Short-handed Limit Hold’em is an unusual game. While other forms of Limit have reputations as boring games with not very much action, a short-handed Limit Hold’em table often has players involved in every single hand with their chip counts fluctuating even more than it would in a No Limit Hold’em game.
Just ask PokerStars Pro Andre “aakkari” Akkari, who was one of the chipleaders for much of the tail end of Event #38 of the World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) Friday evening. Akkari and fellow PokerStars sponsored pro Chad Brown both had top five stacks in the $1,050 buy-in event as the 437-player field approached the 66-person money bubble and continued to thrive with only two or tables remaining. However, both players would end up out before the final table with Akkari finishing in 14th place and Brown busting out in 10th. Others who made it into the money before getting eliminated included Billy “Patrolman35″ Kopp (37th), Grayson “graybone” Nichols (33rd), Jonathan “driverseati” Tamayo (28th), Hafiz “hafizzle” Khan (25th), John Duthie (23rd), Christian “charder30″ Harder (20th), Ryan “ryanbluf” Karp (16th), Ylon Schwartz (13th) and recent WCOOP bracelet winner Joel “2FLY2TILT” Gordon (9th).
It was familiar turf for some at the final table. Cesar “makavelyces” Fuentes has posted impressive results since 2007 and “Soulmaster7” was making their second final table appearance of this WCOOP. The player who was really at home with the situation had to be Terrence “Unassigned” Chan though. Chan won both the mid and high stakes short-handed Limit Hold’em events at the Spring Championship of Online Poker back in April, so his final table experience would prove to be particularly well-suited for this event:
Seat 1: Tommy2tyme (717,508)
Seat 2: Vingtcent (507,884)
Seat 3: Unassigned (836,891)
Seat 4: KINGKUNG (478,883)
Seat 5: SoulMaster7 (984,600)
Seat 6: makavelyces (844,234)
The final six sparred for a while before losing their first player. “KINGKUNG” was down to 240,000 chips when they clashed in a hand with makavelyces. It began when makavelyces raised and KINGKUNG reraised from the big blind. The betting continued on the 9 5 2 flop and the last of KINGKUNG’s chips went in after the 7 came on the turn. KINGKUNG’s A A needed to hit a spade on the river in order to beat makavelyces’ Q 6. The A brought KINGKUNG top set, but that was not enough to best makavelyces’ flush, so they were out in 6th place.
“Tommy2tyme” was the next to fall. Down to their last 200,000 chips, Tommy2tyme pushed the action in a multi-way pot against SoulMaster7, makavelyces and Unassigned. By the river, play was down to just SoulMaster7 and Tommy2tyme and Tommy2tyme was facing a bet from SoulMaster7 that would cost them the last of their chips. With the board reading A J T T 2 Tommy2tyme called SoulMaster7’s wager with Q Q and said their goodbyes after SoulMaster7 showed A J for a better two pair.
It would be quite a while before the next player was eliminated as both makavelyces and Unassigned were able to rally back from the brink of elimination to stay in the game. SoulMaster7 was less fortunate. After losing 650,000 chips over the course of two hands in which their opponent held top pair, SoulMaster7 managed to stay afloat with 500,000 chips for a while before a second run of misfortune left them with just 80,000 chips.
On their final hand of play, SoulMaster7 raised all-in preflop and Unassigned called from the big blind. SoulMaster7 showed the best starting hand with A 5, but Unassigned’s 7 T paired up on the Q T 5 flop to take the lead in the hand. The J on the turn gave SoulMaster7 a gutshot straight draw, but the 9 on the river did not help SoulMaster7 and they were out in 4th place.
Despite winning that small pot, Unassigned was the shortstack with three players to go while makavelyces maintained the chip lead with just over 2 million chips. A big pot in which Unassigned was able to milk as much value out of his overpair of queens as he could from makavelyces resulted in the three stacks evening back out though. There was not much chip movement for quite some time , but eventually “Vingtcent” found themselves down from 1.3 million to just 450,000 chips.
