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Tom "hitthehole" Middleton Wins 2014 WCOOP Challenge Series Main Event for $500,000

Tom “hitthehole” Middleton

Leeds’ Tom “hitthehole” Middleton has added a $500,000 score to his already impressive list of poker accomplishments after taking down the 2014 PokerStars WCOOP Challenge Series Main Event as calendars around the world flipped over to April.

2014 WCOOP Challenge Series Main Event Final Table Results

1Tom "hitthehole" Middleton$500,000*
3Michael "Stella948" Kanaan$292,320
4Oleksii "somnium89" Kovalchuk$217,616
6David "WhooooKidd" Baker$121,800
7Ben "ShankingYou" Palmer$89,320
9Bryn "BrynKenney" Kenney$32,480

*Denotes a heads-up deal.

The $2,100 buy-in WCOOP Challenge Series Main Event attracted 1,624 players, meaning the prize pool stood at a whopping $3,248,000. Of those 1,624 hopefuls, only 65 managed to navigate their way through the shark-infested waters of Day 1, and Middleton ended that action-packed day with 641,245 in chips — enough to place him seventh overall.

Plenty of big names were still in with a shot at the $532,834.40 first-place prize, but one-by-one they fell by the wayside. Luminaries such as Anthony “wwwBTHEREcom” Gregg (77th - $6,496), Ireland’s Mick “BIGMICKG” Graydon (72nd - $7,145), the United Kindgom’s Tom “GaggleoKings” Ambler (54th - $8,444), Ambler’s fellow Brit Matt “OffTh3Radar” Davenport (48th - $8,444), Team PokerStars Pro Angel Guillen (44th - $9,419), Andrew “stato_1” Hulme (26th - $12,667), and Maria “Femmeonfelt” Ho (15th - $20,137) saw their tournaments cut short of the final table.

By the time the final table was reached, Middleton had increased his stack to 4,716,851 in chips, which gave him a slight lead over Norway’s “ventox”, who had 4,669,529 in chips at his disposal.

Bryn "BrynKenney" Kenney may have started the nine-handed final table third in chips, but he was the first player out of the door. “bboooommmmmm” doubled through Kenney when his {K-Clubs}{K-Spades} held against the {10-Spades}{10-Diamonds}, leaving Kenney with slightly more than 15 big blinds. After paying the blinds and antes, Kenney found himself down to 1,234,051 in chips so when the action folded to him in the small blind and he looked down at the {K-Spades}{Q-Clubs} there was only one move to make — shove.

Kenney did shove his 12-big blind stack into the middle and was called by "ventox" who held the {A-Hearts}{5-Spades}. Kenney couldn’t improve to a pair or better and his tournament came to an abrupt end in ninth place.

Middleton then bolstered his stack when he sent “jbrown8777” to the rail shortly after Kenney’s exit. "ventox" min-raised to 200,000 only to see "somnium89" call and then "jbrown8777" squeeze all in for 904,458 from the button. Middleton, in the big blind, reshoved his massive 4,600,000 stack into the middle, forcing folds from "ventox" and "somnium89." "jbrown8777" showed the {J-Clubs}{J-Hearts} and was way behind the {A-Spades}{A-Clubs} of Middleton. The aces in Middleton's hand held and "jbrown8777" fell in eighth place.

"ShankingYou" was the next player to bust, again at the hands of Middleton. Then next to head for the rail was David “WhooooKidd” Baker, better-known simply as “Bakes” in the poker world. Down to 1,910,928 in chips, Baker open-shoved from the small blind with the {A-Hearts}{2-Hearts} in his final hand and was looked up by Middleton holding the {7-Clubs}{7-Hearts}. The {J-Diamonds}{10-Hearts}{5-Hearts}{4-Clubs}{2-Clubs} board flirted with the idea of coming to Baker’s rescue, but alas it did not and only five players remained in the tournament.

Middleton’s run-good continued as he sent "ventox" to the rail in fifth place, and then "bboooommmmmm" and the {Q-Clubs}{Q-Spades} prevailed against "somnium89’s" pair of sevens, with the chips going in preflop. "somnium89" picked up over $217,000 for his fourth-place finish, while Michael "Stella948" Kanaan scooped the $292,320 third-place prize after Middleton’s {4-Hearts}{4-Spades} defeated his {A-Spades}{8-Clubs} when he flopped a set and turned a boat.

That hand left Middleton with 14,211,425 in chips and "bboooommmmmm" held 10,148,575. Shortly after heads-up play began, the players discussed a deal and eventually it was agreed that Middleton would lock up $460,000 leaving $422,594 in the hands of "bboooommmmmm" with $40,000 still to play for.

"bboooommmmmm" went on a small heater and managed to draw level with Middleton before the following hand all but ended the contest. A raise to 320,000 came from Middleton and was called by "bboooommmmmm" to see a {J-Diamonds}{8-Spades}{3-Hearts} flop. "bboooommmmmm" led for 796,666 and Middleton responded by raising to exactly 2,000,000. "bboooommmmmm" put in a raise of his own, setting the price to play at 3,866,666 and Middleton called. The turn was the {10-Hearts}, and with over 9,300,000 already in the pot, it seemed like a no-brainer for the 7,500,000 stack of "bboooommmmmm" to go in. It did just that, and Middleton called to discover his {K-Clubs}{J-Hearts} was ahead of "bboooommmmmm’s" {A-Diamonds}{10-Diamonds}. The {Q-Hearts} completed the board and left "bboooommmmmm" with only 142,150 in chips.

That tiny stack went into the middle with the {9-Hearts}{3-Hearts} and Middleton called with the {5t}{2-Hearts}. A deuce on the flop was enough to win the pot for Middleton and the remaining $40,000 in the prize pool. Middleton also picked up a $5,200 entry to the 2014 WCOOP Main Event and a customized money clip for his win.

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