Tonight marked a first in PokerStars history, as the WCOOP crowned its first-ever Baduigi champion. A natural addition to this year's lineup of events, Badugi began running on PokerStars earlier this year, thanks in no small part to the lobbying efforts of Team PokerStars Pro's Barry Greenstein, who had enjoyed the lowball variant in high-stakes live mixed games for years. Simply put, a Badugi is a four-card hand comprised of one card from each suit. Played with three draws, blinds, and a button, the object of the game is to end up with the lowest possible Badugi. Aces play low, and the best possible hand is 4-3-2-A of all four suits. If neither player makes a Badugi, the player with the lowest three-card (or even two-card) unsuited hand wins the pot.
376 players put up $320 apiece to take their shot at a WCOOP title, creating a $112,800 prize pool. 56 places were paid, with first place set to earn $21,432. Among the Team PokerStars Pros who decided to get their Badugi on were Andre Akkari, Barry Greenstein, Chris Moneymaker, Gavin Griffin, George Danzer, Jose Ignacio Barbero, Marcin Horecki, Nuno Coelho, Vanessa Rousso, and Ylon Schwartz with Vicky Coren (36th), Katja Thater (22nd), and Daniel Negreanu (21st) all notching in-the-money finishes.
Barry Greenstein took on hosting duties for this event and was in rare form throughout the evening, directing a continuous stream of dry-witted barbs at chip leader Raymond "raydavis77" Davis (don't worry, they're actually good friends).
"Normally I would congratulate all of you, but you are all behind Raymond Davis, which is embarrassing. I have to root for you, Raymond. No one else owes me money," quipped Greenstein as the final table kicked off. Here's how the players stacked up as action commenced:
Seat 1: crocky (103,594 in chips)
Seat 2: Cordelia (191,976 in chips)
Seat 3: MadisonAce29 (34,552 in chips)
Seat 4: JP OSU (39,211 in chips)
Seat 5: goleafsgo41 (407,228 in chips)
Seat 6: raydavis77 (497,436 in chips)
Seat 7: bobsmith166 (397,505 in chips)
Seat 8: THE__D__RY (208,498 in chips)
Also offering some well-wishes was Team PokerStars Pro's Emad Tahtouh, who stopped in to cheer on his fellow Aussie Billy "crocky" Argyros.
"My 1rst ever badugi tourney" remarked Crocky.
Short-stacked MadisonAce29 was the first to depart the final table. Down to 7,656, he put the rest of his chips in before the first draw and got action from both JP OSU and Cordelia, who broke out in their own pre-draw raising war on the side. With the betting capped, Cordelia drew one card, MadisonAce29 drew two, and JP OSU stood pat. Cordelia led out for 8,000 and JP OSU called for the rest of his chips. Cordelia and MadisonAce29 each took one on the second draw while JP OSU remained pat. All three did the same on the third draw. Cordelia revealed A♠2♣J♠4♥ for a three-card A-2-4 and JP OSU showed a T-5-2-A Badugi, winning the side pot. MadisonAce29 couldn't beat either hand, tabling 2♦3♥4♣Q♣ for a three-card 4-3-2, sending him to the rail in eighth place for a $2,256 payday.
Two hands later, crocky decided to make a stand, raising to 16,000 before the draw and earning a call from raydavis77. Davis drew two cards while crocky stood pat and fired out a bet after Davis checked. Davis called and drew one card while crocky rapped pat again. Davis checked, crocky bet, Davis raised, and crocky called all in for the last of his chips. Both players were pat on the third draw and both turned over queen-high Badugis, Davis' the better one Q-6-2-A to crocky's Q-9-6-A. Crocky's WCOOP run was at an end with a seventh-place finish for $2,820, certainly an excellent result for one's first Badugi tournament.
After Davis eliminated crocky, Barry Greenstein couldn't resist getting in a few jabs.
barryg1 said "raymond still leading. bad for the arguments that poker is a game of skill"
raydavis77 said "lol lol lol"
raydavis77 said "can I go on pokerroad and explain badugi???"
barryg1 said "that would close the site down"
raydavis77 said "they love me on pokerroad. Show made me famous."
barryg1 said " they also love people jumping out of airplanes without parachutes."
JP OSU ended up dropping from 54,000 in chips to zero in the space of two hands. First, he saw his three card 7-2-A fall to goleafsgo41's three-card 6-5-2 in an 80,000 pot, leaving him with a mere 14,000. Those chips went in before the draw on the very next hand against both Cordelia and bobsmith166, who continued betting on the side. Cordelia ended up getting a fold from bobsmith166 on the third draw and scooping the pot with a T-8-7-2 Badugi, ending JP OSU's long day of poker with a sixth-place finish and $3,948.
