There was never any danger of the PokerStars 2010 World Championship of Online Poker petering out with a whimper, but even the most cynical observer would have been impressed by the sheer volume of tournaments packed into the series’ final weekend. One of these climactic contests was Event #55, a $500 + $30 No Limit Hold’em tournament with 1 Rebuy and 1 Add on. Despite guaranteeing an eye-popping $1 million, PokerStars didn’t need to contribute any of their own cash. The 1066 entrants weren’t shy about throwing their chips about, contributing 746 rebuys and 646 add-ons to boost the prize pool to a huge $1,229,999.
Checking though the list of cash finishers, you will have spotted the small PokerStars symbol next to a few names. These are the sponsored pros who compete under the banner of Team PokerStars Pro. Undoubtedly the most successful in Event #55 was Anders Hoyer Berg, known simply as ‘Donald’ online. His 12th place finish should come as no surprise after he took home a bracelet in Event #34 only a week previously. Two other PokerStars players managed to squeak into the money, Alvaro Ballesteros in 114th place and Victor Ramdin in 132nd.
Going into the final table, the chipstacks were as follows:
Seat 1: ship_th_chip (2,554,896)
Seat 2: Pichon79 (1,801,171)
Seat 3: g0lfa (4,371,452)
Seat 4: RJules12 (1,051,806)
Seat 5: foucault82 (1,408,933)
Seat 6: Titantom32 (2,602,824)
Seat 7: joserivas397 (521,026)
Seat 8: govshark2 (3,467,960)
Seat 9: goodvibe1 (654,932)
After making it all the way to the final table, shortstack goodvibe1 didn’t have long to enjoy the scenery. He pushed his final few chips into the middle with A-Q, finding himself mano-a-mano with govshark2 and his pocket nines. The board completely failed to connect with goodvibe1’s paint and he was sent packing in 9th place.
A flop of A-T-J looked ripe for action and so it proved when RJules12 and ship_th_chip got into a raising war. It was RJules12 who finally puled the all-in trigger with his A-T two-pair, but he ran headlong into the nuts. ship_th_chip flipped K-Q for the flopped broadway straight. A comparatively dull 8 and 5 on the end failed to provide any salvation for Rjules12 and he left Event #55 in 8th place.
Seven became six a few moments later, when a very short joserivas397 threw his stack into the middle with pocket tens. Pichon79 stepped up to accept the challenge, banking on K-J pulling him through. Despite a blank flop, the poker gods saw fit to reward his faith on the turn and river, throwing down a King and then a Jack to make doubly sure he took down the pot. joserivas397 was left to slink off home in 7th place.
While the big stacks continued to wallow in their profits, the likes of Pichon79 were scrapping for their tournament lives. He made an all-in push with K-Q, only to see chip leader govshark2 dip into his reserves to make the call with A-A. The flop was nothing but rags and that was all she wrote for Pichon79.
The 5th place finisher could have avoided his exit, were it not for a wayward click of the mouse. foucault82 made a pre-flop all-in move, putting ship_th_chip to a decision for a big chunk of his stack. He quickly made the call and, much to everyone’s surprise, flipped up 6-3 off. He later claimed that this was a misclick and that he had in fact meant to fold his rags. Failing to find any cards to beat foucault82’s A-K, he was left on life support. A few hands later, govshark2 dealt the final blow, his 8-8 beating out ship_th_chip’s 7-7.
Pocket eights must be govshark2’s lucky hand as he relied on them again to dispatch Titantom32. It was a straightforward all-in preflop affair, with Titantom32 looking for a miracle card to rescue his 7-7 from defeat. The flop failed to connect with either player, confirming another knockout for govshark2.
Before long the heads up competitors had been confirmed. A preflop raising battle between foucault82 and g0lfa resulted in the former committing his entire stack and the latter making the call. It proved to be a good push from foucault82, who found his T-T marginally ahead of his opponent’s A-6. The board ran out K-A-5-7-4 to reverse the player’s fortunes and eliminate foucault82 in 3rd place.
govshark2 and g0lfa began their heads up confrontation with very even chipstacks. Their totals were close enough that, when it came to discussing a prize pool chop, they elected to split the cash right down the middle. That meant both players were guaranteed $179,450.35, with an extra $20k left for the winner.
In the avatar stakes it was Bob Ross vs. Steve Buscemi, with the jovial painter getting the edge over the Reservoir Dog. Going into the final hand g0lfa was holding more than a 3-1 chip advantage when raised from the small blind. govsark2 put in a small reraise and his opponent made the call. The flop ran out 3-6-A and govshark2 lead out with 400k, which was quickly raised to 975k by g0lfa. The call was made and an eight arrived on the turn. With only 2.5 million left behind, govshark2 realized it was all-in or nothing, deciding to go with the former after some deliberation. His all-in bet was quickly called, revealing that govshark2 had been bluffing with nothing more than K-Q. g0lfa, on the other hand, had picked up a juicy A-2 top pair, leaving his opponent drawing dead.
The final table payouts were:
1st place: g0lfa ($199,450.35)
2nd place: govshark2 ($179,450.35)
3rd place: foucault82 ($117,984.00)
4th place: Titantom32 ($88,488.00)
5th place: ship_th_chip ($61,450.00)
6th place: Pichon79 ($49,160.00)
7th place: joserivas397 ($36,870.00)
8th place: RJules12 ($24,580.00)
9th place: goodvibe1 ($14,748.00)