If you're anything like the typical online poker player, you have only a vague awareness of the calendar. The weekdays tick by meaninglessly, and you barely even realize it's the weekend until the words "Sunday Million" begin to filter toward the top of the PokerStars tournament lobby. This past weekend was somewhat more bizarre in that regard; the Sunday Million was nowhere to be found. There was, however, a very suitable replacement on the docket.
Event #2 on the 2012 WCOOP schedule was the first full-ring event of the Series. The buy-in was $215 and the guarantee was $1.5 million -- it was as if the Sunday Million turned up in a tuxedo this weekend. An impressive 10,608 players plunged headlong into the two-day event to put more than $2 million in the prize pool. That money was distributed among the final 1,350 players with just over $300,000 slated for the eventual champion.
Stretching the Legs on Day 1
Thirty levels of Day 1 action eliminated nearly 99% of the starting field. The PokerStars family was well-represented on the registration list, but those red spades littered the list of early casualties, unfortunately. Adrienne "talonchick1" Rowsome, Andre Akkari, Daniel Negreanu, Andre "acoimbra" Coimbra, Liv Boeree, Fatima de Melo (fresh off a deep run at EPT Barcelona), Angel Guillen, and Shane "shaniac" Schleger were among those caught up in the tidal wave that washed away the first 5,000 players. ElkY, Alex Kravchenko, and Vicky Coren lasted a bit longer but fell short of the money, too.
That's the bad news; now the good. Humberto Brenes was eliminated with about 1,200 players left to earn himself a small, second-tier cash. Deeper into the night went Mickey "mement_mori" Petersen before he succumbed to the field in 760th place. That left two red spades on the board with Victor Ramdin making it all the way to 344th place before meeting his demise late in Day 1.
Just 133 players survived long enough to have their screen names scrawled on their virtual chip bags at day's end. Among them was one last, lone Team PokerStars Pro -- Sandra Naujoks. She survived to make the restart, but she did so with just 241,256 chips, putting her in 118th place.
Here's how the overnight top ten stacked up:
1: Mr-MMuerte (Germany) - 4,181,135
2: CrazyDoeboy! (Sweden) - 2,921,334
3: nik1718 (Russia) - 2,619,646
4: emaestrodobi (Czech Republic) - 2,416,518
5: srxakgirona (United Kingdom) - 2,137,248
6: CrazyBobo85 (Sweden) - 1,932,952
7: daveyt86 (United Kingdom) - 1,921,772
8: meteze (Romania) - 1,766,421
9: Wijzut21 (Poland) - 1,719,455
10: solmir (Russia) - 1,712,603
Aaaaand they're off!
Day 2 began with the blinds at 10,000/20,000 and a 2,500-chip ante, and Naujoks could not work her stack up from 22 big blinds. She wasted no time getting her chips in and falling out in 129th place. That was worth $1,379.04 and some bragging rights as the highest-finishing member of Team PokerStars.
Start-of-day chip leader, Mr-MMuerte parlayed his big stack into a 48th-place finish. Coming into the day in eighth place, meteze quickly charged into to the top spot, and he remained perched atop the chip counts for a long while. He appeared to be poised for a final table run -- possibly even a victory -- but it wasn't meant to be. A three-way pot featuring a nasty river card marked the beginning of his fall from the top courtesy of the poker gods.
Mikethepo666 was in charge of the chips thanks to that two-outer, but he was quickly chased down by a pair of hard-charging opponents.
A two-horse race
With 22 players left, Kotovi took the chip lead, and ASIAAN was trying desperately to stay on his tail. As the orbits passed, it became clear that it was going to be a two-horse race for the duration. Each time ASIAAN would close the gap, Kotovi would drag a big pot of his own to open up some breathing room once again.
ASIAAN took care of Alexxxx533 in 18th place, and Kotovi eliminated meteze in 17th to pip back into a comfortable lead. He extended that lead with the 16th-place knockout of DRKP, but ASIAAN kept pace by immediately sending puto53 off in 15th place. Back and forth they went, neck-and-neck.
Around that time, Mikethepo666 got himself crippled when he ran his pocket jacks into the pocket aces of pablotavi. Both men flopped a set after the money had already gone in, and mikethepo666 could not find the case jack to avoid a devastating blow to his stack. He was eliminated in 14th place just moments later.
DaMethod lost a coin flip with 3♠ 3♥ to daveyt86's A♣ 4♥, and the Austrian took home the last of the four-figure payouts. The 13th-place finish was worth $8,168.16 while the next three payouts amounted to $11,032.32 apiece. Those first five-figure checks went to mmoossmmooss, horneeer, and tigertimon who all came tantalizingly close to a final table appearance. When the latter ran ace-jack into ace-king to no avail, he was bounced out in 10th place, and the field was reduced to just nine.
Down the stretch they come!
Seat 1: gorogheee (22219355 in chips)
Seat 2: Kotovi (26003840 in chips)
Seat 3: ASIAAN (22400247 in chips)
Seat 4: pablotavi (8022912 in chips)
Seat 5: jollyholl914 (5695914 in chips)
Seat 6: tommytight (8964087 in chips)
Seat 7: daveyt86 (4384412 in chips)
Seat 8: SLUMMDOGG51 (5919919 in chips)
Seat 9: KevBoyStar (2469314 in chips)
Level 44, blinds 125K/250K (ante 31.25K)
"Wow," tommytight said as the first hand of the final table was being dealt. "Unreal to make it this far."
