SCOOP 2014: Rui "RuiNF" Ferreira Crowned at the Hilltop of Event #08-H ($700 Heads-Up NLHE)
One has the wonder why the brains behind the SCOOP set guarantees at all -- when they are always crushed. Perhaps it is magic, also known as behavioural economics these days, we are told.
In any case, 765 players thought it wise to plunk down $700 to play a heads-up No-Limit Hold'em tournament against a tough field. That magic beacon, the 300k guarantee, was whisked into oblivion as the final prize pool was $508,725. While the field was small by SCOOP standards, this would be a long one, taking fourteen hours start to finish. A structure appropriate for a High buy-in was to blame, the Low equivalent sorting out 13,808 players in two hours fewer. Many big names made the money, including PokerStars Pros Randy "nanonoko" Lew (29th, $4,609.04) and Chris "Money800" MoneyMaker (24th, $4,609.04), but not to mention Annette "Annette_15" Obrestad (8th, $16,350.42), Niall "Firaldo87" Farrell (16th, $8,800.94), Toby "810ofclubs" Lewis (18th, $4,609.04), and Alex 'Sussie Smith' Roumeliotis (63rd, $2,797.98).
Climbing the mountaintop, scaling the peak if you will, and looking down upon all at tournament's end, was Rui "RuiNF" Ferreira, a PokerStars veteran whose SCOOP 2014 title and $78,469.56 score on this day would take him within inches of $3,000,000 in lifetime cashes on PokerStars.
He bested Swede superkid-bam, whose podium finish bests his third place in SCOOP 2013's Event #10, and for nearly an identical score ($72,469.56 this time). But we are getting ahead of ourselves!
The Elite Eight
Annette Obrestad faced off with teunuss in one of four quarter-final matches, but could not recover from a large preflop clash at the 25-50 blind level (stacks in each match begin at 5,000 and reset with each passing round). Annette had three-bet her opponent's min-raise to 333, before facing a four-bet to 715. With a near two to one chip lead, the aggressive Norwegian let it rip for 3,569 with A♦ J♥ and was snapped by A♣ K♥. With 71% of the chip in play in the pot, the board ran out ten-high, and the dyktig spiller ('accomplished player' i Norsk) could not recover, out in the 5th-8th tier with teunuss moving on to the semis.
The confrontation between superkid-bam and Canada's alohascott1 also bore the mark of huge preflop aggression at the 25-50 level. A superkid-bam min-raise on the button was met with a three-bet to 300, which in turn was reprised in kind, with a four-bet to 700. The five-bet, an inevitability really (because who folds? or calls even?), was measured out at 1,900, and superkid-bam put the 4,350 effective stacks in play with Q♠ Q♦. In possession of the A♣ with the Q♥ alohascott1 called the six-bet and the board revealed itself to be ten-high and perspiration free. The Swede was on to the semi-finals while the Canuck had to settle for a mere $16,350.42.
To say RuiNF's match with pFFka exploded would be an understatement. They played a decisive, very large pot, at the 30-60 level. The Russian three-bet to 300 after a min-raise from the button, and RuiNF defended in position with K♠ J♠ (spoiler alert!). The flop? Why A♦ Q♦ T♣ of course. pFFka continuation bet for 450 into 600 and was called. The turn put a second flush draw on the board and this time pFFka's bet was shoved over. The one-time aggressor called with A♣ 9♣, top pair and the nut flush draw, but they had really only hope in the latter. The 4♠ river sealed matters, they were eliminated on the hand, 95% of the chips in play in the pot.
In his quarter-final match with Uruguayan Unkn0wn123, probirs already possessed a two to one chip lead when the match's key hand played out. Defending versus a button raise by calling, the flop came down J♣ 5♠ 6♠ with 240 chips in the pot. What is a street of No-Limit without three-bets? Check, bet 120, raise to 360, re-raise to 820, call. After that mania, the 2♥ saw probirs check-call 999 before they retook the betting lead by placing their opponent all-in on the 3♠ river. Unkn0wn123 folded to fight on a little while longer, but 5.5 to 1 deficiets are tough to surmount. It was probirs moving on to the semis not long after.
The Semi Finals
RuiNF faced off with probirs of Hungary next, both vying for the big money jumps present in the top two spots. The latter has a reputation for aggression that precedes him, and the biggest pot of this otherwise small-ball duel, was a testament to that. On a 8♦ Q♣ J♦, A♣, 4♥ board, probirds check-raised the river for more than half of their remaining stack with T♦ 2♦, only to get looked up by A♥ J♥ of the eventual winner. The Hungarian probirds would be $29,348.34 richer though, finishing in the 3rd-4th tier.
Meanwhile, not far away in the electronic landscape where distance has no meaning, superkid-bam was four-betting all-in to nearly 40 big blinds with K♦ Q♠. They were called by A♣ J♣, in the hand of teunuss of the Netherlands. The Q♥ 6♦ 3♥ flop shifted the index considerably, the 6♠ and 7♦ were the Crows in the Wheatfield for the Dutch player. The superkid-bam was through, the final duel was ready to get underway!
The Final Table
We may never know what superkid-bam held in the biggest pot of the final match, but sometimes that can add to the lore of a hand. A simple, single-raised pot at 25-50 bore a flop of 8♦ 3♥ 7♥, which the Swede check-raised to 400, a hefty size in the face of the 125 continuation bet from RuiNF. It got odd before it got weird. On the 5♥ the out of position check-raised check-called 625. Then on the T♠ river it was time for aggression once again, of a small sort, a lead of 450 prodding across the betting line. RuiNF raised, having turn a strong flush with Q♥ J♥ to 2,400, and was paid by a truly mysterious holding.
That was early. The match lasted another half an hour, with superkid-bam struggling to be surefooted as they tip-toed the short-stack line. Having survived to the 40-80 level, they moved all-in for just over ten big blinds with J♣ Q♥. They were dominating once called, bet they were not expecting that! RuiNF held T♦ J♦. But in a brief search for cliches, we are told that it is not over until 'it' is over. This it involved five more cards. And when two of the first three were Rihanna approved, the at-risk Swede could not have felt too secure.
K♦Q♣ 6♦ ...
It was not over yet! Any board pair or jack would play builder for the Swede in need of a house.
A six-card flush, how gratuitous the suck-out!
Having cut a deal out at the outset of the match, superkid-bam could not have felt too wronged, they walked away with $72,469.56 for second place.
Congratulations to Rui "RuiNF" Ferreira of Portugal who, through every round of a tough, tough field, metaphorically knocked his opponent to the canvass, capturing the SCOOP 2014 Event #08-High title and banking a healthy $78,469.56 for the triumph!
2014 SCOOP Event #08-H $700 HU NLH - Final Table Results:
Prize Pool: $508,725
Places Paid: 64
Top Eight Places
1. RuiNF (Portugal) - $78,469.56*
2. superkid-bam (Sweden) - $72,469.56*
3. teunuss (Netherlands) - $29,348.34
4. probirs (Hungary) - $29,348.34
5. Unkno0wn123 (Uruguay) - $16,350.42
6. pFFka (Russia) -$16,350.42
7. alohascott1 (Canada) - $16,350.42
8. Annette_15 (Norway) - $16,350.42
* Results of a heads-up deal.
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Gareth Chantler is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.