"Don't blink" said smitten_kitten right before the h2h between the final two players, but she could as well said it at the start of the final table- If you blinked you may have missed the whole thing. Fast and furious barely begins to describe it. Dark angel suggested it was "...more like a megaton bomb went off in there and a dominant HCooke was the only one left standing." Indeed. When the final table came together, this railbird looked at the players and the stacks, and figured it may well be a long drawn out affair. We had a nice mix of players- From well established and respected EPC sharks such as _unknown, AAwingnut, HCooke, kacy, Dark angel, and CWM4, to also well respected newer players such as filly313, headhunter29, GatorRulez and BobbyGunz. The stacks were fairly well distributed and I was ready for a good hard fought battle. Once again (see last weeks ft notes), I couldn't have been more wrong. Maybe from now on I will take the George Costanza approach to poker and assume the opposite of what I think will happen will transpire instead. Some quick facts- GatorzRulez went out on the first hand and 15 hands later it was over. Yes, total hands of final table- 16. At one point someone was knocked out in 5 consecutive hands. The only considerable break between exits was the 5 hands between 10th and 9th place. Start time of ft- 11:51pm End time- 12:01 am. Total time of ft- 10 minutes. The smoke never got a chance to clear. If you started a good sneeze during the first hand you could have very well missed the whole thing. It was just one of them deals where everyone kept pushing a hand (there were a lot of pp's dealt early on) they thought was going to do the trick but each time there was another player to come along feeling the same way and brought it to a quick showdown; with the bigger stack winning every time. Here's the 'quick and the dead' accounting-
                                                                                                                         THE FINAL TABLE
STARTING STACKS
HCooke- $61,152.50
filly313- $29,366.00
_unknown- $24,260.00
Dark angel- $23,628.00
headhunter29- $22,895.00
CWM4- $14,616.00
BobbyGunz- $14,215.00
GatorzRulez- $12,769.00
AAwingnut- $9,287.50
kacy- $5,311.00

BLINDS
$1,500/$2,000
--

First hand of the final table (11:51pm)- GatorzRulez (@sstroll!!! jajaja) had some good runs in the previous few weeks of TPC play, but between a bad beat or two and a couple "controlled risks" (hi rock!) gone bad, had been cut short of the points so far in the series. The first hand of the final table would also be the last for GR. kacy and BobbyGunz are the sb-$1500 and bb-$2000, and after _unknown and filly fold, Gatorz decides to pop all in with 10c9s. I suppose this controlled risk could possibly be called a steal attempt, and if not for headhunter29 holding suited AdKd, it may have worked. headhunter had just doubled up off Gatorz the hand prior to the final table coming together. "Damn it, you're not suppose to call this one" Gatorz said after hh did indeed call. After kacy and BobbyGunz folded they headed to the showdown for a race, with Gatorz trailing at the start. The flop is Ac5c3h and GR falls further behind. The turn comes 4h and only a 2 on the river for a split pot will save Gatorz but it comes 9d and the race is over. One hand of final table play is still more than a lot of us have seen in the TPC, so well done GatorzRules with the 10th place finish. gg

6th hand (11:54pm)- Blinds have moved up to $2k/$4k now, and they will stay at that amount until the final hand. Don't blink! AAwingnut and Dark angel are in the blinds. Action folds around to filly313 who decides to put HIS (he is kinda like the EPC's version of A Boy Named Sue jajaja!!!) $23k stack all in with a wee pp of 3c3d. _unknown folds and wingnut folds as well from the sb, but Dark angel, the last hurdle for filly to clear for a clean steal, has a much better pp of KsKd, and makes the call. filly is quite behind going into this pony race. No help comes on the draw and filly313 finishes with a solid 9th place finish. gg

7th hand (11:55pm)- Now we have some nice stacks on the table- a couple middies at around $17k, Dark angel is now at almost $50k, headhunter at $52k and HCooke at $61k. All the makings for a nice sustained battle. DON'T BLINK!!! headhunter folds from utg then HCooke raises 3x the blinds $12k from early position. kacy quickly gets out of the way then BobbyGunz puts the rest of his $9k in chips all in, hedging his game on a pp 7c7h. Everyone folds and after the $3k uncalled portion is returned to HCooke he shows a nice pair of hooks, JsJh. The flop comes QsJc3d and Bobby is all but dead, needing runner 7's. Qc on the turn ends it and BobbyGunz is out in 8th place. gg

