PokerStars $500,000 Guaranteed Final Table Report 12-18-05

Last weekend, I was playing in a private tournament with FellKnight of RGP fame. He's a cagey character and I was doing my best to pay attention to the game. Between hands, he encouraged me to do more Sunday final table reports. I think he might've been luring me into his lair, because shortly thereafter, he limped under the gun with his pocket aces and took a nice portion of my stack. Nonetheless, his encouragement lured me to tonight's $500,000 Guaranteed tournament. I saw a couple of familiar faces rising through the ranks, including dblgutshot and BKLaw (a member of the World Cup of Poker champion Costa Rica team). The next thing I knew, the final table was on and it was as interesting as ever. Here's how it looked when the final nine met:

Seat 1: karlos,uk (810636 in chips)
Seat 2: dblgutshot (1153627 in chips)
Seat 3: RuudGullit (2435215 in chips)
Seat 4: APAANT (614380 in chips)
Seat 5: KillerKop (1015868 in chips)
Seat 6: bocaorange (630819 in chips)
Seat 7: D-ROY (370736 in chips)
Seat 8: bogav47 (1250168 in chips)
Seat 9: sqs1 (516051 in chips)

To be fair, I counted APAANT out of the tournament long before the final table started. It wasn't that he was playing bad. It was that a stroke of ugly luck had cost him nearly all of his stack. With only two tables remaining, he was down to $13,000 in chips. But, all-in against two other players with a pair of eights, he turned a set to triple up. From there, he took a wild ride to the final table, where in the beginning moments of nine-handed play, he got all-in with a pair of nines. KillerKop isoloated with AKs. The flop gave KillerKop his king, but gave APAANT a nine for another set. APAANT was on his way.

Karlos,uk, strong for the entire tournament, ran into one of the most frustrating late tournament experiences. Folded around to him on the button, he found AJo. It's a hand few people love to play, but know they HAVE to play on the button when only the blinds are left to act. What moves can he make? With only 483,000 left in his stack, he was among the bottom chip stacks. Any decent raise at $30,000/$60,000 blinds is going to basically commit him to the pot. A min-raise is not going to get any respect from the big blind, RuudGullit, who has shown he will call small raises in hopes of outflopping or outplaying his opponents. Simply calling is a horrible option. And he's obviously not folding. His only move seemed to be all in. He had to figure--against only the blinds--he had the best hand at the moment. So, he pushed. He had to know he was in trouble when stalwart player dblgutshot pushed in his entire stack from the small blind to isolate. RuudGullit folded and dblgutshot showed QQ. Karlos,uk's only improvement was a jack...on the river. After a strong performance throughout the night, he finished in ninth place and cashed for $7601.04.

D-ROY (another tenacious short stack), who disconnected during a short break, came back with a 'Thank God' and an eventual double-up. Bocaorange came in for a blind steal raise from the button with K5. D-ROY knew it was time to get his chips in with AK. The best hand held up and the onetime short stack moved into a position to play.

KillerKop, who at one point looked to be headed for a top five-finish was the next to go. He came in for a raise with AT under the gun and only got a call from the big blind, RuudGullit. When the flop came down QT7 rainbow and RuudGullit checked, KillerKop had a pretty easy decision. He pushed. Unfortunately for him, RuudGullit held AQ and had laid the perfect trap. KillerKop finished in eighth and took home $12,668.40.

Shortstacked sqs1 seemed to be holding on for dear life and when the prize money went up, he went out. He pushed with 46o from the big blind (only having about $30,000 behind his $60,000 big blind). It was no match against 73o (a limp from the button). Sqs1 went out in seventh place and cashed for $18,298.80.

After watching RuudGullit run over the table, it seemed dblgutshot was ready to pick him off. From the bid blind, dblgutshot called RuudGullit's 3x the big blind raise with 33. The flop came out J55 and dblgutshot pushed. Bad luck and bad timing struck. RuudGullit held KJs and insta-called. The $2.3 million hand bounced dblgutshot in sixth place and sent RuudGullit to a sky-high chip lead.

Shortly thereafter, APAANT doubled up though with Q9 vs RuudGullit's 33 when the flop brought two queens. And then came the hand of the tournament. D-ROY raised from the cut-off, which proved to be inconsequential. It would be a battle of the blinds. RuudGullit re-raised from the small blind and one-time tiny stack APAANT pushed all in. After D-ROY folded, RuudGullit took his entire time bank before calling with QQ. APAANT held AA and RuudGullit didn't improve, going from penthouse to outhouse in the time it took me to let my dog outside to vomit (she must have seen what was coming, but is feeling much better now, thank you).

Bogav47 had been pretty quiet, but woke up the moment RuudGullit was gone. He tripled up with KK vs. APAANT's AQ and bocaorange's JJ. Bocaorange finished fourth. Bogav47 immediately refused a deal and the tourney went on three-handed.

D-ROY, who started the table with the shortest stack, finally gave up the ghost, going for a blind steal with Q3 and running into APAANT's A3. D-ROY called for a queen but it didn't come. He finished third and cashed for nearly $53,000, proving that beginning the table with few chips doesn't mean you have to cash small.

After D-ROY was gone, the final two players discussed a deal. APAANT took $97,000 happily and a few hands later watched his A9 fall to bogav47's 77.

Here are the final table results:

PokerStars $500,000 Guaranteed Final Table Results 12-18-05

1. bogav47 (Abbotsford, BC ,Canada) $128,216
2. APAANT (Old Forge, PA) $97,000
3. D-ROY (Numalol City, Norway) $52,785.00
4. bocaorange (Delray Beach, FL) $40,820.40
5. RuudGullit (Aarhus N., Denmark) $31,671.00
6 dblgutshot (Miami Beach, FL) $24,633.00
7. sqs1 (Van Nuys, CA) $18,298.80
8. KillerKop (San Jose, CA) $12,668.40
9. karlos,uk (Margate, United Kingdom) $7,601.04