It would take eleven rounds, 21.5 hours and 1,563 bustouts for the winner to be determined in the $530 buy-in Heads Up No Limit Hold’em Event #24 of the World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP). To navigate through such a field is certainly a demanding task, but the winner would be handsomely rewarded with a six figure score on their $530 investment.
The winner would also be the prime beneficiary of a substantial overlay from PokerStars. The event boasted a $1 million dollar guarantee and with 1,564 runners the prize pool came up $218,000 short. True to their word, Stars put up the rest and first place was set to be worth $170,000. Anyone who managed to advance to the 4th round would make the money, but they would still be a long ways off from the final table.
Plenty of recognizable pros advanced through the early rounds. The top 64 players included Stu “thedonator” Paterson (58th), Blake “Balla-B13″ Cahail (49th), Dustin “neverwin” Woolf (45th), Bluff Online Player of the Year contender Jonathan “xxjondxx” Delong (35th), Connor “blanconegro” Drinan (22nd) and Jamie “pokerjamers” Armstrong (19th).
Three big names advanced all the way to the elite eight, but two fell short of the final table. William Thorson did Team PokerStars proud with his 5th place finish while this year’s World Series of Poker Heads-Up Champion Leo “Pechorin” Wolpert put up a stellar 7th place score of his own, losing to Eugene “MyRabbiFoo” Katchalov. Wolpert has yet to sign up for Sunday’s $25,000 High Rollers Heads-Up event, but considering his recent track record, it might be a worthwhile venture for him.
With the eliminations of Thorson, Wolpert, “pilsuhng” and “Dokosoko” the two semi-final matches were set:
“MyRabbiFoo” vs. “imashoku”
“JakusKhan” vs. “joe E scar”
In the former match, the two players exchanged chips in several small pots, but MyRabbiFoo doubled through imashoku to take a big chip lead late in the match. After a series of four preflop raises MyRabbiFoo led out on the J T 5 flop and imashoku called. MyRabbiFoo moved all-in after the 4 fell on the turn and imashoku called with 5 7 for a pair of fives. MyRabbiFoo showed K J for top pair, which held up to give MyRabbiFoor the 6 million chip pot and leave imashoku with 876,000.
Imashoku got down to their final 475,000 before moving all-in from the small blind with Q 8 and MyRabbiFoo quickly called with Q Q. The A J 3 A K didn’t help imashoku and they were out in 4th while MyRabbiFoo was left to wait for the other match to end. While he waited, tournament host Johnny Lodden informed him Stars could pause the clock for a deal if the other finalist wanted to and MyRabbiFoo requested they pause the clock at the start of final table play to do just that.
While MyRabbiFoo was mulling over possible deals, JakusKhan was pulling away from joeEscar at the other semi-final table. JakusKhan had a 2 to 1 chiplead over their opponent when they raised from the button and joe E scar reraised from the big blind. JakusKhan called and the two saw a flop of A 6 3. Joe E scar checked to JakusKhan, who bet 920,000 into the 1.3 million chip pot. Joe E scar then check-raised all-in for 1.4 million total and JakusKhan called with 9 T for a flush draw. The pocket kings of joe E scar had the lead for the moment, but the A on the turn made JakusKhan’s flush and left joe E scar needing a king or an ace to stay alive. The river was the T and JakusKhan advanced to the finals
At the start of play at the final table MyRabbiFoo presented JakusKhan with a deal that would give $140,000 to the winner and $120,000 to the runner-up. Both JakusKhan and Stars support staff agreed to the proposal and each player was guaranteed a six-figure score.
Perhaps that peace of mind loosened up their play, because the chips were flying all over the felt in stark contrast to some of the deliberately paced matches in the semi and quarter finals. Each player began with 7,680,000 chips, but MyRabbiFoo quickly dropped to under six million. He was poised to gain all of them back plus some when he got it all-in on a J T 6 holding A A to JakusKhan’s 7 T , but the turn and river came Q then A to put a flush on the board and split the pot.
As play continued, MyRabbiFoo inched his way back to the starting stack and then inched his way into the chip lead. JakusKhan fought back to get the match to even once again. The players had another false alarm when a 6 million chip pot was split once again after MyRabbiFoo made a straight on the turn only to have JakusKhan hit the same straight on the river.
Just one hand after the second split pot the fireworks began once again. JakusKhan raised from the button and MyRabbiFoo called from the big blind. MyRabbiFoo bet out on the K 9 8 flop, JakusKhan reraised, MyRabbiFoo raised again and JakusKahn moved all-in. MyRabbiFoo called with K 8 for two pair and JakusKhan showed 2 T for a stone cold bluff. The turn and river were no help to JakusKhan, who bid his competition a good night and gracefully exited in 2nd place.
Katchalov now has a WCOOP bracelet to go with his WPT title, plus $140,000 to go with his $3 million in live tournament winnings.
Here are the results from the top eight finishers of Event #24:
1st: Eugene “MyRabbiFoo” Katchalov ($140,000)
2nd: JakusKhan ($120,000)
3rd: joe E scar ($55,000)
4th: imashoku ($55,000)
5th: William “William” Thorson ($27,500)
6th: “pilsuhng” ($27,500)
7th: Leo “Pechorin” Wolpert ($27,500)
8th: “Dokosoko” ($27,500)