SCOOP: raidalot wins a lot in Event 20-M ($215 NLHE)

Thumbnail image for SCOOP logo.gifMaking the final table of a SCOOP tournament is quite an accomplishment. Regardless of how you fare once you're there, some time reflecting will probably lead you to the conclusion that you've performed well enough to be proud. But to repeat as a final tablist, that's another matter altogether - especially if you didn't manage a win the first time around. Though a final table is a final table, it's much harder to feel accomplished the second time around without grabbing a victory.

A total of 63 players from a starting field of 5,516 remained in play as Day 1 came to a close, several of them having previously made final tables during SCOOP series past and present. With a $172K prize and the chance to redeem themselves on the line, they returned to begin Day 2 at 11:00am ET, with blinds at 10K/20K, antes at 2.5K, and these 10 players sitting atop the leaderboard:

1. Tha Giggy (Canada) 2,146,557 chips
2. bostanu24 (Romania) 2,057,153 chips
3. holyguacmole (Netherlands) 2,010,653 chips
4. MD IACONI (Moldova) 1,878,346 chips
5. Fairy verde (Portugal) 1,674,918 chips
6. Ryan "Daut44" Daut (Canada) 1,546,463 chips
7. IraiseYouUp (Austria) 1,432,104 chips
8. yugurt1961 (Russia) 1,428,648 chips
9. ShippityShip (Australia) 1,428,356 chips
10. JC "PrtyPsux" Alvarado (Mexico) 1,424,064 chips

Though they were ahead of the game at the start of Day 2, most of these players wouldn't end up making the final table. In fact, only three of them would survive to the last stage, while the others fell victim to the whims of variance. Tha Giggy, a SCOOP final tablist back in 2010, was unable to repeat that feat despite holding the lead as Day 2 began, falling in 40th place. The next to go was holyguacmole in 34th place, followed by Fairy verde in 33rd and former PCA champ Ryan Daut in 29th. Romania's bostanu24 made the next-to-last table but was the first out there in 18th place, while IraiseYouUp lasted a bit longer but went out in 14th. Australia's ShippityShip was the last of the former top ten to bust out, finishing in 12th.

Only a short while later the final table began at 1:41pm ET. Blinds were 70K/140K with 17.5K antes, and these nine players were vying for the latest SCOOP title:

Seat 1: yugurt1961 (3,916,603 in chips)
Seat 2: PrtyPsux (5,797,151 in chips)
Seat 3: SeeYouAnte18 (7,338,600 in chips)
Seat 4: raidalot (16,738,369 in chips)
Seat 5: MD IACONI (4,430,473 in chips)
Seat 6: RonaldKosh (4,136,469 in chips)
Seat 7: INSHALA82 (2,188,345 in chips)
Seat 8: Duuglas (3,774,318 in chips)
Seat 9: venezustar (6,839,672 in chips)

2012 SCOOP-20-M final table.jpg

A quick start

It didn't take long for the action to get going. SeeYouAnte18, a SCOOP final tablist in 2010's Event 28-M, picked up a pair of pocket kings on the 7th hand of the final table, but they couldn't have come at much worse a time as venezustar held pocket aces. It took six bets to get all of venezustar's 5.88M-chip stack in the middle before the flop, and when the board came J♥ 4♠ 7♠ 9♦ 3♣ the Venezuelan player grabbed the 12.4M-chip pot and vaulted into second place.

SeeYouAnte18 was left with 1.12M chips but quickly found new opportunities for stacking back up. One blind steal from the hijack was good for a 507K pot, and two hands later the UK player picked up another pair of pocket kings. This time things went a little better, as the cowboys held up against INSHALA82's pocket nines to boost SeeYouAnte18 back up to 3.21M chips.

On the very next hand venezustar was the recipient of more good fortune. JC Alvarado limped in under the gun and the action then folded around to venezustar, who was holding pocket nines in the small blind and completed the bet. The flop came 9♠ K♥ 9♥, giving him four of a kind, and the action checked around. The action checked to Alvarado again on the 4♥ turn, and the former SCOOP Main Event winner bet 380K into the 577K pot; venezustar called, and the river was the 2♠. Once again he checked, and this time Alvarado bet an even 1 million; this time venezustar responded with a check-raise to 2.775M. Alvarado made the call and venezustar's quads were good for a 6.887M-chip pot.

Through all that action there had not yet been an elimination, but that would change one hand later when the action folded to INSHALA82 in the hijack and the short-stacked player moved all-in for 626K with K♣ J♣. Everyone folded to Alvarado, who made the call from the big blind with A♣ J♦. The board fell 8♠ 5♥ 6♥ Q♣ 2♦, ace-high was good for the 1.48M-chip pot, and INSHALA82 became the first casualty of the final table, earning $8,825.60 for 9th place.

