SCOOP: It's good to be BadcardsAA, Event 1-H champ (NLHE 6-max.)

SCOOP logo.gifSix-max. Every seat has a name. Under the gun. The hijack. The cutoff. The button. The small and big blinds. No chance of hiding out in those unnamed "early" or "middle" position seats, folding your way through to the next orbit. No, six-max. is where players come for action.

About 500 such action-seekers were seated when the first hand of SCOOP Event No. 1-H, the short-handed no-limit hold'em event, was dealt. By the time the first hour ended and registration had closed, a total of 788 had each contributed the requisite $2,100 to play, making for a nifty $1.576 million prize pool, well beyond the $1 million guarantee. The top 102 finishers were due to get paid in this one, with the winner due a cool $277,848.80.

Of course, getting there was going to be quite the journey.


Among those entering were more than 30 Team PokerStars pros, including members of the recently-formed Team Online PokerStars -- Denys "diatty" Shcherbakov, George "Jorj95" Lind III, Jorge "JorgeArias" Arias, Steve "stevebets" Jacobs, Randy "nanonoko" Lew, and Grayson "spacegravy" Physioc.

A quick glance down the list of other registered players revealed a host of other familiar names, including Aaron "aejones" Jones, Alex "AJKHoosier1" Kamberis, Amit "AMAK316" Makhija, James "Andy McLEOD" Obst, Jon "apestyles" Van Fleet, Brandon "any2cantu" Cantu, J.C. "area23JC" Tran, Kevin "BeL0WaB0Ve" Saul, Richard "CHUFTY" Ashby, Carter "ckingusc" King, Daniel "djk123" Kelly, David "dpeters17" Peters, Jonathan "FatalError" Aguiar, Ryan "g0lfa" D'Angelo, Steve "gboro780" Gross, Ilya "ilushan" Gorodetsky, Cliff "JohnnyBax" Josephy, Yevgeniy "Jovial Gent" Timoshenko, Tom "kingsofcards" Marchese, Chris "Moorman1" Moorman, Steve "MrSmokey1" Billirakis, Billy "Patrolman35" Kopp, Jon "PearlJammer" Turner, Isaac "philivey2694" Haxton, Adam "Roothlus" Levy, Shane "shaniac" Schleger, Shaun "shaundeeb" Deeb, Michael "SirWatts" Watson, Mike "Sowerss" Sowers, Daniel "steamraise" Alaei, Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi, Brock "t soprano" Parker, Jamie "TheChronic420" Rosen, Faraz "The-Toilet 0" Jaka, Terrence "Unassigned" Chan, Isaac "westmenloAA" Baron, and Justin "ZeeJustin" Bonomo.

That's just to name a few (dozen). As expected, this first "High" buy-in event of the 2010 SCOOP series brought out the best of the best -- a regular "who's who" of online poker.

Chip leaders for the first four breaks were Balla-B13 (after one hr.), UpmaxH (two hrs.), E1ephant (three hrs.), and 24242 (four hrs.). At that point the field had been chopped in half with 392 players left. Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier had insinuated himself inside the top 20, and would remain there for most of the afternoon and early evening. At the next two breaks, mistakool was atop the leaderboard, then WhySoSerius7 would take over the lead at the seven- and eight-hour marks.

After about eight-and-a-half hours of play, the cash bubble burst with Wretchy being the last elimination before the money. At that point Mercier still was on the first page, with fellow Team PokerStars Pros Arnaud "frenchkiss" Mattern, Johannes Steindl, and Johannes Strassman also taking turns flirting with the top 20.


At the nine-hour break, Greenstone25 had taken the chip lead. Mercier had slipped back to the middle of the pack when a railbird posed a question to the recent NAPT Mohegan Sun $25,000 Bounty Shootout winner.

railbird: mercier trying to win back that hsp bi?
Jason Mercier: yes
Jason Mercier: trying to win for next season


Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier

The reference, of course, was to Mercier's stint on the current season of "High Stakes Poker" in which he found himself felted by Phil Ivey. As Mercier continued his efforts, Strassman was closing in on the top 10 when a key hand arose between the German pro and gray31. A series of preflop bets found all of gray31's chips in the middle, and about 80% of Strassman's. gray31 held A♣K♦ and Strassman A♠Q♦, and when the board ran out nine-high, Strassman had fallen near the bottom of the list of 70 remaining players.

