Rebuy tournaments have been player favorites for years, as they allow for a more aggressive style of play and the opportunity for second (and third) chances if the plan fails. Though rebuys sometimes receive a bit of scrutiny, as some claim that they allow the higher stakes players a much greater advantage because of their ability to rebuy without concern, others have simply learned the secrets to playing rebuy tournaments cautiously so as to sail through the rebuy period without peril.
Event 21 proved that the rebuy tournament is as popular as ever. The $215 no-limit hold'em tournament brought with it a substantial $1.25 million guarantee, but that number was blown clear away when the 2,780 entrants purchased 2,439 rebuys and 1,765 add-ons, thus creating a prize pool of $1,396,800. Subsequently the winner of the tournament, barring any deals that could have changed the amounts late in the game, was looking at $219,996.01 payout. In fact, the top three players would receive six-figure winnings.
The tournament took off to a chaotic start, as rebuy events tend to do, but once the virtual chip dust cleared, the pace evened out. In the crowd of players were some of the game's top competitors, including, of course, many Team PokerStars Pros like Barry Greenstein, Daniel Negreanu, Victor Ramdin, Hevad Khan, Chris Moneymaker, Humberto Brenes, Dennis Phillips, Greg Raymer, Vanessa Rousso, Vicky Coren, and Marcel Luske. But only two members of the Team made it into the 396-player money, and they went quite deep into the cash.
Long-time member of the PokerStars team Steve "stevejpa" Paul-Ambrose, representing Canada, plowed through the large field of the tournament and ended up exiting in 69th place ($2,374.56). And going even further was Noah "Exclusive" Boeken of Team Netherlands, who made it all the way to 55th place ($2,514.24), which was where his deep run stopped.
Moving onward to the final table was a group of players who all looked toward that goal of taking their first WCOOP bracelet. And as three tables turned to two, the players seemed to be stuck with 12 remaining. Finally, the elimination of polpolpol in 12th place seemed to break the ice, and garg77 fell soon after. BREAKURFACE was next, and it happened courtesy of lechuckpoker who climbed into the chip lead afterward:
Toward the very end of Level 38, with blinds at 40,000/80,000 and a 12,500 ante, the final table was set as follows:
Seat 1: thanksB (2,843,098 in chips)
Seat 2: lechuckpoker (7,378,999 in chips)
Seat 3: trucu2544 (3,007,782 in chips)
Seat 4: Dieselek (1,659,006 in chips)
Seat 5: gavz101 (6,139,196 in chips)
Seat 6: BKiCe (1,893,004 in chips)
Seat 7: Horst Heftig (4,690,842 in chips)
Seat 8: Soterdelf (4,564,351 in chips)
Seat 9: Undreaming (7,156,222 in chips)
Play was off to a cautious start, but it was BKiCe who seemed the most anxious for action. Once one of the dominating forces in the tournament, he had become one of the shorter stacks. BKiCe doubled through Undreaming to stay alive and climb into the comfort zone, but the cards in a subsequent hand were too good to resist - pocket queens. It just so happened that thanksB had pocket aces, so thanksB doubled through BKiCe, who was then down to less than 1 million in chips. The very next hand saw BKiCe push all-in preflop with Q♠ J♥, only to find Undreaming there with A♥ Q♦. When the board blanked with K♠ 9♠ A♣ 7♦ 4♥, BKiCe was out in ninth place with $11,872.81.
It was lechuckpoker who was off to a roaring start and through a series of sizable pots, including a 5.5 million-chip pot from a hand with thanksB, lechuckpoker climbed way out in front of the players with over 10 million chips.
Meanwhile, trucu2544 and gavz101 got involved in a hand that was raised and reraised to the flop, which came down J♠ 3♠ 4♣. gavz101 bet all-in, forcing trucu2544 to consider his tournament life. After going into the time bank, trucu2544 did call all-in with pocket nines, but gavz101 flipped over pocket aces. The J♦ on the turn and 8♣ on the river changed nothing, and trucu2544 was eliminated in eighth place with $18,884.74.
