A sign that the evil had been vanquished? Nay. Welcome to Suck Out City, Population: 8.
Bill Ivey's A4 vs AT? Winner (A4)
wNwNw1's AJ vs QQ? Winner (AJ).
Dankhank's AQ vs QQ? Winner (AQ)
If getting in behind was working for everybody else, it didn't work for debrisfish. With 1.75 million chips left, debrisfish got it all in with A4 vs. glynda's TT. A ten on the flop sealed the deal and sent debrisfish out in eighth place earning $30,125.
Fredmaniac had been quiet since his earlier unfortunate defeat. So, when he picked up KK pre-flop, he was happy to get all his money in before a suck-out could happen. This time, he was up against dankhank's Ah8h. Two hearts on the flop were scary, but fredmainiac held the other nine curvy red spots at bay and scored a key double-up. Short-stacked, dankhank was out shortly thereafter earning $49,706.25 for his seventh place finish.
Fredmainiac was the next to go. He got all his money in on a jack-high flop with AJ vs AB_illusive's 99. If anyone needed evidence of the sick nature of poker, they should witness the turn, a nine of clubs, giving AB_illusive a set and forcing fredmainiac into the Land of the (Drawing) Dead. He was comforted on his walk with the departed by $69,287.50.
Short-stacked and in need of making a move, Bill Ivey finally got his money in with A3 vs AB_Illusive's 88. This time, there would be no suckout evil. Bill Ivey placed fifth and took home $96,701.25.
On an ensuing hand, there was little doubt all the money was going in the middle on the flop. With [Th Qs Kd] showing on the board, taktloss47 held KsKh. The man known as wNwNw1 held KcJh. It was the kind of set-up meant for pure drama...drama erased when the ten of diamonds fell on the turn gave taktloss47 the full house. wNwNw1 was out in fourth place earning $126,525.00.
Glynda had been exceptionally quiet throughout the entire tournament, even remaining as the only silent person during talk of a deal. The only words that came from glynda's chat box during the final table were "I want to play it out" and, after bluffing at a 5dKhTs flop against taktloss47's aces, "nh." That spelled Glynda's end, with $162,373.75 going to the third place finisher.
So began the talk of a deal. With 5% required to be withheld to play for, AB_illusive and taktloss47 cut a deal giving taktloss47 about $12,000 more. They would play for $150,000 over the course of the next hour and half. It was a heads-up SNG for some serious cash.
Over the course of an epic heads-up battle, AB_illusive chipped up and up, then doubled up with a straight versus taktloss47's two pair. Before long, AB_illusive had caught taktloss47 in a river bluff and taken over the chip lead. However, taktloss47 would not be kept down, doubling up with AQ vs KQ )all-in preflop) and then out-kicking AB_illusive with KJ vs QJ on a J374J board.
To be sure, the tournament looked all but over. When AB_illusive got his As3s all-in versus taktloss47's JJ, the cage was already wrapping up the win for man with the jacks. Two spades on the flop and one on the river, though, sent the money the other way. That would be the last time taktloss47 saw the bulk of the chips. After getting caught in what must have been a bluff, taktloss47's stack was a third the size of AB_illusive's.
Ultimately, taktloss47 got KQ all-in against 33 and couldn't find any of his outs. In the end, indeed, the best hand held up. The curse of the table number may have affected some, but when it came to the cards, good prevailed over...well, not as good. Still, everybody at the final table walked away with more money than anybody should really make in one work day...even if that work day lasts 20 hours under the shadow of an evil number.
2007 WCOOP Event #5 Results
Based on finishing order and two-way chop that left $150,000 for the winner
1. AB_illusive (Denmark) $398,649.93
2. taktloss47 (Germany) $260,184.82
3. glynda (United States) $162,373.75
4. wNwNw1 (Finland) $126,525.00
5. Bill Ivey (United States) $96,701.25
6. fredmainiac (Germany) $69,287.50
7. dankhank (United States) $49,706.25
8. debrisfish (Italy) $30,125.00
9. 666 INRI (Germany) $18,677.50
Full 2007 WCOOP Event #5 Results