SCOOP 2015: b8chatz cools down red-hot Jason Mercier to win 3-Stack Event #26-H ($1,050 NL)

Sportscaster Dan Patrick once said, "You can't stop Michael Jordan, you can only hope to contain him." That's how fellow NBA players felt about Jordan's nonpareil basketball prowess at the apex of his career.

Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier, ensconced in the middle of a sizzling streak, final tabled SCOOP Event #26-H. That marked Mercier's fourth final table and his 15th cash of the 2015 SCOOP. As one railbird astutely observed, "Life is not easy when you play against Jason in a hot streak."

Considering the monstrous manner in which Jason Mercier ran this past week (3 SCOOP wins in the first eight days), it had become nearly impossible to stop him. However, in SCOOP Event #26-H, b8chatz (United Kingdom) figured out how to contain Mercier. Although Mercier advanced to yet another final table, he only went as deep as sixth place because b8chatz stopped Mercier dead cold in sixth place.

With three tables remaining, Mercier seized the lead and battled to keep it over the next couple of levels. On the final table bubble, Mercier picked off Shaun Deeb in tenth place and thwarted a potential SCOOP title #6 for Deeb. Mercier began the final table as the chipleader, but once he lost the lead, he could not recover.

At one point with seven to go, b8chatz was last in chips and on the verge of extinction, but rallied back to climb out of the basement and eventually take a spot in the winner's circle for a victory in Event #26-H. This was b8chatz's first SCOOP win but second overall COOP title.

2015 SCOOP Event #26-H $1,050 NL 3-Stack attracted 588 runners for this two-day affair. They created a prize pool worth $588,000. Only the top 72 places paid out, with $111,132.00 originally set aside for the champion.

Combatants in this SCOOP Event #26-H "triple" stack event began with three stacks of 5,000, which they could use at any time during the initial eight levels. If you're a firearms enthusiast, you got three bullets. If you're a Star Wars geek, you got three light sabres.


Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier denied SCOOP title #5

Day 1 ended with 84 players remaining. Pass_72 held the lead with 402K and the average stack was a shade over 100K. Notables who survived the cut on Day 1 including PokerStars Team Pro Jake Cody (20th), PokerStars Team Pro Jason Mercier (22nd), Team Online Naoya "nkeyno" Kihara (26th), and PokerStars Team Pro Matthias De Meulder (73rd).

End of Event #26-H Day 1 Top 5 chips:
Pass_72 (Canada) 402,353
Popiedejopie (Netherlands) 240,340
T-Macha (Norway) 236,048
HoldemKy5 (Canada) 222,467
mindgamer (Austria) 213,875

The money bubble busted one hour into Day 2. Among notables who cashed...  Jason Mercier (6th), Ami "UhhMee" Barer (8th), Shaun Deeb (10th), Peter "Belabacsi" Traply (16th), Jake Cody (23rd), Chris "NigDawG" Brammer (38th), Matthias De Meulder (40th), Brandon "oncommand" Meyers (52nd), Team Online Naoya "nkeyno" Kihara (65th), and Aaron Been (71st).

Team Online Naoya "nkeyno" Kihara busted, but cashed in 65th place when his J♠J♦ lost to TEENageTuRtL's A♠A♦. Team Pro Matthias De Meulder hit the road in 40th place, when his K♥5♣ were outflopped by UhhMee's Q♠T♦. Team Pro Jake Cody met his fate in 23rd place when he lost a race with A♣K♥ versus 42ayay's 9♥9♦. Cody flopped a Broadway straight draw, but whiffed on the turn and river.

With 27 to go UhhMee took over first place with 589K, while Mercier was 6th in chips. With 23 to go, Mercier chipped up to almost 800K and seized the lead. He won a 297K pot against YukoEgawa by turning a straight with 6♣4♣. With 21 to go, ThEcLaiMEer and b8chatz challenged Mercier for the lead as the trio were closing in on 1M. Meanwhile Shaun Deeb was lurking in the Top 5. Mercier knocked out Belabacsi in 16th place when his A♦Q♣ ran down J♦J♥ with the proverbial "ace on the river." That pot worth 617K propelled Mercier back into the lead with 1.3M.

With 10 to go, action went hand-for-hand on the final two tables. Deeb and Tranquil Mind were the shortest stacks remaining with approximately 420K, while Mercier held steady onto first with 1.7M. During a protracted final table bubble, Mercier chipped up to 2M, while Deeb sunk below 300K.

