Online Poker News
October 09, 2006  
© 2006 Randy Saylor  

September 29: WCOOP Event #15

This $500+30 Pot-Limit Omaha (High Only) event drew 867 entries for another prize that would exceed the guarantee by almost 50 per cent. The funniest joke in online poker by the end of this week was “Poker Stars guarantees prize pool…”

Professional poker player Humberto Brenes was the star of the final table, and a big chip winner, too. He pulled in several huge pots in narrowing the field to two, but Trabelsi had even more chips for a 2-1 advantage. Brenes won a couple of decent pots, but couldn’t retake the lead. After calling a three-times raise preflop, Brenes check-raised the J87 flop. It was a bad time for that move, as Trabelsi re-raised him all-in. Brenes was pot-committed, and forced to call, but his AK66 would need help against a flopped straight with JT96. A ten on the turn sealed the tournament for Trabelsi, who took home over $93,000 for the win.

September 30: Will Hill bans US players

Online sportsbook, poker, and casino operator Will Hill followed the recent moves of other Cryptologic gaming sites by banning all players with US addresses or credit cards.

Although this is relatively negligible to William Hill, with less than one per cent of overall gaming revenue a result of US players, it is symptomatic of international gambling operations fearing legal actions being taken against them and their executives.

September 30: US Congress passes Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act

In a move that has been discussed more thoroughly elsewhere, the United States government passed legislation harmful to online gambling operators. See related articles for details.

September 30: WCOOP Event #16

The largest buy-in and smallest field of the WCOOP series didn’t mean that the tournament would not be exciting. Another conservative prize pool guarantee ($100,000) by Poker Stars was shattered. 175 entries meant an $875,000 prize pool.

The almost-16-hour tournament was reduced to an exciting final table of eight, including Isabelle Mercier and Chad Brown. Mercier finished sixth when her A247 start couldn’t even manage a low for a split in the High-Low Stud portion of the game. Chad (stelladora) Brown had almost a 2-1 advantage over Hold_emNL when the two players went heads-up. They traded pots for a few hands in the Limit Holdem portion, until Brown won a huge pot with a rivered full house. Hold_em was down to less than two big bets when the players got all-in on a flop of A59. Holdem’s QT was ahead of Brown’s Q4, but Brown (stelladora) caught a four on the river for the $223,125 win.

September 30: WCOOP Event #17

A second event was held on this second-to-last day of the WCOOP. 695 players anted up $1000+50 for the Limit Holdem final.

The beginning of the final table was mostly uneventful as the short stacks were eliminated in due course. After laurentia knocked out the fourth place player, nine of the next thirteen pots also went to laurentia, the final one knocking out the third-place finisher. Second-place amichaiKK was a 6-1 chip count underdog heads-up, but relentlessly bargained for a deal to gain a few extra thousand, and finally laurentia relented. The tournament ended three hands later when amichaiKK’s J2 “push and pray” hand got no help against laurentia’s A8. First place paid $145,200.

October 1: WCOOP Main Event

Over 2500 players put up $2500+100 for a shot at online poker history, in the largest prize pool ever awarded in an online tournament. Seventeen previous events made light of the guarantees offered buy Poker Stars, and this one would be no different. Over six million (double the $3 Million guarantee) was paid out, including a scheduled $1.157 Million to first.

Eleven hours after the start, the final table was set. British professional poker player Ben Grundy finished eighth. The seventh player was knocked out on a bad beat, when Annette_15 made a great call of a preflop all-in reraise bluff, but her 99 was in trouble against 65 on a 743 flop.

The final six players carefully discussed a deal, finally settling on a chip-count chop leaving $50,000 and the bracelet for the winner. Area23JC was an overwhelming leader when only three players remained. Alert readers will note that area23JC is none other than professional poker player JC Tran. Tran knocked out third place finisher Lefort, leaving him a 3-1 advantage over hannibalrex. The chip count deal previously made, and the thirteen hours of play, probably made both players eager to end it, as both severely overbet their hands, eventually going all-in on the turn. Tran’s K9 made a pair of kings against hannibalrex’s A4. Tran won $670,194 and the bracelet.

Final table replays of all WCOOP events run continuously, and are very educational. Look at Events-WCOOP-All in your Poker Stars lobby to access these (make sure “Show registering/upcoming” is unchecked).

In all, 27,399 entries were made into WCOOP Events, and the total prize pool was $18,674,300. The 2006 (fifth annual) series saw the first HORSE and Razz tournaments, as well as the first two-time winner. One week later, the first two time winner in the same calendar year overshadowed that accomplishment. Who knows what the 2007 WCOOP will bring us, since the flow of players from the US may be slowed. But if the 2006 WCOOP is the final bell for Poker Stars, they certainly will have gone out with a bang.

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