SCOOP: hasuace has Event #22-M $1,050 Main Event lead after Day 1

scoop2009_thn.gifAfter a week and a half of guarantee-busting tournaments, SCOOP has finally rolled around to the Big One - or rather, the Big Ones. With three Main Event tournaments running today, SCOOP, the new kid on the PokerStars tournament series block, was set to go out with a bang.

The medium tier tournament, sporting a $1,050 buy-in and a fat $3 million guaranteed prize pool, drew a whopping 3,198 players for the first of two days of action at the virtual felt. The math on that one is easy enough - the guarantee was broken by $198,000. When the tournament began all the players had their eyes on the $502,086 first prize. But as Christopher Lambert once said on the silver screen, there can be only one.

The task at hand for the day was to play 33 levels and whittle the field down to the final group that would return for a second day of poker. With the levels lasting 20 minutes each, any aspiring champ would have to settle in for 11 hours just to have a shot at the top prize. Befitting a Main Event, the 10,000-chip starting stack was deep enough to allow players room to maneuver as they sought a path to the final table.

With so many players in the field and such a large first prize it's no surprise that Team PokerStars Pro came out in force. But as is the case with any group of players, most of them would fall short of making the money. Among the PS players who played in this event but didn't cash were Peter Eastgate, Ivan Demidov, Isabelle Mercier, Johnny Lodden, Vanessa Rousso, Victor Ramdin, Bertrand Grospellier, Noah Boeken, Dennis Phillips, Hevad Khan, Chad Brown, Gavin Griffin, William Thorson, Alexandre Gomes, and Maridu Mayrinck.

If that list seems like it's light a few names, that's because there were plenty of their teammates who finished in the money. Former PokerStars Caribbean Adventure champ Steve Paul-Ambrose came in at 463rd. He was followed closely by Marcin Horecki in 442nd, and Leo Fernandez got even closer to the top in 195th. Impressive as those cashes were in such a large field, there were still a small handful of PS pros who outdid them - including two former world champions.

By 1:30 a.m. ET the blinds had reached 3K/6K with a 750 ante and only 105 players remained from the original starting field. At that point BruceWizayne became the first player to surpass the 1,000,000 chip mark when his 8♠8♣ held up against K♣Q♣ to send the all-in jahwise home in 104th place.

Not too far behind BruceWizayne in the chip counts was Team PokerStars Pro's own J.C. Alvarado. The PS pro had been hovering around the top of the leaderboard for some time, but within two orbits at the 4K/8K/1K level the two-time WPT final tablist grabbed pots worth 318K and 289K - the latter courtesy of picking up A♣A♦ against NoraFlum's K♠Q♠ - to jump back into second place. A few small pots later he would cross the 1 million mark himself and take the chip lead, staying in the top 10 for most of the rest of the night and keeping himself within striking distance whenever he did slip further back.

LAPT URU S2 Day1_IJG_7239.jpg

J.C. Alvarado playing Day 2 of LAPT Uruguay

Now the chip lead began to change hands more frequently. At the end of the 4K/8K/1K level Rapid_Slap took control with this pot:

But as anyone who's been around the game for a while knows, tournament poker can cruelly take away what is has only recently given. Only a few hands later Rapid_Slap would be denied the opportunity to pull away from the field significantly by hasuace:

And then hasuace would claim the chip lead for the first - but not last - time of the night. Again, his advance came at the expense of Rapid_Slap, who would eventually bow out in 50th place for $6,076.20:

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With the field shrinking further by the minute, Chris Moneymaker and Andre Akkari were both appeared to be card dead and were holding on to their stacks thanks to small pots and timely steals. While aggression can pay off on the short stack, timing is the key; it's all about dodging real hands and managing to catch big when you do run into a legitimate hand. Akkari would manage to stay afloat for a long while, but on the 6K/12K/1.5K level Mr. Moneymaker would finally reach the end of his run, finishing in 68th place ($5,436.60) after this pot:

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While the man whose win built online poker was on his way out of the tournament, his fellow former WSOP Main Event champ Greg Raymer was still going strong. Always aggressive at the table, Raymer's game had nearly everyone at his table taking shots at playing back at him. True to form, FossilMan never feared getting his chips in the middle in an effort to build the kind of stack that can win a tournament. More often than not he held the best hand in his confrontations against all-in opponents, such as when his J♣J♠ topped Cain Foster's T♣T♥ or his 9♠9♣ beat Unst0pab13's 3♣3♦.

