SCOOP: hexchen3006 sparkles in Event #1-Low victory

scoop2009_th.gifOnline poker players have been looking forward to May 2, 2010 for months. That date was announced in February as the date that the 2010 PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker would begin, a 15-day festival of online poker featuring 38 events, each with a low, medium and high buy-in. That's right. PokerStars is hosting 114 tournaments in a little bit more than a fortnight, each pitting the toughest competitors in the world against each other for bragging rights and serious prize money. What better way to kick off the action than with some fast-paced six-handed no-limit hold'em action and a $250,000 guarantee?

That's what was in store for each of the 27,305 players that registered for 2010 SCOOP Event #1, $22 6-max no-limit hold'em. They created a prize pool of more than $540,000, shattering the $250,000 guarantee that PokerStars put in place for the first event of the 2010 SCOOP series. With all of that money in the prize pool, one lucky player would turn a $22 investment into a first-place prize of $57,365.43.

Not a good day for Team Pros

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Eric Assadourian was one of the few Team Pros to cash in Event #1-Low

A first-place prize of more than $57,000 will attract as many serious professionals as it does more recreational players. Team PokerStars was well represented in SCOOP #1-Low, with 36 Team members choosing to invest $22 in the hope of a big score. But a big score wasn't in the cards for any of them. Only four Team members - Team Pros Eric Assadourian, Christophe de Meulder and Sebastian Ruthenberg, and Team Online member Randy "nanonoko" Lew - made the money, and none finished in the top 900 places of this event.

That left the door wide open for someone else to play well, run good, and take down the title. It took 48 levels and 14 hours of play to set the final table. When the moment of truth arrived, these six players were the ones still alive, vying for the top spot in the payouts:

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Seat 1: maks75757575 (43,235,008 in chips)
Seat 2: lark465 (31,467,695 in chips)
Seat 3: ffmm67 (72,105,033 in chips)
Seat 4: dyeti (45,507,466 in chips)
Seat 5: Soulman1980 (14,773,779 in chips)
Seat 6: hexchen3006 (65,961,019 in chips)

ffmm67 brought the chip lead to the final table, but only by a small margin over hexchen3006. These extra chips would later help propel the two players to a heads-up confrontation for the title.

But first there were four other players that needed to be eliminated. No sooner had the players collapsed to the final table than Ukrainian lark465 began to inquire about a deal. "Later," replied fellow countryman Maks75757575, who then added a few sentences in what appeared to be Ukrainian or Russian, explaining that "Not everyone is ready for a deal yet." Host Andre Akkari quickly reminded the players that they were only allowed to speak English.

No mercy for the short stacks

It wouldn't be surprising if 6th-place finisher dyeti dreams about nothing but jacks tonight. Maks75757575 took a chunk of dyeti's stack by flopping a set of jacks before this happened:

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Running into those two sets of jacks left dyeti as the short stack. dyeti was all-in a short time later with A♣ Q♠ but was badly out-flopped by ffmm67's T♠ 9♠ on a flop of 4♣ T♣ T♦. That flop left dyeti drawing incredibly thin, and stone dead after the 6♦ turn. Another six on the river, the 6♣, sent dyeti out of the tournament in 6th place with $4,095.75 in prize money.

Maks75757575's demise in 5th place came almost as quickly as dyeti's in 6th. Back-to-back hands went badly for Maks75757575, starting when Maks75757575 ran into hexchen3006's flopped nuts:

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The very next hand Maks75757575 busted out of the tournament. Maks75757575 open-shoved all in for roughly 7.5 million on a flop of T♥ 8♥ 4♠. lark465 called with top pair, top kicker, A♦ T♦, and needed to fade Maks75757575's straight draw and over-card combination, 9♦ J♠. The turn and river bricked out to send the Ukrainian packing
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Four players remained. hexchen3006 had a commanding lead, holding more than half the chips in play. lark465, in second place, was at a 3-to-1 chip disadvantage to hexchen3006's lead. lark465 narrowed the gap slightly by eliminating Soulman1980 in fourth place. Soulman1980 didn't make much of a splash as the final table before finaly moving all in pre-flop for roughly 11.7 million chips after lark465 opened with a raise to 2.0 million. lark465 called from behind with J♦ K♥ against Soulman1980's 9♦A♣. A flop of Q♥T♣ Q♠ took Soulman1980s outs away and gave them to lark465, who flopped an up-and-down straight draw. That draw promptly filled when the came A♠. The curtain came crashing down on Soulman1980 after a 4♠ river.

Chop it up

As soon as the tournament reached three-handed play, lark465 once again inquired about a deal. This time each of the other players agreed to look at the chip-chop numbers. With the $5,000 set-aside for the champion was deducted from the prize pool, the remaining payouts would be adjusted to $51,998.38 for chip leader hexchen3006; $35,812.97 for second-place lark465 and $30,068.08 for ffmm67. Each player quickly typed "I agree" into the chat box and the deal was struck.

3... 2... 1

With the deal concluded, all that was left to play for was $5,000 and champion's bragging rights. lark465 found out about the short side of variance in a big pot against ffmm67. ffmm67 opened for 6.0 million pre-flop, then called big blind lark465's re-raise to 18.0 million. It was the second time in two orbits that lark465 re-raised ffmm67 from the big blind. lark465 checked a two-club flop, 5♣ K♦ 4♣, then snap-called ffmm67's 44.0 million chip shove with A♥ A♣. ffmm67 turned over a dreaded flush draw, Q♣ 7♣, hit it on the turn 8♣, and then faded lark465's own flush re-draw with a harmless 3♦ river card.

That hand crippled lark465, who spiraled down to about 11.8 million in chips before open-shoving pre-flop with T♠ J♥. hexchen3006 woke up with a medium ace, 9♥ A♣, certainly good enough for a call against a short stack. hexchen3006 paired aces on the flop, 8♠ Q♣ A♠, then caught blank running fours 4♥ and 4♦ to eliminated lark465 in third place.

At the start of heads-up play, hexchen3006's chip lead over ffmm67 was more than 5-to-1. ffmm67 managed to double up once before a hand that reminded us of the elimination of Billy Kopp by Darvin Moon from the 2009 WSOP Main Event ended the first SCOOP event of the 2010 SCOOP series:

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It was an absolute cooler of a hand, with each player flopping a flush. hexchen3006's flush was one pip better than ffmm67, allowing hexchen3006 to collect the pot, an extra $5,000, and the SCOOP #1-Low victory.

SCOOP Event #1-Low 6-max No-Limit Hold'em results (reflects three-way deal):

1st place: hexchen3006 ($56,998.38)
2nd place: ffmm67 ($30,068.08)
3rd place: lark465 ($35,812.97)
4th place: Soulman1980 ($10,922.00)
5th place: maks75757575 ($5,892.41)
6th place: dyeti ($4,095.75)

SCOOP Event #1-Low may be over, but the 2010 SCOOP All Stakes series is just getting started. You can find the SCOOP schedule, stats, leaderboard and more at the SCOOP page.

Dave Behr
@PokerStars in SCOOP