8th hand (11:55 pm)- After getting called away from last weeks game, we were happy to see _unknown, aka "fizzy", be able to play this evening, and she did not disappoint; playing her customary lethal blend of sometimes patient, sometimes ultra aggressive and ruthless poker (she is one of the best at putting the tough decision on you) to a strong final table appearance. HCooke raises 3x the blinds again from very early position, utg this time, and fizzy, like Bobby before her, bangs all in after a quick kacy fold, with a mid pp 9d9h and $18k. Action folds back around to HCooke, but it is not complete deja vu all over again for instead of a higher pp HC has suited AsKs, still a very formidable hand, especially considering his near 4-1 chip advantage. The flop comes 3s4s6h. fizzy is ahead, but HC is on a nut flush draw with two overs. The turns brings an Ad and puts HC in the lead. fizzy is looking at a one outter now, only the 9c can save her for the 9s gives HC his flush. The river is 5d and fizzy exits with a very nice 7th place finish. vgg

9th hand (11:56pm)- The "nh gg" comments from the railbirds are hard to keep track of at this point. Heck, everything is hard to keep track of at this point. Good thing I am now a seasoned and grizzled ft reporter *cough*. Action folds to CWM4, who is holding suited As8s and with only two players to the left, decides to pop all in almost $8.6k and try to get some more breathing room. headhunter bails from the sb, but HCooke, flush with many chippies from the last two hands and in the bb now, calls the $4.6k difference with 10d4s for a chance at a $19k pot. CWM4 goes to the flop ahead and had to like seeing it come up Ad8dJd to give him aces up. But hold on, with 3 d's on the flop HC is four to the flush. Rut row, the turn is a club....wait for it....will poor CW be crushed by the infamous espn 4 legged flush monster? The answer is yes as the river brings HCooke's needed diamond to deal our first real tough beat of the ft and put CWM4 out in 6th place. vgg

10th hand (11:57pm)- Some more railbird commentary- TurtleGirl: "Wow", smitten_kitten: "HC kickin butt and taking names" (hey kitten, isnt that a quote often used by another SK? hmm? lol), L0VE: "Dropping like flies". Yes, I know, extreme in-depth observations from the peanut gallery. Hey, the action had our heads spinning, we barely had enough time to get in a complimentary "nh gg". This is kacy's second TPC final table in a row, and after headhunter and HCooke limped in, had to like seeing suited KcQc after the bb had put him all in. The flop is 4d8c6h. hh and HC both check. The turn is 7d. hh bets $8k, HC calls. This does not bode well for kacy at all I would say. The river is a 5d though, running a 4-8 straight on the board. kacy may survive this after all. hh bets $13k though....uhoh....HC thinks about it and surprisingly folds. Very good fold though because headhunter has Ah9d and a 9 hi straight. Following up last weeks 8th place finish very nicely, kacy finishes in 5th place. vgg

12th hand (11:59pm)- Wow, we went a hand without someone going out. At this point I am starting to think I might be able to make an xtranormal video of the final table in the allotted 2-3 minutes they allow your for running time. Dark angel and hh pay the sb/bb respectively and after the hole cards are dealt HCooke again leads off with a 3x raise. D angel flat calls and hh folds.The flop comes 9h4c6h. Da checks, HC bets $17k, Da flat calls. The turn is 7d. Da bangs all in $46k. Yikers. HC has about $70k left at this point so it constitutes a good chunk of his stack to call and he uses all the time allowed to mull it over, then makes the call. They turn their cards over- Wow, Da had made an all in bluff, holding two overs and a nut flush draw AhJh and HC had made the tough call with top top Ac9c. A heart or a J will save Da but the river is 10s, ending Da's game. "I'm an idiot", Da said after the hand, but I would definitely disagree. It was an aggressive move and also a gutsy call from HC, and sitting around waiting for unbeatable hands isn't really what poker is about. No, you are not an idiot, in my opinion you are one of the toughest players to sit across from on this site and congrats Dark angel for a very well played 4th place finish. vgg

