SCOOP 2014: Icallyou333 wins, nkeyno 6th in Event #17-M, $215 FL Omaha Hi/Lo

Fixed-limit poker isn't particularly in vogue in 2014. Neither is split-pot poker. But the fact that these types of tournaments attract smaller fields is actually something of a selling point for anyone looking for a better chance to win a Spring Championship of Online Poker champion's watch. After all, smaller fields mean fewer players to contend with. Even if they are all highly skilled, it's easier to beat 100 players than it is to beat 1,000.

Today's Event #17-M was a good chance to aim high, drawing 617 players for a $123,400 prize pool and a $23,199.20 top prize. Of those players, only the top 81 would be paid out. Among those who showed up to play was Team Online's Naoya "nkeyno" Kihara. He was already having a good run during this year's SCOOP with 15 cashes across all three tiers, including a final table in Event #11-H, and making great progress toward being in the running for SCOOP Player of the Series at the end of next week. Today he solidified hat chance a little further by making the final table in Event #17-M.

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Naoya "nkeyno" Kihara is enjoying quite the SCOOP run right now

It was 11:35 p.m. ET and the stakes were 16K/32K as the final table began:

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Seat 1: Adamyid (733,393 in chips)
Seat 2: PokerStars Team Online's Naoya "nkeyno" Kihara (141,532 in chips)
Seat 3: Jackal69 (247,193 in chips)
Seat 4: Icallyou333 (457,482 in chips)
Seat 5: bellababy (85,492 in chips)
Seat 6: Dr. Muck You (125,638 in chips)
Seat 7: Marco "NoraFlum" Johnson (724,995 in chips)
Seat 8: xQuantum1 (323,047 in chips)
Seat 9: Mieses88 (246,228 in chips)

First orbit

The first orbit saw two short-stacked players avoid elimination. bellababy survived all-in with K♦ K♥ Q♠ 9♥ against Dr. Muck You's A♠ A♥ 5♥ 9♣ on Hand #3, with all but 5K going in before the T♠ A♦ 5♠ flop. The J♥ on the turn made a Broadway straight and the 6♥ on the river locked up the 138K-chip pot for bellababy.

Two hands later, with the stakes up to 20K/40K, Jackal69 raised in middle position with A♦ 2♠ 3♦ 4♥ and was the lone caller after Dr. Muck You raised all-in for 48K with A♣ 2♣ K♥ J♦. There was no low after the board came J♣ 3♥ 9♥ Q♣ K♠, giving Dr. Muck You kings and jacks and the 126K-chip pot.

An eventful second orbit

There was even more action during the second orbit of the final table. Icallyou33 called xQuantum1's raise in the big blind, then check-called 20K on the Q♠ 5♣ 7♠ flop before both players checked the A♥ turn. Icallyou333 led on the 8♦ river and scooped 210K with Q♦ 6♦ 6♣ 4♣ for an eight-high straight against xQuantum1's A♠ 2♦ J♦ 9♣.

The biggest action yet came on Hand #11 and gave nkeyno a lifeline:

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nkeyno won the 213K-chip main pot, Icallyou333 won the 79K on the side, and Mieses88, the champion of Event #12-M just two days ago, left the tournament in 9th place ($1,851).

Adamyid of the United Kingdom held a slight lead but expanded it on Hand #12, chipping up to 793K after raising to 40K pre-flop and then betting every street of a 6♣ 8♦ T♥ J♠ K♦ board, getting calls from Jackal69 the whole way before a fold on the river. That left Jackal69 with 211K.

Dr. Muck You from Portugal got involved on Hand #13, ending up all-in for 466K on the 7♠ J♦ 3♦ flop after three-betting before it from the small blind over nkeyno's opening raise. Ahead with A♠ A♥ Q♣ 2♣, Dr. Muck You split the low pot with A-2 but lost out to nkeyno's A♦ K♦ J♥ 2♥ after the turn and river came 8♣ 7♦ for a diamond flush.

