SCOOP 2012: ImashokU, NeverScaredB lead #40-H w/63 left; Akkari 7th ($10,300 NLH Main Event)

SCOOP logo.gifIt's been a remarkable couple of a weeks here at PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker. Blom's back-to-back to kick things off. More multiple bracelet winners in joacowalter, bleu320, and Drew M Scott. Players cashing in SCOOP events from more than 130 different countries. Guarantee-smashing prize pools everywhere you look...

And, of course, Shaun Friggin' Deeb.

Turnouts for Sunday's final events helped catapult the overall amount of money awarded in the series to a staggering $65,332,179 in prize pool and bounties, making this year's SCOOP the biggest online poker tournament series ever. And culminating these historic two weeks of poker is the "high" version of Event #40, a two-day, $10,300 buy-in no-limit hold'em tournament otherwise known as the "Main Event."

Event #40-H sported a $2.5 million guarantee, meaning at least 250 had to enter to meet that goal. But as we've grown accustomed to over the last two weeks, in the context of SCOOP, the guarantee often tends to represent a fraction of what the prize pool actually turns out to be.

Field Grows, Shrinks

In fact, there were already more than 300 players seated when the first hands were dealt on Sunday afternoon, meaning the guarantee was already bested, and with late registration extending another three hours, the total number joining would no doubt grow considerably before all was said and done.

The first elimination of the day happened less than 15 minutes after the tourney began. b8chatz had already slipped to about half the starting stack of 15,000, then unfortunately ran K♥K♠ into the A♠A♥ of RoyalSalute to be the first one on the virtual rail.

By the one-hour mark more than 430 had registered, with only a handful having busted during the first 60 minutes. forhayley had jumped to the top of the counts in the early going along with RoyalSalute, still flush from that aces-versus-kings hand from before. And Team PokerStars Pro Lex Veldhuis had found a spot in the top five as well after an hour's worth of poker.

The next two hours saw a few familiar names take turns near the top of the counts, including Mike "Sowerss" Sowers who just last night grabbed a SCOOP watch in Event #36-M ($530 PLO 6-max.). After two-and-a-half hours of play Sowers led everyone with nearly 45,000, a nudge above KuuL, caipsa, and James "croll103" Carroll.

Registration finally closed at the three-hour mark, at which point a total of 517 entrants had together built a monstrous prize pool of $5,170,000 -- more than twice the event's $2.5m guarantee! The top 63 finishers would divide the loot, with a min-cash equaling $22,748 and a first-prize of $982,300 awaiting the winner barring any final table deals.

There were still 476 of those 517 players battling as the fourth hour began, with OLD TIME GIN having claimed the top spot in the counts as the only player with more than 50,000. Sowers, Carroll, Veldhuis, Keven "Stammdogg" Stammen, Grayson "gray31" Ramage, Dani "supernova9" Stern, and Randy "nanonoko" Lew were all on the first page of the counts.

At the four-and-a-half-hour mark the field shrunk below 400, with OLD TIME GIN still on top followed by KissMyAcePlz and KuuL. Play continued, with the aforementioned Shaun "shaundeeb" Deeb going out in 368th, having already grabbed four SCOOP watches wrapped up the Player of the Series race and thus graciously allowing someone else a shot at winning this one.

Leaders Emerge, Recede

As the field shrunk to 300, Andrey "Kroko-dill" Zaichenko pushed into the top spot where he stayed a while before slipping back to the pack. And soon after they crossed the six-hour mark 250 players remained, led by garampon, philbort, KeyserMM, OLD TIME GIN, and Ben "NeverScaredB" Wilinofsky.

An hour later the field had been trimmed to less than 200, with Brian "Halfrek" Elgaard having jumped ahead of everyone and nearing 150,000, with KeyserMM and Tim "Tim0thee" Adams the nearest challengers, both hovering just over 100,000. Elgaard then fell back while KeyserMM moved forward, becoming the first player to 200,000 chips with less than 150 left.

They had been playing more than nine hours when the field finally dipped below the 100-player mark, with KeyserMM still comfortably in front, having just moved past 300,000 at a point when the nearest challenger -- KissMyAcePlz -- had just under 190,000.

KeyserMM had just added more than 65,000 to that big stack in a hand versus H@££INGGOL in which the two had bet back and forth on a 3♥Q♥7♣ flop until H@££INGGOL was all in with K♦Q♦ against KeyserMM's 6♥5♥. The turn was the J♣ and H@££INGGOL was still ahead, but the river brought the A♥ and a flush to KeyserMM, sending H@££INGGOL out just shy of the top 100.

Tracking Team PokerStars

At that point Team PokerStars had four representatives among the remaining field, with Mickey "mement_mori" Petersen of Team Online leading the quartet in 54th position. Team Pros Alex Kravchenko (63rd), Andre "aakkari" Akkari (73rd), and Martin Stasko (75th) also continued to battle as the money bubble was still more than 35 eliminations away.

Kravchenko would fall in 83rd place in a hand in which he'd commit the last of his stack on a K♣5♥3♥J♣ board with A♣Q♣ and find himself up against Jamie "TheCronic420" Rosen's K♥Q♥. The river was the 9♠, sending the Russian railward.