14th hand (12:00am)- The final 3. AAwingut has been very quiet for the short period we have been on the final table, but also for a bit before as well, and we find out why when he says "Nice, back in time just to go out". I caught up with wingnut later and it turns out he had unfortunately gotten booted off the game client with about 16 people left and a $20k stack. Man that stinks and a lot of us know exactly how it feels. Poor wingnut now has a little over $1k and it is drawn all in as he is sitting in the bb. headhunter folds after the deal and HC, who is the sb, is returned the uncalled portion of the bet and the cards are flipped to show 8c5c for wingnut and 10s3s for HC. Well, it could be worse for wingnut, but never the less he heads to the flop behind. The flop comes 4d6hAc, giving wingnut a gutshot str8 and runner flush draw...the turn is Qs and now he is down to needing and 8, 7 or 5 to stay alive...but the river brings 4c and AAwingnut, playing his 2nd TPC final table in 3 weeks, finishes with a great 3rd place. Good job!

HCooke and headhunter29 h2h
"Don't blink", she said. Oh trust me, my eyes had been open the last ten minutes trying to catch all the action, no easy task let me tell you. Holy hell. I haven't spent a whole lot of time watching final tables the way I do for these, but I have seen and played a few and never witnessed anything like this. HCooke and headhunter29 came into the h2h almost even, with HC holding the edge $121k to $96k. Once again any hopes of seeing a legendary, knock down dragged out battle were quickly put to rest. The first hand of the h2h HC raised 2x the blinds preflop from the sb and hh folded. The blinds go up to $3k/$6k and we go to the finale-

THE 16th and FINAL HAND (12:01am)

Dealer: Tournament level 17. Blinds $3000.00/$6000.00
Dealer: 9 minutes left to the next level
Dealer: ** New hand[448500538] **
Dealer: headhunter29 posts the small blind $3000.00
Dealer: HCooke posts the big blind $6000.00
Dealer: DEALING POCKETS
(Hcooke is dealt AcAs, headhunter29 is dealt Kc3c)
Dealer: headhunter29 calls $3000.00
Dealer: HCooke raises $6000.00 to $12000.00
Dealer: headhunter29 calls $6000.00
Dealer: DEALING FLOP 6c Kd 8h
Dealer: HCooke checks
Dealer: headhunter29 bets $15480.00
Dealer: HCooke goes all in $109214.00
Dealer: headhunter29 goes all in $68806.00
Dealer: $24928.00 is not called, return back to HCooke
Dealer: DEALING TURN 8s
Dealer: headhunter29 shows Two Pair, Kings and Eights
Dealer: HCooke shows Two Pair, Aces and Eights
Dealer: DEALING RIVER 7d
Dealer: HCooke shows Two Pair, Aces and Eights
Dealer: headhunter29 shows Two Pair, Kings and Eights
Dealer: Hand 448500538: HCooke wins main pot($192572.00) with Two Pair, Aces and Eights
Dealer: headhunter29 finished in 2nd place
Dealer: HCooke finished in 1st place

"I was lucky and got AA at the right time", HCooke said later. Yes, perhaps a bit of luck was involved, but there was a LOT of skill displayed throughout the night by HC, and hh as well, on their was to the showdown. Very good game and congrats to headhunter29 for his strong 2nd place finish.

HCooke wins week 4 of The Peoples Champion. Well done.


Winners Prize: The ESPN "Insiders Special"
-One Year subscription to ESPN Insider
-180 Tournaments Points
-$500,000 in EPC chips
-----


SPECIAL NOTE-

HCooke posted this on the EPC Message Board shortly after the tournament-

"Leaving on a jet plane..."

Be back in 365 days.

I'm deploying next Friday to Afghanistan for a year.  I'll probably have some kind of internet, but not sure with my work schedule and the time zone how much I'll be able to be around.

Going to miss all of you. Hopefully I'll at least be able to check the MB every once in a while and catch up. Take care and remember, it's a game..have fun!

HCooke

Heinz Cooke

SSG, USA


Both HCooke and his wife serve our country proudy in the Army and we should all be grateful for their service. Their sense of honor and duty has the respect of all at EPC and our prayers for a safe return are with Heinz, his family, and all the families of our men and woman in the armed forces serving abroad. THANK YOU.

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