After several levels of FPP qualifiers, 25 hours of deep stacked, high velocity play and close to 60 minutes of six-handed deal negotiations, a low stakes Russian grinder has won the WCOOP Main Event pocketing a life-changing $1,000,907.26. There's the money, yes, but there's so much more for our new WCOOP champion "maratik"; there's the bracelet and the glory.
"This victory is the greatest you can achieve online. Together with the money, the prestige and the bracelet, this is a special feeling."
Such was the sentiment expressed last fall by Thomas "Kallllle" Pedersen of Denmark after winning last year's World Championship of Online Poker Main Event at PokerStars. As Pedersen noted, it's a combination of factors -- the seven-figure first prize, the esteem earned for the win, and the reward of the bracelet denoting one's achievement -- that distinguishes the WCOOP Main Event from all other online poker tournaments.
Those were certainly factors motivating the 1,825 players who entered the $5,200 buy-in, two-day no-limit hold'em tournament -- Event #65 on the 2012 WCOOP schedule -- on Sunday. And after 12 hours of play just 245 of them had survived to return on Monday, their sights set on grabbing a share of the $9,125,000 prize pool to be divided among the final 225. (See the full Day 1 recap here.)
But each of those 245 had more than just cashing in mind. Each wanted to experience for him or herself that "special feeling" described by Pedersen, the one that comes only from winning the WCOOP Main Event.
From 245 to 100
Play began Monday with Mike "munchenHB" Telker leading the 245 returners. It would take about an hour for 20 players to be eliminated and the cash bubble to burst, with Brendon "Brendon1717" Rubie the unfortunate player to finish 226th and just miss the money.
Eliminations continued thereafter, and a couple of Team PokerStars Pros were among the minimum-cashers earning $12,318.75. Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier was knocked out in 221st when his K♣Q♥ failed to outdraw the A♣4♣ of Dynamite321. And Jonathan Duhamel was next out in 220th when his A♦K♣ failed him versus an opponent's A♥7♠.
Mickey "mement_mori" Petersen of Team Online would last a short while longer before departing in 190th for a $12,755 cash. And sometime after that it was Team PokerStars Pro Jude "j.thaddeus" Ainsworth falling in 133rd to take away $15,056.25.
The field continued to shrink, and after almost three hours jordankickz occupied the top spot as the only player with more than 1 million chips (1,016,485), followed by charoff (930,530), Ryan "TheCart3r" Carter (882,836), FOO-92 (872,953), and Fisherman903 (809,136).
From 100 to 27
@Wizard0fAhhs: We've cracked the top 100, @PokerStars #WCOOP Main Event.
So tweeted Kevin "WizardOfAhhs" Thurman of Team Online, the last representative of the PokerStars team with chips among the 100 players who remained. At the time of that tweet Thurman sat on a short stack, but would soon enjoy a big double up through T.J. "1BigAceHole" Ulmer in a blind-vs.-blind battle that moved Thurman back up to average-stack status.
It would take a little over an hour-and-a-half more for the field to be cut in half to 50. Among those cashing along the way were Peter "Se7enTr3y" Akery (98th, $18,250), OLD TIME GIN (95th, $18,250), Iulian-Georgian "Ruxandescu" Ruxandescu (93rd, $18,250), NoraFlum (85th, $19,162.50), Thilde_123 (82nd, $19,162.50), swisstard (79th, $20,075), mikki696 (76th, $20,075), Flufferd (72nd, $20,987.50), Alexander "AlexKP" Petersen (69th, $20,987.50), "Giuseppe "Ansgar2000″ Pantaleo (67th, $20,987.50), T.J. "1BigAceHole" Ulmer (66th, $20,987.50), JRADF79 (57th, $21,900), El Notorious (52nd, $23,725), and Michael "Timex" McDonald (51st, $23,725).
With 50 left, Ryan "TheCart3r" Carter had pushed to the top with more than 2.2 million, with Calvin "cal42688" Anderson his nearest foe with just under 1.79 million and charoff, leech4555, and ekziter rounding out the top five.
Meanwhile Kevin "WizardOfAhhs" Thurman had slipped to almost last position, his stack down to just over a quarter million at a time when the average had risen to 760,000. Thurman would continue to hang on, however, as more players hit the rail, remaining alive with a short stack as the field was whittled down under 35 players. Among those ousted during that stretch were Chris "BigHuni" Hunichen (50th, $23,725), jordankickz (42nd, $26,462.50), Ole "wizowizo" Schemion (38th, $26,462.50), and B4d3m3!st3r (36th, $29,200).
As the march to the rail continued, start-of-day-2 chip leader Mike "munchenHB" Telker regained the top spot, moving up over 3.53 million, nearly half a million ahead of the chasing pack.
