SCOOP 2015: Artem "veeea" Vezhenkov closes strong, grabs the title in #17-M ($109+R NLH, Big Antes)

It looked for a while as though Artem "veeea" Vezhenkov of Russia was going to finish off Event #17-M, a $109 no-limit hold'em event featuring big antes and rebuy opportunities, with little difficulty after building a big lead and mowing down all but one of his last few opponents. Fellow Russian TransSib provided a big of a scare heads-up, though, after doubling up to even the match, but Vezhenkov reapplied the pressure immediately and soon came away with the title.

Vezhenkov had already grabbed a WCOOP win in 2013 when he topped a field of 390 to win a seven-card stud event and a $22,230 first prize. The turnout was bigger for this one and so was the payout as Vezhenkov bested a big 1,466-player field to collect the SCOOP watch and a $71,254.50 first prize. Here's the story of Vezhenkov's win.

Day 1

With unlimited rebuys for the first 90 minutes (and an add-on available after that), the 1,466 who participated took 1,527 rebuys and 1,261 add-ons to build the prize pool up to $425,400 -- more than twice the event's $200K guarantee -- with the top 198 finishers getting paid.

The first day saw that big field carved all of the way down to just 32 players, with Martin "Sochobi" Piven leading a group containing several notables. Here's how the top 10 looked overnight:

1. Martin "Sochobi" Piven (Uruguay) -- 1,194,396
2. Stefan "mindgamer" Jedlicka (Austria) -- 1,179,134
3. Ballage87 (Hungary) -- 1,105,119
4. Vojtech "Vojta_R" Ruzicka (Czech Republic) -- 1,089,996
5. Fernando "fernandopipp" Pippi, Jr. (Brazil) -- 724,696
6. girafganger7 (Belgium) -- 660,765
7. zumbii (Bulgaria) -- 640,901
8. MiracleQ (Russia) -- 613,644
9. Simon "x1deadman1x" Deadman (United Kingdom) -- 606,420
10. Artem "veeea" Vezhenkov (Russia) -- 542,088

Jon "PearlJammer" Turner (in 14th position), Emil "Emilohlsson" Ohlsson (16th), João 'Naza114' Vieira (20th) were also among those making it through the day of play with chips.

Day 2

It took a little over an hour for the 32 to be whittled down to 18, and with two tables left Bjuran had bolted up the counts to take over the chip lead. Rasmus "RasA86" Agerskov (32nd, $1,467.63) and João 'Naza114' Vieira (20th, $1,701.60) were among those knocked out early on.

Meanwhile start-of-day leader Martin "Sochobi" Piven was also slipping in the counts, and after zumbii went out in 18th, Piven was ousted in 17th followed by MadAgenda in 16th, with each of those three earning $1,956.84.

Stefan "mindgamer" Jedlicka, who began Day 2 in second position, was next to go in 15th, followed by huiiiiiiiiii (14th) and Jon "PearlJammer" Turner (13th), each picking up $2,765.10. alwayswin222 (12th), aaabbbccc (11th), and girafganger7 (10th) followed them to the rail, earning $3,573.36 apiece.

With Artem "veeea" Vezhenkov the new chip leader and Simon "x1deadman1x" Deadman the short stack, the final table was underway.


Seat 1: Artem "veeea" Vezhenkov (Russia) -- 4,401,533
Seat 2: cheeky4714 (United Kingdom) -- 1,963,500
Seat 3: Simon "x1deadman1x" Deadman (United Kingdom) -- 322,527
Seat 4: TransSib (Russia) -- 716,469
Seat 5: Fernando "fernandopipp" Pippi, Jr. (Brazil) -- 720,119
Seat 6: Vojtech "Vojta_R" Ruzicka (Czech Republic) -- 1,066,175
Seat 7: Emil "Emilohlsson" Ohlsson (Sweden) -- 1,097,149
Seat 8: Ballage87 (Hungary) -- 3,383,771
Seat 9: Bjuran (Sweden) -- 1,612,757

On the third hand of the final table, Vojtech "Vojta_R" Ruzicka made a min-raise to 80,000 from under the gun, then Simon "x1deadman1x" Deadman three-bet shoved from the button for a little less than 240,000 and Ruzicka called.

Deadman had K♠Q♠ and live cards versus Ruzicka's T♣T♠, and the Q♣A♦6♦ flop hit one of them to put the British player in front. Deadman was still ahead after the 2♠ turn, but the T♦ arrived on the river to get Ruzicka a set and send Deadman out in ninth.


Simon "x1deadman1x" Deadman

A short while later the blinds and antes had increased before Fernando "fernandopipp" Pippi, Jr. opened with a 2x raise to 100,000 from the hijack seat, then Vojtech "Vojta_R" Ruzicka reraised all in from the next seat over for a bit more to 137,279. It folded around to Bjuran in the big blind who called, and Pippi called as well.

