27 days and 11 hours to go according to the rolling headlines on the front page. The World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) is already back with Event #1 starting up in under a month. Just four days ago the full WCOOP schedule along with the plethora of satellites was released to help the WCOOP bracelet chasers gear up for the three week, 66 event poker celebration. Tonight’s $500,000 guarantee Sunday Warm-Up serves as a taste of the big $40 million in guarantees next month as NestaRasta and love2hit squared off heads-up after 11 hours of play for nearly hundred thousand dollars. love2hit would land the last blow, winning $99,727.21 with the help of a timely queen.
Usually the bulk of reporting is saved for the final two tables, but tonight someone with a Red Spade by his name was on the verge of hitting the final table tonight. Team Online’s Caio Pessagno headed into the final three tables close to the chip lead when the blinds knicked away his stack a bit. Still with an above average stack with the blinds at 25K/50K ante 5K Caio looked to knock out Mads “MadsMP” Petersen, who took seventh place in TCOOP Event #38 this year. Holding aces A♦A♠ to Petersen’s kings K♥K♠ all-in preflop, Pessagno was less than pleased to see a king in the door K♣ Q♣ 10♦ 9♣ 9♥ knocking the Brazilian down to 1.11 million. Ten minutes later holding just 655,555 chips Caio would open shove from the small blind with K♥8♦ as da Ape called from the big blind holding pocket sixes 6♣6♦. No help on the 4♦ 3♦ J♣ 4♠ 2♠ board and Caio would close out the table in 19th place ($1,619.76).
Petersen was not able to build much on Pessagno’s chips as Wonderdino’s pocket eights would out-flip the Dane’s ace-king sending Mads off in 14th place ($2,858.40) just before the ninth hourly break.
After 10 minutes of play A.A_THE_W.55, zeluizf, and Vico$carpini were removed from the tables in 11th through 13th place to set up hand-for-hand play to determe who would receive $3,811.20 and who would get a shot at nearly hundred grand tonight. It would take the blinds moving up to 65K/130K ante 13K before the final table was able to be seated. Flush098765 would min-raise from the hijack seat as kostasgala83 called from the big blind to see a couple of spades hit the 3♥3♠Q♠ flop. Immediately kostasgala83 shoved for 1.4 million but the chip leader was up for the task as Flush098765 called with pocket kings K♣K♦. Queens full was laid out on the board after the Q♥ and Q♦ hit the turn and river, but Flush098765’s kings beat the board as the final table set up below:
Seat 1: $tupidann (3070216 in chips)
Seat 2: love2hit (3672649 in chips)
Seat 3: Copiaad (474282 in chips)
Seat 4: T3G3S (4935742 in chips)
Seat 5: harrrrmonica (3688159 in chips)
Seat 6: Wonderdino (1861916 in chips)
Seat 7: NestaRasta (1739724 in chips)
Seat 8: da Ape (3763166 in chips)
Seat 9: Flush098765 (8554146 in chips)
Playing a happy tune
On the first hand of the final table it looked as though Copiaad’s visit would be a short one. All-in preflop against two players holding K♠J♣, $tupidann would bet out after the Q♥Q♠9♥ flop to knockout Wonderdino and roll over trips Q♣A♥. Copiaad needed a ten and got one on the turn 10♠ which held by the 5♠ river to stay alive. A few minutes later still in the 65K/130K ante 13K blind level harrrrmonica would play bully by open shoving 4.1 million from the small blind. Wonderdino left with 893,634 chips made the call with A♣Q♣ and watched in horror as harrrrmonica’s 8♥K♣ grew into trips K♥ J♦ 3♦ K♦ 4♠ ending Wonderdino’s tournament in ninth place ($5,081.60).
Coping with the loss
On to the 80K/160K ante 16K blind level Copiaad was still struggling with a shortstack facing a min-raise from love2hit in middle position. Holding Q♥10♥ Copiaad decided it was go time and three-bet for 582,846 total. Play would fold around the table back to love2hit, who made the Sunday Warm-Up final table during the 2014 TCOOP, and pocket kings K♦K♥ made the easy call even easier. Zero hearts on the J♣ 8♦ 3♣ 2♦ K♣ board sent Copiaad home in eighth place ($7,940.00).