Finally Thurman's nursing of his short stack came to an abrupt end in a three-way preflop all-in hand involving himself, patriot424, and leader munchenHB.
In that one, Thurman held T♦T♥, patriot424 A♦T♠, and munchenHB J♠J♣. The flop then came 2♥2♣J♦, giving munchenHB jacks full of deuces. Thurman was already drawing dead and patriot424 essentially so. Two cards later those two were eliminated -- Thurman in 34th and patriot424 in 33rd -- both earning $29,200 for their finishes.
A short while later leech4555 went out in 29th and M.O.P. in 28th (both also earning $29,200), and just 27 players remained battling around three tables.
From 27 to 9
Mike "munchenHB" Telker continued to maintain the lead as they moved past the seven-hour mark of Day 2.
Over the next hour-plus came nine more eliminations, with each player knocked out earning $33,762.50. They were Anatoly "NL_Profit" Filatov (27th), OMGitshunt (26th), Niklas "ragen70" Heineckerragen (25th), Francis "The Lag rat" Anderson (24th), hnidel (23rd), WushuTM (22nd), ekziter (21st), Calvin "cal42688" Anderson (20th), and Fisherman903 (19th).
At that point BriDge2PaiN led the final 18 with almost exactly 3.7 million, followed closely by FOO-92 with just over 3.65 million and Mike "munchenHB" Telker in third with about 3.52 million. However, Telker would soon grab a nifty 785,000-chip pot without a showdown in a multiway hand to move up over 4.1 million and back into the lead.
Telker would continue to keep the top spot over the next couple of hours as nine more fell and the final table was set, gradually pushing up over 7.5 million chips as he did.
Helio TYF (18th), JohnyK91 (17th), and Sugammadex (16th) each earned $39,237.50 for their finishes. Then Kyle "KJulius10" Julius (15th), BriDge2Pain (14th), doncarignano (13th) saw $48,362.50 added to their accounts.
A short-stacked moukari6 was next ousted in 12th ($57,487.50) after going all in with K♥Q♦ and failing to outdraw hummylun's A♣T♦.
A short while after that hand Jerry "hummylun" Wong and Kakalala traded bets preflop, on the flop, and on the turn as the board came 7♦3♦2♥Q♠. The river then brought the 6♥ and another bet from hummylun, and Kakalala responded with an all-in shove.
hummylun had begun the hand with about 3.1 million and had about half of that left when calling Kakalala's river shove. hummylun turned over A♥A♠, but Kakalala had rivered a set with 6♠6♦ and hummylun was out in 11th ($57,487.50). Take a look:
A little later they had just crossed the 10-hour mark for Day 2 when Puropoker123 would be all in before the flop for about 2.73 million (about 34 big blinds) with A♦Q♥ against leader Mike "munchenHB" Telker's 8♦8♠. The flop brought an eight to give Telker a set and Puropoker123 couldn't catch up, thus going out in 10th ($57,487.50).
After almost exactly 22 hours' worth of poker stretching over two days, the final table of the 2012 WCOOP Main Event was underway!
Seat 1: maratik (Russia) -- 1,935,189
Seat 2: FOO-92 (Germany) -- 1,402,455
Seat 3: Mike "munchenHB" Telker (Cyprus) -- 11,907,089
Seat 4: Phil "takechip" D'Auteuil (Canada) -- 3,783,516
Seat 5: Ryan "TheCart3r" Carter (Canada) -- 1,894,230
Seat 6: Jossel2008 (Ireland) -- 6,002,830
Seat 7: sly caveat (Portugal) -- 941,302
Seat 8: Kakalala (Denmark) -- 7,633,941
Seat 9: mitdadu (Russia) -- 999,448
That knockout of Puropoker123 pushed Telker up close to the 12 million-chip mark, opening a sizable advantage over second-place Kakalala to start the final table. But with the blinds still just 40,000/80,000 (and the levels still 30 minutes long), there was still plenty of play left to determine who'd be walking away with this year's Main Event bracelet.
mitdadu meets end in 9th
After about 15 minutes at the final table the blinds had moved up to 50,000/100,000 when mitdadu, down to 489,448 to start the hand, open-pushed all in from early position and got a single caller in Ryan "TheCart3r" Carter from the small blind.
mitdadu had A♣T♦ and Carter A♥J♠, and when the board rolled out K♦4♣7♣A♦6♠ Carter's hand was still best and mitdadu was eliminated in ninth.
TheCart3r takes chips from takechip who is soon eliminated in 8th
Fifteen more minutes passed and with the blinds still 50,000/100,000, Kakalala opened with a raise to 200,005 from middle position. It folded around to Phil "takechip" D'Auteuil in the small blind who reraised all in for 2,341,752 total. Then Ryan "TheCart3r" Carter called the reraise from the big blind with the 2,198,678 he had left, and Kakalala stepped aside.
