SCOOP: tcblade slices and dices his way to victory in Event #7-H: $1,575 NL Heads-Up

scoop2009_thn.gifHeads-up poker is the ultimate test of your observational skills, poker acumen, and intestinal fortitude. Many of the best players in the world are admittedly horrible heads-up players, while vice versa, some of the premier heads-up specialists are horrible at a full table.

Some of most memorable and compelling scenes in poker movies involved heads-up matches (e.g. The Cincinnati Kid and Rounders). The drama is intense, like an old wild wild west shootout at high noon, because it's one-on-one. Nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide.

Today's entrants put up $1,575 a piece on a profound belief that they are truly the best heads-up NL player in the universe. All they had to do was beat nine opponents in a row to prove it. And if that happened? They'd become $192,000 richer as the next SCOOP Champion.

Event #7-H: $1,575 NL Heads-Up was capped at 512 runners. They generated a total prize pool worth $768,000. The top 64 places would get paid prize money. In order to make the money, each player had to win at least three consecutive matches.

The field was peppered with some of your favorite PokerStars Team Pros including Vicky Coren, Gavin Griffin, Andre Akkari, Vanessa Rousso, John Duthie, Johnny Lodden, Arnaud Mattern, George Danzer, Chad Brown, ElkY, Victor Ramdin, Noah Boeken, Chad Brown, Hevad Khan, Juan Maceiras, JPKelly, and JC Alvarado. A slew of PokerStars Team Online Pros were also in the mix, such as JorgeArias, Jorj95, stevebets, nanonoko, AABenjaminAA, and J.Steindel.

Round 1 Quickies: A dozen or so matches were decided within the first three minutes, including a couple that lasted only a single hand. John Duthie worked fast, like a ninja on trucker's speed, and knocked out Francix in only four hands. Duthie flopped a flush with 9♥6♥ against his opponents' two pair. Duthie's flush held up and he advanced to the second round. JC Alvarado won his match in six hands, stevebets won his in eight hands, and Hevad Khan only needed 11 to advance to the second round.

Round 1 Causalities: George Danzer, Noah Boeken, Andre Akkari, Chad Brown, Vanessa Rousso, ElkY, Johnny Lodden, Victor Ramdin, JorgeArias, and Jorj95.

Notables Advancing to Round 2: John Duthie, JC Alvarado, Hevad Khan, Vicky Coren, stevebets, Gavin Griffin, Nanonoko, AABenjaminAA, Juan Maceiras, Arnaud Mattern, J.Steindl, JP Kelly, Peter "Nordberg" Feldman, Stevie "Stevie444" Chidwick, Amak316, Shaun Deeb, Floes, Andrew "RunThisTable" Lichtenberger, and RandALLin.

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Round 2 Highlights: Two Team Pros battled it out against one another with a Vicky Coren vs. Hevad Khan match up. Vicky bested Khan to advance to the next round. The elimination is one heck of a cooler. Both players opted to slow-play their monster hands on the flop and the turn, before they got it all in on the river. Check out out in the replayer...

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Round 2 Quickies: A couple of more blitzkrieg victories were won by Mistakooll, Evanski, DiPollo, and Smokrokflock.

Round 2 Causalities: Arnaud Mattern, Hevad Khan, John Duthie, JP Kelly, Nordberg, JBlaze20, AndyMcLEOD, AJKHooiser1, FatalError, and The Grinder.

Notables Advancing to Round 3 (Final 128): Gavin Griffin, Juan Maceiras, Vicky Coren, JC Alvarado, stevebets, AABenjaminAA, stevebets, Floes, J.Steindl, Shaun Deeb, neverwin, Amak16, g0lfa, DJK123, DDBeast, Apestyles, KWOB20, RunThisTable, and Nanonoko.

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Round 3 Quickies: Lb6121, XTheDecanoX, and Stevie444 won their matches faster than you can say the names the last ten WSOP Main Event Champions. G0lfa only needed 11 hands to take out Juan Maceiras.

Tough Matches: Shaun Deeb took out David "DonkCommitted" Miscikowski, and Jamie "Xaston" Kaplan beat JC Alavarado.

Bubblicious: Amak316 and Habbart55 were the last match of Round 3, which meant that the winner advanced to the round of 64 and guaranteed a cash, while loser became the eventual Bubble Boy. After nearly ninety minutes of play, Amak316 bubbled off the money in 65th place.

Round 3 Causalities: Juan Macerias, stevebets, DJK123, Floes, kwob20, Vicky Coren, AABenjaminAA, DonkCommitted, neverwin, apestyles, and J.Steindl.

