With two SCOOP champion’s watches and two gold bracelets from the World Series of Poker in his collection, plus millions of dollars in winnings online and live, David “WhooooKidd” Baker is certainly no stranger to tournament poker success. Up until today, a WCOOP bracelet had escaped him. But after a typically strong mixed-game performance against top competition in Event #33, a $320 8-Game tourney, he has finally laid claim to that elusive piece of hardware.
The tournament kicked off at 2:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday and drew a field of 629 players, good for a $188,700 prize pool. That was split among the top 84 finishers. As the field wound down toward the final six it was clear there would be some heavy hitters vying for the bracelet. The only question was who would make it through.
Team PokerStars Pro’s Matthias de Meulder ran deep but found the rail in 24th place ($1,320.90), the best of any Red Spade player in this event. Triple COOP winner James “Andy McLEOD” Obst also went deep, bowing out of his quest for a second WCOOP bracelet in 14th ($1,698.30). As the rest of the competition fell away, this stacked lineup remained to fight it out over the bracelet and a top prize of $34,909.50:
Seat 1: Mikal “mikal12345” Blomlie (589,333 in chips)
Seat 2: ekziter (52,552 in chips)
Seat 3: chokitin (700,862 in chips)
Seat 4: David “WhooooKidd” Baker (801,653 in chips)
Seat 5: Shawn “buck21” Buchanan (629,118 in chips)
Seat 6: Connor “blanconegro” Drinan (371,482 in chips)
Beyond Mr. Baker’s past wins, there were plenty of others represented at the table. In Seat 1 was the 2012 WCOOP Player of the Year, who just won his third career WCOOP bracelet earlier this week. In Seat 2 sat a two-time Super Tuesday champion. Seat 5 belonged to one of the only two Triple COOP winners in PokerStars history. And in Seat 6 was a player who had been on the verge of big titles multiple times, though he was still searching for his first big breakthrough.
20K/40K/4K Stud Hi/Lo
ekziter was on the verge of elimination throughout the final table’s first 10-minute round, but the Belarussian player survived with aggressive play. Splitting one pot when all-in helped, but picking up small pots without showdown helped more. By the end of the round, ekziter had chipped up from 52K to 158K.
6.25K/12.5K/1.6K No-Limit Hold’em
Five hands into the first NLHE round of the final table, ekziter found a spot to move all-in with those Stud Hi/Lo winnings. The Belarussian player jammed for 131K in the cutoff with K♠ Q♣, coming over the top of mikal12345’s opening 25K raise. Mikal “mikal12345” Blomlie declined to come along after Shawn “buck21” Buchanan re-shoved in the big blind, and Buchanan turned over Q♠ Q♥. That was only a problem for ekziter until the 3♦ K♣ 3♠ flop, and the 5♦ turn and 3♣ river gave ekziter a double to 305K. Connor “blanconegro” Drinan dominated the rest of the level, picking up six of the last nine pots to chip up from 388K to 658K, good for second place behind Baker.
6.25K/12.5K Pot-Limit Omaha
The biggest pots early in the final table were played in PLO. Drinan and Baker tangled early, with Drinan taking the 273K-chip pot (and with it the chip lead). Blomlie picked up a healthy 258K after picking off a two-barrel bluff by chokitin. Then Blomlie handed all that profit right over to Baker, whose check-raise to 504K on the turn of a 6♦ 2♣ 7♣ K♥ board was enough to convince the three-time bracelet winner to drop the hand. That boosted Baker back to 974K just as the PLO level ended.
30K/60K Limit 2-7 Triple Draw
Shawn Buchanan entered the Triple Draw round with 300K but saw it all disappear in two hands. He raised the button in the first, then called a three-bet by Blomlie from the big blind and drew two cards after Blomlie drew just one. The action went bet-call, and both players drew a single card on the second go. After identical action going to the third and final draw, Blomlie showed down K♦ 7♦ 5♦ 4♦ 2♠ – a rough hand, to be sure, but one that was good for the 375K-chip pot when Buchanan mucked his hand.
