SCOOP 2013: gnat777 flies wire-to-wire in Event #28-M, $215 Stud Hi/Lo

In a lot of poker games, particularly big-bet games, a chip lead doesn't necessarily mean a lot. It's not terribly uncommon to see incoming chip leaders exit a final table early when players have the opportunity to get all their chips in the middle in one big move. All other things being equal, though, in Stud Hi/Lo the chip lead is often a license to methodically dismantle the competition, particularly the deeper the tournament goes. Because the split pots make it harder to come from behind, a player who is willing to pressure the shorter stacks without pause can do some serious damage with a chip lead late in a Stud Hi/Lo tournament.

Event #28-M, a $215 Stud Hi/Lo tournament, gave players the chance to pile up an unassailable advantage. Action kicked off at 2:00 p.m. ET and after 120 minutes of late registration the total starting field came to 463 players. That built a $92,600 prize pool, with $17,594 set aside for the eventual winner.

Plenty of well-known players showed up to play, and several of them went deep. Team Online's Mickey "mement_mori" Petersen finished in 30th place ($601.90), earning the same prize as last year's SCOOP Player of the Series, Shaun Deeb, who finished 26th. (Deeb's performance was good enough to keep him in second place in the race for this year's Player of the Series award.) Team Pro's Jonathan Duhamel made it one pay jump further, finishing in 20th place ($810.25).

The final table finally arrived with limits at 12K/24K and antes of 2.4K. These eight players were looking to scoop their way to victory:

SCOOP-28-M final table.jpg

Seat 1: Wallyayay (404,067 in chips)
Seat 2: ilushan (38,576 in chips)
Seat 3: gnat777 (779,642 in chips)
Seat 4: Jordan "iMsoLucky0" Morgan (352,943 in chips)
Seat 5: culibrk1 (217,169 in chips)
Seat 6: cyberkanguru (249,037 in chips)
Seat 7: Irish Jack (163,696 in chips)
Seat 8: Lyndon360 (109,870 in chips)

The short stacks make their way to the rail

The pace and order of play was mostly set by the chip stacks in play. Only the Ukraine's gnat777 was in a comfortable situation, sporting a stack worth just over 32 big bets. Nobody else had more than 17 big bets; Ireland's Irish Jack and New Zealand's Lyndon360 had four and seven, respectively, and short-stacked Russian player ilushan had just one and a half. Irish Jack managed to hold steady and ilushan managed to double up a few times in the first orbit. Lyndon360 was the first to suffer a major hit when the United Kingdom's Wallyayay hit a queen-high flush; Lyndon360 mucked with a pair of aces up and was left with just 5.4K. Six hands later the New Zealander was eliminated in 8th place ($1,852).

The other incoming short stacks wouldn't stave off their own departures for too long. After the limits had gone up to 16K/32K with 3.2K antes, Irish Jack called Jordan "iMsoLucky0" Morgan's opening raise on Hand #35 while showing the 5♥. Morgan showed the A♠ and continued to bet every street as his board fell A♠-9♣-T♠-4♠. Irish Jack called all-in on the river and showed down (3♥ 2♠) / 5♥ 8♠ 3♣ K♠ / (Q♥) for a pair of treys, but that couldn't beat Morgan's pair of aces with (2♣ A♦) / A♠ 9♣ T♠ 4♠ / (K♥). Neither player had a low, sending Irish Jack to the rail in 7th place ($2,315).

Four hands later the Czech Republic's culibrk1, who had come to the table sixth in chips, would be crippled in a pot against Germany's cyberkanguru. The German player ended up all-in after fifth street with a pair of kings to culibrk1's two pair, but a king on the river gave cyberkanguru three of a kind. With no low on either player's board, cyberkanguru scooped the 260K-chip pot and culibrk1 was left with just 49K. On Hand #44, culbrk1's last big bet went in the middle on third street with a split pair of eights, but gnat777 called with a split pair of kings. The Ukrainian player picked up another king for trips on sixth street and culibrk1 left in 6th place ($3,241).