But all good things must come to an end. As it turns out, Raymer's good thing would end at the hands of a PS teammate. When the blinds and antes went up to 7K/14K/1.75K, J.C. Alvarado would be moved to FossilMan's table. Raymer's stack was on a downswing and he was looking for a chance to double himself right back up the leaderboard. Unfortunately he picked the wrong spot to make a move against Alvarado, sending him to the rail in 48th place ($6,076.20):

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Alvarado used that pot to float back up toward the top of the leaderboard where a number of players, including Crisper, BruceWizayne, and weeminer, took turns exchanging the chip lead. It would be weeminer who first crossed the 2,000,000 chip mark just before 4 a.m. ET when his pair of jacks held up against hasuace's Q♥9♥. At just about that time, Andre Akkari's run would end in 39th place ($6,555.90) when his K♠Q♠ couldn't beat fan4mizzou's A♦K♣.

After one final five-minute break the remaining players came back for three more levels of play. J.C. Alvarado was starting to slip and the 10K/20K blinds with 2.5K antes were providing plenty of incentive to find a spot to double up. A coin flip with 9♥9♦ against HedgeMe's A♦K♦ proved to be crucial. If he'd lost it, Alvarado would have been left with under 200K and probably found himself on the outs soon afterward; instead, the board ran out 3♦ 6♠ J♦ J♠ 2♠ and the PS pro was back in the hunt.

Despite his earlier slip against weeminer, hasuace would become the pacesetter with two huge pots in a 10-minute span. First, with blinds at 12.5K/25K and antes of 3,125, heffalump75 opened for 62.5K in early position before the flop and called for 670K total when hasuace shoved behind him; hasuace's 5♥ 5♦ held against heffalump75's A♠ K♦ for a 1.5M pot that made him the first player to break 3 million. Then he took this pot to cruise past the 4 million mark, extending his chip lead even further:

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It looked as if the leaderboard might hold steady for the rest of the level, but just as play was coming to a close for the night Ericb09 would take down three pots worth over 1,000,000 each in the span of four hands - A♣K♥ vs. JOPKE JOPKE's J♣J♥, A♦K♣ vs. TheCronic420's 9♦9♠, K♦K♠ vs. Hauen's T♣T♥ - to finish the night in second position.

So after 11.5 hours of poker, just 19 players remained on three tables. They'll be back in action today at 4:30 p.m. ET, and we'll be here providing live updates for you. So be sure to join us to find out who will become the first ever medium-stakes Main Event SCOOP champion.

Table 52
Ericb09 - 2833241 in chips
phinomenon - 1466291 in chips
pino1234 - 370399 in chips
Rayons X - 1186339 in chips
Teejmesiter1 - 2323945 in chips
weeminer - 2212749 in chips

Table 241
ErikXP - 1106603 in chips
fan4mizzou - 1303843 in chips
Ggod - 974584 in chips
hasuace - 4737047 in chips
Rae_Kwon_JHK - 2111188 in chips
smeggi - 2392776 in chips

Table 417
Crisper - 1188269 in chips
JC Alvarado - 1501169 in chips
jcamby33 - 2531250 in chips
jomamusfat - 1209530 in chips
P0KERDUUDE - 828717 in chips
tcblade - 825648 in chips
TheL0bster - 876412 in chips

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in SCOOP