Four cards. Two players. Nine rounds of heads-up poker. Such was the equation offered players in Event #60, a two-day heads-up pot-limit Omaha tournament helping to round out the final weekend of events for the 2012 World Championship of Online Poker at PokerStars.
Once registration closed and play began on Saturday, a few more significant numbers emerged. The $700 buy-in event had sported a $100K guarantee, but the whopping field of 418 entrants meant the $280,060 prize pool would nearly triple that amount. A total of 64 places paid in this one, meaning one had to make it through the first three rounds to cash. And a cool $70,015 first prize awaited the player winning the final heads-up match on Sunday (barring any deal).
Day 1: 418 to 16
The first day of play saw five rounds of heads-up matches play out, thus reducing the field from 418 players to 256 to 128 to 64 to 32 to 16.
A number of Team PokerStars Pros entered this one, with five making it through the first couple of matches to the Round of 128, i.e., the money bubble.
However, just one of those five would make it through to the cash, as Bryn "BrynKenney" Kenney knocked out Raymond Wu, floebbi beat Jason Mercier, Gakn29 eliminated Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier, and David "MrDawwe" Sonelin defeated Vivian Im.
Of the Team PokerStars Pros, only Lex "L. Veldhuis" Veldhuis was able to reach the Round of 64 and the money, knocking out MRmagoo086 to advance.
Round of 64
Those making it this far were each guaranteed paydays of $1,120.24, although all were eyeing that $70K-plus first prize awaiting the winner.
After battling with Rodrigo "caprioli" Caprioli for a little over half an hour, Veldhuis would land one of the 32 spots in the next round. The pair were nearly even when an all-in situation arose in which caprioli had flopped a made straight plus a flush draw while Veldhuis had draws to a better straight and a better flush. As it happened, the turn and river ended up giving Veldhuis a full house, and Caprioli hit the rail.
Caprioli was joined by a number of other familiar names of players who saw their Event #60 runs end in the Round of 64, including David "Mrdawwe" Sonelin, Bryn "BrynKenney" Kenney, Jason "jdtjpoker" Wheeler, James "croll103" Carroll, Stephen "stevie444" Chidwick, Dani "supernova9" Stern, Eric "jakz101" Crain, and Ami "UhhMee" Barer.
Meanwhile, here are the 32 players who survived to play one more heads-up match on Saturday: Lex "L. Veldhuis" Veldhuis, Kressty, Ronny "1-ronny3" Kaiser, Cashcid Linc, Mefisto6661, 0Raid0, Asul, bad? huh!, osten, Murzilka_rus, The_SeS, GlidGrisen, egor1987, Ravenswood13, TryToExploit, mxny, heißtercamp, d-mon-d, lozzz, PoDoX, Le Dolce, Joe "ender555" Ebanks, Danya Kop, yeffshin, skattefar, ANIMAL5050, Gakn29, TheFish77, jellycz, jedimaster82, MiPwnYa, and p1ngp0ngpr0.
Round of 32
The next round was less fortunate for Veldhuis who failed to survive in his match versus ANIMAL5050. After swiftly whittling Veldhuis from the starting stack of 7,500 down to less than 3,000, Veldhuis was soon felted in a hand in which both players made flushes but ANIMAL5050's was better. Like others falling in the Round of 32, Veldhuis earned $2,240.48 for his finish.
It would take about an hour-and-a-half for all of the Round of 32 matches to finish, and with that -- almost 10 hours after the event had begun -- the 16 who had survived rested to finish things on Sunday.
Here are the results of all 16 of those matches: ANIMAL5050 def. Team PokerStars Pro Lex "L. Veldhuis" Veldhuis; Mefisto6661 def. Cashcid Linc; Asul def. 0Rad0; bad? huh! def. osten; The_SeS def. Murzilka_rus; yeffshin def. skattefar; d-mon-d def. lozzz; Le Dolce def. PoDox; Gakn29 def. TheFish77; jedimaster82 def. jellycz; Danya Kop def. Joe "ender555" Ebanks; egor1987 def. GlidGrisen; mxny def. heißtercamp; p1ndp0ngpro0 def. MiPwnYa; TryToExploit def. Ravenswood13; and Kressty def. Ronny "1-ronny3" Kaiser.
