SCOOP: fkasbergen wins epic Event 26-High, $1050 NLHE

scoop2009_th.gifIf there's one criticism that can't be leveled against the 2010 SCOOP series, it's that the structures aren't deep enough. Time and again throughout this series favorable structures have created incredibly protracted final-table battles as talented players dug in against each other and refused to offer any quarter. Event 1-High kicked things off with a 22-hour-2-minute marathon, followed closely by Events 8-High (more than 19 hours) and 12-High (18.5 hours).

Given those precedents, nobody expected Event 26-High to finish up in short order. But this comment by Team PokerStars Pro Veronica Dabul, after the tournament had been running for 19 hours with no end in sight, must have accurately captured the thoughts of the remaining players and most of the rail.

"Hi. Good luck. I can't believe you're still playing. Is this a replay? I've done so many things since I busted."

"What's 19 hours," final-tablist fkasbergen dead-panned.

What indeed. The champion wasn't determined for almost two more hours after that exchange. But that's getting ahead of things. We should back up to the start of Hour 17, when the tournament finally reached its last table of nine players.

Event 26-High Final Talbe.JPG

Seat 1: BongBob (213,244 in chips)
Seat 2: SexSeen (1,245,522 in chips)
Seat 3: psuNYY51 (1,037,108 in chips)
Seat 4: gantosholla (1,710,812 in chips)
Seat 5: nicelife (641,159 in chips)
Seat 6: Nickdawgg (679,679 in chips)
Seat 7: DaMurdera3 (1,054,875 in chips)
Seat 8: fkasbergen (916,435 in chips)
Seat 9: gboro780 (741,166 in chips)

Hour 17

As the final table got underway, BongBob and Host Hevad Khan took a stroll down memory lane, recounting same hands the two previously played at the PCA. "I never win flips," lamented BongBob. "Can you rig it in my favor again please?" Khan just laughed and wished BongBob good luck.

We know Khan didn't have anything to do with it, but damn if BongBob wasn't the first player to double-up at the final table, taking ace-queen up against pocket jacks and making two pair. The losing player, gantosholla, offered a wry, "No flips, huh?" after the pot was pushed to BongBob.

Hour 18

After that hand, lots of small pots were played. Lots of them. Chips slowly made their way around the table until a hand in which the chip leader gantosholla opened pre-flop for 38,000 and gboro780 (712,000 behind) re-raised to 83,000. gantosholla called. Both players checked the flop, then got all of the chips in on the turn, 7♣ J♦ 6♦ T♥. gboro780 was in the lead with a pair of jacks Q♣ J♣; gantosholla had a big draw with A♦ Q♦. The draw bricked, giving gboro780 the chip lead and cutting gantosholla's stack in half.

All was not lost for gantosholla, however. The blinds were only 8,000 and 16,000. All was not lost until exactly two hands later. It was similar action pre-flop; Nickdawgg raised and gantosholla three-bet from the blinds. gantosholla led the eight-high flop for just more than half the pot, then snap-called after Nickdawgg shoved on a stone bluff with Q♣ J♣, no pair, no draw, just two bare over-cards. gantosholla showed down T♣ T♠. I imagine the whole table cringed (I know I did) when the turn peeled off the Q♠. Like that, gantosholla went from chip leader to 9th place finisher in two hands.

Then the table went back to playing small pots. Even Khan couldn't resist commenting when the tournament started Hour 19. "18 hours. Wowzers."

Hour 19

For a final table that had been so patient and in control, things started to get a little wild in Hour 19. BongBob was unable to get things rigged in his favor, in the end. He three-bet shoved pre-flop with king-queen and lost to Nickdwagg's ace-ten to bust 8th. A few hands later psuNYY51 raised a hand from under the gun and was re-raised by DaMurdera3. psuNYY51 four-bet for 265,000, about a fifth of psyNYY51's stack. DaMurdera3 tried to shove psuNYY51 off the hand by moving all in for 925,000 total, but the play back-fired. psuNYY51 called with a pair of nines - very, very bad news for DaMurdera3's 6♥ 8♥. DaMurdera3 only made a pair of eights by the river and was eliminated in 7th place.

Play started to open up. nicelife, a player that had laid low for much of the final table, doubled through psuNYY51 by flopping top two pair, leading every street, shoving the river and inducing a call from psuNYY51's flopped bottom pair. That double-up created four roughly equal short stacks of 30-35 BBs each (fkasbergen, gboro780, nicelife and SexSeen) to go along with the two big stacks of Nickdawgg (100 BBs) and psuNYY51 (85 BBs).

Hour 20

SexSeen was the next player to move, three-betting for 175,000 after gboro780 min-raised. It was half of SexSeen's stack, a push-or-fold decision for gbor780. He pushed with pocket kings. SexSeen called with ace-jack and could only make a pair of jacks by the river. Player down.

That was the most exciting hand of Hour 20. With the stacks evenly dispersed in the range of 1.4 million to 1.9 million, the rest of the hands played out very cautiously. The final five players seemed unwilling to commit too many chips without a monster, and the relatively leisurely pace of blind increases (every 30 minutes) afforded plenty of time to wait. By the end of the hour, blinds were up to 20,000 and 40,000, but the average stack still had 41 big blinds - and most of the stacks were right around average.