It is a fairly unreal accomplishment, but there was still plenty of work to be done. Outlasting more than 10,000 players to make the final table guaranteed a player just less than $15,000. That's some decent pocket change, but it pales in comparison to the prize for outlasting the other eight finalists. First place was worth more than 20 times what ninth place paid -- there certainly was a lot to play for.
As the only player from the Day 1 top ten to reach the final table, the UK's daveyt86 was the first to depart. When the action folded around to his button, he shoved his short stack in with 8♦ 5♣. Big blind SLUMMDOGG51 found K♠ J♠ and made the call, and the all-in player could not get over the hump. The board ran out T♥ K♣ 9♠ J♦ 3♠, and no pair meant no more chips for daveyt86. His ninth-place finish was worth $14,851.20.
Eight-handed play dragged on for a long while before the aforementioned tommytight met his demise. With a raise and a call in front of him, the Canadian squeezed all in for about 20 big blinds holding 8♥ 8♠. The original raiser folded, but ASIAAN called the shove and turned over A♦ K♠ -- a race! Tommytight fell behind immediately on the 6♦ 5♠ A♥ flop, and he was unable to catch up on the 2♠ turn and 3♥ river. Eighth-place money was $23,337.60.
The last remaining German was the next player to fall as the payouts began to escalate quickly. The table had folded around to the blinds, and jollyholl914 had less than 10 big ones left in front of him. He promptly took his stand with Q♥ T♦, but SLUMMDOGG51 woke up with a premium in the big blind. His A♠ K♠ held fast on the 4♠ 2♦ 9♥ 5♦ 7♦ board, and the ace-high was good enough to tally the knockout. Seventh place was worth almost twice as much as sixth, and jollyholl614 collected $42,432.00 as a reward for a weekend of grinding.
After playing six-handed for a couple orbits, the remaining players decided to pause the clock and talk numbers. ASIAAN held a commanding lead at that point, and he locked up $200,000 by simply typing the two-word phrase, "I agree". A deal was made without incident, and each of the remaining players would earn six figures.
Kotovi, SLUMMDOGG51 charge hard
The two-horse race started to become something of a runaway for ASIAAN. With the action really quickening, Kotovi had slipped back into the pack as one of the two short stacks. He was out to change that with a hard charge to the finish, however. A triple up at the final table never hurts one's chances of victory:
Goroghee earned $154,025.89 for his finish in sixth place, and he can rest easy knowing he made the kind of deal Howie Mandel would be proud of. The scheduled payout for sixth place was just over $60,000, but the Hungarian ended up earning the third largest paycheck of the final table.
Kotovi's stack was suddenly rejuvenated with that knockout, and things would continue to improve. A few hands later, he opened with a mini-raise holding A♠ A♥, and pablotavi stuck the rest of his short stack in with A♦ 9♦. It didn't go well. The latter had been crippled a few hands prior, and he held on long enough to move up that one extra spot before falling in fifth place. That was good for $127,894.56.
We haven't mentioned KevBoyStar at all yet, and he was the lone Scandinavian representative at the final table. He got the last of his chips into the middle with A♠ K♦ on a monster coin flip against SLUMMDOGG51's 8♣ 8♠. The board ran out 6♠ T♥ 5♥ 3♥ 4♥, and the Norwegian could not find an out. Fourth place money was $135,322.91 -- about $30,000 more than he would have made without the chop.
ASIAAN charges harder
That pot brought the final three players almost even, but ASIAAN cracked the whip and pulled back out in front. Within a few orbits of three-handed play, he had once again amassed a big lead with more than 60% of the chips on the table. It's almost not fair when the chip leader picks up aces, and the way SLUMMDOGG51' s final hand played out made it nearly impossible for him to get away.
Canada's last hope was thusly eliminated in third place with just over $160,000 to his credit.
The stacks were quite lopsided by that point, and Kotovi could not overcome the chip disadvantage he was faced with. He lost eight of the ten heads-up hands, and the last one cost him everything he had left:
Since he was one of the short stacks when the deal was discussed, Kotovi earned significantly less than the original payout for second place. Still, it's hard to complain about pocketing almost $130,000 from a $215 investment.
The victory was both hard-earned and well-deserved for ASIAAN, and he collected more than $230,000 for his efforts on the felt. Holland has its first champion of the 2012 WCOOP!
Event #2 Results
Buy-in: $200 + 15
Prize pool: $2,121,600
Places paid: 1,350
1st: ASIAAN (Netherlands) - $231,221.20*
2nd: Kotovi (Russia) - $129,526.66*
3rd: SLUMMDOGG51 (Canada) - $160,291.24*
4th: KevBoyStar (Norway) - $135,322.91*
5th: pablotavi (Argentina) - $127,894.56*
6th: goroghee (Hungary) - $154,025.89*
7th: jollyholl914 (Germany) - $42,432.00
8th: tommytight (Canada) - $23,337.60
9th: daveyt86 (United Kingdom) - $14,851.20
(* denotes the result of a deal)
Eric Ramsey is a Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.