SCOOP: Zefir_max wins marathon match in Event #3-High ($530 NLHE 6-Max w/Rebuys)

SCOOP logo.gifSome tournaments are simply destined to have an elite field. Combine the high buy-in with the opportunity for unlimited rebuys, and the number of players prepared to play comfortably - and do so on six-handed tables - becomes an interesting crowd. Many of the players in the field are well-known in the world of online poker, though there are others who were able to use the satellite options to enter the tournament at a fraction of the buy-in. A solid event was on tap.

The $530 buy-in no-limit hold'em tournament was, as mentioned, filled with six-max tables, and players had the opportunity to rebuy on an unlimited basis during the first 60 minutes of play. That $500 rebuy warranted another 3,000 chips, though players had to show less than that amount in order to rebuy. Add-ons were also available after the rebuy period: 5,000 chips for $500. Did we also mention there was a $400K guarantee for the two-day event?

Action was fast and furious during the first hour, and when the dust settled, the final registration numbers were as follows:

Players: 372
Rebuys: 405
Add-ons: 291
Guarantee: $400,000
Actual prize pool: $534,000
Paid players: 42

Team PokerStars Pros didn't fare so well in this event. While a number of them tried, none made the money. The two who came closest were Joep "Pappe_Ruk" Van Den Bijgaart and Ruben "rubenrtv" Visser, both representing the Netherlands and finishing in 75th and 73rd place, respectively.

The money bubble was a tough one to get through, but it happened when jama-dharma exited in 43rd place to leave the rest of the pack assured of a minimum $2,937.00 payout. With that, the excitement continued. Slowly, it continued. As the blinds increased with the levels, the players became even more cautious.

Ultimately, Level 22 ran its course, and there were 14 players left in the field when play stopped. Their chip counts were:

BIack88 (562,208)
ShippityShip (558,817)
WhatIsICM (497,788)
zefir_max (334,097)
instigator85 (303,400)
kswizzle111 (276,245)
DYBYDX (248,441)
Seanlawn (244,190)
RoyalSalute (199,498)
kid_canada6 (163,956)
szusza84 (158,612)
Obar89 (128,057)
insfran (63,745)
Eifffel (46,946)

Day 2

Little more than 11 hours later, play resumed with players presumably rested and ready. Action kicked off at 11:00 ET at the start of Level 23, with blinds at 2,000/4,000 and a 500 ante.

After only 15 minutes, the tables had turned in numerous ways, as players like ShippityShip and kswizzle111 were out of the tournament. Two tables remained at that point, Eifffel and Seanlawn eventually departed, as did insfran and kid_canada6. The group of eight was stuck at that point for awhile, though BIack88 maintained more than a 2-to-1 chip lead over second place for most of that time.

DYBYDX was eliminated in eighth place, and moments later, instigator85 made the all-in move with A♠J♠, but Royal Salute was there with A♦K♣. The board of 8♦T♣Q♠6♠5♥ changed nothing, and instigator85 was out in seventh place with $13,350.00.

BIack88 and the ever-growing chip lead

Well over an hour into Day 2, the final table was ready to go. With Level 25 offering blinds of 3,000/6,000 and a 750 ante, players were off and playing with the following starting chip counts:

Seat 1: zefir_max (576,465 in chips)
Seat 2: WhatIsICM (393,279 in chips)
Seat 3: Obär89 (359,634 in chips)
Seat 4: RoyalSalute (523,665 in chips)
Seat 5: BIack88 (1,724,487 in chips)
Seat 6: szusza84 (208,470 in chips)

2011 SCOOP - Event 3 High FT.JPG

As action started, BIack88 held a lead of more than 3-to-1 over the others at the table. And just as zefir_max began to stack a few chips, the two got involved in a hand that went to the river and awarded a 452K pot to BIack88. On the board of J-8-9-K-9, BIack88 showed T-8, and zefir_max could only watch chips go to BIack88 and comment, "Nice call!"

Szusza doubled through WhatIsICM early during six-handed play, but there were no other all-in/call situations in the first hour of the final table. And all the while BIack88 continued to chip up. Into the third hour of the day, BIack88's chip stack eclipsed the 2 million mark, and the lead was increased to more than 6-to-1 over the nearest opponent.

RoyalSalute started to make some moves, and a pot worth 332.5K from Obar89 pushed RoyalSalute into second chip position.