Two players busted out simultaneously during hand-for-hand, which meant the final table was eight-handed instead of nine. Shaun Deeb and Jason Mercier rumbled on the bubble. Mercier opened with a min-raise, Deeb shoved for 276,546, and Mercier called. Mercier trailed with Q♠J♥ against Deeb's A♥3♥. Alas, the board ran out Q♣6♥2♦2♣Q♥. A Queen on the flop and a Queen on the river sunk Deeb's chances at a 6th SCOOP title. Mercier won the pot with a full house and Deeb busted.

"You are so bad," were Deeb's parting words as he bubbled the final table in tenth place and narrowly missed his 18th lifetime SCOOP final table.

On the other table, Pass_72 busted in ninth place after making a final stand with A♦Q♦ against mindgamer's A♣K♣. Neither player improved, but mindgamer won the pot with Ace-high and stronger King-kicker. With Pass_72's elimination, the final table was set.


SCOOP 26-H - Final Table Chip Counts:
Seat 1: Team PokerStars Pro JasonMercier (2,242,403)
Seat 3: dunphi (788,486)
Seat 4: b8chatz (1,497,924)
Seat 5: mindgamer (1,368,086)
Seat 6: TranquilMind (464,596)
Seat 7: ThEcLaiMEer (1,129,247)
Seat 8: UhhMee (656,191)
Seat 9: neckbr4ke (673,067)

The final table commenced during Level 33 with blinds at 8K/16K and a 2K ante. Mercier led the way with 2.2M, while TranquilMind was last with 464K. The final table featured 9 total COOP wins. Mercier won 4 SCOOPs and 2 WCOOPs, UhhMee won two SCOOP titles, and b8chatz won TCOOP. Let's not forget about mindgamer, who once shipped the Sunday Million.

UhhMee eliminated in 8th place

UhhMee opened to 151,501, Jason Mercier called, dunphi shoved all-in for for 629,790, UhhMee called all-in for 6 more, and Mercier folded. Heads-up. UhhMee was racing with 2♣2♥ against dunphi's A♥J♥. The board finished up K♣Q♥4♥J♣3♠ and dunphi won the pot with a pair of Jacks. Pocket deuces were no good for UhhMee, who was knocked out in eighth place and earned a $13,230.00 pay day.

SLOWDOWN, Rise of b8chatz, and the Fall of Mercier

In the first three hours of the final table, only one player busted. After UhhMee's knockout in eighth place, the final seven got bogged down in a major lull that lasted several levels.

Toward the end of Level 35, Mercier coughed up the lead to mindgamer held a slight edge with 2.1M to 2M. During Level 36, Mercier chipped up to 2.5M to regain the lead but his reign in the top spot ended shortly after.

At the start of Level 37, b8chatz avoided elimination after he chopped a pot with A♣T♥ against mindgamer's A♠K♣ when the board ran out 7♦7♣8♣6♦6♠. That hand sparked a massive rush as b8chatz went to the brink of elimination to the inevitable chipleader. An orbit later, b8chatz doubled through Mercier. The assault continued when b8chatz landed another crushing blow by winning a 718K pot against Mercier. b8chatz was no longer hanging out in the basement and moved into second overall with 1.8M. Mercier slipped to third overall with 1.6M.

Mercier tumbled to fourth in chips when he ran into ThEcLaiMEer's K♥K♦. Mercier's slide continued after TranquilMind won a 1.1M pot against him. With 187K in the pot, the board read 9♦2♠7♥8♥8♠. neckbr4ke bet 64,325, Mercier raised to 193,822 neckbr4ke shoved for 489,642, and Mercier tank-called. Mercier's J♠8♣ and trip eights lost to neckbr4ke's 9♠9♣. neckbr4ke flopped a set and rivered a boat.

By the time Level 38 began, b8chatz was the new leader with almost 2M and Mercier was the new short stack with 600K. When Level 39 began, TranquilMind seized the lead with 1.9M and Mercier was treading water with 555K. Short-stacked Mercier doubled up with K♠J♦ against TranquilMind's A♦J♠. TranquilMind turned a Broadway straight, but never improved. Mercier turned a pair of Kings to win the pot and avoid an elimination. Mercier chipped up to 1.1M. That was his last high-water mark.

neckbr4ke eliminated in 7th place

Right after Mercier doubled up, we saw our first bustout in over five levels. Short-stacked neckbr4ke open-shoved 610,734 with J♦T♣ and Mercier called with A♠8♥. neckbr4ke flopped an open-ended straight draw but never improved. The board ran out K♣Q♦5♠Q♥3♣ and Mercier won the pot with a pair of Queens and an Ace-kicker. For a seventh-place finish, neckbr4ke earned $19,110.00.

Jason Mercier eliminated in 6th place

Just when it seemed like Jason Mercier was poised to make a comeback, Mercier ran out of gas. Mercier lost a coinflip with A♣K♥ against mindgamer's 4♦4♣ and lost a 1.1M pot. Mercier would get knocked out on the next hand.

