The first of three “high roller” events on this year’s World Championship of Online Poker schedule is in the books, a $10,300 buy-in eight-handed no-limit hold’em tournament with up to three re-entries available to players during the extended registration period. Unsurprisingly the event drew a stacked field of elite players, with the quality of play remaining at a high level throughout the tournament’s two days. After the last hand was dealt Monday evening, vicenfish of Portugal walked away with the title and $637,436.88 first prize following a heads-up deal with Ankush “pistons87” Mandavia playing from Canada.
The tournament sported a big $2 million guarantee, but after 322 players showed up with 43 re-entries among them the final prize pool was well above that figure, totaling $3,650,000. The top 48 finishers split the money, with six-figure scores due to go to the top seven. Here’s the story of how vicenfish managed to outlast them all to earn one of WCOOP’s most prestigious titles.
That talent-laden field gathered on Sunday for the tournament’s first day of play, and after 20 half-hour levels the 365 entrants had played all of the way down to 35 and into the cash.
Among those still in the hunt once the money bubble burst at 48 players was Team PokerStars Pro Eugene Katchalov, but he’d eventually slip in chips to fall in 41st for a $17,337.50 cash.
T-Macha of Norway led the counts to end the day after building a stack of nearly 530,000, more than 200,000 clear of Ankush “pistons87” Mandavia in second position with Doug “WCG|Rider” Polk close in third. Indeed, those three headed an overnight top 10 including several familiar usernames:
1. T-Macha (Norway) — 529,852
2. Ankush “pistons87” Mandavia (Canada) — 319,601
3. Doug “WCG|Rider” Polk (Canada) — 302,691
4. vicenfish (Portugal) — 294,873
5. Thomas “WushuTM” Muhlocker (Austria) — 226,549
6. CaLLitARUSH (Canada) — 219,473
7. Mustapha “lasagnaaammm” Kanit (Malta) — 204,792
8. Ben “Sauce123” Sulsky (Canada) — 200,407
9. OLD TIME GIN (Canada) — 196,389
10. TryToExploit (Poland) — 184,972
After an hour of play on Monday the field had shrunk from 35 to 23. T-Macha still lead the way, with Vladimir “GVOZDIKA55” Shchemelev (31st, $24,637.50), Joe “jcada99” Cada (30th, $24,637.50), Justin “ZeeJustin” Bonomo (29th, $24,637.50), Maxim “$uperdecay” Lykov (26th, $24,637.50), and Dan “djk123” Kelly (24th, $35,587.50) among the eliminated.
Almost exactly an hour after that they were down to 16, with Dani “supernova9” Stern (23rd, $35,587.50) and Thomas “WushuTM” Muhlocker (20th, $35,587.50) among the fallen and Joel “Odonkor1” Nordkvist having assumed the top spot with a stack nearing the 850,000-chip mark.
It would take another two-and-a-half hours more for the next eight to go. Ariel “Skilled G” Mantel (16th), TryToExploit (15th), CaLLitARUSH (14th), and Shawn “buck21” Buchanan (13th) each were eliminated for $49,275 scores. Then toril274 (12th), Anton “antesvante” Wigg (11th), MAMOHT_T (10th), and start-of-day-2 leader T-Macha (9th) went out, picking up $63,875 apiece.
With vicenfish having just cracked the 1 million-chip mark to lead a table full of familiar usernames and avatars, the final table was underway.
Seat 1: Ankush “pistons87” Mandavia (Canada) — 699,556
Seat 2: Joel “Odonkor1” Nordkvist (Sweden) — 539,586
Seat 3: Doug “WCG|Rider” Polk (Canada) — 412,972
Seat 4: Ben “Sauce123” Sulsky (Canada) — 607,569
Seat 5: Dimitar “KuuL” Danchev (Bulgaria) — 611,378
Seat 6: Mustapha “lasagnaaammm” Kanit (Malta) — 684,808
Seat 7: vicenfish (Portugal) — 1,014,277
Seat 8: leoc00 (Canada) — 904,854
Incidentally, for those keeping score at home, only one of the final eight had entered the tournament more than once, with Doug “WCG|Rider” Polk having fired twice during the re-entry period.
WCG|Rider rides off in eighth
It would take nearly an hour for the next elimination to come, and as it happened Polk would be the next to go. The blinds were 8,000/16,000 when the table folded around to WCG|Rider in the small blind who open-pushed for 137,106 total, and Ben “Sauce123” Sulsky called in a flash from the next seat.
Polk had K♣4♦ but Sulsky had woken up with A♠A♣. The K♥9♦3♠ flop did provide a little hope for Polk by pairing his king, but the turn was the 10♦ and river the 10♠, and he hit the rail in eighth.
Kuul cut down in seventh
About 45 minutes later the blinds were up to 10,000/20,000 when Dimitar “KuuL” Danchev open-pushed with his last 197,674 from middle position, Mustapha “lasagnaaammm” Kanit reraised all in from the next seat, and everyone else stepped aside.
Danchev showed A♦10♣ and needed improvement versus Kanit’s K♥K♣. But the community cards came 7♠9♠Q♠8♥10♠ and Danchev’s run ended in seventh.
Odonkor1 out in sixth
Play marched on, with vicenfish continuing to lead the final half-dozen. Then with the blinds up to 12,500/25,000, Joel “Odonkor1” Nordkvist opened with an all-in push for 256,463 from early position, then watched as Mustapha “lasagnaaammm” Kanit reraised all in from the button and the blinds folded.
Nordkvist had Q♠J♣ and a couple of live cards against Kanit’s 5♣5♠. The board came 10♥6♠6♥, then 9♥, then 7♣, and Nordkvist was knocked out in sixth.
