A couple of days ago, Dutch poker pro Rens “Rens02” Feenstra won a big WCOOP event. In fact, it took him weeks to do so — it was the “phased” Event #1-H ($215 no-limit hold’em) that began way back at the start of the series.
Feenstra has won a lot before, including both live where he’s collected more than $1.2 million in tournament winnings and online where his accomplishments include a Sunday Million win for $234K.
In this one he managed to top a huge 11,254 entry field to earn a handsome $189,829.64 first prize. After multiple Phase 1’s played down to 1,273, those survivors met back up to play out Phase 2 on Sunday and Monday. And from that massive field, once Feenstra made it to the final two, there was a familiar screen name across the virtual felt.
“He’s been around ever since I started playing live poker — he’s always been around,” said Feenstra with a laugh when talking to PokerStars Blog.
It was Feenstra’s friend and fellow countryman “Pappe_Ruk,” a.k.a. Joep van den Bijgaart, who was the last opponent standing between him and his first WCOOP title.
Let’s back up a little. How did the long road to the final table go for Feenstra?
“I qualified pretty quickly… I’m not sure, but it was my first or second try,” says Feenstra. Indeed, the tourney journey was essentially smooth for him for the most part — until, that is, they reached the final day of play.
“I was short in the last two tables,” he says. “Then I won deuces against kings for my tournament life. And then like two hands later I won jacks against tens, again for my tournament life. I went from being one of the shortest stacks to chip leader in just a couple of hands.”
Feenstra still had the big stack when the final table started, and from there he took full advantage of being in such a favorable position.
“At the final table I just made a couple of big hands, and I kept my chip lead. I kept growing my stack pretty comfortably. I got into a spot where we were five-handed and I was huge chip leader — I could really push the other people around. And so I had a chance to grow my stack even more,” he explains.
As one of the shorter stacks, van den Bijgaart couldn’t escape Feenstra’s pressure, either.
“I actually bluffed him in a huge pot with around five players left,” says Feenstra. “He made a big laydown. Then at four-handed… [when] they were all struggling trying not to finish fourth, he shoved king-queen into my aces — and he won that one. So we had some confrontations at the final table.”
It was only at three-handed that Feenstra had any serious difficulty, slipping from 180 million to 110 million at one point. “Then I won a big flip against the guy who finished third,” he says.
“And I got heads-up with my friend.”
The pair quickly made a deal and played it out. “It was very cool to be heads-up with him,” says Feenstra. “The heads-up was fairly short. He made a big bluff once after I had checked back my two pair on a 7-6-2 board. Then he bluffed twice more. I had started with a 2-to-1 chip lead, so after that he was really short and it was just a matter of time before we got into an all-in situation. I ended up winning the last one with my K♠2♠ versus his 10♠9♠.”
Feenstra says he likes the “phased” tournament structure. In fact, he made a deep run in the same event during SCOOP earlier in the year. “I think I got 14th or something — so back-to-back strong finishes.”
Winning this one was doubly sweet for Feenstra given how most of this year’s WCOOP had gone for him.
“I was struggling for the first two-and-a-half weeks. Then last Sunday it started going my way and I won this one, which was my last chance to make up for the losses I had made, so that was really cool.”
“It should never be too easy, right?” he chuckles.
Feenstra will enjoy some well-earned down time over the next few days while he decides whether or not play WSOP Europe. “Then after in November there’s a couple of fun series here in the Netherlands. There’s the World Series of Poker Circuit in Rotterdam and then the Master Classics in Amsterdam which is one of my favorite series, so I’m definitely going to be there for the whole time.”
Such is the poker pro’s life. Win or lose, there’s always more poker on the horizon. Best not to get overly fazed.
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