NoraFlum was in the middle of the pack of eight final table players, and opponents like Max Lykov and LuckyGump made the road a difficult one. But selective aggression and knowing when to strike worked for NoraFlum. Lykov and LuckyGump both looked like they had the title locked up at certain points, but NoraFlum never gave up. And that was worth more than $33K and a WCOOP victory.
More than halfway through the 2012 World Championship of Online Poker, players took every opportunity to play. There was no better time than the weekend for most, and the $100K guarantee on Event 41 was exciting in itself. Add to that the challenge of HORSE, and players were hooked. Today's poker stars strive to be adept at numerous games, and the best place to display their skills is in a HORSE tournament.
The setup was simple. Ten minute levels consisted of a rotation of Limit Hold'em, Limit Omaha Hi/Lo, Limit Razz, Limit Stud, and Limit Stud Hi/Lo. Everyone had their limits (heyo!) but were ready to get started. When the 180-minute registration period was over, the final numbers were:
Prize pool: $179,400
Paid players: 80
The money bubble burst more than six hours into the action, and hand-for-hand finally eliminated Dutch-Fud in the unfortunate 81st place, while Terry_Toria became the first player to cash in this event for $511.29.
There were a number of members of Team PokerStars still in the tournament at that point, six of them to be exact. Team PokerStars Pro Maxim Lykov was hanging out in the top 10, while Team Online's Shane "shaniac" Schleger and Team Pro Jose "nachobarbero" Barbero were in the top 20. Also in solid shape were Team Pros George Danzer, Chad Brown, and Daniel "KidPoker" Negreanu.
Negreanu was the first of the aforementioned crew to head to the virtual cashier cage, taking home $627.90 for 53rd place. ChadBrownPRO was the next of the team to exit, taking home $744.51 for 44th place. George Danzer followed in 40th place with $897.00, and Team Online's shaniac left in 34th place with $897.00. He tweeted from @ShaneSchleger: "Finished #WCOOP HORSE 35th, got coolered by my arch nemesis Maxim Lykov. Had A35-2-5-9-5 vs his showing AA77 and didn't know when to fold."
That left Lykov in the top five, and Barbero climbing into the top 10 with only three tables left. The latter then climbed into the top five with only 17 players remaining. As the field thinned to 12 players, both Team Pros remained in the top five, though Barbero struggled a bit, eventually falling to the bottom of the chip counts. He did rebound, just as Lykov hit the top of the leaderboard.
Finally, in the Seven Card Stud round, Barbero lost a huge pot to FatmanScoops. With only 12,174 chips left, he was all-in, and Bruno GT and gipsy74 both called. They checked down the board until sixth street, at which point a bet from gipsy74 prompted a fold from Bruno GT. Barbero ended up with Q♦2♦Q♥A♥Q♣5♥6♣, but the queens were beat by the 7♥A♦J♦T♦8♠9♣5♠ and straight of gipsy74. Team PokerStars Pro Jose "nachobarbero" Barbero exited the tournament in ninth place with $2,242.50.
Team Pro Max Lykov leads final table
The final table was set in Level 49 of Limit Stud, with blinds at 12,000/24,000 and a 2,400 ante. Players immediately went on the nine-hour break, then returned to begin with these chip counts:
Seat 1: FatmanScoops (372,878 in chips)
Seat 2: NoraFlum (356,085 in chips)
Seat 3: Maxim Lykov (665,765 in chips)
Seat 4: dev209 (343,720 in chips)
Seat 5: andreasbar (68,507 in chips)
Seat 6: Bruno GT (308,281 in chips)
Seat 7: LuckyGump (406,507 in chips)
Seat 8: gipsy74 (468,257 in chips)
In the second hand, short-stacked andreasbar headed into action with dev209. The all-in raise was made on fifth street, and dev209 called, ending up with A♥4♠4♥8♣Q♣Q♥7♣. Those two pair beat the J♥3♦J♠5♣6♦6♥7♥ of andreasbar, who took home $2,691.00 for finishing in eighth place.
During the Stud Hi/Lo round, NoraFlum excelled and took chips from several opponents, including Lykov. NoraFlum then took the chip lead from Lykov. Dev209 jumped to the top of the board in second place then, but Lykov soon retook the lead. Those top three players were all over 600K chips and staying aggressive. However, over the course of two hands in the Omaha Hi/Lo round, Lykov collected enough chips to extend his lead, climbing close to 1 million chips.
Lykov soars, NoraFlum closes in
FatmanScoops doubled through dev209 to stay in it. Still in Omaha Hi/Lo, Bruno GT hoped to do the same by reraising Lykov all-in preflop. Lykov called with 4♠8♥2♣8♠, and Bruno GT showed 3♦J♦Q♣A♥. The board came 7♦A♠9♦9♠2♠, giving Lykov a dominating flush and the 8-7-4-2-A low. Bruno GT (winner of a 2012 MicroMillions title) left in seventh place with $4,036.50.
Lykov was back in the lead and well over 1 million, that was until NoraFlum took a 510K pot from him in Razz and gained ground.
