SCOOP: trujustrus wins, chrisdm 5th in Event 13-M ($265 NLHE Knockout)
Manny Pacquiao has done it 38 times during his boxing career. LL Cool J's mama apparently told him to do it often enough that he wrote and recorded a song about it. And anesthesiologists get paid to do it every day.
I'm talking, of course, about knockouts, which were the order of the day in Event 13, a standard no-limit hold'em tournament with a competitive twist. Each $265 buy-in for today's event included a $50 bounty to give players a little extra incentive to knock each other out. Played properly, this can lead a game that already rewards aggression to become an all-out dogfight, especially before the tournament reaches the money and the short stacks are struggling to survive.
If the turnout for this event is any indicator, that's perfectly fine by today's online poker players. The $300,000 guarantee was surpassed easily as 3,329 players turned out to build a $665,800 prize pool, with an additional $166,450 up for grab in bounties. A total of 432 places paid out, with most of them going to players who busted before the end of Level 30 brought Day 1 to a close.
Team PokerStars Online had a strong showing in the event, with George "Jorj95" Lind (359th place, $379.50), João "jomane" Nunes (265th, $499.35), Diego "vgreen22" Brunelli (248th, $532.64), and Kevin "WizardOfAhhs" Thurman (127th, $832.25) all making the money. Team PokerStars Pro also fared well in this SCOOP event, with George Danzer (192nd, $632.51), Martin "AABenjamin" Hruby (144th, $798.96), and Jonathan Duhamel (90th, $998.70) all securing cashes. But none of them lasted as long as Christophe "chrisdm" de Muelder, who survived Day 1 with 405,135 chips, good for 15th place out of the 26 remaining players.
The Team Pro, seeking his first SCOOP title, was looking up at these five players as play resumed with blinds of 6K/12K and antes of 1.5K:
1. javiklet (Spain) 2,651,078 chips
2. allucan3at (Netherlands) 1,292,919 chips
3. spielverderb (Germany) 1,146,572 chips
4. Ifold2ndnuts (Netherlands) 1,040,299 chips
5. IceStream (Bulgaria) 1,006,667 chips
Rough starts, fine recoveries
De Muelder had a chance to climb into the top 10 in the early going, holding pocket nines against the all-in AmazingErvin's pocket fives, but a board of A♦ 4♠ 3♦ 6♠ 5♦ shipped the 331K pot away from the team pro. Left with a workable stack of 334K, the Team Pro didn't panic. Instead, four hands later, he got another opponent all-in at a significant disadvantage - this time harif1988, whose A♦ Q♠ was dominated by the Belgian pro's A♣ K♠. But the J♠ T♥ 9♥ K♥ 4♠ board made a straight for harif1988 and left De Muelder with 131K, making him the tournament short stack with 25 players left. Getting the rest of those chips in as a favorite worked out a little better for De Muelder a few orbits later when pocket nines held up against the pocket sevens of rnoord, good for a 249K-chip pot that kept him in the action.
After the tournament was narrowed to its final two tables, De Muelder would once again put his tournament life on the line with a pocket pair. This time, with blinds at 10K/20K, he moved all-in for 278K under the gun holding 7♣ 7♠. The action folded all the way around to the big blind where all4emnuts made the call with A♣ J♠ to put De Muelder at risk. The 7♥ on the flop was all it took to double him up to 588K, and after seizing the next two pots uncontested he found himself up to 698K. That extra ammunition helped De Muelder climb even higher a few hands later when his K♠ K♥ held up in a preflop all-in confrontation against ydere's A♦ Q♦, shipping him the 1.432M-chip pot.
But the key pot for De Muelder on his way to the final table was this one, which resulted in IceStream's exit from the tournament in 16th place:
That gave De Muelder a stack of 2.18M chips. His total would drop a bit from there, but it was enough to carry him on to the final table for a chance at his first SCOOP title.
Running on almost-empty
De Muelder wasn't the only other former short stack to make a run for the final table. Brazil's soandre (196,281) and Israel's harif1988 (242,298) were 23rd and 24th in chips out of 26 players, respectively, when the day began, while the Netherlands' moord and Russia' dimetriospb were 20th and 21st. The latter two fell just short of the final table, finishing 12th and 11th, but both soandre and harif1988 managed to hang on and make the final nine.