The remainder of Vingtcent’s chips went to makavelyces after they got it all-in with the board reading A Q J T. Vingtcent showed A 2 for top pair, but makavelyces had the best of it with K 5 for a Broadway straight. Vingtcent’s elimination in 3rd place set up what would be an epic match between makvelyces and Unassigned.
The players began with roughly the same amount of chips, but makavelyces pulled ahead early on and it was Unassigned who dipped below a million chips on multiple occasions. Down to his last 300,000, Unassigned committed the rest of his chips post flop with the board reading A 9 5 4. His 7 9 was ahead of makavelyces’ K J with one card to come and the A on the river spared Unassigned from elimination and started back his journey on the comeback trail. He quickly regained the chip lead, thanks in part to a nearly 1.5 million chip pot in which his K K made a boat on the K Q 4 T Q board.
Makavelyces quickly grew frustrated and begged the PokerStars’ gods to “come onnnnn.” The powers that be either ignored his pleas or heard him incorrectly as the majority of the big pots seemed to be going Unassigned’s way and he soon amassed a 2-1 chip advantage. Makavelyces, meanwhile, oscillated between a million and 300,000 chips and finally took a stand preflop with 9 9. Unassigned called his opponent’s all-in with K J and outflopped him on the K Q Q board. The turn and river brought no nine and Terrence “Unassigned” Chan added a new piece of PokerStars-furnished hardware to his already ample collection. Chan also collected $83,030 for the win while makavelyces earned $61,180 for his second place finish.
Here are the complete results from the final table of Event #39:
1st: Terrence “Unassigned” Chan ($83,030.00)
2nd: Cesar “makavelyces” Fuentes ($61,180.00)
3rd: Vingtcent ($44,792.50)
4th: SoulMaster7 ($30,590.00)
5th: Tommy2tyme ($21,850.00)
6th: KINGKUNG ($13,984.00)
Event #40 of the WCOOP arguably takes the award for most unusual event with its offering of a $215 No Limit Omaha H/L with 10-minute levels. PokerStars Pro Maria “Maridu” Mayrinck summed the event up best in a late Friday afternoon update on her Twitter account:
@Maridu: LOL NL Omaha Hi Lo with 10 minute levels??? What an alien #WCOOP, sounds NUTS and zomers fun!
Despite the unusual choice of game, 1,265 still signed up to participate in the Friday evening festivities, creating a $253,000 prize pool that easily bested the event’s $200,000 guarantee. PokerStars pros and online pros alike turned out for the tournament and Michael “BraveJayhawk” Jensen (67th), Andy “BKiCe” Seth (61st), Stewart “Stuman123″ Yancik (46th), Eric “thanksB” Froehlich (41st). Jeremiah “Believer82″ Vinsant (28th) and Barry “barryg1″ Greenstein (19th) all had impressive finishes.
Ryan “late_entry” Gentry, Ben “Benba” Lamb and Chris “PiMaster” Viox were just three of the nine players to make it to the final table, the latter of which had the good fortune of both starting and finishing the endeavor with the chip lead:
Seat 1: cocody1 (796,444)
Seat 2: Benba (546,344)
Seat 3: dav713 (662,339)
Seat 4: PLO UFO (579,021)
Seat 5: LUCKY FACE (839,295)
Seat 6: PiMaster (1,572,426)
Seat 7: chips151 (748,480)
Seat 8: late_entry (304,250)
Seat 9: thegrizz1111 (276,401)
As tends to be the case with Pot Limit and No Limit Omaha H/L, the motto of the evening appeared to be “Gambol!” and the action was almost exclusively confined to moving all-in preflop. “Cocody1” was the first player to go after doubling up “PLO UFO” when their A 2 3 4 failed to develop into much of anything against PLO UFO’s A A 8 7. Two hands later cocody1 would once again pick up a premium starting hand, this time A 3 4 5, and they called the all-in bet of “chips151” after limping into the pot. Chips151 showed A 2 K 6, which paired up on the K J 7 flop. The flop brought cocody1 a flush draw, but they failed to hit a spade as the turn fell T and the river 9. Cocody1 was eliminated in 9th place while chips151 boosted their stack to 1.4 million.