Left with 120K, Buchanan was undeterred and opened the next hand with a raise in the cutoff. This time it was Drinan who three-bet, on the button, and Buchanan called. Both players took two cards and the rest of Buchanan’s chips went in the middle. They both took two cards on the second draw as well, while Buchanan drew one card on the final draw and Drinan stood pat. He showed down 8♥ 7♣ 5♦ 4♥ 3♦, just a touch better than Buchanan’s 9♣ 8♠ 7♠ 4♠ 2♠, and dragged the 285K-chip pot. Just like that, Shawn Buchanan’s quest for another COOP title ended in 6th place ($5,661).
Mikal Blomlie took a stab at knocking ekziter out a few hands later in a pot enlarged by Drinan’s presence up until the second draw. Blomlie drew two cards twice and just one card on the third draw, but ekziter stood pat on the third draw with 8♥ 6♦ 5♦ 3♠ 2♠, which held up against Blomlie’s ten-low for the 535K-chip pot. After a few more uneventful hands, chokitin won a three-way pot without showdown after the third draw, on which both chokitin and Baker had stood pat. Leading out for 60K was good enough to win the 525K-chip pot and boost chokitin to the chip lead with 1.15M.
30K/60K Limit Hold’em
The chip counts had shifted significantly as the first Limit Hold’em round began:
Seat 1: Mikal “mikal12345” Blomlie (282,838 in chips)
Seat 2: ekziter (190,476 in chips)
Seat 3: chokitin (1,153,065 in chips)
Seat 4: David “WhooooKidd” Baker (743,452 in chips)
Seat 6: Connor “blanconegro” Drinan (775,169 in chips)
ekziter caught another break early on in this round, doubling to 320K with K♠ 8♠ in the small blind after hitting top pair on the same 9♦ Q♦ K♥ flop that gave chokitin’s Q♣ 3♣ big-blind special second pair. A few hands later it was Connor Drinan dragging an even larger pot, worth 480K, after limping from the small blind. Drinan led out on the 6♦ 8♠ 4♠ flop, then made it three bets for 90K after Blomlie raised from his spot in the big blind. Blomlie called there, and then single bets on the 9♥ turn and Q♦ river, but mucked when Drinan showed K♥ 8♣ for a pair of eights.
David Baker and chokitin remained ahead of the pack throughout the Limit Hold’em round thanks a few nice wins. Baker hit a diamond flush with 8♦ 5♦ to win a 315K-chip pot heads-up against Drinan, taking second place from him. chokitin won one worth 285K just by staying aggressive in position in a heads-up pot against ekziter. A slightly smaller pot one hand later brought another player’s quest for more WCOOP gold to an end.
chokitin opened the hand with a raise in the cutoff, then called Mikal Blomlie’s three-bet to see a Q♣ K♥ 10♦ flop. Blomlie bet 30K there and then called off his last 12K after chokitin raised, showing A♣ 6♥ for an inside straight draw with ace-high. chokitin turned up K♠ J♠ for top pair with an open-ended draw, plus one of the outs Blomlie needed for his own straight. The 4♦ turn and 9♦ delivered no help, sending Mikal “mikal12345” Blomlie to the rail in 5th place ($9,435).
ekziter was still close to elimination, and became even more so after raising on the button, calling a Baker three-bet from the blinds, and folding to a Baker bet on the 4♣ 6♠ A♥ flop. But then the Belarussian turned around and doubled right back up, getting all-in for 80K on the next hand with A♦ 2♦ against Connor Drinan’s 7♥ 3♦ big-blind special and riding out a 2♠ Q♥ 8♣ 2♥ 6♥ board to trip deuces and a 176K-chip pot. After chokitin took a 390K-chip pot from Drinan on the next hand, the game moved on to its next round.