The flop came 8♦6♣9♥, and when checked to Pippi fired a bet of nearly 200,000 and Bjuran stepped aside. At that Pippi showed A♣8♣ for a pair of eights which put him ahead of Ruzicka's A♠K♠. The turn was the 7♦ and river the 2♥, and Ruzicka was done in eighth.


Vojtech "Vojta_R" Ruzicka

A few minutes after that one Ballage87 opened to 104,999 -- a bit over 2x -- from UTG, then Artem "veeea" Vezhenkov (still the chip leader) reraised to almost 260,000 from middle position. It folded back to Ballage87 who shoved for almost 1.44 million, and Vezhenkov called.

Ballage87 had A♠9♠ but needed improvement to survive against Vezhenkov's A♦K♥. The board came 4♠7♠J♣4♥6♣, missing Ballage87 who finished in seventh.

The blinds and antes increased again, and after Artem "veeea" Vezhenkov raised to 124,200 from the cutoff, cheeky4714 three-bet shoved for 951,500 from the button, the SB and BB got out, and Vezhenkov called. cheeky4714 had A♥9♣ versus Vezhenkov's J♣J♦, then the community cards came 6♥J♠4♠Q♣6♠ to give veeea a full house and end cheeky4714's run in sixth.

The final five pushed forward, with Vezhenkov continuing to accumulate and extend his lead, nudging up toward the 10 million-chip mark while Emil "Emilohlsson" Ohlsson slipped back to fifth of five with just under 900,000.

Then a hand arose that saw Ohlsson open-ship his stack (then just over 11 BBs) from the small blind and get called by Bjuran, with the latter turning over A♠Q♥ to Ohlsson's Q♣J♦. A runout of 6♥5♥K♣2♦T♠ meant the end for Ohlsson who collected fifth-place money.


Emil "Emilohlsson" Ohlsson

Just five minutes later Artem "veeea" Vezhenkov raised to 165,600 from UTG, then Fernando "fernandopipp" Pippi, Jr. reraised all in for just under 1.5 million from the small blind and was called by Vezhenkov.

Pippi had 5♠5♣ and hopes the pair would hold against Vezhenkov's A♥T♠, and the pair was still best through the 3♦K♠6♠ flop and J♦ turn. But the Q♥ landed on fifth street, completing a Broadway straight for Vezhenkov and sending Pippi railward in fourth.

Just three hands later Bjuran open-pushed from the small blind for a little over 1.55 million with K♦3♣ and Vezhenkov called from the big blind with K♠Q♦. The board came K♥7♥T♦2♣2♠, and Vezhenkov's better kicker meant Bjuran was eliminated in third.

The two Russians were the only ones left, with Artem "veeea" Vezhenkov enjoying a big chip lead to start heads-up play with more than 12.1 million to the 3.1 million of TransSib.

About 15 minutes into their heads-up duel a big hand arose that saw the pair engage in a preflop raising war until Vezhenkov shoved all in, putting TransSib to the test. After thinking a short while TransSib called with A♦6♣ and saw that veeea was ahead with A♥K♦. But a six flopped and the hand held for TransSib, and suddenly they were nearly even in chips.

But from there veeea immediately began chipping up again, and after another 15 minutes was back up close to 1.2 million while TransSib had slipped to less than 340,000.

Then came a hand in which TransSib opened for the minimum from the button for 240,000, Vezhenkov three-bet to 600,000, TransSib made it 960,000, veeea shoved all in, and TransSib called with the almost 2.4 million left behind.

veeea: 9♠9♦
TransSib: K♣J♦

The 7♥Q♦4♠ flop and T♣ gave TransSib an open-ended straight draw to go along with those two overcards, but the river was the 6♣, meaning Vezhenkov's nines had held and the title was his.

Congratulations to Artem "veeea" Vezhenkov for outlasting a big field and tough final table to punctuate two days' worth of poker with a SCOOP title to add to his WCOOP one.

SCOOP 17-M: $109+R NL Hold'em (Big Antes)
Entrants: 1,466 (1,527 rebuys, 1,261 add-ons)
Prize pool: $425,400.00
Places paid: 198

1. Artem "veeea" Vezhenkov (Russia) $71,254.50
2. TransSib (Russia) $52,111.50
3. Bjuran (Sweden) $39,349.50
4. Fernando "fernandopipp" Pippi, Jr. (Brazil) $28,927.20
5. Emil "Emilohlsson" Ohlsson (Sweden) -- $20,844.60
6. cheeky4714 (United Kingdom) $16,590.60
7. Ballage87 (Hungary) $12,336.60
8. Vojtech "Vojta_R" Ruzicka (Czech Republic) $8,082.60
9. Simon "x1deadman1x" Deadman (United Kingdom) $4,381.62

We haven't even reached the halfway mark of this year's Spring Championship of Online Poker. Visit the 2015 SCOOP homepage for results thus far, Player of the Series updates, and a complete schedule of remaining events.

Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.

Martin Harris
@hardboiledpoker in SCOOP