WCOOP was wild, man. Record-breaking, too. And it climaxed with two huge Main Events, including the $55 buy-in “Low” version won by Finland’s Jesse “Jesseonboss” Laakkonen for a $130,035.12 first prize.
Over the last couple of days we’ve had the chance to speak with nearly everyone who made the Main Event-L final table, including Laakkonen, thereby making our report of how it all happened all the more fun. Start scrolling to learn their stories, see their faces, and even watch some of the action from the exciting final table.
Before we get to the final table and start sharing stories from those who made it, let’s get some numbers out of the way. They are super-mega-ridicu-big.
There were 37,065 entries in this three-day event (24,477 uniques). That meant a $1,853,250 prize pool that well exceeded the $1.25M guarantee. That also meant that with starting stacks of 25,000, there were a total of 926,625,000 chips in play (!).
A total of 6,007 places paid, with a min-cash being $89.69 and more than $180K up top, although as we’ll talk about below a final-table deal meant multiple players would realize six-figure scores.
In terms of entries, it was the third-largest field of all 219 events of this year’s WCOOP (only behind the “phased” events #01-L and #02-M). We might add as well that there were a handful of players who freerolled their way into the tournament via satellites, with “Choggard1997” of the U.K. the highest-finisher among them in 211st (for $750.93).
After two days of play just 16 were left, and on Day 3 they swiftly played down to nine in about an hour and 40 minutes.
“Ramirojnunes” (16th), “calv201” (15th), and “Ässnacke” (14th) were the first out, each earning $3,991.52. “C4trups!!” (13th) and “Lefterissin” (12th) followed, each of whom picked up $5,644.99. Then start-of-day-3 leader “vladobu6i” (11th) and “554477” (10th) were knocked out, with each taking away $7,983.05.
The final nine were assembled around one last table, and on just the third hand after that “rofllocktree” open-shoved from the small blind for a little less than eight big blinds with Q♠9♣, “Tobotheman” called from the big blind with K♣9♠, and the better hand held to send rofllocktree out in 9th ($11,289.44).
The official final table was set.
Seat 1: alexxt7 (Romania) — 181,507,654
Seat 2: Béla “SlyderS1” Tóth (Hungary) — 33,293,868
Seat 3: Klimbo (Canada) — 31,644,958
Seat 4: empty
Seat 5: Tobotheman (Finland) — 81,709,164
Seat 6: Jesse “Jesseonboss” Laakkonen (Finland) — 167,975,808
Seat 7: Thomas “Thomastom3” Bressler (Germany) — 103,794,557
Seat 8: Leonardo “Oreo+Coke” Ramos (Brazil) — 39,970,372
Seat 9: Ramiro “RamiroUY” Miqueiro (Uruguay) — 286,728,619
Leonardo “Oreo+Coke” Ramos of Brazil was among the short stacks to start the final table.
“Before Day 3 started all of my friends were texting and calling… it was an incredible sensation!” says Ramos.
Ramos hails from Curitiba, a hotbed of poker located in the southern part of the Brazil, home to many players including Ramos’s friend Yuri “theNERDguy” Martins. Ramos has been a full-time pro for five years, the first couple he spent while also attending college.
Getting to the final table understandably exceeded his expectations. Truth be told, he was sure he’d be done early on Day 2, having started the day short-stacked and therefore jumping into several other events.
“I didn’t think I had a huge future in the tournament,” he says. “But then I ran so good I stopped registering those other events.” Within an hour he’d more than quadrupled his stack, and with 150 players left he’d taken over the chip lead where he stayed for much of the rest of the day until the final levels.
“I was so nervous at the beginning of Day 3,” he says, noting how he was one of the shorter stacks among the final 16. But he hung on to make the final eight.
“I remember when we got to the final table, I felt like I had accomplished my mission. ‘Everything now is okay,’ I thought. ‘Time to have fun.'”
