PokerStars $700,000 Guaranteed Final Table Report 7/31/05

As a frequent reader of Cardplayer, I came across an article recently in which two longtime tournament reporters were debating the merits of building tension in a tournament report and not revealing the winner until the end versus stating outright at the beginning who won the contest. My opinion changes on the topic every time I sit down to write. Nonetheless, when this table seated itself as the final nine, I couldn't help but let my gaze be drawn to the Grateful Dead icon on the screen. As Michael Wiesenberg and any listener of the Dead will tell you, it's hard to listen to a show without some reference to the game.

Just like Crazy Otto
Just like Wolfman Jack
Sittin' plush with a royal flush
Aces back to back
--"Ramble on Rose," Grateful Dead

The lyrical and thematic points aside, the bejeweled chip-slinger in the eight seat seemed to be in total control of the game. Saphire1 had been on top of the leader board for most of the evening and didn't look to be giving up any ground or chips.

Here's how the players stood as play at the final table began.

Seat 1: dedhed101 (Westminster, CO) $503,752
Seat 2: ShooterD (Houston, TX) $144,508
Seat 3: TheMuppet (London, England) $394,104
Seat 4: Sharkky1 (Canberra, Australia) $160,350
Seat 5: pita1 (Helsinki, Finland) $413,778
Seat 6: iDumb (London, England) $402,566
Seat 7: ElmerFudd (Mechanicsburg, PA) $748,825
Seat 8: saphire1 (Solihull, Great Britain) $1,333,597
Seat 9: herculesmax (Westfield, IN) $159,030

To finish anywhere near the big money, herculesmax was going to have to pull off something Herculean. With only $159,000 in chips to start the final table, finding AK against a raise from the chip leader seemed to be the best he could hope for. So, herculesmax pushed all in and got called by saphire1's KJ. AK held up and herculesmax doubled through early on.

Then it seemed that The Muppet was pulling all the strings. When he pushed all in from the button with Q9, he likely hoped for no call. What's more, he certainly didn't want to get called by pita1's A7. But then a nine on the flop made flatbread out of the player from Finland and sent him out in ninth place for $11,829.95.

Sharkky1, a player from down under who no doubt had heard about his countryman Joseph Hachem's success at the WSOP, came to the final table with few chips and couldn't find a hand to play. So he didn't. In fact, if my notes serve me correctly, the Aussie didn't play one hand out of the blinds. Finally, in the blind with JT, Sharkky1 found himself up against ShooterD's QQ and the board was no help. Sharkky1 took eighth place and a respectable $17,960.80. On the rail, Poker Room Manager Lee Jones went to work.

Lee Jones: Good game Sharkky1 -- you ain't no fish

With two players gone, somebody handed ShooterD a big glass of rush. He doubled through on the next three hands he played, first with KJ versus AT (he caught a king on the turn), then catching a gutshot straight, then with JJ versus A8s.

Poor ElmerFudd (always hunting wabbits, but never wabbit hunting), took the brunt of ShooterD's rush, losing a good portion of his chip stack along the way. But, ever the tenacious hunter, Fudd called with KQ in the big blind versus iDumb's all in with a naked ace. ElmerFudd hit both his king and queen and sent iDumb out in seventh place with $25,905.

Lee Jones: Great match iDumb - you made a huge comeback - well played

ShooterD's rush cooled off shortly thereafter and his JJ couldn't stand up to herculesmax's A8. Just as quickly, ElmerFuud got hit sqaure in the kisser by a wascally wabbit fortunate Muppet. TheMuppet pushed all in from the small blind with 89 and Fudd called with A7. The dealer proceeded to pull all the remaining nines from the deck and put them on the virtual felt.

ShooterD, never one to let a Muppet outfox him, found himself with a fortunate match-up when he happened upon pocket aces at the same time TheMuppet found AQ. The aces held up and TheMuppet was crippled. Still, he managed to stay alive, getting all in with T2 versus saphire1's AQ and catching a ten on the flop. On his next hand, he got all-in againt with AT and, again, emerged victorious.

There's nothing I think I would enjoy more right now than a continuous loop of the cartoon character Elmer Fudd standing in the woods with his orange cap and screaming "Pwesto! Pwesto!" I only bring it up, because that's very close to what PokerStars' ElmerFudd said when his pair of fives flopped a set against ShooterD's AQ. Fudd doubled up and ShooterD had very little left with which to play. He departed on the next hand when his K5 ran into a pair of eights. He took sixth place and won $34,540.

Lee Jones: ShooterD - I respect your Authoritah and your $34K! (ShooterD had a Cartman player icon, in case you missed the picture at the top)

Finally, after pulling as many strings as he could, it was TheMuppet's turn to go. After facing a raise from dedhed101, TheMuppet pushed with pocket eights. A king and queen on the board spelled TheMuppet's demise. he left in fifth place and won $44,038.50.

Lee Jones: It's not easy being green :-(. Good game Muppet and $44K will prolly get you a date with Miss Piggy

With four players remaining, sapphire1 still held the chip lead. Here's how the players stacked up.

saphire1--$1.6 million
dedhed101--$1.16 million
ElmerFudd--$1.11 million

While saphire1 had maintained the chip lead for hours, he finally gave it up in a battle of the blinds with ElmerFudd. On a 9s2s8c flop, ElmerFudd bet out 80,000 and saphire1 raised to 320,000. Fudd called, then took down the pot after pushing all-in when a three of hearts fell on the turn. Before too long, herculesmax had doubled through saphire1 and ElmerFudd had won another substantial pot. The stacks at the table weren't exactly even, but they were close enough for the players to cut a deal.

With very little discussion, the players worked out a $100,000 save, under which everybody took a hundred grand and played winner-take-all for the remaining $30,000 and change.

Saphire1 departed in fourth when his pocket nines ran into dedhed101's pocket aces.

Lee Jones: Oof - that was a jewel of a match saphire.

Then, ElmerFudd left in third place when his KQ fell against pocket sevens.

Lee Jones: Thhthtthththththt that's all folks! Great match Elmer!

With only two players remaining, herculesmax and dedhed101 cut another deal, under which they each took $10,000 and left $10,023 to play for. After a lengthy heads-up match, dedhed101 took it all down, leaving him with $120,023, and leaving me with the opportunity to throw out one more verse from the 'Dead.

If I had a gun for every ace I have drawn,
I could arm a town the size of Abilene
Don't you push me baby,
Cause I'm all alone and you know I'm only in it for the gold
-- Grateful Dead

PokerStars $700,000 Guaranteed Tournament Results (7-31-05)
(Results reflect four-way deal that gave the remaining players $100,000 and left $30,023 for first, then a two-way deal that left $10,023 on the table for first place)

1st: dedhed101 (Westminster, CO) $120,023
2nd: herculesmax (Westfield, IN) $110,000
3rd: ElmerFudd (Mechanicsburg, PA) $100,000
4th: saphire1 (Solihull, Great Britain) $100,000
5th: TheMuppet (London, England) $44,038.50
6th: ShooterD (Houston, TX) $34,540
7th: iDumb (London, England) $25,905
8th: Sharkky1 (Canberra, Australia) $17,960.80
9th: pita1 (Helsinki, Finland) $11,829.95

Congratulations to all the players.