After 10 hours of play, BlueKnight1 had assumed the chip lead with 62 players left, with Mattern in 9th place. Over the next hour, eisenhower1 would move out in front with over half a million chips, while three Team PokerStars Pros would hit the rail -- Steindl in 45th, Mercier in 44th, and Thierry "BOKPOWER" van den Berg in 41st.

A short-stacked Strassmann finally was eliminated in 37th after losing a race with K♠J♠ versus then chip leader Bounatirou's pocket eights. Soon after Arnaud "frenchkiss" Mattern was knocked out in 35th. Mattern's end came in a three-way all-in hand in which his pocket treys started out third-best against T_Mac's [10s][10c] and teacuppoker's K♥K♠ and failed to catch up.

At the 12-hour mark, 30 players remained with Bounatirou out in front, followed by Greenstone25 and heißtercamp. The last PokerStars pro, Sebastian Ruthenberg, would hit the rail in 23rd thanks to insidesports. On his final hand, Ruthenberg raised to 8,575 (a little over 2x) from UTG and it folded around to insidesports who reraised to 20,000 from the BB. Ruthenberg called, and the flop came T♠J♦3♦. insidesports led for 28,000, Ruthenberg pushed all in with his last 105,572, and insidesports quickly called, showing 3♣3♥ for the flopped set. Ruthenberg held A♦A♥, and no ace came to save him.


Team PokerStars Pro Sebastian Ruthenberg

Bounatirou would maintain the advantage through the next break, though would subsequently lose a huge hand when he'd run pocket jacks into Titantom32's pocket kings. At the 14 hour-mark, 18 remained (three tables), with teacuppoker in the lead with nearly a million chips, followed by Titantom32. At that point the average stack was still more than 60 big blinds, meaning a lot of play remained.

The next hour saw three more players knocked out, with high-ranking online player Raj "BadcardsAA" Vohra moving out in front following a huge hand versus Titantom32 in which the latter was eliminated. See how BadcardsAA won a 1.62 million-chip pot here:

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Soon just 12 players remained. As the tourney crossed the 16-hour mark, three more players fell -- BlueKnight1 (12th), DuckU (11th), and Bounatirou (10th), each of whom earned $20,488. tjbentham was eliminated in ninth and Polo896 in eighth, both netting $30,732.

Down to seven, the tournament went hand-for-hand. At the four-handed table, BadcardsAA had the chip advantage with about 1.8 million, while teacuppoker, Taknapotin, and heißtercamp all had about 1 million. Meanwhile, at the three-handed table, ArbahChamesh had the big advantage with 2.1 million to baloo1962's 600,000 and T_Mac's 350,000.

The magnificent seven did battle in that arrangement for the next hour-and-a-half before finally ArbahChamesh eliminated T_Mac and the final six-handed table was set:


Seat 1: baloo1962 -- 1,027,645
Seat 2: BadcardsAA -- 2,356,193
Seat 3: teacuppoker -- 558,664
Seat 4: ArbahChamesh -- 2,053,887
Seat 5: heißtercamp -- 600,054
Seat 6: Taknapotin -- 1,283,557

It took three orbits of play at the final table to see our first elimination. Down to 369,979 (with the blinds 10,000/20,000), teacuppoker opened for 46,600 from the button, and heißtercamp shoved all-in for 591,969 from the big blind. teacuppoker called, showing T♠T♣ to heißtercamp's A♦7♣. The flop was okay for teacuppoker -- 7♠Q♠9♥ -- but the A♥ on the turn gave heißtercamp two pair and the lead, and the 7♦ on the end sealed it, sending teacuppoker out in sixth.

Despite scoring that knockout, heißtercamp soon found himself the short-stack with five left. He battled back, though, and was up to 1.25 million when he proposed to the others they discuss a possible deal. All agreed to talk, and after 18-and-a-half hours of play, the tourney was paused. But after a "chip-chop" was calculated, not everyone was on board, and so -- as the sun rose on the east coast of the U.S. -- the tourney continued.


A short while after the failed deal, ArbahChamesh opened from the cutoff with a raise to 78,000 (a little over 2.5x), and Taknapotin reraised all-in from the small blind for 705,312. ArbahChamesh called, showing J♠J♦ to Taknapotin's T♥T♦. The board came 6♦5♦Q♦9♠8♣, and Taknapotin was out in fifth.

