After 18 days, 33 events and nearly $40 million in prize money awarded, the 2008 World Championship of Online Poker finally drew to a close last night at PokerStars with the crowning of the main event champion.
2008 WCOOP Main Event
The two-day main event came with a price tag of $5,200, but that didn't stop a field of 2,185 players from turning up for their shot at the biggest prize pool of the WCOOP. Originally guaranteed to award $10 million to its players, the main event ended up dishing out $10,925,000 instead.
A full contingent of Team PokerStars Pros was on hand for a shot at the single largest prize of this WCOOP, but only a small handful of them would find their way to the cash before the end of Day 1. Humberto Brenes took 234th and Vanessa Rousso claimed 160th place, while their teammate Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier advanced to Day 2 with the other 59 remaining players.
ElkY would go deep on Day 2, but eventually bowed out in 21st place when his pocket nines were outflopped by Fluffdog87's pocket sevens. The main event cash was ElkY's seventh in this year's WCOOP, tying him for eighth place on the "most cashes" list.
Despite coming up short in his quest for a bracelet, Grospellier walked away with $407,285.96 - the 11th-highest score of any WCOOP player this year, and more than plenty of bracelet winners were able to claim.
Six of the players who earned more than ElkY during the WCOOP owed their higher totals to making the final table of the main event, which was set at 8:26 pm on Monday, a full 14 and a half hours after the tournament had begun.
All the players were in relatively good shape so far as their chip stacks were concerned, leading to a bust-out-free first half-hour of final-table play. Once the blinds went up for the first time, though, the real action would finally commence.
The final table
Kovi99 was the first player to go at the final table. After min-raising to $320,000 before the flop, he got the remainder of his stack in the middle on the K♣ 8♠ 3♦ flop holding A♥ J♠; unfortunately for him, Markush13 held K♥ 7♥ for top pair, which would hold up to send kovi99 out in ninth place.
Two hands later BOLLPOKER would become the next casualty. He opened with an all-in raise of nearly $1.3 million holding 3♥ 3♦ and got a call from ckingusc with A♦ Q♥. The J♦ 9♠ 5♦ flop looked like good news for BOLLPOKER, but the turn and river came K♥ T♣ to give ckingusc the runner-runner broadway straight and BOLLPOKER an eighth-place finish.
Only a few more hands would pass before klslcz would get his money in the middle in a dominant spot. With a flop of Q♣ 9♠ 9♥ and nearly $2.8 million already in the pot, he got all-in for just under $5 million holding A♣ A♦ against Markush13's K♣ K♥. The turn was a safe 8♣, but the river gave Markush13 a set with the K♠ and knocked klslcz out in seventh place.
The nine-minute gap before the next knockout must have seemed like an eternity to the remaining six players, especially when liberace started to take over the table thanks to a big pot against Markush13. He would shore up his advantage by taking out Sumpas with A♦ K♥ against A♣ Q♦ when the board ran out T♦ T♠ 3♣ 8♦ J♥ to send Sumpas home in sixth place.
At that point discussions began for a five-way chop of the remaining prize money; after 15 minutes of dealing, an agreement was in place that gave chip leader liberace the biggest prize and left $200,000 and the bracelet in play.
ShoesRDurrty would lose the bulk of his stack with pocket deuces against AJKHoosier's pocket sevens before bowing out in fifth place with pocket treys against ckingusc's pocket queens.
Markush13 and liberace would lock horns several times before the latter would finish his opponent off for good. With nearly $8.5 million in the pot and a board reading Q♠ 9♠ 9♦ 6♦ 7♥, Markush13 shoved all-in for $9.3 million and liberace quickly called. He held T♥ 8♥ for the straight, more than enough to top Markush13's A♦ T♠ bluff and send him home in fourth place.
AJKHoosier bowed out in third place when his A♦ 7♣ couldn't top ckingusc's pocket nines, setting up a heads-up match between ckingusc and liberace that would last only 12 hands. In the pivotal hand, ckingusc got all-in on a flop of 8♣ 7♦ 3♦ holding K♦ J♦ to liberace's Q♥ 7♠ and caught a flush on the river to take the lead.
ckingusc would wrap up his win six minutes later when his A♣ 8♣ held up against liberace's K♦ J♦.
2008 WCOOP Main Event Final-Table Results
2008 WCOOP at a glance
The seventh installment of the WCOOP proved to be the most popular yet. A total of 55,758 buy-ins were put up by 22,873 entrants across 33 events covering nearly every discipline in poker.
Stuart "thedonator" Patterson topped the cashes list with 10 in-the-money finishes, putting him in the all-time WCOOP lead for that category with 20 cashes in all. Main event runner-up liberace topped the cash list with $1,377,179.01 in total earnings over the course of the 18-day festival.
Players from 119 countries around the world competed for a total of $39,958,000 in prize money, with 80 of those countries claiming at least a small share of the cash. The United States claimed by far the largest share of the money up for grabs - $21,453,396.35 in total - and also dominated in final tables (157) and bracelets (21).
Canada came in a distant second in two categories - final tables (34) and bracelets (3) - and finished in third place for money won ($2,577,221.51) behind the United Kingdom's total ($3,035,137.32).