SCOOP 2013: Of course M1ghtyDucks comes from behind in Event 31-M ($215 NLHE Knockout)

There are days in poker when you can't even win the blinds and days where it seems as if you can do no wrong. At the final table of SCOOP 2013 Event 31-M, $215 NLHE (Knockout), it looked as if Steve "Illini213" Barshak was going to have one of the latter type of days and absolutely run over the whole table on his way to the title. But M1ghtyDucks stood up to the bully starting when play become four-handed, and for that reason it was M1ghtyDucks who grabbed the SCOOP title in this event.

Event 31-M was another of the two-day events that are sprinkled liberally across the SCOOP 2013 calendar. It was also a knockout event; $41.25 of each of the 3,823 $215 buy-ins went into a knockout bounty pool. Knock out a player and collect their bounty.

None of the Team PokerStars Pros made Day 2 of this event, although Henrique Pinho did manage an ITM finish on Day 1. He drove about halfway through the 495 ITM places, finishing in 260th place for $401.94 with two knockouts.

The Team Pros were all on to other events by the time that the last nine players took their seats at the Event 31-M final table, just after the 5pm break.

Event 31-M final table.png

Seat 1: CHIQUIDEALER (919049 in chips)
Seat 2: LukeFromB13 (2118427 in chips)
Seat 3: M1ghtyDucks (2849770 in chips)
Seat 4: Gustavo "PIUlimeira" Goto (1953755 in chips)
Seat 5: Respect_Lt (2017109 in chips)
Seat 6: bugiaso (2696750 in chips)
Seat 7: -PABLIN-ARG- (831342 in chips)
Seat 8: jknack10 (3722654 in chips)
Seat 9: Steve "Illini213" Barshak (2006144 in chips)

Level 39: blinds 25k-50k, ante 6250
Average: 2.12 million (42.5 BBs)

All Barshak all the time

jknack10 had the pole position at the start of the final table, but the table was loaded with players who had already made COOP final tables across their PokerStars careers. The most notable example was Barshak, who won a WCOOP event last autumn and who came into the final table with direct position on jknack10. Barshak proved just how dangerous he can be by dominating the final table during the first 25 minutes of play to more than double up to 4.5 million chips - and take over the chip lead - without going to showdown once.

Barshak's good turn came at the expense of most of the rest of the table. It was as if the other eight players were all playing reactive poker to what Barshak was doing, and paying the price for it.

The short stacks, however, managed to double up when they needed to do so. CHIQUIDEALER made ace-king work all in pre-flop against jknack10's ace-queen; -PABLIN-ARG- trended dangerously downward until winning a flip with pocket 8s against Respect_Lt's K♦T♦ to climb back up to 900k.

It thus fell to Respect_Lt to be the first player eliminated. In the 40k-80k level, Respect_Lt opened for the minimum, 160k. Action passed to LukeFromB13 in the big blind, who three-bet shoved for 1.5 million. Respect_Lt had only 1.13 million behind the original raise and snap-called with two 10s. LukeFromB13 showed down two queens and earned the first final table knockout when neither player improved.

Just before the 6pm break, Barshak finally went to his first showdown. Pre-flop he raised the minimum to 160k from second position and was called by LukeFromB13. Barshak checked an ace-high flop, 7♥A♠2♣, then called LukeFromB13's bet of 235,650. Both players checked when a second ace hit the turn. On the river 3♦ the action was checked again. Barshak tabled A♣8♠ for trip aces to drag the pot and cross the 6-million chip mark.

After the break, -PABLIN-ARG- doubled up for a second time when K♦2♥ got there against jknack10's A♣6♥ in a battle of the blinds. Once again, however, all the double-up did was restore -PABLIN-ARG-'s count to 920k.

LukeFromB13 announces a presence

Barshak, on the other hand, kept going up. Two more big pots without showdown pushed his stack north of 7 million as the players began the 50k-100k level. It was three times the average stack. Barshak's next closest opponent, LukeFromB13, had 2.8 million but got a big boost when CHIQUIDEALER shoved the button for 1.06 million with A♣Q♣. LukeFromB13 was waiting in the small blind with pocket kings. There wasn't much to sweat as a board of 7♦5♦9♥9♣3♥ dispatched CHIQUIDEALER to the rail in 8th place.

Four hands later it was "second verse, same as the first" for LukeFromB13. Barshak open-raised to 210k and LukeFromB13 got crafty by smooth-calling with pocket kings (again!). Action passed to -PABLIN-ARG- in the small blind, who shoved all in for 1.15 million with A♣Q♠. Barshak gave his decision some thought before folding; LukeFromB13 obviously snap-called. A queen flopped, but a king on the turn swept -PABLIN-ARG- out of the tournament in 7th place.