Vicky_Coren_EPT_Berlin1a.JPGVicky Coren at the EPT Berlin

Players Advancing to Round 4 (Final 64): Stevie444, Gavin Griffin, Xaston, AaronBeen, Shaun Deeb, g0lfa, sowerss, RunThisTable, DDBeast, and Nanonoko.

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Round 4 Quickies: No surprise that Stevie444 beat out AaronBeen in only four hands. The kid has had a lot of down time today with this event.

Notables Who Cashed in Round 4 ($3,072): AaronBeen (64th), Xaston (63rd), g0lfa (53rd), Shaun Deeb (49th), sowerss (46th), Gavin Griffin (39th), and Nanonoko (33rd).

Notables Advancing to Round 5 (Final 32): Stevie444, RunThisTable, DDBeast, smokrokflock, whaassuuppp, Vick is God, ADZ124, RaineTech, tcblade, and Roberts34.

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Boogie On Stevie444: OK, so Stevie444 actually had to play a little poker. He didn't make mince meat of TheTaker, like he had done with some of his previous opponents. TheTaker put up a fight, but he was no match for Stevie Wonder.

Players Who Cashed in Round 5 ($6,144): HustlaStylez (32nd), humaster11 (31st), Andrew "RunThisTable" Lichtenberger (30th), LFMagic (29th), p2ryan2003(28th), Tonimonntana (27th), NOOOOOooooo (26th), holla@yoboy (25th), PokerWill1 (24th), TheRounderr, (23rd), TheTaker (22nd), Tim0thee (21st), cumicon (20th), Vick Is God (19th), rivermanl (18th), and AlusivPnkBny(17th).

Advancing to Round 6 (Sweet 16): Stevie444, DDBeast, micide, tcblade, jomamusfat, fviana, RaineTech, amurophil, XTheDeaconoX, Shirtz17, ADZ124, lb6121, whaassuuppp, Fred_Brink, Roberts34, and smokrokflock.

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The Sweet 16

Stevie444's run ended when hlb6121 gave Stevie a little taste of his own medicine. Their match lasted only eight hands. Both players got it all in with straights... alas, Stevie was one can short of a six pack, and held the (insert expletive here)-end of the straight.

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Players Who Cashed in the Sweet 16 ($9,216): Steve "Stevie444" Chidwick (16th), amurophil (15th), Roberts34 (14th), smokrokflock (13th), whaassuuppp (12th), micide (11th), fviana (10th), and jomamusfat (9th).

Advancing to the Elite 8: lb6121, Shirtz17, ADZ124, XTheDeaconoX, DDBeast, tcblade, RaineTech, and Fred_Brink.

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The Elite 8

The eight remaining players were one win away from advancing to the Final 4.

lb6121 vs. Shirtz17... This was the first match to be settled, and it only lasted 26 hands. Both players were roughly even in chips on the decisive hand. Shirtz17 raised, lb6121 three-bet, and Shirtz17 called. The flop was 9♥4♦3♠. Lb6121 bet 500. Shirtz17 raised to 1,111. Lb6121 shoved all-in for 3,987. Shirtz17 had him covered and called with Q♠9♣ for top pair. lb6121 was ahead with T♦T♠. The turn was the K♣, but Shirtz17 caught a break when the Q♦ spiked on the river, giving him two pair. lb6121 hit the rail in 8th place and Shirtz17 advanced to the Final 4.

XTheDeaconoX vs. RaineTech... It's wasn't pretty. Both players got it all-in preflop: XTheDeaconoX's A♥Q♠ vs. RaineTech's A♦K♥. A Queen on the flop sealed RaineTech's fate and he headed to the rail in 7th place. XTheDeaconoX advanced much to the delight of the thousands of Brazilians on the virtual rail.

tcblade vs. Fred_Brink... Fred_Brink was short-stacked until he doubled up with jacks against nines. He evened it up in chips, but that was as close as he'd get after tcblade pulled away. On the final hand, Fred_Brink shoved with A♣3♦ and tcblade called with 9♠9♥. Tcblade flopped a set of nines and Fred_Brink was dunzo in 6th place.

ADZ124 vs. DDBeast... DDBeast held a 3-1 lead over Canada's ADZ124 when they got it all-in preflop. ADZ124's K♥9♥ trailed DDBeast's A♥9♣, but ADZ124 flopped a double-gutter. DDBeast turned two-pair, and ADZ124 could not suck out on the river. He went out in 5th place, while DDBeast advanced.

Players Who Cashed in the Elite 8 ($24,576): lb6121 (8th), RaineTech (7th), ADZ124 (6th), and Fred_Brink (5th).

Advancing to the Final 4: Shirtz17, XTheDeaconoX, DDBeast, and tcblade.

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The Final Four

This particular event was hosted by French pro Arnaud "FrenchKiss" Mattern, who stopped by to rail the Elite Eight and Final Four matches.

