It was a small tournament but a talented tournament and an often-viewed tournament as it got deeper. Badugi tournaments don’t generally draw the same crowd you might see in your standard, No Limit Hold’em, bet it and forget affair.
You have to intentionally register, knowing full well what you are getting yourself into. People occasionally register for the wrong NLH tournament but that doesn’t happen with Badugi. This time PokerStars tweaked the WCOOP Badugi event, giving it a bigger buy-in, smaller field, same guarantee.
The $700 version this time around drew 113 players to easily top the $50,000 guarantee but people started paying attention as the tournament neared the end of the first day. There were more than a few top players in contention but most spectators were viewing for two legends.
Jason Mercier was running deep in yet another major online tournament, he has two WCOOP titles to his name and six SCOOP to go along with them. While Mercier is great, just as many were there cheering on Thor Hansen.
Hansen is a true poker legend and has been battling cancer for nearly four years. That hasn’t stopped him, perhaps slowed him down at some times, but he’s managed to stay a positive influence and play some damn good poker along the way. Hansen even earned himself a couple WCOOP titles after the doctors said he was “terminal”.
Play was paused for the evening at the end of Level 18, shortly after the elimination of Team PokerStars’ Bryan Huang, but they still weren’t in the money. Despite playing for half a day, there were still 17 players remaining with only 16 getting a piece of the prize pool.
Mark “The Omaholic” Roland was there looking for his first COOP victory to go with his Super Tuesday success. Gambler4444 also has a Super Tuesday victory along with a 2013 SCOOP title and Sunday Million win. secky0222 finished fourth in the 2014 SCOOP-M Main Event, skalexjung sports some 2011 SCOOP-H Stud/8 hardware, and Andrey “Kroko-dill” Zaichenko’s SCOOP and WCOOP titles have him 2/3rds of the way toward the triple crown.
The UK’s Adam “Adamyid” Owen was an interesting character in the mix. Easily the most vocal and he’s had a lot of heart break in major events. He finished fourth only 10 days ago in the opening 2015 WCOOP event but the tough ones have to be his three runner-up results in SCOOP tournaments.
It didn’t take long to get from two tables to the final table, and they reached that point when Fresh_oO_D hit the road in 9th place to set things up for the final run. Thor Hansen was one of the shorter stacks throughout Day 2 and was able to make the cash but fell short of the final table.
Event 33 Final Table
Seat 1: ViTaMin_F22 (182,265 in chips)
Seat 2: ekziter (128,940 in chips)
Seat 3: Jamie Keeler (58,615 in chips)
Seat 4: JasonMercier (113,775 in chips)
Seat 5: Gambler4444 (138,410 in chips)
Seat 6: Andrey “Kroko-dill” Zaichenko (118,850 in chips)
Seat 7: secky0222 (240,440 in chips)
Seat 8: Adam “Adamyid” Owen (148,705 in chips)
Gambler4444 hit twice by Owen; gone early
Gambler4444 (with a really bad Badugi hand in his name) began the final table in the top half of the chip counts but that was his peak chip count for the rest of the tournament.
Nothing went right, he soon found himself at the other end of the spectrum and found himself up against Adam “Adamyid” Owen in back-to-back hands. The first hand saw him discard one on each of the three draws and checking as first to act.
He called bets on the second and third draws before mucking after seeing Owen’s sweet 6♠4♦3♣2♥ Badugi. That left Gambler444 with only 2,410 in his stack and they went in the middle after a Jason Mercier raise.
Not a good sign for Gambler444, Mercier and Owen capped the betting before the first draw. Mercier stood pat, Gambler4444 drew one card, and Owen stood pat behind. Mercier checked/called a bet from Owen before thinking better of his hand to draw two this time around.
Gambler4444 stayed with his routine and drew one more while Owen continued to stand pat. Mercier check/folded to the second draw big bet from Owen and it was heads up. Gambler4444 drew one more card and hit his 9♦8♠7♣4♥ Badugi.
That would have been a good hand most times but Owen was dealt 7♦5♥3♠2♣ for a better Badugi to send Gambler4444 out of the Championship in 8th place for $2,254.
It’s Zaichenko’s time to deal with Adamyid
Before Owen knocked Gambler4444 nearly down to the felt, he put a big hurt on Zaichenko as well. That occurred when Owen hit his 10♦3♠2♣A♥ Badugi on the first draw while Zaichenko called bets all the way down.
Zaichenko hung around long enough to ladder up with Gambler4444’s dismissal but he had to take a shot at some point. He put in a third bet against Mercier before the first draw then stood pat on the first two draws firing a bet each time to get all-in.
Mercier stood pat on the third draw and Zaichenko broke his hand to pull one last card for his tournament. Mercier showed a 9♠5♥3♦2♣ Badugi while the best Zaichenko could pull was a three-card 10♠7♦4♣2♦ Badugi to go out in 7th place.
secky0222 three-cards Keeler out of the Championship
Jamie Keeler, playing under the secret name Jamie Keeler, was sitting pretty and it took three hands to get the Brit out of the tournament. The first was a 92,000 chip pot going to Mercier, then it was another 75,000 pot going ViTaMin_F22.
