SCOOP 2014: Espada Vasto aims low, soars high in Event #5-L ($27 FL Badugi)

There's no doubt that Badugi is not everyone's cup of tea. In fact, many casual poker fans may not have even heard of it. But there's no doubt that those who do play Badugi, love the game, and there's no better place to get your feet wet than in a low-limit SCOOP Event.

The basics of Badugi are that you get dealt four cards and have three draws to try and make a lowball hand, with one card of each suit and no pairs in your hand. It sounds simple enough, and perhaps that's why it's quite popular, but like any poker variant, there are many intricacies and strategies to the game. And it was Poland's Espada Vasto who best displayed those skills today with an impressive victory in Event #5-L of the 2014 Spring Championship of Poker.

A total of 1,943 players decided to test themselves at some Badugi as they hit the PokerStars felt for SCOOP-05-L: $27 FL Badugi. The event offered a $25,000 guarantee, but that was blown out of the water, with a $47,700.65 prize pool in the middle to be distributed to the top 256 finishers.

Adrienne Rowsome, Victor Ramdin, Bertrand Grospellier, Tyler Frost and Martin Hrubý were all out representing the red spade of Team PokerStars but unfortunately they were eliminated short of the money. However their pain was matched by Poland's Colisea who was the unlucky bubble in 257th place, leaving the remaining players with a minimum $42.45 collect.

Marcel Luske (226th - $42.93), Marcin Horecki (97th - $66.78) and George Danzer (85th - $76.32) all finished in profit for their efforts, but the red spade last longer went to PokerStars Team Online Player Matthias 'Mati312' Brandner.

Brandner's run came undone in 19th place which was good for a $202.72 score.

When Alehan124 moved all in predraw and could only make a three-card 5-4-A, the pot was sent to fillkill123 who made a very handy nine-high Badugi to see our final table of eight set as follows:


Final Table Line Up
Seat 1: Espada Vasto (1,672,110 in chips)
Seat 2: Bruno GT (2,888,680 in chips)
Seat 3: fillkill123 (357,319 in chips)
Seat 4: ilichch (2,192,339 in chips)
Seat 5: SnowyWastes (633,192 in chips)
Seat 6: magularo (1,556,172 in chips)
Seat 7: villepn (335,944 in chips)
Seat 8: nabulon (79,244 in chips)

The action was fast and furious from the get-go with SnowyWastes wasting no time in doubling up on the very first hand of the final table:

RSS readers click through to see replay

Despite nabulon barely having enough to cover the big blind, it was villepn who was first to go. The action was four-bet preflop, before villepn's last chips were in by the second draw. villepn stood pat with a T♣8♦A♠4♥ Badugi but Espada Vasto took one on each draw and managed to find a perfect 2♥A♣4♦3♠ Badugi. villepn took home $477.00 for eighth place.

nabulon made a pay jump and, next hand, stuck the chips in the middle with Bruno GT and SnowyWastes giving some action. nabulon drew one before standing pat while the two live players continued to bet, drawing one card each. After the final draw, Bruno GT's bet was met with a fold from SnowyWastes as Bruno GT showed a 3♠4♦6♣A♥ Badugi which was too strong for nabulon's J♠2♣3♦4♥ Badugi. nabulon picked up $954.01 for seventh place.

Bruno GT and SnowyWastes were the two most active players at the table, but Bruno GT nudged ahead when the two collided in a pot that went to showdown. Bruno GT showed a jack-high Badugi which was good to scoop the pot.

ilichch survived with a double up, making a seven-high Badugi to nudge SnowyWastes' eight-high Badugi, but that joy was only temporary as next hand the short-stacked fillkill123 made a seven-high Badugi to double through ilichch's nine-high Badugi.

It was a blow that ilichch couldn't recover from. Moments later ilichch raised predraw and then called off what was left by the second draw against Bruno GT. ilichch took two, two and one on the draws, but could only make 2♠6♦6♠A♣ for a three-card six. Bruno GT showed a 8♦4♥6♣3♠ Badugi to take it down and remove ilichch in sixth place for $1,431.01 in prize money.

fillkill123 was soon to follow, with the action capped predraw, and then the final chips in the middle after the first draw. fillkill123 stood pat the whole way with SnowyWastes taking one on the first draw before standing pat on the final two. fillkill123 opened a 8♦J♥3♠K♣ Badugi but that wasn't enough against SnowyWastes' A♠9♦5♥6♣ Badugi. fillkill123 collected $2,385.03 for fifth place.

