What a wild three weeks it has been! Seventy tournaments, with more than $66 million won between them, making it the richest-ever World Championship of Online Poker in its 14-year history on PokerStars.
As is customary, the festival culminated with the Main Event, the $5,200 buy-in no-limit hold’em tournament that poker players around the world point to each year as the most coveted title to win online. For the first time the tournament took place over three days, and as it happened it produced three $1 million winners thanks to a four-handed final table deal from which Coenaldinho7 of Belgium emerged as the champion.
Coenaldinho7 entered the final table ninth out of nine in chips, and indeed was begging for some kind of chop even before the final table began. Such a deal was ultimately made, and the Belgian went on from there to win the title, a cool $1.3 million, and the WCOOP Main Event bracelet.
Want to know about his strategy? Coenaldinho7 reveals it here
Day 1: From 1,995 to 246
There were just under 900 players seated when the first hands were dealt on Sunday, although by the third hour of play twice that many had bought in. By the time late registration closed at the six-hour mark, a total of 1,995 players had registered for the event, which meant a prize pool of $10,000,000 would be divided between the top 243 finishers with a cool $1,760,500 scheduled to go to the winner barring a final table deal.
By then the field had already been carved down under 1,400 players, with the Swiss player amountain sitting on a mountain of chips (relatively speaking) to enjoy being an early leader. Team PokerStars Pro Jan Heitmann was also among the top 10 at that point, though would unfortunately slide to be knocked out shy of the cash later on Day 1.
A couple of hours later the field had shrunk below 1,000, with Henrick “hhecklen” Hecklen of Denmark then sitting in first position, then two more hours after that the field had been whittled under 500 with Poland’s AlwaysiNduCe — who would be around a lot longer in this one — then leading the way.
They continued to push toward the bursting of the money bubble, with earlier leader amountain among those hitting the rail in 315th. At last the scheduled stoppage of play arrived with 246 players making it to the end of the night — three eliminations shy of the cash.
EspenasApart of Norway was the overnight chip leader with a big stack of more than 1.4 million chips, with several recognizable names on the first page of the counts including Jason “TeamWispy” Helder, Adam “Adamyid” Owen, Isaac “westmenloAA” Baron, Shyam “G’s Zee” Srinivasan, and Alex “MrKloutt” Casals. Also still in the hunt were Team PokerStars Pro Adi Agarwal and Naoya “nkeyno” Kihara of Team PokerStars Pro Online.
Day 2: From 246 to 9
Day 2 began with a couple of quick knockouts, then a lengthy 45-minute bubble before two-time WCOOP winner Jonathan “Iftarii” Jaffe unfortunately fell in 244th to burst the bubble.
The bustouts came quickly thereafter, and just three hours into the day they were down to 100 players with Team PokerStars Pro Online member Naoya “nkeyno” Kihara (197th, $13,000), Isaac “westmenloAA” Baron (151st, $14,500), Adam “Adamyid” Owen (140th, $15,000), Jason “TeamWispy” Helder (121st, $16,000), and Henrik “hhecklen” Hecken (116th, $17,000) among the fallen, and FOO-92 sitting in the top spot. FOO-92 made the WCOOP Main Event final table in 2012, finishing sixth the year Marat “maratik” Sharafutdinov of “i wont million” fame won after qualifying with FPPs.
Speaking of, as the tournament continued to whittle down we became increasingly intrigued with the progress of Dominik “DomMarty” Martan who qualified for the event with just 12 FPPs. Martan was in the top 20 to start Day 2, and still had a big stack until later in the evening before finally falling in 53rd for a $25,000 cash. Read more about Martan’s wild ride here.
Others falling over the latter stages of Day 2 included Stephen “stevie444” Chidwick (45th, $28,000), Alex “MrKloutt” Casals (44th, $28,000), Aaron “aejones” Jones (37th, $28,000), 2014 SCOOP Main Event (High) champion Ivan “vandir4rek” Soshnikov (35th, $32,000), Tommy “TMoney0209” Miller (30th, $32,000), and Christian “eisenhower1” Jeppsson (29th, $32,000).
After having challenged for the lead not too long before, David “dpeters17” Peters next slid to fall in 28th ($32,000), and with three tables left Sure_Shot-TP had moved up into the top spot with Team PokerStars Pro Adi Agarwal in third position and FOO-92 having fallen back below the average.
