SCOOP: Stavros staves off opposition to win 8-Game title

SCOOP logo.gifAn octopus navigates the sea in a fluid motion seeking out prey while avoiding mortal enemies. When caught in a life or death situation, an octopus dispatches a few bluffing techniques to throw off their opponent. Depending on the species, an octopus can camouflage their skin to blend into the surrounds of the ocean floor. Of course, the standard weapon of choice for an octopus under distress is to squirt a cloud of ink to blind their foes and cloak their next move.

The octopus-poker metaphor is also an easy way explain 8-Game. Just like an octopus has eight tentacles, they each act individually but the octopus is as strong as its weakness tentacle. Mixed games, particularly the 8-game format, tests supreme excellence in all fields and formats of poker. You really have to be on the defensive at all times because your opponents will exploit any weakness they can.

Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.

Event #29-H $3,150 8-game featured a short but powerful, stacked field of 63 runners. Only the top 9 players would earn a slice of the $189,000 prize pool, with $56,700 set aside to the champion.

The tournament completed a full round every two hours with 15-minute levels per game. With multiple games in play, the constantly changing conditions never gave any one player an edge for more than a level. At the same time, it favored consistent players who had deft skills across the board.

Slew of Team PokerStars Pros and Team PokerStars Online bought into the event, but only Only PokerStars Team Pro Noah "Exclusive" Boeken made the money. His fellow members of Team PokerStars Pros and Team PokerStars Online in the field all failed to make the cut. That list included Ville Whalbeck (49th), Nacho Barbero (45th), Sebastian Ruthenberg (36th), Anders "Donald" Berg (34th), Juan Maceiras (33rd), ElkY (25th), Joe Hachem (16th), and George Danzer (12th).

Former world champion Joe Hachem got knocked out in 16th place during Stud hi/lo. Boeken's pair of Aces won the pot (with no qualifying low) and he took out Hachem.

George Danzer made the final two tables, but busted shortly before the money bubble. Danzer moved all-in on the flop of 9♠8♦4♠ and holding a flush draw with A♥K♠Q♠6♠. LuckyGump called with Q♥J♥9♣8♣ for two pair and a gutshot. The turn was the 8♠ and Danzer made his flush, but LuckyGump improved to a full house. Danzer hit the road in 12th place, three spots off the money.

Fred_Brink from Denmark was seeking his 13th cash in a SCOOP event. However, he failed in his quest after he bubbled off the money in 10th place when he ran into el_Batong's trip Aces.

Noah Boeken eliminated in 9th place

During Razz, short-stacked Noah Boeken busted when his 9-8-6-3-A lost to SirWatts' 9-4-3-2-A. Boeken won $7,560 for 9th place.


Noah Boeken circa 2008 on the EPT

Aces vs Aces: tunnny bubbled off final table in 7th

With seven players to go, the final two tables were playing hand-for-hand. During PLO, short-stacked tunnny found himself in a battle of Aces vs. Aces. Tunny moved all-in on flop of K♣J♣3♣ with A♠A♥Q♠J♥. He trailed Stavros, who called with A♦A♣7♠5♣ for a flopped nut-flush. The turn and river did not help tunny, who bubbled off the final table in 7th place.

Zacpacker eliminated in 6th

During hand-for-hand while playing a level of PLO, two players busted on different tables while on the cusp of the final table. While tunnny was knocked out, over on the other table, Zacpacker and SirWatts were involved in a sizable pot which culminated into an unexpected knockout.

On a flop of J♥5♠6♣, SirWatts and Zacpacker were both all-in. SirWatts showed 9♣6♦5♣4♥ for two pair, while Zacpacker trailed K♥K♣T♥9♥. Zacpacker turned a flush draw when the 2♥ fell, it also gave SirWatts a gutshot draw. The 3♣ sealed Zacpacker's fate and SirWatts won the pot with a six-high straight. Since Zacpacker had more chips going into the hand, he placed in 6th, which earned him a $10,395 paycheck.


