Meanwhile, it was Aussie Andy McLEOD who picked up all of the "run-good" at the final table. He began the final nine as the chip leader and looked as though he was going to run away with the championship. Andy McLEOD knocked out players left and right and vacuumed up their stacks. But only Vlad_Radimov stood in Andy McLEOD's way and proved to be a thorn in his side. Vlad_Radimov channeled his inner ninja. During heads-up play, Vlad_Radimov overcame a huge deficit. He quietly and patiently picked off Andy McLEOD to win WCOOP Event #53.
WCOOP Event #53 $320 PLO Hi/Lo attracted 932 runners. The top 117 places got a cut of the juicy prize pool of $279,600, with $50,328 set aside to the eventual champion, along with a coveted WCOOP champions' bracelet.
Team PokerStars Pros participating in this PLO Hi/Lo fiesta included Andre Akkari, Daniel Negreanu, Ana Marquez, Chad Brown, Eugene Katchalov, ElkY, George Danzer, Marcin Horecki, Jude Ainsworth, Jonathan Duhamel, Martin Staszko, Henrique "Henrique.P" Pinho, and Martin "AABenjaminAA" Hruby.
A slew of Team PokerStars Online were in the hunt for a bracelet too, such as the legendary Anders "Donald" Berg, not to mention George "Jorj95" Lind, Adrienne "talonchick" Rowsome, and Dale "Daleroxxu" Phillip.
Several Team PokerStars Pros were eliminated during the first three hours of action including Jude Ainsworth (660th), Marcin Horecki (657th), Henrique Pinho (656th), Daniel Negreanu (651st), talonchick (647th), Donald (606th), George Danzer (604th), Elky (588th), Jonathan Duhamel (586th), Martin Hruby (523rd), Martin Staszko (499th), Eugene Katchalov (477th), and Chad Brown (430th).
Only four familiar faces survived the initial onslaught of eliminations -- PokerStars Team Online Daleroxxu and Jorj95, and Team PokerStars Pros Andre Akkari and Ana Marquez.
When the tournament reached its fifth hour, Team Online Daleroxxu was knocked out in 268th place and Team PokerStars Pro Andre Akkari hit the road in 227th place. Meanwhile, both Ana Marquez and Jorj95 were hovering in the top 50 in chips.
When action crawled toward the money bubble, Jorj95 held onto dear life with a short stack and Ana Marquez remained steady in the top 15. When the money bubble finally burst Ana Marquez sat pretty in 14th place and Jorj95 got his head above breathing water in 64th place.
It didn't take long after the money bubble broke before Team Online Jorj95 met his fate. Jorj95 bombed it all-in preflop with A♦A♥7♠6♦ against Al Magellan's A♠K♣7♦3♠. Alas, not one but two Kings hit the flop and Al Magellan took the lead with trip Kings. The board ran out K♦K♥5♣2♣J♥ and without a qualifying low hand, Al Magellan won the entire pot. Team Online Jorj95 busted in 87th place but cashed for $643.08.
With 80 remaining, Ana Marquez was 11th in chips with 111K. With 36 remaining, Andy McLeod held the lead with 500K, and Ana Marquez slipped to 90K for 23rd overall. With 27 remaining, Ana Marquez avoided an elimination and doubled up to around 190K. Andy McLeod retained the lead and chipped up to 620K. With 18 to go, Sir_Don_John jumped into the lead with 810K and Ana Marquez increased her stack to 213K.
With 10 remaining and action hand-for-hand, short-stacked moonwatch79 got it all-in with A♥J♠2♣2♠ against G's zee's A♣A♦5♣Q♥. The board ran out Q♦T♣9♣7♣J♥ and G's zee won the pot with an Ace-high flush and no qualifying low. United Kingdom's moonwatch79 unceremoniously bubbled off the final table in tenth place.
