PokerStars’ final World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) Heads-Up event would once again prove to be a marathon affair. Those players who were fortunate enough to make a deep run in Event #41, the $530 buy-in Heads-Up Pot Limit Omaha event, were likely squeezing in naps come Rounds 7 and 8 as play dragged into its 16th and 17th hours of play.
Several big name pros proved they have stamina to go along with their skill as they made deep runs in the event, outlasting the vast majority of the 526-player field. Shaun “shaundeeb” Deeb survived to make the top 32 while David “WhooooKidd” Baker and recent WCOOP bracelet winner “Science” made it to the Sweet 16. James “ANDY McLEOD” Obst added yet another deep WCOOP run to his tally with his 8th place finish, falling just short of the final four.
The four players who did make it to the semi-final each had their fair share of experience. Aaron “GambleAB” Bartley already has two WCOOP final tables to his credit this series and Julian “hartwith” Adamson recently made the 37: kiiski KO’s Ramos in PLO Tournament " href="http://www.bluff.com/news/2009-wcoop-event-37-kiiski-kos-ramos-in-plo-tournament-7129/" target="_self">final table of WCOOP Event #37. “AB_illusive” was looking to join the elite group of two-time bracelet winners, having taken down a WCOOP of their own back in 2007 and Justin “robert07″ Young had plenty of World Poker Tour final table experience to keep up with his competitors.
Young and Bartley would face off in the first of the two semi-final matches and it would be a quick affair. Seven hands to be exact. GambleAB quickly dropped to 1.3 million to robert07′s 2.5 million. GambleAB would see the rest of his chips disappear when robert07 raised from the button, GambleAB reraised from the big blind and robert07 called. The flop came down 8 4 3 and a series of bets and raises resulted in GambleAB being all-in with Q 5 5 3 for a flush draw against robert07′s 5 4 4 2 for a set of fours and an open-ended straight draw. The T on the turn and J on the river did not change either player’s hand and robert07 claimed the pot and the match in a matter of minutes.
The match between AB_illusive and hartwith would be a much lengthier affair as the two traded chips back in forth for over an hour. AB_illusive was finally able to pull away from their opponent when their T T 8 6 rivered a flush on a Q 8 2 A 4 board to take down a pot worth over 1 million chips. Down to their last million, it would take only three hands before hartwith got the rest of his chips in the middle. After both players checked the 8 4 3 flop, the raising war commenced with the T on the turn. When the cards were turned face-up, AB_illusive showed J 4 T 6 for two pair while hartwith held Q Q 8 7 for an overpair of queens with a diamond draw. The river was an inconsequential 9 and AB_illusive won the decisive hand that advanced them to the finals.
Robert07 had the advantage of resting up while the second semi-final match wrapped up, but AB_illusive assured their opponent they weren’t tired at all. Fatigue certainly didn’t seem to be an issue as AB_illusive quickly took a million chip lead over robert07, but a big hand in which robert07 flopped two pair and picked off a sizeable bluff from his opponent brought the stacks back to even.
Robert07 took a sizeable pot to give him a substantial chip lead midway through the match. Robert07 bet on every street as the board ran out 9 4 2 Q Q. After AB_illusive called on the river, robert07 showed Q 5 6 4 for a flush draw turned full house to rake the 1.5 million chip pot. The card rush continued for robert07 as he built up a 2-1 chip lead. AB_illusive retaliated to briefly take the chip lead back, but it would not be long before a huge all-in swung the momentum back in robert07′s direction.
After the flop fell J 9 7 robert07 check-raised AB_illusive and AB_illusive called. Both players checked after the 7 came on the turn and they proceeded to get it all-in when the 9 double paired the board on the river. AB_illusive showed J 8 9 3 for nines full of jacks, but robert07 had Q 7 7 6 for quad sevens. He scooped the massive 7 million chip pot and amassed a 10-1 chip lead over AB_illusive’s 700,000 chip stack.
It did not take long for the two to get the chips all-in once again. The money went in after the K 8 5 flop and both players showed flush draws. AB_illusive’s A 9 5 6 gave him the nut flush draw, but robert07′s A Q Q 2 had the best hand at the moment with a pair of queens. The K on the turn and 2 on the river brought no spade and robert07 claimed the hand and the match.
Justin “robert07″ Young took down the $52,600 first place prize and the WCOOP bracelet while AB_illusive took home $26,300 for 2nd place.
Here are the results from the top eight finishers of Event #41:
1st: Justin “robert07″ Young ($52,600)
2nd: AB_illusive ($26,300)
3rd: Julian “hartwith” Adamson ($15,780)
4th: Aaron “GambleAB” Bartley ($15,780)
5th: Scary_Tiger ($8,153)
6th: WhySoSerious7 ($8,153)
7th: tallgeir ($8,153)
8th: James “ANDY McLEOD” Obst ($8,153)
The field for the $2,100 buy-in Event #42 was a modest 245, but it was more than enough to make the $350,000 guarantee on the event and, in fact, created a prize pool of $490,000 and a first place prize of $107,800. However, in order to get to that six figure scores, players would have to juggle an 8 game rotation and compete against the cream of the poker crop in a field that could be accurately described as a shark tank.
Only 36 players made it into the money, including Bluff Online Player of the Year contender Kevin “ImALuckSac” Macphee (26th), Chad Brown (25th), Joe Hachem (24th), Chris “Bushman” Bush (22nd), Casey “bigdogpckt5s” Jarzabek (21st) and Rami “arbianight” Boukai (8th).
