“Everybody has alligator blood in this MTT it seems.”
So typed Danish pro Henrik “hhecklen” Hecklen with 10 left in Event #66-H, the $25,000 no-limit hold’em high roller in this year’s World Championship of Online Poker on PokerStars. He wasn’t lying when reapplying the famous line to the tougher-than-tough field of players left in this marquee event on the WCOOP schedule.
Continue onward to see the who’s who of top talent comprising the endgame portion of this one. We’ll tell you the ending at the start and let you know Bryn “BrynKenney” Kenney and Nick “caecilius” Petrangelo — two players who have both spent time at the top of the Global Poker Index overall rankings and 2017 GPI Player of the Year leaderboard this year — were the ones making it to heads-up, with Petrangelo coming away with the title and a huge $624,676.53 cash.
Kenney earned a cool $559,694.73 himself for taking second, and thanks to a three-handed deal third-place finisher bartek901 actually earned the largest payday of $636,113.64.
But as noted, all three had a number of tough competitors to get through to get that far.
There were 149 total entries in this event (120 uniques, 29 re-entries), meaning a $3,654,225 prize pool that beat the $3M guarantee.
Day 1 concluded on the stone bubble with 18 players left and only 17 due to earn a piece of that enormous prize pool. Nikita “fish2013” Bodyakovsky enjoyed the overnight chip lead, with Adrian “Amadi_017” Mateos and Patrick “pads1161” Leonard next highest in the counts.
Meanwhile Team PokerStars Pro Igor Kurganov was one of those returning to a short stack on Day 2, as did David “dpeters17” Peters and PokerStars Championship Monte-Carlo Main Event winner Raffaele “1mDonuts” Sorrentino.
Play was hand-for-hand across three six-handed tables to begin on Friday, and it took exactly one hand to settle the matter of who would be the last person out shy of the cash.
That’s because David “dpeters17” Peters unfortunately picked up A♣K♥ while Charlie “Epiphany77” Carrel caught K♣K♠. All the chips went in pre, and when the board didn’t help him Peters was out in 18th.
WATnlos soon followed in 17th, then Kurganov picked up pocket sixes and open-shoved from the button. But unfortunately for Kurganov, Viktor “Isildur1” Blom was waiting in the small blind with pocket aces, and five cards later the red spade was down in 16th, like WATnlos earning a min-cash of $58,689.04.
Over the next hour BERRI SWEET (15th), mysikant (14th), and prot0 (13th) all fell, earning $71,293.56 apiece. Next Raffaele “1mDonuts” Sorrentino (12th) and Thomas “WushuTM” Muehloecker (11th) went out, and after a lengthy stretch of hand-for hand play EPT11 Grand Final Main Event champion Adrian “Amadi_017” Mateos went out (10th), with those three each taking away $86,605.13.
The final nine were reseated around a single table, with bartek901 having pushed out to a big lead over the group and Patrick “pads1161” Leonard having become a short stack.
Then Leonard doubled through Nikita “fish2013” Bodyakovsky (ace-king over ace-queen), leaving the latter with less than seven big blinds, and a little while later Leonard took the rest of Bodyakovsky’s stack (jack-eight over king-nine) to knock the Latvian out in ninth ($105,205.13).
With bartek901 still well in front of a table stacked with the proverbial “notables,” the official eight-handed final table had begun.
Seat 1: Charlie “Epiphany77” Carrel (United Kingdom) — 332,310
Seat 2: Henrik “hhecklen” Hecklen (Denmark) — 571,167
Seat 3: Nick “caecilius” Petrangelo (Canada) — 722,545
Seat 4: Linus “LLinusLlove” Loeliger (Austria) — 355,727
Seat 5: Patrick “pads1161” Leonard (United Kingdom) — 776,836
Seat 6: Viktor “Isildur1” Blom (Sweden) — 1,096,748
Seat 7: Bryn “BrynKenney” Kenney (Mexico) — 1,068,297
Seat 8: bartek901 (United Kingdom) — 2,526,370
About a half-hour into the final table, bartek901 had opened for the minimum from the button when Charlie “Epiphany77” Carrel pushed from the small blind for 357,360 total (almost 12 BBs).
It folded back to bartek901 who called and turned over A♠K♥, better than Carrel’s Q♠J♦, and after the A♦6♣Q♣7♥8♠ runout bartek901 had the better one-pair hand to send the 2017 SCOOP Main Event (“High”) champion Carrel out in eighth.
They had just begun the day’s fifth hour when Linus “LLinusLlove” Loeliger next fell in seventh.
After Loeliger made a big, almost all-in raise of a little over 11 big blinds from the cutoff with A♥K♣, Viktor “Isildur1” Blom three-bet from the small blind with 7♠7♥ and Loeliger called with the little left behind. The board came 3♠2♣3♦Q♠9♥ and missed Loeliger, and they were down to six.
The remaining six battled onwards another 10 minutes, then suddenly came two knockouts in two consecutive hands.
In the first it was Viktor “Isildur1” Blom opening from the cutoff, Henrik “hhecklen” Hecklen jammed over the big blind for 417,084 (about 14 BBs), and Blom called. Hecklen had A♥8♥ and Blom A♠J♣, and five cards later — 10♣5♠5♣6♦K♣ — Hecklen was out in sixth.
