All-Star Showdown: Dan "w00ki3z." Cates defeats Alexander "Sussie Smith" Roumeliotis, advances to semifinals

ps_news_thn.jpgTwenty-one months ago, Dan "w00ki3z." Cates got his first taste of a four-table high-stakes showdown on PokerStars. Playing against Viktor "Isildur1" Blom, Cates lost over $51,000 to the King of Swing in one of the first SuperStar Showdown matches, but certainly not his taste for action. Hungry for more, Cates was one of the first in line for the All-Star Showdown and his quarterfinal draw gave him a new Swede to contend with. After a rough 2012 at the online tables, high-stakes grinder Alexander "Sussie Smith" Roumeliotis is on a big upswing in the last couple of months, winning over $300,000 in NLHE cash games and another $107,000 for his runner-up finish in the €5,000 High Roller event at the EPT San Remo. Roumeliotis hoped to parlay that run-good into a win tonight, but after nine hours, thirty-eight minutes, and 3,294 hands, Cates put away his opponent and punched his ticket to the semifinals following an intense, swingy heads-up bout.


Dan "w00ki3z." Cates heads to Saturday's semi-final

HOUR ONE (HANDS 1-400): Cates strong out of the gate

There was no "feeling out" period, no small-pot warmup for these two. Not only have they faced each other in cash games umpteen times before, but Cates made two big hands straight away. After check-raising the flop and betting the turn, Cates shipped the river with a set of threes on a Q♠8♥3♣A♠6♣ board within the first minute of play. Roumeliotis looked him up with Q♦T♣ and was relieved of his first $10,000. Minutes later, Cates and Roumeliotis got their stacks in preflop, Cates' Q♣Q♦ holding against Roumeliotis' J♦J♠. Although he was in the hole for two buy-ins so early, Roumeliotis sustained himself with medium-sized pots and even pulled out to a slight lead. Cates, however, wiped out Roumeliotis' gains in a single hand. All the money went in on a J♣9♥7♥ flop and although Roumeliotis' flush came in on the turn, Cates backdoored a full house on the river.

38 hands: Cates +$14,200
115 hands: Cates +$10,587
151 hands: Cates +$337
186 hands: Roumeliotis +$10,133
300 hands: Roumeliotis +$11,063
331 hands: Roumeliotis +$1,863
374 hands: Cates +$3,187
400 hands: Cates +$8,687

HOUR TWO (HANDS 400-818): Roumeliotis rebounds, takes $20k lead

The first hand back from the hourly break saw Roumeliotis four-bet his 9♠9♥ preflop, then hit middle set on a A♣9♣5♦ flop. Cates check-called $1,400 on the flop, then checked the Q♦ on the turn. Roumeliotis craftily checked behind. Cates led out for $5,400 when the 5♠ came on the river, Roumeliotis shoved for $9,150 and Cates looked him up with A♦J♣, his aces up no good in the $25,200 pot. Roumeliotis moved out to an $11,463 lead by Hand 504 and doubled his profits when had called Cates on the flop and turn with second pair, only to river his gutshot for a queen-high straight. Cates shoved the river and Roumeliotis snap-called, winning the $28k pot.

Roumeliotis widened his lead to $27,150 before Cates regained momentum. Holding 6♥7♥ on a 5♦4♦3♣2♣2♦ board, Cates flopped the nut straight, but Roumeliotis turned a wheel, enough to get him to showdown in the $12,200 pot. Moments later, Roumeliotis three-bet shoved on a 7♦5♥3♦ flop holding a double-gutter with A♦4♣. Cates called with K♦T♦ only to spike a king on the turn and wrest away the $20,000 pot. Meanwhile over on Table 4, Cates' 9♣T♠ rivered a jack-high straight on a A♣8♥T♦7♠J♠ board, the river jack making Roumeliotis a set with J♦J♥.