Hour 21

In Hour 21 the dam burst. Early on when short-stacked gboro780 and Nickdawgg got the chips in on a flip. Nickdawgg's ace-ten out-flopped gboro780's pocket deuces, but gboro780 binked a deuce on the river to stay alive.

"Jesus," said Nickdawgg. Indeed. But it was Nickdawgg's turn to catch a miracle next, taking Q♥ T♠ all in pre-flop against fkasbergen's K♦ 9♥. The board blanked out until the river, where Nickdawgg caught a ten. There was no comment that time around from Nickdawgg or anyone else at the table. It was as if they were all certain how the hand was destined to end.

Dueling monsters. That's what it seemed like it would take find a fifth-place finisher, and that's what it took. Nickdawgg was the five-bet shover pre-flop in a hand against gboro780. gboro780 called with ace-queen, one live overcard to Nickdawgg's pocket kings. That live overcard was snuffed out by a flop of T♣ Q♥ J♥. The turn 2♥ took gboro780 down to a single two-outer for the second time, and this time he did not hit it. The river A♦ gave gboro780 aces up but also made a Broadway straight for Nickdawgg. gboro780 was out and, finally, Nickdawgg was the clear chip leader.

nicelife found a tough spot a few hands later but made the correct call. psuNYY51 opened with a raise that nicelife re-raised. Nickdawgg, with a convincing chip lead, shoved and forced psuNYY51 out of the hand. nicelife, on the other hand, had pocket jacks and appeared unsure what to do. nicelife dipped into the time bank before calling against what turned out to be T♥ 6♥. But nothing came easy in this tournament. Nickdawgg flopped two hearts, A♠ 8♥ A♥, to give nicelife a sweat. The turn and river both blanked. The chip lead passed to nicelife.

"LOL tough call," Nickdawgg offered after the hand. It was Nickdawgg, however, who had to make a tough call a few hands later in a three-way pot that checked around on the flop. psuNYY51 led the turn, 6♣ Q♣ 7♥ K♦ for 188,000 and was called by both nicelife and Nickdawgg. psuNYY51 then shoved the river 2♣ for about 1 million chips, more than half of what Nickdawgg had left. nicelife quickly folded. Nickdawgg made a difficult call with K♥ J♠; psuNYY51 was on a stone bluff with J♣ T♥ and retired to the rail.

Suddenly three-handed

Three-handed, the short stack fkasbergen looked to deal. nicelife was willing to at least look at the numbers, but the big-stacked Nickdawgg preferred not to, especially after relieving niclife of another million chips. He seemed to be going for the jugular a few hands later, taking on fkasbergen's pre-flop shove with J♦ T♦. fkasbergen tabled A♠ J♠, flopped an ace, and then faded running straight and flush draws to smooth out the stacks a touch. It was 2 million for fkasbergen, 2 million for nielife and 4 million for Nickdawgg. Suddenly Nickdawgg was more of a mind to deal. But just as it looked like as deal discussion might take place, nicelife lost a chunk to fkasbergen and said "No deal."

nicelife lost a second pot in a row to fkasbergen, again without showdown. 500,000 chips were all that nicelife had left; not much at blinds of 25,000 and 50,000. But a handy double-up with king-nine against Nickdawgg's ace-trey gave nicelife some nice life.

It didn't last. Somehow, three-handed, nicelife was dealt ace-king at the same time that Nickdawgg was dealt pocket jacks. The chips got in the middle in a hurry. nicelife whiffed a jack-high board and finally, after 20h and 41 minutes, the tournament was heads-up between fkasbergen and Nickdawgg.

Arriba!

An early score for fkasbergen brought the stacks about as close to dead even as they'll ever be at this stage of a tournament, 4.12 million for Nickdawgg to 4.11 million for fkasbergen. They had 80 big blinds each, more than enough for an epic heads-up affair. So of course it was over in exactly 11 hands.

The tenth hand of heads-up play was the killer for Nickdawgg:

RSS readers click through to see replay

The next hand Nickdawgg shoved an ace, A♣ 4♦. fkasbergen woke up with pocket nines, which held up.

In the end it took 20 hours and 48 minutes to crown fkasbergen the champion of Event 26-High. That wasn't a SCOOP record, but it was certainly close. The incredibly deep structure afforded the patience that every MTT player craves. fkasbergen put in a full "day at the office" and reaped the biggest benefit of anyone, walking away with more than $150,000.

SCOOP Event #26-High $1,050 No-Limit Hold'em results:

1st place: fkasbergen ($151,204)
2nd place: Nickdawgg ($107,944)
3rd place: nicelife ($81,576)
4th place: psuNYY51 ($61,388)
5th place: gboro780 ($42,848)
6th place: SexSeen ($34,608)
7th place: DaMurdera3 ($26,368)
8th place: BongBob ($18,128)
9th place: gantosholla ($10,712)

Dave Behr
@PokerStars in SCOOP