After nearly a month of guarantee-busting prize pools, strong performances from accomplished poker players from around the world, and dramatic battles over bracelets, WCOOP 2015 is finally coming to an end. That means the Special Editions of the Sunday majors are saying goodbye, too. This weekend was the last chance to wrap up a title in one, and Caesar325 took full advantage by winning more than $211,000 in Event #67.
The final Sunday Warm-Up Special Edition of WCOOP 2015 kicked off yesterday at 11:00 a.m. ET, offering players 10,000-chip starting stacks, 8-max tables, and up to three optional re-entries during the extended registration period. That was attractive enough to draw a field of 6,529 players, who combined for an additional 2,323 entries to drive the total prize pool to $1,774,000.
After 30 levels of play, when the tournament paused for the night, there were just 112 players remaining. Holding the chip lead by less than 100 chips at the end of Day 1 was Belgium’s girafganger7, whose 2,198,857 chips just topped KingGorn’s 2,198,765. Team PokerStars Pro’s Kosei “K.Ichinose” Ichinose was also in the mix in 13th place with 1,318,278 chips.
Day 2 was just as grueling as the first. The journey from 112 to the final table of eight took more than eight hours. Kosei Ichinose fell along the way, finishing in 31st place ($5,323), as did all but two of the players who had been in the top 10 chip counts at the end of Day 1: Moldova’s npomocc, a 2011 SCOOP champion who had been in 10th to start the day, and girafganger7, who was still in possession of the chip lead.
With blinds and antes at 150K/300K/37.5K, they faced off with these six players:
Seat 1: vladsilver (10,674,628 in chips)
Seat 2: girafganger7 (17,990,116 in chips)
Seat 3: npomocc (8,346,640 in chips)
Seat 4: Caesar325 (12,624,448 in chips)
Seat 5: suarez_BG (11,239,071 in chips)
Seat 6: ienutz (15,353,268 in chips)
Seat 7: pokerjamers (8,592,864 in chips)
Seat 8: Vakio¤Ässä (3,898,965 in chips)
The action got started on the first hand with a npomocc raise to 717K and a call from SCOOP 2015 champ Vakio¤Ässä in the big blind. Both players checked the 10♦ 8♣ 7♠ flop, leading Vakio¤Ässä to bet 998K on the 5♠ turn. npomocc, who had hit a set with 5♣ 5♦, raised all-in, and Vakio¤Ässä called with 10♥ 9♥ for top pair and an open-ended straight draw. The 3♠ changed nothing on the river, sending Vakio¤Ässä to the rail in 8th place ($10,646.40).
girafganger7 dominated as play continued. The leader chipped up to 28.4M before re-raising all-in from the big blind with Q♠ 9♠ after short-stacked ienutz opened in the cutoff for a small raise to 844K. ienutz called for 8.1M total with A♠ K♥ and doubled to 16.8M when the flop brought an ace.
Though girafganger7 remained the chip leader, it was with a much slimmer lead than before, and the Belgian would fall out of the lead a few hands later after taking a 2.4M-chip stab at a pot worth 4.5M on the river of a 5♣ K♦ A♠ J♥ 7♦ board. Caesar325, who had called girafganger7’s cutoff raise before the flop, checked the flop, and check-called 979K on the turn, and called that river bet with A♣ Q♠ to become the new leader with 18.1M chips.
girafganger7’s move from the penthouse was merely temporary, though. Dealt A♣ A♦ on the next hand, the Belgian player opened for 910K and called when npomocc moved in for 12.1M from the cutoff. npomocc’s 4♣ 4♥ couldn’t catch a two-outer on the 3♥ 8♣ 5♥ K♠ 7♠ board, giving girafganger7 the 25.2M chips in the middle and knocking out npomocc in 7th place ($17,744).
Another pair of aces figured into the next knockout, this one just a few hands later after the blinds and antes jumped to 250K/500K/62.5K. 2014 SCOOP finalist suarez_BG called with A♦ A♠ in the big blind after vladsilver moved in for 2.6M from the cutoff with A♥ 7♣. An inside straight draw briefly flared up on the turn before being extinguished on the river of the 9♣ J♦ 9♠ 8♣ 4♥ board, and vladsilver was gone in 6th place ($35,488).
Eight hands later, suarez_BG would be the one holding an ace and facing off against a big pair. The Bulgarian player opened the action in the cutoff with a raise to 1.25M, then shoved for 12.7M after girafganger7 re-raised to 3.1M in the big blind with K♦ K♠. girafganger7 called and suarez_BG’s A♦ Q♠ failed to improve on the 4♦ 5♠ 10♣ 5♦ 3♦ board, busting the Bulgarian in 5th place ($70,976).
