This was no ordinary no-limit hold'em tournament. Not only was it set up with a $1,050 buy-in, making it a field of higher bankrolled players and those who battled tough satellites for entries, but it began at 8:00pm Eastern Time. Typical start times bring players to the tables much earlier in the day, but this event was set up for the U.S. night owls and the European and other overseas players for whom this schedule was more convenient.
But there was something else significant about this tournament. The appeal was so great that it ended up with a field of 1,558 players, creating a prize pool of $1,558,000 - more than three times greater than the original $500K guarantee! That put the first place prize at nearly $250K and guaranteed the top four finishers more than $100K in payouts. All of this would not only prompt PokerStars to likely take notice of the interest generated, but it would make this one of the most successful and lucrative tournaments on the 2009 WCOOP schedule that already guaranteed more than $40 million in prize money for the series.
Now that's a NLHE tournament.
Event 16 drew some of the best online poker players from around the globe, and among them were a slew of Team PokerStars Pros, such as Joe Hachem, Barry Greenstein, Greg Raymer, Chris Moneymaker, Hevad Khan, Katja Thater, and Vanessa Rousso. There was another group of them, however, that made it much deeper in the tournament, though they just missed out on getting through the money bubble portion of the night/morning. Those names were Alexander Gomes, Angel Guillen, Bill Chen, Darus Suharto, Emad Tahtouh, Jason Mercier, and Daniel Negreanu. The 2008 WCOOP Main Event champion, Carter "ckingusc" King also made it close with a 248th place finish.
Once the money bubble burst and allowed the final 234 players to cash, there just happened to be one Team PokerStars Pro in that bunch. Ylon Schwartz quietly but forcefully pushed through toward the final few tables of the event, as is his style, but he finally succumbed to the bigger stacks in 64th place, which was in the $3,349.70 payout category.
As the field thinned to just two tables, which happened just past 7:00am ET, two players were far and away leading the pack. XTheDecanoX and skilled_sox were over the 2-million chip mark and continued to soar as play continued. But that happened slowly. Despite players noting in the chat box that many of them were exhausted, play was cautious. Why? Nearly $1 million sat at that final table in payouts, and the difference between finishing in 14th place ($9,581.70) and first place ($249,280.00) was potentially life-changing. So slow and steady they went.
Finally, after close to two hours, mimu14, Holla10, and XTheDecanoX got involved in a hand that started with a 9♠ T♣ Q♥ flop and was checked to the A♣ turn. mimi14 promptly pushed all-in for 608,716 with T♠ 9♦, and XTheDecanoX was the only caller, and the hand was A♦ 4♣. It looked like another double-up until the Q♣ hit the river, and that sent mimu14 out in tenth place with $12,152.40.
And with the beginning of a new day (Wednesday), the final table of Event 16 was finally set as follows:
Seat 1: cabbie182 (1,063,936 in chips)
Seat 2: O0Brian0O (1,943,978 in chips)
Seat 3: amrasaralond (412,880 in chips)
Seat 4: hoodini10 (937,959 in chips)
Seat 5: DuckU (1,279,339 in chips)
Seat 6: Holla10 (1,280,776 in chips)
Seat 7: skilled_sox (3,834,827 in chips)
Seat 8: XTheDecanoX (3,137,342 in chips)
Seat 9: pedmend (1,688,963 in chips)
Almost immediately, the makeup of the final table changed when the two chip leaders tangled in this hand that put XTheDecanoX far into the lead and left skilled_sox closer to the middle of the pack:
While skilled_sox got aggressive and looked to climb back to the top of the leaderboard, short-stacked amrasaralond was one of the casualties. amrasaralond pushed all-in preflop with A♠ J♣, and skilled_sox looked at pocket sixes from the big blind and decided to call. The board came 8♦ Q♥ 8♥ 2♦ 2♥, and amrasaralond was ousted in ninth place with $15,580.00.
