It was a Sunday, the day of the week normally reserved for tournaments like the Sunday Million. But with that tournament and several others on a hiatus - quite possibly on a well-deserved vacation in the South of France - for the 2010 World Championship of Online Poker, all eyes were focused on winning the most prestigious titles in the world of online poker. Event 22 provided one of those opportunities.
Several things about Event 22 stood out. First was the jaw-dropping $3 million guarantee. Second was the fact that it was a two-day tournament, meaning play was scheduled to stop after 22 levels were complete in order to give the remaining players a rest before finishing the action on Monday. And when the numbers were in showing that 5,799 players registered for the tournament, it provided a third bonus for the field, as the guarantee was not met; PokerStars added more than $100K to make up the difference and give the players that much of an overlay. So, with an even $3 million prize pool set up to pay the final 946 players, thousands of players got comfortable in front of their computers for an exciting day/night of poker.
Action moved along as thousands fell by the virtual rail. At the eight-hour break, hartwith led the pack of 987 remaining players with 321,718 chips. And among those in the top 100 were several members of Team PokerStars Pro, with Veronica "Princesa" Dabul leading the way in 22nd place, followed by Daniel "KidPoker" Negreanu in 76th place, and Jan Heitmann in 98th place. Additionally, Team PokerStars Online's Diego "vgreen22" Brunelli was hanging out in 88th place.
By the break that hit at the start of the ninth hour, not much had changed, as hartwith still sat in the top spot on the leaderboard with a new chip stack of 481,409, and Dabul still led the team of PokerStars Pros holding on to 19th place. However, no other members of the team were left in the top 100. And only 781 players remained in the tournament, meaning that the money bubble was looming.
It didn't take long to hit after the break, as hand-for-hand play led to the elimination of several players, including Aaron "AJinOK" Ruppert, who exited on that bubble in 766th place. The first to cash in Event 22 was zavor, who took home $900 for his original $530 investment, and play moved forward to the next break at the ten-hour mark when only 569 players were still in contention. Beldar C. had jumped into the chip lead with a count of 607,090, followed by AhKhQhJh10h and hartwith. Brunelli moved up to 30th place, Dabul fell to 59th, and Martin "AABenjaminAA" Hruby headed up to 81st place to round out the Team PokerStars in the top 100.
The time leading up to the next break brought eliminations of several PokerStars representatives, such as Sebastian Ruthenberg in 541st place, Jorge Arias in 512th, and Pieter de Korver in 497th. The 11-hour break found only 374 players remaining, with hartwith back in the top spot with 668,199 chips, followed by Beldar C., and Brunelli holding on to 40th place.
Soon after play resumed in Level 19, one of the shorter stacks was Humberto Brenes, who put his stack at risk as follows:
Brenes departed in 348th place, and some who followed included Tom "SBRounder" West, Kory "s00tedj0kers" Kilpatrick, Matt "MattSuspect" Molinari, and Adam "Roothlus" Levy. The last break of the night came about with only 278 players left in the game. Beldar C. climbed back into the top spot again, this time with 874,879 chips, and firas71 was in second, followed by Anna "VietCutie" Wroblewski in third. Brunelli was still going strong, sitting in 28th place, and Dabul was in 62nd place, both of whom held down the top-100 fort for the rest of the team.
During Level 21, Hruby finally put himself at risk with A♦9♥ from the small blind, but original raiser GARFIELD25 called with A♥Q♣. The Czech Republic player was going to have to improve but couldn't do it on the K♠3♦3♥T♥7♥ board. Team PokerStars Pro Martin "AABenjaminAA" Hruby departed in 255th place with $1,500.00.
Soon after, Heitmann made his move with A♥9♣, but it was DM_BR who reraised all-in to isolate with A♠K♥, which worked. The two went to battle, but the T♥Q♦J♣2♣J♠ only made a straight for DM_BR, and Team PokerStars Pro Jan Heitmann of Germany was relegated to a 224th place finish and the $1,620.00 that went with it.
The end of Day 1 neared as players like Cesar "makavelyces" Fuentes went out in 221st place and Aaron "AaronBeen" Been followed in 220th, and as Level 22 came to a close, Matt "cwp394" Ross exited in 210th place. And on the other end of the spectrum, skylarsash took a serious leap into first place on the leaderboard and ended the day with 1,243,349 chips. Players like hartwith and Wroblewski fell out of the top ten but remained in the top 15 percent of the field.
As for Team PokerStars Online, Brunelli ended the night in 41st place, and Team PokerStars Pro Dabul wasn't far behind in 45th. And also still very much in the game was Negreanu. Their chip counts are recorded below.
Play ended nearly 13 hours after it started, and players were asked to take an 11-hour break before returning to the tables for Day 2 of the tournament. When they do come back at 17:00pm ET, they will begin Level 23 with blinds at 2,500/5,000 and a 625 ante.
Join us tomorrow for the conclusion of Event 22!
2010 WCOOP Event 22, Day 1 Top Chip Counts:
1st: skylarsash (1,243,349 chips)
2nd: kendog39 (960,111 chips)
3rd: jaybeastie (930,835 chips)
4th: Beldar C. (863,770 chips)
5th: firas71 (788,265 chips)
6th: kudos1017 (786,016 chips)
7th: JohnnyUtah (779,042 chips)
8th: MISHELA (687,423 chips)
9th: APowers1968 (685,999 chips)
10th: stennn (670,828 chips)
41st: Team PokerStars Online Diego "vgreen22" Brunelli (388,624 chips)
45th: Team PokerStars Pro Veronica "Princesa" Dabul (378,647 chips)
Still in! Team PokerStars Pro Daniel "KidPoker" Negreanu (71,419 chips)
The 2010 WCOOP is well underway with a total of 62 events, only a small portion of which are complete, and $50M in guarantees. The official WCOOP website has a plethora of information about the entire series, and PokerStars TV offers tournament highlights.