SCOOP: Master hunter OMGitshunt wins Event #28-M ($109+R NLHE, Big Antes)

SCOOP logo.gifEveryone who plays hold'em knows that the forced bets in the small blind and big blind are there to generate action. Having the blinds alone is perfectly suitable for keeping things going in most cash games, and they serve their purpose well in the early portions of tournaments, too. Once a tournament progresses to a certain point, though, the blinds on their own just aren't enough; tighter players need to be given further encouragement to get involved, and that's where the antes come in. Being forced to give up the equivalent of an extra big blind per orbit is usually enough to grease the wheels and keep the tournament moving along in spite of any rocks at the table.

For an action player, the point where the antes kick in is the point where the real tournament begins. Pots are worth more before anybody tosses in a voluntary bet, and as such it's easier to build up a bigger stack and use it as ammunition against unwilling opponents. More often than not the players who handle antes the best are the players whose results stand out the most. It's for these players that the structure of today's SCOOP event, where antes worth as much as a quarter of the big blind kicked in on the very first level, was tailor-made.

The action at hand proved to be a big draw as 1,342 players turned up to contest this event. Along with those initial buy-ins and another 1,538 rebuys and 1,038 add-ons, the $250,000 guaranteed prize pool had swelled to $391,800 by the time the rebuy period was complete and the real tournament began.

Among those tossing in chips on every single hand of play were a number of Team PokerStars and Team Online players, including Ruben "rubenvtr" Visser, Jude "j.thaddeus" Ainsworth, Stavras "IDOLLS" Kalfas, Diego "vgreen22" Brunelli, Toni Judet, Bryan Huang, Marcin "Goral" Horecki, Georgio "gkap13" Kapalas, Martin "AABenjaminAA" Hruby, Andre "acoimbra" Coimbra, Matthieu "mattidm" De Muelder and Christophe "chrisdm" De Muelder, Javier "El Canoñero" Dominguez and Liv Boeree. Of the 171 players who cashed in this tournament, however, only two were sponsored players - Belgian Friend of PokerStars Pierre "Zoutechamp" Neuville finished in 60th place for $979.50, and Dutch Team PokerStars pro Joep "Pappe_Ruk" van den Bijgaart took 92nd for $783.60.

A BRAND NEW DAY

Just under one percent of the field - 13 players - still had chips when Day 1 ended last night. They returned at 2:00 p.m. ET to see who would stay far enough ahead of those pesky antes to make the final table. As it turned out, it didn't take long for them to get there. Thanks to three eliminations on Table 16 - Germany's $tough line$ in 13th place, Brazil's XTheDecanoX in 12th and Norway's lcallany in 11th - play was down to hand-for-hand just eight minutes after the restart. Things slowed down for a bit on the final table bubble, but after 33 minutes of play the final nine were set when Marco_arruda's [8h 8c] held up against [Ac Kh] to send C.K. packing in 10th place.

SCOOP Event 28-M Final Table.jpg

Seat 1: NoLimit173 (1784075 in chips)
Seat 2: binhoeiji (1934391 in chips)
Seat 3: Marco_arruda (1989356 in chips)
Seat 4: kluka (2377567 in chips)
Seat 5: r4rick (1246926 in chips)
Seat 6: Mr.Vargas_85 (212151 in chips)
Seat 7: OMGitshunt (2240919 in chips)
Seat 8: MILF ISLAND (1505645 in chips)
Seat 9: Pipedream17 (538970 in chips)

With blinds of 17.5K/35K and a 7K ante on every hand there was plenty of motivation for the shorter stacks to get to work on doubling up. It was no surprise, then, that the first elimination came just five hands into the final table. Facing an under-the-gun raise to 78,050 from OMGitshunt, Germany's Mr.Vargas_85 moved all-in from the big blind with A♠ 5♣ for just over 171,000. OMGitshunt called with A♦ T♣ and the kicker played for a better flush when the board ran out K♣ 2♣ 9♦ 4♣ 3♣, sending Mr.Vargas_85 home in 9th place with $4,231.44.

Four hands later it looked like Canada's Pipedream17 would be the next to go in similar circumstances with A♥ 2♦ against the A♦ J♥ of Brazil's binhoeiji, but a friendly two pair on the flop kept the Great White North's hopes for a title alive. In an unfortunate twist, binhoeiji would be the next to go. Facing another under-the-gun raise from OMGitshunt, this time to 89,200, bonhoeiji looked down at a pair of tens and made it three bets for 230,025 on the button. The blinds folded but after some time to think the situation over OMGitshunt moved all-in for just shy of 2.2 million. A quick call from binhoeiji revealed almost as bad a situation as one can see in hold'em: not only was binhoeiji's pair of tens dominated by OMGitshunt's pair of jacks, but both pairs were in diamonds and clubs, eliminating the possibility of catching a four-card flush to come from behind. The J♠ on the flop gave OMGitshunt a set and sealed binhoeiji's fate in 8th place for $7,640.10.

WAY TO GO MARCO!

One of the more remarkable performances of the final table belonged to Brazil's Marco_arruda. Sitting in 12th place when the day began, Marco benefited from a fortuitous double-up with pocket nines against A-K on the very first hand of the day. It looked like the day would end when Marco got into another coin-flip against OMGitshunt with seven players left - this time with 7♣ 7♥ against A♥ Q♦ - and saw the Q♥ fall on the flop. But the 7♠ came on the river to deliver the Brazilian from doom.