WCOOP Event #53 - Final table Chip Counts
Seat 1: 44sandokan88 (670,804)
Seat 2: munchenHB (154,738)
Seat 3: G's zee (475,417)
Seat 4: BodogAri (511,808)
Seat 5: Andy McLEOD (1,234,685)
Seat 6: Gunslinger3 (244,766)
Seat 7: ana marquez (405,037)
Seat 8: Vlad_Radimov (300,740)
Seat 9: Sir_Don_John (662,005)
Approximately 10.5 hours after this event started, the final table commenced during Level XXIX and blinds at 8,000/16,000. Andy McLEOD held the lead as the only player with a stack over 1 million. Team PokerStars Pro Ana Marquez was in the middle of the pack with 405K and munchenHB brought up the rear with 154K.
Gunslinger3 eliminated in 9th place
Andy McLEOD min-raised to 32,000, Gunslinger3 re-raised to 120,000, and Andy McLEOD called. The flop was 7♠7♥3♥. Andy McLEOD bet 80,000, Gunslinger3 called all-in for 76,766. Gunslinger3 held A♣A♦Q♣3♦ and was slightly ahead of Andy McLEOD who tabled A♠Q♥J♠5♥. The turn was the Q♦ but the 8♥ spiked on the river filling in Andy McLEOD's heart flush. Gunslinger3's Aces were snapped off and he became the first player eliminated at the final table. He earned $3.495 for a ninth-place finish.
munchenHB eliminated in 8th place
The second elimination at the final table happened a couple of hands after Gunslinger3's knockout when short-stacked munchenHB made a final stand. The hand kicked off when 44sandokan88 min-raised to 40,000, munchenHB raised all-in for 124,738, and 44sandokan88 called. 44sandokan88 was ahead with A♠K♥J♠5♥ against munchenHB's A♦9♥3♥2♥. The flop was K♦Q♠T♠ and 44sandokan88 flopped a Broadway straight with a flush re-draw. The turn was the 8♦ and the river was the 7♠. 44sandokan88 improved to an Ace-high flush and won the pot. Cyprus' munchenHB busted in eighth place and collected $5731.80.
With seven remaining, Andy McLEOD held the lead with almost 1.4 million and only BodogAri had a stack that passed the 1 million mark.
Sir_Don_John eliminated in 7th place
Andy McLEOD min-bumped it to 50,000, Sir_Don_John re-raised to 187,500, Andy McLEOD four-bet to 325,000, Sir_Don_John called all-in for his last 28,455. Andy McLEOD led with A♦K♣9♣6♠ against Sir_Don_John's A♠J♥7♥5♥. The flop was K♥T♦4♦ and McLEOD improved his lead to a pair of Kings. The turn was the 2♠ and Sir_Don_John picked up a gutshot for the Wheel. The 4♠ fell on the river and Andy McLEOD won the hand with two pair -- Kings and Fours. Switzerland's Sir_Don_John bowed out in seventh place, which paid out $8,499.84.
That pot pushed Andy McLEOD over 2.2 million.
44sandokan88 eliminated in 6th place
Table bully Andy McLEOD opened with another min-raise to 50,000, 44sandokan88 re-raised to 112,500, and Andy McLEOD called. The flop was K♣8♥7♥. 44sandokan88 fired out 150,000, Andy McLEOD min-raised to 300,000, 44sandokan88 called all-in for 8,142. Andy McLEOD tabled Q♥7♠6♦4♥ for bottom pair and a flush draw. 44sandokan88 showed A♠Q♠9♣3♣ and was in trouble. The turn was the 8♦ and the river was the 9♥. Andy McLEOD won the hand with a Queen-high flush, while 44sandokan88 hit the rail. For a sixth-place performance, 44sandokan88 won $11,295.84.
BodogAri eliminated in 5th place
Although BodogAri wasn't last in chips, he became the next player targeted for elimination. BodogAri opened to 64,300 Andy McLEOD bumped it to 237,900, BodogAri shoved for 454,920, and Andy McLEOD called. BodogAri led with A♦A♥J♥6♠ versus Andy McLEOD's A♣K♦9♥4♦. The flop was 9♣6♣4♥ and Andy McLEOD seized the lead with two pair. The turn was the 4♣, which improved Andy McLEOD to a full house. The river was the Q♠. Andy McLEOD's full boat held up and he won yet another sizable pot. BodogAri was knocked out in fifth place, but he collected $14,091.84 for his efforts.