With 725 hands in the books, Cates was back out to a slight lead, but before the hour was up, Roumeliotis was once again ahead of his foe by two buy-ins. His two pair was good for one of them, Cates hero-calling the river with only A-Q high:

428 hands: Roumeliotis +$2,513
452 hands: Roumeliotis +$8,913
504 hands: Roumeliotis +$11,463
517 hands: Roumeliotis +$22,850
553 hands: Roumeliotis +$15,700
600 hands: Roumeliotis +$23,450
651 hands: Roumeliotis +$27,150
672 hands: Roumeliotis +$19,000
689 hands: Roumeliotis +$2,750
726 hands: Cates +$1,200
763 hands: Roumeliotis +$17,300
793 hands: Roumeliotis +$30,600
817 hands: Roumeliotis +$20,050

HOUR THREE (HANDS 818-1,222): Cates takes control

Cates came back with a vengeance in the third hour, winning six buy-ins to take control of the match. After eroding Roumeliotis' lead to $12,800, Cates erased it entirely when he turned two pair and picked off a river bluff. After both players checked a T♠9♦3♦ flop, Roumeliotis led out for $1,850 when the 6♣ hit the turn. Cates raised to $4,100 and Roumeliotis called. The river fell the Q♦ and Cates quickly called Roumeliotis' $8,750 shove, turning over 6♥T♣ for two pair. Roumeliotis' double-gutshot with 5♥7♣ failed to come in and Cates raked in the $28,500 pot.

At the end of the hour, Cates went on a huge rush, picking up nearly $40,000 in the space of 42 hands. Cates got three streets of value out of aces up, saw his pocket kings hold against pocket jacks, successfully 7-bet shoved Roumeliotis off his hand preflop, and snagged this $38,400 pot when a fortuitous turn card made Cates the nut straight and gave Roumeliotis just enough to continue with:

By the time the next break arrived, Cates was out to a $39,927 lead, having picked up $59,377 in the third hour of play.

837 hands: Roumeliotis +$26,600
885 hands: Roumeliotis +$25,050
925 hands: Roumeliotis +$12,800
947 hands: Cates +$250
995 hands: Roumeliotis +$250
1,068 hands: Cates +$8,700
1,103 hands: Roumeliotis +$6,623
1,145 hands: Cates +$33,527
1,201 hands: Cates +$34,327
1,222 hands: Cates +$39,927

HOUR FOUR (HANDS 1,222-1,604): Roumeliotis halves Cates' lead

Cates widened his lead even further, picking up another $12,000 before a wave of good luck lifted Roumeliotis. The Swede picked up a $20,000 pot when his A♣J♣ rivered an ace against Cates' J♥J♦, then snagged another buy-in when his 6♣7♠ hit a 7♣7♥6♥ flop against Cates' A♠7♦. Cates stopped the bleeding when his pocket jacks held against A♣K♥ for a $21,800 pot, but Roumeliotis continued to hack away, reducing Cates' lead by more than half before the next break. A nice chunk came from this pot, when Cates put Roumeliotis to the test with a river shove, but his story didn't add up and Roumeliotis found a call with third pair:

1,368 hands: Cates +$48,827
1,396 hands: Cates +$51,077
1,501 hands: Cates +$52,027
1,547 hands: Cates +$43,677
1,604 hands: Cates +$24,927

HOUR FIVE (HANDS 1,605-2,019): Spring forward, fall back

Cates hit another rush in the fifth hour, expanding his lead by $40,000 over the course of 200 hands. In a genuine cooler of a hand, Cates and Roumeliotis got their money in on a Q♦4♠3♣9♥ board. Roumeliotis had turned two pair, fours and nines, but Cates had him on the flop with a set of fours. Moments later, Cates picked up another buy-in-- his 6♦8♦ turned a straight with a flush redraw, but a river ace made Roumeliotis top pair with A♠Q♥ and he couldn't let go of it when Cates shoved.

After Cates pulled in a $9,200 pot when his 8♣8♥ held against A♦9♥, Roumeliotis' stack on Table 1 failed to top up from the $6,692 he had left at the end of the hand. Since Roumeliotis was down to about $33k and his entire match bankroll was in play, Table 1 was briefly shut down. It reopened when Roumeliotis ground his Table 4 stack up to $20,000, enabling it to be split. Action was paused and both players' stacks were reset to $10k apiece on all four tables. This move definitely benefitted Roumeliotis, as Cates was unable to continue wielding the $44k stack he'd built on Table 4 and the $40k one he was forced to abandon on Table 1.

Perhaps it was the psychological benefit of even stacks, perhaps it was some old-fashioned run-good, but as soon as action restarted, Roumeliotis made a comeback, erasing Cates' gains just as quickly as he made them. Within 200 hands, the stacks were nearly back to where they started at the top of the hour, with Cates sitting on a $26,658 lead, a gain of only $1,731 over the last sixty minutes.

