SCOOP: squee451 squeaks out 15-hour nailbiter to win Event #22-H

SCOOP logo.gifPlaying four-handed is a bit like riding in a crowded elevator. Everyone is in each other's personal space, making the ride at best uncomfortable, at worst downright unpleasant.

A favorite of those who enjoy playing a high percentage of hands, the four-handed no-limit hold'em Event #22-High offered especially deep stacks and a slowly-rising structure with half-hour levels, thereby ensuring a lot of postflop play. The starting stacks were especially deep (250 big blinds), and indeed, as the tourney progressed the average stack usually remained at least 80 BBs, often even deeper.

That said, the four-handed format tended to discourage players from ever sitting back for too long, especially during the early and middle stages of the tournament. Indeed, for much of the event it was as though players were trying to push each other off that crowded elevator whenever the opportunity arose -- or, perhaps, go ahead and exit themselves rather than continue to endure such close quarters.

A total of 280 players ponied up the $3,150 required for this one, making for a prize pool of $840,000 (in excess of the $500K guarantee). The top 36 finishers made the cash, with first place netting $210,000.

Team PokerStars Pros Steve "stevesbets" Jacobs and John Duthie were among the very early casualties in this one. A couple of their fellow teammates -- Lex "RaSZi" Veldhuis and J.C. Alvarado -- started at the same table and were both involved in an interesting hand about a half-hour into play along with Sam "KingKobeMVP" Stein (runner-up at the NAPT Venetian Main Event in February).

The hand began with Alvarado making a minimum raise to 60 from UTG, then Veldhuis reraising to 210 from the button. The SB folded, then Stein called from the big blind. Alvarado then made it 760, prompting an all-in reraise to 4,620 from RaSZi. When KingKobeMVP called Veldhuis' raise, putting himself all in, Alvarado went into the tank before finally folding.

Veldhuis showed T♣T♠ and Stein A♦K♠. The board ran out six-high, and KingKobeMVP was another early elimination. "lol sick I'm the worst," said Alvarado. Veldhius asked "did you fold QQ," and Alvarado answered "JJ."


Lex "RaSZi" Veldhuis

After two hours of play, 191 players still remained, with Mindalterer on top, with Steve "gboro780" Gross in fifth, SixthSenSe19 in eighth, fabstinho in ninth, and get crunk in 10th. At that point, Team PokerStars had five players in the top 50 -- Chad Brown, Vanessa "LadyMaverick" Rousso, George Danzer, Veldhuis, and J.P. Kelly. A little later, Brown and Rousso would both reach the top five, though would gradually fall back into the middle of the pack.

At the four-hour mark, 98 players remained, gboro780 was atop the chip counts with 60,769, followed by lb6121 (53,324), DuckU (43,385), Stavros (42,761), and tjbentham (36,021). The first page of the leaderboard also included James "AndyMcLEOD" Obst (11th), as well as Team PokerStars Pros Vanessa Rousso (14th), Victor Ramdin (15th), Chad Brown (20th), and George Danzer (21st).

A couple of hours later, with the elimination of Ramdin in 48th just one Team PokerStars Pro remained in Rousso. Then she soon would fall in 47th in an interesting hand versus Al K. Holick.


Vanessa "LadyMaverick" Rousso

Playing three-handed, Al K. Holick open-raised 3x to 750 from the small blind, Rousso reraised to 2,000 from the big blind, Al K. Holick made it 4,500, and LadyMaverick called. The flop came K♥9♦T♣. Al K. Holick be 4,250 and Rousso called fairly quickly. The turn was the J♣. Al K. Holick pushed all in, and Rousso made the call with her last 13,987, showing 8♦7♦ for the straight. Al K. Holick showed 9♣9♠ for a set, which became quads after the 9♥ fell on the end.

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A little later there were 40 players left, with "gboro780" Gross still on top. Yvgeniy "Jovial Gent" Timoshenko would soon bust in 38th when his A-Q couldn't outlast copi's J-T. Then rivermanl went out in 37th soon afterwards, meaning the remaining 36 had all made the cash.

As the tourney moved past the eight-hour mark, Kevin "BeL0WaB0Ve" Saul was eliminated in 21st by copi after getting all of his chips in the middle on a T♠2♣A♦ flop with Q♠J♠ versus copi's A♥2♥. An ace fell on the turn, and Saul was drawing dead.

That was soon followed by a truly sick beat for gordo16, knocking him out in 20th. gordo16 had raised preflop, tjbentham reraised, and gordo16 called. The flop came 4♦5♦7♣. tjbentham checked, gordo16 bet, tjbentham check-raised all in, and gordo16 called with his last 21,040. tjbentham held J♣7♠ for top pair, but gordo16 had 4♥4♠ for a set of fours. But runner-runner jacks gave tjbentham the improbable full house, eliminating gordo16.

By the nine-hour mark just 13 players remained, with squee451, Al K. Holick, and cmontopdeck out ahead of the rest while "gboro78" Gross and DuckU had become the short stacks. DuckU would soon hit the rail in 13th, having been crushed underfoot by thegiant.

