Those who thought Friday and Saturday would be the calm before the World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) Main Event storm were proven wrong as the big guns turned out for the final No Limit Hold’em rebuy event of the series. Event #38, $530 buy-in cubed event offered each of its 1,169 entrants one rebuy and one add-on. A total of 742 rebuys and 827 add-ons helped to create a $1,369,000 prize pool with a first place prize of $232,730.
Not only did the big guns participate in the event, they brought their A game. The final 27 was a high stakes multi-table tournament railbird’s dream come true with each table boasting 2-3 major names in the online poker world. The top forty finishers featured Tim “Tmay420″ West (38th), Jon “PearlJammer” Turner (35th), Dylan “ImALucSac” Linde (34th), PokerStars Pro Gaulter “stockcar99″ Salles (33rd), Bryn “BrynKenney” Kenney (28th), Jason “Taknapotin” Somerville (21st), Dan “Lenny” Heimiller (20th), Matt “GrinderMJ” Juttelstad (16th), Eric “thanksB” Froehlich (13th) and James “mig.com” Mackey (10th).
The final table was equally impressive and even featured a rematch between two poker pro powerhouses, Bertrand “ElKY” Grospellier and Hafiz “hafizzle” Khan. The two are best known for their 1-2 finish at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in 2008 and Friday pitted the two against each other once again at a final table that also featured Jeff “jeff710″ Hakim and Bluff Online Player of the Year contender Jeff “ICuRaRook” Sluzinski:
Seat 1: Pinnekjøtt (5,215,262)
Seat 2: hafizzle (1,633,972)
Seat 3: natefive (2,164,192)
Seat 4: jeff710 (467,932)
Seat 5: ElkY (2,063,016)
Seat 6: Kid Canepa (1,390,750)
Seat 7: ICuRaRook (832,255)
Seat 8: Ginsash (5,540,561)
Seat 9: cashryders22 (3,294,560)
The two Jeffs were the only players with less than a million chips at the start of final table play and, with the blinds at 17,500/35,000 ante 4,375, both needed to chip up quickly in order to keep pace with the rest of the field. Jeff710 took his stand early, moving all-in from the button with Q T. “Kid Canepa” called from the big blind with A 4 which held up as the board ran out A J 6 9 J to eliminate jeff710 in 9th place.
Kid Canepa’s good fortune would be short-lived and they ran their J J into hafizzle’s Q Q shortly after knocking out jeff710. The Q 4 3 flop left Kid Canepa drawing slim and the 4 on the turn guaranteed hafizzle the 2.8 million chip pot and eliminated Kid Canepa in 8th place. The very next hand, some of hafizzle’s newly acquired chips went to ICuRaRook, who finally found a good spot to get his last 440,000 chips in when he moved all-in over the top of a raise from hafizzle holding A K. Hafizzle called with K J and both players connected with the A K T flop. The 3 on the turn was inconsequential and the J on the river made two pair for hafizzle, but ICuRaRook’s aces and kings were best and he doubled up to nearly 1 million.
That would be the peak of ICuRaRook’s final table performance. He dipped back down to 550,000 chips before getting it all-in once again. His A J raced against the T T of “Ginsash” and the tens prevailed to knock ICuRaRook out in 7th place. That hand extended Ginsash’s chip lead to 7.3 million while “Pinnekjøtt” and ElKY jockeyed for second place with five and three million chips respectively.
It was only a matter of minutes before Pinnekjøtt picked up a huge pot to overake the chiplead from Ginsash though. Pinnekjøtt opened for a raise and “natefish” reraised behind them. Action folded back around to Pinnekjøtt, who put in another raise, which prompted natefish to move all-in. Pinnekjøttcalled with A Q and was trailing natefish’s K K. A lucky ace came on the A J 9 flop and when the turn and river came 4 then Q natefish was eliminated in 6th place while Pinnekjøtt jumped to 7.6 million chips.
“Cashryders22” was the next player to jump up the chip counts when they got it all-in with A K to Ginsash’s A Q. Big slick held to double cashryders22 up and keep them neck and neck with ElKY and hafizzle for third place on the leaderboard. Hafizzle quickly responded by doubling through cashryders22 on the very next hand when he picked up K K against cashryders22′s T T. The kings held up to give hafizzle the 5.5 million chip pot and leave cashryders22 with only 1.2 million.
Cashryders22 would pick up some chips when their A 8 got lucky against ElKY’s J J after all the chips went in preflop. The 6 5 3 A T board paired cashryders22′s ace and they doubled up to stay alive. ElKY was not down for the count though and would get lucky in a hand himself just a short while later. Hafizzle raised from the small blind and ElKY called from the big blind. As the board ran out 9 7 5 A 6 hafizzle fired on every street and bet enough to put ElKY all-in on the river. ElKY called the whole way and showed down K J for a runner runner club flush that doubled him up to 4.5 million.
ElKY’s run of luck did not stop there and he busted cashryders22 on the very next hand when his pocket sevens got it all-in against cashryders22′s A Q. The K Q 4 favored cashryders22, but ElKY hit his set with the 7 on the turn to leave chasryders22 drawing dead and out in 5th place. Hafizzle would follow cashryders22′s lead not too long after, losing a race with 8 8 against Ginsash’s K J to go out in 4th place.
Over the course of 3-handed play both ElKY and Ginsash began to pull away from Pinnekjøtt, whose stack dwindled down to 5 million chips in short oder. All of those chips went in on the flop in a hand against ElKY where the board read 7 5 3. ElKY’s T T had Pinnekjøtt’s 8 8 drawing slim and the K and K that came on the turn and the river cemented Pinnekjøtt’s 3rd place finish and gave ElKY the chip lead going into heads-up play.
That chip lead did not last very long and ElKY and Ginsash flip flopped stacks a few times early on in the heads-up battle. However, once ElKY picked off a bluff from Ginsash to pick up a 5 million chip pot, the momentum swung in his direction. It looked as though he had his opponent on the ropes, but Ginsash rallied to regain the chip lead as the epic one-on-one battle soldiered on.
ElKY pulled out to a 2-1 chip advantage a second time and held onto it as the blinds rose to 70,000/140,000 ante 17,500. The blinds were beginning to catch up with Ginsash when ElKY raised from the button and Ginsash called from the big blind. Ginsash check-called bets from his opponent as the board ran out 9 4 2 K. When the J hit on the river Ginsash check-raised all-in and ElKY quickly called with K 9 for two pair. Ginsash showed 4 8 for a pair of fours and they would have to settle for second place and a handsome reward of $171,125.
ElKY claimed the bracelet, the $232,730 and yet another accolade to add to his extensive resume which already includes World Poker Tour and European Poker Tour titles.
Here are the complete results from the final table of Event #40:
1st: Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier ($232,730.00)
2nd: Ginsash ($171,125.00)
3rd: Pinnekjott ($129,918.10)
4th: Hafiz “hafizzle” Khan ($93,092.00)
5th: cashryders22 ($67,765.50)
6th: natefive ($54,075.50)
7th: Jeff “IcuRaRook” Sluzinski ($40,285.50)
8th: Kid Canepa ($26,695.50)
9th: Jeff “jeff710″ Hakim ($14,785.20)