1,646 hands: Cates +$28,777
1,751 hands: Cates +$56,758
1,773 hands: Cates +$66,608
1,802 hands: Cates +$65,358
1,857 hands: Cates +$49,358
1,940 hands: Cates +$31,058
1,988 hands: Cates +$24,708
2,019 hands: Cates +$26,658

HOUR SIX (HANDS 2,020-2,422): Hold steady

Cates held relatively steady over the next 400 hands. Although Roumeliotis scored a couple of double-ups, cutting his lead to around $15,000, Cates quickly answered and regained his lost chips. Cates' lead was back up to $38,000 when this $25k pot unfolded, Roumeliotis correctly reading Cates' river shove as a bluff:

2,075 hands: Cates +$36,558
2,155 hands: Cates +$33,458
2,176 hands: Cates +$16,458
2,241 hands: Cates +$30,358
2,300 hands: Cates +$38,258
2,359 hands: Cates +$23,808
2,395 hands: Cates +$20,358
2,399 hands: Cates +$14,158
2,422 hands: Cates +$20,858

HOUR SEVEN (HANDS 2,423-2,786): Cates climbs

Fresh from an extended break, Cates snapped to it in hour seven, immediately picking off Roumeliotis' turn bluff on a A♥8♣T♠5♠ board. Cates led out for $2,600 with A♣J♦, Roumeliotis shoved for $6,200 and Cates called with top pair, only to be shown Q♦J♥ for a gutshot. Roumeliotis blanked on the river with the 7♣ and Cates dragged the $21,600 pot. Two minutes later, Cates' K♠Q♣ flopped top pair on a dry board and he managed to get three streets of value from Roumeliotis to pick up another $13k and extend his lead to $42,108.

From there, Cates continued to chip up, his lead increasing to $64,608 by the end of the hour.

2,460 hands: Cates +$20,658
2,514 hands: Cates +$42,108
2,590 hands: Cates +$48,608
2,606 hands: Cates +$51,108
2,678 hands: Cates +$57,658
2,706 hands: Cates +$66,008
2,724 hands: Cates +$67,208
2,786 hands: Cates +$64,608

HOUR EIGHT (HANDS 2,787-3,001): Won't back down

With the blinds set to double at the 3,000-hand mark, Cates maintained control and kept the pots small. Roumeliotis was on his last $35,000-- less than two buy-ins at the $100/$200 level. Cates also made an attempt at humor only to watch it fall stunningly flat.

w00ki3z.: yo sussie
w00ki3z.: yo sussie
Sussie Smith: yes
w00ki3z.: ive got sushi
w00ki3z.: a fork
w00ki3z.: and mismatched socks
w00ki3z.: you scared?
Sussie Smith: i have no idea what you are talking about
w00ki3z.: my socks
w00ki3z.: dont match7
w00ki3z.: each other

Cates might need to work on his jokes, but his value-betting skills are in top shape. Roumeliotis made a gutsy call on the river with 9♥9♣ on a A♥5♦6♦7♣5♠ board, but found Cates lying in wait with sixes full. The hand left Roumeliotis with only $2,892 on Table 3 and it was closed a few hands later.

With a $76,708 lead and only three tables left in play, Cates really started turning the screws. Witness this hand where he shoved the river on a paired, flushing board, making it impossible for Roumeliotis to call with anything but a huge hand:

Three tables became only two as Roumeliotis' balance dipped below $20,000. And two became one when Roumeliotis five-bet shoved preflop for $7,950 with A♣J♥ and Cates called with A♥K♥. After 2,880 hands, Roumeliotis was down to his last $6,800. This far in the hole, it would be so easy to tilt-shove it away, but a determined Roumeliotis managed to win the next five pots in a row to chip up to $12,792. Another comeback was underway.

Roumeliotis kept his head down and ground his stack up to $15,000. Then $18,000. Then $20,000. Once he got up to $25,000, his stack was split and another table put back in action. Although Cates managed to make quad deuces in the first hand on the new table, Roumeliotis doubled up a few hands later when his A♠J♥ rivered a straight against Cates' A♣2♣.

A third table came back into play when Roumeliotis passed $31,000 and by the end of the hour he'd cut Cates' lead to $64,558. But after the break, they'd be coming back to play double the stakes.

