SCOOP 2014: T.J. "1BigAceHole" Ulmer high rolls in Event #41-L ($215 NL Hold'em, Heads-Up, High Roller)

Heads-up poker, mano-a-mano, literally "hand-for-hand", a skill necessary for any player to be successful. It's tough to win any tournament without having some abilities to beat the last player between you and a title. One of the final events of the 2014 Spring Championship of Online Poker was not just a heads-up tournament, but a high-roller to kick it up.

The "low" version of Event #41 cost players a $215 buy-in for a piece of the $150,000 guarantee, which grew to a $278,800 prizepool after 1,394 put their names in the mix. The last 128 players made the money and then worked their way down for the winner to collect $42,163. The field played most of Saturday until just 32 were left and the tournament paused for the evening.

Those 32 returned today needing to win five more matches to claim the title and they did so at a nice, steady pace due to the structure. Players began each match with 10,000 in their stacks, 25/50 blinds, and 10 minutes levels. About as deep a structure as you will find for the price.

The Round of 8 contained a few players with past success. Stefan "I'am_Sound" Huber has a heads-up SCOOP title in 2013 Event #7-M, Noah "dirty.brasil" Vaillancourt was looking to add on to his 2012 WCOOP Event #20 victory, and pantri has two final tables this series with the most recent coming in Event #25-L.

Quarterfinal Round

Godfatti v mad_domonox
dirty.brasil v Raindrops_69
pantri v royalendy
1BigAceHole v I'am_Sound

The final four tables went at it without any one player taking a big lead for the first 30 minutes until royalendy pulled a big pot with a runner-runner flush. pantri was left with just a few thousand and lost them all when his A♦9♠ went down to A♠K♥.

Raindrops_69 was the next to book a ticket to the semifinal round thanks to a little help against Vaillancourt. Neither made a big move in the final hand until after the river when Vaillancourt saw his J♠J♣ was undone by A♠3♦ on the turn with the board showing 7♠3♣2♦3♥T♦. He had to think his Jacks were good but the WCOOP champ was done.

Huber was the next former champion to call it a day when T.J. "1BigAceHole" Ulmer ground him down to a few thousand chips. The final hand to send Ulmer forward was K♥J♥ beating 6♦5♦ while avoiding a flopped gutshot and backdoor flush draw. The former PCA prelim event winner moved on to the semis and a matchup against royalendy.

mad_domonox was the last to finish of his match, a back-and-forth affair between himself and Godfatti. There were a few comebacks but mad_domonox finally moved on when his 8♠8♥ out raced A♥T♥ to lock up the hand and a semifinal match.

Semifinal Round

royalendy v 1BigAce
Raindrops_69 v mad_domonox

Ulmer found himself in a quick hole but picked up a big double with A♥K♣ versus T♦T♣ on a A♣Q♣6♣ flop. royalendy put up a small fight but was done in the end when he called Ulmer's four-bet shove and his A♣6♣ lost to A♦Q♥. royalendy flopped two pair when it came A♥7♥6♥ but it was counterfeited on the 7♠ turn. A rough way to go out in 4th place.

The other semifinal match between mad_domonox and Raindrops_69 went on for much longer. One hour into their match and they were still in a virtual dead heat to determine who moved on. The two were still close when Raindrops_69 made a big five-bet shove with J♣8♣ smack into A♣A♥. Sometimes the bold are rewarded and Raindrop_69 jumped all over the T♥9♠7♣ flop.

mad_domonox had a small chance when the board paired the 9♦ turn but the bad bet was complete on the 2♣ river. A tough way to go out with the amount of money on the line but mad_domonox was gone in 3rd.


Final Match

As with most Heads-Up tournaments, the last two players chopped the top money spots evenly leaving money behind for the winner. Both players have the results to back up an even split and they were quickly underway.

Ulmer slowly chipped away at Raindrops_69's stack and soon found himself one card from the title. Raindrops_69 was down to just 2,440 and all-in holding K♦J♥ against 3♣3♥ with a T♦4♦4♣7♥ board. The J♦ gave him new life and he managed to work his way up to a small chiplead.

The long grind continued over one hour and 160 hands before they once again put everything at risk. Ulmer was back in the lead when he called a three-bet from Raindrops_69 to see the T♣8♦4♦ flop. Raindrops_69 check-raised from 600 to 1,440 and Ulmer once again called after a lengthy tank.

Raindrops_69 didn't wait when he saw the 6♦ turn and immediately shoved. Ulmer didn't need to think about this decision and quickly called with a turned flush T♦5♦. It was an unfortunate end for Raindrops_69 when he also hit the turn with his open-ended straight draw holding 9♠7♠.

This match could have gone another hour before the blinds forced faster action but the heads-up big hand meant Raindrops_69 had to settle for the runner-up consolation prize of $35,996. Ulmer now has a major online title to go with his PCA win, earning the $35,996 first place money.

SCOOP 41-L: $215 NL Hold'em (Heads-Up, High-Roller)
Entrants: 1,394
Prize pool: $278,800
Places paid: 128

1. T.J. "1BigAceHole" Ulmer (Canada) $35,996.02*
2. Raindrops_69 (Canada) $32,996.02*
3. mad_domonox (Austria) $13,413.06
4. royalendy (Switzerland) $13,413.06
5. Godfatti (Netherlands) $7,471.84
6. Stefan "I'am_Sound" Huber (Switzerland) $7,471.84
7. Noah "dirty.brasil" Vaillancourt (Canada) $7,471.84
8. pantri (Paraguay) $7,471.84
* - denotes heads-up deal

Al Rash
@PokerStars in SCOOP