Heads-up poker is considered by many to be the rawest and purest form of poker. The pitting of two players against each other leaves no room for folding around or sitting out a few hands. Every hand matters, every chip is winnable, and knowing your opponent is everything. And it is why any tournament series worth its salt provides a heads-up option for players. Thus, PokerStars presented Event 24.
The $530 buy-in no-limit hold'em heads-up tournament was undoubtedly popular, especially with a $1 million guarantee enticing heads-up specialists. That brought 1,564 players to the tables on Saturday, September 12, for a series of matches that would consist of 11 rounds of poker, the last of which would present one last match for the championship title. Players had to make it through three rounds to make it into the money, at which point they'd be guaranteed a $1,000 payout. But for the last two standing? First place was looking at $170,000 and second place $90,000.
A great number of Team PokerStars Pros tried their skills in Event 24, including Joe Hachem, Greg Raymer, Chris Moneymaker, Katja Thater, Humberto Brenes, Ivan Demidov, Victor Ramdin, Vicky Coren, John Duthie, Bertrand Grospellier, and Jason Mercier. But none of them made it through the third round of action. Only two did, one of whom was Barry Greenstein, who breezed into Round 5 but found himself up against pilsuhng, a worthy opponent who finally knocked Greenstein out in 82nd place.
Added pilsuhng, "gg barry, pleasure to play you"
And that left one to represent the team of PokerStars Pros. William Thorson, is a Swedish pro who represents the Nordic team, and his purely aggressive nature works well in heads-up matches, as any of his opponents could attest. He moved through Rounds 5 and 6, the latter of which presented quite the challenge, but Thorson came back from a serious chip deficit to win. After pushing through two more rounds, he found himself in the Elite Eight, as did seven others, all of whom were paired up as follows:
Table 1: joe E scar vs. William
Table 2: JakusKhan vs. pilsuhng
Table 3: MyRabbiFoo vs. Pechorin
Table 4: Dokosoko vs. imashokU
The four matches began 18 hours after the tournament began, each player with 1,920,000 in chips and blinds at 6,400/12,800. Though the players were clearly exhausted and given the option of taking an extended break to return midday on Sunday, there was one objection so the heads-up matches played on.
Quickly notching a win was imashokU, who defeated Dokosoko in very short order, and MyRabbiFoo took out Pechnorin shortly thereafter. JakusKhan eventually took down pilsuhng to advance, and after nearly an hour and a half of chip exchanges, this hand changed everything:
Two hands later, with friends like Katja Thater, Johnny Lodden, Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier, and Noah Boeken supporting their fellow Team Pro in the chat box, Thorson put the rest of his chips in with K♥ J♥, but joe E scar had A♥ 9♥ and not only hit a nine on the flop but an ace on the river as well. That eliminated Thorson in fifth place and allowed joe E scar to move on. All players finishing in Round 9 received $27,500 for their efforts.
Round 10 began with 3,840,000 chips for each player, blinds starting at 12,800/25,600, and the following match-ups:
Table 1: JanusKhan vs. joe E scar
Table 2: imashokU vs. MyRabbiFoo
The Table 2 match found imashokU ahead when MyRabbiFoo doubled through, leaving imashokU with less than 1 million chips. Eventually, after waiting for the right moment but being chipped down to 475,600 chips, imashokU pushed all-in with Q♠ 8♣ but found that MyRabbiFoo was able to quickly call with pocket queens. The board came A♣ J♦ 3♣ A♥ K♦ to eliminate imashokU in fourth place and push MyRabbiFoo on to the final round.
It took joe E scar and JakusKhan another hour to complete their game, and it happened when joe E scar pushed all-in with pocket kings and JakusKhan called with T♠ 9♠. The flop of A♣ 3♠ 6♠ brought that flush draw, and the A♠ on the turn finished it. The T♥ on the river sealed the deal, and joe E scar finished in third place while JakusKhan was immediately seated at the final table.
The last two players entered Round 11 with blinds at 25,600/51,200, a mere 21 hours after the start of the tournament, with even starting chip counts:
Seat 1: JakusKhan (7,680,000 in chips)
Seat 2: MyRabbiFoo (7,680,000 in chips)
In the course of the very first hand, the two players anxiously asked the clock to be stopped to discuss a deal. And very quickly, the two came to the decision to divide up the remaining prize money so each would receive $120,000, and an additional $40,000 would be awarded to the ultimate winner. The PokerStars powers-that-be agreed, everyone virtually shook hands, and the tournament resumed.
JakusKhan jumped out to an early lead, at which point this hand went down for a split pot:
In the chat box:
JakusKhan: u had to love me for not snap calling
JakusKhan: sleep deprivation = strange plays
And when the tournament went on a regularly-scheduled five-minute break, MyRabbiFoo was quick to ask if the break could be skipped, considering the tournament was in its 21st hour. When JakusKhan didn't answer right away:
Moderator: Have you fallen asleep over there? :)
JakusKhan: sorry pleas for the love of God put this to rest
The tournament finally came to an end in a pot that started with both players seeing the K♣ 9♥ 8♥ flop. A series of raises led to JakusKhan pushing all-in with T♠ 2♠ and MyRabbiFoo calling with K♦ 8♠. The turn brought the 5♠ and the river the 7♣, which allowed MyRabbiFoo's two pair to hold up. JakusKhan finished in second place for $120,000, and MyRabbiFoo won the tournament, the WCOOP gold bracelet, and $140,000 in prize money.
2009 WCOOP Event 24 Results:
1st place: MyRabbiFoo ($140,000.00)*
2nd place: JakusKhan ($120,000.00)*
3rd place: joe E scar ($55,000.00)
4th place: imashokU ($55,000.00)
5th place: William ($27,500.00)
6th place: pilsuhng ($27,500.00)
7th place: Pechorin ($27,500.00)
8th place: Dokosoko ($27,500.00)
*results of a two-way chip-chop deal
The 2009 WCOOP is speeding past the halfway point, but many tournaments and millions more dollars are available for players. Check the newly launched WCOOP website for all of the information, including the list of tournaments and corresponding satellites that offer entries for as little as $1. And PokerStars.TV, as always, will have tips from the pros and tournament replays as the WCOOP progresses.