40K/80K Limit Omaha Hi/Lo
chokitin had the lead as the first O/8 round began:
Seat 2: ekziter (146,904 in chips)
Seat 3: chokitin (1,590,427 in chips)
Seat 4: WhooooKidd (953,452 in chips)
Seat 6: blanconegro (454,217 in chips)
David Baker quickly put a dent in that lead. After raising under the gun and getting a call from chokitin in the big blind, Baker bet when checked to on the K♣ 10♠ 6♠. chokitin check-raised, Baker called, and the 6♣ came on the turn. The Argentinian led on the turn and Baker called, bringing the 8♥ on the river. This time chokitin checked, and the 500K in the middle went to Baker without showdown after he bet, bringing him up to 1.21M and dropping chokitin to 1.35M.
ekziter survived an all-in on the next hand, splitting the pot with chokitin when both players made tens with an ace kicker and no low on a K♦ J♣ 10♥ 6♦ 2♣ board. But the Belarussian’s chambered tournament life would finally come to an end on the next hand. ekziter raised in the cutoff with K♦ K♣ Q♥ 6♥ and got a call from Connor Drinan in the big blind. Then Drinan led out on the 10♥ 5♦ Q♠ flop and called 26K more to put ekziter all-in. Drinan showed K♥ J♠ 8♠ 6♦ for the open-ended straight draw and promptly hit it on the A♦ turn. The 9♠ on the river was a final formality as ekziter departed the tournament in 4th place ($13,209).
Drinan kept up the momentum on the next hand, scooping a 560K-chip pot against chokitin after catching top two pair on the 5♣ 8♥ 9♦ flop, turning a flush draw with the 4♥, and catching that flush with the 6♥ on the river. chokitin couldn’t beat A♦ 9♥ 5♠ 3♥, and suddenly everyone at the table was within just under three big bets of one another, with Baker leading the way at 1.15M.
chokitin fell a bit further back on the next hand after raising from the small blind, seeing Baker call, leading on the A♣ A♦ 2♥ flop, and seeing Baker raise. The Argentinian player folded, giving Baker a boost to 1.27M. But from there Baker’s stack slid for the rest of the level. He lost an 840K-chip pot heads-up against Drinan after the latter flopped top pair with nut flush and wheel draws, then rivered trip sevens with A♠ 9♥ 7♠ 3♥ on a 2♠ 7♣ 4♠ 8♥ 7♦ board. A few folds in small pots, mostly in the blinds, left Baker with 513K as the O/8 level concluded.
The O/8 round had transformed the texture of the table significantly, putting chokitin and Connor Drinan in a virtual tie for first at just over 1.3M apiece and David Baker with less than 40 percent as many chips. Baker picked up one 264K-chip pot early in the Razz round to remain competitive but otherwise it was the other two players who tangled. The largest of the pots they played, worth 344K and 356K, came early and back-to-back, and both involved chokitin catching bricks on fourth and fifth streets before declining to go any further. That dropped the Argentinian player to 738K and boosted Drinan’s stack to 1.79M.
It also gave David Baker an opening – if he could find an opportunity to take it. He pulled close to even with chokitin, then defended his bring-in with the 10♥ showing and ended up folding on sixth street with (x-x) 10♥ 9♥ 7♠ K♦ up against Drinan’s (x-x) 7♥ Q♦ 3♦ 9♣, dropping him to 569K. Attrition took him as low as 481K before he was able to find a foothold. He opened the betting on third street with the 7♥ showing, then re-raised Drinan’s raise with the 7♠. Drinan called but caught the 7♣ on fourth and bailed when Baker bet his (x-x) 7♥ 8♥, giving Baker the 276K-chip pot.
The next hand made a bigger difference for Baker. Not only was it worth almost twice as many chips, but it came at the expense of his closest opponent. The action was straightforward bet-call all the way through seventh street, when chokitin had (x-x) 5♦ 4♥ 9♦ 3♥ (x) showing. Baker dragged the 516K-chip pot with (8♥ 4♦) 6♠ Q♦ 7♣ 5♣ (Q♥) for an 8-7 low, giving him 897K and dropping chokitin to 518K.
