All Star Week: Pros pick up key win

allstarweek_thn.jpgPokerStars All Star Week was on its way to being a rout. The All-Star Challengers had won the first two days and had done so convincingly. Team PokerStars Pro needed to avoid a third day of losses, if only to shake off the smell of defeat.

That's just what the Pros did--once they showed up. The running score now stands at 8-7 to the Challengers.

Feature Match: Match 11: ElkY vs. psimalive (NLHE)

If there is a heads-up king on Team PokerStars Pro, the title belongs to ElkY. Between his runner-up performance in last year's big WCOOP heads-up event and his deep run at the NBC Heads Up Championship earlier this month, ElkY made his bones a long time ago.


In the first match of the day, ElkY was conspicuously absent. Minutes ticked by. If he hadn't shown up by ten after the hour, he faced disqualification. Team Pro colleague Greg Raymer was waiting in the wings for the team, but with two minutes to spare, ElkY slid in to his virtual seat.

Up against Supernova Elite psimalive, ElkY already knew his opponent. psimalive made Elite playing heads up SNGs. At one point, psimalive admitted he was down to ElkY by $20,000.

psimalive moved out to an early lead, but 58 hands into the match, ElkY's bet his T♣ T♥ on every street of a 7♠ 5♠ 3♥ 5♥ 8♦ board and got called down. ElkY's win in that hand took him back to the lead.

ElkY put a hurting on his opponent until Hand 124 when the opponents got it all-in:

ElkY: A♥ K♦
psimalive 5♠ 5♥

ElkY blanked and psimalive made it back close to even. It would only last another 34 hands. Pre-flop, psimalive came in for a min-raise and ElkY called. They saw a 4♣ 7♣ T♥ flop. ElkY checked and let psimalive bet out 100. Then, ElkY raised to 350 and got the call. The turn was the Q♠. ElkY bet out 750 and psimalive min-raised. ElkY pushed all-in and psimalive made the call.

The hands went on their virtual backs:

ElkY: 4♦ 7♥
psimalive T♠ J♠

With that, ElkY took down a key match for his team and exactly when they needed it.

Match 12: Victor Ramdin vs. Aryamehr (NLHE)

As team captain for Team PokerStars Pro, Victor Ramdin had yet to step into the ring. This was also the first time his opponent had sat down to play.

Ramdin had some company. Both Isabelle Mercier and Marcin Horecki stopped by to root on their captain. At one point, Greg Raymer stepped and distracted the Challenger with some anagrams (note: one anagram for Victor Ramdin is, no lie, diva corn trim).

The early lead went to Aryamehr, building an early 2-1 advantage. Victor turned the tables in hand 30 when his top pair top kicker held up for a 3240 pot.

The end came not much longer in hand 38 when Victor filled a boat on the river against Aryamehr's turned straight. The action on the river made the hand inescapable for the challenger and the Pros had their second match of the day.

Match 13: William Thorson vs. Canuck (PLO)

William Thorson is no stranger to PLO. That said, as we mentioned last night, Canuck knows his stuff in the Pot Limit Omama arena as well. The players sparred back and forth for 30 hands before Canuck started moving out into the lead. Thorson finally picked up A♦ A♣ 7♠ J♠. Canuck ended up rivering a straight. Thorson quipped, "Hard to win a hand versus you. Always nuts."

Thorson never recovered and gave the Challengers their first win of the day.

Match 14: Vanessa Rousso vs. PKerBL (NLHE)

The first time PKerBL went up against a woman in this event, it didn't turn out very well. Isabelle Mercier put him away with all due speed.

Today, PKerBL went up against Vanessa Rousso. The match didn't last 18 minutes and the last hand was...well, odd.

PKerBL raised the 30 chip big blind to 90 and Rousso called. On the flop of 6♣ 9♥ 7♥, Rousso checked and PKerBL bet out. How much into the 180 pot? Well, exactly what you expected: 3120. Russo pushed all-in and typed into the chat box, "lol???"

"My bad," said PKerBL. And then he called.

When the hands were revealed, Rousso was shocked. "This is the weirdest hand ever," she said.

And it was a bit odd.

Rousso: 5♥ 6♥
PKerBL: K♠ 8♥

PKerBL blanked on the turn and river and Rousso picked up a third win on the day for the Pros.

Match 15: Chris Moneymaker vs. bluffblocker (NLHE)

Where the previous match was a sprint, the final match of the night was a marathon. An hour and 40 minutes into the tournament, the players were within a couple big blinds of each other. Then Chris Moneymaker struck. After coming in for a raise to 250 and getting a call, Moneymaker bet out 260 on a 7♥ 3♦ Q♣ flop. On the 2♠ turn, bluffblocker checked again and Moneymaker bet out 655. Again, he got the call. The river was the Q♥. Now, bluffblocker woke up and bet out 1255. Whatever Moneymaker had, it was good enough for him to push all in for 2,385 more. Bluffblocker folded and asked Moneymaker to tell him later about the hand.

After Moneymaker took the lead, his luck took a turn for the worse. His internet connection went belly-up. He lost a few blinds, but managed to get his home network running again in time to make it back.

"I'm tilting now," Moneymaker said, "but otherwise I'm okay."

Two hours and 15 minutes into the match, Moneymaker rightly pointed out that they were involved in the longest match of All Star Week so far.

Nearly two hours and 30 minutes into the match, Moneymaker ground bluffblocker down to 2120. After Moneymaker raised to 600 and bluffblocker moved all-in, Moneymaker made the call for 1,500. He only had 7♦ T♣ but it was good enough to beat bluffblocker's 5♣ A♠ on a 3♣ K♥ J♠ K♠ 7♥.

With that, the Pros took four out of the five matches on the day. Here's how tomorrow's matches will play out:

Vanessa Rousso Vs Sumpas (NLHE)
Ylon Schwartz Vs Aryamehr (LHE)
Alex Kravchenko Vs oblowski512 (NLHE)
Chris Moneymaker Vs Gunslinger3 (NLHE)

Good luck to all the players on Thursday.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in PokerStars news