With more than double anybody else’s chip stack at the four-handed table, girafganger7 controlled the pace of play and won plenty of pots with no contest. Caesar325 stepped in to claim a few pots, too, stealing the blinds and antes and then knocking pokerjamers off a preflop raise with an all-in re-shove. But Caesar325’s big step forward came after opening for 1.4M in under the gun with K♦ K♠. ienutz jammed for 10.7M on the button with A♥ 6♥ and came nowhere close to making a hand after Caesar325 called. The board came 8♣ 4♦ Q♣ 8♦ 10♠, kings and eights won the 22.7M-chip pot, and ienutz left in 4th place ($106,464).
girafganger7 won nine of the next 11 pots and pokerjamers took the other two, but Caesar325 took the 13th with a bang. girafganger7 folded on the button and Caesar325, holding K♠ 3♦, raised to 22M in the small blind. pokerjamers called all-in as a 65.5-percent favorite with A♠ J♥ and had to have been stunned to see the flop come down 3♥ 3♣ 3♠. Drawing dead from there, pokerjamers exited in 3rd place ($141,952).
An hour and 17 minutes into the final table, a heads-up duel that would last nearly that long was just getting started:
Seat 2: girafganger7 (50,335,730 in chips)
Seat 4: Caesar325 (38,384,270 in chips)
The first order of business was a deal. It was accomplished with a minimum of haggling, leaving $20,000 on the table for the winner and setting the stage for a pitched 142-hand battle between the two players. With 11 lead changes and both players facing elimination at multiple points, it was worthy of the WCOOP stage it was played on.
Caesar325 almost didn’t get the chance to make it that kind of fight, getting down to 14.3M before doubling up with 5♣ 3♦ in the big blind. That came after check-raising all-in with an open-ended straight draw against girafganger7’s top pair of kings with K♣ 6♠ and catching an ace on the river to double up.
Even surviving that was just a license to withstand a withering assault from girafganger7, who soon enough had Caesar325’s stack back down in the teens. Then Caesar325 doubled up again with A♦ Q♦ against girafganger7’s A♥ 7♥, getting back to 36.8M. That proved to be a stepping stone to the first lead change, which came after limp-calling a raise on the button, calling bets on the Q♦ Q♣ K♥ flop and 8♠ turn, and moving all-in for 22.7M on the K♠ after girafganger7 checked.
girafganger7 folded there but retook the lead quickly, wearing Caesar325 back down to 15M within about 20 hands. Then Caesar325 moved back ahead with pocket queens. And then girafganger7 doubled with 6♣ 6♦ against A♣ J♥ to pull the two player to within a single 1M-chip big blind of one another.
The balancing pull was so strong that even after winning a 71.3M-chip pot all-in before the flop with 6♣ 6♠ against girafganger7’s A♣ 9♣, leaving girafganger7 with just 17.3M, the Belgian player was still able to retake the lead. But with the 600K/1.2M/150K blinds and antes exerting major pressure, the match couldn’t last forever.
Caesar325 finally limped in from the button and re-raised all-in with 6♣ 6♥ after girafganger7 three-bet to 3M in the big blind. girafganger7 called with K♣ Q♦ and threatened to catch any of a number of Broadway cards to take the lead from the 9♥ 7♠ J♥ flop on. But the 9♦ turn and A♥ didn’t see any threats materialize, and Caesar325 won the pot to bring the tournament to an end.
For girafganger7, holding the chip lead from the end of Day 1 until the start of heads-up play was good for a deal share of $217,000. Caesar325, meanwhile, earned the extra $20K on the table for a total first-place prize of $227,384.96. Congratulations to both players on closing out this WCOOP in style.
WCOOP 2015: Event #67, $215 NL Hold’em (8-Max, Optional Re-Entry, Sunday Warm-Up SE)
Entrants: 8,872 (6,529 entries, 2,343 re-entries)
Prize pool: $1,774,000
Places paid: 1,120
1. Caesar325 (United Kingdom) $227,384.96*
2. girafganger7 (Belgium) $217,000*
3. pokerjamers (Mexico) $141,952
4. ienutz (Romania) $106,464
5. suarez_BG (Bulgaria) $70,976
6. vladsilver (Russia) $35,488
7. npomocc (Moldova) $17,744
8. Vakio¤Ässä (Finland) $10,646.40
* – denotes results of a heads-up deal
This might be the last Special Edition during WCOOP 2015, but the Sunday Warm-Up runs every week along with lots of other great tournaments. Click here to get a PokerStars account today.
Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.