XTheDecanoX vs. tcblade

You can always tell if a Brazilian is going deep in a PokerStars tournament because of the high frequency of "Vamooooooooooooooo!" appearing in the chat box. The Brazilian in this instance was XTheDeaconoX. Even Andre Akkari dropped in a "Vamooooooooo!" to cheer on his fellow countryman.

XTheDecanoX slowplayed pocket kings, and allowed tcblade's A♦Q♥ to improve on the river. Tcblade shoved when the Q♦ fell on the river, and XTheDecanoX's kings held up. Tcblade was crippled, but would not go away so easily. He doubled up with queens against nines.

Then tcblade made his move. He opened with a raise and XTheDecanoX called. Both players checked the flop of K♠8♥2♦. The turn was the J♠. XTheDecanoX bet small and tcblade called. The river was the Q♠. XTheDecanoX shoved for 6,100. Tcblade had only 2,990 behind and headed into the tank. As time ticked down, he made a call with A♠T♦. He rivered a Broadway straight. XTheDecanoX showed Q♣J♦ for two pair. TCblade seized the chip lead with a 2-1 margin. He also quieted the festive Brazilians on the rail.

On the final hand, XTheDecanoX shoved with pocket nines and tcblade called with A♣3♣. Tcblade flopped an ace and that's all she wrote. XTheDecanoX busted in third place, and tcblade advanced to the championship round.

Shirtz17 vs. DDBeast

DDBeast is most known for being one of those lucky guys that you hear about who traded in FPPs for a Porsche. He was looking to add a SCOOP title to his resume, however, he had a gritty Shirtz17 standing in his way.

Shirtz17 had command of the match from the onset and methodically chipped away at DDBeast's stack. Shirtz17 added most of his chips early on after sniffing out a bluff. On the final hand, Shirtz17 has almost a 2-1 advantage. He min-raised and DDBEast called. The flop was T♣6♥3♥. DDBeast bet out. Shirtz17 popped him to 487, and DDBeast called. The turn was the 8♦. DDBEast checked. Shirtz17 moved all in and DDBEast called for his last 2,563.

DDBeast: J♣T♦
Shirtz17: shows T♠6♦

Shirtz17 was ahead with two pair. The river was the Q♥ and DDBeast did not improve. He was eliminated in 4th place. And... Shirtz17 advanced to the championship match.

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Heads Up: Shirtz17 vs. tcblade

E7H_FT.jpgThe Final Two

Tcblade floated the notion of discussing a deal, which Shirtz17 quickly shot down. Apparently he was stuck and his was rent was due. Tcblade understood and the two played on.

Shirtz17 took the first three hands to jump out to over a 2-1 lead. However, tcblade finally strung together a run. He banged away at a few small pots, won a medium sized pot without a showdown, and pulled even in chips.

Tcblade took a slight lead when rivered a straight holding pocket sixes. Shirtz got it right back when he dragged a pot with pocket tens. At that point, the tournament had hit the 11th hour. Both players were on their ninth match of the day and neither had an easy path to the final table. Both players were deadlocked after thirty or so hands. It appeared as though this was going to be one of those drawn out slugfest that lasted for a couple of hours.

And then, out of nowhere... a knockout blow was delivered on the 34th hand of the championship match.

Shirtz17 opened for a min-raise and tcblade popped him back. Shirtz17 called. The flop was Q♥T♣8♣. Tcblade checked, Shirtz bet 2/3 the pot, and tcblade check-raised all-in for 4,819. He had Shirtz17 covered by less than 600 chips. Shirtz17 called.

tcblade: A♦Q♠
Shirtz17: Q♣9♥

Although tcblade was ahead with a pair of queens and a better kicker, he had plenty of bullets to dodge. Shirtz was behind, but he had flopped an open-ended straight draw. With two cards to come, he even had the possibility for a flush re-draw on the turn.

The turn was the 3♥ and the river was the... 8♦. Shirtz17's hand did not improve and he finished in second place, collecting $99,840... more than enough money (we hope) to pay his rent.

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Tommy "tcblade" Chen beat out Shirtz and won his ninth heads-up match of the day. The victory clinched the 2010 SCOOP Event #7-H $1,575 Heads Up NL Championship. Chen also won $192,000 after successfully navigating through a treacherous field of 512 players.

Event #7-H $1,5000 Heads Up NL Final Four Money Winners:
1. Tommy "tcblade" Chen (San Francisco) - $192,000
2. Shirtz17 (Perkinsfield) - $99,840
3. XTheDecanoX (Sao Paulo) - $53,760
4. DDBeast (Austin) - $53,760

There's still plenty of time to get in on all the SCOOP action. Check out our SCOOP page for more information and a full schedule of events.

Pauly McGuire
@PokerStars in SCOOP