SnowyWastes was surging, and next hand, collected a monster pot with an impressive call down holding a three-card six. It was good against Bruno GT's three-card nine, as SnowyWastes was into the chip lead.

However Bruno GT was able to pull back some of those chips with the elimination of Magularo on the very next hand. Again the betting was capped predraw, before magularo was all in on the first draw. Both players took one on the first two draws, before standing pat on the third. magularo held 4♥3♠K♦7♣ for a king-high Badugi, but Bruno GT had drawn to a better T♦7♠8♣A♥ Badugi. magularo was left to depart in fourth place for $3,339.04 in prize money.

The three remaining players were pretty even in chips, and seemingly evenly matched, as they slugged it out for some time before our next elimination.

Bruno GT took over the lead, but lost a few healthy pots to Espada Vasto to see the momentum change hands. Bruno GT continued to be ground down as Espada Vasto and SnowyWastes exchanged some big pots.

Eventually Bruno GT made a stand, but both opponents called his all-in bet predraw. Espada Vasto drew two on each draw with Bruno GT and SnowyWastes taking one each. At showdown, we only saw one hand, with SnowyWastes showing a 3♠A♣4♦J♥ Badugi to scoop the pot and eliminate Bruno GT in third place for a $4,531.56 score.

Heads-up Chip Counts
Seat 1: Espada Vasto (5,718,054 in chips)
Seat 5: SnowyWastes (3,996,946 in chips)

Things were pretty even, but Espada Vasto was able to win the big pots early in the contest to extend the chip advantage, before the biggest pot of the tournament unfolded:

RSS readers click through to see replay

Espada Vasto's king-high Badugi was good enough to take down the huge pot to leave SnowyWastes in a world of hurt facing a near 13-to-1 chip disadvantage.

But SnowyWastes wasn't done with quite yet.

A Badugi and a double up next hand gave SnowyWastes some breathing room, and another couple of handy pots brought the margin back close to where they started the heads-up battle.

However in the end, there would be no miraculous comeback. Espada Vasto won a big pot when the action was capped after the second draw, holding a king-high Badugi, before the killer blow came in a hand where both players took one on each draw. SnowyWastes led the betting, before Espada Vasto raised after the final draw. SnowyWastes decided to try a re-raise with A♠4♥7♥3♣ for a three-card four, but couldn't force a fold from Espada Vasto who showed 2♠9♦5♣K♥ for a king-high Badugi.

That left SnowyWastes crippled with less than one big blind, making a three-card seven next hand which wasn't enough to beat Espada Vasto's ten-high Badugi. SnowyWastes' great run fell short at the final hurdle but the Norwegian still collects $5,925.32 for second place as the SCOOP title heads to Poland as Espada Vasto wins $8,300.84 in prize money. Congratulations!

SCOOP-05-L: $27 FL Badugi - $25K Guaranteed
Entrants: 1,943
Prize Pool: $47,700.65
Places Paid: 256

1. Espada Vasto (Poland) - $8,300.84
2. SnowyWastes (Norway) - $5,926.32
3. Bruno GT (Brazil) - $4,531.56
4. magularo (Austria) - $3,339.04
5. fillkill123 (Czech Republic) - $2,385.03
6. ilichch (Russia) - $1,431.01
7. Nabulon (Germany) - $954.01
8. Villepn (Finland) - $477.00

If you missed out today, then don't worry as there are plenty more opportunities for you to grab yourself a slice of the SCOOP pie. There are 45 different events, all with low, medium and high buy-in levels to suit players of all budgets. A total prize pool of $40 million is guaranteed with the series running right through until May 18th. Head to the SCOOP home page for more details.

Heath "TassieDevil" Chick is a Freelance Contributor for the PokerStars Blog.

@PokerStars in 2014