Shaun Deeb currently holds second place on the leaderboard for the largest number of WCOOP wins ever. He has eight so far. The guy above him, Denis “aDreNalin710” Strebkov, has nine.
In the last two days, Deeb came within a whisker of closing that gap. Twice.
The WCOOP’s mix of large fields hold’em events and small field specialist and mixed game events make for pretty high variance on the title leaderboard. A good run in one year can sling a player right up through the ranks.
You only have to go back two years — to the start of the 2018 series — when no one in the world had more than five WCOOP titles. Back then only one person had five titles at that point: Dan “djk123” Kelly. And five was enough to make him number one.
By the end of the 2018 series all that had changed.
In 2018, Strebkov won five events.
He was already sitting on four titles. One each for fixed limit Omaha 8 events in 2014 and 2015. And another two from 2016, when he took down the $1,050 PLO and HORSE tourneys within seven days of each other.
That put him over the top.
That left Deeb fuming. Because that was the year he pulled ahead too. Like Strebkov, Deeb was one of the few players in the world with four titles at the start of 2018. He won two more that series, bringing his total to six. Deeb has been eyeing Strebkov’s soft underbelly from below ever since.
Deeb takes this kind of thing seriously. One of his WCOOP wins came on his son’s birthday. He missed cake and candles to put another title under his name.
Deeb took two more titles in 2019. That made eight and almost evened the score. But he was still one short.
So at the start of this year’s series, the situation was clear. Strebkov was up top with nine, Deeb in second with eight, Kelly was trailing in third with five, and four more players had four titles each — Joao “Naza114” Vieira, Gleb “Ti0373” Tremzin, Dzmitry “Colisea” Urbanovich, and Andrey “Kroko-dill” Zaichenko.
Deeb’s second chance at first
So the scene was set for fireworks yesterday — day 11 of the 2020 WCOOP. Deeb made it to the final few tables of the WCOOP-37-H $5,200 PLO (6-Max). He didn’t make it all the way through, busting out and leaving the top spot to Andras “probirs” Nemeth. That put Nemeth into the two-time winner category.
Deeb had come even closer the day before, managing to final table the WCOOP-34-H $2,100 8-Game. Mixed games are a traditional area of strength for Deeb but he lost out. Instead, Urbanovich won the event. Urbanovich closed his own gap a little, moving into joint-third with Kelly. Both players now have five titles.
Deeb and Strebkov’s battle remains the one to watch this series. And we’ll have more updates on the WCOOP as it continues.
Featured image: Twitter