Alas for Ramos, he’d soon pick up K♠K♥ but unfortunately ran into the A♣A♠ of Thomas “Thomastom3” Bressler. An ace flopped, then a king turned, but the one-outer didn’t come on the river and Ramos was out in eighth.
“Sick cooler,” he shrugs. “I jam, he calls… haha.” Even so, like the others making it this far, Ramos was more than pleased with the accomplishment.
About 25 minutes after that “Béla “SlyderS1″ Tóth” had slid into first position in the counts while Canada’s “Klimbo” had slipped to become the short stack.
A pro from Toronto who has been playing the last 10 years, Klimbo is mostly a cash game player although well understands how unlikely it is to navigate such an enormous field to be among the last players standing in a tournament such as this.
“I thought it was impossible. I’ve played quite a few of these events with 30,000-40,000 players… and this time it worked out!”
“Obviously you have to get extremely lucky to get this far,” he continues. “I don’t think I’ve ever been in a tournament where I’ve won from behind as many times as I did in this one. Even leading up to the final table, I feel like I got it in bad every time but somehow managed to win,” he says.
In fact at the final table he points out he got all in twice at a disadvantage versus pocket queens — once with ace-jack, another time with ace-eight — and both times managed to survive. “But I couldn’t get anything going after that,” he adds.
Another shove with his last 11 big blinds holding A♥6♦ from the button followed, and this time Jesse “Jesseonboss” Laakkonen woke up in the big blind with A♣J♥. The board ran clean for Laakkonen, and Klimbo was out in seventh.
“The final day I didn’t really get any good spots or hands to do much with, so getting to seventh still feels like more than I deserved, in a way, if I can say that.”
It wasn’t his biggest cash, although as he points out nothing in his career has ever come close in terms of ROI. “It was a little disappointing, but I’m still very happy with it,” he says.
Over the next 45 minutes both Laakkonen and Ramiro “RamiroUY” Miqueiro built up big stacks while the others began to slip down the counts.
Then came a hand in which “alexxt7” of Romania picked up 7♠7♥ and open-jammed for about 12-and-a-half BBs from early position. It folded around to Laakkonen in the small blind who having been dealt A♦K♠ reraised to isolate.
The big blind folded, then the board ran out A♣3♠A♠4♠3♥ to give Laakkonen a full house and end alexxt7’s run in sixth.
Meanwhile Germany’s Thomas “Thomastom3” Bressler was also having quite a memorable day.
We mentioned earlier how he picked up aces versus kings with eight left to knock out Leonardo “Oreo+Coke” Ramos. He’d already experienced some excitement before that hand. In fact, it wasn’t long before it he himself was nearly eliminated… and with a huge crowd watching him, too!
Bressler is one of many players who are part of the GRND Community led by Team Online Pro Felix Schneiders. As Bressler told us this week, he had been playing poker for small stakes for more than 10 years, but not long ago began getting more serious about the game. He started to follow some of the Twitch streams — including Schneiders’ — and as a result began to enjoy some nice results.
Bressler plays part-time, having a full-time job as an online marketing agency. Late last year he managed to win a $7.50 turbo for $750, then this past July won a Bounty Builder on PokerStars for $8.5K — his biggest ever cash before this week.
After enjoying the chip lead for a time on Day 1 and ending Day 2 second in the counts, Schneiders streamed Day 3 so the community could get behind Bressler as he continued his run.
“We had about 800 viewers,” says Bressler. “Such huge support! I joined the voice chat and it was a great sweat with the whole community… it was really an exciting day.”
By the time the final table began Bressler was in the middle of the pack. “Then at eight-handed I was at about 30 big blinds when I had a crucial pot,” he explains. “I opened ace-queen offsuit on the button, the big blind three-bet, and I four-bet jammed and he called — he had queens.”
Ramiro “RamiroUY” Miqueiro was Bressler’s opponent, and by the turn things were looking especially dire for Bressler. Watch what happened next:
“I binked the river!” laughs Bressler, noting how with those three hearts on the board by the turn only a non-heart ace could have saved him on the final card.
