SCOOP: ricardo4473 sprints to victory in Event 15-Low, $16.50 NLHE 2x Chance Turbo

scoop2009_th.gifRaise. Keep raising. Don't slow down, don't let up and for the love of all that is holy, don't take a bad beat. Variance isn't just a bitch in this game; it's deadly.

That's the attitude most turbo no-limit hold'em players bring to the table. In Event 15-Low, they had one lifeline -- a single "second chance" rebuy button they could use (for another $15) if they busted in the first 90 minutes of the tournament. Bust after that and it was game over.

11,206 players signed up for this $16.50 speed-fest.
Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier put in a valiant performance, grinding his way all the way inside the last 500 spots before busting in 494th. Four hours and forty-five minutes after cards were first in the air, the tournament had already collapsed to its final nine players:

Event 15-Low final tabl.JPG

Seat 1: Glorfindel (11,223,330 in chips)
Seat 2: SlappyJay74 (7,408,284 in chips)
Seat 3: bigace223 (6,836,093 in chips)
Seat 4: Stenbek (22,157,260 in chips)
Seat 5: caniwin12 (7,524,552 in chips)
Seat 6: ricardo4473 (14,949,781 in chips)
Seat 7: pocketcrape (2,721,495 in chips)
Seat 8: kriegs (6,433,018 in chips)
Seat 9: Cujon (6,576,187 in chips)

Blinds at the final table startd at 400,000 and 800,000. As you can see, that didn't leave much room for creative play. If the chips were in, they were generally in pre-flop, as they were when SlappyJap74 busted in 9th place. SlappyJap74's pocket deuces ran into Stenbek's pocket nines. Stenbek slapped SlappyJap74 a little more by flopping a nine.

Stenbek got in there again less than a minute later. After opening for 1.8 million, Stenbek called Cujon's all-in raise to 9.6 million. "I'm smarter than you," Cujon might have been thinking at the reveal. Cujon was the 3-to-1 favorite with A♠ Q♥ versus Q♠ J♣, but there was that whole variance thing to contend with. The flop came jack-high, and Cujon never found the card he was looking for. The tournament slipped right through Cujon's grasp as Cujon busted in 8th place.

Certainly it wasn't all going Stenbek's way. In rapid succession Stenbek doubled up caniwin12 (Stenbek's A♠ J♣ failing to serve against caniwin12's A♥ Q♦) and Glorfindel, with pocket sevens finishing well behind pocket aces.

The limits were up to 500,000 and 1,000,000 when things started getting a little bit crazy. ricardo4473, pocketcrape and kriegs all wound up all-in before the flop. kriegs, the short stack, took the worst of it. kriegs' A♦ 4♦ lost to both opponents on a board of 9♥ A♠ 8♠ 6♠ 7♠. Even though kriegs made a pair of aces, pocketcrape rivered a flush with Q♠ 3♥ while ricardo4473 rivered a set with 7♦ 7♥. Talk about a bad river!

Down to six players, pocketcrape felt a little bit like the child at the table that all the adults pay no attention to. "We can chop now?" pocketcrape asked. Nobody else responded. To be honest, chopping at that point wouldn't have been the worst idea. ricardo4473, the biggest stack, had only 26 big blinds.

Instead they played on. bigace223 quickly went out in 6th place, moving all in with 9♦ T♦ and running smack into ricardo4473's A♣9♠. Cue up a blank board. Exeunt, stage left, bigace223.

Fitting for a turbo tournament, the beats kept coming. Glorfindel was crippled on a fairly standard flip with pocket sevens. Stenbek got in there with Big Slick and wound up with two pair by the river. Glorfindel went out, all in for the ante, two hands later.

pocketcrape started tugging on everyone's sleeve again with the tournament down to four player. "You guys want to chop 4-handed?" ricardo4473 finally responded by eliminating pocketcrape in 4th place. It was another case of dominated hands; pocketcrape's A♦ 9♠ couldn't run down ricardo4473's A♠ Q♥.

Stenbek definitely showed the most gamble of anyone at the final table. Stenbek, in the small blind, put caniwin12 all in for 7.3 million. caniwin12 snap-called with A♣ T♠, but the hand was far from decided. Stenbek had the dreaded "two live cards", Q♠ 7♣. caniwin12 paired aces on the flop, but Stenbek found one seven on the flop and another on the river to win the pot.

That left two stalwarts left. Unlike many of the SCOOP tournaments so far, these two were as fresh as daisies. They'd only been at it for about 5 hours. They each uttered only one word during the heads-up match, and both were right at the start.

"Deal?" ricardo4473 asked.

"No," replied Stenbek, who had a roughly 5-to-4 chip lead.

For two blind levels, there was little movement in the chip counts. Then ricardo4473 finally took over the lead as blinds climbed to 1 million and 2 million. There were only 85 million total chips in play. This had to be the level.

Indeed it was. ricardo4473 perfectly slow-played a big hand and got Stenbek to hang himself. The chips went in on the turn of a 7♣ 7♥ T♠ 2♠ board. Stenbek must have felt confident with Q♣ T♣, top pair, but ricardo4473 had flopped trip sevens with K♣ 7♦. The river bricked out and that was that.

33 minutes for the final table. Five hours and 18 minutes for the entire tournament. And at the end of it, ricardo4473 turned $16.50 (and perhaps one rebuy) into more than $32,000. That's an hourly rate to envy.

SCOOP Event 15-Low $16.50 No-Limit Hold'em [2X Chance, Turbo] results:

1st place: ricardo4473 ($32,196.45)
2nd place: Stenbek ($22,478.87)
3rd place: caniwin12 ($17,251.83)
4th place: pocketcrape ($12,102.03)
5th place: Glorfindel ($9,527.13)
6th place: bigace223 ($6,952.23)
7th place: krigs ($4,506.07)
8th place: Cujon ($2,317.41)
9th place: SlappyJay74 ($1,544.94)

Dave Behr
@PokerStars in SCOOP