SCOOP: Good day for the UK - Paolo69 wins Event #19-High ($2,100 NLHE)
Today marked the conclusion of another high-profile SCOOP event, this one the $2,100 two-day no-limit hold'em tournament. By the time late registration closed on Day 1 the field had reached a total of 495 players, building a prize pool of $990,000. The payout schedule called for 63 players to cash, with a $188,100 share allotted to the winner.
A full complement of Team PokerStars and Team Online players took a shot at this latest SCOOP event. Most of them fell short of the money, including Jonathan Duhamel, Georgio Kapalas, Johannes Strassman, Anders Hoyer Berg, Vadim Markushevski, Jude Ainsworth, Grayson "spacegravy" Physioc, Vicky Coren, George Danzer, Maxim Lykov, Sebastian Ruthenberg, Javier "El Canoñero" Dominguez, Martin "AABenjaminAA" Hruby, Matthaias "mattidm" De Muelder, Marcin "Goral" Horecki, Stavros "IDOLLS" Kalfas, JP Kelly and Pierre "Zoutechamp" Neuville. Their fellow pro Johnny Lodden managed to cash but came up a bit shy of a Day 2 appearance by finishing in 36th place ($5,445).
When Day 1 ended only 22 players of the original 495 had return tickets for Day 2. Germany's blumenkind53 held the chip lead with 511,102 chips, while Lithuania's baneris was the short stack with just 38,054 chips. In between were a number of accomplished players, including 2009 SCOOP Mixed Hold'em champ James "Andy McLEOD" Obst, former Sunday Million winner Caio "caio_pimenta" Pimenta, and Team PokerStars player Lex "L. Veldhuis" Veldhuis and Joep "Pappe_Ruk" van den Bijgaart.
Proving how tough a field this event attracted, three of the four players at the top of the chip counts as Day 2 began failed to make the final table. The incoming chip leader, blumenkind53, came the closest to a final table appearance by finishing in 11th place, while caecilius took 18th and Andy McLEOD finished 17th. The majority of the remaining players were in fine shape as the final table bubble approached, but three of the ten - the Netherlands' L. Veldhuis and Pappe_Ruk and Finland's jatteri - were locked into a fierce battle to avoid missing the most crucial pay jump in the tournament. Each had less than 200,000 chips on the 5K/10K/1,250 level, and each was in need of some desperate help to make the final table a reality.
Pappe_Ruk would end of being the unfortunate player to leave in 10th place when, facing a cutoff raise from Dom2312, he moved in from the small blind for his last 142K with K♥ Q♠. Chip leader Paolo69, though, reshoved from the big blind. Dom2312 quickly got out of the way and Paolo69 turned up J♣ J♦, good enough for the heavy end of a coin flip. The pair of jacks held up to send Pappe_ruk packing in 10th place with $11,880 and leave Lex Veldhuis as the lone remaining representative from both Team PokerStars and the nation of the Netherlands.
THE FINAL TABLE
As the final table began with blinds still at 5K/10K and antes at 1,250, the lineup looked like this:
Seat 1: Paolo69 (1,472,331 chips)
Seat 2: Est-Ace (460,881 chips)
Seat 3: AA DOCTOR (579,107 chips)
Seat 4: jatteri (124,664 chips)
Seat 5: L. Veldhuis (184,280 chips)
Seat 6: lb6121 (874,715 chips)
Seat 7: Dom2312 (705,502 chips)
Seat 8: fabstinho (329,252 chips)
Seat 9: Legadzo (220,518 chips)
The first player to cash out was short-stacked jatteri, who got in with the best of it on the 12th hand of the final table with K♦ 6♦ against the Q♠ 9♠ of fabstinho. But once the board fell 8♣ Q♣ J♦ 9♥ A♣, a 9th place exit was sealed for the Finn. The payout of $16,434 might have been the smallest of all the final table participants, but it was a pretty solid return on jatteri's original investment in an $11 rebuy satellite just before Day 1 began.
With jatteri gone, all eyes turned to Lex Veldhuis. There were no significant confrontations over the next 17 minutes as the Team PokerStars pro held on looking for the right spot to get his money in the middle. When he did so he found himself in great shape with A♣ K♦ against the A♠ Q♥ of Dom2312, and his hand held up to give him a much needed boost to just south of 280,000 chips. One orbit later he would once again make a play for all his chips. This time, though, he found himself the victim of poor timing when he shoved for 231K on the button over the top of AA DOCTOR's opening raise of 26,000. The rest of the players cleared out, AA DOCTOR called with Q♠ Q♣, and Veldhuis showed A♣ J♥. The 2♥ 6♠ 4♦ 6♦ 7♦ board never came close to giving Veldhuis any help and he exited in 8th place ($22,275) to a hearty round of congratulations from the rail and his fellow players.
Now seven-handed, the table settled in a steady rhythm of players taking pots before the flop, with an occasional non-elimination showdown between two of the bigger stacks. After 31 minutes had passed there was finally another key hand. With blinds at 7K/14K and the action folded around to the hijack position, fabstinho took the opportunity to raise to 28K. Chip leader Paolo69 reraised on the button to 69,575, only to see Est-Ace move all-in for 176,551. There was no resistance from fabstinho but Paolo69 opted to call with the pot laying nearly 3-to-1. His T♥ 9♠ was only 37 percent to win against Est-Ace's A♣ K♠, but the 8♥ 7♣ 5♣ flop was a very friendly one for his underdog hand. Once the 6♥ fell on the turn there was no chance for Est-Ace, who exited in 7th place with $32,175.