Here is where the pace began to slow considerably, as the 12 remaining players, situated around three tables, took advantage of the super deep stacks to show some patience. It would be another 45 minutes before the next elimination, when cmontopdeck knocked out Amit "AMAK316" Makhija in 12th. Soon after -- a few hands following the ten-hour break -- Stavros picked an unfortunate hand on which to push all in with A♦[10c], as squee451 was sitting beside him with A♣A♥. Five community cards later, Stavros was gone in 11th. About a half-hour after that, on a board of K♥6♥3♣6♣, RunThisTable got it all in with K♣2♥ versus gboro780's Q♣T♣. The river brought the 9♣, and RunThisTable was run out in 10th.

At 3:33am Eastern time, there were three tables playing three-handed. About three minutes later, "gboro780" Gross and cmontopdeck exchanged preflop raises until the latter was all in with pocket jacks against gboro780's Q-Q. The queens held, and the remaining eight were newly situated around two tables.

It would take nearly an hour for the next knockout to occur. After a flop of 3♥K♥T♣, thegiant, down to a little over 45,000, bet 12,000 into a 22,400 pot. 4rebmun -- who only had thegiant covered by a couple of thousand -- responded by pushing all in, and thegiant called. 4rebmun held K♦Q♠ for top pair while thegiant had A♥T♦ for tens. 4rebmun's hand held and they were down to seven. About 15 minutes later, tjbentham would succumb next in seventh place after getting it all in on a board of 2♥9♣T♠4♦ with K♥T♥ (top pair) against squee451's Q♠J♥ (open-ended straight draw), only to see the 8♥ on the river give squee451 the hand.

Two more eliminations quickly followed. First, a short-stacked copi raised all in on a J♠7♣9♠ flop with Q♥9♣ and was called by squee451 with A♠T♥. The 8♥ fell on the turn, and another eight on the river, giving squee451 the straight and knocking copi out in sixth. Shortly after that, Al K. Holick would run pocket kings into 4rebmun's pocket aces -- they got it all in on the turn with the board 7♣Q♦7♦5♣ -- and after the 3♠ river we had our final four:


Seat 1: squee451 -- 702,140
Seat 2: 4rebmun -- 330,194
Seat 3: lb6121 -- 196,661
Seat 4: gboro780 -- 171,005

This fearsome foursome had been going at it for nearly 13-and-a-half hours, and with the blinds 1,500/3,000 (375 ante), even the short stacks were still plenty deep.

It would take 40 minutes for the first to go. squee451 folded, then 4rebmun raised to 9,000 from the button. lb6121 reraised all in for 110,537, gboro780 folded, and 4rebmun made the call. lb6121 showed 9♣9♥ while 4rebmun turned over K♦A♣. The flop was 3♠Q♦3♣. So far so good for lib6121. But the turn was the A♥, giving 4rebmun the advantage. The river was the 8♥, and lib6121 was out in fourth.

The remaining trio battled into Level 26 (blinds 2,500/5,000, ante 625), and soon had drawn nearly even with all three sporting stacks around 450,000.

Steve "gboro780" Gross would become severely short-stacked, however, in a big hand versus squee451. Following some preflop action in which gboro780 raised and then called squee451's reraise, the flop came 6♦6♥T♦, prompting a bet from squee451 and a call from Gross. The turn was the Q♦, and another bet-call. The river was the 9♠. This time squee451 shoved and Gross called. squee451 showed Q♥Q♠ for the full boat, while gboro780 held Q♦7♦.

That hand knocked Gross back under 100,000. Although he was able to make several comebacks, he eventually busted in third place. On his final hand, Gross opened pre-flop for 16,400 and was three-bet by squee451 to 48,000. Gross pushed the action hard with a four-bet to 102,644 that the chip leader squee451 flat-called.

The flop was one Broadway cards and two wheel cards, 5♥ K♠ 2♠. Gross was out of position and checkd. squee451 made a small bet of 80,000 into a pot of more than 200,000. He then snap-called Gross' shove. Gross had pocket nines and had been out-flopped by squee451's Q♦ K♥. There was no salvation on the turn or river.

At the start of heads-up play there was a slight chip disparity. squee451 had almost 1.3 million chips, more than 210 big blinds. The other player left, 4rebmun, had 120,000 chips and a tall mountain to climb. Within nine hands 4rebmun was down to about 100,000 chips but doubled up with Q♦ J♦ against squee451's 3♦ A♥ by making a straight. squee451 then won the next five hands, including the last hand of the tournament:

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It may have been a bad beat, but after 15 hours squee451 earned the right to lay a bad beat by accumulating a massive stack. In tournament poker, even in a format like 4-max, that's the name of the game.

SCOOP Event #22-High No-Limit Hold'em (4-max.):
1st place: squee451 ($210,000)
2nd place: 4rebmun ($134,400)
3rd place: gboro780 ($67,200)
4th place: lib6121 ($42,000)

Congratulations to squee451 for elbowing through all of those four-handed tables to ride to the very top of Event #22-H!

Still many events to go in this year's Spring Championship of Online Poker. Check the SCOOP site for details on them all.

Martin Harris
@hardboiledpoker in SCOOP