SCOOP: happyfister punches way to Event #19-High title

SCOOP logo.gifBig Antes. Might sound like oversized relatives. But no, here we're talking a twist in the normal course of things, a change designed to encourage action, adding a little extra significance to every blind steal or preflop three-bet.

In terms of the schedule of blind increases, the structure for Event #19-H was similar to other no-limit hold'em events, but rather than wait several levels for the antes to kick in, they were there from the start, and as the name of the tourney suggests, were larger than what one would find at the corresponding levels in those other events.

A total of 590 entrants paid the $2,100 for this one, making for a $1.18 million prize pool, beating the $750,000 guarantee. The top 81 would be paid, with the winner scheduled to earn $221,840.

Team PokerStars Pro Vicky Coren had a not-so-easy table with which to contend during the early stages of the tourney, positioned as she was with Alex "AJKHoosier1" Kamberis, Brock "t soprano" Parker, and nikov (winner of Event #12-H) . Coren did built her stack up close to 30,000 over the first eight levels, but was ultimately cut down in Level 10. On a flop of 6♠8♦K♦, xxjondxx led out, Coren raised all in for her last 12,161, and xxjondxx called, showing 6♦4♦ for sixes and a flush draw while Coren held J♦9♦ for a better flush draw. The turn was the 4♥, giving xxjondxx two pair, which was needed as the river brought the J♥, giving Coren jacks before she hit the rail in 221st.

As the tourney approached the six-hour mark, there were 200 players remaining, with HN Kakaroto -- runner-up at last night/this morning's Event #17-M (PLO, six-max. w/re-buys) -- leading the way, followed by Ismail777888 and Team PokerStars Pro Jude "j.thaddeus" Ainsworth in third. A little while later, Ainsworth had moved to the top of the counts, while his teammate Randy "nanonoko" Lew would soon depart in 166th, followed by Ivan Demidov in 111st.


Team PokerStars Pro Jude "j.thaddeus" Ainsworth

With 100 players remaining (a little over 8 hours into the tourney), a new leader had emerged, #1_Lucky_One. More about him in a bit.

Meanwhile, as they approached the money bubble, Team PS pro Jason Mercier went out shy of the cash in 93rd. Notables on the leaderboard at that juncture included TheFan83 in first, James "" Mackey in second, #1_Lucky_One still way up there in third, HN Kakaroto in fourth, iggymcfly in 11th, and "j.thaddeus" Ainsworth in 23rd.

At the nine-hour mark the bubble burst, with Needleking being the unfornate 82nd place finisher. Team PokerStars pro Johannes Steindl was the next to go out, being the first to cash in 81st. His teammates Noah "Exclusive" Boeken (71st) and George Danzer (50th) would also come away from this event in the black.

#1_Lucky_One tries to keep cool versus mistakooll

At the ten-hour break, #1_Lucky_One remained at the top of the leaderboard with a little over 250,000 with 59 players left. This #1_Lucky_One had been relatively quiet in the chat box up to this point. In other words, there had been little to distinguish him other than his having consistently accumulated chips throughout the tourney to move ahead of the rest of the field.

However, as play resumed he had a question for the table:

#1_Lucky_One: how late we play tonight?
#1_Lucky_One: 2 day event right?
ocrowe: no
ocrowe: play through to end

After being set straight on the schedule, the rail chatter started to pick up, with many indicating that this #1_Lucky_One was in fact 11-time WSOP bracelet holder Phil "The Poker Brat" Hellmuth. We can neither confirm or deny this to be a correctly made identification, although subsequent evidence did appear to indicate support for such a thesis.

Alex "mistakooll" Keating -- seated to #1_Lucky_One's left -- certainly thought it was Hellmuth. "omg," he typed, having seen the rail chatter. "is that phil hellmuth... u gonna shake my hand this time?"

There ensued a lengthy story from Keating about an incident involving himself and Hellmuth at the 2009 WSOP. It was Event No. 38, a $2,000 buy-in limit hold'em event, in which Keating knocked out Hellmuth by hitting a flush after Hellmuth had been all in with a set of tens. Keating's anecdote included a couple of parts, including his having asked Hellmuth if he could try on the WSOP bracelet he was sporting. According to Keating, Hellmuth's response had been "'i dont ask my friend michael jordan if i can try on his nba championship ring.'"

The rail, needless to say, ate it up. Keating then told how after he'd knocked the Poker Brat out of the event, there had followed a Hellmuthian speech about how "'THIS IDIOT COST ME MY BRACELET,'" adding that he was a "'PSYCHO KID.'" The story ended with Hellmuth apparently having made it a point to shake everyone's hand but Keating's.

