SCOOP: bigblinger captures SCOOP gold in Event 10-M, $320 Stud

scoop2009_th.gifA very, very long time ago, Seven-Card Stud was the game of choice for many professionals and amateurs alike. You'd never see it being played in movies - for some reason, movie always found draw games more dramatic - but if you walked into a poker room, it was Stud everywhere. Over time hold'em eclipsed Stud in popularity, but there are still stalwarts who love the game's demands: card memory, board reading, and pot manipulation.

Today Seven-Card Stud is widely viewed as an "old man's game", with so many younger player preferring to play hold'em. But apparently old men play poker on the internet as much as they do in brick and mortar poker rooms, because 291 players fired up PokerStars today to play 2010 SCOOP Event #10-Medium, $320 Seven-Card Stud. They proved that dwindling interest in Stud is not the same as no interest in the game. PokerStars made a $50,000 guarantee to entice Stud-lovers onto the virtual felt; that guarantee was smashed by the $87,300 prize pool.

Team PokerStars places four

The game didn't attract many of the youngest Team Pokerstars players into the field, or even many of the Team Pokerstars members at all. Only 11 in total signed up for the event. Sebastian Ruthenberg, Victor Ramdin, Marcel Luske, George Lind, Darus Suharto, George Danzer and Ivan Demidov all were eliminated well short of the 6-table bubble. Tom McEvoy managed to squeak just inside the bubble, with a 48th-place finish good for the minimum cash of $414.67; he was followed shortly thereafter by "The Bear", Barry Greenstein, in 41st place.

It was the two ladies from Team PokerStars who proved, perhaps, that Stud is not just an "old man's game". Mandy Thomas finished a very respectable 22nd, earning $851.17. Vanessa Rousso did Thomas one table better by making the final two tables of the tournament. She was eliminated in 15th place, good for $1,178.55.

Eight is enough

Event 10-Medium final table.JPG

The last eight player brought these chip counts to the final table:

Seat 1: dpo18 (59,834 in chips)
Seat 2: dreadnoughts (65,902 in chips)
Seat 3: MarMoss (473,429 in chips)
Seat 4: skalexjung (285,212 in chips)
Seat 5: Gunslinger3 (310,890 in chips)
Seat 6: bigblinger (162,198 in chips)
Seat 7: SenatorPhil (58,324 in chips)
Seat 8: Holger L. (39,211 in chips)

Limits to start the final table had already reached 6,000 and 12,000, with an ante of 1,200. That didn't give Holger L. much time to make a hand. Holger L. made a stand on the second hand of the final table. Dealt the 8♣ as a door card, Holger L. completed bigblinger's bring-in. bigblinger was the only caller. Each player caught paint on fourth street, with bigblinger check-raising Holger L.'s bet. Holger L., too invested by that point, continued to fifth street, then put the last chips in on sixth street with these boards:

bigblinger: K♦Q♦ 6♥ K♥ A♣ 6♠
Holger L.: A♥ 8♥ 8♣ Q♥ 9♥ 7♠

bigblinger paired kings on fourth street against Holger L.'s split eights, then improved to kings and sixes by sixth street. Holger L. had a flush draw to go with outs to trip eights or aces up, but bricked everything by catching the T♣ on the river. Bigblinger improved to an unnecessary full house with the K♣. Holger L. was therefore the first player to be eliminated from the final table.

On the fourth hand of the final table, SenatorPhil caught a piece of bad luck to bust in 7th place. SenatorPhil started with buried queens and an ace door card, a powerful starting hand. dreadnoughts was one of two players to see fourth and fifth streets with SenatorPhil. It was there that dreadnoughts, who started with split nines, caught a third nine. A predictable raising war ensued, as SenatorPhil was far too invested to surrender at that point. SenatorPhil improved to aces and queens by the river, but that wasn't enough to avoid elimination.

Bet, Raise, Call, Fold

After the first two quick eliminations, play at the final table fell into a rhythm of bets and raises, rarely proceeding past fifth street. In one hand that did go to showdown, Gunslinger3 was able to chip up at skalexjung's expense:

RSS readers click through to see replay

The relentless pace of antes and bring-ins eventually took its toll on dpo18. Down to 32,234 in chips, dpo18 was forced to bring it in with the 2♠. dpo18 had a pair of eights in the hole, 8♦ 8♣, and started moving chips into the middle with a third street raise after bigblinger completed. The rest of dpo18's chips were in the middle by fifth street. bigblinger went all the way with dpo18, and caught a running two pair, jacks and kings, after starting Q♠ K♥ 7♥ J♠ 9♦. dp18 never improved on the initial eights in the hole, busting out of the tournament in 6th place. It was good for ten times the buy-in, $3,273.75.

Two orbits later, skalexjung, who took 4th place in the $320 Stud event during the 2009 SCOOP series, tried a similar tactic as dpo18. After catching the bring-in with the 3♠, skalexjung re-raised over the completion of dreadnoughts and the raise of MarMoss. Each other player called. skalexjung was able to chase MarMoss out of the pot on fourth street, but dreadnoughts raised there and then bet each street until skalexjung was all in on sixth street. skalexjung wasn't drawing stone dead, but it was pretty close. dreadnoughts started the hand with rolled up sixes, 6♥ 6♠ 6♦ 4♦ J♥ T♠, and by sixth street all skalexjung had mustered was a pair of kings and no appreciable draw, K♣ A♣ 3♠ 7♦ Q♣ K♠. The river J♦ was not the king that skalexjung needed to avoid elimination in 5th place.