On the next hand it was Nick “caecilius” Petrangelo open-shoving from the small blind, and Patrick “pads1161” Leonard — winner of a SCOOP and a couple of WCOOPs before — calling all in with his last dozen BBs or so from the big.
Leonard had the preflop edge with K♦8♦ versus Petrangelo’s 7♠5♠, and after flopping a flush as the first three community cards came 5♦J♦10♦ appeared primed for a double. But the turn was the 10♥ and river the 5♥, making a runner-runner full house for Petrangelo and Leonard was suddenly out in fifth.
It was about a half-hour after that when Blom limped from the small blind, Bryn “BrynKenney” Kenney raised from the BB, Blom pushed all in for 772,345 (about 22 bigs), and Kenney called in a snap.
Blom had A♦10♦ — a pretty good hand blind-vs.-blind. But Kenney called quickly because he’d been dealt A♥A♣, and after the board came 4♣K♥6♠3♠9♣ they were down to three.
Add a fourth-place finish and $355K-plus cash to Blom’s impressive ‘COOP résumé, one that includes three SCOOP titles (including one in the SCOOP Main Event “High” in 2013) plus a WCOOP win in this year’s Event #58-H ($2,100 H.O.R.S.E.).
From there the final three paused things to talk about a deal, with bartek901 still the big leader with 4,287,257, Kenney next with 1,655,652, and Petrangelo third with 1,507,091.
Both “chip count” and “ICM”-based numbers were presented (in each case leaving $73,085 aside for which to play). Dismissing the former, Kenney joked “throw those chip chop numbers in a bin… and light it on fire.” By contrast all three were amenable to the payouts suggested by “ICM,” and after quickly agreeing they were back at it to battle for the title and the cash still on the table.
During the next 20 minutes Kenney won a couple of all-ins against bartek901. The first was a preflop situation in which Kenney’s ace-ten outran bartek901’s pocket sixes when an ace came.
The second started as a three-way hand, then Kenney reraise-shoved on a 8♦K♦9♠ board with K♠J♣ only to see bartek901 call him with K♣8♠. But the 10♥ turn and 7♣ river made a straight for Kenney, and suddenly he had the chip lead.
On the very next hand bartek901 limped from the small blind for 40,000, Petrangelo raised from the BB to 140,000, bartek901 pushed for just over 1.7 million, and Petrangelo called.
bartek901 had 4♦4♥ and needed help against Petrangelo’s 9♣9♦. But the 2♥6♠10♥Q♥A♣ board didn’t bring it, and bartek901 — winner of a SCOOP once before — had to settle for third place and a huge $636K-plus cash in this one.
That pot gave Petrangelo the edge to start heads-up play with 3.89 million to Kenney’s almost 3.56 million. Kenney grabbed the lead back briefly, but then Petrangelo moved in front again and soon began to increase his advantage, before long having a better than 6-to-1 lead over Kenney.
At one point Kenney won a hand without a showdown, then confirmed he had bluffed after Petrangelo asked him in the chatbox. “Damn,” said Petrangelo. “Good thing we aren’t playing for any money… I’d be tilted.” “Haha,” answered Kenney.
Soon after that, though, Petrangelo got the last laugh in a hand that began with Kenney raising the minimum to 100,000 from the button and Petrangelo calling.
The flop fell 6♣K♠9♥, and after Petrangelo checked Kenney continued for 74,444. Petrangelo then check-raised to 240,000, prompting a responding reraise from Kenney to 422,222. Petrangelo pushed all in, and after thinking it over Kenney called with the 1,054,966 he had left behind.
Kenney had flopped top pair with K♦4♦, but Petrangelo had bottom two with 9♠6♠. The turn was the 7♣ and river the J♥ and that was that — Petrangelo had won!
Congratulations to Nick “caecilius” Petrangelo for winning this year’s WCOOP $25K High Roller and earning a massive $624K-plus payday.
Kudos also to Kenney who adds this runner-up to his two previous SCOOP titles and a handsome almost $560K cash, as well as to bartek901 who came away with the biggest chunk of the prize pool following the three-handed deal.
It was quite an achievement for all three, surviving so many talented tournament players — all with alligator blood it seemed.
WCOOP-66-H: $25,000 NLHE (8-Max, High Roller)
Entries: 149 (120 entries, 29 re-entries)
Prize pool: $3,654,225
Places paid: 17
1. Nick “caecilius” Petrangelo (Canada) $624,676.53*
2. Bryn “BrynKenney” Kenney (Mexico) $559,694.73*
3. bartek901 (United Kingdom) $636,113.64*
4. Viktor “Isildur1” Blom (Sweden) $355,846.60
5. Patrick “pads1161” Leonard (United Kingdom) $275,473.38
6. Henrik “hhecklen” Hecklen (Denmark) $213,253.62
7. Linus “LLinusLlove” Loeliger (Austria) $165,087.28
8. Charlie “Epiphany77” Carrel (United Kingdom) $127,799.94
* Denotes three-way deal
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Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.