Hand #14 saw Jackal69 open for 40K in middle posiiton and get a call from Icallyou33 in the hijack seat. The action went bet-call on every street with the exception of the river of the Q♠ 5♦ 4♣ T♥ K♥ board, which both players checked. Jackal69 scooped 230K with A♣ K♣ 8♣ 2♠ for a pair of kings to stay alive.

A past champion steps up

Marco "NoraFlum" Johnson, a past WCOOP champion and the money-bubble victim earlier this week in Event #7-H, had been quiet up to this point of the table. After Dr. Muck You was quartered again on Hand #19, NoraFlum stepped up and left a mark on the action, scooping every pot from Hand #21 to #26, including two knockouts. The first was this one on Hand #23:

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That hand eliminated Dr. Muck You in 8th place ($2,776.50). On the very next hand, bellababy ended up all-in for 78K before the flop with A♦ 4♦ 9♦ Q♣, after opening for 40K and four-betting all-in against NoraFlum's reraise with A♠ K♣ K♠ T♣. The board fell A♣ T♥ 3♠ 8♠ T♠, Johnson hit tens full of aces, and bellababy exited in 7th place ($4,010.50).

Night night, nkeyno

Naoya Kihara was now the table short stack, looking to overcome the split pots and get back into contention. But no comeback was in the cards. Hand #26 saw him drop 120K after flat-calling NoraFlum's raise on the button, calling a bet on the 3♥ 9♥ 6♠ flop, checking the A♣ turn, and calling on the 6♣ river. NoraFlum showed A♠ K♠ 7♠ 2♣ for aces and deuces, good for a 270K-chip scoop.

Four hands later, with the stakes up to 25K/50K and in the big blind, Kihara called xQuantum1's raise to see a 2♣ K♠ K♦ flop. Both players checked there but nkeyno check-folded on the 4♣ turn, falling down to 51K. Finally, on Hand #131, Kihara raised from the small blind with J♦ J♠ 9♥ 5♥ and called all-in when Jackal69 raised in big blind with T♦ 9♠ 7♥ 2♦. The board came 6♣ 9♦ Q♠ 4♠ T♣ to give Jackal69 tens and nines, beating nkeyno's pair of jacks to send him to the rail in 6th place ($5,244.50). With this final table appearance he moved into third place in the overall SCOOP Player of the Series standings.

Johnson jumps in

NoraFlum continued to stay aggressive, winning a 362K-chip pot after check-calling Adamyid's cutoff raise from the big blind, check-calling on the K♠ 4♥ 6♣ flop, check-raising to 100K on the K♥ turn, and betting to win without a showdown on the 9♦ river. After winning two more pots and splitting a third, Johnson held the lead with more than 1.65M chips.

Hand #36 saw xQuantum1 raise under the gun and then call Icallyou333's three-bet from the small blind, bring a 6♣ 7♠ Q♦ flop. Icallyou333 led out and xQuantum1 called, and they repeated the action on both the 8♣ turn and 9♦ river. All-in thanks to that last bet on the river, xQuantum1 showed A♠ J♦ 9♣ 4♣ for a pair of nines and an A-4 low, but Icallyou333 held A♦ K♣ Q♥ 2♥ for an A-2 low and a pair of queens. With that, xQuantum1 was out in 5th ($6,589.56).

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NoraFlum had an opportunity to regain some momentum on the next hand after calling Jackal69's cutoff raise, sitting in the big blind with A♠ 9♠ Q♦ Q♣. After check-raising the 9♣ T♠ 8♥ flop, NoraFlum bet enough to put Jackal69 all in after hitting a set on the Q♠ turn and the U.K. player called with A♦ 4♠ 8♦ J♣ for a pair of eights with a few straight draws. The K♥ came on the river, giving Jackal69 a Broadway straight to stay alive a little longer.

