SCOOP 2013: rossing rides out 322 hands heads-up in Event #2-M ($215 NLHE)

Poker tournaments are a lot like baseball. Both have definite starting points but there's no way to tell how long either will go once they've begun. Most baseball games finish in a few hours and most final tables are over with within a few blind levels, but occasionally you get a 23-inning game or a heads-up match that goes on for hundreds of hands. The latter was the case tonight as a two-time WCOOP winner took on a player less accomplished but no less determined in SCOOP Event 2-M.

The first day of action finished last night with 106 players still in the running. Nobody from Team PokerStars Pro made it through to Day 2, but Chad Brown did represent the team with a cash in 234th place ($738.85). Team Online was shut out of Day 2, too, but João "jomane" Nunes finished in the moeny on Day 1 in 276th place ($674.60). Those players who did advance to play for the title returned today at 2:30 p.m. ET, redrawing seats before resuming play with 10K/20K blinds and 2.5K antes. They played for three hours and 35 minutes, making it to the 100K/200K/25K level before these nine moved on to the final table:

SCOOP 2013 02-M final table copy.jpg

Seat 1: Ti0373 (4,732,994 in chips)
Seat 2: rossing (7,621,232 in chips)
Seat 3: dionysos1987 (6,568,487 in chips)
Seat 4: NIDVARAI (20,016,393 in chips)
Seat 5: P0lak (12,002,873 in chips)
Seat 6: BubsenMan (7,188,661 in chips)
Seat 7: MustSnaaaaap (12,631,203 in chips)
Seat 8: filushh (2,244,220 in chips)
Seat 9: kolowsk1 (6,538,207 in chips)

Russia's NIDVARAI held the chip lead with just over 20M and was guaranteed a career-best score regardless of finishing order. Portugal's MustSnaaaaap was in similar position in second place, as was Germany's P0lak in third. In fact, only two players at the table weren't and both held short stacks: the United Kingdom's BubsenMan, whose previous best was a $16K score in January, and Russia's Ti0373, who had previous winnings of nearly $800K thanks in part to two WCOOP titles last fall.

Neither of them would be the first to go, though; in fact, Ti0373 managed to triple up within 10 minutes. Instead it was Israel's filushh, who moved all-in for just over 4M after MustSnaaaaap opened for a minimum raise to 400K. MustSnaaaaap called with 9♣ 9♠, which held up against the Israeli player's A♣ Q♣ to bust filushh in 9th place ($12,448.05).

Double elimination

Ti0373 picked up a huge boost about 10 minutes later on the 125K/250K/31.25K level. Holding K♣ K♥, the Russian player opened for the minimum raise of 500K in early position and watched as P0lak (with A♦ J♦) and BubsenMan (with T♦ T♠) both moved all-in behind. Ti0373 quickly called and scooped the 11.75M-chip pot after the board fell 8♥ 5♦ 6♥ 3♦ Q♣. P0lak took 8th place ($19,274.40) and BubsenMan finished in 7th ($34,533.30).

The 8.89-percent solution

Just two minutes later it was Belarus' rossing who caught a break, though this one came after the flop. The Belarussian player came in for a three-bet to 1.25M after Sweden's kolowsk1 opened for 500K in early position, then called after Romania's dionysos1987 moved all-in for 4.58M. The Romanian player was in the lead with Q♣ Q♦ against rossing's 7♥ 7♠ and stayed there when both players caught sets on the Q♠ 7♣ T♠ flop. But the 6♠ turn gave rossing a flush draw and the A♠ on the river brought it home. The unlikely turn of events sent dionysos1987 out in 6th place ($49,792.20).

Five-handed standoff

The next 30 minutes of play saw the last five players tangle with each other repeatedly, with the chip lead shifting to rossing (30.3M) but nobody losing an all-in hand. Finally, just after the 8 p.m. break on the 150K/300K/37.5K level, kolowsk1 decided to take a stand. After opening for 600K and being three-bet to 1.32M by Ti0373, kolowsk1 shoved for 7M holding A♥ Q♦; Ti0373, with A♠ A♦, called immediately. The board ran out 3♥ Q♣ 8♠ K♥ J♣ and kolowsk1 left in 5th place ($65,854.20).

