PokerStars $500,000 Guaranteed Final Table Report (8/14/05)

Surely, I thought, my eyes must be deceiving me. Perhaps, the screen name brainwash had been burned into my corneas and I was simply having flashbacks to the three other times in the past three four months that the same man had made the final table in the big Sunday tournament. But after blinking several times, I realized that it was, in fact, true. Brainwash had made it again.

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Here's how the players stacked up as the final table play began.

Seat 1: Krusty (Thunder Bay, Ontario) $1,186,390
Seat 2: tralala (Stockholm, Sweden) $771,692
Seat 3: DMD FLUSH (Houston, TX) $252,776
Seat 4: El Capitano (Amsterdam, Netherlands) $479,306
Seat 5: emilie (Bordon, Great Britain) $951,440
Seat 6: armen13 (Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Quebec) $11,208
Seat 7: DDDoubleUp (Oslo, Norway) $689,840
Seat 8: brainwash (San Clemente, CA) $1,360,123
Seat 9: Jeffray73 (Milmort, Belgium) $2,156,225

While brainwash's consistency was certainly notable, the story of the moment was armen13, the man from Canada who had survived on the shortest of stacks for what seemed like forever. No matter how low his stack got (including not even having a full big blind at times), armen13 found a way to stay alive.

When it seemed inevitable armen13 would be the first player on the rail, he defied the odds and waited it out. It wasn't long before he made another money jump when DDDoubleUp got all his chips in from late position with A4 and ran into Krusty's AJ. DDDoubleUp finished in 9th place for $6886.05.

After doubling up, the blinding off, then doubling up, then blinding off, armen13's horseshoe finally ran out of luck. His 23 suited in diamonds was no match for El Capitano's K9 of diamonds. Armen13 took eighth place and a significant $11,476.80 for his efforts.

The weak aces had a bad night at the final table, and DMD FLUSH was another piece of evidence. He got all his chips in with A7 against brainwash's JJ. Brainwash flopped a set that turned into a full boat and eliminated DMD FLUSH in seventh place and a $16,577.60 cash.

Remember the naked ace problem? So will Jeffray73. Emilie came in for a button raise with AJ. Jeffray73 pushed back withh A2s, and Emilie moved all in. The AJ held up and moved Emilie into the chip lead. Jeffray73 subsequently laid a tough beat on Krusty and that sent Krusty into a tailspin. He got all his chips in with K8o and ran into Emilie's AK. That sent Krusty to the rail in sixth place and $22,316.

The battle for the ages would be on the verge of beginning. On the next hand, El Capitano got all his chips in with 77 versus Emilie's AK. At first, a king on the flop loooked like it might send El Capitano home, but a seven on the river set up the battle for the rest of the night.

Brainwash soon learned how ugly AK can be. His Blig Slick couldn't run down 99 and one of the most consistent players in the past several months finally left the contest in fifth place. He added another $28,692 to his ever growing bankroll. Nice job, brainwash.

With only four players remaining, three wanted to cut a deal based on chip count percentage. The one holdout, El Capitano, wanted an even split and then winner take all for the remaining $28,000. Emilie was incredulous. He said, "Sorry, you have much less chips."

El Capitano didn't care about having fewer chips. Less chips, he thought, then typed, "but much more skill."

And so with the virtual table covered in the El Capitano's confidence, play resumed. First, El Capitano took a massive pot off Jeffray73 without having to show his hand, then made the naked ace work for him, putting A9 against Jeffray73's 55, and winning. Jeffray73 was out in fourth place and took home $36,980.90.

Before long, the biggest hand of the tournament developed. El Capitano, in the small blind, held nearly $3.7 million in chips to emilie's $2 million in the blg blind. El Capitano simply called from the small blind and emilie checked his option. The flop came down 8s7h6s. Emilie put out a small bet and got a call. The turn was the ace of clubs. El Capitano check-called again. The river was the jack of diamonds. This time, El Capitano bet out 320,000. Emilie raised to nearly 1.5 million. El Capitano went into the tank for a great while, at one point typing, "good move." Just when I was sure he was going to fold, he called to see Emilie's pocket nines. El Capitano turned over A9 for top pair and the win.

The loss left Emilie with very few chips. He finally got them all in with JT versus AT and lost. He left in third place for $47,820.

Heads up play between El Capitano and tralala did not last long. On the final hand, tralala made a standard raise and got a call. The flop came down 7s3hKd. El Capitano check called a pot-sized bet. The turn was the king of hearts. This time, El Capitano put out a tiny bet and tralala raised all in. El Capitano insta-called with K2 to tralala's 78h. Tralala's heart draw didn't get there and he departed in second place for $76,512.

And so it seems that confidence will not always be a player's downfall. Despite the fact El Capitano was last in chips with four players remaining, he thought he could do better. The deal would've given him more than third place money. He wanted it all and went on to win the whole thing and cash for $127,520.

Congratualtions to El Capitano and everyone else for making it a memorable and fun final table.

PokerStars Sunday $500,000 Guaranteed Results 8/14/05

1st-- El Capitano (Amsterdam, Netherlands) $127,520
2nd-- tralala (Stockholm, Sweden) $76,512
3rd-- emilie (Bordon, Great Britain) $47,820
4th-- Jeffray73 (Milmort, Belgium) $36,980.90
5th-- brainwash (San Clemente, CA) $28,692
6th-- Krusty (Thunder Bay, Ontario) $22,316
7th-- DMD FLUSH (Houston, TX) $16,577.60
8th-- armen13 (Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Quebec) $11,476.80
9th-- DDDoubleUp (Oslo, Norway) $6886.05