By JAMES PUGSLEY, OCTOBER 12th, 2011
After nearly 3 weeks of long hours at the virtual felts, and 62 events in the books, the 2011 World Championship of Online Poker has finally come to an end. Hosted at Pokerstars.net, WCOOP finished just over two weeks ago, and fielded a total of $47,120,180 in prizes. Since the dust has settled we’ve had some time to review kiwi results, with the main focus being our unknown second place finisher in event #21, who plays under the screen name “prot0.” While it was our intention to interview him regarding his deep run, Pokerstars media has advised that he would like to remain unpublicised in that regard, and so we gathered what information was available about the kiwi’s excellent run.
Prot0 and well known kiwi grinder Jackson Zheng had both made deep runs in event #21, though it was not to be for Zheng, who finished in 80th. Prot0 then went on to final table the event, entering the last table as one of the short stacks. It wasn’t long before he’d found pocket queens and was all-in against Argentina’s “Soydemillo” who held pocket kings. Crushed despite holding a monster in a great situation, it was then on the kiwi to turn the tables, as the turn brought a queen to give prot0 a boat. Shortly after he was off and running, with a newly minted stack to tangle with the Europeans that remained.
A few collapses later, and they were down to five. With first sitting at around $230,000, and 5th a meagre $70,000, the remaining entrants then devised a “chop” or deal which would guarantee each of them a six figure payday, with prot0 locking up $145,615 for his efforts. With the money divided relatively evenly, and only the bracelet and $25,000 left to play for, every player began to ramp up the aggression. A few eliminations later, and it was prot0 heads-up with Polish player “gregor7878.” The hand that would decide it all came very early in the match, with prot0 being dealt two black Kings on the button, with blinds at 400,000 / 800,000. The kiwi quickly made a raise to around 1.7 million, and was met with a re-raise to 4.5 million from Gregor, who held a meagre A8 offsuit. Prot0 promptly put in a 4-bet to 7.5 million, and perhaps suspecting a bluff – the Polish player moved all-in for over 30 million in chips. Prot0 immediately made the call, being a crushing favourite with only one run-out between him and New Zealand’s first bracelet. Things looked great at first – the board came K Q J to give the kiwi a set of Kings, but just as easily as the turn had put out a harmless off suit 3, it was on the river that prot0’s dreams were crushed – with a 10 giving Gregor broadway and effectively the tournament.
Prot0’s second place finish represents the deepest run ever made by a kiwi in WCOOP, and to that end, we congratulate the unknown star. As if to prove that it wasn’t simply a lucky run, our anonymous hero then went on to claim 31st in event #32, once again putting himself in a position to take down a massive score. For those who are interested, Prot0′s final table in event #21 is still available for viewing on Pokerstars.net, where all the action is shown with hole cards exposed.
Other notable kiwi finishes included Jason Brown, who plays under the screen name “poker_lord76.” Brown had a slew of deep finishes this WCOOP, which started off with a deep run in event #44 where he came 23rd, and ended on the final day of the series where he somehow managed to advance to day 2 in both event #60 and the Main Event, which would land him 48th and 159th finishes respectively. While surely not the finishes that he had hoped for, both Zheng and Brown had lasted through massive fields of top quality players to make day two in the Main Event, but departed shortly after. A full summary of WCOOP results and all information regarding the events can be found here.