Over the course of the next hour, Holla10 doubled through O0Brian0O, DuckU doubled through Holla10 and XTheDecanoX, and pedmend doubled through XTheDecanoX, though the latter still retained the chip lead and continued to climb.
Finally, some of the shorter stacks made moves that didn't work out, the first being cabbie182, who pushed from the button with A♠ 7♠. skilled_sox was there with A♣ T♣ and the call, and the board came 4♠ T♠ 3♣ 3♥ 7♣, giving him the better two pair. That left cabbie182 with $27,265.00 for the eighth place finish.
On the very next hand, Holla10 pushed all-in, but O0Brian0O reraised all-in to isolate, which worked. Holla10 showed Q♣ T♣, but O0Brian0O had the A♣ J♣, and that hand only improved on the J♦ 9♠ A♥ 2♥ 3♣ board. Holla10 was eliminated in seventh place with $42,066.00.
After another few rounds of double-ups, it was O0Brian0O who attempted one and was not successful. Pushing preflop with K♠ Q♣, initial raiser XTheDecanoX called with J♣ T♠. O0Brian0O had outs but never got there on the T♥ 4♠ 9♠ A♥ T♣, though that gave XTheDecanoX trips to knock out O0Brian0O in sixth place, which was good for a $57,646.00 payday.
Suddenly, the bustouts were happening more quickly. When XTheDecanoX and hoodini10 got into a raising war preflop, it ended with hoodini10 all-in with pocket aces and XTheDecanoX holding only T♦ 9♣. But the chip leader was on fire and hit the J♣ Q♣ T♥ 8♥ 6♦ to make a straight, sending hoodini10 out in fifth place with $74,005.00.
XTheDecanoX was at it again soon after, pushing pedmend to the limit in a preflop raising war. pedmend called all-in with pocket eights, and XTheDecanoX turned over A♦ T♦. The board was harmless with a 9♣ 7♣ 5♥ flop and 3♣ turn, but the magical A♥ came up on the river to eliminate pedmend in fourth place with $102,438.50.
Guess who eliminated the next player? It was XTheDecanoX, of course, when his 8♣ 8♥ went up against the K♠ 6♥ of DuckU. The heart flush came on the Q♥ K♥ 9♣ 9♥ J♥ board and eliminated DuckU in third place with $140,220.00 for the long hours.
Heads-up action began with the following chip counts:
Seat 7: skilled_sox (3,579,069 in chips)
Seat 8: XTheDecanoX (12,000,931 in chips)
On the second hand of the battle, skilled_sox showed in this hand that XTheDecanoX was not the only one who could win a hand:
Another showdown was soon to come, as XTheDecanoX put the pressure on skilled_sox. The two went to see a flop of Q♣ J♠ 7♥, and more betting led to the 2♠ turn. Though they checked to the 2♦ river, that card prompted a bet from skilled_sox, an all-in raise from XTheDecanoX, and a call from skilled_sox for his tournament life. skilled_sox showed K♦ J♥ for two pair, but XTheDecanoX turned over 5♣ 2♣ for trip deuces.
Well-known PokerStars player and SuperNova Elite skilled_sox finished the tournament in second place with $186,960.
XTheDecanoX from Sao Paulo, Brazil, claimed the $249,280 first prize, along with a 2009 WCOOP gold bracelet. Congratulations on a hard-fought victory!
2009 WCOOP Event 16 Results:
1st place: XTheDecanoX ($249,280.00)
2nd place: skilled_sox ($186,960.00)
3rd place: DuckU ($140,220.00)
4th place: pedmend ($102,438.50)
5th place: hoodini10 ($74,005.00)
6th place: O0Brian0O ($57,646.00)
7th place: Holla10 ($42,066.00)
8th place: cabbie182 ($27,265.00)
9th place: amrasaralond ($15,580.00)
Watch WCOOP 2009: Event 16 - $1,050 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 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.