Ah, razz. Hurts so good. Even the name of the game sounds like the kind of thing that probably should be washed and disinfected.
It’s the game everyone loves to hate. But really, the WCOOP schedule would be lacking something without it. And so once again, those with a desire to subject themselves to the exquisite pain that is razz came out on Thursday for the series’ lone pure razz event.
There were about 350 among the willing when cards first went in the air, the majority of the eventual entrants perhaps wishing to delay initiating the inevitable series of stings and smarts as long as possible. By the time late registration closed, a total of 799 had committed the required $215, the number agonizingly stopping a single player short of a round eight-hundy.
Not unlike pairing up on seventh street, that.
Such a turnout meant the prize pool totaled $159,800, comfortably above the event’s $125K guarantee. The top 104 finishers stood to withstand the experience with a profit, coming out “ahead” monetarily speaking if not mentally. The ones enduring long enough to make the eight-handed final table all would earn at least $2,397, more than 10 times the buy-in. And the one with a tolerance level high enough to survive to the very end and gather all the chips was due $29,962.50 for his or her trouble.
The Travails of Team PokerStars
By the six-hour break the field had been cut down to 145. A number of representatives of Team PokerStars had come out to form part of the original 799, but by then almost all of them had seen their chips bleed away.
Javier “El_Cañonero” Dominguez (Team Online), Richard “Tzen1” Veenman (Team Online), Daniel “KidPoker” Negreanu (Canada), and Liv Boeree (U.K. & Ireland) were among the first wave of eliminations. Marcin “Goral” Horecki (Poland) and Bertrand “ElkY” (a.k.a. “#whenwillitend”) Grospellier (U.K.) lasted only a bit longer.
Coming closer to making that 6-hour break were Stavros “IDOLLS” Kalfas (Team Greece Challenger), Ana Marquez (Spain), Humberto Brenes (Costa Rica), J.P. Kelly (U.K. & Ireland), Pat Pezzin (Canada), and Kristian “CharismA3” Martin (Team Online). But they, too, had been eliminated.
Or, perhaps, released.
Among the final 145, LuigiPalermo, 1337Gambl0r, donat1505, El_Doctor715, and apegod sat atop of the counts. Anders “Donald” Berg of Team Online was still there, sitting in 33rd. George Danzer of Team PokerStars Germany was in 67th. And Andrew “foucault82” Brokos of Team Online was in 79th.
Others Cashed, gipsy74 Mashed
Before long, they were down to 105, with Berg in the meantime having slipped down and out in 119th. By then gipsy74 was down to his last 345 chips, and with a  showing, gipsy74 committed the last of his stack and watched as both Danzer and karpuha bet and called their way to seventh.
Danzer showed [A] /  /  for an 8-7, and karpuha, with [T][T] showing, mucked. gipsy74 mucked as well, having drawn a nine and a couple of kings to go with that nice-looking deuce.
Two other players — pokerjamers and Big_nat123 — had gone out at the same time, but as gipsy74 had fewer chips than they did, those two made the money while gipsy74 was the last to be eliminated without cashing.
“Guess I Had Fun?”
Andrew “foucault82” Brokos lasted long enough to go out in 68th ($431.46), his elimination hand proving suitably excruciating. After starting  /  against jeff710, foucault ultimately drew to an 8-7 but was clipped by jeff710’s smooth 8-4-3-2-A.
“68th in the Razz #WCOOP,” tweeted Brokos (as @thinkingpoker) thereafter. “Card dead forever, picked up 234 and lost to 842. Played 7.5 hours to double my money. Guess I had fun?”
Danzer Dancing, Then Dashed
A short while later they’d crossed the eight-hour mark, at which point just 50 players remained. The aptly-named Traumatize was then in first with more than 179,000, Jim “Mr_BigQueso” Collopy was next with about 148,000, and Marcio89 in third with just under 129,000.
Danzer was then in 14th, but within 10 minutes won two big pots to catapult into first with close to 200,000 chips. Yet soon the German would sink again to the middle of the pack, then to the bottom, then to the rail in 16th place ($1,470.16).
