SCOOP 2014: SHIPP ITT ships it indeed, winning Event 39-M ($215 NL Omaha Hi/Lo)

There were few places in the world where the final table of Event 39-M was not being played very early. That much was a shame for those who may have wished to watch given the quality of the line-up, pitting talented characters from around the poker world against each other in one of poker's most challenging formats.

To the spectator, Omaha Hi/Lo played online, can be a dizzying display of apparently super human ingenuity. Keeping track requires a quick eye, while for the players a quick mind is essential as various combinations, both for Hi and Lo hands, dance through your head, changing on every street.


How things looked at the start of the final table

SHIPP ITT managed this with aplomb. A Sunday Million winner back in 2010, he took a first SCOOP title and the top prize of $24,487.50, after what would prove a wire to wire lead.

Here's how they lined-up at the start:

Seat 1. Shanis34 (Bulgaria) - 569,180
Seat 2. Smily (Switzerland) - 172,298
Seat 3. Felloff (Canada) - 120,743
Seat 4. SHIPP ITT (Costa Rica) - 682,875
Seat 5. Bedias (Brazil) - 501,500
Seat 6. Solskjaer (United Kingdom) - 276,488
Seat 7. op66po (Poland) - 265,194
Seat 8. Colisea (Poland) - 495,848
Seat 9. Shinbunshi (Japan) - 163,374

With the big blind just 7,000 SHIPP ITT had ample chips to press home his advantage at every opportunity. The short stacks manoeuvred as best they could, with unanswered shoves from Felloff and Bedias. But after 20 minutes of play Bedias finally got a response, although it wasn't exactly the type he'd hoped for, out in ninth place against Shanis34's three aces.

Following him six minutes later was Colisea. It's the latest stellar performance from the Pole, adding more points to his SCOOP leader board campaign, which right now has him in the top five places overall. But today at least there would be no first win. Instead Colisea was the first of several to be sent to the rail by SHIPP ITT.

Shinbunshi would follow in seventh place in what would prove a frenetic ten minute spell. Shinbunshi, one of the top rated players from Japan, moved all in with a pair of queens and three-four of diamonds, which was good for two pairs with a five on the turn and river. But Shanis34 had aces, busting shinbunshi.

By now SHIPP ITT had effectively doubled the stack with which he'd arrived at the final table. Ironically he was moving all-in more than anyone else, his stack proving to be an unsurmountable wall to anyone attempting to advance. Solskjaer found this out to his cost, calling SHIPP's button shove from the big blind. SHIPP ITT rivered a queen-high flush to topple Solskjaer's kings and fours.

The action continued in similar fashion immediately after the break when SHIPP ITT dispatched another. Swiss player Smily busted in fifth after the first hand back. SHIPP ITT was continuing to throw his weight around, making massive raises that put opponents to an agonising decision.

In the hand immediately after op66po followed. Again SHIPP ITT did the dirty work, taking his own stack to the 2 million mark. Op66po found ace-jack with a pair of fours, making two pairs with the sixes on the board. SHIPP ITT, however, had a pair of sevens, topping Smily by the narrowest of margins.

There nearly came a third elimination when Bedias took his turn against SHIPP. Bedias, known as Bernardo Diaz in the real world, was another player with a title to his name, a Sunday Million win in March of this year. He got his chips in against SHIPP ITT, but survived the encounter not once, but twice, both hands being split.

But it was a temporary reprieve. With a stack considerably shorter than the others he would depart in third place, with Shanis34 sending him to the rail.

It had been a surprisingly quick passage to heads-up, but with the big blind still only 10,000, and the stacks as follows, there was plenty of play to come.

Shanis34 - 1.1 million
SHIPP ITT - 2.03 million

Soon enough a couple of pots for Shanis34 pulled the scores level. For a brief moment Shanis34, making his second appearance in a SCOOP final, even took the lead, and had a split all-in pot gone the other way, the title could have gone to Bulgaria. Instead he would have to settle for the runner up spot.

This was largely because SHIPP ITT never looked like he was beatable. There was something immoveable in his style of play, weathering any attempt to take away his advantage with fluent use of his talents. At one point Shanis34 suggested a chop, if only to spare them both an agonising few hours playing this one out. It seemed reasonable, particularly to two players of this calibre. But SHIPP ITT's reply was excellent. "Let's play for the glory," he said. Even Shanis34 was won over.

In the end it didn't take hours, it took just a few more minutes.

A well-earned win for SHIPP ITT, carried out with no shortage of style -- a first SCOOP title to sit alongside his Sunday Million win. Ship it indeed.

SCOOP 39-M: $215 NL Omaha Hi/Lo
Prize pool: $130600
Places paid: 90

1. SHIPP ITT (Costa Rica) -- $24,487.50
2. Shanis34 (Bulgaria) -- $17,631.00
3. bedias (Brazil) - $13,060.00
4. op66po (Poland) - $9,795.00
5. smily (Switzerland) -- $6,856.50
6. solskjaer (United Kingdom) - $5,550.50
7. shinbunshi (Japan) - $4,244.50
8. Colisea (Poland) - $2,938.50
9. felloff (Canada) - $1,841.46

Check out the 2014 SCOOP homepage for a full schedule as well as results thus far in the online tournament series.

Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.

Stephen Bartley
@StephenBartley in SCOOP