As the WCOOP begins its last few days of tournaments, instead of players seeming weary of the no-limit hold'em action, they cannot seem to get enough. Event 36 brought an opportunity for a NLHE rebuy tournament with short-handed tables, and the takers were certainly not difficult to find.
When registration was complete, the field totaled 1,030 players who bought in for $530, took advantage of exactly 1,000 rebuys, and went for 722 add-ons. That pushed the prize pool past the $1 million guarantee all the way to $1,376,000, which was to be distributed among the final 156 players.
The field was star-studded, with numerous members of Team PokerStars in the field, but one Friend of PokerStars in particular was making his WCOOP debut. Orel Hershiser joined Twitter and let everyone know he was playing the tournament, and he started with a bang, pushing up to 37th place in the first few hours. But the momentum slowed and he lost traction as the field thinned, ultimately finishing in 423rd place, which was impressive enough for his first WCOOP.
By the time the field reached the money, the recognizable names were many. For Team PokerStars, the early cashes were Noah "Exclusive" Boeken (146th), Hevad "RaiNKhAN" Khan (145th), Angel Guillen (103rd), and Humberto Brenes (97th). And other famous online players in the money included Isaac "westmenloAA" Baron (156th), James "mig.com" Mackey (149th), Jason "JasonGray" Gray (134th), Matt "plattsburgh" Vengrin (116th), Chad "lilholdem954" Batista (104th), Adam "Roothlus" Levy (78th), Sorel "zangbezan24" Mizzi (74th), Dan "Wretchy" Martin (41st), Cory "UGOTPZD" Carroll (32nd), and Shaun "shaundeeb" Deeb (21st). Well-known players everywhere!
The last two Team PokerStars Pros standing were Jason Mercier and Leo Fernandez. Mercier was fighting a short stack and losing, and when he moved all-in with [As] [9c], djalminha looked him up with pocket eights, which held up on the [Jc] [4s] [7c] [7d] [3c] board. That left with $6,880 for a 26th place finish.
Meanwhile, Fernandez was ready to soar with three tables left in the tournament. He first doubled through holdplz to climb into the top half of the field. Two hands later, he eliminated two players in the following hand to climb to third place:
Soon after a table change, however, Moosedebator doubled through him, and it was back to the battlefield in an effort to make the final table. After a 15-minute break in the tournament, Fernandez was ready to move. With a little over 1 million left in his stack, he pushed preflop with pocket sixes, but supadphat woke up with pocket kings. The board only helped supadphat with [Tc] [Th] [Jh] [9d] [Qs] for the straight, and Leo Fernandez was out in 17th place with $11,558.40 as a consolation prize.
The last two tables were reached at just past the 12.5-hour mark of the tournament, during which time James "Andy McLEOD" Obst exited in tenth place ($17,200), Mr Neverquit called it quits in ninth ($24,080), caecilius left in eighth ($24,080), and hand-for-hand play began. At the three-handed table, it was holdplz and GtRealGtOut who got into a raising war that found holdplz all-in preflop with [8d] [7d] against the [Ah] [Kh] of GtRealGtOut. The board couldn't have been more favorable to the latter with [Qd] [Ad] [Ks] [As] [7h], and the full house knocked out Anthony "holdplz" Spinella in seventh place, on the final table bubble, with $24,080.
With that, the final table was set in Level 36 with blinds at 30,000/60,000 and a 7,500 ante, and starting chip counts were as follows:
Seat 1: VLs85s (4,364,672 in chips)
It didn't take long for the final table to see action, as cautionary play soon gave way to risk-taking and aggression. djalminha was one of the shorter stacks at the table but was able to double through oncommand to stay alive. However, that left oncommand with little more than 100K in chips, which went all-in preflop soon after. The two callers were Astrolux85 and VLs85s, who checked after the [Jh] [8s] [2h] flop, the [Ts] turn, and the [3d] river. VLs85s showed [9d] [8h] for the winning pair of eights, while Astrolux85 mucked and oncommand mucked before leaving in sixth place with $41,280.
The next few rounds of play saw several double-ups, starting with that of Astrolux85 through GtRealGtOut, then the latter doubling through djalminha, and finally djalminha doubling through VLs85s.
But djalminha found it difficult to gain much ground, finally pushing all-in preflop with [Kd] [Qh] against the pocket nines of supadphat. The board blanked with [Js] [6h] [4c] [5s] [8d], which eliminated djalminha in fifth place with $58,617.60.
On the very next hand, the next on the short-stack list - GtRealGtOut - moved all-in for 1,432,060 with [Ad] [5d], and Astrolux85 called from the small blind with [Kc] [Qs]. The flop brought the king with [4d] [Kh] [2h] to pair up Astrolux85, and the [9s] turn and [6c] river ended the tournament for GtRealGtOut, and the fourth place finish was worth $89,440.
It took quite a while to find a resolution to the three-handed action, but it happened eventually when supadphat had been reduced to significantly less chips than his two opponents. The opportunity to move presented itself when supadphat woke up with [Kd] [Qd] in the small blind. The all-in move was met, however, by the pocket kings of VLs85s. The board produced nothing for the short stack when it came [8s] [6h] [7d] [2d] [4c], and supadphat was ousted in third place with $130,720.
Heads-up action then began with the following counts:
Seat 1: VLs85s (14,358,315 in chips)
The two quickly decided to take a look at chip-chop numbers, though it took some wheeling and dealing for Astrolux85 to get the number he wanted. Finally, they agreed that VLs85s would receive $192,480 no matter his finish, and Astrolux85 would take $190,000. The two would play on for $20,000 to be awarded the eventual winner, and with that, play resumed.
VLs85s chipped away at his opponent, with Astrolux85 winning very few pots to stay in the game. But waiting for the right hand proved a good move. The following double-up shows just how quickly a player can even up the chip counts and have new life in a tournament:
Patient play led to Astrolux85 finding a spot to take an 8.8-million chip pot and a 2-to-1 chip lead over VLs85s. Astrolux85 continued to extend that lead, which brought them to the last stand of VLs85s.
Astrolux85 started the preflop action with a raise, and when VLs85s reraised it, his opponent simply called, and the two saw a flop of [2h] [Th] [5d]. They checked to the [9d] on the turn, at which point Astrolux85 bet, and VLs85s check-called all-in for his tournament life with [Ad] [2d]. The pair of deuces was good but faced the [Qh] [Jc] straight draw of Astrolux85. The [8c] fell on the river to make that straight and eliminate VLs85s in second place with a substantial prize of $192,480.
Brent "Astrolux85" Roberts became the latest WCOOP champion and picked up $210,000 to go with the 2009 WCOOP bracelet for the accomplishment.
2009 WCOOP Event 36 Results:
1st place: Astrolux85 ($210,000.00)
The 2009 WCOOP is heading into its final weekend, but several tournaments and millions more dollars await players. Check the newly launched WCOOP website for all of the information, including the list of tournaments and corresponding satellites that offer entries for as little as $1. And PokerStars.TV, as always, will have tips from the pros and tournament replays as the WCOOP progresses.