2,794 hands: Cates +$65,008
2,818 hands: Cates +$76,708
2,846 hands: Cates +$81,158
2,878 hands: Cates +$85,458
2,880 hands: Cates +$93,208
2,895 hands: Cates +$91,858
2,912 hands: Cates +$87,458
2,947 hands: Cates +$82,208
2,953 hands: Cates +$74,258
2,974 hands: Cates +$61,808
3,001 hands: Cates +$64,558

HOUR NINE (HANDS 3,002-3,192): Roumeliotis on the ropes

Roumeliotis returned from break to find $20,000 of his remaining $35,442 stacked on a single $100/$200 table. After winning a couple of hands, he had enough for two buy-ins and a second table was opened. Cates, however, quickly answered, his J♥6♥ turning trip jacks and rivering quads in a $17k pot. Cates whittled Roumeliotis' stacks down to $7k and $12k respectively before they were combined on a single table.

Cates won three small pots in a row to leave Roumeliotis on $12,000. $12k became $8k when Roumeliotis folded to a $5,400 river bet and $8k became $5,500 only a few hands later. After Cates check-called Roumeliotis' $500 bet on a T♣7♥2♣ flop, he check-raised all-in when the K♣ hit the turn. Roumeliotis called with A♥T♠ for a pair of tens, Cates revealing 7♦8♣ for a pair of sevens. The 4♦ came off on the river and Roumeliotis staved off elimination with a double-up to $11,000.

As the nine-hour mark loomed, Roumeliotis had little more than half a buy-in remaining, but there was life in him yet. He ground his $11k up to $16k then managed to double up when his 4♥5♣ turned two pair and rivered a boat against Cates' pocket nines:

While that turn of events could lead a lesser player to lose his lunch, Cates remained ever-cool, and picked up a $7,200 pot on the last hand before the break to end the hour with a $73,632 lead.

3,008 hands: Cates +$64,158
3,059 hands: Cates +$62,058
3,070 hands: Cates +$72,658
3,081 hands: Cates +$74,358
3,087 hands: Cates +$87,258
3,097 hands: Cates +$92,058
3,104 hands: Cates +$88,916
3,169 hands: Cates +$86,716
3,185 hands: Cates +$67,832
3,191 hands: Cates +$73,632

HOUR TEN (HANDS 3,193-3,294): Cates closes it out

Had Cates' J♦7♦ not rivered trip sevens to crack Roumeliotis' A♣A♦, we might have been in store for a match the length of Ike Haxton and Kanu7's epic quarterfinal battle. But instead, that pot, and the next few, fell to Cates. Roumeliotis grew a little more desperate and tried to force the action, firing three barrels on a Q♦K♥5♦4♠T♥ board with 6♠7♣, but Cates called him down, his K♦4♥ having turned two pair. Cates held Roumeliotis to around $15,000 in chips before a pair of pots decided this match.

With $17,000 remaining, Roumeliotis saw a 8♥6♠2♥ flop for a min-raise. He check-called $800 on the flop, then did the same for another $2,000 when the J♦ hit the turn. The river was the 3♠ and Roumeliotis checked a third time. Cates fired $5,200 and Roumeliotis looked him up. Cates turned over T♠T♥ and his overpair was good, leaving Roumeliotis on $8,568.

All the marbles went in preflop on the next deal, Roumeliotis making the final raise with 4♠4♥. Cates practically beat him into the pot with K♣K♠ and flopped top set for good measure:

3,225 hands: Cates +$77,932
3,231 hands: Cates +$67,332
3,251 hands: Cates +$85,332
3,268 hands: Cates +$87,132
3,293 hands: Cates +$91,432
3,294 hands: Cates +$100,000

After 9 hours and 38 minutes of intense competition, Cates and Roumeliotis offered each other a simple "gg" before hopping offline. Team Online's Ike Haxton was also on the rail and offered Cates his congratulations.

Ike Haxton (TeamOnline): gg
Ike Haxton (TeamOnline): congrats dan

While Haxton's semifinal match against Ben "Sauce123" Sulsky is already set, Cates' opponent will be determined tomorrow when online legend Phil "mrsweets28" Galfond takes on cash game wizard Ben "Ben86" Tollerene. That match kicks off at 18:00 CET/13:00 EDT on Wednesday, October 31. Please do join us again for wall-to-wall coverage, here on the PokerStars Blog.

Kristin Bihr is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog.

Kristin Bihr
@PokerStars in All Star Showdown