D'Auteuil held A♥J♠ but Carter had woken up with K♣K♥. The flop brought an ace, but a king as well, coming A♠6♣K♠. The turn was the T♥ and river the K♦, and Carter's quads won him the pot and crippled D'Auteuil to 43,074 -- less than a small blind.
The next hand would begin similarly with a raise from Kakalala. This time Mike "munchenHB" Telker reraised from the cutoff, then D'Auteuil called all in from the button. The blinds folded, and Kakalala called Telker's reraise. Kakalala would ultimately check-call bets from munchenHB on all post-flop streets as well as the community cards came 9♣K♥2♦J♠T♥. Telker then showed Q♥T♦ for a straight, Kakalala mucked, and takechip mucked as well having been knocked out in eighth.
Kakalala cut down in 7th
They moved to Level 45 (blinds 60,000/120,000, ante 15,000), when Mike "munchenHB" Telker -- still leading with a stack approaching 17 million -- raised to 312,440 from under the gun. Kakalala reraised all in for 1,743,770 from the button, the blinds got out, and Telker called.
The flop came T♣Q♣3♠ to pair Telker's queen, and after the T♠ turn and 8♥ river Kakalala was out and after almost an hour of final table play they were down to six.
That hand pushed munchenHB up over 18.9 million, a huge lead as none of the other five had more than 5.35 million.
Telker would lose a few, however, in a hand in which Ryan "TheCart3r" Carter doubled through Telker when his 7♣7♠ held up versus munchenHB's A♠T♠. Then munchenHB would lose even more to maratik in another all-in confrontation in which maratik got all in on a queen-high flop holding A♠A♣ against Telker's A♥Q♥ and the aces held.
After that one munchenHB and maratik were virtually tied for the lead with about 9.2 million chips each. On the very next hand, FOO-92 was all in and at risk with 4♦4♣ against TheCart3r's K♦K♣, but would spike a four on the flop to survive.
Doing a Deal
They'd play a few more hands during which Telker pushed back in front with about 9.88 million, maratik held steady with 9.22 million, Jossel2008 held third position with 6.84 million, Ryan "TheCart3r" Carter was fourth with just over 4.32 million, sly caveat was fifth with almost 3.52 million, and FOO-92 was last with a little over 2.7 million.
That was when all six agreed to pause the tourney to talk about a possible deal. As it would turn out, the resulting discussion would last for nearly a full hour.
First both the "chip chop" and "ICM" numbers were produced (leaving $100,000 of the prize pool for which to play), and negotiations began from there. Most appeared to accept the "ICM" breakdown, which was as follows:
sly caveat: $601,884.93
Left To Play for place 1: $100,000.00
However, munchenHB wanted at least $1 million. It would take considerable time to determine who would be giving the extra money. Ultimately FOO-92 gave up $30K and maratik $22K, thus bringing munchenHB's guaranteed total to just over $1 million.
All six agreed to the adjusted figures, and after taking a five-minute break the cards were finally back in the air.
FOO-92 felted in 6th
On just the third hand after play resumed, the blinds were 70,000/140,000 when sly caveat raised to 292,600 from the button, maratik reraised to 445,200 from the small blind, then FOO-92 pushed all in from the big blind for 2,652,320 total. sly caveat folded, but maratik called.
FOO-92 showed 5♦5♠, but maratik turned over J♥J♦, and when the board came A♣7♦3♣9♠K♣, FOO-92 had hit the rail in sixth. Disappointed perhaps, but likely happy with having earned a better than half-million dollar score.
sly caveat slips in 5th
Knocking out FOO-92 gave maratik the chip lead for a brief period, although munchenHB soon grabbed it back.
They made it to the other side of the 13-hour mark for Day 2, when TheCart3r opened with a 2x raise to 320,000 from the button, Jossel2008 called from the small blind, and sly caveat called all in for 230,151 total from the big blind.
The flop came A♥7♥A♣. Jossel2008 checked, Carter bet 370,000, and Jossel2008 called. The turn was the K♥, and again Jossel2008 check-called Carter's bet, this time for 675,000. Both players then checked the 5♥ river.
Jossel2008 turned over K♣Q♣ for aces and kings, but TheCart3r had A♦J♣ for trip aces. Meanwhile sly caveat mucked, having been sent out in fifth.
Carter cripples munchenHB, who soon leaves in 4th
Just three hands later came a huge hand between Mike "munchenHB" Telker and Ryan "TheCart3r" Carter, both of whom had almost identical stacks of about 10.9 million to start the hand.
munchenHB opened for 334,330 from the button and only TheCart3r called from the small blind. The pair saw the flop come 6♠9♥J♣. Carter checked, Telker bet 589,330, Carter raised to 1,234,567, and Telker called.
The turn then brought the A♠ and a bet of 1.866 million from Carter. Telker called again.
