Pot-limit Omaha is all the rage with the kids these days. Truthfully, it has been gaining popularity with poker players of all ages for years. While PLO is similar to hold'em - enough so that the concept is relatively easy to pick up for hold'em players - it requires additional skills in that players get four hole cards, only two of which can be used to make the five-card hand. And the pot-limit aspect brings another nuance to the high-action game. Put the players at short-handed tables and add rebuys to the mix, and there is an exciting tournament to be had.
Event 19 brought 976 PLO players to the online tables on Thursday, September 10, all with the awareness that it was a rebuy tournament. With bankrolls ready, those 976 players purchased 575 rebuys and 629 add-ons, making for a total prize pool of $654,000, well past the $400,000 guarantee set up by PokerStars. And with more than $100,000 up for grabs for the ultimate winner, it was fireworks from the start.
Taking part in the PLO action were a number of Team PokerStars Pros, including Barry Greenstein, Ben Kang, Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier, Gavin Griffin, Marcin Horecki, Katja Thater, Leo Fernandez, Marcel Luske, and William Thorson, but they were all eliminated early in the action. Coming close to the money bubble, at which point the last 144 players standing would be paid a minimum of $1,046.40, Greg "FossilMan" Raymer gave it his best shot but finished in 167th place.
However, several members of Team PokerStars made it well into the money. Andre Akkari finished in 106th place ($1,242.60), Humberto Brenes made it to 64th place ($1,700.40), and Chris Moneymaker exited in 59th place ($1,765.80). But there was one left standing - George Danzer. And he was not only standing but soaring into the top ten. With five tables remaining in the tournament, he hit the number one spot on the leaderboard. After having done well in several other WCOOP events this year but missing out on final tables, the determination to make it in Event 19 was clear.
As the tournament reached its final two tables, Danzer was battling for the position of chipleader with several other players until he lost a 725,000-chip pot to kunkku to cut him down a few notches. But the swings of PLO brought him back to the chip lead with a huge double-up in the following hand with sultana17:
It took quite a long time to reach the final table, but it finally happened during Level 33 and almost exactly at the 13-hour mark of the tournament. BeAnActuary and TheTaker raised it and reraised it to see the 5♦ 5♠ 8♠ flop, at which point BeAnActuary decided to risk it all with T♠ 7♠ 6♥ 8♣. But TheTaker had Q♦ 8♦ Q♥ 7♥, and the last two cards on the board brought 2♥ and Q♣ to give TheTaker the full house and leave BeAnActuary with $11,445 for the seventh place finish.
The final table was set as follows:
Seat 1: badbanker70 (2,943,860 in chips)
Seat 2: buck21 (1,842,079 in chips)
Seat 3: parksy1066 (1,252,390 in chips)
Seat 4: TheTaker (2,833,381 in chips)
Seat 5: GeorgeDanzer (2,302,136 in chips)
Seat 6: kunkku (1,298,654 in chips)
The action was heavy from the start, with chips flying and players doubling through each other. But it wasn't for some time that one of those all-in moves didn't work.
That moment happened when parksy1066 put the short stack to work with a preflop all-in move holding A♦ A♣ T♥ 3♥ against the J♠ 9♠ Q♥ 8♦ of Danzer. The board came down 3♦ 7♦ 7♠ T♠ J♥ to give Danzer the straight and eliminate parksy1066 in sixth place with $19,620 for the effort.
Moments later, the next on the short-stacked list took a shot. A preflop raising war resulted in badbanker70 all-in with 5♦ T♥ A♥ A♠, and kunkku calling with 8♣ 3♠ K♦ K♠. The virtual dealer turned over T♠ 5♣ 6♠ K♥ 3♥, and kunkku's set of kings won the pot. badbanker70 had to accept fifth place in the tournament, along with $28,056.60 as a consolation prize.
The flurry of action continued. TheTaker was ready to move, and after a preflop raise that was reraised by Danzer, TheTaker called, and the two watched the flop come 3♣ Q♠ K♥. More betting led to the 8♦ turn, at which point TheTaker led out, Danzer raised, and TheTaker called all-in with K♣ T♣ 6♥ 8♣ and two pair. Danzer showed T♦ Q♥ 9♥ Q♦ for the set of queens, which only improved when the 3♠ came on the river to give him a full house. TheTaker took $42,510 for the fourth place finish.
Danzer and kunkku played the double-up wars, with kunkku doubling through Danzer first, then the reversal allowed Danzer to gain back some ground. But the one player who couldn't seem to gain ground and stay there was buck21. During three-handed action, buck21 was consistently the short stack.
Finally, the preflop betting was in full swing in a hand that found Danzer pushing it up to 3.3 million, causing kunkku to fold and buck21 to consider the options. Finally, buck21 called all-in with T♣ J♥ Q♦ T♠, and Danzer showed 9♠ 6♥ A♦ A♠. The board came out with 5♠ K♦ 8♥ K♠ 9♣, which gave Danzer two pair and buck21 a third place finish with $62,130.
Heads-up play then began with the following counts:
Seat 5: GeorgeDanzer (8,645,774 in chips)
Seat 6: kunkku (3,826,726 in chips)
It only took ten hands, throughout which kunkku was unable to put much of a dent in his opponent's stack. Finally, the action was heavy on that tenth hand and led kunkku to risk it after the flop. The hand played out as follows:
GeorgeDanzer's Q♦ J♦ 5♠ Q♠ made a set of queens on the 8♣ Q♥ A♣ T♦ 2♣ board, which trumped kunkku's set of eights. Second place in the tournament was given to kunkku, along with $81,750 in prize money.
Team PokerStars Pro George Danzer won Event 19, and along with the title came a payday of $109,545 and the promise of a 2009 WCOOP gold bracelet, which will be awarded at a ceremony at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in the Bahamas in January of 2010.
Danzer is one of the newest members of the team, representing Germany in tournaments around the world and online. His live tournament winnings top $184K with significant cashes at the World Series of Poker and the European Poker Tour. And though he is no stranger to online poker, his introduction to many on the PokerStars site has been through stellar performances at the 2009 WCOOP. He started by making it to 71st place out of 8,538 players in Event 1, cashed in 67th place in Event 5, and went deep in Event 14 with a 29th place finish out of the 1,563-player field.
The determination was there throughout the WCOOP, and he accomplished the goal tonight. Danzer's victory in Event 19 solidifies him as one of Germany's premier poker players and a WCOOP champion. Congratulations, Mr. Danzer, from the entire PokerStars Team!
2009 WCOOP Event 19 Results:
1st place: GeorgeDanzer ($109,545.00)
2nd place: kunkku ($81,750.00)
3rd place: buck21 ($62,130.00)
4th place: TheTaker ($42,510.00)
5th place: badbanker70 ($28,056.60)
6th place: parksy1066 ($19,620.00)
Watch WCOOP 2009: Event 19 - $320 PL Omaha [6-max, 1R1A] 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 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.