The action slowed for another 17 hands until two short stacks collided after seeing a flop of 6♦ 5♥ 2♦. Russia's r4rick held J♦ T♦ and chose to move all-in after NoLimit173 bet out at the flop, but NoLimit173's K♣ K♠ made for an easy call. No diamonds came, sending r4rick out in 7th place with a tidy prize of $11,518.10.

VOTED OFF THE ISLAND

With an extra $4,000 going to the player who survived the next pay jump, it was perhaps predictable that the action would slow at this point in the tournament. Perhaps also predictable was the next confrontation, which saw one of the shorter stacks - the 30 Rock-inspired MILF ISLAND - end up in a coin-flip situation. With the blinds at 30K/60K and antes at 12K, Australia's MILF ISLAND had raised to 120K in middle position with K♣ T♠ only to see a time-bank-inspired reraise to 267,346 from NoLimit173 on the button. That brought an immediate all-in move from MILF ISLAND and NoLimit173 wasted no time calling with 3♠ 3♣. The board was all overcards to the small pair, but no kings or tens meant MILF ISLAND was voted off in 6th place ($15,476.10).

DREAM A LITTLE DREAM

Five hands later NoLimit173 played the role of executioner once again. With only 396K left - just enough chips to see about 12 more hands - Pipedream17 took the opportunity to move all-in with 2♠ 2♥. NoLimit173 made a relatively easy call with K♣ Q♦ and caught the K♥ on the river to eliminate Pipedream17 in 5th place, good for $19,394.10.

Down to just four players, the tournament now featured three players safely ahead of the blinds and antes and one - Marco_arruda - who was clinging to life with only 650K in chips. It was unsurprising, then, to see Marco move in with J♣ T♣ on the button, and just as unsurprising that the day's incoming chip leader, kluka, called with 8♣ 8♦. A jack on the flop kept Marco_arruda's hopes alive with a double to almost 1.4 million. Five hands later another hand would end well for the Brazilian, this time with an unimproved A♣ 9♠ against NoLimit173's K♠ Q♥ to jump to almost 2.3 million. A trip to Value Town with three of a kind several hands later against NoLimit173 would net Marco_arruda another healthy pot, pushing his stack to more than 3.2 million.

DEAL OR NO DEAL?

By this point the difference between chip leader OMGitshunt and short stack NoLimit173 was only just over 1 million, which was enough to prompt discussion of a deal among three of the players. OMGitshunt, however, was having none of it, so play continued without a deal. Perhaps taking their willingness to deal as a sign of reluctance, OMGitshunt stepped on the gas and was up to nearly 6.8 million by the time the second break of the day came along. The four remaining players actually discussed a deal at that point, with the numbers working out like this:

OMGitshunt: $55,974.11
NoLimit173: $41,965.39
kluka: $40,653.82
Marco_arruda: $35,811.90

The deal wasn't good enough for the Netherlands' kluka, who wanted at least $44,000, so play resumed after the break with the prizes still set according to the normal schedule. It looked like kluka would be the next player eliminated, too, when on the first hand back when the Dutch player moved all-in from the small blind holding J♥ 5♠ and was quickly called by OMGitshunt with A♦ 9♥. The poker gods weren't quite ready to see kluka go, though, delivering the 5♦ on the river to keep play four-handed.

While kluka caught a bit of good luck to stay alive, NoLimit173 would be the recipient of a piece of bad luck to leave in 4th place ($26,642.40) on this hand:

RSS readers click through to see replay

ENDER'S GAME

With a huge advantage three-handed - 10 million chips against 1.2 and 2.5 million for the other players - OMGitshunt continued to press forward, taking the next four pots in a row. Finally Marco_arruda opted to call all-in for right at 1 million with K♣ 3♣ when OMGitshunt shoved from the small blind. It was a good call, as OMGitshunt held just 5♠ 4♠, but an unfriendly board of 8♠ 8♦ 4♣ 3♥ 9♠ meant the end of the road came in third place for Marco_arruda. Considering how the day began, though, the Brazilian was surely pleased to take home $37,181.82.

With the end in sight OMGitshunt continued to press the advantage, taking five of the next six pots without ever going past the flop. The last hand was an unfortunate one for kluka, who had to be pleased to look at A♥ Q♥ and even more pleased to see OMGitshunt raise on the button. The all-in move for 1.7 million was about as standard as it could get for kluka, and the snap-call with K♣ K♦ was just as standard for OMGitshunt. The board ran out 8♥ 3♠ J♣ 5♦ 6♠, eliminating kluka in 2nd place for $48,975 and giving OMGitshunt the $66,606 win.

Congratulations are definitely in order for OMGitshunt, who was by far the most aggressive player at the final table. Employing three- and four-bets liberally against the other players served OMGitshunt well and kept the player from Belarus consistently ahead of the constantly encroaching blinds and larger-than-normal antes.

SCOOP Event #28-M $109 + Rebuys No Limit Hold'em (Big Antes) Results

1st place: OMGitshunt ($66,606)
2nd place: kluka ($48,975)
3rd place: Marco_arruda ($37,181.82)
4th place: NoLimit173 ($26,642.40)
5th place: Pipedream17 ($19,394.10)
6th place: MILF ISLAND ($15,476.10)
7th place: r4rick ($11,558.10)
8th place: binhoeiji ($7,640.10)
9th place: Mr.Vargas_85 ($4,231.44)

Keep your eye on the rest of today's SCOOP action over at the main SCOOP page.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in SCOOP