JP OSU's elimination left THE__D__RY on the short stack with less than 100,000 in chips. He lost some ground to goleafsgo41 after a hand where they each took one card on each of the three draws, goleafsgo41 ending up with a T-6-2-A Badugi to leave THE__D__RY crippled. Less than an orbit later, THE__D__RY sought to reclaim those chips. After raydavis77 opened for 20,000, THE__D__RY moved all in for 26,394 and Davis made the call. THE__D__RY drew two on the first draw while Davis drew one. Both players stood pat on the second and third draws. Though THE__D__RY made a T-8-3-A Badugi, Davis had him beat with an 8-5-4-A Badugi and sent him home in fifth place.
"You cash for $5,600... but that is not enough to overcome the infamy of getting knocked out by Raymond" wrote Greenstein.
Greenstein and Davis couldn't resist and continued their verbal jousting as the final four played on.
"Barry will you be my driver?" asked Davis.
"If you pay for the gas," retorted Greenstein.
All the joking around only seemed to empower Davis, who kept taking down pot after pot, Greenstein razzing him the whole way about his onslaught of good luck, which continued in this hand against Cordelia. With the betting limits up to 12,000-24,000, Davis opened for a raise, Cordelia three-bet and Davis called. Each player drew one and Cordelia led out for 12,000. Davis raised and Cordelia called. Cordelia took one card on the second draw while Davis stood pat. Cordelia check-called another 24,000 before rapping pat on the third draw. Davis was pat as well, and bet another 24,000 after Cordelia checked to him. Cordelia called, but could not beat Davis' 8-5-4-A Badugi.
"Another 8 for Raymond," quipped Greenstein.
Most of Cordelia's remaining chips ended up in bobsmith166's stack when he made a T-7 Badugi and Cordelia couldn't catch up. Left with only 1,686 in chips after the hand, Cordelia put them in on the next hand, but couldn't beat bobsmith166, who made another T-7 Badugi to take Cordelia out in fourth place for $8,460.
With play three-handed, "Another 6 for Raymond" chopped 100,000 out of goleafsgo41's stack. Almost immediately afterward, goleafsgo41 tangled with bobsmith166 in a massive 322,000 pot where the action was three-bet before the draw and capped on the first draw. Bobsmith166, however, drew to a 9-5-2-A Badugi and took down the pot, leaving goleafsgo41 with only 5,385 in chips.
Goleafsgo41 wasn't going to go quietly, however, He shot up to 30,000 in chips after picking up a multi-way pot. Then he won another to take himself up to 50,000. Then 92,000. Then 183,000. Then 323,000. With his remarkable comeback complete, goleafsgo41 was able to hang around for another half hour of play before his stack began eroding again. Down to 116,480, he got the rest of his chips in on the second draw against bobsmith166 holding a draw to the nuts with a three-card A-2-3 against bobsmith166's made 9-4-3-A Badugi. He couldn't pull a low diamond, however, and exited in third place, earning $11,844.
Raydavis77 had a 1.4 to 1 chip lead over bobsmith166 as heads-up play commenced:
Seat 6: raydavis77 (1,096,424 in chips)
Seat 7: bobsmith166 (783,576 in chips)
Davis immediately asked bobsmith166 if he was interested in a chop. The tournament was paused and the two quickly agreed to a nearly even split of the remaining prize money, leaving $2,000 and the WCOOP bracelet for the winner.
For two players who were so anxious to make a deal, their heads-up battle was long and hard-fought, clocking in at 92 minutes. As the duel wore on well into the early morning hours, Barry Greenstein remarked, "if this was a boxing match, you guys would both be about to collapse on each other."
Though the lead swapped back and forth several times, Davis was able to whittle bobsmith166 down to just under 300,000 in chips before this hand unfolded. Bobsmith166 raised pre-draw and Davis called. Davis drew three cards while bobsmith166 drew two. Davis led out, bobsmith166 raised, and Davis called. Davis took two cards on the second draw while bobsmith166 drew one. Davis checked, bobsmith166 bet out, and Davis came in with a raise. Bobsmith166 called and they each drew one. Davis led out and bobsmith166 called all in. Both had missed on the third draw, but Davis' three-card 5-2-A trumped bobsmith166's three-card 6-4-3 to seal up his WCOOP victory and $19,912 in prize money. For his runner-up finish, bobsmith166 collected $17,312.
A fixture on the Southern California poker scene, Raymond Davis has over $1.5 million in career live tournament earnings, including a 10th place finish in the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. event at the 2008 WSOP and a fourth place finish in the 2007 WSOP S.H.O.E. event. This is his first WCOOP title.
WCOOOP Event #15 ($320 Badugi) Results
1. Raymond "raydavis77" Davis $19,912*
2. bobsmith166 $17,312*
3. goleafsgo41 $11,844
4. Cordelia $8,460
5. Danny "THE__D__RY" Ryan $5,640
6. JP OSU $3,948
7. Billy "crocky" Argyros $2,820
8. MadisonAce29 $2,256
Watch WCOOP 2009: Event 15 - $320 FL Badugi on PokerStars.tv
Curious about how your favorite players are faring in in the WCOOP? Check out the new WCOOP page for all of this year's stats. For even more WCOOP coverage including interviews and tips from Team PokerStars Pro, check out PokerStars.tv.