Late_entry made their exit in 8th place when they moved all-in from late position with Q Q 6 5 and Benba called from the button with A K 2 8. Benba flopped a pair and a flush draw and turned the nut flush as the board came A J 6 9 5 to knock late_entry out and give Benba the pot.
“Thegriz1111” got all the way down to 50,000 chips with the blinds at 20,000/40,000 ante 5,000 before they moved all-in. They successfully doubled through “dav713” when they spiked an eight on the river to best dav713’s pair of sixes, but they would be less fortunate in a hand against PiMaster. Thegrizz1111 made deuces and sixes with their A 4 J 2 and the T 9 2 6 6 board, but PiMaster had a better two pair with their A K T 4 and knocked thegriz11111 out in 7th place.
PiMaster continued to serve as the table’s executioner, taking out PLO UFO next when their A 4 2 3 could not make a low, against PiMaster’s A J Q 3, which rivered a straight on the Q 9 8 5 T board to take the pot and narrow the competition to just five players. With the final table halfway over, PiMaster held 3.3 million chips while his next closeest competitor, Benba, sat with 880,000. PiMaster continued to use his big stack to try and knock out opponents. When “LUCKY FACE” moved all-in form the small blind holding A K T 4, PiMaster called from the big with A Q 6 8. The T 9 6 4 7 board broght two pair for LUCKY FACE, but rivered a straight for PiMaster, who took the half a million chip pot and eliminated LUCKY FACE in 5th place.
PiMaster would river another straight when he knocked out dav713 in 4th place. The chips went in on the J 5 2 flop and PiMaster showed K J 3 4 to dav713’2 9 8 5 3. PiMaster’s jacks improved to two pair with the K on the turn and a straight with the A on the river to scoop the pot and up his chip count to 4.6 million.
After chips151 doubled up on consecutive hands, it was Benab who was the short stack, but he would win most of his chips back plus some in a hand in which he shoved all in with 2 4 7 7 and chips151 called him with A 9 A J. The 7 2 7 flop left chips151 drawing dead to an ace, which did not come so Benba doubled up, leaving chips 151 with just 190,000 chips. PiMaster would double chips151 up the very next hand, but it was not long before chips151 was all-in once again, this time with 9 5 8 3 to PiMaster’s Q 6 4 2. PiMaster improved to queens and sixes as the board ran out A Q T 6 K while chips151 ended up with only a busted flush draw and hit the rail in third place.
The final two paused the clock briefly to talk about a deal, but it did not take long for Benba, who held the chip lead at that moment, to decide he would rather play it out. The duo traded small pots back and forth for a while before PiMaster slowly pulled back into the lead, taking a 2-1 chip advantage. Benba was likely just looking to take a pot to keep up with his opponent when he moved all-in over the top of PiMaster’s turn bet in a hand where the board read 9 8 4 8. PiMaster called instantly and showed 8 8 3 2 for quad eights and Benba’s A K 6 6 could only make a low to chop the pot. No low came and PiMaster took the hand and the match, netting $42,263.65 for the win.
Here are the complete results from the final table of Event #40:
1st: Chris “PiMaster” Viox ($42,263.65)
2nd: Ben “Benba” Lamb ($30,866.00)
3rd: chips151 ($23,276.00)
4th: dav713 ($17,204.00)
5th: LUCKY FACE ($12,397.00)
6th: PLO UFO ($9,867.00)
7th: thegrizz1111 ($7,337.00)
8th: Ryan “late_entry” Gentry ($4,807.00)
9th: cocody1 ($2,631.00)