With just six seats filled at most final tables, the number of nations represented will often approach, if not equal, the number of players remaining. In the case of this SCOOP tournament, however, only Greece and the United Kingdom still had a chance to claim the title as play was down to six. Amazingly enough, five of them - chip leader Paolo69, lb6121, fabstinho, Legadzo and Dom2312 - hailed from the UK, with only AA DOCTOR standing in the way of an all-British final.
The next 15 minutes would be good ones for lb6121. First came a 372,170-chip pot with A♠ A♥ on a dangerous K♦ K♠ Q♦ 9♣ 6♥ board, which was capped off by a great river call against a bluff from Paolo69. Four hands later came an even bigger pot, once again with a big starting hand. With the action folded to the button, lb6121 opted for a min-raise to 28K with Q♠ Q♥. In the big blind fabstinho made it three bets and 69,896 to go; lb6121 went into the tank before shoving for an effective 272K more, getting fabstinho to call with A♠ K♦. The board blanked out and fabstinho left in 6th place with $42,075, while lb6121 claimed the 702K pot to surpass Paolo69 and take the lead.
Only 12 hands later another player would hit the rail. This time around it was Legadzo, who had been hanging around with a short stack since the final table began. On the button and facing a cutoff raise to 34,000 from Dom2312, Legadzo chose to move in for 245,771 chips with 5♣ 5♠. Had that been the only bet the steal might have worked, but AA DOCTOR reshoved for just over 1 million chips from the big blind with A♠ K♠ and cleared Dom2312 out of the way. The A♦ 2♦ 4♠ flop simultaneously gave AA DOCTOR the lead and left some room for Legadzo to catch up, but a 7♦ turn and 4♦ river sealed Legadzo's fate in 5th place for $54,450.
THE KEY POT
Three of the four remaining players were willing to talk about a deal, but Paolo69 declined to allow his opponents to do so much as look at the numbers. Play slowed as the three shorter stacks traded small-to-medium pots and Paolo69 mostly bided his time, with the laconic pace interrupted only by an all-in confrontation that ended in a chopped pot when both Paolo69 and Dom2312 turned over an ace and a queen. Finally, though, Paolo69 managed to pull away in what ended up being the hand of the tournament.
The key pot came on the 10K/20K/2,500 level and began when Paolo69, who held just over 1.4 million chips, raised to 45,000 from the button. Only lb6121, who held 1.395 million in the big blind, opted to call, building a relatively minor pot of 110K as the flop came down 9♣ 7♣ 5♦. When lb6121 checked, Paolo69 bet 57,650, just over half the pot; lb6121 dipped into the time bank before responding with a raise to 146,000. Paolo69 took a bit of his own allotted time before responding with a second raise, this time to 264,450. Another long pause, another raise: this time lb6121 made it 540,000. Paolo69 ended the raising after another trip to the time bank, shoving all-in for 1,363,477 chips, and lb6121 thought for only a few seconds before calling all-in for his tournament life. The two turned over their cards:
lb6121: J♣ 8♣
Paolo69: 5♠ 5♣
Any six, ten or club on the turn would have changed the lead on the hand, but instead the 8♥ fell, taking away some of lb6121's outs for a win. The fateful J♥ came on the river, shipping a 2.8-million-chip pot to Paolo69 and sending lb6121 home in 4th place with $77,220.
THE FINAL STRETCH
Paolo69 now enjoyed a significant lead over his remaining competitors, holding just over 2.8 million to the 1 million of Dom2312 and the 1.1 million of AA DOCTOR with blinds still at 10K/20K. About 400K of those chips would slip from Paolo69's grasp over the next 23 hands before he picked off a river bluff by AA DOCTOR for a 1-million-chip pot. On the very next hand AA DOCTOR would get some of those chips back when his K♣ T♥ caught two pair against the Q♠ Q♣ of Dom2312, shifting the table dynamic once again as Dom2312 was left with just 431,305 chips. Just 17 hands later Paolo69's T♦ T♣ would hold up against Dom2312's A♣ T♠, sending Dom2312 home in 3rd place with $101,475 and setting up the final showdown for the title.
With just over a 2-to-1 lead, Paolo69 enjoyed a significant advantage but still had to tread carefully against the dangerous AA DOCTOR. Over the course of the first 35 hands of the number of pots taken by each player was roughly equal. As the match went on, though, the balance of the chips in play slowly began to tilt in favor of Paolo69 until AA DOCTOR was facing a 5-to-1 deficit.
On the final hand the Greek opted to min-raise to 50K on the button, which prompted a reraise to 140K by Paolo69. AA DOCTOR wasted little time in shoving all-in for 862K with A♣ 9♦, but Paolo69 held a firm lead with Q♠ Q♥ and quickly made the call. The flop came down A♥ K♦ T♦ and it looked as if the match was going to be extended, but the Q♣ fell on the turn to give Paolo69 three of a kind. Drawing only to one of four jacks for a chop, AA DOCTOR was eliminated in second place when the 4♥ fell on the river.
SCOOP Event #19-H $2,100 No Limit Hold'em Results
1st place: Paolo69 ($188,100)
2nd place: AA DOCTOR ($138,600)
3rd place: Dom2312 ($101,475)
4th place: lb6121 ($77,220)
5th place: Legadzo ($54,450)
6th place: fabstinho ($42,075)
7th place: Est-Ace ($32,175)
8th place: L. Veldhuis ($22,275)
9th place: jatteri ($16,434)
Eight of the 22 players who started Day 2 were from the United Kingdom, and amazingly enough five of them - Paolo69, Dom2312, lb6121, Legazdo and fabstinho - progressed to the final table. Once they got there, they finished strong; of the top five finishers, only Greek runner-up AA DOCTOR hailed from outside the British Isles. It was a fine showing for British poker once again and congratulations are in order for all five players.
To see how the UK is faring in all of this spring's other SCOOP events, check out all the results on the main SCOOP page.