Sauce123 sunk in fifth
They wound on into the day’s eighth hour of play, then with the blinds 15,000/30,000 Ben “Sauce123” Sulsky raised to 64,444 from the button, chip leader vicenfish shoved all in from the big blind, and Sulsky called for 657,905 total.
vicenfish showed A♦6♦ while Sulsky turned over 10♣10♥. The A♥5♦6♥ flop paired vicenfish’s hand twice, and after the Q♣ turn and 8♦ river Sulsky was out in fifth.
leoc00 leaves in fourth
A couple of orbits later they were in the same level when leoc00 open-raised a short stack of 279,800 (not quite nine big blinds) all in from the button and got one caller in Ankush “pistons87” Mandavia from the small blind.
leoc00 had 7♣7♦ and was hoping the pair would hold versus Mandavia’s A♠4♥. But the 8♣4♠4♦A♥9♠ board was anything but cooperative for leoc00, giving Mandavia a full house and knocking leoc00 out in fourth.
lasagnaaammm cooked in third
Soon the final trio stopped play to talk about a possible deal. At that point vicenfish had the big chip lead with 3,670,352 to the 994,975 of Ankush “pistons87” Mandavia and Mustapha “lasagnaaammm” Kanit’s 809,672.
With Team PokerStars Pro Andre “aakkari” Akkari helping out, both “ICM”-based figures and “chip chop” numbers were produced — leaving $40,000 for which to play in each case — after which conversation ensued:
aakkari (TeamPro): ok guys, here come the ICM numbers:
HostPeterZO (Administrator): vicenfish:$607,429.74
HostPeterZO (Administrator): pistons87:$492,734.53
HostPeterZO (Administrator): lasagnaaammm:$474,960.73
HostPeterZO (Administrator): Left To Play for place 1: $40,000.00
aakkari (TeamPro): and here are the chip chop numbers:
HostPeterZO (Administrator): vicenfish:$659,187.87
HostPeterZO (Administrator): pistons87:$464,703.78
HostPeterZO (Administrator): lasagnaaammm:$451,233.35
HostPeterZO (Administrator): Left To Play for place 1: $40,000.00
pistons87: will only do icm if u guys want to
lasagnaaammm: i think the same only icm or play
vicenfish: my stack have edge in this spot with you both short guys
lasagnaaammm: ok let’s play gl
pistons87: not giving up any
vicenfish: you know tahth
pistons87: only will do icm
lasagnaaammm: gl guys
aakkari (TeamPro): ok guys, lets play! gl all
On the very first hand after play resumed, Mankush earned a double-up through vicenfish after getting all in with K♦8♦ and drawing out a winning flush versus the latter’s K♥10♣.
That hand left Mustapha “lasagnaaammm” Kanit the short stack, and a short while later the blinds had moved up to 17,500/35,000 when Kanit open-pushed from the button for 434,647 and vicenfish called from the small blind.
Kanit had a pair with 8♠8♥ versus vicenfish’s A♠10♦. But the J♥3♥A♦ flop swung the advantage to vicenfish, and two cards later — the 5♠ and 10♥ — vicenfish had two pair and Kanit was done in third.
vicenfish prevails over pistons87
One hand later the tourney was paused for more deal talk, with vicenfish sitting with 3,124,088 and Ankush “pistons87” Mandavia 2,350,912. Again figures were produced — with “ICM” and “chip chop” figures being the same at heads-up — with $40K again set aside. Mandavia asked for $4K more than what was being offered to him to narrow the proposed gap a little further, and when vicenfish agreed a deal was made.
Play continued with both the extra money still up for grabs and — as Akkari reminded both players — “the coveted gold and diamond WCOOP bracelet!”
The heads-up battle would ultimately last another 20 minutes, with vicenfish maintaining the lead throughout and edging upwards to build a stack of more than 5.8 million as Mandavia slid to a little under 600,000. Then with the blinds still 17,500/35,000, Mandavia limped in from the button, vicenfish made it 90,000 to go from the small blind, and Mandavia called.
The flop came 4♥5♠10♥. vicenfish led for 52,500, and when pistons87 pushed all in for 489,512, vicenfish called without hesitation.
Mandavia had picked up A♣A♠, having sneakily limp-called with hold’em’s biggest starter. But unfortunately for him vicenfish had flopped a set with 10♠10♣. The turn was the 6♥ and river the 3♣ and it was all over. vicenfish was the champion, while Mandavia had to settle for second-place, just one spot shy of earning his third career WCOOP title.
Congratulations to vicenfish for topping a tough field and tough final table to win Event #23 and a huge payday of more than $637K. And kudos as well to Ankush “pistons87” Mandavia for making to the heads-up deal and guaranteeing himself more than $585K.
WCOOP 2014: Event #23 ($10,300 No-Limit Hold’em, 8-Max., Re-Entry, High Roller)
Entries: 365 (322 entries, 43 re-entries)
Prize pool: $3,650,000.00
Places paid: 48
1. vicenfish (Portugal) — $637,436.88*
2. Ankush “pistons87” Mandavia (Canada) — $585,313.12*
3. Mustapha “lasagnaaammm” Kanit (Malta) — $392,375.00
4. leoc00 (Canada) — $282,875.00
5. Ben “Sauce123” Sulsky (Canada) — $191,625.00
6. Joel “Odonkor1” Nordkvist (Sweden) — $136,875.00
7. Dimitar “KuuL” Danchev (Bulgaria) — $100,375.00
8. Doug “WCG|Rider” Polk (Canada) — $82,125.00
*= reflects the results of a two-way deal that left $40,000 in play for the winner
Most of WCOOP is yet to come. Check the WCOOP homepage for information regarding all of the remaining events.
Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.