Pot Limit Omaha can test the patience of players, but it can also be rewarding in the end. The final three players navigated a tough field to get have the opportunity to chop the remainder of the prize money, and each walked away with a solid amount. But utvekklo2 was the player who rose from a mediocre starting stack at the final table and worked hard for the win. The reward is one of the most prestigious titles in poker - WCOOP champion.
The story of each WCOOP tournament is different. Perspective and attitude change for each player as the series moves forward. This is the beginning. Event 3 kicked off the second day of the 2012 World Championship of Online Poker with a $250K guarantee, and players were feeling fresh. There was a certain air of positivity, of confidence, and there was the ability to brush off mistakes or bad luck rather quickly. There are 60 more tournaments on the schedule after today. There's always another chance!
When Team PokerStars Pro Rino Mathis finished his tournament in 1017th place, he moved on. There were other tournaments to focus on. Possibly, it was time to get some extra rest or review hands from this or other events. When Martin "AABenjaminAA" Hruby exited in 1001st place, he likely took the evening to play other events or mentally prepare for Day 3 tomorrow. A number of other Team PokerStars members followed. Onward and upward!
I'm making quite the assumption, but professional players tend to be able to brush off these early beats and focus on moving forward. It's a necessary tool.
The first three hours of the tournament were filled with tough beats and disappointed players, but there was hope for the rest of the WCOOP series. And for this tournament, hundreds of players were still holding out hope that they might be that last player standing and end up in the title of this blog post. Here are the final tournament numbers when the 180-minute registration period finally closed:
Prize pool: $514,200
Paid players: 216
When the money bubble burst another few hours later, it was 00oasis00 who became the first player with a cash of $565.62. A number of players bearing that famed PokerStars logo cashed as well, including Richard Toth in 189th place ($591.33) and George Danzer in 174th place ($617.04). The last Team Pro standing was Lex Veldhuis, who finally exited in 116th place with $822.72.
Dean23price exited in 81st place and led players into the range of payouts that exceeded $1K. And MarcelezaBH changed it up when his/her 27th place pushed payouts up to $2,005.38. And it only got better from there.
The 11-hour mark showed two tables in action, and they continued to battle for final table seats for 30 minutes. Then, the 11th place elimination of jofay initiated hand-for-hand play. Surprisingly, it didn't last long. Four players went to the raised flop of T♣9♦8♥. When JAAKARHU99 bet, only hustla16 and TryToExploit called. The 4♥ on the turn brought a bet from hustla16, and TryToExploit called all-in for 87,726. JAAKARHU99 folded. TryToExploit showed 9♣9♥A♣5♥ for the flush draw, as did hustla16 with Q♦J♥T♥J♣. The Q♥ on the river made it, with hustla16 having the better flush. TryToExploit was gone in tenth place with $4,062.18.
Hustla16 hustles into final table lead
The final table began in Level 31, with blinds at 12,500/25,000 and these starting chip counts:
Seat 1: I_Mr_U_Bean (824,105 in chips)
Seat 2: Paris Dedes (276,650 in chips)
Seat 3: ShankingYou (463,052 in chips)
Seat 4: huiiiiiiiiii (1,380,282 in chips)
Seat 5: 4DTitle (768,214 in chips)
Seat 6: JAAKARHU99 (1,018,734 in chips)
Seat 7: Sick Pastorr (995,155 in chips)
Seat 8: utvekklo2 (658,332 in chips)
Seat 9: hustla16 (2,185,476 in chips)
Hustla16 took some hits, though, especially when utvekklo2 doubled through.
Paris Dedes hoped for the same result. The hand started with a raise from 4Dtitle and call from Paris Dedes in the big blind. The flop of 7♣J♣5♠ prompted Paris Dedes to bet, and 4DTitle raised. Paris Dedes called all-in with 9♥9♠8♣8♠ for the draw, and 4DTitle showed 8♦9♣Q♥A♥ for the same. The 7♦ came on the turn, followed by the A♣ on the river, and 4DTitle ended up with the best two pair. Paris Dedes had to leave in ninth place with $5,142.00.
JAAKARHU99 takes over
JAAKARHU99 was climbing and staying involved. The next big hand saw JAAKARHU99 raise from middle position. Hustla16 reraised from the button, but I_Mr_U_Bean raised it up again. JAAKARHU99 pushed all-in, hustla16 folded, and I_Mr_U_Bean called all-in with K♣9♠5♣A♠. JAAKARHU99 showed A♦J♦K♠A♣. The board came 6♥T♣8♥3♥8♦, and that gave JAAKARHU99 two pair. I_Mr_U_Bean departed in eighth place with $8,998.50.
ShankingYou couldn't seem to gain much ground at the final table at all and finally risked it all with J♦9♦J♠A♦. The original raiser was JAAKARHU99 with K♦A♠8♦K♠. The board presented 6♥4♦2♠9♠4♥ and changed nothing except to add another pair to each hand. ShankingYou had to leave in seventh place with $14,140.50.