After that he continued to battle despite getting his pocket aces cracked by an opponent’s jacks.
“I was in the small blind with 10♥9♥ and went all in for my last 10 big blinds and got called by A♣4♠,” he explains, with Ramiro once again the opponent who had him at risk. As it happened, Bressler would flop a flush draw (6♥J♣2♥) and turn a straight draw as well (8♦) with his ace also still live, but the river 4♣ bricked and he was out in fifth. “Classic too many outs, I think!” he says.
Still, he was more than pleased with his fifth-place finish, something the entire GRND community can celebrate as well.
They battled onward. Ramiro “RamiroUY” Miqueiro would overcome that early setback versus Bressler to regain the chip lead, and the final four players ultimately struck a deal to divide up the remaining prize money, leaving $12,500 of it aside for the winner.
Speaking of battling back, that was certainly the story of the Hungarian Béla “SlyderS1” Tóth’s tournament as well.
As he told us, the first two days had gone smoothly for him, generally speaking, with a couple of memorable hands. A full-time poker player for 10 years, the Main Event wasn’t the only tournament Tóth had registered for when it began.
“The first day was Sunday, and I was playing a lot of other tournaments and so was not focused too much on the Main Event,” he says. “I remember one lucky hand when I doubled with A♠Q♥ through A♣K♠. I caught a queen on the river and survived, and I think I had an average stack to end the day.”
“On Day 2 I tried to focus more, and it worked out well for me,” Tóth continues. “I built up my chips, and with 43 players left had a big hand where I had A♥9♥. I three-bet preflop and my opponent called, and the flop came 7♠10♥J♥. When I continued he check-raised all in and I called, and he had K♦J♦. The turn was the 7♦, but the river 5♥ gave me the flush and I eliminated him. I then finished the day ninth out of 16.”
Then came Day 3. “The final day was a crazy rollercoaster for me,” he says. With 13 left he lost a flip (his pocket fives vs. king-eight) and was suddenly down to just two big blinds. “But I can come back!” he thought to himself, and sure enough he did.
At six-handed he had grabbed the chip lead, but lost it after losing a big preflop all-in versus Tobotheman. Tóth had A♣Q♥ versus his opponent’s A♦9♣, but a nine came on the river. “I thought that was really the end,” says Tóth, but he persevered and managed to make it to the four-handed deal.
A little after that Tobotheman was the one taking the last of Tóth’s chips, too, after Tóth open-jammed his last dozen BBs from the small blind with jack-seven, Tobotheman called with ace-five, and the board ran dry.
Even so, Tóth had managed to secure a second career six-figure online score after having won a SCOOP event back in 2013 for almost $170K.
They were down to three. As mentioned, the Uruguayan Ramiro “RamiroUY” Miqueiro was the biggest beneficiary at deal-making time, having secured more than $128K for himself before play resumed.
“After that I played without any pressure,” he told us. A high school math teacher, Miqueiro had been in a downswing at the tables prior to this event. He was also still lamenting his last big run in a major tournament when he made it to a Sunday Million final table back in February before going out quickly in eighth.
Like others Miqueiro had a good start to the tournament (“I doubled my stack in the first few hands”), and ended Day 1 strong (“I was 11th out of 761 players, I think”). Then on Day 2 he had a few ups and downs but ultimately ended well again, entering the final day third in chips.
“On the third day I was not running good,” he says. “If I had run better, I might have won the tournament.” Indeed, we’ve already seen an example of what Miqueiro is talking about with that queens vs. ace-queen hand versus Thomas “Thomastom3” Bressler at eight-handed. That boon for Bressler was misery for Miqueiro.
“That was more than half my stack,” Miqueiro notes. “Mentally I got down a little, but I kept playing poker — finding spots, winning hands, and increasing my stack again. I stayed aggressive, and I think that was the key to my doing well.”