Day 2: 16 to 1
Round of 16
Play resumed at 11:00 ET on Sunday with the Round of 16 matches. As with every round, players saw their starting stacks again reset to 7,500 chips, with play proceeding through 15-minute levels. Losers in this round would see $3,360.72 added to their PokerStars accounts, while the winners would be guaranteed cashes of at least $8,961.92.
egor1987 took less than five minutes to knock out The_SeS and move onto the quarterfinals. jedimaster82 would then claim the next spot after taking care of p1ngp0ngpr0 before they'd finished the first 15-minute level.
Over the next 15 minutes, Gakn29 eliminated ANIMAL5050 and Mefisto6661 knocked out Kressty to grab the next two quarterfinal spots. Then the start of Level 4 saw Danya Kop overcome yeffshin and TryToExploit felt mxny.
Meanwhile Le Dolce and d-mon-d nearly made it to the one-hour break in their match. But Le Dolce had slipped just below 4,000 chips to d-mon-d's 11,000-plus when a hand arose in which both players checked the turn with the board showing K♣T♦K♥T♥ and the pot still a modest 1,400.
The river then brought the 5♦ and a series of bets that saw Le Dolce all in with K♦Q♣J♥3♥ (trip kings) but no good versus d-mon-d's K♠8♥6♣5♠ (kings full of fives). Le Dolce was out, while d-mon-d had moved to the Round of 8.
That left just the match between bad? huh! and Asul to play out, with the pair making it past the one-hour mark with nearly even stacks. They'd battle for another 20 minutes after that before Asul finally chipped bad? huh! down to a short stack that the latter would ultimately commit on a 8♠6♣2♥ flop holding K♥J♥6♠4♠ (a pair of sixes with some backdoor draws). Asul held K♠K♦Q♣2♦ (kings), and when the 5♦ turn and A♦ river improved neither player's hand, Asul had grabbed the final quarterfinal spot.
Here were the matchups for the quarterfinals:
Mefisto6661 (Russia) vs. Asul (Romania)
egor1987 (Gemany) vs. TryToExploit (Poland)
d-mon-d (Norway) vs. Danya Kop (Russia)
Gakn29 (Canada) vs. jedimaster82 (Sweden)
All four matches saw players beginning cautiously, and it took nearly half an hour before anyone built a significant lead.
Eventually Mefisto6661 began chipping away at Asul, moving up over 12,000 while Asul dipped below 3,000. They were approaching the end of Level 2 when Asul was finally all in on the turn with the board showing 5♥4♦8♥8♦. Asul had A♥K♠9♣4♥ for a heart flush draw while Mefisto6661 had K♣J♣J♥8♠ for trip eights. The river was the 9♦, and Mefisto6661 had grabbed the first semifinal spot.
Not long after that Danya Kop joined Mefisto6661 in the semis by defeating d-mon-d. Down to 3,550, d-mon-d got it all in before the flop with K♦Q♣J♥T♥ against Danya Kop's A♣K♠J♦3♣. The board rolled out A♥8♠5♣4♠2♣ giving a straight and the win to Danya Kop.
Meanwhile the other two matches remained close until a big hand arose between Gakn29 and jedimaster82. Nearly even to start the hand, the pair got all of jedimaster82's chips in on the turn with the board showing 8♦3♥9♠A♠. jedimaster82 had A♦9♦5♠2♠ for two pair while Gakn29 had Q♠J♠T♦9♣ for a big wrap draw.
The river then brought another ace to give jedimaster82 a full house and nearly all of the chips, and it would only take one more hand for Gakn29 to lose the rest and jedimaster82 to move on.
The lone remaining match continued, with TryToExploit enjoying a slight lead over egor1987 as they pushed through the one-hour mark. They'd fight for another hour with TryToExploit mostly maintaining the advantage throughout.
Then egor1987 grabbed a big pot as the third hour began, picking off a TryToExploit river bluff by calling with a non-nut straight to seize the advantage. Before long TryToExploit was all in on the turn with the board showing all spades -- 8♠A♠K♠T♠ -- and TryToExploit holding K♥J♣8♦5♣ for two pair. egor1987 had J♦7♠4♠2♦ for the flush, and when the river brought the 3♥ egor1987 had won and it was on to the next round.
