SCOOP: gordo16 rallies twice to Event 7-Medium ($162 NLHE HU) win

scoop2009_th.gifPoker players love to play heads-up. In addition to being one of the most skilled forms of poker (due to the constant marginal spots and decision that have to be made), it's also the ultimate ego test. Beat your opponent, and you've got bragging rights. Lose to your opponent and you'll be sure to hear all about it.

Event #7, No-Limit Hold'em Heads-Up Match Play, was the first of several heads-up tournaments on the 2010 SCOOP schedule. The maximum 2,048 players registered for $162-Medium level of this bracket-style tournament. They created a prize pool of $307,200, once again handily eclipsing the $250,000 guarantee that PokerStars set for the tournament. The winner - the person who could successfully win 11 heads-up matches in a row - was slated to become more than $50,000 richer by night's end.

Team PokerStars on the felt

The unique format brought out some of the most well-known members of Team PokerStars. They had mixed results. George Lind, Andre Akkari, Grant Levy, Grzegorz Mikielewicz, Vanessa Rousso, Jorge Arias, Arnaud Mattern, Gavin Griffin, Bertrand Grospelier, JP Kelly, Tae Joon Noh, Hevad Khan and Andre Brito Coimbra all failed to get out of the first round. Randy "nanonoko" Lew, Jose Igancio, Jan Heitmann and Event 4-Medium George Danzer didn't fare much better, falling in the second round. Perhaps the most excruciating eliminations for the Team were those of Matthias de Meulder, Steven "stevesbets" Jacobs, Tom McEvoy, Noah Boekken, and Johnny Lodden. They each won their first two matches, but then were eliminated on the money bubble in Round 3.

Despite the carnage, four Team members cashed in this event. Victor Ramdin, Juan Maceiras and Martin Hruby each secured a min-cash of $307.20 before bowing out in Round 4. That left only J.C. Alvarado to carry the torch for the Team. He made it as far as Round 6 before being dispatched. The tournament consolidated quickly from there, until only four players remained at the start of Round 10.

The semi-finals
Match 1: Unicum next v. jacob126b38
Match 2: gordo16 v. zdravko

Both semi-final matches started out very cautiously, with no player able to open much of a lead. gordo16 opened the first significant lead, taking a 2-to-1 lead by raising all in on the turn, [3c 8d 6s] J♥, after a series of raises on the flop and after zdravko led the turn for 999. zdravko folded.

On the other table it was Unicum next opening the 2-to-1 lead, taking pocket aces to showdown against jacob126b38's unimproved A♣ 5♥ on a board of [6d 3h 2d Jd] 9♥. The two players played small ball for a while after that, with jacob126b38 trying to grind back.
But jacob126b38 decided to try to bluff Unicum next off of a pot at the wrong time. On a flop of 3♠ 9♣ 4♠, Unicum next flopped top pair and a flush draw, 9♠ 5♠. All the chips were in, with jacob126b38 tabling only Q♣ T♠. The 9♥ turn sealed jacob's fate before the end of Level 2 of Round 10. Unicum next was through to the final.

On the remaining table, zdravko brought the second match level by flopping the nut straight against gordo16's two pair. The chips all went in on a 9♣ 8♦ T♣ flop. gordo16 did not fill up. But the very next hand gordo16 rivered a king-high straight to restore a 3-to-1 chip lead. gordo16 delivered the crippling blow a short time later, turning a queen-high flush with Q♣ 9♣ against zdravko's eight-high straight with 5♦ 6♣ on a board of 4♦ 2♣ 7♣ 8♣. zdravko bowed out a few hands later.

Event 7-M final table.JPG

The finals: Unicum next v. gordo16

"Hi do you want to deal maybe?" Unicum next asked gordo16 after the two were seated at the final table.

"Mm sure," said gordo16. "I'm not going to want to do an even split though, if that makes a difference." A few moments went by before gordo16 added, "Actually I feel like a degen. Let's just play for it." And so the two degens began to play for the $25,000 difference between 2nd place and 1st place.