With blinds at 20K/40K and antes at 5K, the final table began with this lineup:
Seat 1: trujustrus (1,731,787 in chips)
Seat 2: harif1988 (1,602,807 in chips)
Seat 3: soandre (1,198,177 in chips)
Seat 4: wasylekk (759,261 in chips)
Seat 5: javiklet (4,930,505 in chips)
Seat 6: allucan3at (2,049,164 in chips)
Seat 7: Mikaroc (1,483,190 in chips)
Seat 8: Christophe "chrisdm" De Muelder (1,725,169 in chips)
Seat 9: BOOOOMMMMMMM (1,164,940 in chips)
The chip leader, Spain's javiklet, had mostly maintained his field-leading 2.65M-chip stack from the start of Day 2 before two big pots in the final three hands at Table 296 - one worth 3.01M where his Q♣ Q♦ held up preflop against pocket nines, and another preflop confrontation worth 1.17M where his T♥ T♠ held up against pocket sixes - boosted his chip stack significantly. At an intimidating 4.93 million, more than two and a half times that of the nearest competitor, it meant the Spaniard would determine his own destiny at the final table.
Two quick eliminations, two pocket pairs of aces
At the other end of the spectrum was Poland's wasylekk, whose stack at the start of the final table was actually less than it had been at the start of Day 2. For 25 hands he was unable to find a spot to get his chips in the middle, watching his stack dwindle to 424K by the time he was dealt A♠ 7♠. With 131K already in the middle from the blinds and antes, that was good enough for an all-in move from early position; it was also nearly good enough to pick up the pot uncontested, until Spain's trujustrus called in the big blind with plenty of chips left behind, holding K♦ Q♦. The Q♥ T♠ 5♦ flop put the Spaniard ahead, and a 4♠ turn and T♣ river made wasylekk the 9th place finisher, earning $5,326.40.
Four hands later the field would shrink again. Brazil's soandre, now the short stack with 662K, was holding K♥ T♣ when the action folded around to him on the button. He moved all-in, hoping to pick up the 125K in blinds and antes, but allucan3at, a former runner-up in the Super Tuesday, woke up in the big blind with K♠ K♣ and called with a quickness. The Q♥ 7♦ 5♥ flop wasn't much help, but the 9♣ did provide a glimmer of hope in the form of a gutshot draw. The 6♠ was the end of the line, though, and soandre was out in 8th place ($8,655.40).
Just a few hands later it looked like harif1988 would be the next player out after he opened on the button with Q♥ J♥ and then jammed for 1.16M following allucan3at's three-bet from the big blind with A♦ A♣. But the deck bailed the underdog out, bringing a 7♥ 5♦ 8♣ 9♥ T♦ board for a straight and a 2.43M-chip pot. Another six hands later pocket aces would pop up again, this time helping trujustrus seize the chip lead from javiklet in the biggest pot of the tournament so far:
Let's play knockout
From the next 30 hands or so the seven remaining players settled into an aggressive rhythm of taking pots down preflop with three- and four-bets, seeing only five flops during that span. With that much betting there always comes a tipping point, and it finally arrived with the blinds at 40K/80K and antes at 10K. Opening the betting from early position was trujustrus with a minimum raise to 160K, which was immediately followed by a three-bet to 340K by harif1988. Over on the button, allucan3at then made it four bets and 526K to go; trujustrus folded, but after dipping into the time bank harif1988 reraised all-in for 2.097M. It didn't take long for allucan3at to call with Q♠ Q♥, which was well ahead of harif1988's A♣ J♣, but the 4.544M-chip pot went to the underdog once again when the board came K♦ A♠ 7♥ 2♣ 5♣.
Left with just 411K, allucan3at picked up pocket nines on the very next hand and wasted no time moving all-in. But the timing couldn't have been much worse, as Mikaroc was holding K♦ K♠ on the button and raised all-in to isolate. The J♣ J♥ 3♦ T♦ Q♥ board held no help for allucan3at, who exited in 7th place ($15,313.40).
Ten hands later things the short stack would exit once more. This time the victim was Spain's BOOOOMMMMMMM, who, seeking to pick up the 180K already in the middle form the blinds and antes, moved all-in for 1.15M from early position with A♣ 9♣. Sitting in the small blind with A♠ K♠, javiklet made the call, and this time suited Big Slick was a little kinder to the Spaniard as the board fell J♦ 4♠ T♥ 5♥ J♣. That moved BOOOOMMMMMMM off the table and onto the payout list in 6th place ($21,971.40).