By then Kazu "imashokU" Oshima had gathered some momentum to push past KeyserMM and into the chip lead, closing in on the 350,000-chip mark as the field fell below 75 and within shouting distance of the bursting of the money bubble that would occur with the 64th-place elimination. The tourney had been running over ten-and-a-half hours by then, with just another 30-minute level-and-a-half left to go before play would be paused overnight.

As Level 20 got started -- the last level of the night -- they were down to 66 players gathered around eight tables, with one-time chip leader OLD TIME GIN, Also11, and Flagellator all sitting on short stacks and hoping somehow to squeeze into the final 63 and the cash. Meanwhile Andre Akkari had been heading in the other direction, building an above-average stack to move into the top 15 with play beginning to slow down as they neared the money.


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Team PokerStars Pro Andre Akkari


Bubble Tension

Akkari would in fact be the one to bring everyone one step closer to the cash shortly thereafter, using 4♣4♦ to beat Also11's A♥Q♣ and knock the latter out in 66th place. Clark "snake8484" Hamagami then survived an all-in hand versus pokerbrat13 when his A♠A♥ managed to hold against pokerbrat13's Q♠Q♥.

A couple of new names ascended to the top of the counts as everyone waited to see who the last two players out before the cash would be. Ben "NeverScaredB" Wilinofsky and ValueH both moved ahead of Kazu "imashokU" Oshima, and Akkari found a spot in the top 10 as well.

Flagellator then survived an all-in versus two opponents with A♦K♠ when an ace flopped and the hand held. Though even after that hand, Flagellator's stack of just over 17,000 meant still being in 65th position with 65 players left.

Meanwhile, Martin Staszko was down below 40,000 chips when aagefr opened with a min-raise to 5,000 from middle position and Staszko called from the big blind. The flop came 2♥8♠7♦, and when Staszko checked, aagefr shoved all in and Staszko called with the 34,279 he had behind.

Staszko had [10s][10h] for an overpair while aagefr had 8♣4♣ for eights. But the turn brought the 4♦ to give Staszko's opponent a second pair, and after the 5♣ river Staszko was out in 65th.


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They were just one elimination away from the money, and with less than 10 minutes to go for the night, hand-for-hand play commenced across what were now eight eight-handed tables. A five-minute break happened to fall just a few hands from the end, adding still more tension.

Play resumed, and they had gotten to the very last hand of the night when Ben "NeverScaredB" Wilinofsky min-raised to 5,000 on the button, then it folded to Steve "Illini213" Barshak in the big blind who reraise-shoved all in for 28,137 total. Wilinofsky, who had over 360,000 behind, made the call, tabling 8♠8♣ to Barshak's A♠3♠.

The flop came 8♦2♠J♣ to give Wilinofsky a set, then the K♠ fell on the turn to provide flush hopes to Barshak, but the river was the Q♣, and Barshak was the last one out before the cash.


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That meant all 63 players still alive in Event #40-H would be able to experience their 12-plus hour breaks knowing they'd made the money. And really, given how remarkable a two weeks it has been, it's hardly surprising yet another night of SCOOP ended so remarkably.

Here's what the top of the leaderboard will look like when play resumes at 14:30 ET on Monday:

1. Kazu "imashokU" Oshima (Mexico) -- 405,124
2. Ben "NeverScaredB" Wilinofsky (Canada) -- 404,575
3. ValueH (Malta) -- 354,591
4. KeyserMM (Germany) -- 323,611
5. aagefr (Norway) -- 322,997
6. r4st4f4ri (Germany) -- 304,194
7. Team PokerStars Pro Andre "akkarri" Akkari (Brazil) -- 285,323
8. B4d3m3!st3r (Germany) -- 243,337
9. johnxfleming (Germany) -- 222,296
10. Malle1000 (Germany) -- 206,778

Entrants: 517
Places paid: 63
Players remaining: 63

Also returning tomorrow are Jon "FatalError" Aguiar (18th, 142,636), Stefan "I'am_Sound" Huber (22nd, 133,279), Jamie "TheCronic420" Rosen (23rd, 117,068), Vojtech "Vojta_R" Ruzicka (26th, 107,986), Sorel "zangbezan24" Mizzi (28th, 101,149), Rory "Mafews" Mathews (29th, 98,913), Andrey "Kroko-dill" Zaichenko (30th, 97,522), Clark "snake8484" Hamagami (33rd, 92,491), William "Altrum Altus" Reynolds (34th, 88,669), Team Online member Mickey "mement_mori" Petersen (51st, 42,615), Rui "RuiNF" Ferreira (52nd, 38,431), Calvin "cal42688" Anderson (54th, 35,812), Brian "Halfrek" Elgaard (57th, 28,171), and David "Betudontbet" Emmons (59th, 23,906).

Come back to the PokerStars blog tomorrow for a full recap of tomorrow's Day 2 of the big one, the $10,300 NLHE Main Event for which a $982,300 first prize and the coveted SCOOP watch awaits the winner.

Looking for more SCOOP reporting? Visit our special SCOOP 2012 coverage section.

Martin Harris
@hardboiledpoker in SCOOP