The final four was set. On Table 1, it was egor1987 versus Mefisto6661, while over on Table 2 Danya Kop took on jedimaster82. Each player was now guaranteed at least $19,604.20, but winning one more match meant earning either the $36,407.80 for runner-up or $70,015 for first.
The match on Table 2 swiftly became one-sided as Danya Kop quickly scored several pots, including a 6,000-plus chip one to grab a large lead.
Then on just the 12th hand of the match jedimaster82 raised 2x to 100 and Danya Kop called. The flop came 8♦A♦7♣. Danya Kop checked, jedimaster82 continued for 120, Danya Kop check-raised to 560, jedimaster82 made it 1,880 to go, Danya Kop reraised again to 5,840, and jedimaster82 called with the 1,145 left behind.
Danya Kop: T♥8♠8♥6♥ -- set of eights, gutshot draw to straight
jedimaster82: A♣K♣5♦3♦ -- pair of aces, flush draw
The turn was the J♥ and river the Q♥, and just five minutes after it had started, Danya Kop had won the first semifinal match.
It wasn't long after Danya Kop moved on that Mefisto6661 pushed out to a big advantage on Table 1, chipping up over 13,000 while egor1987 slipped down to less than 2,000.
They had just started Level 2 (blinds 30/60) when Mefisto6661 raised to 120 from the button and egor1987 called. Both checked the 2♦T♦3♥ flop. The turn then brought the 4♠. egor1987 bet 180, Mefisto6661 raised to 780, egor1987 pushed all in for 1,452 total, and Mefisto6661 called.
egor1987 had A♥K♦5♠5♥ for a wheel while Mefisto6661 showed Q♥J♥6♥5♦ for a better six-high straight. The river A♠ was no matter, and after another quick semifinal match Mefisto6661 had secured the second spot in the finals.
Just two players remained, both from Russia -- Danya Kop and Mefisto6661.
Having survived eight rounds, the finalists were both ready to talk about a deal as soon as their match began. After a quick discussion, they agreed to chop up the remaining prize pool, leaving $2,000 and the WCOOP bracelet for which to play, and soon the 417th and final match of Event #60 was underway.
The pair remained roughly even through the middle of Level 2, then Mefisto6661 gradually chipped out in front. Soon a hand arose in which a flop brought Danya Kop a six-high nut straight and Mefisto6661 a set of deuces. Neither would improve by the river, but betting on all three post-flop streets saw Danya Kop all in and doubling up to more than 10,000 while Mefisto6661 slipped below 5,000.
Then came a hand in which Mefisto6661 opened for 150 from the button, Danya Kop made it 450 to go, Mefisto6661 reraised again to 1,350, and Danya Kop called. The flop came 2♣T♣7♥. Danya Kop checked, Mefisto6661 bet all-in for 2,451, and Danya Kop called.
Danya Kop showed A♣Q♣7♦6♦ for the ace-high flush draw and a pair of sevens. Meanwhile, Mefisto6661 turned over A♦K♣J♣5♦ for a lesser flush draw. The turn was the 4♥ and river the 8♣. Both had made their flushes, but Danya Kop's was best and another WCOOP bracelet had been won.
Congratulations to Danya Kop for surviving nine rounds' worth of heads-up play to win the WCOOP bracelet. And kudos as well to Mefisto6661 who after the deal also earns a handsome $50K-plus score in Event #60.
WCOOP Event #60 ($700 Pot-Limit Omaha, Heads-Up) Results (*reflects two-way deal):
Champion: Danya Kop (Russia) -- $54,211.40*
Runner-up: Mefisto6661 (Russia) -- $52,211.40*
3rd (tie): egor1987 (Gemany) -- $19,604.20
3rd (tie): jedimaster82 (Sweden) -- $19,604.20
5th (tie): TryToExploit (Poland) -- $8,961.92
5th (tie): Gakn29 (Canada) -- $8,961.92
5th (tie): d-mon-d (Norway) -- $8,961.92
5th (tie): Asul (Romania) -- $8,961.92
Places paid: 64
For comprehensive results on all 65 events of the 2012 World Championship of Online Poker, check out the the WCOOP site. And there's still time to check out the WCOOP Radio show, too, for more WCOOP-related fun.
Martin Harris is a Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.