It is a testament to the strength and popularity of PokerStars’ World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) that the 11,131 strong field for Event #9 was not even the largest seen this series. As part of the guarantees totalling $40 million this year, $1 million had been laid on for the $200 + $15 No Limit Hold’em event. In the end that figure was completely obliterated, as the prize pool rose to a massive $2,226,200. Meaning that the first place finisher would walk away with a monumental $303,876.31.
Every event in the WCOOP calendar is hosted by one of the Team PokerStars Pro sponsored players. This time it was the turn of actor turned poker player Chad Brown. After a brief stint in early 90’s Hollywood, Chad dedicated himself to poker full time in 1993. His career on the felt has proved far more lucrative that his foray into show business. Along the way to over $2 million in lifetime tournament earnings he has taken $450,000 from WPT events and made a number of WSOP final tables.
Given the massive field size, everyone hoping to make the final table knew they were in it for the long haul. Event #9 began at 13:00 ET on Sunday afternoon and passed both dusk and dawn before it concluded at 8:17 ET. Only a select 1620 players made the money, meaning that nearly ten thousand people fell by the wayside before the money bubble burst.
In the early hours of Monday morning 6 players remained: grayone, maxisou, micha88, r&g2007, ternoplayer, and akilam.
The first to fall was akilam in 6th place, who picked up up $66,786.01 for his troubles. The major damage was done in a tussle with fellow short-stack ternoplayer. With 7 million in front of him, ternoplayer made an all-in shove pre-flop which akilam quickly called. With everyone else out of the way, ternoplayer flipped A-Q suited to face off against J-J. Things started badly for akilam when the flop fell K-A-Q and only got worse with a 4 on the turn and another Ace on the river. After succumbing to ternoplayer’s full house he was left with little more than $250,000. The following hand sealed the deal, and the luck was once again with ternoplayer. Despite being behind with A-8 to akilam’s A-10, he still managed to find the pair he needed to end akilam’s tournament in 6th place.
With ternoplayer now a modest chip leader things became considerably more cagey. The next player to go out would be the last to receive under $100,000 and it seemed that nobody wanted to risk missing out on the big money. Eventually, maxisou and graybone contrived to generate a new chip leader. graybone picked up 3-3 on the button and decided to push his 13.2 million stack all-in. maxisou made a quick call for his last 8 million and was way ahead with Q-Q. A third Queen on the flop all but ended the contest and confirmed maxisou as the new big-stack.
As soon as that $100k bubble burst there followed a flurry of eliminations. From five players to heads up took only 14 hands. Predictably, it was graybone would fall first – once again suffering at the hands of maxisou. With 9 million remaining, graybone committed it all with a pre-flop push. maxisou made the call and was well ahead with Q-Q, this time up against Q-K. The board fired nothing but blanks, ensuring that graybone went home $89,048.01 richer in 5th place.
Almost immediately after that, maxisou would take another scalp. With only 2 million left behind, r&g2007 responded to maxisou’s raise by committing everything he had. maxisou called and found himself ahead again with 9c-9h against Ad-8d. Things looked positive for r&g2007 with a flop of Kh-Ac-6h, but the turn and river were clearly in league with the chip leader. A 2 of hearts, followed by the 3 of hearts completed maxisou’s runner-runner flush and put r&g2007 out in 4th place ($111,310.01).
A few shorts hands later ternoplayer and micha88 tangled to decide who would be eliminated in 3rd. With both players all-in before the flop, ternoplayer had only $51,067 left behind. The odds were slightly in favour of micha88, with his A-9 against ternoplayers’ K-6. Their Roles were reversed almost immediately however, with a King falling first on the flop. A 9 on the river was all the help micha88 would get from that point on, finishing in 4th for $155,834.01.
Going into the heads up contest maxisou held a decent chip lead, but was quickly the target of some aggressive play from ternoplayer. The tournament cold have been over when ternoplayer committed his whole stack with A-Q, but he prevailed against maxisou’s A-3. Doubling up still didn’t put him in the chip lead, but his continued aggressive soon did.
The final hand was one to remember. Things started sedately with ternoplayer calling his opponent’s small raise before the flop. An innocuous looking 5-J-Q flop prompted a bet from maxisou and a raise from ternoplayer. After a little thought, maxisou made his final all-in push and was quickly called by ternoplayer. With the cards were flipped it was revealed that after being behind preflop, maxisou’s J-8 had jumped ahead briefly, before falling back behind ternoplayer’s K-Q. The turn flipped the whole situation on its head, brining an 8 to match maxisou’s kicker. A heartbreaking King on the river altered affairs for the final time, putting ternoplayer back into the lead with a higher two-pair.
Chad Brown was on hand to congratulate the two heads up players. maxisou picked up $214,828.31 for his second place finish, while ternoplayer pocketed $303,876,31 along with a shiny gold bracelet and an all expenses paid trip to the Bahamas.