When Keating was through, #1_Lucky_One offered to make amends:

#1_Lucky_One: actually heard you a nice guy from my friends, sorry about that
#1_Lucky_One: your first name Alex?
mistakooll: no its weird pyscho kid
mistakooll: u made my mother cry
#1_Lucky_One: I apologized twice, but you earned some of that, right?
mistakooll: u never apologized
#1_Lucky_One: I apologize
mistakooll: u never added me on facebook
#1_Lucky_One: I have 5,000 friends, man! Maxed out!!
mistakooll: sick brag
#1_Lucky_One: truth
mistakooll: this guy
#1_Lucky_One: I'll buy you a bottle of Dom Alex and shake your hand
Heard you alright

That appeared to conclude the discussion, until Keating came back with one last request.

mistakooll: will u let me wear your bracelet?
#1_Lucky_One: now you goign too far!! looooooooooool
#1_Lucky_One: but OK holds it over #1_Lucky_One

Keating was moved from the table soon thereafter, but, sitting to #1_Lucky_One's immediate right, picked up where Keating left off in attempting to get under his skin -- both with his chat and his play.

With the blinds 1,000/2,000 and the oversized antes 400, (with 186,220 to start the hand) opened with a raise to 5,000 from the button, #1_Lucky_One (who'd begun with 238,703) reraised to 16,000 from the small blind, prompting Daryl "aaaaaaaa" Jace to fold in the BB. waited about 25 seconds, then repopped it to 38,000. #1_Lucky_One took a long pause, then folded, at which point decided to show his hand -- Q♠3♠.

"wow" typed #1_Lucky_One. "jeezs A-Q," he added, indicating what he'd folded. mement_mori -- still in the event and in the top ten -- appeared in the chatbox soon after.

mement_mori (observer): **** not event watching my own table
mement_mori (observer): this is too exciting

That hand appeared to have rattled #1_Lucky_One somewhat, as did another one soon after when he was forced to give up on a huge pot to following the latter's river bet. Next came a big blind-vs.-blind battle between the pair in which #1_Lucky_One, down to 170,603, would lose nearly half his stack. See how that one played out here:

RSS readers click through to see replay catapulted into second place on that one, up over 375,000, just behind happyfister. #1_Lucky_One, meanwhile, was suddenly down to a little over 94,000 -- in 32nd with 40 left.

He'd bounce back, however, winning a few small ones, then one big one in which he experienced especially good fortune against villepn. After #1_Lucky_One had raised, then called villepn's reraise preflop, a 2♣4♣Q♣ flop would encourage villepn to commit his entire stack of 86,406, and #1_Lucky_One put in all but 20,000 or so of his. villepn held K♥K♦ and #1_Lucky_One J♠Q♠. But a lucky one came for #1_Lucky_One as the J♥ popped out on the turn, giving him two pair. The river was the 7♦, and villepin was out in 35th.

A couple more big pots -- including an A-K vs. J-J vs. 10-10 hand in which #1_Lucky_One (with A-K) flopped a king to knock out two opponents -- sent #1_Lucky_One back up to second place at the 12-hour mark with nearly 450,000, trailing only jkidd1084 who was now up over 630,000. Just 25 remained, with in third, followed by Se7enTr3y, xxxLev, happyfister, and "j.thaddeus" Ainsworth in 13th.

But following the break, the especially active #1_Lucky_One would rapidly slide again, and soon found himself down to just over 140,000. He then committed to race with A♥9♠ versus iggymcfly who was all in for about 80,000 with K♠Q♠. Three spades flopped, and #1_Lucky_One was down to 60,000, in 21st place of 21 remaining.

With the blinds 2,000/4,000 (800 ante), #1_Lucky_One pushed all in with Q♥J♠ and was called by Se7enTr3y who held pocket jacks. No queen came to save #1_Lucky_One. As the railbirds began to disperse, couldn't resist adding a punctuation mark of sorts to the proceedings: thanks for watching the reality show "Online fun with Phil Hellmuth"!

Top 20 Countdown

Twenty players remained, with Ravi "govshark2" Raghavan now in front with more than 750,000, followed by jkidd1084 hovering at 600,000 and xxxLev with almost exactly 500,000. Soon after knocked out iggymcfly in 20th, then about a half-hour later PS pro Jude "j.thaddeus" Ainsworth ousted "Boosted J" in 19th and they were down to two tables.

It would take just under an hour-and-a-half for the next nine to go. Earning $8,850 were xxxLev (18th), NoraFlum (17th), and Paulmclean23 (16th). AMBlues19 next went out in 15th ($11,210). Then Raghavan -- govshark2 -- would suddenly fall from the top of the leaderboard to go out in 14th ($11,210) when his pocket rockets were cracked by Se7enTr3y after the latter flopped a set of eights. That hand gave Se7enTr3y a commanding lead with more than 1.7 million -- more than twice second-place CookieDude90's stack.

mement_mori would use pocket kings to take out ocrowe in 13th ($11,120), then Se7enTr3y would oust a short-stacked Leopold1966 in 12th ($13,570). jkidd1084 followed in 11th ($13,570), then schnizeltoe would be all in preflop with pocket tens against PS pro Ainsworth's pair of queens. No ten came to save schnizeltoe, who bubbled the final table in 10th ($13,570). The final nine were reseated thusly:


Seat 1: "0PIGGYBANK" -- 615,024
Seat 2: F.Briatore -- 204,501
Seat 3: -- 292,686
Seat 4: fabstinho -- 964,761
Seat 5: mement_mori -- 521,501
Seat 6: Se7enTr3y -- 1,730,583
Seat 7: CookieDude90 -- 220,981
Seat 8: j.thaddeus -- 701,938
Seat 9: happyfister -- 648,025

From Nine to Two

It would take nearly 45 minutes for the first elimination. With the blinds 4,000/8,000 (1,600 ante), F.Briatore opened by pushing all in from the button for 162,562, and fabistinho called from the big blind, showing A♥9♣ to F.Briatore's A♠J♣. The flop came 9♦2♥6♠, and F.Briatore went from way ahead to way behind. The turn was the T♠ and the river the 3♦, and F.Briatore was out in ninth.