No bananas today
Yes, we have no bananas. Just cash. As the blinds moved up to 100K/200K ante 20K harrrrmonica would min-raise from the button as da Ape looked hungry in the big blind and shoved for 2.2 million. With over four million chips and A♠J♣ harrrrmonica made the call. da Ape showed the dominated J♥K♣ and after the second four hit the river 6♠ Q♦ 2♣ 4♠ 4♦ da Ape was forced to look elsewhere for dinner $14,292.00 richer in seventh place.
Never underestimate the power of the hammer
The “hammer” has morphed over the years, its origins are debated but this writer has seen the mighty two-seven off suit do its damage during weekly poker tournaments held by poker blogging friends for over a decade. Whether it was showing it as a four-bet bluff or notching trips against aces, the statistically worst starting hand in hold em’ was not to be trifled with. Tonight the hammer would mean the end of $tupidann’s tournament. Still in the 100K/200K ante 20K blind level folded to chip leading Flush098765 who would raise to 3.1 million. Unable to match that amount $tupidann called all-in for 845,750 showing A♣6♠. Flush098765 turned up the hammer 2♥7♣ and turned off $tupidann’s tournament after flopping a seven 8♠ 7♥ 10♠ Q♥ 3♣ in sixth place ($20,644.00).
Big slick hits
Six hands later as the blinds moved up to 125K/250K ante 25K harrrrmonica would min-raise from the hijack seat as Flush098765 called from the button and T3G3S took the odds and called from the big blind. 4♠Q♥J♠ flop got two checks and a 532,585 bet from Flush098765. T3G3S would check-raise all-in for 2.1 million as harrrrmonica folded. Starting the hand with 11 million chips, Flush098765 made the call with big slick K♦A♠ as T3G3S showed the flopped two pair. Spade on the turn 2♠ gave Flush098765 more outs and the 10♥ river connected to send T3G3S off in fifth place ($26,996.00).
No deals, no more music
It would be another 15 minutes and a rise in the blinds to 150K/300K ante 30K before one more player would be asked to give up their seat. Folded to love2hit in the small blind holding 8♠A♥ in the small blind, the Dutch player would shove for 5.4 million as harrrrmonica with 2.5 million chips behind needed tournament funds made the call. hamrrrrmonica’s 9♥Q♥ saw only a single heart but plenty of aces and eights on the 8♦ 6♥ A♠ A♣ 8♣ board as love2hit showed harrrrmonica to the dressing room in fourth place ($36,524.00).
NestaRasta and love2hit would wrest chips from Flush098765’s stack until the one-time dominate chip leader was a desperate shortstack. Flush098765 stayed aggressive in picking up the blinds with pre-flop shoves but eventually those raises get called. With the blinds moving up to 200K/400K ante 40K Flush098765 would shove from the small blind for 4.4 million holding 3♣A♠ as love2hit made the call with pocket sevens 7♥7♦. Neither player touched the 4♣ Q♣ 9♣ Q♦ 10♦ board as Flush098765 walked away in third place ($52,404.00) and would not be able to claim a Sunday Warm-Up title next to the Sunday Million win last year for $194,231.70.
Love hitting the river
Seven hands after the 11th hour break, our two finalist remained mum on hashing out a deal as the chat box stayed cold. love2hit would break away to a 24.2 million to 7.5 million chip lead. With the blinds up to 250K/500K ante 50K NestaRasta would press from the button, shoving for 7.4 million holding 9♥J♥. Also suited and also holding a jack Q♣J♣ love2hit made the call. The disappointment of seeing a nine in the window disappeared quickly as the queen on the river 9♠ 7♠ 5♣ 3♦ Q♦ shipped the Sunday Warm-Up title and $99,727.21 to love2hit!
PokerStars Sunday Warm-Up results (08-10-14):
Places paid: 495
Prize pool: $635,200.00
1. love2hit (Netherlands) $99,727.21
2. NestaRasta (Mexico) $74,318.40
3. Flush098765 (Germany) $52,404.00
4. harrrrmonica (Russia) $36,524.00
5. T3G3S (Poland) $26,996.00
6. $tupidann (Netherlands) $20,644.00
7. da Ape (Germany) $14,292.00
8. Copiaad (Sweden) $7,940.00
9. Wonderdino (Germany) $5,081.60
David Aydt is a freelance contributor