Nopaleva, who final tabled the $51K Super High Roller (Event #47) to finish fourth, was part of the next group of knockouts, going out in 23rd ($37,000). Then Agarwal would jump into the chip lead a little later after his Q♦Q♠ held versus MountainRo$e’s A♥K♣ to knock the latter out in 22nd ($37,000). Then when Pascal “Pass_72” Lefrancois went out in 19th (also worth $37,000), they were down to the final two tables with Alexander “joiso” Kostritsyn the new chip leader.
Having slipped to short-stacked status, FOO-92 then fell in 18th, followed by Tatiana “Mysters_Y” Barausova (17th) and tnxcomeagain (16th), each of whom earned $43,000 for their finishes. Sure_Shot-TP (15th) and adamde2ori (14th) followed them to the rail, then shortly after Adi Agarwal was all in with A♦Q♠ versus chip leader Kostritsyn’s A♥K♣. The board ran out nine-high, and Agarwal finished in 13th, like the previous two knocked out players earning $53,000.
They went to hand-for-hand, and it wasn’t long before WICKED617 was all in with K♠Q♣ against AlwaysiNduCe’s A♣K♥. The board didn’t help WICKED617, whose like Clutch Hero and lyonsden6 earned a $63,000 payday.
The final nine reassembled around a single table, and after playing a single small-pot hand play was paused for the night with Kostritsyn still in front. Here’s how the stacks looked then:
1. Alexander “joiso” Kostritsyn (Russia) — 19,815,627
2. AlwaysiNduCe (Poland) — 18,662,305
3. K.T.A.-1985 (Czech Republic) — 17,782,920
4. Ravic85 (Russia) — 11,153,871
5. Nolet20 (Canada) — 10,786,197
6. beertjes79 (Belgium) — 8,237,109
7. bindernutnut (Canada) — 5,118,148
8. Rory “Mr.Kingball” Brown (Ireland) — 4,489,837
9. Coenaldinho7 (Belgium) — 3,703,986
Day 3: From 9 to a Champion
Each of the final nine was guaranteed at least $100,000 (ninth-place money), but all were eyeing the seven-figure prizes up top.
The final day began with Ravic85 appropriately reprising maratik’s famous “i wont million” line in chat. Meanwhile as noted the short stack Coenaldinho7 was already proposing a nine-way deal before the first hand of the day was dealt, though the suggestions went unheeded. Then it only took a little over five minutes for the first final table elimination to occur.
bindernutnut bounced in ninth
With the blinds at 125K/250K, bindernutnut opened for 500,000 from early position, then watched K.T.A.-1985 three-bet to 1.2 million from the hijack seat. It folded back around to bindernutnut who shoved all in for 4,968,148 total, and K.T.A.-1985 called.
bindernutnut showed A♥K♠ and needed help from the board to best K.T.A.-1985’s 9♦9♥. But the community cards didn’t cooperate, coming 7♥J♦5♣5♦9♣, and bindernutnut’s run was halted in ninth as K.T.A.-1985 became the new leader.
Kostritsyn cut down in eighth
“We have passed the point of buying luxury cars and are moving onto house purchases” cracked final table host and Team PokerStars Pro Barry Greenstein in the chat box as play continued. “Who are you calling ‘we’?” asked Kostritsyn in response.
Short stacks Coenaldinho7 and Rory “Mr.Kingball” Brown both enjoyed double-ups before the first hour was done, bringing both back to the pack as AlwaysiNduCe took over the chip lead.
More than an hour went by, during which time Alexander “joiso” Kostritsyn slipped to less than 6.5 million to become one of the shorter stacks. Kostritsyn was looking to earn a second WCOOP bracelet after having bested a field of 1,612 in a $1,050 NLHE event in 2010 for a $269,284.60 payday.
Then with the blinds up to 175K/350K, Kostritsyn min-raised to 700,000 from middle position, AlwaysiNduCe called from a seat over, and beertjes79 came along as well from the big blind.
The flop came 10♦8♦5♣, and after beertjes79 checked, Kostritsyn bet 1,077,500 and AlwaysiNduCe called. Both checked the 4♣ turn, then the river brought the J♦ and an all-in push from joiso for 4,640,972. AlwaysiNduCe made the call.
AlwaysiNduCe had 10♣10♠, having flopped top set. Meanwhile Kostritsyn had but 9♠6♠ — a busted straight draw — and the Russian was sent railward in eighth.