The medium stacks, LukeFromB13 and M1ghtyDucks, began playing back at Barshak. It was enough to slow him down and allow them to catch up, but it didn't do much for the short stacks. bugiaso tried four-bet shoving for 1.37 million after a raise to 200k by LukeFromB13 and a re-raise to 415,500 by M1ghtyDucks. LukeFromB13 folded but M1ghtyDucks called with two kings that were way ahead of bugiaso's two jacks. The board rolled out 6♣T♥3♥T♠A♠, allowing M1ghtyDucks to claim bugiaso's bounty.

jknack10's disastrous final table came to an end at the hand of LukeFromB13. Sitting with the button, jknack10 shoved A♦8♦ for 919k. LukeFromB13 woke up with pocket aces in the big blind. jknack10 did not accomplish a miraculous suckout, instead bowing out in 5th place.

M1ghtyDucks makes a move

Four-handed, Barshak retained the lead with 8.5 million in chips. M1ghtyDucks stood in 2nd place (4.6 million) followed by LukeFromB13 (4.2 million) and Goto (1.8 million). Goto hadn't been able to get anything going at the final table at all, and even four-handed he continued to sink in the counts. He eventually got the Barshak treatment. Goto shoved the small blind for 1.85 million in the 70k-140k level with A♦6♦; Barshak called with pocket 8s. Pocket 8s were best on a J♥4♠9♣2♦J♠ board.

Barshak was playing well and running hot. It was perhaps not surprising that when the other two players offered to consider some kidn of deal, Barshak turned them down.

It was M1ghtyDucks who really stood up to Barshak first, in this hand:

M1ghtyDucks wasted no time putting the chip lead to work, especially by picking on short stack LukeFromB13. That worked out well for M1ghtyDucks but not so well for LukeFromB13, especially when, as a short stack, LukeFromB13 limped the button and then called all in for about 2.1 million versus Barshak's big-blind shove. Barshak didn't have much - Q♥7♠ - but it was enough against LukeFromB13's two 10s when a queen hit the turn of the board.

With LukeFromB13's 3rd-place exit, Barshak was finally ready to talk deal. With blinds still at 70k-140k, his 8 million in chips made him the short stack against M1ghtyDucks, who had 11 million. He said he would only do an even chop. As it turned out, the chip-chop numbers were close anyway - just $2,000 separated the two payouts - so M1ghtyDucks agreed to an even chop and to play it out for the last $10,000.

M1ghtyDucks: well played btw
Illini213: ty sir u2. U really stepped it up 3 handed.

M1ghtyDucks got the best of in the earlygoing of heads-up play and took a small chunk out of Barshak by rivering a backdoor flush. Another chunk came with flopped middle pair that was good at showdown. As a result of those losses (and others), Barshak sunk to about 2.2 million in chips.

The end came suddenly. M1ghtyDucks opened the button for the minimum 320k, then called Barshak's three-bet shove to 2.0 million. Barshak had the best of with two 10s against M1ghtyDucks' A♦3♦, but an ace flopped straight away. Barshak never overtook it.

For long stretches of this final table, it looked as if nobody would be able to stop Barshak's rampage to the title. But M1ghtyDucks dug deep starting with four players left and from there played inspired poker to win a SCOOP title. By securing the final elimination, M1ghtyDucks also earned bragging rights for notching the greatest number of knockouts in the tournament (17).

SCOOP 2013 Event 31-M $215 NLHE (Knockout) results

Players: 3,823
Prizepool: $618,370.25 (regular); $157,698.75 (knockout)
Places paid: 495
* denotes 2-way deal

1. M1ghtyDucks (Croatia) - $89,717.91 regular*, $701.25 in KOs
2. Steve "Illini213" Barshak (Costa Rica) - $79,717.91 regular*, $453.75 in KOs
3. LukeFromB13 (Canada) - $51,015.54 regular, $371.25 in KOs
4. Gustavo "PIUlimeira" Goto (Brazil) - $35,556.28 regular, $618.75 in KOs
5. jknack10 (Canada) - $26,280.73 regular, $371.25 in KOs
6. bugiaso (Romania) - $20,097.03 regular, $577.50 in KOs
7. -PABLIN-ARG- (Argentina) - $13,913.33 regular, $165 in KOs
8. CHIQUIDEALER (Argentina) - $7,729.62 regular, $495 in KOs
9. Respect_Lt (Lithuania) - $4,946.96 regular, $412.50 in KOs

There are still a few days remaining in SCOOP 2013. Check out the results to this point of the series at the SCOOP home page.

Dave Behr is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog.

Dave Behr
@PokerStars in SCOOP