Both those hands left Keeler feeling short and the final hand was against secky0222 after he called a raise from the small blind. secky0222 drew one card while Keeler drew two and called a bet from secky0222. It was the same thing on the next round, secky0222 drawing one and Keeler drawing two, but this time Keeler moved all-in after a bet from secky0222.
They each discarded one on the final draw and each tabled a three-card Badugi. secky0222’s 5♥3♣2♦ was just a little better than Keeler’s 6♠3♥A♣ to send the next player off the final table, a 6th place finish for $3,757.
No seventh COOP for Mercier this time around
Jason Mercier making a COOP final table is almost common place these days. If you see him late in a big online event, you just have to assume he’ll find a way to get there.
The spectator count was climbing throughout the final table but dropped quickly at the mid-point. Mercier was hanging around the middle of the counts for most of the second day and finally ran out of space.
He lost a big pot to secky0222 that left him in the dangerzone, a spot for Owen to pick off the rock star player. It began when the two of them capped the betting with ViTaMin_F22 before the first draw to get a “gg in advance” from ekziter.
Owen and ViTaMin_F22 stood pat while Mercier drew one card. ViTaMin_F22 bet out, Mercier called for his last 1,250 and Owen came along. The two live players stood pat once again, they checked, and the same action came on the third draw.
Owen showed a 9♦8♥4♣A♠ Badugi to get mucks from the other two players. Neither could match the hand and one of the best players in the world hit the door in 5th place for $4,884.
ViTaMin_F22 loses the war of attrition
Half of the final table players were gone and the four remaining players settled in for a grind. There were some pretty big swings at these levels so they were pushing chips around for a while.
Someone had to run into a cold streak and it was ViTaMin_F22 succumbing first. He lost an 87,000 chip pot to ekziter and tried to get something back on the next hand when he called a bet in the big blind from secky0222.
The first two draws were the same pattern; each drew one card, ViTaMin_F22 fired a bet, and secky0222 called. ViTaMin_F22 stood pat on the final draw, secky0222 drew one final card, and called when ViTaMin_F22 put in his last 10,530.
It was a good draw and easy call for secky0222 with 6♣5♥4♦2♠ and ViTaMin_F22’s 9♣7♠3♦2♥ Badugi was only good for 4th place and $6,763.
secky0222 slow burn comes to an end
If four-handed play seemed to go on forever, it really took a break on the action after ViTaMin_F22 hit the rail. The last three players pushed their chips around the table for nearly 40 minutes before anyone was in danger.
Turns out it was going to be secky0222, architect of a few eliminations already today, to be the next to fall. As with most limit games, the major hands just knock a player’s stack way down. The knockouts come later.
secky0222’s bad hand came against Owen in a six-digit pot when one Queen-high Badugi beat another. Owen’s Q♦7♣5♠3♥ was good enough against Q♥J♦9♣4♠ to put secky0222 in trouble.
secky0222’s final hand saw more action then most of them at the final table, there were three bets in the pot each for secky0222 and ekziter before the first draw.
ekziter drew one card while secky0222 drew two and the chips got in the middle with the third bet from ekziter. secky0222 stood pat after ekziter drew one card but decided against that strategy after ekziter stood pat on the third draw.
They each tabled a Badugi but ekziter drew better to a 8♦6♣5♠A♥ while the best secky0222 could do was 10♥6♠2♣A♦ for a second best Badugi. It was a struggle but secky0222 was gone in 3rd place to set up a heads up match between Owen and ekziter.
Seat 2: ekziter (422,025 in chips)
Seat 8: Adamyid (707,975 in chips)
Owen had a nice lead over ekziter at the start of heads up play and offered to look at the numbers, if he could get a 2% bump when they were run. ekziter politely declined and off they went.
Heads up in limit games can take a long while and this one was no different. There were swings both ways with each taking a turn at the top. The two raged on for more than an hour and hit their second break of the match.
At this point, ekziter had pulled up to a 10-to-1 chip lead on Owen and it only lasted three more hands once they returned. They each picked up the blinds in the first two hands before they each hit a decent heads up hand.
Owen called a raise and drew two cards followed by ekziter taking three new ones, then called a bet from Owen. ekziter must have liked his first draw because he only took one card the next time around with Owen doing the same.
Two big bets later and Owen was all-in with a big draw. They each took one more card for the final time but neither hit. It turns out ekziter had a bigger draw and his three-card Badugi 6♥4♦2♣ was better than Owen’s 7♦4♥2♠.
Owen was drawing live for the double up but missed out for yet another COOP second place finish. ekziter is your latest WCOOP winner after picking up the Badugi Championship and the $18,410 to go along with it.
WCOOP-33: $700 FL Badugi Championship
Prize pool: $75,145
Places paid: 16
1. ekziter (Belarus) $18,410.55
2. Adam “Adamyid” Owen (United Kingdom) $12,774.65
3. secky0222 (Japan) $9,768.85
4. ViTaMin_F22 (China) $6,763.05
5. Jason Mercier (Canada) $4,884.42
6. Jamie Keeler (United Kingdom) $3,757.25
7. Andrey “Kroko-dill” Zaichenko (Russia) $3,005.80
8. Gambler4444 (Austria) $2,254.35