SCOOP 2012: High roller champ pistons87 fist pumps, wins #23-H ($2,100 NLHE 4-max)

SCOOP logo.gifAlmost exactly eight months ago pistons87 was beating the best in the $10,300 WCOOP Heads-Up Championship. It was far from a soft field but Pistons87 nevertheless came out on top of the 32-player capped field to win $119,000, despite having to face Team PokerStars Pros Bertrand 'ElkY' Grospellier, Max Lykov and Daniel Negreanu on his way to the final.

Although the players pistons87 had to beat for his SCOOP title may not be as well known, definitely less photographed, there was certainly some talent to beat. g.karolis and AaronBeen had $1,593,536 and $1,597,257 in online winnings to their names respectively, nutsinho had racked up $421,958 while JRADF79's $209,062 was hardly to be sniffed at.

pistons87 had proved that he could do it at the highest levels and also when it was up close and personal. He was always going to be a threat, but first he had to reach the final table, the only time in the entire comp the action was as large as - gasp - five-handed. The player to go was a short stacked takechip who had shoved 8♠9♠ and was looked up by nutsinho with A♠2♣. An ace on the turn was good enough to take the action down to five after 24 30-minute levels had played out, a good half-a-day of online battle.

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Going five-handed

Looking at the numbers
The money jumps were considerable - $28,029 for fifth and $208,797 for first - and with no breakaway big stack or tiddly short stack (AaronBeen was shortest with 95 big blinds, nutsinho largest with 150 big blinds) numbers were quickly suggested and accepted. No wrangling, just a satisfied acceptance that each would be striking a huge return on their $2,100 investment. The title, the SCOOP watch and the not-so-small matter of an additional $6,000 was still to play for. These five had outlasted 390 other players, a field of which had cumulatively built up a $790,000 prize pool.

Players that made the money but were knocked out before the chop included Tom 'kingsofcards' Marchese (9th, $12,600.50), Team PokerStars Online's Diego 'vgreen22' Brunelli (8th, $12,600.50) and Joseph 'subiime' Cheong (16th, $9,361.50), who final tabled the Gardner-Mercier-Galfond flip event just a couple of days ago.

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Tom 'kingsofcards' Marchese

Hat tips should also be made in the general direction of both pyszalek, a final table finisher at the beginning of this series, and three-time WCOOP winner Dan 'Djk123' Kelly who also enjoyed deep runs finishing 23rd and 24th for $6,912.50 each. Plenty of other threats bobbled around, including Jim 'Mr_bigQueso' Collopy (38th, $5,180.70). But the tournament was no longer about them.

The final four five
After the deal had been struck it still took a full two hours for a winner to be crowned. Did players take a more aggressive line than they would have otherwise? Most likely. Did they shovel it in with any two? Certainly not. The final table was toughly contested with big hands and some even larger calls. Following a double big slick chopped pot of half-a-million chips (1,975,000 were in play), JRADF79 correctly refused to believe the check-raise of AaronBeen and jammed it in with Q♦4♦ on the turn of a 2♣Q♥7♥K♠ board. AaronBeen called it of with a big J♥T♥ draw with but failed to get there with the 7♠ dropping on the river.

That left AaronBeen short and he open-shoved for 15 big blinds (59,508) with J♥T♥. He was called by pistons87 with 7♠7♣, who was at that time the second shortest player at the table. That pulled pistons87 back into the tournament, now effectively a winner-takes-all freeroll. The extra ballast would come in handy less than five minutes later.

The 8-bet shove
Four players remained when JRADF79 min-raised under-the-gun to 8,000 and was called by nutsinho in the small blind before pistons87 three-bet squeezed to 26,850. JRADF79 came back over the top for 45,795 and, pistons87 pumped it up 88,500, which was returned for 140,000, re-min-raised to 191,500 and finally shoved by JRADF79. pistons87 made the call for his remaining 286,000 with K♥K♣ way ahead of JRADF79's pocket tens. That rocketed pistons87 into the chip lead, a position from which he never wavered.

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Kings are good for the chip lead

The same could not be said for the previous chip leader JRADF79, another ten minutes and he was out. JRADF79 called a three-bet from g.karolis on the button with J♥T♥ and shoved for 2,59,439 over a 33,093 c-bet on a T♦5♥7♠ flop. g.karolis made the call and showed pocket jacks. No suck out and JRADF79 was sent to the rail $100,308 richer leaving pistons87 with two players with combined PokerStars online tournaments winnings of more than $3,000,000. It was one of those tournaments titans to go next; nutsinho calling all-in with a flush draw against the flopped straight of pistons87.

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pistons87's nuts versus nutsinho's draw

That set up the heads-up finale with pistons87 weighing in with a 1,356,000 to 619,000 chip lead, but with almost 400 big blinds in play neither player would need to rush in for a double or a knockdown. The heads-up took 40 minutes.

It was mainly small pots and pre-flop raises but there was moment where g.karolis couldn't seem to find the trigger to fire the river of a 3♦K♥5♥K♠4♣ board, which is not to say that pistons87 would not have called with his pocket eights. That 313,770 pot gave pistons87 a three-to-one chip lead and some 20 minutes later the knockout blow was finally landed, a flip with pocket nines up against two over cards. pistons87 came out on top to take the title, the SCOOP watch and the extra $6,000 of cheese.

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pistons87 wins SCOOP-23-H and $106,336

The final table payouts
1. pistons87, Canada, $106,336*
2. g.karolis, Lithuania, $100,308*
3. nutsinho, Canada, $107,054*
4. JRADF79, Belgium, $89,09*
5. AaronBeen, Mexico, $76,504*
*Indicates a deal was made.

Number of players: 395
Players paid: 44

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Rick Dacey
@PokerStars in SCOOP