PokerStars $500,000 Guaranteed 5/29/05

When 1293 people entered PokerStars Sunday $500,000 Guaranteed tournament and built a prize pool of $646,500, few would've predicted how the final hand would play out. The difference in prize money between first and second was more than $60,000.

Here's a blatant and unapologetic bit of foreshadowing: a two-outer spelled the $60,000 difference.

Click on image for full sized version

When the final table began with blinds at $10,000/$20,000, downtheline could not have had a great deal of hope. He had less than eight big blinds and only a poker player's hope of making it farther in the tournament.

In the small blind, downtheline sat in the small blind and smaller-stacked MadManMund pushed in the rest of his 80,872 in chips with A5. Downtheline had no choice but to push in his remaining 115,948 with KK. Dangdokodang did downtheline a huge favor by calling with AJ. Three eights and no aces on the board nearly tripled downtheline up and gave him the new life he'd been hoping for just moments before. Downtheline's win sent MadManMund out in ninth place for $9697.50.

Surrey, with just a couple of big blinds left decided to call all-in with JTs and faced machine0001's Q9s. Machine001 paired his nice and sent Surrey out in eighth place for $14,869.50

I was pleased to see a familiar face at the final table and further pleased he granted me permission to use his name and picture here.

Anders Berg, aka Donald, is one of Norway's greatest players. I met him for the first time in London at the World Cup of Poker where he established himself as a tremendous and ruthless heads-up player. It's rare a poker player will admit learning from another player, but I learned a great deal watching Berg play for a few days.

Donald showed he was unafraid tonight as well and it paid off for a while. In fact, the hand that busted PamelaG shot Donald to the moon. PamelaG moved all in for more than 137,000 with A9s. Downtheline called and Donald decided to see a flop. That flop came own QT8 in PamelaG's suit and Donald pushed all in. After some thought downtheline folded, saying he was laying down AQ. If it was true, he was likely sick to see Donald's QJ of diamonds. PamelaG never caught another heart and took off in seventh place for $21,334.50

Lee Jones: Good game Pamela - thank you for playing here today.

Downtheline had found new life and and the will to battle the big dogs...and big ducks, like Donald. Donald raised three times the big blind under the gun and downtheline smooth called in the small blind. The flop came down 447. Donald bet out and downtheline immediately pushed all in. Donald thought and thought and finally called with A7. It was no good to downtheline's QQ. Donald didn't improve, was crippled, and left shortly thereafter in sixth place. He cashed for $27,799.50.

Lee Jones: Good game Donald - well played

Maciste soon fell victim to downtheline as well. Downtheline called under the gun, so maciste simply called for 20,000 more in the small blind. PICKLED EGG checked his option. The flop came down 752 with two hearts. Maciste bet out 80,000, PICKLED EGG folded, and downtheline pushed all-in. Maciste had Q5 and had to be a little sick to see downtheline's slow-played KK. Maciste took fifth place and $34,264.50.

Lee Jones: Congratulations maciste - you just won over $34K - great match

The second ugliest hand of the night came at the expense of the oddly named dangdokodang. Needing to double through soon, dangdokodang made a standard raise preflop and then got all his chips in on a flop of 726. Machine0001 was happy to call with a set of deuces to beat dangdokodang's...pair of aces. For fourth place dangdokodang took $42,022.50.

Lee Jones: Tough beat dangdok - great game, though - you win $42K

With three players left, PICKLED EGG and downtheline were ready to talk about a deal. Machine0001 politely refused and it was evident why. He'd picked up AQ and
doubled through downtheline after downtheline called machine0001's all in with A5.

Somehow, machine0001's got PICKLED EGG excited and he uttered, "Lets go baby."

The only place machine0001 would be going was home in third place. With the chip lead, he called downtheline's all-in and found his pair of sevens were up against downtheline's queens. The hand crippled him and maybe, just maybe, made him wish he'd accepted the deal. He took third and a not unsubstantial $56,892.

Lee Jones: Good match machine - you win almost $57K!

With the non-deal-maker out of the way, the two remaining players were ready to talk deal. But when Lee Jones offered his standard formula for the chop, PICKLED EGG, facing a 3-1 chip deficit, said he didn't like it. He wanted about $4,000 more.

PICKLED EGG: The formula favors a big stack, there should be consideration for small stack getting more.

Downtheline, who liked his 2-1 chip lead, even with just a $4,000 difference, refused to be a wilting lily and said...

downtheline: 2nd place is $87,700......want that?

PICKLED EGG: lets get it on !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NOW

And so it continued, a heads-up match, and perhaps a bit of a grudge-match.

PICKLED EGG was the first to hit big. From the small blind he called and downtheline checked his option. The flop came down QhJd8s. Downtheline bet out and PICKLED EGG smooth-called. The turn was an ace. Downtheline checked, PICKLED EGG bet out and downtheline moved all in. PICKLED EGG called with J8, two pair, cracking downtheline's AK.

After some back-and-forth battle, finally it came time for the $60,000 hand...

PICKLED EGG called from the small blind and downtheline checked. The flop came down 3h9s5c. PICKLED EGG bet out, downtheline quadrupled the bet and PICKLED EGG moved all in. Downtheline, who would've been close to even in chips with PICKLED EGG if he lost, thought for a moment then called, showing A5 to...


Just in case I've failed to convey this already, the difference between first and second was more than $60,000. Further, just in case I've failed to convey this as well, only two cards in the deck would give downtheline the win.

Two fives left in the deck...

And one came on the turn.

Perhaps unable to control one final little jab, downtheline offered one last comment.

downtheline: wanna chop now?

PICKLED EGG did not respond.

Lee Jones: Tough beat Egg - great match both players!

PokerStars Sunday $500,000 Guaranteed Results 5/29/05

1st-- downtheline (Delray Beach, FL) $148,695
2nd-- Pickled Egg (Las Vegas, NV)$87,277.50
3rd-- Machine0001 (Raleigh, NC) $56,892
4th-- dangdokodang (Canada)$42,022.50
5th-- Maciste (Lana, IT) $34,264.50
6th-- Donald (Oslo, NO) $27,799.50
7th-- PamelaG (Bushey, GB) $21,334.50
8th-- Surrey (Surrey BC, CA) $14,869.50
9th-- MadManMund (Oviedo, FL) $9697.50