SCOOP: gavz101 is Number One in Event 34-High, $5,200 PLO

scoop2009_th.gifDoyle Brunson once said that in order to win a poker tournament, you have to win with A-K and you have to beat A-K. Essentially he was saying, "Win your flips."

In Pot-Limit Omaha, the flips don't usually involve A-K but they're no less critical to winning the tournament. You have to hit your big draws and you have to fade the big draws of your opponents. That's what flipping in PLO often comes down to - winning more than your share of those huge drawing hands where the optimal play for both players is to get as many chips as possible into the pot.

145 players registered to play "four-card bingo" in SCOOP Event 34-High, $5,200 Pot-Limit Omaha. This wasn't just any PLO tournament, however. It was 6-handed PLO. The action promised to be intense. 18 players were paid out of the prize pool; none were Team PokerStars players. The Team went 0 for 10, with Benjamin Kang coming oh-so-close to the money with his 21st-place finish.

A big buy-in meant big rewards for those that reached the final table. There were only six seats at that table. They were occupied by these players:

Event 34-High Final Table.JPG

Seat 1: DonkPredator (139036 in chips)
Seat 2: Entropy xx (37,959 in chips)
Seat 3: MrSmits (114,987 in chips)
Seat 4: HN Kakaroto (111,159 in chips)
Seat 5: gavz101 (230,369 in chips)
Seat 6: PBJaxx (91,490 in chips)

[Blinds started at 800 and 1,600.]

As the final table started, DonkPredator was talking about running badly. He proved it on the fifth hand, getting all of the chips in on a flop of Q♠ 7♥ T♣ against a short-stacked Entropy xx. DonkPredator's set of tens 4♠ T♥ T♠ 4♣ was in the lead, but Entropy xx promptly rolled a gutterball with A♦ K♦ 9♦ A♠ when the turn fell J♦. The board did not pair on the river, prompting DonkPredator to say, "I mean..."

That story repeated itself for several of the early all-in spots at the final table. For example, PBJazz doubled up MrSmits after flopping a full house, aces full of sevens. MrSmits had trip aces and rivered a better full house. Entropy xx doubled again a short time later with single-suited aces against MrSmits' double-suited Broadway run-down. In general it seemed that the short stack was going to get there, no matter whether the chips went into the pot with the best hand or drawing from behind.

When the dam finally broke, it did so in fairly spectacular fashion. DonkPredator got a 2-for-1 holding single-suited aces:

RSS readers click through for replay

MrSmits, as the player that started the hand with fewer chips, was the 6th-place finisher. PBJaxx came in 5th.

PLO being the game that it is, the remaining chips made their way around the table several times over. gavz101 had the chip lead for a while, then lost it to HN Kakaroto's rivered nut flush. HN Kakaroto, previously down to about 60,000 chips, became the leader with more than 300,000. DonkPredator, after the double elimination of MrSmits and PBJaxx, slipped all the way to 60,000 chips, last in the counts of the four remaining players.

That's the way PLO goes sometimes. In DonkPredator's case, it ended with a set over set situation against Entropy xx. The flop came A♦ K♠ J♥, giving DonkPredator a set of jacks and Entropy xx a set of aces. Neither had any re-draw to speak of. As soon as DonkPredator saw the bad news, he typed, "sigh. gg." The board blanked out, retiring DonkPredator in 4th place.

While on a 15-minute break, gavz101 asked if the other two players wanted to look at the chip-chop numbers. HN Kakaroto had previously suggested this, but gavz101 declined. Both of the other players were still willing, but Entropy xx wanted to see the ICM numbers. The chip-chop numbers were $164,349.53 to gavz101, $126,894.72 to HN Kakaroto and $108,380.75 to Entropy xx, with $10,000 left to play for. Entropy xx responded that short stacks get hurt by doing a chip chop and claimed that the ICM numbers would give him $111,000. He asked for $110,000, immediately prompting HN Kakaroto to ask for $130,000.

gavz101 wasn't interested. "I don't want to take less than the $165,000 probably. Or $164,000."

"You take $160,000 gavz," said HN Kakaroto. gavz101 held fast at $164,000.

"No deal then," said Entropy xx. "Big stack's EV is inflated. 160/130/110 is fair, with 10 to play for."

"Seems unfair to me," said gavz101, "but I understand nothing about ICM."

"Chip chop method isn't the best way to calculate EV," Entropy xx said. "If you don't want to deal, fine, but 160 is a fair number." gavz101 considered that a few more moments, then agreed to the deal. The official numbers came out to $159,625 for gavz101, $130,000 for HN Kakaroto and $110,000 for Entropy xx, with 10,000 to the champion.

With the deal in place, the last thing to do was to determine the champion. Entropy xx bowed out of contention first, moving all in on the turn of a Q♣ 4♥ 4♠ 6♠ board. Entropy xx tabled two pair, Q♦ T♦ 7♣ 6♥, queens and sixes, but gavz101 called with a combination draw, 8♦ 6♦ J♠ 5♠. The 7♠ that hit the river filled both of those draws at once, giving gavz101 the pot and ending Entropy xx's tournament.

Heads-up play lasted all of seven hands. gavz101 started with a more than 3-to-1 chip lead over HN Kakaroto. On the seventh heads-up hand, a raising war broke out after a flop of K♦ 9♥ 4♦. gavz101 had flopped top set, K♥ K♠ 9♠ 2♠, and was the favorite over HN Kakaroto's flush draw, Q♣ Q♦ 9♦ 8♠. Neither the turn 5♣ nor the 6♠ helped HN Kakaroto.

gavz101 was resistant to doing a deal for a significant stretch of this final table. But once the deal was in place, gavz101 moved relentlessly forward and dispatched both of his remaining competitors with ease to secure the title of Champion of 2010 SCOOP Event 34-High.

SCOOP 34-High $5,200 Pot-Limit Omaha [6-max] results (reflects three-way deal):

1st place: gavz101 ($169,625)
2nd place: HN Kakaroto ($130,000)
3rd place: Entropy xx ($110,000)
4th place: DonkPredator ($61,625)
5th place: PBJaxx ($47,125)
6th place: MrSmits ($32,625)

Dave Behr
@PokerStars in SCOOP