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As this year’s World Championship of Online Poker approaches its midpoint, it already looks like the most successful series yet. Numerous events have smashed their guarantees and each tournament has seen thousands of players packed in to compete. Event #21 was no exception, with 2,780 players logging on to compete in a $200 + $15 No Limit Hold ‘em tournament with Rebuys. That contingent took it upon themselves to build the prize pool through 2,439 rebuys and 1,765 add-ons. When the numbers had been totted up, the total prize pool stood at $1,396,800 – just squeaking over the $1.25 million guarantee.

The event was hosted by Australian poker pro Grant Levy, who has almost $1 million in lifetime tournament earnings. His most prestigious finish was in 2007, finishing first in the Asian Pacific Poker Tour in Australia for over $750,000.

After 16 hours of fast rebuy action and gruelling competition, the final three players were Soterdelf, lechuckpoker, and Horst Heftig. All three players listed their locations as cities in the sovereign nation of Germany, resulting in an unusual mono-national coup for the top three spots. Midway through their tripartite tussle all three players sat on stacks of around 12 million. With the result hanging in the balance the scales seemed to tip in favour of lechuckpoker. His aggressive play ground his opponents down until he had built his stack to around 17 million.

However, in the space of two big hands his dream of a WCOOP bracelet would be over. With both Soterdelf and lechuckpoker at around 15 million, the pair saw a raised flop. With 9-Q-10 on the board, lechuckpoker bet 888,000 and Soterdelf quickly called. A second 10 on the turn stirred Soterdelf into action, in the form of a $1.5 million bet. Lechuck called and the river was a Jack, prompting a massive 4.8 million bet from Soterdelf. lechuck made a big call and was forced to muck his hand after Soterdelf flipped 10-Q for a turned boat.

Horst Hefting then completed the tag-team assault by calling lechuck’s all-in. It was a straight race between the 2-2 of lechuck and the A-10 of Horst. In the end, an ace on the turn sealed the deal and left lechuck floundering with just 1 million. Although he managed to work his way back to 4 million over the next few hands, he once again finished on the wrong end of a race. Soterdelf finished the job he started by hitting an 8 on the flop and an Ace on the turn to leave his A-8 firmly ahead of lechuck’s 7-7.

After such a mammoth tournament it came as something of a surprise to see the heads up contest between Soterdelf and Horst Heftig over in just 13 hands. The final hand saw Soterdelf get the action underway with a raise to $744k. To which his opponent responded by re-raising to a total of 1.9 million. Soterdelf called and saw the flop fall Qc-2d-6c. Horst kept up the aggression and led out with a 2.2 million bet, which Soterdelf called. The 3c on the turn once again prompted a large bet from Horst, this time to the tune of 5.5 million. At this point Soterdelf had had enough of passivity and pushed his stack all-in. Horst called and flipped Ac-8d for ace high with club flush draw. Soterdelf held a shaky Qd-Jd top pair, but avoided all the pitfalls when a final 7h came on the river.

Along with his WCOOP bracelet and all expenses paid trip to the Bahamas, Soterdelf walks away with $219,996.01. Horst Heftig picks up $164,124.01 for second and lechuckpoker $117,331.21 for third.