Play continued, then with the blinds at 200K/400K it was beertjes79 jamming for almost 4.35 million from early position and then-short K.T.A.-1985 calling all in for 3,690,090 after posting the big blind.
beertjes79 had A♠J♣ and two live cards versus K.T.A.-1985’s 7♣7♠, and while the 4♣3♣3♥ flop hit neither of them the A♣ paired beertjes79’s ace. The river was the K♣, and K.T.A.-1985 fell in seventh.
Brown downed in sixth
Just four hands later, Rory “Mr.Kingball” Brown was the one open-raising all in, this time from the button for 4,329,674 (not quite nine big blinds). Chip leader AlwaysiNduCe called the shove from the big blind, turning over A♦10♣ while Brown needed help with J♠8♠.
The flop rolled out 2♥5♠A♠, pairing AlwaysiNduCe but giving Brown flush hopes. But the turn was the 10♥ and river the 8♣, leaving AlwaysiNduCe with two pair, Brown with one, and a sixth-place finish for Mr.Kingball.
— Rory Brown (@TheFranchise_) September 29, 2015
Deal? No… no deal
Soon the final five stopped proceedings in order to talk about a deal to reapportion most of the $4,723,000 of the prize pool left to be distributed.
As mentioned, the scheduled payouts had $1,760,500 going to the winner. From there it was $1,210,000 (2nd), $790,000 (3rd), $562,500 (4th), and $400,000 (5th).
At the time AlwaysiNduCe was the big chip leader with more than 48.6 million with Coenaldinho7 having climbed up into second position as the nearest challenger with not quite 20.9 million.
Both “ICM”-based figures and “chip chop” numbers were produced, leaving $200,000 to the side for the winner in each case. Here’s a table showing how those numbers looked:
All but AlwaysiNduCe liked the look of the “ICM” figures, with the eager-to-deal Coenaldinho7 even declining asking for extra to make a seven-figure score. “I could say hey no I want 1 million,” typed Coenaldinho7, “but i settle, I agree.”
Meanwhile AlwaysiNduCe insisted on the “chip chop” numbers which if agreed to would actually give AlwaysiNduCe a chance to earn more than the 1st-place prize if AlwaysiNduCe went on to win. The others all said no to that, and after several minutes of discussion no deal was made.
Ravic85 run out in fifth
A big hand followed soon after that saw Coenaldinho7 double through AlwaysiNduCe to grab away the chip lead, although AlwaysiNduCe was able to wrestle it back shortly afterwards.
Nolet20 then doubled through beertjes79 to climb out of the chip cellar, then some time later beertjes79 was able to double-up through Coenaldinho7 with queens versus jacks to survive as well.
A little later Nolet20 min-raised to 1.2 million and got a couple of callers in Coenaldinho7 (small blind) and Ravic85 (big blind).
The flop came 6♦2♣10♦. Coenaldinho7 checked, Ravic85 bet 1,692,500, Nolet20 called, and Coenaldinho7 called as well. The turn was the 9♣. Coenaldinho7 again checked, and this time Ravic85 shoved all in for 6,544,684. Nolet20 responded by reraise-pushing, forcing a fold from Coenaldinho7.
Ravic85 turned over K♠10♥ for top pair of tens, but Nolet20 had A♦A♠ for a better pair. The river A♥ improved Nolet20 further to a set, and Ravic85 was out in fifth.
We have a deal!
A big hand followed between Nolet20 and AlwaysiNduCe — one in which Nolet20 shoved the river, forcing a fold by AlwaysiNduCe — and suddenly Nolet20 was the chip leader with four remaining. The Canadian was building on a big finish just a couple of months ago — a victory in the MicroMillions 11 Main Event in which Nolet20 topped a 55,524-entry field to turn $22 into $89,854.
At that point everyone checked their “Discuss a deal” boxes once more, and the tournament was paused again. This time Nolet20 was the leader, Coenaldinho7 next, AlwaysiNduCe third and beertjes79 fourth. This time they only looked at “ICM” numbers, again leaving $200K aside for which to play:
After the “ICM” numbers were delivered, AlwaysiNduCe asked the others for a “full 1 000 000” and Nolet20 quickly answered “no.” At that AlwaysiNduCe suggested they play a few more hands in order to try to chip up and get in a position to get the $1 milly, but beertjes79 stepped up to say “i m ok with 800,” being willing to give up just over $50K if needed to make the deal happen. Coenaldinho7 also agreed to take $1.1 million even to help.