From the incoming chip lead to 4th place

Within eight minutes the blinds were up to 200K/400K and former chip leader NIDVARAI had been whittled down to just 3.22M. A♦ 6♦ was plenty good for an all-in move, but Ti0373 once again woke up with A♣ A♠. The board fell T♣ 5♥ 6♥ K♣ 2♥ and NIDVARAI cashed out with a career-best score in 4th place ($85,128.60).

One down, one to go

That left Ti0373 in good position to add a new 'COOP to the trophy case with just two more opponents remaining:

Seat 1: Ti0373 (34,332,664 in chips)
Seat 2: rossing (29,441,524 in chips)
Seat 7: MustSnaaaaap (16,585,812 in chips)

After taking nearly half of rossing's chips early on those chances were looking even better. Then Ti0373 cut the competition in half with this hand:

RSS readers, please click through for replay

With that MustSnaaaaap was out in 3rd place ($128,496), a career best by more than $124K, and the heads-up match was set.

David vs. Goliath

Seat 1: Ti0373 (64,456,034 in chips)
Seat 2: rossing (15,853,966 in chips)

Playing the role of the big favorite in this David-and-Goliath scenario was Ti0373, who sported not only two WCOOP wins back in September and nearly $800K in career earnings but also a 4-to-1 chip lead. And as the plucky underdog it was the Belarussian player rossing, with just $14K in lifetime winnings and facing an uphill climb.

rossing made a game of it just five hands in, winning a coin flip with A♠ 5♥ against Ti0373's pocket deuces to chip up to 33.4M to Ti0373's 46.9M. The two went back and forth for another 16 hands before Goliath struck back in an 18.38M-chip pot that saw four bets go in before the flop, a bet and a raise on the 8♠ 3♣ K♠, and an uncalled all-in bet by Ti0373 win the pot on the T♦ turn. Two hands later rossing was right back in the game thanks to a king on the river to win with K♦ 8♥ against Ti0373's A♣ T♥.

With that pattern set the two settled in for what would turn out to be quite a long heads-up match indeed. The lead would switch 27 times and both players spent long stretches of times in the lead - sometimes prohibitively so. But over the course of more than 300 hands both competitors continually played tactically sound poker and their chip stacks tended to move back toward one another. They eventually made a deal to split the prize money, leaving $20K on the table for the winner.

When the final hand came around on the 400K/800K level the two were still within less than three big blinds of each other and fighting for every inch of ground. rossing opened the betting with a raise to 2.4M from the small blind, holding A♦ J♣. Ti0373 jammed for 39.1M on the big blind; rossing made the call and had Ti0373's A♠ 4♦ dominated. The 6♣ 8♦ 9♠ K♦ 7♥ board brought no help at all, and after 322 hands the heads-up match finally came to a close.

Ti0373 didn't add a SCOOP title to the two WCOOPs from last year, but the Russian player did take home a very healthy $192,131.47 after the deal. As for rossing, the career-defining win was worth $226,079 - nearly $225K better than the Belarussian player's previous best at PokerStars.

SCOOP 2013 Event #2-M: $215 NL Hold'em
$1,000,000 guaranteed prize pool
8,031 entrants
1,080 places paid
$1,606,200 total prize pool

1st place: rossing (Belarus) $226,079.00*
2nd place: Ti0373 (Russia) $192,131.47*
3rd place: MustSnaaaaap (Portugal) $128,496.00
4th place: NIDVARAI (Russia) $85,128.60
5th place: kolowsk1 (Sweden) $65,854.20
6th place: dionysos1987 (Romania) $49,792.20
7th place: BubsenMan (United Kingdom) $34,533.30
8th place: P0lak (Germany) $19,274.40
9th place: filushh (Israel) $12,448.05
* - denotes results of a two-way deal

SCOOP is just getting underway. With 42 more events at three different buy-in levels each, there's a game for everyone on the schedule.

Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in SCOOP