Team PokerStars Pro Ana Marquez eliminated in 4th place
Although she was quiet for most of the final table, Ana Marquez finally squared off in a pot. She got it all-in preflop with A♠Q♥6♥5♣ after a raising war broke out against Andy McLEOD's A♣J♣8♠2♦. The board ran out T♦4♣4♠8♥8♣. Andy McLEOD caught running eights to improve to trip eights. That beat out Ana Marquez's pair of eights with an Ace-high. Alas, Team PokerStars Pro Ana Marquez busted in fourth place. She earned $20,271 for a gutsy performance.
You can view Ana Marquez's elimination hand using the cool replayer:
With three to go, Andy McLEOD held 3.7 million which dwarfed Vlad_Radimov's 585K and G's zee's 360K. Actually Andy McLEOD had out-chipped both his opponents combined by 4 to 1.
G's zee eliminated in 3rd place Vlad_Radimov opened to 195,000, G's zee shoved all-in for 389,834, and Vlad_Radimov called. Vlad_Radimov led with A♠K♣8♦2♥ against G's zee's A♣J♣4♥2♠. The flop was Q♥Q♠J♠ and G's zee took the lead with two pair -- Queens and Jacks. The turn was the 3♣ and the river was the K♠. Vlad_Radimov rivered a winning hand with two pair -- Kings and Queens. Alas, G's zee was knocked out in third place. He earned a payday worth $27,121.20.
HEADS-UP: Vlad_Radimov (Russia) vs. Andy McLEOD (Australia)
Seat 5: Andy McLEOD (3,623,246)
Seat 8: Vlad_Radimov (1,036,754)
Andy McLEOD held over a 3.6 to 1 advantage once heads-up started. Vlad_Radimov struck first blood when he dragged a 2.2 million pot with his Aces and A♥A♠7♠3♣ holding up. He won with two pair -- Aces and Jacks -- and beat out Andy McLEOD's Jacks and fives. The two were essentially even in chips.
Andy McLEOD eliminated in 2nd place
These last two players were true warriors. Instead of dancing around for a few hours, they slugged it out like in an old school boxing match reminiscent of the 1950s, back when boxers actually brawled with each other. After splitting a couple of pots, we finally saw a hand without a qualifying low. Alas, that would be the last hand...
Vlad_Radimov limped, Andy McLEOD raised to 120,000, and Vlad_Radimov called. The flop was Q♠J♥7♥. Andy McLEOD checked, Vlad_Radimov fired out 144,555, Andy McLEOD check-raised to 673,665, Vlad_Radimov bumped it up to 2,260,995, and Andy McLEOD called all-in for his last 1,432,831. Andy McLEOD held K♥6♣3♣2♥ for a King-high heart-flush draw. Unfortunately, Vlad_Radimov showed A♥Q♥9♦5♣ for a pair of Queens and the nut-flush draw. The turn was the K♣ and Andy McLEOD took the lead with a pair of Kings. However, Vlad_Radimov picked up another draw -- this time a gutshot Broadway draw. The A♣ spiked on the river. Although Vlad_Radimov whiffed on both draws, he back-doored two pair -- Aces and Queens. Without a qualifying low, Vlad_Radimov won the pot and shipped the tournament. Unfortunately, Andy McLEOD's puny pair of Kings couldn't hold up and the Aussie pro finished in second place.
For an impressive runner-up performance, Andy McLEOD collected $36,348. Congrats to Russia's Vlad_Radimov for winning WCOOP Event #53 and taking home a bracelet and $50,328 in cash.
Check out the final hand in the replayer:
WCOOP Event #53 - Final Table Payouts and Results:
Prize Pool: $279,600
1. Vlad_Radimov (Russia) - $50,328
2. Amdy McLEOD (Australia) - $36,348
3. G's zee (Canada) - $27,121.20
4. Team PokerStars Pro Ana Marquez (U.K.) - $20,271
5. BodogAri (Canada) - $14,091.84
6. 44sandokan88 (Romania) - $11,295.84
7. Sir_Don_John (Switzerland) - $8,499.84
8. munchenHB (Cyprus) - $5,731.80
9. Gunslinger3 (Panama) - $3,495
Pauly McGuire is a freelance writer from California.