One of the most prestigious events in the 2011 WCOOP is in the books. Event #41, a High-Roller Heads-up Championship, came to an end late Sunday night. Thirty-two of the world’s best poker players paid the $10,000 entry fee creating a $320,000 prize pool. There was plenty of excitement surrounding the event, as well known professionals like Daniel “KidPoker” Negreanu, John Duthie, Brian “Stinger88” Hastings, Richard “Nutsinho” Lyndaker, Bertrand “Ekly” Grosspelier, and more were on hand hoping to gain the $144,000 first-place prize.
With 32 players entered, the winner would have to take down 5 opponents in the single-elimination format. To get into the money, players had to navigate themselves all the way down to the final four where a $48,000 check was guaranteed. The starting bracket can be found below
As you can see, there were tons of big names on hand looking to be crowned one of the best heads-up players in the world. The first round kicked off with some strong match-ups. Ankush “pistons87” Mandavia had the misfortune of drawing Elky; however, he turned that into more of an opportunity as he dispatched the highly-regarded Frenchman. Elky, along with nutsinho, had to be considered a pre-tournament favorite. Unfortunately for those who took Elky in their prop betting pools, he was sent to the rail very early. PokerStars pro Daniel Negreanu was able to defeat “EunjongByun” and moved onto the Sweet Sixteen in the process. FlopTurnRiver member Nutsinho drew PokerStars professional Jonathan Duhamel. After jumping out to a nice lead, Nutsinho was able to win a 20:80 pre-flop when his Pocket Eights flopped a set against Duhamel’s Pocket Queens.
The second round began a few hours after the first, with all the players starting to feel the money. Shawn “buck21” Buchanan was no match for Mandavia who was 2-for-2 in busting high-stakes tournament professionals. Former American turned Canadian Brian “Stinger88” Hastings was unable to take down “SkaiWalkurrr” and was sent to the rail before making the Elite Eight. With 7 of the 8 Sweet Sixteen matches in the books, all eyes turned to nutsinho who was busy battling “akut” for a spot in the quarterfinals. Unfortunately for Rich his tournament ended when his top pair was unable to hold up against akut’s Pocket Nines on a 5h-Td-8c-7s board. The river fell a 9d, giving him a set and sending Lyndaker to the rail in 9th place.
Now things started to get interesting. With just eight players left, and a single round separating players from the money, players were much more involved with each and every decision. Those winning in the quarters guaranteed themselves at least $48,000 and the chance to play for $144,000. Those who lost were going to go home empty-handed. The first player to make it through to the semis was “SkaiWalkurrr” who busted PS team member John Duthie in 8th place. Just a few minutes later “akut” eliminated “Fishenzon” when he flopped a queen-high flush and had his opponent drawing dead. There were just two quarterfinal matches remaining, with everyone’s favorite Daniel Negreanu battling “26071985” for a spot in the Final Four. The match took some time, but Daniel ultimately got through when he turned aces-up against his opponent’s pair of Aces. The river bricked and Negreanu found himself sitting pretty in the semifinals. Taking the final spot in the final four was pistons87 who overcame a large chip deficit to defeat “Lykov”.
The final four was set, it was going to be Negreanu against Pistons87 and akut versus SkaiWalkurrr. On the line was $32,000 in guaranteed money as the second place check was a hefty $80,000 sum. Both matches provided great entertainment. Unfortunately for Negreanu, his fun was about to end. Starting the final hand with a slight deficit, Negreanu opened the button for a 2.5BB raise. He was quickly re-raised by Pistons who saw Negreanu’s 150 bet and made it 420. Daniel called and the flop fell Kd-5h-Qs. Pistons87 wasted little time in betting under half the pot, and Negreanu came along for the ride. The turn fell the 9s, and once again Pistons87 bet and Daniel called. With about 1/3 of his stack in the middle, Daniel was quickly becoming committed to the hand. The river paired the board with the 9c, but it did not phase pistons87 who made a pot-size shove. Daniel took a long time, ultimately calling with KhQd, for two-pair. Unfortunately for KidPoker his opponent held 7d6s for a turned straight. Though eliminated, Daniel’s $48,000 was certainly a nice consolation prize.
The other match took quite a bit longer, but ultimately found akut defeating SkaiWalkurrr for a seat in the finals. The last hand of the match saw SkaiWalkurrr get his remaining 1,795 chips in the middle with AQs against his opponent’s Pocket Sevens. The 3s on the turn brought him 15 total outs, but he was unable to connect as the harmless Jh fell on the river. With that bustout the final match was set. It was going to be pistons867 and akut battling for a $64,000 difference…
…or so we thought. Once the final match began the two players quickly agreed upon a chip-chop. The deal guaranteed each competitor a $105,000 payday and left just $14,000 in the middle. Still, with five-figures in the pot and a WCOOP bracelet on the line, neither player was going to go down without a fight. Much like he had all day, pistons87 was just too much for his opponent. He applied a lot of aggression and was able to dwindle akut’s stack down to a point where he was in push/fold mode. The final hand started out nicely for akut, as he got his money in as a significant favorite. Unfortunately his AQo could not hold up against KQo as a King fell on the flop. The 5s and Qd on the turn and river offered little help, leaving him in 2nd place. Mandavia, who was forced to move to Canada once Black Friday hit in April, took down another large score. The $119,000 cash was one of the biggest scores of his career and appears to be his first WCOOP win. Here’s a look at how the entire tournament shook out:
Congratulations goes to Ankush “pistons87” Mandavia and everyone who made the money in the 2011 WCOOP Event #41!
PokerStars 2011 WCOOP Event #41 $150k Guaranteed
32 Entrants; $320,000 prize pool
1. pistons87 $119,000
2. akut $105,000
3. SkaiWalkurrr $48,000
4. Daniel “KidPoker” Negreanu $48,000