4DTitle decided to get involved with JAAKARHU99 to see a cheap flop from the blinds. Said flop displayed T♠2♠7♥, and JAAKARHU99 bet. 4DTitle check-raised, and JAAKARHU99 pushed it up again. 4DTitle called all-in for 172,365 chips with T♣2♦K♥8♥ for the flopped two pair, but JAAKARHU99 showed 5♠5♥9♦J♠ for the straight draw. The 4♣ on the turn didn't make a difference, but the 8♦ made that straight, eliminating 4DTitle in sixth place with $19,282.50.
Sick hand for Sick Pastorr
This hand gave Sick Pastorr second place on the leaderboard:
Five-handed play then went on for more than 30 minutes. During that time, utvekklo2 kept the lead, Sick Pastorr fell from second to fourth chip position, and hustla16 fought to stay alive. The former chip leader struggled to find spots to move. A chopped pot with utvekklo2 at one point staved off elimination, but hustla16 was going to have to chip up, double up, or otherwise accumulate quite a few chips.
The struggles of a hustla16
Patience. Timing. Will. Hustla16 used all of these things and more to wait for the right time to make a move. And then this happened:
Back to a fairly solid second place, hustla16 was going to have to be careful. Meanwhile, Sick Pastorr sank to the lowest of the stacks, and huiiiiiiiiii wasn't far behind. JAAKARHU99 was in the chip lead and running away with it. But utvekklo2 wanted the lead back and was ready to fight for it. More than one hour into the five-handed session, utvekklo2 took a big pot from hustla16.
Hustla16 still had more than 1.1 million chips but got into a preflop raising war from the small blind with utvekklo2 on the button. It ended with hustla16 calling all-in holding 9♠8♠J♥Q♥, and utvekklo2 showed A♥A♣7♣3♣. The board only produced 2♦3♥2♠5♥9♣ to give each player two pair, but utvekklo2 had the best of them. That left hustla16 (winner of a 2009 WCOOP title) out in fifth place with $24,424.50.
Four-handed play took on the same air of cautionary play, but during the first 15 minutes, huiiiiiiiiii was able to double through utvekklo2 to stay in the game. Then Sick Pastorr doubled through huiiiiiiiiii, who doubled back through Sick Pastorr a bit later.
Sick Pastorr never recovered. The all-in move was made preflop with T♦4♠K♦T♠, and utvekklo2 was along for the ride with Q♠6♣Q♦3♠. The board aem 4♦J♥5♣7♥3♣ to deliver a straight straight to utvekklo2. Sick Pastorr had to leave in fourth place with $34,451.40.
ICM for three? Yes, please
The final three players paused the tournament to look at deal numbers. They requested ICM numbers, liked what they saw, and agreed. With $5,000 left to play for, these were the payouts:
Seat 4: huiiiiiiiiii (1,741,508 in chips) = $57,692.87
Seat 6: JAAKARHU99 (4,560,267 in chips) = $68,926.64
Seat 8: utvekklo2 (2,268,225 in chips) = $60,717.00
It didn't take long for huiiiiiiiiii to make a move. It happened with Q♣9♥T♠9♣, and utvekklo2 challenged with 4♥Q♠A♠K♣. The board came 4♦A♦K♠5♦5♥ and top two pair for utvekklo2, while huiiiiiiiiii was eliminated in third place with $57,692.87.
Tough heads-up battle
The final table action thus far indicated that heads-up would be no easy game for either player. Their starting stacks were:
Seat 6: JAAKARHU99 (4,960,267 in chips)
Seat 8: utvekklo2 (3,609,733 in chips)
JAAKARHU99 had a tough time. Any progress was immediately shot down by utvekklo2 taking a sizeable pot. JAAKARHU99 stayed strong but finally got into a big hand. It began with a raise from utvekklo2 and call from JAAKARHU99 to see a 3♥T♠5♣ flop. Utvekklo2 bet, and JAAKARHU99 check-called. The K♣ came on the turn, and utvekklo2 bet again. JAAKARHU99 check-raised that time, and utvekklo2 popped it again. JAAKARHU99 called all-in with T♥Q♦K♠7♣ for two pair, and utvekklo2 showed Q♣T♣J♣J♦ for the straight draw, which hit on the river when A♥ was displayed. JAAKARHU99 had to accept second place and $68,926.64.
Sweden's utvekklo2 captured a WCOOP bracelet and $65,717.00 in cash. Congrats!
WCOOP 2012 Event 3 ($320 PLO) Results (reflects three-way deal):
1st place: utvekklo2 (Sweden) - $65,717.00*
2nd place: JAAKARHU99 (Finland) - $68,926.64*
3rd place: huiiiiiiiiii (Germany) - $57,692.87*
4th place: Sick Pastorr (Poland) - $34,451.40
5th place: hustla16 (Canada) - $24,424.50
6th place: 4DTitle (Canada) - $19,282.50
7th place: ShankingYou (Costa Rica) - $14,140.50
8th place: I_Mr_U_Bean (Finland) - $8,998.50
9th place: Paris Dedes (Greece) - $5,142.00
*Three players agreed to payouts and set aside $5,000 for the winner.
Paid players: 216
We've only just begun! WCOOP runs through September 24 with a total of 65 tournaments. 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.