Event #29-H 8-Game Final Table chip counts:
Seat 1: LuckyGump (21,884)
Seat 2: SirWatts (110,593)
Seat 3: Sirocko (28,103)
Seat 5: ozenc (68,283)
Seat 6: Stavros (86,137)

The final table was supposed to be six-handed -- bur Zacpacker's elimination in 6th during a rare hand-for-hand double-elimination -- meant this final table was five-handed. SirWatts held the overall lead, while Sirocko brought up the rear.

Sirocko eliminated in 5th place

During Triple Draw, Sirocko made a final stand against ozenc. On the first draw, both players discarded two. Sirock bet and ozenc called. On the second draw, Sirocko discarded one, and ozenc drew two. Sirocko bet, ozenc raised, and Sirocko called all-in. On the final draw, Sirocko discarded one and ozenc stood pat with with a J-8-6-3-2. Sirocko showed 5-4-3-2-2 for a pair of deuces and ozenc won the pot. Sirocko from Sweden was knocked out in 5th place for a $14,175 score.

LuckyGump eliminated in 4th place

LuckyGump lived up to moniker during the last two tables as he held on with the thinnest of stacks to make the money and advance to the final table. Once he arrived at the final table, he avoided elimination on two timely hands. But then... he ran out of luck.

During Omaha hi/lo, LuckyGump three-bet preflop and got two callers (ozenc and Stavros). On the flop of K♦J♠2♦, LuckyGump led out and both ozenc and Stavros called. When the 7♦ fell on the turn, LuckyGump bet and was all-in. Both ozenc and Stavros called. The river was the Q♦ and with no qualifying low, ozenc won the pot holding A♥T♠7♠6♠ for a Broadway straight. LuckyGump from Russia busted in 4th, collecting $18,900.

With three to go, ozenc increased his lead to 176,574, ahead of Stavros (76,433) and SirWatts (61,993).

ozenc eliminated in 3rd place

For almost an hour, the final three passed the lead back and forth to each other. In a couple of instances, all three were virtually even in chips. It wasn't until the game switched to PLO before we finally saw a bustout.

On a flop of A♦7♥6♥, ozenc got it all-in against Stavros. Stavros flopped a gutshot draw and a flush draw with K♥9♥7♣5♠. However, ozenc was ahead with a set of sixes and 8♥6♦6♣2♠. The turn was the 3♦, but the 4♥ spiked on the river to give Stavros his flush. He won the pot because ozenc could not boat up. Ozenc was knocked out in third place, earning $28,350 in the process.

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Heads-up: SirWatts (Canada) vs. Stavros (United Kingdom)

Heads-up chip counts:
Seat 2: SirWatts (68,693)
Seat 6: Stavros (246,307)

Stavros held approximately a 3.5 to 1 advantage, but their battle did not last very long. On the 15th hand of heads-up play, it was all over. On an action-induced flop of Q♦9♦7♠, fireworks ensued. Stavros check-raised SirWatts, who was not about to be bullied, and pushed back, Stavros responded by moving all-in. SirWatts was covered and called. SirWatts flopped second pair and a nut flush draw with A♦9♠3♦3♠. Stavros led with K♥Q♠Q♥7♥ after flopping top set. Stavros faded a diamond on the turn and river to win the pot.

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SirWatts won $37,800 for a runner-up performance. Meanwhile, Stavros won a SCOOP title, $56,700 for first place, and a brand new watch!

Event #29-H $3,150 8-Game Final Table results and payouts:
1st - Stavros (United Kingdom) - $56,700
2nd - SirWatts (Canada) - $37,800
3rd - ozenc (Netherlands) - $28,350
4th - LuckyGump (Russia) - $18,900
5th - Sirocko (Sweden) - $14,175
6th - Zacpacker (Canada) - $10,395

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Pauly McGuire
@PokerStars in SCOOP