Halfway home

Limits moved up to 8,000 and 16,000. That wasn't a problem for any of the remaining four players:

Seat 2: dreadnoughts (320,038 in chips)
Seat 3: MarMoss (505,829 in chips)
Seat 5: Gunslinger3 (326,490 in chips)
Seat 6: bigblinger (302,643 in chips)

Gunslinger3 climbed in the counts by making a full house against dreadnoughts, but the very next hand tried to run a bluff that bigblinger sniffed out to take over the chip lead:

RSS readers click through to see replay

dreadnoughts, meanwhile, continued to have problems. A short time later dreadnoughts was involved in another battle with Gunslinger3. The two players got three bets in on fourth street, with dreadnoughts showing T♦ 9♣ to Gunslinger3's K♣Q♣. Both players checked fifth street; dreadnoughts called one bet on each of sixth and seventh streets. At showdown Gunslinger3 rolled over J♣ T♥ K♣ Q♦ 9♦ 5♣ 2♦, having made a king-high straight in 5. dreadnoughts mucked, slipping to roughly 90,000 in chips.

bigblinger pulls away

Once bigblinger secured the chip lead, it was difficult for any of the other players to gain much traction. Former chip leader MarMoss wasn't able to shake the tenacious bigblinger in a hand that saw two bets go in on fifth street. At that point, MarMoss's board showed T♥ J♠ [5d, a fairly ragged and unconnected board. bigblinger had made 7♦ 6♣ 4♥ and tanked before calling. MarMoss bet sixth and seventh street, with bigblinger making a tough call on the end. It was the right one. MarMoss showed only buried queens, Q♥ Q♣ T♥ J♠ 5♦8♣ A♦ against bigblinger's small two pair 7♣ 3♠ 7♦ 6♣ [4h J♦ 3♦. It was a key hand for each; bigblinger climbed to 830,243 in chips while MarMoss slipped to 159,429. With limits at 12,000 and 24,000, that stack couldn't have seemed like much.

dreadnoughts had even fewer chips, 117,038, when it came to make a stand. dreadnoughts and Gunslinger3 went 3 bets each on 4th street, then got the rest of the chips in on fifth street. dreadnoughts started with three spades and added a flush draw by fifth, 4♠ J♠ 7♠ 6♣ 5♥. Gunslinger3 was on two small pair, 8♣ 2♠ 8♠ 2♣ Q♥. dreadnoughts bricked out, shipping a nice pot to Gunslinger3 and leaving in 4th place with $6,765.75.

But, as had been the case earlier in the final table, Gunslinger3 was unable to hold onto those new chips for very long. Just seven hands later, Gunslinger3 and bigblinger went to war. The betting was capped on third street; three bets went in on fourth street; and then the two players also capped fifth street. Only two bets went in on sixth, but another three went in on the river for what was hands down the largest pot of the tournament. At showdown, bigblinger turned up Q♣ Q♥ / T♠ Q♦ 5♣ [k] 5♦ for queens full of fives. We didn't get to see Gunslinger3's hand, as it was mucked at showdown.

The result of the hand, however, was plain as day. 610,000 chips were added to bigblinger's count, giving bigblinger more than 1.1 million chips. MarMoss and Gunslinger3, by comparison, had 180,000 and 175,000 respectively. It was bigblinger's tournament to win.

The final push

Stud isn't like no-limit hold'em. You can't use a big stack to lean on and apply pressure to the short stacks. You still have to play technically sound poker and make hands. It wasn't going to be that easy for bigblinger to close out the match.

The players traded small pots back and forth. Gunslinger3 was all in at one point, but had made trip nines on fourth street. MarMoss stuck around all the way to showdown, but kings and sixes weren't enough to retire Gunslinger3. That pot proved damaging to MarMoss when MarMoss and bigblinger went to war in a pot that was capped on third street. MarMoss, who started the hand with only 125,845 chips, was all in by fifth street:

bigblinger: 7♦ 9♠ / 7♥ 3♥ Q♣
MarMoss: K♥ K♦ / 7♣ 8♣ Q♥

If Stud is a "race to two pair", then MarMoss had to be crushed to see bigblinger catch the Q♠ on sixth street against MarMoss' 4♦. When MarMoss bricked the river, MarMoss was out of chips and out of time. The 3rd place finish earned MarMoss $9,384.75 and left bigblinger heads up with Gunslinger3.

At the start of heads-up play, bigblinger had a 3.5-to-1 chip lead on Gunslinger3. But Gunslinger3 had roughly 10 big bets worth of chips, giving Gunslinger3 a little maneuvering room. That room lasted all of seven hands, when this damaging hand took place:

RSS readers click through to see replay

Gunslinger3 was left with only 46,912 chips - and the limits had just gone up to 20,000 and 40,000. Five hands later, down to 18,912 from bring-ins and antes, Gunslinger3 got it in with K♣ 8♦ / Q♥. bigblinger three called with 3♦ 7♣ / T♣, a hand that eventually turned into three sevens. The insult for Gunslinger3 was that Gunslinger3's hand turned into two pair, aces and kings. A strong hand, but not strong enough to avoid a final bullet through the heart of Gunslinger3's tournament.

SCOOP Event #10-M $320 Seven-Card Stud results:

1st place: bigblinger ($16,805.41)
2nd place: Gunslinger3 ($12,440.25)
3rd place: MarMoss ($9,384.75)
4th place: dreadnoughts ($6,765.75)
5th place: skalexjung ($4,583.25)
6th place: dpo18 ($3,273.75)
7th place: SenatorPhil ($2,400.75)
8th place: Holger L. ($1,964.25)

The 2010 SCOOP series isn't even half over yet. 28 more events remain. Find all of the details and information you need on the SCOOP homepage.

Dave Behr
@PokerStars in SCOOP