With the blinds and antes now up to 80K/160K/20K, there was 400K in dead money to start each hand. SeeYouAnte18 was looking to pick that up uncontested with an all-in bet of 2.51M from the button, holding Q♠ 9♥, but ended up in a showdown when Moldova's MD IACONI made the call from the big blind with 8♣ 8♥. By the time the A♣ J♦ K♣ J♥ Q♣ board had run out, SeeYouAnte18 had climbed back up to 5.26M chips and MD IACONI was the new table short stack with just 1.04M chips remaining.

Just five hands later raidalot opened the betting in early position with a minimum raise to 320K and MD IACONI moved all-in for 866K. There was a call in the small blind from yugurt1961, and raidalot called as well. The two players checked down all streets as the board fell J♦ 2♣ 5♠ 3♠ 2♥ and yugurt1961 turned over A♦ Q♥ for a pair of deuces with an ace kicker. That was good enough to win the 2.91M-chip pot, and MD IACONI exited in 8th place ($13,790).

Another six hands went by without much action before Duuglas opened for a minimum raise to 320K on the button. That drew one fold, from venezustar, but yugurt1961 bumped the bet all the way up to 2.48M from the big blind and put the decision back to Duuglas. The Swedish player opted to move all-in for 3.59M with A♠ T♠ and yugurt1961 quickly called with A♣ K♥. The 6♣ 6♥ 6♠ flop was no help to Duuglas, and the K♦ left just two outs for a chop. But the river was the J♦, making Duuglas the 7th-place ($24,822) finisher.

Now the short stack with just 1.74M chips on the 100K/200K/25K level, JC Alvarado got to work on finding a way back into contention. He got his chips in behind while trying to pick up a pot preflop, holding A♠ 8♣ against raidalot's A♦ J♥, but the 8♠ 9♣ 5♦ 6♣ 4♣ board bailed him out and boosted his stack to 3.78M. Six hands later Alvarado doubled through raidalot once again, this time with T♥ T♠ against A♠ 6♥ for a 6.61M-chip pot.

Catch a falling venezustar

RonaldKosh was now the short stack with 4.55M chips, but all of the action over the next 10 minutes would revolve around venezustar's fall into a 5th-place finish. Starting off with 11.87M chips, venezustar dropped nearly 2.5M after calling raidalot's preflop raise to 400K with A♦ T♦, checking the 4♣ 5♠ K♠ flop, and then firing bullets at both the 9♦ turn and 6♣ river; raidalot called the whole way, turning over 6♠ 5♦ for two pair. Then came this pot worth 10.7M chips against yugurt1961 that never made it to showdown:

RSS readers, please click through for replay

That boosted yugurt1961 to a table-leading 22.74M chips and left venezustar with 4.57M. Just three hands later, all of the Venezuelan player's chips would make it into the pot before the flop. After the action folded to the small blind, venezustar opened for 445K; yugurt1961 responded with a bet of 6.1M, and venezustar called with 6♠ 6♣, setting up a coin flip against K♥ T♥ for his tournament life. The T♠ 9♣ 8♠ flop paired yugurt1961 but left six outs plus a backdoor flush draw for venezustar; the 5♦ turn and 3♣ river didn't change anything, though, and venezustar was gone in 6th place ($35,854).

On the last hand of 100K/200K RonaldKosh and SeeYouAnte18 both picked up pocket pairs and clashed before the flop, RonaldKosh with 8♦ 8♣ and SeeYouAnte18 with 6♠ 6♥. With no sixes, straights, or flushes on the board, the 9.79M-chip pot was shipped to RonaldKosh. Two hands later, on the new 125K/250K/31.25K level, SeeYouAnte18 picked up a pot with an all-in move to jump back to 2.18M chips, but another all-in move on the following hand, this time with T♥ 8♣, was called by yugurt1961 with K♥ 9♣. The 7♠ 3♠ 8♦ flop put SeeYouAnte18 in the lead, and the 7♥ kept him there, but the K♠ on the river gave yugurt1961 the pot and SeeYouAnte18 was out in 5th place ($46,886).

Four more

The four remaining contenders were seated like so:

Seat 1: yugurt1961 (26,022,268 in chips)
Seat 2: PrtyPsux (4,830,522 in chips)
Seat 4: raidalot (14,984,022 in chips)
Seat 6: RonaldKosh (9,323,188 in chips)

JC "PrtyPsux" was the only one with a SCOOP title (the 2009 Main Event), though raidalot came close last week with a 3rd-place finish behind Alexandre Gomes in SCOOP-01-H and RonaldKosh had previously final-tabled the Sunday Million and won the Nightly Hundred Grand. Though yugurt1961 was the only player at the table without a previous score in a big PokerStars tournament, a significant chip lead made him the favorite to walk away with the title in this event.