About 15 minutes later, CookieDude90 would be all in before the flop for his last 141,627 with Q♠Q♥ versus mement_mori's K♦Q♣. The board came K♥A♦2♠J♥J♦, and CookeDude90's tourney crumbled in eighth.

After another half-hour of play, they'd reached Level 38, where the blinds were 6,000/12,000 and everyone was contributing 2,400 chips for the ante each hand. happyfister opened with a raise to 27,850 from UTG, called from middle position, mement_mori raised to 81,905 from late position, and all folded back to who shoved all in for his last 525,702. mement_mori called, showing A♥K♦ while had K♣Q♦. The community cards came 5♥4♣T♠6♦T♦, and's tourney be over in seventh.

There was then some talk among the remaining six to see about a deal, but before that idea could be pursued there was another elimination. After "0PIGGYBANK" raised to 28,000 from the button, fabistinho reraised to 82,545 from the SB. mement_mori folded from the big blind, "0PIGGYBANK" pushed all in for 871,140 total and fabistinho called with his last 656,044. It was a race between "0PIGGYBANK"'s A♥K♣ and fabistinho's J♠J♣. The flop brought an ace -- 4♦5♠A♠ -- and the 7♥ turn and 5♥ river meant fabistino was out in sixth.

A few hands later the tournament was paused to look at a possible "chip chop" deal. Team PokerStars pro Grant Levy helped facilitate the proceedings, explaining how "support just gotta crack out the abacus" to figure who would be due what. At the time, mement_mori was the chip leader with just over 2 million, followed by "0PIGGYBANK" with 1.59 million, happyfister with 1.06 million, "j.thaddeus" Ainsworth with a little over 710,000 and Se7enTr3y with about $509,000.

The numbers were calculated, and after a bit of adjusting the five were able to come to an agreement to chop the remaining prize pool, save $15,000 for the winner. About 16 hours after the tourney had begun, play continued.

Soon "j.thaddeus" Ainsworth was soon all in with T♠T♥ versus happyfister's A♦9♣. The flop came 9♠4♦7♦, then the turn gave Ainsworth a set with the T♦. But the K♦ on the river gave happyfister a flush, sending Team PokerStars pro Ainsworth out in fifth.

Next Se7enTr3y opened with a raise to 31,975, got reraised to 78,888 by happyfister, repopped it all in for 475,057, and got the call. Se7enTr3y showed K♠7♥, way behind happyfister's A♦K♥. The board went 8♦5♥3♣2♠9♥, and Se7enTr3y was gone in fourth.

Down to three-handed, "0PIGGYBANK" opened with a minimum raise to 28,000 from the button, and happyfister called from the big blind. The flop came K♥T♣5♥. happyfister checked, "0PIGGYBANK" bet 42,000, happyfister raised to 133,333, and "0PIGGYBANK" called. The turn was the J♦. This time happyfister led for 266,666, and "0PIGGYBANK" called. The river was the 5♣, happyfister pushed all in, and "0PIGGYBANK" called with his remaining 756,238. happyfister showed K♦5♦ for a full house, crushing "0PIGGYBANK"'s A♣J♣.


At the start of heads-up play, happyfister enjoyed nearly a 2-to-1 chip advantage, with 3,903,545 to mement_mori's 1,997,455. Their battle would last just ten hands. On the last, mement_mori would raise to 28,000 from the small blind/button, happyfister reraised to 89,555, mement_mori pushed back to make it 198,765 total, happyfister reraised once again to 3,738,000, and mement_mori called with his last 1,480,035. happyfister showed 7♦7♠ and mement_mori A♥Q♦, and when the community cards came 3♥2♦5♠9♦J♥, we had a champion.

RSS readers click through to see replay

SCOOP Event #19-High No-Limit Hold'em w/Big Antes (reflects five-way deal)
1st place: happyfister ($133,669.01)*
2nd place: mement_mori ($169,286.46)*
3rd place: "0PIGGYBANK" ($151.137.04)*
4th place: sSe7enTr3y ($95,100.82)*
5th place: j.thaddeus ($106,178.68)*
6th place: fabistinho ($50,150)
7th place: ($38,350)
8th place: CookieDude90 ($26,550)
9th place: F.Briatore ($17,700)

Congratulations to happyfister! There's still a lot more SCOOPin' to go. Check the SCOOP site for details.

Martin Harris
@hardboiledpoker in SCOOP