SCOOP: Benba Bests Event #26-M for Title and $66K

SCOOP logo 2010.gifNo-limit hold'em is the staple of tournament series like SCOOP, and that was evidenced by the solid turnout for an event scheduled on a Tuesday night with a $109 buy-in. NLHE brings the people to the online poker tables.

Event 26-M was the medium level buy-in with a $200K guarantee, and registration grew to 4,204 players, which more than doubled that anticipated prize pool. It landed at $420,400.00, and that was enough to afford payouts for the top 540 finishers.

In that group of 540, as the tournament played on, several Team PokerStars Pros finished with a little extra cash on hand. Nichoel "NicP" Peppe finished in 339th place, and she was followed by Alvaro "VARICO" Blanco in 323rd, Anh Van Nguyen in 300th, Martha "marene" Gonzalez in 244th, Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier in 213th, and Grayson "spacegravy" Physioc in 138th. And that was all she wrote for the team in this particular event.

But a number of others stayed strong through the night/morning hours to head toward the final table. It was well into the 15th hour of the tournament when hand-for-hand play began with the last ten players, but suddenly things sped up, and short-stacked Big Huni pushed all-in for 495,334 chips. T-MartPoker made the call with 4♠4♥, and Big Huni showed Q♠9♥. The board came 8♠6♠2♦3♠4♣, which only improved T-MartPoker's hand and eliminated Big Huni in tenth place with $2,522.40.

T-MartPoker finds best bargain on chip lead

As Level 39 began to wind down, with blinds at 50,000/100,000 and a 12,500 ante, the last nine players found themselves at the final table with a welcome from Bill Chen. Their starting chip counts were as follows:

Seat 1: YaGotBurnt (2,707,430 in chips)
Seat 2: kinabamula (1,574,070 in chips)
Seat 3: PHHSkid99 (7,098,150 in chips)
Seat 4: Benba (7,971,920 in chips)
Seat 5: basebal1b (2,391,555 in chips)
Seat 6: FrenchKiss91 (6,951,406 in chips)
Seat 7: matador009 (3,421,332 in chips)
Seat 8: pokrmike1005 (1,622,113 in chips)
Seat 9: T-MartPoker (8,302,024 in chips)

2010 SCOOP - Event 26-M Pic.JPG

Again, plays were coming quicker than they had been in hours. It didn't take long for one of the table's shortest stacks - pokrmike1005 - to make a move from the small blind, putting 1,889,113 at risk with nothing but A♣A♦. Basebal1b called with A♠K♠ from the big blind, and the board produced 9♣J♠9♠Q♥2♠, and that river card made a flush for basebal1b, leaving pokrmike1005 out in ninth place with $3,363.20 to make up for those cracked aces.

Benba bolts to top spot

Without much delay, Benba climbed into the top spot on the leaderboard, partially due to winning a 6.7 million-chip pot from PHHSkid99, as well as eliminating basebal1b in a monster pot. Benba and basebal1b got into a preflop raising war that prompted basebal1b to finally push all-in for 5,877,568 chips with A♣8♣. Benba called with J♠J♦, and that hand only improved on the 9♥8♦3♠J♥K♥ board to a set. That left basebal1b out of the tournament in eighth place with $5,255.00.

Kinabamula had no luck chipping up at the final table and finally decided to move when the stack dipped below 800K. With 8♠7♠ from the small blind and no action in front, kinabamula moved all-in. But PHHSkid99 looked down at J♠T♦ from the big blind and made the call. The flop of 2♥2♦J♣ gave PHHSkid99 the two pair, and the 4♦ turn and K♠ river let it be. Kinabamula was gone in seventh place with $9,459.00.

Not long after, it was YaGotBurnt who shoved all-in for 1,139,930 with K♣4♥, and like déjà vu, PHHSkid99 was in the big blind and called with J♣T♣. The board came 8♦A♥A♦6♠T♦, and two pair for PHHSkid99 eliminated YaGotBurnt, burnt but walked away with $13,663.00 for the sixth place finish.

While Benba and PHHSkid99 were climbing, T-MartPoker was having a tough time, as both bigger stacks took weighty pots from the former chip leader.

But it was matador009 on the short stack, and the decision to push all-in came from the small blind (a trend?) with A♥9♣. Original raiser PHHSkid99 got out of the way after T-MartPoker called from the big blind. The Q♥Q♠ of T-MartPoker was intimidating, and it held up on the 3♦7♥9♥4♠J♥ board. That pushed matador009 out of the arena in fifth place with $17,867.00.

But T-MartPoker's momentum from that elimination was short-lived. T-MartPoker limped into the hand, and Benba checked the big blind before the K♥Q♦8♥ flop was shown. A bet and call brought the 5♦, and the same action took them to the A♠ on the river. Benba bet again, but it was an all-in bet. T-MartPoker called for his tournament life with Q♠J♦ for top pair, but Benba showed J♣T♣ for the rivered straight. Benba took down the 10.6 million-chip pot, and T-MartPoker walked away with $24,173.00 for the fourth place finish.

PHHSkid99 was starting to suffer at the hands of his opponents, and the following hand was an example of how chips were disappearing from PHHSkid99's stack:

RSS readers click through to see replay

And finally, it was PHHSkid99 who chose to get involved with Benba. A raise and reraise took the two players to the 9♣8♠9♦ flop, at which point Benba bet, PHHSkid99 raised, and Benba pushed all-in. PHHSkid99 called for his tournament life with 8♣7♠ for the two pair, and Benba turned over A♥T♥. But it was far from over because the A♦ came on the turn and A♣ on the river to give Benba the full house. PHHSkid99 undoubtedly hurt from that one, but the $34,683.00 for third place might soothe the pain a bit.

And then there were two

The final two players, after nearly 16.5 hours of play, were ready to battle with these starting chip counts:

Seat 4: Benba (34,540,265 in chips)
Seat 6: FrenchKiss91 (7,499,735 in chips)

They quickly decided to pause the tournament to discuss a potential deal, which seemed to be more complicated than usual. Finally, the administrator paused the action, and the chip-chop numbers were given and discussed. Some alterations were attempted, but no agreement could be made, so play resumed.

Only a few hands after their return to action, FrenchKiss91 made the all-in move preflop with A♠9♦, but Benba looked him up with a dominating A♥T♥. The board brought nothing of significance for either player when it came 5♦K♣2♥K♠4♥, and that left FrenchKiss91 out of the tournament in second place with $49,186.80.

Ben "Benba" Lamb became the latest SCOOP champion, and for winning Event 26-M, he was awarded the first place prize of $66,003.97.

SCOOP Event 26-Medium (NLHE) Results for 05/11/10:

1st place: Ben "Benba" Lamb ($66,003.97)
2nd place: FrenchKiss91 ($49,186.80)
3rd place: PPHSkid99 ($34,683.00)
4th place: T-MartPoker ($24,173.00)
5th place: matador009 ($17,867.00)
6th place: YaGotBurnt ($13,663.00)
7th place: kinabamula ($9,459.00)
8th place: basebal1b ($5,255.00)
9th place: pokrmike1005 ($3,363.20)

The Spring Championship of Online Poker has less than a week left on the schedule, but numerous events remain with corresponding qualifiers to offer seats at a fraction of the price. Check out the SCOOP website for details and PokerStars.TV for series highlights.

Jen Newell
@PokerStars in SCOOP