Six days of preliminary events. Thousands of entrants. And many, many blog posts spread all over the internet chronicling from a myriad of viewpoints the highlights (and lowlights) of the players' efforts. Then came the finale, the main event of the World Blogger Championship of Online Poker.
A final total of 369 poker-playing scribes made it through those six events to play in today's culminating event, with some serious prizes on the line. Those finishing in 46th-100th all earned Step 3 tickets. The next 18 (28th-45th) each would receive $109 tournament entries. Those finishing 19th-27th were looking at $215 tourney entries -- i.e., free spots in PokerStars' popular Sunday Million.
The 10th-18th place finishers would earn $320 tourney entries. Then came the final table, and the serious prizes, culminating with a PokerStars Caribbean Adventure package worth a gawdy total of $14,300.
Lots of good stuff to be had. And, beyond the prizes, some good stories to write about as well.
BigSlickNut was our first casualty today, "winning" the so-called Gigli award (no cash value) for finishing last. TNSpaceman, Pinkypollo, and PRO_rANDY all grabbed some chips in the early going, though all three would not make it to the final hundred.
At the one-hour break, peggydee held the chip lead -- peggy would eventually finish in 40th place. At the two-hour break, 170 players remained with Rex Ferric atop the leaderboard. Rex would end up in 35th.
At about the two-and-a-half hour mark, we'd already made it down to 100 players and the money (so to speak). At the three-hour break, Olimpinho had emerged as our chip leader, and would remain either near or at the top for much of the remainder of the afternoon. After four hours of play, the field had shrunk down to just 20 players, with Olimpinho still in front with 337,578, twice the stack of nearest competitor BuddyDank who had 164,591.
Before we reached the five-hour mark, LaxStarr1995 went out in 10th place and we had our final table. Here was the scene as the first hand of the final table was being dealt:
Seat 1: Littlemage (252,668 in chips)
Seat 2: HappyPixel (198,444 in chips)
Seat 3: TarHeel1641 (58,778 in chips)
Seat 4: Imric_est (309,530 in chips)
Seat 5: SmileyHere (251,764 in chips)
Seat 6: Priitk (326,512 in chips)
Seat 7: Olimpinho (77,536 in chips)
Seat 8: Lesage88 (195,666 in chips)
Seat 9: Tiibo (174,102 in chips)
On the very first hand of the final table, one of the short stacks, Olimpinho, pushed all in only to see HappyPixel reraise all in behind. The others folded, and Olimpinho showed 6s-6c vs. HappyPixel's Ad-Ts. The flop came Td-9c-2h, and HappyPixel was quickly way ahead. The turn was the 2c and the river the 4d, and Olimpinho (from Brazil) was out in 9th place, earning a $530 tourney entry for his efforts.
Shortly thereafter, SmileyHere was the next to go in 8th place. After Imric_est had open-shoved all in for nearly a quarter million, SmileyHere called with his last 104,208 and everyone else got out of the way. Again, we had another race, with Imric_est's 8h-8d up against SmileyHere's Js-Ah. This time the pocket pair held up, as the flop brought another eight (8s-9d-5c) and the two deuces on the turn and river made Imric_est a boat. SmileyHere (of the U.S.) was out in 8th place, earning a Step 5 ticket for doing so.
After the next break, HappyPixel was eliminated after shoving all in with pocket sixes only to run up against Imric_est's pocket kings. The board brought no help, and HappyPixel (from the U.K.) landed in 7th place, earning a $1,050 PokerStars tournament buy-in. Tiibo (Finland) would go out just two hands later, again at the hands of Imric_est. Tiibo pushed with 5d-6d, Imric_est called with Ad-Kd, and the board came 6c-Jc-As-8d-3h, knocking Tiibo out in 6th. Tiibo received a Spring World Championship of Online Poker Main Event entry -- worth $1,575 -- for his finish today.
We were down to five. This time Tarheel1641 (U.S.) would push all in, and once again Imric_est was waiting there with the big stack and a hand. Tarheel1641 had ace-four, Imric_est had ace-ten, and the board ran out As-Js-5c-6h-Ts. Tarheel1641 was out in 5th, earning a Step 6 ticket (worth $2,100).
Littlemage (from Hungary) was the next to go. And yes, Imric_est was the one responsible once more.
Action had folded to Littlemage in the small blind who pushed his short stack of 175,961 all in with Jh-6c, and Imric_est called with Jd-Ad. The board came 8s-5c-Ks-2s-5h, and Littlemage was gone in 4th place. For his efforts, Littlemage earned a free SCOOP Main Event entry, plus a Step 6 ticket -- together worth a cool $3,675!
Just five minutes later, Priitk open-raised to 80,000 from the button and Lesage88 pushed all in for 277,207 from the small blind. Imric_est stepped aside, and Priitk made the call. Lesage88 showed Ac-Qh, dominating Priitk's Ks-Qs. Until the flop, anyway, which came Kd-Tc-5d. The turn (9s) and river (7c) didn't save Lesage88 (Switzerland), and he was out in 3rd, having won a European Poker Tour package worth $7,500!
At the start of heads up, Priitk had a healthy chip advantage of 1,242,856 to Imric_est's 602,144. In just the second hand of heads-up, however, the pair essentially switched their stacks.
In that hand, Priitk raised to 60,000 from the small blind/button, and Imric_est called from the big blind. The flop came Ad-Qh-4d. Imric_est checked, Priitk bet 80,000, Imric_est minimum-raised to 16,000, Priitk shoved all in, and Imric_est called. Imric_est showed Kd-Qd for middle pair and a flush draw, while Priitk had As-Js for top pair. The turn was the Ks, giving Imric_est two pair. The river was the 9s, and suddenly Imric_est had the 2-to-1 chip advantage.
Imric_est maintained the lead for the next several dozen hands, having Priitk on the ropes a couple of times, but Priitk managed to wiggle free. The closest call came when Prittk was all in preflop with Ts-6d versus Imric_est's As-Jh, but two sixes flopped and Prittk survived.
Finally, on the 107th hand of heads up play came the climax of today's story. With the blinds 30,000/60,000, Imric_est raised to 90,000 from the small blind/button, Prittk shoved all in for 490,174 total, and Imric_est called.
The flop came 9h-4h-9s, giving Imric_est a commanding lead in the hand. The turn was the Ac, making the 8s on the river meaningless.
Prittk (from Estonia) was our runner-up, winning a EPT prize package, a SCOOP Main Event ticket, and a Step 6 ticket -- prizes worth a total of $11,100 altogether.
And Imric_est (also from Estonia) gets the big one -- the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure prize package, worth $14,300. Congratulations to Imric_est and to all of those who won prizes today! See a full list of all of those prizes by clicking here. And read more about today's event by checking out the WBCOOP Main Event live blog.
We now look forward to all players' accounts of today's action on their respective blogs.
WBCOOP Main Event Results (final table):
1. Imric_est (Estonia)
2. Priitk (Estonia)
3. Lesage88 (Switzerland)
4. Littlemage (Hungary)
5. TarHeel1641 (U.S.)
6. Tiibo (Finland)
7. HappyPixel (U.K.)
8. SmileyHere (U.S.)
9. Olimpinho (Brazil)