Mercier moved all-in for 669,455 with J♥J♦ and b8chatz tried to pick him off with A♠Q♥. Classic race. The board finished up 8♠7♠3♥A♦K♥. The Ace on the turn gave b8chatz the lead and Mercier busted in sixth place, which paid out $24,990.00. Mercier's magial run came to an end and he'd have to wait another day to win SCOOP title #5.

With five to go... b8chatz was the leader with 2.3M and ThEcLaiMEer was last with 1M.

ThEcLaiMEer eliminated in 5th place

Quickie bustout.... mindgamer min-raised to 1M, ThEcLaiMEer bombed it all-in for 1,225,675 with K♣Q♥, and mindgamer called with A♠Q♣. Both players flopped a Queen, but mindgamer won the pot with a better Ace-kicker when the board finished up T♥Q♦7♥2♦J♠. ThEcLaiMEer went busto in fifth place, which paid out $31,752.00.

dunphi eliminated in 4th place

After a lengthy slowdown trimming the field from 7 to 6, we saw a fourth bustout in less than 15 minutes.

dunphi min-raised to 1M, mindgamer re-raised to 264,000, dunph four-bet to 488,741, mindgamer five-bet shoved for 3,115,891 with K♠K♥, and dunphi called all-in for 1,283,028 with A♠Q♥. The board ran out Q♠T♦5♣8♠2♦. dunphi flopped a Queen, but did not improve beyond that. mindgamer's pocket cowboys held up to win the pot. For a fourth-place finish, Germany's dunphi took home $45,276.00.

With three remaining... mindgamer was in front with 4.9M, followed by b8chatz's 2.1M and TranquilMind's 1.7M.

TranquilMind eliminated in 3rd place

mindgamer min-raised to 1.2M, TranquilMind re-raised to 2.4M, b8chatz bumped it up to 6M,
mindgamer shoved all-in for 5,812,041, TranquilMind called all-in for 4,959, and b8chatz also called all-in for 2,140,500. Three-way all-in.

b8chatz: K♣K♥
TranquilMind: 3♦3♠
mindgamer: A♣K♠

The board ran out J♥6♥5♥T♠7♦. mindgamer turned a Broadway gutshot with Big Slick, but whiffed on the river. b8chatz's pocket Kings held up and he won the main pot and side pot. TranquilMind's pocket treys failed to improve, so TranquilMind busted in third place, which paid out $59,976.00.

HEADS-UP: b8chatz (United Kingdom) vs. mindgamer (Austria)
Seat 4: b8chatz (5,748,459)
Seat 5: mindgamer (3,071,541)

With two to go, b8chatz was out in front.

mindgamer eliminated in 2nd place; b8chatz wins SCOOP Event #26-H!

Heads-up battle lasted only 27 hands. Early into heads-up, b8chatz pulled away and never looked back. Going into the final hand, b8chatz chipped up to 7M and mindgamer was in trouble with 1.7M.

On the final hand... b8chatz min-raised to 1.2M, mindgamer bumped it up to 3M, b8chatz four-bet shoved for 7,070,959, and mindgamer called all-in for 1,434,041. mindgamer led with A♣T♥ versus b8chatz's K♣J♣. However, b8chatz hit the flop and took the lead. The board ran out K♦9♠3♣4♥3♥ and b8chatz dragged the pot with two pair -- Kings and treys. mindgamer failed to improve and busted in second place.

For an impressive runner-up performance, Austria's mindgamer earned $81,438.00

Congrats to the United Kingdom's b8chatz for winning SCOOP event #26-H. First place paid out $111,132.00 plus a cool champion's watch courtesy of Movado. This was b8chatz's second career COOP title.

SCOOP-26-H: $1,050 NL Hold'em (3-Stack)
Entrants: 588
Prize Pool: $588,000
Places Paid: 72

1. b8chatz (United Kingdom) $111,132.00
2. mindgamer (Austria) $81,438.00
3. TranquilMind (Poland) $59,976.00
4. dunphi (Germany) $45,276.00
5. ThEcLaiMEer (United Kingdom) $31,752.00
6. Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier (Canada) $24,990.00
7. neckbr4ke (Austria) $19.110.00
8. UhhMee (Canada) $13,230.00
9. Pass_72 (Canada) $8,996.40

Visit the SCOOP homepage for a schedule of remaining SCOOP events and satellite info. Check out the cool comprehensive stats page and stop by the Leader Board to find out who is in contention for Player of the series.

Pauly McGuire is an author and freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Pauly McGuire
@PokerStars in SCOOP