The stacks were roughly even with three players left in Event #21-M of the 2020 World Championship of Online Poker on PokerStars.
That’s when Canada’s “va1umart” wound up in one of those final table spots everyone loves to find — picking up a pocket pair, flopping a set, and having an opponent make top pair.
Next stop… well… va1umart (to coin a phrase).
The $530 buy-in, six-handed progressive knockout tournament had attracted 1,424 entries.
“I got lucky in a few spots, but also felt like I was playing well,” va1umart told us when recounting the first day of play. “I finished Day 1 in seventh of 36 with around 80 big blinds,” he says. “It was a great finish, and also good to be so deep.”
That comfortable stack helped him negotiate his way to the final table on Day 2. “Then I managed to rally to about even stacks when it was three-way.”
As it happened, va1umart had a couple of formidable foes to get through if he hoped to win.
Daniel “judgedredd13” Charlton was one of them, a player that PocketFives reports has won nearly $2.8 million on PokerStars over the years, putting him just outside the current Top 100 of online players.
Looking the other way at the virtual table, va1umart saw poker pro and coach David “MonkeyBausss” Laka. He’s also racked up more than seven figures online, and also live. In fact, Laka is something of a Spin & Go master, meaning three-handed play was fully in his comfort zone.
Laka would be the one to feature in what turned out to be the decisive hand for va1umart.
“I opened the button with 3-3 and about 40 big blinds effective, and I was three-bet by the big blind.” That would be Laka, and va1umart called the reraise.
“The flop came Q-3-7 two hearts,” he continues. “The big blind down c-bet for one-quarter pot and I called.” (A “down c-bet” refers to a continution bet that is less that what had been bet before the flop, the sizing having been reduced down.)
“The turn was a 7. Check-check. Then the river bricked,” he recalls.
Would va1umart get value with his full house?
“He checked and I bet around three-fourths pot, leaving myself with seven bigs,” he says. “After some thought, villain called with Q-2.”
Flopping a set was nice, but having his opponent also make top pair and picking the right river sizing ensured va1umart got paid. Laka busted in third shortly thereafter, then va1umart outlasted Charlton to earn the title… and really to get paid.
By winning he grabbed the last bounty (plus his own), earning $46,350.95 for finishing first and another $33,416.38 in bounties for an almost $80K payday.
“This was my second biggest score,” says va1umart. That’s after about 10 years of playing off and on, including currently as a pro.
Congratulations to va1umart. And best of luck to him and everyone else seeking value as WCOOP continues!
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