The final table was packed with experienced players, including two who faced off at the Event #2 Razz final table earlier in the series. Event #2′s second and fourth place finishers, Matt “plattsburgh” Vengrin and “grampabumkin,” both made encore appearances at Event #42′s final six as well. This marked a remarkable third final table for Vengrin—the most of any player this WCOOP. They were not the only players with experience up their sleeve though, as they were joined by David “RugDoctor” Williams, Australian pro Van “Sirens” Marcus and WCOOP High Stakes Heads-Up quarterfinalist Alex “joiso” Kostritsyn:
Seat 1: luetch1 (342,575)
Seat 2: plattsburgh (595,283)
Seat 3: RugDoctor (279,184)
Seat 4: Sirens (549,447)
Seat 5: joiso (372,938)
Seat 6: grampabumkin (310,573)
Final table action began with Sutd H/L and play was tame to start, but it only took one hand of No Limit Hold’em to send a player to the rail. Joiso opened for a raise under the gun and grampabumkin reraised behind him. Everyone else folded, joiso called and the two saw a flop of T 7 5. It was joiso who bet the flop while grampabumkin called. Joiso bet again when the 6 fell on the turn and grampabumkin moved all-in. Joiso had grampabumkin covered and quickly called with 7 7 for a set of sevens while grampabumkin showed A A. The river brought no ace and grampabumkin was out in 6th place.
The fast-paced No Limit Hold’em action continued when a series of preflop raises led to “luetch1” and plattsburgh getting it all-in before the flop with lutech1 holding A K to plattsburgh’s 3 3. The A T 4 flop paired luetch1′s ace and no three materialized on the turn or river, so luetch1 doubled up to 525,000 while plattsburgh, who began the final table as the chip leader, was now the short stack with 200,000 chips. Another coin flip a few hands later would be the end for plattsburgh, when his A K failed to pair up against RugDoctor’s 5 5 and he was eliminated in 5th place.
The game switched to Pot Limit Omaha before the next knock out came along. Once again, joiso opened the action and luetch1 reraised out of the small blind. Joiso called and the two proceeded to get it all-in on the T 8 7 flop. Joiso flopped a straight with his A 9 6 8, but luetch1 held 6 Q Q K for an over pair and a flush draw. The Q on the turn gave luetch1 additional full house outs, but the J on the river gave joiso the pot and left just three players in contention for the bracelet.
An incredibly rough round of 2-7 left Sirens as the short stack, but he still had almost ten big bets once the Limit Hold’em rolled around. He would lose most his chips in a Limit Hold’em hand in which he flopped top pair on a T 7 4 board and improved to two pair when his J T hit the J on the river. He and joiso were betting and raising on every street, but it was joiso’s set of sevens that was the best hand and took down the pot.
Left with just two big bets, Sirens opted to prematurely make his well wishes and joiso jokingly chastised him for not playing fairly, as saying good game to your opponent’s is a surefire way to get yourself back in contention:
joiso: play fair pls, don’t use that auristic stuff
joiso: better say “nh, but I will come back, I get ya boys”
Perhaps joiso was on to something, as Sirens doubled through each of his opponents in back to back hands to get back to where he was at the start of the Limit Hold’em round. However, the comeback was short lived. While joiso was teasing his tablemates with the prospect of a PokerStars “anti-elimination spell”, Sirens lost over half his stack when his flush and straight draw combo failed to hit against RugDoctor’s top pair. The very next hand, Sirens and joiso got it all-in with joiso holding Q J to Sirens’ 7 7. The K T 5 flop brought a straight draw for joiso and the Q on the turn paired his queen to give him the advantage in the hand. The K on the river meant the end for Sirens and heads-up play began with joiso holding a small chip advantage over RugDoctor.
Omaha H/L proved to be RugDoctor’s game as he not only took the chip lead away from joiso, but pulled out to a more than 2-1 chip advantage on his opponent. During the Razz round, he extended that chip lead to more than 4-1, but joiso rallied to bring it back to even. RugDoctor responded by winning eleven pots in a row as the game transitioned from Razz to Stud Hi.
A Stud hand in which RugDoctor’s buried eights were able to trip up and then fill up against joiso’s buried kings with fours exposed for two pair left joiso with just 120,000. On the next hand a series of raises on 3rd and 4th would get the rest of joiso’s chips in with joiso holding 7 8 J T for a straight draw and three to the flush. RugDoctor held 2 3 A 5 for a similar flush and straight draw combination. Joiso hit the Q then 9 to make a straight on sixth street while RugDoctor picked up an additional spade on 6th to keep his flush hopes alive. RugDoctor did hit his flush on 7th with the 8 and he took down both the pot and the victory.
David “RugDoctor” Williams earned $107,800 for his win while his formidable heads-up opponent Alex “joiso” Kostritsyn took home $75,215 for 2nd place.
Here are the complete results from the final table of Event #42:
1st: David “RugDoctor” Williams ($107,800)
2nd: Alex “joiso” Kostritsyn ($75,215)
3rd: Van “Sirens” Marcus ($56,350)
4th: luetch1 ($39,200)
5th: Matt “plattsburgh” Vengrin ($29,400)
6th: grampabumkin ($19,600)