Three hands later, in another pot with chokitin, Baker all but sealed his spot in the heads-up portion of play. chokitin opened the betting for 40K with the 5♣ showing, Baker raised showing the 8♦, and chokitin re-raised to 120K. Baker called and paired his eight on fourth street, but called as chokitin had caught the Q♠. Then chokitin led with the 9♥ on fifth , only to have Baker raise to 160K, having caught the 2♣ himself. chokitin then called on sixth and seventh streets as well, leaving just 14K behind. But when Baker showed down (A♣ 3♥) 8♦ 8♥ 2♣ 3♦ (4♣), chokitin mucked and Baker grabbed the 996K-chip pot. The Argentinan player survived the next hand, the last of the Razz level, to end it with 43K.
chokitin ended up all-in again on the first hand of Stud, and caught three pair – buried aces, then sevens and sixes showing on the board – against Baker. But Baker, who started with buried queens, got both of the other queens in the deck for four of a kind. With that the 96K in the middle went to Baker, and chokitin left in 3rd place ($19,341.75).
That set up a heads-up match between two players who have been there plenty of times in the past: David “WhooooKidd” Baker with 1.63M in chips, and Connor “blanconegro” Drinan with 1.5M. Drinan managed to win seven of the 19 pots they played one-on-one, but on balance they were the smaller ones. Particularly damaging was a hand where Baker started with buried aces and sat back on them; Drinan picked up a pair on the board with (x-x) 4♦ 4♠ on fourth street and continued to lead all the way through sixth street before check-calling Baker’s bet on seventh. Baker showed (A♦ A♥) K♣ 8♥ Q♣ 4♣ (Q♠) for aces and queens, Drinan mucked (x-x) 4♦ 4♠ 3♦ 5♣ (x), and suddenly Baker had a 2.41M-727K lead.
Two hands later, Drinan folded on fifth street with (x-x) 10♥ A♣ 7♦ showing against Baker’s (x-x) 7♣ Q♦ 6♠, after investing 300K from an 852K starting stack. Drinan dropped another 350K on the next hand, calling down the whole way but mucking (x-x) 5♥ 6♥ 9♠ K♠ (x) on the river after Baker showed down (J♦ 4♣) K♦ 10♦ J♥ 7♥ (10♥) for two pair, jacks and tens.
That left Connor Drinan with 192K, and two hands later all his chips went in the middle for less than two big bets. He was all-in on fourth street with (7♣ J♦) 3♣ 10♦ against Baker’s (K♥ 10♠) 6♦ A♣. Neither player improved much, but Baker caught a pair of deuces on seventh street to beat Drinan’s ace-jack high and bring the tournament to a close.
Second place may have been a slight disappointment for Connor “blanconegro” Drinan, since he’s been close several times before in both SCOOP and the Sunday Million. But it was good for $26,040.60, a solid ROI on a $320 investment and a nice way to end a day of poker.
David Baker in action at the PCA
There’s zero disappointment tonight for David “WhooooKidd” Baker, though. At long last he has added a WCOOP championship to his other array of titles, including two SCOOP wins over the years. Plus there’s the $34,909.50 prize. It’s relatively small by Baker’s lofty standards (it’s only the 15th-largest of all time for him here at PokerStars), but it still represents a very nice return for playing 11 hours of eight of your favorite poker games. Congratulations to him on earning his third career COOP title, the first with a “W” in front of it – we’ll all be looking forward to seeing if he can join the elite ranks of the Triple COOP winners when TCOOP rolls around again next year.
WCOOP 2014: Event #33, $320 8-Game
$188,700 prize pool
84 places paid
1st place: David “WhooooKidd” Baker (Mexico) $34,909.50
2nd place: Connor “blanconegro” Drinan (Mexico) $26,040.60
3rd place: chokitin (Argentina) $19,341.75
4th place: ekziter (Belarus) $13,209
5th place: Mikal “mikal12345” Blomlie (Norway) $9,435
6th place: Shawn “buck21” Buchanan (Canada) $5,661
Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.