The river was the 6♥, and this time Carter shoved with the 7,452,618 he had left. Telker called with nearly his entire stack, turning over K♦J♠ for jacks and sixes. But Carter had 6♣6♦ for quads! Watch:
Just a couple of hands later munchenHB was all in from the big blind for 86,680 with T♦9♦ against maratik in the small blind with A♠T♥. The board came 2♦6♥3♦8♠3♣ and Telker was out in fourth, though more than a million dollars richer thanks to the six-way chop.
Jossel2008 outkicked, eliminated in 3rd
Carter enjoyed a big lead as three-handed play commenced with more than 22.1 million to maratik's 7.45 million and Jossel2008's 6.84 million.
They'd play but five hands before Carter was raising the minimum to 320,000 from the button and Jossel2008 was calling from the small blind. The flop came 5♠8♣3♥, and Jossel2008 check-called Carter's bet of 430,000. Both then checked the 3♦ turn.
The river was the 9♠. This time Jossel2008 bet 894,400, Carter raised all in, and Jossel2008 called with the 3,892,540 left behind. Carter showed K♥9♣ and Jossel2008 J♥9♥ -- both had nines and treys, but Carter's kicker was best and Jossel2008 was done in third.
Just two remained -- Ryan "TheCart3r" Carter playing from Canada and maratik of Russia. Carter had locked up $662K-plus while maratik had assured a $900K payday following the deal, but both were hoping to land that extra $100K and the bracelet.
Making it to the six-way deal meant maratik's WCOOP Main Event story had already become something remarkable. Rather than pony up the $5,200 entry fee, maratik had used Frequent Player Points to satellite into the Main Event. And now he was sitting on a score many times larger than what most poker players ever achieve!
Carter had the big advantage, however, to begin heads-up play with 29,861,560 to maratik's 6,638,440.
maratik chipped up a bit over the first few hands. Then came a big one in which the pair got all of maratik's chips in the middle on the river with the board showing T♦K♥8♦2♦Q♥. Carter showed K♣K♠ for a set of kings, but maratik held Q♦J♦ for the flush and was back up over 14 million to Carter's 22 million-plus.
Soon maratik grabbed a succession of pots to even the score, then grab the chip lead, and before long had built a stack of around 30 million while Carter fell back to less than 7 million.
The blinds climbed to 100,000/200,000, and Carter found himself all in before the flop with 3♣3♥ versus maratik's J♠T♠. The flop came J♣2♦6♦ to pair maratik's jack, and after the 9♦ turn Carter was down to a final river card. But the 3♦ fell, giving Carter a saving set and extending his tourney life.
Alas for Carter, his good fortune was short-lived, as just five hands later -- after nearly 25 hours' worth of poker (and one more hour of deal-making) -- the end would suddenly arrive.
The final hand began with Carter opening for 400,000 from the button, maratik reraising to 700,000, and Carter calling. The flop came 3♥Q♠J♣. maratik bet 1,014,999 and Carter called. The turn then brought the 3♠ and a bet of 3,827,997 from maratik. Carter responded by pushing all in for 11,734,241, and maratik called.
Their cards were revealed...
Jacks and treys for Carter, but aces and treys for maratik. The river card was dealt... the 4♣! Both players ended with two pair, but the Russian's were better... maratik had won!
Congratulations to all of those making deep runs in this year's WCOOP Main Event, and especially to the six who managed to make a final table deal to ensure each at least half a million dollars.
And the biggest kudos to Russia's maratik. Starting with just FPPs, maratik has won -- to allude once more to the words of last year's winner, Thomas "Kallllle" Pedersen -- an eye-popping seven-figure cash, the prestige, and the most coveted prize in online poker, the WCOOP Main Event bracelet! Now that's got to be a special feeling!
WCOOP Event #65 ($5,200 No-Limit Hold'em Main Event) Results (*reflects six-way deal):
1st: maratik (Russia) -- $1,000,907.26*
2nd: Ryan "TheCart3r" Carter (Canada) -- $662,516.39*
3rd: Jossel2008 (Ireland) -- $814,602.12*
4th: Mike "munchenHB" Telker (Cyprus) -- $1,000.584.34*
5th: sly caveat (Portugal) -- $601,884.93*
6th: FOO-92 (Germany) -- $502,992.46*
7th: Kakalala (Denmark) -- $182,500.00
8th: Phil "takechip" D'Auteuil (Canada) -- $136,875
9th: mitdadu (Russia) -- $91,250.00
Places paid: 225
Thanks for following our coverage of the 2012 WCOOP here on the PokerStars blog. Click here for reports on all 65 events plus additional features and reports from this year's series. And check the the WCOOP site for comprehensive results of all the events including regarding the Player of the Series race won by mikal12345 of Norway.
Martin Harris is a Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.