Finding a Final Table
With 15 left, Diamond8 had risen to the top with more than 555,000, followed by 1331Gambl0r with about 516,000 and donat1505 with just over 440,000.
Those next heading railward were jeff710 (15th), klkl321 (14th), and Traumatize (13th), each of whom earned $1,470.16.
dynamoM was next to fall in 12th ($1,917.60), his end coming with a little extra heartache. All in on third with [A] /  against lg123456789’s  / , dynamoM watched helplessly as his opponent made a 9 while he picked up [J][A] / [K] — two face cards and two pair.
dynamoM was followed by stevie444 (11th) and El_Doctor715 (10th), both of whom also earned $1,917.60, and with nine left hand-for-hand play commenced.
Fred_Brink steadily chipped up during the final table bubble, soon becoming the first player to cross the 1 million-chip mark. As play continued, both texaspl and Diamond8 would be all in and survive.
At last it was the final hand before the 11-hour break when a short-stacked viktorrz would be all in by fourth street against chip leader Fred_Brink. Ultimately viktorrz drew  /  /  for an 8, but that wasn’t good enough against Fred_Brink’s [A] /  / [J] for a 6. As did the last three to be eliminated, viktorrz also earned $1,917.60 for finishing ninth.
The final table was set.
Seat 1: Diamond8 — 268,294
Seat 2: Kecinpulach — 453,195
Seat 3: donat1505 — 504,938
Seat 4: Mr_BigQueso — 817,947
Seat 5: texaspl — 211,440
Seat 6: lg123456789 — 262,835
Seat 7: 1337Gambl0r — 280,408
Seat 8: Fred_Brink — 1,195,943
Working from 8 to 5
The maximum of eight different countries were represented at the final table — Denmark (Fred_Brink), Spain (Mr_BigQueso), Latvia (donat1505), the Czech Republic (Kecinpulach), Malta (1337Gambl0r), Belgium (Diamond8), Ukraine (lg123456789), and Poland (texaspl).
The final table began with Fred_Brink well in front and Jim “Mr_BigQueso” Collopy in second. Meanwhile, the stakes of 25,000/50,000 meant texaspl, the table’s short stack, had less than five big bets with which to work.
It would be lg123456789, however, who’d be the first elimination, the knockout coming shortly after the players’ return from break.
The key hand for lg123456789 was his next-to-last, in which he’d lead out through fourth, then call Fred_Brink’s fifth-street raise and sixth-street bet. Then after the final card was dealt, Fred_Brink showed [Q][J] and lg123456789 [K]. Fred_Brink bet, and though lg123456789 had less than 3,000 left he couldn’t call and thus folded.
The next hand the ante (5,000) meant lg123456789 was all in on third. A big hand ultimately developed between Fred_Brink and Kecinpulach, with the latter taking a nearly 450,000-chip pot with a 6-4-3-2-A. Both Fred_Brink and lg123456789 mucked their hands, the latter out in eighth.
Next to go was 1337Gambl0r. After raising on third, then calling Kecinpulach’s reraise. 1337Gambl0r called Kecinpulach’s bets on the next two streets, thereby committing the last of his chips. By then 1337Gambl0r held [J] /  and Kecinpulach [A] / . 1337Gambl0r picked up a  and  to make an 8, but Kecinpulach also drew a  and a , making him a 6 and sending 1337Gambl0r railward in seventh.
Ten minutes later Diamond8 called Jim “Mr_BigQueso” Collopy’s third-street raise, called bets again on fourth and fifth, then led out for his last 10,794 on sixth with Collopy calling. By then neither had terrific hands, with Diamond8 showing  / [K] and Mr_BigQueso [Q] / [A][A]. But Diamond8 paired again on seventh, picking up a five, while Collopy collected a ten. Mr_BigQueso’s Q-T-7-6-A thus beat Diamond8’s K-9-8-5-2, knocking Diamond8 out in sixth.