After a quick break, the five remaining players returned to their old habits of continually out-aggressing each other before the flop - and after not too long that led to the demise of Christophe De Muelder. After opening for the minimum bet of 160K and seeing trujustrus reraise in the cutoff, De Muelder moved all-in for 2.21M chips with J♠ J♣. With K♦ K♥, trujustrus' decision was an easy one, and the 3♦ T♣ 5♥ 2♥ 8♠ gave him the 4.6M-chip pot. De Muelder, meanwhile, earned $28,629.40 for 5th place, a fine reward after overcoming a number of setbacks in the early going of Day 2.
With the last member of Team PokerStars Pro gone, these four players remained in the hunt for the latest SCOOP title:
Seat 1: trujustrus (6,651,597 in chips)
Seat 2: harif1988 (3,152,156 in chips)
Seat 5: javiklet (5,620,168 in chips)
Seat 7: Mikaroc (1,221,079 in chips)
trujustrus won six of the first ten pots at the final table and appeared intent on quickly expanding the lead, but that wasn't in the cards. The Spaniard had the short-stacked Mikaroc against the ropes with 8♠ 8♥ against Q♥ J♣, but a queen on the river kept Mikaroc in the running with 2.14M chips. Then javiklet took a 1.98M-chip pot away from trujustrus on the turn of a hand where the board read Q♦ 6♣ 9♦ 2♥, putting the two back to within 10K of each other at the top of the chip counts.
The taut tone that had been set early on at the final table continued as most pots were won without seeing a flop, often with a third or fourth bet so the lineup at the table didn't change as the blinds moved up to 50K/100K and then 60K/120K. Mikaroc got his stack in behind on that level, calling with T♦ 7♦ in the big blind after javiklet shoved with Q♣ 2♣ from the small blind, but a ten on the turn kept the Belgian player in the thick of things.
Deal with it
It was at that point that the players agreed to look at the numbers for a potential deal; moments later they had all agreed to split the remaining prize pool according to chip count, leaving $6,000 and the SCOOP champion's watch on the table for the winner.
What had already been an aggressive game became cutthroat as soon as the deal was in place. The first hand saw trujustrus open for a raise on the button, javiklet come in for a three-bet to 489K in the big blind, and trujustrus shove for 6.11M chips in response. javiklet folded but got all those chips back and then some two hands later after opening the betting for 240K with K♠ J♠ and then calling after harif1988 shoved for 2.87M with A♥ J♣. The 3♦ 5♥ K♣ flop was all it took, but the board ran out Q♦-2♣ to send harif1988 to the rail in 4th place ($62,054.69).
Ten hands later would come another confrontation between a short stack with a superior starting hand and a big stack with the freedom to take a gamble. This time around it was Mikaroc who exited the tournament, falling in 3rd place ($58,132.65) after A♠ T♠ couldn't outrun trujustrus' Q♦ J♣ on a J♦ K♥ 2♠ 5♦ T♣ board. With that the tournament was down to its last two players, both of them from Spain and both within two big blinds of each other.
javiklet held the lead at 8.398M chips to trujustrus' 8.246M, but within four hands trujustrus had grabbed the lead by taking away a 6.54M-chip pot on the turn. Seven hands later javiklet's stack had been whittled down to 3.63M, which was easy to call off with A♦ J♥ after trujustrus three-bet all-in with K♦ Q♣. Despite being a favorite to win the hand, javiklet became the 2nd-place finisher ($73,421.48) when the board fell K♠ 7♣ 8♣ K♥ 3♦. As for trujustrus, it was $82,379.28, a SCOOP champion's watch, and the satisfaction of having delivered plenty of knockouts but never having taken one throughout the tournament.
SCOOP Event 13-M: $265 NL Hold'em (Knockout)
$300,000 guaranteed prize pool
3,329 entrants, $665,800 prize pool, $166,450 bounty pool
432 places paid
1st place: trujustrus (Spain) $82,379.28*
2nd place: javiklet (Spain) $73,421.48*
3rd place: Mikaroc (Belgium) $58,132.65*
4th place: harif1988 (Israel) $62,054.69*
5th place: Christophe "chrisdm" De Muelder $28,629.40
6th place: BOOOOMMMMMMM (Spain) $21,971.40
7th place: allucan3at (Netherlands) $15,313.40
8th place: soandre (Brazil) $8,655.40
9th place: wasylekk (Poland) $5,326.40
* - denotes results of a four-way deal
With that another SCOOP event is in the books, and another country, Spain, has earned its first win of the series. There's still plenty of action to come before this series is over. Now is the time to plan you path to a SCOOP championship of your own.