The remaining four battled on, with the tourney crossing the 20-hour mark. ArbahChamesh began to pull away from the others, pushing past 3 million in chips while his opponents all hovered between 1 and 1.5 million. Gradually ArbahChamesh whittled the others down further, reaching 4 million and extending his lead.

Finally came a hand in which after ArbahChamesh opened with a raise to 106,000, heißtercamp pushed all in from the button for his last 652,144. The blinds folded, and ArbahChamesh called, showing 8♦8♠. heißtercamp revealed A♣9♦. The cards came K♠Q♣T♥7♦6♠, and heißtercamp was out in fourth.

Another attempt at deal-making ensued, but terms again could not be reached -- BadCardsAA wanted a bit more than the chip-chop was providing him -- and play continued. A half-hour later they reached the 21-hour mark, by which time all three players had drawn nearly even in chips at just above or below 2.5 million. BadCardsAA then took the lead, thanks in part to having twice pushed baloo1962 off of substantial pots with nothing but king-high -- and showing both times.

Being shown the bluffs -- and perhaps also disappointed in having twice discussed deals that had failed -- prompted a bit of a reaction from baloo1962 during the next break:

baloo1962: u r a miserable person
baloo1962: even if u win i would never want to be like you
BadcardsAA: no i m preety happy
baloo1962: i reaaaaaly doubt it
baloo1962: u r very insecure
BadcardsAA: stop crying because i show u bluffs back to back
baloo1962: see but why u do that ??
baloo1962: what is the point
baloo1962: i never did anything to you
BadcardsAA: buddy it just a game just enjoy it
baloo1962: u r sick

Having taken the lead, BadcardsAA was now expressing a willingness to do the chip-chop. At that point, BadcardsAA had nearly 3.5 million, ArbahChamesh 2.327 million, and baloo1962 2.057 million. Negotiations were not smooth, to say the least, but finally a deal was struck pretty much according to the stacks, with BadcardsAA agreeing to top off his opponents' stacks slightly.

ArbahChamesh made two pair a couple of times versus baloo1962 shortly thereafter, getting paid and chipping up. Then, with the blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 6,250), BadcardsAA opened with a raise to 109,000, then ArbahChamesh reraised to 290,000 from the small blind. baloo1962 got out, and BadcardsAA made the call. The flop came 8♣J♣5♥. ArbahChamesh bet 286,000, and BadcardsAA called. The turn was the T♠. This time ArbahChamesh checked, and BadcardsAA responded with a bet of 590,000. ArbahChamesh then pushed all in for 2,180,842, and after a pause BadcardsAA called.

BadcardsAA had T♣9♠ for tens plus the straight draw, while ArbahChamesh showed K♣Q♣ for the better straight draw plus a flush draw. But the river was the 3♦, and just two players remained.

BadcardsAA held nearly a 7-to-1 advantage when heads-up play began, with 6,876,010 to baloo1962's 1,003,990. baloo1962 battled gamely, building up to 3,256,960 over the next 23 hands. But his momentum ran out on Hand No. 24 of heads-up play.

The hand began with BadcardsAA minimum-raising to 120,000 from the small blind/button, and baloo1962 making the call. The flop came J♥3♦A♠. baloo1962 checked, BadcardsAA bet 180,000, baloo1962 check-raised to 480,000, BadcardsAA made it 900,000 total, baloo1962 made it 1,440,000, BadcardsAA pushed all in, and baloo1962 called with his remaining chips.

Both players had flopped top pair, but BadcardsAA had the better kicker with A♥T♠ to baloo1962's A♦7♣. The turn was the 9♥ and the river the 8♠, and Raj "BadcardsAA" Vohra is our 2010 SCOOP 1-H champion.

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SCOOP Event #1-High 6-max No-Limit Hold'em results (*reflects three-way deal):
1st place: BadcardsAA ($240,026.93)*
2nd place: baloo1962 ($197,924.86)*
3rd place: ArbahChamesh ($202,377.01)*
4th place: heißtercamp ($110,320.00)
5th place: Taknapotin ($78,800.00)
6th place: teacuppoker ($47,280.00)

Thus ends the first day of play at this year's SCOOP. Wait! It's almost the afternoon again! Only a couple of hours before the start of Day 2, with three more events (at low, medium, and high buy-ins) getting underway soon.

See the schedule for all of the SCOOP events as well as a wealth of other info on the series by clicking here.

Martin Harris
@hardboiledpoker in SCOOP