Alvarado got things started with a bang, doubling up to 9.09M with A♥ Q♥ after moving all-in on the button and outflopping raidalot's T♣ T♥. Another blow would be dealt to raidalot's stack a few hands later when yugurt1961 called raidalot's three-bet and then raised the UK player's leading bet on a Q♦ 2♠ 6♠ flop, claiming the 6.95M-chip pot. From there the table settled into a rhythm, with the three shorter stacks jockeying with one another for position and yugurt1961 stepping in every now and then to assert himself. At the end of the level, raidalot managed to double up with 8♠ 8♥ against yugurt1961's A♠ 2♣ to climb back up to 14.1M chips.

Just after the blinds advanced to 150K/300K with a 37.5K ante, the former SCOOP Main Event winner would fall short in his quest for a second title. In the big blind and facing a button raise to 666K from yugurt1961, JC Alvarado moved all-in for 7.61M chips with A♦ K♣; yugurt1961 called with Q♠ Q♥ and the race was on. A win would have flattened the chip counts, putting Alvarado with six big blinds of the lead, but instead the board ran out 3♥ Q♣ T♠ 9♣ 3♣. That shipped the 15.67M-chip pot to yugurt1961 and ended Alvarado's run for a second SCOOP title in 4th place ($62,330.80).

With 32.88M chips, yugurt1961 now had 11 million more than both of his remaining opponents combined. But neither of them was willing to go quietly. First RonaldKosh doubled through with K♥ T♥ against yugurt1961's K♠ Q♣; both players had flopped top pair on the K♦ 9♥ 6♥ board and were willing to go all the way, but the A♥ turn completed RonaldKosh's flush and the A♣ ended the hand to give RonaldKosh the 16.07M-chip pot. Four orbits later it was raidalot who scored a win with a flush, his 9♠ 8♠ connecting with the 6♠ K♠ 3♥ 3♠ 4♣ board to grab the chip lead with a 13.86M-chip pot.

All three players continued to trade pots as the blinds climbed to 200K/400K with a 50K ante, usually uncontested before the flop but occasionally with something on the line. Finally, on the 55th hand of three-handed play, RonaldKosh met his end after moving all-in from the small blind for 7.05M chips with K♣ 4♦ and getting a call from yugurt1961 with K♥ J♣; the 5♣ 4♠ 2♥ flop turned the odds upside down, and the A♣ kept them there, but the J♥ on the river gave yugurt1961 a pair of jacks. RonaldKosh finished in 3rd place, earning $118,128.

A hard-fought match

As heads-up play began, the two remaining players were within two big blinds of one another:

Seat 1: yugurt1961 (27,963,250 in chips)
Seat 4: raidalot (27,196,750 in chips)

2012 SCOOP-20-M heads-up.jpg

With so little separating yugurt1961 and raidalot it really was anybody's game, and as the match progressed it remained so. The blinds and antes went up four different times over the course of their 230-hand match, moving from 250K/500K/62.5K all the way to 500K/1M/125K. While there was plenty of raise-and-take-it, there was also plenty of action. Both players found themselves all-in for their tournament lives at multiple points during the match, only to survive and then put their opponent in a similar position. At its low point, raidalot's stack was worth just 7.77M chips, while yugurt1961's dropped as low as 15.88M.

Finally, an hour and 16 minutes after they played their first hand of heads-up poker against each other, the two would clash in the pot that ended the tournament. On the button, raidalot opened for a minimum raise to 1M. That prompted an all-in bet for 17.03M chips from yugurt1961, and after a few moments raidalot made the call with Q♠ J♠. That was behind yugurt1961's K♠ 3♦, but the 9♠ Q♥ 5♦ made raidalot a pair of queens. The 4♣ turn left only three kings to help yugurt1961, but the river was the 9♣ and the tournament was complete.

For finishing in 2nd place after a long and hard-fought duel, yugurt1961 earned $128,522.80. As for raidalot, the $172,575.88 top prize was another fine reward for excellent poker player in this series, topping the $156,800 he took for a third-place finish in SCOOP-01-H last week - not to mention earning him a SCOOP champion's watch.

SCOOP Event 20-M: $215 NL Hold'em
$500,000 guaranteed prize pool
5,516 entrants, $1,103,200 prize pool
720 places paid

1st place: raidalot (United Kingdom) $172,575.88
2nd place: yugurt1961 (Russia) $128,522.80
3rd place: RonaldKosh (Mexico) $91,014
4th place: JC "PrtyPsux" Alvarado (Mexico) $62,330.80
5th place: SeeYouAnte18 (United Kingdom) $46,886
6th place: venezustar (Venezuela) $35,854
7th place: Duuglas (Sweden) $24,822
8th place: MD IACONI (Moldova) $13,790
9th place: INSHALA82 (United Kingdom) $8,825.60

If you've made one SCOOP final table but haven't managed a win, you've still got plenty of time left to grab a champion's watch of your own. And if you haven't made a SCOOP final table yet, there's no time like the present to do so. Check out the remaining schedule here.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in SCOOP