An hour and a half into the final table, szusza84 was on the short stack and decided to move all-in preflop with A♣5♣. WhatIsICM called from the big blind with a dominating A♠Q♣. The flop brought some excitement as the 6♠J♣5♦ gave szusza84 the pair and the hopes for a double-up. But not only did the Q♦ drop on the turn, but the Q♥ on the river gave WhatIsICM trip queens. Szusza84 was the first to leave the table, walking with $21,360.00 for sixth place.

Zefir_max saw more troubles at the table, including losing a pot worth more than 433K to RoyalSalute. But zefir_max did come back on the very next hand to double through BIack88 and stay in action.

Nearly two hours into the final table, a big hand developed. Obar89 was the short stack, and with less than 200K remaining, the all-in move came with K♦J♦. Original raiser WhatIsICM called with K♥Q♣. The flop of J♠4♥T♦ gave Obar89 the lead but left WhatIsICM with the open-ended straight draw, but the Q♠ on the turn gave WhatIsICM the advantage. The K♣ on the river gave both players two pair, but Obar89 had the lesser of them and departed in fifth place with $32,040.00.

Then zefir_max was able to double through RoyalSalute as seen here:

RSS readers click through to see replay

That put zefir_max in second place on the leaderboard again, and Royal Salute was on the short stack. Three hands later, RoyalSalute pushed all-in with K♠2♠, and zefir_max called from the big blind with Q♠9♥. The board of T♦Q♥2♣3♥J♠ gave zefir_max the pair of queens, and RoyalSalute was out in fourth place with $42,720.00.

Three agree; deal talks long but successful

The final three players paused the game in order to discuss the possibility of a deal, but with one player's objection to the chip-chop numbers, the trio was unable to come to an agreement right away. But after nearly 30 minutes of discussion, the three came to an agreement as follows, with the understanding that an extra $8K and the SCOOP watch were reserved for the ultimate winner:

Seat 1: zefir_max (943,623 in chips) = $93,685.97
Seat 2: WhatIsICM (715,302 in chips) = $79,050.92
Seat 5: BIack88 (2,127,075 in chips) = $74,515.11

Play resumed, and over the course of the next 20 minutes, zefir_max tangled with BIack88 in several hands, and zefir_max seemed to be getting the upper hand, so to speak. The difference between their chip stacks decreased drastically, and it wasn't long before zefir_max took over the chip lead.

WhatIsICM did manage a double-up through zefir_max, but the latter remained atop the leaderboard. And the former continued to struggle on a shorter stack than the other two players.

Eventually, WhatIsICM got into a preflop raising battle with BIack88, and WhatIsICM moved all-in with A♠2♣. BIack88 made the call with A♦K♥, and the board brought nothing with its 7♥9♥6♣3♥3♣ to change the outcome. WhatIsICM was eliminated in third place with $74,515.11 in prize money.

Belarus versus Russia

The final two players were seated and quickly involved in a heated heads-up match. Their starting counts were as follows:

Seat 1: zefir_max (2,101,272 in chips)
Seat 5: BIack88 (1,684,728 in chips)

BIack88 didn't take long to get aggressive, and pots like the one worth nearly 482K propelled BIack88 into the chip lead. But over the course of the next many rounds, the two exchanged the lead on a regular basis. It was turning into a very long, contentious match.

Quite a while into it, zefir_max managed this double-up to take control:

RSS readers click through to see replay

BIack88 was down to little more than 650K at one point but did double up with A-T over Q-T. But zefir_max was winning the majority of hands going forward.

Nearly six hours after the start of Day 2, it was finally over. The last hand started with raises and reraises until BIack88 was all-in with A♠J♠. Zefir_max called with J♦J♥, and that pair stood up to the 4♥9♥2♠3♦3♣ cards from the dealer. BIack88 had to settle for second place and the most prize money, per the aforementioned deal, of $93,685.97.

Congratulations to zefir_max of Belarus, who came back from a chip deficit to take the lead and win the SCOOP title, $87,050.92 in prize money, and the luxurious SCOOP watch.

SCOOP Event #3-H Results (per three-way chop):

1st place: zefir_max ($87,050.92)*
2nd place: BIack88 ($93,685.97)*
3rd place: WhatIsICM ($75,515.11)*
4th place: RoyalSalute ($42,720.00)
5th place: Obar89 ($32,040.00)
6th place: szusza84 ($21,360.00)

*players involved in three-way deal

Information about SCOOP is easy to find, especially if we provide the links! You can browse the tournament schedule, list of satellites, and the leaderboard, and you can check out the Inside SCOOP daily web show.

Jen Newell
@PokerStars in SCOOP