SCOOP: Sorel "zangbezan24" Mizzi takes down Event 32-High, $5,200 FLHE

scoop2009_th.gifAs recently as seven to eight years ago, fixed-limit hold'em was the darling of poker games. It was a stable of brick-and-mortar poker rooms everywhere and was the game that career professionals played for a living and on which amateurs cut their teeth. From one end of the Las Vegas Strip to the other, in the card barns of Los Angeles and along the banks of the ocean in Atlantic City, limit hold'em was king.

Times have changed thanks to poker on television and some guy named Moneymaker. But many of the old guard - and a smattering of the newer generation - still love to play a game that is fundamentally about saving a bet when you're behind and squeezing out an extra bet when you're ahead. 79 of those players shelled out $5,200 apiece to play 2010 SCOOP Event 32-High, 6-max fixed-limit hold'em. The tournament was one of the most expensive of the entire SCOOP series and drew a talent-deep field of 79 players. Team PokerStars Pro Anh Van Nguyen was among the nine players that made the money, finishing in 9th place for $15,800.

Because of the relative depth of the stacks in relation to the limits, hand-for-hand play on the money bubble took almost thirty minutes. grpoker2 was the unlucky bubble finisher after toomuchneon turned a set of 7s against the all-in grpoker2's top pair of kings. After Nguyen, fnupple and valesco all earned $15,800 for finishing 9th, 8th and 7th, it was on to the six-handed final table.

Event 32-High Final Tabl.JPG

Seat 1: Vingtcent (6,046 in chips)
Seat 2: jadajadamasa (50,180 in chips)
Seat 3: jama-dharma (76,030 in chips)
Seat 4: Sorel "zangbezan24" Mizzi (64,224 in chips)
Seat 5: toomuchneon (103,185 in chips)
Seat 6: B00mslang (95,335 in chips)

[Limits started at 1,000 and 2,000.]

"I guess I'll try folding my way up another spot," joked Vingtcent as the final table began. That clearly wasn't an option, but Vingtcent did catch a timely pair of aces in the hole right at the start of the final table to double up through jama-dharma. It gave Vingtcent another few orbits to find a decent hand.

That hand wound up being K♦ J♠, with which Vingtcent called a raise made by Mizzi. Vingtcent check-called the flop, K♥ 6♦ A♥, then committed the rest of his chips on the 2♣ turn by check-raising. Mizzi had top pair, A♦ Q♣, and not surprisingly didn't fold. The river bricked out.

The remaining players were deep enough that it rated to be a while before the next elimination occurred. In fact it was an hour and twenty minutes. That's when jadajadamasa, down to 10,720 in chips with limits at 2,000 and 4,000, started moving chips into the middle with J♠ T♥. jama-dharma had been dealt Q♥ A♥ and flopped top pair, 6♣ 3♦ A♣. That left jadajadamasa drawing extremely slim. The K♦ on the turn was the faintest life, but the river fell J♦, not enough staying power for jadajadamasa.

A few quick, small pots were won by B00mslang and Mizzi. Those pots separated the remaining four stacks into two groups: the Haves (B00mslang and Mizzi, with about 150,000 each) and the Have-Nots (toomuchneon and jama-dharma, with about 40,000 each). toomuchneon got a huge boost in a 3-way pot the river against zangbezan24 and jama-dharma after turning the nut straight.

That same pot dropped jama-dharma to about 15,000 in chips. A second three-way pot ended jama-dharma's tournament. Three bets went in from each of jama-dharma, toomuchneon and B00mslang on an all-small flop, 3♠ 2♣ 5♠. jama-dharma was all in on the turn J♥ and all out after the river 8♦. B00mslang's top pair of fives, 5♣ 6♥ was enough to drag the whole pot.

toomuchneon was the last obstacle in front of what seemed ordained to be a lengthy heads-up battle between B00mslang and Mizzi. toomuchneon had other ideas and ramped up the aggression in a big way. A combination of that aggression and some run-good nudged toomuchneon's stack north of 100,000 chips. A further push gave toomuchneon the chip lead, with Mizzi and B00mslang both seemingly reeling from the onslaught.

But in limit hold'em, swings are normal. Mizzi and B00mslang both battened down the hatches and fought their way back, basically notching the match all-square three-ways at about 130,000 chips apiece. That's when Mizzi took over, winning a series of large pots to open a 200,000 chip lead over each of his opponents, 260,000 to 60,000.

"This could be the end of any respect for limit hold'em if Sorel wins," quipped Team Pro Barry Greenstein. Mizzi responded with a good-natured, "LOL," then added "HU for rolls Barry?"

"Sure," Greenstein replied. "I'll get good odds on our rolls if you win this."

It wasn't over though. The chips started to slide back to B00mslang, and toomuchneon was doing an excellent job of hanging on. A huge three-way pot to showdown wound up in B00mslang's stack, giving B00mslang the chip lead, when a flopped set of tens was more than enough to beat Mizzi and toomuchneon.

toomuchneon's stack slipped to the point where losing more than one pot in a row would be disastrous. That's exactly what happened and, down to 20,000 in chips with limits of 4,000 and 8,000, toomuchneon went with 9♦ J♥. B00mslang moved in for the kill with A♥ 2♣. A flopped pair of deuces was unnecessary for B00mslang as toomuchneon failed to connect with the board. Finally, at long last, B00mslang and Mizzi were heads-up for the SCOOP limit hold'em title.

B00mslang started with a 5-to-3 chip lead, but Mizzi had 18 big bets to work with. The heads-up portion of the match did not promise to be over quickly. Mizzi took back the chip lead and pushed it out to roughly 3-to-1 by grinding out a series of small pots without many showdowns. One of the few pots that did go to showdown was a pretty "sick call" by Mizzi. Check it out:

RSS readers click through to see replay

From there the end came quickly for B00mslang. Mizzi made two huge hands, rivering an inside straight draw (and getting three bets out of what appeared to be B00mslang's small end of the straight) and turning a club flush, to extend his chip lead to 7-to-1 chip. After one last double-up for B00mslang, the end came oh-so-cruelly:

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This is not the first time that Mizzi has been in the winner's circle. In fact, many believe that Mizzi is the hottest player in poker right now. Certainly at the end of this tournament he was the hottest player at the table, making three absolutely huge hands in a row to crush B00mslang and take down the SCOOP title.


SCOOP Event #32-High $5,200 Fixed-Limit Hold'em results:

1st place: Sorel "zangbezan24" Mizzi ($118,500)
2nd place: B00mslang ($79,000)
3rd place: toomuchneon ($59,250)
4th place: jama-dharma ($39,500)
5th place: jadajadamasa ($29,625)
6th place: Vingtcent ($21,725)

Dave Behr
@PokerStars in SCOOP