In Stud, gipsy74 and LuckyGump tangled After a simple bet and call on fourth street, there were a series of raises on fifth that only stopped when betting was capped. Gipsy74 then committed all-in on sixth, and the complete hand was 3♦4♦6♦7♦2♥T♠6♠ for a pair and several missed draws. LuckyGump, on the other hand, showed 7♠5♦7♥3♣T♦Q♦3♠ for two pair and the win. Gipsy74 departed in sixth place with $6,279.00.
LuckyGump in charge, Lykov struggling
Over a series of hands, Lykov lost momentum and hands to find himself the short stack of the remaining five players at the 10-hour break of the tournament.
FatmanScoops doubled through LuckyGump, and the latter got involved again two hands later. It was in Stud Hi/Lo, and LuckyGump and Lykov tangled with a raise and reraise on third street, bet and call on fourth, and capped betting on fifth. At that point, Lykov showed J♠2♦9♣, and LuckyGump showed Q♥7♥6♦. When Lykov took an 8♦ on sixth, he moved all-in, and LuckyGump called with A♣. The final hand for Lykov was 9♥J♣J♠2♦9♣8♦K♦, but LuckyGump had Q♦7♣Q♥7♥6♦A♣3♥ for the better two pair. Team PokerStars Pro Maxim Lykov left the HORSE party in fifth place with $8,970.00.
NoraFlum takes over
While LuckyGrump dominated for some time, especially at the expense of NoraFlum, the latter mounted a winning comeback. After taking a 630K pot from LuckyGump, NoraFlum soared into the chip lead with more than 1.6 million chips.
NoraFlum took a sizeable pot from FatmanScoops, and two hands later, the latter was ready to gamble in Stud. FatmanScoops took on dev209 with a raise on third street and a bet on fourth. On fifth, FatmanScoops bet, dev209 raised, and FatmanScoops called all-in to end up with 4♣K♥A♦A♠9♣5♦K♦. But two pair were no good against the 5♣4♠3♦6♦2♣Q♠8♦ straight of dev209. FatmanScoops headed out in fourth place with $13,455.00.
LuckyGump proceeded to double through dev209, and the latter did the same through NoraFlum. Still in Stud, dev209 was ready to tangle again, that time with NoraFlum. The two took it to fourth street, and a bet and call brought about fifth street. The same action took place with NoraFlum showing 4♣7♠8♦ and dev209 with 8♠2♠Q♥. Sixth street brought another bet from dev209 with 7♦, but NoraFlum raised it up with J♠. Dev209 called all-in and ended up with A♥9♣8♠2♠Q♥7♦3♦, but that high card hand was no good against the 4♠2♦4♣7♠8♦J♠2♥ of NoraFlum. Dev209 departed in third place with $18,119.40.
NoraFlum dominates at start of heads-up
The two finalists' chip counts were:
Seat 2: NoraFlum (2,211,092 in chips)
Seat 7: LuckyGump (778,908 in chips)
A few hands into it, LuckyGump took a massive Stud pot worth 896K, and that put LuckyGump in the lead. After another big pot, that time in Stud Hi/Lo and worth nearly 500K chips, NoraFlum had some work to do. And NoraFlum came back to take a pot worth almost 500K chips back from LuckyGump to nearly even the stacks.
The battle raged on with some active hands, one that saw NoraFlum rake in an 816K pot, then another 496K one. Every attempt from LuckyGump to launch a comeback was met by a bigger onslaught from NoraFlum.
Finally, in the Hold'em round, the two got involved in the final hand. NoraFlum raised, LuckyGump reraised, and NoraFlum called to see the 8♦Q♣4♠ flop. A bet and call brought the 9♠ on the turn. LuckyGump bet again, but NoraFlum raised. LuckyGump reraised, and betting was soon capped going to the river. The reveal of the 8♣ prompted LuckyGump to commit that last 33,908 chips with A♣A♥, but those two pair were no good as NoraFlum showed J♣T♥ for the straight. Aces cracked left LuckyGump (winner of a 2010 SCOOP) out in second place with $24,667.50.
NoraFlum won the tournament and $33,727.20 to go with the WCOOP title and bracelet. Congrats!
WCOOP 2012 Event 41 ($320 HORSE) Results:
1st place: NoraFlum (Mexico) - $33,727.20
2nd place: LuckyGump (Russia) - $24,667.50
3rd place: dev209 (Germany) - $18,119.40
4th place: FatmanScoops (Finland) - $13,455.00
5th place: Team PokerStars Pro Maxim Lykov (Russia) - $8,970.00
6th place: gipsy74 (Russia) - $6,279.00
7th place: Bruno FT (Brazil) - $4,036.50
8th place: andreasbar (Russia) - $2,691.00
Paid players: 80
We've passed the halfway mark! But WCOOP runs through September 24 with a total of 65 tournaments, so there's plenty of time left to get in on the action. For all sorts of information, check out the WCOOP home page. And don't forget to tune in to WCOOP Radio for daily shows at 15:00 ET.
Jennifer Newell is a PokerStars freelance contributor.