The next 15 hands saw Adamyid and Icallyou333 make up ground, NoraFlum slip slightly, and Jackal69 hold steady at the back of the pack. Then Jackal69 pulled off this scoop on Hand #59:

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From there the table settled into a back-and-forth rhythm that lasted for another 28 hands. NoraFlum raised in the cutoff with Q♠ J♥ T♥ 9♥ and called a reraise by Adamyid on the button to take a 9♠ 5♠ Q♦ flop, then led out and re-raised before calling a fourth bet to bring the T♠ turn. NoraFlum bet again and this time Adamyid called all-in, showing A♣ 4♠ 8♥ Q♥ for top pair. That was behind NoraFlum's Q♠ J♥ T♥ 9♥ for top two pair with an open-ended straight redraw, and after the K♣ hit the river to complete that straight Adamyid was gone in 4th place ($9,378.40).

Hand #94 saw Jackal690 make a final stand:

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With that Jackal69 left the tournament in 3rd place ($12,463.40).

A tough battle

With 40K/80K stakes, the heads-up chip counts were:

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Seat 4: Icallyou333 (1,035,025 in chips)
Seat 7: Marco "NoraFlum" Johnson (2,049,975 in chips)

Both players had already made final tables during this SCOOP - Icallyou333 in Event #5-M, and NoraFlum in Event #5-H. Both were guaranteed to improve on their previous finishes; the only question was who would win a first career SCOOP title.

Just two hands into the final matchup, on Hand #96 of the final table, Icallyou333 fell to just 555K chips after NoraFlum's K♣ 6♥ 4♣ 2♦ connected for a straight on the on 8♣ 7♦ 3♥ 5♥ T♥ board. Five hands later, though, the Swiss player was scooping 720K and pulling back from the edge of elimination. The two would trade pots over the next 15 hands before Icallyou333 scooped three pots over a five-hand stretch to pull back to within three big bets of the lead. Then NoraFlum struck back immediately on Hand #120 to move back into a big lead:

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The past WCOOP winner maintained that lead for only a short time. From Hand #126 to #133, every pot was won by Icallyou333. Only one of those was a split pot, and the scoop on Hand #132 was good enough to reclaim the chip lead:

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Hand #136 saw Icallyou333 three-bet from the big blind and get a call from NoraFlum before leading on both the A♥ 6♠ J♣ flop and the 9♦ turn, with Icallyou333 calling both. Then Icallyou333 bet, NoraFlum raised, and the Swiss player reraised on the J♥ river. Icallyou333 turned up A♠ A♦ 3♥ J♠ for aces full of jacks, with no low, and NoraFlum mucked. Icallyou333 scooped the 1.2M-chip pot, and NoraFlum was down to 189K.

Up against the ropes, NoraFlum managed to double on Hand #137, then folded on #138 and split #139. Then he won 10 of next 12 pots through Hand #150, good for a 2.05M-1.03M chip lead. All that either player needed to do to win at this point was string together three or four raised pots without interruption. But doing so would prove impossible for more than 50 hands.

Finally, on Hand #230, with the stakes at 80K/160K, Icallyou333 won three pots in a row and split another, including #233, to move into what would prove to be an insurmountable lead:

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Left with just 19,800 chips, NoraFlum was forced all-in and managed to split the next two pots. The third time was the charm for Icallyou333, though, as K♠ K♥ J♦ 6♥ held against Q♦ J♣ J♠ T♦ to bring the tournament to a close.

As runner-up, Marco "NoraFlum" Johnson wasn't able to add another COOP title to an already strong resume, but a $16,905.80 on a $215 buy-in is quite the return on investment. Meanwhile a second final table appearance during this SCOOP (after Event #5-M) for Icallyou333 ended with a first career COOP title and $23,199.20.

SCOOP 17-M: $215 Limit Omaha Hi/Lo
Entrants: 617
Prize pool: $123,400
Places paid: 81

1. Icallyou333 (Switzerland) $23,199.20
2. Marco "NoraFlum" Johnson (Mexico) $16,905.80
3. Jackal69 (United Kingdom) $12,463.40
4. Adamyid (United Kingdom) $9,378.40
5. xQuantum (United Kingdom) $6,589.56
6. PokerStars Team Online's Naoya "nkeyno" Kihara (Japan) $5,244.50
7. bellababy (Canada) $4,010.50
8. Dr. Muck You (Portugal) $2,776.50
9. Mieses88 (Czech Republic) $1,851

Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in SCOOP