From Coenaldinho7 and beertjes79, then, AlwaysiNduCe got enough to get to $1 million even and Nolet20 took the rest, making the final figures…
Left To Play for place 1: $200,000.00
That’s right… three millionaires! And if beertjes79 could pull off a comeback, there’d be a fourth, too, with the $200K still in play!
The quartet took a quick five-minute break before resuming play, and Coenaldinho7 typed a quick note before leaving the computer:
Coenaldinho7: I m gonna wake my girlfriend, she hates poker…
Coenaldinho7: thats bout to change
beertjes79 bumped in fourth
Soon after play resumed, AlwaysiNduCe and Nolet20 were all-in preflop but both had ace-jack suited and split the pot. Two hands later Coenaldinho7 raised 3x to 2.4 million from the button, beertjes79 jammed for 15,295,236 from the blinds, and Coenaldinho7 called.
beertjes79 had A♠J♥ but was behind Coenaldinho7’s A♣Q♠, and after a K♠10♠5♦9♦4♥ runout beertjes79 was done in fourth.
No further than third for Nolet20
After starting the day as the short stack, Coenaldinho7 was now the chip leader with three left. Coenaldinho7 built up further, then AlwaysiNduCe grabbed the lead again after getting all in on the turn on a king-high board with an overpair of aces versus Coenaldinho7 top pair of kings and surviving.
Then came a hand that saw Nolet20 min-raise to 1.6 million from the button, AlwaysiNduCe three-bet to 4 million from the small blind, and Nolet20 call. The flop came 2♠10♥8♣ and AlwaysiNduCe fired a bet of 4 million which Nolet20 called. The turn then brought the 2♥ and a check from AlwaysiNduCe, and after Nolet20 bet 4,888,888, AlwaysiNduCe stuck around.
The river was the 6♠. AlwaysiNduCe checked once more, and Nolet20 pushed all in with the 19,200,016 left. AlwaysiNduCe called, turning over K♦K♣ for kings and deuces. That beat Nolet20’s K♥10♠ for a lesser two pair, and they were down to two.
Coenaldinho7 outlasts AlwaysiNduCe heads-up, collects bracelet
Heads-up began with AlwaysiNduCe enjoying a better than 2-to-1 chip advantage with 69,848,728 to Coenaldinho7’s 29,901,272. But within minutes Coenaldinho7 picked up a couple of big pots to even the match.
Before long Coenaldinho7 had pushed up over 76 million and had a 3-to-1 lead over AlwaysiNduCe who’d slipped under 24 million. Then came a hand in which AlwaysiNduCe min-raised from the button to 2 million, Coenaldinho7 called, and the pair saw a flop come 5♦2♦10♣.
Coenaldinho7 checked, and AlwaysiNduCe continued with a bet of 2 million. Coenaldinho7 then check-raised to 6 million, AlwaysiNduCe called, and the turn brought the K♠. At that Coenaldinho7 led for 15 million, AlwaysiNduCe raised all in to 15,468,728, and Coenaldinho7 called for the extra chips.
AlwaysiNduCe had flopped one pair and turned a second, and had a big advantage over Coenaldinho7’s pair of tens. But then came the river… the 10♦! Trip tens, giving Coenaldinho7 the pot, the extra $200,000, and the WCOOP Main Event bracelet!
WCOOP-69: $5,200 NL Hold’em Main Event
Prize pool: $10,000,000
Places paid: 243
1. Coenaldinho7 (Belgium) $1,300,000.00*
2. AlwaysiNduCe (Poland) $1,000,000.00*
3. Nolet20 (Canada) $1,223,000.00*
4. beertjes79 (Belgium) $800,000.00*
5. Ravic85 (Russia) $400,000.00
6. Rory “Mr.Kingball” Brown (Ireland) $273,000.00
7. K.T.A.-1985 (Czech Republic) $200,000.00
8. Alexander “joiso” Kostritsyn (Russia) $150,000.00
9. bindernutnut (Canada) $100,000.00
* = denotes a four-way deal leaving $200,000 for the winner
Thanks for following our coverage here on the PokerStars Blog of all 70 events of this year’s World Championship of Online Poker. Remember, you can check the WCOOP page for complete results.
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Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.