There were no big pots in the early going. The two players seemed to be feeling each other out. Flops were hard to come by. A single button raise won most pots. Periodically the big blind would three-bet and that would end the hand.

Unicum next strikes first

It took about 25 hands before the two players played their first significant pot. The action was raised pre-flop by gordo to 150. Unicum next acted first on a flop of 5♥ 7♦ 5♣ and lead for 100. gordo16 raised to 300, then called a re-raise to 650. The turn was a blank that Unicum next bet for 850. gordo16 dipped into the time bank before folding, allowing Unicum next to open the slightest lead.

Another 30 hands passed with very little action. On hand 55, the two players found themselves at the river, 3♠ J♦ 5♠ 9♥ 9♦, with 960 chips in the pot. gordo16 made a weak lead of 275, then folded to Unicum next's raise to 1,360. That pot expanded Unicum next's lead to roughly 2-to-1.

gordo16 regroups

The cautious play resumed. At times flops seemed endangered. But gordo16 kept grinding and was able to climb back from the chip deficit with the following hand:

RSS readers click through to see replay

The two players passed the big blind back and forth. gordo16 made a full house with 9♦ J♠ and induced Unicum next to pay off a river bet, bringing the match back to all-square. Blinds increased to 50 and 100, giving each player 50 big blinds to work with.

Unicum next grabs the ball

On the last hand before a scheduled 15-minute break, gordo16 fell into a sticky situation. gordo16 had raised pre-flop to 200, then continued on the 5♠ 6♣ T♦ flop for 275. Unicum next checked and then called. Both players checked the 4♠ turn. When the river fell J♥, Unicum next checked a third time. That induced gordo16 to bet 675. Everyone, except maybe gordo16, was surprised to see Unicum next check-raise to 1,980.

"Ugh," said gordo16. "Had a feeling that bet was gonna get brutalized." gordo16 tanked for 20 seconds before calling. Unicum next tabled 7♣ 8♥ for the nuts. Raking in that pot boosted Unicum next's count to 7,355, a roughly 3-to-1 lead.

gordo16 climbs out of the hole again

A few hands after the break, gordo16 began the climb back to all square again. A key hand was flopping trip aces holding A♦ 2♦, A♠ A♣ 3♠. Both players checked to the 8♦ turn. gordo16 bet 275 there and 575 on the K♣ river. Unicum next called and mucked at showdown. The chip lead was trimmed to to 3-to-2.

Again they played level for roughly 20 hands. Then gordo16 led every street in a huge pot, raising pre-flop to 240, betting 275 on the flop, 625 on the turn and 1,625 on the river. Unicum next check-called in each instance, and with the board showing 3♥ 7♣ 9♦ 3♠ 6♠ check-called the river bet. gordo16 showed down T♥ 9♥, having rivered the nuts. That pot gave gordo16 6,810 chips to Unicum next's 3,190.

That's more or less where the stacks stayed for the next 35 hands, with each player choosing a small-ball method of play. Then in a flash, the tournament was over. gordo16 opened with a min-raise to 320. Unicum next 3-bet shoved for 3,085 with A♥ 4♠ and was snap-called by gordo16 with A♣ 7♥. It was a big swing and a miss for both players on a board of 5♠ 2♦ K♠ Q♣ T♠, but gordo16's seven was enough of a kicker to play and knock Unicum next out of the tournament in 2nd place. gordo16's desire to "be a degen" earned him the SCOOP victory.

SCOOP Event #7-Medium No-Limit Hold'em Heads-up Match Play results:

1st place: gordo16 ($52,224)
2nd place: Unicum next ($27,648)
3rd place: zdravko ($16,896)
4th place: jacob126b38 ($16,896)

For all of the latest SCOOP information, make sure you check out the SCOOP page.

Dave Behr
@PokerStars in SCOOP