Next up was Dieselek, who had been unable to gain much momentum at the final table. The all-in move came preflop with pocket tens, but that respectable hand was outdone by the pocket kings of gavz101. The board was an uneventful 5♥ Q♣ 7♥ 9♣ 2♥, and Dieselek was shown the virtual door with $32,824.81 for the seventh place finish.
Soon after, the roller coaster ride of another player came to an end. Though thanksB recently doubled through gavz to stay alive, the incentive was there to attempt it again, this time making the all-in move from the small blind with pocket tens, but Soterdelf called with pocket kings. The hands were the same as in the previous elimination, but the board was different when it hit 6♥ K♥ 9♣ 6♦ 8♣. Again, however, the kings held up, and thanksB was ousted in sixth place with $46,792.81.
With that, Soterdelf climbed into the chip lead by a wide margin, and as he soared toward the 20 million-chip mark, he maintained more than a 2-to-1 lead over everyone else at the table.
gavz101 had become the short stack at the table, and the opportunity presented itself to make a move. After lechuckpoker raised preflop, gavz101 reraised, prompting lechuckpoker to reraise enough to put gavz101 all-in. The call was made for gavz101's tournament life with A♥ 8♠, but lechuckpoker turned over A♣ K♣. When the board blanked completely as it produced 3♥ 7♠ 6♦ J♦ 2♠, gavz101 was forced out in fifth place with $60,316.01.
Small ball poker then went into effect. While Horst Heftig looked for spots to move and double up, which he finally did through Soterdelf, lechuckpoker had the temporary chip lead and seemed to have a solid hold on it.
Undreaming found his spot, pushing preflop with A♥ 5♥, but Horst Heftig woke up with pocket aces and easily made the call. Undreaming watched the board bring nothing with 6♠ K♦ 2♠ 4♥ 8♥, and he took leave of the table in fourth place with a $80,316.01 payday.
The last three players - all German - were guaranteed a six-figure cash. And after playing for awhile, the trio decided to have a look at the chip-chop numbers. Just when it looked like deal talks were falling apart, the players seemed to reach a point of exhaustion (17 hours had passed since the start of the tournament) and gave in to the numbers. With $25,000 set aside for the eventual winner, the payouts agreed upon were as follows:
Seat 2: lechuckpoker (19,415,967 in chips) = $178,768.05
Seat 7: Horst Heftig (9,720,267 in chips) = $148,088.50
Seat 8: Soterdelf (10,196,266 in chips) = $149,594.68
As they approached a full hour of three-handed action, lechuckpoker had been relegated to a very short stack, which went all-in with pocket sevens. But Soterdelf called with A♣ 8♣, and though the flop of 8♥ T♦ 9♦ gave lechuckpoker the open-ended straight draw, the A♦ gave Soterdelf two pair, and the K♠ on the river ended the hand. A third place finish was worth $178,768.05 for lechuckpoker.
Heads-up play started with the following chip counts:
Seat 7: Horst Heftig (16,001,716 in chips)
Seat 8: Soterdelf (23,330,784 in chips)
Horst Heftig tried to make some headway and finally decided to risk it all with A♣ 8♦ preflop. Soterdelf made the call with Q♦ J♦, and the two watched the board produce Q♣ 2♦ 6♣ 3♣ 7♥, as seen here:
Horst Heftig took home $148,088.50 for the second place finish.
Soterdelf won $174,594.68 for the victory, along with the WCOOP title and gold bracelet. Congratulations!
2009 WCOOP Event 21 Results:
1st place: Soterdelf ($174,594.68)*
2nd place: Horst Heftig ($148,088.50)*
3rd place: lechuckpoker ($178,768.05)*
4th place: Undreaming ($80,316.01)
5th place: gavz101 ($60,760.81)
6th place: thanksB ($46,792.81)
7th place: Dieselek ($32,824.81)
8th place: trucu2544 ($18,884.74)
9th place: BKiCe ($11,872.81)
*results of a three-way deal
Watch WCOOP 2009: Event 21 - $215+R NL Hold'em on PokerStars.tv
The 2009 WCOOP is well underway, but many tournaments and millions more dollars are available for players. Check the newly launched WCOOP (http://www.wcoop.com/) 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.