SCOOP: Xaston excels, leads with 33 left in event 2-H ($2,100 NLHE)

SCOOP logo.gifAfter 22 hard-fought half-hour levels of play in Event No. 2-H, a two-day $2,100 buy-in no-limit hold'em event, Jason "Xaston" Kaplan ended the day with the biggest stack. He'll be the only player of the 33 remaining to return to more than a million chips. Team PokerStars Pro Victor Ramdin will be there, too, in 12th place when play resumes tomorrow afternoon.

A total of 1,077 entered this one, meaning the $2.154 million prize pool exceeded the $2 million guarantee. The top 135 would get paid, with the winner scheduled to earn $387,720. For comparison's sake, that first prize is actually more than what half (28) of the 2009 WSOP bracelet winners took home last summer for winning their events.

Nearly 40 of the Team PokerStars Pros were among the field, with Chris "Money800" Moneymaker jumping out to a good start to be sitting in 13th place at the two-hour mark. Moneymaker would eventually slip, however, to finish out of the money. At that point gunning4you had the chip lead, then grebnrets86 would move out in front after three hours of play. At the next break, groengras was in first, with Faraz "The-Toilet 0" Jaka not too far behind in third.

Jaka continued to challenge for the lead, then in Level 9 he ran into some momentary difficulty. With the blinds 125/250 Jaka raised to 600 from UTG and got one caller in akia86 from middle position. The flop came T♣K♠8♠. Jaka continued for 1,010, akia86 raised to 3,175, and Jaka called. The turn was the 5♦. This time Jaka bet 5,255, and akia86 called. The river brought the Q♣. The-Toilet 0 checked, akia86 pushed all in for 18,995, and Jaka made the call. Jaka showed K♥Q♥ for two pair, but akia86 had 8♥8♣ for the flopped set.


Faraz "The-Toilet 0" Jaka

On the very next hand, stevie444 opened with a raise to 750 from middle position and it folded around to Jaka in the BB who reraised to 2,500. stevie44 made it 6,666 to go, The-Toilet 0 pushed it to 12,000, stevie44 pushed all in for 41,387 total, and Jaka called with his remaining 24,270. Jaka showed Q♠Q♣ and stevie44 J♥J♣. The board ran out K♠5♠9♠6♣T♠, and The-Toilet 0 was once again feeling flush, having bounced right back into the top five with 72,395.

Chip leaders at the next few breaks were Francix (five hrs.), CesarSPA (six hrs.), then groengras taking the lead back (seven hrs.). During that stretch Team PokerStars Pro Victor Ramdin had snuck into the top 20, as had Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi. In Level 12, Iftarii tangled with Ramdin a bit preflop, raising from UTG only to see Ramdin reraise behind him. Iftarii four-bet, then Ramdin pushed all in. "victor!!!" typed Iftarii as he folded.

VictorRamdin: power poker
Iftarii: truth
VictorRamdin: lol
VictorRamdin: i had it


Team PokerStars Pro Victor Ramdin

Whatever he had, Ramdin now had some more chips. Shortly thereafter, Ramdin would display a bit more power, picking up pocket aces and scoring a big pot while knocking out kirbynator who held J♦J♥. That hand propelled Ramdin close to 120,000 and into eighth place. At that point -- with about 250 players left -- Mizrachi had moved into fourth place, but The Grinder would suffer a major hit in an interesting hand versus ender555.

With the blinds 350/700, SFisch4 opened with a raise to 1,769 from early position, Mizrachi called, and it folded around to ender555 in the SB who made it 5,995. SFisch4 folded, and Mizrachi called. The flop came A♣7♦T♥. ender555 bet 6,475, The Grinder raised to 13,300, and ender555 called. The turn was the 9♦. ender555 checked, and Mizrachi bet 32,200 -- just a few chips more than ender555's stack. After a bit of thought, ender555 made the call, showing A♠K♦ for top pair-top kicker. Mizrachi tabled 6♦5♦ for flush and straight draws. The river was the Q♣, and Mizrachi had suddenly plunged from his top 10 spot out of the top 100. He would eventually finish 155th, out of the money.

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As chips continued to move back and forth, Isaac "westmenloAA" Baron -- with a picture of The Most Interesting Man in the World (per Dos Equis) as his avatar -- would move into top 10. All were still chasing groengras, though, who was again the chip leader at the eight-hour break, followed closely by Baron, tbt4653, busto_soon, and Ramdin.

At the nine-hour mark, makavelyces held the chip lead, with Ramdin in third. Hevad "RaiNKhaN" Khan was the only other Team PokerStars Pro alive at that point, sitting way back at 129th with 138 players remaining. The money bubble burst shortly thereafter, with TheChronic420 the first to get paid, earning $3,661.80 for finishing 135th.

After having made the cash, a short-stacked Khan joked in the chatbox "im so ashamed that i folded all those hands lol." He'd soon get active, and would manage to rebuild a stack and get back in contention. Faraz Jaka was soon eliminated in 121st, Isaac "philivey2694" Haxton was eliminated in 81st, and Steve "gboro780" Gross went out in 73rd.

At the 10-hour break, Iftarii -- who had been tangling with Ramdin earlier -- had moved into the chip lead, with Ramdin in fifth and Khan back up to 58th. makavelyces took the lead back after hour 11. Then at the 12-hour mark -- the last break of the night -- Jamie "Xaston" Kaplan had moved to the top of the leaderboard. Kaplan is getting off to a nice start in the SCOOP, following up on his strong showing in the 2009 WCOOP where he cashed five times and made the final table of the Main Event, finishing fifth.

Isaac "westmenloAA" Baron was eliminated in 43rd. Meanwhile, Kaplan continued to increase his lead as play wound down during the final Level 22 of the first day, pushing past the 800,000-chip mark. Hevad Khan continued to hold on, and had a stack of 164,653 when the following hand took place.

With the blinds 2,000/4,000, ags104 raised from UTG to 10,000, RaiNKhaN called from middle position, then Xaston reraised to 40,000 from the big blind. ags104 folded, then Khan shoved all in, prompting a call from Kaplan. Khan showed A♣Q♣ and Kaplan K♦K♣. The community cards came 6♣J♦8♣7♠T♠, and Khan was out in 40th place.

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A few more players would see their tourneys end before play completed, including Jeff "yellowsub86" Williams in 35th. In the final hand of the night, Xaston would win another sizable pot off of cal42688 to move up over 1.14 million.

Over on another table, Victor Ramdin had pushed back up to a stack of 346,675, good for 12th place. Gathering those chips must've given the Team PokerStars Pro some extra energy, as evidenced by his end-of-night chat:

VictorRamdin: lets play it out
VictorRamdin: common
groengras: nooo lets sleep
VictorRamdin: lol
VictorRamdin: tx gn gl alll zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

And so 33 players will now go get some rest before coming back on Monday at 17:00 Eastern time to play it out. Here's what the top 10 will look like when those first hands are dealt tomorrow afternoon:

End of Day 1 leaders, SCOOP Event 2-H, $2,100 NLHE
1. Xaston -- 1,146,187
2. makavelyces -- 819,500
3. Iftarii -- 668,921
4. cal42688 -- 622,628
5. tysonduke23 -- 516,255
6. GotURead -- 514,320
7. RugDoctor -- 449,434
8. busto_soon -- 426,392
9. petteytheft -- 406,667
10. siss222 -- 385,342

Be sure to check back here on the PokerStars blog for coverage of the conclusion of this event, as well as all of the others. And for the rest of the schedule and all the scoop on SCOOP, see the official site.

Martin Harris
@hardboiledpoker in SCOOP