Two Emerge From Five
Now it was Mr_BigQueso who was the table’s big cheese with five left, sitting with more than 1.35 million to Fred_Brink’s 1.24 million. Kecinpulach sat in third with just over 751,000, donat1505 was next with about 412,000, and texaspl last with a little more than 240,000.
The stakes moved up to 30,000/60,000, while texaspl’s stack moved down to just over 104,000. A series of bets with Fred_Brink would then put all of texaspl’s chips in the middle on third street. Here’s how that turned out:
texaspl:  / [A][T][Q] / 
Fred_Brink:  / [A][J] / [A]
Couldn’t have begun better for texaspl, but things ended best for Fred_Brink, his 7 besting texaspl’s 8 to eliminate the latter in fifth.
A dozen hands later, donat1505 would be all in on third versus Kecinpulach. donat1505 would finish that hand pairing no less than three times — [T] / [A][T] / [A] — making Kecinpulach’s [T] / [J][K] /  the easy winner and sending donat1505 out in fourth.
Two hands later came another decisive hand in which Fred_Brink raised on third, Kecinpulach reraised, and Fred_Brink called. Fred_Brink check-called Kecinpulach on fourth, then led on fifth with the two subsequently raising back and forth until Kecinpulach was all in.
Fred_Brink: [Q] / [J]
Kecinpulach:  / [K][J]
Fred_Brink was a notch ahead and had a better draw. He’d pick up a  and [A] to end with 9-6-5-2-A, while Kecinpulach paired his  and got a [T] on the end, finishing J-T-6-5-3 to go out in third.
A Heckuva Heads-Up
Heads-up play began with Fred_Brink enjoying the chip advantage, having 2,408,199 to Mr_BigQueso’s 1,586,801. Over the next half-hour they’d spar until reaching the 12-hour break, at which point Collopy had taken the advantage, sitting with just over 2.38 million to Fred_Brink’s 1.61 million.
Over the next 45 minutes, however, the advantage swung back Fred_Brink’s way, and as they moved into Level 34 (stakes 60,000/120,000), Fred_Brink’s advantage increased to better than 3-to-1. Then Collopy pulled back even after earning a massive 1.344 million-chip pot in a hand in which Fred_Brink had the lead on the final three streets, then ultimately showed  / [Q] /  (a 10) versus Mr_BigQueso’s  / [K] / [A] (a smooth 8).
But Fred_Brink pushed back, and after they’d crossed the 13-hour mark he’d once again regained a significant lead over Mr_BigQueso.
The pair had been going at it for more than an hour-and-a-half — and more than 350 hands — as Fred_Brink continued to increase his edge. Finally Mr_BigQueso was all in on third street with [A] / [T], and managed to draw a wheel to survive. But just a few hands later that the end finally came.
The stakes were up to 80,000/160,000 when Fred_Brink raised third, Collopy reraised, and Fred_Brink called. Fred_Brink then led on fourth and Mr_BigQueso raised with his remaining chips with Fred_Brink quickly calling.
Fred_Brink:  / [J]
Mr_BigQueso: [A] / [K][T]
The last three streets came  for Fred_Brink, giving him a 9-7-6-3-2, while Collopy caught [J] for a T-9-7-2-A, and all of the chips slid Fred_Brink’s way.
Congratulations to Fred_Brink for outlasting that field of almost-but-not-quite 800 to earn Denmark its first WCOOP bracelet of the year, and nearly $30K to put in the Fred_Brink bank!
WCOOP Event #15 ($215 Razz) Results:
1st place: Fred_Brink ($29,962.50)
2nd: Mr_BigQueso ($21,573)
3rd: Kecinpulach ($15,980)
4th: donat1505 ($11,985)
5th: texaspl ($7,990)
6th: Diamond8 ($5,593)
7th: 1337Gambl0r ($3,595.50)
8th: lg123456789 ($2,397)
For all the results, remaining schedule, and other fun tidbits and trivia, be sure to head over to the constantly-updated WCOOP site. And do check out the new Exclusive Live WCOOP Radio shows with Joe Stapleton and Nick Wealthall as well!