With almost all the other incoming short stacks gone, the shortest of them finally came to the end of the road on Hand #51. Holding less than one big blind, ilushan got those chips in the middle holding (3♦ 7♥) / T♠; chip leader gnat777 called with (T♦ 4♣) / 4♦ for a split pair of fours. Neither player hit a low by seventh street and those fours held up to send ilushan out in 5th place ($4,630).

gnat777 turns up the heat

Though gnat777 still held a significant lead with four players remaining, the others had their chips distributed a bit more evenly:

Seat 1: Wallyayay (376,002 in chips)
Seat 3: gnat777 (1,134,237 in chips)
Seat 4: Jordan "iMsoLucky0" Morgan (483,039 in chips)
Seat 6: cyberkanguru (321,722 in chips)

Wallyayay and iMsoLucky0 both began to chip up pretty quickly, with Wallyayay winning two different pots worth at least 246K to move over 500K and iMsoLucky0 climbing to 628K. Then gnat777 snapped back, winning 11 out of the next 14 pots just as the limits rose to 20K/40K with 4K antes. That gave the Ukrainian player 1.61M chips when nobody else had more than 312K. Finally, on Hand #77, cyberkanguru picked up a starting hand too good not to go all the way:

RSS readers, please click through for replay

Catching all the wrong cards at the wrong times spelled cyberkanguru's doom, and the German player left in 4th place ($6,945).

A deal, and a Mexican/Ukrainian/British standoff

Wallyayay moved up to 437K with that pot; gnat777 was still in the lead with 1.56M, and iMsoLucky0 held 308K. The three traded scoops back and forth in 26 of the next 28 hands, with gnat777 trending downward and the other two trending toward the Ukrainian player. The impending jump in limits and the fact that there was just two big bets' difference between all three players led them to strike a deal after Hand #105. They quickly agreed to distribute the remaining prize pool based on ICM and leave $1,000 and the SCOOP champion's watch on the table for the winner.

Even with the deal in place and the limits up to 25K/50K, play continued along at a slow pace thanks to plenty of split pots that just hadn't been occurring leading up to the deal. Most of them went in favor of gnat777 and Wallyayay, while Jordan Morgan slid closer and closer to the edge. Most of the damage was done on Hand #123 against Wallyayay:

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Morgan actually managed to double-up with a 347K-chip scoop, holding two pair and a 7-6 low against Wallyayay's lower two pair and no low. But by Hand #131 he was down to less than two big bets, all of which went in on third street with (5♦ 8♦) / K♦. Wallyayay was along for the ride with (2♣ 8♣) / 4♣ and by seventh street had improved to both a nine-high flush and an 8-7 low. That beat Morgan's trip fives and no low, eliminating him in 3rd place with his $13,409.30 share of the deal.

Epic duel

That left gnat777 and Wallyayay heads-up and within less than two big bets of each other:

Seat 1: Wallyayay (1,196,235 in chips)
Seat 3: gnat777 (1,118,765 in chips)

The bulk of the early hands were either split pots or small ones distributed evenly between the two players. Then Wallyayay hit a full house, eights full of threes, for a 510K-chip scoop that gave the player from the U.K. a 2-to-1 chip lead. But gnat777 recovered almost all of those chips 10 hands later, bringing the match back close to even. By Hand #184 gnat777 finally pulled ahead for winning a 372K-chip pot on the river without a fight with a board reading (X-X) / [3♦ A♣ 4♦ 4♥ / (X). From there the Ukrainian player won 10 of the next 11 pots, including one worth 732K with a three-to-seven straight and this one worth 972K:

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On Hand #191, the 64th of heads-up play, gnat777 started with a buried pair of jacks. The Ukrainian player gladly capped the betting on third street against Wallyayay's T♦ up-card and got the rest of the chips in the middle on fourth street. Wallyayay's board ran out (7♦ 4♠) / T♦ 5♠ 4♦ A♥ / (9♠) for a pair of fours and no low. gnat777's (J♥ J♦) / Q♦ 6♠ 6♦ 9♣ / (8♣) was good for jacks and sixes, which finally brought the tournament to a close.

Wallyayay, a former WCOOP 8-Game event final tablist, earned $12,850.65 from the three-way deal, the U.K. player's third-largest score ever on PokerStars. As for the winner, the $13,717.81 just cracked gnat777's top 10 scores at PokerStars, coming in at the tenth spot overall. But it beat the Ukrainian player's previous best SCOOP finish of 20th place by a couple of tables - and came with a nifty watch to boot.

SCOOP 2013 Event #28-M: $215 Stud Hi/Lo
463 entrants
$92,600 prize pool
64 places paid

1st place: gnat777 (Ukraine) $13,717.81*
2nd place: Wallyayay (United Kingdom) $12,850.65*
3rd place: Jordan "iMsoLucky0" Morgan (Mexico) $13,490.30*
4th place: cyberkanguru (Germany) $6,945
5th place: ilushan (Russia) $4,630
6th place: culibrk1 (Vzech Republic) $3,241
7th place: Irish Jack (Ireland) $2,315
8th place: Lyndon360 (New Zealand) $1,852
* - denotes results of a three-handed deal

Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in SCOOP