A little later more misfortune followed when a short stack doubled through him — he had ace-king, but his opponent had aces. “I can’t escape that hand,” he says.
But he kept up the pressure to build up again, grabbing the lead before the deal was made. Then at three-handed and when shortest of the three he reraise-pushed with A♥5♣, got called by Jesse “Jesseonboss” Laakkonen who had Q♣Q♦, and the board came 9♠7♠K♥J♥2♠ to send Miqueiro out in third.
“I am super happy,” he says. “This tournament was kind of like revenge for me for that Sunday Million I couldn’t win. I won more than first place did in that one!”
It’s worth adding as well that Miqueiro satellited into this one for $18.75, meaning he won back 6,848 times what he invested! That’s one of the biggest ROI’s of the entire WCOOP, as chronicled on our “All the stats, records, and oddness” page.
Heads-up began with Jesse “Jesseonboss” Laakkonen enjoying the chip edge with just over 510 million to the Tobotheman’s 416 million — two Finnish players at the finish.
A full-time online gamer who also plays Fortnite competitively (where he’s enjoyed success as well), Laakkonen mostly plays pot-limit Omaha cash games although likes to jump in the big online MTTs. Prior to this week, his biggest score had been for $11K a few years back.
“Day 1 went easily,” he tells us. “I didn’t have any tough spots and played pretty well. But on Day 2 I almost busted after losing with queens to ace-king. But I managed to grind my stack up to be chip leader for a long time before losing the last hand of the day.”
Still one of the big stacks entering Day 3, Laakkonen would be up and down as the field winnowed, losing some all-ins and winning others before making it to the four-handed deal. Like Miqueiro, he, too, felt after that “the pressure was gone and I could play my game for the rest of the tournament.”
Heads-up would last more than half an hour and saw both players enjoy the advantage at different points. “The most memorable hand,” says Laakkonen, was “where I called down a massive bluff for my tournament life with third pair.”
Watching the replay, it was both a bold bluff and an excellent call. It began with Tobotheman raising the button with Q♣J♠, Laakkonen three-betting with J♦8♣, and Tobotheman calling. The flop came K♥8♦10♣ and after Laakkonen c-bet, Tobotheman called. Laakkonen then checked the 7♠ turn, Tobotheman bet, and Laakkonen called.
Laakkonen checked again after the 7♣ river completed the board, and that’s when Tobotheman bluff-shoved to put his opponent to the ultimate test. Laakkonen thought hard about it, but ultimately made the right choice.
“After that hand, I had like an 8-to-1 chip lead and knew I was going to win the tournament and the remaining $12.5K,” he says.
Tobotheman did manage to double a couple of times to keep things going a little longer, but finally he jammed with K♦4♦, Laakkonen called with A♥7♦, and after the board came 9♥3♠6♥9♦8♥ Laakkonen was the champ.
Big congratulations to everyone who made deep runs in 2019 WCOOP Main Event-L, and especially to this year’s champion — Jesse “Jesseonboss” Laakkonen!
2019 WCOOP-70-L Main Event ($55 NLHE 8-Max) results
Entries: 37,065 (24,477 entries, 12,588 re-entries)
Prize pool: $1,853,250
Places paid: 6,007
1. Jesse “Jesseonboss” Laakkonen (Finland) — $130,035.12*
2. Tobotheman (Finland) — $96,981.68*
3. Ramiro “RamiroUY” Miqueiro (Uruguay) — $128,412.08*
4. Béla “SlyderS1” Tóth (Hungary) — $107,118.88*
5. Thomas “Thomastom3” Bressler (Germany) — $45,156.10
6. alexxt7 (Romania) — $31,930.38
7. Klimbo (Canada) — $22,578.33
8. Leonardo “Oreo+Coke” Ramos (Brazil) — $15,965.37
*denotes four-way deal
WCOOP is over, but the online action continues. Click here to open a PokerStars account.